In a truly moral and civilized society, people would interact exclusively through persuasion. Force would have no place as a means of social interaction. Yet the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, paradoxical as that may sound.
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 use of force.
The gun puts a 100-lb. woman on equal footing with a 220-lb. 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 drunks with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size or numbers between potential attackers and their victims.
There are plenty of people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society because firearms makes it easier for a 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 banning guns are asking for rule by the young, the strong and the many. That's the opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only be successful in a society where the state has granted him a monopoly on force.
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 a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal and easily employable.
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.
Marc Blaydoe, Waldorf