In four decades and thousands of transactions with my fellow man I've neither initiated nor accepted force as a means to accomplish anything. And yet, I've decided to become more skilled in the use of a gun to keep force, violence, crime and tyranny out of my life where they belong.
Even with a perfect record of non-violence my intuition tells me I've got some gun work to do – to keep it that way. And like car insurance, wearing a seatbelt or taking vitamins the most it will do is keep things the same, because:
Investments in self-defense return a maximum of keeping what you already have.
Most of the efforts of arming myself have been spiritual and intellectual. In fact, I've put 1000 times more effort into avoiding violence than on fighting skills. That seems low but 1000-to-1 is probably normal. My job doesn't involve teaching karate or any kind of self-defense training. This article is about increasing the "1" side of this ratio to "2" and I'll give 76 reasons for doing so.
A Few Words on the 1000
Preferred areas of focus for optimal living are: Values, Goals, Strength, Talent, Education, God, Health, Family, Prayer, Money, Intuition, Liberty, Barter, etc. Any plan that emphasizes a gun instead of these is doomed from the start.
I'm adding gun skills on top of the cornerstones for optimal living. Most countries don't have this luxury, even in 2009. They have to use sticks and clubs and will be in trouble with the state for using even these. Of course, their predators will be using all the latest weaponry without a care in the world of legal consequences. That's just how governments and criminals roll everywhere in the world except Switzerland and parts of the U.S.
Luckily for me, the valiant work of my ancestors guarantees me a right they didn't have: To use a gun to protect my family. The stabilizing peace that follows in the wake of private gun ownership enables my family to continue focusing almost completely on the ideals of a purposeful life.
Spiritual Without Physical Is NOT Holistic
No author can write about only spiritual avoidance of violence and claim to be holistic. And nobody on this planet can claim the moral high ground on a guy with a revolver under his bed to protect his family.
Authors like Deepok Chopra and Wayne Dyer talk about removing violence from our thoughts. And they're right! No doubt this thought removal is key to the success of avoidance. But, their advice is not Holistic: It doesn't integrate the physical with the spiritual and mental aspects of the subject.
These authors write about spiritual avoidance of violence within a context of safety provided by others. It could be police, local security or guards hired for large events. It’s more likely to be you or one of their neighbors that truly protects them because:
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"Even though most people do not carry guns, the mere possibility that an intended victim could be armed with a handgun eliminates millions of crimes every year" (Living with Glocks by Robert H. Boatman).
Although eliminating violence from our lives begins with our own thoughts, the complete chain of preparation must contain a physical deterrent to force. It’s not a failure of the spirituality of the victim to get mugged. It’s a lack of holistic preparation. There must be physical resistance to force to supplement the spiritual.
Something lacking in physical protection enabled Gandhi to be shot and killed while having his nightly public walk. And the Dalai Lama makes a reasonable and non-violent statement when he says, "If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun." (Seattle Times, May 15, 2001).
In Luke 22:36 Jesus ". . .said to them, "But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. . . ."
None of these men advocate violence. The most they speak about is defense in a situation where violence is thrust against them.
Why Now? Why Bother?
Reason #73, The Bureau of Justice's national average says I have a 1-in-4 chance of being a victim of violent crime in my lifetime. If living in a major population center that increases to a 1-in-9 chance, annually.
That's on the high side for me, going it alone. But, it's too high for my family.
What happens to this already high risk when you factor in our current economic meltdown? (Reason #18), double-digit unemployment rate? police budget cuts? (Reason #16).
Have these factors been causing more home invasion robberies? (Reason #10). The latest one in Pensacola was pulled off by a band of para-military thugs. They practiced up on invasion techniques and are connected with other home invasions in Florida and other states.
These five reasons were enough to spur the question: What happens if someone less spiritual or desperate brings violence into our lives?
Things to Try Before a Gun
After reading the book Dial 911 and Die I wouldn't bet my families lives on police protection. The police only document crime. They have no legal responsibility to prevent it (Reason # 22).
Dial 911 and Die Best Price: $10.88 Buy New $47.91 (as of 12:05 UTC - Details)
Worst-case scenario, I agree with Boston T. Party that many tools & tactics should be used before a gun:
- Guile & Wit
- Verbal warnings & Profanity
- Sly escape
- Pepper spray
- Hand-to-hand combat
Realistically, most should use their remaining strength to flee after step #5, above. If that's not possible, Gary Kleck says in Reason #11, that "Those who resist violent attack with a gun are injured less than half the time of those who offer no resistance.
Even then, those Defenders actually fired their gun in fewer than one out of four cases.
Effort Ratio Becomes 500-to-1
My avoidance to fighting skills ratio will be moving to 500-to-1.
Actually, most of my gun efforts fall into the avoid side of the equation since the mere presence of a gun prevents violence most of the time. However, I'll have to learn how to use it which adds a solid fighting skill making the new ratio more like 500-to-1.
Gun Insurance Is Not Free
You don't need car insurance without a car. And, you don't need gun insurance without a life. Only the owner can decide if they have something worth protecting. And only the owner can decide what insurance is best.
There's cost and hassle to bringing more tools into my life, especially ones that need to be kept nearby to be useful. Every tool requires research, purchase, maintenance, storage, training, etc. I expect to need a gun less often than a hammer, but, borrowing a gun is not an option.
Taking precautions is always harder than doing nothing. If I accept the risk I can still skip the whole gun thing. We're talking statistical risk, here. Nobody can actually prove something will happen if I take no precautions at all.
Bottom line: You don't have to do anything and nobody can prove you're wrong. Proof is only possible at the end of your life looking backward. And, unlike car insurance the state will never make gun insurance mandatory. They're too busy trying to disarm the public under the guise of making us safer.
Gun Control Is Victim Disarmament
If I put a sign in my front yard that says "Gun-Free Zone" then according to gun control folks my house will be safest house on the block.
Criminals ignore the law. That's how they got to be criminals. The only people who abide by "Gun Control" are law abiding victims. That's why every place with "Gun Control" becomes a "Victim Disarmament Zone."
All studies show a dramatic decrease in violent crime when more private citizens are permitted to defend themselves (Switzerland, all concealed carry states). Conversely, violent crime rises in direct proportion with the number of gun-control laws (Reason #37) as seen in England, Australia, and all states where 2nd amendment rights are denied like California, New York, Illinois, etc.
There was an uproar when a man in New Hampshire was seen with a revolver on his hip near where Obama was speaking. What the media did not report is that Obama is surrounded with guns everywhere he goes. The MSM message is: Guns are safe when the police have them, but they're not safe when you have them.
I didn't need a permit, registration, fingerprinting, background check or state exam to exercise my 1st amendment right to write this article. Why do I need them to exercise my 2nd amendment rights?
Having a Gun Is Its Own Best Use
Unlike most tools, the primary use of a gun is to prevent itself from having to be used, at all. In fact, guns are in full use while they're not being fired. Infrequent use proves, rather than disproves, their necessity.
If you think only tools that are used frequently are necessary then stop wearing your seat belt, cancel your home, car and health insurance and put a sign on your front lawn announcing you live in a gun-free house!
After much thought on the subject I've come to the conclusion that the simple act of having a gun is its own best use (Reason #1).
Like a battleship parked off the coast its mere presence changes the dynamic of the situation without having to fire a single shot. By "dynamic" I mean that predators tend to behave themselves and move on to an easier "unarmed" prey. By having a gun you become too dangerous to your predators. Criminals interviewed in jail say they don't want anything to do with an armed civilian. That change in my human predators is exactly what I want to accomplish.
At best, guns keep honest and polite people honest and polite. Kind of like the masterlock I use on my gym locker. It's never been touched, except by me, and yet it is used fully every time I work out.
Final Note and Reasons
Before you reach the end of your life perhaps my 76 reasons for having a gun will help you decide whether this power tool should be in Your Optimal Toolkit:
- The simple act of having a gun is its own best use. Like a battleship parked off the coast its mere presence changes the dynamic of the situation without having to fire a single shot. By having a gun you become too dangerous to your predators. Criminals interviewed in jail say they don't want anything to do with an armed civilian. That change in my human predators is exactly what I want to accomplish.
- A right exercised is a right retained.
- It’s the best single tool for protecting your life and the lives of your loved ones. (JFPO)
- You detest American gun laws based on 1938 Nazi weapons laws. (JFPO)
- Armed societies are polite societies. (Switzerland).
- Switzerland is armed to the teeth with virtually no crime (Stephen Holbrook).
- Because of the patience and discipline you acquire while learning about the tool.
- So you can de-bunk Hollywood gun myths for your kids.
- So you'll know that not using toy guns when playing is an important step in teaching kids to respect and handle the real thing safely and appropriately.
- It removes force from the equation of human interaction.
- Home Invasion Robberies. And your gun tool should be easy to get to (Since it will be in the holster you're wearing).
- Point Blank Best Price: $2.99 Buy New $48.87 (as of 10:20 UTC - Details) "Robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other method of self-protection or those who did not resist at all." according to Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University, Gary Kleck, in Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America.
- We call the police because they have guns, not pens to document what already happened to us.
- Cougars in the backyard – Happens all the time where we live.
- Coyotes on the streets – My wife has seen five, this year. Only a danger if they're in packs or for small children and dogs, alone.
- Rattlesnakes in the hills – Signs all over the trails around here. Put snake shot in the first two chambers of your trail gun.
- Police Budget Cuts – Sacramento County in CA will reduce the number of squad cars from 39 to 8 due to budget cuts (Channel 3, Sacramento, air date 6/30/2009).
- Early Release of Violent criminals from overstuffed jails – Happens more than you think. Check your local news. There's no more room left at the Inn.
- Economic Meltdown. Was Argentina more or less safe when their currency collapsed? And don't forget the other 30 countries whose currency has collapsed in the last 100 years. Happens all the time to those other countries we tend to ignore. It could never happen in the US, right?
- Hurricane Katrina and the next natural disaster.
- Better than a knife past 2 yards.
- The only sure victim-prevention lies with the victim-to-be.
- Police only document crimes after they happen. They might investigate. But, they have no legal responsibility to prevent crime.
- Saying, "Police are not your bodyguard," is quite an understatement.
- According to the Dalai Lama, "If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun." (Seattle Times, May 15, 2001).
- When seconds count, the police arrive in minutes (Or hours).
- How many police does it take to give one speeding ticket to a dangerous soccer mom? Five! No punch line, here. It's just how many I saw it take, last week. That's five police not available for a real crime happening somewhere else.
- The L. A. riots – For which the shotgun I had in the back seat on the way home from work was the right tool. We counted 22 plumes of smoke on each side of the freeway on the way home, that day. And the US troops on the streets for the next 3 days must have thought the M-16's they were carrying were the right tool for the job, too. Now why would myself and those troops think it was useful to have a gun if neither of us actually fired? Because having a gun is its own best use. Guns are in full use even when they're not being fired.
- NYC Blackouts. I predict more blackouts as more cities and counties go bankrupt and don't have the money to maintain their electricity grids.
- The official role of police is to investigate, not prevent crime.
- Self-defense is an inherent human right. It is given to you by God, not the government.
- Since Criminals will always have guns, there's no reasonable expectation of self-defense if law-abiding citizens don't have them, too.
- Meat on the table – Or do you only eat meat that other people kill for you?
- 1 in 4 chance of being on the receiving end of a violent crime (and that was before the economic meltdown).
- Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Sonia Sotomayor. If you were impressed with Clinton's torture of the word "IS" wait 'til you see what this bunch will do to the 27 words of the 2nd amendment. By the time they're done they'll have us believing the amendment has something to do with toaster ovens. Don't laugh: I should have made each one of these people their own separate reason.
- If history is any guide we should now expect increased "gun-control" (Victim Disarmament) laws passed under the guise of "protecting us." With the Government takeover of all banks, GM and Chrysler the US has now crossed over into the dictionary definition of fascism. Possession of firearms by private citizens threatens fascist governments that have always sought coercion and control.
- Gun control laws increase violent crime as only law abiding citizens abide by the law. That makes "Gun Control" into effective "Victim Disarmament."
- Last line of defense for family while traveling.
- Clean-cut young men like Ted Bundy.
- As a hobby to improve self-discipline and the understanding of physics.
- To bring your physical preparation for resisting non-initiated force in line with your spiritual and intellectual efforts to avoid it.
- The Virginia Tech Massacre – Cho killed 32 people and wounded another 17. Gun-Control (Read Victim Disarmament) has turned our schools into killing zones. Don't those darn psychos know that guns are not allowed on campus? Actually, people like Cho do know and that's why they choose school campuses for their shooting rampages.
- School officials called the police when they heard Cho gunning people down at Virginia Tech. They called the police because they had guns that could stop Cho. Were guns the problem or the solution that day? The answer is that Cho was the problem and guns were the solution. If law abiding students were allowed to carry then their guns would have been the solution delivered long before so many innocent students were killed waiting for the police to arrive and "cordon off the area."
- Boston’s Gun Bible Best Price: $18.51 Buy New $174.95 (as of 09:10 UTC - Details) Camping among dangerous 4-legged creatures.
- Camping among dangerous 2-legged creatures.
- To equalize physical strengths in a confrontation.
- Carrying a gun is a lighter burden than regret.
- The Zodiac Killer. They never caught him. He claims 37 victims and is probably between 60 to 70 years old now, if alive. There's an active website where you can submit tips.
- If violent crime is not a factor then why do we still need police? (Boston T. Party)
- You're several more times likely, in your lifetime, to need a handgun to deal with a lethal threat than you are to need fire insurance on your home . . . yet more people carry fire insurance than carry a gun. (Boston T. Party)
- Guns prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes a year, or 6,849 per day. You don't hear about them because they never happened, silly.
- Violent offenders shy away from houses and people who are likely to be armed.
- Your security is not your neighbors’ responsibility.
- Your security is not legally the police's responsibility.
- To increase criminal expectations that you may have a gun.
- To bear your share of the responsibility and burden of the proven gun deterrence of crime.
- Because criminals fear entering your House because of my gun. Get your own and spread the non-violence.
- Because there are evil people in the world that can't be talked or reeducated out of trying to kill you.
- To convert force into persuasion.
- To remove fear from human interaction.
- A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly. (Marko Kloos).
- The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. (Marko Kloos)
- To promote equality.
- Every living creature has the natural right of self-defense.
- There are people in this world to whom you're not a human being. You are merely an obstacle to obtaining your possessions.
- After you hand over the money, they'll still kill you for being a witness.
- YouTube videos of people being killed after they give up the money or open the safe.
- As a communication device for someone who'd kill you to get the latest playstation or XBox or iphone.
- Because every citizen in Switzerland has an automatic weapon in their basement and they have almost zero violent crime.
- To appeal to the better nature of a man who doesn't have one.
- So that you can protect yourself against criminals who use guns as a deadly extension of their inability to deal with people.
- Because there are people out there who would use a gun against you just to avoid the "hassles" of persuasion or the "inconvenience" of fair trade.
- Death by ”Gun Co... Best Price: $17.90 Buy New $69.90 (as of 12:05 UTC - Details) "According to the FBI, states with ‘shall-issue’ right-to-carry laws have a 26 percent lower total violent crime rate, a 20 percent lower homicide rate, a 39 percent lower robbery rate and a 22 percent lower aggravated assault rate than those states that do not allow their citizens to legally carry guns.”
- "The Bureau of Justice's national average states that I have a 1-in-4 chance of being a victim of violent crime in my lifetime. The risk conferred by living in a major population center . . . . – where index felonies (rape, robbery, homicide, aggravated assault, etc.) number 200 a day – increases my chances of being a predator's lunch stack to 1-in-9 annually." Mark F. Twight, "Eat or Be Eaten" S.W.A.T., March 2000 (p. 60)
- Genocide frequently follows government disarmament of private citizens. The JFPO calls this type of government disarmament Death by Gun Control.
- "Liberty or death," the meaning of which is clear and absolute, is but a trivial phrase if you do not carry a gun (Living with Glocks by Robert H. Boatman).
Free, law-abiding citizens do not give up their right to arms.
Finally, I give you the words of Robert Heinritz reacting to Judge Sotomayor's weasel-like response to a simple question about the rights of American citizens to self-protection:
"I don't much care for the bother and responsibility of securing a firearm nearby. But I've lived long enough to know the world sometimes presents threats that justify its presence. A free person's right to defend his or her life is a very personal right, a "fundamental right" – pre-existing our U.S. Constitution – which is more important than our property, our ability to speak-out on political issues, our right to vote, or our rights to a Miranda warning when approached by a police officer. Throughout history this has always been true among free people."
"During the years American Colonists were bickering with Great Britain over taxes, representation, and rights; the one thing that finally provoked a shooting-war with their mother-country was Britain's use of armed soldiers to disarm free citizens. The Founders were well-read on history and the classics, and well-acquainted with what England did to it's "subjects" in Ireland; first disarming them, taking over all their lands and resources by force of British arms, and consigning the Irish to virtual serfdom or slavery. The most loyal of America's Founders knew that government's disarming of its free-citizens was the first step to slavery. "Slavery" was the word they used. History has confirmed this basic truth countless times in countless countries over the succeeding 200 years. Free, law-abiding citizens do not give up their right to arms."
September 14, 2009