Wednesday, May 30, 2018

How To Get Inside the Mind of Someone Who Wants a Disarmed Population

There are a significant number of people in the United States who have chosen to be unarmed, and who want the government to ensure as many others are forcibly disarmed as possible. They are a small, but vocal minority. To most people in the gun culture, this is an alien mindset.

It is worthwhile to understand people on the other side of an argument. The left is routinely attempting to shout down and silence people in the gun culture; one of the strengths of Second Amendment supporters is the willingness to engage with people who want most people in America forcibly disarmed.

There is a simple way to understand how most people who want you unarmed think.

Make the internal assumption, for the sake of understanding them, that you have deliberately chosen to be unarmed. It is not that hard to do. Being armed requires effort. You have to choose to be responsible. You have to practice self-discipline. You practice safety and train. You think about unpleasant possibilities and plan for them. In many states, becoming armed takes considerable legal effort. You have to devote time and money to be armed.

Once the decision has been made to be unarmed, many arguments on the other side become understandable.  Unarmed people are often uncomfortable around armed people. Armed people have a significant power advantage over unarmed people.  Many unarmed people do not want to be reminded that armed people have more personal power. To avoid this, they want to force other people to be disarmed.

This explains why some unarmed people dislike concealed carry, but absolutely hate open carry. Open carry forces them to reflect on the power differential they have chosen. It reminds them of an unpleasant reality.

People are more accepting of information that reinforces their personal choices. If you have chosen to be unarmed, you want to hear news items that validate your choice. If a health professional tells you that keeping or bearing arms makes you less safe in your home and on the street, you will have an intrinsic bias to believe them.

If a politician proposes that restrictions be placed on gun owners and gun buyers, it makes perfect sense to you. You do not own a gun or intend to buy a gun, so these proposals are perceived to be without personal cost. The costs are born by people who have chosen to be armed.  It is hard to overemphasize this point: people, by nature, are willing to impose costs on other people, if they do not have to pay anything themselves.

Any restriction on people being armed will appear to be positive. The fewer armed people for you to contend with, the better. It does not matter how stupid the restriction, how draconian, how expensive, how ineffective it will be. The deliberately unarmed perceive the personal costs to be zero. Less guns, less fear of an imbalance of power on your part.

If you have chosen to be unarmed, you probably do not have much knowledge about firearms and firearms technology.  Learning and knowing about firearms is one of the costs that people avoid by choosing to be unarmed. When gun owners point out technical mistakes in articles and legislation concerning guns, it strikes you as meaningless babble. Semi-automatic, automatic- who cares? You are not interested in guns, so technical distinctions are considered unimportant.

Because you have chosen to be unarmed, you know you need an armed protector to keep you safe. That would be the government. To make such a choice, you assume that government is benevolent, concerned with your safety, and available in time of need. It helps to assume the need for an armed protector is minimal. Thus, unarmed people constantly attempt to minimize the need for armed protection.

This explains the arguments put forward to claim that crime is not a problem, the government could never become tyrannical, attempts to minimize the danger of wild animals and the desire to minimize government ineffectiveness during emergencies.  It explains why so much effort is expended to discredit the number of times firearms are used for self defense and to prevent crime.

The decision to be unarmed depends on a perceived high cost of being armed, and perceived low benefits to being armed. Every successful example of self defense works against that perception.

Several methods to counter the mind-set of the deliberately unarmed are effective. All work to show benefits of being armed (or allowing others to be armed) and the costs of being unarmed.

One of the strongest is to convince deliberately unarmed people that having armed citizens makes them safer rather than less safe. They need to know that legally armed citizens are not a threat, but actually prevent crime that threatens them.

People who obtain carry permits have been shown to be more law abiding than police officers. They have stopped numerous crimes and some mass killings. They have saved police officer lives. This information supports the idea that armed citizens are significant protectors of unarmed people; that they are assets, rather than a danger.  Being polite and reasonable during personal or Internet discussions helps to promote this thought.

Much of the propaganda from those who want a disarmed population is aimed at creating the impression that armed citizens present a net cost, rather than a net benefit. 

Reducing the cost of being armed makes an unarmed person more willing to see being armed as a potential choice. If you can bring an unarmed person to a range, and insure they have a pleasant experience, you will have significantly increased their information about being armed.  Having that information decreases their perceived cost of being armed. Have them shoot a .22, while wearing hearing protection, rather than a .44 magnum, without.

Another way to reduce the perception of the costs of being armed is to educate them about the tremendous strides made in reducing fatal firearm accidents in the United States. In the last 90 years, fatal firearm accident rates have been reduced by 94%. Most people do not know that. 

Showing unarmed people that being armed might be useful in the future gives them an incentive to keep their options open. The key is to educate them about  problems that being armed can reduce or solve.  This should be done in a non-threatening way. Giving them examples of individuals who used arms to defend themselves, their loved ones, or social order, can be very effective. Explain that these stories are routinely spiked by the national media.

The desire to be armed is virtually genetic. Something as simple as watching a movie in which being armed makes a positive difference, connects deeply with people at a very basic level.

Many who are unarmed by choice simply took the easy road, without much thought or reflection. They can be reached with gentle persuasion.

A second approach is to show them that disarming the population is not cost free. If people who wish to disarm the population realize there can be severe personal and societal costs to population disarmament, it changes the cost-benefit analysis significantly. Predictions of armed resistance, guerrilla war based on Second Amendment violations, and examples of the horrible violence that erupts when civil order breaks down, are very effective.

One of the effects of this approach is to moderate the tactics used by those who want to disarm the population. When registration of modern rifles is required by law, the national guard is not mobilized and sent on door to door searches. Instead, the 80-95 percent of people who choose civil disobedience and do not register their guns, are ignored. At least for the next few years. This puts the battle into the election booth and the courts instead of on the streets.

 It is worth while to remind people that there are over 400 million private firearms in the United States. Those who want the population disarmed often attempt to minimize the number of firearms in the United States and the number of armed citizens in the country.

A third tactic is to show those who wish the population to be disarmed, how this violates the rule of law and the Second Amendment of the Constitution. This is a powerful argument, which is why those desiring an unarmed population spend so much time attacking and misrepresenting the Second Amendment.

A fourth tactic is to show physical limits of government bans on firearms. Do this by showing how simple it is to evade those restrictions.  Show how easy guns are to make, how tribesmen with little technology make guns with ease; how criminals in places with strict gun control still have access to guns and ammunition; how hobbyists routinely make guns and ammunition; how gun technology is really a 14th century technology. It is hard for those who wish the population disarmed to argue physics and engineering. Those tend to be strong suites of the gun culture, and weak positions of those wishing us disarmed.

The gun culture has the Constitution, the facts, physics, and basic human nature on its side. It is only when the information flow is suppressed that those who wish the population disarmed, win. That is why restrictions on gun ownership and use are rushed through the legislature. it is why those opposing the Second Amendment oppose First Amendment rights. If deliberate thought and careful argument take place, Second Amendment supporters win.

In the United States, above almost the entire rest of the world, citizens have the choice to be legally armed or unarmed. Most people in the U.S. wish to keep that option. Most of the rest of the world does not have it.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

Bravo, Dean. And Encore! One of the most cogent anti-anti-gun arguments I ever have read.

The pity is that few apart the choir, the deacons and the people on the Amen! pew will ever read it.

Anonymous said...

Very good article, and I wish many others would read it, but I believe it would be beneficial to mention a few facts of history, because history is a very good teacher and often repeats itself. The Colonists protected themselves from a foreign government, because they were armed. The Japanese decided against a land invasion, after they had bombed Pearl Harbor, because of the large number of armed civilians, whom they would also have to fight. During WWII, many of the French Resistance and other civilians, who fought the Nazi invasion, were provided with weapons from friends, relatives, and manufacturers the USA, because they no weapons of their own, with which to defend themselves. The final point, and probably the most important, is that if a government wants to control its people, that government must first disarm those who own firearms, and once disarmed, everyone is defenseless and easily controlled or eliminated, and any invading army or corrupt government knows that fact very well. We should learn from history, but most don't even read it anymore.

Dean Weingarten said...

It has already become one of my most popular articles. It is only a few days old.

I suspect it will end up in the top 1%.

pacific_waters said...

The anti-gun nazis are afraid of guns for themselves because they fear they will abuse the power a gun can confer. They don't want anyone else to have them because they project their fear of power onto others.

Big Al said...

The good news is the idiot young lady with the smug look in the photo is young enough to see gun confiscation happen and how ugly it will get shortly after the fact and like it or not.. it is going to happen, the socialist left is determined and well financed.
FWIW.. I already have my "We warned you" posters ready. :-)
None are so blind ... as what??

Big Al