Quote of the day—Jeff Snyder

With a gun, a 100 pound woman can successfully defend her life from a vicious assault by a 170-pound man On the other hand, if she is careless or foolhardy, the gun will more readily manifest and magnify the result of that behavior. Being more effective, it is less forgiving of error, impulse, mindlessness. Yet in one case and the other, the gun has not done good, the gun has not done evil. As a tool it enables a man or woman to do greater good or greater evil. Take it away, and you have reduced man’s capacity to do harm, yes, but you have also reduced man’s capacity to do good. That we entertain serious discussions about eliminating guns, speaks not so much to the “evil” nature of the thing itself – it has not moral nature – or to our revulsion over the harm wrought with it, as it does about our beliefs in our own capacity and willingness to do good, to undertake those actions in service of the good that would require or recommend the use of that tool. We see no good in guns because we have drawn a line through performing those good deeds for which a gun would be necessary or advisable and, what is more chilling, doubt our own capacity to do so. For this reason more than any other, there is no salvation through gun control.

Jeff Snyder
2001
Nation of Cowards page 10.
[If I understand what he is saying correctly I think I can extrapolate a bit and make things more clear:

If you believe mankind is so flawed that gun control is necessary to protect us from ourselves then we are so flawed that we will destroy ourselves without guns as well.

Is that the way you read it too?—Joe]

6 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Jeff Snyder

  1. His book title says it all. Many of us are a ‘Nation Of Cowards’ who expect others to protect and take care of us, and won’t use a gun to defend ourselves or others… because we ARE cowards. After gun control, we will have less reason to look at our own cowardice: “what could I do against a threat like that? I was powerless.” (whereas had I the courage to prepare and arm myself I could have acted… but was afraid to do so).

  2. The way I would summarize his point: pushing for gun control (gun bans) equals an assertion that humans are incapable of good.

    I stress “incapable”. An honest person who sees humans as capable of both good and evil will recognize the value of a tool that allows good to prevail more easily than without the tool.

    I would add another point, not made here by Snyder but made by Neil Smith, and worth repeating: the reason people want to take our guns away is that they intend to do things to us that they can’t do if we had guns.

  3. My take away is to note that gun control advocates NEVER acknowledge the positive value of firearms. Completely blind to it.

    It is their perverse game of only recognizing when a firearm is misused so they can only be viewed as a negative in their small, feeble, frightened minds.

    They are moral cowards and prone to violence if they do not get their way. They know they are so flawed that they cannot be trusted with firearms and so project that risk onto the rest of us.

    Using their approach, if I only looked at drunk driving accidents, I would want alcohol and cars outlawed, too.

  4. To me, Snyder is saying that assigning immorality or net negative utility to guns is a rationalization for abdicating your moral responsibility for “those good deeds for which a gun would be necessary or advisable.”

    This meshes with an experience I had taking a college friend to the range back in the South Bay. It was his first time shooting and he said he enjoyed it, but that he was unmoved because he didn’t trust himself with that sort of power. It takes just a bit of projection to not trust anyone with that sort of power. Or to get you to the “of course I trust _you_, it’s just so many of those _other_ people that shouldn’t have access to guns.”

    There’s an interview with Snyder (which I can’t surface) where he walks back A Nation of Cowards just a bit. In it, he says that cowardice requires a conscious shirking of duty or responsibility, and that for most people, it doesn’t rise to the level of a conscious decision.

    I can see this being the case in a society that encourages specialization. You say, “That’s the police’s job.” And go about your business for years without reconsidering the proposition. You have to spring from a different ethos, experience an epiphany, or get mugged, to transcend that mindset. Only then do you make actual decisions that can be weighed on the scales of cowardice and courage.

  5. I think everyone has excellent points here.

    As for interpreting Snyder’s words; sometimes it’s a good idea not to “interpret” but to consider the actual words. The last sentence, just as intended, sums it up nicely, I think; “…there is no salvation through gun control.”

    What does he mean by that? He means that there is no salvation through gun control.

    Far short of “salvation” I’d say there is nothing positive to be gained by it, that there is only “damnation” because the prerequisite to contemplating gun control is the denial of human rights.

    All I would try to add to that is; since the authoritarians claim a “social benefit” or something is to be gained from denying human rights, they’ve already indicted and convicted you and are now just trying to carry out the sentence. That was already said above though, so I’m just putting it into different words. I’m “interpreting”.

    And so it is that we arrive at the subject of meaning. The searching heart will usually find the meaning, no matter the words used to evoke it, or to avoid it.

    Words are tools, same as guns, and although they both might be used more or less effectively, either for good or evil, we have the right to both our own words and our own guns. Same goes for your hands, and your ability to draw breath.

  6. I recently re-read his book (whatever happened to him, BTW?), and I agree that he means we have come to view lost the capacity to be courageous; it’s simply beyond us now.

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