Idealism, Violence and Guns

As a man once wrote, "When I hear a window breaking in the night, I want to be armed with something more than my idealism."

Ruger LCR with LaserMax sight

Can't argue with that. Well, some people could, and would, but they are among the

don't confuse me with the facts

crowd.

Ideals are fine. In fact, having ideals is a mark of a civilized person. Unrealistic ideals, though, are something else entirely. When ideals meet facts, the rational response is to re-evaluate your ideals. Perhaps they need modification, or more. So, when I have the occasion to talk guns and gun 'control' with friends and others, I tend to deal in facts. You might find these useful:

Weaker people

– women, elderly, handicapped, children, etc. – are at the mercy of violence, or worse, from a stronger person, or people

unless the weaker person has a firearm

. This is a totally defensible fact. Sam Harris said it better than I could:

"

But when all else fails, a gun in the hands of a woman trained to use it is the best solution that civilization has found for the problem of male aggression (I am speaking here, not about domestic violence per se, but about attacks on women in general). Indeed, there are situations in which a gun in the hands of a woman who is untrained can suffice to save her life. An ethical argument for the banning of guns must tell us why it would have been preferable for 

this woman

 to have been armed only with a frying pan."

Just because an idealistic person might plead aversion to violence and prefer reasoning with an intruder does not mean that everyone else must adopt that response.

Violence

– ideally, it would be great if all of the violent people in the world were suddenly rounded up and locked away, or a serum was developed to make everyone peaceful and nice. Until that day, or one like it, comes, there will always be violence perpetrated in the world, much of it on innocent victims unable to defend themselves. Violent people do not usually seek out strong, capable people, especially people whom they suspect might be carrying a gun. They look for the weak and unaware. All of the mass shootings have occurred in "gun free zones". There was a reason for this.

So, taking the two topics above, weaker people and violent people, it only makes sense to be prepared to defend oneself and others. Sure, the odds of being violently attacked in the USA are small, but not as small as some people think.

No Guns = Less Violence

- Unfortunately for those that cling to this view, the facts don't support their case. Countries that have banned handguns have fewer handgun shootings than the USA, but far more violence.

Here are a few facts (thanks to Sam Harris' website):

Incidents in the year 2010 per 100,000 population

Homicide:

U.S.  4.8

UK (includes Northern Ireland)  1.2

Australia 1.0

Sweden 1.0

Rape:

U.S.  27.3

UK (England and Wales)  28.8

Australia 88.4

Sweden   63.5

Assault

U.S.  250.9

U.K. (England and Wales)  664.4

Australia   766

Sweden   936.6

Scotland 1449.7

Source:

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Note:

 UNODC data and those of the Australian government do not agree. For Australian rates of Assault and Rape, I have relied on the report issued by the 

Australian Institute of Criminology

So, basically, those in favor of banning guns are willing to accept much higher possibilities of being assaulted without adequate means of fighting back. Doesn't matter how much hand-to-hand street fighting training grandma has, its not going to matter when that eighteen year old junkie decides to take her out for the social security money in her purse.

Guns are 'bad' and designed to kill people

- "Bad" is a relative term. This is easily illustrated by the fact that, according to the economist Steven J. Levitt, if you own a gun and a swimming pool, the swimming pool is 100 times more likely to kill your child than your gun is. Driving your children to school while texting your girlfriend yet being worried about normal citizens going crazy with guns is an example of twisted priorities about the nature of good and bad. There are times when a gun is a tool that is much more useful than either a swimming pool or being able to send text messages on your smart phone.

A bad gun can suddenly turn into a good thing when drug addled psychopaths are crashing into your home.

Enough with the 'facts'.

Simply put, the world is a violent place. Always has been and I see no indication that will change. Given this fact, and the fact that the only thing that gives the average person an equalizer with which to protect herself and others from violent people is a gun, the urge to take guns away from law abiding citizens is both stupid (as adverse to ignorant. Ignorance can be overcome with education.) idealistic and will do nothing to abate violence or protect others from it. If the statistics from 'gun free' countries is any guide, banning guns will only serve to increase violence.

Don't try to enforce your idealism on others. Live your own lives and we will live ours.