I feared that when I originally posted, I would become the target of a war of statistics. This was not my original intent.
Rather, I wanted everyone to image a potential paradigm where people would not be forced to consider carrying weapons. Utopian? Yes. Idealistic? Yes.
But as I said in another thread, if this is not viable, perhaps we should return to the old West. Everyone should carry guns on their hips and then we would not need to hypothesize about who's carrying and who is not.
If you would like to discuss stats, however, to me this is the only statistic that truly matters: The number of reported defenses by those who own guns vs. the number of people killed by guns every year. For every one of the former, there are probably thousands of the latter.
Hey, I realize it's a personal choice. I've made mine, you make yours. Before I ride off into the sunset, let me add these tidbits:
Rich: you mention that with true freedom comes risk. That is true. One would also deduce that with true freedom comes a high level of personal responsibility. Unfortunately, pal, Americans are devoid of this. Sorry.
I'm sure you will handle your weapon responsibly, but a large number of those who also own weapons will not. THAT, my friend, is the "risk" that you, I and EVERYONE ELSE must live with (and one, by the way, that I, personally, would rather live without).
To others: Regarding Japan, I can tell you from research and personal experience, that the Japanese are as removed from their feudal roots as we are from our Puritan origins.
Any of you who think the modern Japanese pysche extends beyond the Occupation needs to read a history book or two.
Do you really see the Japanese idea of suicide as a problem? Psychologically, perhaps. Symbolically, however, it (and other "extreme" actions like sudden political resignations, shaving one's head [kids] after being severely punished, etc.) represents the highest level of acknowledgement of one's responsibility to oneself and one's community.
We Americans could use a (more) healthy dose of that!