Some of my relatives are extremely anti gun. They disapprove of my choice to own guns suitable for self defense, and don’t wish to own gun themselves. One of my relatives has even said that she would not want to use a gun to defend herself, even if the only alternative were death at the hands of a home invading criminal. While I respect her right to decide whether to defend herself or not, I do find that decision to be rather selfish and inconsiderate, both towards those of us who love her, and society as a whole:
Selfish and Inconsiderate to Loved ones
When a person is hurt or killed by a criminal, the effects extend far beyond that direct victim. A victim’s loved ones are often deprived of that victim’s company and consortium, due to the victims death, serious physical injury, or serious emotional injury. For example, a dead or seriously injured parent can’t be there for their children, and can end up missing both the small moments in life (such as reading a book to the child) and the big moments (such as college graduation and/or a wedding). Spouses, parents, and other loved ones suffer similar harms when a family member is incapacitated. At the same time, the loved ones of a victim may have terrible feelings of guilt for not being able to be there and stop the attack, even if there is no way that they could reasonably have foreseen or prevented the crime. When a criminal is able to harm their victim, the effect ripples throughout the victim’s family. For that reason, I am of the opinion that that each of us has a moral duty to defend ourselves, not only for our own benefit but for the benefit of our loved ones.
Selfish and Inconsiderate to Society as a whole
When a criminal is able to commit their crime and get away with it, they become emboldened, and will likely commit the crime again. On the other hand, when a criminal is shot or held at gun point until the police arrive, that criminal is unable to victimize another person the next day. Even if a criminal is just scared away by an armed citizen, the criminal may remember the experience, and think twice before trying to commit the crime again. Although it is by very definition impossible to know, each of us could have been been a crime victim, had some other armed citizen not taken a criminal off the streets before they could attack us. This is not an endorsement of vigilante justice, but rather a recognition of the fact that a criminal who is killed while trying to commit a rape or murder is unable to harm another victim in the future.