One of the most disturbing trends I’ve seen in the battle over gun rights is the notion that people who choose not to have guns somehow are cowardly or, perhaps, even deserve to be victims of crime…in a sort of a “you made your bed, now lie in it” way.
It’s disturbing because it makes no sense. It’s disturbing because it makes false claims about what courage actually is. And it’s disturbing because it is yet another example of people’s failure to see anything other than the black or white of an issue, when there’s a lot of gray.
You would think that a story of an unarmed man being “rescued” by a gun-owning Good Samaritans would please gun advocates because it would serve as a reminder of the importance of citizens having guns to protect themselves.
You might be wrong.
Take the case of a Houston man who was robbed at gunpoint. The victim says he “doesn’t believe in guns” and therefore does not own one. Police tell KHOU-TV they think canvassed the neighborhood in search of a victim.
After being robbed, the victim fled down the street and was spotted by two men in a Mercedes who stopped and asked him what happened. Upon learning he’d just been robbed, the two men chased the gunman — something police would generally tell us is an extraordinarily bad idea. Gunfire was exchanged, and the suspect ended up wounded.
I’d love to know how the Good Samaritans could justify shooting at someone they chose to pursue on their own, especially when they took the word of someone they don’t know who claimed to be a victim.
As the suspect tried to escape, he jumped over a fence into a yard where he was attacked by a family’s German Shepherd. That attack kept him from getting away.
Gun enthusiasts are frustrated because Dorsey says he doesn’t believe in guns. Users at various gun rights message boards are actively making fun of him by saying he should believe in guns because “guns are real,” not imaginary. Nice.
A commenter on a gun advocacy site complained that this guy is “just content with relying on others to protect him.”
We all pay taxes — whether we own guns or not — in part to pay for our military and our law enforcement: it’s their job to protect us.
More importantly, there’s this: Just because someone “doesn’t believe in guns” and chooses not to have one himself does not mean that he wants no one else to have one, either. Owning a gun is a personal decision each of us needs to make based on our on beliefs and confidence in our abilities and level of personal responsibility. It takes a certain amount of courage to admit one’s own shortcomings, especially if it means not doing what someone else considers “being a man.”
Anyone who isn’t comfortable owning a gun or doesn’t think he can responsibly do so can take comfort in the fact that the Second Amendment only grants people the right to own: it does not require it.
Gun enthusiasts ought to keep that in mind.
Why would someone want to “thank” others who came to his rescue and who happened to have guns when he didn’t? Well, what on earth is wrong with that? What would we have the victim do, not be grateful? That, in my book, would be the wrong move. He should be grateful. Gratitude is a good thing.
But the real question is this: what would a gun proponent have liked to see happen? Does a victim deserve to be a victim if he chooses not to carry a gun everywhere he goes? I’d like to believe that no one can honestly believe such a thing.
Being careless about locking your door or leaving valuables in sight that could result in a burglary is one thing; choosing not to carry a weapon is not the same thing.
What would a gun advocate — other than the heroic men who chased down this suspect — have done?
Let’s say they knew that this victim didn’t believe in guns and chose not to carry one himself. What would a gun advocate do? What should he do? Should he sit back and do nothing and just allow the robbery to happen? Should he give up an opportunity to take down the suspect out of spite?
What about the victim? Should he have not gone for help? Should he have jumped in front of the Samaritans’ car and prevented them from chasing the guy down?
People who don’t believe in guns and therefore choose for themselves not to own one are not the enemy of those who do.
The enemy to gun owners is people like the suspect who use the guns illegally in the commission of a crime. Those are the very people who make people like this victim “not believe” in guns to begin with.
As much bad things as gun advocates have to say about the victim of this crime, they’re saying almost nothing about the perpetrator. Gun advocates, of all people, ought to understand the importance of choosing the right “target.”