Over at slate.com, they’re running an article called Guns Kill Children; The overwhelming evidence that pediatricians are right and the NRA is wrong. It’s the usual context-free farrago of cherry-picked studies using highly misleading data parameters (e.g., teenage gang-bangers are considered children). The underlying point: guns are dangerous! Owning a gun puts you and yours in mortal peril! Slate’s bottom line: being disarmed is safer than being armed. Here’s a story [via abcnews.go.com] that seems to back up the antis’ anti-pistol premise . . .
The attack occurred after the Rev. Joseph Terra opened the kitchen door of the Mother of Mercy Mission rectory to investigate noises in a courtyard on Wednesday night, police said.
[An ex-con named Gary Michael Moran beat Rev. Tera with a metal rod.]
Badly injured, the 56-year-old Terra made it to his bedroom and retrieved his .357-caliber gun but was unable to fire before the attacker grabbed it, forced the priest to his knees and demanded money, according to court records.
Terra soon blacked out. When he regained consciousness, the Rev. Kenneth Walker had been shot.
Setting aside the not-unexpected fact that Moran was a violent ex-con with a rap sheet as long as the rod he used to assault Rev. Terra, noting the unexpected fact that Terra had a .357 revolver (most likely), clocking the mission critical fact that he didn’t carry his piece, we can hear the antis bleat, KILLED WITH HIS OWN GUN! See? It would have been better if Rev. Terra didn’t have a gun.
In this case, maybe. In any case, maybe. Because a violent assault is usually a chaotic affair with a huge number of variables. So all you can do is look at the overall numbers, the odds, and take your chances. And the survey says . . . you’re better off with a gun that without – given that even the lowest-ever number of estimated defensive gun uses (60k) dwarfs the number of firearms-related homicides. And suicides. Combined.
In fact, you’d have to twist the facts like licorice to come to any other conclusion. Which the antis are more than happy to do. Again, Slate:
Children from states where firearms are prevalent suffer from significantly higher rates of homicide, even after accounting for poverty, education, and urbanization.
Crucially, these deaths are not offset by defensive gun use. As one study found, for every time a gun is used legally in self-defense at home, there are “four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.” A study of adolescents in California found that there were 13 times as many threatening as self-defensive uses of guns. Of the defensive encounters, many arose in confrontations that became hostile because of the presence of a firearm.
The study in question looked at defensive gun uses in the home. Specifically, homes in Memphis, Tennessee; Seattle, Washington; and Galveston, Texas (hardly middle America.) The study only counted “justifiable homicides” in the home. Successful gun uses that didn’t involve injury or death – though “used legally in self-defense” – didn’t count. Let’s skew the data – for the children!
Of course, the decision to exercise one’s natural, civil and Constitutionally protected rights to keep and bear arms isn’t about stats. It’s about a lot of things that have nothing to do with number crunching; from hunting to fun to self-protection to the protection of others to a defense against tyranny to none-of-your-damn business.
But this much is true: you can’t be shot with your own gun if you don’t have one. Then again, not having a gun doesn’t reduce your chances of being shot with someone else’s gun or beaten to death by an ex-con who should never have been released from prison.
Put another way, a murderer doesn’t need your gun to kill you. But you may well need your gun to stop him/her/them. Carrying a concealed firearm helps prevent an illegal transfer when push comes to shove. Weapons retention training doesn’t go amiss either. At the end of the day, it’s all a crap shoot. But to those who would disarm us to save us, I say two words: no dice.