Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Moral Superiority of Self Defense

So I've been having a hard time with something for the past week. I've been struggling with a bunch of factors which combined to relieve me of even more of my innocence, most of which I won´t go into. I've had to admit to myself that I don´t understand how some people think, and that there is more evil in the world than I thought before, and that people will do ANYTHING to other people, immoral and wrong or not.

However, I still hadn't made that leap from understanding that the world sucks to mentally preparing for what could happen if crime and inhumanity came right to my front door and I had to fight back. I HAVE the knowledge, and I HAVE the training, but I didn't have the will to use it in my own defense. I didn't have the will to protect myself (and only myself, the kids I've always been capable) from mortal danger.

So today (and just today) I discovered what had been holding me back. I had not yet resigned myself to the fact that, although my education taught me otherwise, pacifism is not actually the moral high ground. Pacifism is actually a fine-tuned, well-concealed form of selfishness and cowardice.

Pacifism (in the current Liberal definition, not the classical pacifism of Shakers, Quakers, Mennonites, etc.) teaches that there is a moral superiority in not fighting back, that if we do not resist the enemy will just see how much ¨better¨ we are and be so simultaneously cowed and shamed that they will just ¨see our point of view.¨ This is folly in the best of times; deadly and destructive in times of war.

As many have said before me, the real reason GFWs hate the idea of everyone being armed for their own self-defense, or being allowed to own firearms is simple: somewhere along the line these GFWs got the idea that just because they can´t be trusted to use these obviously inanimate tools of self-defense (excuse me, mass destruction), no one else can.

Somewhere along the line they got the idea that thought is action, and just because they (like everyone else) occasionally think violent or destructive thoughts that they are incapable of self-control and will act on those thoughts.

They assume that because they fear their own capability for violence, and distrust their own ability to restrain it; that everyone else has the same trouble (except for police officers, soldiers, etc who obviously have this ability mysteriously trained into them). Then, rather than restrain themselves; they try to control the beast within by removing all opportunity for temptation to mayhem; and assume that everyone else has to as well.

Itś this basic logical fallacy (what psychiatrists call projection) that convinces liberals, that since they can be convinced to not commit violence out of fear of consequences AND lack of opportunity, those with malicious intent can be similarly convinced.

Thus convinced of their own rectitude and moral superiority, they will try to convince the malicious that a.) they understand what theyŕe going through, they've thought about destroying lives too, b.) they will take away EVERYONES ability across the board so NO ONE will be tempted, and c.) they will punish those who are capable of self-restraint, those who are ¨different¨, by making up for those differences with restrictions on the capable, and handouts, equalizations, etc etc for those who are not.

...And of course, the more violent you are and ¨misunderstood¨ you are, the more equalization is needed.

This idea of being able to reason with the malicious is based on a false premise. Shrouded in this ideal is a very basic mis-understanding of human nature: that people who have shown malice and a lack of respect for the rights and lives of others can be reasoned with; and their "better nature' can be appealed to. If they had enough reason, or better nature (or for that matter any shame at all) to begin with, talking them out of violence would be unnecessary, as they wouldn't be inclined to commit predatory violence in the first place.

So why is this the cowardly and lazy way out? Because instead of requiring that everyone be brought up to a high standard of self-control and responsibility (formerly referred to as ¨adulthood¨) the intent is instead to bring everyone down to the lowest common denominator; the person who needs to be controlled by someone else, preferably the not-plagued-by-human-error-yet-run-by-humans state. Which of course should be run by the oh-so-enlightened Liberals who came up with these ideas in the first place.

Those of us in favor of self-defense and personal responsibility know better.

We know that someone with malicious intent is not a downtrodden, misunderstood, helpless human being who just needs to be convinced and coddled. We know that someone with malicious intent either a.) knows exactly what they are doing, exactly how wrong it is, and exactly what the consequences are; and chooses to commit evil anyway, or b.) is incapable of understanding and/or self-restraint. Both should be removed (imprisoned or committed) from the general population as both present a continual danger and the latter is also IN continual danger themselves.

So what happens when those with the Liberal doctrine of pacifism outnumber those of us with a doctrine of personal responsibility, in most positions of power, influence, and policy-making? The doctrine of ¨equalization¨ becomes public policy, and the ¨victims¨ become protected classes.

Their whole philosophy can be summed up as ¨these people made you feel bad for not acting like an adult. We will make them pay.¨

...And pay we do.

We pay for counseling for criminals, welfare for those unwilling to grow up and be responsible adults, court settlements for bogus discrimination, and don´t even get me started on how much those poor boys at Duke had to pay for the crime of looking at a "stripper".

All of these "equalizations" to try to make up for the fact that those of us who value personal responsibility work harder, behave better, and are as a whole more trustworthy.

Self-defense and responsibility advocates look at things a bit differently. Oh, we're guilty of projection too: We think that since we are capable of reason and self-restraint, others are too.We tend to see people the same way we see ourselves, as worth trusting unless they indicate otherwise.

For example, AZ is an open-carry state. What that means is that anyone who legally owns a firearm can carry that firearm openly on their person anywhere not prohibited by law.

This includes many places people go every day, from parks to grocery stores and just strolling down the street. Every now and then I see someone who is obviously armed and not uniformed, and it doesn't bother me. However I've heard exclamations of fear from others, as if the presence of a firearm is an automatic threat.

And don't assume such reactions are limited only to the gun fearing general public. A well known blogger was recently harassed and physically assaulted by a police officer, when said
ignorant police officer (and there an unfortunate number of them) caught a glimpse of the bloggers gun, that flashed while he was reaching for some groceries.

Since I trust myself to carry a firearm and not commit murder (as the EEEEEEVIL semi-automatic death machine is obviously whispering me to do) I can trust another adult to carry a firearm and never have it leave the holster. Unless the situation indicates otherwise, I know that a person who is openly carrying a firearm a.) has passed the background check that indicates whether or not they've displayed lack of self-restraint in the past, and b.) is carrying that firearm as a precaution, just as I do.

What that means to me is that the adult carrying the firearms understands that there are people with malicious intent in the world and is prepared to protects themselves and others from the violent actions of those people. Honestly, the sight of another armed person (generally) doesn't alarm me, and sometimes is comforting.

As a sidenote here, this is something that gun-control activists don´t understand. Grouping serious gun owners together with criminals who buy guns, is like saying the responsible Rottweiler owners who give their dogs proper training and care are comparable to the irresponsible... never mind, they think that too.

Okay, Iĺl try again. It's like saying that someone who spent months of their free time rebuilding a classic automobile will use it in a drive-by shooting so it can get the crap shot out of it and possibly seized by the police.

Someone who has sunk tons of time into finding the right firearm, practicing with it, becoming proficient with it, etc... does NOT want that firearm used in a crime and seized by police (just as after spending months getting my Llama working I don't want to have to hand it over to our boys in blue).

Serious gun owners who are serious about self-defense DON'T want their firearms used in criminal acts, and don´t deserve to be treated like theyŕe criminals who will use a firearm in a crime and ditch it later. They are two completely different mindsets and should be treated differently.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand...

This is very indicative of how personal responsibility advocates think. We think a person should not be judged by their impulses, thoughts, or upbringing, but how they ACT upon those factors.

For example we applaud those who escape poverty and work hard to improve their lives and encourage others to follow in their footsteps.

We tend to think of every adult as capable of improving themselves and supporting themselves, and handling the consequences of their actions; but we also donate more per capita to charities that help those who, for whatever reason, need help to survive and become self-sufficient. We WANT everyone to be responsible and self-sufficient, and trust that adults have self-restraint.

Liberals think they have the moral high ground here; that pacifism is more moral because it results in less bloodshed; and that in their attempt to ¨help¨ the perpetrators of predatory violence, they are doing good.

Except they don't, it isn't, and they aren't.

Usually pacifism ends in more bloodshed, as the criminals are free (after probation and free counseling) to commit more malicious acts on more innocent victims.

So what do the Liberals try to do? They try to take away the tools of violence, as if taking away the temptation will take away the act. They don´t allow for the fact that criminals aren't quite as lazy as they are, and WILL find other avenues to obtain tools of violence. Money and a lack of scruples can accomplish anything except world peace.

Self-defense and responsibility advocates KNOW that criminals don´t give a damn about the law or the consequences of their actions; if they did they wouldn't be criminals. There is the occasional case of someone who wants to leave the gang life or otherwise comes to their senses (occasionally 20 years in prison will change a man for the better... very occasionally), and we help them as much as possible; but for the truly malicious there is no help.

The very basis of self-defense is very simple: the life of the person being attacked (usually an innocent) is more important than what the attacker wants. (This is of course assuming a civilian situation; militaries and war zones have their own very specific sets of agreed to terms.) This is one of the few times that life really is a zero-sum game; in that either the criminal gets what they want and the innocent must live with what the criminal metes out, or the innocent successfully defends themself.

Now here's where self-defense advocates and Liberals differ. A Liberal will tell you that you can't assume the criminal will hurt you in order to get what they want. This is assuming that someone who has shown a distinct lack of respect for law, morals, or fundamental standards of human behavior, has a discernible stopping point, or a moral code of their own that you can depend on. Self-defense advocates will (rightfully) assume that if a person is willing to commit one crime, they are willing to commit another.

Thankfully, the state of Arizona agrees with us on that point.

As of 2006, Arizona has a doctrine of presumed justification. This means that it is presumed that one is justified in using lethal force (or the threat of lethal force), if one is presented with a situation where a reasonable person would believe they were threatened with immediate, present, physical force; or that it was necessary to defend others being threatened with immediate, present, physical force.
Unless prosecutors can explicitly prove that you were NOT justified in doing so; they are not even allowed to file charges.

In this state, there is no duty to retreat; and we explicitly allow that ones home, vehicle, and place of business are specially protected; and that any person threatening or trespassing on those areas, is by that very act presenting a credible threat of force.

Additionally, Arizona has a list of crimes which any citizen would be justified in using deadly force or threat of deadly force in order to prevent. They specifically include (but are not necessarily limited to):
  • Aggravated trespass (trespass with the use or threat of force)
  • Aggravated theft (theft with the use or threat of force)
  • Arson of an occupied structure
  • Burglary in the second or first degree
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • First or second degree murder
  • Sexual conduct with a minor
  • Sexual assault
  • Child molestation
  • Armed robbery
  • Aggravated assault
Arizona assumes that if a person is willing to commit one of the crimes above that they are willing to take it to the next level and take another personś life. Often kidnapping and rape do become murders; and quite often rather than be stopped a criminal will take the life of an innocent who has the bad luck of getting in their way.

Our state legislature assumes that criminals are without scruples, why can't Liberals?

...Because they identify with the criminals.

Liberals can see themselves doing the same things in the same circumstances. They want to pretend that a person is only a product of their social status and upbringing; and that "if only they'd had the same education and opportunity I had", that the criminal would magically have been a good person.

Of course his way, when they aren't willing to go through the hard work of being self-sufficient or take responsibility for their actions, they have someone to blame.

A lot of times it's guns; quite often it's successful businesspeople (who won´t share), religious conservatives (who don´t believe in hedonism), or any other figure who insists that they work hard for what they want. You see, it's not the criminal's fault, it's life's fault... really it is.

But anyway...

Self-defense is the moral high-ground. There are two sides to this conflict, one is right, and one is wrong. One, the criminal, wants whatever they want, whether it be valuables or power or whatever; without regard to the law, or the rights of others. The innocent just wants to survive with as little harm as possible, and if others are involved without anyone else coming to harm. The criminal is WRONG, and the innocent is not.

In the Liberal world, the innocent would hand whatever it is over and possibly survive, possibly be raped, or possibly be killed. However since it leads to only one death, the death of the victim and not the poor, innocent criminal, thatś the better end in their eyes. However this leaves a criminal on the loose who is more than capable of murder, and will most likely do so again.

(no, seriously, they believe that. It sounds insane, but one thing you'll always hear from victim disarmament advocates is "Well, if I had a gun, maybe we'd both end up dead. At least if I don't have a gun, only one person has to die, and maybe he won't kill me". It's absolutely mind boggling)

In our world, the innocent would fight back, maybe bare-handed, preferably with something that gives them parity, or superiority in the conflict, like a firearm of their own. In our perfect world the criminal would be the one in a world of pain or hurt with the innocent unharmed.

Unfortauntely, that doesn't always happen. Sometimes the victim still gets killed; but our hope (and what we train for) is for the criminal to be stopped either by injury or death. The aim is always for the innocent to survive; and when they don't, the next aim is for the criminal to be stopped, therefore ending the train of victims.

And thatś where the moral superiority of self-defense comes in.

In a world of self-defense we have people who believe it their responsibility to not let evil go about its business. In a world of self-defense we have a military that protects us from those who want to kill us, police to take care of minor criminals before they progress to violent crimes, stiff penalties for those who abuse the rights of others, no matter their upbringing or ïnequities¨, and people who stop violence when they see it. All of these factors combine to make everyone more safe and secure, as those with malicious intent are removed from society and therefore unable to victimize more people, and those who care about others enough to prevent greater harm are left alive and well.

That is the moral superiority of protective violence: leaving a world with more people who protect others than people who harm others. More servicemen than ruthless dictators, more self-sufficient people than subjects. That is truly leaving a better world for our kids, which is the most morally superior action of all.

So now I get it. Now I understand why defending myself is the most important thing of all. I previously didn't understand why my life was worth the pain and the trouble, or the consequences of defending myself.

Now I do.

By saving my life, I save much more than that. I save my kids' mother; I save the children I am going to have; I save my family from the pain of losing me; And I save myself, a moral upright person who wouldn't unnecessarily bring harm to anyone else. I save myself from a beast who, after they are done with me, will go on to another innocent victim. I stop one evil person, and that one person stopped is worth it. It is, after all, the most moral thing to do.


Just call me Mel, everyone else does.