Wednesday, December 18, 2002
Read this, now. All of it. It's worth your time.
(link via InstaPundit)
Gun ownership is one manifestation of the basic human right to not be harassed. It is a right and a responsibility, and one that requires maturity. Despite not owning any guns (okay, I own a Powerline Airstrike 240 pellet pistol, but that doesn't count at all), I'm a member of the NRA. I'd like to own at least one, and hopefully several firearms and learn to be a decent shot with each of them. I'm pretty nonconfrontational, and I strongly prefer diplomacy, debate, and negotiation to force and coercion wherever possible. If, however, your opponent is demented or simply believes that he stands a better chance of getting what he wants than being hurt or killed, then you need to up the ante and display how far you're willing to go. A man with a gun can only be beaten by ambush/tactics, by his own incompetence, or by risking your own life. A man trained to use his gun properly is only going to be vulnerable if you can sneak up on him or you're very lucky. In any of these cases, your chance of gaining his property while remaining unharmed is very small, and thus smart criminals know that they should only prey on the defenseless. However, there will always be lunatics, and it's imperative that citizens and society be able to use whatever means appropriate to prevent harm from coming to themselves. If someone like Jesse Ventura decided he'd like to have my guts for garters, there isn't very much I could do unarmed, short of hoping to evade him. If I had a pistol, I'd be in a much better position. Even if we were both armed, my assailant would have to work much harder to get me, and if he had any sense would look for an easier target. This is also where the value of concealed weaponry comes into play. When you don't know who might be armed, you have to start with the assumption that everyone is potentially armed, and this should deter most would-be attackers from their crimes.
This argument also works on other scales. The US has the best defense in the world, and could easily defeat (or at least contain) the conventional forces of nearly any opponent without much of a problem. No sane country threatens us with more than trade restrictions or a UN condemnation. Only North Korea is insane enough to think of doing so. Terrorists may threaten us and our true friends and allies, they know that not only will we attempt to kill or capture them as soon as we can find them, but that we can actually do it. If you threaten Sweden or New Zealand, you're not going to have Swedish SAS knocking at your door or a Kiwi drone launching missiles at your SUV. Send maniacs to crash into our buildings, and we'll kill your leaders, ravage your followers, and, when we find out who helped you, beat them to a bloody pulp as well. Smart people leave people like us alone. We're not worth the risk. And for the lunatics, there should always be interdiction, SDI, and pre-emption.