Guns and the human creature

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The opinion piece on March 16 is titled “Do you really need a gun?”

The only appropriate response is “Who are you to decide what I need (or want)?” I have earned my money honestly and am capable of deciding how I want to spend it.

The whole basis of the gun debate can be summed up with one question: What is man? Is man a rational being, capable of free will and good judgment? Or is he a mindless, emotionally driven animal, incapable of ethical decision making or good judgment? The author of the March 16 opinion piece would have you believe that you are the latter.

Listen to the arguments. If you have a gun, you will likely commit a crime, kill yourself or have an accident. You can’t help it; there is no free will. It will happen because you are an irrational being. This argument also removes blame from the criminal, as he is incapable of free will or his own decisions. Then, the argument follows that the only solution to prevent crime is to destroy objects (which have no decision-making capability), and thus your weapon should be confiscated and destroyed before your emotions take over and you use it for evil.

In reality, the human is a rational being, capable of free will. The people who commit crimes do so through their own choices (be it directly, or by choosing to drink or do mind-altering drugs to the extent that one can no longer control his actions). The people who commit the crime are to blame, not TV, guns, music, video games or the devil.

Guns are a tool that can be used for good or evil. They also provide a victim with a way to judge and act during a time when his or her rights are being violated. That is their purpose; they cannot make the judgment call, but they can provide a means to act. This gives the 85-year-old grandfather or the 22-year-old young mother a way to act more efficiently against a 250-pound, 20-year-old attacker. Do they need guns? Who are you to decide?

The author of the March 16 piece has clearly stated his belief that humans are irrational creatures, incapable of making decisions. He even goes on to say that he would choose “just letting the robbers take what they want” rather than using a gun to defend his home. That is his choice, and he is welcome to do so. Unfortunately, he also implies that I should do the same; after all, who am I to judge whether my rights are being violated by these robbers anyhow? We have police and court systems to determine if my rights are being violated. And, ladies, should you be unfortunate enough to encounter a rapist, this argument would dictate that you should not fight back, but rather give the rapist “what he wants” and let the court decide if your rights have been violated.

There is danger in accepting their argument, a much deeper argument than the government snatching someone’s AK-47. The human brain strives to make rational sense of the world; if you remove yourself from the driver’s seat of your own ethics and decision-making process, who takes its place? Whoever claims to be rational. The people who believe this argument believe someone else knows best — be it the government (made of a few people who, by their own definition, are also irrational), or by society (a large group of lemmings, with no direction or decision-making capability), or a god who is accessible by only a self-appointed few. If you abstain from making your own ethical decisions, you open the door for any horrible person or group of people to make the decisions for you. And you won’t judge them!

If you ever wondered how Hitler rose to power, and how a nation could systematically execute millions of people, remember that the first step was to place someone else in charge of your own ethical decisions. The Nazi preparing for an execution heard the cries of his victims. He saw the victim in his sights. How could he do it? The first thought was his own judgement, “This can’t be right.” The second and final thought was someone else’s judgment, “but … Hitler knows best.” Then he pulled the trigger.