Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thoughts on the London Rioting and Gun Control

For the third day in a row, thugs and hoodlums have been rioting and destroying London. Because some guy got shot by police. Or something. So in the mindset of this collective human scum, this justifies breaking into the Foot Locker to get some new shoes, or trying to swipe a Plasma TV. Or, you know, just torching some guy's store and not bothering to steal anything.

I am reasonably agnostic about gun control. Of all the viewpoints conservatives tend to endorse, opposition to gun control might be the one on which I'm most lukewarm, for reasons that I'll go into detail on at some other time.

But the 2nd Amendment crowd are 100% right about one thing, and it is this:

When the shit goes down, assume that the police will not be there to save you.

On average, they will not.

They will be there to investigate afterwards. They will be there to arrest and punish the perpetrators. And hopefully through all this, they will be able to deter enough other would-be thugs from breaking the law so that, in equilibrium, you are unlikely to be the victim of random violence.

But if it turns out that the world in your immediate vicinity is not in that equilibrium at that time, and someone is trying to mug you or beat you, you should assume that nobody else will come to rescue you. And you should plan accordingly.

Now there are lots of things you can do in response. Live in a safe area. Live in a high-rise with a doorman and multiple locked sections before you can enter.

Or carry a weapon.

Personally, I pick 1 and 2, but not 3. When the chips are down, I am not willing to shoot someone. And so I don't want to own a gun.

This decision has lots of consequences, some good, some bad. I am unlikely to have my kids accidentally shoot someone. I am unlikely to escalate a situation into a violent confrontation by pulling out a weapon when I could have just given them my wallet.

But I'm not kidding myself about the fact that I'm also going to be worse off if I'm confronted by someone who isn't interested in my wallet, but just wishes to do me harm. Or, hypothetically, a mob of rioters trying to burn down my store.

Make your choice, and live with the consequences.

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