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Thread: A comment to John Lott

  1. #1
    Founder's Club Member
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    Dec 2007
    Dallas, TX, ,

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    The following is a comment I posted to John Lott's blog entry on open carry. He's still not keen on the idea as some know, so I thought I'd use a little logic that everyone can get behind. It's a long comment and John doesn't have to approve it (or even read it), so I'm putting it here for posterity.
    Mr. Lott, I wish to comment on some points of yours that I feel you're still asserting in opposition to open carry. I'll try to keep it as short as possible but there are three main points I wish to address, and I'll try to explain my counterarguments in the same terms.

    First off, let's make an analogy here; consider a person as a house or home. The degree to which one arms themselves against assailants, and how, could be roughly equated to the level of security of a home. The basic level, whatever a person feels they can do with bare hands or improvised weapons, would be locked doors. Everyone does it, criminals expect it and know how to circumvent or work through it. Martial arts training might be equated to high-security locks and doors; the same basic principles a criminal is used to, but a higher level of opposition. With the right tool or plan, not a big deal. The carry of weapons creates a security system, of increasing effectiveness; the criminal is less able to do whatever he does if you carry pepper spray, a knife, a whistle, etc. just like burglar bars, motion-sensing lights and sirens,and other amateur-level deterrents to thieves, until you reach the firearm, equivalent to a top-of-the-line, professionally installed, monitored system like ADT or Brinks. 99% effective at deterring criminals; those who still challenge it head-on are completely sociopathic. You still have to plan for them, but they compose a very small percentage, and like any security system, if someone who's supposed to get through can do so, so can someone who shouldn't. If someone really wants you dead, just like they really want your stuff, I hate to say it, but it's going to happen.

    Having made that analogy, let's use it to compare OC and CC. The difference, as analogized, would be putting all the stickers they give you on each window, your front door, and the sign in the front yard. Concealed carry would be having the system but being discrete about it; no signs (it's against the homeowner's association bylaws after all). Both are equally effective when triggered, but the criminal is far less likely to even try to break in a home when the first thing he sees by the front door is that blue stop sign. That's open carry. It works because the overwhelming majority of criminals want an easy target and if you carry a weapon openly they know you are NOT an easy target.

    Now, this much is nothing new in the debate. Your first counterargument to this, which I do not think has been addressed sufficiently, has been that criminals, knowing you are armed, are likely to take you out first. Throwing this into the analogy, someone who would be taken out in this scenario would be like a person who gets the system, installs the signs, then never arms the system. Back to gun carry, a person who could be taken by surprise like this would be in an unaware condition; Jeff Cooper coined the "color" system for handler awareness and would call it Condition White. The first rule of gun carry is that while you have it on, you must always be in a semi-active scanning pattern known as Condition Yellow; you don't expect a threat, but are on the lookout so you can quickly spot potential trouble. This is analagous to arming your security system; you don't expect a breakin, but you got the system cause it could concievably happen. Every gun carrier, even CHL holders, should always be in this slightly heightened state of awareness while they are carrying in public. It's a little extra effort, but with practice it becomes routine and you don't even think about it, and it drastically reduces the chance that someone will be able to get the jump on you.

    Now, your second argument is that it will not produce a measureable decrease in crime because if one target is armed, the criminal can simply choose a different target. Similarly, a burglar can just walk right in to the house next door which does NOT have a security system, and walk out with whatever they want. I would first say that in that case open carry by the carrier has worked as well as it can in that case; you can't save the world by strapping a gun to your hip, but you can certainly protect yourself, and things and people that matter to you. Second, it's a hard-knock lesson, but a person is smart; when someone sees a home that's been broken into, next to an untouched home with an ADT sign in the flower bed, they cannot help but connect the dots; crime happens, security systems work. You can bet anything that a person whose home has been burglarized will take that lesson to heart and invest in their own system, like a person who has been raped or robbed will hear about this thing called open carry, and concealed carry too, and pursue it conscientiously. So will their friends and neighbors, and their neighbors, and soon, whether it's burglar alarms or Berettas, more people will have them than don't in an area.

    When that happens, something happens that makes the analogy break down. Burglars can rob a house in between two others with burglar alarms. If two people out of three in a group are armed, it would be suicide for the criminal to threaten the unarmed person, because the people on either side of him or her can do something about it very quickly. That's the real power of gun carry, open or concealed; not only can you protect yourself, you can protect the person next to you. you don't have to advertise the fact that you are armed, but when you do open carry, and others see unsavory types giving you a wide berth, the wheels in their head start turning and they realize they can carry a gun if they want to. That leads to more widespread use, and you said it yourself; more guns, less crime.
    Comments welcome. I think it's an incredibly logical analogy to make; you invest in keeping your home safe, and most advertise that fact to further discourage criminals. Why then, if you advertise your security system, would you hide your gun?

  2. #2
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    Jul 2008
    Houston, Texas, USA

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    Hey Liko81,
    Thanks for taking the time to compose a response to John Lott and for posting it here.

    My one thought for now is that John might reject your analogy because no matter what, locks, deadbolts and high-security versions of the same are always passive. They never react with violence or harm to an intruder. Guns and in many cases people with martial arts training can. Perhaps they don't always, but the possibility exists.

    One change that might strengthen your analogy: replace martial arts training with a dog. Lots of people have them and many people cite "security" as one of their reasons for getting a dog.

    I think you hit the nail on the head in the second part. Bummer for my neighbor if my dog scares the burglar away. It would be wrong of me to induce burglars to rob my neighbor's house but a well-protected home that deters the bad guys from breaking in isn't the same thing. My neighbor should take responsibility for himself and take reasonable precautions. You know, get one of those S&W .45 ACP Rottweilers. :P



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