As I neared a bend in a dirt road, way the heck out in the middle of nowhere -- literally miles from the nearest house, I saw a big pit bull at the side of the road. It looked pretty well fed, and I was armed, so I decided to stop and see if the dog might be sociable enough for me to transport it back to my yard so we could get it either to a new home or off to be gassed. I have no problem with the fact that some dogs are gassed by the county. My own dog, a 39-pound mutt that I got from the county pound a few years ago, is still a bit traumatized by four different instances in which she has been attacked by other dogs off leash. In one case, it was by two big feral dogs out in the woods who chased her to the edge of a creek and would have killed her if I hadn't chased them off with a stick in one hand and a brick in the other.
Anyway, this dog growled at me, and then backed off and worked its way along a low ridge, then disappeared into the woods. I wasn't going to shoot it unless it attacked me, of course. There's no telling what its story is. But it's out there in the darkness, hungry, frightened, and aggressive. It's just the kind of dog that winds up in a dangerous pack, and it doesn't take a very large pack to become bold enough to attack a man alone.
I'm sure many people would say I should just stay home at night. I'm equally certain the same people would rather keep an obese child sitting in front of the TV, rather than pack a gun and insist that kid have the right to ride a bike and use a playground in their own neighborhood. Carrying a gun isn't choosing fear, as is often claimed by gun prohibitionists. Quite the opposite. We're the ones who refuse to cave in to fear and watch our world collapse into a dark room with a TV and a bag of chips. Can we get killed doing it? Sure. But at least we'll die in the action of truly living, and it really shouldn't take many of us, or very long, to take back the streets. Something to consider the next time you see a dead kid in Chicago, perhaps. Did they die because of gang violence, or the abdication of responsibility by the adults in their neighborhood to provide a common defense? Perhaps a measure of both. But I can tell you a couple of things for certain. No law will keep deadly weapons out of the hands of hardened criminals, and we will never be able to afford -- nor would we even want -- the heavy law enforcement presence necessary to truly safeguard the population at large.