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“Carrying a firearm changes what you can do in the world … and that could potentially change the way you perceive and interact with people in the world. People pay attention to the world differently if they’re armed.” – Notre Dame psychology professor James Brockmole, Gun debate: Is price of an armed America a more dangerous America? [at]

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      • I didn’t like Jubal Harshaw very much. He was such an arrogant know-it-all. Kinda like Stephan Molyneaux with muscles; he says all the right words while subtly looking down his nose at his audience. It’s OK to know lots of stuff, but people don’t like being reminded of it. And yes, I finally figured out that I do exactly the same thing.

        • Holy smoke one fictional and one a wing nut!! Yep our society is certainly less civil and unraveling a little more every day.

    • Iraq is not a polite society. Afghanistan is not a polite society. Dodge City during the heyday of its violence was not “polite”. The well-armed high crime neighborhoods of New Orleans, the city with the highest per capita murder rate in the US, are not places where one feels at ease or civilized. Japan? Japan is a very polite society.

      Any decent historian, sociologist, or political scientist will tell you that the disarming of aristocratic courts and the establishment of a singular sovereign (from Hobbes to Locke) was what made for “civil society”. Middle class and up, or simply aspirational families do not want to go to theaters, amusement parks, fairs or festivals if they feel paranoid, unsafe. We don’t carry because we exist in a “polite” society. We carry because the social contract broke long ago and we must provide our own protection. The Heinlein quote is bunk, as anyone who’s watched Sunni militia members kick a group of old women for selling fruit without kickbacks in Ramadi can attest.

      • I think that Heinlein’s intent – and it should be fairly obvious – is that in an society where EVERYONE is armed, it is a polite society..

      • Dodge City, and wild west violence in general is majorly hyped.

        Dodge City, as Dykstra points out, witnessed an average of only 1.5 homicides per year during its ten years as a cattle-trading center; it was hardly a town plagued by lethal violence. Ogallala, Nebraska, the “cowboy capital” of the Cornhusker State and often described as the “Gomorrah of the trail,” recorded only six killings during its ten years (1875–84) as an end-of-the-trail cattle town.

        • From the article you link to: “Dodge City, as Dykstra points out, witnessed an average of only 1.5 homicides per year during its ten years as a cattle-trading center; it was hardly a town plagued by lethal violence.” Yeah, the murder rate plummeted after firearms WERE PROHIBITED. When Dodge City residents organized their municipal government, do you know what the very first law they passed was? A gun control law. They declared that “any person or persons found carrying concealed weapons in the city of Dodge or violating the laws of the State shall be dealt with according to law.” You can google the 1879 huge wooden billboard posted at the entrance to Dodge City that read: “THE CARRYING OF FIREARMS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.”

          Dodge, Deadwood and Tombstone all had strict policies against open carry. That’s what the “taming of the Wild West” was all about at the hands of killers like Hickok, Earp and Bat Masterson: LEO gunslingers, backed by municipal governments and expanding bourgeois families pushing for safety, disarming the populace.

        • Dodge, Tombstone and Lead-Deadwood (to be accurate) also had resident lawmen that were particularly fond of out-of-town ambushes and “shooting from behind” tactics. Century-old statistics taken out of context can be misleading.

      • The Heinlein quote is bunk, as anyone who’s watched Sunni militia members kick a group of old women for selling fruit without kickbacks in Ramadi can attest.

        The full quote reads: “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” Are the old women in your example armed?


        Then it’s not the sort of “armed society” spoken of in the novel, “Beyond This Horizon”, is it?

        • @Manimal, those gang members have the capacity to be inpolite because the society that they inhabit is disarmed and incapable of enforcing a civil standard of behavior.

          One can draw a parallel between the gang behavior you mention and the example of the Sunni militia stated above. Both groups can be antisocial in their behavior because they are the ONLY ones armed and thus the rest of society is impotent to respond to that behavior.

        • I was going to drop a line into this sub-thread, but you gentlemen are schooling Subilo quite thoroughly. Carry on.

        • The funny thing about the Sunni militia example is that it exactly demonstrates what happens when only the elite are armed and the every-day person (subject, serf, etc…) is not armed. You gave an example of why your own argument is bunk.
          (I meant this for Subilo but it ended up under somebody else.)

        • What has been happening in the ME for decades proves Heinlein correct. Immorality masquerading as religion is destroying the lives of billions, and any in that “culture” who stand against it are publicly executed.

        • Not everyone can use arms, nor afford them. And when firearms are prevalent, weapons superiority establishes its own hierarchy. An old women with a .22 suitable to her limited physicality is still going to get kicked around by young thugs with AKs and RPGs. The fully armed society is an impossibility, especially for children. Indeed, the safest societies comparable among advanced industrial nations often have the least firearms carried . . . the best example being Japan.

          Even here in the US you can make a similar correlation. Try this: first rank the following cities in terms of ease in getting a CCW and firearms ownership. Then rank their murder rates: Miami, LA, New Orleans, St. Louis, Chicago and NYC. I don’t believe that correlation is monocausation, even causation, as there are a lot of factors here, but it’s obvious that a well armed alone doesn’t make for a polite society.

        • Wow. I was just going to let you slide away after being schooled by other commentors, but this is just too funny. You have just proven your position is indefensible as well as wrong. All those cities are being, and have been, run by anti-gun Democrats with extreme gun control regs and laws and their violent crime rates prove it. Thanks for the laugh, Subilo. Although having to clean coffee off my computer is a bit of an inconvenience. Next time warn us when you are going to be breaking out the jokes up in here.

        • 2hotel9, you’ve no idea what you’re talking about and its very easy to prove. New Orleans has the same guns laws as the rest of Louisiana, a “shall issue” state that is very gun friendly. So too with St. Louis and Missouri, which is trying to negate any federal interference with their gun laws. And the mayor of Miami, Tomas Relgado, is a Republican. You’ve been schooled.

        • I have not just seen the results of your sick assed, anti-human ideology, I have smelt it. I have gathered the remains, women, old people, children and men, murdered in the name of your sick assed ideology, and helped bury them. F**k you, c**t.

        • A general lack of civility seems to be the order of the day. Why do you think a personal attack improves your argument? 1dodfoodzip9

        • I don’t have an “argument”, I have God given Constitutionally protected rights, which you keep sh*tting on.

        • From what I have read in comments, Subilo is not saying anything about the individual right to self defense. The stance being put forth is that the concept of “an armed society is a polite society” is a fallacy. I support this stance. A society that does not respect individual life and freedom (liberty) can never be a polite society, no matter how many arms you stack onto it.

      • The U.S. government had a lot to do with making Iraq and Afghanistan “impolite.” And, I don’t just mean the recent attempted conquests. “Destabilization” of the Middle East region has been the foreign policy goal for the last ~50 years.

        • The argument could be made that destabilization of the Middle East has been WESTERN policy for around 2500 years…..

        • And pretty much its own policy since ever. It’s the nature of extremely tribal, low trust societies.

      • Then by your example American prisons should be polite societies. Absent of guns in the hands of the “Population”, they should be very safe, very polite. But they aren’t because it’s the individuals that make it so, with or without guns. Disarming the populous will never make it a “polite” society. Arming however will make me safer.

        • Bryan, that is a truly dumb example. Disarmed prisoners are a hell of a lot more polite and peaceful than ARMED prisoners. Armed prisoners do not stay prisoners for long.

        • @Subilo **Disarmed prisoners aren’t a whole helluva lot more polite and peaceful than ARMED prisoners. Armed prisoners live longer.

          FIXED that for you. You’re welcome.

      • Heinlein’s quote presupposes a society, as in something more than just the broadest sense of the term meaning various people living in a geographic area. Somalia would qualify under that relaxed-to-the-point-of-torpid standard.

        He’s referring to a somewhat advanced society where basic human rights are recognized and codified, but where enforcement could be intermittent were it not for the on-the-spot ability to repel sporadic aggressors with force. He’s not referring to lawless, illegitimate no man’s lands whose cultures default to violence regardless the level or ubiquity of arms.

      • Iraq is not a polite society. Afghanistan is not a polite society.

        Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan is a society. They are both amalgams of warring factions in conflict based on very long-standing enmities. This has been true for many centuries. The era of feudal war lords never ended in Afghanistan. The era of murderous conflict between Sunni, Shia, and Kurd never ended in what is today called Iraq, a name and pollity owing more to Winston Churchill’s pencil than any political sense.

        Japan? Japan is a very polite society.

        Japan is very polite in a purely formal way because the military servants of the upper class did, for more than 400 years, freely behead any commoner who dared to be rude. We could achieve the same result in New Orleans, but it would be unpopular. Japan is so polite that given a chance it will enslave Koreans and Chinese in the most brutal manner possible given half a chance of success. Japan is only selling us cameras and robots because it didn’t manage to enslave us in the 1940’s, as my mother, who was a teenager during that period, could explain to you.

        Disarming the courts of Europe never happened until a stable power structure fell into place as the result of much violence. I absolutely break out laughing when I read of Dodge City or Tombstone as examples of violent places or of firearms control. Weapons were not prohibited riding into or out of town, and everyone knew it. The regulation was pro forma, enabling the sheriff to lawful disarm those who were drunk or disorderly. It was a tool of selective prosecution, if you will.

        The violence in the ‘old west’ was nothing, in the 19th century, compared to the massive endemic violence in New York City’s lower east side in the same era. And that lower east side violence was nothing compared to the wars of the the era in Europe (the Napoleanic Wars) and the US (the Civil War) organized and advanced by the civilized governments and strata of society of that era.

        • Each group described is a society that seems to be the point that is being overlooked. With the exception of NO all are outside our society but all are still societies nonetheless.

        • Barnett, if you could actually respond to a particular statement in my comment, it would help. Clearly when someone critiques the view that “an armed society is a polite society,” their position is undercut by the fact that they are pointing to violence between two societies, not within one. Else the word ‘society’ loses all meaning. The people committing the murders in New Orleans reject the norms of the surrounding society, and behave like animals. The so-called peace in Japan is and always has been imposed from the top, while the top itself continued to wage state violence on a massive scale when it had the opportunities.

        • The naked assertion that Iraq and Afghanistan are not societies is patently false period. They may not fit neatly into you idea of a society but each is a society just the same. Neither is a polished American society granted. The statement that an “… an armed society is a polite society…” is equally false. LA is an armed society. The southside of Chicago is an armed society. Neither are polite societies. Your assertion that violence within a society is not subsumed into the armed polite society is what undercuts all meaning of society.

          Generally broad brush statements used to support a precise position are inadequate. The “gentle souls” of NO are flat dab in the middle of its society. Of the gentry try to wall this scum out but they are still there. Just because they behave as animals(and there can be no doubt about that) does not simply eliminate them from NO society. Unless of course you mean a segregated society. which by definition is still society composed of both groups legally separated.

          As a simple proposition the more weapons in the hands of the citizens, all citizens not just a select few, the greater the risk of violence. Not by me and maybe not by you but the simple unalterable fact is that the more weapons there are out there the greater the risk of “gun” (I hate that term) violence. I know I am qualified to handle anything up to and including all squad level weapons and some recoilless rifles. Most of the bozos out there are qualified to poor p–s out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel.

          we have problems with certain elements in our society no question about it. However, I don’t think that smugness, grossly over simplifying complex issues misstatements of fact and/or responding emotionally will solve a single one of them.

          Is that a more cogent response? Email naturally lends itself to cryptic statements; so while I think I have conveyed a complete thought, others read it as inchoate or even aggressively antagonistic.

        • Neither of them is a “functioning” society. They are both aggregates of multiple tribal subcultures forced together involuntarily with Islam poured over top and set on fire. They will never be “peaceful” societies, they will always be violent. Perhaps you should do some actual study on the history of the Middle East and how Islam has turned it into a cesspool of rape, torture and mass murder. And spare me the “christians do it too” horsesh*t. Don’t see christians systematically rounding up their children and women and sodomizing, raping, torturing and murdering them, you see it every day in Muslim dominated regions throughout the world.

          Want to spew about violence in “society”? Clean out Islam first. When you are done there come talk to me.

        • James: While the word ‘society’ is certainly somewhat vague, it does refer to “the community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, and organizations.” -Oxford Dictionary of American English.

          Competing war lords do not share laws. Shia, Sunni, and Kurd do not share customs or organizations. South Chicago hoodlums are outlaws, intentionally breaking with the general society of the north end. The criminal outlaws in NO have rejected the laws and customs of New Orleans and formed their own society with different customs and their own wild law. I would strongly disagree that Chicago is an armed society. It is a disarmed society that contains an armed element of criminals…and cops.

          I do not agree with those who think Heinlein’s apothegm is some sort of universal rule, or that the kind of politeness he refers to is that toward which a civil society should strive. Rather, Heinlein refers to a minimal sort of politeness, that brought on by caution, the necessary politeness as a first remedy for violent rudeness. This same point was made deeply by Nietzsche, who pointed out that the ancient Greeks treated each other with fine but superficial manners: This, he said, was because they recognized the volatility and power of deeper emotions and antagonisms in others, and strived not to engage them.

          Certainly Heinlein’s statement only refers to a society in which nearly everyone is armed. If only the thugs are armed, as in many US cities with inadequate money for policing and restricted CCW, there is no reason to expect a decent level of consideration to be shown. When only the government have guns, it always becomes the case that the politeness of the people is merely the politeness of cowed peasants wishing to keep their heads. Or so I suppose. I do not intend an overly personally debate: It is enough to differentiate what the actual positions of the comment-writers are.

        • Joining Ropingdown’s comment, I would only add that Heinlein’s statement presupposes equal availability of arms. Where only some groups are armed, those groups do not run the risk of having to defend their manners with their lives.

        • “Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan is a society.” Oop, there it is.

          And as long as “islam” is there guiding light they will never be any type of society, they will continue to simply exist in the joab.

    • This quote in posted here frequently, but I think it makes more sense if you take it in context. I post it here, edited for length, from Heinlein’s novella “Beyond This Horizon”, (c) 1948

      “Do you know, Claude,” Felix said seriously, “I am beginning to have my doubts about this whole custom. [Being an armed citizen. Ed.] Maybe I’m getting old, but, while it’s lots of fun for a bachelor to go swaggering around town, it looks a little different to me now. I’ve even thought of assuming the brassard.” [An arm band indicating that the wearer is unarmed.]

      […] “You’re mistaken, son. To believe that you can live free of your cultural matrix is one of the greatest fallacies and has some of the worst consequences. You are part of your group whether you like it or not, and you are bound by its customs.”

      […] “You don’t need to disarm yourself to stay out of fights…. An armed man need not fight. I haven’t drawn my gun for more years than I can remember.”

      […] “But don’t assume that the custom of going armed is useless. Customs always have a good reason behind them, sometimes good, sometimes bad. This is a good one.”

      “Why do you say that? [Felix asked] I used to think so, but I have my doubts now.”

      “Well, in the first place, an armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. For me, politeness is the sine qua non of civilization. That’s a personal evaluation only. But gunfighting has a strong biological use. We do not have enough things that kill off the weak and stupid these days. But to stay alive as an armed citizen a man has to be either quick with his wits or with his hands, preferably both. It’s a good thing.

      […] “Maybe so,” Felix answered slowly, “but it does seem like there ought to be a better way to do it. This way is pretty sloppy. Sometimes innocent bystanders get burned.”

      “The alert ones don’t,” Mordan pointed out.

      From context it is apparent that the society is polite only if everyone is armed and likely to confront your rudeness with a potentially deadly challenge. In Heinlein’s society the people were not only armed, but dueling was socially acceptable. It was also considered one’s duty if armed to step in and defend the safety and/or honor of the unarmed if they were challenged or bullied. In this manner anyone who was inclined to be arbitrarily rude or a bully understood that he would be called out by one or many other armed citizens for his behavior.

      This is most definitely NOT the case in Somalia or any of the other hell-holes where only the thugs and bullies are armed. If EVERY citizen was armed in these places AND there was a custom of coming to the aid of each other in the face of adversity, the thugs would be outgunned and out of business. This is the point of the Second Amendment.

      • “a custom of coming to the aid of each other in the face of adversity” And there it is. In the examples our leftist friends keep throwing out that small point is missing. In all the places they name as being so terrible people DO NOT help the defenseless, they prey on them. Subilo lists cities around America, and each example is riddled with crime and run by crooked Democrat politicians. He lists countries in the ME and Africa, all of which are dominated by Islamic regimes which are riddled with corruption and crime AND which systematically prey on the weak, children, women and the elderly. And he blames me for all of this because I own and carry firearms.

        The political left, worldwide, is populated by mental defectives, and their screeds against the right of self-defense is just one example of just how mentally damaged they are. Their constant screeching for more tax payer funded abortion is yet another.

  1. I agree with this statement on its face. When I decided to carry a firearm, it changed the way I look at the world. I believe it is for the better and I also believe it is permanent. It is not paranoia to be in “condition yellow” at all times. It is simply prudent. In fact, it is a modern conceit to even have a “condition white”.

  2. If he’s suggesting that people who carry go out looking for trouble, then it seems we’d have a lot more unjustified and illegal gun uses by people with permits to carry, but we don’t.

    Oh well, ANOTHER gun control theory debunked.

    • I would say instead that as an armed citizen I go looking out for trouble, not go out looking for trouble. Since I’m looking out for trouble, I’m watching for signs of places or situations that I need to avoid. Yes, I’m armed, but I plan not to use it as much as possible. If a situation finds me, however, I will defend myself and my family until I run out of ammo, fight in my body, and breath in my lungs. It’s these situations that I’m looking out for.

    • You should read the article so that you understand the context of the statement. What he said was that his research suggests that persons who are armed are more likely to perceive others as posing a threat. In his experiment, those with guns were more likely to perceive an object in another’s hand (a ball) as a gun than as a nonthreatening item.

    • “If he’s suggesting that people who carry go out looking for trouble…”

      I think it is much more likely that people who generally go out looking for trouble (gang-bangers, criminals and thugs) tend to carry a weapon, in order to mitigate the possible negative responses to their anti-social acts.

  3. Yes we do. Its called situational awareness. We are not naive to walk down a dark alley way just because it makes our trip shorter. We keep our eyes open for potential trouble instead of keeping our ear buds blasting in our ears while we read the National Inquirer as we stand in the checkout line. We don’t want to use our firearm, but we are ready to if there is an imminent threat. We have changed our thinking from a woe is me, I am a victim of circumstance to I will do everything in my power not to become a victim.

    • I think it goes even deeper than that.

      Yes, there is heightened awareness. But, with that, for me at least, also comes a heightened awareness of responsibility to NOT SCREW IT UP.

      What I mean by that is I find myself in a heightened state of avoidance. In my state, you lose the SD claim if you instigated a confrontation. Yes, we have “stand your ground,” but we also have a specific statutory requirement to not be the cause of a deadly force encounter.

      To me, in practice this means that I am “letting go” a lot of aggravating circumstances that before might well have led me to ‘say something.’

      I guess I’m trying to say that the polite society Heinlein was talking about comes from both ends. I’m more “polite” not only because I fear the other guy has a gun, but also because I KNOW I do and I feel a HUGE responsibility for the implications of that.

        • Ya know, “people” like you should wear signs, that way when a criminal is beating the s**t out of you or shooting you we can all stand back and not be troubled by it, that being what you say you want, to be a “victim”.

        • 2hotel9, gee, that doesn’t sound very “polite”. Blustering doesn’t really help you answer the question, does it. And it’s very clear that you don’t know what you’re talking about. New Orleans has the same guns laws as the rest of Louisiana, a “shall issue” state that is very gun friendly. So too with St. Louis and the state of Missouri, the legislature of which is trying to negate any federal interference with their very loose gun laws. And the Republican mayor of Miami is Tomas Regalado. Welcome to school, you’ve got a lot to learn.

        • Actually it is you cowboy. Why don’t you drop the anger, lay down your trigger finger and rejoin the human race?

        • And why don’t you toddle on into whatever socialist sh*thole you think is so great and quit sh*tting on America and our rights?

        • You are coming from a top-down/public safety/prescribed behavior/molding society viewpoint, and from that stance, you have a point. It also tends to clash from the bottom-up/individual responsibility/unsubjugated people/democratic viewpoint that many of us take.

          But if you were to keep your viewpoint, do you really think you will be able to have an effect on the IGOTD? I think a more effective approach from the top-down side would be to implement firearms training and education in the public schools. Work to remove idiocy and irresponsibility with education. No?

        • Yep, it “has a point”, which will get it dragged into the streets and “necklaced”. Another invention and tactic of the political left.

        • Noofus, I’m all for more education and training and yours is an interesting question. Interesting, but I think the premises are more complicated than you formulate. The bottom up/individual responsibility and democratic option can also vote for constraints on weapons for public safety. That’s what citizens did in Western cities like Dodge, Tombstone and Deadwood: vote for firearm prohibitions. Many were willing to sacrifice their own weapons, their own ability to carry, for the protection of sheriffs that could enforce a city-wide ban where they could not. It’s what citizens throughout Western Europe, Japan and Australia have done (and resulted in many countries with lower crime and homicide rates than the US). You might not buy their logic, or make the same decision, but we should acknowledge the democratic legitimacy of those decisions and their long history in social contract theory (at least since Hobbes Leviathan).

          And any legislation, either to tighten or loosen gun laws will, of necessity, be top down. Writing legislation is a specialized task far removed from the common citizen. It’s most often done by lobbyists, lawyers, bureaucrats or legislative staffers. As Max Weber noted, modern society is legal/bureaucratic and gains more laws as it grows in size and complexity. Coordination of goals and collective action become ever more difficult for individuals dedicated to autonomy in an advanced industrial nation.

        • You don’t have to weigh anyone else’s claim. You don’t need to. You don’t get to. It’s not your job.

          We all have a right to claim that responsibility for ourselves if we want it.

          Yes, a few people prove that they’re not up to it; stupidity and accidents sometimes happen. Do you have a solution for that?

        • Well golly gee, most people consider themselves to be a better than average driver, too. Yet that would be a mathematical impossibility, now wouldn’t it? So what? Suppose most firearms owners consider themselves responsible, even the ones who end up discrediting themselves. So what? What does that have to do with the price of tea in China (or of .22lr on gunbroker)?

          I have a God-given right to defend myself. I’ll even go one further and say I have a God-mandated duty to defend myself and my family. If someone else is irresponsible, then prove it so and take it up with them. I am not irresponsible and on the basis of no evidence can you prove otherwise. So leave me and other responsible firearms owners alone and go take it up with God.

        • We all have responsibilities vis-à-vis one another. It is called society. This thread is being emotionally driven rather than intellectually honest driven.

        • Subilo, if you aren’t a professional apologist for the PRI, you should apply for the job immediately. Politeness of a sort that is worth having has to be built from the bottom up, for it is out among the millions of citizens that crime occurs and must be discouraged. The chance of considerate behavior propagating from ‘the top’ is about zero. From the top only comes periodic terror to scare the masses into submission. Whether you look at the PRI/Cartel partnerships in corruption in Mexico, the historic cooperation between Chicago mayors, judges, and cops in sharing the high wages of crime, or examine the participation of Soviet and Maoist politicians and police in crime, your dream of a peaceful society without empowerment of the ordinary citizen is a fairy tale oft told by dictators. Your argument, earlier, from Locke and Burke leaves out the remarkable reality, that the Lockean social contract required the liberty of self-defense, not only a central government restrained by checks and balances. Sociologists might agree with you, especially if they lack experience in government. Few political scientists would agree.

        • Subilo, it isn’t so complex. We use criminal records and involuntary mental-health commitments (those not successfully appealed) to sort out the wheat from the chaff. It works rather well, as you’ll observe by looking at the rate of unjustified homicides committed by the general public versus the rate for CCW holders. We do not simply take a person’s self-evaluation as a fact. Fortunately, though, we increasingly have “must issue,” so that we don’t have to take a local police chief’s or politician’s evaluation as a fact, either. In the western hemisphere the ghastly violence is actually centered more in Mexico, Central America, and South America. It rages in states in which the right to carry a gun is severely curtailed, except for those in the current party in power and their demi-monde partners. I find it sufficient unto the day to compare the structure of US gun law and enforcement with that of Mexico, Honduras, Guatamala, and Brazil. I think we have clearly established our current ethos as workable.

          Gun crime in America is ghetto and drug addict crime. In Philadelphia over the last two weeks we’ve had three people shot by illegally armed purse snatchers. Two victims have died. That’s right, shootings by purse snatchers wounding and killing unarmed women. Of course many of us exercise the right to be armed. And of course many like you, having had four decades to prove your failed theory of “no guns for honest citizens makes a safer world” should admit that the brazen violence by petty thieves is your doing. Own it. Your theory is broken and the facts show it. When the response of armed citizens tames the criminals then we can carry less often, save money on policing expense, and enjoy the peace that comes from changing the incentives that criminals perceive. The police in big cities and nations (Mexico) have utterly failed at a job the ordinary citizen can slowly accomplish.

        • The data shows that citizens with CCW permits are perhaps the most law abiding segment of the population. More law abiding than the average citizen, more law abiding than police or retired police.

          Yes. More armed citizens will lead to a few stupid crimes such as the one described in the article. But the other side of the equation is the massive reductions in crime rates witnessed and confirmed in over a dozen studies following the passage of CCW laws.

        • ropingdown, you cite facts but don’t mention any. Fact: the decrease in crime in America has occurred with an increase in gun sales and a DECREASE in overall gun ownership. More guns are being bought by fewer owners in America compared to the 60s. This is a four decade trend with abundant evidence, from everyone from the NRA to the General Social Survey (Just google “Fewer Americans own guns.”) Your claim would go in the opposite direction.

          #2: There is no correlation between American states with looser gun laws and higher gun ownership and lower crime rates. Gun control advocates posit the reverse, but the correlation for their argument is statistically insignificant. Internationally, advanced industrial democracies with tight gun controls tend to have much lower homicide rates . . . but there’s many factors here.

          #3: Japan in not just “formally” polite. It is functionally polite with deeper mores and intersocial traditions and micropolitical rules of conduct and behavior. I’m not talking about their foreign policy in the 30s and 40s, I’m talking about their domestic cultural and societal norms over the past 50 years.

          #4 Locke’s “Two Treatises” do not provide for a right of armed self-defense against criminals. They provide for arguments against the legitimacy of conquest and the right to revolt. This is far different from asserting that a legitimate sovereign lack a monopoly of violence necessary to retain order.

          To be clear: I’m not arguing against gun rights. I intend to keep my Utah CCW and Walther PPQ, and I await (and budget, groan!) the Timney trigger for my Tavor. What I’m contesting is that a well armed society is “polite”, or “safe,” or even more “responsible.” That’s not why I carry and the arguments in this thread prove my point abundantly well. I carry because of a fear of irresponsible, impolite and unsafe people, anti-social elements. I carry because I can not determine the “responsibility” or sanity of other citizens who carry. I carry because I know 2 too many LEOs in my neighborhood with serious drug and alcohol problems.

          People don’t carry because they feel safe in society, they carry because they feel they don’t have a stable society. Or that society is unraveling. Politeness has got nothing to do with it.

        • Subilo,

          Your #2 had plenty of clever stuff in it. Here is what you said:

          “#2: There is no correlation between American states with looser gun laws and higher gun ownership and lower crime rates.”

          There are couple of problems with this statement. First, you use the example of American states. Several of the best studies have shown that there is enough difference within one state that it is not a good practice to compare state to state. County data is a better way to go. Either way, the Quinnipac study did do that and (with some effectiveness) did show that there is a correlation between American states with looser gun laws and lower crime rates – and the opposite also. I might not have approached the study in the same way but you are free to participate in peer review of that study. On first blush, it appears that there is at least one study (there are others) that disprove your statement. You did add the “and higher gun ownership” phrase in there, perhaps to confuse things. If you have a study showing a negative correlation there, please provide a link so that I can read it. I like reading these studies whether they agree with me or not.

          “Internationally, advanced industrial democracies with tight gun controls tend to have much lower homicide rates . . . but there’s many factors here.”

          Here, you use the term “homicide rates.” Homicide will include justified shootings. First, it would make sense that tight gun control leads to lower justified shootings. In addition, laws like the one in New South Wales saying that there is no such thing as a justified shooting make it impossible to have that kind of shooting in the data. Strangely, your overall statement is still wrong. Which exact countries are you referring to? England? (approaching double the number of homicides of the US and even gun murders are on an uptrend that will likely meet the downtrend in the US in the next few years and surpass us – in a country with confiscation – oh, wait, only from people who obey the law). Australia? (nope, lower rates than England but still some 40% higher than they were before the confiscation and approaching US-level numbers, hmmm). What country or countries are you referring to? Remember that many countries had a lower level of homicide due to other factors for many years before they enacted strict gun control. In all but a very few cases, homicides went up after strict gun control, not always by as much as England or Australia, but up. Homicide has different definitions depending on the laws of the country. Data including homicides may be suspect if (as in England, especially for rape) the country doesn’t add a crime to the crime raw data until an actual perpetrator has been caught, charged, and convicted.

        • BluesMIke, you’ve very effectively undercut your own argument. You writes “Either way, the Quinnipac study did do that and (with some effectiveness) did show that there is a correlation between American states with looser gun laws and lower crime rates – and the opposite also.” But the Qunnipiac study was based on STATES.

          Before that your wrote: ” First, you use the example of American states. Several of the best studies have shown that there is enough difference within one state that it is not a good practice to compare state to state.” You’ve unintentionally revealed the major flaw of the Quinnipiac study, and why they don’t include a chart of crime rates, particularly homicide rates. That’s because several states like South Carolina, Missouri, Mississippi and Louisiana have higher crime rates (particularly homicide rates) than some of the most restrictive CCW states like NY, California and Hawaii.

          You wrote: “England? (approaching double the number of homicides of the US and even gun murders are on an uptrend that will likely meet the downtrend in the US in the next few years and surpass us – in a country with confiscation – oh, wait, only from people who obey the law)” Where is the world did you get this? That’s totally false! The last year we have data for was 2011 when the UK homicide rate was 1.2 and the US was 4.7 !! Look it up.

          Also, the RATE of homicides in Australia has gone down since 1999.

        • This thread’s become far too long and unwieldy, so I’m only tossing out one last point and walking away. Anyone claiming that the increase in gun purchases is soley, or even primarily, a matter of existing owners buying more guns, and not an increase in the number of owners as a whole, is a flat out liar.

          That claim cannot possibly be verified as true. Moreover, mountains of evidence strongly suggest the exact opposite. It’s not even worth debating as it’s so rudimentary and typical of the gungrabbers’ fabricated talking points.

        • First time gun buyers account for the huge increase in gun sales. That is why the political left keeps spewing the lie that all gun sales are to people who ALREADY own guns and just want more.

          Goering and Ribbentrop would be so proud of Democrats and their Big Lie agenda.

    • I don’t remember where I read this, but some psychologist made the point of how foolish a society has become when unarmed and oblivious, we are perfectly willing to enter a locked steel cage (an elevator) with a complete stranger. THAT is the definition of “condition white.”

      • People enter elevators with strangers because our social structure expects me to respect you and for you to respect me. It is terrifying to read so many of these posts. It reminds one of The Lord of the Flies. So many of you seem to have an angry chip on your shoulder. Yes I would say looking for trouble. Only to ready to smack down and belittle posters with whom you don’t agree. One can see our society unravelling before his eyes.

        • Yes, your leftist political ideology is unraveling our society, and you expect us to just sit down and accept it.

        • You don’t know anything about me. But your personal attacks on one and all reveals a lot about you

        • My “personal” attacks are against you 3 Quislings sh*tting on America’s Constitution and the God given right to self defense, Jimmie.

  4. “People pay attention to the world differently if they’re armed.”

    *People who pay attention to the world differently arm themselves.

  5. “People pay attention to the world differently if they’re armed.”

    Why yes, yes we do. We tend to look at the world as a place we can live in rather than be afraid of….

    555 examples of concealed carry gunfights, eh? Out of around 35K “gun deaths” that comes to what, 1.5% roughly? And out of something like 3M total “deaths” in the U.S. each year, something like 0.02% of ALL deaths? Yup, we’re running around like the freaking O.K. Corral. It’s pandelerium….

    • You’re making the mistake of assuming that number is from one year. They probably searched the last 3 or 4 decades to come up with 555. That and they probably threw in a few legitimate defensive shootings just pad the stat.

      • See, that’s kind of the beautiful part of arguing against an indefensible position….they can pad the stats all they want and their numbers STILL don’t work out. I could go through all the statistical analyses and sampling methods to come up with true percentages, but even that quick napkin math I did with a 50% margin of error still shoots the argument down.

        I wish facts mattered in the anti-constitutionalist world…..

    • “555 examples of concealed carry gunfights, eh? Out of around 35K “gun deaths” that comes to what, 1.5% roughly?”

      If the 555 number is accurate, how many of these “gunfights” were legitimate actions of self defense?

      That was an aside. My original point is this: 555 concealed carry gunfights out of 35k “gun deaths”, of which we know half or more are suicides. More importantly, 555k concealed carry gunfights, no statistic on how many ended in “gun deaths” and no comment of the 1 million or so successful abortions in America every year. Even if all 555 “gunfights” resulted in someone dying, what is that percentage compared to 1 million aborted innocent babies? And where is his outrage over that carnage?

      In a gunfight death at least one of the participants probably deserved to die.

  6. While (slightly) more balanced than many articles I’ve seen on the subject, it echoes a recent trend I’ve seen from those advocating civilian disarmament: characterizing those who advocate pro-gun positions as “old white guys”, who are therefore a bunch of racists.

    • Yeah, more attempts at marginalizing tooling up because only scared white men carry concealed! I want anyone who wants to carry to protect themselves and their family to be able to, period. This isn’t about race but they will try hard to make it as such.

    • I found the quotes from professor quite telling, in that gun control proponents were previously able to characterize the carrying of firearms as deviant behavior but now “that deviant characterization cannot be correct.” This confirms that proponents of gun control would like to characterize gun owners as mentally unfit while also revealing that they have lost the culture war on this issue.

  7. Notice the source? The Christian Science Monitor leans way to the Left and has an anti gun bias.

    Take the quiz linked half way down the link…but remember the results will most likely be used against us.

    • That quiz is mostly on the 2008 and 2010 Supreme court rulings and definitively establishes we are still not sure what the Second Amendment covers.

    • I took that quiz and scored an 87/100. The two that I got “wrong” dealt with if machine guns and other military weapons were protected by the 2A and if MSRs are protected by the 2A. (Note my summary of terminology is not what they use). In the first case their answer is probably not and in the second they say it is unclear.

      I found it interesting they were to spineless in the first case to go all the way and say no when it is fairly obvious that is their position and in the second case they ignore case law that clearly states that they are protected.

  8. “Carrying a firearm changes what you can do in the world … and that could potentially change the way you perceive and interact with people in the world.”

    Actually somewhat true in my experience. It makes me less vulnerable. Therefore, it is less of a risk for me to show charity to my fellow man where the risk associated would otherwise deter me.

    For example, can take lunch to that homeless veteran living in a box down by the river, or take a needy person to lunch, with less worry about losing a violent confrontation with ne’er-do-wells in the less-secure environments where I sometimes encounter the neediest individuals.

    The deprivation of arms will only cause people to build their securities higher and further isolate themselves from their neighbors in world around them. I’ve seen how that plays out first-hand in Ukraine and Russia where people will literally walk around another human being freezing to death in the middle of the side walk. From their perspective, they can’t take the risk that the person might be a scam artist trying to take advantage of their good nature since they have no effective means of defense. So they choose to stay with the flow of traffic to avoid being singled out as a target rather than stopping to check whether the person really needs help. As a result, people grow increasingly isolated from people around them, they grow callous, they lose their humanity, and every tragic social disparity only grows wider and deeper.

    • ” Actually somewhat true in my experience. It makes me less vulnerable. Therefore, it is less of a risk for me to show charity to my fellow man where the risk associated would otherwise deter me. ”

      I have picked up several hitchhikers before, but only when I’m armed. When I tell people that, they think I’m joking. Being armed allows me to take a slight risk and help someone in a situation like that out.

    • Being armed allows us to visit the in-laws over in Baytown (rough east side suburb of Houston). Of course, that area is Tango Blast country, plus you have to drive past the “Bloody Nickel” even to get there. So we’re really talking mandatory AR armament in addition to concealed carry, but the point remains.

      Being armed opens up some new opportunities, like visiting the extended family, on occasion, in daylight hours, not during soccer season, without any stops along the way.

    • Your point is well taken. But the right of the law abiding citizen to be armed should not subject to anyone’s review. I don’t care how safe the streets are.

  9. The article, overall, isn’t awful. However, the quote in the header is nothing but an assumption on the author’s part. Just once, I’d like to see one of these “journalists” take it to the next level. Forget the, “so I decided to go to a local gun range and fire a couple of rounds” to prove they’re experienced with firearms. I’d like to see them get their CC license (if applicable) and carry a firearm daily for months, then write their articles. My guess is that most of them would come to the same conclusion that we do after carrying. We find that we’re the same people we always were, except we have a firearm with us.

      • I remember those articles, but this woman was a true hoplophobe. I want someone with some objectivity who’s not scared of the gun they’re carrying.

    • I would rather see them do 4-6 years active duty with at least 2 combat tours. Amazing how such as that tends to change a persons perspective on being a victim instead of a citizen.

        • Kerry was awarded the Silver Star. The Mavy does not pass out such awards willy nilly. After he ran for elective office, he was attacked by a bunch of draft dodgers. Secretary Kerry earned the right to his opinions about the war in Viet Nam.

        • James, sir, each military branch, with the possible exception of the Marine Corps, was well known for handing out medals like party favors during Viet Nam, especially to officers. Here’s the issue about JFK’s medal, and we don’t need to go into the three purple hearts for minor wounds, at least one of which was due to his own negligence, that got him transferred out of Viet Nam after only four months duty:

          […] Set aside Kerry’s collection of three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star in his four months in Vietnam, and consider for a moment, Kerry’s Silver Star — the third-highest military honor our Nation can bestow (below the Medal of Honor and the three service “Crosses”). Kerry’s DD 214 Record of Transfer or Separation (posted on his website), lists a Silver Star with a combat “V” (for valor) — but, according to the Navy Awards Manual, the “V” Combat Distinguishing Device is never awarded with the Silver Star — regardless of what Kerry threw over the [White House] fence in 1971. But the most notable problem is that Kerry’s citation has not one citation, but three — each one a revision of the previous, and the last revision made more than 20 years after the first.

          And the “Swift Boaters” who challenged Kerry and his record were NOT draft dodgers, they were men who served in proximity to him in Viet Nam and knew him well.

        • Lurch hid from action and lied about his actual service. In 1973 his a$$ should have gone to prison for collaborating with the enemy, instead he was canonized and became a darling of the mental defectives on the political left.

        • James P Barnett Jr said:

          “Kerry was awarded the Silver Star. The Mavy does not pass out such awards willy nilly.”
          Actually the armed services did, especially during the Vietnam War. It especially happened in cases where the “hero” had political connections to obtain awards whether or not he deserved them..

          “After he ran for elective office, he was attacked by a bunch of draft dodgers.”
          Those people that tried to blow the whistle on him were fellow Vietnam War veterans.

        • Bologna. The sneaky pete he pulled out of the drink vouched for him. You knew that right or was he a liar as well?

        • Jimmie only defends people who attack American’s Constitutionally protected rights, don’t ya know!

          I knew in the 70s that Lurch was a traitor and liar, that is how it got to be a Democrat politician, and he has always been on the wrong side of everything. Except those alimony checks, he definitely knows which side to be on with them. Nothing other than a liar and a grifter.

  10. People pay attention to the world differently if they’re armed.

    He’s right. Since carrying I avoid confrontation like the plague. Walk away from arguments. Stay out of bad neighborhoods and away from stupid people who do stupid things. Drive the speed limit, use my blinker and always come to a full stop to avoid interactions with the police. Since carrying I’ve become the model peacnik citizen.

    • Prof. Brockmole did not write the article. Jonsson did. And Jonsson’s rhetoric is deplorable. He turns to statistics and notes that the CCW thing seems to be working. But then, and repeatedly, he notes, in effect, “but look at these two crazy guys in Florida!!” He refers to “tens of thousands” of defensive gun uses per year. Fail. Even the Clinton administrations study found the number of DGU’s to be over a million each year.

      With millions of CCW permits out and criminals still fighting a rear-guard action but slowly losing, the anti-gun part of the public, hoping it really does live in gun-free zones, whines about a few hundred cases exceptional exactly knowing that they are not typical of CCW-holder behavior. One might as well note a few hundred congenitally defective children as a reason not to procreate. What blather.

      • I’m going to do a web search, but do you happen to know where I can find that study by the Clinton administration?

  11. I’d be curious to know whether the author of that article has ever carried a firearm himself. If he hasn’t, his theories are as valid as what I could tell you about giving birth.

  12. Geez, I hope you don’t have to be a Notre Dame psychology professor to figure that one out. But if you have never carried, you wouldn’t have a clue.

  13. Yes, carrying a firearm gives you additional options in your response to stimuli. No, that does not mean that you are rewired to view it as the primary response to all stimuli. Say it with me…one may only employ lethal force in the defence of themselves or other innocents when threatened with immediate and credible threat of physical death or crippling injury.

  14. Going armed makes me even more aware that as a Christian, I must live out the principles of the Sermon on the Mount at every moment of my public life. It makes me more forgiving, more judicious in my decisions and interactions and more responsible, not less.

  15. “People pay attention to the world differently if they’re armed.”

    But his takeaway is solely based in terms of the negative effects of being armed. I sure as shit perceive people different when Im carrying, but its only a negative perception if they when they break into Condition Orange.

    When you remove force from the equation, reason remains. When I know that within a reasonable doubt I cannot be forced to do something against my will, I am much more comfortable. This guy is basically saying that humans arent evolved enough to the point that we cant exist without the mere PRESENCE of a weapon to make us do crazy things. Fucking “Intellectuals” man, I heard a lot of this stuff all the time at grad school.

    • No, there may have been 1 million who crawled on their knees and beg government permission. There was 100 million who carried without crawling on their knees and begging, because we are Americans. Slight difference.

    • I agree. It is clearly true that armed citizens see the world (well, their neighborhood) differently. They also see it differently if they read a newspaper, watch the 11 o’clock news, or get the glasses they need.

      The pathetic rhetorical distortions flowed forth in Jonsson’s writing, not the professor’s statement.

  16. I have never been in the company of so many friendly, courteous and cordial people than when I visit the rifle range

  17. What bugs me is the elitust tone if this piece.

    We are citizens. The political class works for us.

    Our labor and ingenuity is what drives the economy.

    Our taxes fund the government.

    America IS us. So who the hell are these people to tell us what we can and can’t carry for personal defense?

  18. …There’s evidence that gun prevalence can deter crime, but preventable tragedies perturb.

    Apostle of the obvious. Publish or perish…

  19. In my case he’s right on the money. When I carry (all the time every time) I put on another layer of chill and blow off things that I might otherwise tangle ass over. When armed I have a higher level of responsibility to avoid/deescalate any situation that might ultimately involve lethal force.

  20. Why all of the reverence for Robert A. Heinlein? The man was a science fiction writer. The statement attributed to him by commentators today is simply opinion. What next L. Ron Hubbard?

    • Because Heinlein was relaying a simple truth. George Orwell was also a science fiction writer, but many of his nightmarish fantasies have already come true. 1984 was supposed to be a warning not an instruction manual, but I guess no one told the NSA.

      Anyway, what he said can only be reality if the underlying society in question is still “civilized”, i.e. recognizes and respects human life and personal liberty. We’re not talking about war zones or deeply divided tribal regions.

    • “Why all of the reverence for Robert A. Heinlein? The man was a science fiction writer. The statement attributed to him by commentators today is simply opinion. What next L. Ron Hubbard?”

      And why James, exactly should we give any attention to YOUR statement? It is simply opinion.

      Robert A. Heinlein wrote a lot of well regarded works of science fiction, won many awards, and is regarded as an intelligent and insightful author. He also wrote many non-fiction works that show he was not just some Sci-Fi hack. What are your literary or philosophical accomplishments?

      L. Ron Hubbard was also a contemporary and friend to Robert Heinlein. LRH wrote some of the greatest fiction of the “Golden Age” of science fiction and his final two fiction works, “Battlefield Earth” and Mission Earth” (In ten volumes) sold many millions of copies. And that is in addition to his many decades of legitimate research into the workings of the human mind which 3 million or so people undoubtedly smarter than you find a worthwhile focus for their lives.

      L. Ron Hubbard could be quoted frequently here – he was a gun owner, a WW II Navy veteran, and proponent of self-defense – if it were not for the fact that bigots like you would immediately flame the comments due to your uninformed prejudice against Scientology.

      An educated person would not presume to ridicule a philosophy he has not personally researched and whose information has come almost entirely from biased sources.

      To quote Robert A. Heinlein: “One man’s religion is another man’s belly laugh.”

      • Why would anyone pay any attention to me is a very good question indeed! An equally intriguing question is why anyone would base their philosophical outlook of life on dialogue of fictional characters. C’est la vie.

        • James P Barnett Jr said:
          “An equally intriguing question is why anyone would base their philosophical outlook of life on dialogue of fictional characters.”
          Strawman argument. No is here is basing their philosophy on dialogue of fiction characters; rather, some here are apparently basing their world views on the ideas that happened to be expressed in the Heinlein work. There is a difference.

          And while we are at it, why shouldn’t people get philosophy(ideas) from fiction? That’s partly why fiction is written in the first place!

    • Someone pee in your wheaties, Jim? Who is the author you go to for quotes on moral quandries? Salinger? Nietzsche? Alinsky?

      Heinlein extolled moral strength in the face of the immoral. His view tended toward doing the right thing when no one was forcing you to and in the face of opposition to doing the right thing. Why do you have a problem with that?

  21. Before a predator tried to mug me; I would often be in condition white; not often looking to the right or the left.

    Now; after carrying a weapon for over 16 years; I can say I am now in yellow any time I’m outside my house: with an extra dose pushing into but short of red at the most vulnerable points; getting into and out of cars; entering and exiting stores and buildings.

    But the thing that anti-gun people don’t get is that it’s very obvious when a person is a predator versus your regular law abiding citizen; A wolf stands out from the sheep like they have a flashing light on their heads. So this idea that a person carrying a gun becomes more paranoid and distrustful of regular human beings is silly.

    I absolutely trust that 99% of the people out there are of no threat to me what so ever; the 1% that are; with basic situational awareness; is of minimal threat to none; as long as I have an effective weapon handy.

  22. No doubt about it, an armed America is a very dangerous America….if your a POS criminal. Why, if enough people are armed a robber might actually have to take a real job, Randy

    • Subilo Hernandez said:
      “Jonathan – Houston, are the NRA gungrabbers? Check out the Gallup poll they cite on footnote 2 here:

      Here’s the Gallup study they cite:

      You’ll note that from a high of 54% in 1994, ownership dropped to 41% in 2010 and then rose to 47% in 2011. That’s still a 7% drop from ’94.”

      All the Gallup polls prove is that people are not admitting to owning firearms, not that the rate of firearm ownership is actually. Rather, people are becoming aware that the “pollster” who phones them and starts asking questions about their gun ownership, may actually be a criminal trying to learn if there is anything valuable in their homes to steal.

      It happens. Two weeks ago a man saying he was with an organization called “Pioneer Surveys” asked my mother these questions: “How old are you?” then “Do you believe in banks” then he asked “What is your income?” He was obviously no pollster, but rather a criminal trying to find an old person who kept their money in their mattress.

      • Americans do not answer pollsters with anything near the truth, and that is as it should be. The only “polls” that matter are when you go in the booth and vote, everything else is bullsh*t.

  23. Why do they keep referencing the incident that happened in Wesley Chapel, FL? This had nothing to do with concealed carry laws. The shooter is a former LEO and is allowed to carry under federal law in all 50 states. Even if Florida had NO CWP this shooting would still have occurred.

  24. I agree with the quote, as a stan alone.

    I also thought the article was actually fairly balanced. He admits that stats back up John Lott’s assertion that CCW holders are law abiding, mentons the decrease in violent crime as gun carrying has increased, etc.

    The arguments on the other side he presented were, of course, weak. But if you are writing an article presenting “both sides” then that might include bad arguments. He does the predictably heart wrenching opening with a tragedy, but I think he does a fair handed job giving air to the pro-gun side as well. A little bias in the article, but heads and shoulders above what I usually see


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