Social Question

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Why are guns really needed?

Asked by Pied_Pfeffer (22662 points ) August 27th, 2011

Inspired by some of the responses on this thread, are guns really needed? If so, for what purpose? Let’s say that they didn’t exist up until now, and someone invented the first gun today. What should it be used for that could not be handled in another manner?

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119 Answers

phoebusg's avatar

To go hunting, if that’s ok with you (adult animals, overpopulating – ex kangaroo in Aus.)
For mercy killing?
In case Aliens do indeed attack us?
So that criminals don’t start carrying cutlasses instead?
For target practice – but don’t even need real guns for that.

Violence will exist regardless but guns make it quite “successful” at being damaging.

john65pennington's avatar

If humans did not have a way to protect their family and personal belongings, we would no longer have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The caveman had his club to protect his life and modern day humans have guns.

Guns do not kill people. People kill people with their trigger finger.

thorninmud's avatar

@john65pennington Well, it’s really the trigger finger/gun combination that’s lethal, wouldn’t you say? Kinda takes both.

Only138's avatar

To exercise my right to blow the balls off anyone with enough guts to fuck with my shit.

rebbel's avatar

@john65pennington “If humans did not have a way to protect their family and personal belongings, we would no longer have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Like in all those countries where civilians don’t own guns?
I understand that is a right in the USA to own and use guns, and I appreciate your reasons as to why people think they could be useful, but of course America isn’t the only country in the world where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness exists.

Jaxk's avatar

There is disparity between people that is hard to overcome. Guns are the great equalizer. They allow the meek to protect themselves when threaten by greater strength. God made men, Colt made them equal. The meek shall inherit the earth, guns are the facilitator.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@phoebusg I grew up on pheasant and quail shot by Dad and his friends. They aren’t required for sustenance. They could also be raised in captivity, like so many of our meat sources.

I don’t know much about overpopulation control. Aren’t their other ways to combat it?

Mercy killing: I’m all for it, be it animal or human, but there are other ways to go about it humanely.

Alien invasion: We don’t know what it will take to protect ourselves in this situation, do we? In the movie Signs, it only took dousing them with water.

Criminals carrying cutlasses. That sounds pretty swashbuckling and alliterate.

marinelife's avatar

They are not—not in today’s world.

Cruiser's avatar

Although equally as challenging, throwing rocks at clay pigeons is really not that much fun. Plus I would not want to be without my BOOM STICK when the zombie apocalypse happens!

Keep_on_running's avatar

I don’t think they’re needed, we don’t have one at home and I still feel safe.

phoebusg's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer yes, pirates were the gun-robber’s of old. Well aside the flintlock.

Blackberry's avatar

To protect yourself, and to take things from others.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@john65pennington I’d feel much safer with a security alarm system, phone and a baseball bat than I would with a gun. England seems to be doing just fine without guns owned by the majority of the population. Even their regular police force do not carry them.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Honestly, while I tend to think of myself as very liberal or progressive on almost all topics, gun ownership is what I consider the most fundamental of rights.

I don’t think I need a gun, don’t want one. I want other people to have them.

At the end of the day, political power comes from the barrel of a gun. When people have guns, the government has a check and balance.

It is one of the trade-offs we have to live with in order to have liberty. As occasional slander accompanies freedom of speech, occasional gun deaths come from freedom of gun ownership. I don’t like it, but it is the cost.

I am all for limitations on assault weapons or magazine capacity.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Jaxk Do the meek actually own a gun? And if so, would they be willing to fire it at another human?

plethora's avatar

I do not own a gun, but I am very glad that I CAN own a gun if I want to do so. I do not live in Mississippi, but I used to. If you are a woman traveling alone in MS, you had best have a gun that you know how to use, whether you use it or not. This is not a racist statement.

flutherother's avatar

The only reason you need a gun is to protect yourself from people with guns.

King_Pariah's avatar

@flutherother ah, but if someone came at you with a knife or bludgeon, would you want to risk getting up that close and personal? Or would you prefer being able to defend yourself from a distance?

LuckyGuy's avatar

My house and barn would be overrun with squirrels if I didn’t take care of business.

flutherother's avatar

No one has ever come at me with a knife or bludgeon and they are unlikely to start now.

Tuesdays_Child's avatar

I stepped out on my back door a few years ago and, luckily enough, looked before I left the porch. There was a black bear wandering around our barn yard. I thought about a club or some rocks but was afraid that I would make him mad….I sure was glad that we had a gun.

ucme's avatar

Well that’s just it, are they needed at all? I tend to think not, certainly not here in England Town. Those who own guns clearly want to have a firearm & I think that’s the distinction, want over need.

King_Pariah's avatar

@flutherother, well lucky you, I could live without several of these scars though.

flutherother's avatar

@King_Pariah Well it would have been worse if they had guns.

woodcutter's avatar

They’re not really needed…until they are. Sort of like seatbelts.

AstroChuck's avatar

To protect us from the apes.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

Personally, I think guns should only be in the hands of the authorities, to uphold the law and protect law-abiding citizens. That’s it.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@marinelife I think the rebels in Libya and Syria would disagree with you.

The Libyians rebels once they got the guns were successful. The Syrian rebels without guns are not doing so well.

incendiary_dan's avatar

They are simply another means to propel a projectile. Ascribing some particular power to them besides that is overlooking systemic causes of rampant violence and projecting them onto a mechanical object.

boffin's avatar

A armed man is a citizen.
An unarmed man is a subject.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Further, for oppressed populations, guns are often the only thing keeping them from being lynched. Robert F. Williams prevented numerous deaths by arming and training some of his neighbors. Jews who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, though they suffered heavy losses, had a higher rate of survival than Jews that went along. One who was interviewed many years later said the only thing he would have done differently was have a submachinegun.

King_Pariah's avatar

@flutherother and if I had a gun, no one would have gotten hurt.

Seek's avatar

The only purpose a gun has is to make things dead.

One has a gun either because they intend to kill something, threaten to kill something, or hope to prevent themselves being killed through either of those avenues.

jerv's avatar

Guns are an evolution of the bow and arrow, just as cars are an evolution of wagons. Step back a little and rethink the question.

@incendiary_dan I would think that they could’ve gotten one fairly easily; just kill a German soldier with an MP40 and loot the body!

@Seek_Kolinahr Sometimes that “something” is an animal. I have spent many a Thanksgiving dinner picking #6 pellets out of the main course. You are correct, of course, but it seems that many people feel forget that guns can be and often are used on things other than other people.

Seek's avatar

^ And that’s why I said “things” and not “people”.

IMO, you can make a clay pigeon dead, too. Y’know, for those who want to claim they only have a gun for skeet-shooting.

tinyfaery's avatar

Power. But, of course, it’s not real power. Those with real power don’t need something external to prove themselves.

Gandhi managed to reclaim his country without the use of weapons. He had real power and he used it to be leader, and that earned him the respect of billions. No guns required.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Ever dealt with a rabid animal?

AshlynM's avatar

It’s who uses them that should be the question.

King_Pariah's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe totally right, sane people would not want to be up close and personal to put down a rabid animal…. but I’ll admit that sometimes I think it would be exhilarating.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@King_Pariah It’s not fun. It’s a royal bummer. You can tell the animal isn’t right and it’s sad when you have to take it out. The option is just worse.

King_Pariah's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I’m talking about dealing with it up close and personal, I wonder if the rush I’d get would be similar to that of hunting wild boar. There are definitely times that I’m not… me.

cletrans2col's avatar

Absolutely needed. As has already been artfully articulated by many here, it’s for protection. I do not own I gun, but I plan on buying one and getting a conceal carry license.

woodcutter's avatar

@tinyfaery It’s not about proving power. You’re thinking too deep. Is an elderly widow searching for power and “respec” when a couple thugs try to get in her house because they thought she would be an easy mark because there are wheelchair ramps leading to the house? Of course not. She wants to be left alone and she has the presumption of absolute safety while inside her home. So she has her late husbands revolver and a small kickable dog on her side…that’s all, VS two young and physically superior young men who are up to no good. The only shame here is if she has to dust one of these intruders they are put on a list of gun deaths in the US that the anti gun crowd will utilize when going into hysterics over how dangerous guns are. Some people should die and they don’t deserve to be put on a fatality list to be used as statistics. Criminal deaths aren’t statistics, they are necessary social cleansing and there will never be enough cops to stop them.

rebbel's avatar

@woodcutter “Criminal deaths aren’t statistics, they are necessary social cleansing…”
Did you really just said that?

woodcutter's avatar

@rebbel Yes, The no goods among us shouldn’t have more rights than those of us who play by the rules. Most of the gun crime involves street gangs who can’t get guns the legal way. A 17 year old gangbanger who may have killed or severely maimed others is just as deadly as someone above the age of 18 but when their luck finally runs out and they are killed ,their death goes into the children killed by gun violence statistic therefore artificially boosting that demographic. That’s not right. Most of the time these deaths are perpetrated by rival gang members and some police. In the case of death by rival gangs there is an information vacuum because nobody sees anything, knows anything and they aren’t talking to the cops. All lives are valuable but those who try to destroy life have less value if any at all. I guess that would depend if you want to forgive the dregs who killed your family “because they had fewer opportunities growing up” In my book there is no redemption for that. It doesn’t matter what difficulties a person had before- wrong is wrong and using a cherished right all law abiding Americans have to break the law and kill is as bad as it gets so, some want to eliminate ownership for all just because of a few rotten eggs who can’t handle freedom and responsibilities in general. That is wrong.

mrrich724's avatar

We need them b/c some people are fucking assholes and have no respect for humanity, and the simple thought that you never know who is armed keeps them in check (most of the time).

Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to live in great neighborhoods where they don’t have to question the motives of the person walking toward you.

Other than that, I’d say hunting would be the most practical answer.

And beyond that, I’d say it all started as a way to prevent military occupation in your home.

plethora's avatar

@mrrich724 very very good answer GA

incendiary_dan's avatar

@tinyfaery Gandhi accomplished mostly nothing, but the British decided to make it sound like he did everything as to not encourage armed revolt in other colonies. In reality, far more of the independence can be attributed to freedom fighters like Baghat Singh. Gandhi is widely considered a collaborator with the British.

He was also a huge racist who supported Hitler and told the Jews to give up, was emotionally and physically abusive to his wife, and disowned one son for marrying the wrong girl and another for lending that first one money. Gandhi was a motherfucking douche.

cletrans2col's avatar

@incendiary_dan It seems like a lot of those that are held in high esteem by many (Gandhi, MLK, Clinton, etc.) had character flaws. Another discussion for another post.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@cletrans2col Definitely a few discussions in there to be had, but you’re right, going that far is tangential. :)

King_Pariah's avatar

glad to see someone else say that ghandi wasn’t all that he is made out to be

WestRiverrat's avatar

The one time this summer I didn’t have a gun in my truck I regretted it. The semi truck in front of me hit a deer and broke all four of its legs. Didn’t kill the deer.

If I would have had my pistol I could have euthenized it relatively quickly and painlessly, for both of us. As it was, we had to beat it with a tire iron. If you think a deer with 4 broke legs can’t kick hard, try it sometime.

A gun is just a tool, no better and no worse than the person using it.

Symbeline's avatar

I guess to defend oneself, if one knows how to use it well. I guess it’s the same tune every time. Why did people ever need swords? I don’t know man, people are violent. We always come up with ways and methods to fuck other people up. It’s in our nature I guess, but said nature seeks drapes.
I doubt I could defend myself well with any of those instruments though, unless the assailants were zombies. Or so I think.

I think @john65pennington has a good point though, if I got that right. Doesn’t matter what we create, the intention and fears behind the machination have a lot more to say than a firearm that can’t do anything, unless someone uses it.

Please don’t anyone flame me lol? I don’t like firearms at all, but I’d use one, should it be there for me to use, if someone was trying to fuck me up. Or a sword, if that was the only thing available. Or an ashtray. A crowbar. A toothbrush.

That doesn’t answer anything, I know. I got lost in the question. But nah, we don’t need guns. Even if we didn’t have any type of weapons as we know those the day, people would still seek ways to skullfuck their fellow man, or to protect them. Some human thing I ain’t smart enough to splain.
’‘shoots bullets in the air’’

I like to say, self defense. I’m sure it’s a valid reason, for a lot of people, right? Or at the very least, last resort?

jonsblond's avatar

I can understand why suburbanites would be against possessing a firearm, but living in the country is a whole ‘nother ball game. @WestRiverrat gave a great example of why a gun is helpful.

I may be scrappy when I need to be, but I would feel much safer with a gun by my side instead of a baseball bat if someone came to our property in the middle of the night to try and steal something. Calling 911 is the second option for us out here. We need to be quick and on our feet, ready to defend ourselves, because any help we call for will take some time to get here.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thank you all for sharing your perspectives. I’m still not buying into the ‘a gun is needed for personal protection from a break-in’ theory, as England seems to be doing quite well at this without guns.

I’m also still struggling with the need to have one on hand for rabid animals, a bear or other potentially dangerous animal in the yard, or euthanizing an animal. In most cases, an authority can be called for assistance.

@Tuesdays_Child Did you shoot the bear? My BIL occasionally spots one on his property. He owns several guns and knows how to use them. Despite that, the only thing he uses to shoot the bears is a camera.

@WestRiverrat I, too, recently witnessed a deer and vehicle incident. The deer came bounding out of the woods and slammed into the driver’s side hard enough to smash the side view mirror off and dent up the pick-up truck. I got in touch with the police to ask them to come take care of the deer who was in bad shape but still alive.

I’m surprised no one has brought up in times of war.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Everyone does know that the police have no duty to protect you, right? And police can’t get there in time to protect you if someone is in the process of knocking your door of its hinges, or climbing through a broken window.

Anyway, had anyone even talked of the totalitarian nature of allowing only authorities to be armed effectively? That mass disarming has always preceded genocide?

Blackberry's avatar

@incendiary_dan Lol at the Gandhi post.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Regarding the “guns as the great equalizer” argument, there are other ways to equalize. I’m not saying that guns don’t do it, but so do other weapons. Remember: the question asks about a world in which there were no guns (making all the gun defenses in my martial arts training useless). If no one else had a gun, I would have no need for one. All of my other weapons would suffice. Indeed, they suffice now.

Guns have just made it simpler—which has, in turn, made people more thoughtless. We kill so often because we have made it so easy. Very few people respect their weapons these days, or even the realities of violence. They distance themselves from their actions, both physically and mentally. A gun can be an honest weapon, but most people use them to hide.

jerv's avatar

@SavoirFaire Few people seem to respect anything any more, but that is a separate discussion.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I did call the police, it would have taken them at least an hour to get there.
Injured animals are low priority. The county I live in is roughly the size of Manhattan and has 1 sheriff and 2 deputies.

flutherother's avatar

The great equalizer is the law. Everyone is equally entitled to the protection of the law. I can understand the need for a gun in the lawless days of the Wild West but few people can justify carrying a gun today.

woodcutter's avatar

old and disabled people don’t do martial arts @SavoirFair

@flutherother dial 911 and die. when seconds count…the cops are just minutes away

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@WestRiverrat Thank you for that clarification. That is worthy of noting. In my case, the police were just up the street, and while they might have called animal control to deal with the situation, the greater concern was that the deer might get up again during this rush hour time and cause more damage. It was stated as such.

flutherother's avatar

Allowing everyone to carry guns is self defeating. It doesn’t diminish the homicide rate it increases it and makes the streets and the home more dangerous as this study shows.

woodcutter's avatar

@flutherother That study is old. In recent FBI reporting , violent crime has trended downward as gun ownership has trended upward. http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/may/crimes_052311/crime_052311

Coincidence maybe?

flutherother's avatar

@woodcutter The 2007 study showed that areas with higher rates of gun ownership have higher homicide rates. That is very likely to remain true despite the good news that crime rates are starting to fall overall.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@flutherother The article referenced was posted in 2007. The article that it refers to was posted in 2006. They both refer to a survey done in the US based upon 2001–2003 figures. Woodcutter’s link offers updated information and from a potentially more reliable source than an unknown writer. It also offers a couple of disclaimers for the readers to not jump to any to any conclusions based upon the results posted.

woodcutter's avatar

@flutherother Those higher rates of gun ownership are surely in metro areas. In those areas there will be a higher rate of everything, including heart attacks,pool drownings, traffic fatalities, etc. It’s deceptive to make a point base on known problem areas and transpose those results to the entire country.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@woodcutter Tell that to my old and disabled grandmaster. He could kick my ass blindfolded. But again, I am not anti-gun. I am anti-thoughtlessness. And my main point was that there are other ways to equalize in a world without guns.

woodcutter's avatar

Old and disabled people who know any form of martial arts would be extremely rare. All the others would still be very vulnerable. It still boils down to physical strength and conditioning or lack thereof determining who escapes injury.

mrrich724's avatar

Reminds me of a quote: If I could carry a police officer in my pocket, I wouldn’t need a gun.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@woodcutter I’m not saying that just anyone can defend themselves with a martial arts weapon. Then again, not just anyone can defend themselves with a gun. Training is required in both instances. Simply owning a gun is neither necessary nor sufficient for self-defense.

Still, it is false to say—as you did—that old and disabled people do not do martial arts. Some do. Some do not, of course, but that holds for the young and unimpaired as well. Self-defense never comes free.

woodcutter's avatar

Well I could teach someone how to defend themselves with a gun, I can’t show them with martial arts. If you are in any kind of compromised health, a physical encounter will go badly. Trying to go hand to hand…advantage- bigger guy is going to win. Bigger guy already knows he’s going to win. Stick a gun in bigger guy’s face…bigger guy leaves you alone.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I think the biggest thing that anyone should take from @SavoirFaire‘s comments is that other things accomplish what guns do, more or less, and perhaps focusing on them, whether positively or negatively, is probably stupid.

And I’m definitely one of those who would be perfectly happy if nobody had guns. But crazy motherfuckers do, so I keep a few.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@woodcutter You can’t show them how to defend themselves with martial arts, but others can. And by the way, you can still come out of a self-defense situation on top with compromised health. Aikido, for instance, is replete with techniques for bringing the bigger and stronger guy down even if you are smaller, weaker, or in poor health. Many of these techniques can be found in other styles as well.

There are also entire books on how to defend yourself with a cane (some good, some not so good). If you are healthy enough to lift a gun, you are healthy enough to do at least some martial arts techniques. So in a world where guns did not exist, there would be alternatives.

Again, I’m not anti-gun. I learned how to shoot at a young age. A rifle was the first weapon I learned to respect and control. But if I take the OP seriously, I have to admit that there isn’t much of anything that could not be done without guns. This is not a reason to eliminate them, simply a fact about the array of possibilities with which the world presents us.

@incendiary_dan Agreed all around.

woodcutter's avatar

@SavoirFaire I see your point, however this discussion has given examples of a fair fight, of which there is no such thing. Here it has been assumed there will be a single attacker to defend against. In a world where everyone knows aikido ( if indeed it is to be that common and quick to learn, which it’s not), the greater numbers are still sure to win, but that is all hypothetical, meaning all involved at the worst will get their ass kicked and live to fight another day. Getting a really bad beating, even if it is the attacker, is no big deal. They can recover. The stakes are relatively low still, even in defeat.The stakes go up dramatically when a gun goes off…no do -overs. Even in superior numbers when there still is a chance they can take the gun away from the defender, some body is probably going to get shot and maybe even die. Who’s going to be the first one is what goes through their minds,because death is pretty permanent. It makes an attacker(s) reconsider. Being that it’s too hard to prove a negative, most gun assisted self defense events happen without a shot being released. That’s because nobody wants to die over a social security check that granny might have in her handbag. Weak appearing people are always the most attractive targets of crime because of low risk of failure. No mugger is going to pick out a guy who looks like Tank Abbott (of UFC fame) just to make things interesting. In places where concealed carry is common as cell phones there is uncertainty of which person has firepower and who does not. No way to tell by looking at them therefore higher risk of failure if they make a bad guess. So in essence the people who refuse to carry are, by proxy, more apt to be suspected of doing so and will have the same effect of causing a would be attacker to chicken out. Women are proven to be consistently better marksmen then men all else being the same so it’s a bad gamble to assume anything. Places with concealed carry tend to have fewer strongarm crimes. The weak have the power to kill or seriously main an attacker. No one should be expected to take a beating in order to save an attackers life so they can do it again to someone else later.

Unfortunately there are still a few pockets of that ideology where a victim is obligated to retreat and do everything possible to not cause injury to an attacker for fear of legal retribution and civil suits. That is wrong on so many levels.

Tuesdays_Child's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Absolutely….we have chickens, ducks and geese, some baby pigs and those animal wouldn’t have stood a chance against that bear.

martianspringtime's avatar

I don’t think that guns are needed at all. Humans did a decent job without them up until their invention, and since most people don’t depend upon them to catch their food, they still aren’t necessary.

However once one person has one, it follows that everyone else should have access to them as well so that one person or group doesn’t have the clear upper-hand.

woodcutter's avatar

Humans did a decent job without them up until their invention, Which humans? And what is a decent job? Is that somewhere between total failure and surviving with your life intact, barely?

mrrich724's avatar

@woodcutter GA!

Hunt buffalo or any other huge animal with your body, or use a gun? Protect your stock from wolves and other predators with a gun, or use your hands, or maybe some flint arrows? LOL

incendiary_dan's avatar

Of course, firearms were less effective than a good longbow for a long time. Poor accuracy, slower rate of fire, and bad penetration. There was a story I heard about John Smith and some of the local indigenous seeing whose weapon could better puncture a steel breastplate. When Smith saw the native’s arrow punch through the breastplate, he purposely broke his gun rather than let them see that it couldn’t do the job.

So why did firearms become so popular? Because they require less training and practice. It takes lots of practice to learn how to shoot a longbow effectively, but it takes about an afternoon to get the basics of shooting a rifle or musket down. Then with the creation of more mechanized and accurate weapons, that is, rifled barrels and magazine fed cartridges, firearms became the more effective weapon in most cases. But that was less than 200 years ago.

Seek's avatar

I just have to say, it’s been thoroughly proven that humans have a much harder time killing each other when access to firearms is restricted.

It’s a lot easier to pull a trigger than it is to stab someone. And it’s particularly difficult to fatally stab someone by accident.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I disagree @Seek_Kolinahr The casualty rates in battles before firearms are much higher than after firearms were introduced…especially for the losing side.

woodcutter's avatar

I just don’t think that defending yourself should be a contest of skill or finesse. Screw that. It makes for good movie scenes but if someone is about to bust me up I want to stop it quickly. I don’t have the time to study Tikwondo. Call it cheating if you must.

Did you know that people with swimming pools in their back yards have a higher chance of drowning, so everyone should be happy with going to the lake and still possibly drown.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Individuals might. Authoritarians find it easier under those conditions, particularly when they’re the ones doing the restricting.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@woodcutter I have made no assumptions about a fair fight. If you’re in a fair fight, you didn’t plan properly. Nor have I been assuming a single attacker. The art I study is specifically designed to work against multiple attackers. Nor is “a world where everyone knows aikido” at all relevant. The question asked in the OP is very simple: is there any task that can be done in a world with guns that cannot be done in a world without guns. The answer to this is “no.” The “I don’t have time” argument is a non sequitur because the question is not about you and what you are willing to do. It is about what is possible.

And by the way, I think you should take a look at some katanas if you think that a martial arts fight is non-deadly. Because remember: we’re talking about self-defense without guns, not self-defense without weapons. If I slash my sword at you, it’s just as deadly as a bullet. And while some of my other weapons might be less deadly at first, I can still kill somebody with them. I can kill someone with my bare hands if need be. Indeed, that’s one of my advantages: I can do as much or as little harm as I choose.

Regarding picking on a guy who looks like Tank Abbott, I would have agreed with you once upon a time. Only three weeks ago, however, one of my colleagues—who, coincidentally, looks a lot like Tank Abbott (but taller)—was mugged on a Saturday evening. I was quite surprised. As I’ve mentioned a few times on this site, I basically look like this. I, too, though that was a fairly good defense in itself. But criminals get bolder every day.

In the end, however, I think it is important to note that no one is saying that guns aren’t an efficient way of defending oneself. To reiterate from above, the question asks if guns are necessary for any task. They are not. They are useful, but not necessary. You have already admitted that it is possible to defend oneself without guns. I would add that it is possible to defend oneself against someone who has a gun without having a gun oneself. That is enough to support the main point.

Take a moment and consider a world without guns. Is it possible to defend oneself? If you say yes, you will be agreeing with my point. If you say no, you will be saying something obviously and demonstrably false. Still, your views about martial arts ultimately work to my advantage. The more people who think like you, the more effective my techniques are.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@WestRiverrat I don’t see where @Seek_Kolinahr said anything about casualty rates. The point was about the relative difficulty of killing other people with different kinds of weapons.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@SavoirFaire I think you’d appreciate my growing machete collection. :)

SavoirFaire's avatar

@incendiary_dan I bet I would! I’ve been doing a lot of training with shorter weapons lately, including wakizashi (which in many ways is just a Japanese machete).

mrrich724's avatar

People will kill each other no matter what. It is a part of human nature. Guns didn’t teach people how to do it, taking away guns will not stop it.

Subscribe to the NRA feed on Twitter and you will see PLENTY of reasons guns are needed. A 26 year old mom at home and someone walks in the back entrance, an 80 year old grandpa surrounded by 3 young punks, a couple who wake up to see a meth head with crack strength standing at the foot of their bed.

Liberal media wouldn’t show how common these situations are and how in each one of them, simply producing a gun changes peoples minds about doing harm.

It’s real, and it happens every day. In a REAL fight, there IS NO SUCH THING as a fair fight. Cowards start fights, and cowards don’t go up to people their own size to pick on. Criminals choose easy prey, not a 200 lb 30 year old man who has 10 years of jiu jitsu, or a flint arrow collection, or a machete or anything else.

IT HAPPENS EVERY DAY. Like I said, Twitter the NRA feed. It’s real.

incendiary_dan's avatar

One of my favorite statistics: 550 rapes are prevented every day in the U.S. by women merely pulling a firearm on someone.

Jaxk's avatar

@mrrich724

Do you mean to tell me that criminals don’t adhere to Marquess of Queensberry rules? :)

mrrich724's avatar

LOL @Jaxk !!!! GA

woodcutter's avatar

@SavoirFaire My friend. I think you are proud of your accomplishments and well you should be, but I think you have the illusion that if something was easy for you or even possible then it should be so for all. It doesn’t work that way.Well it could work that way for young professional students who have nothing to do but enthusiastically absorb knowledge but when you are doing life taking care of family with possibly two jobs and no time to go to the gym or studio you need an edge, an edge that doesn’t depend on someones phyical abilities to succeed. If you are approached by someone who wishes to do you harm and you tout all your black belt this and that, you are going to be expected to prove it. You will have no visible “cred” until the action begins. In other words it becomes a contest between two opponents to see who is the better fighter. Young hotshots seem to have to prove things all the time for documentation if for nothing else. Hey if you have the ability to stop someone from hurting you using primitive means then great, more power to ya. That just means you have more time than most to devote to “the game” You appreciate a challenge, I can respect that.

But I don’t appreciate a challenge. I just want to get back home without a shitload of fanfare and bluster. I don’t want the task of proving I’m a better fighter. I don’t want to have to show any fancy moves to impress a scumbag in order to impress upon him that I have fight “cred”. There’s too much of a chance he will stomp a mudhole in my ass. Or…he and a couple of his little friends. Those are terrible odds. Instead of making a “production” of defending myself I want the choice of sweeping said shitballs with a S&W and putting on my “shoot” face. It ends the crap right then and there.I don’t end up having to suffer broken teeth and closed up eyes for the sake of being civil to my attacker. 90% of the time when a defender shows an attacker that big hole in the end of a gun barrel they have a sudden change of heart and leave quickly without any shots fired. This is a phenomenon where overwhelming force and fear of death actually saves lives. If a defender gives even the slightest impression that an attacker has a shot at winning a confrontation…a confrontation will ensue. And there will be the tragedy of hurt suffered from both sides. That’s no good, no good at all.

Jaxk's avatar

Just to add fuel to this fire, it’s not always the meek that get attacked. Even if you are a tough guy and known to be tough, you may get taken down. Leon Spinx was mugged in Detroit and they even stole his gold teeth.

jonsblond's avatar

Yeah, still going to feel safer with a gun out here on the farm instead of a baseball bat by my side. My little 5’ 3” self may never need that gun, but you never know.

woodcutter's avatar

@jonsblond Right. That’s the whole deal in a nutshell. You never know, only the bad guy knows and all we can do is react to whatever he has in mind for us…which could be anything, at any time. It only takes one time.

Sad fact of life.

phoebusg's avatar

@woodcutter pay attention. Synchronize with his moves – like a dance, then expose targets he may want. By doing so you start gaining control of the fight. Abuse said exposures as he goes for them and break his synchrony – then make him pay for it (pain/locks/yadayada).

Our mind is the weapon.

woodcutter's avatar

There is no spoon. But there is a S&W wrapped around a 15 round mag chock full of synergy set to break synchrony…oh yeah, he’s gonna pay.

mrrich724's avatar

@jaxk that’s also a good point, and another reason people need guns! People have this sense of entitlement (who knows where it comes from), but if you have something, you have to defend it b/c somehow people can rationalize harming you to make whatever you have, theirs.

woodcutter's avatar

If thugs would just be happy with taking things away from people and going away that would be one thing, but why beat them to within an inch of their lives. Is it not enough to be robbed to demoralize a victim? They gotta pound them down also? What is the purpose of that?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@woodcutter I am beginning to think that you are not, in fact, reading my responses. It seems you have decided in advance what point of view I am defending and are just scanning for keywords. I say this because none of your posts make sense as responses to what I’ve actually written.

I have not said that I am proud of my accomplishments. They have been quite meager so far, and many in my school are far more advanced than I am. Nor have I said that my training has been easy. It has not been. Moreover, I have exactly the problems you mention as making it harder: multiple jobs, a family, and school. I have made time to learn.

You also seem to have various misconceptions about martial arts. One does not need to be bigger, stronger, or faster than one’s opponent to make them work. My edge does not depend on physical abilities, but rather mental abilities. I have a skill (like shooting), not some natural gift (like size).

Nor would I ever tout my rank or learning to someone trying to do me harm. Leaving aside the fact that having a black belt means you are a beginner and not an expert, there remains the fact that you do not tell your enemy in advance that you have a weapon they cannot see. Why you think that would be part of my strategy is quite mysterious. My goal is to use the simplest techniques in my arsenal to stop my attacker in the quickest way possible so that I may leave. I am not trying to impress anyone. I don’t even participate in competitions or demonstrations. My art is about mental discipline, with self-defense being a useful byproduct.

Moreover, I have not recommended to anyone that they go out and learn martial arts. I joined this thread to answer a simple question. The OP asks what guns can do that nothing else can do. A number of people said that guns were equalizers. But they are not the only possible equalizers. They might be the best equalizers, they might be the easiest equalizers, they might be the most efficient equalizers. I never said otherwise. I simply said they are not the only equalizers.

So here is a question for you, and I do hope you will have the courtesy to answer it this time: do you agree or disagree that there are other ways to equalize (regardless of whether or not you think guns are a superior equalizer)? If you agree, then you should have no quarrel with my first response. If you disagree, you are obviously and demonstrably incorrect.

And as for my other responses, they were primarily correcting factual errors that you have made. You said old and disabled people don’t do martial arts, but they do. You said that the bigger person always wins a fight, but they don’t. There are entire martial arts that use size against larger opponents, and there are at least a few techniques that do so in almost every martial art. You said that people who look tough don’t get mugged, but that is also false. I told you the story of my colleague, and @Jaxk gave us the story of Leon Spinks. I could go on, but there is no need.

Finally, I have not said a word against guns. I have nothing against guns. I learned how to shoot at a young age, and it’s a skill I am happy to have. But in a world without guns, there are other ways to defend oneself or to equalize the odds. I have not said it’s easy, I have not said it’s for everyone. I have simply said that it is possible. It is hard to see why such a simple and obvious point has generated this much disagreement.

woodcutter's avatar

@SavoirFaire I can agree with just about everything you have there sorry if you felt i was being combative . However it’s looking like you are nitpicking and splitting hairs with things I have put here, and…It appears that you aren’t reading everything I have put in here. That’s cool I can respect that. That word…“possible” one of the most optimistic words in the world can be regarded as some as a quick way of saying wishful thinking. It sometimes is not rooted in reality, I mean almost everything is possible. To make this thread short sweet and boring would be to agree that sure, a peaceful existence sans guns is possible even if only for the few who are willing to try self defense classes, who can participate. All these things are possible but…highly improbable. The probability of anything is more rooted in what can be realistically expected. It’s still ok to have “hope and change” of course but lets temper that idealistic outlook with a dose of reality. Hand to hand fighting doesn’t work unless you have skills and are very lucky or both. It’s unrealistic to expect all adults in the world to get on board the self defense school of thought all at the same time. That is too much to ask of every potential victim. To win, or in a case of survival- escape, the defender needs to have something that trumps a punch or a kick or a blade. It also can’t be anything that will cause a protracted battle. The longer it lasts the more chances for the defender to lose. It needs to be over quickly. Guns are scary, to everyone who is sane. A gun sends the ultimate message…“leave me alone or you will die” Why do you think guns are demonized and cries for their removal from polite society never end? Because they work, that’s why. We never hear of the VPC wailing about curbing the martial arts because there are too many people being hurt.

I hate fighting. I don’t want to do it and I resent being forced into a position where I have to. I may or may not be able to hold my own with an assailant I have never seen before. If there are many of them and I have to keep them away from people I care about I’m going to be awfully busy saving loved ones while keeping from being put down myself. I will probably lose that one.

The question was, What should it be used for that could not be handled in another manner? That in and of itself could be open to interpretation. I interpreted it as: what would work for the masses not… for the few who can either run like the wind or fight effectively against someone(s) stronger. If you believe in hard- core natural selection where if you don’t have the skills to survive then it’s “tough, you loose” then you’ve had the solution all along. That’s the solution in its purist form way back when, before guns were invented. If you were a female or old or small you just got powned and that was a fact of life. The big and the powerful did whatever they wanted to anybody they wanted with impunity. It was accepted.

Before the gun, there was no hope for the weak, unless you think hope comes in the form of capitulation and humiliation and servitude, and shame. The human race has been walking the earth for millenia and since then nothing had been developed to even things out until someone figured out how to make a cannon small enough to carry. Then things changed.

To suggest that people should consider thinking about other ways to protect themselves that in all probability is going to involve getting blood on them- to accept the idea that if you want to survive bad enough you should be ok with having some “skin” in the game is really elitist sounding. That method was tried already for thousands of years and it always turned out predictably: big guy wins or, bigger gang wins.
The invention of the personal firearm was the biggest boost to humanity since the feeling of love dawned upon mankind.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Pop Culture Pacifist: Making the World a More Dangerous Place.

During a recent outing to an indoor shooting range I encountered a fellow shooter and the subject turned to concealed carry and using a handgun for personal defense. My practice sessions tend to be far from the normal stand and shoot affair and after observing me for a while the gentleman asked where I learned to shoot and what I did for a living.

I mentioned that I regularly taught courses at the range in question and he remarked that he indeed had a “concealed carry license” though he never carried. “I got it just in case” was his remark. He went on to comment that “I’m not trigger-happy” and “I don’t want to have to hurt anyone.” My comment was simply that “Someone out there wants to hurt you. You just haven’t met them yet.”

While the casual reader might think that a callous or even snide remark, the fact of the matter is that from practical stand point my comment was right on the money. Right now, at the very moment you are reading these words there are people on planet Earth who would happily kill you. The only reason that they haven’t done so is because you are separated by great distance and they cannot get you in their sights.

I spent 17 years as an Ohio State Certified Peace Officer. During my time spent with a badge I frequently encountered criminals, bad guys who I had previously arrested, in the aisles of the local grocery or big box store. My wife learned early on in our marriage that if I pointed someone out during a shopping trip we needed to move to another area of the store. The last thing I wanted to do was encounter some maggot I’d arrested a month earlier while my family was present.

For the naïve in the audience; no, the bad guys don’t go to jail and stay there after the police catch and arrest them. Vermin arrested for vicious felonies will bail out of jail and spend months on the street before ever going to trial. Even if they are convicted our broken justice system sees them back on the street much sooner than most citizens would imagine.

What’s my point in all this? It’s simple, every time you leave your home and go out in public you are brushing elbows with felons. You just don’t know it.

After returning home from the range I posted the comments made by my new shooting acquaintance on an Internet forum and was deluged by additional postings from gun people. A couple of “reasonable” folks made the point that many citizens simply could never fight back against an attacker, particularly with a firearm. I conceded that life is full of choices. One choice that many people make is to be completely unprepared to defend themselves against criminal aggression. It is, however, a choice.

Far too often, when the subject of violent crime comes up, the ‘reasonable and rational’ members of society attempt to position themselves on the moral high ground. These people will make statements such as “I could never harm another human being” or “violence only begets violence”. That is very true. If you attempt violence on me or my family you definitely will beget some violence in return.

Words, nonetheless, are cheap. All people (felons exempt) want to be seen as reasonable and rational by their peers. But words are meaningless to the predatory element of society. The career criminal, social bully and deranged drug-user pays no heed to how reasonable and rational your friends might think you are. These creatures will take from you want they want up to and including your life.

The pop culture pacifist, the man or woman who prides themselves in telling others that they would do no harm to another ‘human being’ is a coward. Yes, a coward. Would they truly rather submit to a predator and be murdered than fight back? By their public statements these PC pacifists are saying that they would rather have their spouses widowed, their children orphaned, and their families left to deal with tragedy than to take up arms to defend their lives. That is the height of selfishness in my book.

Adding insult to injury, the PC pacifist is not satisfied to set themselves up as willing victims. These cowards push their poisonous rhetoric on all those they encounter. Any friend or co-worker who might mention owning a gun or thinking about purchasing one is barraged with accusations of paranoia. The friend is accused a being a “kook”, “gun-nut”, or “trigger-happy”. Yes, gun friends, these are all pejorative terms.

Finally, what is most insidious about the ‘do no harm’ crowd it that by their purposeful inaction they are doing harm to others in society. That’s right. Basic human psychology shows that acceptance of any type of behavior effectively reinforces that behavior. Total submission to a thief, robber, rapist, or murderer serves to REINFORCE that behavior. To believe that a rapist will be so overcome with remorse after having violated you that they will turn from their evil ways is the height of naïvet’e. That kind of thinking is delusional. The felon who successfully victimized you will be emboldened and more likely to attack a good citizen.

For those faithful in the audience, those with a firm belief in a Devine Higher Power, you should realize that your daily existence, your very life is a gift from God. To passively discard that life and willingly cast it away as worthless is an insult to your Maker and the highest affront.

Before I conclude this piece, with all the aforementioned considerations addressed, I firmly believe that even the most public pacifist; those who have staked out their spot on the moral high ground are merely speaking from blind ignorance and a failure to comprehend real world consequences. When the Grim Reaper presents itself in the form of a deranged sociopath set on taking their life, the moral elite will claw and scrape to stay alive.

Unfortunately for them, the ability and wherewithal to stop a vile predator does not magically appear and manifest itself during the moment of crisis. The unprepared fall to the way side and their lives are forfeit to fate and the non-existent mercy of the attacker. Left with nothing but disbelief, the pop culture pacifist departs from the land of the living and is left with nothing but a surprised look on their face. Life is full of choices. Choose wisely.

—Paul Markel © 2012

flutherother's avatar

Guns are needed by the fearful to protect them from an imaginary threat posed by those who are physically stronger than they are. Larger, better guns are required by the fearful to protect themselves from those who have mere ordinary guns. Ultimately this explains why we have nuclear weapons. They ensure we are all perfectly safe forever.

mrrich724's avatar

Both of these articles are recent. Please read them over and compare, to anyone who says guns aren’t necessary and/or learn karate instead (also, stop watching too many movies)

Girl with gun vs girl without gun

Ok. Just in case you didn’t want to read it. Basically, the girl in the first one was home alone with her baby. She was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher for TWENTY MINUTES. Intruders broke into her home before the police arrived. She shot and killed them and protected herself and her baby.

In the second one a man got into a woman’s house, raped her, and left.

I can’t help but think of a few questions:

1) What would have happened to the girl in scenario #1 had she not been armed?
2) Who IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would tell her to her face that she should have taken the time to learn martial arts instead?
3) If the girl in the second article produced a gun, would the outcome have been the same, or would the mere sight of the weapon have deterred the scum of the earth that raped her?

There are TOO MANY cases like this. And that in itself answers why we need guns.

Oh, and PLEASE share what ‘other manner’ you’d have recommended the girl in article one to pursue if not a gun?

No one has an obligation or desire to give an evildoer a fair fight, or more likely, an upper hand.

Guns truly are the great equalizer.

Only138's avatar

…...To shoot people…...in the face! HAW HAW.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Bad people will always find a way to get guns. If there are not good people with guns to oppose them, how will the good guys win?

woodcutter's avatar

The libs will still argue situations like hers are rare enough to not be an issue strong enough to support gun ownership. As if one’s life needs to be constantly in danger to justify it.
http://www.rationalityrebooted.com/

Jaxk's avatar

@woodcutter

I think you’re right but it begs the question, How many times do you have to be beaten and raped before you need some sort of self defense?

LuckyGuy's avatar

I used mine yesterday to scare way a flock of crows that were harassing an owl nest. It would have been really hard to throw a rock that high up in the trees.

woodcutter's avatar

@Jaxk I think everyone would agree that taking that kind of abuse at all, so as to not make additional trouble for the cops is wrong. But some get squeamish about having to do anything themselves. Almost as if that should be Superman’s job, or the govt, whichever arrives first .Thing is, if we are going to allow unrestricted gun rights to the outlying areas where police protection is thin, or non existing, we will also have to allow the same liberties to the people in the urban areas. It would seem unfair to do otherwise. For some reason it’s the guns in the city that bother people. But that’s where the bulk of assaults happen. A person suffering an assault in the city will be going through the same hell as an assault victim out in the country. The fact that the country victim is one out of thousands in frequency, is of no comfort to them while they are having their face beaten to a pulp. I wish the cheer leading for criminals would just stop. In the heat of an assault their victims should not concern themselves or be made to pay because the “system” somehow let this perp down and that’s the reason they are the way they are. Thats just a big fat excuse.

Jaxk's avatar

@woodcutter

Agreed. It seems we want to punish the victims, like this guy that fired a warning shot to drive off the perp and found himself in jail. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

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