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Responsibility

Imagine an American man of 30. He has a young family, he's been married for a few years, and he's looking at buying a home very soon to raise his family. He'll change diapers and put money into a college savings account. He'll watch school plays and mow his lawn. He may never own a gun.

He'll do nearly everything that he can to protect his family, but he'll never spend the $300 and the five hours it might take to someday save the lives of his wife and daughter. Seemingly, this man acts as though he believes that the life of someone who would harm his family is more valuable than the lives of his family. This man is ignorant of statistics and studies which show how frequently guns are used in self defense, and how much more frequently unarmed victims who comply with a criminal's requests are raped, injured, or killed.

Is this man is failing in his responsibility to protect his family?

Gun ownership (and knowledge of use) for the protection of your family is not only a personal right but a personal responsibility. A single person living alone risks nothing but his or her own life, but a man with a wife and a daughter to protect has a little more at stake.

34% of criminals in prison today have been shot at, scared off, or wounded by an armed citizen protecting themselves from crime. Guns are used defensively upwards of 2.5 million times per year, and gun owners are not only less likely to be targeted for crime, but they're far more likely to walk away from a crime un-injured than a victim who does not own a gun.

Guns are made of metal, plastic, and other materials. They're inanimate objects that cannot unlock themselves from a nightstand drawer, load themselves, walk themselves into a room of people, and fire themselves repeatedly. Guns are perfectly safe instruments in the hands of respectful individuals - fathers who have taken the time to plan for his family.

A decent .38 revolver costs about $300. Five hours of initial instruction (including a review of the pertinent state and federal laws) and two hours per year are all that's needed to sufficiently train an individual for self, family, and home defense. I don't doubt that my friend has the resolve to protect his family, but I doubt that he has the necessary education.

My friend's objections to gun ownership are rather unsubstantiated: he had one pointed at him once and he once saw someone shot. The same friend had a look at my guns and "felt safe" around them. A little education and respect go a long way towards gun safety.

I am not advocating that every citizen obtain a concealed weapons permit. I'm advocating taking the necessary steps to honor your responsibility to protect your family - educate yourself and make an informed decision.

Florida state law (and the laws of nearly every other state) clearly allow for defensive shootings. They say that you are justified in shooting - lethally if it turns out that way - anyone invading or burglarizing your home. State laws recognize that citizens have a right to protect the lives of their family and their property, but individuals must recognize the responsibility.

I hope that my friend will come to realize this responsibility. I look forward to helping him choose a suitable firearm and educating him on the proper grip, firing, storage, and cleaning.

42 Responses to "Responsibility"

  1. I prefer the notion of a shotgun... fifteen minute trip to [Wal-Mart/KMart/Target] and doesn't require a license...

    Altho the training is still worth it. I have to admit I've considered it m'self, and I live alone. I mean, if only to protect the TV 😉

  2. You've said some dumb shit about guns on your blog but this takes the cake. Questioning a man's love for his family because he doesn't own a gun! Un-f'ing-believable!

  3. Hmph. Your argument underwhelms me. Totally. Worse yet, I've voted Repulcianc since 1980 and will possibly do this next year too.

    I'm saying this - NOTHING you say means anything. Nothing. Guns kill people. And people kill people. It's a FACT that this country has more people who own guns. It's a FACT that this country has more people killed every year by them too.

    So what does this mean? I have no clue. But you know, maybe there IS something to be learned from people elsewhere....

    And NOTHING you just said makes me feel any differently.

  4. Uhm, Dave, your argument is both factually incorrect and vague. More people who own guns than where? It's been well established - even by perpetual dumbasses like Michael Moore - that other countries own more guns than we do here in the US - and have lower crime rates.

    Henry, you've simply got it wrong. At no point did I question my friend's love for his family. I did, however, question his sense of responsibility. A responsibility to educate himself to the facts and not rely on simple emotional appeals.

  5. You are suggesting that by not owning a gun he is not caring for his family. You have used emotions (guilt and a mans love for his family) to cloud the issues and conveniently hidden this by calling it responsibility.

    It's not like you are saying he is responsible for putting the garbage out. This is a man's family you are talking about, love and responsibility are the same thing.

    I'm surprised to don't realise this.

  6. Love and responsibility are not the same thing. I've used very little emotion - and a great deal more fact - in making this post.

    It's my opinion that such an individual, in choosing to simply neglect even educating himself, he's neglecting a responsibility to his family. If, after educating himself, a man does not come to the conclusion that he should own and learn to use a gun, so be it. At least he's educated himself with more than the emotional drivel thrown at him by people who's only argument breaks down under scrutiny and an eye for fact.

    Love and responsibility are not the same thing. I have a responsibility to pay my car payment on time. I have a responsibility to replace my divots when I'm golfing. Neither have much to do with love.

    And you say I'm making the emotional argument? Nah, I don't buy it. Henry, continue the conversation offline or don't continue it, please. You've seemingly got nothing to add to this discussion.

  7. 34% of criminals in prision today have been shot at, scared off, or wounded by an armed citizen protecting themselves from crime.

    Where did you get this figure? I'm not questioning the validity of it, I've just never hear that particular statistic.

  8. When I was in grade school in Oregon in the 70's, we had a gun safety class. It tought me a whole level of resect for guns, and the habits that class tought me when I was in the 5th grade follow me today.

    [Ed: use a real name/alias and email address or be deleted. See the policy link above the comment form.]

  9. Matt, that figure and many others come from Armed, one of many books written by former anti-gun proponents who, through their study and profession of criminology, have come to the conclusion that responsible gun ownership is, for lack of a better phrase on my own part now, a "good thing."

    It remains my position that poverty and poor living conditions (i.e. inner city) is the #1 cause for gun violence in this country, and the facts bear that out.

  10. Sounds like you got a document from the NRA stating that if you don't own a gun you then don't love your family.

    All I can say is WOW! I am a very conservative Republican and so is my wife, However under no circumstances would we EVER consider having guns in our home. Too many kids are killed by guns in the home. That reason alone I feel I love my family enough to keep them away from a gun. I have a security system in our home that I feel is more secure that owning a gun. A quick jump out of bed to hit the fire or police button is all it takes to protect my family. No one is going to even think about entering a house if the alarm is going off.

    Now of all people using a Micheal Moore fact, I can not believe it would be you. We all know Mr. Moore is full of half truths and that last movie was pure BS but very enteraining.

  11. In spite of what Michael Moore may have said, the vast vast majority of people living in Canadian cities do not have any guns. Maybe the situation where you live requires a gun, and if so then carry one. There are many places where a gun isn't required to remain safe though. I think that such situations are superior, since they generally result in less death and injury all-around. America's love of personal firearms is creating a situation where a safe and gun free society is impossible. As long as you're happy with that future then continue telling everyone to get a gun (or 2...).

  12. Of Course I also believe you have the right to bear arms! Don't get me wrong I don't want to take your gun away from anyone. I choose not to have one in the house in what I feel is being responsible to the family by avoiding any mishaps. I know the gun should be locked up but most gun owners I've known don't they have that hand gun under the bed/drawer with the bullets in the gun or next to it.

  13. I don't even want to get into the actual meat of what you said.

    Instead, I'll just ask why is any of this fundamentally a man's responsibility? Did I miss some basic premise in your post where the other adult was completely incapable?

  14. While I agree with you, I think that, with children around, there are understandable reasons why someone wouldn't want to own a gun. Even if it was locked up. Even if the key was hidden. Besides, if it was locked up AND the key was hidden, what good is that gonna do you if there's an intruder in your house?

    If he was living in a crime-ridden neighborhood, yes, I think he would be failing in his responsibility. However, if he was living the suburban lifestyle (three-bedroom home, sedan and minivan, 2.3 children) in a relatively low crime neighborhood, then no, it's not quite pertinent for him to own a gun. One could make an arguement that the children could be taught how to use the gun and not to show it to friends, but that's still putting tremendous faith in the child who has something that the rest of the neighborhood doesn't (and when you were 8, when you were the first on the block to have something, EVERYONE knew about it).

  15. I'm not sure I would go as far as you in drawing parallels between the responsibility a man has towards his family and gun ownership. But, neither have I educated myself on all the relevant facts concerning guns and kill ratios in the US. Though I do not believe in a society where one feels obligated to own a gun simply to feel safe.

    I do live in a small country, I realize that. But we do have crime, especially in the larger cities, and poor people, and drug addicts.. Still I can't think of anyone I know here owning a gun without being interested in sportsmanship.

    I'd guess, as more and more civilians acquire guns for their own protection at home (and I'd guess the market for guns adjusts to it as well, concerning prices and availability), the criminals will feel less inclined to try breaking in _without_ a gun... Getting a gun or two, and planning the attack a bit more, may be the solution for them..

  16. I guess it may be relevant to say that I own guns. I have taken gun safety courses and hunt for sport. I do not own guns for security.

    Your opinion, Erik, utilizes lots of information but misses some significant studies that show that owning guns actually increases the likelihood of crime and violence. It has been shown in repeated studies that presenting a gun escalates a situation greatly. Many people are also shot with their own guns after pulling it out on a criminal. Some criminals also look for homes that own guns in order to steal them for use in other crimes, increasing the likelihood of burglary in the home. Guns also greatly increase the chances of significant injury or death whenever they are present. This is in addition to studies about having a loaded gun (or having ammo kept near a gun) in the house (which is necessary for reaction to house invasion) which show a greatly increased risk to children.

    Guns are not a cureall. They make hostile situations even more hostile and present a threat to safety even when not in use. There are other, more effective means for one to affect their own safety and the safety of their family.

  17. Living in Rochester NY (a smaller city with all the big city problems of drugs, poverty and violence), I can understand why some people would want a gun, but it wasn't really for me (besides, I'm not even sure what the rules would be for a foreign national to get a gun in the States; if it was as painful as trying to get NY plates on an "imported" car, then it simply would've been too much!).

    When I was in Canada, prior to moving to the US, I don't think I really grasped how much more violent American cities were than their Canadian counterparts (but then, Canadian cities don't have the level of deprivation that many inner cities have in the US). Now I can understand why people see guns as necessary, and if I were going to stay in the US, I would consider one, but I'm heading home soon so it won't be necessary (the part of the country I'm going to live in is incredibly dull, but a great, safe place to raise a family).

    Not sure what your part of the US is like, but having seen really rough spots on my travels across the country, if you think you need one, I wouldn't disagree with you on your right to have one!

  18. Too many kids are killed by guns in the home. A quick jump out of bed to hit the fire or police button is all it takes to protect my family. No one is going to even think about entering a house if the alarm is going off.

    Wrong. Laughably wrong.

    There are many places where a gun isn't required to remain safe though.

    Also wrong. Areas with high gun ownership experience less crimes (inner cities excluded). Criminals aren't likely to steal or rape or do "bad things" in neighborhoods where they know many civilians are armed.

    most gun owners I've known don't they have that hand gun under the bed/drawer with the bullets in the gun or next to it

    I'm asking for education and responsible gun ownership and use. Not haphazard use. Parents that leave guns out probably leave cleaning chemicals within easy reach of children, too. Doesn't mean the cleaning chemicals are "bad" - just that the parent isn't doing their job.

    Though I do not believe in a society where one feels obligated to own a gun simply to feel safe.

    I'm not suggesting that you need a gun to feel safe. I'm suggesting that knowledge is always a good thing.

    Getting a gun or two, and planning the attack a bit more, may be the solution for them..

    No, Frode, sorry. The solution is to attack someone who's unarmed.

    Your opinion, Erik, utilizes lots of information but misses some significant studies that show that owning guns actually increases the likelihood of crime and violence.

    Owning guns doesn't increase the likelihood of crime and violence. You've either misspoken or misquoted.

    Many people are also shot with their own guns after pulling it out on a criminal.

    Clearly these people are among those who could stand to be better educated. Many ranges offer self-defense and defensive shooting classes. Regardless, Grayson, your blatant use of empty words like "many" and "some" and "increases" do nothing to support your point, nor does your unproven claim that "studies exist."

    Guns also greatly increase the chances of significant injury or death whenever they are present.

    Quite the opposite. Guns used defensively greatly reduce the amount of damage inflicted upon the victim. An unarmed victim is far more likely to be raped, killed, or significantly injured than an armed victim.

    Guns, by definition Grayson, pose absolutely no safety threat "when not in use." They're inanimate objects.

    There may be other ways to protect a family, Grayson, but it's not a "choose one" approach. You get to choose many. Guns - and an educated owner - are one aspect of a complete solution.

    But hey, keep the silly responses coming, folks. 😛 Don't come at me with made up stuff, things you "heard," or emotional appeals. Go read a book or two, preferably one with facts.

  19. Erik, is this the book you're talking about?

    And I'm still waiting a response on my arguement. 😉

  20. Another thing. Your concluding paragraph came off as really preachy I'm right he's wrong but WITH MY HELP he'll see the light. You might as well have said something like "I hope that my friend will come to acknowledge the influence of Jesus Christ on his life. [1]"

    People make their choices, they have reasons for them, and the way I read this, you're not only not respecting his choices, but you're saying his choices are wrong -- but it's okay, with my help, he'll get better!

    I appreciate that you have an argument for why he's "wrong," and I'm sure you've shared it with him. If he's still not buying it, then let him be.

    [1] Or, you know, whatever those folks say.

  21. Depending on law enforcement to defend your family is a poor option at best. Not only will they likely arrive after any damage is done, but their arrival during a home invasion can compound the situation.

    I know I wouldn't want to be stuck in my house with a violent person (anyone who breaks into your house while you are there is definitely violent) when they are cornered by law enforcement.

    Guns do not actively kill people. I've been around guns most of my life. My father taught me about guns when I was fairly young. My siblings and I were "given" rifles that my parents kept away from us except for when we were using them. None of us died, no accidental misfirings have occurred, nobody started pointing them at people, or carrying them down the street. We are not the exception. Really bad things can be done with guns, but that doesn't make them evil. Most gun owners don't take the homer simpson route to gun ownership.

  22. It seems to be very popular nowadays in the US to tell stories like this to suggest that there is some sort of (more or less abstract) "threat" that requires immediate defense or some sort of action to prevent it. As a foreigner, you can notice that people are rather afraid when you walk around in the streets of an American city nowadays. The entire climate is different.

    If you come from a country where the crime rates are much lower and people are less afraid of each other and nobody can get a gun that easy, you know the difference and you start to see a pattern there. It's really funny but when I read this "story", the first thing I thought was that this is a pretty "US" way to tell this story. Most people in Western European countries probably don't see that strong a need to protect themselves from each other. In contrast to the US, we have still some people in our countries who know what it's like to see a war and its cruelties on your very own territory, in our particular case even people who know what it's like to start a World War (or even two) and lose it. Maybe this is the reason that we were educated differently, I don't know. But I do know that I wouldn't want to spend my life where you live and I wouldn't want to be forced to think like you do. Therefore, I won't be able to answer the questions you ask (supposing those weren't rhetorical questions) because I don't understand the attitude behind it - I fail to see the threat in my own situation.

  23. The United Kingdom used to have a very low violent crime rate. Then, in 1997 they banned all handgun ownership. Since then, the violent crime rate has climbed dramatically. I don't have the numbers at hand but I think you will find that, although our murder rate is higher, our overall violent crime rate is much lower now than the United Kingdom.

    I don't have any links handy but I think a quick Google will show you the violent crime rate also zoomed in Australia when gun ownership was banned there.

    Cause and effect? I think so. A criminal who doesn't know if the citizen he is stalking is armed may think twice. Those who don't think so are invited to perform this experiment: Live in your home for six months, and record all break-ins, assaults, etc. that occur there. Then, post a sign in the window saying, "There are no weapons in this home. The people who live here are unarmed." Record how many break-ins, assaults, etc. occur during the next six months. Post the results of this experiment here.

  24. Man, I'm an American, but I never feel all crime-beleaguered like the rest of y'all. Maybe it's because I'm from the South. Then again, my Mom's a Yankee, and she pretty much refused to lock her car for the entire length of my childhood-- yet it was never stolen nor was anything nicked from the inside. Our house was only locked when we went on vacation, and the result of that was whenever we got back, we'd have to spend a half hour in the garage waiting for my parents to remember where they put the keys, since they so rarely used them.

    Anyhow, I would say that if the odds of being in a violent crime are (warning: made up numbers!) 1 in a hundred, and the odds of dying in a violent crime are a tenth of that, versus the odds of having an accidental gun injury being say 1 in 200, (so, 1% v .1% v .5% ) I would just say screw the whole thing and take my chances. Look, life is risky! We just have to choose what we live with. An economist found that statistically owning a pool is pool is more dangerous than owning a gun, but personally, I'd rather enjoy owning a pool instead of stressing out about the whole gun and crime thing all the time. Thinking about crime all the time just gives the world a negative vibe that leads to more crime. (OK, that last sentence was hippie BS, but still.) I would rather just trust that by living whilst letting live, things will work out in the end then get all worked up about being ready to kill someone if need be.

  25. Guys, I've lived in quiet suburban neighborhoods my entire life. The kind of place where people keep their doors unlocked when they run to the grocery store.

    I am in no way afraid to walk down the street, nor are 99% of the people in Erie, PA. We're mostly just pissed about the snow. 😛

    Don't confuse "not being afraid" with "being stupid." I can feel safe walking down the street or playing with my dog in my yard, but that doesn't mean that I am doing all I can to protect my family, particularly at night.

  26. Unless you take self-defense courses that incorporate your weapon, and take them regularly for life, you have a false sense of security. Guns are very effective, but you can NOT think that just because you have the knowledge to not shoot yourself with basic handling, that you have the ability to use that weapon as a self-defense school.

    Taking an NRA class once, then thinking that because you shoot at paper a couple times a month that you're able to use that weapon in the myriad situations that develop in a home invasion, or a street situation is foolishness. It's like women who take a "Self-Defense For Women" class one time, and think that knowledge stays with their bodies forever.

    It does not. It takes years to make things muscle memory, so that you are acting before conscious thought. It takes hours upon hours of practice to where you will always perform the correct action in the correct fashion regardless of set.

    A gun is not a magic spell. It is not a magic wand. It is a combat tool, no different than a knife, a stick, or a bit of chain. But by your post, you think as the mere act of having one in your hand and being able to pull the trigger makes up for the training that you need to use it effectively.

    It does not.

    If you are relying on gun safety to = gun combat, then I would recommend daily prayer that you never have to use the thing because coming out of that situation with your life and your family intact with that kind of background will be an act of $DEITY.

  27. Thanks for the common sense, John. Clearly, everyone without military or police training is not going to be as good in "gun combat" as a policeman or a military man will be.

    The point is, statistics bear out the fact that armed victims are less likely to be killed or severely injured than unarmed victims. So, statistically, even without "proper training," you're better off with a gun in a violent situation (protecting your home from an invader).

  28. Erik, you make interesting software, but have wing-nut opinions.

    As someone who takes his responsibility to his wife and -32 week old child (8 weeks pregnant) very, very seriously, there is absolutely no way I would have a gun in my home.

    Children can be too young for gun safety lessons, but they are plenty old to accidentally shoot themselves if they find a loaded gun. Even a child who's had gun safety drilled into his head will have friends who haven't.

    I recognise there's no way to sway you from your opinion, but I pray your child never becomes a statistic.

  29. He'll do nearly everything that he can to protect his family, but he'll never spend the $300 and the five hours it might take to someday save the lives of his wife and daughter

    Owning a gun is a responsibility. I'd wager that the people who have successfully defended themselves with a gun have spent more than 5 hours training on their gun. If anyone owns a gun they should practice regularly.

    So, statistically, even without "proper training," you're better off with a gun in a violent situation (protecting your home from an invader).

    I misunderstood this the first time. I thought you were saying that a person who owns a gun with no training is more likely to defend against a violent situation. What I was trying to get at before was, a gun alone doesn't make a person safer. A gun and training + practice will.

    Now the real meat post...

    Is this man is failing in his responsibility to protect his family?

    I really can't answer this because I don't know the guy. Also, protecting a family isn't just the responsibility of one person. It's the responsibility of the entire family. Being a responsible gun owner is one way to protect a family. But there are other things people can do to protect their family. Instill good values. Put child safety locks on things when you have young children. Knowing where your children are and who they hang out with is also a form of protection. Heck, even owning a dog is a form of protection because people are less likely to break into a home with a dog.

    The point is, protecting a family isn't just about one man doing one thing (being a responsible gun owner). My question: Would being a responsible gun owner make him a more responsible parent and husband? Personally, I have no clue.

  30. As someone who takes his responsibility to his wife and -32 week old child (8 weeks pregnant) very, very seriously, there is absolutely no way I would have a gun in my home.

    Failing the proper education, that's exactly the conclusion many come to. I'm not saying that the proper education always leads people to own a gun, but no education leaves you with responses that lack any statistical merit, leaving you only with emotional hypotheticals and "scary thoughts" about "what might happen." Many of those "scary thoughts" about "what might happen" never happen.

    Children can be too young for gun safety lessons, but they are plenty old to accidentally shoot themselves if they find a loaded gun. Even a child who's had gun safety drilled into his head will have friends who haven't.

    Simple solution, Jeff: don't leave a loaded gun laying around your house where a kid can get at it. Duh.

    Comments that pose silly, stupid, or statistically irrelevant hypothetical situations will be removed. Don't want kids finding a loaded gun? Don't leave a loaded gun where kids can get to it. Don't want your wife to get shot? Statistically, you're better off having a gun of your own. Look up the facts, folks. Hypotheticals are emotional, ignorant answers.

  31. Carl,

    The economist you're talking about is Steven D. Levitt, and a copy of a summary he wrote is here.

    The reasoning is a little loose (he bases his statistics on the total number of guns in the US rather than the number of guns in homes, or the number of homes with guns), but regardless, 1/3 as many kids are killed by guns as are killed by residential swimming pools.

    He goes into a little more depth in the book "Freakanomics", but it's such an awful book I can't recommend it.

  32. I agree with you 100%. I purchased a handgun several years ago with the sole intent of protecting my family and my property. I have been through training and I have my concealed carry permit. I have made sure that my kiids know how to properly use(not use), and handle a firearm.

    I'm very open with my kids about firearms. They don't have any curiousity about my guns. I've told them, "If you ever want to see one of my guns, let me know and I'll let you see it." I occasionally take my family out to the range to shoot pop cans, water bottles, etc. I'm 100% strict on the rules of gun safetly, no exceptions. It's fun for the whole family, but it is also good learning and practice.

  33. While I do intend to read Armed, it's clear that one has to take care equating statistics to fact. It wasn't that long ago that the tobacco industry was demonstrating, directly and indirectly, studies and statistics indicating that tobacco wasn't addictive or dangerous to your health. And according to the exit polls, Bush shouldn't have won the last election.

    Have a look at this page which contains the following statistic:

    People who keep guns at home have a 72% greater chance of being killed by firearms and are 3.44 times more likely to commit suicide than those who do not keep guns at home (Annals of Emergency Medicine, Vol 41, p. 771).

    Who has the time/resources to figure out who's telling the truth?

    But the question is whether it's a man's responsibility to own a guy, for the protection of his family. I think that depends on the likelihood of needing it. The following page indicates that there are 740 burglaries per 100,000 inhabitants in a year.

    If we assume 10% of those could be life threatening (I'm assuming most burglaries occur when nobody's home), then that's a situation rate of 0.07% per year. If that level of probability makes it irresponsible to not own a gun, then one probably has to question whether it's responsible to allow your child to play baseball.

    According that page, there are four deaths per year in youth baseball. Depending on the percentage of the 3.5 million youths participating in sports, the baseball death rate would be within one or two orders of magnitude of the life-threatening burglary rate.

    So, in my opinion, it's difficult to argue that it's really a man's responsibility to own a gun.

  34. While I do intend to read Armed, it's clear that one has to take care equating statistics to fact.

    Which is precisely why studies by scientists - criminologists and the like - are precisely the kind of statistics that carry more weight. They're more solid than "statistics" compiled by doctors in emergency rooms.

    The book I referred to you takes on studies like the "72% and 3.44 times more likely" kind of statistics and shows you why they're often quite fallacious.

    You've managed to take some questionable statistics and then add in your own assumptions based on absolutely nothing at all but your own "hunch." Good job.

    Furthermore, I'm not asserting or arguing that it's a man's (or woman's) responsibility to own a gun. I'm arguing that it's his/her responsibility to properly educate themselves so that they can make an informed decision.

  35. "Gun ownership (and knowledge of use) for the protection of your family is not only a personal right but a personal responsibility."

    I think people are getting caught up in this line. Given your above comment, it sounds like you might want to rephrase "gun ownership" as "gun education" or something similar.

  36. I know that a criminal who has just entered a dark house is more likely to drop a stink pickle at the sound of a 12-gauge action being worked than he/she is by the sound of someone saying "Henry, call the police.". A lot of the time, you don't have to fire a shot to defend yourself with a weapon.

  37. First, I'd like to retract the third comment I made (that Erik deleted). It didn't really make any sense now that I think about it, and it was made when I was still in the waking up process, blah blah blah.

    Second, originally, at first glance, made it seem like you were saying that he was irresponsible because he didn't own a gun. However, I don't think it's irresponsible that he's not informed on one topic of many security options he has. If he feels safe, he's not going to invest more time and money into making him more safe.

  38. Wow, this post got a lot of comments!

    Erik, I agree compltetly with the spirit of what you are trying to do here. Obivously this was a first draft so people can find and poke at a few holes here and there. This will ultimately help you refine your argument.

    I would like to add to your argument training for said wife and the purchase of a safe or other lockable storage solution (LSS) to keep the weapon from your children. That too is a matter of responsibility and was not included in your cost assessment. In my opinion the LSS should provide quick and ready access to the man and his wife... even in complete dark... while prohibiting access to the untrained children.

    Your argument is really good, but I just hope you care enough about it, and the cause behind it, to realize that your presentation could be made even better with more thought and development.

    I hope to see a Responsibility 1.2 at some point.

  39. Actually Eric, if people took home security seriously, then the chances of a burgler getting into your house at all approach zero.

    But there's a LOT of caveats to your gun protecting the home scenario:

    1) You have to be awake, either at the start, or soon enough to be lucid.

    2) You have to be able to find, [unlock], [load] the gun. The last two can be optional, but tend not to be.

    3) You have to get the drop on the bad guy

    4) If they decide not to run or surrender, you have to shoot them while not getting killed.

    If you're awake when the incident starts, then you have 1) taken care of, so the rest are a race, you'll likely win.

    If you're asleep when the incident starts, then you're probably screwed. I don't care how good you are with that gun, If I have mine out and aimed, and you don't, you lose.

    Instead of spending the money on the gun, spend the money on securing your house correctly, and the gun is no longer needed. Guns as home defense have a very narrow window of use, and are best thought of as a last resort on a desperation level.

    People think of a gun as "Protection". It isn't. It's a rock thrower. It does so very well, but it's nothing more than the evolution of a catapult. It's far less effective as home protection than a good lock and secured windows.

  40. Yeah, but John, you gotta remember that glass can be broken. It may not be the most efficient means of entry, but it'll get the job done. Home alarm systems that call the cops still give the robber an average of anywhere from 3-8 minutes, depending on where you live and how close the nearest police are.

    No security system is infallible. The only way to completely protect yourself against intruders is to make it completely impossible to give anyone entrance or exit. As Erik said, guns are just one of many security options. Used in conjunction with your window locks and such, it can still be your measure-of-last-resort.

    (And if you're wondering, I was never disagreeing with this whole topic. I was simply pointing out that there are legitimate reasons why someone wouldn't want a gun in the house.)

  41. Instead of spending the money on the gun, spend the money on securing your house correctly, and the gun is no longer needed. Guns as home defense have a very narrow window of use, and are best thought of as a last resort on a desperation level.

    Steve takes on one issue - that of layers of protection - and I'll take on another: statistically, you're wrong. As others have said, you need not even use the gun or see the criminal for the gun to act as an effective deterrent.

    Heck, criminals that "case the joint" will know which homes have guns if they see things like targets in the garage, and won't even invade such a home unless they're absolutely certain nobody is home.

    Guns, in terms of protecting your home, are good for more than shooting at burglars. They're good deterrents, even sight unseen.

  42. I received my first hand gun when I was 20. I was registered to carry shortly after turning 21. I have problems with some of the comments that have been made here. First of all, the safety of children is not really a concern with me. I grew up around guns. Many, many guns. I knew where the key was, I knew where the ammo was, and I knew how to load the guns. I was educated by my father to respect guns, so it was never an issue in my house. My brother and I knew that if we were curious about a gun, all we had to do was ask, and we would be able to hold the gun, have any questions answered, anything we wanted. Sneaking around and getting guns out of the cabinet unsupervised NEVER happened, so safety wasn't an issue. We were EDUCATED.

    Second, alarm systems, I believe, aren't that effective. I've heard of alarms going off, and no police showing up for some time. In fact, at the place where I work, the fire alarm went off, 20 minutes went by, no fire trucks showed up, and we had to call 911. Ineffective. Once someone is in your house, the alarm won't do anything except make noise. A gun will do a heck of a lot more than make noise, even if it is never shot. I know that if I were to break into someone's house, a gun pointed at me would scare me a whole lot more than an alarm going off.

    Third, growing up, I lived in a nice neighborhood, but that didn't stop our house from being broken into. My neighborhood wasn't one that would even be close to being considered a crime area, yet people's houses were broken into anyway. If I would have been home alone when someone broke in, I would be protecting myself. People in suburbia can face violent crimes, too, not just the inner city.

    I'm a 23 year old woman, and if I have the choice between being raped or killed or shooting someone, the choice is clear. Education and respect for the gun are two key aspects that are missing from people today. My gun is beside my bed, and it will probably stay there, even after I have children, and I feel comfortable with that because I plan on educating them and teaching them respect. The people are the problem, not guns, and all of you are silly for not even considering the benefit of guns.


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