Monday, September 11, 2006

A Story of Power

I was recently told about gentleman living in a city in another country, who carried a concealed pistol. There, it is very rare for a civilian to legally carry a firearm in public and, indeed, he had obtained the appropriate permit. When he was asked by a visitor what he was protecting himself against his reply was unexpected. "I am protecting myself from myself."

As I understand it, this gentleman is using the pistol as a reminder of how powerful he is, how easy it is to call on his power, how potentially dangerous his power can be and therefore how circumspect he must be in its use.

I might have been skeptical except that the story was told me by the visitor, who is someone I tend to believe. As I thought further I realized that the gentleman had provided a wonderful example. It is not that I am proposing we all carry handguns but it does make a lot of sense, before we use our power to serve an objective, to consider the downside that can come from its even accidental misuse.

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