Essay: Major L. Caudill, USMC Retired, Makes the Argument that Guns are a Civilizing Factor in Society

“The Gun Is Civilization” by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and
force.  If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of
either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat
of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories,
without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through
persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction and the
only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as
paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason
and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or
employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal
footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a
19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of
drunken guys with baseball bats.

The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a
potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force
equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all
guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a
[armed] mugger to do his job.  That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s
potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative  fiat–it has
no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young,
the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society.
A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society
where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that
otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several
ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior
party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute
lethal  force, watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out
of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force
easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker.
If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as
it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a
force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because
I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced,
only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me
to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with
me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It
removes force from the equation… and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized

By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret.)