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In Technocracy, I have written extensively about the technology of self-defense, including firearms and knives. I have said that this technology is integral to the right to defend your property – your person – and that a free people must never be forbidden access to such tools. In recent weeks I have even discussed the technology of the criminal and the “software” that is training. Training, after all, is reason coupled to technology, yielding an application. All self-defense, then, concerns preparedness. Preparedness is learning to use technology, learning to apply technology and perhaps even stockpiling certain items of technology, to preserve yourself from hostile intent and from external adversity.

We will cap our series on self-defense technology issues, then, with this: Some time ago, I received the following comment from a reader.

For someone like yourself, who spends so much time thinking about, writing about, and preaching about, self defense, nation defense, defense against criminals, defense against hippies, defense against terrorists, defense against immigrants, defense against communists, defense against liberals, rights to defend yourself, rights to be armed, etc., the world must indeed look like a huge scary place. Yes, these are real issues, but most of us don’t live our lives in a state of constant, vigilante fear and paranoia.

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This commentary speaks to the mentality of those who do not understand either the necessity of self-defense or the roles that prudent preparation and self-defense technology should play in the lives of free citizens. It is fundamentally an attitude ascribed to what some call “sheeple” – subjects rather than citizens, the Great Undecided Middle who comprise a plurality of Americans (and a majority of citizens and subjects abroad). To the sheeple, armed citizens are the enemy, not criminals or societal predators. To sheeple, the very notion that danger could exist within society, or that it is only reasonably responsible to be prepared for that danger, is paranoia. Armed citizens are not and cannot be responsible men and women exercising their constitutionally protected rights to self-defense; they are, in the minds of sheeple, vigilantes. Notions of self-reliance and self-preservation are lost on sheeple; they believe that either you will never need to preserve yourself, or that if you experience an emergency you will (and you must) call on the recognized authorities to come and save you.

To sheeple, what they feel supersedes reality. Sheeple’s emotions, their wishful thinking, has been substituted for an objective recognition of what truly is. Sheeple will speak loudly and proudly about how they’ve never felt the need to be armed, or never felt the need to prepare or train for self-defense, or perhaps how they’ve never felt “unsafe” even in dangerous areas. What’s more, they’ll project their wishful thinking onto others, concluding that armed citizens (those wacky conservatives and libertarians especially) are “fearful.” You see, sheeple are what firearms guru Jeff Cooper characterized as non-copers. They resent and fear copers, those who are more capable and better prepared than the sheeple. Considering someone else’s superior preparation makes the sheeple confront the conflict between what they wish to believe and what truly is – producing the uncomfortable sensation that is cognitive dissonance.

The fact that law enforcement and emergency personnel can rarely be where you need them exactly when you need them is lost on sheeple. Recordings of calls to 911 centers, in which victims scream for help as they are assaulted and murdered by societal predators, make no impression on sheeple. The very idea that you are responsible for yourself and your family – not your government or anyone else – is anathema to the utopian fantasy world in which sheeple live.

Most of us have heard the fable of the grasshopper and the ant. The ant spends summer working, preparing for the winter ahead. As the industrious ant stores food and goes about his business, he is ridiculed by the grasshopper. The grasshopper, laughing and playing, asks the ant why he is wasting his time working. Food is plentiful; the weather is mild; the grasshopper has never felt the need to store food or to work when he could be enjoying himself and his life. How fearful the ant must be! How paranoid the poor wretch must feel, to spend the beautiful summer months toiling unnecessarily!

When winter comes, of course, the ant has done his work and is ready to face the cold and the snow from within the warmth of the shelter he has prepared. Depending on the version of the fable you read, the grasshopper either realizes his folly or he doesn’t; he either dies from the cold or the ant takes pity on him (with or without sarcastic commentary and moral pedantry).

The grasshoppers, the sheeple, are smug in the warm months of summer. It is the grasshopper who sneers, “Why would you need to carry a knife?” It is that same grasshopper who always turns to the ant to borrow that knife when a package must be opened or some other cutting chore accomplished. It is the grasshopper who derides, “I have never felt the need to be armed,” who then turns to armed citizens for help when the police are not or cannot be on hand in an emergency. Ask the Korean shop owners who held back looters and arsonists from the roofs of their businesses during the L.A. riots. Ask them if they were “paranoid” or if they acted as “vigilantes” when they bought, stored and then prepared to use technology before and during an emergency.

You can choose to be the ant or the grasshopper; you can bleat with the sheeple or you can walk upright with human beings. This is not an easy choice for some; it requires courage, it requires maturity, and it requires that we recognize certain unpleasant facts about the world. It also requires that we walk forward to face those challenges, without fear, without anxiety, enjoying the gift of our lives as we work to respect and preserve that gift.

That is your choice. Cope, or don’t.

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