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Wisconsin Carry Article

A reporter for the Daily Page in Madison takes a serious look at the carry movement in Wisconsin, in what I think is a fair look at the subject:

I know some people in Madison think the open-carry crowd is a bit off its rocker, but Auric Gold doesn’t seem crazy to me. He’s a nice guy, friendly, smart. And after spending some time with him, I’m convinced he’s a well-trained and responsible gun owner.

[…]

Gold spends what seems, at least to me, an inordinate amount of time preparing to shoot his way out of dangerous situations. Besides going to the range regularly, he practices firing while moving, running and crouched behind barriers. He practices how to react when being assaulted while loved ones are nearby, learning how to push or pull them out of the way while still being able to fire off some shots.

[…]

Perhaps one day, Gold’s training will come in handy, but I doubt it. I’ve traveled the world and walked on streets at night alone in cities around the U.S., Central America and Asia, and never once been accosted. It seems far more likely that both he and I will end up falling victim to a distracted motorist, clogged artery or cancer cells than armed bandits.

I think it’s very difficult for people who are not part of the shooting community to understand carry, but I think the reporter here makes a good faith attempt at trying to. Read the whole thing and decide for yourself. Gold spends a lot of time practicing these scenarios because the guy is an instructor. If you’re an instructor, you have to take it to a much higher level than your average toter if you want to have something you can teach them.

I actually agree with the reporter on the last paragraph. Most of us are in demographics that are highly unlikely to be targets of violent crime. If death were a true fear, I’d be much better off giving up shooting as a hobby, giving up beer and booze, eating better, and spending my weekends hiking through the woods. But the truth is, I think most of us carry because we shoot, and we shoot because it’s fun. Carrying is a consequence of the hobby, rather than the hobby being a consequence of wanting to tote a gun around everywhere. At least I think that’s true for a large majority of toters. No doubt for some, it’s also a political statement.

But what really on an emotional level makes someone say “Well, I know the odds are long that I’m going to need a gun today, but I’ll take one anyway.” I wouldn’t say fear of death, or fear of crime, is the primary motivator. It’s certainly not a paranoid belief that you’ll need the gun. So what is it? I think people who carry have a certain way of looking at themselves and others that is difficult for a person who thinks more collectively to understand.

Gun owners are highly individualistic people, on the whole, and for highly individualistic people, there’s absolutely nothing more unpleasant for them to think about than someone else forcibly taking control of their person, and violating their dignity as an individual.┬áViolating another persons dignity as an individual is the highest crime you can commit to a highly individualistic person. We have difficulty understanding someone who says, and we’ve all heard this, that they’d rather be robbed, raped, etc, than to have to kill another human being, but who will go off on raving diatribes over a criminal like Bernie Madoff. The individualist will see the rapist or mugger as more of a violator than the swindler, because the swindler still had to convince an individual to willingly surrender what was his or hers, whereas the violent criminal subjugates the individual by force, and takes what he wills. Ask yourself what sticks in your craw more, Bernie Madoff or a mugger? I think that’s an interesting exercise in sorting out whether you think like someone who would carry a firearm.

12 Responses to “Wisconsin Carry Article”

  1. Adam Z says:

    Amen to the last three paragraphs in your post here! Your descriptions are actually something that I have been trying to articulate for quite sometime now to family and friends who are as you had correctly stated not part of the shooting community. It is quite difficult for them to understand why I carry Pepper Spray and a Ruger LCP and also have an assortment of pistols/shotguns/bolt-action files/AKs, etc.

    This is also the reason why so many of us fight for our 2nd Amendment rights (besides it being in the Constitution) by joining various gun-rights organizations or volunteering for whatever event maybe happening, donating money, etc. Its the sense that this individuality could be taken away from us. And we will fight like hell for that not to happen.

  2. Mobo says:

    You just put my thoughts into words with more precision than I could ever be capable of. Well said!

  3. Noops says:

    Well, for the the consequence IS the hobby. I got into self defense with shooting because I DID have the unfortunate privilege of being violently assaulted (in what is supposed to be a safe city). And it’s happened more than once. My friend almost died from blood loss in front of me.

    So I decided to learn how to shoot and shoot well with a lot of formal training. But the hobby for me grew as the result of the Bad Things. If I know now….blah blah blah. I will not allow my mistakes to be repeated. But I do enjoy working on guns, shooting them, and training.

  4. PhillipC says:

    Add me to the list of people for whom shooting is an outgrowth of the desire to carry an effective means of self-defense. I went a number of years without carrying a gun because of confidence in my physical abilities, but started again after a bad accident put me on crutches for an extended time. I knew I looked like easy prey even though I wasn’t, and as a concession to my reduced abilities and my age, I began carrying a firearm on a daily basis again. (I had stopped a number of years before, I wasn’t able to afford the license fees in FL and just never got around to renewing my license. Since I’m a law-abiding sort, I didn’t carry on my person without a license, but I could still carry in my car.)

    I’m a nearly middle-aged computer technician. I’m more at risk of a heart attack or stroke than I am of being attacked by violent criminals. However, I wear my seat belt and carry a fire extinguisher and first aid kit in my car and no one seems to think I’m overboard for that.

  5. AntiCitizenOne says:

    At first I read his name as “Auric Goldfinger” and hoped he was carrying a gold-plated revolver.

    Damn.

  6. Ash says:

    Good article. I agree that ‘fear of death’ is an unlikely reason to carry a gun. Many of the OC and CC people I know are overweight males who are at way more risk of dying from health related issues than violent crime. But it’s a personal choice. It’s also somewhat easier and more fun than diet and exercise. :)

  7. Sigivald says:

    The mugger sticks in my craw more.

    Though I’m also disgusted by Madoff, not so much because of his fraud (though that’s inexcusable), but by the way he defrauded people who weren’t looking for unreasonable returns.

    I always figure the scammers who promise the moon are at least self-selecting out the gullible or greedy.

    Madoff, however, promised slightly-better-than-average returns on his fund, and thus attracted exactly the sort of investors I least like to see ripped off; the cautious and prudent. Including, if I remember correctly, various retirement or pension funds.

    (Not, mind you, saying that he deserves extra punishment under the law for that. Just that I find it even more immoral than preying on those who choose “too good to be true” investments.)

  8. mariner says:

    Thank you Sebastian — this may be the best post I’ve read on your blog.

  9. James Nelson says:

    I have owned guns my whole life and started carrying when it became legal. I am one of the minority that actually needed a gun due to a home invasion in a friends house after I started carrying. I don’t care what the statistical chances were, or will be, the downside is too great regardless of the odds to not carry.

  10. Greg says:

    Wow, thanks for putting into words what I’ve always felt within my gut. Fierce individualism does provide the explanation for why I carry. My safety and the safety of my family is MY responsibility and not the caring arms of the government.

    As for which represents deeper evil, Bernie or a mugger, I’ll go with the mugger. Remember “you can’t cheat an honest man”…

  11. Auric Gold says:

    Sorry, I own no “gold plated revolvers!” But if there is such a thing it would undoubtedly be made by Taurus, since they include a lot of gawdy models in their inventory.

    Nothing flashy like that for me, mostly Glocks and Rugers.

  12. Alpheus says:

    When I first read “More Guns, Less Crime”, I became convinced that carrying a gun would be a good idea. Later, I read the essay “A Nation of Cowards”, and became convinced that it was a moral responsibility to carry a gun.

    The difference is that the first focused on statistics, whereas the second focused on what it means to be an individual, and what it means to have dignity–and how a mugger destroys that dignity–and how that affront to dignity needs to be countered there, immediately.

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