Thursday, March 03, 2005

Superiority complex

In my essay "Why I Carry a Gun", I explicitly state some thing that either piss people off, make them uncomfortable, or provoke irrational emotioanl reactions.

To wit:

When you carry a gun you have in your hands (or on your hip), the ability to end any mans life. This is a massive responsibility, second only to that of raising children.


When I carry a gun, I accept the fact that I may kill someone. I don't ever plan on doing it, I hope it doesn't happen, but it may. I am prepared for this possiblity, and I accept the consequences should it happen


I carry a gun because it is my right, and because I am responsible enough to excercise it. I feel nothing but pity or contempt for those who are not.

Responses from the left have come in many varieties, most often I get the arguments "Why do you need a gun", "Wouldnt the world be a better place without guns", and "arent you worried you'll shoot someone". Further, many insults are directed my way, calling me immature, accusing me of needing a gun as a phallic replacement, saying that I was clearly psychotic, and asking how I can possibly have such a superior attitude because of something that is so obviously wrong (carrying a gun that is).

The basic thread running through all of this, is that there must be some special jsutification for having, owning, or carrying a gun.

Here's the thing, pro-gun and anti-gun people are arguing from a different set of first principles. There can be no useful debate betwen two people with different first principles, except on those principles themselves.

More in the extended entry...

ProGun people believe that the gun is a useful tool with no inherent motive, and no inherehnt dangers, excepting misuse. Additionally, guns are examples of elegance in mechanical engineering, which many take pleasure in. Finally they are a source of enjoyment through the practice of the skill of marksmanship. But guns are jsut inanimate object; dangerous if muisused, but so are knives, screwdrivers, chainsaws, cars.. well really just about anything. A gun is an inanimate object, just like any other two pound chunk of metal.

Anti-gun people operate from a completely different principle. They believe guns are inherently wrong. They equate guns with assault and murder, and conflate a causal relationship. They believe that if anyone would have a gun, they must have a valid justification for it, and that they (the anti-gun people) must judge the validity of this justification. They believe that the desire to carry a gun is in iteslf a pathology, and therefore no-one who wishes to carry a gun should be trusted to do so.

Personally I think this position is ridiculous. It's an inanimate object. It has not intent. It has no will. It has no magical properties. Picking up a gun does not turn you into Rambo, or Gary Gilmore.

I have asked a girlfriend to pick up a gun and hand it to me from my work bench, and they actually shrunk back from it, as if it would hurt them.

I carry a gun because I can, and because it is a useful tool. I never explicitly stated that a gun is a useful tool in my original essay, because anyone who isn't an idiot, or blinded by their emotional reaction to an inanimate object should be able to see that a gun is useful. I also carry a pocket knife, a flashlight, and a multitool, because I can, and because they are useful tools.

Does carrying a gun make me feel better? More secure? Absolutely. I know that no matter who might try to harm me or those around me, I have an advantage in stopping them. I know that I won't necessarily have to rely on the police, or the people around me to help. I know that by merely having a gun I am more likely to be able to stop an assault from happening because most defensive uses of guns do not involve any shots being fired.

Am I supposed to feel bad because carrying a gun makes me feel better?

Do I take pleasure in the fact that I can kill someone with it? Of course not. I can almost as easily kill someone with my bare hands, or a knife, or even easier with my car.

Only those that impute some mystical power to guns could ever make these arguments without realizing how ridiculous they are.

What I do appreciate, is that carrying a gun is a greater responsibility than not carrying one. I have a greater capacity for harm with less effort, (though no greater responsiblity to not harm), and should act accordingly. THis is no different than a large and strong man appreciating that he must be more careful than a small man in how he moves, to avoid breaking things around him.

Does this somehow make me feel superior to everyone around me? No of course not, but I do feel superior to those who believe they are not responsible enough to carry a gun, because I AM superior to them. I have control of myself, and I do not impute irrational properties to inanimate objects. I dont think that merely posessing an object will make me a killer.

Damn right I'm superior to those who do not have the moral courage to simply own an inanimate object.

Damn right I am superior to those who feel that since they aren't responsible, neither is anyone else.

Damn right I am superior to those who refuse to take responsibility for their own safety.

I am superior to them, because I am not dependent on them, or anyone else, to defend myself; and yes, I feel contempt for those people who do not have the will to do so. It's not about ability, its about will.

Saying you don't have the physical ability to defend yourself is nothing but an excuse, because weapons are the great equalizer. What you really don't have is the will necessary. You are saying that if someone tries to kill you, or rape you, will do nothing to stop them but flail your arms and scream. Worse, you are not only saying it isn't your responsibility to stop them, but that it IS everyone elses responsiblity.

Yes, I have contempt for you, and I pity you, because no matter what age you are, you have wilfully reduced yourself to no more than a helpless child.