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Armed Citizens are Responsible Citizens

(C) 2000, William A. Levinson
Permission is granted to print, copy, and distribute hard (non-electronic) copies of this page freely and without royalties of any kind, provided that it is not altered in any manner.

Robert A. Heinlein wrote that an armed society is a polite society. The common perception is that armed societies were polite because an act of rudeness might evolve into a duel, as portrayed in Dumas' The Three Musketeers. The real reason, though, is the mindset and psychology that come with responsible weapon ownership. The knight's sword was a symbol of his duty to protect weaker members of society and behave chivalrously, e.g. with respect and courtesy to women, elderly people, and so on. The sword was the soul of the Japanese samurai, a constant reminder of the samurai's duty and code of behavior. The sword was a symbol of taking responsibility, not only for one's self, but usually for others.

If you don't like cops (or armed citizens), the next time you're in danger-- call a hippie! (Or a Million Mom Marcher)

The modern American who buys a firearm for self-protection is saying, "I recognize that life involves danger, and by owning a weapon I accept my responsibility to protect myself and those who are entitled to my protection-- my wife/husband, children, parents, and perhaps friends and neighbors."  An American who shoots at targets for recreation is practicing a form of self-discipline similar to kyudo (Japanese archery). If you are attacked by a criminal, it is the person with the armed-citizen mindset who is more likely to call the police. If you're in a car accident, this is the person who is more likely to stop and give first aid if possible, or else call an ambulance for you. The antigun activist is likely to look the other way, like the New Yorkers did when Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death. They didn't want to get involved, not even to the extent of picking up a telephone. More recently, a cab driver was attacked and robbed in the presence of dozens of New Yorkers, of whom not one called the police. You could probably bleed to death on a New York sidewalk while dozens of people walked past; these are the same people who parade in the Million Mom March and elect mayors and governors who enact handgun bans.

Many antigun activists are saying, "I do not want to recognize that life involves danger. I deserve to live in a protected environment, and I should not have to think about protecting myself, my spouse, my parents, my children, or my neighbors. This is the 21st century, and violence simply should not happen." It's the same mindset that went with the "ban the Bomb" movements of the 1970s and 1980s; they wanted to legislate the Bomb out of existence and pretend that nuclear war couldn't (and can't) happen. The mice voted to put a bell on the cat so they'd be safe. It all goes with dodging and avoiding responsibility, and the moral (and often physical) cowardice that goes with this mindset. Placing responsibility for violence on the inanimate object (the gun or the Bomb) instead of on people goes with it.

Consider Rosie O'Donnell, who has a bodyguard to protect her and her family. Maybe she wants to delegate the physical risks to an employee, or maybe she doesn't want to endanger her nail polish with a steel trigger guard. Ted Kennedy has, or had, an armed bodyguard. I'm sure this rich man's rich boy who never did a lick of honest work in his entire worthless life would not want to touch anything made of steel, whether it be a household tool or a weapon; that is what servants are for. Chinese mandarins grew their fingernails long as proof that they did not have to fight or do any work; that is probably why there are no mandarins today. Here's the problem with all those bodyguards and rent-a-cops that are so popular with our "beautiful people"/ celebrity/ limousine liberal aristocrat class. Machiavelli's The Prince says that you cannot pay a man enough to make him willing to die for you. That security person is not going to put his life in serious danger to protect you, your spouse, or your child-- and if you're unwilling to do that, why should he?

Why the pro-Second Amendment side will win: Xenophon

Heinlein also defined a gentleman as one who would rather be a dead lion than a live louse (or rabbit). It is really easier, though, to be a live lion than a live rabbit. Xenophon's The Persian Expedition says, "...the people whose one aim is to keep alive usually find a wretched and dishonorable death, while the people who, realizing that death is the common lot of all men, make it their endeavor to die with honor, somehow seem more often to reach old age and to have a happier life when they are alive." So it is with antigun activists and gun rights supporters. The former seek safety in ineffective laws and "this is how the world ought to be," and they find no safety; the latter look to themselves for security, and they are secure. Xenophon's Ten Thousand heeded his advice and most came safely home to Greece. Ronald Reagan and George Bush won the Cold War, not by trying to ban the Bomb, but by looking it in the face. We, the supporters of the Second Amendment, are Xenophon's disciples, and that  is why we will win; the lions will beat the rabbits every time.


Printer Version

As an individual, I believe, very strongly, that handguns should be banned and that there should be stringent, effective control of other firearms. However, as a judge, I know full well that the question of whether handguns can be sold is a political one, not an issue of products liability law, and that this is a matter for the legislatures, not the courts. The unconventional theories advanced in this case (and others) are totally without merit, a misuse of products liability laws. Judge Buchmeyer, Patterson v. Gesellschaft, 1206 F.Supp. 1206, 1216 (N.D. Tex. 1985)

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