Reason and Force

As the Supreme Court hears arguments for and against
the Chicago, IL Gun Ban, I offer you another stellar
example of a letter (written by a Marine) that
places the proper perspective on what a gun means to
a civilized society.

Read this eloquent and profound letter and pay close
attention to the last paragraph of the

The Gun is Civilization

by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another:
reason and force. If you want me to do something for
you, you have a choice of either convincing me via
argument, or force me to do your bidding under
threat of force. Every human interaction falls into
one of those two categories, without exception.
Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people
exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has
no place as a valid method of social interaction,
and the only thing that removes force from the menu
is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may
sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You
have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I
have a way to negate your threat or employment of

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal
with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on
equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and
a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk
guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity
in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker
and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the
source of bad force equations. These are the people
who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns
were removed from society, because a firearm makes
it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That,
of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential
victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by
legislative fiat–it has no validity when most of a
mugger’s potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic
rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and
that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A
mugger, even an armed one, can only make a
successful living in a society where the state has
granted him a force monopoly.

Then there’s the argument that the gun makes
confrontations lethal that otherwise would only
result in injury. This argument is fallacious in
several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations
are won by the physically superior party inflicting
overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t
constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings

and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The
fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works
solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger
attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands
of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight
lifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force
equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking
for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left
alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be
forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m
afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It
doesn’t limit the actions of those who would
interact with me through reason, only the actions of
those who would do so by force. It removes force
from the equation… and that’s why carrying a gun
is a civilized act.

By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

So the greatest civilization is one where all citizens
are equally armed and can only be persuaded, never forced


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