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More Quora Debate

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So somebody over at Quora asked:  Why haven’t gun control advocates commented about the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma home invasion shootings?

One Jim Page answered:

The perspective of someone who lives in a country with gun control:

3 people are now dead who would probably otherwise still be alive. The decision as to whether they should live or die was taken by someone who’s only qualification was that they had $300 to spend on an AR15.

The 3 invaders probably felt empowered to enter the victim’s home because they had easy access to guns.

Of course invading that person’s home was wrong, but wrong enough to be killed for?? Without knowing more about the incident, can you categorically say that the invaders meant the victim physical harm? It’s more likely they wanted money or stuff they could sell, and planned to use their weapons to pacify the home owner. Is a person’s TV or the contents of their wallet more important than 3 people’s lives?

Gun control advocates don’t need to comment, because this is an insane conversation that could only be had by people that feel it’s more important to own guns than to be right.

Paul V. Wilson commented:

On #2, one of the invaders had a large knife and the two others had brass knuckles, either of which can easily be a deadly weapon. None of them had guns.

On #3, I’m not sure why, on a moral basis, anyone who invades a person’s home should have any expectations of surviving. If they didn’t mean to cause harm, why did they go in with weapons? Is the homeowner supposed to think people entering his home wearing masks and holding weapons don’t mean to cause him harm?

To which Mr. Page replied:

On #2: if they didn’t have guns isn’t shooting them all with a semi automatic weapon even more of an appalling overreaction?

On #3: it’s illegal to break into someone’s home, and the law puts people behind bars for it. It doesn’t give them the electric chair or even life imprisonment. So why should someone expect to lose their lives for breaking and entering? There is a long way between a person being allowed to kill a person for being in their house, and the legal penalty for breaking and entering, and that seems to be bridged by the idea ‘that’s what happens when people own guns’. I don’t see how legal ownership of a lethal weapon can make that right.

I was reminded of my 2004 trilogy of posts beginning with (I)t’s most important that all potential victims be as dangerous as they can, so I started with this:

Mr. Page:

You perfectly illustrate the difference in the attitude toward violence exhibited by residents of the UK vs. residents of the U.S., I think. To wit: “(I)f they didn’t have guns isn’t shooting them all with a semi automatic weapon even more of an appalling overreaction?”

Col. Jeff Cooper, a man who pretty much helped develop civilian firearms training once commented:

“One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that ‘violence begets violence.’ I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure — and in some cases I have — that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy.”

In the UK the law pretty much restricts the citizen to “proportional” response – that is, in a situation of extreme stress the victim of the attack is supposed to assess the intention and capability of the assailant(s) and limit his or her response to something that will not be judged an “overreaction” by calm and sober third parties after the fact. Instead in the U.S. overwhelming response is considered appropriate, not appalling. As one popular cartoonist here has stated it, “There is no overkill. There is only ‘open fire’ and ‘reloading.’”

“(W)hy should someone expect to lose their lives for breaking and entering?”

They didn’t die for breaking and entering. Had the house been empty they’d have been fine. What they did was an armed home invasion. The concept of pacifism as it pertains to crime is generally predicated on the concept that all life is of value, and that using violence to injure or kill in defense of mere property is – as you suggest – disproportionate, the value of the material being much less than the value of the lives of the persons attempting to take the material. Surprise! I concur. The life of a human being is of greater value than, say, the contents of my wallet or my home. But this ignores something more important – the fact that the contents of my wallet or home are the least things at risk. Because someone willing to threaten bodily injury or death in order to take my property violates the tenets of the society in which both of us live. He puts in fear not only me, but the entire society. He has proffered a new social contract – “Give me what I want, and I might not hurt you.”

The pacifist culture tells us that we should not resist, that we should call the authorities who are empowered to deal with social miscreants. At most, we should respond (as the British are required) proportionally. Yet a proportional response requires us to read the mind of the assailant. If he holds a knife, are we to ask “Do you actually intend to use the knife, and if so is your intent simply to wound or would you be intending a killing blow?” A proportional response requires the defender to reason cogently in a situation wherein our lives, or at least our health may be at risk. The advantage belongs to the attacker, and that is a recipe for social disaster.

To prevent that social disaster, the new social contract offered by the criminal should be understood by all parties to be: “Whatever it is I want, I have decided that it is worth risking my life for.” And we, the potential victims, should be as dangerous as possible.

So long as a sufficient number of us are, the rest of society will enjoy the benefit of our protection. When there are too few of us, or when those of us who are willing to resist are restricted by law from doing so, there remain only two options: suffer the onslaught of criminals, or increase the police forces to overly burdensome levels. With the second option, assuming that a sufficient level is attained to reduce crime, the officers of the State required to accomplish that task will not then be reduced, they will be reassigned to other tasks, and a de facto police state will exist.

Those are the choices. It seems apparent which Britain has decided on, and which the U.S. has.

Mr. Page upvoted my comment and replied:

I appreciate your long and reasoned response. I mostly agree with you right up to ‘ … and that is a recipe for social disaster.’ It’s not. It’s a recipe for dialling down the violence, and in the case of most developed countries it works, there simply is less violence, and we absolutely prefer it that way. Second: your assertion that the only alternative to the US solution is a police state – and that’s what the Uk has chosen … can you explain what you mean by that? If you had spent any time in the Uk you’d know that it simply isn’t true.

Look it seems to me that one area of disagreement that we have is whether or not an armed person in your house is attacking you or not, if they do not know you are there. It seems that US thinking is that they are. I, and most people in the Uk I suspect, are not comfortable with that, whatever ‘Castle Law’ says. It seems like an amoral solution to a moral problem, with the side effect that there is an upward cycle of up-gunning arms race between criminals and non-criminals. Who does that benefit aside from Messrs Smith and Wesson?

To which I responded:

“It’s not. It’s a recipe for dialling down the violence…”

I suggest you study the rates of violence in the UK from the turn of the 20th Century until the present. Specifically the period right at the middle of the century when laws making self-defense with a weapon essentially impossible were enacted. I guarantee you, violence did not go down.

“Second: your assertion that the only alternative to the US solution is a police state – and that’s what the Uk has chosen … can you explain what you mean by that?”

I suggest you check your reading comprehension: “When there are too few of us, or when those of us who are willing to resist are restricted by law from doing so, there remain only two options: suffer the onslaught of criminals, or increase the police forces to overly burdensome levels.”

You have chosen the former. England and Wales used to be one of the least violent nations in the world. It is now one of the most violent nations in Europe. Sure, you don’t kill each other much (and you never did) but violent crime there is epidemic. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/up… (XML file) Pay particular attention to the column marked “Total violence against the person” and the numbers following passage of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953. You may not consider that “social disaster,” but levels of violence like that here resulted in people buying guns.

“It seems like an amoral solution to a moral problem, with the side effect that there is an upward cycle of up-gunning arms race between criminals and non-criminals.”

Yeah, we keep hearing that one – “More guns = more crime” – except it hasn’t happened. Over the last decade something on the order of sixty million new firearms were purchased by individuals here, about half of them handguns, and most of those weren’t purchased for target shooting. Concealed-carry laws, for instance, have been gaining popularity around the country – see this graphic:

The states marked in green do not require a license to carry concealed. And what has violent crime done here? DECLINED. To levels not seen since the 1960’s.

5 facts about crime in the U.S.

Who has it benefited? Our general population. Who has benefited from the UK’s policy of disarmament and “proportional response”? The criminals. Which is more amoral – allowing people to defend themselves, or in effect telling them instead to “close your eyes and think of England”?

We’ll see if he has anything to add.



Source: http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2017/04/more-quora-debate.html


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