By Vladimir Ivlev
Joe Average is your typical upstanding citizen living in the safe cradle of his imperturbable suburbia. No kids, no wife, no valuable possessions, no ambitions, and a daddy complex. Joe looks at his fellow citizens engaging in political discourse, imminently changing the channel to the 9 o’clock preview of the new Gilmore Girls season with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s™. Joe Average is content with his uneventful life. A contention that annoys the philosophy undergrad. Through a cruel karmic trick Joe is suddenly transported to a low-scale apartment, a dead-end job, a market clerk spouse and 2.5 kids. With his bank account drained and his relationship with his father normalized, Joe, realizing the predicament he is in, screams out loud “Is this my life now?”.
“Yes it is”, says the philosophy undergrad standing in the doorway, wearing a smug expression, a “Nietzsche is my co-pilot” t-shirt and a fedora.
The undergrad provides Joe with a non-descript pistol and looks at Joe with expectation. “What am I supposed to do with this?” asks Joe holding the gun with two fingers. “I don’t know man, what do you think?” answers the undergrad.
“Aren’t guns illegal?” Joe asks, to which the undergrad replies “I don’t know, should they be?”.
Joey Jr. observes the conversation horrified, sitting on the living room couch. Joe ponders the question, when at last he returns with “Yes they should be, they are dangerous and if everyone owns a gun criminals will more easily get a hold of it. Besides, we have the police to protect us.”
The undergrad sits next to Joey Jr. with a smirk on his face that vanishes once the child runs away in horror. As if denying that ever happened, the undergrad returns to Joe and says “You see Joe, criminalizing gun ownership will not keep criminals from getting hold of guns, quite the opposite. Just like in the case of drugs, economic standards of supply and demand will only cause the black market to have a field day with illegal gun trade. As for the police, your wife has dialed 911 fifteen minutes ago, on my arrival here. How are you Janet?” Joe’s wife does not reply. “By this time an intruder would have had plenty of time to vandalize and/or steal your private property, disturb and/or murder your family.”
Joe (still holding the gun) replies angrily “Well where do our tax-money go to? What are cops for? In that case we need more cops!”
“Would you sacrifice your personal liberties for safety? For police to act as a deterrent to crime you would need mass surveillance. Is that a world you’re willing to live in?”, the undergrad shifts his fedora in satisfaction.
“No! Yes! I mean… I don’t know…” Joe admits with embarrassment “So what’s the alternative?”
“You see Joe, buddy…” says the undergrad, “There are usually three perspectives that people have on gun rights. The first is about protecting your private property, including your family. In that case, a simple pistol and a trained arm at home is all you need.”
“What about carrying your gun around in public? And why just a pistol? Why not think bigger?” replies Joe with a dubious expression on his face.
“You don’t need weaponry to protect your property in public, so it becomes a legal issue. If you are a victim of a crime having a gun on your person will complicate matters” answers the undergrad. “And as for bigger guns like automatic, they do more damage to your property than the robber would”.
“But what if I don’t want to kill the robber?” asks Joe.
“That is the second perspective Joemaster. The humanist one. If you believe in rehabilitating criminals, killing them as an act of punishment through self-defence is wrong. It’s funny however, humanism and our society is inherently contradictory. If the criminal is apprehended, he will be punished with a high chance of offending again once he gets out. So unless you live in Norway forget about the humanist approach.”
“In that case, how can I trust a government that is so false?” Joe asks in dismay.
“And here we conclude with the third perspective. Owning guns out of distrust of the government. Waiting endlessly for the upcoming revolution, whether you’re left-wing and want to overthrow the ruling upper class, or if you’re right-wing and want to overthrow the ruling lower-class, you hold on to your guns like they’re your children.” At this point Joe is practically hugging the pistol. The undergrad continues, “However history has showed us that through great effort peaceful revolutions are possible, like Gandhi’s Salt March, the demolition of the Berlin Wall or the Ukrainian Orange Revolution. So… Joester, now that you know I will leave you to decide for yourself.”
As two cops finally enter the apartment, Joe Average vanishes leaving his wife and kids to deal with the false-alarm penalty. Joe finds himself back at his old suburban house, sitting in his couch with Orange is the New Black playing on the TV. Remembering that he hasn’t called his father in 2 years, Joe Average finally realises that everything is back to normal and sighs in relief after devouring a scoop of ice cream, never aware of the philosophy undergrad watching him silently through his living room window.