Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.
In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.
When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.
There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat–it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.
Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level. The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weightlifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.
When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation…and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.
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When larger hazards are afoot, long guns come out. This shortened .303 Enfield is sufficient for stopping black bear. Fortunately, none of the ursine incursions into the Kloos’ territory have turned into an open conflict.
A full-time writer and an equally full-time wrangler of two small munchkins, Marko Kloos is a friendly man with a sardonic, dry sense of humor.
Marko and his wife, Robin, live with their children in northern New Hampshire, moving there several years ago for the Free State Project. Prior to the move, the family lived in Knoxville, Tennessee.
As a teenager in Germany, Marko carried a pocket knife. As a volunteer Bundeswehr recon scout, he carried a G3 rifle. As a young adult in Germany, he carried a sidearm for reasons both practical and philosophical. The decision to go armed wasn’t an emotional reaction to any traumatic event, but rather a calculated and well-considered outcome of his self-ownership and self-reliance mindset. Marko’s philosophical views led him to emigrate to the United States in 1996, believing America offered him far greater degree of self-determination than Germany.
Then, as now, Marko lived purposefully. He knew why he chose a particular path in life and why he associated with certain people. One of the chosen few was Robin, the woman he later married. I first met her at a backyard target practice in 2003. When I offered unsolicited advice about using a two-handed grip with her revolver, she politely declined to follow the suggestion. I later learned that her left arm was mostly paralyzed from a severe accident that put her in a six-month coma. Being tenacious, Robin recovered and managed to acquire multiple academic degrees, a career in two fields at once and a marked independence in all things, self-defense included. That orientation toward independence and achievement was the first thing that made Robin interesting to Marko.
I don’t think it’s fair to outsource my personal safety to someone else.
Around that time, I asked Marko about the weapons of the army recon. He explained that a recon team survives by avoiding conflict much more than by winning confrontations. That description applies equally to armed American civilians.
Knowing the importance of the right mindset, Marko homeschools his two small children. He wears the title “munchkin-wrangler” proudly, even adopting it for his blog munchkinwrangler.wordpress.com. Just as he strives to raise the kids right, he also tries to nudge his adopted culture in the direction of greater individual liberty and personal responsibility. A master of English despite growing up abroad, Marko has written many acclaimed essays, including the famous, “Why Gun is Civilization.” Incorrectly attributed to the mythical Major Caudill by the viral email that popularized it, that essay explained in clear, concise terms why the ability to wear a firearm is a civilized act. Another of his excellent essays, “That I Believe,” rings as true as Heinlein’s aphorisms and ahead of La Rochefoucauld’s. It is no surprise that his writings are mirrored by numerous civil rights advocacy sites. Marko’s novels and short stories, some of which are available for reading from his web site, also carry consistent ethical messages while delivering engrossing storylines.
Quinn, 5, watches the camera. Lyra, 3, is more interested in the dogs. Tolkien was right when he spoke through one of his characters: “I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
Marko has a mild, low-key character that belies his formidable defensive capabilities. A fan of the wheel gun, he’s equally competent with a semi-auto pistol. At his current rural home, a shortened Enfield rifle sits close to hand in case of particularly aggressive bears. Thus far, the bears have managed to stay out of Marko’s gun sights and out of the jaws of his four excessively self-confident dachshunds.
In the choice of personal weaponry, Marko is quite orthodox. His preferred daily carry is a simple 3-inch .38 Special revolver with fixed sights. His training, not the theoretical bells and whistles of the gun, would carry the day should he ever fight for his life or to protect his family. His choice of the basic but time-tested ten-shot .303 for critter management comes from the same attitude: the solutions should be simple and cover reasonably probable threats. Two muggers or a hungry black bear are possible, ten zombie ninjas in body armor very much less likely. His training reflects that line of reasoning also.
Like many immigrants, Marko relishes the freedom America has but watches closely the disturbing cultural trends and legislative efforts that threaten its freedom. Having less attractive conditions for comparison not as a theoretical possibility but as vivid and unhappy memories proved a potent motivation for trying to counter them, if only on the scale of one family. Fortunately, he has a capable confederate in Robin, proving once again the importance of marrying an ideologically compatible spouse. As for our national fortunes, I think the outlook improved greatly with Marko’s arrival. The Kloos family, this generation and the next, are the kind of people who make this country great.
Why do you carry a gun?
I carry because I am a responsible, self-sufficient adult. I carry because the nearest cop is ten minutes away at full throttle. I carry because I don’t think it’s fair to outsource my personal safety to someone else, and then expect them to risk their neck for me for $40,000 a year. I carry because I believe that most people are good, but know that some are not. I carry because I’m the only one who’s 100 percent likely to be at the scene if I ever get mugged. I carry because it lets me determine my own fate to some degree.
Have you ever had to use your firearm in a defensive situation?
Not exactly—there were no shots fired. I was changing trains late at night, and two men tried to accost me. They saw me walking, and altered their own course to cut me off on my way to the platform. I merely swept back my jacket, and put my hand on the butt of my holstered pistol in an intentionally obvious fashion, and they turned around and walked the other way without a word.
What training methods do you employ?
I have the liberty of being able to shoot on my own property, so I can practice however I want. I try to set up realistic environments as much as I can. When I go outside to shoot, I use my everyday clothing and carry gear. Instead of put ting myself through scenarios I’m unlikely to find myself in—hostage shots and courses of fire with eleven opponents and three reloads, for example— I do stuff like shooting in low light, or with one hand occupied. I also practice indexing and drawing a lot, to build and maintain muscle memory. It’s not a gun school training regimen, but it’s what I can do with what I have as a full-time dad who can’t run off to gun school once a quarter for a week.
Do you have any recommendations?
There’s no best when it comes to guns and holsters. There’s only best for you. Everybody has different circumstances, preferences, abilities, and environments. Don’t let anyone push you into a choice when it comes to your personal defensive gear. Try out as many different gun and holster combinations as you can. And whatever you do, don’t put stock in internet arguments. Any caliber, brand, holster, ammo choice or training method will have its passionate defenders and detractors, but it’s all just ballistic tribalism.
How long have you carried a concealed weapon?
I’ve been carrying a handgun most of the time since 1989, with a break of a few years when I immigrated to the United States in 1996, and could not yet own or carry a firearm. Overall, I’ve carried a gun for probably sixteen out of the last twenty- one years.
What weapons do you carry?
A Smith & Wesson Model 10 with a 3-inch barrel is Marko’s main carry gun...
I alternate between a Smith & Wesson Model 10 with a three-inch heavy barrel, and a Ruger LCP. The little Ruger is for situations and environments where a holstered gun on the belt would be inappropriate or unwise.
What type of ammunition do you carry?
In the Model 10, I like to carry the old FBI load, 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter hollow points. That load has a long and proven history of taking care of unpleasant business, and the fixed sights on the M10 are regulated for that particular bullet weight. In the Ruger LCP, I carry whatever’s on sale. The LCP isn’t finicky about ammo, and in a marginal caliber like .380 ACP, penetration is more important than expansion, in my opinion. Expansion is nice, but it won’t do any good if the bullet doesn’t reach anything vital.
What concealment holsters do you use?
...while the more discreet Ruger LCP .380 goes where the larger M10 cannot.
For the M10, I use a DeSantis Speed Scabbard and speedloader pouch. Occasionally, I’ll carry it in a Bianchi #3S Pistol Pocket. The Ruger LCP rides in a leather Hunter pocket holster with a square backing piece, to make it look like a wallet in the pocket.
What do you do for a living?
I’m a freelance writer, and full-time stay-at-home parent. I’m also a novelist, and currently at work selling one of my novels while finishing its sequel.
Do you have any advice for our readers?
Carry what feels good and natural to you. If you’re comfortable with your gun, you’ll practice with it, and practice will make you quick and accurate. Accuracy beats choice of caliber or weapon any day of the week. Don’t get caught up in caliber or platform wars, and don’t listen to gun shop commandos. Get a good gun that fits you and your lifestyle, and then seek instruction from qualified people. And remember that the gun is an emergency device of last resort, not a universal tool or magic talisman. The weapon is the squishy gray thing between your ears. Situational awareness and a fast set of shoes beat any gun and holster combo you can strap to your side.
Self-Defense & Home Defense