Nel's New Day

January 14, 2015

A ‘Polite’ Armed Society

Courageous people in the small community where I live are having a gun trade-in this coming Saturday. People who don’t want their guns can trade them in for gift cards with no questions asked. This program is done in conjunction with the local law enforcement who is in charge of taking the guns. Although this is the first program of this kind on the Coast, Ceasefire Oregon has collected over 8,000 unwanted guns through this program during the past 20 years. As can be expected, the people who believe in uncontrolled gun ownership have become highly distressed, and the local newspaper had two letters protesting the program in today’s newspaper.

One author was obviously just ignorant, objecting because the trade-in might be illegal and asking why it was done at the city hall. The police department is located at the city hall: that’s the reason for this location, and the law enforcement is collecting them. It isn’t illegal. The letter then accuses Ceasefire Oregon of not following state and federal laws because it doesn’t have a federal firearms license. Again, the law enforcement is collecting these guns. The letter-writer complained that Ceasefire Oregon should not be exempted from verifying whether the gun is stolen. Again, the law enforcement is collecting the guns. For some reason, the letter author thinks that the “police are acting as CFO agents.”

The other letter refers to the recent killing of 12 people at Charlie Hebdo in Paris and ends, “Remember, an armed society is a polite society,” the war cry for many ammosexuals. Facts disprove that armed people represent a “polite society.” Drivers who carry guns are 44 percent more likely to make obscene gestures at other motorists, and 77 percent of the same armed people are more likely to follow aggressively than unarmed individuals. George Zimmerman’s stalking of Trayvon Martin before killing him is an excellent example armed people representing far more than just “impolite society.”

People who actually believe that arming people makes others polite believe they are entitled to shoot someone else dead if they wish. That is The Polite Society.

An armed civilian has not stopped one single mass shooting in the past 30 years. Two people who tried it were gravely wounded or killed. Two men did stop a gunman at a law school in Ashville (NC) in 2002 because both of them were trained law enforcement officers and the killer ran out of ammunition. In other cases, the “civilians” who stopped killers were also trained and did so after the killers have finished their destruction.

In an effort, however, to show that the armed “polite society” could have stopped the death of 12 people in Paris, a Texas group, The Truth about Guns, reenacted the killing to prove that their armed civilian would stop two heavily-armed terrorists to save lives. They failed. “He started shooting,” said volunteer Linda Cruz, “and I started shooting, and I died.”

Armed with a paintball gun, twelve volunteers took turns playing the role of the “good guy with a gun” in a facsimile of the newspaper office. The two professionals from the tactical training company “Patriot Protection”who  used paintball guns succeeded in killing the people in the office. Each “good guy with a gun” was eliminated; only two of them were able to take out even one of the “terrorists.” The only “armed civilian” who survived was one who ran away at the first sound of “gunfire.”

Volunteer Parks Matthew said that watching everyone around him “die” said he would still advance on the threat. “Still got killed, but did better than I thought I would,” he said. The Truth about Guns has not provided followers with an update.

In The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt wrote that “violence is mute.” She explained that speech identifies the highest form of human association devoted to freedom and equality. Violence and its threats are used by undemocratic organizations and hierarchies. In ancient Greece, violence shows a master-slave relationship but not among free citizens. Guns block freedom of speech.

People with guns may think that their armed society is polite because it blocks any actions that might seem threatening to them. Behavior must be strictly controlled—no unexpected moves or offensive comments. There can be no debate where guns are used to control.

Those who want guns to protect themselves from a centralized government are separating themselves from other people and destroying any sense of community. These people are controlled by fear and have lost their personal freedom. Power does not come from being armed; it comes from assembly. Those who parade around with guns and try to block others from thinking differently from them have already lost their sense of freedom.

The statement “an armed society is a polite society” comes from science fiction author Robert Heinlein, whose heroes headed into outer space. He wasn’t referring to the armed societies of this planet such as Beirut in the 1980s, Somalia starting in the 1990s, and the Middle East of the 21st century, for example. Colombia during the drug wars of the 1980s and Mexico at this time are armed, but far from polite. “Polite societies” can be found in unarmed Western Europe and Japan.

Matt Bors shows a demonstration of politeness in an armed society:

pointing gunAn armed society is actually a bloody society. Despite claims that everyone with a gun is responsible, the hundreds of thousands of events show the opposite. Shopping in a Walmart isn’t even safe because a two-year-old can shoot and kill someone. Many other killers are irresponsible because they don’t care if their victims are unarmed; they’re just full of rage and want deference from others. A murderer in a movie theater says, “I’ll teach you to throw popcorn at me.” The killer who shot a teenager wrote the boy’s grandmother from prison that more black people would have better manners if more of them were killed.

People who support unlimited gun ownership always say, “But I’m not like them.” It makes no difference: gun owners who think they are responsible people kill tens of thousands of people in the U.S. every year. “She was such a responsible person.” That’s how a man described his daughter-in-law who left her two-year-old alone in a shopping cart with her purse containing a gun. The toddler found the gun and killed his mother.

The Polite (Armed) Society of the United States has more gun deaths a year than the 22 next richest countries combined, including three times as many deaths each year as in France. The U.S. had 540 more deaths this week than France did, yet in the U.S., killing is business as usual because of the belief that “an armed society is a polite society.”


  1. Powerful words. True words.


    Comment by Lee Lynch — January 19, 2015 @ 10:52 PM | Reply

  2. Well said. Facts speak for themselves. Guns promote violence not manners.


    Comment by Robin — January 15, 2015 @ 8:11 AM | Reply

  3. Thank you for your extremely well-written and well-researched posts. I appreciate them very much. Even though I don’t comment, I read them. They are exceptional.


    Comment by Sue Ellen Allen — January 14, 2015 @ 10:14 PM | Reply

  4. An armed society is an intimidated society. Excellent blog.


    Comment by Monica Kirk — January 14, 2015 @ 8:59 PM | Reply

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