Is An Armed Society A Safe Society?


Written by: Alek Hidell


Let me state up front that this is purely an opinion piece. This is, however, an opinion that’s rarely

discussed in the ongoing conversation of guns and our society. One would probably believe that as an ex-cop I’d be very pro-gun. Not so much. People like to say that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Anyone who would have you believe this understands neither guns nor people. In 2013 there were 11,419 people killed with firearms in the United States. The United States also has the highest number of guns per capita in the world at ninety guns for every hundred residents.  Compare that to countries like Switzerland and Germany whose guns per capita is between 30 and 45 , and who only have a few hundred gun homicides every year. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that guns do in fact kill people. Either that or America has an abundance of homicidal maniacs running around.

Abby, aged 8, from Louisiana, photographed by   An-Sofie Kesteleyn for her series My Little Rifle

Abby, aged 8, from Louisiana, photographed by  An-Sofie Kesteleyn for her series My Little Rifle

Don’t get me wrong, I believe everyone should have the right to possess a firearm for self-defense within one’s home. That’s pretty much where my appreciation for guns ends. Many people believe that our right to bear arms includes the right to carry a gun in our open and free society. This is where I have a problem. My problem stems not from legalities or constitutional issues, but from my fear of living in an armed society. Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean you should. My fundamental problem with people walking around with guns, is that there are people walking around with guns! Some people might find this comforting however, there are many factors and responsibilities that come along with carrying a gun that most people don’t ever think of or realize.

small kid gun

When it comes to guns, the most important thing is training. The average citizen has none. Going to the gun range a couple times a year cannot and does not prepare you for a high stress, fatal force situation. The difference between citizens carrying guns and police carrying guns is that police are prepared 24/7 for situations to go wrong, and even at a minimum, have completed the Police Academy and some fundamental training from their department. Even the most advanced and highly trained officer, when faced with a deadly force situation, enters into a state of elevated hypervigilance, which causes the officer to perform less than accurately. That is putting it mildly. Let’s use Ferguson as an example. Officer Wilson fired at least 10 shots at Mike Brown, and we know that only six of them struck him. That’s a 60% which would be a failing grade on any test in any school. I was actually shocked when I heard this, as six out of ten shots hit in a police shooting is stellar. I have known around eight or nine cops who have been involved in police shootings. Even with all the training they had, their accuracy rate was around 20% average. In one situation, two cops shot at an armed subject, emptying their clips and reloading, firing over 30+ bullets and they hit the guy three or four times, no fatal shots. Albeit, it was a distance of around 25 to 30 yards, but if these cops couldn’t hit their targets, with all their years of training and experience, what makes you think you could? The reality is, in high stress situations where fatal force is used, cops are just as scared as everyone else. The only difference is cops are trained to navigate through stress under pressure.  The average Joe with a carry permit is not.


Now, if you want to bear the responsibility of carrying a gun in public, ask yourself if you are really willing to dedicate the time, money and effort it takes to become proficient with your weapon, especially in high stress situations. If you want to stay proficient with your weapon, you need to spend probably around $100 a month at the range on ammo and supplies. That covers your accuracy, in a no stress environment. Next I’d suggest some training in weapon retention. I cringe every time I watch cop shows and someone is holding someone else at gunpoint, well within arms reach. If you do this, you are sure to have your subject grab your gun.  What now? Does a concealed carry permit teach you how to handle this? Next I’d find some self defense courses involving moving and shooting, frag drills, and real life scenario training.  Don’t know what these things are? You should if you carry a gun.  In a nutshell, the average concealed carry holding citizen is not prepared for any situation which involves a gun unless they dedicate themselves to the proper training.  This is like going to the zoo, and as you enter they hand you a whip. If you see any lions around, you’re equipped to handle it right? Absolutely insane, but again that’s just my opinion.



Let’s take a moment and look past all the gun rights arguments, the statistics and what not. Do you really want to live and thrive in a society where guns are everywhere? I don’t.  I carried concealed for years and realized that not only is it a huge pain in the ass, it is absolutely counterproductive to our cause.  The amount of dedication required to carry a gun makes it not worth it for the vast majority of people when you factor in cost, training, time and a dozen other factors.  Every day I look forward to going out into the world, embracing my fellow man and making the absolute best of every human encounter. After years of looking at society through jaded eyes, I have been set free and have found empathy and compassion where before there was only suspicion and skepticism. My rebirth was not because society changed but because I changed.  That is where the seeds of tomorrow are sewn, within you.  You can make the choice to go out and get a gun, give in to fear, and look for the worst in people or you can start to shape the society you want to live in by your individual choices.  We don’t need more guns, fear and hate, we need understanding and compassion, love and human bonding. I know I sound like a broken record but truth is simple and I cannot emphasize the importance of such concepts.  My goal is not to nag or preach, but to remind us all this revolution cannot be won with guns, only ideas.  The path to a better tomorrow begins with you and the choices you make.  Choose wisely, as your choices affect us all.

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    • Sadly the government will never get the point simply because they use guns to pose fear into people, whether they are criminals, or innocent people for the power and control over your own life. What’s even more horrifying (and pathetic at the same time) is when they decide to gun someone down, they use the gun and the Second Amendment to hide behind, since they are the government more times than not they are not held accountable for their actions, and if they are by chance their punishment are a slap on the wrist..

    • First and fore most the government are the People of the USA. No one should give up their rights for they can feel safer, thats what Hitler did to Jews just prior to shipping off Jews. Nah, I’m not buying the hype anyway. Attack tobacco, it kills a half of million a year, or drunk driving or text driving, both equally dangerous, what about doctors malpractice, they kill 5x more than guns, or ah prescription drugs, they kill 4x more. Even none gun homicides are 3x more than gun killings, so why the gun? Why are they making it look like the largest killer in the states?

  1. Go fuck yourself, I have carried concealed in florida for 15 years. In that time I have NEVER had to shoot anyone, even though I have had to pull my firearm to deter individuals who tried to victimize me. If you understand the proper escalation of force is based on the threat presented then you are capable of learning to shoot and defend yourself. The police are only there to clean up the mess AFTER you have been victimized. You can have MY guns when you pry them from my cold dead hands!!!

    • Molon labe

      There are times that I have also had to pull. And the PD response in a city is a joke. Seconds count. That is what it comes down to.

    • I’m definitely with you on that note Jeff Bonts, especially with the tyrannical manner in which the government and their minion police are behaving lately..

    • FUCK YEAH! Exactly, I find it very hypocritical that do-gooders want criminals to be dealt with more peacefully when the simple threat of a gun is far more peaceful and powerful than sneaking up on them with a melee weapon!

    • I think it depends on where you are in the world. It is far too late to change the gun laws massively in the States as there are just too many guns in existence so the necessity is there for civilians to carry for personal defense. In other parts of the world where there are a fraction of the amount of guns, you don’t require a lethal weapon to defend yourself.

  2. There has been a wave of officers murdering innocent people. That’s the real danger guns are for, with all due respect Mr. Lt. Retired-from-the-Force.

  3. I respectfully disagree with your opinion. We have every right to keep our guns, and just because we may not have the proper ‘police training’ (which still doesn’t seem to keep the police from abusing their guns), doesn’t mean we aren’t fit to handle a weapon for defensive purposes.

  4. In my own opinion I have found this topic a complicated one. I believe in the Second Amendment 100%. We should have the right to protect ourselves. Many people believe that they have the right to “bear arms” against other citizens’ that in which they feel their life is threatend. ( Well that is usually the first thought anyway) it also means that we the American people also have the right ” to bear arms” and protect ourselves from our government as well. While The USA statistics on deaths by firearms are tragically high, those reports and studies doesn’t inform us how many were from law enforcement officers, suicide. There are so many factors to consider. Recently I have noticed more people are arming themselves to protect themselves from our government from 2003-2006 police officers made up 53.7% of all homicides by firearm. I do agree there are people carrying guns or has access to guns who shouldn’t due to their behavior, but there are ppl who carry concealed weapons, who have never shot anyone, (myself included) but people seeing and hearing all the school shootings, theatre shootings, etc. tend to cloud judgement and think gun ownership is bad. I think people should have the right to gun ownership and it shouldn’t be taken away from them because of the country’s high stats on gun violence, the second Amendment also states that the right to bear arms shall not be “INFRINGED” which means impair or to take away. Besides debating over banning gun ownership, there should be more classes available in all cities big and small about firearm safety. We should be educating people on gun safety, the stats on peoples knowledge on gun safety is too at an all time high..

    • Ilove everything Michelle said and she hit it right on the head on all points.I grew up in New Orleans one of the most violent cities in of America other than Chicago.And i must say i carried a gun for 30 years in that city and never shot no one.But if i did not have that gun i would not be writing this post right now.Late one night i was walking home about 15 years ago from a party alone as i walked i felt the prescence of people behind me when i looked around i saw 2 well known drug addicts that were infamous for robbing and killing people for their money and belongings and they was closing in on me for the kill that night if i would not have had that pistol in my pocket which i pulled and fired a round in the air to let them know i was not gonna be a easy victim for them that night.after i fired that shot i turned around and those killers was no where to be seen they got out of there just that fast.Iknow that pistol saved my life that night and i still did not have to shoot no one.So i’m sorry Mr. retired police officer you weren’t there to save me that night but Mr.smith and wesson was and this is why you never take away a persons right to carry.The police are not there to save us all the time.Dammit our lives depend on this right you’ll never take it away…

  5. Most of the american population are homicidal maniacs because the are the offspring of crazy europeans whom stole that country from there natural inhabitants
    They dont even think it was some poor peoples living space before them the claim it for themselves the kkk tells african americans to leave their country huh how is that even possible If the country wasnt theres to begin with now conclude some guns and rifles and you have instant mayhem is this so ffing hard to see that mentality is the issue here!!

  6. A cop writing about how people shouldn’t carry guns around KILLED my attention span in about 2 seconds. I read on anyway until this idiot started talking about how police are prepared and trained for a “forced fatal” situation 24/7. Neat. Now stop shooting people who don’t have weapons. If that is the kind of training you are suggesting people need you are looking to reduce the population. Drawing a gun in a high stress situation only increases the stress. Too many situations where cops draw guns do not call for them. De-militarize the police force and we will all live in a safer place. I personally would feel safer in a society armed to the teeth and NO police force. I have never seen gang violence more clearly illustrated than when I watch an episode of COPS, and they know they are being recorded! Six on one, knees, elbows, pressure points, batons, restraints, violent and vicious tactics designed to be used when you are fighting for your life. Just because you know the tactics doesn’t mean they should be used whenever you see a good opportunity. It would also save all of us a butt-ton of money to stop supplying an already too large police force across the country the newest fastest cars, armed vehicles, cannons, automatic weapons, and the most ridiculous paid vacation plan (designed for cops fail to do the job correctly and assault, or kill, or molest someone, or get a DUI, or the myriad of other crimes that too many police officers feel they can commit without consequence). My guess is that the statistics used in this article include incidences involving the police using their weapons. A cop who is for the population being disarmed is a cop I don’t want on the police force in my town. Your arguments illustrate exactly why. Good try.

  7. “I have known around eight or nine cops who have been involved in police shootings. Even with all the training they had, their accuracy rate was around 20% average. In one situation, two cops shot at an armed subject, emptying their clips and reloading, firing over 30+ bullets and they hit the guy three or four times, no fatal shots.” This is the mentality that cannot exist in a group designed to uphold the law and protect the citizens who pay their salaries.

    • I’m all in with you on this one JJ as i wrote in my previous re-ply i could’ve died in New Orleans without the pistol i had in my pocket and Mr.retired police man was no where around to save me but Mr. Smith and Wesson was…Like you i don’t trust or respect a cop who says he wants to disarm our citizens if you want to put my life at stake fuck you Mr.retired police man…

  8. Maybe if the government wasn’t constantly waging war on it’s own citizens through corruption, false trumped up charges, over armed and under IQed law enforcement, they wouldn’t HAVE to worry about it’s citizens arming themselves which is completely legal!!! And the reason Switzerland and Germany have lower gun fatalities is possibly because they don’t effing shoot all their citizens and ask questions later!! Maybe they know how to actually access a situation and deal with it appropriately instead of all the cowards here always “being in fear of their lives ” or THINKING the perp “had a gun” instead of it actually being a cell phone! I love my country but I don’t love the people running it or their lapdogs! Remember, you may trust police but they are TRAINED not to trust you and I’ve seen it more than once! Becareful people.

  9. I think the only way to stArt a revolution is with weapons that is how we gained our independence it’s when we get tired of this police that we raise our weapons go down their and disarm tthem and take back our liberty to build a better world look at how great England is where there cops don’t have guns

  10. had from the beginning interdict weapons to civilians, an American problem, passion for firearms. The collateral damage are not always those we see: paranoia, stress, phobia, new world order ….
    Weapons are for military or police that’s “normality” Mostly all over the world (except usa) (FIL from France)

  11. Although very lucid and well intentioned, this man’s arguments are based on half truths and personal feelings. He uses the safest country in the world as an example against us…well I’ll see you and raise with China. No guns for the citizens…The government and police kill at will anyone who even slightly shows opposition. Not to mention takes whatever they want from people, such as the entirety of a families crop for the season…for the good of the empire. Elections? Sure…but cast a vote against the regime and your whole family is murdered…yes…with guns. How about something closer? England no universal “right to bear arms. Violent crimes per capita more than double that of here…gun crimes…almost quadruple. Still not close enough? I present Chicago. Strictest gun got role laws in the country. Followed by Detroit, NY, LA, and DC. Violent crime, murder (over 400), and gun crimes…FOUR TIMES GREATER THAN THE NATIONAL AVERAGE in 2013. As far as per capita murders…asside from Flint, MI(which I know nothing about but will research later) Detroit takes the cake at TWELVE.TIMES.NATIONAL.AVERAGE.

    As far as his “highly trained police officer” argument…the average officer goes through roughly 5-600 hours of training. A hairdresser’s license requires over 1100 hours…I’ll just leave that right there for

    In summary…it’s not that they would, but they (or any future regime) could. And history dictates they will. Take the Patriot Act. Bush, that asshole, enacted this with the best of intentions, and used it just as it was intended (as far as we know). But he put too much power in the govt hands and opened up the door for a future president to abuse that power. Just as Obama has done, turning that power on the American people and all who oppose him.

    Just some thoughts…You make the call.

  12. Why is the article written about why people shouldn’t [conceal] carry, but the only pictures are of kids and an elderly woman handling firearms openly? Although I absolutely support conceal/open carry, I clearly I don’t want little 6 year old Johnny carrying a Ruger in his pocket.

  13. The Supreme Court deemed that it is NOT the duty of the police to protect you, it is up to the individual to care for his safety, that said if you choose to be a victim then fine I have no problems with that but neither myself nor my family will be victims. In my 40 years of life I’ve carried for 19 of those years and never has any of my weapons left the holster or safe and killed anyone but they have in two occasions saved me and others from being robbed and from being carjacked. He points out how Switzerland and Germany have low ownerships I guess he’s never traveled there in Switzerland everyone owns a rifle its mandatory to serve in the militia and when you go to training when you’re done you keep your FULLY AUTOMATIC Sig 552 that’s right Full Auto that’s not all every town has these sheds where they keep extra ammo, explosives and other goodies just in case they get invaded as for Germany its very expensive to possess a permit to carry but they still own rifles. That said the moment they kill the second amendment all others will die as well, understand that the second amendment is the one that gives teeth to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights it is the ONLY Amendment that states very clear “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED” THAT MEANS NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH!!! I guess I can say keep dreaming of a Utopian society where there’s no crime, no litter, I’ll stay here covering your back just in case it doesn’t workout! Stay Frosty Semper Fi RAH!!!

  14. I think the end of this piece is very true and important to understand. With that being said, we don’t currently live in that environment. Furthermore, with live with trained officers that often make poor decisions and judgments about and towards people. It’s not only our right, but our responsibility to protect our loved ones and preserve an ideology of a better tomorrow for everyone. Words and wisdom should always persevere over actions of anger including the use of guns. Unfortunately, we still have not found that day. I’m confident we 1 day will through growth and the spread of love and understanding. Until then, it’s my duty to protect myself and those that can’t against the evil in this world. I pray for strength and positivity for all in the mean time. One last thing I’d like to add. If our officers spend so much time training for high stress scenarios, their brains will adapt to that and be looking for those scenarios. My problem with this is they often find 1 where 1 doesn’t exist if you will. They often have an unfair and biased point of perception that unjustly leaves citizens to tolerate them and their demeanor, because they are the authority(in my sarcastic voice)! Let me ask you this, how often does officers meditate as part of their training. How often do they talk to a psychiatrist? How often are they trained on peaceful resolutions? How often are the subjected to high stress situations/training scenarios in which they are encouraged to sympathize, understand, and find peaceful resolutions? . That’s what I thought. Until that day comes, and those appointed (and paid for by me and my fellow citizens, ie taxes) to SERVE AND PROTECT have a better outlook on society and what their responsibilities truly are, I will be protecting myself!. With love and light, this guy.

  15. I am truly relieved to see that the vast majority giving feed back to the nonsense ‘opinion’ of this ‘retired minion’, are actually not buying that load of crap opinion. There is a desperate need in our nation to bear arms, licensed or not, because we are being slaughtered by the people we pay, via taxes, and that swore to protect us… We need the right to bear arms and we will NOT release that right!!

  16. To quote Ben Franklin – “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Unfortunately only in death will we find peace and safety.

  17. The question the article seems to pose is: should citizens be allowed to own firearms. The fact that it is even being considered shows that we have moved well away from gov. asking permission from the people, to people asking for rights from the government. Our government was never meant to be the authority, the people are the authority. This has to be the overriding principal.

    The author questions whether we should be allowed to have guns because of our lack of training. This is a moot point. See the paragraph above. Speaking of training, what are police forces doing to prevent the rise in murder of citizens by police? Not much it appears. As the cops receive little more than a brief suspension in such cases.

    This point of view doesn’t surprise me coming from an ex-cop. They feel they are a step above us, the rabble, and therefore should enjoy more rights and privileges than we do, and feel authority rests with them not us. Since the authority does ultimately rest with us, maybe we should ask ourselves not if citizens should have guns but a different question. Being a sort of gang who has a monopoly on the legal use of violence, steals from us via fines and taxes, imprisons, beats at murders at their whim… shouldn’t we be asking if we need cops?

    • Exactly, even the founding fathers believed we should all be armed to the teeth in case we ever wanted to overthrow our government, police or military.. But unfortunately we gave up our rights to feel a little safer.

  18. “Either that or America has an abundance of homicidal maniacs running around.” Well, perhaps it has. Drugging kids who don’t act robotic all day, no social safety net, every man for himself, a culture of violence and pornography, an industrialised prison system, the constant meddling in other countries’ affairs, the culture of war, the history of genocide and slavery…Maybe this is why the US has so much crime and Switzerland has so little.

  19. The way I see it, in a community where every-one has that equal right as a human being to carry and defend their lives with a gun, there’s barely any gun violence because almost every criminal is too scared to whip out their gun, because if they want to shoot an innocent person then about fifty or sixty people are gonna turn around and shoot the fuck out of them! At least that’s what I’ve heard about Alabama anyway, those guys don’t fuck around!

  20. Introducing you to the next gen Sociopath cops, just keep all the boys on amphetamines starting at 5 years of age, and wala, a bunch of psychopaths.

  21. Hilarious! Alek Hidell! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    All the dumbasses commenting here just got punked by Anon. And they are on this comment board arguing so SERIOUSLY about this. Some of them are soooo emotional.

    I hope they all used Windows PCs to access this site too.

    Fucking idiots!

  22. BULLSHIT!! The fight we have with an armed government and their armed thugs….and how much have we been fighting our ridiculous militant police who already murder people carte blanche and violate Constitution al Rights wholesale…..and you believe in this flower child 60s bullshit??!! Was slavery overthrown by the preaching of correct ideology??? HELL NO… was a long violent conflict!! The problem we have is people like you who don’t understand where to draw the line…..r u a liberal or a conservative?? Although there is evil and subversion on both sides THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO EVENTUALLY DEFEND OUR FREEDOMS IS TO BE ARMED AT LEAST AS WELL AS THE GOVERNMENT THUGS AND POLICE WHO WOULD GLADLY TAKE OUR FREEDOMS WHOLESALE!!!!
    Also….your reasoning is unbelievably flawed. Of course there is more gun violence in the US ….. WE HAVE 10X MORE PEOPLE THAN GERMANY …. Like Archie Bunker said to Meathead: “Would you rather they kill someone with a kitchen knife?”…..criminals will be criminals no matter if they have guns or not! Take a place like my home of Montana where cun ownership nears 100%……is there a disproportionate amount of gun violence in Montana?? JUST THE OPPOSITE!! SO YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT!!


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