Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Arm Everybody! Safety Through Countervailing Violence?

The Right-Wing Dream
Absolute Safety vouchsafed by ubiquitous firearms.

Alan: If every passenger can "pack," then every terrorist would have a firearm and only a few citizens. (Would you take a firearm on board a plane?)

Those who think ubiquitous firearms are a solution to any of life's problems contribute to  the problem.

The likelihood that well-armed citizens will perform acts of sudden, salvific heroicism when a criminal already "has the drop" is vanishingly remote. 

Such wishful thinking is the product of arrested development, the vestigial puerility of children playing at "cowboys and Indians."

Many more innocent Americans are killed by firearms "in the home" than the piddling number of Americans saved by domestic firearm heroics.

And when, at rare intervals, such heroics do occur, they often result in the death of property thieves who harbor no violent intent.

Where are the Christian literalists when we need them?

“You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But now I tell you: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too. And if someone takes you to court to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well. And if one of the occupation troops forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles. When someone asks you for something, give it to him; when someone wants to borrow something, lend it to him. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’ But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that! You must be whole—just as your Father in heaven is whole."

I am 67 years old and have friends "on both sides of the aisle." 

I have never heard any of them say that their firearm saved a life.

I have never heard any of them say they know someone whose life was saved by a firearm.

Occassional anecdotes do not establish "general rules." 

On the flip side of this coin, I have heard several friends say firearms were used by family members to kill themselves.

Whether by accident... sudden eruption of anger... or by psychological disease... firearms in citizens' homes exact a terrifyingly high toll with correspondingly trivial benefit.


The belief that individual heroes will "save the day" is essentially self-ish.

Yes, an occasional hero will "save the day."

But arming an entire society increases cumulative carnage.


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