An excellent off-topic discussion started in this morning’s “Nevermind” post. It deserves more prominence than it’ll get in comments, so I’m moving it forward here.
DH is a pacifist and against all violent methods of self-defense – especially guns. He says I can defend myself, as long as the method couldn’t possibly kill the attacker (yeah, I know what you’re thinking). Do any of you have any ideas what a short, sixtyish, fat cancer survivor could have handy to better the odds? (BTW, murder or divorce are not options. I really love the guy. He’s mostly a great guy, just naive.)
The first several comments below appear under my personal login because I have no way of duplicating the logins of the original writers. But please note that these comments are by RustyGunner, LBS, LarryA, and Pat.
@LBS — That’s a tough one. I’m not terribly sympathetic to DH’s position, both because it devalues your lives to place them on an equal footing with a predator who would harm or kill you, and because it hamstrings the ability of a loved one to fend off the attack. I have nothing against pacifists, mind you. Pacifists are great people, you meet them in some of the nicest mass graves in the world. I do object, however, to the mindset that can say, “I love you, but I love your attacker more, and if that attacker forces a choice between your life and his, I choose his.”
Sorry if that’s harsh, but that’s what he is saying, even if he doesn’t realize it. There are no reliable, practical, guaranteed nonlethal means of defending yourself. You might frighten an attacker with barking-dog or shotgun-racking noises, but if the noise fails, you have to have to dog or shotgun ready to go. Too many people make completely unwarranted assumptions about predators. Sometimes they can be reasoned with. Sometimes they can be persuaded. Mostly, however, they must be stopped violently. You stop an attacker by causing sufficient insult to the central nervous system that the attacker is no longer able to continue. That insult is produced either by damage or shock to the nervous system or other organs, or by blood loss. Any means of inducing CNS insult can kill.
My wife detests firearms, but has never asked that I adopt her attitude. Many years ago, when work separated us regularly, she asked me to choose a pistol for her. I did, and waited. A year passed, and she asked me to buy ammo and accessories for the pistol. I did, and I waited. It was two more years before she asked for instruction and range practice. She is now quite proficient, and practices to stay that way, and still detests guns. She hates the idea of being a victim more.
In your shoes, I would buy a gun and learn to use it, and stand your ground with DH.
RustyGunner, thanks for your sentiments. I pretty much feel the same way, that he’s willing to sacrifice me for his ideals, but I don’t really want to fight about it. You have some good advice. I’ll think about it.
1. The gun, and only the gun, has enough deterrence value to convince violent people not to attack “a short, sixtyish, fat cancer survivor.” Because of that, most self-defense incidents involving a defensive firearm end with no one being injured. It really is the least violent means of protecting yourself.
2. If “a short, sixtyish, fat cancer survivor” encounters someone high, angry, or psychotic enough to ignore a loaded gun, the situation will end violently. DH needs to own which ending he wants that scenario to have.
3. If DH doesn’t like the consequences of the answer he chooses, he can hire you a 24/7 unarmed security officer. (Because there’s no moral difference between carrying a gun and hiring someone to do it for you. Or for that matter, calling the [armed] police to go get the person who attacks you.)
LBS – While I was debating how to respond, RustyGunner answered you better anyway.
Remind DH that self-defense is not a political issue, but a very real natural response to attack. We can either fight or flight; and if flight (or in human instance, reason) is not possible, we have no other life choice open to us – except roll over and give up.
Would he give up rather than fight? I’d be interested to know what life means to him, and what value does he place on refusal to fight. As “noble” as pacifism sounds in theory, I question the rationale that labels it a viable human action.
LBS – I am going to fall in behind the others here and admit that pacifism “sounds” good but is totally unnatural to the natural mammalian fight or flight response that has furthered our survival as a species lo these many eons.
Where flight is not practical fight or die are the only options left, no?
DH may be a very nice person (and I’m sure he is) but his beliefs are His while Yours are Yours. You and you alone must chose the response you will act upon for you and you alone are responsible for your own safety.
IF his knowing of your plan to protect the family unit will upset him why tell him? If he asks then you can explain your position to him.
Meanwhile, practice makes perfect, hint – hint. 😉
choose not chose — oops
For what it’s worth, DH might find some comfort and understanding from the Dalai Lama:
I forgot this one, and it’s specific to gun control rather than pacifism, but it fits:
“Gun control: The idea that a woman found in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound.”
Pretty difficult to add to what’s already been written, except one more point is that you, LBS, might end up needing to defend not just yourself, but also DH. No doubt you’ve considered this as well. Does he want to put you in the position of watching him die?
It’s unfortunate that in some cases, this sort of cognitive dissonance – “non-violent” self defense – simply can’t be countered.
Thus, it would seem that the choice would be to go ahead and get a gun, against his wishes. This puts the ball in his court, instead of yours.
America is a gun country with a gun culture going back 300 odd years. So that is what we think about as adults when deciding to arm ourselves somehow.
In your situation, I’d suggest you consider buying a long, sturdy screwdriver to keep by your side of the bed, and keep your larger kitchen knives in a block on the counter if they aren’t already there.
Those were the premier DEFENSIVE weapons prior to Samual Colt’s invention, and they still work fine today.
If needed, hold them in the “ice pick” grip and conduct a “sewing machine” attack to your assailant’s face.
Your husband can’t read your mind, and this save you from unnecessary marital conflict.
If LBS decides (hopefully) to arm herself, then this book, with such a favorable review, seems like a great place to start: http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/calling-the-shots?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+ActiveResponseTraining+(Active+Response+Training) I’ve ordered it – through Claire’s link, of course – but haven’t received it yet. It looks like something I ought to have and have read before recommending it often, which I expect will be likely.
If someone wants you unarmed in the face of an aggressor, “love” isn’t how I would describe their feelings toward you. I know that sounds harsh, but really- I don’t call for anyone to be unarmed, ever… even people whom I really dislike. And those I love, I definitely want to see able to defend themselves. Not blindly, with a weapon they’ve never handled or learned to use, but armed with a tool and the knowledge and experience to use it. Even if it were against me, if I went mad and started being a lethal threat.
I also don’t consider it “pacifism” to demand others follow your (sick and delusional) beliefs- it is a form of aggression. Be a pacifist all you want, but the second you try to force (guilt, coerce) someone else to embrace your pacifism, you are no longer being true to pacifism.
Wow! I came to check on any responses I might have, and found that my question has a whole blog post to itself! You all have some excellent comments, and have given me lots to think about. Thanks, Claire and friends.
I would welcome any other comments or advice anyone has – especially from the women. Do you have any experiences that could help me?
Lots of great suggestions. Perhaps surviving cancer has touched his heart in seeing his own mortality. I evangelize for gun rights with new and first time shooters. It is often worthwhile to start with a premise; all else stays exactly as it is right now – constitutional ballot initiative in your state to disarm all law enforcement – disband them six months after that. How do you vote? This question establishes the right of self defense for yourself and your people. (I know, sounds great but, how big is your tribe and do you want to devolve into perpetual self defense? “Cops” is an illusion, but it’s a real one.)
Now, if somebody attacks you then you’re going to do SOMETHING, You have no choice. Self defense is involuntary. Two (at least) of four things happen in a confrontation; Posture, Fight, Flight, Submit (From the book On Killing – By Grossman. buy it at Claire’s linky). You will posture, you have no choice, and a predictor can sense you even if you do nothing. You are already posturing. If somebody throws a punch at your face, if you have great discipline, you can do almost nothing, but in an act of self-love (preservation) you will blink.
Now, how much does he love himself? Enough to live even if he has to kill somebody that lives no better than the cancer that tried to take him? How much does he love his family? Perhaps he has survivor’s guilt. It is unnatural to just roll over and die.
I could go on and on about fangs and claws and being fast, and being stealthy, vines that strangle, rodents digging borrows, and stinging animals, and even trees attempt repair by filling in the wound with sap, and we have freakin color binocular vision and thumbs and tools and dude, DUH!
We live among animals, some, unfortunately, are bipedal. Feeling awful at the thought of having to kill one of them doesn’t prove you’re bad, it proves that you are good, you’re human, you love. Live and teach your children, teach them well. To die at the hands an assailant dishonors all mankind.
If he is not Christian then why would he care? People are just cells like the cancer he fought. Perhaps there is more to natural law that what takes place outside of the soul.
Glad you didn’t mind, LBS. I agree there are some great comments.
Two things I don’t believe anyone has suggested yet: pepper spray and tasers (if these are legal in your state). Although cops have managed to kill 300-some people with tasers (even inventing a fake cause of death, “excited delirium,” to explain why people are dying from a non-lethal weapon), both are intended to hurt and temporarily disable, but not harm.
That said, a big problem with these is that you actually have to use them for them to even have a chance of being effective. The great thing about a gun is that merely the sight of a gun in the hands of a person who seems ready and able to use it ends most encounters.
And as others have said, if an attacker or potential attacker isn’t rational enough to be stopped by the sight of a firearm, he’s also not likely to be stopped by a taser or a blast of pepper spray. Plenty of people, including at least one reader of this blog, have kept on going after being tased or pepper sprayed.
Also, LBS, while I can definitely understand you not wanting to argue with your DH, how about a simple Socratic or three? Gently question him about his beliefs and bring him to their logical conclusion without responding with value judgments.
“Are all lives equally valuable?”
“If you had to choose between saving the life of a child or the life of an old person, how would you decide?”
“If you had to choose between allowing a woman to be killed by an attacker and killing the attacker, what would you personally do and how would you decide?”
And so on … leading to specific questions about defending himself, you defending yourself, or you defending each other.
Your DH does sound naive. I can imagine myself taking a position like his when I was 17 and absurdly idealistic. I wonder how well he’s thought this out. I suspect forcing him to be very specific about his own position via a socratic could be revealing, to both him and you.
I’m with those who say your personal right to defend yourself should not hang on someone else’s convictions, however much you love that person. Whatever you eventually decide, best of luck!
Doesn’t everybody else just call it shock?
Claire, I have known people who have lived to a ripe old age harboring some awesomely stupid preconceptions, like:
Robbers are professionals, give them what they want and you will not be harmed.
Assailants can be deterred by gentle speech and persuasion.
Simple assault doesn’t warrant the death penalty, lethal force in self-defense is a worse crime than the assault.
I mentioned the dog-barking and shotgun-racking earlier — one vendor some years back offered cassette tapes of these sounds as a security tool. I still chuckle about that one.
Books can be written on the advice police give women about rape prevention.
I think that we have become so overcivilized that large numbers of citizens can travel from cradle to grave without ever stubbing their philosophical toes on real-world rocks. The hashtag “@FirstWorldProblems” applies to the sort of difficulties they encounter. I’d happily leave them to their bubble if it weren’t for the fact they have as much or more say in public policy as I do.
I can’t divine what’s going on inside DH’s head, but liberals in general believe they are taking the moral high ground. Liberals also believe everyone should behave like them. I tend to think it’s an emotional decision for which logic is irrelevant. It may be no more complicated than that, even though virtually everyone who reads and comments on this blog considers such a choice eminently disastrous.
If used indoors or outdoors with the wind blowing the wrong direction, pepper spray is likely to have an effect on you, too. Tasers – the real ones, not the knock offs – will give a 30 second burst. So if you successfully tase someone, that’s your head start to get away. They will be angry afterwards.
Completely OT: A different kind of jump. http://www.usnews.com/news/offbeat/articles/2016-07-28/hes-a-skydiver-working-with-a-net-but-no-parachute
What’s your husband really afraid of?
In my experience, pacifism is usually a cover for fear.
(Actually, lots of things are covers for fear. The human mind has an amazing capacity for coming up with ways to avoid admitting it’s afraid. But that’s beside the point.)
Does he think a gun will make you so reckless that you’d start shooting any time you get mad? Is he afraid the kids will get hold of it and accidentally hurt someone? Possibly themselves? Is he afraid that HE might hurt someone with it?
Find the root. That will help you decide what direction to go from.
@LBS — Another factor to inform your eventual choice: you describe yourself as short. Take a hairbrush or some similarly-shaped and -sized object and ask a large male friend to grab you while you try and fend him off with the “Icepick”. He will have you gripped and immobilized before your pointy thing gets near him. If you allow an assailant within stabbing range you have allowed him too close.
Your best defense is your mind. Resolve not to go to stupid places with stupid people and do stupid things. Be aware of your surroundings, who is near you and what they are doing. Train yourself to watch for people watching you, paralleling you, closing distance. Do not pass alleys or turn corners in such a way that you can be grabbed from concealment. Use your awareness to keep space between you and possible danger.
If the danger materializes, use that distance! Flee if you can, fight if you can’t flee. The best time to stop an attacker is before he gets within grab range of you, and that calls for a gun. Shoot until the attack stops and then run to someplace with light and people before calling the police. Distance between you and danger is your best friend.
In all probability you will never need a firearm to save yourself. Unless you live in a dangerous area the violent crime rate in the US is very low. You only get to be wrong about that once, though.
I’d suggest you consider buying a long, sturdy screwdriver to keep by your side of the bed, and keep your larger kitchen knives in a block on the counter if they aren’t already there.
1. That will protect her only in the bedroom and the kitchen. Carry a big screwdriver outside without a reason and it’s a burglary tool.
2. A screwdriver in the hands of “a short, sixtyish, fat cancer survivor” won’t deter an attack by a criminal. You will end up having to use it. Inside arm’s length.
3. The purpose of self-defense is to stop the attack. Stabbing someone enough with a screwdriver to stop them is about as lethal as shooting them.
Taser: You pull the trigger:
If both prongs launch
If neither wire breaks
If both prongs hit
If both prongs stick in his clothing instead of bouncing off a button or some such
If he doesn’t sweep the wires with his arm
It may incapacitate him for a few minutes.
If it doesn’t, you now have a stun gun. Instructions on the one we were given as a demonstrator say to hold it close in to your body so he won’t take it away. Then trigger it as you hold it in firm contact with his torso for 3-5 seconds.
Best advice I’ve heard about Tasers: “Get the kind they use in movies. They work a lot better than the ones you can buy in real life.”
Robbers are professionals, give them what they want and you will not be harmed.
IOW the old, “If they want your purse, give them your purse. Otherwise someone could get hurt.”
On September 10, 2001, the Official Airline Hijacking Policy was, “If they want the aircraft, give them the aircraft. Otherwise someone could get hurt.” That policy hasn’t been very popular since then.
LBS, if all else fails tell DH to get with the program:
More than 14.5 million Americans are now licensed to carry a concealed handgun — a jump of 1.73 million in just a year, according to new research that says women and black Americans are among the most eager to sign up. More than 6 percent of the adult population in the U.S. now has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. (Emphasis added.)
He’s a pacifist – what’s he gonna DO about it?
And after a few beers I’ll get a bit harsh w/o apologies – are you by chance being a bit co-dependent here? Is there maybe a deeper issue here that a “short, sixtyish, fat cancer survivor” might want to bend to someone else’s will a bit too much?
And for comparison, I’m a 6’7″, 280 lb ex cop and used to be a brown belt in Aikido, and I *always* have a gun on me…. my life is too damn important to risk winning a fight with whatever violent/crazy that I might cross paths with.
One or both of you need to grow up and come to grips with what your real problems are…
Let me just add that this ongoing discussion I’ve been having with DH is very theological. He truly believes that Jesus wants us to die rather than to defend ourselves with violence. Now, I’m willing to be a true martyr if necessary (not going out looking for it, myself), but I certainly don’t want to die at the hands of a home invader or a mugger. Your comments here are providing motivation for me to brace myself for another round of discussion with him.
My own attitude echoes that of the old Quaker in the story: “Friend, I advise thee to move. I would not hurt thee for the world, but thee are standing where I am about to shoot.”
@LBS — Peter Grant is who we need in this discussion, or James Wesley, Rawles. When religion makes an appearance, I have to step aside as unqualified to speak (I hear you cheering, back there in the back pew, hush).
Jesus told his disciples to arm themselves:
Luke 22:35-38New International Version (NIV)
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’[a]; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.
LBS, I had to shoot a man to save my life about 30 years ago. Here is the story: http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/?page_id=846
I made several mistakes in the process, but I believe without question that if I had not had a gun… or had not used it, I would have died that night. And just pointing the gun at him was no help… his last words to me were, “You won’t shoot me.”
And then I did.
Completely his choice – and his responsibility.
LBS, I’m extremely skeptical that DH will ever change. Religion can be interpreted all kinds of ways, as we all know (the Swiss Guards at The Vatican, for example, didn’t get the same message). I personally think your approach is extremely reasonable. At some point you will have to make a choice, and you may face opposition even bordering on sabotage if you decide to assume responsibility for your own defense. An uncomfortable fact for everyone is that society won’t wait for us do things at our leisure. Great Quaker story, BTW 🙂
Cold hearted bastard response: Let the women and husband die or be injured. It improves the gene pool by removing the mentally and spiritually unfit, and serves as a negative example to others. No amount of white-knighting and such is necessary or good here. In the moral triage she gets a DNR card on the front of her file. Either that or she’s an attention seeking troll.
Ask him to explain Luke 22:36. I’m curious what kind of mental contortions he’ll go through trying to make the Bible fit his theology.
MamaLiberty, I have read your story and browsed your website. It’s reassuring to me that most Second Amendment advocates stress education, training, and non-aggression. So many people on the other side think that our country will be overrun with untrained lunatics armed with machine guns, ready to blast away at anything that moves. On the other hand, I read articles and watch videos in which the main concerns are safety and consideration of others’ lives. Thanks for your work and for your personal example.
You have made your choice. Rather, you have let your husband choose for you. Clearly, there’s nothing further to discuss. Until those terms change, discussion on the topic is fruitless.
Well, my theology is pretty rusty. 30 years ago, I’d’ve had a better argument to lay out. I suspect DH is misinterpreting Matthew 5:39, and perhaps, in general overdoing a desire to emulate Christ, especially in the area of self-sacrifice. The argument against this is something of a knife edge, since it can easily be tilted the other way, but it can be explained in terms of stewardship. Life is a gift of God, and it is therefore the duty of the Christian to preserve it. This means your life. Or, reflexively, for each of us, our own lives. No, it isn’t an admonition to always value one’s own life over that of others’, but neither does it always go the other way.
I haven’t read anything on the subject by Rawles, so I can’t speak to that, but another resource could be Armed Lutheran.
Unfortunately, in the area of religion, there’s a lot of possible interpretations, depending upon what one chooses to emphasize. Perhaps the most succinct statement in favor of self defense would be that God did not put us on this earth just to roll over in the face of evil.
If DH is going by Matthew 5:39 (http://biblehub.com/matthew/5-39.htm), indeed there are a lot of possible interpretations.
One I’ve heard (related to that Wikipedia page) is that turning the other cheek was an insult, specifically addressed to authorities or “superior” classes, since they were the ones who used cheek slaps against ordinary folk. Yes, it was non-violent, but it was also resistance, in that it was saying to one’s “betters,” “Hey, I can take it and you can’t provoke me.” Thus it didn’t really apply to criminal aggressors.
If DH is going by Matthew, I agree he also needs to reconcile that with Luke 22:36 — sell your cloak and buy a sword.
I’m no bible scholar, though, and of course anybody can interpret the simplest biblical passages in the most complicated ways. I’ll call this thread to the attention of Commentariat member Dana. He’s devoutly religious and knows his bible well. Hope he’s not too busy to chime in.
Use a gun, shoot your attacker, then tell idiot husband that the attacker is just taking a LONG nap.
The talk about non-lethal self-defense methods reminds me of when I was in my 20s in California. At the time there was growing violence and fear and all kinds of “self-defense for women” classes and suchlike.
At the time, I had an office down the hall from a company that provided miscellaneous and somewhat mysterious security services. The owner had me show him some of the self-defense tricks I’d learned, and OMG, what a reality check! Even though I was young and healthy and vigorous, he successfully countered my new tricks every time, in seconds.
They were things like making a fist with your keys threaded between your fingers and going for the bad guy’s eyes or nose. Ha. That might be better than zero in a desperate situation, but it was less than zero around somebody who knew what he was doing.
Pound-for-pound, men have about twice the upper body strength women have, too. I resolved to avoid ever getting within arm’s length of somebody who had bad intentions toward me.
” Until those terms change, discussion on the topic is fruitless.”
On the contrary, LBS has made it clear she’s finding the discussion fruitful. And so am I. Seems to me lots of us are finding lots of value in this discussion.
Herschel Smith writes, “God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries. Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them. God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse. He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls. God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers.”
KenK: So sorry to disappoint you, but I am neither a troll, an idiot, nor a loser in the gene pool. However, I am a Christian, so feel free to smack me on my left cheek, too. Have a nice day, and I’ll be praying for you.
Howdy: On the contrary, I have not made my choice on what to do. I asked for input from all you good people because the status quo has become intolerable, and I need to change my tactics.
And I do appreciate all the comments. I’m beginning to get some really good ideas on how to proceed.
For those who want the long version of RG’s quotation:
I might actually read that whole thing myself, at some point. 🙂 (And, if I get really ambitious, follow some links from it too.)
There are many posts/essays at Herschel Smith’s The Captains Journal that are relevant to this conversation. I’ve read many of them and he is very consistent in his faith, his knowledge and his conviction in the correctness of armed self defense. I highly recommend reading his writings in your search for your own answers and peace of mind.
“Either that or she’s an attention seeking troll.” KenK, your comment comes so perilously close to name-calling that I came perilously close to deleting it. Please watch your language. Differences of opinion — fine. Insults aren’t tolerated.
The one argument that no one has made yet is the one about it being easier to ask for forgiveness afterwards that asking for permission beforehand.
No matter what, you still have to sleep with yourself every night, so do what you can to get the most restful sleep you can. Every couple has a secret or two they keep from each other, this could be yours.
I’m happy to chime in, although in the paucity of my own present spiritual condition I can comment intellectually only as a scribe, and not as one with any actual spiritual authority to teach.
“Please understand, I never had a secret chart to get me to the heart of this or any other matter.”
And, of course, there’s quite a bit of disagreement across greater Christendom as a whole with regard to the issue of pacifism and non-violence vs. just war and self-defense.
But it seems to me that the first and primary crux of the issue is whether one is (a) Sacrificing oneself in the service of God’s ideals, or (b) Sacrificing others in the service of one’s own ideals.
There’s tremendous precedent and spiritual power in option (a) when done properly by the spiritually mature, and there are so many examples of this “done right” that I don’t know where to begin. I’d personally place the Anabaptists coming from the Radical Reformation on the end of the spectrum most opposed to the use of force. From this tradition, the tale of Dirk Willems in the Martyr’s Mirror is probably the prime example. To this day, military service would be typically be incompatible with membership in an Anabaptist denomination, or at least in one that actually sticks to their roots.
Orthodoxy (IMHO) also seems to favor getting oneself killed vs. killing others. The observant would take note and are supposed to read daily of the saints and martyrs celebrated that day but also pray that the Lord have mercy on the Christ-loving (emphasis added) navies, armies and police; and that the Lord protect their power with peace (emphasis added) but subdue under their feet every enemy and foe. This seems to me to mesh with the notion that it’s acceptable to be armed, but the point of that is to promote peace. Also note that the Holy Martyrs still get prime billing and are celebrated, whereas the acceptability of Christ-loving armed peace-keepers are an afterthought.
Here’s another account from Richard Wurmbrand supporting that that definitely runs along more sacrificial lines.
When we get to Just war theory there’s more support for violence and/or self-defense, but while that’s got some roots in Augustine, it’s really developed by Aquinas which is after the East-West Schism. So that seems to be more of a Roman Catholic innovation that then got inherited by the Protestants, but then in turn got completely rejected by the Radical Reformation.
I’d say that comparing the stories of the more well-known and better documented Junipero Serra with the lesser known Juvenaly of Alaska and Peter the Aleut illustrates some pretty sharp contrasts, even when you factor in a little more historical ambiguity with regard to what actually happened.
Then you’ve got the American Warvangelicals.
So it seems to me that somewhere along this spectrum that option (a) [IMHO, good] of sacrificing oneself in the service of God’s ideals has given way to option (b) [IMHO, bad] of sacrificing others in the service of one’s own ideals by the time we get to the Warvangelicals.
And you could just keep going. Islam. Communism. Democide. It’s the ultimate end-point of option (b).
So now a bit of scripture has already been brought up. There’s definite tension between Luke 22:35-38 and Matthew 5:39.
But I’m going to go to Psalm 51:17 and Phillipians 2:7 where it is written that “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” and that Christ “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”
So my reading of these passages is that they get at the root cause of how we go wrong (including myself!!!!) when we (fraudulently) in our pride and arrogance deem ourselves fit to “lead” and “teach” others. The person who gets those passages right (and I can’t claim to myself) is probably going to do a better job along this spectrum than someone who gets those wrong. So while I can articulate intellectually what I think is right, I can’t claim that I’d have the moral courage myself to do it.
I’d quote the following to describe the LBS/DH relationship: “It’s hard to hold the hand of anyone who is reaching for the sky just to surrender…Like any dealer he was watching for the card that is so high and wild he’ll never need to deal another…He was just some Joseph looking for a manger.”
So in these relationships and debates, who and/or what is (hypothetically) being sacrificed, and why, and to whom?
And that sacrifice is going to be somewhere along the spectrum I’ve described, and the the closer it is to (a) the healthier it is, and the closer it is to (b) the sicker it is. And finding where it falls on that spectrum has less to do with the tension between Luke 22:35-38 and Matthew 5:39 and more to do with the level of spiritual maturity exhibited by LBS/DH with regard to Psalm 51:17 and Phillipians 2:7.
And again, I can chime in intellectually only as a scribe, and not as one with any actual spiritual authority to teach. I’d suggest a genuine Hesychastic Monk for that, but humility eschews publicity, so it’s the student’s job to find such a teacher, not the other way ’round.
LBS – I don’t know how much of this commentary you’re going to tell DH, if he’s going to read it, or if he knows you engage in it. But some folks here (myself included) do not see Jesus – or religion itself – as a factor in a life-or-death situation.
It’s ironic to me that, at this time in history, DH lies at the exact opposite pole of radical Islamists who understand their religion as being a _major_ factor in life-or-death; one believes he should never engage in killing, the other believes killing is the only answer to redeem his world from “infidels.”
Life-or-death choice was around long before religion (of any sort) came into existence. Religion was merely a way of trying to understand life’s variables (including death), and it got out of hand when one person or group of people tried to tell _everyone_ what to believe, and how to act. (Intentionally or not, benignly or not, this is what DH is trying to do to you, as you know.)
A sincere belief is not a fault in itself *except* when it becomes immovable. To _never_ question one’s premises in the face of real situations is as dangerous a position, and often more so to others, than to hold no beliefs at all. Real time (reality) is the only time we have to put one’s position to the test; if it produces contradictions (such as, would DH prefer you [or himself] dead or raped rather than fight), then it’s time to question our beliefs.
As Claire says: “The great thing about a gun is that merely the sight of a gun in the hands of a person who seems ready and able to use it ends most encounters.”
I have a couple of friends who say they could not pull the trigger on another human being even if their life was in danger. To these people I have advised to get a non-functioning gun to carry. If it does not deter him, at least he will not leave with a viable weapon to kill others.
Did I read you right? “he’s willing to sacrifice me for his ideals, but I don’t really want to fight about it” Do you really want to be with a man who would sacrfice you on the altar of his ideology? Unlike Rustyguner I have an extreme antipathy to pacificsts.
“But it seems to me that the first and primary crux of the issue is whether one is (a) Sacrificing oneself in the service of God’s ideals, or (b) Sacrificing others in the service of one’s own ideals.”
I don’t believe showing an inoperable gun is a good move. Any experienced criminal will know how to read people and will be able to tell that the person holding the gun doesn’t know what to do with it and doesn’t have the will to use it. The mistake made by ML’s assailant was just the opposite kind; he thought she wouldn’t use it and she did.
If I were a crook, I’d be more afraid of a nervous Nellie with their finger on the trigger than a calm guy. Still, better to show something rather than just stand there and get robbed/beaten/killed.
Get a shotgun and load it with Rock salt or #9 birdshot. Go for the legs, but don’t worry about it too much. Rock salt is probably best, because it is light (so the recoil will be less). Usually just the noise from one shot blast will cause all but hardened men to flee.
When I was in my teens, we had a real problem with trespassers. I kept my double barrel shotgun with a shell with no shot (just noise) and the other with #8 shot. Since it had a single trigger, there was no problem making an accident. I had to shoot the “no shot” shell a couple of times, but never the #8 shot.
If they really want you, then they can probably figure out how to do it. But most will move to easier pickings.
Thank you Dana.
If you are strung up for refusing to shut up about Jesus as Christ, refusing to submit to the tyranny of the areligious or the followers of another religion (but I repeat myself) then the LORD has a word for you that goes about like this; well done, my good and faithful servant. Dana’s choice a.
If you die at the hands of some assailant then you are dying to validate that man’s religion and apparently your own ignorance of Jesus. Jesus was not a pacifist hippy. Pacifist hippies don’t seek to be beaten, whipped, bloodied unrecognizable, and tortured to death for those that they love. If your plan is to roll over and die, without a fight, because He who came to save all mankind did, then you will sadly find out, that that job was already taken. You are not a lamb. Be a man. There is nothing left to die for except to tell the world that He came. So yes, fight an assailant to the death for the opportunity to spread the gospel. Let the demon possessed kill me? Pffft.
I read Herschel Smith every day. Don’t always agree but the man is a scholar, when he is not being sarcastic at .gov “officials” that is.
You have no idea of the menace you face. I’ll spare Miss Claire the aggravation of placing it here. Perhaps, some coroner’s reports would enlighten. Get the ones on home entry by multiple assailants. Lovely reading.
The natural law of G-d cannot be suspended by men. Who’s teaching these “christians”? Could it be the money changers again, still?
@Fini: Prosecutors and courts react in funny ways to “creative” self-defense strategies, it is far better to seek legal advice in your state of residence before using anything other than bog-standard firearms and ammunition.
Do not, do not, do not counsel anyone to “shoot to wound”. You shoot to stop the attack, anything else can carry you beyond the boundaries of self-defense into felonious assault. In addition, you are helping to set legal precedents that make it tougher for everyone else, like the cop who shoots the gun out of the perp’s hand. Every legal proceeding for a defensive shooting after that has to contend with the question of why lethal force was necessary when shooting to disarm was an option.
Dana! Wow! It’ll take me a long while to look up all the links you’ve posted. I think I’ve got a lot of material as the basis of some solid discussion. Thanks.
First, I think I’ll bring up the matter of basic safety precautions and home security, to make sure we are avoiding dangerous situations as much as possible.
@LBS — And that’s the best place to start. Defense, at home, should be layered. The gun is the court of last resort.
Things you can do to make yourself a harder target: Plant thorny bushes under windows to make breakins as uncomfortable as possible for a burglar. Consider burglar bars, at least for bedroom windows. Reinforce the hinges and strike plates of exterior doors, and if they are wood, replace with steel. There are kits available to make your doors very kick-resistant. Install locking bars like the Katy Bar. Install exterior motion-sensor lighting and perhaps even cameras.
Jeff Cooper once wrote on the subject of defensive architecture, and while most of his ideas apply to new construction, one in particular makes a lot of sense for existing structures.
In many homes, particularly the ubiquitous ranch-style dwelling, the bedrooms are at one end of the house off a common hallway. At the end of this hallway, a steel gate is installed, securely bolted into studs, with a twin-cylinder deadbolt lock. You sleep with the key around your neck.
The rationale is this: crimes which involve the actor coming into contact with a homeowner fall into a limited set of categories. There’s the surprised burglar, where he’s already there when you arrive, the “honey, I hear a noise” scenario, and scariest of all is waking up to a stranger at your bedside. That last one limits your action the most, and is hardest to respond to.
There is no practical, affordable way to prevent somebody motivated from reaching you in your bed, but you can make it impossible for him to do so quickly or silently.
You can buy yourself time to call the police or activate a panic button, but if he wants through, he will eventually get through. If the cops aren’t there by that time, you’re really going to want that gun.
You have smoke detectors, right? Wear your seat belts? Have a fire extinguisher or two? Life jackets on a boat? As Mas Ayoob says, a firearm is just another piece of safety equipment. In the case of a gun it’s what you need until the police show up WITH THEIR GUNS. Ask hubby if you should avoid calling the cops because THEY might shoot YOUR attacker. If he really hates violence that seems like the only consistent attitude. Ask if he is only willing to sanction violence in his behalf by strangers, but not by the woman who loves and is loved by him.
More on blade work:http://www.vice.com/read/knife-fighting-tom-usher?utm_source=vicefbus
I am certainly not a theologian, but at my church recently we had a study on the Ten Commandments, and some of the discussion on “Thou shall not murder” may be helpful here.
In Martin Luther’s Large Catechism, he says “…this commandment is violated not only when a person actually does evil, but also when he fails to do good to his neighbor, or, though he has the opportunity, fails to prevent, protect, and save him from suffering bodily harm or injury.”
DH may be unconsciously avoiding weapons because it would force him to act in the case of an aggressor, and he does not want to. Not having the means to act lifts (for him, perhaps) the responsibility from him, and places it solely on God.
Regardless, he is duty-bound by the commandment to protect those in his care, and even in his surroundings even if not immediately under his care, i.e. neighbors or passersby.
Also, there is the elaboration of the commandment in Exodus 22:2-3: “If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him.” You can defend yourself and your home with lethal force if someone breaks in in the middle of the night, but not during the day (with caveats. See an explanation of the daylight issue here: “In the daytime, it is assumed that the intention of the intruder can be discerned. If he is a thief, he may not be killed by the defendant. However, if the intruder is there to commit a different crime—assault, murder, kidnapping, rape, etc.—different laws/rules would apply. Though the crime of theft is not worthy of death, kidnapping was worthy of death (Exodus 21:16, Deut. 24:7) as was murder. “ http://www.biblicalselfdefense.com/ In fact, I would read the whole site)
So using the commandment not to murder as a reason not to defend oneself or one’s loved ones is not a defensible argument (no pun intended).
A.G. (and LBS) – Maybe “I’ll See Your Six” will explain the bladework better. 🙂
I just leave my place a mess. If anyone breaks in, by the time they’ve made it to the bedroom door, they’ll have tripped over so much crap, and made so much noise, I’ll be waiting with the .45. (No, I’m not married – why do you ask?)
Thanks, Jed; I feel better now 🙂
LBS, DH seems very content to place all responsibility in the hands of God (or Satan, you might mention) and sees no reason to disturb himself by changing. After all, nothing has happened yet. Hoping that someone else will change in the way we want them to has, in my experience, about the same likelihood of success as winning the lottery. My – hopefully wrong – expectations are that you will beat your head against a wall talking yourself almost to death and then take some practical passive security steps which DH will tolerate, perhaps while rolling his eyes, to keep the peace. Any steps for active defense, such as buying a firearm, will never be agreed to.
So many things wrong,so many extreme conjectures here.
For starters,somehow he made it to 60 without shooting somebody,as well the great majority of people.
Why not a carbon fiber cane? That will take out your average opportunist tweaker idiot.
Where are the GSD and Rottwieller,et all? I know for a fact both my untrained defense dogs will attack sleazoids,they have tried to on a couple occasions now.Your average sleazoid isnt about to find out either,they will move on.Didnt see a single dog mentioned here,a 24/7 roving security team….Come on people,wake up!
Bottom line,a lot can be done without a gun.From a gun owner.Nobody should go against their beliefs and get a gun when it just isnt in your radar,its useless for that person.
This has been a great and thought provoking thread that I missed earlier. I’ve found that owning guns and having a concealed carry permit hasn’t turned me into any kind of badass old broad. At the concealed carry class, the instructor pounded and pounded that you only use potentially lethal force when 1) you believe you are in imminent mortal danger AND 2) you have no means of escape. As a 65 year old woman, 5’2″ and slightly mobility impaired, I doubt that I could out fight or out run anything more dangerous than a 10 year old girl.
I think of situations in recent shootings. Is any pacifist glad that 50 nightclub goers, not bothering anyone, were unable to defend themselves and are dead? Are thy martyrs? If so, to what cause? It’s unknown if any or all were Christian, so maybe not martyrs for Christ. Most appear to have been gay or latino. Martyrs to gay rights and immigration matters? What glory to God did their deaths produce?
And what about 20 children and 6 teachers dead in an elementary school. Is it good pacifism that they were defenseless? What were they martyred to? Again, what glory to God did their deaths serve. In my opinion, when pacifism results in evil, then the pacifist shares the guilt for the outcome.
If he loved you, he would place your safety and well being above all else instead of worrying that you might kill some scumbag that attacks you … He’d be rooting for you instead of worrying that some thug might get what he had coming to him.
I say dump the bum. If he doesn’t place your safety above his demented “principles,” he’s not worth having.
Then go buy a gun(s) and get some training so you can defend yourself.
He’s nuts … Lose him.
My point exactly in my other comments. A man who would sacrifice his woman by insisting that she refuse to exercise the MOST fundamental human right (defense of one’s own life). DOES NOT DESERVE THE WOMAN’S TIME, ATTENTION, AFFECTION, OR LOYALTY.
Leave the jerk, buy a gun, get some training and find a real man to replace the current libtard pussy you’re wasting your life on. How’s THAT for extreme antipathy?
I despise people who, because they are too afraid to take any responsibility for their own defense, assert that a woman who is raped, tortured, and murdered because she is defenseless is somehow, in some TWISTED, DEMENTED way, “morally superior” to the woman who pulls out her Glock and blows away her would be rapist/torturer/murderer.
People like that certainly have the right to chose to be (stupid) victims themselves, but NOBODY has the right to force, browbeat, guilt, or otherwise intimidate anyone else into behaving stupidly and sacrificing themselves as a result.
To me, someone who uses another’s love for them to manipulate them into being defenseless (or using political power to do it) is AT LEAST as evil as the perp who would harm them (maybe worse … I still debate that with myself)_
Your techniques may have been acceptable many decades ago, although it would have depended on the state/county/city to a non-trivial degree.
Now, shooting in a deliberately non-lethal fashion (shooting to wound, for instance) will be charged as a felony. Shooting a gun is considered to be lethal force, and since you obviously were not in fear for your (or others) life, you have no business firing it. WARNING SHOTS ARE NOT LEGAL (no matter what that **** Biden says).
BTW, the suggestion to leave your kitchen knives in one of those big wooden blocks on the kitchen counter for self-defense is very poor. Better to hide them in a locking drawer. If you are in the kitchen, the odds are it will be unlocked for your use.
However, it is common for those entering illegally to first go to the kitchen to arm themselves with one of those knives. This is done so if they get caught entering or leaving the property, they won’t get hit with an armed charge, as that can be a significant enhancement in legal penalties. Try not to provide weapons to your attackers!
If you do decide to get a gun, work on carrying it in the home. Try to avoid the use of off-body carry (purses and other types of bags/containers). If bad people kick in your door, what are the odds that you have to get past them to access your gun that you store in the bedroom? In a holster on your body is the most secure place for it, other than in a large safe, but on you makes you safer, which is the reason for owning it in the first place. Keeping the gun “safe” is not very practical.
The problem with DH is that his pacifism is entirely, or perhaps only part of, a belief system. According to a recent study, we are hard-wired for a belief system. The definition of that is: “religion”. No facts are needed to support any part of a belief system, so logic is not often found to be involved. It is almost entirely emotionally based. This is why those on the “gun-control/people-control/anti-self defense/ side of this debate rarely change their stance on the subject. How often do you hear of someone changing their religion? Same thing.
I find this passage most instructive: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+3:14&version=NIV
Consider all the things not said.
I disagree. pacifism is a natural response, but is another term for laziness. Your husband is not virtuous. He just wants to be lazy and believe he is high-minded. Regardless of the weapon you chose, you must dedicate training time so you are proficient & MENTALLY capable of responding. I also suggest you add something disorienting to your bag of tricks , like loud noise or flash devices.
Best of luck as you seek your best weapon, be it a club, a sock of nickels, a knife, an arrow or a gun.
LBS, while you are deciding what you will do about your own self-defense, please remind your husband that government is simply the legal monopolization of force, and that, as a pacifist, he should not participate in deciding who will exercise that force and under what circumstances. Therefore, he should refrain from voting.
If he’s been voting all these years, then his ‘pacifism’ is situational. He’s already engaged in violence against many of his fellow citizens with every vote. What, after all, is the moral difference between violently defending yourself, and voting for a county sheriff or a city council that will send heavily armed police or deputies out, with body armor no less, to violently defend you?
If you can’t change his mind about your own self-defense, then at least, please challenge him to truly live his pacifism and withdraw from the voting process.
I wish I had an easy answer for you. I don’t. I will echo what some others have said: Pacifism is a moral choice. It’s not one I could make, but I respect your husband’s choice. But pacifism is the refusal to use force or coercion to harm another. In his insistence that you do not defend yourself, he is violating his own rules, even if he does not see it that way. It would be the same as if he were to to freely commit to a religious conversion, then insist that you make the same conversion (which, unfortunately, is the cause of many marriages ending).
I don’t know how he reached this decision. I do know that many forswear violence out of fear–fear of the violence they perceive in themselves, fear of “what they might do” if they had a weapon, fear of what “the weapon might make them do”. I do not know if his pacifism is really “passivism”, the idea that the refusal to take action absolves him of the consequences.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but you might want to look at both of you joining a martial arts class. Aikido comes to mind first, because it’s based in non-aggression. The classes aren’t for you or your self-defense so much as they are for him. All martial arts teach some basics like how to fall, and how to use an aggressor’s strength against them. Your husband needs to learn that their are options to being passive in the face of danger. It won’t hurt him (or you) to see you able to turn an attack. He might enjoy himself, and he can get a little exercise, which never hurts a cancer survivor anyway. It might get him to a point where he sees the value of knowing how to defend oneself, and help him see the difference between non-aggression and pacifism.
As for you, the classes won’t hurt, and may actually provide a means to defend yourself against a casual attacker as well as the mindset needed for it, but a fighting off a serious attack requires years and years of training, or proficiency with a firearm. I don’t know how you’re going to do that with his current state of mind,which is why I suggest the martial arts classes for him.
These are steps that he needs to take to show you that he loves you at least as much as he loves himself, because denying you the means to protect yourself (and children/grandchildren, etc) is extraordinarily selfish and controlling.
I wish you luck.
Re- does Christianity mean you can’t defend yourself?
Check out Kathy Jackson’s discussion of this topic in her book (and I think she put this part on her site/blog, too) “The Cornered Cat”
Each Christian must decide for himself/herself how to interpret scripture and the Gospels. I’ve never had the same degree of difficulty as your DH in justifying self-defense, but found Kathy Jackson’s thoughts to be very helpful nontheless.
In a nutshell, consider the passage where Jesus is telling the disciples to “turn the other cheek” (going by memory here so forgive minor errors). Some use this as a “see, you can’t defend yourself” thing. Consider the context of the passage though, Jesus is talking about how you are to take an insult, not a deadly attack. After all, the apostles carried swords for good reason in those days!
Well, this thread has continued even after moving to the new website!
One clarification: I am the cancer survivor, not my husband. He is in remarkably good shape for his age.
Second clarification: I really don’t think his attitude is from lack of courage or lack of love. He’s visited many dangerous places for charitable purposes or on short-term missionary trips, including communist and Islamic countries. He just doesn’t think anything bad is going to happen – here at home, anyway. He knows that he might not come home from one of those trips one day. We’re prepared for that contingency. And he doesn’t insist that I go to those dangerous foreign places.
There’s an interesting new update, which I will address in another comment.
Update: DH and I drove to church separately yesterday (I decided to sleep in and go to late service), and I met up with some friends on the way out. The conversation drifted around to the “extreme pacifist” topic, and I vented my frustrations. They expressed their support of my view, they said that our small group needed to have a conversation on the topic, and the wife suggested that she and I should get together at the shooting range to learn to shoot! Things are looking up.
On the home front, I have broached the subject of home security. He agrees that we need to make sure the house is locked up with the security lights on every night (easy stuff first, right?). I’m going to bring up the possibility of changing the locks, installing a burglar alarm, and maybe having motion-detector lights. Sometime, I’m going to talk about what forms of self-defense he would approve. Air gun? Baseball bat? Quarterstaff? Pepper spray? Noisemakers? Bean bags? We’ll see. (Hmm. This could be fun!)
LBS — Thanks for the updates. That’s great news about your conversations with your church friends and your husband.