June 28, 2014

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Fiske-Harrison ridicules the notion that firearms in the hands of the citizenry might function as a last resort against government tyranny:

It was only when I recently fell into an argument with an American friend … that the real reason behind his, and so many others”€™, desire for access to whatever firearms they want became clear: the fear of tyranny and more particularly, the fear of tyranny by their own government. Now, to Europeans, that sounds absurd … does anyone really think they stand a chance against the FBI in a siege, no matter how many AR-15s they”€™ve got under the bed?

Tyranny by their own government … imagine that! Apparently it escapes Fiske-Harrison’s notice that many of us Americans would look at his situation”€”citizen of a state which denies him the right to own a pistol in his own home”€”and point out that what we fear might happen here has already occurred there.

And never mind the FBI”€”against whom the better-armed among us might stand a fighting chance”€”Fiske-Harrison would do better to use the U.S. military as his example: Does anyone really think they would stand a chance against an Abrams tank? Or Seal Team Six? Of course not …

What I would expect if a tyrannical government attempted to defy the Constitution in a major way”€”(let’s face it, Obama is doing it already in minor ways)”€”is that a large portion of both military and law enforcement personnel would be on the side of the civilian populace against the government. Our guns might very well come in handy in such a scenario, as would our knowledge of how to use them.

For me, however, and for most folks I know, the possibility of governmental tyranny is not the main reason we”€™re armed. I”€™m armed for the primary purpose of protecting myself and those I love against armed criminals.

Another possible scenario in which firearms might come in handy is civil breakdown following a natural disaster, such as the widespread lawlessness that occurred in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In such an instance, the advantage of being able to protect oneself and one’s loved ones goes without saying.

And Mumbai-style terrorist attacks … haven”€™t happened here yet…

In a move reminiscent of President Obama’s pronouncements on climate change, Fiske-Harrison declares the debate on gun rights to be over: 

Therefore there is no way round the fact that the policy of firearms for self-defense is a categoric, and unarguable, failure”€”it kills far more than it saves, end of argument.

Never mind Gary Kleck’s conclusion, based on years of unbiased research (he actually started out as an anti-gunner until the evidence convinced him otherwise) that uncounted lives are saved each year, without a shot being fired, by the mere presence of legally-owned firearms. Discussion over!

Fiske-Harrison seems uncomfortable with the free exchange of facts regarding gun rights, and appears to want to suppress the discussion”€””€œend of argument”€”€”another area in which Britain has “€œled the way”€ in loss of liberty. Perhaps laws labeling pro-gun advocacy as “€œhate speech”€ are in order?

A lot of wacky notions about Americans and guns! Then again, he warned us in the beginning that he was mystified. But when he starts giving advice on pistols for home defense”€”an odd move for someone prohibited by law from possessing one!”€”his ignorance goes beyond mere misinformation, and the “€œexpert”€ advice he dispenses could be fatal for anyone foolish enough to heed it. His statement that “€œyou need nothing more than a revolver for the home… if you need more than six shots, I”€™m afraid you”€™ve already lost”€ is not only ludicrous, it’s potentially deadly.

Where does he get this idea? Has he been comparing notes with “€œDouble-barrel Joe”€ Biden?

Especially considering the scenario he describes above”€”in which “€œbattle-hardened, tooled-up gangbangers”€ (notice the plural) are coming through our front door”€”how can he continue to insist that a six-shot revolver is all we”€™ll ever need?

While FBI stats reveal that the average gunfight ends after two or three shots, this is only the average, to which there are many exceptions: violent assaults involving multiple assailants, where more than six shots were necessary to end the confrontation. As gang activity proliferates, we can assume that such instances will become more frequent.

In the old days, cops were trained to fire two shots at an attacker’s center-mass”€””€œdouble-tap”€”€”then stop shooting and assess. Nowadays, they”€™re being trained to fire until the assailant goes down. Any veteran LEO can tell you stories of bad guys, some jacked-up on crack or meth, who were shot multiple times with high-power handgun rounds”€”but kept on coming. Counting on six shots to do the job is wishful thinking, even with a single assailant. Considering the possibility of multiple assailants, a six-shot revolver is just not the best choice for self-defense.

With a few notable exceptions”€”such as a snub-nose revolver carried in deep concealment and used at “€œbad-breath distances”€”€”the revolver is yesterday’s gun in terms of a primary defense weapon. Will it perform its intended function (of sending bullets in the direction you point it)? Of course it will, just as a Model-T Ford will get you to the grocery store. But better options are available. For anyone willing to devote some time to training, a semiautomatic is a much more potent choice. The Glock 19, to take one example, is similar to a revolver in size and weight, holds 16 rounds instead of 6, and is much faster to reload. This is the type of gun the cops are carrying, and it”€”or something like it”€”is the best choice for the armed civilian as well.

I want to finish by putting an end to Alexander Fiske-Harrison’s mystification: Americans own guns because the world can be a dangerous place, even today, even in civilized societies; and you can”€™t always rely on the police to be there when you need them. We want to be able to defend ourselves. Throughout history, good people have found it necessary, at times, to fight to maintain their rightful place in the world; and things are no different now. We resist moves to take away our guns, because we”€™re students of history and comprehend this reality; and we”€™ve seen what happens to societies that have allowed themselves to be disarmed. Though there are indeed costs to living in a society which allows the widespread ownership of firearms, Americans have decided that, overall, the costs are far outweighed by the benefits. 



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