Following the horrific attack in Orlando, Florida in the early hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016, there has been a virtual storm of posts in social media, most of which reflect, amplify, distort and or merely repeat the “main stream” media. As this author sits here contemplating the situation, he is lead to consider some of the statements made by persons of his acquaintance in regard to what transpired.
One of the most ironic statements made by some folks is made in the form of a question, “What about my RIGHT to FEEL SAFE?”. This is usually made in reply to the idea of allowing people to possess firearms for defense of self and others, and is usually made by those who are diametrically opposed to the idea of using force to resolve situations which can only be resolved by the use of force.
First, feeling safe has nothing to do with rights, nor does it have anything to do with safety. “Feeling safe” is a state of mind and it may be a state of mind brought about by ignorance of the true situation in which the person has placed themselves. Some years ago there was a couple of our acquaintance which went to live in a new city. The people they knew in their former residence warned them of the wild, wicked and dangerous city in which they had chosen to domicile themselves, assuring them that it would be their lot to be robbed, mugged, set upon, mistreated and generally abused if they would so much as set their foot outside their door. This had a deleterious effect on their feeling of safety, but after a few weeks they determined to venture forth on one bright first day of the week to see what they could see. They then proceeded to walk through their nice, safe neighborhood, on through the center of the city and after a while they found themselves in what they called “a beautiful little park” where they sat and enjoyed the beauty of the day, feeling safe and secure – while sitting in the park with the highest rate of drug use and violence in the city, within yards of houses of ill repute, near to where child prostitution was a regular activity and in the midst of the most dangerous area of the city. As we told them later, “You were feeling happy and safe – while sitting in the lion’s mouth on the cusp of one of his molars.”
And what about people who walk out on the thin ice of a lake, feeling safe and not realizing that they are but a few pounds of pressure away from a chilling plunge into the water below? How they feel has nothing to do with the reality that they are dancing in the proximity of death.
Some people feel threatened by the idea that others legally possess firearms or other means of defending their person and those around them. They ignore the fact that criminals do NOT obey laws nor ask permission from government to obtain firearms or other weapons, nor do they seek some kind of license in order to carry those weapons and use them against the people around them. In the US of A, if a person has a concealed weapons permit they have passed strict background checks, received training in the safe use of weapons, proven that they can safely and effectively utilize that weapon, been taught the laws regarding the lawful use of lethal force for their jurisdiction, been fingerprinted by the police and have been proven to be among the most upright and law abiding of all citizens in the country. Yes, there are some “bad apples” – but at a rate MUCH LOWER than that of any police force, not to mention the very citizenry around them. On the other hand, what do we know about YOU?
Feeling safe is a personal, subjective thing. One person feels completely safe while swinging from a trapeze with no net below while another person doesn’t feel safe taking the first step up a ladder affixed to the wall with bolts capable of withstanding a force of tons. Arguably the person refusing to climb the ladder is much safer than the person swinging from the trapeze – but the FEELINGS of each person do not reflect the actual risks involved in the individual activity.
We have chosen to live in a country which many see as “dangerous”. We’ve been told that certain people will never visit us in our chosen domicile because of the perceived risk. Yet we’ve been here for two decades and suffered no ill effects nor have we been threatened. People who are guided by their feelings rather than their intellect make some odd choices. And that is part of the problem with our current society. People guide themselves by feelings rather than by reason.
So, to sum up, no you do not have a “right to feel safe”. You have a right to feel whatever you want to feel, but obligating others to give up their rights to BE safe, to provide for their well being and that of their loved ones just so you will “feel” safe is not your right.