“Tools for the Weak”

There is this quote that goes around attributed to American Entertainer Henry Rollins:

“Less Bullets, more brains.  The strong don’t need guns.  Guns are tools of the weak.  If you disagree with me, it’s OK, you’re wrong.”

Hidden in there is a presumption that “strong” = “good” and “weak” = “bad”.

Well, compared to the average violent thug, I am weak.  I am especially weak when it’s “thugs” plural or if the thug or thugs is/are armed whether that’s with a knife, a length of pipe, a bicycle chain, or yes, a gun.

And that’s me,  a big ugly guy who’s reasonably strong for my age and build.  But “age and build” do matter.  No, all the exercise in the world isn’t going to turn me into a world class powerlifter–the genes just aren’t there.  Even at that, it leaves aside my daughter.  5′ 4″ and 105 lbs wringing wet, as the old expression goes.  Other friends of mine range from the downright tiny to one friend who is, yeah a bit of a monster at 6′ 5″. Oh, and one guy who really is a competitive powerlifter.  But even the biggest and strongest is “weak” against a gang or even against one person who is armed.

“Weak” doesn’t mean undeserving of defense against the strong.  Do you really want to tell someone who hasn’t been blessed with a good skeletal frame and a body that responds really well to resistance training “Oh, too bad.  Sucks to be you”?

My friend, the rather slight man, does not deserve to be mugged simply because his mugger is stronger.  The boy in school doesn’t deserve to be bullied, simply because the bullies are more numerous and stronger.  And my daughter does not deserve to be raped, simply because the rapist is stronger.

Yes, guns are tools for the weak.  They are what give the weak a fighting stance against aggressors who are stronger than them.  If you really think that worshiping the strong over the weak is a good thing, I have only one thing to say to you:

Crack open a history book.

If, however, you think that justice demands that the weak, faced with a violent encounter, to return safely to their loved ones then you can’t ask for a better option than to allow them to be armed, to be armed with weapons that do not rely on strength or lifelong dedication in developing skill.

Guns take away the need for strength, for a lifetime of training.  They aren’t a panacea, of course.  They offer a fighting chance, that’s all.  But it’s a chance one wouldn’t have when faced with significantly stronger attackers.  That guns won’t always save you is no more an objection to them than that being killed in a car because debris came through your windshield is a reason for not wearing seatbelts.  They don’t have to be a panacea in order to be a good idea.

Guns are tools for the weak?  Yes.  And thank all the gods that they are.  Because they mean that the strong cannot dominate the weak.  They mean that the weak can hold their heads up and not live in fear that someone stronger might threaten them whether to take what they have or just for the perverse pleasure of doing so.

There’s a reason that the old Colt revolver was called an Equalizer.  As the couplet goes:

God made man short and tall;
Sam Colt made them equal

Or the old advertising jingle:

Be not afraid of any man
No matter what his size
When danger threatens call on me
And I will equalize.

Tools for the weak?

That, sir, is the point.

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19 thoughts on ““Tools for the Weak””

  1. Regarding the whole thing about guns not being a panacea, that general line of argument (“X isn’t perfect, therefor don’t do X”) does seem to be rather common from a certain political outlook.

    Funny how those who hold that outlook never apply it to their preferred “solution” of “more government”, though, in spite of numerous examples of government programs not only failing at its claimed goal, but actually making the situation worse than if no new law/regulation had been created in the first place.

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  2. While Henry Rollins has, as is customary for entertainers, spewed offal out of his pie hole on the presumption that as a “celebrity,” he knows stuff the rest of us need to be told, the reason for an armed populace is a bit more complex than self-defense against a mugger.

    The knowledge that people generally are armed is a deterrent to the would-be predator. He cannot know whether you’re prepared for him. That having been said, if he gets the drop on you, when there’s no one else around to intervene on your behalf, your personal weapon might amount to very little.

    Like a vaccinated or otherwise immunized populace, an armed populace possesses a powerful “network effect.” Other people’s weapons help to defend YOU, especially when you’re reasonably near to those other people and the probability is significant that some of them are armed. Your predator might have the drop on you, but intervention by an armed third party is something he probably can’t counter.

    Of course, this omits mention of the original reason for the Second Amendment, which was to keep governments and politicians aware that the people possess the means of “correcting” them. But as mugging is the subject, let’s pass over that in silence.

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  3. Far be it from me to defend Henry Rollins, but I think you might have missed his (lame) point:

    He doesn’t say “[fewer] guns, more muscles”; he says “[fewer] guns, more brains”. I think he is claiming that guns are tools of the weak-minded, and that instead of arming ourselves we should be teaching thugs to be poets instead, or something. Equally stupid, but slightly different from the “put down the gun and just pump some iron” point of view.

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  4. “The fundamental concept behind gun control is the conviction that a woman, raped and strangled in an alley with her own pantyhose, is morally superior to a woman who shot her would-be rapist with her concealed weapon.”

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  5. “Less Bullets, more brains. The strong don’t need guns. Guns are tools of the weak.”

    Hey, Henry — brains don’t make you strong, they just make you smart. That’s why smart people used their brains to invent guns.

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  6. “Less Bullets, more brains. The strong don’t need guns. Guns are tools of the weak.”

    Hey, Henry — brains don’t make you strong, they just make you smart. That’s why smart people used their brains to invent guns.

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