Mark Stein gives us some good reasons to go buy a gun. This article was written in response to a letter to the editor written by a (British?) woman who thinks everything's better when no one except criminals have guns.

The Independent's Joan Smith recalled that, when she spied a burglar on her porch, she had no desire to "blow him away". Nor do I, if I'm honest.

But I do want to have the right to make the judgment call. You can call 999, get the answering machine rerouting you to the 24-Hour Action Hotline three counties away, leave a message, and wait for the Community Liaison Officer to get back next week if he's returned from his emotional trauma leave by then.

But that's the point: you're there, the police aren't. And, even in jurisdictions whose constabularies aren't quite so monumentally useless as Britain's, a citizen in his own home should have the right to make his own assessment of the danger without being second-guessed by fellows who aren't on the scene.

And, once you give the citizen that right, he hardly ever has to exercise it. Take Miss Smith's situation: she's at home, but the burglar still comes a-knocking. Thanks to burglar alarms, British criminals have figured out that it's easier to wait till you come home, ring the door bell, and punch you in the kisser.

In my part of the world, that's virtually unknown. In America as a whole, 12.7 per cent of burglaries are of "occupied homes"; in Britain, it's 59 per cent. Installing a laser system may make your property more secure, but it makes you less so.

None of this is new, but it bears repeating.



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