I recently watched on HBO the "Terror at the Mall" a documentary, which was able to tell the story of four terrorists from Somalia, aligned with Al-Qaeda, that strolled into a hi-end shopping mall, known to be popular with foreign residents, and assaulted its' customers and workers with grenades and assault rifles in Nairobi, Kenya. The documentary was able to tell the story through the use of video footage from security cameras that were utilized in strategic spots throughout the mall. In this terrorist attack, some 67 civilians were killed, and 175 more were wounded, to which neither courageous off-duty police nor Kenyan military forces were able to successfully engage the four terrorists, before finally some forty-nine hours later, a highly explosive shell was launched into the last known location of the terrorists, essentially incinerating them. It is important to recognize that within a mall that contained in the neighborhood of 2000 civilians, four terrorists were able to effectively control it all without any of them being stopped by anyone which is effectively the power of the gun.
When Europeans first set foot on America, they were vastly outnumbered by the Native Americans (Indians) that already resided here, just as the Spanish were far outnumbered by the Incas in South America, yet in both cases, the native populations, despite their numerical superiority, their knowledge of their own homeland, were over a period of time either annihilated, decimated, or vanquished by these invaders. While there are a multitude of reasons why this became so, none are superior to the advantage and the killing power of armaments that the Europeans brought to these shores. The power of the gun is the power to change history, and while might does not make right, might is often the force that conquers those that do not have it or fail to comprehend it.
We live in a world to which the smuggling of armaments, and the availability of armaments, is a certainty for groups of people that do not have our best interests in mind, but instead wish to assert their own power, or to disrupt ours. There is little that can be done to interdict these weapons from reaching the hands of our enemies, and while I do not recommend the resignation to this fate, the reality of the situation is that our enemies are armed and ready for action. Fortunately, in virtually every case, we have superior weapons, superior training, superior intelligence, superior experience, and superior technology, to respond in a manner that will maximize our safety while also allowing us to exploit their weakness and to conquer them.
There are a lot of legitimate ways to deal with terrorists, by which not all of them involve violence; therefore we have a moral obligation to seek all reasonable ways to rectify or to negotiate our differences that will not involve the sacrifice of human life. However, when terrorists or any group of individuals crosses the line and puts innocent civilians, women and children to the sword, the response from any nation with any sort of self-respect must be swift, it must be sure, and it must be true, or else you have negated the power of the gun.