Ah! The age old debate between the destructive power of intellect and brute force; it never gets old. Is a pen mightier than a sword? Let’s put it to rest.
A gun is an instrument that is used to kill animals or people. It is also used for target practice, which is just practising for killing things better. It is just like any other weapon fashioned by man, a sword, a bow and arrow, a hammer, etc. Weapons are tools. They do not have a mind of their own; not yet. And like all tools it’s up to the user to use them for whatever purpose he sees fit.
A gun can be pretty useful if you are under attack. It’s the best tool for self defense. A gun can also be a deterrent in case someone is thinking of attacking you. If they see a gun on you, they will back off. The risk involved simply is too much for them.
On the other hand a gun can be used to harm people. A person having a gun can kill as many people as he has bullets in the gun. Most gunshot wounds are severe and often fatal. Then there is the fact that guns were used in the world’s biggest massacres. So it is a tool, no doubt, but it is a dangerous tool.
Ideas are the tools of the mind. There are good ideas and there are bad ideas. Everything humans create are results of ideas. Everything humans have destroyed was because of ideas. Ideas in themselves aren’t harmful, but actions are motivated by ideas and those actions can be harmful.
Ideas can be constructive. Anything you build will be first conceived as an idea, and then you work on it and make it real. This of course does not include things that happen by accident.
All mass killings were results of a bad idea put into action. Guns and swords come in later. The Nazis didn’t even use weapons for the Holocaust.
So what has more destructive potential? An idea or a gun?
None, both are just tools. It’s how you use them that make them destructive. The will of the user is what determines the nature of his actions. The choices we make decide how we change the world. The debate on whether one tool is more devastating than the other is pointless. The debate should be what choices are constructive and what choices are destructive. Cause in the end it does not matter if the murder happened by a gun or a knife, it happened because the killer made a bad choice.
[Inspired by this Quora Thread]