In writing my "Good Guys Win!" column for S.W.A.T., I spend a fair amount of time searching up news stories on the intertubes where honest citizens use firearms to defend themselves from bad guys. It's not a straight-up "Dead Goblin Count" because in armed self-defense, there's very rarely a dead goblin. There's often not even a shot one, although those certainly make for more dramatic reading than "Mr. Johnson said the burglar fled into the night. Police are searching for..." or "Mrs. Blascowicz held the intruders at gunpoint until police arrived."
I try to take a different tack from the NRA's "Armed Citizen" by picking four incidents every month that have a common theme and put a little fortune cookie wisdom in the photo caption. October's issue had four incidents where a good guy used a gun against an attacker with an edged weapon, and before anybody starts with the "Hurr hurr! Bringing a knife to a gunfight!", two of those incidents ended with the badly cut-up good guy getting an ambulance ride to the hospital right along with the shot-up assailant.
That's why I'm noting with interest John Johnston's "Sentinel Event" concept. We like to read the stories about Mrs. Blascowicz holding the perps at gunpoint with her deceased husband's service revolver, but is "Mr. Johnson was found dead in his Rochester home. The police say several valuables, including a coin collection and a registered handgun, were stolen," also a Defensive Gun Use story, just with a less happy ending? What about the ones where the citizen screws up and gets horsewhipped through the public square by the media? Could those have ended differently if the good guy had prepared differently?
I'm not saying everybody needs to be a ninja. I know people who are absolutely fearsome with everything from pistols to P'Kals to rolls of pennies, and I also know what it took for them to get that way and maintain that edge and frankly that level of dedication would seriously cut into my naptime. There's got to be some sort of bell curve at work, but where's the sweet spot?
I'm gonna probably be coming back to this again, because there's a lot of grist for the thought mill here. But first I gotta go to the range and bust some caps. Just for fun.