23 February 2012

Quote for today: Self-defense is a responsibility

Photo Credit: Chuck Grimmett,
courtesy www.fff.org

...anyone who believes he has turned his self-defense over to government is living in a dream world. Self-defense remains the right and responsibility of the individual. That is an unalterable fact of life. There is no choice in the matter.–Sheldon Richman


Sheldon Richman is editor of The Freeman, published by The Foundation for Economic Education, and has also written for the Future of Freedom Foundation and the Cato Institute.

A while back, I came across a different quote from the one above, taken from Richman's June 1994 article, The Right to Life Equals the Right to Possess Firearms. That quote was about an individual's right to defend themselves, including with handguns:
If you own your life, then you have the right to defend yourself against anyone who would deprive you of it.
After looking up the quote, I discovered the whole article, which mentions not only the right to defend oneself, but the duty to do so. Richman also acknowledges the influence of another Jeffrey R. Snyder's Fall 1993 article entitled A Nation of Cowards. In that article, which presents much justification for the right to bear arms, Snyder argues even more thoroughly for the individual's obligation to defend him/herself. This is best summarized in this portion of the article:
Although difficult for modern man to fathom, it was once widely believed that life was a gift from God, that to not defend that life when offered violence was to hold God's gift in contempt, to be a coward and to breach one's duty to one's community. A sermon given in Philadelphia in 1747 unequivocally equated the failure to defend oneself with suicide:

He that suffers his life to be taken from him by one that hath no authority for that purpose, when he might preserve it by defense, incurs the Guilt of self murder since God hath enjoined him to seek the continuance of his life, and Nature itself teaches every creature to defend itself.
And, while attempting to find the source of this Philadelphia sermon, I discovered a page from Fr. Frog named Fr. Frog and the Church. It mentions the above passage from Snyder's article (which is how I found it), but Fr. Frog sums up our responsibility for self-defense like this:
...examples in scripture and church history all boil down to a simple teaching: Unless in danger of physical harm, do no violence to others. Attempt to live peaceably among humanity by setting an example of love, service, and kindness, but do not cower when danger threatens you. Remember, that there is a proper time and place for everything and that it is much easier to serve Him, to witness, and help others when you are alive.
Violence begets violence? You bet! When someone offers lethal violence to you or yours the proper and scriptural response is an immediate and overwhelming violent response.
More than summarizing our duty to protect ourselves, this last quote presents the balance that I believe is our goal. That is, we must strive for "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you," but be ready to "do unto others before they do unto you" when the bad guys show up.

What do you think?

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