In the past three years, my two brothers and my niece have had their homes burglarized. Two of my closest friends have been mugged. The trauma, financial hardships and stress caused by these crimes are still being felt. My immediate reaction to these violations of my loved ones was incredible anger. I can fully understand and empathize with the public support for Bernard Goetz who shot his subway muggers. His actions were every crime victim's fantasy and represent only one of the reasons why handguns should be banned.
It feels incredibly right that criminals should be shot. Of course, many of our killing fantasies are not limited to dealing with criminals. Many is the time I have wished I'd had a tank instead of a car so I could blow away the fool who cut in front of me without signaling. There is always a murderous thought for the bank teller who will not cash my check, as well as for my landlord's snotty secretary.
This is the problem: the idea hurting those who violate us feels very right, but it does not make much sense.
Also, since neither my brothers, niece nor friends know anything about guns or self-defense, I am afraid that if a handgun had been available and they had gone for it, they could have easily been disarmed and injured, if not killed. If Bernard Goetz's muggers had had guns, he probably would be dead along with some innocent subway riders. Criminals have better thought out and planned their crimes. They are usually prepared for any of the victims' possible responses. Very often, they have done the crime before. The victim, on the other hand, has watched too many Scarecrow and Mrs. King episodes and has foolish notions about combat.
Further, the many reports about...