The Bullet and the Hound
Recently I was waiting in my car while Liz was putting away our birthday meal so that we could head off and watch the Spiderman Movie (good actors, bad script, not worth a buy but an OK watch). Walking across the road was a gal in running clothing and a really adorable large dog. It’s something I’ve seen dozens, maybe hundreds, of times in my life. There is an unfortunate truth in our world that women have to deal with rape and rapists, most of the statistics are far too high for me to accept but I will not call them out because unfortunately they are correct :/. It would be nice if they weren’t, I hope someday we can look back on this situation as a weird relic of a barbaric past.
Regardless that dog has become her security tool. Some people turn to mace, others guns, others knives, but she and many others decided to make a friend. She chose a dog, colloquially known as “Man’s Best Friend.” I have a few personal quirks that are utterly set in stone, one of the most notable is that I am vehemently against killing people. In any situation where you need to kill someone, someone somewhere has failed. It may be you, it may be that person’s parents, it may be their or your government. Someone has failed and the person about to die pays the ultimate price.
This is not halo, this is not a midpoint to a cooler level, this is the big time. So when you can divert crime before it even happens I feel that is the best option. There are multiple ways to approach this problem, you can choose to attack it at the source, you can dissuade it before it completes, or you can react with force after it has completed or is being commenced.
The first is usually a matter of poverty and mental health. If you provide people with a healthy environment they will almost always provide you with a positive member of society. Those that are broken in some manner can be healed almost always as long as you catch it early enough. This is a literal known thing. The problem is when you live with cowards, people unwilling to admit that mental health is critical, that we are ultimately prisoners of circumstance and one genetic quirk away from withering away. Cowards resort to the obvious answers, power tools, they look for ways to turn these perceived “tides” of evil when they arise. For the coward this is an action of rationality and it is noble. You are confronted with evil and you have triumphed over it.
But you have not, you are a coward and cowards like you have been crucial pieces to the tapestry that lead to this moment in the first place.
Racism, sexism, plutocracy, and all sorts of mutations of society are the result of cowardice. It’s not a comfortable thing and people prefer that this not be the case. Now it is not the victim’s fault, few people act in ways consciously that lead them into danger’s path. We all want to survive, and unfortunately it is that desire to survive to the ultimate length that leads most of us to act in ways that actually lessen the likelihood of our survival.
Do not be fooled by my rhetoric, I too have failed, everyone has. With each lost life there is another notch on the wall of shame for our species. If I were confronted with a situation where my life is in jeopardy it is in part because of my involvement with the system. I also recognize that we have let failures run for so long that the balance of power has become extremely skewed. It is much harder for the average person to put in fair amounts of energy and return a genuine gain.
But even with this knowledge that I am not exempt I still feel it is true. If you want examples of cowardice look no further than the irrational knee jerk reaction to every unlikely outcome. A Tsunami and Earthquake combination that will not be seen again in our lifetime shatters a nuclear plant in Japan and Germany starts unwinding their entire infrastructure. A quartet of planes out of millions of flights end up being used as weapons and now everybody is being irradiated and treated as criminals until proven otherwise. A group of lost teens end up shooting a school? Trenchcoats are banned across the country in schools for years. Really? So I’m to guess my friend’s in Junior high who already wore those coats were just prepping to murder everyone?
It’s a natural reaction of the brain, loss aversion, its simple and its primal. Every creature under the sun does it and this is a signature staple of survival. But if you happen to believe yourself above the common rat, act like it.
Firearms I feel are a pinnacle example of cowardice. Both the criminals that use them and the “heroes” that stop those criminals. It is a tool of power and its entire purpose is to alter the environment, it sends a message and immediately catalogues a person into a paradigm that likely does not actually match them.
To kill a civilian in war is a tragedy that gets endless public coverage, to shoot another soldier in the head? That’s just war.
Firearms are entrancing and give the illusion of safety, an illusion of safety leads people to act in ways that actually increase their chances of being harmed. You want a real world example that likely anyone reading this can relate to? Go drive for an hour around your town or city, you see everyone breaking traffic laws? They all started scared, they all respected the tool they had, and then time struck.
With time all things become numb, guns are no different. 93 people die every day in vehicular accidents. 80 people were shot in that recent Colorado accident, 20 or so died. 4+ times that die every single day because of this illusion of safety.
What is the only function of a firearm? To kill. It was designed from the bottom up to end the life of another human being. It’s not a noble tool, its not a point of pride, its not worthy of praise. It’s a tool used by cowards against other cowards and in the firefight likely someone else will be harmed as well. The difference of scale between training and actually fighting for your life are so different that the former is almost inconsequential when the latter actually materializes.
So back to that woman walking. She chose a dog. A dog does not actually provide you with an illusion of safety, and I will explain why shortly. However even if it did, the dog may not actually save you just as that gun will likely not save you (you may not believe me yet, but if you find yourself needing to use it you probably won’t be around to tell me it worked). A gun is not something you will grow increasingly attached to over time, a gun is not your friend, its like a spoon built to randomize the organic matter of other living things. A cold, hard, tool.
That dog will become your friend, and nobody wants their friends to die. So you will not actively take that dog into environments that could get it killed. This will be a conscious and subconscious choice, assuming properly functioning cognition you will be guaranteed a net gain over the course of your companionship.
And if you weren’t properly functioning in the first place would anyone prefer you have a gun instead? But lets continue.
Pet owners have easier times fighting depression, they have lower rates of loneliness (obviously), and they cope much better with stress. All three of these things are common cogs in the clock of the killer. They are not the only parts but they are important, that feeling of helplessness and the cowardice that it bolsters in the mind of its victims. There is nobody and nothing for many people in our new American culture (the rise of the me mentality in the last few decades).
Even outside of mental health you will have higher chances of recovering from illnesses, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and you are less likely to even visit doctors. This isn’t all magic, its not just because pets are magicians, its because our very lives change to accommodate them.
But look at that same time, what did that firearm do for you? Likely nothing. Furthermore what did those guns the criminal had do for them? Nothing. Did they try to make them feel better? Did they give them companionship? Was there anything loving or uplifting about gun ownership? Nothing.
All that was gained was an unwarranted sense of empowerment.
Concealed firearms are a moronic idea anyways, humans are usually not rational creatures when provided with distressing situations. You will not only miss the target you are shooting but they will not take into account that you might be armed when they try to rob you. They will take into account you having a dog with yourself.
It’s also harder to victimize animals, anecdotally I’m sure some folks reading this think that’s silly but the sense of helplessness that we attribute to the animal kingdom leads to some amazingly potent responses to violence against them. Especially in the US there are very few things you’d want to be famous for less than being a person who harms dogs for fun or profit.
Basically you could have both, but in one case you have a false sense of security that will do nothing to motivate you consciously or subconsciously to keep your low chances of victimization low. In the other case you actually have a security system that provides you companionship, health, safety, and will motivate you to keep your low chances of danger low.
There are very few cases of a dog misfiring and killing a stranger during a confrontation. The number of people hit by stray bullets, not so low. Between March 2008 and February 2009 317 people were killed by stray bullets in the US. In that same time period 30 people were killed by “rogue dogs” and in almost every case it was a Pit Bull with either a newborn or someone very old. The Pit Bull being an animal that unfortunately ends up getting targeted by cowardly people (much like firearms). It’s not perfect, but its still a reduction by 10x of innocent lives lost to foolishness.
Likely to not a single person had increased health benefits from the 317 guns that were fired to kill those people.
By all means however, if the use of the words cowardice have offended some, struck too close to home, then by all means ignore the suggestion. In the nearly cosmically unlikely chance that you find yourself in a firefight and you actually live, when you are staring down that corpse that came after you, or the corpses of those you hit instead, ask yourself how much better that made things.
And if that seems like a foolish and unlikely scenario, now you know how I feel when I am told a gun is a reasonable answer to fear. I hope nobody ever needs to use either of these things to stay alive, but in the end at least one of them will have always been a good investment.
Which will you befriend? Which earnestly cares if you, or anything, lives or dies?
[Or more sarcastically, WWJD]