Awhile back, people locally made a number of comments on a local mall’s Facebook page about the mall’s proposed policy to make itself a “gun-free zone.” The comments were fairly standard, saying that if the mall didn’t want to allow them effective self-defense, that they wouldn’t shop there. Almost all of the comments stayed civil and factual from the pro-self-defense side. (Not quite all—there are always idiots on every side. But almost all.)
Whereupon a number of people commented back with things like:
- “I’m not paranoid enough to need to pack a gun when shopping.”
- “I’m glad that people who think they need guns will stay away.”
- “Why are you so scared? Why do you need a gun just to go out in public?”
- And my favorite: “I’m glad the freaks who need a gun to feel like a man will stay away.”
….and the comments went downhill from there.
I really don’t understand why people who say those things happen to think that way. After all, surely they have a reason to believe that. If they didn’t have a reason, they wouldn’t just make up vicious derogatory commentary, would they? Perhaps they had some information that I simply don’t have.
Recently, I had a friend (we’d been friends for a number of years) post a very anti-gun screed, to which I replied with a large set of statistics (and links for all of the citations where I got my facts, such as the CDC and the FBI)—and the entirety of her response was: “Scared Thomas? Take your precious guns and move to El Salvador.”
Um, what? I said: “Scared? Hm. So, your response to a set of statistics refuting your commentary was a personal attack? Why?”
Her response? “Are you scared of [sic] someone is going to take your precious firearms away or that I have an opinion? We get it already Thomas, you love your guns, maybe more than life itself. Compensate much?”
What? This was the response to a set of logical arguments backed with statistics on a particular topic?
Is it that scary to actually look at the facts? It is so frightening that people might need to re-think their beliefs in the face of actual data describing reality? So upsetting that moving immediately to personal attacks seems to be a good response?
Paranoid? Compensating? Scared? Need a gun to feel like a man?
Why would people jump to those conclusions? I mean, I know that for many people, cognitive dissonance results in serious emotional reactions—but immediately jumping to ridiculous conclusions that make no sense, giving emotional motives to other people that have no basis in reality? Seriously? I mean, I’ve read this article: Raging Against Self-Defense, but you’d assume that most people would at least START a discussion before immediately reacting emotionally.
You see, when I carry, I like to think it is because I’m prudent, intelligent, and and have taken responsibility for the safety of myself and the people I love.
I wear a seatbelt whenever I’m in a motor vehicle, even though I haven’t been in even a minor fender-bender in years. I have a fire extinguisher in my home, even though it has never been on fire. (Well, the outside was once when my neighbor set his lawn on fire, but I was elsewhere at the time.) I keep jumper cables and a spare tire in my car, though I haven’t needed them in years. I wear safety glasses when using a power saw, even though nothing has ever contacted the glasses. When cleaning up my student’s chemistry experiments, I wear protective gloves even though none of the materials they are using are likely to be remotely dangerous.
In a similar fashion, I carry a concealed firearm because 1) I have looked into the prevalence of crime in my area and the probability of my lifestyle intersecting with someone else’s criminal action–and it is low, but not zero, 2) I am aware that no one else is able to protect both myself and my loved ones in a self-defense situation (most likely, no one else would even try), and 3) taking steps for protective purposes (like having a fire extinguisher, wearing safety glasses, and wearing seltbelts) is not difficult—you just make it a part of your lifestyle.
I’m not paranoid—it is unlikely that I’ll ever have to use any weapon at all. (And that is a good thing.) I don’t think I’ll “need” a gun—if I thought I was going someplace where I’d need a gun, I’d simply not go–but if I had to go, I’d bring 30 friends with guns, preferably all armed with cannon. In a similar fashion, I’m not scared to go out without a gun—but like wearing a seatbelt, since it is simple and potentially useful, why not do it?
As for the “feel like a man” comment—it doesn’t really deserve a response (particularly since a number of CCW permit holders I know are female) but I will say: “Projecting much?”
I realize it derails the whole “trying to be calm and rational in discussion” thing I’m trying for here, but seriously: I’m tired of attempting to explain my perfectly rational behavior to idiots who prefer to make commentary based on the ignorant emotional projections of people who can’t be bothered to learn anything remotely resembling facts, or use any form of basic logic.
Want to discuss firearms and violence? Excellent. I’d be happy to engage in a discussion in which we debate so that we end up closer to the truth in our understanding of the world. Please read and follow these rules for having a rational discussion, and we’ll have a great time.
Edited to add:
The entire thing is good—-but the last paragraph is completely brilliant. And quite frankly, leaving out the hyperbole due to frustration, is pretty much spot-on. (Thanks to Kozball for the link!)