Criminals in Chicago violate the ineffective and misguided handgun ban on a daily basis. Often times, those criminals are aiming for a rival gang member or other criminal, but end up shooting an innocent child. That appears to be what happened Saturday afternoon at a South Side block party, where a 2 year old child was shot by a criminal. One of the anti gun readers of the news website where the shooting was reported had the following to say, which I’ve found to be a common type of comment on Chicago-area news websites:
This never would have happened if the toddler was allowed to arm herself.
The above comment was the very first about this news story. No one had suggested giving this small child a self defense gun, or made any statements about armed self defense at all. Nor did the news article mention self defense in any way. Basically, as I’ve seen in many other cases, we have an anti gun individual using a tragic situation to make the flatly untrue argument that armed self defense doesn’t work. I generally ignore such hyperbole, but since such comments are so common, pointing out the flaws with this assertion seems like a useful way to spend a few minutes of my time.
Firstly, as Wes so correctly pointed out, anti gun arguments can often be categorized as a “the perfect is the enemy of the good” type argument. That Voltaire quote refers to situations where a person unreasonably opposes a viable solution, just because that solution isn’t absolutely perfect. Here, the solution of self defense don’t work to save this toddler, since a 2 year old child obviously can’t be given a gun for self defense purposes. However, just because a small child can’t defend herself with a gun, it doesn’t follow that we should all give up on self defense. As the many real-life examples of armed self defense, and the studies on armed self defense make clear, citizens are often best off when they do use a gun against violent criminals.
Secondly, just because this toddler couldn’t use a gun to defend herself, that doesn’t mean that a nearby adult couldn’t have used a gun in the toddler’s defense. One of the reasons that many people own guns is so that they can defend their children against violent criminals. This man shot a home invader, saving his two children. This pregnant woman used a shotgun to scare off two home invaders, saving her unborn child. This other pregnant woman used a handgun to defend her young child, and her yet to be born child, against a violent robber. This barber shot an armed robber who threatened to harm his young child. This mother used her handgun to scare off 2 home invading prison escapees who were breaking into her home, when her 2 young children were present. Being armed for self defense, and defense of one’s family, is a wise and prudent choice that has a proven track record of success.