Fear

Day of the Dead

It seems like every day there is a new story, tweet, Facebook post, email thread going around about the evils of guns. These stories and anecdotes are emotional, misinformed and basically wrong. Most appeal to the writer’s version of “statistics” - the numbers game - and a picture of looming doom and craziness on the parts of gun owners. Attempting to counter these people head-to-head and get some rational discussion of the real issues is as likely as seeing a supernova explode overhead.

Why is this? What drives some people to entrench within their emotions so deeply that the prospect of elementary rational conversation is impossible? I may have found an answer.

Fear.

Simple, but powerful. These people are, by and large, afraid of being hurt or killed, afraid that their loved ones may be hurt or killed, and they are especially fearful of violence. To them, guns equal violence. Guns are easy targets for their fear and easily sensationalized by the media to feed that fear.

Fear is real, and it has its place in the evolution of the species. It is generally a protective mechanism that can keep us safer than we would be without it. But, irrational fear can become overpowering, rendering our human and rational sense useless and can make us even more vulnerable to those things that fear can help protect us from.

It is a common thread among anti-gun arguments that the last thing one should consider is fighting back. To those who argue against guns, anything is better than fighting back against those who attempt to harm us or our loved ones. However, not everyone thinks so, or has thought so. Here is a respected and well known example of a different view:

Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer

The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,

Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them?

So said William Shakespeare through his character Hamlet. The answer is that it is nobler to take arms and oppose them. What was true in Shakespeare’s time is also true today. It was a lot harder if you couldn’t afford a sword or knife, and were not trained and fit in their use. 

To be a free and independent person, one must have the freedom to “take arms against a sea of troubles” when no other course of action will suffice. In short, one must be willing and able to fight back against evil in the world.

Willing and able are the key concepts here.

Willing, having the will, gumption, fortitude and determination to not surrender to evil is certainly a requirement. I think that, given the so-called arguments against gun ownership by law-abiding citizens put forward by the anti-gun crowd, the will is lacking. They don’t want to stand up and fight for their freedoms, health and life. They seem to prefer that someone else do this for them. All well and good, if such were possible. But it is not. The police by and large won’t be there to help when violent people move against you. Maybe, but the odds are very small. 

Being willing does not much matter if you, the victim, are old, weak, sick, young, untrained in brutal street fighting, especially if your attacker, or attackers, are young, strong, mean, trained (or not) and armed with a weapon, be it gun, knife, club, screwdriver, tire iron, (the list goes on but I don’t have the time or inclination to take it further. Use your imagination.) If the average person, and especially the afore mentioned old, infirm, young, weak, etc., do not have the means to equal the fight, they are going to lose. Every time. Even if their attacker has no weapon to amplify his advantages in strength, years and viciousness.

Able, having the means to accomplish a desired end. In this case the only thing that will equalize a vicious confrontation is a gun. I am over seventy years old. I am a veteran of the Viet Nam era. I was trained as a weapons specialist. I am six feet three inches tall and weigh two hundred pounds. Even so, being attacked by a couple of twenty year old drug fueled criminals intent on taking my money and possessions, and perhaps leaving no witness behind, I would stand little chance with people like that. Unless I had and knew how to use a gun. Think about a seventy year old widow on social security who is faced with a similar situation. The only piece of technology that will give her a chance to survive is a gun and the knowledge of how to use it and the will to survive.

When I was in the military, the gun-hating public was plenty happy to have me on duty, armed and ready to protect them and their freedoms. Now that I am a civilian, those same people would deny me the same right to protect me and my family if I had to have a gun. Hypocrites, I say.

If you won’t stand and fight for your life and freedom, do not expect that you can deny the same rights to me. That is the intent of the Second Amendment, whether you like it or not.

All the twisted numbers you can devise will not change the fact that we live in a violent world, and always have. Removing the means by which an average person can defend themselves, and others, against that violence is ethically, morally and practically wrong. A world without guns is a world ruled by the strong and the viciously violent. I oppose such a world and will fight to prevent it from happening.

An ignorant and rude person said to me not long ago, that “freedom is free”, that violence has no part in freedom. I was in uniform, and unbeknownst to him, carrying a gun. After a brief exchange it was apparent that he was ignorant of how the world is, was terribly afraid of guns of any kind and would never consent to reconsidering his opinion. I left him with the thought that because armed people have guarded and fought for this freedom, he was free to stand there and express his opinion, regardless of how stupid it was.

The bottom line for me, is that until violence is no more on this earth, no one has the right to tell me I can’t fight on equal terms for my life and freedom and that of my loved ones, innocent people, and even the gun haters, if it should come to that.