I had to acquire a gun to protect myself


10:05 am - January 3rd 2013

by Guest    


      Share on Tumblr

by Paramjot Kaur Gill

“Beauty is power, the same way money is power, the same way a gun is also power,” said Chuck Palahunik in his book Invisible Monsters. I never believed it until I made an effort to join NCC – the National Cadet Corps in India when I lived there. I was fifteen years old.

My main aim was self-defence. I never imagined myself being a part of the army until I saw some of my school friends being targets of abuse and even rape. No woman wants a life like that.

It didn’t matter if some people thought women were not strong enough to take up guns, the camp commandant didn’t stand for any of it. “If a man can pick up a gun to protect his country, so can a woman,” he used to tell us.

This week it was reported in the Guardian that hundreds of women in Delhi have applied for gun licences, reflecting the widespread feeling of insecurity.

Abhijeet Singh of Guns For India told the newspaper: “Lots of women have been contacting us asking for information about how to obtain licences. Any woman has a threat against her. It’s not surprising. There are fearless predators out there.”

This is true – there are a lot of predators there. But the rise in gun use will not overcome a larger problem. When we hear of ‘defensive gun use’, we are invited to think of a law-abiding citizen confronting a criminal aggressor. Yet crime does not always present itself so neatly. The vast majority of rapes and assaults on women are from an acquaintance or someone they know closely.

Delhi police sources told the The Times of India that hundreds had turned up at their office demanding guns. “We had to patiently tell them that one needs to have a clear danger to one’s life to be given a licence. However, some of the parents were not happy with our replies. They said that with even public transport no longer safe in the city, they just cannot take chances. When we told them this could not be reason enough, we were told to give in writing that their daughters were indeed safe on Delhi’s roads.”

Of course, we didn’t feel safe at all. The Indian police exists only in name, not action. They make women feel more uncomfortable and unsafe if anyone reported an assault or even rape. They treat women as a piece of meat and are perhaps the most unreliable people on earth. They tell women to wear ‘appropriate’ dresses so that men do not rape us.

I felt like I needed to take my safety in my own hands. My first rifle was a 3 knot 3 rifle and the second an automatic Mauser pistol. I felt safe when I carried it along with me. I recommended it to other women too – telling them to learn how to shoot. I told them to carry it with them at all times — even in the house.

I never used the gun, and the one time I felt the need it was not with me. I understand that the focus should be on telling men to stop attacking women, but in the meantime I would still ask any woman in India, “If someone was about to rape you, would you not want to have a gun to protect yourself?”


Paramjot Kaur Gill is a journalism student at Kingston University.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
This is a guest post.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Crime ,Law

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


Sunny adds to his tweet “worrying but understandable”.

I can see it could be worrying for potential rapists.

Who else?

written very well and yes a girl should do any possible thing to protect herself….. i remember once a man said to me, “If i was a girl, and someone was raping me, instead of fighting back, i would enjoy the sex indeed.” ….. and i felt disgusted ( i wonder if he has a sister or if he did, was he sleeping with her?). If this is what men think about RAPE….. then women should be allowed to keep guns with them.

4. Robin Levett

@pagar #2:

I can see it could be worrying for potential rapists.

Who else?

Anyone in the line of fire?

IMO the last thing India needs is a pervasive gun culture. As the thread header observes, most rapists are previously known by the victims so an opportunity to get that gun won’t be there.

6. Shatterface

Beauty is power, the same way money is power, the same way a gun is also power,” said Chuck Palahunik in his book Invisible Monsters

And in Fight Club he says a meringue will retain the smell if you fart on it.

Chuck Palahunik is a postmodern ironist: if beauty really is power there’s no need for the beautiful to carry a gun.

As pointed out in other threads there’s more to shooting and killing people than being able to load and point a gun; it takes years of military training and/or childhood abuse to turn an ordinary human being into a killing machine.

Having a gun just makes you overconfident when travelling alone and is utterly useless in the majority of rapes which are committed by partners or family members; unless you are carrying your gun at all times you aren’t going to be able to reach for it when you really need it, even if you are capable of pulling the trigger.

And it’s just another way of blaming the victim for not defending themselves.

7. Shatterface

Of course, if the USA ever adopts a sensible gun policy the weapons manufacturers will need a new market the way the cigarette companies did so pushing the product on a largely impoverished country half a world away is ideal.

8. Rishi Sachdev

let these guys feel the same fear that a girl faces these days…..Respect a woman or taste a bullet…..if she gives you a life, she may take it too….and Paramjot…you are getting better with your articles…very intense :)

Hang on though. Is it just possible that potential rapists on seeing that their potential victims are now carrying guns, that they will just give up being rapists and take up another hobby instead? Basket weaving or wood burning are two fine examples of hobbies that require neither guns or an erect penis.

I mean it is not remotely possible that such hitherto law abiding men will use the same law to get tooled up as their victims is there? I mean the proposed intention of the pro gun lobby is to ‘protect women’ not invoke an arms race with potential rapists. What could possibly go wrong?

@ Robin

Anyone in the line of fire?

But according to the OP the only person in the line of fire would be her attempted rapist.

Individuals have the right to defend themselves by whatever means they deem necessary- fault is always with the aggressor.

11. Chiranjeev Singh Bedi

For Rape
1) UAE- Instant Death Penalty within 7 days hanging
2) Iran- Instant Stoned to death/hanging with 24 hrs
3) Afghanistan – Instant death by bullet on head within 4 days
4) China – No Trial, Medical proved rape then Death Penalty
5) Malaysia – Death Penalty
6) Mongolia – Death as revenge by family
7) Iraq – Death by stone till last breath
8) Taliban – Limbs/ Legs/ Balls All Cut Off & then stoned & then shot
9) Poland – Death thrown to Pigs
10) INDIA -Gov food, 24*7 security for atleast 3 to 10 yrs.. politicians rule, Compromise, Thinking, Trial, Bribe of 2 lacs, Rich family Kid forgiven, Abuse & Embarrassment to Gul.

NO ACTION..
Even the victim is dead still no chargesheet filed..

Till date Indian government is thinking=-?

Pagar @ 10

But according to the OP the only person in the line of fire would be her attempted rapist.

or someone who she ‘thought’ of as a rapist, or someone who the rapist shoots after he has disarmed her. Or someone shot because she had been spooked by a shadow and started shooting at random or …

…well I am sure we can can think of a thousand other instances were an innocent died or was injured.

fault is always with the aggressor.

Or the person without a gun. That is the problem we are not talking about arming a victim against a rapist, we are talking about arming a billion people, many of whom are as paraniod as your average gun nut. Arming the populace like that is going to end in carnage.

Really, Pagar? You seriously would support a woman who shot a guy for ‘looking’ like a rapist? The guy that sees nothing wrong with a bit of ‘harmless flirting’, would happily support the mass murder of a few innocent men? Isn’t that the logical extentsion of ‘all men are rapists’? Just shoot them?

All this from the man that found it terrible that Jimmy Savile was being branded a rapist without a fair trial.

Fuck me Pagar, you have managed to start the year on a corker.

13. Paramjot Kaur

as being a women.. when u r chased by a rapist.. and danger laughs at your face.. all u can do is self defence.. and surely a gun will save u from it !!

The guy that sees nothing wrong with a bit of ‘harmless flirting’, would happily support the mass murder of a few innocent men? Isn’t that the logical extentsion of ‘all men are rapists’? Just shoot them?

I was beginning to wonder why graduates from the school of ‘How-do-I-not-rape-someone-it-is-so-difficult?’ had begun agitating for women to be armed with handguns to shoot any and all they regard as being potential rapists.

You seriously would support a woman who shot a guy for ‘looking’ like a rapist?

No of course not.

And as others have pointed out, most rapes are not violent stranger attacks but happen within families and otherwise loving relationships(not that that makes them in any way acceptable).

What I am saying is that if a woman shoots a man who attacks her, her actions are entirely legitimate (as are the actions of a householder who shoots a burglar). Guilt and/or innocence can ultimately be determined in a court of law.

All this from the man that found it terrible that Jimmy Savile was being branded a rapist without a fair trial.

And is still outraged about it but clearly the concept of due process or clause 39 of Magna Carta means nothing to you, Jim.

“No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.”

“The vast majority of rapes and assaults on women are from an acquaintance or someone they know closely.”

we hear this everywhere about rapes and assaults on women and children.

Has anyone considered how these figures are effected by the fact that most women, know not to go to “certain places” alone, and not use public transport alone late at night.

These figures stack up that way because so many women take, what are to be considered, “sensible precautions”.

If women were to enjoy the same freedoms as men, the figures would no doubt change to show that men rape women, irrelevant of familiarity or place.

17. Shatterface

Hypothetically, do you fuckwits support wider gun ownership for women in the USA – because I seem to remember many of you throwing a hissy fit a few days ago when you were reteatting pictures of Americans showing off their pretty pink lead-throwing dildos.

Why is it that rape brings out the rabid right-wing gun nut in self-defining liberals?

18. Robin Levett

@pagar #15:

All this from the man that found it terrible that Jimmy Savile was being branded a rapist without a fair trial.

And is still outraged about it but clearly the concept of due process or clause 39 of Magna Carta means nothing to you, Jim.

Are you serious?

Due process requires the accused to face his accusers. Are you really saying that no-one may speak ill of the dead, because the dead cannot face their accusers? So (and I apologise for Godwinning the thread, but this is actually pretty relevant) no-one can call Hitler a mass-murderer because he wasn’t found guilty before his death and can now no longer face his accusers?

19. Charlieman

@17. Shatterface: “Why is it that rape brings out the rabid right-wing gun nut in self-defining liberals?”

This fuckwit hasn’t changed his mind. The facts haven’t changed — untrained civilians aren’t good at using guns in self defence — so I haven’t budged either.

The Indians queuing for a gun licence have probably reinforced my opposition to gun ownership.

I have been thinking about those who are trained to use guns in stressful situations and the training they receive to overcome normal emotional and physiological responses. I mean armed police officers, rather than the uniformed soldiers who pop up at airports after a terrorist incident — what purpose are they supposed to serve?

Even the police who are trained to use guns make mistakes, and the liberal left will always call for accountability when a gun is used, wisely or mistakenly. If those who are most qualified foul up, logic demands that gun possession should not be extended to those who are less well trained. And perhaps the UK police should use, or expect to use, guns less.

@17 To be honest, from the current comments at the least, I can’t see anyone who participated in the AR15 for Chrimbo thread that has actually changed their position upon entering this one, and the number of re-tweets appear to be fairly muted as well.

@ Robin

Are you really saying that no-one may speak ill of the dead, because the dead cannot face their accusers?

No. Anyone is at liberty to speak ill of anyone else if they want to. As individuals.

But when we have policemen and politicians (in their roles as state spokesmen)pronouncing a guilty verdict on someone who is dead (and who cannot sue for slander/libel or defend themselves in a court of law because charges cannot be brought)due process has been usurped (whether they were, in fact, guilty or not).

If such happened to the recently deceased Robin Levett I suspect your ghost would be outraged.

22. Robin Levett

@pagar #21:

And Hitler?

To all the “well if you’re not a rapist then what’s the problem” people, have you never seen a single gun statistic in your lives? This debate has been going on for long enough that surely everyone knows a gun in the home is far more likely to be used by or on a child than any aggressor? And as other people have stated, just because you only mean to use it on an attacker, doesn’t mean you only will. While many women are clearly in danger, surely this would put even more innocent people in danger than there already are?

“If this is what men think about RAPE….. then women should be allowed to keep guns with them.”

No, its what one man you happened to talk to thought of rape, don’t you dare turn that into “so, this is what men think of rape” Also, why are you capitalizing the word rape? this is not the dailymail.

25. Richard Carey

Excellent OP. Women have a right to defend themselves. Self-defence is the most basic human right of all, and a gun is the most effective means to enable this. Hopefully this recent terrible crime will wake up the women of India to take matters into their own hands, and fight back against the laws which conspire to make them easy prey to violent, evil men.

26. Chaise Guevara

@ Richard C

“Self-defence is the most basic human right of all, and a gun is the most effective means to enable this.”

Agreed with both, but a gun in someone else’s hands is also an excellent method of removing your rights and property, i.e. by shooting you dead.

I’m with the libertarians on drugs because drugs generally aren’t pointed at other people’s heads. With guns, you can punish people for murdering each other in a moment of anger, insanity, or confusion, but it’s worth precisely fuck-all to the corpse.

27. Chaise Guevara

“Even the police who are trained to use guns make mistakes, and the liberal left will always call for accountability when a gun is used, wisely or mistakenly. If those who are most qualified foul up, logic demands that gun possession should not be extended to those who are less well trained. And perhaps the UK police should use, or expect to use, guns less.”

+1

1) UAE- Instant Death Penalty within 7 days hanging
2) Iran- Instant Stoned to death/hanging with 24 hrs
3) Afghanistan – Instant death by bullet on head within 4 days
4) China – No Trial, Medical proved rape then Death Penalty
5) Malaysia – Death Penalty
6) Mongolia – Death as revenge by family
7) Iraq – Death by stone till last breath
8) Taliban – Limbs/ Legs/ Balls All Cut Off & then stoned & then shot
9) Poland – Death thrown to Pigs
Of course the Taliban does stone to death unfaithful women and of course husbands are allowed to rape.
Poland death and then thrown to the pigs. Sh*t, I have eaten Polish bacon.

Pagar @ 15

What I am saying is that if a woman shoots a man who attacks her, her actions are entirely legitimate (as are the actions of a householder who shoots a burglar). Guilt and/or innocence can ultimately be determined in a court of law.

Seriously dude, you are completely fucked up if this is your argument. A lone woman walking down the street after midnight. A guy walking down the same street, perhaps a bit worse for wear after a night socialising, a chance remark and a bullet in the forehead and no witnesses. No trial, ‘no facing the accuser’, no DNA evidence, nothing, not even a nod to magna carter. Just a young and perhaps scared woman who over reacts in the heat of a moment with a recently bought legal gun, made legal by some kind of perverted Right wing nutcase to turn a Country into a ‘Libertarian’ paradise. And the same scenario played out all over the Country over spilled drinks, taxi fares, chatting up girls, chatting up boys.

This is exactly what is wrong with you cunts; you are so blinded by your obsessions and a driving hatred of the West that you cannot understand that changing one parameter like this changes the whole of society. You cannot change society in a way that allows women to own guns that are only ever used for ‘legitimate’ purposes and against ‘legitimate targets’. Once you allow guns onto the streets you are allowing millions of people to routinely carry guns and inevitable consequences.

Fuck me, how can anyone look at this Country and think that mass gun ownership will improve this.

“Fuck me, how can anyone look at this Country and think that mass gun ownership will improve this.”

Someone will soon be popping up to say how many jobs could be created by an industry making and selling guns if only the gun control laws were abolished so we could all defend ourselves when attacked. If only all those 6 and 7 year-olds and their teachers, massacred at that elementary school in Connecticut, had been armed . .

Pagar
” What I am saying is that if a woman shoots a man who attacks her, her actions are entirely legitimate (as are the actions of a householder who shoots a burglar). Guilt and/or innocence can ultimately be determined in a court of law.”

Yes what about a bloke who is knicking your bicycle or the 16 year old knicking biscuits from a local corner shop or the bastard that cuts you up and nearly kills you.
Blow the fuckers apart.

Trouble with pussies like you pagar is your all mouth and trousers.
Armchair gun nut who in reality would shit himself using a firearm.

“I understand that the focus should be on telling men to stop attacking women,”

The focus should be on arresting those who do. Rape will go on forever, but you can at least police it better.

33. Richard Carey

Interesting how some men are so much more bothered by the concept of women being able to defend themselves for a change compared to the ongoing litany of crimes against women.

Personally, I don’t believe I have a right to disarm a woman who has not done anything wrong and wishes to protect herself. I’d like to know by what right you anti-self-defence (ergo pro-violent-crime) people think you can do so.

Oh, here comes Bob B with a statistic. Here’s Jim to call me a ‘cunt’, or pdiddy to call me a gun nut. Yeah, whatever. You all consider women being raped and murdered is a price worth paying for your kind of collectivist society. How gallant of you.

This is one of those philosophical binds that progressives tend to get themselves into. Rape is bad but having a gun to defend yourself against it is even worse because of all the hypothetical bad things that could happen. Exactly the same logic is used against gun ownership for any reason, you can’t have one because you might shoot yourself or an innocent person or go mad and slaughter people wholesale. The rights of hypothetical victims being far greater in the progressive mind than the rights of actual victims.

Personally, I don’t believe I have a right to disarm a woman who has not done anything wrong and wishes to protect herself. I’d like to know by what right you anti-self-defence (ergo pro-violent-crime) people think you can do so.

Are you in favour of all being able to own weapons for the purposes of self defence, or specifically just women? Because if it’s the former you’re also advocating for the arming of rapists. Particularly when the nation in question has the cultural biases that Sunny’s been very keen to highlight. Indeed it’s very likely that rapists would be provided with arms ahead of women in the current circumstances.

“You all consider women being raped and murdered is a price worth paying for your kind of collectivist society.”

And you consider a classroom of Children being slaughtered a few days before Christmas a price worth paying for your little toys and your “RIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL TEH RIGHTS!!! TO BANG BANG!!!!”

37. Richard Carey

@ Cylux,

why don’t you answer my question? Oh yeah, I know, cos you can’t.

@ Blah,

I deny your accusation, but you admit mine. I say people have a right to self-defence, not a right to murder. You can’t distinguish between the two, because you’re thick.

33, 34

Point of interest, where is the evidence that shows that possessing a gun and/or the ability to legally possess a gun, has actually saved women from being raped.

@3 – Ive heard women say similar comments, Which is confusing, as you seem to think differently. How did you manage to free your consciousness from the collective? It sounds really cool to not have the same thoughts and ideas as everyone else with dangly bits between their legs.

it takes years of military training and/or childhood abuse

That’s quite a really sweet and innocent way you’ve got of looking at the world – bless.

“I deny your accusation, but you admit mine. I say people have a right to self-defence, not a right to murder. You can’t distinguish between the two, because you’re thick.”

YESh im so fick, place a gun in every hand bag in the world and magically all rape stops over night!Oh my why didt you tell us sooner?

42. Richard Carey

@ 38 jojo,

just google “rapist shot”. Indisputably having a gun changes the odds. Also it’s a right, not a privilege, to defend yourself, and criminals usually state fear that a would-be victim is armed as their number one fear.

@ Blah,

you can’t blame me for your ignorance and/or idiocy, but if you apply yourself to thinking rationally and morally, there may be hope for you yet.

Rich
Oh, here comes Bob B with a statistic. Here’s Jim to call me a ‘cunt’, or pdiddy to call me a gun nut. Yeah, whatever. You all consider women being raped and murdered is a price worth paying for your kind of collectivist society. How gallant of you.

Personally I would chop the goolleys of rapists but the idea of every incident of crime been dealt with private gun fight feels me with horror. Surely the winner will be the one who can handle the firearm the best. That might not be the good guy / gal
Also what if the rapist has a more powerful gun.
Also many gun fighters in the WWW were top notch rapists.
Also Richard you full of shit. The minute you see a heavily armed gang you head for your arm chair with your copy of “Guns for sad white middle aged men whom think they are dirty harry”
Who said I was a collectivist ?.

Personally I would chop the goolleys of rapists but the idea of every incident of crime been dealt with private gun fight feels me with horror. Surely the winner will be the one who can handle the firearm the best. That might not be the good guy / gal
Also what if the rapist has a more powerful gun.
Also many gun fighters in the WWW were top notch rapists.
Also Richard you full of shit. The minute you see a heavily armed gang you head for your arm chair with your copy of “Guns for sad white middle aged men whom think they are dirty harry”
Who said I was a collectivist ?.

@37

why don’t you answer my question? Oh yeah, I know, cos you can’t.

There’s many options for self defence after all, not just guns as you imply, so to say those opposed to guns are ‘anti-self defence’ is merely the recourse of the liar. I did ask you a question however, which you sidestepped. Why do you wish for rapists to be able to press a gun to their victims head as they rape them?

42

I have a problem with the notion that gun ownership would deter rapists – it appears that the USA, with one of the highest numbers of privately held weapons, has also got the highest number of rapes, 13 times higher than England and 20 times higher than Japan.

It might be a ‘right’ to defend yourself (I doubt if many would argue with this) but it appears that there is no correlation between access to firearms and reduced levels of rape. Maybe, like India, we should be looking at the American culture

47. Chaise Guevara

@ 34 Thornavis

“Exactly the same logic is used against gun ownership for any reason, you can’t have one because you might shoot yourself or an innocent person or go mad and slaughter people wholesale.”

Legally owned guns in the US more often are used to kill illegally than legally. In fact, you’re considerably more likely to kill a family member than an intruder. It’s not some stalking-horse objection, it’s the whole reason for being anti-gun. If accidents and misuse were very rare in places where guns are legal, I’d be pro-gun.

“The rights of hypothetical victims being far greater in the progressive mind than the rights of actual victims.”

The only reason the hypothetical/real distinction is this way round is because guns are currently illegal. If we were discussing the US, I could say that the rights of people who hypothetically might be attacked if they didn’t have a gun are far greater in the conservative mind than the rights of the real victims of gun crime. Either way around it’s an utterly specious point.

So your post has a) made a good argument for banning guns and b) finished with something rhetorical that only reveals bias. Not very convincing.

48. Richard Carey

@ jojo,

where does that rape statistic (US 13 times higher than UK) come from? They seem roughly the same in this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics

“It might be a ‘right’ to defend yourself (I doubt if many would argue with this)”

therefore it is wrong to actively prevent someone from being able to do so.

@ 45 Cylux,

“There’s many options for self defence after all, not just guns as you imply, so to say those opposed to guns are ‘anti-self defence’ is merely the recourse of the liar.”

No, it’s a logical statement. You may say someone has a right to do something, but if you also actively support a law which prevents that thing being done, it’s not a lie to say you are against it. You should face up to the consequences of your position.

“I did ask you a question however, which you sidestepped. Why do you wish for rapists to be able to press a gun to their victims head as they rape them?”

I didn’t answer your question, because you haven’t answered the question that I posed first, and I’m still waiting. As for your latest question, you’re trying to push your position onto me. It is you who wants the rapist armed and the victim disarmed. I am arguing for law-abiding citizens not to be prevented from defending themselves. You can’t understand the difference between a law-abiding citizen and a rapist, and that’s the essential problem with how you look at this issue. You want them all disarmed, but secretly you must know that the rapist doesn’t follow the law which bans weapons, but the law-abiding person does.

You want them all disarmed, but secretly you must know that the rapist doesn’t follow the law which bans weapons, but the law-abiding person does.
How do you know that ?
How many rapes has the individual been armed with a handgun in this country. If you had free access to hand guns it would be a good bet that both parties will be armed.
Who will be better and more likely to use the firearm.
Also what about the scenario of the poor women scared on a dark street. A sinister man comes out of the dark. She panics and shoots the poor bastard. Who may be asking for traffic instructions or a light for his fag.

50. Richard Carey

@ PDiddy,

if you want me to respond to your tedious questions, you will have to learn to use speech-marks. Your problem seems to boil down to a patronising attitude towards women, who you think incapable of acting responsibly with a firearm. You should read the OP. The writer has managed to avoid shooting any men, innocently prowling the streets looking for a light.

51. Chaise Guevara

@ 50 Richard

“if you want me to respond to your tedious questions, you will have to learn to use speech-marks.”

His question about handguns is absolutely germane. You should answer it.

“Your problem seems to boil down to a patronising attitude towards women, who you think incapable of acting responsibly with a firearm.”

No, he’s talking about a single hypothetical woman. The generalisation was done by you.

“You should read the OP. The writer has managed to avoid shooting any men, innocently prowling the streets looking for a light.”

One person hasn’t committed manslaughter, ergo manslaughter doesn’t happen?

Thornavis @ 34

Rape is bad but having a gun to defend yourself against it is even worse because of all the hypothetical bad things that could happen.

There is nothing hypothetical about twenty kids in a morgue, is there?

53. Robin Levett

@Richard Carey #33:

Yeah, whatever. You all consider women being raped and murdered is a price worth paying for your kind of collectivist society. How gallant of you.

So gun-ownership reduces rape and murder rates? Explain the difference then between the UK and the USA rape and murder rates – particularly the states without any effective gun-control. (The USA rape rate is twice that of the UK; the USA murder rate manyt imes more than that).

54. Richard Carey

@ 51 Chaise,

I’m not under any obligation to answer questions, especially as no one has yet answered the question I posed and the person involved can’t be bothered to write clearly, by mixing up quotes from someone else with his own views. It’s not that hard to use ” “.

No one’s changing their mind on this, anyway. Either you see things as an individualist, and believe that an individual has a right to live as they see fit, provided they are not violating other people’s equal liberty, or you don’t. If you do, you recognise that it’s none your business if someone is carrying a firearm for self-defence – you’ll never find this out, unless you attempt to attack them, which I wouldn’t do anyway, so it doesn’t bother me.

“No, he’s talking about a single hypothetical woman. The generalisation was done by you. ”

It’s a stupid question. The answer, if you need me to spell it out for you is; that the hypothetical woman is not allowed to shoot someone for asking for a light, and if she does she will have to face the consequences, which will likely be a manslaughter charge. The law regarding the use of violence in self-defence is well-established. The threat has to be clear and present. The gaping hole in the law is that, although it is accepted that people can defend themselves, they are prohibited from being able to do so in the most effective way.

Jim @ 52

It’s not logical to use the actions of a criminal as evidence that the possession of guns for self defence is wrong. Its also just another example of the distasteful shroud waving that has gone on since that massacre and therefore of no relevance to this discussion.

Chaise @ 47

A similar objection can be used to your somewhat more considered response. It’s always the situation in the US that gets dragged up immediately when anyone tries to advocate the right of people to self defence including the ownership of firearms. What about other countries with high gun ownership ? Is the situation in Canada for instance the same ?
You’ve missed the point about hypothetical victims, which is that it is pretty much an article of faith in progressive circles that we must always be thinking about some future state of predicted harm whenever anyone suggests reforming or abolishing some piece of restrictive legislation. The principle is extended when yet another prohibitionist proposal comes up and we are exhorted to think of the millions of lives that will be saved. It’s exactly the same with the present demand that US gun laws be changed, a positive certainty that it will save lives, based on little more than wishful thinking as far as I can see and with no consideration for how many lives will be lost ( also unknowable I accept ) through innocent people being unable to defend themselves against criminals. As far as Indian women are concerned we know that they have a high risk of being raped, we also know that at the moment they have little chance of defending themselves, if gun ownership gives them that opportunity who are you or I or anyone to tell them they can’t have it ?

56. Chaise Guevara

@ 54 Richard

“No one’s changing their mind on this, anyway. Either you see things as an individualist, and believe that an individual has a right to live as they see fit, provided they are not violating other people’s equal liberty, or you don’t.”

No, it’s not that simple. As usual, trying to divide everything into two distinct camps isn’t a good idea. You can generally believe in personal liberty with a few exceptions. Guns are one of those exceptions for me, and it’s not to do with inconsistent philosophy. It’s that the risk to other caused by you carrying a gun outweighs the benefits and that specific point of liberty.

“It’s a stupid question. The answer, if you need me to spell it out for you is; that the hypothetical woman is not allowed to shoot someone for asking for a light, and if she does she will have to face the consequences, which will likely be a manslaughter charge.”

But the person who asked for a light will still be dead. This seems to be the point that gun activists deliberately overlook.

“The gaping hole in the law is that, although it is accepted that people can defend themselves, they are prohibited from being able to do so in the most effective way.”

I’d call that less a gaping hole and more a reasonable balance.

57. Chaise Guevara

@ 55 Thornavis

“A similar objection can be used to your somewhat more considered response. It’s always the situation in the US that gets dragged up immediately when anyone tries to advocate the right of people to self defence including the ownership of firearms. What about other countries with high gun ownership ? Is the situation in Canada for instance the same ?”

I’ll be honest: I use the US because it’s the one I know most about. Input regarding other countries would be useful.

“You’ve missed the point about hypothetical victims, which is that it is pretty much an article of faith in progressive circles that we must always be thinking about some future state of predicted harm whenever anyone suggests reforming or abolishing some piece of restrictive legislation.”

Well, yes. Of course. It’s called cost/benefit analysis. You can’t make a sensible decision if you ignore the costs.

“It’s exactly the same with the present demand that US gun laws be changed, a positive certainty that it will save lives, based on little more than wishful thinking as far as I can see and with no consideration for how many lives will be lost ( also unknowable I accept ) through innocent people being unable to defend themselves against criminals.”

Banning guns in the US would be a bad idea, I think: cost/benefit again. The difference is that the market is already flooded, so you really would end up with a situation where loads of armed criminals could hurt or intimidate unarmed law-abiders. If I was running the show in the US I’d probably ban everything except semi-auto handguns and hunting rifles.

“As far as Indian women are concerned we know that they have a high risk of being raped, we also know that at the moment they have little chance of defending themselves, if gun ownership gives them that opportunity who are you or I or anyone to tell them they can’t have it ?”

I haven’t actually said they shouldn’t be allowed guns, and if I did I wouldn’t be “telling” them, I’d be delivering my opinion to a grateful internet.

I don’t know what the best idea is for India. If it’s that guns should be banned, then the people who should be telling these women they can’t have guns might be other Indians who don’t want to be killed by accident, or in an argument, or by criminals who find it easy to keep guns because they’re legal.

In the news from America on Saturday night:

“Four people have been found dead following a shooting incident that triggered a stand-off with police in Aurora, in the US state of Colorado.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20923201

59. Richard Carey

@ Chaise,

“Guns are one of those exceptions for me, and it’s not to do with inconsistent philosophy…”

You may have a consistent philosophy, but it’s probably based on something other than individualism, or at least contains some kind of collectivist contamination. This would seem the case if you are claiming that one person, in the name of society, the common good or something, can deny another person the right to carry a defensive weapon, an act which does not harm anyone else at all. The use of the weapon is a separate matter and amply covered in law.

“It’s that the risk to other caused by you carrying a gun outweighs the benefits and that specific point of liberty.”

The “specific point of liberty” happens to be the most fundamental. If you cannot defend your own life and property, what other liberty is important? Law-abiding citizens pose next to no risk to anyone other than criminals. The police are armed and likewise present a risk of misusing their weapons, but virtually everyone accepts this risk without much dispute. Whatever the operation of the law, and we all know it’s far from perfect, a policeman is not given carte blanche to shoot whoever they feel like. Possession of a weapon bestows a huge responsibility, and if you listen to concealed carry permit holders talk about this, this comes across very strongly.

“But the person who asked for a light will still be dead. This seems to be the point that gun activists deliberately overlook.”

No, it’s just one hypothetical factor amongst many. I would rather live with that risk than the alternative that this hypothetical woman will be defenceless against a violent aggressor. I trust the average woman to use her head far more than I trust the average rapist not to rape.

I know that if the laws were liberalised, then people like me would be blamed for every accident and mistake. Fine, as long as those who oppose liberalisation will take their share of the blame for every defenceless victim of aggression, whose suffering is considered as the lesser of two evils.

60. Richard Carey

“you can’t blame me for your ignorance and/or idiocy, but if you apply yourself to thinking rationally and morally, there may be hope for you yet.”

“I have a problem with the notion that gun ownership would deter rapists – it appears that the USA, with one of the highest numbers of privately held weapons, has also got the highest number of rapes, 13 times higher than England and 20 times higher than Japan.”

Uhuh…but when you get shot in the face asking for a light its ok because of manslaughter charges…

If any think the OK Corral shootout in 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona was just something out of the history of the wild west and the movies, try this TV news report of an exciting event in Toledo, Ohio:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tkEFCAPgCA

I am sorry about my tedious questions but as Chaise pointed out you haven’t answered them.
Richard my arguments have centred on the UK.
I agree with Chaise with his views about the US and India.
Does the lady need to carry the weapon in Kingston?
I have posted I couldn’t care less what happens in other countries. It is for them to sort out. Probably in India it is good idea for a middle class women to carry arms because many of their attackers could not afford arms. Although the very poor woman, I would say the most common victim, has a problem. In this country if you had free access to guns, both she and the rapists would be armed. It would not stop the rape.
The winner would be the one who could use the firearm better and more deviously.
Look at countries like Sierra Leone where children are armed. Rape and anarchy are second nature. There are many in that part of the world where unlimited weaponry is a living nightmare. Many mothers would dream of a society without guns in those countries.
I fear that with free access to small arms in this country, there would be far more incidents of gun deaths involving accidents, family disputes, road rage and petty crime. I was in the services and I saw well trained paras and booties make many mistakes with arms.
The trouble Richard you are an ideologue and view all political decisions you don’t agree with as socialist conspiracies. No different from some on the left who think the world is controlled by Bilderberg. Why politicians intact gun laws are not because they want to but public and press pressure tells them to do something. The public wants gun laws.
Personally I felt the Tory government in 1988 and the Blair government in the late 90’s probably did over react a little. But it had nothing do with ideology more to with the politicians nightmare of been told something must be done

You’ve missed the point about hypothetical victims, which is that it is pretty much an article of faith in progressive circles that we must always be thinking about some future state of predicted harm whenever anyone suggests reforming or abolishing some piece of restrictive legislate
Didn’t the republicans go to war in Iraq because of WMDS. Are the republicans progressive ?
Wasn’t that a future state of predicted harm.

65. Richard Carey

We can both play this game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NJQK2BscIg

For illumination on homicides in America, try this Guardian report on: Gun crime statistics by US state: latest data – How high is gun crime across the US and which states have the worst figures?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state

@65 Women defends self with shotgun eh? Can happen here too, if women were of a mind to obtain one. Bit pricy for the working class girl though, so might only be the preserve of the middle classes, working class girls will have to make do with self defence classes I guess.

Double standards appear to prevail from the libertarian/individualists, it appears that if several posters speak out against the further liberalization of acquiring weapons they are then accused of being collectivists. If, however, several posters uphold the view that less gun regulation is needed, they are individualists. When it is pointed-out that more weapons could lead to more loss of life, it is dismissed as relating to hypothetical victims as against holding a gun could deter a hypothetical rape.

Need it be said that no-one holds a monopoly on extrapolation.

69. Richard Carey

@ PDiddy,

“Richard my arguments have centred on the UK.
I agree with Chaise with his views about the US and India.
Does the lady need to carry the weapon in Kingston?”

Okay, but the OP is about India, and this discussion always drags in America, especially with regard to recent events. As to whether she needs to carry a weapon in Kingston, how can anyone answer such a question? I know the place well, and you can go your whole life with nothing much happening or you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. She has no legal choice in the matter in any case. What I will say is this; if this young lady was carrying a weapon, it would not bother me in the slightest, as I would not attack her. Nor do I fear asking her for a light and getting shot for my troubles. Nor would I report her to the police if I found out she was carrying a weapon.

“The trouble Richard you are an ideologue and view all political decisions you don’t agree with as socialist conspiracies.”

Ideologue? If you like. I have a political viewpoint, which is individualist and libertarian, and I try to be consistent. I don’t see a socialist conspiracy, but I think those who disagree with me usually do so because they have a collectivist mentality. They don’t necessarily acknowledge this, or perhaps even understand the meaning I attach to that term.

“Why politicians enact gun laws are not because they want to but public and press pressure tells them to do something. The public wants gun laws.”

I dare say you’re right, but this doesn’t justify it in my opinion. Democracy it may be, but I don’t accept the majority can take away the rights of the minority, and I consider it a natural right to be able to defend yourself. Few dispute the right to self-defence, but many throw up their hands in horror at gun ownership. To me, the latter is a logical deduction from the former. I am well aware that this is a minority opinion in this country, and I express it with no conviction that it will change anything here. However, I see it as an injustice, and I see it as indicative of many other injustices, in which the state encroaches upon the individual’s legitimate sphere of action. I find a lot of the arguments against my position unconvincing, because I simply don’t believe that the average person is incapable of acting responsibly with a firearm. I think this view is due to a lack of familiarity with guns, coupled with the bombardment of television. I know accidents can happen and some people are stupid and reckless, but I don’t think the few idiots should be used as a reason to stop everyone else, any more than the few idiot drivers should mean that no one can drive.

Because there is no prospect of a relaxation of the law in this country, speculation of what the effect of such a change would be is somewhat idle. For reasons I note above, I don’t think it would lead to carnage, although no doubt there would be gun crimes, as there are now, possibly more, although this cannot be stated with certainty. There would also be instances where guns would be used legitimately in self-defence. So, as with most things in life, there are trade-offs. We can hypothesise who will draw and shoot first, the rapist or the empowered heroine, but such cases are only one aspect of what would represent a significant cultural shift.

I would take the inconveniences of too much freedom, rather than too little. But that’s me; ideologue. I doubt I’ve covered all your points.

70. Charlieman

@69. Richard Carey:

Thanks for resuming your cool in this thread. I don’t agree with all of your arguments but I enjoy reading them.

“Ideologue? If you like. I have a political viewpoint, which is individualist and libertarian, and I try to be consistent.”

It is easily argued that in a society where the majority of people carry guns, it is challenging *not* to carry a gun. In a society where the majority carry guns, the choice to be unarmed is largely removed. By necessity or social convention, it is assumed that everyone has a gun and that unarmed citizens step outside unwritten rules. The freedom to be unarmed is thus inhibited by the majority of gun carriers.

I think that the freedom to be unarmed and to walk down gun free streets out trumps any right to carry a gun.

“…I don’t accept the majority can take away the rights of the minority, and I consider it a natural right to be able to defend yourself. Few dispute the right to self-defence, but many throw up their hands in horror at gun ownership.”

Where we are now in the UK (and India) is that only criminals and coppers have guns. For the sake of argument, I ignore sporting gun owners. I see two social groups that contribute almost all gun deaths and malicious gun inflicted injuries in the UK. Why on earth would I distribute guns more widely?

“…I simply don’t believe that the average person is incapable of acting responsibly with a firearm. I think this view is due to a lack of familiarity with guns, coupled with the bombardment of television.”

Your argument is muddled. Television programmes (sourced from the USA, perhaps) deliver the message that hero(ine), with no training, can use a gun to defend off others; reality is that when hero(ine) pulls the gun out of a waist holster s/he shoots off her/his genitals.

71. Richard Carey

@ Charlieman,

“Thanks for resuming your cool in this thread.”

I was disarmed by PDiddy’s politeness @63.

The point about a lack of familiarity was really this; presuming that you are a rational, sensible person, if someone put a gun in your hand, even for the first time, I expect you would react responsibly and by taking great care. I remember when I first learned to drive a car. In the very beginning, what was scary was feeling the power of the car, its ‘desire’ to move forward, with me not confident that it was under my control. I think that the lack of familiarity with guns of most people here is the same; a fear of not being in control of a powerful instrument, a fear which would actually evaporate very quickly in a real situation, due to the recognition of the seriousness of the matter (and with a gun you don’t need to learn clutch control!).

As for television, it bombards people with images of guns and violence, but none of this contributes to responsible gun-ownership. I suppose that this latter is not as dramatic, but if people don’t have actual experience of firearms, then I think it tends to increase an irrational fear of guns. This is not to say someone cannot have a rational fear of guns, but I think television plays more to the irrational. Some people, I know, are idiots, and would not act responsibly. Had they been brought up within a culture of responsible ownership, then it would have been drilled into them at an early age.

“In a society where the majority carry guns, the choice to be unarmed is largely removed.”

The point you make I think could be equally made about many other individual choices. If a culture is heavily based around drinking alcohol, I imagine a non-drinker would feel excluded or would feel a pressure to conform, likewise with smoking, likewise a society which is strongly religious, or indeed irreligious. As long as the majority is not coercively forcing conformity, then the minority can’t really complain.

On the specific point, I think there is a distinction between a largely peaceful, law-abiding society, which happens to have a high level of gun-ownership, and a lawless place, where everyone feels the need to be armed, such as a gold-mining shanty town or a war-torn Congolese village. In the first instance, someone opting to be unarmed is unlikely to suffer, other than missing out on fun at the gun range. In the second instance, it’s a case of self-preservation, as the rule of law has broken down. There’s no reason to think that the first will slip into the second. If it did, it would be from external causes, I would imagine.

“I see two social groups [police and criminals] that contribute almost all gun deaths and malicious gun inflicted injuries in the UK. Why on earth would I distribute guns more widely?”

Well, it reminds me somewhat of the drug issue. At present, we deal with the problems inherent to drug-taking and the problems inherent to drug prohibition. Whereas drug-taking will always cause problems, I don’t accept the problems of drug prohibition can be used as an argument against legalisation. I would argue in favour of legalisation primarily on the grounds of individual liberty (I’m an ‘ideologue’, remember), but I would also reason that the current problems with drugs would be much less, especially with regard to those linked to prohibition itself. A counter argument, ignoring the issue of liberty, would say that the problems of drug-taking would get worse, due to increased availability and a removal of social stigma. There may be some truth to this (it’s a prediction, so cannot be verified one way or the other). If the liberty argument is ignored, then you are only considering the trade-off, of swapping one set of problems for another.

What point am I trying to make? Firstly, that I see a similar issue of individual liberty, which, to the ideologue, comes first. After this, you get to the trade-off between today’s situation and the imagined situation, where guns are more readily available to law-abiding citizens, which would mean guns being used in self-defence, but also more gun suicides and potentially more guns in the hands of criminals. I believe that those I have been arguing with would prefer today’s problems over the alternative, and don’t see the issue of gun-ownership for self-defence in the way that I do, as a natural right. Hence the dispute! As I’ve said above, I don’t see any likelihood of a change in this country, so the argument is largely academic.

72. Charlieman

@71. Richard Carey: “I remember when I first learned to drive a car. In the very beginning, what was scary was feeling the power of the car, its ‘desire’ to move forward, with me not confident that it was under my control.”

I learned how to drive *in* a tractor. Crunch (my driving) over the hay bail and into the bank!

“Some people, I know, are idiots, and would not act responsibly. Had they been brought up within a culture of responsible ownership, then it would have been drilled into them at an early age.”

I learned how to drive a Fordson tractor (grandfather’s business) and a Bedford lorry (uncle’s business).

I was a council house kid. Other children did not have the same chances. I did not have many chances.

RC @ 71

The point you make I think could be equally made about many other individual choices. If a culture is heavily based around drinking alcohol, I imagine a non-drinker would feel excluded or would feel a pressure to conform,

Of knife culture. A lot of young people feel the pressure to carry knives, because they know that in a confrontation, the ‘other guy’ will likely have one. Even if you do not actually want to carry a knife, some people feel obliged to carry a knife.

Yet I do not see any campaigns to legalise knife carrying. Surely everything you could argue about guns could be argued to be the same as knives? Perhaps we could re-introduce the dagger as a form of defence and see how much knife crime and deaths decrease as a result of a legally mandated right to bear a dagger in the coat pocket?

74. Richard Carey

@ Jim,

it is regrettable that some young men feel the need to carry a knife for self-defence. They obviously fear being stabbed more than they fear being arrested. I am not the architect of this situation.

If the right to be armed for defensive purposes was recognised in law, then this would apply to knives the same as guns, but it would not make sense to permit a knife for self-defence but not a gun, and a gun is far more effective to the average person, so the scenario you suggest is unrealistic, and, as I’m sure you will agree, not one that is likely to appeal to many people.

I note in passing that I used to carry a knife as a kid, and didn’t think much of it. It was quite a normal thing for a boy to do at the time. I don’t think it ever occurred to me to stab anyone with it. Also, anyone who engages in DIY will at some time find themselves nipping out for something with a stanley knife of some such ‘offensive weapon’ about their person, leading me to point out the profound separation between carrying a knife and using it to stab someone. I recognise you can’t do the latter if you don’t do the former, but it is still a very different matter. The usual libertarian view is that there should be no (or very little) prior restraint, but that crimes should be punished very harshly.

“but that crimes should be punished very harshly.”

According to this source, America has the largest per capita prison population in the world:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate

We also know that there are 9,000 gun homicides a year with the few restrictions that there are on gun ownership and use.

76. Richard Carey

@ Bob B,

No one’s even talking about America, and no one has ever suggested America’s prison system is run on libertarian lines.

77. Robin Levett

@Richard #59:

You may have a consistent philosophy, but it’s probably based on something other than individualism, or at least contains some kind of collectivist contamination

You see, it’s this kind of phraseology that enrages those trying to deal with libertarians. From my own point of view, I look to see the maximum amount of personal freedom consistent with the fact that no man is an island, entire unto himself. We all live in society; the very fact that we are communicating in the way we are is a result of that fact. If we are to live in society, we need laws dealing with our interactions; protecting such basic human rights as the right to life. Is it truly “collectivist contamination” to insist that where there is a choice, those laws ensure that the greatest number of people enjoy that basic human right?

78. Chaise Guevara

@ 59 Richard Carey

“You may have a consistent philosophy, but it’s probably based on something other than individualism, or at least contains some kind of collectivist contamination.”

Leading phrasing aside: yep.

“This would seem the case if you are claiming that one person, in the name of society, the common good or something, can deny another person the right to carry a defensive weapon, an act which does not harm anyone else at all. The use of the weapon is a separate matter and amply covered in law.”

It puts people at risk. I cannot accidentally shoot someone if I have no gun. You have to take the risk into account. X legal gun owners will lead to Y wrongly shot people.

“The “specific point of liberty” happens to be the most fundamental. If you cannot defend your own life and property, what other liberty is important?”

We have a whole system to protect our lives and property. It’s imperfect, but we’re hardly living in anarchy. I live in a major city with a high crime rate and I feel safe on the streets.

“Possession of a weapon bestows a huge responsibility, and if you listen to concealed carry permit holders talk about this, this comes across very strongly.”

All of them? Every single one? What about the criminals who find it much easier to get hold of guns because they’re widely available? Do they follow the words of Spiderman too?

“No, it’s just one hypothetical factor amongst many.”

Stretching to call it hypothetical. Yes, it’s one factor. I’m saying that a lot of gun advocates try to wave this away by saying that the law will punish transgressors, which is a non-sequitur.

“I would rather live with that risk than the alternative that this hypothetical woman will be defenceless against a violent aggressor. I trust the average woman to use her head far more than I trust the average rapist not to rape.”

These are rather differently sized groups. And why just women? Are you advocating gun legalisation just for the ladies?

“I know that if the laws were liberalised, then people like me would be blamed for every accident and mistake. Fine, as long as those who oppose liberalisation will take their share of the blame for every defenceless victim of aggression, whose suffering is considered as the lesser of two evils.”

I’d prefer we don’t go hysterically hurling blame either way, but definitely quid pro quo.

Should the inalienable right to bear arms in America include the right to buy sarin gas canisters? If not, why not?

RC @ 74

so the scenario you suggest is unrealistic, and, as I’m sure you will agree, not one that is likely to appeal to many people.

Nevertheless as unrealistic as it is, lets say as a halfway house, perhaps as a six month trial. Should the rules be relaxed to allow the general public the right to carry a dagger or other blade as a form of defence? Would you support such a move?

Well I seem to recall a few years back teen boys were regularly taking knives into school ‘for protection’, sadly they often ended up becoming aggressors rather than self-defenders.

82. Robin Levett

@Richard carey #65:

Right back at you Bob B,

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/woman-hiding-kids-shoots-intruder/nTm7s/

What worries me about this story is: From very close range, she emptied her magazine into the unarmed intruder; she missed him with one shot, and the remaining 5 didn’t kill him; didn’t even stop him driving away.

83. Richard Carey

@ 77 Robin,

I’ll address your comment in due course. I started responding but it got quite long. I’ll try to deal with Chaise’s points there, other than;

@ Chaise,

“It puts people at risk.”

People are already at risk. Yesterday a copper knocked at my door, asking if I’d seen anything of a burglary round the back of my place, and warned me that there was a whole lot of them going on right now.

“I cannot accidentally shoot someone if I have no gun.”

Nor can you if you follow the principles of safety.

“Are you advocating gun legalisation just for the ladies?”

Especially for the ladies.

“I live in a major city with a high crime rate and I feel safe on the streets.”

So do I.

“X legal gun owners will lead to Y wrongly shot people.”

… and Z instances when the gun was used legitimately in self-defence and in preventing crimes.

@ Bob B,

“Should the inalienable right to bear arms in America include the right to buy sarin gas canisters? If not, why not?”

I could call ‘straw man’ on that, as no one’s calling for such a thing. The answer is; no, because they are indiscriminate weapons that have no defensive use, that I can think of.

@ Robin 82,

the article doesn’t say he was unarmed. In any case it’s immaterial given the circumstances. He didn’t die, but he was stopped (.38 special is not as powerful as some other calibres). As others have noted, a shotgun is most likely the best defence in such cases.

@ Jim,

if you insist, okay. I’m not bad at fencing, and I think a sword-stick would be cool.

84. Richard Carey

@ 77 Robin,

Apart from the use of ‘contamination’, which, I readily concede, is somewhat negative in connotation, I think the meaning was clear and, by Chaise’s admission (which noted the pejorative implication), correct. Or are you objecting to the word ‘collectivist’? It’s obviously not a commendation *in my eyes*, but I think it has a value-free definition, as does individualist, its antonym.

As for your ‘no man is an island’ statement, the interesting part (for me, at least) is not that which largely overlaps with my own view, but where the dispute between us lies. You ask:

“Is it truly “collectivist contamination” to insist that where there is a choice, those laws ensure that the greatest number of people enjoy that basic human right?”

Let me see… Imagine that you are proposing a ‘social contract’ which you’re asking me to agree to. My questions would be: who chooses? Over what do they choose? How is it to be decided what benefits the greatest number? Because if it’s me who gets to choose, the laws will be one way, if you get to choose, they’ll be another, and if Nick Griffen decides, they’ll be still another.

You may say “we’ll agree together, democratically”, in other words the majority decides. In which case, what of the minority, especially that minority of one, the individual?

I’m sure you believe in individual rights, but if I asked: “can individual liberty be infringed for the good of the collective”, you would probably have to say yes, although the context you set out in your statement @77 makes clear your general principle is not to seek to curtail liberty, but rather to allow the maximum. However, you’re left with the thorny issue of how to manage this paradox of infringing rights for the greater good.

I would argue; no, it cannot be, absent and/or prior to a criminal act (i.e., an act of aggression against another person or their property or the threat thereof). I would argue there is no authority in the collective to violate the liberty of the individual, that the collective has no existence outside each of the individuals who comprises it, which leaves me with thorny issues of my own, no doubt.

The present argument is not, by the way, about *Man in a State of Nature versus Man in Society*, because self-defence (the matter in question) is not a liberty that anyone is expected to give up, in order to be a member of society. In fact mutual self-defence is a key benefit of society.

I maintain that it is wholly logical to argue that; if someone has a right to self-defence, qualified by the necessity to act reasonably and proportionately, then it is consistent with this right to allow him to be prepared to exercise it, by arming himself. The act of arming himself does not violate anyone else’s rights.

Prohibiting this behaviour on the grounds of a ‘greatest good’ principle violates individual liberty, by placing a prior restraint on the individual. The authority for such a prohibition cannot be found under the social contract of Man entering into Society, because the prohibition concerns the exercise of a right that is never surrendered. It can only be justified by recourse to a utilitarian argument, if such is supported or at least acquiesced in by a majority, and this is surely collectivist rather than individualist?

On that note, I’ll get my coat.

84

‘because self-defence (the matter in question) is not a liberty that anyone is expected to give-up in order to be a member of society’

Who has said that we must give-up self-defence, it’s accepted as a plea for homicide and I would be surprised if you could name anyone who disputes the right of self-defence.

86. Richard Carey

@ 85 steveb,

I didn’t say anyone disputed it. What is disputed, amongst other things, is what that right entails.

87. Chaise Guevara

@ 83 Richard

“People are already at risk.”

Indeed. And if I were convinced that legalising guns would make people safer, I’d be for it. But I’m not convinced.

“Nor can you if you follow the principles of safety. ”

Oh, wow, problem solved. While we’re at it, we can get rid of crime as long as everyone follows the law!

“Especially for the ladies.”

A bit weird, but OK. This means you’re talking about letting men carry guns too, so your base group of *people who might accidently shoot someone* is twice as big as you’ve been implying. And your base group of armed rapists is MUCH bigger, most rapists being men.

“and Z instances when the gun was used legitimately in self-defence and in preventing crimes.”

Of course. It should be obvious by now that I accept that. I was just getting you to admit that the costs exist as well, because you were trying to handwave them as “hypothetical”.

You’ve been rather selective in your response here. Here are some things from my post you ignored:

*”We have a whole system to protect our lives and property. It’s imperfect, but we’re hardly living in anarchy.”

*”All of them? Every single one? What about the criminals who find it much easier to get hold of guns because they’re widely available? Do they follow the words of Spiderman too?”

*”These are rather differently sized groups.”

86

Richard, you specifically stated that your argument is about the freedom of self-defence. Ultimately your argument is about your particular idea of self-defence not freedom per se or you would also acknowledge another’s freedom to acquire sarin gas canisters if they felt that this method was best for them.

Another issue I have is your persistence that individualism and collectivism are polar positions when in reality one could not survive without the other. The American Trapper’s Association is every bit as collectivist as a Trade Unions, so why not allude to them in the same negative way as you do TUs.

89. Robin Levett

@Richard Carey #84:

Cutting, I believe, to the heart of the difference between us:

The present argument is not, by the way, about *Man in a State of Nature versus Man in Society*, because self-defence (the matter in question) is not a liberty that anyone is expected to give up, in order to be a member of society. In fact mutual self-defence is a key benefit of society.

Mutual self-defence != individual self-defence x n.

Mutual self-defence involves giving up at least part of your right to individual self-defence in return for protection by society. You give up, for example, your “right” to plant landmines along the borders of your property in return for the panoply of criminal justice systems provided by a modern society. You give up the feud – self-defence by MAD – in return for that same panoply.

The right is to self-defence – not to any specific method of self-defence; you virtually acknowledge as much when describing the idea that one should be entitled to the use of sarin canisters as a straw man because they have no defensive use that you can think of. I can think of at least two such uses – one of the MAD kind, one purely for home defence. Does that meaan that I am entitled to use sarin canisters, or do I have to submit to the will of the majority who consider that there is no right to private possession of weapons-grade nerve gas?

90. Robin Levett

@Richard Carey #83:

the article doesn’t say he was unarmed.

It didn’t say he was armed – in context (the stress given to the fact he was a (black) man from Atlanta invading a (white) woman’s house in the country) that si as good as a statement that he wasn’t armed.

In any case it’s immaterial given the circumstances. He didn’t die, but he was stopped (.38 special is not as powerful as some other calibres). As others have noted, a shotgun is most likely the best defence in such cases.

The entry wounds were in the face and neck; the injuries were to the lungs, liver and stomach. How did she miss his head, the closest part of his body to her?

Either she was a poor shot in the first place – in which case her family was very lucky indeed that there was a clear “enemy that way, friends that way” demarcation; or she was a good shot whose shooting became poor under the stress of the situation; ditto. Either way, the argument that the good guy with a gun will protect innocents from the bad guy with a gun certainly is not made out by this story. Had he been armed, she would have died.

91. Richard Carey

@ 87 Chaise,

“You’ve been rather selective in your response here.”

I refute that!

(it happens when there’s about 10 comments with your name on ‘em!)

To be cont…

92. Richard Carey

@ 89 Robin,

“Mutual self-defence involves giving up at least part of your right to individual self-defence in return for protection by society.”

No. In entering society, you give up the war of all against all. In nature, the fox kills the chicken. In society the fox pledges not to kill the chicken. In both cases, the chicken has a right to do whatever it can to preserve its life.

“… when describing the idea that one should be entitled to the use of sarin canisters as a straw man because they have no defensive use that you can think of.”

I called it a straw man because I have not argued for sarin gas, and neither has anyone else, and that it strikes me as an indiscriminate weapon. Self-defence does not allow for ‘collateral damage’. That pretty euphemism is only used by governments to excuse killing innocent people, it is not available to ordinary people. As a libertarian, I cannot condone such behaviour, whoever does it, so the question is not ‘should citizens have WMDs?’ but ‘should not states be prohibited from WMDs too?’

In any event, what you are attempting to do is get me to place some limit on the right I’m asserting, and although you may think I’m being evasive, I have stated above: “someone has a right to self-defence, qualified by the necessity to act reasonably and proportionately”. I’m happy to place the use of landmines around my home (the neighbours would definitely object!) outside the bounds of reason and proportionality, if you’ll accept the argument of keeping and bearing arms is within these bounds. But this is not based on me surrendering any portion of the right to self-defence, it is stating that use of a land-mine seems beyond the natural limits of the right.

I notice that there is one problem between us: the question of *possession* versus *use*. Strictly speaking, I won’t be harming anyone if I have a canister of the stuff and don’t use it. To get round this, laws have been framed thus; “possession with intent”. Although I may be permitting some kind of thin end of the wedge, Pastor Neimoller cliche, I am indeed likely to remain silent when “first they came for the guy with the sarin factory in his garage”!

@ 90, leaving aside your mention of race, which I think irrelevant, certainly to me:

“the argument that the good guy with a gun will protect innocents from the bad guy with a gun certainly is not made out by this story. ”

Except insofar as in this story that’s exactly what happened. She was hiding in the roofspace with her children and the intruder (with a criminal record including for violence) came up and found them. Her action was entirely justifiable. More practice and a higher caliber would have made her task easier, but I’m not going to express regret the man didn’t die. She certainly spoilt his day.

@ 88 steveb,

“Another issue I have is your persistence that individualism and collectivism are polar positions when in reality one could not survive without the other.”

I disagree. I think they are antonyms. They describe contradictory approaches to sociological issues. If we instead talk of the Individual and the Collective or Society, that would be different, and probably closer to what you’re saying. Even so, society does not exist at all without individuals, but Robinson Crusoe, even though alone and deprived of all the benefits of society, is still an individual, and will undertake, for instance, economic activity i.e., choosing what to do with scarce resources.

“The American Trapper’s Association is every bit as collectivist as a Trade Unions, so why not allude to them in the same negative way as you do TUs.”

To be honest, I don’t recall ever saying anything about trade unions round these parts. An individualist is not opposed to voluntary cooperation between people, through which all the benefits of society are dispensed. I have no problem with trade unions per se.

@ 87 Chaise,

my point about safety was not intended to be flippant. Safety must be drilled into the gun owner, the same as the driver. There are some things you should never do. Accidents are very rare if you don’t include the police in the figures, who seem to be singularly hamfisted, but then maybe they’re specifically trained to shoot people accidentally?

I hope I’ve kind of covered your other points in responding to Robin. I accept that there is a trade-off, but as I stated above, prior to that consideration I believe there is a natural right involved, which pulls the scales down before we consider the trade-off, and, as ever, you can rest assured my influence over the reform of the law is still, shall we say, marginal.

93. Richard Carey

@ Robin,

“the argument that the good guy with a gun will protect innocents from the bad guy with a gun certainly is not made out by this story”

correction to myself. I see your point, if the guy didn’t have a weapon, but the phrase you use is not from me, and I maintain it was justifiable in the circumstances.

94. Chaise Guevara

@ 92 Richard

“my point about safety was not intended to be flippant. Safety must be drilled into the gun owner, the same as the driver. There are some things you should never do.”

Nobody’s arguing about that. I’m saying that “guns are safe if you follow safety rules” is an irrelevant point because some people won’t follow those rules. And some people may know all the rules and still decide to shoot their cheating spouse.

“Accidents are very rare if you don’t include the police in the figures, who seem to be singularly hamfisted, but then maybe they’re specifically trained to shoot people accidentally?”

They’re specifically required to point guns at people in dangerous and high-risk situations. It’s kinda unsuprising. Accidents in the US, where guns are easily available and common, are high, at least in comparison to legitimate shootings.

“I hope I’ve kind of covered your other points in responding to Robin.”

You haven’t dealt with the fact that your policy puts guns in the hands of criminals (essentially, you’re talking about starting an arms race with criminals on one side and police/civvies on the other).

“I accept that there is a trade-off, but as I stated above, prior to that consideration I believe there is a natural right involved, which pulls the scales down before we consider the trade-off, and, as ever, you can rest assured my influence over the reform of the law is still, shall we say, marginal.”

I totally understand and respect that there is ideological weighting to your position. I’d be saying the same if we were talking about drugs, for example.

You still haven’t really explained how risk fits into your ideology, though. At first glance, it seems reasonable to say the government shouldn’t interfere in people’s right to self-defence. But then you look more closely, and realise that in allowing them to do so, you are putting the people around them at risk.

Surely even a libertarian feels that, at some point, they should be protected from the risks caused by other people’s choices? I mean, if someone shoots at you, that’s technically only a risk. They might miss.

And as I said before, the fact that transgressors will be punished after the fact is irrelevant here. The victim will still be maimed or dead.

95. Robin Levett

@Richard Carey #92:

I called it a straw man because I have not argued for sarin gas, and neither has anyone else, and that it strikes me as an indiscriminate weapon. Self-defence does not allow for ‘collateral damage’.

But if I set up a gasproof saferoom in my house, from which i can (i) seal all doors and windows and (ii) pump sarin gas into those rooms occupied by home invaders, with a ventilation system to remove the gas once the intruder is dead, I have a very effective self-defence system. Why should you tell me I can’t use it?

In any event, what you are attempting to do is get me to place some limit on the right I’m asserting, and although you may think I’m being evasive, I have stated above: “someone has a right to self-defence, qualified by the necessity to act reasonably and proportionately”.

So the argument isn’t one of principle, but of where we draw the line. I consider that the collateral damage of permitting unrestricted gun ownership in terms of gun deaths, whether by suicide, homicide or accident, renders that option unreasonable and disproportionate.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    I had to acquire a gun to protect myself http://t.co/mb6ezTct

  2. Jason Brickley

    I had to acquire a gun to protect myself http://t.co/FFg9x8y8

  3. Sunny Hundal

    'I had to acquire a gun to protect myself from assault' http://t.co/fAPyV1Tx < worrying, but understandable

  4. Padbrit

    I had to acquire a gun to protect myself. by Paramjot Kaur Gill http://t.co/XEDHIKod

  5. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – I had to acquire a gun to protect myself http://t.co/KlZjHqCD

  6. Ken MacLeod

    I had to acquire a gun to protect myself | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/1GxhP20E via @libcon

  7. Ian 'Cat' Vincent

    RT @amendlocke: I had to acquire a gun to protect myself | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/1p48HVrO via @libcon

  8. Sunny Hundal

    She was only 15, but felt felt she needed a gun to protect herself from assault, in India http://t.co/fAPyV1Tx

  9. Martin Grouch

    She was only 15, but felt felt she needed a gun to protect herself from assault, in India http://t.co/fAPyV1Tx

  10. Florence Nightingale

    She was only 15, but felt felt she needed a gun to protect herself from assault, in India http://t.co/fAPyV1Tx

  11. Jazz Gill

    She was only 15, but felt felt she needed a gun to protect herself from assault, in India http://t.co/fAPyV1Tx

  12. pammo

    I had to acquire a gun to protect myself | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/GTjFL1YB via @libcon

  13. Rose

    She was only 15, but felt felt she needed a gun to protect herself from assault, in India http://t.co/fAPyV1Tx

  14. /b//läh/

    She was only 15, but felt felt she needed a gun to protect herself from assault, in India http://t.co/fAPyV1Tx

  15. Aisha

    She was only 15, but felt felt she needed a gun to protect herself from assault, in India http://t.co/fAPyV1Tx

  16. Emily Brewood

    I had to acquire a gun to protect myself http://t.co/mb6ezTct





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.