Do you drive frequently in heavy traffic? Aren’t all the other drivers complete strangers? You have no idea what their intentions are or their competence to operate a vehicle – and the “driver’s license” is certainly no guarantee of competence, of course. Are you in constant fear that someone will deliberately cause a wreck? Or do you simply drive as safely as you know how and hope everyone else does the same? Yes, “accidents” happen, but you actually must trust that it won’t, to a great extent, or you wouldn’t leave the house – or a mental hospital. Think about that.
Do you ever walk along city streets, jostled by the hundreds or even thousands of other people, each going their own way, for their own reasons? You probably don’t know any of them, and have no idea what their intentions or problems might be. Any one of them “might” be planning harm to other people, and might well even have some sort of weapon on their person to carry it out, but the overwhelming number of people don’t get harmed and do get to their destination unmolested every day, causes most of us to trust that we will manage the same peaceful end to our sojourn on the roads and sidewalks.
One thing I hear frequently when talking about open carry of guns is the idea that they “don’t know those people” and wouldn’t know who to trust… that any one who had a gun could just “go nuts” and start shooting. Those folks are uncomfortable when they can see the guns, even properly holstered, and even though criminals do not often carry openly – at least not until they are ready to strike. And how many of those fearful people consider that ANY person they pass – on foot or in a vehicle – might well be armed with a gun, a knife or a bazooka they can’t see. When properly concealed, nobody knows. So, what makes some people so much more fearful if they can see it?
Out of sight, out of mind? Or just wishful thinking? Does either of those seem like a rational reason to formulate political policy on anything?
People come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and so forth. So do criminals. The one thing that so many people simply can’t seem to understand or accept is the fact that nobody can reliably predict who will become violent. History demonstrates this clearly. More and more honest researchers and mental health professionals are saying the same thing. It is easy to point to mental and emotional problems in the criminal after the fact, but even trained professionals can’t predict much. What gun prohibitionists usually attempt to do is paint a broad category of people with the “mentally ill” brush, and demonize all of them. Thus they justify the call for blanket prohibition against these folks owning or carrying a gun.
The simple fact, however, is that not all violent crime is committed with guns. Screwdrivers and bare human hands are much more likely weapons, especially in the case of those few who suddenly “snap” and become violent more or less out of the blue. “Road rage” is usually the product of an entitlement mentality… someone believes that they can and must have power over others, and views any thwarting of their wishes as an infringement. If, on the other hand, they knew with fair certainty that the other person was likely armed and ready to defend themselves…. there might well be far less such aggression. An armed society is a polite society… because you may have to back up your aggression seriously with more than angry words.
Violent crime (by free lance, non uniformed predators) in the US overall is actually fairly rare. Unofficial violent crime against complete strangers is even more unusual. Most victims of assault, rape and murder actually know their assailant, or have some other logical connection.
From this it is fairly easy to see the vast differences between one state and another, and even one city and another in the same state. It seems quite obvious that some places and people would best be avoided. Doing that probably reduces your risk of a violent attack almost completely.
Almost – but the risk is never zero. A violent attack “might” happen anywhere. If you are the one targeted for violence, the risk jumps to 100% then. What people have to accept is the fact that there is simply no way on earth to reduce that risk to zero. Not by “law,” nor by putting everyone into straight jackets or cages.
What can we do then?
The right to life, liberty and property does not and cannot guarantee absolute safety either. You alone have the authority – and the responsibility – to provide the best you can for your own safety. You have the authority to defend yourself and your loved ones. You have the opportunity to make choices and take actions to improve your safety each hour of every day.
For many of us, and in increasing numbers, that includes the decision to carry a gun as the most effective defensive tool – for that rare moment when the risk jumps to 100%. Avoidance of dangerous people and places is vital, but sometimes the chips fall wrong no matter what you do. At that point you must be prepared to defend yourself or others, and death or serious injury is the price people too often pay for failing to do so.
I have no desire to harm anyone, but I will do whatever it takes to defend myself and those around me. I carry a gun. Get over it.