Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thoughts on people who fear other honest people

more than they fear the bad guys

I've been thinking about some of the noise being thrown off the last couple of days. My sympathies being where they are, most of what's irritated- in some cases enraged- me has been the 'ban the guns, you people who own them are evil,', etc. Compound that by the absolutely infuriating verbal sour manure vomited out by that brass hat at the university both belittling the student who wished he'd had his sidearm and working hard to cover his sorry ass.

Two things about it. One is the usual 'take the argument to the ridiculous extreme to discredit it' garbage. You say that someone who has a carry permit should be allowed to carry on campus, that becomes "You want to hand out guns to everybody!" Mr. Wiles says he did not like the feeling of having his safety entirely in the hands of others and wished for his sidearm, that becomes "You people would get killed by the police because you'd be running around shooting at anyone you thought suspicious! And before you were shot, you'd kill innocent people!" And, in the case of Asshat Hincker, "You seem not to trust the police, you think you need a gun to protect you from them!"(which, I repeat was either one of the stupidest things to come out of his mouth, or a coldly calculated effort to make Mr. Wiles look like a nutcase; in the first, Asshat Hincker is a fool, in the second he's a sorry excuse for a man). Heartily sick of this garbage and the dishonesty- in some cases flat stupidity- of it.

Second, I'm sure you've noticed the constant "People would be running around shooting at everything" marfi*. The 'I hate guns, just wait for the police' people just cannot seem to wrap their brain around the idea that an honest citizen with a gun just might act in a responsible manner. In this case, you've got three possibilities:
1. If the classroom is one with no window or other exit, teacher/student(hereafter 'T/S') gets everyone to move away from the door, blocks it if there's time, then takes cover behind what's available and guards the door. If bad guy comes in: Bang.
2. If there's a way to get people out, the T/S provides cover- covering fire if needed- while others escape. If bad guy doesn't show, they all get out; if bad guy shows: Bang.
3. T/S is heading for class and comes up against the bad guy. Outcome uncertain, depending on readiness/accuracy/etc. Worst case, T/S is wounded or killed without stopping bad guy. Middle/best case, T/S may be wounded or killed but bad guy is stopped.

I think part of the reason for the 'You people can't be trusted!' may well be that these people cannot or will not consider that someone would knowingly place themselves between death and someone else. They wouldn't do it, or have it firmly fixed in their mind that they're incapable so they shouldn't even try; so when someone says "If I have my sidearm, I can protect myself. And in such a case, protect others", they don't believe it. In fact they either flat hate it or- and in some I know this is it- they fear it. Whether because they've been trained to or don't think that they could do it(or know they wouldn't), they fear someone who would. So in their mind, you wanting the means to stop a bad guy makes you a bad guy. As Kevin puts it, they don't understand, or will not make, the differentiation between aggressive violence and protective violence; the difference between the rabid wolf and the sheepdog. So they fear the sheepdog as much, maybe in some cases more, than they do the rabid wolf, and want to castrate the sheepdogs and make them yappy little lapdogs.

Which, now that I think about it, means a lot of them think of the police as their partially-castrated wolves; they don't trust them, they wait for the chance to punish them if they do anything wrong/possibly wrong, but want them around on a leash to bite the rabid wolves when they show up. After which they'll be (sometimes metaphorically, sometimes not) locked up to decide if they are still usable wolves, or out of control types who should be gotten rid of.

If you carry, you know what I'm talking about when I speak of the "What would/could I do?" scenarios that go through your mind. You sit in a restaurant and look at what you could do if a robbery occurs, or someone pulls a weapon to attempt murder. You walk through a store and take note of places from which you could, from cover/concealment, fire on a terrorist or spree killer, or gang-banger careless about who he's trying to kill, who opens up on people. You know the responsibility of that weight you carry, and you prepare for it, both by trips to the range and by running these things through your mind. Which may be one of the things that scares some people so much; that we actively prepare for what may come.

The big factor, I think, is the Decision: that it makes some people very nervous, sometimes flat terrified, to be in the presence of someone who has decided that, if absolutely necessary, they will kill. As James put it:

Everybody who shoots knows what I'm talking about. You see it in their eyes, their expression. All of a sudden you're not a person but a dangerous beast that might suddenly lash out and kill everyone around you. A Deathbeast.

If you carry for self-defense or have a weapon in the home for the purpose, you’d damned well better have decided this; when you’re facing someone with a knife or club or gun, or just hands and a homicidal impulse is NOT the time to decide if you can/will do it. There’s a paper called ‘Survival Stress in Law Enforcement’ that says this:

Commitment To Deadly Force:

If an officer hasn’t already, he must take a serious look at the issue of having to take someone’s life. That thought alone will cause great levels of stress throughout a career, but if an officer is not convinced or has questions as to what he/she would do in a deadly force situation, they are endangering themselves as well as the lives of others. With all things considered, faith, religion, and murder vs. killing, must be weighed, but in this career a total commitment to deadly force must be adopted when this situation presents itself.

Exactly. And to those who are terrified of that decision, often refusing to even consider it no matter what, having made the Decision makes you something non-human, something to fear. They don't care that your fondest wish is that all the preparation will never be needed for real, they don't care that having to pull the trigger on someone is a nightmare you deal with: they sense the teeth, and see no difference between wolf and sheepdog, so they want to remove the teeth- and preferably the balls- of the sheepdog. Instead, they put their trust in the magical thinking of "If we pass another law, and this time we really, really mean it, this time, we'll be safe!"

I’d suggest reading the paper mentioned above, link found at Winds of Change.

*Marfi: Capstick described it as ‘what comes out of the south end of a northbound hyena'

Additional: just found this at Chris' place on the 'you're paranoid/leave it to the pros/etc.' viewpoint.

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