March 11, 2013

By: Kelly Diamond, Editor

Gun ownership boils down to basic property rights: not just in owning a gun as property, but in the inherent right to defend your property — be it land, things, person or life itself.

The need for guns cannot be centrally planned or even ascertained as guns provide a sense of safety for many individuals and equalize circumstances where brute force might be unequal.

Don't Need GunsThe other day, TRAP (The Real Art of Protest) posted a jibe at gun rights defenders (see image on left), all predicated on individuals not NEEDING an assault rifle or any gun for that matter.  They posted these statistics of innocent individuals who died at the barrel of someone’s gun. My initial response, in so many words, essentially read: Option #4 — NONE OF YOUR F***ING BUSINESS!  I responded with a litany of documented cases where innocents saved their own lives or the lives of others with a privately owned firearm.

They suggested I use a knife to defend myself.  I asked, “What if my attacker has a gun? What good will a knife do?”  No answer.  I asked this knowing the reality of my existence: a petite female.  I found the lack of response rather disconcerting, given the stakes in any given hypothetical.  The most amazing claim they made was, “The majority of women won’t get raped.  And, Kelly, you never had to fend off a rapist with a gun!”  THAT is what I was up against.  Others shared in the outrage, which gives me hope!

The real issue isn’t who has the most statistics to back their contentions.  The REAL issue is someone other than me determining what I NEED.  Individuals who have not the first clue who I am, no less!  I think of all my indulgences, and honestly admit they are superfluous.  I don’t NEED a maid or gardener.  I don’t NEED sweets.  I don’t NEED brand named or brand new clothes.  I don’t NEED a pet.  I don’t NEED a hobby.  I don’t NEED to gratuitously utilize curse words the way I do in everyday conversation.  I don’t NEED a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).  The list goes for miles.  Imagine the economic response if we just banned all of that… never mind banning the unlisted luxuries!  The person whose job directly ties into any of these things, NEEDS me to WANT them.  Not that a considerable amount of our economy hinges on private assault weapon sales, mind you, but the flaws in the “need” argument become evident, and in carrying out this contention to its logical end, we run into some devastating consequences.

How can the NEEDS of individuals be determined simply by assessing the thing in question?  How do we look at a gun and say, “You don’t need it”?  That is typical government means testing, though, isn’t it?  Paying someone to be unemployed for 99 weeks, bailing out irresponsible banks and insolvent car companies, bankrupting Social Security and lest we forget the NEED for wars.  Yeah, because government has done such a bang-up job on assessing NEED and allocating resources already, by all means, decide for me what I NEED!  Specifically, make some unilateral decisions on what I NEED to defend myself.  What’s another life lost in the crosshairs of myopic government policy?

Carrying out a gun ban in itself also leads to devastating consequences.  Imagine how much crime is deterred due to the presence of a gun?  Dr. Gary Kleck, a Criminologist at the University of Florida, used to be very much in favor of gun control laws.  His studies just in the late 1990’s alone speak volumes to the safety tied to the mere presence of a gun.  He interviewed violent offenders and more feared a private citizen with a gun over a police officer!   Convicted rapists avoided individuals with a firearm.  We sentence individuals to victimhood when we disarm them.  Criminals have an uncanny way of getting their hands on just about any weapon.  Law-abiding (or should I say gullible) citizens entertain no such ideas.

Which brings me to my next observation: I don’t like the images of a disarmed citizenry juxtaposed with a fully armed government.  Much like me and a bottle of tequila: it just can’t end well.  First, just Google: “Police Raid Wrong House”, and see what pops up.  I assure you the search results yields a litany of stuff I would NEVER do with my guns!  Those results reflect what happens when gun possession and access are unequal.  Flags go up when contemplating guns concentrated in the hands of violent criminals with no regard for the law AND “authority figures” who consider themselves above the law.  Where does that leave the rest of us then?

The national average of cop to civilian ratio is 1:1,000.  He’s meant to fend off up to 1,000 individuals with that belt of crap?  Or worse yet, I’m meant to depend on him and his belt to fend off the other 999?  Clearly, the assumption is, not ALL 1,000 are violent or have violent intentions.  All it takes is one.  So one guy is speeding.  Cop pulls him over.  Another guy attacks me five minutes away.  Cop has a gun for a person going faster than some arbitrary suggestion.  I have car keys against a mugger.  I struggle to find comfort in this scenario.  While police officers address the public at large armed with every portable weapon taxpayer money can buy including a gun AND a magazine – for his own SAFETY – I should feel okay with the trinkets in my purse and the knowledge that state agents hold the monopoly on gun protection… and that protection may or may not be around when I need it?

If the police officer feels the need to protect himself against the public, well, I deal with the same public.  Let me protect myself.  If I feel confident that $20,000 worth of gear is unnecessary, then I won’t buy it.  If I think $50,000 worth of gear is necessary, then I’ll buy it.

Safety depends on the circumstances, and those particular circumstances vary from individual to individual.  Sometimes, Safety is an illusion.  Sometimes, the threat is an illusion.  Regardless, each individual possesses the right to create their own circumstances where they feel Safe.  If it means sucking your thumb and holding a teddy bear, great.  If it means packing a gun, fantastic.  If how I make myself safe, makes you feel unsafe, then you are entitled to optimize YOUR circumstances accordingly.  What you may NOT do is modify MINE to appease your sensibilities.

Gun ownership boils down to property rights.  Not just the right to own a gun – like any other thing — as property, but to do what is necessary to protect your most valuable asset: your existence.  Your life and your person ARE your property.  Will we allow ourselves to be conditioned to lay claim to a third party’s actions and interventions?  Will we blithely sit by and hedge our bets that said third party will show up in time?  Are we content to outsource our own personal protections – not to a private security entity who’s commissioned to ensure your safety, but to an institution who busies itself meddling in victimless activities while real violent crimes claim their next victims?