Saturday, December 25, 2004
Friday, December 24, 2004
Still working on the deployment posts. But in talking to James while home on Christmas leave, I had some thoughts about self-defense, deadly force, etc.
Often, when I encounter people who have strong beliefs for strict gun control, it seems to me -- and I admit that I am reading between the lines here -- that what they're saying is something along the lines of this: "guns kill, therefore if there are no guns, there will be no killing". I'm sure this isn't what they really mean, but I get this...how do I put this? I get this sense that many people's idea of violence is something they've learned from the movies. In the movies, generally (and this is a broad generalization, I know), if a bad guy is shot with a gun, he or she is dead instantly. So I get this impression that people think of guns as a way to automatically render people dead instantly. Therefore, people (like me) who are interested in carrying firearms for self-defense must want to instantly kill people who are trying to instantly kill me. It has to be one extreme or the other. Well, no wonder we CCW people are crazy, right? Someone might want to rob me, or even hurt me, but it's highly unlikely that I'd run into someone who actually wants to kill me, right? So what am I doing with a gun?
I'm in the Navy. We go through a lot of training in regards to firearms in defensive situations. Our definition of "deadly force" goes something like this (I don't have it memorized yet -- I am a dirtbag):
- Deadly force is force that a person knows, or should know, carries the risk of causing death or serious bodily harm [ emphasis mine ]. Deadly force is used only as a last resort when all lesser means have been or cannot reasonably be employed.
Furthermore, we are taught that when we employ deadly force, we do so only so much as we need to in order to remove the situation that caused us to employ it in the first place. For example: guy runs at us with a knife, we shoot him. He drops the knife and sits down; we stop shooting.
So, to put this in a CCW perspective: in employing deadly force to protect myself from deadly force, I am not trying to kill people who are trying to kill me. In fact, that is expressly not what I am trying to do. I simply seek to stop the threat. This is responsible defensive use of firearms. This is taught not only in the military, but in civilian CCW and self-defense courses such as those that James teaches. Just because I have a gun, I am not out to kill people: I just want to stop the threat. And the threat includes not just someone actively trying to kill me, but someone trying to cause me (or those around me) serious bodily harm, too.
If you expand your concept of guns from "guns are only used to instantly kill persons who are trying to instantly kill you" to "guns are used to stop the threat of death or serious bodily harm", then I think it becomes easier to understand what might seem to be ludicrious claims about the number of uses of guns in self-defense per year as possible, and even plausible. And it might be easier to understand why people want to have firearms for self- and home-defense.