Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Today I got into a debate. A long and kind of boring debate that involved some spectacularly long blocks of solid text that, I admit, I couldn't finish reading, due to hemorrhaging of the eyeballs.

But here's the end of it, which I did find somewhat interesting. (Mostly because the guy tried to use Tolkien against me.)

The original text is in white. The additions I've made for the purpose of this post are in red.

His statement:

 I'm not saying that criminals will not have guns with the implementation of tougher gun laws, all I'm pointing to are the stats and the general trend of, tougher laws + less guns= less gun crime. (His stats came from wikipedia and some Australian newspaper I've never heard of.)
I vote more sonic screwdrivers and less guns, Sara, surely you can get behind that?  (That, I can indeed.)
And if you ever get over here to middle earth (He's from New Zealand, apparently.) I can take you on a Lord of the rings tour. And show you how peaceful the shire is without mass produced weaponry. 
And that's something J.R.R. Tolkien I'm sure would have been a big fan of.

My reply, which is the point of this post:

Hmmm. Yes. The Shire was a pretty sword-free zone. Now, recall with me how absurdly easy it was for Saruman to swoop in and enslave the entire country without a fight.

(I honestly can't help but think that Tolkien was making a point here, and it wasn't that living without guns is safer.) (I also can't help but believe that most people don't remember this for the sole reason that  it wasn't in the movie. No one reads anymore. I understand all the reasons for not putting it in, but I still do feel some sadness at the fact. It's such a powerful statement about how evil affects everything, even the innocent, unless people are willing to stand up and fight it.)

But joking aside, I guess this is the point:

No, I don't approve of the need for all this mess. I don't approve of shooting people up or waving guns around to get what you want. I don't approve of murder or breaking the law.

But I believe in my right to defend my family against people who do. (Add some exponents to this. I really ^10 believe in my right to defend myself from bad guys.)

See, the entire world is getting more and more dangerous, and it isn't because of laws, good or bad. (What it is from is a whole nother basket of fish that I won't address at this present time.) Laws don't stop criminals from doing anything. If they did, they wouldn't be criminals. (Irrefutable and undeniable logic. Even if nothing else in this entire post were relevant, this would still be the clincher.) 

In this ever more dangerous world, I believe in my right to be prepared. The whole life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness thing? I have an inalienable right to life and liberty. I have a right to keep myself and my loved ones alive when someone tries to alienate that right.

When the nearest cop station is a half-hour drive away, and the neighbors are half a mile down the road, and there's not but one street light on the whole 2 mile stretch, I have to fend for myself when bad stuff happens. (Our house in Va. Luckily, that one street light is at the foot of our driveway. But still...) And no government should be allowed to tell me that I don't have the right to fend for myself. No government should be able to tell me that I just have to sit down and die because the cops can't get to me in time.

(Because that isn't the point of government. Let's review our John Locke, shall we? Humankind's original state was anarchy. In anarchy, people do whatever they want. They take your goats and kill your wife and ravage your daughter, and they're perfectly within their rights to do so (legally).

Government is what happens when a group of people get together to protect themselves from said ravagers. They give up a certain few lesser rights (Like, I dunno, the right to not have to stop the car when a hanging light turns from green to red) in order to gain more important ones. Ie. protection and security from said ravagers. THEREFORE: Protection from crazies is the whole point of organizing a system in the first place. So taking away our personal right to defend against crazies is entirely counterproductive.)

Disarming the innocent is doing exactly that. It's taking away our freedom to protect life and liberty. Ban-the-guns laws don't make me feel safe and protected, because they're telling me I'm not allowed to prepare myself for hard times ahead. And that does not make me feel safe and protected. (Truth. I do, in fact, feel much less safe when someone says that we have to get rid of all defense mechanisms. Tell you what, though, no matter what happens, my Louisville slugger stays next to my bed, come rain, or snow, or dark of night.)

On that note, most people I've talked to from outside the USA (and quite a few inside, oddly enough,) seem to have this idea that we can just pop down to the corner 7-11 and pick up a glock on our way home from work. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are already an enormous number of gun-safety laws on the books. Including some that don't even do anything, but got voted in because it made the politicians feel good about 'doing something'. 

(These largely include "assault weapon" laws. The definitions spelled out in those laws don't actually ban a kind of gun. They ban guns with certain features which, incidentally, aren't applicable to the function of said gun. Therefore a person may legally own this top one but not the bottom...)

(Yeah. It's a little silly. But like I said, there are quite a few sensible laws too.)

And I don't mind that. I'm okay with people having to pass a test before they can concealed carry. I'm okay that not just any ex-felon can walk into a gas station and grab a few 45's. (In fact, I'm glad that they can't. Gun safety laws have a place. But A) they should be enacted by people who know something anything about guns, and B) should be safety laws, not banning-all-citizens-from-everything laws.)

So yeah, it's sad that guns have to be a thing we use for more than sportsman-like target shooting. (I almost said "It's sad that guns have to be a thing." But I corrected myself because it is a perfectly acceptable and rather enjoyable past time to have aiming and shooting competitions. Bowling is also an aiming and throwing competition. And you could kill someone as easily with a bowling ball as with a gun. However, I do agree that it's sad that the gun developed as a result of war, not sports.) But just because it's sad, doesn't mean it isn't true.

I could never live with myself if someone I know got mowed down by a crazy, and I just stood by and did nothing. It would haunt me to the end of my days. (Not even kidding here. I'm a fixer. It's an integral part of my nature. And if me taking a bullet kept someone else from taking one, so be it. If me delivering a bullet kept someone else from taking one, all the better.) And I believe in my right to not be haunted by that image for the rest of my life. No president should be allowed to sit back behind his line of (armed) security guards and tell me that I no longer have the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but he still does.

Ps. Why yes, I do indeed approve of sonic screwdrivers. ;)

Anyway, so that's that. Hope I made sense. I'm now off to actually become a productive citizen at my government job. (Please, don't destroy the government too quickly. I need my job. And we all need libraries.)