Squeaky and Breda's posts have aroused this post of mine.
In light of recent school shootings and the inevitable reactions that follow I think it's necessary to tie a discussion of human nature into such events.
At the most basic, purely instinctual level human beings are animals. We ALL have basic animal instincts. If we had no inhibitions placed upon us by socially constructed norms and morals we would act on instinct, not much differently than most animals. When we refer to violent criminals as "animals" I don't think we're far off. Such people have not / are incapable of developing the same sense of societal norms which 99% of the population abide by. Those people are social deviants and are more commonly called "criminals."
To be honest, a society with no such ingrained (or more accurately "learned") inhibitions would be one of chaos. Consent wouldn't be required for sexual relations. Men could force themselves upon women and it would be entirely acceptable. The strong could pillage the weak at will and could kill and steal with impunity etc. etc. We would act entirely on instinct.
Such chaos is exactly why a civilized society has laws. In order to create order from chaos the members of a society seek to determine what is generally considered "acceptable" behavior, particularly with concern to how social interactions are conducted among individuals. Laws exist because the members of a community, in seeking to establish norms, have an intrinsic understanding that a subset of the community will deviate from that norm. Were this not the case (if no one was a social deviant) then laws (and requisite punishment) would be wholly unnecessary. Everyone could simply hold hands & sing kumbaya in perfect social harmony forever.
Most people understand the need for, and purpose of laws in our society. Unfortunately many lack a deeper understanding. They choose to remain blind to the fact that laws alone will not and cannot make them safe. Not even the most effective enforcement of laws can ensure safety. The ostracizing that occurs if one breaks from societal norms, and the punishment one knows they will face as a lawbreaker keep most of the population within socially constructed behavioral boundaries. There are others however, for whom the law is superfluous. It does not constrain their actions because they are totally unconcerned with the possible negative consequences of their actions. If this is not the case, then they have engaged in risk/reward analysis and concluded that the rewards of criminal behavior outweigh any punishment the law might meter out. (and the chances of being caught)
Once you have come to this important realization, you can begin to deduce the simple reasoning behind the fundamental right of self-defense. If some people are, for the most part, unconstrained by our legal system then it's logical to conclude that the law-abiding are thus at a disadvantage. Egalitarian in nature, personal firearms swing the force pendulum back in favor of the law-abiding.
Criminals understand laws. More importantly, they understand that the majority of us follow them. Such knowledge gives the criminal an advantage. And what is a violent criminal? As I explained earlier, he is an animal. He is instinctual and he is a predator. He preys upon the law-abiding and from them picks out the meek, the weak, disabled, distracted etc. like any other predatory animal.
As a predator he chooses his victim based on the ease of the catch. Easier prey means he must expend less energy to achieve gratification and he can do so with minimal risk. The best thing victims can do is introduce risk into his decision-making process. Risk acts as a stopgap in his criminal process. It acts as an obvious impediment. Potential victims should be dangerous, fierce, and should respond with abject rage to the predator's assault. The risk that I discuss is extremely important because if differs from risk under the law. It is a risk that predatory humans can comprehend due to consciousness. It is the risk that they may be killed or seriously injured by their intended victim. It is an "Oh Shit!" risk. The immediacy and permanency of such a risk make it universally understood by human predators, who will then change behavior to reflect the natural tendency of all beings towards self-preservation.
Criminals may not play by the rules of society, but they do possess an understanding of the rules of nature. They are cowards, unwilling to work honestly to get what they want. They choose crime because it's easy and it pays. They choose crime because to them "the juice is worth the squeeze." Crime is an economic decision. By introducing armed potential victims into the situation one can automatically lower crime by making it both more dangerous and less profitable for the perpetrators.
The risk of being killed by an armed victim is the most serious risk a criminal can face. It should be of no surprise then, that the criminal element will thrive in areas where they are least likely to face such a risk. Take away mortal risk and you give criminals free reign to terrorize the law-abiding. The end result presents itself in cities like Philly, D.C. and Baltimore where good people live in fear and blood really does run in the streets.
Laws that forbid or make difficult the carrying of arms, laws that require retreat and "proportionality of force" only act to unduly constrain victims at the worst possible time. Such laws require us to act against natural instincts during the very moment life hangs in the balance.
"Duty to Retreat" requires one to choose a particular "legal" option rather than whichever instinctual option best ensures survival. At times retreating may be the best course of action, while at other times perhaps it's wiser to pump your attacker full of lead. The law should never act to burden the victim in such situations, particularly since it is not going to burden the criminal.
"Proportionality of force" is onerous because it requires the victim to be a mind reader. It requires an assessment of the force level and intent of the criminal. And how is "proportional" defined? If he has a knife and I have a gun can I not shoot him? What if he is unarmed but outweighs me by 75 pounds? Such an attacker could certainly cause "death or serious bodily injury." Why exactly should the level of force I can employ be restrained by the law? I am the victim and so shouldn't the aggressor, the criminal, be responsible for any violence that comes his way?
Defensive violence is NEVER a bad thing. It ensures survival. What could be more fundamental, more natural, instinctual, and just plain right than the will to survive. Any social conditioning that seeks to indoctrinate ideas contradictory to that will should always be resisted. Anything contradictory to basic fight or flight instincts should be ignored, because ideas that run counter to such instincts end up getting people killed.
boy, I let this sit for a few days and it really fizzled out.....
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Fighting Back and the Culture of Sheep
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