It's Time for Action – Part 1

(Ed. Note: This is part one of a three part post concerning recent developments in the legislature and potential actions that can be taken in the future to keep them from happening again.

Guns, Guns everywhere or Are We Still Barbarians?

Are we any more civilized than we ever were? I mean sure, we’re not living in an ancient age of Kings claiming to have their “God” on speed dial or anything (right?), and no one in the US is getting invaded by the village or city-state next door (except DeSoto Co.), but have we really changed all that much emotionally and intellectually since those times?

The obvious answer is yes, we have modern democratic institutions, and live in well constructed houses that are the result of thousands of years of engineering knowledge, and work in offices and factories and farms and other businesses that are highly mechanized to make the jobs less unbearable, and have all kinds of technology that helps us live longer, more productive lives…but really, are we all that different? I mean, we have different stuff, and that stuff is, arguably, way cooler than the old stuff and helps us get more stuff done faster, but has the change in civilization only been about stuff or is there something deeper?

The question probably sounds pretty stupid really, I mean, could anyone rationally say that we’re as barbaric as the fabled empires of yore? Just look at the differences of modern warfare. Wars that once cost hundreds of thousands of lives, perhaps millions, are now executed with pinpoint precision, and when targeted correctly, spare the lives of most of those in the general vicinity (right?).

So perhaps we value human life more than we once did. Perhaps that is our crowning achievement. Or perhaps, we just have more stuff to do things in ways that we didn’t before, and the sparing of human life is more of political necessity thanks to the speed and impact of information dissemination than any great awakening of the human mind.

Maybe I’m just being pessimistic, or maybe there’s something to what I’m saying.

I’m not honestly suggesting that while civilization has grown, our ability to be civilized has become stagnant. It is, however, interesting to me that with each small step forward we take as a society there is pushback from those who wistfully yearn for the more barbaric days of yore, where the men were men, the women were women, only the bad guys died in gunfights at the end of the movie and the good guy rode off into the sunset with the girl. I mean, we all recognize that this is fantasy right? That world didn’t really exist. Just like Greek mythology is fables, and all, right?

That said, I’m mystified by the misty eyed apologists for SJR127, the guns in everywhere bills, the possible dismantling of the Ethics Commission, and I’m sure I’ve missed something because I haven’t mentioned either of the Stuntbabies yet. All of these things are throwbacks to our fabled barbarian past.

If someone pulls a gun on you, and starts shooting, how likely is it that you can duck for cover, draw your weapon, and return fire without endangering the lives of others in the vicinity? Seriously, how likely is it that the adrenaline will take over and you will not only miss your target, but also hit an innocent bystander? Think about the number of rounds found at many murder scenes involving firearms. For that matter, think about the number of rounds shot in a typical gunfight in a movie. What is the typical round to bullet wound ratio in either of these scenarios? How many rounds not only miss their targets, but carry on to inflict a wound on an innocent bystander? It’s not like they stop when they miss, right?

I mean honestly, handguns, while convenient, are dreadfully inaccurate. Because of the short barrels, a fraction of a degree is likely the difference between hitting and missing your target at ranges of over 30 feet. While the average person may believe they have the intestinal fortitude, resolve, and accuracy of Dirty Harry, the truth of the matter is that rarely is anyone given the time to line up a shot that even remotely resembles his iconic, “do you feel lucky, punk”, moments. It just doesn’t happen, and if it does, and the trigger is pulled, it’s more likely that you just shot someone who was out of bullets…effectively disarmed.

I’m not suggesting that people who own firearms are somehow uncivilized, or barbaric, quite the contrary. I’m a strong supporter of 2nd amendment rights and feel that gun ownership, while a huge responsibility, is a right provided by the Constitution. I don’t think people NEED AK-47’s or anything like that, and they sure as hell don’t NEED automatics, but who am I to tell someone what kind of gun they go hunting with, as long as they’re hunting for something other than people. Further, I’ve been to many shooting ranges in my time, and have enjoyed renting and shooting “assault style” rifles. It’s a thrill, no doubt about it. The problem for me comes not in the gun ownership, but the rationalization for unfettered carriage.

But thinking about the scenario above, what likelihood of survival does carrying a firearm into a restaurant actually give you? Does it give you any, or does it give you a false sense of security wrapped in the fables of a thousand western movies? Truth is you are no safer with a firearm than without, anywhere, and in some cases, actually more likely to either be fired upon or killed with your own gun. Carrying a firearm, particularly a concealed one, is not any more a deterrent than allowing the death penalty in murder cases deters people intent on committing murder, or long jail sentences deters people from smoking marijuana. In fact, it’s probably less. Vigilante justice is no substitute for the justice system that we’ve spent the past 200+ years building, if anything it weakens it.

We are not barbarians, in fact we’ve come a long way, and while there are people who commit barbaric acts in our society, we cannot act like returning the favor is justice. Justice is making them accountable to society through the justice system. Expanding the number of places that concealed weapons may be carried is not safety, it’s false security wrapped in mythology. All too soon, that mythology is going to backfire.

Next up, SJR127 and the anti-choice crowd

15 thoughts

  1. You ask several interesting questions. Allow me provide some links to possible answers.

    Are we the same as our forebears? Fundamentally, yes we are. We in advanced societies have increased scientific understanding and technological capabilities. Our religious beliefs have changed from pantheistic to monotheistic. Our societies have changed from tribal to feudal to nation-states to totalitarian or law-based republics.

    But people are still people. Our mental capacities have not changed one iota in thousands of years. Our hard-wired capacities for emotions and our instincts and our ability to reason have not changed either. We as humans are still the flawed creatures that lived in caves and feared the noises in the dark.

    Then you ask if self defense is possible. “If someone pulls a gun on you, and starts shooting, how likely is it that you can duck for cover, draw your weapon, and return fire without endangering the lives of others in the vicinity?” The answer is not just yes, but hell yes. Here is a link to one blog out of many that documents successful self defense, with firearms, against violent attacks: http://www.claytoncramer.com/gundefenseblog/blogger.html

    I suggest you read a few and see if your questions are answered. Or how about this mental exercise: If self defense with firearms is not possible, why are police and military armed with such weapons?

    Then you say, “I’m a strong supporter of 2nd amendment rights and feel that gun ownership, while a huge responsibility, is a right provided by the Constitution.” No, no, no, hell no. T

    The fundamental, inalienable human right to self defense is not “provided by the Constitution.” This civil right, this human right, is a pre-existing right of all individuals and is only protected against government denial of that right by the 2nd Amendment. The government does not grant rights. It is enjoined against abusing them, at least in this country. That you get this one simple thing so absolutely wrong is indicative that you are either disingenuous about supporting the Bill of Rights, or are ignorant to an extreme degree about how this country’s origins. This country was based upon the novel idea in the 1700’s that the INDIVIDUAL possessed inherent rights, that the government formed to provide essential services to society was a servant of those individuals and not their master, and that government power was to be restrained by law against infringing on the rights of individuals. Get with the program here, or your arguments will make zero sense to anyone who has read any US history.

    You provide a worst-case scenario for self defesne. “But thinking about the scenario above, what likelihood of survival does carrying a firearm into a restaurant actually give you?” Texas has a concealed carry law now, partly because of the testimony of a person who lived through a restaurant massacre scenario as you describe. Here is her testimony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvTO-y-B2YM
    She followed the law at the time and watched her parents killed while, had she been armed, she could have ended the massacre.

    Here is another restaurant murder scenario stopped by an armed man, a 71 year old who had cooperated with robbers, but who was then taken to a back room for a likely execution: http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2007/06/71-year-old-jarhead-justice.html The 71 year old was able to stop the two robbers and protected his life and the life of the store manager who was also there.

    You write, “while there are people who commit barbaric acts in our society, we cannot act like returning the favor is justice. Justice is making them accountable to society through the justice system.” Self defense is not justice. It is an inherent human right. You are confounding the societal act of criminal prosecution with the inherent individual right of self defense. Not all violence is aggressive; some is protective against aggression. Please don’t confuse the two types of violence. They are not the same, either in the eyes of society or the eyes of the law.

    If you choose not to exercise your inherent human right to self defense, please do not try to force me to join you in your foolishness. My life is too valuable to me, my loved one’s lives are too valuable to me, to depend upon the charity of true barbarians who use aggressive violence to deny me my right to life.

  2. This is just a prank article, right? Or can someone really be this ignorant on the issue of the Second Amendment? Nevermind…

    “To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death. How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic.”

    –Ted Nugent

  3. There are a lot of things in this world that people don’t NEED, but it is not the job of government to determine what a person NEEDS.

    If someone wants to own an AK-47, and they are a law-abiding person, what should you or I care. I don’t think anyone NEEDS a Corvette, but as long as they own it and operate it responsibly, what do you care?

    Now, why would I want an AK-47? Well, you could hunt with one, although I have no idea why you’d want to given their lack of accuracy, but to each his own. They are an awful lot of fun to shoot at the range, however. Just like a Corvette is an awful lot of fun to drive.

  4. Yeah, well, to start with: The 2nd amendment ain’t about huntin’ and fishin’.

    Being a “strong supporter of of 2nd amendment rights” then bringing up something about “hunting” just means you don’t get it. If you haven’t gotten it by now, you won’t.

    So man, blah blah blah on, it’s your 1st amendment right after all. But don’t pretend to establish your bona fides by claims of supporting the 2nd amendment and writing crap like this.

    Hel

  5. Why is it that victim-disarmament supporters and anti-gun bigots think they can make themselves look somehow impartial by claiming to be a hunter/gunowner supporting the second amendment in one paragraph, and then demanding it be curtailed in the next?

    You aren’t fooling shooters, dude.

  6. The wackjobs are out in force, aren’t they? yes, they live in fear that Obama is sending the Red Chinese to take your guns in the name of the United Nations, right?

    By the way, I OWN weapons, fools, and you idiots give gun owners a bad reputation.

    Punks.

  7. Oh LWC, I understand your irritation, but your words will not penetrate the dense helmet of monobrows and mullets that have taken over this comment section.

    They’d call Gen. George Patton a commie if he said the phrase, “I’m a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment”.

  8. The first amendment says nothing about blogging, and besides that, you don’t NEED this blog, and I don’t think you should have it.

  9. But thinking about the scenario above, what likelihood of survival does carrying a firearm into a restaurant actually give you? Does it give you any, or does it give you a false sense of security wrapped in the fables of a thousand western movies? Truth is you are no safer with a firearm than without, anywhere, and in some cases, actually more likely to either be fired upon or killed with your own gun.

    I think Suzanna Hupp might disagree with you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1u0Byq5Qis

  10. Isn’t that just typical?

    LWC writes a post about gun rights that is full of false assumptions and assertions.

    Gun rights supporters comment in response in a very civil tone with specifically articulated points and reasoning.

    The supposed gun owning gun control supporters respond not by addressing the points or explaining why the reasoning is faulty, but with ad-hominem attacks and insults.

    As Carl pointed out, the first amendment says nothing about the internet and you have no “need” to publish your inane rants. I think publishing on the internet should be restricted to people who are mature enough to defend their positions without resorting to childish insults.

  11. LWC: By the way, I OWN weapons, fools, and you idiots give gun owners a bad reputation.

    You can still own weapons legally because of the hard work done to instill fear into wavering politicos by fools and wackjobs like me.

    Don’t bother thanking me … I’d do it regardless.

  12. There is no way in hell the government would attempt to disarm people, there would be rioting in the streets and you all know it. This is so much bullshit, weapons are too widespread in this country and it would take the all the Armed Forces and the national Guard to even attempt it.

    You folks are really gullible, you know?

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