Thursday, January 07, 2016

Disarming women

Here's a new report on the Cologne attacks:

Two related observations:

i) People who criticize the American gun culture like to say "Why not just call the police?" 

How well did that work out in Cologne? Apparently, the police were afraid to use force, so the assailants didn't take them seriously. Why should they? German police are paper tigers.

ii) From what I've read, Germany has very strict gun control laws. It's a model of what gun-control advocates in the US would like to see here. 

Imagine how different the situation in Cologne might have been that night had the law allowed women to be armed. If the muggers and molesters knew that German women might be packing heat, that could have a significant deterrent value.

And not just a deterrent value. It can back that up with lethal force if need be. 

It wouldn't be necessary for all or even most German women to be armed. The question a prospective assailant needs to ask himself is whether he wants to find out the hard way which women are armed. Even if it's random, do you want to take the risk?

But of course, German law disarmed their women, leaving them defenseless. That's the "ideal" situation that gun-control advocates in this country envision. 

The Cologne attacks represent the perfect storm of liberal policies. Bad immigration policy, bad gun laws, and timid police. 


  1. Not to mention even if the cops wanted to respond there probably aren't enough of them to respond to every single incident.

  2. The view espoused in this post isn't explicitly spelt out. However, it appears to be clear that, given a fallen world where gropers exist, it's a positive thing (for Steve and Patrick) if would-be gropers are aware that if they seek to grope anyone, the consequence might be being shot on sight.

    All things considered, for Steve (and Patrick), a fallen world in which gropers are aware that the consequences of their actions could be instant death, is better than a fallen world in which they're fairly sure that, whatever the consequences, that one is extremely unlikely.

    I won't comment directly on that for now, but let's play along with that. How far are Steve and Patrick willing to take that? For which of the following crimes and misdemeanours is it better, or worse, given all the other factors in play, for the wrong-doer to know that the consequence might be immediate death, without arrest or trial?

    * Robbery with the threat of violence
    * Petty theft (stealing something from the woman's handbag)
    * Starting a fist fight
    * Groping (answer already known: yes)
    * Pushing someone in the street
    * An unwanted lewd approach without contact in the street

    I take for granted that Steve and Patrick have the sophistication to note that the question is not about whether immediate lethal violence is a proportionate personal response to any of these actions.Rather, it responds in the terms that Steve has approached the issue in his post, in terms of the deterrent effect of the possibly response, and how/where they're drawing the line.

    1. Death isn't a necessary consequence of being shot.

      I don't think steve or Patrick are advocating mob-style executions. A kneecap would do the trick. As would a genital region shot.

      In my absence I'd advise my wife, as our conceal and carry instructor did during our training class, to attempt to avoid the types of situations outlined above if at all possible, and if not to defend herself lethally if she felt her life at risk.

      As you said, it's a fallen world.

    2. I did explicitly clarify that I wasn't talking about whether shooting an assailant in the above scenarios was morally justified. Steve framed the issue in terms of a desirable deterrent effect, rather than moral justification, and I was responding within that framing.

      Note also that Steve also says "It can back that up with lethal force if need be", so the issue has also been framed in those terms. Of course, there are lots of related issues. But I was asking Steve (+ Patrick) to clarify his/their own position(s), rather than to broaden into other peoples' preferences for things like non-lethal force, etc.

    3. You're correct. After re-reading your initial comment I see that I lacked the sophistication you took for granted with steve and Patrick.

      My only intellectual defence is a lack of my preferred early am caffeine stimulant.

    4. i) Uncertainty can, itself, be a useful deterrent. Do you want to test that person to see how far he or she will go?

      ii) Deterrence is an implicit threat. It's not the same thing as doing what is threatened. Indeed, the ideal is to forestall that eventuality.

      In that respect, it's hard to put a priori limits on deterrence, since mere deterrence harms no one, and, in fact, is beneficial to both the prospective assailant and prospective victim. It is in the interests of an assailant, as well as the victim, to be deterred.

      iii) To be an effective deterrent, it has to be a credible threat. Although you can sometimes get away with empty threats, that's a bluff, which has the advantages and disadvantages of bluffing someone. Sometimes it succeeds. But if a person calls your bluff, and you have nothing to back it up, then they will known there's nothing to fear the next time around.

      iv) We need to distinguish between man-on-man violence and man-on-woman violence. As a rule, women are at disadvantage in that situation.

      v) Arrest or trial is the wrong category. This is about self-defense, not just desert.

      vi) In this article, the assailants were more than "gropers". And to the extent that that's all that some of they did, that's because the women got away. Had the women been trapped, it would be a different story.

      vii) In close quarters with a physically aggressive man, how many opportunities does a woman have to defend herself before it's too late (for her)? It doesn't take much to overpower her, at which point she can't resist.

      How many chances is she supposed to give him? If he's within reach, she only gets one chance to protect herself.

      viii) In context, we're talking about a rape culture. This is endemic among many Muslims.

      ix) Should the onus be on the woman or the assailant? If a violent man puts a woman in a situation where she must make a split-second decision, who is ultimately responsible for the consequences? He forced her to make a snap decision. Perhaps it was unnecessary, but that's something she couldn't know in advance, and the risk is too great to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    5. 1. I wouldn't say they're mere "gropers." I think that's euphemistic. There's a lot more to it than that.

      I'd say (inasmuch as we can categorize the whole morass) they're closer to a mob intent on causing physical harm to others including sexual violence. A gang of wild men for the most part. In many respects reminiscent of the mob that assaulted Lara Logan in Egypt during the Arab Spring.

      Sure, we can draw distinctions between individuals or sub-groups within a mob or gang. But this doesn't necessarily preclude the former parallels or similarities with mob or gang either. It's possible the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts.

      2. This is on a backdrop of Syrian "refugees." A war-torn region of the world. And their immigration to developed nations like Germany.

      Presumably most are Muslim too. Islam isn't exactly coincidental to what happened in Cologne either. Many Muslims are steeped in a pathological culture of violence. Not to mention treating women as second-rate human beings. And much else that's evil.

      We can't isolate what happened in Cologne from these broader events. That'd be too artificial.

      3. What's more, I'm not entirely sure you can decouple or erect a dichotomy between deterrence and moral justification. There are quite arguably moral elements in deterrence. A "desirable deterrent effect" could be morally justified, or it could not. Either way, I would think it's possible to debate the morality of deterrence.

      4. I agree with CR that one doesn't necessarily have to aim to kill in order to defend oneself. Whether that's prudent or imprudent depends on the circumstances and individuals involved.

      5. Where does one draw lines in terms of deterrence? Well, I'll respond with a question of my own: what is the value of deterrence with lethal force if there is no live possibility of the use of lethal force? What would be the value of, say, speaking loudly, but carrying a small stick?