Sunday, January 6, 2019

Just Have a Fist Fight, And May The Best Man Win

A woman was being interviewed about a shooting near her house, and I liked her comments. I am sure it's not going to change anything, since words rarely do, but her idea that people ought to put the guns down resonates with me. The problem is that putting the guns away and having a fist fight would mean the best man with his fists would win, and that's not always what everyone wants.


Getting Away With It
I've been in a few fist fights. In general, you can't expect to hurt more than one person in a real fight. You also do not have a good way to get away with the crime, since you have to be right next to the victim. Even in fist fights, people look for advantages, and those people (who might not be good at fighting) will use brass knuckles or nun-chucks. Then knives. Then back to guns. In reality, the fact that you can kill someone from a moving vehicle at a distance means that guns will be the preferred method for targeting another person, assuming the current devaluation of human life persists. Well over half of the 2018 murders in Jacksonville were not solved by the end of the year, and that's proof enough of the effectiveness of bringing a gun to a gun fight.

Be Strong
There are plenty of law-abiding citizens who defend their own rights to use guns. The guns make the human stronger, meaning you can avoid the potential fist fight by warning others with your weapon. Criminals also want to feel strong, especially in a community that is armed to the teeth, both legally and illegally. My best weapon is my pitching arm, which can still toss a makeshift projectile fairly accurately at around 75mph. That means I might exert 200 to 4,000 Newtons on someone's face with a can of peas if he decided to aim a gun in my direction, but it also means that he'd have to miss me two or three times before he'd get hit. The truth is that even the crazy meth addict, the gang member, and the NRA-certified old man carrying his 38 Special are all stronger than I am if they have guns. Most of the thugs, old men, and soccer moms in Jacksonville would really not want to try to fight me in a fair fight, but since I always assume everyone in Jacksonville is armed, I won't be getting into any fair fights anytime soon.



Be Best
Of course, even the suggestion that a fist fight would solve our problems indicates that we value strength. In a fist fight, I might win against 75% of the other men in Jacksonville. But there are some guys out there who would win 99% of the time. Are those the guys who should be our leaders? Do we really want Lenny v Anna in an actual fist fight when attack ads are so much more civilized? I could lift weights daily in my garage, but the fact that one of my neighbor's wifi router is named Snipersomething means that I'm not going to threaten anyone on my block for any reason. I'm cool with being the best writer on the block, thanks. Guns make it so that the people who are NOT best at fighting still stand a chance, so I understand the allure. We value besting others, whether it's owning the best car or house, or knowing we can hit targets at a shooting range, or even having big old muscles that won't help in a gun fight (unless it's in a mirror pose-off with your friends).

Value
Our laws indicate that the value of another's life is important. We have the death penalty in Florida in order to help reinforce this. But we also have the Stand Your Ground law that kind of muddies the water. If we value power, fear, and anger above human life, then we'll value owning and using guns, since those are more effective than other means by which we can harm others. I'd rather we value love, compassion, dedication, intelligence, honesty, and peace, to name a few. If we all did, then I suppose the best men and women would win.