I keep no weapon in my house. Never have; never will. Okay, so there’s the chef’s knife in the kitchen drawer, but that doesn’t’ count.
I didn’t even arm myself during the media-hyped “crime wave” of the early seventies when our Euromerican oligarchs decided to neutralize the gains made by the civil rights movement by siphoning as many Afromericans in to jail as they possibly could.
There was one time, though, when I saw an ad for a commando knife and wondered if it might not be a good idea to keep one in my nightstand “just in case.” As soon as that thought crossed my mind, a funny thing happened: my anxiety level rose. That was because just the thought of arming myself brought to mind all of the “possible” situations that might require its use.
And that’s the problem—sweating possibilities instead of probabilities. Anything is possible. Yes, it is “possible” some evil characters may break into my house in the dead of night and murder my wife and me. It’s possible, but not probable, which is why I don’t worry about it unless I start obsessing on the possible. (Probability means having some hard data to work with. It is probably I could be wacked in an automobile accident, but it is highly improbable I’ll ever be murdered in my sleep.)
That was the problem with the knife. As soon as I thought about getting a weapon for security, my anxiety level rose because just having the weapon on the premises shifted my focus from the probable to the possible.
It’s a closed feedback loop. I consider the possible, feel threatened by it and buy a weapon to alleviate the anxiety it creates. Yet, the very possession of the weapon increases my anxiety and prompts me to think about buying a deadlier weapon. Had I purchased the knife it would have been a matter of time before I became so anxious that the knife wouldn’t have been enough. In the end I would have ended up with an assault rifle tucked under the bed.
And this explains how America became a security state. The possibility of Communists, criminals, terrorists or (fill in the blank) worries us, so our leaders churn out weapons and start wars to make us feel secure. But they don’t because we began to obsess on the “possible.” This results in a gaggle of security bureaucrats sitting around table saying “What if…? What if….? What if…”
What if the terrorists develop an effective shoe bomb? (Have airline passengers take off their shoes.) What if an explosive can be poured into a shampoo bottle? (Limit the amount of shampoo that can be carried onto an airliner.) What if the terrorists develop a workable underwear bomb? (Use your imagination on that one.)
And, of course, the more secure we try to become, the more anxious we become, which suits are oligarchs because an anxious people are more willing to surrender their freedoms in exchange for a false sense of security and, as Ben Franklin noted, they end up with neither.
As for me, I think I will remain unarmed; it keeps the anxiety level down. And while I’m at it, I think I’ll hold on to my freedoms. Somewhere it is written that they are inalienable. So, no matter what the government does or what the courts decide, I remain a free citizen of a free country.