January 17, 2009
Atlanta: Victim shoots robber
There are many who insist that "self-defense" is not a valid argument for owning and carrying a handgun. As stories about people using handguns to defend themselves appear, I will collect them in my blog.
The anti-gun people are right about one thing: the main purpose of a handgun is to kill a person. That is the main reason for their size, their short effective range, and their ability to be concealed. However, there will never be a world where an individual does not need to be prepared to defend themselves. We cannot perfect the human species to the point that no one will commit robbery, rape, murder or assault. There will always be criminally minded people, therefore, the rest of us must be prepared to defend ourselves when confronted by these people, with lethal force if necessary.
If every adult in America carried a handgun, either openly or concealed (or both!) would the number of handgun accidents increase? Yes. Would the number of impassioned fatalities increase? Yes. However, far more important in my own mind is the simple fact that even though we would experience an increase in unnecessary tragedies, we would also experience a much greater, much more profound increase in people whose lives are saved by the presence of a well-trained private citizen armed with a handgun.
Training will prevent the majority of accidental deaths. Although no one likes to admit it, proper training will also reduce the number of impassioned deaths. When individuals understand the destructive power of a handgun the vast majority will be unwilling to endanger their loved ones by pointing it at them either in jest or in anger. One of the reasons that handgun accidents and impassioned killings occur is that the person pulling the trigger does not realize the destructive power they are holding in their hand. Granted, that is not always true. Some of them know exactly what they are doing. That is why we call them "criminals" and put them in jail.
We cannot eliminate criminals. Period. I'm sorry, but it's not going to happen. There will always be murderers, rapists, thieves, bullies, and so on. The skills these people employ are powerfully effective in insuring the survival of the individual in times of hardship. They are natural inclinations that cannot be curbed, only disciplined. The rule of law must be established and maintained so that those who can discipline their animal behaviors will have the means to force those who cannot into isolation, thus protecting the community of those who can discipline the animal within. For those situations in which the rule of law is too slow to prevent the criminal from preying on the innocent, the innocent must have the means to thwart the criminal's intent.
The best equalizer currently available is a handgun. Since we cannot create utopia, let us create an armed society trained and prepared to handle dangerous situations when they arise.