Sometimes when you are trying to teach someone something and they just aren’t getting it your student will say something and all of a sudden you realize what the problem is. Typically it is some fundamental assumption either the student and/or the teacher had made but had not articulated.
I remember one time I was trying to explain the difference between current and voltage to someone. They weren’t getting it. I finally made the analogy to water in a hose. With a very small hose, say the diameter of pin, it really doesn’t matter if you have 1000 pounds per square inch of pressure (voltage). The rate of flow (current) coming out of the hose is going to be slower than a very large hose, say the diameter of your leg, with a pressure of one pound per square inch. If you want to quickly fill a bucket with water which do you want? High pressure or high current? His answer was, “I don’t know.”
It was like time froze for me. I wouldn’t be surprised if I went pale, my jaw dropped, and I started drooling. I realized what the problem was. He was just too stupid to understand. My assumption was that since he was able to walk upright and speak in complete sentences that he was capable of understanding simple everyday concepts involving the physical world. I was wrong. That was 30+ years ago. He now teaches art at a high school.
I had another epiphany recently. In the comments to one of my posts moderately anti-gun commenter ubu52 said:
Every death is a loss to society, every single one of them. There is no such thing as a “throwaway person.”
Oh! I understand now.
This is the type of thing taught in kindergarten and early grade-school. It’s a simple concept that works for most interactions at that level. It’s sort of like a child who learns that if they drop a glass on a hard floor it will break. That simplistic view of gravity will serve them well for years. Later on Newton’s three laws will be important if they want to understand why things are different when riding in a vehicle undergoing acceleration or orbiting a celestial body. Still later Einstein’s thoughts on gravity, space, and time may be of importance.
I am not, yet, of the opinion that ubu52 is incapable of understanding the applicable concepts. I suspect it is a systemic lack of exposure to the evidence and concepts involved. There appears to have been school of thought that “no one is better than anyone else” which has taken in a large portion of our culture and is largely unchallenged. I suspect it is the logical extension of the Marxist view of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” which progressed to “everyone deserves just as much as everyone else” and then to the final warped conclusion that “no one is better than anyone else”. But that is just a guess. There are similar extraordinary errors in thinking (or more likely application) that go back much further such as, “Judge not, least ye be judged yourself.”
No wonder the concept of “use of deadly force in the defense of innocent life” is a non-starter for her. We are talking Newtonian physics to someone that hadn’t gotten past the stage of looking out for falling apples when they walk under a tree.
Many other anti-gun people have similar naïve or immature belief systems. Still others arrogantly believe they are intellectually superior to the red-necked, knuckle-dragging, Neanderthals who wish to exercise their specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms. They believe the Second Amendment is obsolete and no longer, if it was ever, useful in today’s society. If not evil, then typically their thought process is incomplete and proceed something like this, “Gun are used to commit crimes. Even if it is a right restrictions should be put in place and crime will be reduced.” They frequently are aghast that people disagree with such a simple and obviously correct conclusion. They conclude that anyone that does not agree with them must be their intellectual inferiors. It is this sort of thinking that results in things like this, this, this, and this. It is the “reasoning” of bigots.
The CliffsNotes version of schooling necessary for ubu52 (and others like her) to get up to speed with the rest of us is the following:
- The deaths of Ted Bundy, Richard Kuklinski, David Berkowitz, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert Fish, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, and millions of other lesser known threats to society were not a loss to society. Their deaths were a net benefit to society.
- Philosophers, lawmakers, and religious leaders from all over the world and nearly all cultures are almost unanimously in agreement that the use of deadly force to protect innocent life is at least acceptable if not an obligation.
- While there is an unacceptably large percentage of the human population that are a threat to society they are vastly outnumbered people who respect the rights of others to live their lives free of threats to life, limb, and property.
- In order to defend against the villains of society the aged, infirm, outnumbered, and smaller need tools to put them on equal terms with the monsters who would prey upon them.
- The firearm is the best tool ever invented for equalizing those who would be prey with the predators in our society.
- Accidents and misuse of any type of tool can result in a tragedy.
- Training and the proper design of tools reduce the risk of accidents.
- Punishment is the appropriate response to those who misuse tools.
- Firearms design and training is more mature than for almost any other tool in common human inventory.
- The number of tools more frequently used for criminal purposes than benign or beneficial uses is vanishingly small and firearms are not in that set. It does not matter if the tool was a screwdriver used to pry open a cash box, a box cutter used to hijack a plane, or a firearm used to rob a store. Any proposed restriction on a tool must take into account their benefits as well as their misuse.
- Restrictions on the use of tools work no better than the restrictions on the use of recreational drugs or sex.
- The rules for the use of deadly force are well established in U.S. law and are among the first things taught in self-defense classes involving firearms.
- The nearly universal rules are that if the attacker has means, intent, and opportunity to cause death or permanent injury to innocent human life then the use of deadly force can be justified.
- All restrictions on firearms yet conceived reduce the number and/or ability of those who are likely to be prey to protect themselves more than it reduces the number and/or ability of predators. Even the simplest (and in implementation it is far from simple), most innocuous restriction of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) deters as much or more potential prey from defending themselves than it prevents predators from hunting their victims.
As Sean Flynn once said (paraphrasing), “I’ve spent years studying the issue, my opponents only minutes”.