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 Post subject: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:19 am 
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I have a question, not sure if it's silly sounding or not, but something I've been pondering for some time. Almost 2 years ago, I moved WAY out into the woods in the country. I live alone in a cottage, I'm very isolated and the dirt road that leads to my house is private and not even patrolled by police at all. Mail isn't even delivered out here, no town snow plowing, etc.

So when I first moved in I met a few of the "neighbors", none of whom are actually close to my house at all, but a good walking distance. The first advice they all gave me was to get a gun. It's not that we're in a dangerous area or anything, but more because it's the remote country, and that's what they do around here for protection. So I disregarded the advice, since I'm not into guns. A few months later there was an incident where a guy showed up at my cottage drunk and tried to barge in. The police did not answer (can you imagine?), instead I got an answering machine! The guy ended up passing out on my property and I ran up the road, woke a neighbor that I knew is friends with this guy, and he came down and dragged him out of here. He reminded me I need a gun. Again, I disregarded it.

This week, about a year after the aforementioned incident, I walked down to the mailboxes, which are not at our driveways, but instead are at the end of the long dirt road. While I was there, I heard a bunch of men coming in a truck. Because it was very late and there are usually no cars at that hour, and because they were loud and boisterous, my instinct told me to hide. So I jumped behind a rock wall behind the mailboxes and hid. They pulled right up to the mailboxes, didn't see me, but pulled out 4 x4's and proceeded to bash in the entire row of mailboxes. I was so close that pieces of metal and plastic were landing in my hair and hitting my face. It was very scary, because I thought sure they would see me, but I guess they were drunk and preoccupied. They finally got back in their trucks and pulled off. I jumped up and got their plate # and ran home and reported it. They were eventually stopped, and I later found out they were on a spree that night that spread across 3 local towns, with 16 other vandalizing acts, windshields, mailboxes, rocks through windows, etc.

I am a member if a country-living oriented message board, and when I told this story the vast majority of members said I need to get a gun. At this point I've been told this by numerous people. I have even brought up alternatives, such as pepper spray or mace, stun guns, etc. But they all provide reasonably valid arguments that in order for those to work, I must be pretty much under direct attack. The thought of a gun, being potentially LETHAL, really scares me. I don't want to kill anyone. Obviously if I got one I would go to a local gun place, thoroughly learn to use it, how to handle it, etc. But I'm just not sure how this comes into play with my general ethics. I am peaceful, try to "do no harm", etc. But neither do I want to be a peaceful idiot who gets raped or killed because I refused to get a gun. I'm just not sure what to do. I also try to consider that I could be overpowered and my own gun used against me.

I would appreciate some opinions on this. The people on the country message board are all a bit bias, because they are country folk and guns are all they know. I thought I might get a more open minded opinion here. How do guns (for protection) come into play with Buddhism and doing no harm? Completely out of the question, or a good idea for protection? What do you think?


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:30 am 
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Two questions:

1.What do you own (possess) that you would be willing to give up, or sacrifice,
if it meant that doing so would save the life of another person, even a terrible person?

2. What do you own (possess) that you would be willing to kill someone in order to keep?

Note: "Possess" in this context can mean anything from a TV set to your own life or life of a loved one.

Thinking about these two questions should make your own decision easier, I think.

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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:57 am 
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PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Two questions:

1.What do you own (possess) that you would be willing to give up, or sacrifice,
if it meant that doing so would save the life of another person, even a terrible person?

2. What do you own (possess) that you would be willing to kill someone in order to keep?

Note: "Possess" in this context can mean anything from a TV set to your own life or life of a loved one.

Thinking about these two questions should make your own decision easier, I think.


I am not sure I'm following. Both questions come down to the same answer in my head: As far as material possessions, there is nothing I have worth killing anyone to keep. And I would give any material possessions away if it would save a life, even of a bad person. The only thing I would kill before losing is my life. In other words, if someone breaks into my home and is trying to kill me, I would almost certainly kill them before being killed (if I had a weapon or the means). I don't care about my "stuff", that's what insurance is for. But I live alone, I'm a small woman, I just don't particularly want to be killed. With so little civilization around, I am in a very compromised position.


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:24 am 
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Well strictly for self-defense emergencies you could have a shotgun that you load with bean-bag rounds.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bean_bag_round. these can potentially be fatal if they directly hit certain spots but generally they just temporarily disable a person -- their primary purpose is as a non-lethal weapon. If you practice your aim then you can be confident in hitting extremities and not the dangerous areas like the face, neck or chest. Mainly having a gun in your situation would be as a deterrent, to scare off troublemakers or burglars, etc. . but if they didn't respond to the threat then a bean-bag round in the leg is a good punctuation mark. I would imagine real rounds you'd only need in a gunfight, but then you'd have to decide if it was worth it to you to seriously injure another or kill them to save your own life. If you are at a certain advanced level then you'd know the right skillful action in the moment. Even if you are not at the level to know, then you limit even the possibility of your potential responses by avoiding the physical object altogether. I think the only real fear of owning a gun is if you do not trust either yourself and your own motivation, or if once you do own one you don't invest the proper time into getting sufficient at it's use and precision control. If you develop the skills then even with a lethal weapon and real bullets you can disable someone without actually killing them. . . Just some thoughts, I am no expert.

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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:42 am 
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Adamantine wrote:
Well strictly for self-defense emergencies you could have a shotgun that you load with bean-bag rounds.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bean_bag_round. these can potentially be fatal if they directly hit certain spots but generally they just temporarily disable a person -- their primary purpose is as a non-lethal weapon. If you practice your aim then you can be confident in hitting extremities and not the dangerous areas like the face, neck or chest. Mainly having a gun in your situation would be as a deterrent, to scare off troublemakers or burglars, etc. . but if they didn't respond to the threat then a bean-bag round in the leg is a good punctuation mark. I would imagine real rounds you'd only need in a gunfight, but then you'd have to decide if it was worth it to you to seriously injure another or kill them to save your own life. If you are at a certain advanced level then you'd know the right skillful action in the moment. Even if you are not at the level to know, then you limit even the possibility of your potential responses by avoiding the physical object altogether. I think the only real fear of owning a gun is if you do not trust either yourself and your own motivation, or if once you do own one you don't invest the proper time into getting sufficient at it's use and precision control. If you develop the skills then even with a lethal weapon and real bullets you can disable someone without actually killing them. . . Just some thoughts, I am no expert.


This is interesting and I will read that link and do more research on these as well. I certainly don't WANT to kill someone of course, but my "goal" if endangered would be to buy enough time to get away and get help. Mace and stun guns aren't super comforting because I would have to wait until the attacker is extremely close or already attacking me. So something like this *could* be a good compromise, but of course I need to read more about them. I've seen them on some cop shows, but know little about them. I just want to be able to disable someone and escape. Thank you for this suggestion; going to read more about this now....


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:29 am 
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there's also "stun" grenades and "sting" grenades if you want some more non-lethal weapons at your disposal.. you may need a variety for different possible scenarios.

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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:41 am 
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Ok, Padme, I've lived in the back-country for many years and I've given this issue a lot of thought. I'm a large, irritable male, so the self-defense aspect hasn't been as important for me, but over the years I have had to deal with a variety of trespassers, poachers, drunks and assorted other mouth-breathers, some of whom I know had bad intentions.

My original attitude was that guns only beget violence and that I was better off without one. That changed one morning when I came home from work and discovered a deer in our corral that had been cruelly torn apart by coyotes, hamstrung and eviscerated, but still alive. Without a gun or any humane way to end its suffering, I had to drive miles to our nearest neighbor's and borrow a handgun so I could finish off the poor thing. After that bought a shotgun just so I could avoid ever having to repeat the experience. Even though I've been in the military and have been trained to use a variety of weapons, I've no interest in guns and regard them as tools, like a generator or a fire extinguisher--they may only be a small thing, but when you need one, there's just no substitute.

The shadow side of the back country is that in any rural community there are always a few drunks, tweakers and thieves who are up to no good and will prey on others if they think they can get away with it. A group of drunken males on a lonely road are like a pack of dogs and will revert to the behavior of the lowest common denominator. If I were you, I would invest in a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun; the Mossberg 500 is a popular home-defense model. There's something about the authoritative "clack-clack" of the charging slide that will get the attention of even the most distracted drunk. As they say, "better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it".

If you have questions or concerns, feel free to PM me.

Chris

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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:58 am 
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Buy a Gun .

If your not into guns, take a dog the bounty hunter approach and use pepper ball guns and pepper spray .

If the dog approach won't work, speak to the town about having police patrol your area, or buy a gun and a really good a first aid
kit, this way if you had to shoot someone, you could apply first aid .

cya


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:26 am 
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hairybeast wrote:
Buy a Gun .

If your not into guns, take a dog the bounty hunter approach and use pepper ball guns and pepper spray .

If the dog approach won't work, speak to the town about having police patrol your area, or buy a gun and a really good a first aid
kit, this way if you had to shoot someone, you could apply first aid .

cya


There's no talking the police to patrol my area, no way. This is a small town where everyone knows everyone. I bought this cottage in what I would later find out is "no mans' land". The police don't come on this road, they don't want to ruin their cars on the rough terrain, and the people out here practically have their own laws. I was once 'warned' by a neighbor that "we don't call the police out here..." So it's kind of like country-mafia.


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:31 am 
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A woman friend of mine lived in a similar isolated situation, and she had a big fenced area around her house and 7 loose Rottweilers. Took a couple with her in the car down to the mailbox. Never had a problem. Big nasty looking dogs are a great deterrent. If someone is really determined to come after you, though, the shotgun is probably the better option.


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:36 am 
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justsit wrote:
A woman friend of mine lived in a similar isolated situation, and she had a big fenced area around her house and 7 loose Rottweilers. Took a couple with her in the car down to the mailbox. Never had a problem. Big nasty looking dogs are a great deterrent. If someone is really determined to come after you, though, the shotgun is probably the better option.


Yes, everyone here has guns and dogs too. In fact, I may be the only person that doesn't have a dog. It's a good suggestion, but dogs aren't practical for me, especially big ones. I have a muscular disease, so wrangling up dogs, or even lifting them in an emergency into a vehicle would be impossible. My cottage is tiny too, not room for a big dog, and quite honestly I can't afford all the food and vet care. So although it sounds good in theory, I've ruled it out for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:15 am 
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Padme wrote:
hairybeast wrote:
Buy a Gun .

If your not into guns, take a dog the bounty hunter approach and use pepper ball guns and pepper spray .

If the dog approach won't work, speak to the town about having police patrol your area, or buy a gun and a really good a first aid
kit, this way if you had to shoot someone, you could apply first aid .

cya


There's no talking the police to patrol my area, no way. This is a small town where everyone knows everyone. I bought this cottage in what I would later find out is "no mans' land". The police don't come on this road, they don't want to ruin their cars on the rough terrain, and the people out here practically have their own laws. I was once 'warned' by a neighbor that "we don't call the police out here..." So it's kind of like country-mafia.


Get a Gun mate, if it is possible take a few martial arts classes on disarming a firearm from attacker, or any type of grappling art that won't be too exhausting on the body ( jui jitsu ,Judo, possibly aikido)

very Last resort, MOVE once you have te resources to do so.


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:46 am 
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hairybeast wrote:
Padme wrote:
hairybeast wrote:
Buy a Gun .

If your not into guns, take a dog the bounty hunter approach and use pepper ball guns and pepper spray .

If the dog approach won't work, speak to the town about having police patrol your area, or buy a gun and a really good a first aid
kit, this way if you had to shoot someone, you could apply first aid .

cya


There's no talking the police to patrol my area, no way. This is a small town where everyone knows everyone. I bought this cottage in what I would later find out is "no mans' land". The police don't come on this road, they don't want to ruin their cars on the rough terrain, and the people out here practically have their own laws. I was once 'warned' by a neighbor that "we don't call the police out here..." So it's kind of like country-mafia.


Get a Gun mate, if it is possible take a few martial arts classes on disarming a firearm from attacker, or any type of grappling art that won't be too exhausting on the body ( jui jitsu ,Judo, possibly aikido)

very Last resort, MOVE once you have te resources to do so.


Thanks, but I'm definitely not moving! I just bought this place less than 2 years ago, and I love it here. I know this topic may make it sound bad, but it's actually a beautiful area, I have a cottage in the mountains, I wouldn't trade it for the world. But the reality is that I am alone, and there is the occasional drunken truckload of men, etc. I just want to protect myself, that's all. It's not a bad area. It's just very backwoods country, so you get backwoods country types of folk. I would like to think if I get a gun that I will never need it. I just don't want to wish I did respectively, when I wake up in the hospital. I have zero plans to move. I love it here. I just want to be cautious.


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:16 am 
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You are certainly in a difficult position, I'm a bit uneasy with the advice you've been given so far particularly since you describe yourself as a small, petite woman. My advice

Step 1) Learn how to handle a gun
Step 2) Learn how to hit what you're shooting at
Step 3) Learn how to retain your gun (i.e. how to hang on to it when someone tries to take it away)
Step 4) Buy a gun.

Please do steps 1, 2, and 3 first or you're just buying the gun someone will use against you. Also, if you have a muscular disease you may want to consider a semi-automatic shotgun (one that doesn't require you to pump).

(Some other steps would be to strengthen the security of your house so you can safely hide inside, etc).


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:41 am 
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Hi Padme,

I agree with the others in this thread that you should buy a gun. Don't worry, owning a gun doesn't instantly make you a bad person or a bad Buddhist--it's just a tool you seem to need at the moment.

You might also want to take a course in gun safety and marksmanship or at least have a friend show you how to safely use and store it, so that you'll feel more comfortable with it.

You said that you have some muscular disorder. Are you strong enough to aim and fire a shotgun? If not, then maybe you could just get a scary-looking hand gun like a Glock.

I once heard a sangha member of mine say that all weapons are offerings to the Dharma protectors, but I don't know if this is true or not.


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:25 am 
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Luke wrote:
I once heard a sangha member of mine say that all weapons are offerings to the Dharma protectors, but I don't know if this is true or not.
Only if you offer it to the Dharmapala, but then it's theirs, its not for you to flash in peoples faces in the off chance that they won't harass you.

And what if you do flash it in their face and they are not intimidated? Do you have the guts to use it? If not then it's kindda a waste of time to have it! Actually it is downright dangerous for you. If you are not willing to shoot somebody then don't buy a gun. Go with the rottweiler approach, but even then be prepared for the fact that somebody might shoot or poison your dogs in order to get to you. Another option is to find a friendly police man and make a "panic button" agreement with them.

The only other option is to "fortify" your cottage so that it makes it impossible for somebody to get in.
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:27 pm 
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Technically having a weapon is forbidden in Buddhism only to ordained people and those who have taken all the bodhisattva precepts in the Brahmajala Sutra that has a precept against possessing any kind of weaponry. What is to be avoided is killing, the ultimate expression of anger. That is the minimum for lay people who want to train on the path and become free from the pains of the three lower realms.

On the mental side it is as Master Yoda said to young Anakin, "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." I don't know what form of Buddhism you practice but there are many methods in all traditions to use in order to alleviate fear. This means that instead of acting upon the feeling (more defence, more power, stronger walls, etc.) you face it within yourself. Perhaps the easiest step halfway between outer and inner is to get protection from the beings of non-material realms like different gods, protectors, bodhisattvas, buddhas. On the inner level you can look up meditation techniques of your choice. A selection of texts is found in "In the Face of Fear: Buddhist Wisdom for Challenging Times" by Barry Boyce. Also you may like this book by Tsoknyi Rinpoche, "Fearless Simplicity: The Dzogchen Way of Living Freely in a Complex World". And one by Thich Nhat Hanh, "No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life".

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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:51 pm 
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I am amazed by all the replies encouraging you to buy a gun. In the instances you described - would a gun have helped you or potentially just escalated the situation? There might be a greater risk for you of being assaulted and hurt if you own a gun (e.g. by being confrontational rather than avoiding the bad guys).

I grew up in Germany where owning a gun would be on the bottom of the list in terms of self-defence for the vast majority of the population. Personally, I don't see me ever owning or using a gun. I would always try to deescalate or hide or avoid. As I currently live in a not quite as secure country I do have burglar bars and an alarm system at home and am required to do so by my employer. That includes a panic button which would bring in security people within a few minutes. Maybe that could be another option for you?

Good luck and stay safe whatever you decide!


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:21 pm 
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I understand that you ask for advice on this matters, but ultimately it's up to you. There are Buddhists who own guns and Buddhists who would never think of it.
It's your life you are protecting, so its up to you to decide where you draw the line. Owning a gun doesn't mean killing others neither having any will to do it. Sometimes it has a deterring effect. I can imagine that shooting a shotgun to the air will stop most from trying to assault you. Now, if you have a gun you also have quick access to killing someone. This possibility opens new scenarios that only you know if you can handle. By having a gun you know you have the power to kill. Dealing with that kind of power is not without danger, even if you don't ever get to fire it. The single thought of shooting another being can become a problem, so be aware of the kind of thoughts that run through your mind.

Put things in perspective: does living in fear of being assaulted ruins your practice? If so, buy a gun but do everything in your power never to shoot someone. Think that it only has the use to discourage others. Now, can you perfectly handle your fear? Then perhaps the best thing would be putting bars in the windows (or those from the inside that can be open and shut), a secure door and a neighbor in whom you trust in the speed dial. If you have space, build a sort of panic room. Doesn't need to be water tight. It just needs to have a phone line (or a cell phone) and water with thick walls and a strong door. Try to install these protective devices discretely so that people don't end up thinking that it may be worth to check why you need so much security. Buy a small dog. They bark like hell. Although they can't protect you, they can warn you if someone is in the vicinity.
Anyway, in the end is up to you.

Best wishes.


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 Post subject: Re: Buddhism & Guns?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:25 pm 
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palchi wrote:
I am amazed by all the replies encouraging you to buy a gun. In the instances you described - would a gun have helped you or potentially just escalated the situation? There might be a greater risk for you of being assaulted and hurt if you own a gun (e.g. by being confrontational rather than avoiding the bad guys).

I grew up in Germany where owning a gun would be on the bottom of the list in terms of self-defence for the vast majority of the population. Personally, I don't see me ever owning or using a gun. I would always try to deescalate or hide or avoid.

Sometimes those strategies just aren't enough. There's a huge difference in culture between America and Europe (I'm assuming that Padme lives in America, and I'm American myself). America has much more violent crime than Europe does for the most part. Criminals are much more likely to kill you in America. However, I know that the UK has very dangerous areas as well. I don't know much about Germany. But in Hungary, the areas that are considered "dangerous" by the locals would just be considered "average" or "somewhat safe" in America. I certainly feel no need to have a gun in Hungary and really don't want one, but if I were living in a dangerous part of the US, I might get several.

Also, in America, it's quite easy for anyone to get a gun, so there's more to fear from other people. It's not one of those countries where the police can just carry clubs and be successful.

palchi wrote:
As I currently live in a not quite as secure country I do have burglar bars and an alarm system at home and am required to do so by my employer. That includes a panic button which would bring in security people within a few minutes. Maybe that could be another option for you?

What good is a panic button? A few minutes is an eternity if you're in serious trouble. It only takes a split-second for someone to fatally shoot or stab you.

In any case, Padme has already said that no police patrol her area.

I would guess that King Trisong Detsen was packing some steel back in his time, and he's always considered to be a great Buddhist king.


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