Chad Perrin: SOB

11 March 2009

Heinlein’s Law of Arms

Filed under: Liberty — apotheon @ 08:08

Robert A. Heinlein, author of such seminal works as The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Starship Troopers (nothing like the movie of the same name, which was created by people who hated the very things Heinlein held dear), once said:

An armed society is a polite society.

It has its (sometimes humorous) implications that rudeness becomes rare when one may have to back up one’s acts with one’s own life, but this is not where the really important implications arise.

The gun of the citizen is akin to the sword of the honorable knight: it is a symbol of responsibility, of duty. It is the tool of the trade of protection — protecting the innocent from the guilty, protecting oneself from the predations of the wicked, protecting individuals from the mob and the civilized from those who would unethically press any advantage.

God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal.

To a nontrivial degree, gun control laws in the United States (and the colonies that preceded the founding of the US) have their basis in racism. For examples, look back to the French Black Code of 1751. They have evolved well beyond this point, of course. These days, the line drawn between the oppressed class and the privileged class is not one of color, except insofar as it is still sometimes difficult for men and women of color to achieve entry to those rarefied ranks. President Obama is a pretty clear indicator that any hard and fast rules that support the racist application of gun control laws are null and void these days. Now, instead, Obama is surrounded by men with submachine guns much of the time as a matter of daily expectation, while a white man named Dick Heller who lives in the same city had to go all the way to the Supreme Court to beg to be allowed to own and carry a single self-defense weapon. It clearly isn’t a matter of the color of one’s skin that makes the difference these days — though it just as clearly still isn’t the content of one’s character, either.

It’s amazing to me that people just accept arguments that poor little old women are being “protected” by gun control laws from lascivious brutes who would do terrible things to them. The number of women in this country who think guns are bad, terrible threats to their safety appears to be far greater than the number of men. The simple facts of how relative strength plays into things should be an obvious disputation of that view. When a 120 pound woman encounters a 170 pound man bent on doing ill, she is at a staggering disadvantage if she must defend herself — unless she carries the modern descendant of Mr. Colt’s equalizer.

Ideas that with unrestricted, free ownership of firearms the streets would run red with blood, that law and order would fall apart under a prevailing “Wild West” environment (which was never really as wild as people seem to think, anyway) are disproven over and over again. When the assault weapon ban ended, the streets didn’t run red with blood. When Florida became the first state to enter a new era of shall-issue policy for issuing concealed carry permits, the streets didn’t run red with blood. When Kennesaw, Georgia actually passed a law that “required” (there are ways around it if you really don’t want to) all heads of household to maintain a working firearm, the streets didn’t run red with blood. On the contrary — crime rates dropped precipitously. While Kennsaw’s population climbed quickly, its burglary and violent crime rates remained fairly constant, hovering around zero percent. While nationwide violent crime rates continued to climb, Florida saw an immediate and significant drop in violent crimes after the passage of its shall-issue law. I don’t really know whether there was a measurable change in crime rates after the end of the assault weapon ban, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t change a thing, because the only way it would logically have altered crime at all was by changing what perfectly reasonable, safe activities are considered crimes and which are not: a top-mounted carrying handle and a bayonet lug make a weapon no more, nor any less, suitable for violent crime (nor for preventing such crime) in the general case.

Personally, I think concealed carry permits are a bad idea. I prefer Vermont’s approach: no permit needed. That doesn’t stop me from recommending getting a permit, though — even in Vermont, if only for purposes of legal reciprocity with states that require a permit to carry when you travel. While you’re at it, learn the tradition of the American rifleman, and make the life of a responsible gun owner one of the key requirements of your take on the American Dream.

I want to be a better programmer, a better bass player, a better writer, and a better citizen. Toward these ends, I’m trying to make sure I find the time to study the appropriate knowledge and practice the requisite skills, including improving on my skills and responsibilities as recognized and protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

An armed society is a polite society.

A disarmed society is merely docile, as sheep to the slaughter.

Unfortunately, practicing bass has kinda fallen by the wayside. I’ll have to find more time for that, too. Maybe I can forgo a little more sleep.

All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License