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 https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/723a.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 (5.4.7.6), 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 (7.2.3.1).
  • They can buy guns. This is highly contentious; not everyone agrees that gun ownership make people safer (7.2.3.2).
  • They can appoint other people to look after their security, ranging from security guards to armed militias (7.2.3.3).

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 contentious case of the killing of Trayvon Martin in February 2012.  A CNN article, Trayvon Martin Shooting Fast Facts, described how a private security guard, George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder after he had killed an unarmed boy in disputed circumstances.

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