Light Over Heat #17: Are Gun Owners Thoughtful Risk Analysts?

The idea that guns are a risk factor – for homicide, suicide, accidental death, and injury – was a central idea at the gun violence prevention writers workshop I attended in Hartford earlier this month (see Light Over Heat #15 and Light Over Heat #16). This week I reflect more broadly on the role of risk in our lives.

I am risk-averse in certain ways, but in other ways, I take risks all the time. Notably, drinking alcohol which has many well-documented short-term and long-term health risks. Rather than always trying to avoid risk, perhaps we should, in gun trainer Will Petty’s terms, think of risk as a currency that we get to choose how to spend?

In spending our risk wisely, we need to be thoughtful risk analysts and wise risk managers. In bringing firearms into their homes and lives, gun owners are assuming a certain amount of risk for themselves and their loved ones.

This raises the question: Are gun owners thoughtful risk analysts for their own lives?

Mentioned in this week’s video are Jonathan Metzl’s book Dying of Whiteness, John Farnam’s “rules of stupid,” the Center for Disease Control’s page on alcohol use and your health, and San Francisco’s last gun store, High Bridge Arms, that was forced to close in 2015.

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One thought on “Light Over Heat #17: Are Gun Owners Thoughtful Risk Analysts?

  1. Okay – my position is that eliminating risk is much like the Eloi in H.G.Wells Time Machine. They eliminated all risk and became pampered slaves and dinner. To many on the gun control side just owning a gun puts you and everyone in your household at risk. But from what? If I am a basically law abiding person in good mental health where is the risk? The firearm is not going to get up and shoot me, it does not have magical properties that will influence me to do bad things. Recently, a young woman I know slightly went to a fun night at the range with a bunch of friends. She got to shoot 5 different guns after a safety orientation. She told me that her parents feel that anyone outside of the police and the military who owned a gun was crazy and likely to snap and kill people.
    To me that is where most of the researchers on the left are starting from. They want to show that guns are dangerous and somehow just being in their presence puts you at risk.
    I have been a gun owner for over 55 years and starting shooting around 8yo. It was all normal and accidents happened when stupid behavior became involved (drinking being the big one). Researchers, from the publications that I have read seem to be more interested in proving their biases that doing real research. Anyway thanks for listening to my rant.

    Liked by 1 person

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