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The point is clear: self-defense is your own responsibility. Therefore, guns. Independence (i.e. non-reliance) from communal protection could well be the defining philosophical difference in the “debate” over Second Amendment rights. Do you believe that citizens—as a group and individually—-have a right to deploy lethal force in their own defense? Or do you believe that the majority of people are incapable of wielding the power of life and death over each other in a responsible way? Or do you believe that the correct course if found somewhere in between: some can handle guns, some can’t. And if that’s the case, where do you draw the line? Who decides who can and who can’t have a gun or guns, and how? Questions that this site will be exploring into perpetuity—and beyond! Meanwhile, some observations on the image itself.

The model—for this is clearly no documentary photo—has a lazy eye. In fact, both eyes seem to have that “deer caught in the headlights” look to them. Her face is frozen and you can’t really say she has any particular expression. Defiance? Not so much. Her head’s turned slightly away.

I reckon she looks . . . scared. Perhaps even paralyzed with fear. Which would be OK—except for the fact that she’s looking at you. And that makes YOU the aggressor.

Her posture suggests nothing of the sort. She’s standing at what I’d call relaxed attention: leaning back slightly with her left leg forward of the right and her hips tilted ever-so-slightly backwards. Her trigger finger is, thankfully, off the go button. But it’s hanging down a bit lazily. Again, suggesting that she’s been there a while.

Despite the text and the expressionless expression, we’re at condition white. Something a bit more . . . urgent could have added, uh, urgency to the image. A central focal point would also have done nicely. Without it the image has a restless quality—that’s not backed-up by the rest of message.

The camo pants don’t work for me. (In terms of the image, silly.) If the image was trying to make the point to “non-believers,” it should have avoided any hint of militarism or militia-ism. The woman should have dressed in something more casual.

I like the pistol on the right hip. This mother’s REALLY ready for the shit to hit the fan.

But IS she a mother? The text (“my family”) implies the archetypal self-defender has children. But she lacks any overt or covert indication that she has loved ones to protect. A glaring omission: there’s no wedding ring. Think how much more powerful this image would have been with a child—HER child—by her side.

As it stands,the photo’s all too close to a Lara Croft-like pronouncement of twenty-something female empowerment. Bigger breasts and we’d be there (not me, you). That would be nice, but it’s slightly besides the point. Guys. Hello?

One last thing: “They have armor and automatic weapons.” Armor? I’m not sure that’s germane (either Greer or relevant). Less is more. I would have gone with “They have guns.” Both to maximize the impact and avoid any implication that civilians need fully automatic weapons. Why open that can of worms?

Come to think of it (stand back), what is the point of this poster? What should the observer actually do? You could say the message here is “Where are MY damn soldiers and police officers?” To which opponents would reply: you have all the police officers you need, really.

To avoid that implication, there needs to be a call to action here, even if it’s a teeny tiny tagline somewhere. Defend your rights. Done.

[thanks to William C. Montgomery for the image]

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  1. This is an entirely cliche piece of progaganda, devoid of reason or carefully constructed argument.

    The image, lazily modeled and poorly concepted.

    The copy, worse.

    If we are to take the thesis (and I use that term loosely): “Nobody is assigned to protect my family,” and it’s implied response (arming yourself), perhaps we should support that thesis rather than inflame passions regarding the president’s protection as a comparison/contrast (seeing as a head of state’s security needs and a common citizen’s needs are wholly unrelated issues).

    For that, we must ask ourselves: Do the police have an obligation to protect me from harm caused by third parties? At what point does the government have a constitutional obligation to protect citizens from violence at the hands of private actors?

    And the answer: There is no obligation to protect FREE citizens.

    DeShaney v Winnebago County. The Supreme Court held that “nothing in the language of the Due Process Clause itself requires the State to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens against invasion by private actors.”

    The Court believed that the constitution is not a source of any affirmative obligation on the state or its subdivisions to protect its citizens. Since “the Due Process Clause does not require the State to provide its citizens with particular protective services, it follows that the State cannot be held liable under the Clause for injuries that could have been averted had it chosen to provide them.”

    So there you have it.

    No one is assigned to protect my family.

    In fact, no one is constitutionally obligated to protect it at all. And can’t be faulted when they fail to do so.

    The Supreme Court even ruled as much.

    Is my support of the thesis catchy? No.

    Would it fit on a T-shirt? No.

    However, it is true, it is law, it is verifiable and it has serious implications on the decisions you should be making about your right, as a free citizen, to defend yourself.

  2. The issue in DeShaney versus Winnabago County was whether a Department of Social Services could be held accountable for failing to protect a child against his abusive father. I believe the upshot of the ruling was that you cannot hold the government accountable for failing to prevent citizens from harming each other. That doesn’t mean that the government does not have the obligation to provide public safety and security for its citizens.

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