“The victim told police he was taking out the trash outside his home on Clifton Drive [in Nashville, TN] just before midnight when he saw three men approaching him. He tried to run inside his home, but the men forced their way inside as he tried to shut his door,” newschannel5.com reports. “Police said the man was knocked to the ground, and one of the robbers struck him on the head with a handgun. His wallet and cash were stolen. The man told police the robbers went into a bedroom looking for something and fled the scene.” Hmmmm . . .
“Looking for something” eh? Was the unnamed victim attacked by a rip crew (criminals looking to steal drugs from a dealer), perchance? Possibly. It’s also possible it was a random attack. Either way, the incident highlights the need to maintain situational awareness and remain armed (and fabulous) from wake-up to sleepy time.
Now that I’m here, let me say this about that: the Volunteer State mugging also flags an important “sticking point” between gun rights and gun control advocates: statistical necessity. What are the odds that a law-abiding citizen will need a gun? If they’re low (the odds), why carry one?
The simple answer: who cares and it’s none of your damn business. Americans have a Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Armed citizens have no more need to justify their decision to carry a gun than Noa Tishby has to use match.com.
[Note: Americans living in low-income urban communities are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than affluent suburbanites. To suggest that overall crime stats indicate that the need for armed self-defense isn’t pressing enough to “allow” a citizen to exercise their civil right to carry a gun strikes me as insensitive at best, racist at worst.]
That said, I understand why gun control advocates have a hard time accepting the idea of owning a firearm to prepare for a highly unlikely event. I call it The Law of Unperceived Randomness.
When two gym-goers find themselves using lockers closerthanthis in an otherwise empty locker room they proclaim “It’s Murphy’s Law!” The comment reflects perceived randomness. Their locker use follows a predictable pattern that creates the proximity. They consider it random because A) it doesn’t always happen and B) they notice it when it does.
Now flip that around. If an event is so rare that people never perceive it happening, they can come to believe it won’t happen.
For example, some people buy lottery tickets for a while, then give up. Although their odds of winning haven’t changed, their belief system has. Drawing on their personal non-experience they think “it will happen to someone but it won’t happen to me.”
It’s not a big leap for these folks to look at other people buying lottery tickets and think “it won’t happen to them either.” When it doesn’t, when the people they see or know don’t win the lottery, it reaffirms their faith that buying a lottery ticket is a stupid idea. If you’re not going to win, why bother?
In terms of guns, the longer a gun control advocate lives without needing a gun the more convinced they become that they don’t need a gun—and never will. Even without considering the [perceived] dangers of owning a gun, why bother? Why does anyone bother?
The Law of Unperceived Randomness dictates that people become invested in the idea that certain random events do not happen. Because they don’t. Until they do.
And even when the doors of perception open, when an unperceived random event suddenly becomes apparent, some people continue to deny its personal relevance. It’s not my locker selection or gym time that determines whether two nearby lockers are being used at the same time. It’s Murphy’s Law!
I can’t believe I got mugged by armed attackers when I was taking out the trash. It could have been anyone! It’s Murphy’s Law!
Truth be told, you can’t radically alter the odds of experiencing a random act of violence (where a gun would be helpful) without radical changes in behavior. Of course, that presupposes you have an accurate idea of which changes will lower your odds of a violent encounter. How can you know that for sure?
Nevertheless, you can play the odds of encountering a violent threat (e.g. by avoiding stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things) and affect the outcome should one occur (by carrying a gun).
If you want to win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket. If you want to defend your life or the lives of your loved ones against a lethal threat, you carry a gun.
Ultimately, it’s that simple.