Thursday, July 28, 2005

Pedantic Politics 3B [Too Hot To Handle] --- Guns, Guns, Guns

In this thread I'll state my views on guns and a few related items. Again, I have humble goals here, mainly trying to be reasonably clear and give some basis for why I hold what I hold.

(1) Guns, gun ownership, etc are neither objectively good nor bad.

(2) In a free society, people, if they are viewed as responsible agents and not wards of the State, have the God-given right to protect themselves. In fact, they are irresponsible if they do not protect themselves. Guns are but one way of protecting one's self.

The typical leftist line is that sometimes bad things happen when people own guns. Here's a cry-in-your-hankie story about some boy who played with Daddy's gun and shot a friend by mistake. After that, have a good emoting over some poor victim of domestic abuse featuring a gun. If that doesn't make you want to sit in a pile of ashes while scraping yourself with pottery shards, think about the people in, say, the South Side of Chicago who live in constant fear of gangs and their associated gun violence.

And so the leftist litany of individal sob stories goes; we are led to believe that guns are objectively bad, and that these individual cases are universal statements about all citizens in an allegedly free country.

But such an extension is empirically false, for such three-hankie-cry stories listed above are newsworthy precisely because they represent exceptional behavior among, to put it nicely, the more poorly raised and bred members of society. I have yet to see any visual or written media stories with headlines such as Man Keeps Gun Unlocked and Away From His Boys --- Everybody's Fine or Home Intruder Declines To Break Into Home on 1611 King James Way --- "That homeowner reportedly owns a gun," says intruder.

In a free society, bad or unlucky things happen in the rounds of human intercourse. Some people catch breaks; other people get the Capital-S-Shaft. Laws that are made with the idea of attempting to even out the variation inherent in the total set of human experiences are ultimately futile, and they infantilize people, reducing them to a subhuman capacity. So, while there will be a few sob stories about some gun tragedy that could've been prevented, this is no reason to make universal statements about guns being objectively bad, and then to pass laws making guns forbidden in many respects. This isn't thoughtful civic policy consonant with an allegedly free people --- it is the histrionic reaction of drama queen politicians and social activists. In general, I want the State out of my life. It is not there to ensure that I succeed or fail, nor do I want it there to ensure, as Thomas Sowell calls it, some degree of "Cosmic Justice."

(3) Should law-abiding citizens be allowed to carry weapons with them? Absolutely. I can personally find no real consistency between those who support gun rights for people on their own property but deny at the same time those same people taking guns off of their property. Every sort of argument that I've seen for holding the former but not the latter has been pretty silly, reeking of special pleading and such.

At this point, those who support gun control can again provide some sob stories about how, in states where concealed laws exist [Go Texas!], something bad happened as a result of this, with the conclusion being along the lines of stating that concealed carry laws must go. And again, we're dealing with the leftist mentality that is bent on ensuring cosmic justice so that we're all equal with respect to our lives.

I happen to contend that an armed society is a very polite society, and those who might try to mug me just might very well think differently about it if they knew that I was a pistol-packin' Pedantic Protestant. And, if they tried, they could find out the hard way.

On a somewhat related note, I find the feminist histrionics regarding rape and domestic abuse to be silly. For all of the blather about girl-power, feminine empowerment [I hate the word "empowerment" btw], etc, these silly "Take Back the Night" rallies and other histrionics [I'm over-using that word] really do the opposite, for they make women more dependent on the collective, the all-knowing State. If a woman is raped every [insert small time interval here] as feminists claim, wouldn't that make packing heat desirable for women? But, instead of lobbying for women to be able to be more self-sufficient as to their defense --- You Go Girl! --- the feminists are telling the women in essence to rely on the police and the State. Of course, most feminists supported Bill Clinton, so one doesn't expect much on principle here!

Of course, private property owners can set their own rules regarding guns and such on their property. If a restaurant, say, wants to make patrons check in their guns at the door and such, then the restaurant has every right to do so, and, if people don't like it, they can presumably go someplace else that will let them eat with their guns.

(4) The State should not have anything to do with private gun ownership.

When I lived in Illinois, I owned a firearm card, which needed to be presented on every purchase of guns [and ammo as well I believe]. Now I have no criminal record --- I've never even gotten a ticket, yet the State can monitor me in peaceful commerce. It makes me queasy to know that the State has a database on what I own and such. In theory, with such information, the State can confiscate the weaponry of all those people who have followed the Law.

I'm of the opinion that the State should fear the citizens, and not the other way around.

(5) You're an extremist if you view the right to bear arms from the perspective of protecting yourself from possible predatory action of the State.

Or so many supposedly conservative Republicans might state.

But, this was indeed one of the intentions of the Founders of our country. On a personal level, as mentioned above, I want the State to fear the citizenry, and I'd like for politicians to quake in fear knowing that an armed citizenry just might rise up in protest and violently overthrow the government. But that's just me.

One response that I've run into is that such a principle, even if practiced doesn't matter. Little ol' me with my handguns, shotguns, etc, won't be able to fend off, say, a tank or one Army specialist with advanced weaponry. And this is true.

But then the objection burns itself up on its own fuel. If the standard weaponry for self-defense is flimsy and pathetic when compared against the expensive hi-tech gadgetry used by the police and military, why am I a threat, especially since I'm a law-abiding tax-paying citizen?

(6) From a scriptural perspective, I have often wondered if, in the horrible event where somebody is trying to kill me and I have a loaded gun in hand, I could actually shoot to kill somebody. Should I just the thug in the leg and hope to immobilize him and then wait for the police? Am I under some sort of obligation to not kill even if my life is threatened?

The practical answer is that it is completely unreasonable to expect somebody whose life is immediately threatened to try to "gently shoot" the thug. There is no clear scriptural address to something like this. Therefore, the practicalities of the situation seem to give clear warrant to shoot and not worry about where you hit. But, even in this case, speaking only for myself, I'd feel psychic pain in killing somebody, even if they deserve it.

I'll stop this thread here. There are other points I could've addressed, but it is late, and what I've written, though quite informal, seems to do as decent a job as any as putting forth my views on guns. In this view, I'm firmly "on the reservation" as a libertarian here.


Blogger steve said...

BTW, it's not only the case of someone trying to kill you; it can also be the case of something trying to kill you. People have an odd habit of destroying all the major natural predators where they live (wolves, bears, cougars), for safety's sake, only to replace them with attack dogs which freely roam the neighborhood.

Friday, July 29, 2005 6:00:00 AM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

As a Christian, I don't see any Biblical admonition to carry a weapon -- except, of course, the sword of the spirit.

As a person who lives where I live and knows the people I know, I'm pleased to be able to have a relatively safe neighborhood where crime is almost extinct. However, that didn't happen because the police are so vigilant or because we have successfully baptized and discipled all the criminal element in NW Arkansas.

It happened because of all the gun racks in our neighborhood. It's easy to break in on an unarmed person and treat him poorly, but when you know that 95% of the houses on a street have loaded weapons handy, you'll probably not try to play that lotto. I would also add that I think it is because we have a pretty good balance in terms of the use of alcohol -- though apparently there is a problem of methamphetamines coming in from OK.

I'm all for responsible gun ownership, and I think any government that doesn't want you to have a gun is a government that probably spends time worrying about what you'll do with it "if" ...

Friday, July 29, 2005 9:58:00 AM  
Blogger steve said...

No Biblical admonition to carry a weapon? Now, now, Frank, surely there's an implicit Biblical admonition to carry a whip of cords in case we happen by any money-changes in the temple, or equivalent thereof. I mean, WWJD? And by argument from analogy, if a whip of cords, then why not a machine gun or rocket launcher? What could be more logical? :-)

Saturday, July 30, 2005 5:39:00 AM  
Blogger steve said...

To paraphrase Howard Dean: God, guns, & girls--that pretty much sums up the Christian worldview, right? :-)

Sunday, July 31, 2005 5:27:00 AM  
Blogger steve said...

We are still waiting for your interdisciplinary essay on the interrelationship between libertarian politics, Koine Greek, set theory, and cocker spaniels. Time to flaunt your polymathic stuff!

Sunday, July 31, 2005 4:02:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

Here's a foretaste:

A truly free society where people are responsible for themselves leaves me time to ponder the warm love of spaniels and relate it to the agape to theou mentioned in the Greek NT. However, the cardinal number of the set of moochers has a higher ordering than does the cardinal number of the set of people like me, so I have to set phasers on "kill" to make the two sets closer to equipollent...

Sunday, July 31, 2005 5:01:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

Note: tou should replace to above. I mean to type the masculine genitive article, but instead put out the neuter nominative/accusative article!

See what public education has done to me! :P

Sunday, July 31, 2005 5:02:00 PM  
Blogger steve said...

See what public education has done to me! :P

Shocking, I know. I've actually heard from some well-placed sources that there are even high school grads in our fair land without a working knowledge of Classical Latin!

Sunday, July 31, 2005 5:14:00 PM  

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