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There are no dangerous weapons

14 January 2016

There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.

Robert A. Heinlein

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22 Comments to “There are no dangerous weapons”

  1. Maybe. But a man holding a rifle casually under his arm makes me wonder what he is afraid of in the grocery store – and makes ME afraid. I now have to trust in the self-control of a perfect stranger. One who can do more damage in a second than can be easily stopped.

    • Would you prefer he leave it in the car where it might be stolen and possibly used to hold you or someone else up?

      Cops can’t be everywhere.

      Don’t know if it’s still true, but there were two towns in the US that it was in the town charter that every house would have a gun in it (church was optional) and they had the lowest crime rates around.

      Concealed carry meant you had no idea who around you might have had a gun. Open carry means you know of ‘some’ of them — and so do the crooks and crazies, most of whom will now go look for easier targets.

      Why do you think the crazy ones choose schools and the like? It’s because ‘the law’ promises them that there will be no one there that might be able to shoot back …

      As to the quote, anything in the hands of a fool or an expert can be a dangerous weapon.

      • Don’t need to go further than MacGyver to verify the latter. 🙂

      • America’s gun/violence culture is a worldwide joke. Your feeble attempts to justify it are laughable.

        • Yeah, it was a joke in WWII too, when these gun nuts over here sent their arms to those countries that had figured their general populations were better off helpless against those invading their countries …

          And don’t you have a country over there that after mustering out of the service the troops keep their weapons?

          History repeats itself only if one does not listen the first time.

          • There are over 300 million guns in the US. They aren’t going anywhere.

            We should make it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns. But no matter how hard it becomes, they will get guns if they want them badly enough. Then what?

            Preventing good people from being able to get guns is a problem. It shouldn’t ever be illegal for a law abiding citizen to protect themselves and their family.

            The only thing stopping someone intent on hurting you and yours is with force. That’s an ugly fact.

            I have two fists. I’ve never used them against anyone.

            I carry a folding knife. I’ve never used it against anyone.

            I have guns. I’ve never used them against anyone.

            The likelihood of my ever getting into a fistfight is slim. The likelihood of me knifing someone, even slimmer. And the likelihood I’ll ever shoot at a human being is so slight it’s practically non-existent. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be allowed to prepare for the possibility.

            A lot of life is about preparing for emergencies that may never happen. Insurance policies. Bug out bags. What writer doesn’t back up their data?

            I consider gun ownership no different than a back-up battery for my sump pump, which would prevent my basement from flooding in the event of a power outage during a rainstorm. I’ve never needed it before, but I’m glad I have it.

            I wouldn’t need it if there were never another rainstorm. But that won’t ever happen.

        • America’s gun/violence culture is a worldwide joke.

          I always felt much safer in Florida, where most of my friends carried guns, than… well, pretty much anywhere around where I lived in the UK. I might have been a little less likely to be shot there, but was a lot more likely to be beaten up for no good reason.

          For that matter, the murder rate where I now live in Canada is far higher than anywhere I lived in the UK, but I’ve yet to see any of the kind of random violent crime that seemed commonplace there.

      • We have to trust in the sanity and self-control of the general public every time we set foot outside our house. Unless you’re skilled at hand-to-hand combat, you have to accept that if someone comes at you you’re on your own. Well, unless you’re armed.

        I remember the Deletha Word case from 20 years ago. It was turned into an episode of Law & Order: dozens of people standing on the Belle Isle Bridge watching this woman get beaten with a tire iron**. She jumped into the river to escape her attacker. She drowned. I don’t remember if she lost her leg to a boat propeller before or after the drowning.

        I once chatted with a friendly paranoid schizophrenic. He was very normal looking, had worked for Microsoft, and was getting ready to go to prison for pirating their software. Surreal conversationalist, but very polite.

        However, if he thought I was one of the space aliens he believed ran the world, all he would have had to do was swipe the scissors off his sister’s desk and stab me. If his sister were the disgruntled type (she wasn’t) she could have stabbed me, too. I could, in turn, use my keyboard to bash her skull in. Or a pen to blind her. Walking encyclopedia of destruction, that’s me 🙂

        **Apparently crowds react a particular way when danger strikes. They freeze or do nothing instead of rescuing. I think you have to give them specific instructions like “Call 911” before they’ll help. But I’m not sure how realistic it is to expect people to be clear-headed while someone is trying to kill them.

        • “But I’m not sure how realistic it is to expect people to be clear-headed while someone is trying to kill them.”

          Or go after someone better armed than they are. (they might kill you for trying to stop them from killing the one they were attacking …)

  2. Because items specifically designed to kill people aren’t dangerous.

    • Not if they’re in the hands of a knowledgeable, peaceful user. On the other hand, a car in the hands of a fool or crackpot can be deadly.
      Killing is trivially easy.
      A rock or a**’s jaw will suffice.

    • Congrats, you miss the point.

      A rock you can hold in your fist isn’t dangerous if a toddler grabs it. It is dangerous if a criminal picks it up and intends you harm.

  3. I’ve been catching up on my Heinlein. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is my favorite of his so far. TANSTAAFL, baby. TANSTAAFL.

    I’m currently reading The Puppet Masters, in which Heinlein shows exquisitely how American bureaucracy makes an alien invasion far, far worse than it might have been. It’s interesting to wonder what he’d think of the current situation with ISIS and Al Qaeda.

    • You’re hitting the high points, all right.
      Three other worthiness:

      – STARSHIP TROOPERS, which bears no resemblance to the dreadful movie
      – BEYOND THIS HORIZON, very apropos for this thread, and his very first novel. He actually gives an answer to the old “meaning of life question”.
      – HAVE SPACESUIT, WILL TRAVEL, a delightful YA book from when they were called juveniles. And a clean one at that. 😉

      (The Stone family are also featured in his THE ROLLING STONES, which predate Kick Jaggers band. 😀 )

    • You’re hitting the high points, all right.
      Three other worthiness:

      – STARSHIP TROOPERS, which bears no resemblance to the dreadful movie
      – BEYOND THIS HORIZON, very apropos for this thread, and his very first novel. He actually gives an answer to the old “meaning of life” question.
      – HAVE SPACESUIT, WILL TRAVEL, a delightful YA book from when they were called juveniles. And a clean one at that. 😉

      (The Stone family are also featured in his THE ROLLING STONES, which predate Kick Jaggers band. 😀 )

    • I re-read at least one Heinlein per year.

      The covers on the British editions I have are something else. I spent seven years of my childhood in Thailand, and my parents would take my booklist with them when they went to Bangkok and bring back books. I’d hide the covers when I took them to the missionary school I attended.

  4. A false dilemma if ever there was one. Danger = Intention (the person) x Means (the weapon, including exapted weapons like cars, ice picks, and fingers)

    Either factor can be the more powerful multiplier. And, as either factor approaches zero, the danger approaches zero.

    But, it’s hard to gain political traction by pointing out that both sides are naive and just fighting a silly in-group/out-group scuffle based on primate social instincts rather than logic, so the absurd dangerous weapons vs. dangerous persons “debate” continues.

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