Back in the day, my family summered on the Rhode Island coastline. When my father died, his ashes scattered in the bay in front of the house, my octogenarian mother lived there alone. One night, as I was pulling out of the pebbled drive, a thought occurred: what if someone broke in? She would be defenseless. While I had a spare revolver in the car, my mum is as anti-gun as they come. Even so, I felt obliged to make the offer . . .