A: Now, that’s not a question that’s so easy to answer. Because many times you can get by with a substitute for a gun – and that’s to avoid trouble altogether. You say in Elokai Netzor: ונפשי כעפר לכל תהיה – “And my soul should be like dust to everybody.” So if a goy is fresh to you, and he insults you, so you should become an anav. It pays to be an anav; you’ll live longer if you’re an anav. But if you have a gun in your pocket you might forget yourself and you’ll answer back something rash. And then it’s not so certain that he also doesn’t have a gun.
I was once walking in the street to go visit a friend of mine who lived in a dangerous neighborhood, and so I carried a stick, a heavy stick. This was many years ago, about thirty years ago. And when my friend saw that, he yelled at me; he told me that it’s dangerous to carry a stick. It’s dangerous to carry a stick because first of all they can take away the stick and hit you with it; that’s number one. Secondly, with a stick you become reckless. Without a stick you’ll stay home, and you’re safer that way. It’s better always to avoid trouble.
I told you this many times that the Chinese say: Who is a hero? Who is the hero in a fight? The one who knows how to run away. That’s the hero, if you know how to run away. And therefore, I won’t answer that question, because it’s always better to avoid any possibility of danger. And carrying a gun sometimes makes you reckless and you go into places that you ordinarily wouldn’t go.
TAPE # 91 (October 1975)