Select Page

“An armed society is a polite society.” — Robert Heinlein

Hoplophobia – n. – an irrational and morbid fear of guns, a term coined by Jeff Cooper, author of The Art of the Rifle, from the word “hoplite,” a heavily armed foot soldier of ancient Greece.

Symptoms of hoplophobia may include discomfort, confusion, palpitations, sweating, ranting, and the swooning vapors at the mere sight or thought of guns. Hoplophobes (HOP-li-fobes) are common, particularly among the more authoritarian members of the political class, who know that an unarmed populace is an obedient populace. Irrational fear drives them to promote the bizarre notion that helplessness is safety. Other hoplophobes accept the notion without question. Their participation in the gun policy debate is treacherous for both our rights and our safety.

Hoplophobes form the backbone of the Victim Disarmament Lobby, which this week is indulging in flashbacks of lame humor and fear mongering over the new Florida law that protects people who harm their attackers while defending themselves. The bill forbids injured thugs or their grieving relatives from suing the resisting victim. The choir of the gun shy is singing all the old jokes and shocking one-liners about “yahoos running around with guns,” “Dodge City” and “the OK Corral” and inserting them into fact free op-ed pieces. The jokes were fresher before the passage of the Concealed Carry laws in 1987, a little stale for the repeal of the “Assault Weapons” ban, and now as flat as last night’s beer.

Crime rates have fallen in every state that allows citizens to carry concealed weapons. Crime has fallen significantly more in concealed carry states than in states that forbid it. People who legally carry guns are scrupulously law-abiding. Crime rates among them would make a Boy Scout blush. They are many times less likely to commit any kind of crime than other people.

They, like the police, are good guys with guns (GOGWIGS). We call them when we have trouble with bad guys with guns (BAGWIGS). GOGWIGS are like taxi cabs, waitresses and cops, the more there are, the less time you have to wait when you need one. For GOGWIGS who encounter BAGWIGS, there’s no waiting.

Armed, law-abiding citizens are a nightmare for two types of people, criminals and patronizing, smug, elitists like Michael Moore, Rosie O’Donnell, and Diane Feinstein. Unlike most of us, celebrities and politicians can afford armed bodyguards or get special exceptions to the laws they promote. If we accept the logic of banning guns, we also have to believe that banning spoons would allow Moore and O’Donnell to stop buying their clothes in awning shops.

The feature of the new law over which liberal hands are wringing their hardest is that which says permit holders are no longer required to turn and run if they are attacked. Under the old law, if you were armed and not in your own home, business or car, you could only defend yourself if you ran away and then were caught from behind or cornered.

The so called “stand-your-ground” law comes as a relief to permit holders like me. Even if I’m no longer obliged to run, running away from BAGWIGS is still my first choice. Unfortunately, I am of an age and physical condition where running offers faint hope of escape. And then there’s the public safety issue. The sight of me scurrying to safety would tend to spread panic in bystanders as they nervously scan my wake to see what unspeakable horror could make a wheezing geezer run like that. Visions of Godzilla wading ashore or the Blob oozing swiftly and relentlessly between parked cars could cause a deadly panic in any public place. It’s why I don’t jog.

Many hoplophobes argue that they don’t trust themselves with a gun. Guns are too dangerous for anyone to own, they say. They tell terrifying, tragic tales of the armed homeowner blowing away the noisy milkman or the freckle-faced paperboy who is rooting around in the bushes at 5 A.M.

Obviously, anyone who would shoot blindly into the shrubbery outside his home shouldn’t have a gun. But it’s equally obvious that anyone with such appallingly bad judgment shouldn’t be making decisions about guns for anyone else.

I urge you to recognize and point out hoplophobic behavior when you see it. It is dangerous. Sufferers deserve our pity and our help. The good news is hoplophobia can often be cured. A common treatment is a day at the range. Stubborn cases often respond to blasting clay Frisbees out of the sky with a shotgun. Although harder to arrange, having to call for armed assistance almost always works.

Legally carrying a weapon is the best way to be ready when the opportunity to cure a hoplophobe arises. Keep a pistol in your pocket and the doctor is in. You never know who will be happy to see you.