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Would It Be Right To Disarm Civilians?

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Would it be right to disarm civilians? In recent times and in many countries, the notion of disarming civilians has been growing in a way parallel to the growth of criminal violence, but would that be right?

Even those of us who are not yet old people remember how we played with our bicycles on quiet streets, when it was rare that you car could be stolen, and when homes usually didn't have alarms, unless the owner had a private art collection or something like that. The same that I can tell you will be repeated around the world and across cultures and religions. Violent crime has increased noticeably: today, criminals under 18 fire at you with revolvers, burglars give a beating to the old and ill, and murderers seem more eager to dismember victims: there are of course, many other variants in the realm of violence that always existed, but are becoming more common as time passes.

As a reaction against all this, the gun-ban feeling has been growing among public opinion, probably because it is very easy - almost superficial - to associate guns with crime, because any weapon implies a show of force and the capability to hurt someone. However, I think that pretending to ban weapons and guns is a mistake for various reasons. First of all, there are at least two examples of societies where security or violence are completely independent from civilian arsenals: in Japan there is almost no crime today, but in the past, during the time of the Samurais, the nation was extremely violent and in fact, it spent eight centuries of its history in a relentless civil war: remember, weapons in the hands of common people were never allowed in Japan, and that is why some martial arts evolved.

Switzerland is the other example: in that country there is almost no crime, they have not been in any kind of war for centuries, but people not only are allowed to have guns, but they actually keep the military equipment and combat-grade weapons at home, because almost every Swiss male citizen is a reservist.

These cases prove clearly that peace and security within a society are things totally independent from the number of firearms that civilians have. You can have guns and peace, and no guns and violence, and at any rate, we should not be short-sighted in crime issues and stop making it easier for criminals to get away with their deeds by diminishing punishments on the bases of alleged human rights and legal principles. Even if all guns were suppressed, violent crime could take place with broken bottles, makeshift knifes, axes, screwdrivers or even good fists, for crime doesn't occur when someone has gunpowder, but on the basis of surprise and the use of force.

Also, crime is a matter of urban survival and people have the right to defend themselves: thus, since criminals will not stop using guns just because they become suddenly outlawed, it is futile, absurd and dangerous to tell those that may need to defend themselves to limit their capabilities at the hands of increasingly violent criminals.

And there is yet another argument to keep the guns among people in a democracy, and that is, defence and dissuasion: armed civilians are more difficult to control, and in the event of an internal or external aggression, this may act as an insurance policy for any nation. Indeed, survival experiences tell us that during catastrophes such as the aftermath of hurricanes or earthquakes, political anarchy, military weakness and so on, just the knowledge on the minds of all sorts of perpetrators that the people have guns have stopped any dubious or dangerous initiative.

So, giving away your guns potentially means giving away your rights as a citizen: unarmed people can be treated as cows, and cows can be milked, or can be butchered with the same ease. It is like in a poker table: if one player knows that the other might just have an ace, well, he should be careful, and this has a more potent dissuasion power than any heap of legal documents. If there is violence in a society, we shouldn't blame inanimate objects like firearms: violence always existed independently from technological advances in weaponry. Crime is something that breeds on social inequality, in the lack of fair justice and punishment, hypocrisy, lousy lawmaking, lousy politicians making the laws, unemployment, failed penitentiary systems, drug addictions and trafficking and a whole plethora of factors. Do you think that just taking one of those factors out will solve the equation?

The truth is that pretending to disarm the population is easier than looking for real solutions because those will disturb a lot of people that live and act upon double standards, and because for any government, having a disarmed population means that authorities can control people and dictate them what to do in an easier way. Guns and weapons are indeed dangerous and life hasn't been neither fair nor nice for most of the time; however, since before we learned to make stone axes we humans enjoyed at least the opportunity to defend ourselves as al last ditch alternative with our own means. Security forces, laws and regulations exist to guarantee social order and peace, but they cannot be everywhere, all the time.

It is absurd to pretend that people should surrender the right to self-defence, the ultimate action of any animal, to a collection of law books and assumptions on the capabilities of police and security personnel. Reality proves that such assumptions are utopian for if they were not, there would be no crime at all.

A nation has a lot of citizens and thus a lot of lives: you and I have only one.

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