Monday, January 16, 2012

7 years on... "Why I carry and gun", and "Superiority Complex"

Just  about 7 years ago, I wrote a pair of posts, about why I carry a gun, and how I feel about carrying; titled "why I carry a gun" and "Superiority Complex".

I thought this would be a good time to republish those posts. Unfortunately, in the great Haloscan purge of 2010 I lost most of my sites comments before 2009 (Haloscan comments prior to some point in 2009 were unreadable by the import engines of other commenting systems. Thousands of bloggers lost their comments); so you can't read the literally hundreds of comments, both good and idiotic, on these posts.

I'm republishing these now; first because Kevin reminded me of the posts by linking to "superiority complex" in a recent link chain (to a post from 2010 actually); but also because the world has changed a lot since 2005.

I think it would be interesting to see how comments run these days.

So, here we go (note, I updated the dates, fixed typos etc...):
Why I Carry A Gun

My favorite anecdote about Bill Jordan goes a little something like this:
Now Ol' Bill, he was a direct man, and a big one at that, so most of the folks he put away were willing to chalk it up to "just business", and leave it at that.

Well Bill heard this feller was raisin' a stink about comin' round to get some back at him for, but he didn't think too much of it.

A few days later, Bills sittin' out there on his porch, and he's got his trademark combat magnum in his lap. His neighbor walks by and says to bill "See ya got yer pistol there Bill, you 'spectin trouble?", So says Bill "Nope, if I was expeting trouble, I'd have my rifle"
I carry a gun whenever it is legal, and not impolite for me to do so (I respect peoples property rights). When I am entering the home or place of business of someone I don't know, I will inform them I am armed, and ask them if they would prefer I not carry a gun while there.

It's just polite.

A lot of people ask me "Why do you carry a gun, do you expect trouble?"

No, I carry a gun not because I expect trouble, but because I can...
If I was expecting trouble I'd carry a 12ga.

The practice of carrying a weapon is a clear assertion that I am a man. By that I'm not talking about macho bullshit; By saying I am a man, I mean that I am an adult, responsible for my actions, and willing to accept the consequences of them.

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.

Many people are uncomfortable with that responsiblity. They believe that they can't be trusted with it, and by extension, neither can anyone else. They fall back on saying "the police" or "the government" should take care of that. Someone with special training, and the blessings of the state should be responsible, but not me, or you, or anyone else.

I can think of no clearer way of saying "I am immature, and not to be trusted".

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.

A few years ago, I broke up with a girlfriend over this. She asked me what I would do to someone if they tried to rape her. I told her flat out that I would kill him. No hesitation there at all. She told me later that from that moment, she was afraid of me.

I asked her what she would do if someone tried to rape her. She said she wouldnt fight. "What if you had a gun, would you shoot the guy to stop it", no she wouldnt do that. "ok what if I was there and I shot him, would that be OK", no of course not. Finally I asked "What if a cop came along, and he shot the guy would that be ok" well of course, he's a cop.

That attitude frankly baffles, and disgusts me, yet there are so many people who hold it. They feel morally superior because they would never "sink to that level".

Personally I would consider that pretty clear evidence of moral bankruptcy.

The same applies to people who would never fight in a war, but are OK with soldiers and cops defending their rights. Oh, they'll protest, and march in the streets, but actually doing anything? No they're all above that and have disdain for everyone else who isn't, calling us savages, and rednecks, and barbarians etc...

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.

And the second post:
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 emotional 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.
Just in case there was any confusion, I feel exactly the same way I did seven years ago.

I have no problem with you if you don't want to carry a gun. Lots of people don't want to, for any number of reasons.

But if you believe that you are not responsible enough to carry a gun, what you are saying to me is "I am irresponsible, and cannot be trusted".

If you can't be trusted with a gun, you can't be trusted with a car, or a knife, or gasoline, or household cleaners... You certainly can't be trusted around my kids.

You are saying that the only thing preventing you from doing wrong, is that you don't have the tools to do so; and I don't want you around me.

All that said, you and I don't have a problem with each other. You live your way and I'll live mine... just stay away from me, and my kids.

If you think that because you are not responsible enough, no-one is; you are simply dead wrong. You may not be responsible enough, but plenty of us are.

Perhaps you can learn for yourself that you are wrong.

Talk to a responsible gun owner. Go out shooting with them. It's fun, and maybe you'll learn something. Guns aren't magic, they're just inanimate objects. Two pounds of metal, with no will, and no intent. They're tools; and just like any other tools, they can be used or misused.

If, after learning a little bit about guns and safety, and gun ownership, you still decide that you are not personally responsible enough... I respect your decision, and your self awareness; but you should understand that just because you are not mature or responsible enough for gun ownership, doesn't mean I am not.

If you believe that YOU personally are responsible enough, and police and the military are responsible enough, but the rest of the law abiding citizens of this country are not...

...Well then there's no help for you.