Re: GUNS: Self Defense

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Thu Jan 18 2001 - 11:58:03 MST

On Thu, Jan 18, 2001 at 12:14:44PM -0500, wrote:
> In it there are several topics which relate to Extropianism and the
> Singularity. One in particular that I want to mention at this time is the
> "Personal Defender"
> This to me seem to have several advantages....all positive over the long
> run...and only minor disadvantages in the short run...
> Any comments?

One disadvantage: you'd need to ensure that there's a "training model"
available, or some other way for people to learn how to use the
thing. (Going to a shooting range and having your gun dye your hand
blue and phone the police is not going to appeal to many people, and a
self-defense gun that the user hasn't been trained to use properly is
a hazard to by-standers.)

One possible improvement: give it a simple CCD camera (hey, you have
that radio, right?). So when you pull the trigger, not only is it
going to call the police -- it's going to send them two photographs --
one of you, and one of whoever was opposite the business end of the

Another disadvantage: how many rounds does the thing hold? If it's
a single-shot gun, this isn't going to be an adequate guarantee of
success. If multi-shot, you run the risk of giving lone nutters of the
up-the-belltower persuasion a cheap and easy source of toys. I can see
it being popular with street gangs as an initiation thing: give your
wannabe member a "personal defender", tell him to shoot the nearest wall,
then see how well he accounts for himself when the first cops show up.
If this happens more than a couple of times, expect most people to be
too afraid of the consequences to use such a weapon even in self-
defense (for fear of the cops arriving on the scene in the form of
an artillery strike).

Hmm. A bit of a mixed bag, all in all. Nice idea, but it doesn't solve
the personal defense problem without introducing any side-effects.

-- Charlie

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