- I am not against civilian weapon carry. Self-defense is a basic human right and weapons are tools for that. My issues aren’t with the principle, but with the execution.
- I talked to one of my German students two days ago and he confirmed that Germans are arming themselves. I’ll bet a sizeable amount of money that if we could get the numbers, aside of the 50% increase in small firearms licenses, a multiple of that number of people are carrying (legal or otherwise) non-firearm weapons.
- People are scared and it’s not unreasonable for them to be so. They now realize they are on their own and safety is something they also have to provide for themselves. They can’t only rely on the police for that. Scared people + weapons = bad combination. Scared people who never used weapons before and who live in a country where owning a weapon has been frowned upon and made difficult for decades + weapons = even worse combination.
- The previous does not mean those people shouldn’t be allowed to carry effective tools for self-defense. My point is that I don’t hear Frau Petry mention anything about training or responsible use. The only thing you hear is “we want you to have a weapon so you can defend yourself.” She doesn’t add “and we’ll fund training and awareness campaigns so you know how to use your weapons and not be a danger to others or yourself.” That’s neglecting a critical safety factor when people who are scared, untrained and unaccustomed to living in a weapons culture suddenly all arm themselves. You can expect a shitload of problems as a result, including more blood in the streets.
- For my US friends: don’t bring up the 2nd amendment. It is at this stage irrelevant to this discussion in EU countries. If you think any EU country will quickly change its constitution in that regard, you are sadly uninformed or delusional. Nothing shy of a post-civil war context would do that, and even then.
For my German readers, I would suggest the following:
- Read up on what self-defense actually means. Start with reading this book and then read this one. Then read both books again. If self-defense and weapons are new to you, the information in those books will fill you in on critical aspects you need to know before getting a weapon. You’ll learn what is important vs. what is Hollywood nonsense.
- It’s not just about weapons. True self-defense requires a layered approach and lethal force is only one layer, hopefully the one you need the least often. It needs to be there, but you need to work just as hard on all those other layers as you will need them more often. They also prevent the situation from escalating to lethal force being necessary, which is equally important. Again, read the previous two books to learn more about this.
- Get good training and keep it up. A weapon does not do magic tricks. It doesn’t make you invincible, nor does it make the bad guy go “Poof!” and disappear. Like any tool, you need to learn how to use it first and then keep on practicing. Find good training in your area and then keep up regular practice. That gives you the skill necessary to use your weapon should you need it, but keeps that skill alive over time. If there is no good training near you, spend money and travel until you can get it. You are making the choice to carry the tools that give you power over life and death. If that isn’t serious enough for you to get the training you need, then you have no business carrying that weapon.
- Be smart and stay cool. If you strap on a weapon every time you go outside, do all you can to not get in a situation where you need to use it. Yes, it gives you more options to defend yourself, but that comes at a price. Using deadly force is not like in the movies and the consequences are not only for you, but also your family as well as the family of the person you killed. Those consequences also never go away, ever. So as much as possible, stay out of trouble. Especially if you are already scared. Read this article for some information on that.
- Germany is changing, change with it. Like I said, there is the spectacular increase in legally owned weapons, but there will also be a huge increase in people carrying illegally or weapons that masquerade as tools. This means your society is changing into a weapons culture at an accelerated rate and you need to adapt to that. For instance: whenever you are in an argument with somebody, whenever there is a conflict, the odds are good the other person is armed. People are emotional, irrational beings, they don’t think clearly when they are emotional. An emotional person with a weapon who is upset with you and you escalating the argument is not a good thing, especially if you are armed too. So adapt your behavior along with the society you now suddenly find yourself in. Heinlein’s quote is relevant here:
An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
Stay safe and good luck.
I received some comments on my Facebook page re. the nature of the “small firearms license” in Germany. Apparently it wasn’t clear in the text above and I fixed the one sentence where I think the misunderstanding started. So here’s what I meant:
I am well aware that the license is for blank guns and pepper spray as opposed to firearms.
I am well aware of the strict German gun laws.
I’m not talking about the kind of weapons people are picking up. I’m talking about the fact that massive numbers of German citizens are picking up weapons in a very short time frame. That, combined with the fact that a populist politician is calling for people to carry firearms. These two points together are what this article is about.
Charles James says
Charles James says
Oh, and to your reference to the US 2nd, if only the forefathers of our nation had thought to add in the responsibility of its citizens who choose to be armed to also be knowledgable and understand the responsibilities along with the knowledge of constant, continuous and on-going training … :-) Sigh!
John W Zimmer says
Wow I’m trying to imagine using a blank gun for “self defense.” Here in the US we have cops defending themselves against “kids” who point fake guns at cops for some reason. It goes bad for the kids and costs the city’s money in the courts.