In response to my "An Open Letter to Hawthorne Police Chief Stephen Port", Barry left a rather poetic comment about why he doesn't want anyone to carry concealed weapons. In part:
If I were to take a live, armed weapon and carry it on my person, in public, it would eat away at my sanity just as if it were emitting lethal radiation. To know that I carried an instrument of sure and certain death on my person, available and ready to be pulled out and used at a moment's notice to possibly kill...a child. A homeless person. An innocent.Lots of other commenters jumped on him, probably for two reasons: they thought his fears were irrational, and they thought the language he used was a bit over the top. I also think Barry's fears are unfounded, but I'm sure that his beliefs are widely shared by a minority of the general population. Many people simpy don't like guns, and wish they'd all go away.
Barry defends himself later on, and has now responded at greater length on his blog, Inn of the Last Home. Apparently, lots of people on other blogs were attacking him, or at least disagreeing with him in a determined and forceful manner.
I would feel uncomfortable carrying a loaded weapon. Very uncomfortable that I would possibly have the means to end a person's life within arm's reach. That doesn't mean I'm going to do it, or would ever be tempted. Just that fact makes me uncomfortable.I understood Barry's fears before, and this later explanation reinforces my earlier comprehension. Barry doesn't trust anyone (except, apparently, for some reason, police officers) and doesn't want anyone to carry lethal force around with them.
I also would feel uncomfortable knowing that anyone on the street, in the theatre, at a restaurant, at the supermarket could be carrying a loaded gun on their person. And here's why - despite training, despite temperament, despite the best of intentions: I don't trust you. That's simply it, I don't trust you. I don't trust a person who is not a licensed law enforcement officer of some kind - someone who, by virtue of their job, I would assume they have proper gun training - to carry a weapon. You may be a great person, love your kids, go to church, would never pull a gun in anger at another person - you may be supremely confident of that fact in your own mind, but I'm not. To me, you would be just as likely to be the one sticking up the fast-food clerk as the one defending him, or - in your possibly untrained and excited state - could be the one who with the best of intentions attempts to intervene but misses and hits someone else. Or you could be the one who gets pissed off at me in traffic and, instead of the flipping me the finger you pop off a few rounds at my back window.
The problem is that it's precisely because of this lack of trust that other people choose to carry weapons. I sure as heck don't trust the people around me either, which is why I want to have means available to defend myself from them. In particular, the very people most likely to hurt me (violent psychos) are the people least likely to be restrained by laws prohibiting concealed carry.
All you have to do is watch the news and you'll see stories every single day about nuts shooting up schools, churches, movie theaters, bus stops, hospitals, work places, &c. That scares the crap out of me when I think about it! The police don't show up to draw chalk outlines until it's all over, but if I were there and I had a gun there might be something I could do. Maybe not, depending on the circumstances, but maybe yes. At least I'd have the best possible chance.
Furthermore -- and more importantly -- my right to carry a weapon does not in any way depend on Barry's comfort level. As I wrote yesterday, the freedom to keep and bear arms is the foundation of liberty. Without the means to exercise physical force it's impossible to be free: you're a slave to anyone who can overpower you. Others can like it or not, but that's morally irrelevant. Those who think like Barry would prefer to live a perfectly safe, perfectly enslaved life than a life filled with both freedom and the risk that inescapably accompanies it.