Knowing that you're actually, like, 30 times more likely to shoot yourself than an intruder.It occurs to me that there are two ways you can go wrong here. One way is that you could know something that isn't so. Hillary Clinton was just giving a speech on the 'epidemic' of gun violence in America, when in fact gun crime like all violent crime is near an all-time low. It's been cut roughly in half over the last two decades. Still, let's take this statistic as completely accurate for the sake of argument.
The other problem is that you can know this without the knowledge determining a course of action. The author suggests that the knowing realize that such a mathematical proof should determine them to avoid guns. After all, you're then trading a high-percentage threat for a low-percentage threat. That's smart gambling, right?
While I don't know whether or not this figure is really correct, however, I do know that accidental discharges are very dangerous. Crime rates out here in the country are even lower than the national average, although help would be a very long way away if I were to call for it. So, is there any other way to address the dangers of guns without purging guns from my life?
Sure there is. There are lots of ways to limit the dangers of firearms. Of course, the knowing don't know them because actually knowing about guns -- rather than knowing the sexy statistic -- is unfashionable. There are a number of ways to limit the dangers of firearms ownership. For example, you can keep guns and ammunition separate (easily done with, say, an AR-15 whose ammunition comes in detachable magazines). If the firearm is not loaded, it won't go off. Since loading it is the work of a second, you can keep a rifle by your bedside at night and a magazine of ammunition in the nightstand drawer without much sacrificing your ability to bring the rifle to bear if the low-percentage intruder actually does show up.
You can select a single-action revolver as a carry gun instead of a semi-automatic pistol. You can religiously practice the four rules of gun safety, which overlap in such a way that obeying even one of them should reliably prevent tragedy. You can do a lot of things to address the high-percentage danger without sacrificing an option for dealing with the low-percentage danger.
Of course, to do these things you'd have to know the four rules of gun safety, or the difference between single-action revolvers and double-action revolvers (or either and a semi-automatic).
In addition to that, I have another thought, which is that even a utilitarian calculus should take into account the pleasures as well as the pains.
Another thing I know is that riding a motorcycle is not just 30 but 85 times more likely to get you killed than driving a car. Does that mean that the smart play is to purge motorcycles from your life? What about horses? Horses are damn dangerous.
But would you miss out on them?
How much more, then, the joy of being a man of the old fashion? Of being strong, of upholding the weak, of being protector rather than protected? How could you walk away from that at any price?