One Halloween night, some years ago, a man came into the bedroom where my girlfriend and I were sleeping. He fled as soon as she began screaming. We never got a good look at him, though the police were able to pull fingerprints and arrest the intruder, a homeless man with a criminal record. It was a terrifying experience — the kind that makes you think long and hard about how to protect yourself.
I was told by the men in my life to buy a gun — that was the responsible thing to do. But after a lot of thought, I decided there was one principal reason I wouldn’t buy a handgun: I don’t want to live in fear. I know that sounds strange — a gun is supposed to bring peace of mind. But to keep a piece at your side is to look at the world through gunsights. It’s a profoundly anti-social posture. To me, carrying a handgun is an acknowledgement of weakness, not strength. It’s an admission that you’re out of ideas for how to deal with people, even those — especially those — who mean you harm. It’s a failure of imagination, a failure of wits and, in the case of open carry, a threat of violence to every passing person.
Let’s go over the points he makes:
“I don’t want to live in fear.”
Nobody does. But somehow for Forrest Wilder (The author of the piece), preparing one self for a bad encounter with a criminal is living a state of perpetual fright. I still have not figured out how their minds can stretch over that oversimplification unless is heavily laced with a political stance. The same excuse could be made for First Aid kits, seat belts and airbags, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers but this apparently does not match the same requirements for being prepared in case of a crisis. I am almost willing to bet that Mr. Wilder’s smoke detectors might be malfunctioning and the only reason he wears seat belts is because he is afraid he might get a ticket.
“carrying a handgun is an acknowledgement of weakness.”
And our standard response is : Well, duh. I acknowledge that my physical condition is not prime to face a younger and stronger individual seeking to do me bodily harm or that my 110 pound-soaking-wet-wife is pretty much fodder for any male 15 to 65 who would like to beat the crap out of her and rape her or that no matter who you are, you are always reacting to an assault with a deadly weapon and you need something to not only even the circumstances but to succeed against the assault. The problem is that they do not see weakness the same way we do. For them, admitting that they do not want o get down and dirty is weakness according to a pseudo-moral stance: Nothing is ever solved with violence. That is the eternal unicorn that they ride to show how much mentally elevated they are from you. Of course, unicorns do not exist and we like to deal in reality which can be quite physically hurtful.
“It’s a failure of imagination, a failure of wits.”
And here we have the ultimate in self-deception. Do not take this sentence alone, but combine with the previous two. What we get is: You unimaginative rednecks! Your only answer is pew-pew! Bow to your Superiors who are smart and know better than you!
Now, anybody who spends over an hour doing a bit of research on a defensive life-style, has come across the following:
But even following these principles, we know sometimes avoiding a deadly force encounter might be inevitable. We train on both the principles and the use of the gun because our lives depend on it.
My fear is that Mr. Wilder firmly believes that he can eliminate any danger by saying something witty or deeply profound. Sort of like Hogwarts Safety Spells by Intelligentsia. That book can be found in the same shelf where you will find the truly effective Gun Free Zone signs. My experience has taught me that one of the few things that can come out of my mouth that may defuse a situation tends to be a heartfelt-sounding apology and a careful retreat. But I am willing to bet that Mr. Wilder thinks a witty remark will astound the attacker into submission… somehow I don’t see quoting Monty Python solving an active shooter incident or stopping a knife-wielding man from poking new holes in Mr. Wilder’s belt while he is still wearing it.
You know? He is free to follow his self-imposed course of what he thinks is a proper defense of life. But he can spare us from his tone of superiority and trying to tell others his way is better. He does not get to dictate how somebody else’s blood get spilled or even if.