My heart goes out to the families and friends of the fallen at Virginia Tech. Perhaps this event has affected the timing of this entry, but I had already planned to write about self defense, so there is only a coincidental relation.
I legally carry a concealed handgun. I carry everywhere the law allows me to carry. (Those of you who know who I am, please maintain my anonymity. Thanks.)
If I had been in one of those classrooms at Virginia Tech, I probably would have died, too, because I would not have been carrying my gun in a gun free zone. Apparently, all but one of those students were also law-abiding citizens.
The law prevented that percentage of people who might have had the wherewithal to defend themselves with equal force from doing so.
The only effective weapons in the gun-free zone were held by – you guessed it – somebody who did not give a rip about whether he was breaking the law.
This is why gun control laws do not work to protect people. Again, and again – only law-abiding citizens would be de-clawed by an act of law. Even removing legal means of purchasing guns would not help – it just means that the crooks would buy guns via black market and us law-abiding citizens would not have guns. This is the achilles heel of the entire concept of gun control law – it only affects the good guys. (Here’s an excellent diatribe on the practicality of gun control: http://thelawdogfiles.blogspot.com/2007/04/meditations-on-gun-control.html ).
Instead, there should be NO gun free zones. If the law trusts me (after suitable qualification) to carry in public, why are there areas where they don’t trust me? In Texas, a person with a CHL permit is statistically 14 times less likely to commit a crime than the general population, and 5 1/2 times less likely to commit a violent crime. (http://www.gunfacts.info/ , page 9-10). If there were no gun-free zones, most people bent on murder would at least have to consider that someone might stop them. And indeed, if some nut case were executing everyone around you and you had a gun (or other weapon), wouldn’t you try to take him down? Therefore, if you and I are together somewhere, you are safer with me than you would be without me.
How about the police? Why can’t they defend you? Well, for one thing, chances are, they’re not where you are at any given moment. The police are a deterrent, and they sometimes catch the baddies after it’s all over, but they are not usually on hand to actually protect you. This is not putting them down, this is just the way the universe works. You must ultimately take responsibility for your own self defense.
Everyone should understand – there are predators among us; and to them, you are food. They will take what they want from you without remorse or pity, and they won’t loose sleep over whether they hurt or killed you to get it. And sometimes, as in the case at Virginia Tech, they’re just nuts. They do not feel your pain. They are, however, cowards. They don’t like the idea that somebody might shoot back.
I believe firmly that I have the moral and legal right, as well as the strongest obligation, to try to defend myself and my family and friends, although most of them are perfectly capable of defending themselves.
The best discussion I have seen of the morality of concealed carry, as well as many practical aspects of it, can be found at http://www.corneredcat.com/ – a website I very much recommend to anyone with an interest in concealed carry and self defense by use of handguns. It is authored by a fine lady named Kathy Jackson and is intended for women, but is very well-written and applicable for anyone. Particularly, read the parts about how all this ties in with being a Christian.
Some who read this will probably think I go around being scared and that’s why I carry a gun. Not at all. But in my time, I’ve seen the changes in society and the world, I’ve seen the advent of major amounts of drug abuse, the failure of the family become widespread, and I’ve seen terrorists strike inside the United States. I’ve seen an amazing lack of manners and respect for other people become widespread. I’ve seen several homes broken into within a mile or so of my home, and I’ve seen the map showing registered sex offenders in my area (and that’s the ones they know about!). If you see it is likely to rain, you get an umbrella. If you think chances are pretty good that sooner or later you’re going to want to stop some baddie from doing bad things to you, you get prepared.
And I did. You should, too.