“I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.”
–Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, post 12 May 1780 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
I don’t really like the term “sheeple” because it is a derogatory term towards people who (mostly) haven’t done anything wrong. Previous generations fought, built, and worked so that many people now have lives so good that it doesn’t occur to them that personal safety is something they should be responsible for. In a strange way, it is a tribute to the people who have fought so that so many citizens of the U.S. believe that they don’t need to worry about their own personal safety, that defense is something that can be handled by others.
Watching the horrific events in Paris yesterday, I saw that “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” immediately decried the “gun violence” showing that not only are they divorced from reality (apparently those killed by bombs don’t matter, nor does the reason for the violence or anything other than gun violence matter) but they will immediately attempt to take anything and twist it to their agenda.
At the same time, I read numerous comments from other people in America saying “We wouldn’t let that happen here.” I saw people quoting the Japanese admiral “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass” and I saw people talking about how Americans weren’t like that, that it simply wouldn’t happen that way is someone tried.
And I wished that were true.
America is a harder target than Paris, yes—but that isn’t the same thing as saying it is a hard target. We have been so successful at reducing violence that many people don’t understand violence and simply don’t see any reason to take responsibility for their own safety anymore–and as a consequence of that, don’t understand people who do, and have made laws making it difficult for people to do so. The “sheeple” (and this time I mean it as a derogatory comment) have decided that their lack of understanding of personal responsibility is sufficient reason to reduce other people’s ability to defend themselves. (Hence the derogatory term.)
There are thousands of people in the U.S. who are trained, capable, and willing to be responsible for their own personal safety. None of those people would have been allowed to carry firearms into a concert in a night club, or to a large-scale sporting event. As such, in those venues, the initial results would have been similar to what happened in Paris.
People in other places, however, would have had choices. And it probably would have made a difference. (How much? I don’t know. But I DO know that if people are resisting, that will make a better outcome than if violent murderers are allowed to continue to kill with nothing to stop or slow them down.)
People who deny reality, who think violence is a function of inanimate objects, who think that safety is something that government should do for us—these are the people who make it difficult. Plenty of other people who simply don’t understand the issue aren’t really the problem—we have created these people by making a nation in which self-defense isn’t something that most people have to worry about. (Though in certain aspects over time, this is changing.) Many people who don’t understand don’t attempt to make it difficult for those who do. They may be “sheeple” but they aren’t the problem, really—they are a sign that we have done well in making the nation safe.
But they aren’t prepared to take responsibility for their own defense, and the defense of their loved ones.
Tamara Keel as always, said it very well:
“I ain’t goin’ out like that. Whether it’s some Columbine wannabe who’s heard the backward-masked messages on his Marilyn Manson discs, distressed daytrader off his Prozac, homegrown Hadji sympathetic with his oppressed brothers in Baghdad, or a bugnuts whackjob picking up Robert Frost quotes transmitted from Langley on the fillings in his molars, I am going to do my level best to smoke that goblin before my carcass goes on the pile. I am not going to go out curled into a fetal ball and praying for help that won’t arrive in time.” (That was back in 2006, by the way: http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com/2006/09/i-aint-goin-out-like-that.html)
A lot of us think that way also. We don’t want to shoot anyone, we don’t want to kill anyone, we don’t want to have to do anything like that.
But unlike the people whose lives have been sufficiently safe that they don’t feel the need to take responsibility for their own defense, we will.
America isn’t a “hard target” for terrorist attacks the likes of which occurred in Paris. It certainly could happen here.
But I ain’t goin’ out like that. And there are thousands of decent, law-abiding people who think the same thing. And that WILL make a difference.