A “Civilized” Society?

You may remember Brigid’s essay about a cowboy’s view of today’s society that I linked to last week. Well, it got me thinking: we pride ourselves as being a civilized people, living in a civilized society. But do we really? Is our society really civilized?

In our society, violence is viewed as evil and barbaric. While this view does seem to take the moral high ground (and I will be the first to agree that violence against the helpless and the innocent is indeed evil), it has, whether by accident or design, cast too wide a net.

All forms of violence have become labeled as barbaric, and as such are actively discouraged by our leaders. Sadly, this label of barbarism also includes self-defense. Many areas of the country have strict limits as to what circumstances warrant the use of violence in a self-defense situation as well as restrictions on what tools can and cannot be used in a self-defense situation. Some locations and jurisdictions have even barred the use of effective self-defense tools altogether.

While these laws were (supposedly) created to keep law-abiding citizens safe from criminals, what the politicians fail (perhaps deliberately) to realize is that, while law-abiding citizens will follow the laws, criminals will not. That is, after all, the very definition of a criminal: one who breaks the law. If a criminal is going to kill someone, or rob them, or rape them, then he’s also going to ignore the laws that forbid the carrying or possession of weapons.

Just look at history. Nearly every mass-shooting in our country’s history has happened at a school, a shopping mall, or a similar location that has – whether by law, corporate policy, or both – have been designated a “gun-free zone.” (Before anyone comments on the Ft. Hood incident, U.S. Military regulations prohibit soldiers, with the exception of Military Policemen, from carrying loaded weapons on-base.) Conversely, how many mass-shootings have occurred at a gun show or policeman’s convention, where everyone has easy access to defensive weaponry?

And in many cases, the punishment for using – or sometimes merely possessing – an adequate self-defense tool, far outstrip the penalties for more serious crimes. Take California, where the minimum penalty established by law for owning, but not using, an “assault weapon” (a fictional category of weapons created by politicians) is three years in prison, while the minimum penalty for raping a woman police officer is six months in prison. Hardly seems fair, does it?

Whether by accident or design, our rulers have largely rendered us, the law-abiding citizens, defenseless from the criminal element of society and made us reliant on the government for protection.

We live in a society where the strong actively prey on the weak with the silent permission of their rulers. Can such a society really be considered “civilized”?

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