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*Disclaimer - I don't have an agenda or an axe to grind. Any ideas or suggestions are welcome.*

Written 1/4/2013

I've been a homeowner for about 8 years now. Never had a major incident, although I've had a few scares here and there. Yesterday I would have confidently stated that I don't need a gun; but today, I'm not so sure.

Before today, my strategy was simple:  Keep exterior lights on at night, turn alarm on at night, and make sure I have quick access to my cell phone & clothes just in case I need to leave quickly (based on the few scares I've had, I still have work to do on the last part). If my alarm went off in the middle of the night, my plan used to be to call 911 and hide. Now that I'm a mom, it's not as simple since my son's room is down the hallway, but I still didn't see that as a reason to buy a gun. In fact, a couple weeks ago, my home alarm went off for the first time since my son was born in 2011. I was really disoriented, but I had to leave my room which is right by the stairs, to get to my son's room. When I saw that he was safe and somehow sleeping through the sirens, I locked his door and went back to the steps. It just so happened that this was the one night that I thought I'd save electricity and downstairs was pitch black (but I think I left the exterior lights on). I guess my plan was to guard the steps to make sure nobody came up. Not sure how I would have done that because I didn't even have a vial of pepper spray. I know I handled the situation all wrong, but at the time I was thinking that I didn't want any potential violence to occur in my son's room. The police arrived in about 6 or 7 minutes. They said my front door was open, but there was no sign of forced entry. Hmmm... ok... I went ahead a changed the locks, just to be safe.

That incident is not what led me to make this post. Ironically, that incident actually made me less afraid. Of course, it helped that I didn't have to face gun toting intruders, but there's something to be said about facing your fears...

Anyway... Here's what led me to point of contemplating gun ownership: This afternoon, I got on Facebook and my news feed was flooded with local news stories about a metro Atlanta woman who shot an intruder. I was curious and clicked on the story, and it pretty much reminded me of a similar incident that made national news a few months ago (young woman asked 911 operator for permission to shoot intruder). Then I saw the list of related articles, one of which told the story of another metro Atlanta woman who also was the victim of a home invasion last night; however, she was shot multiple times by her intruder(s). Both women hid from their intruders, and both women were ultimately confronted by their intruders. Their outcomes, however, were very different.

Here's the first story that's all over the news today:

Woman hiding with kids shoots intruder

The woman was working in an upstairs office when she spotted a strange man outside a window, according to Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman. He said she took her 9-year-old twins to a crawlspace before the man broke in using a crowbar.

But the man eventually found the family.

The woman then shot him five times, but he survived, Chapman said. Full Story

Okay, here's the second story that I saw right after seeing that one:
Home intruders shoot, injure woman in Fulton County
54-year-old Melissa Burke heard a knock on her door. Moments later, she heard the intruders breaking into her house on Estonian Drive near Fairburn just before midnight and called 911. They say Burke, who was home alone, tried to hide but the intruders found her and opened fire.

Investigators say she was shot multiple times. Burke was taken to Atlanta Medical Center, and was listed in stable condition. Full Story
And while retrieving the link to the first story, I just saw this one (unbelievable!):
Man shot by burglar in south Fulton Co.
A man was shot during a home invasion early Thursday morning. The homeowner said he thinks the burglar thought no one was home, and scaled the fence in the backyard before coming up to the back door. He said his roommate went to the back door first.

"So (my roommate) immediately banged on the door and said, 'Get out of here.' As soon as he did that, the shot went off. One shot went off ...and then another shot went off immediately after that," the homeowner said.

Again, these stories aren't unusual at all. And I included pictures so people could see that these aren't run down projects where these incidents are occurring. There's a lot of violent crime in Atlanta and it's surrounding suburbs, but I guess what struck me this time is that hiding, while a good first step, needs to be coupled with something else, especially now that I have a child to protect. Now that I think about it, I can't really "hide," because a locked room pretty much indicates that someone is probably inside.  My son is 23 months old--he can yell or cry at any moment. The best I can do is "hide" my son in the closet of the room that I choose to barricade myself in. But what happens if an intruder tries to get in that room? It's at that point that I would need a gun, especially if the person is trying to get in despite hearing a baby in the room! I hate that I even have to think about things like this. I want to block it out and hope for the best. Unfortunately, a break-in is more likely than a fire around here.

For now, I'm in the process of upgrading my alarm system with video surveillance. I still would like to think that cameras combined with an extremely loud alarm is enough... I do not want to own a gun, but I'm now wondering if I need to have one, just in case...

Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 8:54 AM PT: Update 1/6/13: I read and absorbed the comments here, and I did a lot of soul searching last night and this morning. I questioned myself: "Am I losing it? Do I need to get counseling? Is my neighborhood really that unsafe?"

My conclusion (for right now) is that in some ways, I am "losing it." I'm experiencing an unusually high level of anxiety and stress right now, and probably should talk to a professional. But, I also took a look at my specific area's crime rate and my concerns about break-ins are justified, as my specific area's crime rate is almost 10 times higher than Georgia's crime rate.

Based on that, and my dwindling trust in my neighbors, I think the best thing I can do right now is set up a temporary residence with family. During that time I can view surveillance footage of my home to get a better understanding of why certain things have been happening. Depending on what I find, I will either return to my home or begin the grueling tasks of property management and relocating to a safer town.

I'm not ruling out gun ownership indefinitely, but I don't feel it's something that can be rushed into.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A dog with a big bark will do far more to deter (24+ / 0-)

    intruders than a gun ever will.  Intruders don't know whether you're armed or not.  And if you're armed, you had better be sure you can bring yourself to shoot another person (because not everyone can); otherwise you're better off without a gun.

    No matter where you live, no matter your circumstances, a mid-sized to large dog is better protection because intruders will not willingly take on such an unpredictable factor as a dog.  They'll move on to easier targets.

    And your son will get a buddy to grow up with.

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 02:45:49 PM PST

    •  Excellent, excellent comment. (10+ / 0-)

      "Everything I do is blown out of proportion. It really hurts my feelings." - Paris Hilton

      by kestrel9000 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 04:01:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  & your son will have a friend to mourn if he (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      survives the invaders who shoot the dog first.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:12:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I was first married, we lived (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jakedog42, balancedscales

        in a sketchy neighborhood in town.  For my birthday, my husband wanted to buy me a gun.  I told him I'd rather have a dog.  We got a shepherd/collie mix from the local SPCA.  All my neighbors got hit; we were never touched.

        Anecdotes do not make data but, unless you live in a really upscale neighborhood or obviously have valuable stuff, potential bad guys are not going to mess with you if there's a dog in the way.  The dog sounds the alarm, gets between you and the bad guy, will willingly throw him/herself in harm's way to protect short, not worth the risk, not when there are easier targets out there.

        That said, there's nothing like fear to mess with your mind.  You have to do what you need to do to feel secure in your home.  I merely suggest that a dog is the friendliest way to do that.  And yes, while a dog is a responsibility, having a dog will also reorient your a good way. The best way.

        For the record, I've been mugged.  I've stared down the barrel of a .45.  I was really happy I didn't have a gun on that particular night, because we would have had a gun battle and 4 people would have likely died.  As it was, no one got hurt.  I could shoot to protect my child.  I learned that that night.  

        I don't ever want to have to do it.

        "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

        by DrLori on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:54:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Plus, I think BlackSheep1 is preparing for (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1, jakedog42

          Zombie Apocalypse. We are all vulnerable to some degree and we can all take steps to protect ourselves--again, to some degree. The dog, the security system, lights, a car out front at all times, eradicating hiding spots near windows, and even a gun for some people. These are all actions we can take. There are things that might happen: meteor, The Road, Red Dawn, Zombies, etc. that will get us in the end. Even influenza and heart disease.

          “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

          by jeff in nyc on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:09:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No. I had a dog. Little cattledog/coyote mix (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jeff in nyc, DrLori, ban nock, PavePusher

            about coyote size, who was perfect home defense. Then all of us were absent from our farm in West Texas three nights in a row, first time in the five years since he'd been born there.

            We came home to find him shot in our driveway, his ears cut off for the county coyote bounty.

            I've been to the zombie apocalypse. It's overrated. Normal human dickishness is gonna end the world all by its ownself.

            LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:18:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I should add that several hundred dollars' worth (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jeff in nyc

              of equipment had also gone missing from the farm and barn, and a couple of windows were out of the house.

              Never happened while the dog lived.

              But if you think I don't still want to find the motherfucking asshole who murdered my dog, you're wrong.

              LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

              by BlackSheep1 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:19:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  That is horrible! I'm so sorry. I think that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              one of the things that has to be respected during debates about guns is how diverse America is, and how very different our needs can be. I don't know where you live, of course, but I am guessing West somewhere.

              “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

              by jeff in nyc on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:30:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  West Texas...duh on me. I think you guys (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                need tools that are not appropriate for Brooklyn or Miami.

                “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

                by jeff in nyc on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:31:37 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I am glad not to have to contend (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jeff in nyc, DrLori, PavePusher

                  with the amount of humans in Brooklyn or Miami.

                  That dog used to lie on top of the car and wait on the bus for my brother, sister, and me in the afternoons.

                  Picture a coyote with a snowy muzzle and underbelly, and a broader-than-normal, almost Lab-like, head. I still miss him. It's been ...  more than 30 years now....I would never want that kind of grief and rage to descend on another child.

                  LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

                  by BlackSheep1 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:48:18 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I would defend my dog or cat, if I could, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    to the death. I am with you on this. No purer love than that between a person and her or his dog.

                    “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

                    by jeff in nyc on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:59:25 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Somethin' we have in common. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      Good to meet you.
                      The love we get from them deserves justice, doesn't it?

                      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

                      by BlackSheep1 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 10:18:49 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  The need for effective self-defense... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  is not restricted by geography.

            •  This is terrible. I'm so sorry (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              that some inhumane cretin murdered your dog and robbed you.  

              The robbery is surely less painful than the murder of the dog whose been companion and friend and who you'd raised for his/her whole life.  Years ago someone poisoned our family dog, a German Shepherd. I still remember both the pain of losing her and the rage at losing her so horribly.  And I'd still love to find the person who did it, despite that it was 35 years ago.

              That said, the home defense system is one of mutual protection.  I have 5 dogs now, but I also have a farm.  And they're trained to stay close to home and are always with me when they're outside.  Partly because we live near the road and partly because we have one neighboring farmer who shoots anything that sets foot on his land.  There's nothing better for deterrence than a dog, but you have to be there to protect the dog from those who would harm him.

              "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

              by DrLori on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:44:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I know; I let him down, not knowing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                we had that kind of "neighbors" around.

                It's been a long time -- it was before I was in the Air Force, while I was in high school, in the mid-70s.

                I still miss him.

                I hope your pup's waiting for you over the rainbow bridge....

                LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

                by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:02:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I hope the same for you, that yours (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  will be there, waiting for you.

                  One of my brothers-in-law is very spiritual.  The night my mother died, he said he saw her, passing through, and surrounded by very happy dogs.

                  "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

                  by DrLori on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:21:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  And keep the dog INSIDE. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DrLori, balancedscales

      That is key.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:16:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great suggestion, but I don't know... (0+ / 0-)

      Certain aspects of dog ownership are a turn off for me, but I guess I'd consider getting a very small one for my son if he wanted one. The most aggressive breed I'd get would be a chihuahua. I do remember a case of a chihuahua stopping a bank robber...

      •  Chihuahuas are very high energy and can be quite (0+ / 0-)

        aggressive.  They also tend to bark.  At everything.  All the time.  They'll run circles in a room just to burn off energy.  It's a rare chihuahua that's laid-back.

        If it's the walkies that turn you off, there are other breeds that are definitely low maintenance, once you get them through puppyhood.  Bulldogs are scary to outsiders, loving to family, and serious couch potatoes.  I have two pugs who are afraid the couch is going to float away, and see it as their job to lie on it to keep it grounded.

        For companionship and family protection, a mixed breed is about the best dog you can get.  You avoid a lot of the genetic problems that have crept into almost every purebred, and you almost always have a dog with a good temperament.

        A lot depends about how serious you are about home defense.  If you're serious enough to be considering a firearm and you go that way, with a small child in the house you're looking at locking up the gun after fitting it with a gun lock, locking up the ammo separately, and taking other measures (like hiding the key to the gun lock separately from the other lock keys) in the hopes of keeping the weapon away from your kid.  In case of a break-in, I'm not sure how much good your gun is going to be, unless you have great aim and can throw it at the intruder.  To take fewer security measures than the bare minimum I just mentioned would expose your son to a much greater danger than a burglar.

        "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

        by DrLori on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:01:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let me add my .02c on gun storage. (0+ / 0-)

          If you do decide to buy a handgun for home defense there are good quick access safes that rely on a mechanical combination lock.  Mount the safe so it does not walk off. Then consider storing the handgun with the slide locked back and several loaded magazines in the safe.  If needed the magazine can be quickly inserted and the slide sent into battery (action closed, cartridge now in chamber and ready to fire).  Keep a quality LED flashlight in the safe also so you can Identify what you are shooting at before pulling the trigger (you are responsible for every bullet fired!).  Lastly, if you do go this route, practice regularly.

          Also, think about using MultiLock locks.  I have some very security conscious friends and they like multilock.  Another thing to think about is to plant thorny bushes under windows, I remember one growing up, think of living barbed wire.  There are other things you can do like dropping a dowel in the track of a sliding door to prevent the door from being opened without first removing the dowel.  Lastly, when replacing doors, think about replacing them with security-enhanced doors some for residential use can be very discrete.  Security is building a system not doing just one thing.

          Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

          by DavidMS on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:26:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  even little tiny dogs can do the trick (0+ / 0-)

        they still bark and can bite. Less poop to clean up too.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:25:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Anecdote is not the plural of data. (12+ / 0-)

    There is persuasive statistical evidence that possessing a gun in the household makes you a) far more likely to shoot yourself, b) far more likely to shoot a family member and c) more likely to end up dead or injured in a petty confrontation because things are more likely to escalate to lethal force.

    Here's the thing: the risk of a home invasion is vanishingly small for the vast majority of Americans. The risk of suicide is far, far higher. So having a gun in your home substantially increases your risk of a violent death. Really, it's true.

  •  Only you can decide if you need to arm yourself... (13+ / 0-)

    But if you choose to do so please spend some time learning how to use the firearm.

    And spend some time learning the differences in sidearms and pick the one that fits your particular need.

    I can't count the number of times I have responded to a scene where a novice gun owner was surprised that their 9mm went through the wall, across the side yard, through their neighbors wall and lodged in a piece of furniture.

    For home defense I wish we would legalize short barrel shotguns, just point in the general direction and pull the trigger. Very effective and doesn't kill your neighbor or a loved one a couple of rooms away.

    A mind like a book, has to be open to function properly.

    by falconer520 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 03:04:25 PM PST

    •  Yep Training is Key (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb608, BlackSheep1, 207wickedgood

      Many courses are available in regards to home defense.

      I personally have a S&W Governor that fires a shotshell (Like a small shotgun) that will not penetrate walls.

      "In Japan, American occupation forces quickly became 50,000 friends. In Iraq, they would quickly become 50,000 terrorist targets. " James Webb, Sep 02

      by ParaHammer on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 03:16:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I saw a test where buckshot went through five (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      layers of walboard, and buckshot is the most common self defense load.

      You stil have to aim too. I don't know why anyone would think the pattern from a shotgun at inside of house distances would spread.

      All that said I would think first of a shotgun for home defense if I were thinking of it. Most power, easier to handle.

      I want to say again, shooting in a general direction might well make a loud noise and that's it, thing needs to be aimed, and think about who is in the next room.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:31:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "just point in the general direction" (0+ / 0-)

      Speaking of 'training', no, that's not how shotguns work.  

      At all.

      Please don't spread that false meme.

      •  Most shotguns don't have rifle sights... (0+ / 0-)

        For those readers that aren't familiar with firearms; I wanted to follow up on my original comment.

        1st, do you aim a shotgun:

        All firearms need to be aimed and muzzle control is the most important thing in the field.

        However most shotguns do not have rifle sights, and if your shotgun has rifle sights than it most likely has too long a barrel to be practical for interior usage.

        Different shotguns with different loads have different spread patterns. If you use a shotgun for home defense you should learn your spread pattern. The combination I carried in the field had a 8" spread at 15'

        When you are firing a projectile of similar diameter to a ball point pen you need to have a perfect sight picture.

        When you are firing a projectile of similar diameter to a dinner plate you don't need to have as perfect a sight picture.

        2nd, Will a shotgun load go through 5 interior walls:

        Theoretically yes it will, that is why you have to use some intelligence in selecting the firearm and load.

        I would not recommend a 12 gauge nor slugs of any gauge for the novice or multiple family member households.  

        3rd, The purpose of a shorter barrel is for ease of movement and muzzle control in an interior situation. Because of the way modern shotgun loads are manufactured, you will not see much improvement of spread rate.

        If you are going to own a firearm YOU need to become familiar with it.

        A mind like a book, has to be open to function properly.

        by falconer520 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 01:13:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  As I read this, I was somewhat disoriented (5+ / 0-)

    I couldn't figure out what it was you were so afraid of or why you think that there are Bad Guys Out There Coming To Invade Your Home.

    The cases you cite are in Metro Atlanta, so I assume you live somewhere there?  Are there burglaries or invasions in your immediate neighborhood?  Do they seem to be concentrated in wealthy areas, middle-class areas, working poor areas?  Are they happening in areas with a lot of foreclosures and empty homes?  Are they happening in rural areas where no neighbors would hear or notice break-ins?

    All of these are important in assessing whether you really are unsafe or whether you're getting worked up by "If it bleeds, it leads" TV news.  I don't watch television for exactly that reason, I don't need to be scared out of my wits by the worst thing that could possibly happen.

    I think DrLori's idea of getting an alert dog (and not a tiny one) is an excellent idea.

    •  Plus, initial media reports often mislead (6+ / 0-)

      I have seen several cases where media initially reported a home invasion successfully stopped by an armed home owner, but later facts came out that made the situation quite murky.

      For example, there was a case in Corpus Christi, Texas a few years ago that at first indicated the home owner successfully fought off four intruders - two dead, two injured.  However, one of the injured went to trial.  Then a lot more facts came out.  The police found drugs and cash in the home along with numerous guns, including one under the mattress of the baby crib.  Instead of being a scary random home invasion, it began to look more like a criminal enterprise where a deal went bad.

    •  I guess the stories combined with things that (0+ / 0-)

      have happened to me personally over the past week have me a little on edge. I agree that watching local news probably amplifies my anxiety. Yes, I'm in metro ATL; and yes, there have been break ins in my subdivision. Now that my ex no longer lives here, my driveway is empty 90% of the time, giving the appearance of an empty house.

      Honestly, I do feel that I'm at risk for a break in for a variety of reasons: frequent armed robberies at banks and stores that are practically across the street from my subdivision, neighborhood break-ins, empty driveway which makes it look like I'm not home, someone may know that I'm home and think I'm an easy target, or someone might confuse my home with the home of a neighbor (townhomes).

      •  I know what you mean about ex moving out (0+ / 0-)

        First couple of months mine was gone I was freaking out over every little noise as well.  Plus you have a very young one, which means you're naturally more alert to noises at night -- so if you're needed, you can respond quickly.

        Thing is, despite my edginess, it never occurred to me to get the guns ready to use.  I have teens -- they can be up late, and I would never want to endanger them because of my being jumpy about a noise I couldn't identify.

        Maybe you ought to find someone with an extra car they don't use much and have them park it at your place so the driveway isn't empty.

  •  Yes, there are times when a citizen successfully (4+ / 0-)

    used a gun to defend themselves.   But as stated above, anecdotes are not data.

    The data clearly shows that your 9 year old is more at risk if that gun is in the house than if it isn't.

    "It is not, you fucking liberal prick." ..My RW friend Dave's last words to me.

    by rb608 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 03:34:42 PM PST

  •  Safe rooms are a good and popular addtion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OMwordTHRUdaFOG, ban nock

    to homes, it would have helped in these cases (more then being armed). But in any case I am in favor of home defense. Get yourself trained up and buy a shotgun with appropriate ammunition.

    We were not ahead of our time, we led the way to our time.

    by i understand on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 03:41:39 PM PST

  •  If you get a dog, especially a big dog, plan on: (9+ / 0-)

    Feeding the dog. Be aware that most cheap dog food is, for dogs, the equivalent of dog food for humans. Not healthy, not tasty. Budget a decent amount of money to get decent food.

    Walking the dog. A lot. Twice a day. Without regular exercise, your dog will get fat, unhealthy, and will not be happy. A big dog needs exercise, room to run, and he will crap a lot. If you happen to have a big yard, and a fence, this is easier - but the crap will still pile up regularly.  Don't forget to pick up the crap on your walks. Your neighbors will thank you for it, and they will hate you if you don't.

    Training the dog. A big healthy dog is usually energetic, loves to run, will pull on a leash, and will damage furniture and floors. Training will help alleviate these issues.

    Planning all overnight excursions and vacations around your dog. Find someone you trust to take care of your dog while you are gone, and make sure the dog is friendly toward them. Also, pay them, or they will be less likely to be available the next time you need them. Parking the dog at a vet is an option, but this is often quite pricey, and then the house won't be guarded.

    Owning a dog of any size is often a larger responsibility than many people seem to understand.

  •  You are taking the first steps (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, BlackSheep1, oldpunk, PavePusher

    with your security upgrades. The lights coming on instantly can sometimes scare the not so committed away quickly. If you can handle/afford/want a dog, there just wonderful companions and protectors. Two is always better, I think.
     Should you decide for some personal self defense i.e. tasers, or pepper spray, you'll need multiples of them to spread around the home. No sense in keeping one in the upstairs bedroom, and being in the living room when something happens.
     But the main problem is the child. Anything you keep handy is basically a magnet for him. He isn't trained or familiar with them. Curiosity, you know.
     I know many parents who teach their children proper firearm safety, but it's not a one weekend thing.
     You would both need training. It would have to be a family affair. I would seek out a local range. There you will find all sorts of instructors. There are even instructors who specialize in youth training. You would have a chance to try some firearms. This is key. I have known some men and women who break out in a case of fear after trying to shoot. Others have just enjoyed it, and became regular enthusiasts. There's really only one way to find out.
     I would not advise just going out and buying one without at least trying it out under supervision, first.
     Atlanta has its problems, but for sure, there's lots of help and training right around you.
     Be safe.

    "The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced." -Zappa My Site

    by meagert on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 04:04:28 PM PST

    •  You have no idea how much I dread (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the idea of handling a gun. I'm the exact opposite of a rambo type. I'm scared of ants.

      I've never had a panic attack, but I could picture myself having one if I were to visit a gun range--not just from fear of handling such a dangerous weapon, but from sadness and disgust about having to be there in the first place.

      If I do go through with this, I wouldn't tell my ex or anyone who isn't in my immediate family about the location, which of course would be high up and unavailable to my nearly 2 year old. I have no interest in carrying while on the go, and I would only do gun range related activities when my son was with grandma or his dad. I have no idea how I will handle things when he's older.

  •   GET RID OF THE ALARM! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm dead serious.  Your fears in life will decrease dramatically.

    You don't need one.  Just turn it off and relax.  

    "So what if a guy threw a shoe at me!"

    by FoodChillinMFr on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 04:18:00 PM PST

  •  You need to weigh the pros and cons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of a gun.  You would have it (maybe) to defend yourself if needed.  But, you could also accidentally shoot someone or have kids find it and have an accident.

    I used to own a handgun when I lived by myself in an area with a fairly high crime rate.  After I moved to a house in an area where crime is almost nonexistent and had kids, I got rid of the gun.  The pros no longer outweighed the cons.  I might regret getting rid of it if my home is ever invaded, but I don't need to worry about forgetting it somewhere and having little kids find it.

    •  My plan is to move to a safer neighborhood (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock, PavePusher

      as soon as I work up the nerve to become a landlord or find a reasonable property management firm. But I don't think there's a place that's 100% safe.

      That being said, if I go this route, I'd definitely have to figure out a new strategy before my son is old enough to climb his way up to high places. When I was a child, my technical expertise surpassed my parents' fairly quickly and I knew a bunch of things that they thought I didn't know. I'm sure my son will figure out ways to outsmart me as well. That's fine when it comes to TV programming and trivial stuff, but I can't risk being outsmarted when it comes to gun access.

  •  One more thing... (4+ / 0-)

    I do not keep a gun for home defense, and I'll tell you why.  If I am going to be awakened in a crisis situation where I'd need that gun, it will not help me if it is safely secured and unloaded.  If it is not safely secured and unloaded, it is too dangerous to be in the house with a 9 year old.  $.02.  I have a baseball bat under my bed instead, and I know how to use it.

    "It is not, you fucking liberal prick." ..My RW friend Dave's last words to me.

    by rb608 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 04:59:47 PM PST

  •  Rather Than Type It All Again (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notrouble, ban nock, PavePusher

    You might find some useful information here.

    Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.

    by The Baculum King on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:38:47 PM PST

  •  before you buy a gun (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    balancedscales, Duckmg, hyldemoer, Hirodog

    Do some reading about:

    The use of guns in domestic violence.

    The use of guns by suicidal teenagers.  (43% of teen suicides in one study.)

    The accidental firing of guns by the owner or other family members and the outcomes.  (One problem with a gun in the house, is you don't want it to get into the hands of the kids--- meeting that requirement may make it useless for protection.)

    The actual rate of home invasion crimes in your area.  

    The likelihood of death by violence for gun owners versus people who don't own guns.  (4 to 5 times more likely in one study).  

    Discuss with your police department what other steps you can take to be safe.

    And get a lot of training. A lot of training.

    I'm against gun ownership.  My personal experiences with gun owners have been attempts to intimidate me, and successful suicides.  But if you think you need a gun, be sure you are fully aware of the risks of having it in the house and be very comfortable with handling and using it.

  •  Go to a local range and try shooting with a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notrouble, PavePusher

    rental and see if you even want to follow through with this plan first. If the noise, flash and recoil leave you terrified and paralyzed, and you're unwilling to train yourself to overcome it, then dogs, sprays, and other methods will be better than a weapon that will just end up being used against you or others.

    However, if you think you're fine with the use of a firearm to defend you and yours, and you think you could shoot someone if it came down to that, then by all means go to a class and know what you're doing properly.

    There are a lot of people who will rail about how a gun in the house is 3.14 times more likely to cause [insert evil spirit] but there are reasonable, sensible precautions and awareness... and then there's just plain old fear and lack of understanding. A gun in the house of a careless person can end up leveraging trouble, but in the house of someone who cares enough to focus and learn should be fine.

  •  If you are not willing to put the time in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    at the range becoming proficient then I cannot recommend you buy a gun. This is one way a gun is like a car, both require some training and a good amount of practice to become proficient using them. Then they require some ongoing practice to maintain proficiency. Country folk that grow up around them have a distinct advantage here.

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by notrouble on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 11:34:18 PM PST

  •  Actually those stories are unusual (0+ / 0-)

    Why do you think the gun people oppose scientific studies?

  •  I keep my house dark (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I live deep in the woods. I know the layout of my house by memory. A burglar does not. I want them to be full of fear when they enter my dark house. I want the upper hand.

    Yes, I do own a gun, which I hope I will never have to use. But we did have a break-in in my neighborhood and I know it would take a while for the police to get here. No one is going to brutalize and rape my family while forcing me to watch if I have the chance to prevent it.

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