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News & Editorials

Resolving Internal Conflict Around Self Defense

by Boothe Gregory

In response to "The Painful Reality of Self Defense," by Razel Wolf 

Dear Ms. Wolf,

Thank you for opening your heart and mind to the rest of us. Although I am a 41 year old male who has owned, used and cherished firearms (as much for their art and beauty as anything else) most of my life, I can certainly relate to your internal conflict. Holding the power in your hands to take another person's life is a heavy responsibility with potentially dire consequences. But it is very important to realize that your Creator endowed you with a right to your life, a right to be secure in your person and even in your property (the fruits of your labor).

When another person, for whatever reason, decides to violate those rights, then he or she implicitly forfeits their own rights. The "baddy" is gambling that they can trespass on you with impunity. And if the "baddy" is bigger and meaner than you, the only logical recourse is an equalizer (the possession of which I commend you for). By taking on this awesome responsibility you project safety and peace into your community as well as for yourself.

As more Americans re-shoulder the responsibility for their own safety and security, their communities become less and less attractive to predators. When more people carry concealed weapons, the likelihood of predators meeting untimely ends increases -- and the predators know it. Therefore they are less likely to pursue their unwholesome professions.

So by arming yourself, not only do you contribute to the security of your community, but you also help forcibly reform many nominal criminals out of fear of you, the armed citizen. And the effect is synergistic, since the "baddies" will perceive the threat to them being more than what it probably is.

The catch phrases, "Peace through superior firepower," and, "An armed society is a polite society," are much more than propaganda. They are simple, logical truth rooted in human nature and the survival instinct. In other words, the fact that you have armed and trained yourself actually helps you accomplish your heart's desire: a kinder, more peaceful world. Keep up the good work!

[Editor's Note: In a second message to Razel, Boothe had the following words of wisdom and personal experience to share. Razel said these words resolved philosophical conflicts that she had struggled with for 20 years.]

Dear Razel,

Despite all our efforts at establishing equality between the sexes, I find certain truths to remain. Women tend to be more thoughtful, caring and compassionate than men (thank God!). Consequently, they will feel more for a another person, even if that person is a predator, and then weigh the decision to harm that person with their heart.

Men tend to look at a predator who is threatening person, family and property as nothing more than a silhouette target with fangs. Just basic, unfeeling logic (i.e. the same mindset that can't understand why "she" is so upset that I forgot our anniversary). I contend that without the tempering influence of female compassion in our lives, we men would constitute a thoughtless and uncivilized lot. :)

I think your deep rooted compassion for your fellow man is the source of your internal conflict. I doubt you will "get over it," and I would not want you to do so. If you did, you wouldn't be you. You can, however, rationalize your decision on the intellectual level, and accept that decision without hardening your heart.

And you can still train diligently to respond to a bad situation automatically. That will take over if the time comes for an armed confrontation (and I hope it never does).

Look at your firearms like you would a seatbelt or fire extinguisher: it's just a tool. You don't wear a seatbelt because you want to have a car accident any more than you keep a fire extinguisher around because you want to set fire to your dwelling. But they sure are nice to have if you need them! The same holds true for a gun.

Therefore, you don't keep a gun around because you want to do someone harm. Quite the contrary, by having a potent means of self defense, you may avert violence altogether if the time comes. A predator is more likely to back down and run than to stop a bullet. So the mere presence of the firearm may enable you to resolve a conflict without violence.

I have trained several women in the use of arms in self defense over the years. In 1987 a man broke into my home and attempted to rape my wife. He never touched her. She responded reflexively and shot him. He lived through it and went to prison for four years. It stopped the serial "towel rapes" that were going on in the Newport News, Virginia area at the time. Who knows how many other women she saved from the same fate, simply by being armed and trained to respond? So I speak from personal experience.

If you ever feel the need for support or encouragement, I would be happy to respond to you. Feel free to write any time. Just remember that you are doing the right thing by being responsible for your own life. May you have a long, healthy, safe and prosperous one.

In Liberty,

Boothe Gregory
West Plains, Missouri


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Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. C. S. LEWIS

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