Guns and Bandages
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It is neither moral nor practical for you to give away your right of self-defense. It isn’t our right of self-defense; it is yours. One to a person. Most of us couldn’t give it away we tried. The idea of outsourcing our defense is so foreign that we hardly know what it looks like.
Most of us don’t arrive at work with a group of guys paid to surround us as we take public transportation. You probably drive yourself to work. That means you’re not being driven by a chauffeur and an armed security team. You protect yourself on the way to work and also as you stop for gas. You don’t have paid bodyguards (plural) with us at all times. You provide your own security. You may do an effective job of it or an ineffective one, but your safety is your problem when you’re in public.
When you’re at home, you don’t have someone standing guard outside your bedroom door as you sleep. I don’t blame you. I can’t afford to pay a team to protect me, a team to protect my wife, and teams to protect each of my children. I can’t afford that, and neither can most of us. We do the best we can.
The best bodyguard doesn’t wear a suit and tie.
Only a few billionaires can buy that level of security. Only a few politicians have security teams like that, and those teams are paid for with other peoples’ money.
The police don’t provide that level of security. They can’t. The cops I know wish they could, but they are not there in time to stop an assault. Instead of purchased security, millions of us protect ourselves every day with no days off.
There is an upside to that.
Self-reliance follows us wherever we go.
It does no harm and can do a great deal of good.
The virtue of self-defense seems shockingly obvious to me given the people I’ve met, but some folks disagree. They say that protecting yourself might confuse the police. I’ve never met a cop who said that, but I have met a few people who wanted an excuse to say their safety is someone else’s problem. They say we should do everything possible to save one life, but then they ignore their own.
They’re saying that the police might be confused if I resist a robbery? They’re saying that the police might be confused if my wife stops an intruder from entering our home at night? They’re saying my daughter shouldn’t stop a sexual assault because it might confuse the police? I shouldn’t treat the injured in an emergency because it might confuse EMTs and doctors? Really?
I don’t believe it. Neither do you.
We learned trauma care so we can keep people alive until EMTs arrive. There is no moral ambiguity in this. Of all the problems an EMT has to sort out, an unfamiliar tourniquet is one of his smallest concerns. We have fire extinguishers so we can escape a fire before the fire department gets there. We learn self-defense so we can protect the people we love until the police arrive. The cops sort the good guys from the bad guys every hour. They are good at it.
There is a theoretical concern that someone might seek greater risks now that they know first-aid or self-defense. That is possible, but it doesn’t match with my experience. Force-on-force training shows us that self-defense is imperfect and that we remain vulnerable. A trauma-care class shows us how people have been hurt and that we can’t fix every injury. Rather than feeling invincible after a class, I walk away filled with caution. I think I have a lot of company. Lots of us seek out training.
We’re told that we should take every effort even if it might only save one life.
Armed defense saves thousands of us every day. Trauma care saves more.
There is a psychological benefit that goes beyond any measure of health and safety. These courses in human self-reliance teach us that we are effective. We have a library of practiced responses that replace panic. We can’t stop every assault and save every life, but we sure change the odds. That knowledge, that feeling, my friends, is priceless. It is worth it for the peace of mind it brings..and it is worth it if it only saves one life.