Saturday, March 24, 2007


I'd like to address a few points made by folks who disagreed with some of the conclusions I made in my last post.

"The 'gay guy against a car load of frat boys' argument collapses if you arm the attackers as well as the defender."

While it is true that a number of determined armed attackers will be able to defeat a lone armed defender most of the time, it's also true that the presence of a gun in the defender's hand fundamentally changes the scenario for the attackers. What was an easy proposition before is now a potentially life-ending event. Your group of attackers may (and probably would) prevail, but nobody ever wants to be the first to catch a bullet. That's what makes the gun so valuable in the defender's hand. It does not guarantee victory, or even survival, but it makes the attacker ask himself a fundamental question: Do I want to harm this person badly enough that I'm willing to die for it?

Scores of encounters of armed citizens with suddenly less-than-enthusiastic aggressors show clearly that 99 out of a 100 times, the answer to that question is not just "no", but "hell,no."

The gun in the defender's hand is never a disadvantage to the defender, just to the attacker. Arm the defender, and he will be able to prevail against any number of lesser armed attackers. (I'm not calling someone without a weapon unarmed, as any number of healthy adults can easily kill a single person with their hands and feet alone.) Arm both defender and attackers, the defender is still at a disadvantage, but the implications of the scenario change for the attackers as described in the previous paragraph; the defender is certainly no worse off than if nobody was armed.

"Could you explain how something like trickery plays in here? The good ole carrot on a stick. Deceit and deception. Would that fit under reason, since it seems reasonable to the sucker?"

Trickery is fraud. Fraud is in the same category as force, not reason. I suppose my original classification for human transactions (force or reason) needs to include fraud as a separate category, but loosely put, fraud is the kissing cousin of force. Force is a violation of another's body or property by physical action, whereas fraud is a violation of someone's property by deception.

"Illogical argument! "My gun is bigger than yours" force equal force-nobody wins or survives. I'm not anti-gun. I'm anti-stupidity."

First of all, I'm always open to others pointing out flaws in my reasoning (it improves reasoning skill, after all), so I'd be grateful if you could point out specific logical fallacies you may have spotted.

"Nobody wins or survives" is not the inevitable outcome of the "force equals force" scenario. For example, I can send you a dozen or so snippets of news stories from the East Tennessee region just from the last year which involve good guys (victims of attempted force--muggings, home invasions, etcetera) prevailing against bad guys solely because the good guys had personal firearms at hand. In most cases the attackers were armed, and in most cases, the defenders not only ran off or killed their attackers, but came away unscathed. That's just a dozen or so incidents locally...on a nationwide scale, the number of successful self-defense incidents with firearms is quite substantial.

Again, the victims were never at a disadvantage for having the gun--it was only a disadvantage for their attackers.

To be accurate, there are some (rare) incidents where victims of crime had their own weapons taken and used against them. This happens, but it doesn't happen nearly as often as an armed defender prevailing against an armed attacker, and the ratio isn't even a thousand to one.

As for the "nobody survives" scenario: to me, that's still a preferential outcome over the "bad guy survives" scenario. If I happen to draw the short straw against an armed attacker someday, I'll do my level best to make sure I'll skid into Valhalla with my attacker in a tight headlock. Like some smart police officer once said: "You may find me dead in a ditch someday, but by God, you'll find me in a pile of brass." Anything beats surrendering yourself to the mercy and reason of an attacker who is already unreasonable enough to rob folks for a living, and the gun at least gives you an option. Unarmed, you have none.

"Why are you so afraid and paranoid that you feel the need to carry a weapon in public? Do you think everybody is out to get you?"

This one has always been a head-scratcher for me. Who's paranoid: the person who wants to be able to defend himself against the few bad apples in society, or the person who wants to render everybody harmless?

Think about what an insult it is to insist on disarming another person. What you're saying to that person is, "I don't trust you until you have no means to harm me." Now that's paranoia.

(Now ask yourself why on earth anyone would vote for a politician who says that to you. L. Neil Smith is absolutely on the money, of course: if the politician doesn't trust you not to kill him or anyone else, why would you even give him the time of day, much less vote for him?)

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