“The Gun Is Civilization”
By Maj. L. Caudill, USMC (Ret)
Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you
want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via
argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human
interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force,
In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion.
Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that
removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to
When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to
persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.
The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a too-pound woman on equal footing
with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang
banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball
bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a
potential attacker and a defender.
There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations.
These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed
from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That,
of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by
choice or by legislative fiat – it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks
People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the
strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even
an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted
him a force monopoly.
Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise
would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns
involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting
overwhelming injury on the loser.
People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too
much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The
fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender,
not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.
The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the
hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t
both lethal and easily employable.
When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m
looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only
persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid.
It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the
actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation… And
that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.
By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret.)
“The Gun Is Civilization” By Maj. L.
Caudill, USMC (Ret)