This is the question my wife asked me the other day. She was getting ready to go to a nearby park to walk Lilly, and I told her I’d like her to take one of her pistols.
“Why?” she asked. “What do you think is going to happen?”
“I don’t think anything is going to happen,” I replied. “If I did I’d be asking you to not go.”
It’s not the first time the question has been asked, and my answer has always pretty much been the same. I carry a pistol for self-defense. The chances I will ever need it are, let’s face it, pretty slim. There are well over 200,000,000 adults living in the USA, but only 300 civilian self-defense shootings a year. Of course this doesn’t count incidents where a gun is deployed that do not result in a shooting, but even if you do include those the odds of needing to use your gun are not high.
I don’t carry a gun because I think something is going to happen. If I thought something was going to happen I wouldn’t go. If I thought I would need a gun and for some unimaginable reason I went anyway I’d take a rifle, thanks very much.
So if I don’t expect anything to happen why carry a gun? Simple- for the same reason I have car insurance even though I don’t expect to get into an accident. For the same reason I have home-owners insurance even though I don’t expect my home to be damaged. For the same reason I have AAA even though I don’t expect my car to break down. For the same reason I take my cell-phone even if I am just going round the block to the convenience store. I do all these things because life has taught me that unexpected things happen. When these unexpected events occur I want the right tools on-hand to deal with the situation as best I can.
It’s axiomatic that it is better to have a thing and not need it than it is to need a thing and not have it. That’s really all of the justification you need.
To be clear- I carry a handgun for self-defense, or the defense of other innocents when there is absolutely no other option. I do not carry it to be a hero and I am not looking for trouble, or a reason to use it. In fact I go out of my way to avoid any situation where I might need it. I live on a pretty safe block, I am aware of my environment. I know my neighbors and my neighborhood. But despite our best intentions and efforts sometimes ‘excrement occurs’ and we have to deal with it, ready or not.
I doubt I will ever need my gun; in fact I earnestly hope that I will not. I would happily live out my days without ever shooting another human being. But if I ever really, really need to I’ll have a gun to do it with.
Michael Tinker Pearce, 4 May 2019
PS: May the 4th be with you!