By David Schoenberg
It’s been said that if you want to start an argument, discuss religion or politics. Clearly, guns need to be added to that list. And in the argument that is sure to follow there is no hope of either side changing the position of the other when those positions are based solely on opinion rather than on fact. To further complicate matters it’s becoming increasingly difficult for either side of the gun control debate to produce “facts” that aren’t tainted to one degree or another by confirmation bias. Facts are only useful in a debate when both sides can agree upon the impartiality of the source. The chasm merely deepens when the discourse turns to quips of “my data is bigger than your data.”
I decided a long time ago to save my breath (or keystrokes) when confronted by an entrenched position that runs counter to my own regarding the private ownership and carriage of guns. While it’s surely a capitulation of sorts, it’s considerably less effort, and immeasurably less frustrating to simply agree to disagree. But in light of recent events, and like a fat kid on a diet staring longingly at a doughnut, I’m finding it harder and harder to keep my mouth shut.
But what have I got to say that hasn’t, in at least a million other ways, already been said? Who am I? What standing of mind do I enjoy with my philosophical opponents that might allow me to make a meaningful, dispositive impression? Sadly I fear, and in order… nothing, no one and none. So I’ve decided to borrow from the brand of thinkers whose reputation and gravitas incomparably outweighs my own. I will let their words, dare I take such a liberty, do my talking for me.
“Laws are made to instruct the good, and in the hope that there may be no need of them; also to control the bad, whose hardness of heart will not be hindered from crime.” – Plato, Laws, Book IX, 360 BC
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one.” – Cesare Beccaria, 1764 excerpted by Thomas Jefferson, Legal Commonplace Book, 1762-1767
“The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.” ― Col. Jeff Cooper, Art of the Rifle, 1997
“If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Educating the Heart Summit, May 2001
“If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior’s path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.” – Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, On Combat, 2004
So let’s agree to disagree, but let’s not be fooled, or worse yet, be foolish. Guns exist as surely as does evil. Neither are going away. Ridding the righteous of the tools possessed by the immoral and unjust among us serves only to diminish, and imperil us all.
David Schoenberg is professional firearms instructor working in both the United States and Canada. A GLOCK Certified Firearms Instructor, GLOCK Certified Armorer, Blackwater (USTC) Certified Carbine Instructor, IPSC Canada National Training Program Black Badge Instructor, National Range Officer’s Institute of Canada Range Master and RCMP Certified Canadian Firearms Safety Course Instructor. David can be reached at [email protected] – Click here to follow David on Facebook.