A Polite Society

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” -Robert Heinlein

Brace yourselves ladies and gentlemen, the gun control think pieces are coming. In the coming days and weeks there will be many people insisting that we need “common sense” laws and “reasonable” restrictions. It is inevitable. It happens every time a tragedy like this occurs. 

Political radicalization on both ends of the spectrum has reached a high point of recent history. Hysterics have become the default. We can not levy blame on anyone for this except the shooter. That said it is clearly apparent that the factors that pushed him over the edge aren’t going away any time soon. So what then is the appropriate response to this?

First and most importantly we need our sanity back. We need to realign ourselves with traditional virtues. I am talking about patience. I am talking about understanding. I am talking about actual honest-to-God reason, and not just the things that make sense in our heads. We need to understand that these kinds of responses are not acceptable in political environments we do not like. 

Second, it is important to understand to take a deep breath and hold this in perspective. This was a tragedy. It could have been so much worse though. I haven’t yet seen any reports of associated fatalities except the shooters. As senator Rand Paul pointed out some what obviously, that entire team would have been dead if it weren’t for the fact that the congressional leadership teams have protective details. No loss of innocent life is ever acceptable, but we should be glad that there weren’t far more lost. 

Finally let’s get to the significance of the quote I led this post with. The solution to stopping even more of these events from happening is more guns. The United States need fire arms profligated legally. It is much harder to justify trying something like this to oneself when you know that ANYONE around you could stop you in seconds, before your holy war even begins. If you might have to back up your words and actions with your life, any reasonable person will always err on the side of caution. It would go a long way to restoring civility when we understand that A) it is the right way to behave and B) there will be immediate consequences for violations of the Hobbesian contract.

So when confronted with the calls for public safety measures, be sure to remind people that the police can’t be everywhere. Be sure to remind them that it can all be avoided when we rid ourselves of passion and allow reason to rule. Be sure finally to remind them that when all else fails it is always better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.


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