Gun Rights as Inoculation

There’s a lot of talk of treating the “gun violence epidemic” as a public health threat.

Fine. Eradicate “gun violence.”

Take polio, for instance. Polio has been eradicated in America, and is virtually extinct in the rest of the world. How did we accomplish that? Vaccination.

Prior to that, there was an epidemic in the US with 58,000 cases in 1952, out of a population of 157.55 million. Compare that to 73,505 shootings in 2013, out of a population of 316.23 million. If math is hard, that’s a 36.8/100K rate for polio, versus 23.2/100K rate for shootings. Polio was worse then than shootings now. Today’s generation may have never seen a polio victim, but I grew up knowing them.

But we beat it. With vaccination.

We can beat “gun violence,” too. With vaccination.

How does a vaccine work? With polio, that being my example, a person is given an inactivated or weakened polio virus that will not cause the disease. The body uses that to build up a resistance to the actual disease. The body uses what it was given to recognize and repel the aggressive disease. If a live polio virus shows its ugly little face, the body uses its own polio resistance template to kill it.

This works for several diseases. Diseases which were once common, but now rare in the US. It works so well at protecting the public from epidemics that vaccination is mandatory in most of America. Little children have to show proof that their bodies have learned to fight diseases before they can attend school.

I’ve been inoculated against the “gun violence epidemic.” I have a variety of defensive firearms with which I’ve learned to counter aggressive violence. As a result, I’ve effectively resisted criminal violence; I’ve been through three mugging attempts, none of which succeeded.

Vaccinations are mandated. You typically need a medical exemption to not get them, because they protect the general public from epidemics. Often, you can get vaccinations at reduced prices, or even free. Because it protects everyone.

If only inoculation against the “gun violence epidemic” were so simple. In most of the country, you need to get special permission from the government to get vaccinated with a concealed carry license. In some areas, state and local governments have outlawed such vaccination for all practical purposes; you can ask, and they can — and do — say, “No.” It took multiple lawsuits to get Chicago and the District of Columbia to stop a regulatory process intended to keep people vulnerable to the “epidemic” of violence.

Imagine a doctor telling his patients, “There’s too much polio, measles, mumps, and rubella out there. Do not get vaccinated.” But they will grill patients on defensive firearms possession, and recommend they get rid of their “vaccinations” or render them useless.

If you seriously want the government to end the “gun violence epidemic” (personally, I prefer an individual approach), health departments should be offering free or reduced cost firearms and ammunition to honest people, and holding free training sessions every weekend.


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9 thoughts on “Gun Rights as Inoculation”

  1. Good essay! I’d argue that your innoculation against violence is even BETTER than the medical vaccination.

    Yes, our bodies learn to fight the live virus, but a person like yourself — who has successfully resisted violent attack — learns from each incident and very likely gets better at resisting the next one. You probably also gained in confidence, which makes you a less likely target next time!

  2. The day my Dad came home from work early and we went somewhere to suck on the sugar cube with the polio vaccination, we went out to supper to celebrate. I was a bit young to understand, and parents weren’t sharing their fears with us, but I remember after that Mom and Dad were a lot less worried, and we went to a lot more public places.

    Today, of course, the “rising tide of gun violence” seems concentrated on the TV news and in internet hashtags, and vaccines don’t seem to work there.

    Great article.

    1. OK, I grinned. Then I imagined Medicare/Medicaid and insurance companies making a determination on my personal defense. Best case, I figure everyone gets a Hi-Point CF380, and 5 rounds of 9mm FMJ.

      Lead-free in California.

  3. “I almost didn’t publish this for fear someone would bring that up.”

    If anything, here is a metaphor that is more problematic:

    Overuse of antibiotics ‘risks return to dark ages of life-threatening surgery’
    * https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/oct/23/overuse-of-antibiotics-risks-return-to-dark-ages-of-life-threatening-surgery

    [SNIP]
    Antibiotics have long been losing their bug-killing power, for a number of reasons, including overuse.
    ============================

    Good thing you used the word ‘vaccine’ instead, huh?

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