I read a lot of posts in various forums with people saying “I work in dangerous areas” or “I carry a lot of cash” or “I have a lot of enemies” so “I need to carry a gun for self protection, for my own safety.”

But this really makes very much sense to me. For “safety” or “self-protection” a gun is probably the worst tool. Although it may be that these people walking around armed are actually safer because they’re exercising the real safety tool…their own alert senses. Maybe the fact of having the gun makes them aware and in touch with what’s around them.

On Brooklyn’s late-night streets I see far too many people who don’t have any idea who or what they’re walking past. They’re in a daze, in their own world, and that’s always asking for trouble.

When I’ve “worked in” or “walked through” dangerous areas, I’ve never had a bit of trouble, and I’ve spent plenty of time in plenty of the various worst areas (never mind why). I’ve never been armed–but I’ve been awake. That means crossing streets when necessary, walking around the block, looking at, or looking away from, potential threats.

In Tunnel in the Sky, one of Heinlein’s “competent survivor” types makes this speech…

“I know how good a gun feels. It makes you bright eyed and bushytailed, three meters tall and covered with hair. You’re ready for anything and kind of hoping you’ll find it. Which is exactly what is dangerous about It because you aren’t anything of the sort. You are a feeble, hairless embryo, remarkably easy to kill. You could carry an assault gun with two thousand meters precision range and isotope charges that will blow up a hill, but you still would not have eyes in the back of your head like a janus bird, nor be able to see in the dark like the Thetis
pygmies. Death can cuddle up behind you while you are drawing a bead on something in front.”