Re: (repost) RE: GUNS: Re: Self Defense

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sat Jan 20 2001 - 14:30:28 MST

denis bider wrote:
> Samantha Atkins wrote:
> > Even the Nazis would have slowed down a little bit in dragging
> > people from their homes if enough of them had guns and fought back.
> > Do not underestimate the deterrent value of armed people fighting
> > for their lives and their homes.
> [I just quoted the final paragraph in your message, although the rest of
> your message also delivers a good point.]
> Your rationale is quite convincing. I would tend to agree with you, with
> little restraints, on the arguments you delivered.
> On the other hand, there is still the argument of people dying and of
> society being a slightly more dangerous and definitely less friendly place
> because of a widespread attitude like yours. I've talked with several
> Americans who have been to Europe, and I've talked with several Europeans
> who have been to America, and we basically agree on the same thing: the
> living environment in the US of A is definitely not friendly. It's a country
> much more rough than we have here, and everything I've seen, read and heard
> agrees with that. I would guess that attitudes like yours help significantly
> in reinforcing the non-friendliness and coldness of your society. I would
> like to make a strong point of this: I definitely think that a widespread
> presence of individualist, society-fearing attitudes continuously reinforces
> a society that is indeed to be feared.

Well, would you care to make the argument instead of simply asserting it
exists? That some people agree with you does not make the argument very
well. I know quite a few people who own guns. They are not one whit
less friendly than the people I know that do not. One difference I do
notice is that the gun-owners I know tend to be a bit more serious
minded and responsible over all. Knowing that one can deliver deadly
force if necessary and being willing to protect those oneself and those
one is with tends to change a person to a bit more sober and responsible
an attitude. But they are hardly cold. If anything they have more
mutual trust and respect.

You are making a "strong point" based on anecdotes and supposition. I
am giving counter-anecdotes. Society is nothing but a collection of
individuals. To the the extent that the society enables the flourishing
of the individuals within it it is good. To the extent it doesn't it is
less good. But to elevate the society above the individual as some
higher type of entity is fundamentally flawed and has led quite
literally to the deaths of many 10s of millions worldwide. Only those
who would violate the rights of individuals by the initiation of force
have any reason to fear. The rest can rest secure in the knowledge they
are not without some defense of their own and that others are able and
willing to stand for them.

> In the end, it all comes to a tradeoff: quality of living (of which I am
> quite convinced you have less than we do) versus the ability to defend
> oneself. As appealing as your arguments may be, I still think the ability of

There are no statistics or a very strong argument that you have given to
justify this assumption.

> defending oneself with firearms is not as important as you may think.
> Despite of our much-alluded-to history lessons, we decided to opt for the
> quality of living instead. You, on the other hand, continuously decide for
> the ability to defend yourself. That's fine with me, but I don't think it's
> a smart choice.

This is pretty weak. Do you really think there is a direct strong cause
and effect between having no right ot have guns and improved quality of
life? On what basis?

> At the bottom line, you're a bunch of scared people. You seem to think that
> conflicts matter; I think they don't. You seem to think that who wins
> matters; I don't. And most of all, you probably don't see how this attitude
> of yours reinforces a cold, adversary society.

In a choice of life or death, who wins matters a lot. In a choice of
being free or enslaved or easy to enslave, it matters a lot where one is
on the spectrum. What cold society are you referring to? I have been
to a few parts of Europe myself and I didn't notice any greater warmth
than in the US. I did notice that a lot of people seem to have an inbred
attitude that the state is more important than they are that is
relatively absent in the US. Many European cultures actually struck me
as more xenophobic than America and the attitude of people on the
streets felt if anything less friendly and open. But again, these are
merely experiential anecdotes.

> I think your attitude is the original reason why you have a police you need
> to be afraid of; not the reverse.

I think you are making a lot of meaningless assertions.

> > And if in the end we still disagree then come around yourself
> > and try to take my guns away. Don't send some poor underpaid
> > flatfoot to do it for you.
> I apologize if this is what my original message looked like. Under no
> circumstances would I try to push a ban on anything where a non-trivial
> number of people disagrees with it. It's a decision a society has to make
> with a vast majority of votes, and I don't see you making that decision
> anytime soon.

How is the majority of people deciding to overright the minority
automatically right or any better than you coming into my home by force
and attempting to take away my guns or any other part of my property
against my wishes. If I have a fundamental right to self-defense then
how is a majority denying that right any more acceptable than a
minority? If the majority decide to decimate an entire people or class
of people (which has happened many times in history) is it OK because
they are the majority? How so? We know for a fact that it is usually
the minority who bring innovation and clearer thinking. If that
minority is defenseless to whatever the majority can be swung to then
how is that a better of more warm and friendly society? If anything I
would be much more afraid that at any moment the majority could be swung
against me. I would much more fear my fellow-humans in such a

- samantha

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