August 07, 2011

The Wages of Progressivism

Mob violencein Wisconsin? The birthplace of modern Progressivism? The state that until recently successfully resisted allowing its own citizens to lawfully carry concealed weapons? Wisconsin indeed, as Bob noted in his post titled "Just One More Reason To Carry A Concealed Weapon."

It would be tempting to observe that Progressivism has been less than a civilizing, positive influence in Wisconsin. Consider that union thugs disrupted the traditional Governor's opening of the Wisconsin State Fair, and the bizarre, Mad Max-like attacks on white fair goers by gangs of rampaging black thugs (oops! I mean: "disaffected youths of color expressing their legitimate grievances against the oppressive radical Tea Party power structure"). Yes it would be easy to say all of that and more, but this post is primarily a reminder of the realities of carrying concealed weapons, a practice that I suspect, given the behavior of unions and certain disaffected youths of colorto say nothing of Democrat politicianswill be much on the minds of rational, responsible residents of Wisconsin these days.

For those who would like to do more in-depth reading on the issues raised in this article, may I be so bold as to suggest a five-part series I wrote entitled "Me? Own A Gun?" The series explores not only the philosophical, but the moral, legal and practical issues in considerable depth. For that series go to these links:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5


The short answer is because evil exists and it can and will attack anyone at any place and time. Evil recognizes no boundaries, respects no persons, no race, no gender, no national origin. Evil exists to destroy, to humiliate, to maim and kill. It cannot be reasoned with or appeased. It must be confronted and obliterated. Anyone taking the links in the first two paragraphs will become acquainted with evil, and if they are wise, will realize that those innocents thrown to the ground and brutally beaten as they were leaving the Wisconsin State Fair certainly didn't expect to be attacked that night, nor did they do anything to provoke those attacks. That's the nature of evil, and evil is particularly likely to manifest itself in crowds, but we'll deal with that shortly.

Another part of the answer is because the police cannot protect you. In fact, the police have no legal duty to protect any given citizen, nor may they be successfully sued for failing to protect any individual. For those interested, the primary US Supreme Court case is Castlerock v. Gonzalez. In that case, the estranged husband of Mrs. Gonzalez kidnapped and killed their three daughters. Despite the fact that Mr. Gonzalez was violating a protection order, and despite the plaintive and repeated pleas of Mrs. Gonzalez over many hours the police did nothing, nothing that is until Mr. Gonzalez attacked the police station, firing a handgun. He was shot and killed by officers. The bodies of his daughters were found in his truck, which was parked nearby.

This might sound outrageous, but is actually quite sane. If any citizen injured by criminals could sue the police for failing to protect them, could any municipality afford a police department? Who would be a policeman knowing that their homes and property, and everything they might own during their lifetime would be forfeit for their failure to protect someone they could not possibly hope to protect?

Most importantly, we must consider the very nature of humanity and its primary imperative, more important even than procreation: The preservation of the self, or self-defense. This is actually the foundation for the positions of those on both sides of the politics of the Second Amendment: those who believe that the fundamental natural right is the right to preserve one's life versus those who recognize no such right, but tend to see individuals as valuable only in their utility to the state.

If you believe that each man must have the right to defend his life, it logically follows that each man must have access to the means to defend that life, for not every man is as large, fast, strong or martially skilled as others. This is particularly so for women who tend to be, on average, substantially smaller and weaker than men. If also follows that the means must not be restricted to only a single type of weapon, but to those weapons most effective and most conveniently carried by any man or woman. Circa 2011, this means the handgun.

If, on the other hand, you recognize no right to self-defense, the mere existence of such convenient weapons is an enormous threat to your view of the world, for they give any mere man or woman the power, literally in their hands, to resist the power of the state. As much as such people crow about their great concern for the welfare of "the people," it is clear that "the people" are only a politically useful abstraction, and that the individuals who make up "the people," have value only to the degree that they fully support the goals of the statist elite. All others are a threat and are the natural prey of the predators created by other statist policies who are, as members of favored victim groups, particularly useful to statists.

In Wisconsin, until recently, those who recognize no right to self-defense held sway. They are very, very angry that their power over the lives of others has been diminished, and they will not surrender that power easily or willingly, as the continuing turmoil in the land of cheese hats so clearly indicates. But do keep in mind the ultimate foundation of the struggle. Those who would deny the right and the means of individuals to maintain their very existence enable and support the kinds of mobs who attacked innocents at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Why carry a concealed weapon? Because it could be necessary at any moment and at any place, and without it, you or those you love could be maimed or killed. It's very much like a fire extinguisher. Most people will live a lifetime without ever having to use a fire extinguisher, but when they need one, they need it immediately, badly and nothing else will do. The same is true of handguns.


Disclaimer: Keep in mind that each state has specific laws with specific language relating to the use of force, and of deadly force. It is always imperative to be intimately familiar with such laws. What follows are the general principles upon which the laws of the several states are based. They are a useful foundation for studying these issues, but again, the final word is found in state law.

There is a word for those who carry concealed weapons because they hope to use them, because they hope to harm and shoot others: criminals. The law abiding who are willing to spend time and money to be thoroughly vetted by the state in order to carry a concealed handgun are among the most law-abiding Americans and are arrested at rates far below the general population. Those whose permits are revoked are commonly less than a single percent of all licensees, and experience revocation primarily for inadvertent technical violations of the law such as accidently carrying their weapon into a prohibited place. No rational man or woman carries a handgun because they are looking for trouble, but because they know that trouble can beat any place and timelooking for them. In fact, those who carry concealed weapons have a responsibility to go out of their way to avoid trouble. Criminals, tyrants and their sycophants relish the idea of harming others. The rational do not. They understand that to kill another is a terrible, life-changing event, something to be avoided at virtually all costs. However, they also understand that to be unprepared, to allow oneself or one's loved ones to be maimed or killed is worse.

Generally speaking, one can use deadly force when there is an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death to oneself or another. The general factors, which must be present for the use of deadly force to be justified, are:

Means: The person or persons liable to be shot must have the meansa gun, knife, make good on their threat.

Opportunity: They must have the opportunity to carry out their threat. They must be close enough and obviously able to carry it out. If they are waving a knife at you from 100 feet away across a river while threatening to kill you, they have neither the means nor the opportunity. If they have a gun, they arguably have both.

Jeopardy: They must be placing you in imminent danger. They must be demonstrating the intention to cause you or another serious bodily injury or death. Again if they are holding a knife from 100 feet across a river, you are in no real jeopardy. However, if they have a rifle, the moment it begins to swing in your direction, there is no doubt that you are in jeopardy.

I would argue that anyone carrying a concealed handgun has a duty to do all that they possibly can to avoid any situation that might turn into a deadly force encounter. If this means that there are certain places or situations that they must avoid, so be it. A large part of avoiding trouble is being aware of your surroundings, of developing situational awareness. Most people are blissfully unaware of what is happening around them; they cannot anticipate or identify impending danger. However, it is the nature of life that the unexpected can occur, and that is why we carry concealed weapons in the first place. This is also why enlightened states have enacted Castle Doctrine laws.


These laws basically allow citizens who are lawfully present in any place or vehicle at the time they are attacked to stand their ground and defend their lives or the lives of others. They have no duty to try to retreat or to run away, and the attacker, not their victim, is presumed to be at fault. In some states, prosecutors actually expect citizens to flee from their own homes when confronted by armed thugs in the middle of the night, and should they dare to defend their lives, they are likely to be prosecuted for killing those who intended to murder them in their sleep. Castle Doctrine laws prevent such perversions of reality and justice. They also prevent those injured or killed in the commission of crimes from suing their intended victims.

Those who don't believe in self-defense have screamed that Castle Doctrine laws will allow citizens to be vigilantes, murdering helpless criminals at will. Like their hysterical warnings about blood running in the streets when citizens are allowed to carry concealed handguns, these situations have also failed to materialize.


Let's take a moment to apply these ideas to the situations facing three citizens at the Wisconsin State Fair. None of these people were expecting trouble, let alone expecting to be placed in a situation where they could be maimed or killed, yet that is precisely what happened to them. Tragically, none of them were apparently armed. They were unprepared to protect themselves or others.

That said let's first examine the psychology of crowds, which is a well-developed field of study. People cloaked by the anonymity of a crowd are often willing to do things they would never consider doing when alone or with a friend or two. This is why gangs of people, gathered informally on the spur of the moment, or as an ongoing criminal enterprise, are so dangerous. Their numbers and the inherent difficulty of defending against them or of identifying individuals emboldens them.
The half-hearted kick delivered to the head of an injured victim by a member of a crowd carried along by the fervor of the moment might very well be the blow that imparts irreversible brain damage or which kills even if the person delivering that kick didn't intend to kill. Human beings are amazingly resilient and amazingly fragile. One blow in the right place can permanently cripple or kill.

In Wisconsin, there appears to have been a clear racial motivation to the attacks: blacks attacking whites unknown to them for no reason other than their race. While those who would deny us all self-defense are often very concerned about racial motivations, race surely meant little or nothing to the victims of their attacks, nor would it make their injuries more or less painful or lasting. While race could be a factor in a decision to use deadly force, it generally is irrelevant.

Let's also keep in mind that anyone using a firearm is responsible for each and every round they fire. We shoot only to stop, never to kill. We shoot because of the overwhelming necessity to stop our attacker(s) from doing what they were doing that gave us the legal justification to shoot in the first place. We shoot only to stop those who must be stopped, not people who present no threat of imminent serious bodily injury or death. If the attacker dies, too bad, but we shoot to stop them, not kill them. This means that the moment they cease their attack, we stop shooting, and if we can then immediately get to cover or another place of safety before calling our attorney and then the police, that's the smart thing to do.

In the practice of shooting to stop, we do not shoot to wound, or fire warning shots. Remember, we are responsible for every round we fire. Any round fired into the air in warning will come down somewhere, perhaps on someone. If you try to shoot someone in the leg, even if you are successful, will that prevent him from pulling the trigger of his handgun or from stabbing you with his knife? You shoot to stop, never to wound. Shooting to wound could even be used against you by an attorney arguing that you doubted your justification to shoot. Why else would you fail to shoot to stop?

This means that if you are justified in shooting another human being (to stop them) you may fire as many rounds as necessary with as large a gun as necessary to stop them, but the moment the threat ends, the shooting stops. If a single round from a .380 handgun will stop your attacker, great. If five rounds from a .45 are required, that's fine too. But remember, when they stop, you stop.

In many ways, the situation at the Wisconsin State Fair was a nightmare scenario for any law-abiding person, but it was more so for those carrying a concealed weapon. Some would be tempted to say that no one, therefore, should carry a concealed weapon, but then you would be placing yourself at the tender mercies of the crowd that injured so many at the Fair. Remember that the police, who were apparently present in some numbers at the Fair, did little or nothing to protect those injured, and apparently did little or nothing to arrest those who caused such carnage after the fact.

SCENARIO #1: Riding your motorcycle, you are pulled from your machine by a gang of 5-10 people who begin to savagely beat you. You have never seen these people before and have had no contact or confrontation with them before the moment they grabbed and began to attack you.

Regardless of your size or physical prowess, you are on the ground, already injured, and under unrelenting attack. By the circumstances and their sheer numbers, your attackers have demonstrated beyond any doubt that they have the means and the opportunity to cause you serious bodily injury or death, and they have already placed you in jeopardy. In fact, your only potential means of avoiding seriously bodily injury or death is a handgun, which can be employed even if you are injured or partially incapacitated.

Shooting two or three might be enough to send the rest fleeing, but you cannot be certain of that and must be prepared to shoot each and every person attacking you. Again, your goal is to stop them, to save your life. When they stop, you stop, but in this situation, you should immediately seek protection from any other potential attackers. The alternative is to place yourself at the mercy of those who have no mercy. Get to a place of safety and call your attorney and then the police.

SCENARIO #2: Driving out of the Fair in your car, you see a crowd of 5-10 people savagely beating someone who is on the ground, absorbing terrible punishment. You have a choice: watch in horror, turn your head and drive away, or intervene. Even if you could call the police, they could not possibly arrive in time to prevent the maiming or death of the victim.

If you choose to intervene, you need not shout warnings, but it would be a great idea to yell something clear and consistent such as "stop hitting him," "don't move," or "stop hitting him or I'll shoot." As they are clearly putting that person in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death, as the next blow could be the blow that inflicts that injury or causes their death, you may shoot to stop the assault. If necessary, you may shoot them in the back. This isn't a prize fight, and as the thugs will observe no rules, you will observe only the rules that apply to the use of deadly force, which do not require you to wait until a killer presents a range-perfect frontal silhouette prior to shooting. Waiting for a such a perfect silhouette might also indicate to a jury that you weren't really engaged in a split-second life or death struggle, but had the time to align potential targets before shooting.

Again, if shooting one of them stops the assault, great. But if not, you shoot at many as necessary to stop the assault.

SCENARIO #3: Waiting behind other vehicles while driving out of the Fair in your car, you are surrounded by a group of 5-10 people who scream racial threats, kick and beat your vehicle and appear to be trying to break in your windows. Your doors are locked and your windows are holdingfor the moment. Are you and your family in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death?

If it is possible for you to immediately drive off, that would be the smart thing to do, even if one or more of the attackers is foolish enough to be in your way at that time. Remember that when behind the wheel of your car, you are in control of a deadly weapona weapon far more dangerous and deadly than any handgun--capable of mowing down everyone in your path.

This situation is somewhat problematic. The moment one of the thugs breaks a window, it would certainly be reasonable to believe that they intend to carry out their express and implied threats. Yes, it's annoying that they are damaging your vehicle, perhaps humiliating you in front of your wife and children, but cars can be repaired and feelings soothed, killing lasts forever. Certainly when they break into the car, and the moment they begin reaching for or striking occupants of the vehicle, the factors for the use of deadly force are present. However, even then you, sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle, unable to easily respond to threats in any direction, are at a distinct tactical disadvantage. The best possible option is using your vehicle to escape, so long as innocents aren't endangered. If any of your attackers find themselves inspecting the tread of your tires from close range, too bad. If not, shoot to stop, not only individuals, but the gang, as necessary. Remember that when they are stopped, you stop. You do not shoot people who are clearly running away or who have clearly stopped placing you or others in jeopardy. Escape to safety and only then call your attorney and then the police.


I've covered only the bare bones of the issues here. Being involved in any shooting surrounded by people is a nightmare. What if you miss and strike an innocent? What if one of your rounds penetrates one of your attackers and hits an innocent? There are an infinite number of what ifs involved in such situations, which is why it is always smartest for anyone carrying a concealed weapon to be so attuned to their surroundings that they avoid potentially dangerous places and situations.

However, even for the most prepared, avoidance or even escape are not always possible. Sometimes, you must be prepared to stand and fight, for if you are not prepared, if you can't fight, you or those you loved may be maimed or killed.

There are certainly those in Wisconsinand elsewherewho will examine the attacks at the State Fair and conclude that it was fortunate that no one there had a handgun, that everyone lacked the means to defend their lives. There are others, and I would assert that these are the citizens who are responsible and rational, who will see these attacks as clear evidence of the wisdom and necessity of being able and prepared to protect our lives and those of our loved ones.

Statists would also oppose a Castle Doctrine law, for it would give too much power to the individual. It would allow honest citizens to kill vicious criminal attackers and avoid being sued when those thugs were transformed in death into virtual saints. If the innocent can do that, the foundation of the statist worldviewthe lives of individuals have value only in direct proportion to their utility to the state; they have no intrinsic valuecrumbles. The law abiding would see the primary provisions of the Castle Doctrine as a logical extension of the right to self-defense.

Evil exists. The non-statist citizens of Wisconsin are now, perhaps, more aware of that never-changing, eternal reality.

Posted by MikeM at August 7, 2011 10:26 PM

Actually victims can and due sue successfully for failure to protect. But only certain groups can sue, women in domestic violence cases for instance.

Though white people attending a state fair are probably not a specially protected group.

Posted by: Federale at August 8, 2011 11:01 AM

I believe I heard somewhere else that Wisconsin's new concealed carry law bans weapons at large events like Summerfest and the Wisconsin State Fair.

Makes sense right, make it a victim rich environment!

Posted by: SSG Fuzzy at August 8, 2011 12:10 PM


Not completely true.

Warren v. District of Columbia
"fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen."

Castle Rock v. Gonzales
"held that enforcement of the restraining order was not mandatory under Colorado law; were a mandate for enforcement to exist, it would not create an individual right to enforcement that could be considered a protected entitlement under the precedent of Board of Regents of State Colleges v. Roth"

Posted by: Einherjar at August 8, 2011 12:16 PM

While it is possible that a given court might find the police liable to protect a given individual if there was a pre-existing special relationship such as a specific police promise to protect someone whereby the police provided officers to act as bodyguards, there is no question that the Supreme Court has ruled that absent such a special relationship, there is no police duty to provide protection.

However, the broader point is that no citizen should rely on the police to protect them. There are far too few police officers and far too many of us. Even the best possible response times--and I'm assuming that you actually have time to call the police and speak with a dispatcher--will be measured in minutes in situations where lives will be lost or saved in seconds. We are responsible for the protection of our own lives and those of our loved ones. Believing otherwise is wishful thinking at best, and most likely a very dangerous delusion.

Posted by: Mike Mc at August 8, 2011 03:45 PM

If nothing else, these situations give definite proof that 'high capacity assault clips' /end sarc have both a purpose and a
law abiding use. I used to be a huge devotee of the .45. Now,
if i'm packing, (which is every day, god bless you commonwealth of virginia), i go out of the house with 46 rounds ready to rock, every single day.

Posted by: james brown at August 8, 2011 04:10 PM