mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Guns Better Investment Than Gold?

At least someone is making money in these difficult times.  Arms dealers in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley are making out like, well, bandits as unrest in Syria sends black market gun prices through the roof says this story in Lebanon’s Daily Star.  Rocket grenade launchers appear to be the hottest investment grade item, with prices more than sextupling from $400 to $2500 in recent months.  Kalashnikovs and M16s are also up sharply, with 75 percent appreciation on the Russian guns and 100 percent on the US model.

Perhaps more investments in Lebanese arms dealer funds could rescue US state and municipal pension funds; those are the kind of returns states like New York, Illinois, California and Rhode Island need to avoid massive service and benefit cuts in the years ahead.

But what this news really means, of course, is that more and more people in Syria and Lebanon are preparing for all out civil war.  Religious and ethnic divides half forgotten during the long decades when the dictatorship was secure are now beginning to revive as the Assad clan looks weak.

This is the pattern I saw at work in Yugoslavia and the Caucasus twenty years ago as ethnic groups geared up to butcher their neighbors and drive them from their homes; I will never forget the night a Georgian poet asked me how much guns cost on the Istanbul black market; he was arming himself against what he called the “Abkhazian menace.”

I made a note to myself at that time: when poets buy guns, tourist season is over.  They are buying them now in Damascus; something wicked this way comes.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    You can’t fight without weapons, even Spartacus knew that fact. It is said that over 3,000 people have died from Fast and Furious weapons in the drug war in Mexico. Would it have been as bloody as it has been if it wasn’t so well supplied with arms? Had the Iranian opposition been supplied with weapons, would Iran still be a problem?
    It looks to me like there is a supply problem for the Syrian Opposition; with prices skyrocketing they aren’t going to have enough weapons for a swift victory. Hopefully some Iraqi entrepreneur will recognize the money making opportunity, and we will see another Tyrant fall.

  • CIA Jon

    i might start investing in that

  • Milwaukee

    Gee, I write poetry. Badly, I’ll admit, but just the same it is recognizable as poetry.* And I bought a shotgun (12-gauge pump) this year. I haven’t shot it yet, but President 0bama did suggest we needed to cling to our Bibles and guns. I just bought three Bibles: large print, Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. Yeah. Remember it gets the darkest just before the lights go out altogether.

    * Hard, the fall from grace
    to rocks sharp below. Once loved
    but now much misprized.

  • Allan E.

    Obama’s thugs provide guns to the Mexican drug lords, but not to Syrian freedom fighters. Yep that’s our dumbo [president]. But hey, playing golf and pickup basketball are much more important than worrying about whats happening in the middle east or south of the border.

  • Lawrence Person

    Given the Hezbollah is the most heavily armed militia in Lebanon, I would say that everyone else (i.e., non-Shias) buying arms in Lebanon (along with the impending collapse of the Assad regime in Syria) is actually a good sign. The collapse of Assad will at least make it more difficult for Iran to arm Hezbollah, and having the other ethnic/confessional groups in Lebanon armed might make Hassan Nasrallah think twice before deciding to start another war.

  • TmjUtah

    Earlier this year I mentioned to my wife, “You know, I think I have enough ammunition”.

    I wish I’d had a camera but I’ll not soon forget the look on her face.

  • Peter

    Funny, I’ve been shooting my whole life. The bottleneck is not guns but skill. Too many people buy guns and do not shoot them.And shooting is not something one can pick up from watching a John Wayne movie.

    Also, too many folks do not really understand what happens in a gunfight. No one gets blown five feet from being shot. And the vast majority of rounds fired miss. Along with the fifty percent or so of people who cannot even pull the trigger when there is a person on the other end.

  • Greg Q

    “something wicked this way comes”?

    Something hideously wicked is already there: the Assad dictatorship. The destruction of that dictatorship would be an unalloyed good, no matter what comes after it.

    The damage to Iran and Hezbollah would make it worth the change, all by itself.

  • teapartydoc

    This reminds me of the aftermath of the Iraq war. After Baghdad had been taken, one of my employees asked if the bloodshed was over. I told her it was probably just getting started, as many people would now feel free to settle scores that were perhaps decades old. She asked how many would die. I estimated 300,000. I think I came pretty close.

  • Tblakely

    Are there any reliable estimates on how many Iraqis died after Saddam was overthrown? It seems all the estimates I’ve seen are wild […] guesses colored by estimater’s political persuasion.

  • Peter

    A reminder to those who have or are considering a gun for self defense. A firearm is not a magic talisman, for it to protect you and yours you must be reasonably proficient in it’s use.
    Dian Fossey knew she was in mortal danger and bought a pistol for protection, sadly, she never practiced with it so after her murder it was found next to her body, unloaded and unfired.
    I have always believed that a citizens duties should include voting, jury duty, paying taxes, giving blood and owning at least one firearm.

  • Andrew

    >> Jacksonian Libertarian says: “… over 3,000 people have died from Fast and Furious weapons in the drug war in Mexico. Would it have been as bloody as it has been if it wasn’t so well supplied with arms?”

    Who has the guns? If the Mexican public was as well armed as the cartels, the outcome might have been somewhat less bloody for the public.

    I find it a bitter pill that UN treaties and policies allow the unlimited flow of arms to anyone who calls themselves a government or rebel movement — you know, the ones who murder civilians and create refugees — but is utterly implacable about the “need” to immediately disarm ordinary people and refugees. Guns in the hands of ordinary people are one of the few ways we know to prevent genocide, from whatever quarter.

  • JoeFromSidney

    Firearms training ought to be part of every high school curriculum. Both gun safety and marksmanship. No reason it couldn’t be an intermural sport, too

  • Stanislav Smerd

    To lend your experience some historical context, the most famous poet ever to come out of Georgia was Joseph Stalin.

  • John the River

    Guns are always a better investment than gold, because if you have the gun you can keep your guns, your gold and your life.
    …And maybe someone will give you a little bit of their gold, Heh, Heh.

  • Bubba

    In the near future today will be remembered as the good ol’ days. Purchase what you need today, tomorrow it will not be available at almost any price.

    There is quite a bit of evil that is being perpetrated by the current regime – they arm narco-terrorists south of the border, they instigate PATCON and VAAPCON operations run by the FBI and ATF under the watchful eye of our Glorious Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. The Fed is inflating the currency and thereby stealing the wealth of the peasants at the rate of 10% per year. We are living in a society which more and more resembles East Germany during the cold war.

    The longer all this continues the fewer choices we will find available to us to correct the situation. In the end it probably will come down to the one choice that the Tyranists do not want us to make.

  • SC Mike

    The point here is that gold is used to trade and barter, guns are used to take and defend from those who want to steal, a step downwards in the old civility game.

    Folks are openly preparing for the very worst, and that’s never a good thing.

    To those who have firearms that they’ve never fired, please do get instruction, either professionally or from one who’s well-experienced. Then practice intensely for a bit to get over the tendency to jerk the trigger, for you will jerk the whole gun. Always remember that perfect gun control is hitting what you are aiming at.

    Even those who have many firearms practice often with at most two handguns and two longguns to master their operation so that if they have to defend what’s worth defending, they can.

  • Dedicated_Dad

    blued-steel is out-performing gold AND silver in my investment portfolio!

    For that matter, so are the REAL “precious-metals” (Brass, copper and lead)…

    There’s MUCH good advice above regarding training and practice. A gun bought but never used will — if TSHTF — be worth more than a sharp stick, but not MUCH more if your opponent has trained and you haven’t.

    Get off the couch, and GET TO THE RANGE, but REMEMBER that REAL targets won’t stand still and you won’t be shooting off a bench in heated/cooled comfort…

  • harleycowboy

    He who has the gold makes the rules.
    He who has the guns has the gold.

  • Gerry N.

    @17: “Folks are openly preparing for the very worst, and that’s never a good thing.”

    It may not be seen as a good sign, but it’s always a good idea. Remember that those desirous of peace must always be prepared for war.

    Also it is a very good plan to have food, water and other vital supplies sufficient for six months to a year set aside.

    Ya just never know. I have relatives from Norway who thought nothing would ever go wrong in 1938. They live here now, are US citizens and have squirreled away supplies and arms enough to equip a regiment. They know, they’ve lived through it once. Sitting at their kitchen table listening to the stories and memories, they have convinced me that living through an occupation once is one too damned many times, and is worth dying to prevent.

    Gerry N.

  • Collin Allcars

    A match, a knife, a stone, a stick;
    A bat, a rope, a spike, a brick,
    With these, crimes happen every day;
    But only guns we take away.

    Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao;
    All confiscated guns somehow.
    Thus suppressed, their people fled
    Or joined 100 million dead.

  • James Hawkesly

    One must remember, not only in spite of but in defiant rejection of what is taught in America’s public schools today (I am a K-12 “hired gun,” aka substitute teacher, so I know), that the primary impetus of our Founding Fathers in inking the 2nd Amendment was not to preserve the ability of citizens to hunt or even to defend themselves against would-be assailants — it was to provide the populace with constitutionally guaranteed defensive force against what George Washington called “the tyranny of government.”

    The deterrent implicit in that guarantee was particularly exemplified in World War II when the Japanese decided against any attempt to invade the Continental U.S. because they feared, and rightly so, that Americans were armed and ready.

    However, had King B. Hussein been on the throne in 1942, the chances are that he would’ve taken steps to disarm the public in the interest of “national security” — uh, just as he has been doing since ascending to the monarchy — thereby opening the kimono to our enemies both foreign and, alas, domestic.

    Yes, firearms ownership carries with it a moral obligation to develop a reasonable proficiency with the weapon and a thorough understanding of gun handling and gun safety. However, in the spirit of George Washington et al, I would prefer numbers of gun owners over the number of trained gun owners. Let the AmeriKenyan and his minions ponder the predominance of citizens who are armed, even if not fully skilled, and ready to resist his tyranny.


  • RetiredPara

    With all due respect to Peter, who seems like a very good guy, paying taxes is not an American citizens duty. Our Founders did not believe in it, except to support the very limited functions of the federal government outlined in the Constitution. Today it is a “duty” we are compelled to comply with, at the threat of gunpoint, incarceration, and property seizure. Do we really have “taxation with representation”?, which the Founders did not have? I longer think so, as I have no say in what the California legislature does within their budgets, yet I am taxed to bail them out.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service