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Greybeard
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Blog: why carrying a gun is a civilized act

#1

Post by Greybeard »

http://munchkinwrangler.blogspot.com/20 ... ation.html

Friday, March 23, 2007

why the gun is civilization.

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat--it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there's the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don't constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level. The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weightlifter. It simply wouldn't work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation...and that's why carrying a gun is a civilized act.
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quidni
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#2

Post by quidni »

I was going to post a linky to this article - you beat me to it! :lol:
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#3

Post by glocklvr »

very good article very true :thumbsup:
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TX Rancher
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#4

Post by TX Rancher »

So is this an argument for open carry?

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#5

Post by Greybeard »

Rancher: I've not followed this man's thinking long enough to determine if that's one of his positions or not.

Quote: "Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it."

I'd agree with that proposition for the most part. But ... many human interactions are based upon emotion more than reason. ;-)
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#6

Post by TX Rancher »

Greybeard:

Thanks for the response. I probably should have included some of my thinking with my comment about open carry, but my wife was ready to go to town, and delaying her longer was not a good idea :shock:

My thought was his article indicates he believes weapons actually help maintain “civilized� interactions. Several other folks have put the same premise forward such as “An armed society is a polite society.�.

But deterrents only work when they’re accepted as a likely form of response. If you know I have 1,000 nuclear weapons but are unwilling to use them, they are not a good deterrent. If I have a few, but are very willing to use them for defense, that is a deterrent.

There’s also the option you think I have a few nuclear weapons and I’m willing to use them, but in reality I don’t have any. That too can be a deterrent, but bluffs can backfire.

In the realm of firearms and the individual citizen, it’s still roughly the same. To be a deterrent, the potential aggressor has to accept you are armed, and willing to defend yourself if attacked. For this discussion I’m assuming “armed� means you have an effective weapon (let’s assume a handgun) and the training/ability to use it. Willing to defend yourself is your willingness to use deadly force.

To be fully effective as a deterrent, the potential aggressor has to see you are armed, or believe you are armed. Open carry leaves no doubt as to your carry status, and the way you carry yourself conveys whether it’s a “bluff� or not (willingness to use deadly force).

Concealed carry, by law, removes your ability to confirm for the potential aggressor you are armed until after aggression has started, so the deterrent is solely how you carry yourself, which by the way can still be a very effective deterrent!

Now before I start getting flamed about all the sins of open carry, both tactical and civil, this is simply a discussion of the deterrent factor of open vs concealed vs no carry. It’s a given deterrents don’t always work :shock: . Sometimes they just force the aggressor to use different tactics and the attack takes place anyway.

So my point was, the author makes an argument for the deterrent effect of firearms carry, and to be most effective as a deterrent, it needs to be seen…
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#7

Post by RPBrown »

Although I agree with most of what you are saying, even concealed (in most cases) will be seen at a time of need. I feel that if it is to be a deterrent it would be at that time.

On the other hand, I agree that you have to be willing to use it if the time arrises. There are a number of accounts of soldiers as well as LEO that hesitated or outright froze which cost them their lives.

That is why each one of us have to ask ourselves the question. Could I take another human beings life?

For me the answer is clear. In protection of family, self or some property, YES I could. For others (even CHL holders) the answer may be different. If not, hopefully the bluff or the sight will be enough of a deterrent if ever needed.
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#8

Post by Greybeard »

With the bolgger being a buddy of LawDog, methinks he probably gets away a lot with open carry. ;-)

Working both inside and outside a lot on a little piece of (gun range) property that I own, I can and sometimes do "open carry" simply for comfort. But even there, for the most part, it's concealed about 95% of the time. I kinda like the element of even visitors not knowing for sure ...
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#9

Post by Liberty »

TX Rancher wrote: Concealed carry, by law, removes your ability to confirm for the potential aggressor you are armed until after aggression has started, so the deterrent is solely how you carry yourself, which by the way can still be a very effective deterrent!

Now before I start getting flamed about all the sins of open carry, both tactical and civil, this is simply a discussion of the deterrent factor of open vs concealed vs no carry. It’s a given deterrents don’t always work :shock: . Sometimes they just force the aggressor to use different tactics and the attack takes place anyway.

So my point was, the author makes an argument for the deterrent effect of firearms carry, and to be most effective as a deterrent, it needs to be seen…
There are two types of deterrents. General and specific. If I open carry that could send a message to a potential bad guy, that I am a dangerous target. Because the bad guy knows that CHLs are out there carrying, he knows that his potential victims might be packing, he doesn't know who.. This in itself can be a deterrent also.

This is one reason why a report of a bad guy getting shot by a CHL is so significant. It might be more of a deterrent than the threat of jail.

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#10

Post by TX Rancher »

RPBrown wrote:Although I agree with most of what you are saying, even concealed (in most cases) will be seen at a time of need. I feel that if it is to be a deterrent it would be at that time.
Good point…and by the way, I agree. But if the intent is to deter the start of hostilities, concealment is probably not the best option. As you stated, presenting the weapon after hostilities started may indeed stop the further progression. Indeed, if the oft quoted NRA statement of how many times firearms have been used to stop crimes has any validity, that’s typically what happens.

That’s one of the major problems with deterrence as a way to avoid attacks, you must show your hand (open carry) and that can have severe tactical consequences.
Liberty wrote:There are two types of deterrents. General and specific. If I open carry that could send a message to a potential bad guy, that I am a dangerous target. Because the bad guy knows that CHLs are out there carrying, he knows that his potential victims might be packing, he doesn't know who.. This in itself can be a deterrent also.
Again, I find myself in complete agreement. I too believe CHL adds some doubt to the criminals decision process, and therefore can represent a level of deterrence. But again, if the person is carrying openly, there’s no doubt.

While we’re on the subject of CHL and deterrence, I tend to question how much of a deterrence it is (please don't shoot me for that statement :grin: ). Yes I accept the criminal element is aware of the risk, and therefore it must play to some level in their decision process, but I suspect the percentage of engagements between criminals and civilians that involve the civilian carrying concealed is relatively low (I’m talking outside the home) and probably doesn’t have much impact on victim selection.
Greybeard wrote:Working both inside and outside a lot on a little piece of (gun range) property that I own, I can and sometimes do "open carry" simply for comfort. But even there, for the most part, it's concealed about 95% of the time. I kinda like the element of even visitors not knowing for sure ...
Many times (actually most of the time) on my ranch I carry openly. It’s more comfortable, and the odds are if I need it the cause will be some form of 4 legged varmit.

But when folks come on the ranch (deliveries, strangers asking directions, some guests, etc.) I put on a cover garment, even though it’s not legally required. Part of it is to avoid the stupid responses/actions from the uninitiated, and partly to retain the element of surprise if needed.

I am an advocate for open carry and would like to see it passed in Texas. I seriously doubt I would carry openly in public for tactical reasons though. But I would like the option, and would back anyone who wanted to carry openly.

I’m generally a believer in individual rights and self determination. Before helmet laws into effect for motorcycles, I wore mine. Before seatbelt laws went into effect, I buckled up. But in both those cases, I don’t support the mandatory laws that were enacted since they conflict with my feelings on individual rights. It’s the same for me on open carry…

Thanks for your comments guys, I enjoy these sort of discussions. I always learn something :grin:
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