Unilateral Disarmament

In Florida and Texas, they encouraged gun toting, and crime went down. In Australia, they confiscated guns, and crime went up. Is that backwards? Well, if you were a thug, which would you prefer, victims who might be armed or victims by law disarmed?

What is backwards is the popular frenzy for restricting guns, in the hope that criminals will not be able to get them. Fat chance. A gun is a piece of pipe with means to make an explosion at one end propel a bullet out the other end. Guns can be manufactured on the sly in prison workshops and suburban garages. Every time the gun laws get tighter, people get richer who make and sell guns in mobile vans. Disarming the law-abiding is unilateral disarmament.

Twenty years ago, there was a huge debate about unilateral disarmament. If the United States would just get rid of its weapons, said one side, then the Soviet Union would stop distrusting us, and would disarm also. The other side said that freedom is a moral value, so self defense is a moral duty.

The outcome of that debate was a decisive buildup of our armed forces, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Instead of subjective fantasy, we went with objective logic.

People who feel threatened by that logic are now encouraged to try again. Guns, they say, are a threat no matter who holds them. That's the unilateral disarmament position: any weapon is more likely to hurt people than protect people. Self defense provokes attack.

But we do not survive by hunting, so most weapons are for protection rather than attack. An attack makes the news because it is unusual. Self defense is common and not newsworthy. The thing to ask after a mad killing spree—whether by gun or knife or machete—is: would the rampage have been more devastating or less devastating if more victims had been armed?

Weakness as a defense is appealing to some because it worked when they were children. It is appealing to some because they want to control or be controlled. It is appealing to some because they want to attack. It is appealing to many because the issue of self defense is bothersome, and they want to push it aside.

The solution is freedom. If some people carry guns for self-defense, then for all the predator knows, you might be doing that. His prey might have a sting. If you, a law-abiding citizen, feel intimidated by people carrying guns, imagine how much more intimidated is the coward with bad intentions. Whatever you do, don't let the criminals know if you believe in unilateral disarmament.

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