Friday, February 24, 2006

High Noon

I have been reading and thinking more about this week's tension in Iraq. (And praying.)

I feel a need to disagree with Stepehn Green. He writes,
Christianity was a violent religion until the Thirty Years War. That war lasted so long, and killed so many people (the population of Germany was reduced by a third), that Christendom lost its bloodlust. Freedom of conscience was born on the battlefields of central Europe. The Middle East hasn't suffered that kind of loss; they haven't yet had their fill of blood; they haven't yet become disgusted with tyranny. I'd like to think that the Middle East can do what the West did, without all the suffering. But if it takes regional fratricide, then so be it.
To me, the issue is not a huge conflict that exposes the lunacy of bloodlust, but a lack of routine small conflicts that link the courtroom and the revolver.

I think Iraq is suffering, in part, because it is just starting its "Wild West" era.

Before America became a place with even slightly trustworthy courtrooms, we had to have a time when mobs and gangs could not rig the judicial system by their monopoly of weaponry. The days when every man wore a gun or two were thankfully temporary, but quite necessary.

"Guns make killing too easy", as famously said by Batman. But it's important that anyone can kill. It's anti-feudal. A democratic national psyche needs an understanding that Mr. Menace cannot throw his weight around too much and threaten the local judges because even a little guy can fill him full of lead.

The terrorists/rebels in Iraq who are Iraqis have been, to a large degree, (a) from the hundred thousand criminals that Sadaam released just before he was removed from power (b) from people that are used to being immune to the judicial system because they were part of its thuggery. Both sets are trying to dominate so that they can continue to be above the law. This is not like the Thirty Years War; this is like the much of the U.S. in the late 1800's. We are not fighting a small army, but a big Dalton Gang in Robber's Roost with out-of-state support.

Locally, I last year suggested on the phone, to my appropriate state government official, that Oregon should change its law slightly to make the concealed handgun permit a concelaed weapon permit. (Currently you can be trusted with a hidden gun, but not a hidden knife.) I'm sure many people with no interest in owning or carrying a gun would go through some gun training and state paperwork to be able to carry a knife more conveniently; the state would benefit from some small (but measurable in studies) crime deterrant from having a higher percentage of people licenced to carry a concealed gun.

UPDATE: I've since learned that nearly all Oregon police treat the state concealed handgun permit as if it were a concealed weapon permit. There are few places in Oregon where someone with a CHL would be troubled by police for carrying a 4" knife in their pocket. In part this is self-regulating because if that person did something wrong to earn any police attention then they would lose their CHL even if only the 4" knife was on them.