Here I am, once again taking on a topic that is huge in the US, gun politics.
The above, is a perfect example of why many people argue that carrying (and owning) a gun is a necessity. In a world full of bad people, one needs to be able to defend themselves. And there is nothing wrong with that, if they feel its a necessity. But there is one question I have.
That question is, where is the line between self defense and murder? At what point does one cross from being a victim to being a criminal?
I have been in many online discussions with fire arms owners I would describe as CrAzY (people who I would be afraid to even deliver mail to there house, for fear that they would shoot me!). These are people whom I often suspected to be so full of fear, that they are either borderline ( or totally) delusional.
Part of the reason for this assumption, was there inability to picture life WITHOUT a gun. Many seemed unable to even comprehend the possibility, that some places in the world would not REQUIRE a concealed weapon at all times. They ask me what I will do if someone invades my home with a gun, I tell them its hardly a worry because for the most part, such stuff does not happen where I live.
Sometimes I tell my story, the story of when a knife was pulled on me.
One night (around 12 or 1am) on the way home from work, I picked up some chicken from 7/11 and decided to sit on a bench in front of a building and rest (and snack lol). I heard a group of kids walking up the street, didn’t initially pay a whole lot of attention. Then I heard ” . . . what about this bitch”, and thought “oh fuck”.
One of them came up to me, a knife showing out of his sleeve, and paced in front of me, just asking if I had anything for him. Though I was completely freaked out, I said nothing, hoping with all my might that my blackberry would not receive an email or text, therefore making its presence known.
I don’t know how long I stalled the guy, but as luck would have it, a car was headed towards us on the otherwise deserted street. When it got near, I got up and waved my arms, getting the drivers attention and causing him to pull over. This drove my attacker back a ways.
After a few moments, the car just drove away, causing my attacker to find a pair and head my way again. So I yelled as loud as i could.
HEY! HE HAS A KNIFE!
And so the guy finally gave up and backed off, while I got out the BB and dialed the police. I had initially used the emergency (911) button, but hung up and dialed the regular police line, thinking that this incident was not an incident important enough to warrant calling 911 (the full scale of what happened had not yet sunk in).
It wasn’t until 2 squad cars arrived at my location, that realization of what happened sank in. I know people with far better fighting and conflict skills then I, who have gotten stabbed in such situations before. But I had somehow talked my way out of it.
I tell this story to some who use the self defense argument, as a situation that proves a gun is not always necessary. Sometimes they mock me, laugh at the story (because apparently the idea of shooting another human being is funny).
Another situation (just happened last night) where a potentially bad situation was resolved without a gun being involved, is THIS ONE out of Tulsa Oklahoma. Though I don’t think the burglar was armed, it still applies here, because in many states, just breaking and entering is grounds enough to shoot.
One thing that has become apparent about many of the gun owners I have talked to that I would call “delusional”, is there strict methodologies of separating people into black and white groups. You are either good, or you are bad, there is no middle ground. Your either a threat, or your not.
And when I said “Black and White” groups, though I was trying to convey a strict contrast, I suspect that it may translate in a literal sense as well.
In any case, this post is about self defense. And in the gun control debate, it seems that there are at least 2 definitions.
My personal definition of self defense, is using the minimalist amount of force necessary to neutralize a hostile situation. This does not necessarily mean the attacker has to die, you (and others present in the location) just need to be able to get to safety (keep in mind, self defense is only warranted in Canada for protection of a person, NOT property).
Lets use the meme above as an example, as its a quite common argument, the home invasion. The attacker is wielding a knife, and the defense is a gun. But do you REALLY need a gun to neutralize that threat? Use your imagination as to household items that could in an emergency, double as weapons.
Imagine the knife wielding robber bursts into your room, and gets whacked in the head by a lamp that you threw at him. In an ideal situation, he will be thrown off enough to drop the knife, but most likley he will be disoriented, giving you time to get the fuck out and call the police (or if you have the balls, hogtie his ass like the Tulsa man did).
Now, bring a gun into the picture.
Sure, assuming you can get it out on time, and do not fumble and drop it as your waking yourself up, it is indeed, a good way to easily neutralize the situation. Shooting an arm or leg, will have the desired affect of throwing the guy off, most likley causing him to drop whatever weapon he has, and giving you a chance to leave or otherwise neutralize the situation.
But many that I spoke to, do not own a weapon, just to injure a a would be burglar entering there home. Which is where the second definition of self defense comes in. Which is, deadly force is always allowable and/or warranted in the name of self defense.
By this definition, self defense does not just mean protection of self, but also protection of ones property. And some states even have “Stand Your Ground” laws in place, warranting this.
I do not like the idea of self protection with a firearm to begin with, because of the number of things that could go wrong. One could miss the targeted “threat” and hit who knows what (or who). One could fumble and potentially drop the gun, thereby turning the tables on themselves. And of course there is the risk of panicking and shooting someone innocent.
About a week before the now infamous Sandy Hook massacre, someone in (I think) Rochester MN accidentally shoot there grand daughter. There had been a rash of break ins around the area, and her “silhouette” though the glass door “panicked” him.
If there is a danger that your (or anyone else’s) life may be in immediate danger, then yes, deadly force is not unreasonable. But when someone comes at you with a knife, and you blow them away with a gun, who was REALLY in more danger?
Time for me to show my “bleeding heart” liberal side.
One of the risks I see in labeling people as either good or bad, is when one views those on the side that they consider “bad”, they no longer have to view them as people. Rather then a person, they just become a threat to be neutralized.
I bring this up, because the vast majority of the time, I suspect that these crimes are out of desperation (drugs and money are my 2 biggest guesses). With the completely fucked state of the American (and most other economies in the world), it is no wonder that some may resort to such lengths, just for ends meat. It is never warranted, don’t get me wrong.
Plus, I am inclined to think the best of people. Maybe that’s just a product of being brought up in such an nonvolatile area. But people can often times make VERY bad judgements whilst in the clutches of addiction, or just may find themselves in a hole dug by there bad choices.
Though the only rock bottom that some will reach is the grave, there is a good chance that many can be helped, and can better themselves. I have met with many people over the years who have transitioned from all sorts of backgrounds, and became good citizens. And with most, the bottom came whilst in a jail cell, a few cases, after being caught robbing a home.
But if someone shoots the person dead, then they are done. No second chances.
Every situation is different, I get that. Sometimes the only way to neutralize the threat, is to use deadly force. But I encourage all to use good judgement in making that decision.
Property and materialistic items are replaceable. Some people can change. But most importantly, one must decide, who is the bigger asshole?
The man standing in the doorway yielding the knife menacingly? Or the man who blows his brains out with the gun?