It’s silly to own guns to stop government tyranny, because you can’t win against the government with privately owned guns!
Here begins the second straw man used against private gun ownership, and why many people think the right to bear arms isn’t so important. We see images of military men and women carrying what looks like advanced weaponry from Star Trek, and we think, “wow, there’s no way the average hunter, even carrying one of those mysterious assault rifles, could beat the military!” This straw man, however, is easily shredded back into donkey fodder.
Determined resistance doesn’t need to “win,” in the sense of a shooting war, to “win.” When confronted with an armed victim, most crooks will walk away. They’ll find another target, a softer target. The same is true in another realm: most politicians will walk away when they feel they’ve put too much pressure on an armed populace.
The presences of arms, in domestic affairs, often stops the fight before it begins. The right to keep and bear arms, combined with a free press (so much as we actually have a free press today), keeps the tyranny burner on “low.” Take the guns away, and the politicians who control the burner setting will, as a matter of course, turn the heat up as high as they like. This is why in almost every case where a population has been disarmed by its own government, it has been decimated.
But what if it did come to a “shooting war?” Aren’t private citizens doomed to fail? I don’t want to dive too deeply into this realm, because it’s a gruesome path to tread, but lets at least try to address the question. A determined population might —or might not— lose to a modern, professional military. That the military is drawn from the population to be defeated in question makes things more difficult to assess. The answer to the question is an uncertain “maybe,” and much more than this we cannot say.
But let’s leave this gruesome problem aside for the moment, and look at the assumption built into the question itself:
If the government can win, then the government is right.
In other words, this line of thinking — that private citizens can’t ever win against the government — is rotten to its core. It assumes tyranny (the government verses the people), and it assumes that might makes right. A properly formed government will be subject to its own laws, and hence will not kill its own citizens.
And might does not make right.
When you go to registration, it raises all the black-helicopter-crowd notion that what this is all about is identifying who has a gun so that one day the government can get up and go to the house and arrest everyone who has a gun, and they’ll cite Nazi Germany and all that. –Joe Biden as quoted by Politico
One the most persistently cited myths about gun owners, and why they own guns, is that they’re afraid of “black helicopters,” swooping down from the sky to “take their guns.” Let’s deconstruct this argument to see just how many straw men we can find here — let’s call it the “shooting straw men,” game.
First the argument sets up the two sides.
There are the gun owners, who are afraid of “black helicopters.” These “black helicopters,” are supposed to evoke a conspiracy, so the first implication in the argument is that gun owners are “crazed conspiracy theorist.” In other words, everyone who objects to more gun control is on the very fringe of sanity simply by arguing against more gun control. This is an ad hominem attack, pure and simple — and should be rejected out of hand.
“The government,” on the other hand, is supposed to represent solid rational thinking and justified action in this argument. “The government,” is, as we know, only made up of people who have given their entire lives to the service of others (think teachers and firemen here, or, if you’re a Christian, remember that government workers are one step above your minister in purity and love for their fellow man). How are to even think that such caring, good, people — people who have given up their chance to make a mint in the private sector, but have chosen a life of public good instead — could ever do anything so wrong as to take your guns? Unless it’s for your own good, of course. Didn’t we just say how much those folks who work for the government “care?”
Having set up the clear good guys and bad guys, the white hats and the black hats, the argument then proceeds to misdirect the object of concern.
People are afraid of gun control because they’re afraid the government will come and take their guns. It’s only because of their unnatural love of guns that people are afraid of losing them. It’s not that the private ownership of firearms is supposed to work hand in hand with freedom of the press and freedom of religion to guarantee every other right of a free people. It’s not that knocking one of the three legs out from under this stool has always — always! — led to the repression of entire peoples, genocide, and loss of freedom for populations and nations.
No… It’s only because people have an unnatural emotional attachment to a piece of metal, plastic, and wood specifically designed for killing other people that they are concerned about gun control laws. Now do you see just how crazy these people — these, these, gun owners — are?
This argument is logical nonsense through and through. It begins with an ad hominim attack, it gains ground through an argument by halo effect, and it ends with straw man that strengthens the opening ad hominim.
And it’s wrong on all counts.
I do not love the bright sword for it’s sharpness, nor the arrow for it’s swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend. -J.R.R. Tolkien
Headline of today:
British citizens who smoke, drink, or tip the scales because they’ve eaten too many fish and chips could soon be denied medical treatment for lifestyle-related illnesses. It’s a system the United States will be forced to implement under ObamaCare.
Great Britain’s government-run health care system, the National Health Service (NHS), has long considered limiting coverage for people with illnesses deemed to be lifestyle-related. In 2005 the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the NHS’s guiding body, advised that smokers and obese people be refused health care. Now NHS North Yorkshire and York is preventing certain operations for the obese or smokers because they say unhealthy lifestyles lower their chance of success.
Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, told UK reporters, “These policies are being introduced because of financial constraints,” said Gerada.
Headline of the future:
American citizens who do not meet the minimal requirements for mental health could soon be denied medical treatment for lifestyle-related illnesses. It’s a system the United States was forced to implement under the new mental health guidelines of Obamacare II.
America’s government-run healthcare system has long limited coverage for people with illnesses deemed to be lifestyle related, such as smoking, obesity, and firearms ownership.
Recent research has shown that some forms of religious belief, specifically the belief that the Bible is the literal words of God, have detrimental effects on a person’s social connectiveness, which in turns proves fatal to their health. While it has been known for decades that mental health and attitude impact physical health, this recent research has clearly proven that religious belief is one of the primary driving factors in mental attitude.
Christian leaders have decried the decision as religious discrimination, but the National Health Board unequivocally states it does not intend to discriminate against specific religions, but that these measures must be undertaken to control the cost of healthcare. At a recent press conference, the head of the National Health Board stated, “These policies are being introduced because of financial constraints.”
An interesting note in the Australian Shooter Magazine this week, which I quote:
“If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the past 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers. The firearm death rate in Washington, DC is 806 per 100,000 for 100,000 for the same period. That means you are about 13 times more likely to be shot and killed in the US capital, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the US, than in Iraq.”
Conclusion: “The US should pull out of Washington .”
About two months ago, I left an eating establishment after discovering that there was a meeting of individuals all “bearing arms.” Since it was a buffet, they were walking all over the place, many carrying children along with their guns. … This week, I drove over 15 miles to eat at a healthy place that served soup and salad. Standing in line I saw a customer bearing his gun, while holding hands with his 5-year-old son. I got sick to my stomach and left the restaurant.
What are these people scared of? The only thing that scares me is them. … What happened to “In God we trust?” –AZCentral
The first thing that struck me when reading this is how emotional the writer is. “I got sick to my stomach… The only thing I’m afraid of is people openly carrying guns… I drove 15 miles to eat at a healthy place…” This emotional worldview drives the writer into a total state of fear, complete with physical reactions. The writer probably doesn’t even realize how much his emotional state controls his thinking.
The second thing that struck me was how physical this person is. Throughout the short letter, there are references to people holding their children, the writer getting sick to his stomach (physical manifestations of fear), and eating healthy. The writer is focused on the physical world, apparently enmeshed in a materialism so deep he doesn’t even realize just how much the physical, animal, nature controls his emotions.
And finally, there is the statement at the end, “whatever happened to ‘In God we trust?” There are only two ways to interpret this singular statement. Perhaps the writer truly believes in God, and is simply unaware of the higher spiritual things, enmeshed in a world of material things and physical fears. If this is true, the writer’s state is exposed by his own contradiction; if he’s afraid of people with guns, then he doesn’t have much trust in God, does he?
More likely, he is using this simple statement, “In God we trust,” as a weapon to throw in the face of those he perceives as Christians, and yet who own and carry guns. He thinks there is a contradiction between being Christian and owning a gun, or being ready to defend yourself, because Christians are supposed to have faith in God, rather than in material things.
But here he errs, for there is no contradiction in being a Christian and yet believing you should defend yourself against criminal attack, or even a government gone to tyranny. The writer holds the common misconception that if you learn to use a tool or skill, then you are “trusting in” that tool or skill in the same way you should, as a Christian, trust in God. If we took this motto the way the writer implies, he wouldn’t be driving 15 miles to get something to eat; after all, God will bring healthy food, right?
The underlying problem is a misunderstanding of the concept of faith; trusting in God does not mean to act like a baby in diapers, to stay a toddler screaming “mine, mine,” without a thought or a care in the world. Trusting in God means to understand that God will make all things come out the right way, and then going on and living our lives the best we can, within the means we have.
Trusting in God is knowing that if someone tries to kill us, and they succeed, God chose that specific outcome for a reason. Trusting in God is knowing that if someone tries to kill us, and we successfully defend ourselves, then God chose that specific outcome for a reason, as well. Trusting in God means we do the best we can, use our failures to learn, and know that God works through it all for His design, and His goal.
Not that we should lay down our arms, get rid of our fire alarms, get rid of air bags and seat belts, and, in fact, get rid of farmers, because if God wants us to live, He’ll make it happen.
Personal Defense Television, Season 2
Guns and Ammo TV
This is a four DVD set, with 13 episodes of Guns & Ammo’s Personal Defense TV. Each episode takes you through several segments, including one main segment, filmed at one of the various shooting schools around the US, a segment on tools, which generally is a short gun or equipment review, a short piece by Masad Ayoob about personal defense tactics, and a short piece by Clint Smith called Skill Drills.
This set of DVDs is good from several perspectives. First, they give you things to think about the personal defense realm on fronts, legal, tactical, and equipment. Second, they give you a peek at various shooting schools, how they are run, and what they are about. Both of these are invaluable for the new and experienced shooter alike.
We often hear about the “war on terror,” or the “war on drugs,” but there is another war going on in our world we don’t often hear about. The war on self reliance. Let’s take a cruise through some of the components of this war.
- Shooting. Access to, and the use of, personal weapons, has always been seen as a mark of self-reliance. Firearms are targeted in multiple ways, including thousands of laws already on the books, massive public campaigns against their ownership (to the point of pediatricians asking parents if your children own guns), pressures on places to shoot, and a myriad of other pressures.
- Four Wheel Drive Vehicles. Now, this might seem a bit trite, but if you really needed to be self reliant, one thing you would need is a way to get around. Vehicles with “off road” capabilities have been under fire for years, though, because they are “environmentally unfriendly.”
- Hunting. Of course, if you’re going to be self-reliant, you need to know how to hunt. But hunting is becoming more difficult, not less, as less and less land is made available for hunting, and concerns about “lead poisoning” surface time and again.
- The Teaching of Survival Skills. Any organization that teaches survival skills, including self reliance, is constantly placed in a defensive mode. A specific case of this is the Boy Scouts of America. The ostensible charge is they won’t allow homosexual Scoutmasters. The reality is they promote individual thought, and self-reliance, both no-no’s in a community based society.
- Hoarding. What a horrible thing it is to have enough food in your house to last for a couple of weeks, right? Well, if you read about the results of any disaster, you’ll quickly come across at least some reports about how people hoarded goods, to the detriment of all, or some such. Think of it another way, though: If everyone ‘hoarded’ before the disaster, there wouldn’t be so much of a shortage in the first place, would there?
But we can take this much farther than just physical skills, can’t we? What about our mental skills and attitudes?
- Teaching Children is best left to experts with degrees in teaching, and years of experience. Don’t try and to home school, because you’re not smart enough or patient enough to handle your kids.
- Stopping criminals is best left to experts with specialized training. Don’t try to defend yourself against crime, let the experts handle it.
- Running government is best left to experts with law degrees. Don’t try and read the laws and understand what they say, because laws are written by, and for, lawyers.
- Understanding the Scriptures is best left to someone with a theology degree, either your pastor or some parachurch organizations. Don’t ever try and read the Scriptures directly, always rely on a study guide, preferably topical in nature, that breaks down concepts in God’s Word into small chunks an average person can actually understand.
In fact, if you listen to our society at large, it’s almost impossible for you to learn any new skill on your own. You always need an expert of some sort to teach you how to think, and what to do.
Start being a human again. Most of us are perfectly capable of teaching our children, reading the Scriptures, handing a firearm, keeping reasonable amounts of food on hand, or doing a myriad of other things. Rely on God first, your own hands and brains second, and your family third.
This war on self-reliance is just plain unhealthy.