Guns are no longer the last line of defense, have they become the first?

Podcast Episode 111721
Published on November 17th, 2021

In this episode, I’d like us to consider the position of firearms in modern-day society. Throughout the lifespan of loading up and carrying a loaded firearm in public, the sentiment has always been, use it as a last resort. Throughout the last decade, we have witnessed the use of loaded firearms move closer and closer to the first line of defense. This was memorialized when the couple stood on their lawns during the BLM protest march past their home in {find where}. Welcome to today's show. Today I want to talk about the paradigm shift in society’s changing to a more aggressive stance.

Let’s get this party started, by looking at the old mailbag.

Tony from Indiana starts us off with his question “with all this talk about gun violence, is banning them all the answer?”

Michelle from Arkansas follows up with her question “I keep hearing all this stuff about gun control, and I’m wondering what we can do?”

Mitch from Wyoming has a different opinion with his question “this gun control argument is such bullshit, why can’t we just let it go?”

Debbie from Pennsylvania adds her view with the question “there are too many children getting killed by guns, why can’t something be done?”

Diana from Texas finishes us out today with her question “do you still recommend  the use of a firearm as home defense?”

Great questions to all those who sent them in. If I didn’t get to your question, sorry about that, but don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll touch on this topic again as its really relevant to a requirement for survival.

Before we get after it today, I’d like to make sure that, for those of you who seek peace and harmony, or hep in making sense of life, be sure to check out the Alaskan Ulfhednar podcast at http://AkÚlfhédnar.com. After 30 years of spiritual searching and discovery, I have arrived home. Home to the ideology of of my ancestors. Home of a proud Germanic-Dane heritage. Some good stuff for you there. Also, another second just to give a shout-out for our sponsors and affiliates:

Antennas Direct, Bad Ass Extension Cords, BrandsMart USA, Chewy, Chrome Burner,, MediTac Kits, Power Systems, SunPower, Australian Native T-Shirts, Sharesale, Survival Frog, and of course Google.

Shout out to all of them for supporting the mission here at Chaotic Navigation, we greatly appreciate taking a risk by supporting an “Outlaw” show. Please visit their links on our webpage and show them some love, they, like each of us, needs to pay their peeps.

In the bigger picture of things, to get a good idea of what we are talking about, we need the numbers. Alright, so let’s talk about the facts:

Home defense shootings

As defined by the FBI, 38% of all shootings have happened within a residence, however, the survey doesn’t quantify the difference between a home defense, versus a house party gone bad. Obviously the distinction is about as real as you get. The NRA saying that the whole 38% is concerned home owners protecting their property, while the left screams that it’s more toward the bad party.

Public shootings

Most of these shootings are included in the mass shootings section below, however, in a quick survey of the FBI web site, one can find a survey of all gun violence between 2012 - 2021:

  • 60% of shootings were in public space
  • 38% of shootings were in a residence
  • 2% of shootings were in other

Mass shootings

If we consider the trends that have occurred since 1982: 

  • 1982 - 1992 there were 14.
  • 1993 - 2002 there were 19.
  • 2003 - 2012 there were 29.
  • 2013 - 2021 there were 62. A 100% increase over the previous decade.

These statistics are provided from Statista.com. Mass shootings are qualified as 5 or more victims.

Suicide by cop

A study published in 2009, using data from 1998 to 2006, found that among 707 officer involved shootings, Suicide by Cop subjects:

  • Comprised 36% of cases (both attempted and completed suicide by cop) – 51% were killed
  • 95% were male
  • Mean age of 35 years
  • 41% were Caucasian, 26% Hispanic and 16% African American
  • 37% were single
  • 29% had children – 18% of these were currently experiencing issues related to the child (such as child custody and child support issues)
  • 54% were unemployed at the time of the incident
  • 29% did not have housing at the time of the incident
  • 62% had confirmed or probable mental health history
  • 80% were armed – of these 60% possessed a firearm (86% loaded firearm, 7% unloaded, 4% inoperable) and 48% of those with a loaded firearm, fired the weapon; 26% possessed knives
  • 19% feigned or simulated weapon possession – 46% did so by reaching or placing their hand in their waistband
  • 87% of individuals made suicidal communications prior and/or during the incident
  • 36% were under the influence of alcohol
  • Of the 5% Suicide by Cop females9:
    • Mean age of 40 years
    • 50% Caucasian, 25% Hispanic o 42% single
    • 50% had children
    • 100% armed with weapons
    • 50% had a firearm (33% loaded) and 50% had a knife
    • 100% had confirmed or probable mental health history – 67% suffered from depression or other mood disorders

As we review these statistics, the reality is that now we are hearing about mass shootings in schools, and shopping centers, to include a grocery store. Which begs the question, where can we feel safe? Obviously with an attack in a grocery store, there are very few safe havens left in society. However, there is a whole lot of tools left in our toolbox that are “less final” than our firearm to diffuse situations that we see quite often unfold across the streets of our country. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “an armed society is a polite society”, however the legal system has become overwhelmed with the basic parenting skills, that it now finds itself struggling to prosecute these violent offenders. In addition, the overcrowding in prisons due to less “societal damaging” crimes resorts in less and less penalties being assigned to these types of crimes. Finally, we find our last statistic incredibly troubling, as individuals too coward to end their own life, they decide to force a law enforcement officer to do the job for them. This single fact convinces me more and more about the need for more comprehensive mental health care made available BEFORE this type of event occurs.

According to a survey conducted by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, some interesting data points percolate to the top.

Most purported self-defense gun uses are gun uses in escalating arguments, and are both socially undesirable and illegal

We analyzed data from two national random-digit-dial surveys conducted under the auspices of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.  Criminal court judges who read the self-reported accounts of the purported self-defense gun use rated a majority as being illegal, even assuming that the respondent had a permit to own and to carry a gun, and that the respondent had described the event honestly from his own perspective.

Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah.  Gun use in the United States: Results from two national surveys.  Injury Prevention.  2000; 6:263-267.

Firearms are used far more often to intimidate than in self-defense

Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey conducted under the direction of the Harvard Injury Control Center, we examined the extent and nature of offensive gun use.  We found that firearms are used far more often to frighten and intimidate than they are used in self-defense.  All reported cases of criminal gun use, as well as many of the so-called self-defense gun uses, appear to be socially undesirable.

Hemenway, David; Azrael, Deborah.  The relative frequency of offensive and defensive gun use: Results of a national survey.  Violence and Victims.  2000; 15:257-272.

Guns in the home are used more often to intimidate intimates than to thwart crime

Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey conducted under the direction of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, we investigated how and when guns are used in the home.  We found that guns in the home are used more often to frighten intimates than to thwart crime; other weapons are far more commonly used against intruders than are guns.

Azrael, Deborah R; Hemenway, David.  In the safety of your own home: Results from a national survey of gun use at home.  Social Science and Medicine.  2000; 50:285-91.

Adolescents are far more likely to be threatened with a gun than to use one in self-defense

We analyzed data from a telephone survey of 5,800 California adolescents aged 12-17 years, which asked questions about gun threats against and self-defense gun use by these young people.  We found that these young people were far more likely to be threatened with a gun than to use a gun in self-defense, and most of the reported self-defense gun uses were hostile interactions between armed adolescents.  Males, smokers, binge drinkers, those who threatened others and whose parents were less likely to know their whereabouts were more likely both to be threatened with a gun and to use a gun in self-defense.

Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew.  Gun threats against and self-defense gun use by California adolescents.  Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.  2004; 158:395-400.

Criminals who are shot are typically the victims of crime

Using data from a survey of detainees in a Washington D.C. jail, we worked with a prison physician to investigate the circumstances of gunshot wounds to these criminals.

We found that one in four of these detainees had been wounded, in events that appear unrelated to their incarceration.  Most were shot when they were victims of robberies, assaults and crossfires.  Virtually none report being wounded by a “law-abiding citizen.”

May, John P; Hemenway, David. Oen, Roger; Pitts, Khalid R.  When criminals are shot: A survey of Washington DC jail detainees.  Medscape General Medicine.  2000; June 28. www.medscape.com

Few criminals are shot by decent law-abiding citizens

Using data from surveys of detainees in six jails from around the nation, we worked with a prison physician to determine whether criminals seek hospital medical care when they are shot.  Criminals almost always go to the hospital when they are shot.  To believe fully the claims of millions of self-defense gun uses each year would mean believing that decent law-abiding citizens shot hundreds of thousands of criminals.  But the data from emergency departments belie this claim, unless hundreds of thousands of wounded criminals are afraid to seek medical care.  But virtually all criminals who have been shot went to the hospital, and can describe in detail what happened there.

May, John P; Hemenway, David. Oen, Roger; Pitts, Khalid R.  Medical Care Solicitation by Criminals with Gunshot Wound Injuries: A Survey of Washington DC Jail Detainees.  Journal of Trauma.  2000; 48:130-132.

May, John P; Hemenway, David.  Do Criminals Go to the Hospital When They are Shot?  Injury Prevention.  2002; 8:236-238.

Self-defense gun use is rare and not more effective at preventing injury than other protective actions

Victims use guns in less than 1% of contact crimes, and women never use guns to protect themselves against sexual assault (in more than 300 cases).  Victims using a gun were no less likely to be injured after taking protective action than victims using other forms of protective action.  Compared to other protective actions, the National Crime Victimization Surveys provide little evidence that self-defense gun use is uniquely beneficial in reducing the likelihood of injury or property loss.

This article helps provide accurate information concerning self-defense gun use.   It shows that many of the claims about the benefits of gun ownership are largely myths.

Hemenway D, Solnick SJ.  The epidemiology of self-defense gun use: Evidence from the National Crime Victimization Surveys 2007-2011.  Preventive Medicine.  2015; 79: 22-27.

Now, all kidding aside, this is a Harvard study, so it’s definitely leaning more left than I consider gospel. In the defense of the “leaning left” (it pains me greatly to say it) I must admit some of their rhetoric is accurate. The messages being produced across the internet send a pretty confusing message to todays youth. When considering the fact that 1 in 3 teens consider suicide as a method of subduing their perceived woes, the idea that these individuals should be protected from the “glory” that is “Booze, Boobs, and Bang sticks”.

Up first, and yes, it pains me to say this. Are my fellow veterans and guns. The unfortunate reality is that because of their exposure to, most veterans enjoy the use of firearms, especially splattered across YouTube, Instagram, and Tik Tok. The message says that this is the way to be, while not considering the confusing message it sends to developing minds. Add in a little imagination, and high speed, ultra-realistic video games, and poof you’ve got a disaster of epic proportion.

Cool guns. There are tons of gun videos available for viewing in the internet. Many I would mind enjoying myself, however, I know where to draw the line. Usually right about the time I open my wallet.

Hate and division. Since the days of the civil war there has been “hate speech”, and people have gone out of their way to cause division among even the closest of communities. The difference is with mental health issues running rampant, the absorption of the message is much easier when there is less resistance.

Foreign influence. Finally we reach the place where we can look and see where there have been outside forces like the ding-dongs over there in the litter-box of the Middle East, who would love to topple the United States. To date, they have done a real good job at dividing up the population into manageable chunks. A few internet rumors later, and these chunks are now fighting each other, leaving the gate wide open for more attacks.

There is no doubt that there are tons of other pressures being applied on society today that did not exist when we (the 50 something’s) were kids. There are countless organizations pushing a firearm agenda that is not conducive to a healthy society. With the “right wing” beating the public over the heads with their “the only thing to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun” rhetoric. All the while telling their membership that “when they infringe on one right, they’ll be coming for the rest of them soon”, in an effort to incite enough support to keep the legislation out of the hands of voters. Meanwhile, the other side of the scale lies the “left wing” beating the “take them all” drum long enough to take the paint off. This battle for the hearts and minds of registered voters throughout the land has been being waged since the mid eighties, with no end in sight.

So, you may ask yourself, what is the path forward for us, as a country in regards to the possession and use of firearms? We’ll in my humble opinion, and it’s just my opinion, both sides need to give a little. If, indeed, the gun owners are “legal”, then what is the big deal about doing an increased background checks? As far as those left field clowns, just because guns hurt your feelings, they don’t hurt ours, so keep your damn hands off of them.  Herein lies the embroiled debate. Herein lies the frustration. Neither side of this argument will budge. Meanwhile neither side is looking at the real issue, mental health. That is the source of the problems with gun control.

Which does a full circle back to the topic of todays show. How did firearms go from being the last line of defense, to the first line today? Much of the blame lies in the lack of any moderation of mentally unstable individuals getting access to firearms. Combine that with a healthy dose of the loss of reality from video games and anime, and you find that you have a generation of individuals who have a very loose grip on reality. There’s your problem. When you have people receiving mental health care with access to firearms, you have a recipe for disaster. So, for all of us stuck in the middle between the zealots of the NRA, and the flaming liberals, we all need to tell them to shut up and see the problem for what it really is, a mental health issue.

So, while I fully support the ownership and possession of firearms, I think that there is a lot of discussion space between the two major legislature threads being pushed around the internet. While it is perfectly ok to carry a firearm as the last line of defense, it is not ok to use it at the first sign of disagreement. Many talk about the confidence they have when carrying, however, if it is the firearm that provides that confidence, then it’s really bravado, not confidence. Let’s all take a minute to consider some options when it comes to disagreements.

While being physical is not always an option as some may be smaller in statue, and/or have less than or zero hand-to-hand combat skills, the necessity for the physical injustice is not an immediate reason to escalate to the level of firearms.

As always my friends, I am honored and humbled that you have chosen to spend this time listening to me. I deeply appreciate each and every one of you. Being prepared provides each of us with the confidence for successful survival. We mentioned before, and will certainly say again, that survival is a 90% mental task, but that 10% of physical resources is critically important.. By having a confidence and discipline, we can and will survive. Remember to be strong, be safe, and keep your head on a swivel… Peace 

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