I was reading a conversation on Facebook (again), and it ended up talking about guns. A woman was saying that she was considering getting a gun for home defense and wanted to make sure it was safe.
First, people came on saying things that I have always assumed to be true: make sure it has a safety, and store it unloaded with the safety on. Don't keep it within easy reach, but in a gun safe. Made sense to me.
But then people came on saying things like, "What if your home was invaded and the guy was in your bedroom before you realized it? Would you have time to open your gun safe, load the gun, disable the safety, and fire before it was too late?"
One woman said something along these lines: "I have a tall fence around my house and three large guard dogs. But it would be so easy for someone strung out on drugs to climb my fence, shoot all three dogs, and break into the house before I was aware. For this reason, I have a gun with no safety which I keep loaded by the bed."
I just don't think it's very likely that someone, even someone who wasn't high, could shoot three dogs before any of them bark to alert you. All you need is enough warning to grab the gun and ammo and remove the safety. It doesn't take long. It seems to me there would be time in between the crash of them breaking your window and when they start up the stairs to grab the gun and be ready.
But home invasions are very unlikely. They're even more unlikely if your house has a fence and dogs and the other houses on the street don't. Of course, this is assuming there isn't someone specifically out to get you. If you are involved with the Mafia, perhaps you had better take more particular precautions.
What's more likely is a kid reaching into your bedside table and pulling out the gun. Or, as one woman described, a teenaged family member snooping around and firing the gun. Luckily, in her case, no one was hurt. But it's still worth the trouble of practicing gun safety. Home invaders, if you're very unlucky, might be in your bedroom once in a whole lifetime. Your kids will be in there a lot more often.
I guess what I'm saying is, you can't spend your life thinking about the "what if." These rare situations, which we tend to believe are common because they're always happening on TV, are not statistically likely. I've already mentioned before that kidnappings are rare -- and the statistics are inflated because most kidnappings are by a non-custodial parent, not a stranger. But so are most far-out, terrifying dangers.
Not that we shouldn't protect ourselves. I don't see a problem with owning a gun or with practicing other safety measures. But we should focus on the likely dangers -- gun accidents, drowning, choking, car accidents, and the like, which are much more frequent.
And then, once you've assessed the risk and taken appropriate steps, you have to let go. Trust that you have done what you can, that your guardian angel will take care of the rest, and go to sleep at night. I know it's easy to be consumed with fear when you watch the news and read the papers -- which only talk about things that are the exception rather than the rule. And we love our families so much, it scares us to think anything could happen.
But if we're living in fear rather than simply living, it's time to relax. So much of what happens is out of our control, but it's no reason to panic. God knows the day and the hour that we will die, and nothing will happen that he does not permit for our benefit. I truly believe this. And so I focus on living, rather than continually asking myself, "What if?"