What are You Afraid of?

There’s this ridiculous argument made by anti-gun-freedom-denier types of the line of “what are you afraid of” about people who choose to be armed for self defense. Implicit is that you have to be afraid or you wouldn’t take the precautions.

Let’s look at that:

  • Why do you have a fire extinguisher?  What are you afraid of?
  • Why do you buckle your seat belt before driving?  What are you afraid of?
  • Why do you look both ways before crossing the street?  What are you afraid of?
  • Why do you clean, disinfect, and bandage wounds?  What are you afraid of?
  • Why do you wash your food before eating it?  What are you afraid of?

In which of these is “What are you afraid of?” a legitimate argument to say that you shouldn’t do the action?  Leaving aside the fact that in some circumstances, being afraid is an entirely rational reaction most of those things aren’t about being afraid, but simply recognizing that there exist bad things that can happen and taking steps to avoid them.

In at least one case the person said “well, if you weren’t afraid of death….”

Well, let’s start with the fact that a lot of my armed friends signed a check to the United States Government “payable for any amount, up to and including my life” and then went places where that was a very real possibility. Hardly something someone “afraid of dying” to the extent that it would trump other things would do.

One doesn’t have to be afraid to prefer one outcome over another. I don’t have to fear chocolate to prefer vanilla. And I don’t have to be afraid of death to prefer life. And I certainly don’t have to be afraid of crime to prefer defense. That a person cannot grasp that speaks volumes about them, and nothing about the people to whom they attach the “what are you afraid of” argument. I suspect they are engaging in what psychologists call projection, either that or in what ordinary people call “lying”–they are well aware that one doesn’t have to be “afraid” to take precautions against bad outcomes, but it is convenient to their attempt to denigrate their opposition to pretend they do.

I am not afraid. I simply prefer some outcomes over others. And I take steps to increase the likelihood of outcomes I prefer and decrease the likelihood of those I do not.

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3 thoughts on “What are You Afraid of?”

  1. Recently, I was watching the new Netflix Lost in Space. Started reasonably promising. Mr. Robinson, attempts to print out a gun. I assume this was because of the sudden presence of alien robots, the new and unknown planet with a thriving and probably extreme ecosystem, or because there would be other desperate humans wandering around. Any of these alone would be valid reasons for a trained military man to have a personal defense weapon. Now, the printer has locked out guns (because settlers on a new and alien world won’t have problems with hyper-wolves), but everyone on the ship has a double doctorate except Will it seems. Make better weapon than pocket knife seems in reach.

    “Ship infested with hostile space eels” would seem to seal the deal for me. After the first one almost drowns the aforementioned Mr. Robinson, and he kills it with a pocket knife, that would be the time to gun up. You take your previously pacifist family aside and talk about the dangers in the new world, and start giving lessons on guns. I’d start with something like “no guns without adults” and “don’t point at anything you don’t want to kill”, but I’m sure Mr. Robinson has more training in that line of things.

    Or not. Seems Mrs. Robinson doesn’t like guns. So, Mr. Robinson is left to find a swarm of space eels with a pocket knife.

    This broke my suspension of disbelief. Well, what I actually thought was “Dude, she’s trying to get you killed.” Which made more sense given the problems in their relationship. Either way, it broke the story for me.

    Later we discover that The Robot has secretly bypassed the security on the printer, and made a gun for Will, which isn’t an irrational thing to do. Unfortunately, Will, who’d done a pretty good job overcoming his fears and “Doing the right thing” until know, is clueless, and hides it under his bed. No doubt, the sociopath, Ms. Smith, will steal it and murder some more people with it.

    So, we’re left with an unknown alien world, with a killer robot (The Robot), filled with exotic and sometimes hostile fauna (space eels), and desperate people (Smith). Even if we give them the premise (the classic crew), and The Robot learns to love and Smith doesn’t murder Mrs. Robinson, we’ve still got space eels, the alien power responsible for The Robot, and other potentially desperate survivors.

    I’ve got no idea what’s in the next episode, and I can’t get back into the idea of it because of the level of stupid the one episode displays.

  2. And this joke is brought to mind:

    A police officer stops an elderly lady for speeding, her asks for her driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. The little old lady gives him the information, along with a concealed pistol permit. Surprised, the officer asks her if she has a weapon on her presently. She tells him she has a .45 in her glovebox. The officer is impressed, and asks if she has any other firearms on her. The little old woman calmly lists the 9mm in her center console and the .38 special in her purse. Shocked, the officer asks her “What are you afraid of ma’am?” Without missing a beat, the woman calmly responds “Not a goddamn thing.”

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