Today I want to talk about the idea of being armed in modern society. Too many of us think that owning guns and being armed are the same thing. But they aren’t. Being armed is a choice that comes with a very different set of responsibilities, mindset shifts, and expectations.

Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.

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Summary

This episode is at least partially inspired by the ongoing events here in Virginia. By now you’ve heard of the lobby day rally, where over 20,000 citizens assembled to let the state government know that their draconian laws would not be tolerated. Many of those people openly carried arms and gear as a show of force for the “or else what” effect.

I’m proud of their actions that day, and the fact that there wasn’t a single incidence of violence speaks well of their character.

But what I also noticed, as usually happens at these things, is that many protesters didn’t quite look the part of armed Americans. From poorly-fitted equipment to poor weapons handling and discipline, there is a lot of room for improvement.

And that’s where the mindset of the Armed American must come into play.

Weber vs Locke

I spend a good portion of this episode discussing the governmental philosophies of Max Weber and John Locke (linked above). Weber is a 19th-century German philosopher who founded the modern idea of “bureaucracy.” He’s one of the progenitors of the idea that a marker of civilization is that only the state has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.

Locke, on the other hand, espoused the power of the individual. In his view, each person is imbued with rights as a matter of natural law, and that governments exist to protect those rights at a large scale. Governments only have power insofar as the individual consents to be governed.

These two philosophies are sometimes at odds with one another, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that Weber’s ideas underpin a lot of modern European culture while Locke provided the inspiration to the Founding Fathers of the United States.

I find it interesting that so many on the political left, who seek to remove individual power also simultaneously want to model our nation after that of Europe.

I’m not one to give in to conspiracy theories of communist box cars waiting for gun owners someday, but I do think that there is a fundamental difference of opinion on how things should be run.

But that discussion is for another day.

The people are the only legitimate fountain of power.

Being Armed

Becoming an armed citizen means accepting the responsibility for your own safety and destiny. That also requires becoming proficient in defending your life and liberty at a personal level. The idea of only relying on the state, i.e. the police, to provide safety is not really compatible with our founding ideals.

The trouble these days is that while there are many millions of gun owners, only a small percentage actively pursues the Marksman’s Path. How many actually attend competitive events and test their skills? How many seek professional training beyond the minimum safety rules?

The answer is abysmally low.

So what does that mean? It tells me that it’s up to us to encourage a culture that values the mental, physical, and emotional ideals of being armed. The acquisition of “stuff” is fun, and easy, but it is not the path to improving our culture.

The next time there is a rally, how much more of an impact would it make to see thousands of disciplined American’s wearing their gear professionally and demonstrating great discipline? It would be subtle, for sure, but I think it would make a difference.

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Matt

Matt

Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He's former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He's a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.

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