I lay no claim to writing the following article. I do however understand how it clearly points out our constitutional right and our obligations as free citizens, to own a personal weapon and know how to use it.
The Constitutional Right
And Social Obligation To Carry A Gun
Robert H. Boatman
There’s an old wisecrack, true as witticisms, proverbs and aphorisms usually are. It goes like this – funny the things you see when you don’t have a gun.
Suzanna Gratia (now Gratia Hupp) was having a pleasant lunch with her parents in Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, when she saw a pickup truck come crashing through the wall. A man armed with two guns and plenty of spare magazines emerged from the truck and started shooting everyone in sight, including Gratia’s mother and father. Al Gratia was shot fatally in the chest. Ursula Gratia was shot point-blank in the head. More than 20 other people in the cafeteria were murdered in cold blood before the killer turned one of his guns on himself and blew his own brains out.
Suzanna hid under a table, clutching her purse which normally contained a .38 revolver. In deference to Texas law at that time, which prohibited carrying concealed weapons on one’s person, she had left her gun in her car. Several more dead diners had guns legally and inaccessibly locked in their cars. Suzanna Gratia Hupp has vowed never to make that mistake again, though such pronouncements always come far too late.
“The decision to follow the law cost me the lives of my parents,” she says. “There is not a day that goes by when I do not think about that.”
Not long after the Killeen massacre, John Taylor and Craig Godineaux knocked on the locked front door of a Wendy’s restaurant in New York City. They called out to the manager, Jean Dumel Auguste, by name. Taylor was familiar with the operation and layout of the restaurant, having worked there for a short time before he was dismissed for theft. The manager opened the door for Taylor and Godineaux and led them to his basement office. Minutes later, he used the store’s intercom to summon his entire night crew of six employees down into the basement for a meeting. What followed was one of the worst massacres in New York history.
The two armed killers herded all seven Wendy’s employees into a walk-in refrigerator, bound their hands, gagged their mouths, covered their heads with plastic bags, ordered them to kneel on the floor, and methodically shot each person in the head with a small-caliber pistol at point-blank range. They then stole about $2,000 in cash and left. New York law and Wendy’s corporate policy had prohibited the victims from arming themselves.
All of the people involved in these incidents were, in a profound way, responsible for their own deaths or the deaths of loved ones. They were equally responsible for the deaths of innocents who dared associate with them and, by abstract extension, for the deaths of everyone ever killed in similar circumstances. Anti-gun laws and policies are always complicit in the execution of innocents. And it’s appropriate that survivors are always ashamed of their inadequacy.
In the final analysis, to face evil with impotence – whether out of cowardice or feeble-mindedness or submission to foolish laws – could well be responsible for the death of society.
Suzanna Gratia Hupp decided to fight back. She set out to change the foolish laws. She turned her anger on her legislators who had “legislated me out of the right to protect myself and my family.” She joined the crusade for the right to carry concealed weapons in Texas and she ran for the state legislature. She was successful on both counts, though not in time to save the lives of her parents.
Today, Rep. Hupp has some harsh words for those gun-control fanatics who come out of the woodwork every time there’s a mass slaying like Columbine. “Why is it that mass shootings now seem to always take place in schools and post offices, places where guns are not allowed? They’re always in these so-called gun-free safety zones.” Like Luby’s cafeteria.
Five Wendy’s employees – Ramon Nazario, Anita C. Smith, Jeremy Mele, Ali Ibadat and Jean Dumel Auguste – took their shame to their graves. There was no good reason on earth why it had to end that way.
A scenario almost identical to that of Wendy’s in New York began to unfold at Shoney’s restaurant in Anniston, Alabama. Two armed robbers took over the restaurant, which was filled with two dozen customers and several employees, and started to herd everyone into the restaurant’s walk-in refrigerator. But this time a smart employee, Thomas Terry, drew his concealed .45 and shot both of the bad guys before this particular mass execution could take place. In a matter of seconds, one criminal lay dead, the other incapacitated, and more than two dozen innocent people had been handed back their lives thanks to a man who had a gun and was not afraid to use it. Thomas Terry, bleeding from a grazing wound to the hip, was happy to play the hero with so many lives at stake.
And still they ask, Why do you carry a gun? What are you afraid of? Do you think some nut is going to drive through the wall and start shooting everybody? Do you think a couple of hardened criminals are going to shove you in the refrigerator and execute you? To which you can only reply, Do you think when you walk out of here and cross the street you’re going to be hit by a truck?
Only when the custom of carrying a gun once again achieves its deserved high level of social legitimacy and political priority will this country get back on the track of respect for human freedom and dignity that has set it apart from the rest of the world for two centuries.
The Anti-Freedom Zealots
Ask any American and he’ll tell you he believes in liberty. To a point, of course. All too often, when liberty goes beyond the inalienable right to choose one’s own brand of mouthwash, the cold fear of freedom begins to seep into the bones.
Cheering on the fear of freedom are those quivering souls steeped in terror at the thought of independent decision-making and freedom of action on the part of their distrusted fellow man. These anti-freedom zealots are members of the well established international community of political ideologues who have brought you such gun-control activists as Joe Stalin and Chairman Mao. And since at least the 1930s it has been clear that even The Land of The Free has its share of these political low-lifes. We must face the fact that the anti-freedom zealots have made their American home in the left, or “liberal,” wing of today’s Democratic Party.
Anti-freedom zealots live in a wayward universe of their own making, a cosmos where nature is contradicted at every turn, where responses to every problem are suicidal measures as certain to make the problem worse as showering gasoline on a housefire. The upended logic of these fanatics is stunning: If there’s a problem with bad guys shooting good guys, then let’s make sure the good guys don’t have guns.
Criminologist Cesare Beccaria, writing in the 18th century, had a word to say about anti-freedom zealots. “False is the idea … that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it … The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm those only who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides …”
Many Americans today have been taught by propaganda disseminated in the mass media that guns lead dangerous lives of their own. Thus the notorious anti-gun politician, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) describes a rare and highly desirable sporting rifle in the following terms: “This kind of weapon can blow up a limousine, a helicopter, can take out a vehicle, armored vehicle, maybe a mile away. It can shoot through seven buildings!”
One wonders why the rabid Mr. Waxman and his ilk don’t use similar words to describe the lethal five-gallon bucket, an evil instrument of death which drowns twice as many children each year as are shot by America’s 250 million guns.
Anti-freedom zealots are both helpless and hopeless. They are like decaffeinated coffee, de-clawed cats, or poorly bred dogs who’ve been easily persuaded to forego their natural hunting instincts in order to avoid minor electrical shocks and so tend to have recurring problems with their weakened nervous systems.
Sarah Brady of Handgun Control Inc, has said, mimicking Clinton’s pathetic duck-hunting argument, that “the only reason for guns in civilian hands is for sporting purposes.” Anti-freedom zealots like the Bradys and the Clintons need to be informed that to save one’s life is not a sporting purpose. There’s nothing sporting about it. If it takes a full battle-dress M-16 or AK-47 to get the job done, well, that’s what they’re for.
In their terminal confusion, anti-freedom zealots pay lip service to a Constitution they don’t really understand, but in every act and every thought, whether out of total ignorance or deliberate intent, reveal that their mission is to facilitate the destruction of the Constitution and its replacement with an unnatural ideology most of us thought rusted to bloody dust a long time ago.
Anti-freedom zealots are a malignant danger to all life on Earth as we know it, because their anti-self-defense, anti-gun position is an expression of the most utter contempt for individual human life it is possible to conceive.
Anti-freedom zealots see nothing wrong with leaning on their neighbors to provide them with personal protection even though they would never consider returning the favor. They worship their effeminate fantasy of an all-powerful government with true religious fanaticism. They believe all other humans are as mentally weak, irresponsible, incompetent and self-hating as they know themselves to be. And they encourage only civilization’s most self-destructive tendencies.
To be charitable, anti-freedom zealots are unthinkingly naïve, stone-blind and cowardly. To be frank, they are the evil seeds ultimately responsible for all the crime, war and needless violence the planet has ever seen.
In the beginning, weapons grew on trees.
In the lost paradise of our species, every man, woman and child was armed to the teeth with the finest state-of-the-art killing machines society could produce, and all was well. As man grew more sophisticated and his weapons grew even more effective at protecting weaker citizens from stronger ones, the first evil caveman genius saw that, as a precursor to the enslavement and destruction of his intended victims, all who would dare resist him must first be disarmed. In the name of peace. In the name of social harmony. In the name of common sense. To save the children. Evil geniuses, and evil idiots, have been singing that tune ever since. And the more gullible among our species have all too often danced to it.
The now-dead Peter Shields, founder of the radical anti-gun Handgun Control Inc, sings, “If attacked, put up no defense. Give them what they want.”
The aforementioned anti-gun politician, California Rep. Henry Waxman, sings, “If someone is so fearful that they’re going to start using their weapons to protect their rights, it makes me very nervous that these people have these weapons at all!” Few politicians in today’s unabashedly socialist Democratic Party have not at some time joined in the anti-gun chorus or made up worse verses of their own.
In the recent past, half of American voters demonstrated that they are capable of dancing to anything if it has a simple beat and a catchy tune. They cheerfully elected and reelected to the highest office in the land a psychopathic criminal and traitor of the lowest order, a thoroughly dishonest and evil man who devoted his entire personal and political life to the eradication of timeless human liberties Americans take for granted.
Few American voters have even read the Bill of Rights, brief as it is, much less understood its meaning and significance. How do you think they’d feel on any given day about a total re-write? As the ghost of Bill Clinton fades back into the putrefied swamp from whence it came, we must remember the lessons learned.
Niccolò Machiavelli cautioned as early as the 16th century that the demise of the armed citizen meant the end of civic virtue and, with it, the end of the people’s control over their own destiny – and a very fast end at that, as he observes in The Art of War: “Rome remained free for four hundred years and Sparta eight hundred, although their citizens were armed all that time; but many other states that have been disarmed have lost their liberties in less than forty years.”
Whom are we to trust with our lives and our liberties, other than ourselves?
Carrying A Gun Is An Absolute Right
The framers of the Constitution were under no pressure from the NRA when they wrote “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
In the same spare sentence, they reaffirmed their historical preference for a “militia” over a standing army, and indicated that this militia should be composed of armed citizens – citizens of a “free state” whose right to keep and bear arms must never be infringed. Anti-freedom zealots, including academic invalids and the hypocrites of the mis-named American Civil Liberties Union, have stood on their pointy heads in tortured attempts to misinterpret this sentence ever since. Those of us who know how to read the English language have no trouble at all.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall NOT be infringed. The right of the people TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS shall NOT be infringed. The right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. What part of NOT do the illiterates out to subvert the Constitution NOT understand?
The Constitution of the state of Pennsylvania (adopted September 28, 1776) allocated more words to make the point even more unmistakable: “XIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”
Indeed, the individual right to keep and bear arms for personal defense is based on exactly the same principle as civilian control of the military. One wonders if the ACLU would argue with that.
The Second Amendment, like most other articles in the Bill of Rights, was adopted from the English Bill of Rights of 1689 which, in turn, was based on centuries of English Common Law. English jurist Sir William Blackstone observed that the English Bill of Rights clearly meant that Englishmen possessed “the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense” and that “having arms suitable for their defense” was one of the five auxiliary rights people possessed “to protect and maintain inviolate the three great and primary rights,” the first of which is “personal security.”
Unfortunately for the English people, they have been persuaded by their own far-left government and insidious anti-gun activists to allow the English Bill of Rights to be, as they might say, shat upon. Today, the English do not have the right to keep and bear arms for self-preservation and defense. As a direct result, they live in a crime-ridden society that grows worse with each passing day.
The recent 2000 International Crime Victims Survey published by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, a highly respected and accurate measurement of the percentage of people by nation who are victims of violent crimes, ranked England far ahead of the United States (which ranked 8th), and second only to Australia (where English-style anti-gun laws are also in effect) as the most violent nation. A recently disarmed England now has twice as much violent crime as the United States.
The English Home Office, which cooperated in the survey, has refused to publish these findings in England. It’s better not to remind the gullible subjects how empty were the promises of safety and security for which they so eagerly traded away their very real and priceless freedoms and responsibilities.
The great Roman philosopher and senator, Cicero, immortalized armed self-defense as an “inalienable right” more than 2,000 years before the U.S. Constitution did so. Cicero said:
There exists a law, not written down anywhere but inborn in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading but by derivation and absorption and adoption from nature itself; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.
Even people to whom armed self-defense is but a remote abstraction often endorse, without even realizing it, the unquestionable principles underlying the right to carry a gun. Jaron Lanier, writing in Discover Magazine (Feb. 2001) said in reference to new copyright-protection technology – “In a democracy, citizens are supposed to act as partners in enforcing laws. Those forced to follow rules without being trusted even for a moment are, in fact, slaves.”
It is perfectly obvious that we have a natural right to arm ourselves and to kill any criminal or other force that threatens us just as surely as an elephant has a right to kill an attacking lion and a mother bear has a right to kill a wolf grinning suspiciously at her cubs. Animal-rights extremists extend the animals’ right to the killing of humans under such circumstances.
Even the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize and all, said in May of 2001 during a speech about “nonviolent resolutions to conflict” to 7,600 Oregon and Washington high-school students – “But if someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” So said the Dalai Lama.
There are criminals among us who are both homicidal and incorrigible. Their parents took a shot at civilizing them and failed. Their school teachers took a shot at them and failed. The odds are overwhelming that government welfare programs and penal institutions took a shot at them and failed. If it ever becomes your turn to take a shot at them, don’t fail.
Carrying A Gun Has Always Been Both Right And Duty
There have been many societies in which not carrying a weapon was a serious and severely punishable crime. This was true in Greece, Rome, Europe, Britain and, though seldom enforced, is still true in certain places in America today. This is as it should be. A citizen who shirks his duty to contribute to the security of his community is little better than the criminal who threatens it, and is better off living in a society that places lesser demands on his capacity to accept responsibility. As cowards from the Vietnam era discovered, that’s what Canada is for.
English scholar Granville Sharpe, who helped bring about the abolition of slavery in England and supported American independence, wrote in 1782 that “No Englishman can be truly loyal who opposes the principles of English law whereby the people are required to have arms of defence and peace, for mutual as well as private defence … The laws of England always required the people to be armed, and not only armed, but to be expert in arms.”
In 1785, William Blizard, chief legal advisor to London’s mayor and city council, stated that “The right of his majesty’s Protestant subjects, to have arms for their own defence, and to use them for lawful purposes, is most clear and undeniable. It seems, indeed, to be considered, by the ancient laws of this kingdom, not only as a right, but as a duty…”
Commenting on the early legal requirement that every American male and every American household be armed, attorney Don B. Kates says that citizens “were not simply allowed to keep their own arms, but affirmatively required to do so.” He further says that these statutes reflect the classical world view that “arms possession for protection of self, family and polity was both the hallmark of the individual’s freedom and one of the two primary factors in his developing the independent, self-reliant, responsible character which classical political philosophers deemed necessary to the citizenry of a free state.”
You don’t have to have lived in ancient Greece or Rome or Middle Ages England or revolutionary America or on the west side of L.A. during the Manson massacres, as I did, to know that anyone who lives in a house without a gun is a dangerous fool.
There have not always been police. England had none until 1829, America had none until 1845, and only in the so-called modern era have police officers been armed. At one time, fear of anything resembling a standing army was so intense that police were, in fact, the only citizens not allowed to carry guns. Throughout much of 19th century England and America, the policy of forbidding police to have arms while on duty was the only form of gun control.
Police were expected to rely on a fully armed citizenry to come to their aid when armed enforcement of the law was necessary – a circumstance that occurs with growing regularity today.
Armed Citizens Of The 21st Century
On January 3, 2001, the Citizens’ Self-Defense Act of 2001, intended “to protect the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms in defense of self, family, or home, and to provide for the enforcement of such right” was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Given the current sorry state of our elected representatives, the bill was never expected to pass into law, but rather to serve as a symbol of just how timid, disconnected from reality and contemptuous of liberty most Washington politicians – who would never consider voting for such a bill – have become.
It doesn’t matter. The fundamental liberties reaffirmed in H.R. 31 were never granted by politicians in the first place. The source of these liberties is as old as the first free man. And, as long as man is free, the source will remain.
Included in the Citizens’ Self-Defense Act of 2001 are the following Congressional findings:
(1) Police cannot protect, and are not legally liable for failing to protect, individual citizens, as evidenced by the following:
(A) The courts have consistently ruled that the police do not have an obligation to protect individuals, only the public in general. For example, in Warren v. District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App. 1981), the court stated: “[C]ourts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community.”
(B) Former Florida Attorney General Jim Smith told Florida legislators that police responded to only 200,000 of 700,000 calls for help to Dade County authorities.
(C) The United States Department of Justice found that, in 1989, there were 168,881 crimes of violence for which police had not responded within one hour.
(D) Currently, there are about 150,000 police officers on duty at any one time.
(2) Citizens frequently must use firearms to defend themselves, as evidenced by the following:
(A) Every year, more than 2,400,000 people in the United States use a gun to defend themselves against criminals – or more than 6,500 people a day. This means that, each year, firearms are used 60 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives.
(B) Of the 2,400,000 self-defense cases, more than 192,000 are by women defending themselves against sexual abuse.
(C) Of the 2,400,000 times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year, 92 percent merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off their attackers. Less than eight percent of the time does a citizen kill or wound his or her attacker.
(3) Law-abiding citizens, seeking only to provide for their families’ defense, are routinely prosecuted for brandishing or using a firearm in self-defense. For example:
(A) In 1986, Don Bennett of Oak Park, Illinois, was shot at by two men who had just stolen $1,200 in cash and jewelry from his suburban Chicago service station. The police arrested Bennett for violating Oak Park’s handgun ban. The police never caught the actual criminals.
(B) Ronald Biggs, a resident of Goldsboro, North Carolina, was arrested for shooting an intruder in 1990. Four men broke into Biggs’ residence one night, ransacked the home and then assaulted him with a baseball bat. When Biggs attempted to escape through the back door, the group chased him and Biggs turned and shot one of the assailants in the stomach. Biggs was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon – a felony. His assailants were charged with misdemeanors.
(C) Don Campbell of Port Huron, Michigan, was arrested, jailed, and criminally charged after he shot a criminal assailant in 1991. The thief had broken into Campbell’s store and attacked him. The prosecutor plea-bargained with the assailant and planned to use him to testify against Campbell for felonious use of a firearm. Only after intense community pressure did the prosecutor finally drop the charges.
(4) The courts have granted immunity from prosecution to police officers who use firearms in the line of duty. Similarly, law-abiding citizens who use firearms to protect themselves, their families, and their homes against violent felons should not be subject to lawsuits by the violent felons who sought to victimize them.
In 1987, a year after Glocks were introduced to the U.S., Florida enacted a pioneering “shall-issue” right-to-carry law that has served as the model for the rest of the country. The Florida law affirmed the right of a private citizen to carry a concealed gun and eliminated the abuses so typical of “discretionary” right-to-carry laws that resulted in gun permits being awarded arbitrarily to the political cronies of petty officials, limousine liberals, movie actors, athletes and various other celebrity representatives of the rich and famous crowd, but denied to so-called “ordinary” citizens. The Florida law made it crystal clear that any citizen with basic firearms training and a felony-free record would be issued a concealed-carry permit upon request, period.
Florida’s landmark right-to-carry law was supported by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and other law enforcement groups. And it was supported by Florida voters.
The media, however, was predictably vociferous in its opposition to the exercise of Constitutionally guaranteed rights, and in its total submission to the party line of radical anti-freedom, anti-self-defense and anti-gun forces. Headlines predicted vigilante justice and wild-west shootouts on every corner. “Florida will become the “Gunshine State.” “A pistol-packing citizenry will mean itchier trigger fingers.” “Florida’s climate of smoldering fear will flash like napalm when every stranger totes a piece.” “Every mental snap in traffic could lead to the crack of gunfire.”
Such dire and colorful predictions, of course, proved totally false. Nevertheless, that same hysterical fear-mongering and bald-faced lying are used even today every time a new state gets ready to pass an enlightened right-to-carry law. In actual fact, the only notable thing that happened for the first five years after Florida passed its right-to-carry law was that, as homicide rates in the U.S. soared, Florida’s homicide rate fell a dramatic 23 percent. A few of the opponents of concealed carry actually had the courage to admit they were wrong.
Thanks to the intensive lobbying efforts of the NRA, along with the tireless grassroots work of politically aware gunowners, 33 states now have Florida-style laws which require the prompt issuance to their citizens of legal permits to carry concealed weapons. Well over half of the U.S. population, more than 60 percent of all handgun owners, live in these free states, yet no more than one to five percent ever apply for such licenses.
Notwithstanding the fact that most people do not carry guns, the mere possibility that an intended victim could be armed with a handgun eliminates millions of crimes every year.
According to the FBI, states with “shall-issue” right-to-carry laws have a 26 percent lower total violent crime rate, a 20 percent lower homicide rate, a 39 percent lower robbery rate and a 22 percent lower aggravated assault rate than those states that do not allow their citizens to legally carry guns.
Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University, Gary Kleck, in Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America (Aldine de Gruyter Publishers, 1991) found that “robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all.”
Convicted felons reveal in surveys that they are more afraid of armed citizens than they are of the police. And well they should be. Armed citizens kill 2,000 to 3,000 criminals each year, three times the number killed by the police. And only two percent of civilian shootings involve an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal, whereas the error rate for the police is more than five times that high.
Kleck’s research shows that private citizens use firearms to protect themselves and thwart crime about 2.5 million times a year. Citizens use firearms to prevent mass killings, bank robberies, gang attacks, carjackings, rapes, kidnappings and hostage-takings. They use them to help capture prison escapees and murderers, to come to the aid of outnumbered or ambushed law enforcement officers. Yet only a handful of these 2.5 million life-saving uses of firearms are ever reported in the mainstream press.
If a lot more people carried guns, what kind of a society would we have? Certainly not the kind predicted by anti-gun fanatics. Those hysterical doomsayers have been proven absolutely wrong one hundred percent of the time. Would we have a crime-free society?
Certainly not. Criminals are as natural and immune to total eradication as fruit flies. But a better-armed society would severely limit the violent damage criminals wreak before they are stopped. Criminals are naturally self-destructive. The reasons they are so doesn’t matter. To assist them in their self-destructiveness is the polite and civilized thing to do. Thus another ageless axiom: An Armed Society Is A Polite Society.
In his essay, Behavior Modification And Self Defense, Michael Mitchell <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> writes that laws do one thing and one thing only – provide a penalty for wrongful behavior. The function of laws is to punish people, and punishment is a form of behavior modification. But laws are obviously only effective on the law-abiding populace. Criminals, by definition, don’t respect the law; they make their living breaking it. And fear of punishment is only effective if it is swift, sure and severe.
In these days when the legal system cannot be relied upon to provide effective punishment for criminal behavior, armed self-defense can. It’s definitely swift, as the gun will appear during or immediately after the negative behavior. It’s sure, since, if the criminal doesn’t stop his assault, he will be shot. And most people would definitely call a bullet to the chest severe.
The beauty of armed self-defense is that, because of its immediate, sure, and severe nature, the mere threat is usually enough to stop the behavior. Is it any wonder that states that pass concealed-carry laws experience immediate and obvious drops in crime rates? The violent criminal in these states isn’t nearly as worried about being arrested for his crime as he is about being shot by his would-be victim. This fact fits perfectly with well-established principles of behavior modification.
On the flip side, the crime facilitators (gun control advocates) with their notions that we should submit to criminal assault, reward criminal behavior. The criminal gets what he wants – your money, your dignity, and maybe your life. Since positive reinforcement – reward – is the strongest, most effective behavior modification tool, that criminal behavior is likely to be repeated. In other words, by submitting to criminal demands, you are encouraging criminal behavior.
Mitchell did not say, but I will, that the most effective way to modify the behavior of a criminal is to modify it to the extent that he is no longer capable of any behavior at all.
In 1998, John R. Lott, Jr., senior research scholar in the School of Law at Yale University, authored the most comprehensive and exhaustive study of crime and gun control laws ever conceived, based on the largest data set on crime ever assembled. His landmark book, More Guns, Less Crime (The University of Chicago Press, 1998, 2000), now available in an updated second edition, includes thorough analyses of more than 54,000 observations and hundreds of variable factors across more than 3,000 counties in all 50 states for 18 years.
The assiduously researched conclusions reached by Lott immediately set off a wave of panic among anti-gun fanatics and drew organized, systematic personal attacks of the most vicious and dishonest nature, including death threats leveled at Lott and his wife and children. Yet not a single serious academic challenge of Lott’s research, his methodology or his incontrovertible conclusions has ever been successfully mounted. In fact, Lott’s conclusions have reluctantly been called “bulletproof” even by the liberal mainstream press. Among those conclusions are:
Gun ownership saves lives.
Gun ownership also saves money. Nationwide, each one percent increase in the number of people owning guns reduces crime victim costs by over $3 billion.
Concealed handgun carry by private citizens reduces violent crimes, including rape, murder, aggravated assault and robbery, throughout the entire community and in surrounding communities.
When a state passes a right-to-carry law, crime reduction is immediate and substantial, and crime-reduction benefits continue to grow the longer the law is in effect..
The greater the number of concealed handgun permits issued, the greater the reduction in crime.
Mass shootings in public places are reduced to virtually zero within four or five years after right-to-carry laws are passed – except in designated “gun-free” zones, such as schools, where self-defense is known to be prohibited.
The largest drops in violent crime from concealed handgun carry occur in the most urban areas with the greatest populations and the highest crime rates.
Citizens who do not carry guns benefit equally from the crime reduction which results when other citizens carry guns. The people who benefit most from this “halo” effect are women, children, the elderly and blacks.
Of all the methods studied by economists, the carrying of concealed handguns is by far the most cost-effective method for reducing crime. Each and every concealed handgun permit issued reduces total economic losses to crime victims by $3,000 – $5,000.
Accident and suicide rates are unaltered by the presence of concealed handguns.
The effect of increased penalties for using a gun in the commission of a crime is small.
The Brady Law, other mandated waiting periods, safe-storage laws and one-gun-a-month laws all increase crime, especially rape.
Background checks, training requirements and age restrictions have no crime-reduction benefits.
Bottom line, in keeping with the title of his work, the more guns there are in society and the more these guns are carried by private citizens, the less crime there is.
These are some of the reasons why police, who fight crime for a living and are well aware of the realities of street criminals, support right-to-carry laws for private citizens by an overwhelming three-to-one margin. This is an even higher margin of support for right-to-carry than the strong support voiced by the civilian population.
Policemen are nobody’s personal bodyguards. Their jobs are to find and arrest people who have committed crimes, not to prevent such potential crimes from happening in the first place. Clearly, the responsibility for victim-prevention lies with the victim-to-be.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Bowers v. DeVito, 1982) did not mince words when it ruled, “There is no Constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen.”
What It Means To Carry A Gun
That loaded Glock in your holster is a powerful expression of your Constitutionally guaranteed liberty as an American citizen, your recognition of the solemn duty you have to your fellow man, and your willingness to accept the full weight of a life-and-death responsibility.
When you are prepared to defend yourself, you are equally prepared to defend all of society and all of its guiding principles. Your responsibilities are therefore many – moral, legal and tactical. That is why most people, including lifelong gunowners, experienced hunters and competitive shooters, even in states that freely issue concealed carry permits, do not choose to carry a gun.
Your moral responsibilities are to fire your gun into another human being only when the line of necessity has clearly been reached, and then to fire without hesitation and to full effect. Remember the words of Cicero.
Your legal responsibilities are to justify your actions to those who would call you a criminal at the drop of a hat, and quite possibly to a jury of your peers, most of whom have neither the competence nor the courage to carry a gun in their own defense. Read the findings of the Citizens’ Self-Defense Act of 2001.
Your tactical responsibilities are to carry your gun with confidence, to be well trained in your ability to operate it effectively, and to have instilled in yourself an iron will to use deadly force to prevent or end violence committed against yourself or others. Most of this book is dedicated to your tactical responsibilities, because that’s what will save your life.
Violence happens either at random, or directed toward the obviously vulnerable, or toward someone in particular for a reason. You can rest assured it will not happen at the shooting range when you are all suited up in your speed rig with a plan of action worked out for the coming run-and-gun stage. It will happen when you are home sleeping in your bed, shopping at the grocery store, walking out to get the mail, mowing the grass, at dinner, at church, at the theater.
The most dangerous places in the world are those called “gun-free safety zones” by their ignorant political creators and known by criminals and psychopaths as “safe-to-kill zones.” Even an adolescent school kid can figure out that an advertised killing field where no one is allowed to shoot back is the safest location in the world to carry out a mass shooting. Don’t even consider going to a place like that unarmed, whether it’s your kid’s school or a national park. If you can’t handle breaking the law, don’t go.
The assistant principal of a high school in Pearl, Mississippi, broke the law. He kept a .45 in his car parked on the school grounds. When a deranged student opened fire, Joel Myrick ran for his gun. Two students were killed because Myrick had to retrieve his gun from his car instead of his holster. But the .45 eventually prevailed, and Myrick stopped the massacre long before police arrived on the scene. God only knows how many lives he saved. But assistant principal Joel Myrick wasn’t awarded any medals. Of the several hundred newspaper and television stories about the incident, only a few even mentioned his name. Almost none revealed the fact that he used a gun to stop the killings.
When you bodyguard someone for a while, or when you just live a normal life with your eyes wide open, you realize how vulnerable we all are to becoming another tidbit-of-opportunity in the relentless food chain that sustains the life of this unpredictable world. It’s a realization not of paranoia but of reality. That’s the way it is, always has been, always will be. You can ignore it out of faint-heartedness, deny it out of lunacy, submit to it out of a fatalistic contempt for your own life and the lives of others, or you can face it with courage and intelligence and prepare yourself to deal with capricious reality’s predisposition toward danger.
Most of those dangers can be met with nothing more than a strong I’m-not-a-victim mindset and body language. Many others may shrivel with the demonstration of superior verbal skills. Still others may require a fundamental knowledge of martial arts, a container of pepper spray, a makeshift club, the presence of a well-wielded knife or the sight of a firearm. A few, perhaps one in a lifetime, will not be affected by any kind of less-than-lethal response and will not end until you churn your attacker’s dreams and determination into a chunky red stew and spew it all over the street with a couple of big-bore hollowpoints. The trouble is, you never know when or where that last one is coming.
If you ever find yourself under attack by an armed criminal, you will be on the defensive and he will be on the offensive. In other words, he will have a strong advantage going in. And, though he will not have trained himself to shoot nearly as well as you have trained, he will be far more experienced in the art of killing. The odds are, any criminal who is intent on killing you has probably killed men before, knows how to do it, knows how it feels and likes it. You’re not going to talk him out of it, scare him out of it, or wound him out of it. You’re going to have to kill him.
Studies show that simply brandishing a weapon saves many lives, but I am personally against the idea of waving a gun around while your adversary thinks. The way to overcome his offensive advantage is to strike without warning. Once you make the decision to free your Glock from its holster the entire situation should be over and done with in a second or two. The most important component in practicing your draw is firing the instant you have a sight picture on your target, and continuing to fire until your assailant no longer exists.
More than a century of military and police research tells us that most people, including up to 85 percent of trained soldiers and cops, are psychologically unable to use deadly force in a life-or-death situation no matter how compelling the circumstances may be. If you can’t kill, there is no reason for you to carry a lethal weapon.
Carrying a loaded gun with the ability and will to use it is not a casual fling meant to bring some excitement into your boring life. It is an all-embracing lifestyle and must take precedence over your respect for law, your fear of social criticism, your love of humanity, your wardrobe and your drinking habits.
You can never be unaware of the weight you carry on your hip or under your arm. You can never forget your responsibilities. You must wear your Glock with the same allegiance as your wedding ring. If you’re not married, your Glock is your wedding ring. Wear it for life. Don’t even think about leaving home without it. Be prepared to use it at a moment’s notice. Carry it all the time. And shoot to kill.
“Liberty or death,” the meaning of which is clear and absolute, is but a trivial phrase if you do not carry a gun. For freedom-loving Americans, the five most important words in the English language are, and always have been – from my cold dead hands.