I read something Obnoxio wrote, in which he espoused the virtues of gun ownership and a free society. This came shortly after I responded to Mano Singham’s (Theoretical physicist, author, and Director of UCITE) blog about crime and guns. Here are both part’s of Dr. Singham’s articles about crime and guns: Part 1 – Part 2. Dr. Singham takes a different tact from Obnoxio (although still refreshingly not anti-gun). Both Obnoxio and Dr. Singham refer to guns and crime. Neither conclude that they increase crime, however, Dr. Singham asks more questions than he answers while Obnoxio comes to a clear conclusion.
The merits of gun ownership go far beyond the issue of crime. Dr. Singham briefly alludes to this when he says: “I can see where having an armed public can be beneficial in some situations and can also be a deterrence against a tyrannical government.” Adolf Hitler reportedly said; “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjected people to carry arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjected peoples to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.”. The “Regulations Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons” banned Jews from owning guns and ammunition, in Nazi Germany. If one wishes to deprive people of their rights, you disarm them.
Switzerland is an example of gun ownership as a deterrent to foreign invaders. Switzerland was able to remain neutral in both World Wars, and it is not coincidental that Switzerland is exceptionally well armed (both in quality in quantity of weapons). Switzerland is a perfect example of guns allowing a society to live peacefully.
The most oft cited excuse for gun ownership seems to be self-defense. I do not feel this is the primary reason for arming ourselves, however it is quite important. I posted a reply to Dr. Singham’s article in which I related my feelings and personal experience with this particular aspect:
I once had a crazed neighbor follow up a choking his wife routine by trying to attack me with a tire iron. I got my rifle and while he was still acting aggressive he didn’t try hurting anyone else that day. He wasn’t overly fond of me after that and he repeatedly menaced me with his chain saw (yelling threats as he paraded by the fence) and the like. However, he also loudly complained about my “machiiine gun” and never stepped foot on my property. I absolutely believe his knowledge that I had superior force kept him in check. Thankfully he’s in jail now, but I firmly believe that law abiding citizens need access to guns. This particular individual showed a general disregard for the law, he tried attacking someone else with a axe and attacked his own wife with a chainsaw (fortunately off at the time). I’m quite grateful the law allows for the legal ownership of guns.
A few few nights ago I went for a walk with my wife. I saw a couple shadows moving behind a row of trees and as I watched they silently streaked on a path adjacent to us. Then, a dog burst out in front of us and started advancing (growling and barking). “All” I had with me was pepper spray and I gave the dog advancing the fastest a quick spray in his direction. The stream fell just short, but he seemed to catch a whiff because he stopped. There were three large dogs and as I faced off with one of the three, another dog tried to flank me. I stood my ground, keeping myself between my wife and the dogs and kept the pepper spray ready. The dogs did not make another break at us and I cautiously backed away. I’m the first to criticize people for over-blowing a situation, but this is a unique occurrence for me. I’ve encountered many dogs, some aggressive, some not. I’ve never seen a pack behaving that menacingly. They fact that they didn’t make a sound until they cut us off, and one of them tried to flank me demonstrates their intent. No guns were involved, however it does speak to both the need to be armed and the randomness of threats. What if the dogs had been just a bit more aggressive or fearless? Or, perhaps just rabid? Might the pepper spray have proved far too ineffective against three large dogs? What if I had been completely unarmed?
Another justification for gun ownership is for hunting. RAH was fond of the hunter gatherer and the settler. There is a certain virtue to living off the land and carving your niche in said land. What of the hunter now? The hunter represents “green living“, gathering food not from a farm but from the wild itself. Animals aren’t limited to the wild though. As long as there are animals, there will be wild animals. As my encounter with a pack of dogs demonstrates, weapons helps us keep our place at the top of the food chain. Yesterday, I watched a program detailing coyotes which were used to humans, launching attacks on pets and children. I’d wager that if you saw a coyote attacking your pet or child you’d be happy to have a gun.
It is interesting to note that both Obnoxio and Singham’s posts had a reply quoting RAH; “armed society is a polite society“. There will always be bullies and there will always be weapons. A gun helps put a 80 year old woman on equal footing as a 18 year old thug. A armed society forces a certain order and level of responsibility. One might point to inner city gun crime as being counter to that, but I know from personal experience that inner city gun use is usually ripe with inexperience and foolishness. It is actually the lack of exposure to proper gun use and responsible gun use that fosters this type of behavior. Guns are only a effective tool of the lawless provided most of the citizens are not armed most of the time. We need to enforce polite behavior on the lawless through equal or superior shows of force.
In conclusion, a well armed society preserves the rights of the individual, protects from exterior threats, allows one to defend them-self, and offers a means to feed oneself. The anti-gun argument relies almost solely on a phobic reaction. A “guns are bad” and “guns kill people” argument. Yes, a gun is a weapon but so is a knife. The gun represents the individual not as a servant of society, but as a self-reliant free man.
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