Jeff Cooper, the father of modern pistolcraft said, “If only one method of shooting is to be learned, it should be the Weaver stance.” I’ll take Pop at his word. My stance on gun control isn’t facetious. It’s the only answer that makes sense.
The Right Tool for the Right Right
You won’t find stats or studies here. I won’t focus on bad guys killed or good guys saved. We’ve reached a “post-political” moment, a time when stats and studies have lost their impact, where truth is bendy, and well-funded orgs can conjure up stacks of data from stacks of experts.
The clickbait, tragi-comedy outrage of social media is the most popular means to stomp for political and social concern. Feelings are now outside the reach of logic and facts. And the zeitgeist informs that because we partake, opinions have gravitas though woefully misinformed. In this void, only philosophy and its inquiry finds purchase. And to reveal the truth about guns we need only state the philosophically obvious.
First among the obvious: gun “control” is a metaphor for gun prohibition, the complete disarmament of the populace. This is the true aim of control concerns, where these arguments are rooted, and their logical conclusion. Prohibitors, though perhaps well intentioned, truly believe fewer guns make us safer. They don’t.
A people cannot vanquish their life-protecting tools to the ether and fully embrace their right to life. They cannot do this for a simple reason: any right we cannot defend is not a right.
Close the courts, retire the judges, fire the lawyers, and strip the laws and see how much freedom is left in the freedom of speech. Schools, universities, businesses, corporations, and governments would scribble rule after rule on speech conduct and unfurl lists of punishments for thought considered unruly. It’s already happening.
California and New York are prosecuting heresy against companies they believe have lied about the theory of climate change. University speech codes shush students, students shush each other in “safe spaces,” the IRS bullies conservatives, and civil and federal intimidation against the “intolerant” and religious is rampant. Or do you support a $135,000 fine levied by an Oregon “civil rights commission” because Christian bakers refused to partake in an event antithetical to their values? If you do, you’re swinging sledges against the halls of justice. Let's hope those halls are made of tougher stuff.
There can be no freedom in the freedom of speech if there are no defenses written into law, or courts, or judges, or decisions, or their enforcement—each one of these an exceptional tool—to do the actual defending. And then there is the personal free exercise of speech that must occur to challenge draconian offensives to shut us up. We’re seeing this in action against political correctness as folks denounce the fictions the PC Police are enforcing as truth.
Under gun controls the right to life is restricted once subject to the policy whims of elites, well protected by an army of guns. These folks actively support the denial of options for personal security to others, such as the less fortunate, that they can often afford for themselves by position, location, and means. In doing so, they restrict the rights of those folks. Chicago has mandated a maddening set of requirements for a concealed carry license that people on the city’s south and west sides—where the violence is worst—cannot reasonably fulfill. Talk about institutional racism.
If there is no personal right by individual means to defend life or the lives of loved ones with the only capable and dependable technology available today, then there is no right to life itself.
From Disgruntled Max to Mad Max
Philosophically, restricting the right to life is to demean the value of life as not worthy of defense. But the value of life is a natural law, actually the Natural Law: the universal sense of obligation to protect and defend one’s life that each and every person experiences naturally, that is, without formal training. To argue against this first inclination as Aquinas put it, or demote its priority, is to argue against the intrinsic dignity humans have for life and its value. Not to be dramatic, but this is to argue against the absolute. It’s to say gravity doesn’t exist or humans don’t breathe air.
Folks who reject this self-evidence assume wrongly no one will attack them. It’s delusional, like this:
We should teach men not to rape, instead of teaching women to defend themselves.Placing the responsibility for personal safety on everyone else, including authorities, is reasoning as adorable as any "Precious Moments" statuette, but it isn’t serious. Much like the storms of an unpredictable Mother Nature, we must withstand the inevitable storms of human nature, like rape, robbery, and murder. No one living in Flood Grove or Blizzardtown thinks it unthinkable to prepare for such natural disasters. But that’s precisely what many folks have duped themselves into believing about conflict. The inequities of need and the corruptions of desire plague this world. But with enough social justice fingers wagging we can suppress the depravities of the human condition? After that, maybe we’ll change the weather by shaking our fists at the sky.
Politeness is good manners and etiquette. A practical veneer, we act polite as we want the same courtesy. But polite society is only polite until it isn’t. And in this twenty-first century with all our shiny technology and open-minded thought—so open on certain issues our brains have fallen out—we are just as reliant upon the gun as any crude tool since the dawn of our beginnings, since the wheel, the lever, the heavy rock, the pointy stick.
Guns are everywhere, even in countries that deny them to their own citizens. Businesses and corporations employ guns. Governments pack heat. Hollywood hires armed bodyguards to protect fragile snowflakes. And yes, even criminals carry to be more efficient in their crimes. And it’s against the law. The nerve.
I agree: there ought to be certain provisions regarding responsible ownership of guns. But this is academic. Blind folks do not get issued driver's licenses. However, to arbitrarily deny, confiscate, outlaw—to nick and stab at the very instruments that best protect a human right—is to diminish and remove access to the right itself. Justice delayed is justice denied. It places life in greater jeopardy under the guise of protecting it.
The kicker is that prohibitionists are not truly against the ownership of guns. They simply cede sole ownership to the government, where complete control of anything is always the best and brightest way to elevate the status of humanity. This was no more apparent than in our last century—the bloodiest on record—where gardens like the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Nazi controlled Europe, tribal Africa, and communist Korea and Southeast Asia all displayed the maturity and wisdom of the ancients in collectively removing continents of people from their status among the living. And the first act in the morality play of all these locales was to disarm the populace.
So, let’s disarm.
Say a well-meaning lad snaps into a Slim Jim and wishes Greg the genie to do away with every gun on the planet (and our collected projectile weapon knowhow too, for good measure). Would a gun free world be better off or not? Safer or not?
Right now, chaos is sweeping the Middle East by a JV team called ISIS. I’m guessing the loss of gun technology might slow them down, but only long enough to sharpen knives, or machetes, or a jagged, rusty hubcap they could pick up and swing.
As guns and their memory vaporize, pandemonium would erupt across the planet. We are thrust back into the ancient world where the most aggressive and power mad among us—a small number to be sure—plows communities asunder with nothing to oppose them except the Mad Max gizmos of any defender. Whole peoples would join the aggressor’s reign rather than stand opposed and their ranks would grow exponentially. Here in Chicago, fear programs a “code of silence” in gang-infested neighborhoods where “snitches get stitches” and nine-year-olds are executed.
Within a month of said wish, good folks across America hide in their basements, hammering spikes through bats as the bravest among us scavenge local 7-11s for any sign of a Slim Jim to recall the genie and wish the nightmare away.
This hypothetical is a macrocosm of interpersonal violence between those who harm and who are harmed. The truth is that the ruthless, dehumanizing madness of the ancient world has not been stopped, committed, and locked away, it’s loose, running rampant, displayed any time innocent life is threatened, harmed, or murdered for the capricious and disturbing wants of ferocious and sadistic people.
Every rape, robbery, and murder is in affect and effect the Visigoth sack of Rome, the Mongol siege of Baghdad, the fall of Constantinople, a return to the medieval pall of the Dark Ages. Philosophy, religion, and education, the tempering of values toward human rights and the rule of law, eventually pulled us from that abyss. Science and technology have held the line against our going back. Only now, gun controllers want to toss the prescriptive rights and specified tech that so much blood was spilled over generations to acquire, that have safeguarded prosperity so it could prosper.
A group hug didn’t end World War II. Bombs did. And for better or worse, at least they put an end to the appalling loss of life from a war instigated for appalling reasons. Perhaps anti-gunners know a way, heretofore unknown, of controlling human viciousness. But even in prison, where needs for food, shelter, healthcare, recreation, and safety are all carried out in a 100-percent gun-free environment, the violent still control the violence.
There isn’t a decent person alive who does not wish to live in a disease-free world. But we can’t aspire to that by denying reality, like refusing to be vaccinated, or propagandizing vaccines as proliferating disease, instead of recognizing them as the only viable personal defense in an unpredictable and brutal world.
Want to minimize risk? Live inside a bubble. But don’t think you’ve removed the threat. You and yours still live in the world. And in this world, the world as it is, not the world we imagine or wish it to be, it’s not an option to protect ourselves without the way of the gun.
Kill It! Kill It with Fire!
Part of the confusion regarding guns is the glut of information we now live with that makes it spectacularly easy to discover and embrace knowledge, even fraudulent or debunked, as original and wise. This contributes to the march of this little thing called nihilism as a popular way to perceive the world, because when anything can be a priority, nothing—no one thing—is expected to be. Not even the stuff that’s actually important.
Gun control is just the kind of knowledge so many embrace as wise. But wisdom comes when we can properly recognize, reason, and judge how to act upon knowledge ethically. Nihilism morally equivocates in entirety, it devalues values, stating there are no good or better concerns to be concerned about. Prices are slashed on every belief to their cheapest: mere opinion. This faith in anythingness would have us believe there’s no difference between the living and the dead; that this fundamental dichotomy is just a matter of perspective, at least, amongst the living.
This is ethical ambivalence. In our selfie-satisfied culture it’s mistaken for the virtue of grace or some sort of noble thoughtfulness, rather than what it rightfully is, utter confusion. And in that confusion we cede rights and liberty, ultimately ceding even the value of life as evidence to the contrary.
So like a sparkly vampire that keeps rising from the dead, moral relativism, political correctness, or post modernism is all disorientation from truth. Stake it through its black heart, festoon it with garlic, coffinate, and rebury it in consecrated earth. Because eventually the wooden stakes will rot and the garlic will weaken. And these seductive forces will reconstitute under some new banner of “progress” for the “greater good.”
And note: gun controllers are fully aware they’ve lost this debate and are repackaging arguments under the banner of “gun safety” as in, “Let’s save and protect more lives.” Ever an appeal to the Natural Law. You remember the Natural Law as that which indicates we require protection and defense in the first place.
So when you next articulate your stance on gun control, remember … the shooting side leg shifts to the rear when drawing in the Weaver, but not so far back as to lose your balance.