The latest episode of NOIR, the NRA News series hosted by urban gun enthusiast Colion Noir, raises the question of whether it is always best for one to have a firearm during home-invasion scenario.
Noir stages the question by showing a video of a woman, who is presumably alone, sitting on a couch at her home when, suddenly, a man kicks down her door. Noir then asks, various groups of pedestrians on the streets of Dallas, Texas, “Do you think in that situation she should have a gun?”
My answer is simple, if not obvious, it depends. It depends on the woman’s familiarity with firearms, overall personal preparedness and general mindset on self-defense.
To once again state the obvious, what good is a gun to an individual that has no idea how to use it? Sure, guns are relatively intuitive tools, but under the stressful conditions of a home invasion, even a trained gun owner may have trouble with the fine motor movement required to load the weapon, acquire the target and discharge a round, not to mention someone who has never even held nor fired a gun.
But for sake of discussion, I want to put aside those who are completely unfamiliar with firearms (because the solution there is simple, get them trained!) and focus on those who, even if they did know how to, would opt not to use a firearm in a potentially life-threatening situation. I guess I’d call them extreme pacifists or martyrs to the cause of non-violence.
Yes, I know, it’s crazy to think that there are people out there that would rather be carried by six than judged by twelve, but they do exist. And I believe there is a non-trivial number of them; meaning, there are probably more than we might initially think. In fact, I think Noir actually spoke with one, albeit briefly.
His name was Rami, and he told Noir, “If I strive for peace, would having a gun mean I’m not a peaceful person. Right? Because I have one that means I have to be willing to use it and I haven’t really gotten to the place where I know that I’m willing to use it.”
[On a side note, I’d tell Rami that it’s no coincidence the Colt Single Action Army was dubbed the “peacemaker,” and that in the real world — not in some idealistic hipster fantasyland — that if you really want peace, you ought to prepare for war, but that’s a conversation for a different day.]
Rami appears to be a pacifist. He doesn’t want to take a life. Actually, to be more descriptive, he is neither physically, in terms of training, or mentally prepared to take a life. So, to circle back to the initial question, do you think in that [home invasion] situation Rami should have a gun? Let’s complicate it even more, let’s assume that Rami not only knows how to use a gun but is a really well-trained marksman, should he have a gun in that situation?
The right answer is, of course, it’s his choice. Not really our decision, nor a government’s decision, but his and his alone. Some folks don’t believe in self-defense because it requires them to act violently toward an other. So, it’s not really a question of should but a question of want, what does Rami want to have on hand if someone breaks into his home? Maybe he doesn’t want to have weapon. Instead, maybe he wants to try to de-escalate the situation with kind words and his persuasive charm. Whatever the case may be, it’s his decision.
As Noir correctly asserts, it’s up to the individual on how best to deal with a violent society. But however one comes out on that issue, one should ultimately refrain from foisting their opinion on others. Sadly, though, that’s never the case.