Not long ago I had an epiphany of sorts regarding how people ascertain truth and how that relates to faith. You see for me, faith is never, ever checking my brain at the door. It is not a denial of truth or believing something in face of ‘conclusive’ evidence of its falsehood.
No, every single one of us has faith of some sort. It’s how we live and there is no way around it.
You see, unless you are omnipresent, for all of time, you cannot verify an event took place with any degree of certainty without having some kind of faith. You trust your sources, your senses, or both. Unless you were a witness to the events in question, you take on faith that the video, the audio, the pictures, the story as it is passed on, has not been modified between when it was witnessed and when it has gotten to you. You try to verify the best you can, but unless you were there, there is no 100% proof. Only evidence of likelihood.
Even in the case of scientific experimentation, how do you know that those scientists, those people nearly deified by elitist, did not falsify their data or their results. Maybe to hide the decline. Ever notice how evasive some of them can be?
What it comes down are basically two things: Whom do you trust and what is your threshold for saying, “Yes, I believe it to be true.”
For best results on the first point, whom do you trust, it’s important to evaluate that person’s reliability in the past. It’s good idea to look at both the person’s followers and detractors. But in both those cases, the closer proximity in both time and space, the better, I would think. And, of course, what is the reliability of each of those followers and detractors? You could go on ad-infinitum, but we are talking about a lifetime of learning here, anyhow. It takes time, but it’s not that hard to develop a skill to determine who are the truth tellers who makes things up or bends the truth. When you throw out your preconceptions, the liars stick out like sore thumbs. Most of the time, anyhow. It’s more art than science.
On the second point, where your threshold is, it’s a very individual, subjective thing. However, setting it too high is dishonest. We all make a decision, conscious or not, to finally say, “I believe,” and act it out in our lives accordingly. Set it to low, however, and you’d be quite gullible, falling for anything.
Oh, sure, there are skeptics who say that they never believe anything. That belief is an impediment to knowledge. Man, I don’t think I’ve ever heard such nonsense sophistry. No one truly lives like that. You take actions based on beliefs you have. I step off the sidewalk expecting that gravity will draw my body down toward the earth and successfully plant my foot on the road as I begin my journey across the street.
There’s always the opportunity to revisit what you believe based on new knowledge and modify what you believe. Or not.
I bring this up because of accusations I’ve often seen that gun owners believe that guns somehow magically make them safer simply by their presence. That they will be able to shoot like John Wayne and take out or run off four bandits (well, he did have some help from the Texas Ranger — who was late, by the way).
The latest discussion came up, again, on Facebook. Same guy I’ve argued with before. This time he posted something about those three cops in New Jersey who were shot by a suspect in custody at the police station. After several nonsensical comments by others not worth debating, I just posted, “Oh, I get it. The cops shouldn’t have guns. Right?”
His response was, “I mean, you can’t have it both ways. If Newtown would have been stopped by armed teachers, then this really should have been stopped in a place filled with guns. Sorry this drove a hole into your theory.”
Two problems here. First, he sets up a straw man theory and then claims to have drove a hole in it. Problem for him is that it wasn’t my theory. I never said, nor do I know of anyone who has said that the mere presence of guns will stop an attack. They have to be actually be utilized. In this case, the bad guy was actually taken out, anyhow, before he could shoot, and possibly kill or injure any more. So the attack was in, fact, stopped. If the only person with a gun was the one cop who the suspect snagged it from, we’d probably be reading about a lot more injured and even some dead cops.
Here was my full, somewhat modified response to him:
‘scuse me, but no one is saying that Newtown would have been stopped, only that it was all but guaranteed that it could not have been stopped under current law where they are prohibited from carrying. The presence of guns isn’t some magic talisman that will automatically prevent all evil. It only improves the odds for good people with guns. You look at the costs of the proliferation of guns, but dig your heels in and refuse to the see the benefits. What boggles my mind is that you and your ilk seem to believe what you sometimes accuse me and my ilk of believing. And that is that guns have some magical quality. We are often accused of believing that a gun is some sort of talisman that solves all problems. No, it just improves our odds, levels the playing field in many cases. Yet it seems all those opposed to armed teachers think that ‘kids and guns don’t mix’ like they have some sort of magical power and will overtake the people around them with evil. They are inanimate objects under control of their operators. Concealed, and out of sight, there’s not even any concern about how kids would feel about the sight of people carrying guns around. The teacher who lunged at the shooter had nothing but her body to stop the bullets, which though possibly effective, ended her own life. Had she sent a hail of her own bullets in his general direction, he either might have, just maybe thought twice about continuing his attack against her and her charges, or been stopped in his tracks. The odds would have at least significantly tilted in favor of the victims, yet you would deny them that possibility on penalty of prosecution for the crime of wanting to protect themselves and their charges. The cops need guns to apprehend intransigent suspects, but there is the chance (actually, greater chance due to their more frequent close proximity to suspects) that their own guns will be used against them. If trained (and there are lots of trainers stepping forward to offer free or discounted training to any teacher who wants it) a teacher could utilize a gun to at least be able to attempt to hold off (or maybe even stop) a madman until the cops show up. Jeanne Assam likely saved tens or even hundreds of churchgoers, when you consider how many rounds the madman had and where he was headed after killing two sisters in the parking lot and two others earlier. When you read her account of what actually took place, I would challenge anyone to demonstrate that any kind of expensive, time consuming training was needed. Simple determination and accuracy (and certainly, bravery) was all that was needed. The fact that she was a former cop may have better prepared her mentally for it, but the training to get the job done is available to anyone who is willing. So, no, my theory hasn’t had a hole driven into it.
The only theory that had a hole blown through it was the fake one that he made up. These people really seem to believe that guns have some magical power. Why? Because they are designed to kill? There’s no point in even arguing whether or not they are, indeed, designed to kill. (As I said a while back, I want something that is designed to kill. What they describe with the scare word deadly, we call effective. The conundrum here is that absolutely every single quality of a particular firearm that makes it more deadly in the hands of criminal, also makes it just that much more effective in the hands of a good guy. And that’s what we want, and what every individual in this nation, save the criminals and tyrants themselves, should want.) The point is, as Robb has pointed out, intent is not transferable. It just doesn’t matter whether or not an object was designed with ill intentions. Crafty people can come with positive uses for it. Just as an object designed with good intentions can be used by men of ill repute for evil. Intent is not transferable.
Again, as described in A Gun Is Not An Argument, the invention of the gun was very clearly a positive development. The anti-liberty crowd might wonder what a world without guns would look like and long for it. But there is absolutely no need to wonder. We already know what it would be like, because we know what it was like. Murder and mayhem by those who trained all their lives for it. And no viable means to defend against it without giving up a normal life.
What pisses me off is that the vast majority of those proposing more restrictions, haven’t a clue about firearms. They put their trust in those feeding them their talking points. So regarding the first point above, they put a high degree of trust in other people who happen to believe and feed them what they want to hear. And to the second point, they keep the bar very low for threshold of evidence for believing something that matches their own preconceptions.
It’s been said that the best way to make a pro-gunner out of an anti-gunner is to take them shooting. Given how little so many on the anti side seem to know about guns, I suspect that many of them haven’t even handled a gun, or maybe have but were never taught proper and judicious handling of them.
They truly are sheep. Eric Raymond calls it the substructure, but I think that’s just another way of saying their premises. Their premises need to be hammered away at that without guns, they are, indeed, sheep. As Eric says toward the end of that post, “We are not sheep. We will not behave as sheep. We are armed because we refuse to be sheep.”
Time to hammer away that point. Baa! Baaaaa!
Stay Dangerous, My Friends