“The Gun Is Civilization” by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

15 Jan

“The Gun Is Civilization” by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force.

If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via

argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human

interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force,

that’s it. In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through

persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only

thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it

may sound to some. When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have

to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or

employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal

footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year

old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with

baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers

between a potential attacker and a defender. There are plenty of people who consider

the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that

we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes

it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s

potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat–it has no

validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed. People who argue for the

banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and

that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only

make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force


Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that

otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways.

Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting

overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones

don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come

out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier


works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are

armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as

it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if

it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable. When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I

am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side

means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but

because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would

interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It

removes force from the equation… and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret.)


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