Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Gun is Civilization

Something I ran across a couple of years ago, I thought that I would share it with you.
The Gun is Civilization
by Major 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

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 monopoly.

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)
I don't have anything to add because the Major said it all.
All credit to Maj. Caudill, of course.


  1. How would something intended to badly hurt, possibly kill, another human being be "a civilized act?"

    1. Easy. Because some human beings just need shooting.

      What, you don't think that some people, if left to continue indefinitely would destroy society? All the mass murderers should just be left to their own devices, killing until they run out of victims?

  2. By using it to protect yourself or others, for starters.

    I think the last paragraph of the essay makes the point quite eloquently. Furthermore, some human beings quite clearly deserve to be hurt or killed, Edi Amin and the rogue cop who killed 7 tourists in Manilla yesterday come immediately to mind.
    If you choose to go unarmed, that is YOUR choice, and in my mind, it very well may be a poor one that could end up costing you more than you could possibly imagine. But I have the right to protect myself from those that would harm them and if you see me on the street, I've got a gun. Look at Israel. They have almost completely ended terrorists running amok with guns in the street, killing civilians with impunity
    (like in Mumbai,2008) because of armed civilians who stop these despicable and cowardly acts by shooting the perpetrators until they are dead.
    I hope this answers your question and maybe even changes your mind.

  3. This was actually written by Marko Kloos at