Armed Protestors and Package Theft

2 min readAug 29, 2020

Projectiles Lead to a Different Theory of Property

Yesterday, I was thinking that without our irrational desire to retain the things that we have in our hands by violence if necessary, for example your cell phone. Somebody could make a living just by walking around slashing things from people that weren’t worth fighting to retain.

It doesn’t really make sense that someone would chase you down for half a sandwich for example. I didn’t bring this up yesterday because it seemed too hypothetical to be interesting.

This morning I saw the abandoned shell of an Amazon package that someone had taken from a doorstep, plundered, and thrown into a bush in an alley. Something about the human mind doesn’t latch onto the contents of the package until the package is actually opened. This is probably why the phenomenon of mass package theft exists and why it’s such a low criminal justice priority.

It’s interesting that the commercial legal system reflects the idea that a good belongs to the sender until the recipient takes delivery. This is an example of the legal system evolving to line up with our innate sense of property.

I have a theory that owning a projectile weapon causes the human sense of property control to expand to include the range of the projectile. This makes sense because the tactile sense adapts to the reality that one can physically influence objects further away from the body.

This might explain why someone who sits on their porch with a shotgun eventually starts to see birds, deer, and other residents of the biosphere as thieves stealing fish and vegetable matter from the relevant sphere of control.

If my theory about projectile weapons is correct, one could see a situation where common sense notions about property were completely divergent between two populations simply because one carried around a gun and the other didn’t.

This would suggest that inserting guns into a street protest where two sides were vying for control of territory through numbers and intimidation would lead to violence since neither side would be able to intuitively anticipate the other’s mental model of what was happening even as they attempted to intimidate each other through brinkmanship.

Even if the guns were evenly distributed on both sides, they would still disrupt compromise because the two groups would be unable to form an internal consensus about “respectful distance.”

“Don’t snatch things!” One of the most powerful sources of the impulse to use violence is the reflex to punish the taking of something which we consider to be in our possession.

In order to be effective, rules designed to prevent us from using violence must take our intuitions about “possession” into account just as much if not more as the principles of logic and reason.

Should the police have a heightened authority to control movements of a protest once guns are introduced? In the presence of counter protestors and in the absence of leadership, I think it might be helpful.