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Student Calls 911, Police Arrive 48 Minutes Later, Too Late

So yeah. She was killed. I’m going to segue from here into public arms control, so let the clusterf*&@ of competing reason begin.

This tragedy would be exactly what anti-gun-control supporters would cite as a good reason for having arms at home. So, I’m curious, what is the left wing response to that? I’ve heard various reasons, ranging from, “it’s for the greater good that you aren’t armed, even if you or your family die” to really absurd, nigh far-left, “if you’re going to die (presumably), you may as well accept it, and not resist.” Both of those hint of arrogance, and don’t really satisfy, to put it mildly. 

Well, to get the ball rolling, here’s an interesting essay supporting gun rights (random aside: It also happens to be heavily plagiarized and falsely attributed to some Marine).

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 gangbanger, and a single gay 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.

While I found his essay insightful, the key problem is that it relies on this part: “When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force.” That simply isn’t true. That’s as ideal as a violent-less society. Yes, the weapon has equalized disparity of raw strength, but that only leads to development of tactics, both poor and exceptional, something we humans are quite good at.  At best, that could work, maybe, in a 1:1 ratio, something akin to a showdown from the Old West. We could talk things out in the middle of the street, each knowing the other is armed. But the minute you turn your back, I’ve gained tactical superiority. The gun won’t help you there. The LAPD officer slain in his vehicle with a surprise attack from behind comes to mind. I suppose we could face each other all day, until one of us leaves. Or perhaps I will defeat you in raw speed and outdraw you, out-reload you. Start mixing in more tactics, and you get further breakdown from the ideal. Perhaps I shall strafe you from my car, like a gangbanger. Perhaps I will bring some friends, outnumber you, flank you, suppressive fire you. 

Notwithstanding tactics or numbers, the basis is flawed in of itself. It relies on the hope that people are perfectly rational. We are not. I spoke of poor tactics. You have a gun, I have a gun. Maybe I’ll just open the assault anyway because I love to gamble. Otherwise, why would “gangbangers” continue the fight against each other? Surely they know the other side is armed as well.  Even at the military level, the national level, say, World War I, where advancement was nearly pointless in the face of MG fire, we still fought. The only successful example to date is the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine with WMDs. Yet, I can only wonder when an extremist terrorist will throw that out the window as well. MAD relies on rational, institutional states. The terrorist will not care about mutual destruction. In fact, he’ll probably be at Ground Zero, giving the finger. Indeed, the essay’s argument is really just a personnel version of MAD, but without the reliability of WMD, and without the stability of a state. 

Essay aside, arming the public en masse also relies on successful individuals being on edge, being tactically aware at all times. I am not convinced the public can handle that. They can barely handle driving. How many unaware drivers do you see everyday? Personally, I love driving in moderate traffic. Projecting efficient paths, predicting behavior and “next moves” of other drivers, that’s all fun to me (and no, I am not a weaver). Does everyone do that? I doubt it. I’ve seen some amazingly stupid things on the 405 in my day.  Do I calculate that all the time? No. Perhaps I’m tired, and I just want to chug along in the slow lane. Sometimes, we civilians just want to relax, be safe, and lower our guards. 

But now you have a gun, she has a gun, I have a gun. She draws on you for some reason known only to you two. I don’t see that. You respond and draw on her. After a hail of bullets, you win. I draw on you, the deranged maniac opening on poor little her. Now I’m the deranged Asian going Virginia Tech on people. Everyone draws on me. Now we’ve just recreated Face/Off at Barnes and Nobles. And all I wanted was The Giving Tree for my kid. What the fuck. 

Enter Libertarian, Stage Right. Well, the fools that can’t handle it should just be culled for their stupidity, right? Our society will be stronger for it, somewhat like a modern Spartan society (which happens to no longer exist).  I won’t comment much here, but it really just seems like another unattainable ideal. Another random note: Libertarian who was a fierce opponent of seatbelt laws dies after being ejected from a vehicle for not wearing his seatbelt. Thanks David for that one.

So yeah, what to do? Ideally, she would have been armed. I want her to have been armed. It may have avoided a sad story. But then, I think about duplicating that across all of society, and I realize I’m only wishing for the ideal, that is, “everyone that truly needs to be armed, or can responsibly handle being armed, should be armed.” But it doesn’t happen that way. One could try creating all sorts of crazy, complex licensing schemes, but that would only result in a situation of the haves and the have-nots, something that I do not believe can be sustained in the long run in terms of equity and justice.  So what’s the solution? No idea.

So we have the police. Who were late, by 48 minutes (not their fault in this case; I don’t consider dispatchers as technically police). The unwatched guards of society. They are the haves, we are the have-nots.

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