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Totems

I’ve touched on before how anti-gun folks ascribe magical powers to firearms. To them, firearms have the magical ability to turn you into a raging psycopath, shrink your penis, and turn otherwise reasonable people into frothing at the mouth lunatics. Or whatever. A flip side to that is touched on by Aunt B.:

I do want to say a little about guns, though. And that is this–guns are not magic. Even if you have a gun, it’s no guarantee that you’re more likely to survive the evil intentions of a mass murderer than anyone else.

I sort of agree and sort of don’t. I agree that guns are not magic. All too often, some people get a weapon thinking it does give them the magical power of invincibility. And they are wrong. And, of course, while there is no guarantee, armed citizens have a decent record against mass murderers. I like those odds better. And, if you’re in a situation where it takes the police two minutes to arrive and over an hour to secure the scene, a gun is probably quite a useful thing to have.

But Aunt B. is correct. Guns are not magical. They do not bestow you with invincibility nor infallibility nor super human strength nor wisdom. A weapon is a tool. A tool designed to do a job. Nothing more. Now, they are a tool that, with practice, you can get pretty good with. And, as Aunt B. says, if someone is intent on killing you and gets the drop on you, then you’re number is up in the life lottery. Not much you can do there. I can draw from a retention holster, take aim, and fire center mass in a bit less than one second. That’s at a range where I’m practicing. But when you factor in things that would happen in a real life situation such as taking the whole of what’s happening into consideration; the location of, say, your family members; the loss of fine motor skills; tunnel vision; etc. that happen in these situations; then I simply cannot assume that I will draw and fire as quickly or as accurately. I address that by going to the range and practicing more. But it’s no guarantee. And it ain’t magic.

11 Responses to “Totems”

  1. Dad Says:

    ” Shrink your penis ” hummmmm, I guess that explains the second belly button.

  2. Hypnagogue Says:

    “no guarantee that you are more likely to survive”?

    This statement is just wrong, and we don’t need to beat around the bush about it. You are more likely to survive, you are more likely to prevail, you are more likely to save other lives. Statistics and the gun on the hip of every cop you’ve ever seen testifies to the simple truth — and it’s not magic.

  3. SayUncle Says:

    But it’s not guaranteed.

  4. ExUrbanKevin Says:

    Moreover, owning a firearm does not bestow upon you the ability to use it effectively in a life-threatening situation or handle or maintain it correctly, anymore than owning a planer turns you into Norm Abram.

    Training and practice, not bright shiny toys, are what make the difference when it really matters.

  5. Rustmeister Says:

    That tunnel vision’s a bitch, by the way.

  6. ka Says:

    I have a mixed martial arts black belt. It doesn’t mean I will win every fight. It does mean that I have upped my chances though. Same with guns. And remember, the first rule of gun fighting, “Have a gun.”

  7. Hypnagogue Says:

    Yes, it is guaranteed to be more likely. Don’t blame me for the weasel-worded sentence structure — that’s on Aunt B, not me. It is more likely (probability), therefore it is more guaranteed (unity) to be more likely (probability).

    1.0*p = p

  8. JKB Says:

    I love this argument. It’s not guaranteed to be 100% effective so you don’t need some tool or piece of equipment.

    I used to run research vessels. We spent thousands of dollars each year to maintain and inspect our liferafts. I personally know of no one who has ever had to use a liferaft for its intended purpose after 20 years in the industry. Nor was it ever guaranteed that should the ship sink that the liferafts would work as intended, wouldn’t be damage in the casualty or that I would be able to reach one. So by the “guaranteed” logic I could have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by not having the liferafts.

    I did attend a talk by a Master whose lost his Alaskan fishing vessel to a fire. Quite moving story in which he lost three crew. Turns out when disaster struck, he got no use from his liferafts as the fire damaged some and got between the pilothouse and the rafts so he couldn’t reach them even though they were only 20 feet away.

    But there are quite a lot of instances where the liferaft has been the difference between life and death. Having a tool or piece of equipment isn’t a guarantee but it is a capability and when the space between you and death is thin, you want all the capability you can get. Thing is by the time you need the capability, it’s too late to get it just in time. You have to invest during the good times so you can make it through the bad times.

  9. Huck Says:

    While there is no guarentee that packing a pistol will save your life in a life threatening situation, you certainly have a better chance than if you dont carry, which is zero chance.

    It’s a form of insurance. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  10. _Jon Says:

    A slightly different angle:
    – Having police in our society doesn’t eliminate crime, but it does deter it. Looked at differently; What would our society look like if there were no police?

    The very existence of police (and guns) acts as a deterrent to crime. It could be proven, but I don’t think anyone would want to participate in the ‘experiment’.

  11. Kristopher Says:

    Nothing is guaranteed … except that 6 rounds in the chest of an active shooter will allow other victims to run away from him.

    Sucking chest wounds are Nature’s way of saying “Slow down, dude!”