In defense of Self-defense

I live in a strange place on the planet when it comes to self-defense and weaponry for the ordinary citizen, and chances are you do as well.

Here in Norway it is illegal to possess nunchucks, stun-guns and pepper-spray. There is some cultural flavor here though; I can open-carry a bow and arrow, which counts as sports equipment and not weapons in eyes of the law. I’m sure your specific part of the world has some variation of these allowances and restrictions. But, I’d like to take a moment and give my practical view to owning and carrying weaponry (of all sorts).

If you ask anybody this simple question: “Do you have a right to defend yourself against an attacker?”, the most common answer will be a resounding “Yes!”.

If we ignore the no-option for now, that is a different problem all-together, and focus solely on the side that agrees with the right to self-defense for this article, I’d say it is reasonable to assume that not everyone have the same capacity for securing themselves or their property, by default.

It is a lot easier for a heavyweight guy with a background in hand-to-hand combat to guard himself against aggression than it is for a much smaller person with little to no physical skills.

There is the option of arming yourself, which as a rule of thumb evens out the score significantly – A weapon in the hands of a small person is as potent as in a bigger persons hands. I’m not only talking about firearms here, but its true to some degree for bladed and blunt weapons, or even non-lethal alternatives.

If we can agree on the “everyone has a right to defend themselves” premise, yet wont allow some sort of weapons-usage to leverage any differences between people, what we are really saying is “only those capable of defending themselves with their physical body has a right to self-defense, everyone else is screwed”.

Restricting weapons makes the most vulnerable even more vulnerable. I’m sure I can find hundreds of thousands of scenarios from the real world in newspaper articles and other forms of media feeds where an innocent person could have survived a murder, not been robbed and similar acts of violence could have been solved favorably for the victim of the crime, if that person had access to some form of self-defense tool. Now, granted, not everyone have a want to arm themselves, but that is a choice. If the choice is done for you via regulation, the ones upholding and protecting that regulation has in a very definitive way allowed a bad thing to happen.

Screenshot from Twitter | One of the top results from #GuncontrolNow hashtag

The so-called ‘gun-grabbers’ on the other hand, those people proposing common sense gun control in America, doesn’t (usually) make this connection but is instead focusing on bad guys doing bad things with guns. With media-headlines and copy-pasted politispeach as fuel for their slogans, they have this sketchy of idea that you can legislate away bad behavior. As a remedy to that point of view I’m going to point to Beau of the Fifth Column’s excellent video series about gun-control if you are missing a bearded man playing with a toy gun while he’s saying some smart stuff in your life (you do, right? Just watch the video, the guy is sharp as a sushi-knife).

In either case, if you propose, and get, absolute gun control you still have to solve the situation of the innocent person and sooner or later you will have to tackle the dire reality of vulnerable people needs to defend themselves somehow. Not everyone can have a personal bodyguard, there isn’t going to be a police officer around every corner and I wish that everyone was nice to each other but we live in the real world, with real villains – And let us not forget the superheroes, like Jeanne Assam, that wouldn’t be armed in a time of need. Those people are important too.


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