My September 9 article, “This Is Why I Carry A Handgun,” provoked substantial commentary, lively as always. Most interesting, perhaps were the comments of “1735099,” an Australian who often comments at my home blog, usually to inform me of my backward and uncivilized ways–and those of my country and countrymen–particularly where the Second Amendment is involved . . .
My Australian correspondent was kind enough to address my article essentially point for point, and in so doing, revealed the mindset of gun banners not only in Australia, but everywhere, for the impulse to control one’s fellow citizens for the good of the state is everywhere the same. All that differs is the degree of their fervor. Are they willing to work within the existing political framework, or are they more communistic, “socialists in a hurry,” as was a common cold war understanding. Are they willing, even eager, to imprison, torture, or kill those that oppose them? There is, of course, a great deal of distance between those poles, but the urgent moral necessity of depriving the law-abiding of the means to defend their very lives and their liberty is always the ultimate goal.
Let’s examine some representative samples. I’ll include my original points, the replies of 1735099, and my responses, indented thereafter.
* Evil exists and may confront anyone at any time and any place.
Yep – he usually has a tail and horns. But then, he’s a supernatural being and a gun would be useless.
For the statist the primary true evil is failure to obey the government with all one’s heart and soul. Anyone that would deny the existence of evil can count themselves fortunate indeed they’ve never experienced it. I have–many times. Were I unarmed and obviously unprepared, I would not have survived, as many have not. Whether one believes evil to be inspired by Satan or merely an unfortunate quirk of human nature makes little difference to its victims.
* Self-defense is a God-given, natural, unalienable right.
That’s funny – my God talks about “turning the other cheek”. Your God must be a different one.
No. He is the same God that makes clear in the scripture that there is a clear moral and legal difference between murder and justifiable killing. The same God that makes clear that self-defense is not only allowable, but in many circumstances, the only reasonable response to deadly violence.
* There is no gift so precious as God’s gift of life.
Absolutely. That’s why shooting someone to death is an affront to that gift.
Here’s a common statist contradiction: the denial of the natural right of self-defense. With such denial comes the inevitable consequence that one’s life is forfeit to anyone cruel and brutal enough to take it. Surely, some statists imagine themselves immune to criminal violence. the odds, generally speaking, are with them, but the odds are always against someone. Perhaps they think the police can protect them. They can’t, and have no responsibility to do so.
*My life is worth far more to me, those that love me, and to a just society than the lives of vicious brutes that would take it.
These same “vicious brutes” are also loved. Many of them would claim that you are “vicious”. What gives you the right to judge?
What gives me the right to judge? What right do I need to preserve my life from criminals intent on killing me? Ultimately, our right is enshrined in the law, based on millennia of human experience. We really want criminal predators to survive rather than their law-abiding victims?
* The lives of the innocent—friend or stranger—are worth far more to me and to a just society than the lives of vicious brutes that would take them.
Yes – I wonder how the families of the innocents killed by firearms (eg the children killed at Sandy Hook) feel about this.
I’m sure they feel no differently than the victims of any evil killer, whether their loved ones died by gunfire, being stabbed to death, being run over by a car, were bludgeoned or strangled. I’m equally sure at least some of them wished there had been armed teachers present that day, for they would have had every advantage and could have saved many lives, lives no police officer available that day could have saved.
* The Constitution is only paper, a statement of principles and intentions. When the will wavers and when some wish to change, ignore or destroy those principles and intentions for light and transient reasons, only the threat and force of arms will suffice to preserve liberty.
I think Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse Tung and Josef Stalin had much the same idea.
Another hallmark of the statist is the revision of history. All dictators, including Hitler, Mao and Stalin, subverted individual liberty and disarmed their populations, just as modern statists never cease trying to do.
*By carrying my handgun, I honor the foresight and wisdom of the Founders in writing the Second Amendment.
As far as I know, in 1791, effective rapid-fire handguns weren’t invented yet. The most advanced weapon at that time would probably have been either the Kentucky long rifle, capable of firing two or three .60 balls per minute out to an accurate range of 300 yards. The Founders had no idea about modern weaponry.
A common statist argument: if only the founders had known about modern pornography, they wouldn’t have written the First Amendment. If only they had known about AR-15s, they wouldn’t have written the Second Amendment, etc. They were among the most brilliant and far-sighted men of any age. They wrote the Constitution based on fundamental principles of liberty, not on available, or even imaginable, technology. They were content Americans have the most powerful military weapons of their day. We do not enjoy such freedom. In fact, a number of the founders were accomplished inventors. They foresaw more advanced firearms technology, but they lacked the manufacturing capacity to make it.
* “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” [Thomas Jefferson]
That may have been acceptable in his time. We have progressed since then. I doubt that anyone wants to go back to the savagery that existed then – except perhaps ISIL – that’s how they operate.
We have progressed since then? ISIL is the only threat to humanity? I was under the impression that Australia had television and telephones. Apparently not.
“It sorely vexes those who would enslave me—all of us—through tyranny, soft or hard.
Not really. I couldn’t give a colonial. The only thing that vexes me is Americans telling me what to believe in my own country.
I don’t recall any American demanding that any other nation adopt a Second Amendment. I do recall many nations, including the United Nations, trying to require America to abandon it. Statism transcends national boundaries.
* Most politicians care about the welfare and continuing existence of individual citizens only in the abstract. Even honorable politicians can do little more than those who only pretend to care.
You must have crap politicians in your country.
On that we may agree.
* Even in our democracy, tyrants are always present and always waiting their chance. With this in mind, Hubert Humphrey, one of the most famous and orthodox Democrats of the last century was right–and refreshingly honest and non-partisan–when he said: “Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be carefully used and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of the citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.”
The NRA got to him.
Ah yes, the NRA: to the statist mind, the other source of evil. The NRA’s political power comes from its more than five million members, and its dogged defense of an unalienable, natural right. But to statists, no rational being could possibly oppose their desires, so those that do are either fools, evil, or corrupted, bitter God and gun clingers all.
* I am old-fashioned enough to think it my duty to protect those who have less ability than mine to protect themselves.
Me too – but I’ve never needed a gun to do that.
For mere mortals, life is a bit different. I’m no longer 25, extraordinarily fit and strong and practiced in the martial arts. Even then, I understood that movie fighting is choreography, not actual fighting. In the real world, people die from single blows. Everyone fighting with edged weapons gets cut, and badly. In the real world, predators attack in packs. In the real world, predators carry weapons. In the real world, we get older every day, but most predators are always 18-25.
* I could not live with myself for failing to protect a woman in danger. Call it sexist if you must, but if you’re unarmed and under attack, would you really want to call an unarmed, untrained statist? Would Pajama Boy save you?
Carrying a gun doesn’t make you a man – it actually brands you as a coward.
Perhaps that worked for Andy Griffith, but that too was television. Cowardice and responsible preparation for the real world aren’t related. Cowards hide from responsibility. Real men recognize and accept reality and prepare accordingly.
* I know that some people really like hurting others. Rarely does one need to engage in psychological navel gazing to understand the actions of predators. They do it because they want to do it, because they like to do it, and some, because it is an intense sexual thrill.
I wonder what this has to do with concealed carry?
You’re kidding, right?
* I know that such people are everywhere, and are for most, impossible to pick out from the mass of humankind.
And you want them to be able to carry concealed firearms?
No. I want law-abiding people to carry concealed firearms if they choose. Criminals, particularly sociopaths, will do what they please regardless of the law. That’s why they’re called “criminals.”
* I know that such people can be stopped only by the presence of overwhelming and imminent force: the gun.
Not necessarily. If they’re carrying all bets are off.
If they’re carrying, all bets are off unless their victims are also carrying. See “criminals” above.
* I know that only bullets will stop some predators. Using reason or empathy on such “people” is like the cries of a wounded bird to a carnivore.
You’re full of hyperbole.
No. I’m full of experience with predators, particularly those predators full of the bullets of their intended victims.
* The predators that would carry that battlefield into our homes are usually the most dangerous of all.
Really? Burglars breaking into people’s homes, particularly when they’re present, are there to sell Avon products? Amway? Again, experience.
* The police have no legal obligation to protect me—or anyone.
You have a very strange police force.
No, we have very rational and necessary laws. Try suing the police in Australia for failing to protect you. The same is true everywhere.
* It [carrying a handgun] gives me the ability to deter those younger, stronger or more numerous than myself.
I haven’t found it necessary.
You’re very fortunate. Around the world, millions have.
* It gives me the ability to defeat those younger, stronger or more numerous than myself if they are too stupid, too drugged, or too predatory to be deterred.
I don’t “defeat” them, I avoid them. Works for me.
Good for you. That doesn’t always work. Ask the aforementioned millions.
* I know that criminals fear the guns of armed citizens far more than the guns of the police. They should.
I haven’t had this conversation with a criminal lately.
I have, and so have many other police officers and not a few researchers.
* In virtually every school shooting in recent American history, the police played virtually no role in stopping the killers. Armed citizens did.
Yep – worked out well, didn’t it?
In virtually every case where armed citizens or police officers were present, lives were saved and the attacks were immediately ended.
* Firearms are like fire extinguishers. When one is needed, it’s needed right now, badly, and nothing else will do.
I dunno. I’ve extinguished fire successfully with a wet sugar bag.
For the statist without an argument, mocking one’s opponent or employing absurdity is a common response.
* Thomas Jefferson was also right when, in 1785, he advised his 15 year old nephew and ward: “A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind.”
Probably true in 1785. In 2014 not so much.
Human nature has fundamentally changed since 1785?
* Everyone that carries a handgun, without incident, every day, makes a stronger legal and political case for fully honoring the intent of the Founders and expanding Second American freedoms.
Everyone that carries a handgun exhibits paranoia and cowardice.
For the statist without an argument, the ad hominem response is equally common.
* The mark of civilization is not what a man or a people are willing to say about it, but what they are willing and able to do to defend it.
The mark of civilization is the freedom to move about freely daily without fear. Shame you don’t have it in your country.
Tyrants always sell “freedom from fear” as their ultimate, utopian goal. In order to secure such “freedom’” the people need only surrender their liberties, little by little, one by one. The founders knew this too. Benjamin Franklin, in 1759, said: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
*As an American, I do it for no reason other than I want to.
That’s the kind of statement I’ve heard from your typical five year old. Most grow out of it. What other people want is important unless you’re a hermit.
To the statist, the freedom to be let alone, to do as one pleases so long as it does not intrude on the freedoms of others, is abhorrent.
It would seem that some of our Australian cousins are not so different than our domestic gun banners. Statism really knows no national boundaries, and never, ever, gives up.
Mike’s Home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.