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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 gang  banger, 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, confrontations are
 won by the physically superior party  inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.
 
 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 wasn'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.
 
 By Maj. L.  Caudill USMC (Ret)