May 19, 2005

Arming Against Need

Publicola asked me to pinch hit for him while he was away. This surprised me a bit, since we've had some disagreements in the past and I thought that he'd be afraid that I'd take a decidedly anti-Libertarian stance in some of my posts.

But Publicola is smarter than that, and he realizes that the things we agree on far outweigh the issues where we don't see eye-to-eye.

One of those issues is that of self defense. We both think that it's moral, even noble, to arm yourself against the chance that trouble will find you one day. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman puts it better than I could in this essay, where he compares people to sheepdogs, sheep and wolves. The sheep are the average citizens, afraid of violence. The wolves are those that would prey upon the helpless. And the sheepdogs are people like Publicola, who will prepare for the worst day of their lives instead of ignoring the possibility.

I think that this analogy is flawed, however. Calling the average citizen a sheep assumes that they're incapable of defense due to their nature, that they're physically or mentally incapable of ever changing. It would appear that many gun owners consider this to be the case, considering how many times the word "sheeple" has been used.

I've been fortunate enough to introduce many people to the shooting sports, and I've taught a fair number the basics of self defense. Many of them never gave a thought to preparing for violence until they became victims of it themselves. After that they were transformed, and they dedicated themselves to ensuring that neither they or anyone around them would ever be a victim again.

It would be better to think of our unprepared fellows as kittens, helpless now but with the potential of becoming lions under the right circumstances. How do I see the responsibility that we, as concerned gun owners, have towards these people?

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.


Posted by James Rummel at May 19, 2005 04:11 PM

Anarchist to fellow revolutionaries in Russia, circa 1916:

"If all people were to become sheepdogs instead of sheep, the wolves would get nothing."

"But Comrade ... of what use to a sheppard is a herd of sheepdogs?"

"I see that you are beginning to understand."

Posted by: Kristopher Barrett at May 20, 2005 11:43 AM
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