Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Better the meek inherit a handgun.

One of the virtues of guns is that they are the great equalizer. In situations of disparate power where one individual can dominate, control or hurt a weaker individual the presence of a handgun, in the hands of the victim, can end the domination by equalizing things or by giving the victim the upper-hand. This is a virtue to the downtrodden of the world whether or not one is comfortable with the existence of firearms.

This news story illustrates the point. In Visalia, California Joe Martinez was violent man. He had two felony convictions of for assault. One of his neighbors said that the man was abusive toward his family. In addition to these acts he was convicted of threatening witnesses and for owning a firearm though he was a convicted felon.

The news story is itself poorly written but I assume from it that his common-law wife was trying to leave the home permanently -- and who can blame her? Neighbors described what happened. They say that Martinez tried to stop the move “drew a gun and threatened to shoot everyone, including kids.”

One of the kids he threatened to kill was a 13-year-old boy. The boy emerged out of the house with a gun and shot Martinez stopping the assault in it’s tracks. Police say it was “a clear case of self-defense” and won’t be pressing charges.

From the sound of it this boy would have had no chance against a armed, bigger, violent man. He could try the “passive” response that some people suggest. The kids in the Amish school house did that and virtually all of them died because of it. Or this boy could equalized the situation, or in this case turn it in his favor, by using a handgun. There is an old saying: God made men, Sam Colt made them equal.

Some may lament that this boy will face a lifetime of knowing he killed someone -- and it sounds like he killed his father but the news report is unclear. No doubt he will experience some emotional trauma. I’m doubt that sparing him trauma by having him dead is a better alternative.

Marvin Horton was intent on invading someone's home. He first climbed a six foot chain-link fence to enter the yard. He fought off three dogs and then forced open the front door of Brenda’ Glover’s home. Her two sons, 17-years-old and 18-years-old were fighting the invader when Brenda entered the room. She and her sons tried to evict the man but couldn’t. She threatened to get her handgun if he didn’t stop. He refused.

She got her handgun and shot the man in the butt. That didn’t even stop him. The woman fired two more times. At this point the man fled the scene but amazingly ran across the street, climbed another fence and kicked in the door of that house. The homeowners there fought him off. He then invade a third home which is when police finally showed up and apprehended him. Glover said she got the gun when her sons were little as a means of self-defense but never thought she’d have to use it in her own home.

A six foot fence didn’t stop him. Three dogs and a locked door didn’t stop him. Two hulking teenage males, weighing in at 385 pounds between them, didn’t stop him. But one woman with a handgun forced him out of the house.

Terri Gavinski was recently home alone. Her husband was at work. She was suddenly confronted by a large man who had broken into to her home. She pleaded with him not to hurt her and said she’d give him anything he wanted. He forced her upstairs and started ransacking the house. While he was searching for valuables she spotted a loaded handgun belonging to her husband and put it in the pocket of her housecoat. He forced her to help him carry valuables downstairs but didn’t notice she now was armed. In the kitchen she pulled the gun and fired and the invade fled in terror. Terri said: “I am not a gun person. My husband is.” I bet she’s glad about that now.

Recently in Brighton, Tennessee a man broke into the home of two women at 3 am and began assaulting them. He tied them up and was trying to rape them. One woman managed to get loose and fled to the home of a neighbor who armed himself and went to the home to help the second woman. When he entered found the intruder attacking the second woman. The intruder attacked the man who shot him. When police arrived they found the rapist on the front porch dead.

Eighty-year-old James Pickett heard someone knocking at his door. As he opened the door to see who was there two armed men pushed into his house and started attacking him. What they didn’t know was that Pickett had a pistol in his pocket and wasn’t happy to see them. He pulled his gun and shot one of the intruders. The two fled and eventually called an ambulance because the bullet had done some real damage. Without that handgun what chance would that 80-year-old man have against two armed attackers?

All these stories are recent cases that took place over the last couple of weeks. They are cases where a violent individual with evil intentions thought he had the upper hand because his victims were unarmed, too old, weaker than himself, etc. In each case a handgun brought equality to the situation and the aggressor came out the worse because of it.

Of course I wished we lived in a world where the elderly, or children, or women home alone didn’t have to fear for their lives. We don’t live in utopia however. Nor are we likely to. Even if we managed to take firearms away there will always be power disparity between groups and individuals, between the young and strong and the elderly and feeble, between men and women, or men and children. No amount of “gun control” will ever change that. All such measures will manage is to disarm the weaker victims and guarantee the attackers a safety zone to conduct in which to commit their crimes.

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