Monday, February 21, 2011

The Gun Is Civilization

by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it. In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion.

Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some. When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat--it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society.

A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there's the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser wins confrontations. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don't constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level. The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn't work as well as a force equalizer if it weren’t both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation... and that's why carrying a gun is a civilized act.


  1. It never ceases to amaze me how naive some people can be ... if we take the guns out of society we'll be safer. NO! The "bad guys" don't care about the law ... they are already breaking at least one, so what's one more?! OK, so is that what we want ... the "bad guys" with guns and the rest of us without? I don't think so. Great post.

  2. I love my gun....I use it for hunting.

    Where do you live? Holy shit....I'm glad I don't live in a place where I need to carry a gun with me just so people will reason with me.

    Where I live, people reason with each other because they are decent and civil. If you feel the need to have a gun on you at all times in order to interact with people in your community I would recommend you move.

  3. I keep mine well oiled, cleaned and ready .

  4. Trey, DEM, Cowgirl, PenBay . . . repeat after me! "From my cold dead hand!!!" LOL!

  5. Sws, I didn't write the account provided, note I give credit to the "marine" who originally wrote it. I am guessing he was frequently in areas where he could not reason with people and had to use force.

    With that said, downtown Portland on a late Friday night might warrant having a firearm.


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