Okay, the Bill of Rights protects our right to be armed. So what? Why would anybody want to have a gun?
For me, the main reason is to protect my home and family. Do I want to shoot anyone? Absolutely not! Please Lord may I never need to do that. But I realized that I had a responsibility to be prepared. In the unlikely event that I need to defend myself, my wife, and my children, then I damn well want the capability to do so.
We life in earthquake country. We keep a stock of water, food, flashlights, first aid equipment, and so on. While I was setting this up, it occurred to me that disaster preparedness must include defensive preparations. If “the big one” strikes, then roads, power, and public services will be out of commission for a while, and with them the normal civil order. Defense needed to be part of my backup plan, in case things get difficult.
But I’ve also realized that it doesn’t take a public catastrophe to pose a threat to my loved ones. Even on the most normal of days, someone could break into my home with foul intent. That’s not scaremongering: that’s reality.
You might think that a home invasion is an extremely unlikely event, so arming yourself to defend against it is simple paranoia. But nobody believes it’s paranoid to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, when kitchen fires are actually far less frequent than home invasions. In fact, home invasions with actual violence done are much more common than kitchen fires:
- Home invasions with violence to resident: 266,560/year (2010, US DOJ)
- Kitchen fires: 156,500/year (2004, FEMA)
And it’s not just a statistic, these things are real. Back when my mother was a youthful 60-ish, a masked stranger suddenly appeared in her stairway and began dragging her into the basement. Amazingly, she managed to squirm free screaming and he fled—but it might have ended differently; she was lucky. Last year an elderly man a few streets over from us was beaten to death by a mentally ill man whom he challenged in his garage. I do not plan to be next.
Of course you don’t need to be armed if you don’t want to. But this is why I am.
If you, like me, decide to assume this as your responsibility then I suggest you take it seriously. Don’t leave a gun where kids can get it; obey the law; get some training and stay in practice. And when you lock your guns up, make sure you can still get to them quick. (See today’s other post for some ideas about that.)