Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In a civilized society...

In a civilized society, citizens do not need to be armed in public.

Does that make sense to you?

Or is it that what is abnormal now is to hope that one day we will look back on this mass shooting era and think: how strange they lived like that for so long?


  1. Laci - what is the violent crime rate in a civilized society?

  2. Every society has considered themselves civilized from the beginning of human beings living together. Each generation consider themselves more civilized than the previous. But in each one, there have always been those who were uncivil to those around them. Never in the course of history was a single civilized society that considered giving up any means to defend themselves of those that were uncivil. That means is just important today as it was in the first days of a civil society. In fact having the means to repel those that were bent on being uncivil to outright evil is the bond that kept societies civil.

    An armed society is a civil society.

    Our present society is loosing the bonds of civility because of the thought that arms are no longer needed. Now you have evil taking its toll on the defenseless. Relying on someone else for protection from this evil is proving to be a big mistake and this "modern civil society" is paying the price for it.

    But in recent years societies have been rearming themselves. In the areas where people take up arms to defend themselves from the uncivil and evil, crime has fallen. And continues to fall. With Illinois about to rearm its society, we will finally watch their high level of crime fall and civility return to that state as well.

    Sit up and take notice Laci, it has worked out in every state its been tried in.

  3. One may not need to be armed in a civilized society, but why must one be disarmed in such a society? Are we not capable of being civilized to each other armed or not?

    Also, what does carry (you didn't tag this as a carry post, but you did say "armed in public" rather than just "armed") have to do with the article? Getting rid of carry, concealed or open, is not going to stop someone who snaps, smuggles a weapon in somewhere, and conducts a mass shooting.


  4. As for the article itself, I think the author mentioned several things that are helpful to gaining some perspective. She talked about the bomb threats at her school. She talked about the threat of MAD we all lived with through the Cold War. She also mentioned fire drills, tornado drills, etc.

    We easily accept fire drills, tornado drills, and the like as being normal and appropriate--after all, these are natural events we have little to no control over, and it's only prudent to prepare for them.

    When it comes to bomb scares of the past and fears during the cold war, we get uncomfortable. After all, these are not natural disasters but dangers brought on by the evil in people's hearts. The threat of mass shooters becomes even more terrifying because of the personal nature of the act and attack.

    After the threats have passed, one of our reactions is to repress the things. Growing up, before Columbine, I remember cousins who were in High School talking about getting out because of a bomb threat at their school--once, someone even got expelled for blowing up a toilet with a small pipe bomb in the local high school over a weekend. The attitudes I picked up were the jaded ones the author talks about developing as a child, in spite of the fact that her school's bomb threats were more credible than the ones in small town Tennessee. Some people were realizing that the threat wasn't that great; others were suppressing the horror of the situation. Somewhere between Columbine and 9/11 this attitude stopped, and I haven't heard anyone tell tales of getting out of school because someone called in a bomb threat as a prank.

    The nonchalant attitude was not all because of denial, but that was a component whose bubble was popped by the pipe bombs found at Columbine and the rise of the school shooting.

    Similarly, by the end of the Cold War, most people had either decided they couldn't do much to help improve their chances if WW3 happened, or had told themselves that it couldn't happen. The author talks about how she views that time with wonder that we lived like that. She at least has memories of the time. Most of my generation, even though they lived their formative years in the sunset of the Cold War, were oblivious to it. As a result, they don't look at it the way the author does. Instead, they look at it as a time when people were nuts to worry so much--fallout shelters are considered funny things done by Chicken Littles. Red Dawn is a sign of the silliness of the times to think the Russians would ever attack, not escapism that hoped a WW3 scenario could be fought back against rather than resulting in a massive nuclear holocaust you were helpless against.

    If there was a warm bubble of denial during the Cold War, it has grown massively since then. After all, looking at how likely we were to be slaughtered is horrifying, so it is much easier to think we were all nuts at the time, never in that much danger, and that we just need to keep level heads and not worry about such things.

    This is a natural human reaction, and we do it all the time. We don't think about the chances of catching a horrific disease, having a wreck, having a plane crash on us, etc. We especially don't want to think about being caught in a terrorist attack, killed in a nuclear war, or shot by a crazed gunman.


    1. Here in America, we don't have that many terrorist attacks, so we mostly see those in movies (where we also see alien invasions), or on the news happening in "uncivilized" parts of the world. We go about our business either because we know that our individual chance of punching it that way is small, or because we deny the danger--often both in varying amounts. However, we do deal with a lot of aggravation today due to our panic when we had that bubble popped.

      As for the danger of nuclear holocaust, we make jokes, say it can't happen, etc. It probably won't happen, but it certainly could, and while I'd like to see people take more clear eyed views on the topic, I certainly hope that there is never an event that forces this bubble to be popped.

      As for the crazed gunman, these events happen often enough that we don't have time to form the happy bubble of denial that says that it can't happen. This is where I have an issue with the author. She talks about hoping to look back on this time and see it as strange, implying that we will somehow have a situation where these things won't or can't happen--I'm afraid this is either hoping for something unattainable, or hoping for a respite long enough for us to form a bubble of denial that is just waiting for some nut with a gun, knife, or bomb to pop it.

      We have had maniacs like this in the past--some used guns, some used bombs, some used knives, some formed gangs to prey on the helpless, etc. We see similar things happening all over the world--shootings in Europe, stabbings in Europe and China, shooters and bombers in the Middle East and Africa.

      People are the problem at the root of these things, and while we don't have to deal with the level of violence in the "uncivilized" world, we do need to look at things realistically and acknowledge that these things are the unfortunate norm on this planet.

      This is not to say we should accept these things as our fate, but we also should not waste time hoping that we can just get back to some non-existent state of innocence--threats caused by evil men will always be with us.

      Once we see and acknowledge this, we can come up with ways to mitigate the problem that motivates these people. Improve mental health to reduce the number of incidents and try to head them off before they happen. Come up with truly effective security that respects our rights and is not driven by fear and a desire for a panacea so that we can get back to our warm bubble of denial (e.g. airport "security" theater).

      If you think you have a solution, convince us. If we propose a solution, actually address the issues rather than tossing out insults and comments about how our ideas can't be good.

    2. You keep overlooking, in spite of the great length of your comments, the fact that almost all the mass shooters and many of the everyday killers were lawful gun owners right up till the moment they made history. This unpalatable fact ruins your position about good guys and bad guys. And it certainly ruins the nonsense about an armed society is a civil society.

    3. And Mikeb, you keep ignoring the fact that in American law, a lawful person cannot be punished. A person has to do something wrong to be convicted, adjudicated, and punished.

    4. Actually, Mike, I'm not ignoring that, though I think that comment would have been better placed under my first comment from which I purposefully separated this two parter so that they could be discussed separately.

      My point in this long post was to reevaluate how we approach danger--admitting that it exists and always will regardless of what weapons, actual and improvised, are available to them.

    5. Greg, it is not a "punishment" to forbid you to yell "fire" in a crowded theater when there's no fire. Likewise, restrictions on gun ownership are not a punishment.

      Ooops, was that a 1st Amendment comparison. You like them so much, maybe you'll get the point, though I somehow doubt it.

    6. Mikeb, as I've told you before, I'm satisfied with that level of restriction. Notice that I'm not required to leave my tongue or brain outside the theater. (Well, much of Hollywood wants me not to use the latter...) I can sit there thinking, FIRE!, as much as I want.

    7. Mike,

      What you're missing is that yelling fire in a crowded theater is analogous to shooting into the air or shooting into a crowd--it's misusing your freedom in a way that is aimed at injuring others.

      Licensing gun ownership is more like licensing clergy to ensure that they we don't give a pulpit or maybe a minbar to someone like Anwar Al-Awlaki.


    1. If you're going to keep feeding Mikeb, why can't you at least put a name to your posts?

    2. Hunting is sick. Elephant hunting is really sick. I won't even post it.

    3. "Hunting is sick" is the bleat of prey species.

  6. Laci, the term, fallacy, means an error in the structure of an argument, not something that you simply disagree with.

  7. The two "deliverance" boys are not part of civil society and don't recognize any law but the law of hunting their next victim.