A gun in the hand patch (courtesyu= the cheapplace.com)

When my alarm went off at 2:30am a single deputy arrived in about 20 minutes. During a similar episode in Providence, Rhode Island, a brace of cops arrived inside of five minutes. And? I’d rather live in a low-tax, high-freedom state with a long police response time than in a high-tax, low-freedom state and depend on a rapid police presence to protect my family. OK, that’s not exactly the choice. You can buy and wield a home defense gun in the Ocean State. After you pass a written test, pay a fee, receive a “blue card” and wait seven days. And risk prosecutorial persecution should you use the gun for self-defense. Even so, the key variable here isn’t government regulation or police response. It’s me . . .

I am ready, willing and able to protect myself and mine through force of arms. I’d prefer not to. Not to have to face evil. Not to have to face evil alone. But I didn’t make mankind. I am not responsible for the fact that there are bad people who would abuse or end my life, the lives of my loved ones and/or other innocent life. I am responsible for defending myself and mine against them. Not necessarily with a gun and hopefully not on my own. But possibly and primarily.

Which is exactly how it should be – unless you’re an anti-gunner. They believe that it takes a village [cop] to protect individuals from criminals and crazies. And only a village. Gun control advocates can’t concede even the possibility that a citizen can defend him- or herself with a gun against a bad guy or guys. Admit that and it’s a short step to realizing that disarming law-abiding Americans is wrong. The concept of individual responsibility undermines their entire agenda.

Which is why Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America jefe Shannon Watts stared directly into the camera and told the TV audience that a good guy with a gun has never stopped a bad guy with a gun. “The data doesn’t support it,” she pronounced to an entirely credulous CNN, despite the fact that the data supports both the efficacy and frequency of armed self-defense against criminals and spree killers. Playing the “your gun will kill you” card without once wondering if her words will prevent someone from saving their own life.

Yes, there is that. The road to hell really is paved with good intentions. That’s assuming Watts and her ilk aren’t knowingly pursuing the path to pantophobic powerlessness. I’m not sure we can make that assumption. How can you get around the simple equation that gun control => dependency on the state => statism/fascism/tyranny? By rejecting personal responsibility for self-defense anti-gunners reject personal liberty. It really is as straightforward and blatant as that. Though they’ll never, ever admit it. Obfuscation is the name of the game.

Hokanson’s bipolar disorder appeared when he was in his late teens and early twenties. In California, he was taken in on a “5150,” the code for involuntary commitment when someone is deemed a threat to themselves or others. He remembers being handed a sheet of paper that said he was prohibited from owning a firearm under state and federal law. At the Big 5 Sporting Goods store in Phoenix, he filled out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’s Form 4473, checking “no” on question “11f,” which asked whether he had ever been “adjudicated mentally defective” or committed to a mental institution.

“I make no excuses for it,” he says. “I checked the box that said no and that was a lie.” That one question should have disqualified him, but he signed the form, handed it to the clerk at the sporting-goods store, “and he called up wherever he called up, and it came back ‘proceed with sale.’ I walked out with the rifle in tow after about 20 minutes. Plus a box of ammunition.”

The above excerpt’s from Stop Me Before I Buy a Gun Again, Begs Bipolar Man at dailybeast.com. Writer Eleanor Clift spins John Hokanson Jr.’s ability to commit criminal acts as proof that society need more efficient enforcement of existing gun laws and new gun control laws (e.g., background checks for private sales at gun shows). Only one thing: the bi-polar Mr. Hokanson isn’t “begging” for greater enforcement of existing laws or new gun laws. And for good reason . . .

“I’m not going to take a position on gun control but people who are mentally ill… and they’re out in society, doing treatment as an outpatient, and it’s been determined that I’m a danger to myself or others, it’s still easy to get a gun,” says Hokanson.

Clift doesn’t get it even as she gives it. She fails to see that anything that prevents responsible citizens from taking responsibility for their own armed self defense puts society on a hiding to nowhere — or worse. More than that, Clift and her kind fail to recognize that our liberty depends on the government assuming that we are all responsible citizens unless and until proven otherwise.

That’s not how it works in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii and all the other states where firearms freedom has been severely curtailed and/or eliminated. Which is why I’m here, in Texas, amongst like-minded Americans. Armed. Vigilant. Vigilant against those who would remove the gun rights of others to increase their safety. Which would do no such thing.

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24 Responses to Random Thoughts About Personal Responsibility and Guns

  1. and assholes like this are keeping people who want treatment from actually getting it, because shit why would you ever want that sort of stigma attached to you? Almost better to just work through it yourself than ever see a “professional” knowing that you might say something they deem (subjectively most of the time I imagine, except in cases like douchebag rodgers in CA.) “dangerous” and forever be treated like a child molester.

    Im waiting to see the Department of Pre-Crime pop up soon enough…

  2. So… He admits he broke the law… When is he going to get prosecuted? Oh… Wait… We need more laws…

  3. I’d be fine if the call really was “Stop Me Before I Buy a Gun Again” for that individual. The problem with antis is that they translate that as “Stop Everyone From Buying Guns Again.”

    Good article.

  4. New Psych disorder: gun nut, person who likes firearms, once its accepted by the profession and published in the Diagnostic Manual, we can all be prohibited and institutionalized!

    antis win, we loose game over!

  5. Excellent. Given the liberty you will be take responsibility for your own safety! Nia Sanchez agrees but strangely so many do not.

  6. As far as the law is concerned, I’m responsible for all my actions, so I take responsibility for all my actions, INCLUDING my personal safety…

  7. Robert, having a gun is no guarantee of safety from a crazy with a gun. Or even stopping that crazy, let alone of having a fighting chance against an opponent you don’t suspect. Chris Kyle was naturally gifted, well trained, and with almost unparalleled wartime experience — and he died with a rifle in hands, shot in the back by an insane marine on a shooting range. The 2 LEOs in LV were armed and never saw it coming. A society that allows the insane to carry firearms is one of hyper-vigilance and paranoia beyond that of trained LEOs and even one of the best American snipers of the past decade. That’s a society that cannot function. It’s time to face facts about mental illness and guns.

    • There are no “guarantees” in life. Even those in the business sense are just a commitment to compensation if another commitment isn’t kept. A “guarantee”, in the sense of a 100% assurance that something will or will not happen simply does not exist.

      So the otherwise prepared can be caught out, surprise can negate skill and other advantages. But let’s say you’re not so unlucky and you see the trouble coming with enough time to respond. Would you prefer to be armed or unarmed?

      Also, let’s not forget that measures to keep guns away from the “wrong hands” are hardly immune from the no guarantees proviso. So what then? In a world without guarantees, I prefer to at least give myself options.

      • >>In a world without guarantees, I prefer to at least give myself options.<<

        Carlos T, it depends on what your options truly are, doesn't it? As well as our cultural limits in seeing them. Would you rather live in A) a place renowned for its gun-related homicides, or B) a place where gun-related homicides are 10X lower? What's your real option.

        Obviously, people, including you and me, don't think like that, otherwise we'd move from "the States" (A) to Ireland (B). Yes, there are no guarantees, but fundamental to all social contract theory, from Hobbes to Locke, is the reliance on the sovereign state for safety and protection. If left to individuals you've an arms race, from my Ruger LCP to the compact M&P9 to an open carry PWS M112. A fully armed open carry zone makes its inhabitants hyper-vigilant and paranoid. Civil society can no longer exist, because there is no longer a monopoly of violence in which the majority invests its trust.

        Think of what would no longer be possible in a fully armed zone: relaxing in a large concert, going to an amusement park, or relaxing while eating in a decent sized restaurant. It wouldn't be a society as we've come to understand it ever since Hobbes and Locke. It would be anarchy. . . or tyranny. As a soldier who served in Iraq once wrote in TTAG, Saddam Hussein's Iraq was very well-armed. The dictator, like Qaddafi, passed out loads of AKs to loyal tribesman. War zones are not civil society, and they've far fewer guarantees.

        • Uhmm… You’d be wrong there. There is at least one state, (and probably TWO), where open-carry, concealed carry, and weapon ownership is entirely legal, and the only ‘check’ if you can call it that on people’s rights to own arms is the NICS check. Vermont does not, nor has ever had, any real restrictions on these rights. Civil society continues to exist there, and, judging by the perennial re-election of Bernie Sanders, liberals seem to do just fine. What you’ve just described is just another statist ‘fantasy’ where the mere presence of weapons in society in a high-enough proportion destroys civil life. The reality is that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq wasn’t rendered unsafe and uncivil by weapons. It was the corrupt politics and backwards medieval culture that made Iraq what it was. There are plenty of examples around the world of ultra-violent countries where armament is forbidden. China leaps to mind. The only difference is that the “social contract” has pretty much made the citizenry victims of an uber-violent state. China is, quite frankly, a state with only the thinnest veneer of civilization. I would much prefer to be in Vermont, where anybody you meet could have a gun in their pocket than I would to be in China, where the guy in the uniform can snatch you up without a quibble, jail you, and take his sweet time deciding whether or not to even press charges.

          The truth is that, as has been said on this site numerous times, violence of any flavor is just a symptom of a larger problem. It doesn’t matter if it’s committed with knives and clubs (the British Isles) or America (guns, knives, fists, clubs, etc.). And the type and/or presence of weapons make a society no more civil or uncivil. It’s a question of how people maintain their moral code. If you open the door to situational morality, and let society drift into ‘grey’ morals, you’re going to see violence. When you have young, disaffected men in your society, and nothing is done to “include” them, then you get violence. And that violence will be at the same level regardless of what the weapon is.

        • Ireland has a homicide rate of 1.2 per 100,000. Vermont has a rate of 1.3. It may be true that very few of those homicides in Ireland are “gun homicides”, but frankly, dead is dead whether a gun is involved or not. So if I were to move on the basis of safety, I’d choose Vermont, where I not only get almost as peaceful a place as Ireland, but Constitutional Carry as well.

          As mentioned, Iraq was not a situation where “everyone had guns”. You yourself said Saddam selected those he armed. That’s state control of guns, the opposite of a society where citizens arm themselves for self-defense and self determination.

  8. “The road to hell really is paved with good intentions. That’s assuming Watts and her ilk aren’t knowingly pursuing the path to pantophobic powerlessness. I’m not sure we can make that assumption. How can you get around the simple equation that gun control => dependency on the state => statism/fascism/tyranny? By rejecting personal responsibility for self-defense anti-gunners reject personal liberty. It really is as straightforward and blatant as that. Though they’ll never, ever admit it. Obfuscation is the name of the game.”

    There is more than one kind of anti-gun person. But Antimoms (i.e. the followers of Shannon Watts and Watts herself, if taken at her word) aren’t trying to get normal citizens hurt or killed. They just don’t give a f*ck that we will.

    More specifically:
    The Antimoms, much like preoperational children, are only able to see or care about their own narrow world.
    They typically live in low-crime areas with fast police response times (and rarely consider such things, anyway).
    They’re biggest, all-encompassing, paralyzing fear is that they’ll be in their nicely appointed suburban mall, movie theater or school and a “gun nut” with a gun will busrt in, spraying hundreds of bullets from his military grade assault weapon.

    Does it matter that these events are statistically minute? Nope.
    Does it matter that rifles are the firearms least likely to be used in crimes? Nope.
    Does it matter that millions of people use a gun every year to protect themselves? Nope
    Does it matter that the majority of “children” (however they chose to define that) who are killed by guns are black and hispanic males and are killed with handguns? Definitely not.

    No statistic you quote matters. Not one. The only thing they see that there is a 0.00001% chance that their sweet, innocent, angelic little Emma might be hurt. So f*ck the 1.5 million Americans who protected themselves and/or their own equally worthy children with a gun.
    F*ck the young woman in Colorado who was raped and knew she could have prevented it had she been armed, as well as all other women like her.
    F*ck people in bad neighborhoods with long police response times.
    F*ck people in rural areas with NO police protection.
    F*ck you, me and everyone one of us “gun nuts”.
    Because facts, actually data points, reality, black kids, poor people, freedom, justice, equality, basic human rights… All of that pales in comparison to the statistically impossible chance of their uniquely perfect angel being harmed.

    So yeah, their motivation is somewhat honorable. But also really, really horrible.

  9. Your writing reminded me of Ben Franklin…

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

    In RI, you were giving up liberty for a modicum of safety.
    Now you are freer.

  10. Shannon’s argument is that none of the successful big spree killers (who have mostly targeted gun-free zones, whether intentionally or not) have been stopped by an armed private citizen.
    When a private citizen pulls a gun and shoots an attacker, the attack stops, preventing it from becoming a mass shooting.

    Just like statists can’t understand the concept of opportunity cost (the economic equivalent of “what if…”), they don’t understand that DGUs (and even the fear of a DGU in the mind of a potential criminal) prevent crime.

  11. “Yes, there is that. The road to hell really is paved with good intentions. That’s assuming Watts and her ilk…”

    *Please* — let us stop EVER saying that draconian laws and constitutional assaults have “good intentions” simply because a supporter claimed a life could be saved. And any “anti-gun” argument that boils down to: “The End Justifies The Means” needs to be called an assault on all ethical thinking.

  12. And it’s exactly this kind of stigma that we need to be fighting, not reinforcing.

    Good stuff here.

  13. uh, there is no fee for a blue card in RI…cost me only my time and effort to get one in RI…not that i plan to buy one anytime soon but just wanted to have it….so if you payed a fee RF, you got taken for your money….

  14. The issue regarding serious mental illness and gun control is a tough one. We don’t advocate for those that are involuntarily committed to have guns, but we think the advocacy that they don’t have guns misses the mark. We promote people being in supervised care until they are no longer a threat to themselves or society at large. I’ll also mention that this man’s experience is 9 years old. Since he has been under involuntary treatment in Arizona, he can rest assured that he’s in the NICS database. We wish him well, applaud him for speaking out on a subject that is important to him, but we also feel that he’d be better off taking care of his illness as he can hurt himself with numerous objects, not just guns. We discuss this issue and others on our blog. http://www.momiofaz.com/home.html

  15. I am the subject of the article in question. I did not write it, and can only take ownership of the portions where I am quoted. There are a few points where I think Cliff didn’t get my point across clearly.

    Robert is partially incorrect when he says I’m not calling for more efficient enforcement of preexisting laws. I am, insofar as I think the NICS database is crap and has holes you can drive a truck through. After the article was published, I was visited by several ATF agents who cautioned me that I should not attempt to purchase a gun again, but that they could not definitively say that the transaction would not be declined at the point of sale with an FFL dealer. They also stated that they have no way of knowing whether I have been officially entered into the federal database as a prohibited possessor. I am reminded of the fact that the Virginia Tech shooter managed to purchase a firearm AFTER he was adjudicated mentally ill and court-ordered into treatment. He also shot himself after his rampage, which renders enforcement after-the-fact rather ridiculous. You can not indict a corpse for violation of the FFA (or anything, for that matter). Where I ever again in the throes of psychosis and feeling homicidal, I can assure you all that I would not give a rat’s ass what the FFA says. I’d just start shooting.

    I do not support any additional firearm laws, however. Nor do I wish to infringe upon the rights of any gun owner who is not mentally ill, or a convicted felon.

    It is my understanding that this position meshes with the that of the NRA and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (principle author of Heller).

    I’ll thank Robert for not telling me to kill myself. That’s basically all I’ve been hearing for the libertarian crowd and it doesn’t exactly help one want to get better.

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