By Nick Arestopoulos
Most advocates for the Second Amendment use the argument of self defense in their own home. However, a firearm is more of a hindrance than a help in a home defense situation for people who are inadequately trained, which is everybody who is non-military and non-law enforcement.
For self-defense situations and any other potentially violent encounters, the person who can escalate the situation first and bring it to a conclusion in their favor wins. Oftentimes, a gun causes hesitation which runs counter to being able to escalate first. The reason for that is that the results are permanent and most people hesitate when the outcome can be gruesome.
Let's take a scenario. You're in your upstairs bedroom and you hear rattling on the first floor. You grab your gun, make sure it's loaded, and you go downstairs. It's not well lit. You cannot clearly make out who's there, now it’s decision time. Do you fire? Or did you yell, “Who's there?!”
Let's assume you will be wrong in every scenario about who it is. You have your gun, you yell “Who's there?!” and it's an armed intruder. Now you have a potential gunfight in your own home. Hopefully you win or fend off the intrusion. Worst case scenario is that bullets go flying through walls and you, your family, and even neighbors who are not involved are also struck and injured or killed by the gunfire. And it may be your bullets that struck them. You don't know.
Next scenario. You have your gun, you do not yell, you fire your gun, and it ends up being your elderly parent or grandparent who had a bad night. Chances are that they do not survive.
Neither scenario is acceptable.
In high-stress situations it is scientifically proven that your executive decision-making abilities are severely hindered. So what can you do to account for it and give yourself a greater margin for error and make these decisions easier?
Instead of a gun, there are other tools better equipped for these situations. The first is a taser and the second is night vision goggles.
The advantage of the taser is that you can reliably escalate the situation without a lethal end. If it ends up being your grandmother on a bad night, at least your grandmother will probably live to have other bad nights. Also, if it ends up being an intruder there is no need to yell who's there and alert them to your presence. You can just fire and end the situation right there.
The second tool that is night vision goggles. It is a severe tactical advantage for you to see clearly when others can't. If you can make out who it is, it makes the decision to open fire or not straightforward. If there is doubt still as to who it is, you can still fire with confidence that mostly likely you will not kill.
Now, I am not saying a firearm like a shotgun doesn't have its place. However, the place for that is when the bubble bursts. Think the LA riots after the acquittal of the police officers who beat Rodney King in the early 90s. In that scenario, very clearly, a taser is not enough.
Now, before you purchase a firearm please consider the reasons why. If it is for home defense, chances are a taser and night vision goggles are more effective options for these purposes.
If you do buy a firearm, please be prepared for the possible consequences of ownership. Do you have children? Are there people around who might burglarize your home for the gun? Can you secure the weapon and make sure it doesn't end up where it shouldn't?
Thank you for reading. I wish you and your loved ones safety and security.