Given recent tragedies, there is a heated controversy over the nature of current laws pertaining to the accessibility of firearms. Many argue that guaranteed security need be prioritized over risky liberty, even if this requires the enforcement of totalitarian principles. This perspective, however, is inherently detrimental on numerous levels: It destroys Constitutional liberty, personal autonomy, individual rights, and confidence in personal competence; however, one of the most prominent detriments of this argument is that it is directly counter-productive to our biological instinct to preserve ourselves in self-defense.

All species are interdependent upon one another; one species is always superior to another type of organism, and inferior to a predator. This natural hierarchy is one of the most significant aspects of the natural order and the categorization of biological species. Through natural selection, organisms possessing genes with a greater susceptibility to environmental hazards are culled out from the available gene pool, due to them being outnumbered in competitive reproduction by other members of their species. Through this evolutionary development, species develop adaptive characteristics that strengthen their defense against environmental weaknesses, predatory species, and foes, in a process called adaptation.

Adaption would include examples like the development of white fur on polar bears; this adaption provides two protective measures, one being insulation, and the other being camouflage, so that the organism may successfully integrate into its environment. Other instances include the ability of bees to pollinate flowers, which creates a mutually beneficial relationship between the two organisms.

Likewise, human beings, or the Homo-Sapien species, have created adaptations to compensate for areas of physical susceptibility to the environment and other species. E.G., we develop industrialized machinery to transport contents that humans are incapable of physically transporting, and we utilize the assistance of other species to complete tasks that we ourselves are incapable of without the use of technology. We are inferior to a plethora of other species in terms of physical strength, agility, speed, heightened perception, etc. We compensate regarding these vulnerabilities through our development of technology.

evolution and the second amendment
Credit: PRISMA ARCHIVO/Alamy

One phenomenon of adaptation is known as a trade-off, an occurrence in which an evolutionary advantage is created, that simultaneously provides the species with disadvantages in other areas. An example of this would be the development of water-proof flippers on penguins that aid in swimming, but prohibit flight.

Like every other species, humans possess the intrinsic desire to develop traits that efficiently guarantee our safety and preservation. The development of firearms to ensure self-defense and the preservation of our bodily safety and autonomy is one such case. Firearms are an example of a trade-off; they increase our liberties by preserving our right to bear arms and defend ourselves against foes, both domestic and foreign, but come with the disadvantage of some being caught within the unfortunate abuse of such instruments. There is no logical (and Constitutional) method of completely erasing any probability of gun violence through restrictive policies and laws; Our Republic was established upon the guarantee of liberty, rather than totalitarian reassurance of security.

evolutionary tradeoff self defense

Still, with these points taken into consideration, the only solution that may be properly proposed to end shootings, particularly school shootings, would be to properly instruct and arm faculty staff and teachers in the appropriate use of firearms, along with further precautionary measures being taken, like bulletproof windows, cameras and safety drills. These precautionary measures may only be a supplement to offensive measures, like instructional training with firearms; otherwise, this adorns an automatic defensive demeanor, rather than an offensive one that would directly confront the threat. A combination of both are needed to successfully address this formidable threat that has risen in prominence as a result of moral and societal degradation.

The only way to develop anti-predator adaptations, is through offensive measures that guarantee security and protection, as well as defensive measures-not simply by imposing restrictions in an attempt to dilute the offensive capabilities of one’s foe, when those same restrictions would be self inflicted, and thus counter-productive. By ensuring that those capabilities are developed within ourselves and our companions, we may successfully reassure a definite response to the societal threats that currently face ourselves, and our children.

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