Apr 14, 2013

Shall I shoot the bastard?

The fellow in St. George, Utah, did not. He racked his pistol slide.The burglar  ran.The homeowner gave chase. The thug tripped and the homeowner held him under the gun until police arrived.

I call that a near-perfect result, although I understand an opposing view that anyone who invades your bedroom at 4:45 a.m. needs killing, and even that this world is an incrementally better place for each violent criminal who is quickly and economically dispatched to the next. 

That incident is the peg on which the AP's Adam Geller hangs a report on the various views of armed self defense.  While is far from a bad report, it manages to avoid two points most of us find important.

(1) Geller cites studies and experts (often self-styled) who argue that because America suffers less reported crime now than 20 years ago, the need for armed self-defense  is reduced.

This confuses two separate issues. Fewer thugs doing violent things across a nation of 320 million souls is a welcome fact but meaningless to exactly one decent human being facing a criminal in an existential moment when his choice is life or death.  Phrased less abstractly: "This son of a bitch is in my house, threatening me and mine. Killing him immediately is one of my legitimate choices." There couldn't much urge at that moment to ponder the latest FBI crime report. 

(2) Geller reports that more Americans are arming themselves for purposes of self-defense than 20 years ago*  but misses the opportunity to explore the fact as one cause of reduced crime. 

Again,  you and I are in familiar territory here, although the generality of wire service readers probably is not. 

A thief or rapist or killer wants what is yours, but he wants it minimum risk. While he is willing to risk arrest and a protracted trip trough the criminal justice system, he is loathe to chance immediate career termination via  "bang" -- a would-be victim's gun. He looks for the truly unarmed victim from  little gun-free zones to big places governed by such as the Sullivan Act.

It would be more fun to snark the Geller piece to death, but, as I said, it seems to be a honest effort to contribute something useful to the debate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Statistics are a wonderful tool, especially for folks like insurance actuaries and such. But, when you are the number that in fact creates the decimal point, they don't mean squat. JAGSC