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Guns, A Reality Check

Long-time readers of this site know I own guns, and support the right of private citizens to own and carry guns. They also know that I voted for Obama in both elections, and generally support “liberal” / Democratic political positions. I base both sets of beliefs on what I see as reality.

One reality is, as this bloggers says, you can’t Nerf the world. The money quote: At the risk of sounding callous, freedom and dignity are going to cost some dead bodies every year. As long as people have guns, some folks are going to get shot with them; that's just the way it is. As long as people have cars, folks are going to get liquored up and wrap them around trees.

She was talking about the recent tragic incident where NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend and then himself. Unfortunately, the price of freedom is sometimes bad things happen to innocent people. Although the weapon of choice in this incident was a gun, it’s not like an NFL linebacker would need a gun to kill most people.

The other side of the gun-control coin is best represented via this entry on why the gun is civilization. In it, the author makes at length the point best made by the old saying “God made all men, Sam Colt made all men equal.”

Here’s where the part of reality which allows me to vote Democratic kicks in. Yes, owning a gun can be helpful, even needful. But just owning a gun does not guarantee much of anything. Many an armed man was killed – see Wild Bill Hickok, shot while playing cards in a saloon. The reality is individuals can’t be perfectly on alert at all times, and so the only hope of effective peace and protection is via collective action.

I’m also a realist in that I recognize that government is not the only threat facing an individual. Obviously criminals like Belcher are a threat, but corporations can and have killed people – see this list of corporate violence.

In short, there are a lot of threats facing individuals. The only way to minimize these threats is via collective action. That action needs to be based on an empirical understanding of what works. My evaluation of "what works" at this point in time most closely tracks with "liberal" political positions and legal gun ownership.


Comment Policy

This is the personal blog of Chris Gerrib, and all opinions expressed here are solely his own. Commenters are welcome; however please be polite to me and my other readers. I reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, inappropriate or otherwise objectionable at my sole discretion. The opinions expressed in a comment are not necessarily mine, and if I do not delete a comment that should not be construed as my agreement with the commenter.

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