So with the hot topic of Oscar Pretorius and being in rush hour with my wife – her car went for a service – we started to discuss the issue of guns in society. She has a very emotional response to guns and fears them and the power they posses, I like guns and love the safety and security a gun offers in a very compact package. This discussion made for a short trip and my decision to put fingers to keyboard and get some structure to my thoughts.
I think a fair place to start is to discuss safety as self defence is the reason for most people’s first gun purchase.
Who is responsible for the safety of the individual and that of their dependants? In short you are. But as in life it’s never quite that simple. Define safety? The safety that I’m discussing is the safety of the person. The protection of their body, mind, mental health and property. Safety from rape, injury, death and the accompanying trauma. Safety for you, your family and your ability to provide. This is not about the protection the state should provide from another country attacking us or having safe medicine.
If there is a bad-guy intent on hurting you, or to hurt you to get away. Who is going to protect you? The answer is you. You are always there. You are your first line of defence. You are your last line of defence. If there is a bad guy with a bat/gun/knife there is no time to call the police. And if you call them, will they be there in time to save you or to secure the murder scene? Is your safety the police’s responsibility? No. A police officer does not have to intervene in a crime in progress. The idea that a cop will magically stop the attack is folly and creates a false scene of security. Even the armed response guard does not have to step into an unpredictable situation to save your life, and they are actively discouraged to do that. Do not think a guard with family of his own will put his life on the line for R3000 per month and risk his family suffering the loss of a bread winner. Yes there are exceptions, but are you willing to bet your future well being on the exception? But mostly when you need them most, these “protectors” are not there. A criminal will wait for the time when you are most vulnerable, Not when you are standing next to a group of armed guards.
Your safety is your concern and if you don’t do anything about it nobody else will and nobody cares. High walls, security gates and alarm systems are part of that security and, today, are necessities. They offer a level of deterrence and an early warning system but they can’t protect you when you need it most.
So if you are responsible for your security, how do you secure yourself? Firstly you have to change your mind set. By choosing not to be a victim and a willingness to fight you are half way there. But how? You need something that leverages you willingness to fight for yourself. You need a force equaliser. Imagine for a moment you are a frail person, Elderly, ill, disabled, or weak in some way. You are attacked by a young strong unarmed male. You will lose this fight. The result stays the same regardless of what weapon he has, be it his hands/knife/screwdriver/brick you will most likely lose. Even if you are similarly armed with most of these weapons as they all need a certain level of strength, agility and vitality to effectively wield. But, if you have a gun and basic training. Then you will be able to enforce your willingness to live. Even if the bad guy is also armed with a gun you now have the ability to effectively apply resistant force, even though you are physically weaker.
The compact power of a gun leverages your willingness to fight and give you a lot more options than just laying down to die.
But what if no one had a gun?
That is worse. The strong will rule the weak, simple as that.
The nature of a criminal is that they are willing to, and knowingly break the law. They have weighed the risks and decided to make a living breaking the law. So making laws to prevent them from having guns/knives/any weapon does not help. They also want the best tool to make their job easier. So it does not matter what you ban the next best thing will be used. Ban Guns they use knives. Ban knives they use sticks. Ban sticks they use rocks. But how do you ban all the knives? And even if you do the criminal will not obey the law and have a knife and the law abiding good citizen will not and be at the mercy of the criminal.
Only law abiding citizens licence their guns, criminals don’t want licensed guns as it makes them easier to trace. The bad guys like gun control as it means that they will be met with less resistance from, disarmed, law abiding people.
Comply? Why not comply and hope that you will not get hurt? Well, the bad guy is a criminal and did not get the memo that they should not hurt you if you comply. So you comply to the would be rapist? I read on a T-shirt. “Is a woman raped and strangled morally superior to a woman with a smoking gun and a dead rapist at her feet?”
Criminals have done their homework it’s time that the good guys do the same.
You can only convince someone to do what you want through either force or negotiation. When everyone has a gun and thus the ability to apply the same amount of force there only remains negotiation. Thus you have a very polite society. You would think that it would be the Wild West with everyone shooting everyone. But it won’t. The cost of losing your temper and shooting will be too high as anyone and everyone will be able to apply the same amount of force to make you stop. Nobody will jump out their car banging on your window to assault you in a road rage incident. That would be rapist would not chance the 18 year old girl having a gun. The potential school mass shooter will reconsider when every teacher is armed and has the leverage to enforce her willingness to protect the children she teaches.
Is a gun dangerous? Yes, like a car a gun is a tool and if used without proper training and care it is dangerous to the user and those around them. Would you leave a child in a running car? The same goes for guns. A car leverages your ability to travel efficiently. A gun leverages your ability to protect yourself. An old lady with a 38 special tells me she’s not done living.
To carry a gun isn’t comfortable. It’s heavy, hard, rough and cumbersome but, it is very comforting. It’s comforting to know that if the unexpected happened, I have an option to a last line of defence that is always ready to be used in service to myself and those dear to me. Si vis pacem, para bellum (If you want peace, prepare for war)