Re: Are guns extropian?

Scott Badger (
Fri, 10 Jul 1998 08:00:15 -0500

Gerhard Kessell-Haak <> wrote:

>etc. etc.
>Correct me if I'm wrong; it appears that you're advocating a society
>where everybody is armed to allow individuals to protect themselves
>against other 'dysfunctional' members of the society. IMHO this is only
>addressing a secondary problem (ie. a recognized problem which is
>actually caused by a primary, unidentified problem).
>The primary problem is that the number of 'dysfunctional' members
>seems to be increasing. Arming everybody is simply masking the
>primary problem. The number of murders and other violent acts might
>decrease, but the number of people capable of the act remains the
>same. This is not something which can be solved by purely
>technological means (whether gun, or ray-taser - raser?) - there is no
>single magic bullet solution (sorry, couldn't help myself).
>Creating a society whose principles revolve around rationality, critical
>thought and individual responsibility is definitely part of the answer.

This is one of the more insightful comments made to date on this issue, IMO. Trying to solve the crime problem by arming everyone is treating the symptom. A more transcendent approach, it seems to me, would be to do everything we can to eliminate Antisocial Personality Disorders (APDs) and help would-be criminals to become higher level humans. Get rid of this single personality disorder and you will have solved a huge part of the problem. Yes there will still be people with impulse control disorders that commit violent crimes (this will also hopefully be very treatable in the future), but the chronic and pervasive character of the APD is the driving force behind a large percentage of crimes of all sorts. The Truth Machine was a good read but it seemed to make the same mistake of not addressing the underlying problem of mental disorder. Being forced to tell the truth doesn't make the APD go away. It's going to take biomedical advances or genetic screening or something else to eventually address this more fundmental problem. Stamping out the problem means employing what's called a primary (preventative) intervention rather than a tertiary one (e.g. gun proliferation). You can arm the citizenry if you want, but the APD will find a way to express itself. I want society to be polite, not because it's armed and scared to be anything but polite, but because it really feels like being polite.

I can already hear the pro-gun responses:

"Yeah, but until they figure out how to stamp our APDs . . . arm everyone!"

I know it doesn't address short-term issues and I'm not against owning a gun, and if it does come down to you or him . . . let it be you. I just don't think that more guns is going to make the problem go away.

Scott Badger