Updated: Jun 23
By Michael "Big Black" Cane
If you haven’t watched the movie ‘The Last Samurai’, then I suggest picking it up. It’s a good flick about a civil war veteran, haunted by his time during battle. He is approached with a contract to go to Japan and assist in the training of the Japanese army of an empire. Japan is attempting to become more modern like was America at the time. While trying to become westernized, an objection was had by the once-beloved, well respected, and prestigious Samurai. The young emperor who is being advised by a pretty shiesty adviser is torn between tradition and this new way of society and life.
**Spoiler Alert coming**
The veteran, as a result of the first failed battle against the Samurai, is taken prisoner and brought to the Samurai village. Throughout the course of the film, this veteran finds out what the Samurai is all about and comes to respect them and sympathize with their cause and leader. He found that the Samurai code and honor are rivaled by none. The end of the movie demonstrates the values, courage, and honor, of the Samurai. This is where they proved their devotion to their country, the emperor and their beliefs.
In America, much like in Japan, Guns were a defensive tool just as the Samurai’s sword was/is in those days. The right to keep and bear arms was ordained in law by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. It served as a calling to the citizen-soldier to take up arms and defend this nation in a time when tyranny threatened to be the demise of a free nation. The Framers drafted the Second Amendment as a security measure against corruption and tyranny from threats both foreign and domestic. It is what gives the people the power and acts as checks and balances for potential corruption. Many people believe and rely on the government for the protection of the country, community or land. It should be noted that the Framers or at least a good portion of them were opposed to having a standing army. They were keenly aware of the probable danger of tyranny on the backs of a standing army.
"In times of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive, will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans, it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people." ~ James Madison, Speech before Constitutional Convention (6/29/1787).
The biggest reason why the second amendment was drafted was to prepare every able-bodied person (males back in that era) to be able to defend this nation if called upon. The second amendment established that every citizen is a de facto reserve force when needed. However, we as a society have become dependent on others for protection and have relied on the government for the sole protection of this nation. What happens, when S.H.F.T. and the government either do not have the resources for homeland defense or it becomes a tyrannical entity? What happens when the "Standing Army" becomes an instrument of that tyranny? The solution to this very plausible event was the Second Amendment.
The Samurai can be likened to that of American Patriot that believe in and promotes the Second Amendment. They are known as the 2nd Amendment advocates, pro-gun enthusiasts, Patriots or whatever colloquial terms are out there now. I compare the aforementioned demographics are our modern-day Samurai. The pro-gun community is vast and a majority of us are responsible gun owners. A good population of us train and prepare for an unfortunate, life and death situations. We abide by a code, ethics, and standards much like the Samurai Bushido. A vast majority of gun owners train much like any other Martial arts and adhere to strict safety procedures. We do not take the right of gun ownership light. But with the utmost sense of sacred responsibility. Unfortunately the Patriot of today are vilified by the ignorant or those who want to vilify the Liberty movement and those who wish assist in protecting their community and country. They have called us "The faces of hate and extremism" or terrorists.
The Samurai has a lot of mysticism that surrounds them. One that boasts feats of masterful swordsmanship, versatile use of a myriad of weapons, and formidable hand to hand combat skills. Movies are dedicated to showcasing the myth of the samurai mystique. Behind the fantasy is the reality of a warrior ethos. Weaponscraft was studied just as any religion is throughout the world. The Samurai’s trade like a skilled guild devoted a large part of their life to the study of warfare, tactics, the fitness of the body and mind, weapons mastery and hand to hand combat.
Backing this ethos is a code of conduct and life philosophy taught in the Bushido and the Hagakure. What it essentially breaks down to, is the samurai had/has one main job. That job was to protect and defend the symbol and people of the empire. It was to serve at the will of their master and to uphold the honor as well as the tradition of the Samurai. The Samurai believed in this ethos so much that failure brought a shame so bad, they would take their own life. They believed this act would balance out the failure, thus restoring honor to their name. Their myth and mystique are nothing more than a mastery of the basics. Through consistent training, this mastery is what makes the Samurai a formidable adversary.
This post is just a brief “Cliff's Notes” version of the film and history of the Samurai. Bear with me and you will see where I am going with this if you haven’t already figured it out. Gun owners, enthusiasts, Patriots etc. are to America/the Constitution/the community/his or her family: as the samurai was to their master. The firearm has replaced the sword as a primary weapon. It is with dedication, education, continual training as well as a gradual mastery of the basics, we become tools for the protection of our “master”. It is by our “master” or better yet the founding documents of this country, that we have attained this right. It has been forged by the honor beset by those who spilled blood in the name of this country, those who have paved the way and set the traditions of courage and honor generation after generation.
As time passes, society becomes more modern and complacent with a false sense of security. In the movie, we watch the traditional Samurai fading to that of just a legend. The Samurai is ostracized and ridiculed through propaganda from the empire. Their tools, trade, ethos, way of life and skill set are seen as outdated or obsolete. As we have seen in the recent real-life happenings nothing could be closer to the truth. Ours has become a society of reactivity with very little proactive or preventative action. Many rely on reactionary forces for defense, protection/security i.e. Police, sheriff, constabulary. They do so without taking into account how far behind the ball these responders are getting to an incident. That’s not to say that first responders are doing a bad job. On the contrary, with the 911 system overtaxed daily, response times and resources to handle these calls are diminished. This leaves John Q Public to fend for themselves. Situations like the terrorist acts, rioting, looting, plague, tyrannical government overreach, and the potential for societal collapse is a wake-up call. It is one of many reasons why the 2nd Amendment is and should be embraced more in our American society. We the people should be educated about guns, gun safety, and in cases where applicable usage and maintenance.
It comes down to protecting your “Master” with your life, whatever your “Master” maybe. Your country, beliefs, family, etc. as long as there is a threat to your “Master” there will always be the need for the “Samurai”, get it? With current society alienating those who seek to protect what they love, we the Patriots, the American Patriots have become just like the Samurai.
The Second Amendment, the ideals, those who support it, like the Samurai, are seen as obsolete, hate mongers, racist, and even extremists or terrorists. There will be a day when its importance will be clear. We should be like the Samurai continuously honing this craft. When called upon by the “Master” to protect and defend, we will be masters of said craft ensuring the safety and security of what we hold dear. This obsolete idea should become contemporary once again.
Like the movie, there is a lot of misinformation that keeps us alienated. It will gradually fade us away until all we are is a legend or a myth. If we allow this to happen, then we will become like the samurai in the film, historical folklore or legend. We will essentially be the American version of The Last Samurai.