I recently came across an essay entitled "Gun Wimps for Gun Rights" that got me thinking. The author explains his lack of desire to own any firearms, while supporting the rights of others to do so. So far, so good. But he goes on to explain the reasoning behind his support for those rights.
So I would like to make a plea to my fellow citizens: please buy, carry, and even stockpile weapons. Carry them with you always. Keep them in your homes and cars. It’s especially important to do this in public places, where freak murderers lurk. The weapons should be loaded and dangerous, capable of killing with one shot.
I especially desire this because I don’t want to do this. Truth be told, I don’t like them. I don’t want them in my home. I don’t like shooting at the range. I don’t like looking at them, shopping for them, cleaning them, or even thinking about what they do to others. I loathe violence of all sorts, and hope to never have to use it. I’m a pacifist in spirit.I was reminded of a situation a few years ago when a co-worker provoked a homeless person with what he considered a humorous remark, but one that caused the other party to begin pulling knives out of his backpack and waving them threateningly. My worker, knowing I was likely armed, took shelter behind me. When I had some words with him later he remarked, "I knew you'd protect me." (He did later become a gun owner.)
I exercise my rights for my safety and the safety of my loved ones with whose protection I am charged. Should people who WILL NOT (as opposed to CANNOT) defend themselves expect the same protection? What do we do about those who make a conscious decision to NOT protect themselves and their family? This could apply to food and shelter planning as well, not just defense against violence. This isn't a question of should such people be aided, or if there's a moral obligation to so do. That's a personal decision for each of us who choose to be prepared. The question is, do the willfully helpless have a right expect aid from others?
My own Faith teaches that I have a "grave duty" to protect those entrusted to my care, and my family knows and rightfully expects such protection.
"Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility." (CCC 2265)
I do agree completely with the author's assertion that an armed society will provide for a safer society. He, in some sense, understands the inherent right to self defense in a free society, and the roll firearms may play in a free and safe community. However I find his expectation that it is others, not himself, who will provide for his and his family's safety, to be both naive and selfish, and even somewhat offensive. He concludes with this:
The only real means to prevent the emergence of a world safe for criminals and government is to see the proliferation of guns among everyone else. I’m sorry, but I will not do my part in this respect. But I will defend the rights of others to do so, with a sincere hope that they will stockpile and be ready. Yes, I’m a free rider, but gun owners need to know that I’m truly grateful.Grateful or not, is he justified in his expectations?
During my undergraduate education I considered entering federal law enforcement (that is actually where my interest in firearms and self-defense began). One thing I struggled with at the time, though, was how to balance my faith with the possibility that I may have to take a life in a law enforcement role to protect myself or others.ReplyDelete
Through discussions with my Grandfather, a Priest, and a Catholic FBI acquaintance I began to understand the Church's teachings around self-defense and the defense of others.
I think the bigger question for me regarding this person’s choices is whether or not I am charged with his protection. If I am charged with someone's protection, my wife and children for example, then it doesn't matter whether they chose to help themselves or not. I am responsible for their protection.
Excluding law enforcement and possibly military personnel, where does a private citizen's responsibility or charge end? Does a friend fall under this scope? An acquaintance? A stranger who lives in my community? Do I have a moral obligation to protect those people regardless of their decision to help themselves?
I'm not sure there is a clear answer to that question.
Matt, and therein is the quandary. I'm less troubled by me personal view of that obligation than I am by the arrogance of those who *expect* it of me.Delete
I read on a blog, a man's reply to that same statement, "I'm coming to your house......" made by acquaintances at a party.ReplyDelete
He told them that he would treat them as looters. He stated that he was prepared for family and mutually supporting friends....."So...if you're coming to my house....whattya got to offer?"
Cargosquid, I only hope that perhaps we inspire them to reexamine their choices.Delete
Christian charity doesn't end when violence starts. Of course we protect those who need protecting. We are men.ReplyDelete
I don't disagree, but my responsibility is first and foremost to myself and my family.Delete
This post is more about the arrogance of EXPECTING someone to come to your aid, all the while refusing to take responsibility for yourself. (Sort of the welfare state mentality.)