Shooting First

Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009, 4:40 PM

America has a gun culture. And it frightens and confuses me.

It seems to stem from the Wild West, where everyone carried guns and shot at anybody who looked at them funny. At least, that's how the movies portray the era - I have no idea if it was really that crazy.

But it has nevertheless carried through into today, where too many people with evil intent can easily find and carry weapons, and everyone else is in fear for their safety so feel the need to carry similar weapons in an act of defence or retaliation. Though they also use it as a threat.

What confuses me is how they can seriously think of a gun as "protection". It's a word they use a lot in reference to weapons, and it makes no logical sense to me at all. Protecting yourself involves shields, or armour, or locking yourself away from any outside contact. It doesn't involve attempting to kill somebody.

It seems to me that threatening to kill is the real problem. Imagine "G" the good guy is quietly lying in bed at home, when "B" the bad guy smashes a window to steal his DVD player. G grabs his gun and slowly creeps downstairs. B also has a gun, thrust down his belt. G sees B in the living room, and points his gun at B. B goes to grab his gun, but hesitates.

At this point, G is threatening B. B is carrying, but not actively threatening. Who is the bad guy in that situation? Arguably still B, as he is trespassing and stealing property. But G is brandishing a deadly weapon, and is willing to use it.

If B goes for his gun, what happens next? G will assume that B is planning to shoot, so G will shoot first. B may be killed.

G has now murdered another human being. Legally? Well, that's a complicated and arguable point.

Now imagine if G had not ever been armed, was aware that he was being burgled by B, and called the Police while remaining in his bedroom.

Nobody dies, nobody comes close to being threatened, and the worst that happens is you lose a $50 DVD player, that may be returned once B is caught.

But Americans seem conditioned to assume the worst. It's a sad state of affairs.

What disappoints me is that Americans should be in this position in the first place. Clearly they feel threatened by violent crime, a lot, and enough to eagerly want to arm themselves. They are overlooking the illogic of "protection", and the madness of escalating the cold war they have constructed against violent criminals, just so they can feel "safe" in their homes by threatening to be the first to shoot, and therefore potentially becoming a murderer, in deed if not necessarily in law (which is a whole other rant right there, I might add).

I am glad to not live in the land of the free, the home of the brave, and the greatest country in the world, if it means I won't be shot at.

1 Reasoned Responses:

Anonymous said...

The problem is that they can't fix it. After all it's the right to bear arms and all that other stuff.

Regarding G and B being armed. The solution for G is simple "when it doubt, wipe it out!" For some reason, the opening sequence to Team America seems really relevant here.

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