Friday, January 11, 2013

Can guns really protect you from harm?

 The desire to defend yourself and your loved ones is a strong and healthy drive but like most of our survival instincts they have a tendency to become more emotional than rational.  The notion that a stranger enters our home, our school or our shopping center and injures or kills our families strikes real fear into our hearts making us feel as though we are not really safe anywhere.  I can identify with anyone’s urge to protect themself with all possible force in a situation like that.  But is the best solution that we all carry around firearms? If our intentions are to do everything we can to prevent our loved ones or ourselves from getting hurt or killed the answer is clearly no.

If we look at the source of violence that occurs in our society we can see that a significant portion of this violence is between criminals.  So the best thing we could do to protect ourselves is to not become a criminal and try not to associate with criminals. 

That being said bad guys do enter people’s homes and threaten, injure and/or kill them.  Wouldn’t my chances of survival or of protecting my family increase greatly if I had a gun?  To answer that question we need to think through the likely scenarios.  Generally these attackers do not give warning.  So in order to protect myself I would need to have my weapon easily accessible, never more than arms reach away and always loaded.  I would also need to be very skilled with my weapon and trained to keep a level head in highly stressful situations so I don’t accidently shoot the guy from FedEx or the neighbor kid. If in order to avoid accidents I kept my weapon locked up in a gun safe I would probably not have time to get it out and protect myself in the event of a real attack. 

Most people who are not themselves criminals and who are victims of violence are not attacked by strangers.  The vast majority of us who are or have ever been victims of violence were attacked by people we know, more often than not by someone in our own family.  The most likely threat of violence for children comes from their fathers and mothers not from strangers carrying guns into the schools. The chances that a child will be beaten, sexually abused or even killed by a family member are much higher than by a total stranger.  The risk for women of being beaten, raped or killed by someone close to them are significantly higher than the risk of becoming the victim of a total stranger. Sometimes moms, dads, husbands, wives and lovers flip out and when they do I hope for everyone’s sake that they don’t have an assault rifle in the closet.  I do not believe any of us want to have a pistol in our bathrobe just in case our spouse might want to kill us.

If you are not a criminal and you don’t abuse your wife and children then why not have a gun at home just in case?  I could suggest about 16,000 reasons.  That is the approximate number of accidental shootings in the USA every year.  If you are not shot by someone close to you on purpose you are still at greater risk of being shot by accident than of being shot by a stranger.    

I am not against guns. I enjoy hunting.  I even understand if some people enjoy recreational shooting.  I am against guns as a form of protection. I am against people carrying guns on their hips at the grocery store or sleeping with a gun on their nightstands.  I am also against civilians owning assault rifles with clips holding 30 rounds.

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