7.2.3 Individual Self-Protection, such as Gun Ownership

(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents.  An archived copy of this page is held at http://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/723.htm)

If people have reason to believe that they will not be protected under a country’s governance, and if they don’t want to flee as refugees (, they might choose to protect themselves.  The following sub-sections examine three ways of doing this:

  • They can take precautions, such as crime prevention measures (
  • They can buy guns. This is highly contentious; not everyone agrees that gun ownership make people safer (
  • They can appoint other people to look after their security, ranging from security guards to armed militias (

It might seem that these forms of Self-Protection are a matter of individual choice, but they affect the rest of society.  And weapons in private hands can inflict a death penalty without the safeguard of a court of law – as in the case of the killing of Trayvon Martin.[1]



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[1] The Trayvon Martin case was a contentious example of a private security guard killing an unarmed boy in disputed circumstances.  The guard, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of murder.  CNN published the “fast facts” on the case, which were available in May 2018 at http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/05/us/trayvon-martin-shooting-fast-facts/.