A Right and Duty to Protect

Recent events caused me to reflect on why I made the decision several years ago to carry a personal firearm.

This past weekend, I saw a cartoon that stuck with me.

Maybe not due to the cartoon itself, but my mind made a connection between what it represented and many incidents since it was originally posted on Twitter five years ago.

It was a depiction of what the sinking of the Titanic would look like if it happened in 2017, it shows people in the water around the sinking vessel with their phones out, filming the liner as it sinks.

We are all familiar with situations where, rather than stepping in to help the victim of some attack, people surround the melee with a ring of phones, capturing video to post on their various social media accounts.

I’m sure the reactions of others are pretty much like my own – why don’t people help in those situations? What happened to our concern for others? What happened to the idea of self-sacrifice and the duty to people we don’t know?

The reaction of the left to Elisjsha Dicken, the 22-year-old Hoosier who ended the Greenwood Park Mall shooting, is telling. They ignored the fact that it was a “good guy with a gun” situation in which Dicken cared enough for people he did not know to put himself in the line of fire to stop it and chose instead to attack him because he used a firearm to stop a murderer.

Holy crap, Batman. What the Hell would they have people do, let the shooter continue a rampage until the LEOs show up?

It is almost as if they don’t want carnage to stop unless the “right” people stop it.

I know that is the collectivist, statist, central authority way – that he should have waited for the “official” protectors to show up, but to that I have two things to point out – these are the same people who have been screaming for years that the police can’t be trusted and should be defunded and we all say what happened in Uvalde when the officials were paralyzed into inaction because nobody was in charge.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine out of all those armed law enforcement personnel in Uvalde, there wasn’t one of them who said, “Give me a damn bullet shield, I’m going in and if you try to stop me, I’m going to bust a cap in YOUR ass.”

But there wasn’t.

Absent some officially sanctioned authority to act, it appears about 400 law enforcement officers stood down while children were murdered.

Collectivism is based on a central authority for planning and execution of all economic tasks and elimination of the individual choice and responsibility inherent in capitalist systems. Collectivism doesn’t work because it is impossible to scale a decision-making process to every economic transaction.

In a way, our system of reliance on the current design of law enforcement for personal protection is strikingly like a collectivist system with the same limitations. Rather than retaining personal responsibility for our own protection, we have ceded that responsibility to centralized law enforcement authorities and have determined that individual reaction to threats is unacceptable.

All of this made me think about why I carry.

The Second Amendment isn’t a license to kill as the progressive left believes. It is part of a philosophy going back to John Locke’s 1689 “Second Treatise of Civil Government” that posits an individual has a right to his own person and property and therefore has a right to protect them:

“…I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion; because such men are not under the ties of the common law of reason, have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power.”

Locke clearly recognizes a natural right of self-defense, even though “the aggressor… be in society and a fellow subject.”

I would also note that in a civil society, individual citizens not only have a right to protect themselves, but by extension, they also have a duty to protect others who cannot protect themselves.

The old bromide is true – when seconds matter, the police are minutes away – but that isn’t their fault – we have given them an impossible task. The International Association of Chiefs of Police reported a few years ago that the average ratio of police to citizen is about 2.5 officers per 1000 citizens. This is simply a game of numbers in a country of 330 million people covering 3.8 million square miles.

There is a reason that murderers and terrorists, even the insane ones, attack schools, malls and not police stations. It is because they know that there will be no resistance in “gun free zones” and maximum resistance in “gun mandated zones”. The progressive talking point is that a civilized society does not “need” to have firearms – that may be true within such a society – but a civilized society needs firearms to protect itself from uncivilized entities acting in asymmetric and random ways.

The fact is that centralization of individual protection will always be ineffective against random threats – and the only way to answer random, asymmetric threats is with an equally random, asymmetric response – individual ownership and open carrying of personal weapons by all citizens who so choose.

This doesn’t mean that we should seek to become the Wild West – but we must recognize that the Wild West was lawlessness tamed by men with Bibles and guns.

As the old slogan goes, “God may have created men, but Samuel Colt made them equal”.

3 thoughts on “A Right and Duty to Protect

  1. “I would also note that in a civil society, individual citizens not only have a right to protect themselves, but by extension, they also have a duty to protect others who cannot protect themselves.”

    Everything after “but” is incorrect. There is no duty to rescue, without there being some underlying relationship between rescuer and rescuee. (Think parent-child, or if your actions placed that person at risk … not relevant here). I urge anyone to think long and hard about what you are willing to put at risk for someone you do not know and are not responsible for. Now maybe your religion or morals tells you you need to get involved. That’s on you. Don’t let someone else talk you into risking your or your family’s lives to get involved in a situation. That is your decision and yours only. You owe NO duty.

    Don’t get me wrong. I can admire people who can make that decision. Selfless. Brave. But that is no reason to be stupid. Each situation needs to be looked at one at a time. There is no good generic rule.

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