04 June 2011

Gun Philosophy

That's right.  The philosophy of gun-ownership.
Actually, more like the philosophy or gun-usership.

I'm sure that everyone has seen the bumper sticker:
Nobody Ever Raped a .38

Police statistics, however, say that in over 80% of the cases where a woman had a pistol in her hand during an attack, the pistol was used against her.  That is a truly bad percentage.

Why?  It's a latency issue: we hesitate.  This is because upwards of 98-99% of us are not sociopaths: we're not instantly prepared to kill another human being. For me, as I'm sure is the case for most of the people reading this, it's just not a natural thing to blast even your pathologically belligerent sister's ex with a pistol.

In the interest of full disclosure: I own a Sig-Sauer pistol and a 115-year-old Mauser 7.57 rifle used during World War I.

I also train every few years on shotguns, .44 Magnum pistols, and (my preferred) .47-70 carbine.  This training is required in order to check out a firearm from the USGS Armory to work in Bear Country (mainly but not exclusively Alaska).  This training is especially required because for a few years after one of our geologists had both her arms chewed off by a bear that weighed less than she did, quite a bit more USGS scientists were injured in the bush by their own dang weapons than were injured by bears. Think: holstering a .357 Magnum while the hammer is pulled back.  I've seen it.  

As a Jujitsu Sensei, I require of all my students testing for Shodan (black belt) to take a firearm safety course.  It's not just me, this is a requirement of the American Jujitsu Association. This is because if they plan to defend themselves or someone else against a firearm, they sure better be familiar with what one feels like, and what it could do to your hands if you grab it.  There is a more important point here however, and that is the SAFETY ISSUE.

Another full disclosure: I am the webmaster of the American Jujitsu Association.

Because I have three sons, and I live in the United States where over 100,000,000 handguns exist by individual right (in an interpretation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution), I have always felt it was important to make sure that they knew how to handle a firearm, and more importantly, that they knew the four basic rules of hand-gun safety:

1. ALL firearms are ALWAYS loaded. 
2. NEVER point a firearm at something you are not willing to destroy.
3. NEVER put your finger in the trigger-guard until the weapon is pointed at the target.
4. ALWAYS be sure of your target and what lies beyond it.

I'll add a 5th Rule:
NO weapon should be operational and ANYWHERE NEAR ammunition in your home.

Number 1 always leaves a dull ache within me.  About a year after I moved from Denver to Virginia, a young man I had taught for two years - had driven him a hundred times to the Church, had coached him as one of our Explorer Scouts - was playing with a .22 rifle with a friend.  The friend pointed it at him and it went off.  Scott took a single shot behind his right ear and died within a few minutes.

Guns bother you?  No problem; you have that in common with quite a lot of people including several of my family members.  There are several alternatives:

1. Pepper Spray.  This certainly causes an attacker to re-prioritize his intent.  The downside of Pepper Spray however is that an attacker is all over you by the time you start to blast - and you become a double victim.  Same with a stun-gun.

2. A better solution is to get a $25 expandable steel baton (a police ASP baton will cost upwards of $70).  The downside is that you need some training in how to safely use one... such as never using it above an elbow. A baton can hang from your belt with the bottom half in your Jeans pocket.  Black baton and black Jeans translates as unobtrusive.  A police officer will pick up on it right away, but not the average person.  A baton is to a knife like a knife is to a spoon: so over-powering that it ain't fair.

3. A third solution is a civilian C2 Tazer.  The downside of this is the unit costs several hundred dollars, is not very concealable, and a single cartridge is upwards of $35.  There is an important upside to a Tazer, however: people who would hesitate to use a firearm on another human being generally require less than a nanosecond to zap someone they know is a bad guy about to do a bad thing.

None of these solutions help very much without some basic self-defense training.  This doesn't mean a year contract with a store-front babysitting martial business, wearing a dragon-and-phone-number advertisement on your back.  In nearly every municipality there are people willing to teach self-defense for a nominal fee or even nothing.  There are also some charlatans out there; I watched one guy teach students for two hours how to kick someone in the gonads.  ANY person of the male persuasion who has made it through Junior High School has learned reflexively to deal with this sort of thing.  So check around, and ask your local YWCA, YMCA, or local police department.

Assaults on women begin in very predictable ways, and you can quickly be taught how to deal with these.


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