In the last week or so, I have come across two essays as to how an armed citizenry makes for a more civilized society. The first (http://munchkinwrangler.wordpress.com/2007/03/23/why-the-gun-is-civilization/) has been traveling all over the internet. Marko Kloos, coincidentally a New Hampshire resident, explains that “Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.
“In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.
“When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.”
He closes by saying “When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation…and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.”
The second essay (http://corneredcat.com/Why_I_Carry_a_Gun/) is by a woman who carries a gun almost all the time. Does she carry it because she lives in constant fear? Quite the contrary. She explains, “Because I know I could cope with the worst that could happen, I am free to go about my regular business without a lot of that low-level, back-of-the-mind feeling of vulnerability that most women experience on some level in their daily lives.”
She describes when her car broke down. “So there I was, a woman alone with two young boys, with no cell phone, on a deserted stretch of two lane highway just before dark. “Was I worried? About the car, yes. But I wasn’t worried about our physical safety. I knew I had both the training and the tools to protect myself and my children even in the unlikely event that a human predator came along.”
When a car pulled over and the man driving it asked if she needed help, was she worried about his intentions? “Nope, I was relieved to see him. I didn’t have to worry about him or what he might do, because I knew I could protect myself if he turned out not to be the good Samaritan he appeared to be. Having the means to defend myself allowed me to be friendly and confident in talking to a stranger in what could have been dangerous circumstances.”
When the tow truck showed up did she worry that the tow truck guy could be a rapist of opportunity? “Not a bit. I knew I had the means to take care of myself and my kids if I needed to. Because I had that confidence, I was able to be friendly and forthright.”
Because she was confident in her ability to take care of herself and her family, “I was able to be outgoing and friendly rather than frightened or churlishly suspicious in dealing with other people, even in what I considered to be risky circumstances.”
She carries a gun all the time because “I really liked having that feeling of calm confidence which came from being prepared to cope with the worst life could possibly throw at me, and I wanted to keep feeling it.”