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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"Violence has always been a real possibility and has always occurred. That doesn't excuse it, (affirming this often comes across as callous). That I will be the victim of violence is not a huge possibility, but it happens. Turn of the century mass killings were usually bombings or nitro attacks. The relative frequency of mass killings has not increased. Overall violence has gone down. Overall the tolerance of violence has gone down as well. I think the demographic for violence has simply shifted to the most vulnerable, as lessons were learned in government buildings and such caused us to remove them as easy targets. We now keep such places under guard. Nitro bombings were about politics and philosophy and the demographics of killers and targets reflected that, today's killings are about who knows what, glorification of evil? They occur in the spaces left unguarded and are perpetrated by only those who would be willing to kill those innocents in those spaces. These are the mass killings which remain. We don't see attacks in the previous spaces which are now hardened. People who would attack such a place still exist, but there is little probability of success and therefore little probability of glory. The motivation is lessened.

I do not believe that violence should be an ends to a means, but if someone chooses violence as the mode of interaction with you, your wishes were likely never considered for the terms of the interaction. The choice for violence is completely out of your hands. Your choice is to survive or not. I am a gentle man. I catch flies in my house and let them go outside. I consider myself a pacifist, but not in the 60s american sense, in the Tibetan Buddhist sense. While it may be a sin to commit violence, I believe it is a larger sin to NOT use violence to protect the innocent. Because avoiding committing a sin yourself at the expense of letting a larger sin occur is disgustingly selfish. I think we are morally obligated to take a stain upon ourselves if it will save the innocent. Actually, I take that back. I feel morally obligated to do that. I don't require other people to. It is a terrifying prospect to have to do that but I have spent a long time meditating on it and I do not fear it any longer. I can't expect everyone to come to the same conclusion, or be willing to face that conclusion.

Another issue is that if self-defense is a human right. In our society which does not discriminate we are therefore obligated to afford people the means to make up for natural born inequality and physical limitations to be able to act in self-defense. A human being should have the right to defend themselves. A human being uses technology to compensate for natural born limitations. I wear glasses because of a natural born limitation. I am not a large or strong person. As I age I will become frail. We have technology to aid in self-defense because without it then the hierarchy of power and victimization is based on what you were born with. Just as we don't allow institutionalized discrimination, forbidding weapons institutionalizes a hierarchy of power based on physical prowess is also wrong.

I can't speak for all gun owners officially, but I have not actually met any paranoid or fearful ones. This could be due to my liberal community of gun owners, or maybe the caricature is not in fact true. But I can say that I am not fearful of the world and I do not expect to be attacked randomly... no more than I am afraid of other unlikely albeit possible events, like a house fire for example. I look on carrying a gun as something as mundane as carrying a cell phone or water bottle, or a first aid kit. In case I am thirsty, or need to call the police, or if I or my loved ones are senselessly targeted by violence I can not otherwise avoid or control.

I am not suggesting that teachers be required to become combat certified. I am suggesting that those who feel compelled should be allowed to. Or hire guards so that schools are at least as defended as other things we value in society and defend with armed guards, like money, and judges in courthouses, and liquor stores, and boxes of cigarettes at gas stations. I think our children should rate above a box of cigarettes or cash.

When you imagine extra security everywhere and a military state, there is another option, that people take responsibility for themselves. This isn't selfish, this is a collective action by society which is in the society's best interest. Rather than burdening others to stand guard at every movie theater, we do it ourselves in a distributed and collaborative sense.

The innovation of civilized society is the cooperative might of the virtuous overwhelming and blocking out evil."
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