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The Essence of What It Means To Live In A Gun Culture

Why Texans would never "shelter in place."

by
Leslie Loftis

Bio

May 15, 2013 - 10:00 am
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During the Boston manhunt, while Paula Bolyard listened to the police scanner and “evolved on guns”, a few others tweeted verses of ‘this would never happen in Texas.’ Before all non-Texans dismiss this as idle boasting, there is a hidden truth worth noting, which Bolyard helpfully illustrates. In the second piece of her “evolving” series, she writes:

While I understand that many who grew up around guns accept them as a normal part of life, for me, it’s a decision that requires serious introspection and moral evaluation. Though I passionately support the Second Amendment, I confess that I had never taken the time to earnestly contemplate its practical applications.

Bolyard starts by analyzing what she is prepared to do to defend herself. But she’s not the exception, she’s the rule. Taking the time to “earnestly contemplate” self defense is the essence of the gun culture. So much so that we hardly notice it.

I didn’t until the London Riots of 2011. While friends described locking their doors and hoping for the police, Zoe Williams wrote that she had never contemplated defending her home. This shocked me. But then I thought back to the 2001 massacre in Norway, when the shooter rampaged for about an hour, taking 77 lives. They waited for the police.

Most people outside the gun culture have been conditioned to wait for the police. Unarmed, without good options for self defense, they’ve never considered it. They assume we haven’t either, hence their worry that every charged situation would collapse into a shootout at the OK Corral. But in a gun culture, we plan self defense. In a gun culture, we accept that ultimately it is our responsibility to defend ourselves.  Follow Bolyard’s series. She’s asking, learning, and practicing while guided by those who have already done so. This is commonplace.

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All Comments   (23)
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"Most people outside the gun culture have been conditioned to wait for the police." many of them end up an outlined crime scene characture. same kind of thinking that fosters shelter in place. when seconds count, the police are usually only a few minutes away. they are pretty good at solving murders, not much consolation for the victims.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We use the word "fight" both literally and figuratively, but don't often distinguish which sense we intend. But, that's important. We can "fight" for abstract notions (the "environment") or for the institutions of civil society (judicial independence or the Church or local government control), but we most always do that with intangible tools: the words, compassion, etc. mentioned above. We resist the advance of ideas and developments, social, political or economic, that we find unacceptable or evil by deploying these intangible tools.

But, equally, we must sometimes fight in the lliteral sense against a manifestation of that evil. We all accept that it is preferable and more effective to do that through organized police forces or the military. But in the end, we must stand ready to put ourselves between evil and the people, places and things that matter to us, if the police or military aren't there. It is morally incoherent to demand a "fight" against "evil" but then not to be willing to fight against a manifestation of that evil. Or, if fighting isn't your bag, then to be willing not to castigate those who do have the moral and physical courage to stand between the thugs and "lil' Jessica-Rae".

If you say that you will "fight for justice" for "the people" but then vilify a person who will actually fight for justice for an actual person in peril, then you either don't really mean it or you lack the courage to do what you preach.

"Don't Tread On Me" and "Come And Take It" are not just slogans, they are the logical conclusion of the individual sovereignty that is the bedrock of Western civilization.

So, the bad guys are on notice: I am armed, I am trained, and when those who matter to me are at risk, I am dangerous. I will call the police, wish them Godspeed, and stay out of their way. But if they aren't there, I will be.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you for your considered response, but when I posed that hypothetical young lady, I meant her as an example of a pernicious neighbourhood effect and not a direct victim. Every choice or decision has a cost however decent or necessary it is, and I was trying to envision what a 'gun culture' might look like, different from what we have now. I thought to give distaff opinion a voice and to speculate on an interest not served by 'gun culture', but i may have overstepped it there...'>......
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Texas gun culture is somewhat overblown and mythic. Texas law is fairly lenient on the use force to defend your life and property but beyond your home there are many other states where the citizen has more extensive rights to the means of self defense.

Texas prohibits the open carrying of handguns. That extends to concealed firearms that "print." If someone can detect it then you are violating Texas law. This limits the size of the pistol you can safely carry to subcompact and pocket pistols. I know these guns are popular and effective for personal defense but they are not very effective for the kind of area defense that "shelter in place" scenarios imply.

Virginia is much more "Western State" than Texas when it comes to armed self defense. We are a constitutional open carry state which allows us to bear (display or open carry) both long guns and handguns. We have no worries about our guns "printing" and can conceal carry full sized pistols. You can also openly carry a slung rifle or shotgun. It is true that you will raise eyebrows walking around in the Northern Virginia suburbs of DC with any gun but the law is on your side You will get the same scrutiny in Austin but you will be arrested under Texas law. Come back and talk to me about the Texas gun culture when you legalize open carry.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Likewise in North Carolina. We have more extensive legal rights where guns are concerned than Texas does.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I humble myself before the citizen of Virginia. Yes, we get the myth while, at least on this point, y'all walk the walk. Guns we can carry are little and are hardly better than scare items. We didn't even have concealed carry until the cafeteria massacre. See testimony of Suzanna Hupp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1u0Byq5Qis
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"......To live in a gun culture is to have decided to defend yourself, to have thought through how to do it, and know that your neighbors have done the same. When the grave threat comes, action is just a matter of strategy......."

You gotta drop the other shoe and see where it lands. That's the cultural assumption that if you have to defend yourself - you already live in a debased and fallen world. Boston is not being clueless here, they have an existential stake in the matter and if you have to shoot somebody through your apartment door, you are already violated and dehumanised.......
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
For a world to be "debased and fallen" it would have had to have risen to a higher level to begin with - which is not the case.

I would suggest that a truly enlightened world recognizes that human nature among some individuals can sometimes be predatory - and as such the more enlightened souls should have all the means at their disposal as necessary to defend themselves against assault, attempted murder, rape....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"...if you have to defend yourself - you already live in a debased and fallen world."

Progressives of every stripe and era have fervently believed that they can re-engineer human nature. In the 20th century, in Europe and in Russia and China, they put their beliefs to work in the most murderous displays of oppression and genocide ever seen in human history.

Many of us have discovered that civilization and culture is a very thin veneer over much of the population of homo sapiens. People who run wild and engage in violent crime today are almost indistinguishable from the marauding hordes that made the dark ages dark or that propelled the Mongol Scourge of the 13th century; their equipment is different, but their motives are the same.

The "gun culture" affects the behaviors of such people. Knowing that even a 90 pound woman can put down a 250 pound marauder with her Glock 9mm gives him pause. He still wants to loot her house and rape her, but he doesn't actually want to get killed, so he modifies his behavior so that she doesn't pull the trigger on him.

Firearms are the great force multiplier in situations of threat by the criminal element.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"...you already live in a debased and fallen world." Correct. We do. Those who refuse to consider self defense are typically clueless not about weapons, but about the state of the world.
And don't shoot through doors. That not only hampers aiming and complicates ricochet, but also it will make legal claims of self defense difficult, even in Texas.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Some aren't content to sit back and accept it's all fallen into crap and a civil world is worth fighting for. Ignore Boston for a minute, and consider the Mother's Day shooting spree at a second line parade in New Orleans. This is the typical, garden variety occurrence of firearm malfeasance that threatens to dry up social life in many communities. Eventually, street fairs, concerts, flea markets, carnivals, church picnics...... many things may grind to a halt because you can't control the public like you can a one-on-one situation. I would guess people disenchanted with life in a gun culture are very social people and losing a vibrant and varied community life is a poor trade-off for being more secure at home. Now, lil' jessica-rae stuck in her gated yard and not going to the village square to get her face painted may mean nothing to you, and it doesn't have to. But people feel they are losing a piece of their lives for a reading of the Second Amendment that is ultimately outside of the scope of law, itself. Forgive them, because that looks absurd to them......
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Two points:
1. Just because we know the world is fallen does not mean that we throw up our hands in defeat. We know a civil world is worth fighting for. That's why we prepare.
2. If a civil world is worth fighting for--with what? Good deeds? Compassion? Those help. Words? Those work sometimes. But when the modern marauding hordes (thanks B Dubya) come, compassion and words will not protect society. Look at the UK's crime stats. With few guns, the garden variety firearm malfeasance turns into an infestation of knife crime. Only the weapon changes.
As for "lil' jessica-rae" meaning nothing to me, on the contrary she means a great deal to me, to the extent that I am willing to stand between her some garden variety punk in her village.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thanks..... I've got some things to consider here and I will.....'>>....

One of the achievements of Christian civilisation is that men and women could live out their entire lives without anticipating the need to deterr another human being by the threat of death in order to protect their interests and safety. That meant people had to consider seriously the rule of law and to recognise it as a model for their behaviours in the World to Come. You don't go slinging into G_d's House, brother. That was very nice, wish we could still have that or anticipate its return sometime in the future. What bothers me is I don't think many conservatives are Christian and that a fallen world, red in tooth and claw seems perfectly fine by them........
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually, that civilized world that you - and the rest of us - treasure is a result of the very thing you seem to be against.

Namely, the armed individual.

As for gun owners and/or conservatives being Christian - please reference St. Gabriel Possenti – Patron Saint of Gun Owners - and what he did to advance civilization in his little corner of Christendom.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If you grow up watching and reading westerns, the idea of a man doing his own lawing, and citizens forming posses, self-defense seems natural. In fact, in many locales, it becomes a reason (or excuse) to go hunting.

Lots of citizens would love to have been the guy who bagged that Tsarnaev dirtbag. Imagine how much free drink and bragging rights you'd have! Others would do it out of civic duty. Some would think it a matter of the best defense being a good offense.

I think the Left did not read westerns growing up. Perhaps that is the problem.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thanks. I see that but I can't edit the post once published and Dave is out.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In World War II Admiral Yamamoto told other Japanese military men that the idea of invading America was madness because they would find Americans with rifles behind every blade of grass.

There are still large areas of America that are like that. The sad part is that there are large swaths of America that have lost their gumption, and that is the partition between citizens and subjects.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My sister in law tells me that in the new Red Dawn, the North Koreans only take over the coasts for that exact reason, lost gumption. In the TV show Revolution, they have some quip about not messing with Texas. In the post-apocalyptic story, Texas is self-sufficient.
Funnily enough, the shows came up while a bunch of us were standing inside our friends' new gun safe. We were touring and discussing their storage and safety measures.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Most of that comes from living in rural or semi-rural areas where law enforcement offices are few or part of the community. If you know the local cop is 10-15 minutes away you know you are a target and plan accordingly.

You also should mention that growing up in a gun culture means recognizing firearms as what they are and what they can do. People outside of this culture react with either fear & revulsion or fascination when exposed to a firearm (most never see a real firearm outside of a cop's holster). Having grown up around guns and hunting, we realize firearms don't have a sinister or magical power. They are simply objects. Dangerous, sure and should be treated with respect, but not imbued with their own morality.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In Dallas Texas, a man shot an armed robber and waited for police to arrive ... over an hour later. Its not just a rural issue with response time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That is IF you have police protection at all. In some places you will have to rely on the county mounty or state police because they are outside town jurisdictions. Those officers can be even further out that 15 minutes, particularly since they may only have a couple of officers on duty and if they are busy...

Then you also have criminals are wise to this. One bunch will cause little mischief in one place and run then call the other bunch on the cell phones when the police show up and start investigating. That other bunch then goes and pulls a bigger job like stealing air conditioners, four-wheelers, etc.

The only real protection against this kind of thing are a detection system, solid doors with good locks to keep them busy backed up with guns. Actually it's not a bad idea to do target practice and get a rep for being a good shot can be a deterrent.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let me add that also having a rep for not having anything of value (the family silver was stolen years ago, the TV is ancient, etc.) can help as well. Having a perfectly functioning car that doesn't look it and the house, though perfectly sound, looks slightly shabby, that will also help.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"But then I thought back to the 2001 massacre in Norway, when the shooter rampaged for about an hour, taking 77 lives."

Typo alert! That massacre took place in 2011, not 2001. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway_massacre]
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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