Friday, September 26, 2008

Facing the reality

The other day the gentleman with the handbasket pointed to this post at TJIC(where I had not been before), and had this one himself. Both reminded me of something.

We all know people who, for whatever reason, either don’t like guns or refuse the idea of using violence for any purpose, including defense of self or others. Years back, when I was still messing with the SCA*, I ran into another level of – not quite sure what to call it. It generally manifested itself in someone who had no problem keeping a big knife, a sword or an axe by the bed, but was horrified or disgusted at the thought of keeping a gun there.

Now, this was not due to a simple dislike of violence: they announced they were quite willing to use the above noted implements of mayhem on an evildoer, they just did not like firearms(how they thought slicing somebody open or sliding a couple of feet of steel through their guts was morally superior to shooting them, I don’t know). Ok, you make your choices and take your chances. But there was a subgroup that had drunk the ‘honorable combat’ kool-aid and believed it: it wasn’t ‘honorable’ to use a gun on someone.
“A real man would face attackers with his bare hands.”
“What if there are three of them? With knives or guns?”
“You could take them - that would be heroic!”
I’m happy to report that I’d never bought into that crap; the concept of worrying about ‘honorably’ fighting someone who broke into my home and threatened me and my family just did not make sense(still doesn’t). But you had them. I suspect that, in many cases, they’d never truly considered having to face an attack, and keeping the old-style weaponry handy was their “See, I’m ready!” to pretend they had; heroic daydreams of fighting off multiple attackers and all.

There was a third group, who directly crossed with people who’ll keep a baseball bat handy but nothing edged or noisy. Their bat was a wooden practice sword. They at least faced squarely the question of “What do I do if someone breaks in?”, though I disagree with their choice: I want something that gives me enough reach to stay out of the reach of the bad guy(getting into contact range is a Bad Thing), and doesn’t depend on having a fair amount of room to swing. I used to have a D&D button that said ‘Constructive Coward’: I have no desire to take chances on receiving further damage to my somewhat worn body by doing something stupid. Like going hand-to-hand with some clown- let alone more than one- who breaks into my home. Or attacks me in a parking lot. And if I have a girlfriend or family to protect, there is no damn way I’m going to play games.

You know, this 'be prepared for the problem' stuff is wearing, and it can be hard. Considering what you'll do should someone come in the door or window at night, or out from behind a car, or be waiting outside the doors of a restaurant... it's not exactly fun to consider; it can be downright nasty. Not exactly something you want to spend your thoughts on. But if you don't, and it does happen... I've known people who deal with this reality by ignoring it as much as possible, but I can't do that. I'm not Ghost, it's just that I'd rather deal with the nasty thoughts on bad possibilities than consider finding myself with the situation gone to hell and I'd never bothered to think about 'what if?'.

* Society for Creative Anachronism, a medieval history study group that includes, for those interested combat with rattan weapons. Yes, I used to do this, and hit people with sticks.


Fire said...

I never understood that whole thing about having a knife, bat, sword, etc....but refuse to have a gun. Anybody happens to ignore the "BEWARE OF DOG" and "BITCH WITH A GUN" signs and decide to enter...will be attacked by said dog and said bitch with a gun. But that's just me.

Firehand said...

Beats me. Apparently their minds see something holy in close-range bloodletting with steel that just doesn't show up with bullets.

I think they're freakin' nuts, for the reasons listed.

markm said...

The blunt-object-only crowd is simply operating on ancient ape-instincts; clobbering each other over the head is something apes and babies understand quite well, but gunhandling has to be learned. And putting time, effort, and money into learning it is an admission that the world is non-perfect and you might actually need to ventilate something or someone...

Then there's the group that feels that mixing it up with an edged weapon is courage, while shooting from afar is cowardice. At least that doesn't come to us from ape ancestors (apes instinctively throw sticks and rocks at any threat - although they throw badly, only the human brain has the computing power needed to aim well), but it does come down from at least as far back as the Iliad. Paris was presented as less manly as the other warriors because he preferred the bow... Those who think this way are missing two important points:
-- The other guys may be carrying firearms too, which makes the guy who can carry on a gun duel the courageous warrior and the guy who brings a sword to a gunfight just a dead fool.
-- When someone breaks into your house at o-dark-hundred, it's not a game, and "playing fair" is just plain stupid. Darwin Award stupid...