So, do we save the Second Amendment for a rainy day when a despot reigns? Or do we use the Second Amendment for the tiny tyrannies that claim so many lives? The tyranny of criminal attack. When you are alone. When the speaking out on social policies doesnt matter. When all the voting and all the praying dont matter, as you catch a glint of your reflection on the blade of a knife wielded by an attacker. At the scene of this crime, as with most others, there are no police present. Just the victim and the predator. Just you and your attacker. Heres a tiny tyranny that befell a Virginia woman about ten years ago. At three a.m., Rayna Ross slept with her infant child in her garden apartment. It was fitful slumber. In the past several weeks, her former lover had attacked her, held her against her will and threatened her with a weapon. Authorities held him, but later released him/ He stalked her, and, as he did, he wrote to her. His letters grew increasingly dark, foreshadowing what experts would later call an inevitable murder-suicide. The authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. They couldnt post officers, or follow her to and from work. They just issued a warrant. Because Virginia employed an instantaneous background check for gun purchases, Rosss gun purchase was immediate. Rosss purchase was not just immediate; it was fortunate, because her attacker burst through the apartments patio door and went after her with a huge knife at three in the morning-three days after she purchased her gun. Had she been forced to wait longer, she and her child would probably be dead now. Another tiny tyranny, but maybe not so tiny to the victim. Phillip Russell Coleman worked past midnight in a Shreveport, Louisiana liquor store, and feared criminal attack. He purchased a gun under a five-day waiting period. Unlike Rayna Ross, Phillip Coleman will never speak out against the waiting period. His gun purchase was approved August 15, 1995-three days after he was shot and killed at the liquor store in the dead of night. Another tiny tyranny, but, maybe, not so tiny to the victim. In Monroe, North Carolina, in 1957, the Monroe chapter of the NAACP was under constant threat and harassment by the Ku Klux Klan. They were trying to exercise their constitutional rights to speak out, to assemble, to vote, to associate with one another, and the Klan were armed, and using those arms to illegally intimidate them. The Klan had set about driving through black neighborhoods and firing guns at homes. So the Monroe chapter of the NAACP decided to exercise another of their civil liberties-the right to keep and bear arms. They received firearms training, and when the Klan came around again, they ran right into the Second Amendment. The Klan fired, and that fire was returned in a fight they had no stomach for. The terrorists failed, because one right prevailed. Second amendment opponents and apologists, and citizens of certain European countries, offer grim statistics, and lay them at the foot of the Second Amendment. I, too, can offer those same statistics as gruesome proof of the failure of reliance on laws that do nothing more than restrict the rights of law-abiding people, and do nothing to disarm criminals or thwart criminal attack. The tragedy of crime is not only the greatest threat to our life and property; it is one of the greatest threats to our civil liberties. Restrictions against Second Amendment rights wont restore morality, and ineffective schemes will only serve to enhance hopelessness-as we are seeing in England. If we respect the lessons taught by the tiny tyrannies of our country-and theyre not so tiny, are they?-we will find ourselves shoulder to shoulder with our Founding Fathers. In the Second Amendment they lit a fire of freedom, and we can read by the light of that fire two lessons our Founding Fathers intended-power does not belong exclusively in the hands of the state, and self defense is the primary civil right.