15A021 Gun Nuts, Absent Government by Jim Davies, 3/22/2015    


The powerful disarmament lobby describes gun owners as "nuts" and likes to spread tales of how dangerous they are; NBC used one of its "Dateline" episodes to bolster that case by telling the sad story of Chad Reed. As usual the program was well done, with the expert help of that empathetic reporter, Keith Morrison. It got me thinking how the sequence of events might unfold, if a similar situation arose in the coming zero government society.

The link above shows a summary of what happened. In a nutshell, the Reed family was spending the July 4th weekend in their remote CA cabin in 2011, but were troubled on two successive evenings by a vehicle that parked inside their property, headlights blazing. After the first visit Chad found one of his solar lamps had been stolen. The family feared that malefactors were abroad, but there was no telephone available to call for help. The second visit certainly appeared to amount to a threat or menace, of unknown magnitude.

So Chad grabbed his AR-15 and gave chase. After nearly 8 miles, he had the invaders cornered and opened fire. Several of the six young men were injured, one was killed. Chad was subsequently caged for 84 years to life, for Murder-One. The jury didn't buy his plea of self-defense. So now one family has lost a son, another a father.

A zero government society will come about only after everyone has learned and accepted that each person is his or her self-owner, and understood the key implications of that. Hence, nobody will work for an outfit whose every activity violates that principle, and so it will vanish. Another consequence of embracing it will be that everyone respects the right of self-ownership by everyone else - certainly including their rights to property.

So, six young men in high spirits drive off in search of a party, but get lost; they enter the wrong driveway, and hesitate. They notice it's marked by solar lamps, but they do not commit mischief by stealing one; they respect the owner's property. They also notice the (somewhat bizarre) "No Trespassing" sign at the drive entrance, and withdraw. For the same reason, they do not return the following night, to commit further mischief. There is no confrontation, no tragedy; the story ends right there.

But let's assume that (in the ZGS) they do return anyway, and consider the action of Chad Reed. He and his family would be understandably frightened. On its second visit at least, the mysterious vehicle might contain ruffians out to commit murder and mayhem. He would be wise to reach for his guns. He might fire a warning shot over the visitors' heads, as he did actually in 2011, after which the boys backed off. Would he then be justified in giving chase? - I think not. The standoff would end with the trespassers' withdrawal. There would no longer be a violation of property rights. Chad Reed, re-educated to respect the self-ownership right of the visitors, would have let them go; once again, there would have been no confrontation.

Nonetheless, let's further assume that, in a panic of fear for himself and his children, Chad decided to take his gun and give chase; after all, there'd been two intrusions on to his property and a couple of solar lamps had been stolen, and the circumstances were certainly scary. What objective would he have had? As he gave chase down the road, he'd have considered what to do if and when the chased car stopped. He was well armed, and a student of military tactics, so if the boys had got out of their car and threatened him with one or more firearms, he'd probably have been a match for them; the AR-15 is a versatile weapon.

But what if (as did happen, in 2011) the boys stopped the car without getting out at once. Would he have been justified in shooting them through their car windows? - no way! All they owed him was compensation for the stolen lamps, plus an apology for trespassing. In no way did they owe him their lives; and he would have known that, having studied, like them, the essential principles and prerequisites of a zero government society. Therefore, once again, the story would have ended without bloodshed. Indeed, it's more likely that having chased them off his property, after a mile or so Chad would have dropped the pursuit and let them go as not being worth further trouble or gasoline.

Vengeance (which is what he exacted in 2011) would not have been an option; for he would have known very well that justice consists of restitution, not retribution; let alone, grotesquely disproportionate retribution.

Without that re-education, though, it seems that the real Chad Reed can be properly called a "gun nut" - that is, an irrational enthusiast for firearms. He is a veteran of the US Army, but holds an opinion of himself far higher than the Army did, as his record showed. He showed no respect for the lives of his victims - an attitude which he may well have absorbed in part from his Army training. Although evidently a loving - and loved - family man, that "No Trespassing" sign in his driveway revealed a serious disrespect for people outside his particular religious mindset; it warned that only "white, red-blooded Christians" were welcome on his property and that others might be met with deadly force.

In other words, nutty. Anyone in the coming ZGS will be free to exclude anyone from his property, but not to kill them simply for walking on it. "Red-blooded" is superfluous, for all humans have it. As for "Christians", although I'm an atheist I have far more respect for members of that religion to suppose they would share such an exclusionary attitude. In any case, the term needs definition; are Roman Catholics Christian? Some think not, with good reason. How about Mormons? Jehovah's Witnesses? Is there to be a doctrinal test, at the drive entrance? And as for "white", what color is a light-skinned "black"? It's hairy, when one gets into detail. And tricky to tell, in the dark.

So yes, this "gun nut" is, I think, a real nutter - who happens to like guns. But it's not guns that make him irrational.

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