Perception of Risk

In my previous post, I referenced an article at Home on the Range that gave some very good tips for home security. I particularly agreed with Brigid’s comments about alarm systems. An email exchange with my daughter-in-law caused me to lay out in my mind why I give armed self defense the priority that I do.

The article’s statistics indicate that 1 in 5 homes will be invaded or burgled. My own research indicates that a person living in Texas has a pretty fair probability of encountering some type of violent crime sometime in his or her lifetime. If you live in a city, the odds are higher. If you live somewhere that does not allow concealed carry, the odds are much higher still. I simply believe it is a good idea to improve my odds on the outcome. The original research of mine on these probabilities was based on public records from a time when the economy was good, by the way. It is a telling fact that statistics show that there is a direct correlation between increased concealed handgun licenses and decreased violent crime. Read one of John Lott’s books for more detailed information.

When driving, I wear a seatbelt. Not so much because the law requires it, but because statistics show that they save lives and minimize injuries. This was reinforced in my mind in 1988 when I rolled a pickup truck and found myself hanging up-side down from the straps – uninjured. When riding my motorcycle, even though there is no helmet law in Texas, I always wear a helmet. This is because I know for certain that it can alleviate the outcome of a motorcycle accident, having experienced such. I have had a helmet absolutely save me from a lot of reconstructive surgery on my face. It bothers me that some friends of mine don’t wear helmets. It’s their choice – but I wish for better for them, because they are my friends. I also know that if you ride long enough, eventually you will have an accident. Still, it is my friends’ call whether to wear helmets or not, and none of my business. I felt obligated to tell them about it; I did; and now it’s up to them.

In the same way, every once in a while I point out a potential risk to those I care about. I suspect that this gets me talked about.

One thing to realize is the principle of preparedness commensurate with the potential loss. I don’t carry an umbrella around all the time; if I get caught in the rain, I haven’t lost a lot or created a big problem. Although I am much less likely to need a gun than an umbrella, I do carry a gun when it is legal to do so, because I don’t ever want to be in the position of needing one and not having it if things go pear shaped. I even keep one handy when I’m sitting around in the living room of my house – because I am aware that it would be fairly easy for a home invader to kick in my door and get to me well before I could reach my gun if it was in the bedroom in a lock-box. (1) The potential for personal loss is great enough that I think it is worth the hassle to carry. I simply could not bear the pain if, for instance, somebody snatched one of my grandkids – and I could have prevented it if only I had been armed. Knowing how I would feel, of course I go armed. Selfish of me, I guess.

I’m 55 years old, and I have lived to see a decrease in compassion, an increase in rudeness, a big increase in population, and a large increase in the number of people who have no moral compass. It looks to me like the probability of needing an effective means of personal defense is increasing, particularly with millions out of work and some of them getting desperate. As these people’s unemployment benefits expire, a certain small percentage of them will begin to get more creative in how they get what they need, and the number of people in that category will continue to increase for quite some time to come. The current economy will inevitably result in an increase in crime.

As Robert A. Heinlein’s character Lazarus Long said, be an optimist by temperament, and a pessimist by policy.

I guess it’s a matter of perception of risk. I may err, but I will err on the side of safety for my family and myself.

-Popgun

Footnote (1): If the grandkids are visiting, I make darn sure the guns are locked up, except for the one that is on me; and I make sure that one is safe.

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2 Responses to Perception of Risk

  1. Very nice follow up to Brigid’s post. All very good points.

    TheOtherLarry

  2. Popgun says:

    Hi, TheOtherLarry;

    Thanks for your kind comment. I just discovered your blog; I’ll be dropping in.

    -Popgun

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