Armed and Unarmed: A Difference in Mindset

Armed and Unarmed: A Difference in Mindset
Armed and Unarmed: A Difference in Mindset

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Being armed or unarmed is, in many ways, a state of mind.

An armed person sees the world differently from a person who has decided to be unarmed.  Nicolo Machiavelli, the famed author and political philosopher, states it well in The Prince:

Because there is nothing proportionate between the armed and the unarmed; and it is not reasonable that he who is armed should yield obedience willingly to him who is unarmed, or that the unarmed man should be secure among armed servants. Because, there being in the one disdain and in the other suspicion, it is not possible for them to work well together.

Reactions to a recent murder and self-defense shooting highlight the difference of the viewpoints of armed and deliberately unarmed people.

On 21 October, 2018, a neighbor, Tyler Herrick, entered a house, uninvited.  Kyle Adams, one of two roommates, was in the house.  He woke to find Herrick in his bedroom. Adams told Herrick to leave. Herrick left.

Adams texted his roommate, Brennan Pebbles. Pebbles immediately left work and came to the house. After Pebbles arrived, the neighbor, Herrick, entered the front yard carrying an  AR15 type rifle. Adams and Pebbles were in the living room.

Herrick opened fire on the two men through the living room window, striking Adams, who was mortally wounded.  From ktvz.com:

“Herrick stood in front of the living room window, aimed his rifle at Adams and Pebbles, and fired multiple shots that shattered the front window. At least one of the rounds struck Adams, who eventually died from his injury.

“Pebbles fled from the living room and ran upstairs. Once upstairs, he grabbed his (9mm handgun) and hid in the bathroom of the master bedroom. Herrick fired multiple shots at the front door, and entered the home and methodically hunted Pebbles down in a room-to-room search. When Herrick entered the master bedroom, Pebbles shot and killed him.

Pebbles had made the decision to be armed by obtaining a handgun and storing it in the house. He was able to use his handgun to defend himself against an armed attacker who had shot and mortally wounded his roommate.

People who have the mindset of an armed person will read of the incident and consider it from the viewpoint of an armed person. They will consider the choice of weapon. They will consider the wisdom of storing the handgun in the house, instead of carrying it on the person. They will discuss the tactics and tools of armed self defense.

People who have made the decision to be unarmed will read of the incident and consider it from the viewpoint of an unarmed person. They will create hypotheticals to validate their decision to be unarmed. They will suggest the police should have been called. They will say if only there were no guns, this would not have happened.

Two comments from the article illustrate the differences between the armed and unarmed mindsets.

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. This was certainly a terrible situation to be faced with, but Mr. Pebbles demonstrated why folks fight for their second amendment rights.

Of course, folks fighting for second amendment rights is why the crazy neighbor was able to obtain his gun that was capable of firing into the house from outside and killing a man, so really it's kind of a wash. Or not even that. If nobody in this situation had a gun, the neighbor would have been stuck outside while the two roommates called the police and waited for him to get arrested, and everybody might have survived. As it is now, a terrible tragedy and my heart goes out to everyone involved and their families.

People who support the Second Amendment have the mindset of an armed person.

President Trump made the decision to be an armed person. He supports the Second Amendment.

Most people who choose to be unarmed do not support the Second Amendment.  They see armed people as a potential threat.

Few people trained in arms choose to be unarmed. Most people who choose to be unarmed do so because they are ignorant of arms. Many consciously unarmed people have followed the easy path. Many never had the opportunity to learn basic firearms skills.

There are endless examples of people who, once exposed to firearms by friendly instruction, change their mindset and become Second Amendment supporters.

Few Second Amendment supporters reverse their position, and work to disarm the population.  Learning to shoot is a form of taking the red pill.

The change in mindset from unarmed to armed, can happen in one session at the range.

When you take a person shooting, make the experience pleasant. Use good hearing and eye protection. Have them shoot a .22 rifle or pistol.  More powerful guns can come later.  Have the target close to build their confidence.  Explain the safety rules so they know they are safe.

Nicolo Machiavelli was right.  Armed people view the world differently from unarmed people.


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 21 thoughts on “Armed and Unarmed: A Difference in Mindset

    1. One more suggestion: Try not to take a new or timid shooter to a city gun range for their first event. Try to get them out into the country somewhere, in a pleasant environment, to do their initial plunking. A picnic lunch, shooting in the open air, relaxed and fun.

      Too often at a gun range, you’ll find folks either side you firing hunting rifles or handguns with high pressure or magnum loads, inches from your ears. The blast concussion alone may convince the timid that it does not FEEL like a “safe place”, or a safe pastime. Sort of defeats the purpose of the friendly fam-fire exercise in the first place.

    2. If another person, for whatever reason, or for no reason chooses to go unarmed, I might disagree with their decision. It is however, their decision. Problens arise however, if and when this person or persons opt to inflict their choices on me. I’m perfectly willing to allow the other man or woman freedom of choice. I require the same courtesies from them, no more, no less.

    3. I agree with John Dunlap 100%.
      .
      His, John Dunlap’s post, contains a typo – but his’s intent is clear and I agree 100%.

    4. Mr. Dunlap, below, has the right of it. We have nearly all heard of a very low tech murder, recorded long ago for our advisement. The murder weapon was not named, as that is irrelevant. The wanton taking of the life on another with no cause was, and remains, soundly condemned. The murder weapon, whatever it happened to be, was never mentioned because it is unworthy of mention. As always, its never about the hardware, ever about the software that operates the hardware. The One who made those two did not fail to condemn and punish the murderer. Nor did He ever take any steps to deprive anyone of access to whatever weapons were used in that incident. There never was a ban on rocks, clubs, sticks, vines, or any other such thing.

      Means, opportunity, intent. It takes all three for such a crime to occur. Remove any one of the three legs of the stool, the stool falls. If means is removed, and the other two remain, it is always, as Mr. Dunlop so well portrays, a simple matter of finding a substitute. Witness the somali immigrant who, lacking a firearm, turned a vehicle into a murder weapon. Banning cars would be too high a price to pay to “prevent” future crimes like this. Or would it? London outlawed bats when roving mobs were attacking with knives…… the bats being the most useful, obtaniable, suitable self-defense weapons, all others having been outlawed. But the overlords even stooped so low as to deprive their subjects of that one.

    5. 350 Million+ firearms in civilian ownership in the country spread over roughly 40% of the population… “If their were no guns” is an irrelevant hypothetical. Never fall into the trap of debating hypotheticals with leftists. They live in the hypothetical world, we live in the real world.

    6. If memory serves it was after a mass shooting that Dianne Feinstein made a statement to the affect that if the shooter had been sure no one else had a gun he never would have fired in the first place or some such nonsense. This coming from a woman who is on file in Kalifornia as owning and carrying a Smith and Wesson ,.357 magnum. Point being some of these anti gun folks are just plain lying to you. My final argument to those who ask why I carry a gun is “I have a fire extinguisher in my kitchen but I don’t intend on setting it on fire!”

      1. @ J.D.

        You need to talk to Vanns40 about that one. He comments here on ammoland fairly regularly, and is one of the individuals who traced and broke stories on Mrs Feinstein’s highjinks regarding not just that smith and Wesson, but a second one as well. See also John Kerry’s war medals.

      1. Wayne, do we know that, or, like some, just chose another more visceral, personal weapon? I prefer to have options, and carry knives (yes, plural), a tactical flashlight (or, as several officers have told me, aka DNA collectors), and a firearm. I have yet to need my firearm, but the knives and light come in handy quite often.

    7. “If nobody in this situation had a gun, the neighbor would have been stuck outside while the two roommates called the police and waited for him to get arrested, and everybody might have survived.”

      And if Mama had a sack she would be daddy. Makes as much sense.

      1. There was no mention of a firearm when the “neighbor” entered the home the first time, sooooo what would have made him stay out later, with or without a firearm?

        1. Joey, as you must be aware, brandishing and threatening assault is illegal. Also, the story implies that the firearm belonged to the surviving victim. Even if the decedent had a firearm, the events as they occurred probably would not have saved him. We are not promised a long, good life and some events occur (named tragedies) that even being prepared for may still not turn out well. For the survivor, being prepared and having the firearm saved his life. Much better than 0 for 2.

          I have also been fortunate in that I have not yet needed my firearm for defense. I did use a pocket knife several years ago while abroad (firearms are forbidden there). Thankfully, just having it made the perp reconsider his options and go find a willing (disarmed) victim.

          We prepare the best we can, and hope for the best. No one wants a bad situation to occur, but to blindly and foolishly believe that one is “safe’ and does not need personal defense is just plain ignorant. I live in a “safe” neighborhood, right across the street from two schools in a “drug-free”, “gun-free” zone. However, an armed robber was arrested a few houses down from me several years ago. Also an apparent drug deal gone bad occurred my driveway during the day while I was at work. The police were called because a vehicle(s) drove through my side yard (tire marks appeared to be from two vehicles) and through my neighbor’s fence. The officer found a scale in my side yard that he said is commonly used in drug sales. Thankfully, my then teenage daughter, who was home at the time, was not aware of the event, since it appeared to have occurred after school hours and before I got home. So how safe is “safe”?

          1. @ Heed the Call

            Joey Nichols argument is one that routinely pops up in various forms. I remember particularly around the Trayvon Martin case trial the number of people who tried to claim “Zimmerman should have announced that he was armed and a community watchman!” First, community watch are not police and have no authority or duty to announce their presence. Second, shouting that you are armed may get you shot from the bushes. And third, as you correctly pointed out doing so will in most cases violate the law, if not to a level of assault then it would at least fall under “Aggravated Menacing” in most states.

            Good call on use of the law, and very glad your daughter was unharmed/isolated from that incident you mentioned.

    8. Let’s look at a hypothetical alternate reality for a moment. In that world, while humanity advanced socially and politically as it has here, for a variety of reasons that are irrelevant to this discussion, technology remained mostly stuck in the 14th century. No guns, no cars.

      We see Tyler Herrick coming. He has no rifle, but he is armed. Launching a convenient decorative stepping stone through the window, he feathers Kyle Adams with his crossbow before his targets can recover from the shower of flying glass. Seeing Brennan Pebbles flee into the interior of the house, he drops the crossbow and makes short work of the front door lock with the back spike of his axe (he left and returned heavily armed in our reality, remember). He begins searching for Pebbles. if Pebbles is able to arm himself and has some skill, he has a fighting chance. If not, the police will find his head in the kitchen sink.

      The intentionally unarmed, as Mr. Weingarten calls them, are guilty of magical thinking. Human nature won’t be changed just by taking some of our toys away.

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