Let Hawaii’s people exercise
right to self-defense

On June 27, in the case of "Town of Castle Rock, Colorado vs. Gonzales," the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police are not constitutionally obligated or responsible for the enforcement of court- issued restraining orders and are therefore not liable. Perhaps it is time to revive the endeavors in 2003 of Hawaii Senators Sam Slom, Gordon Trimble, Paul Whalen and Fred Hemmings to pass Senate Bill 415 for "Shall issue ..." concealed carry weapons licenses. Accordingly, at present, Hawaii Revised Statute 134-9(a) states that the local chief of police can arbitrarily decide upon all requests for licenses and "may issue" a license.

Excuse me! I do not read within our Constitution that the state, much less the local county chief of police, has constitutional authority over our Second Amendment right. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure the appropriate instrument is readily available for the act of "self-preservation," in accordance with the laws of nature and nature's law. Make no mistake, there is a specific difference between self-preservation and the term "self-defense."

The natural right of self-preservation is a characteristic trait of mankind that operates from the fundamental element and foundation of being a member of the animal kingdom, and not of a civilized society maintained by agreed-upon, artificial laws for the good of the whole. Self-preservation is an inherent instinct from nature and nature's god, an element of mankind that is not subject to the laws of men. Neither can the laws of society dictate when, how and by what method to exercise this natural right. It is the sole prerogative of its possessor.

This reserved right of the individual was not forfeited through any compact, agreement or constitution, and no law can be written to restrain this natural instinct, nor can any conscious act of the individual himself suppress this instinct, as nature itself has placed a safeguard in every person to perpetuate and sustain life. Hence, the "obligation to retreat" is an unnatural act.

As observed nearly 3,000 years before the birth of Christianity, Buddha wrote the natural laws of nature and incorporated them in many of his teachings. Toward self-preservation, Buddha noted that among the animals that walked the Earth, there was a specific approach to self-preservation," thus his scriptures reflect: "Do not be wasteful and unnecessarily take a life. Speak before you hurt; hurt before you cripple; cripple before you kill."

Five thousand years later, our government holds the view that they are the creators of the novel concept of "escalating levels of self-defense." Between the two, self-defense and self-preservation, exits clear and specific differences. Self-defense is a manufactured, conceptualized condition to a state of being, to which law can be rationalized, applied and measured in degrees and is treated as a "conscious act," and thus came into being the following examples: negligent homicide, involuntary manslaughter, assault with intent to kill, and so on. Many are the varied labels attached to the "intent" of self-defense. On the other hand, an act originating itself upon pure instinctive and compelling necessity, to invoke the emotional responsive trigger that draws out the natural instinct of self-preservation, cannot be rationalized but rather it must be evaluated based upon a person's environment, genetics, character and the individual's level of resolve to quell fear and react.

A person might choose to lie down and cry; such is a type of self-preservation act, depending upon the compassion of the aggressor. A person might choose to turn and run, believing he is able to out-distance 280 grams of full metal jacket (.45 cal.) traveling at approximately 920 feet per second. Or a person might call upon his natural instinct to respond in kind.

The initial and primary instinct is to stop the immediate threat. A person does not naturally respond to an immediate threat with a specific intent to kill. Killing is incidental to the response, determined by the amount of available time, the urgency of the action to be taken and the type and level of the threat presented. The court of law cannot apply the same rules of reason and logic if the reaction to a threat is based upon an act of self-preservation; it can, however, dictate the level of criminality, through applied logic to define reason, to the actions taken by a person in an act of self-defense.

In general, one could say that self-defense is an act that must be thought out, practiced and placed into action, as is now being practiced by the federal government with the armed forces and the state governments with their National Guard. On the other hand, self-preservation is an act that is instinctive by nature and reactionary. To sustain life, an element of necessity must exist; as a maxim, "necessity to life recognizes no boundaries and acknowledges no law." This includes the allowance of cannibalism under extreme circumstances, on the high seas, according to the admiralty and maritime laws. The Founding Fathers realized this difference in mankind and so did we the people, hence we have the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, placed outside the reach of both the federal and state governments.

Concealed carry of a firearm is not always a necessity and might not be for everyone; however, it is a decision that is better evaluated by "we the people," the correct and rightful heirs and possessors of the right to keep and bear arms.

George K. Young Jr. is a law enforcement officer with the state Department of Transportation at Hilo International Airport.

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