Why Carrying a Gun is a Civilized Act. By JEFFREY W. KILGO, LTC, U.S. Army, Instructor U.S. Army CGSC, DJIMO
Reason vs. Force:
Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.
In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal weapon, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.
When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunken guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.
There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for an armed mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat — it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.
Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.
The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.
When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation … and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.
Thank you Jeffrey W Kilgo, well said.
December 8, 2013
I sent a letter to the editor of my local newspaper about a “problem” at the university: the following is the “Letter to the editor:
December 4, 2013, major headline: “Does (the university) need to take remedial class on race? (the Dean’s) forced resignation brings discomfort out in the open.” The key to the entire article lies in the statement, “Student complaints appear to be divided into two groups.
One group asserts that the Professor’s departure signals a ‘hostile atmosphere’ for black students, professors and administrators at campus… They say the university forced the professor out after forcing out the Police Chief, also an African-American, each of them was there less than two years…” If you don’t mind, for this discussion, let’s just assume the Professor and the Police Chief had nothing to do with our problem.
“A larger group says the lack of awareness about racial differences is the biggest problem. What’s more common, they say, is differences that no one understands and no one wants to confront.”
For some reason, I’m confused! If we are consistent in attempting to answer the question about “remedial class on race,” and it’s “not a black and white issue,” what is it?
The answer would tend to lie in the admitted student complaints that appear to be divided into the two groups. Let’s see if we can break this down into manageable segments: the first one, “lack of awareness about racial differences is the biggest problem.”
Just as an aside: Fifty years ago Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared one of his dreams with us, “…that one day my children will be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” that “dream” still resonate among us to this day. One of the ways our nation is attempting to make that dream a reality is to provide special incentives to our disadvantaged youth that might free them from the dredges of poverty.
However, before we can solve that one, we need to identify the fact that many of us are attempting to attack poverty without identifying its source. Poverty has nothing to do with material belongings, or skin color. What we as a society attempt to eradicate (which we will never do) is poverty because it, as is wealth, is a mind thing. In other words, both wealth and poverty is in the mind of the individual. That means “racial differences” and character are two different things. One has nothing to do with the other, except in the mind of the individual.
The second issue, the easiest to resolve is, “…differences that no one understands and no one wants to confront.” Well, doggone it, let’s identify it, open it up and confront it. Once we do that we’ll find it’s not a problem at all, all we need to do is follow one of the Professor stated example.
The professor to whom I referred is an African-American studies professor, has been at the university since 1985: he said “My role is to make sure that while I’m in this environment, people are treated fairly.” That should be the role of every individual on the university campus, student and/or Faculty.
Incidentally, the fact that only 8.2 percent of the university’s undergraduate students, might provide a clue to a greater problem. Nevertheless, the newspaper is absolutely correct: “the problem is “Not a black and white issue.”