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Old 09-09-2019, 02:30 PM
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CookingWithGas is offline
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
Posts: 13,469

The myth of good guys & bad guys

Resolved: The world is not a binary division of good guys and bad guys, but rather a spectrum of people with myriad life histories and motivations.

A thread which has become infamous around here lately is Positive Gun News of the Day. This debate is not about that thread per se, but many of the posts in that thread involve the reposting of news items where a "good guy" with a gun kills a "bad guy" with a gun, casting such events as "positive."

I'll grant you that if I had a gun, and someone pointed a gun at me, I would shoot. But short of a clear threat, this whole concept of "bad guys" is a myth from 1940s movies about the wild West. There are two issues with this business of knowing who's a "bad guy."

The first is that you can't tell who is a bad guy just by looking. Even trained police officers identified a man who was legally carrying a gun as a bad guy, so they killed him. He turned out to be a good guy. Police killed an armed security guard who was responding to a gunman in a bar. What are the chances that a civilian passerby is going to make the right call?

The second is that there is really no such thing as a good guy or bad guy. There are people thought to be good right up until they shoot someone in an argument, or go nuts and shoot up their workplace. Even people who have committed crimes cannot be simplistically classified as "bad guys." There are thousands of stories of people convicted of crimes who chose the wrong path but regret their actions and have turned their lives around. Sure, there are people who have just decided to make violent crime a way of life, dehumanizing their victims, will never be productive members of society, and would do it all over again if they get out of prison. But there are all sorts of shades of gray. "There but for the grace of God go I."
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