Please. That is reductive reasoning and based on your other posts, I know you are smart enough to know that. But if we want to play that game, there is as little data on defensive gun use as on defensive dog use, as far as I am aware (please feel free to link sources that are more substantive than comparing injury rates, which is a meaningless statistic in this conversation). Further, there is plenty of data on the relative deadliness of guns vs/ dogs (hint, dog related fatalities of any kind whatsoever are almost 20 times less likely than accidental gun fatalities, not to mention intentional gun fatalities). I have no proof, I'll grant, but I would be pretty surprised if this didn't continue to hold true when it comes to dead children. Finally, while I fully admit this is not irrefutable logic, there are quite a few security experts who endorse dogs as among the most advantageous of home protection options. I can't seem to find many counter examples of police officers, etc., claiming that dogs are questionable and possibly dangerous options for home defense and if you really want to be safe you should have a gun instead.
Again, own a gun if you like, but it'll take better reasoning than what you've provided to convince me that that choice is comparably emotion-based to owning a dog for home defense (which most people do for reasons unrelated to security anyway). Also, all of this ignores the fact that being overly paranoid about home defense is irrational much of the time regardless of what you choose to do about it.
You pay me too big of a compliment. But thank you.
A) There's little data on either subject. Arguably not enough to draw full conclusions either way, but there is more
data on gun usage. However, the DOJ estimates 1.5 million Defensive Gun Uses each year:
Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms - DOJ, 1994
A collection of other studies show something between 800K and 2 million DGUs/year. The exact number in this case is rather unimportant as even the lower bounds are substantially higher than the approx. 100k injuries+deaths that occur from firearms each year.
Continued by CDC research:
“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies,” -Priorities For Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence
Center for Disease Control.
B) Firearms kill more people (including children) each year than dogs. By a large amount. True. But your likelihood of being injured or killed by a firearm is much less than being maimed by a dog. So a calculated risk - the very small chance of a fatal injury by firearm, or a larger chance of a serious, but non fatal, injury by dog. Obviously this is a judgement call and not really an 'either or' choice, but could weigh into the decision. For an actuarial basis, I clearly don't have those numbers, but I do believe insurance companies have numbers for dog ownership, especially some 'high risk' breeds. I've never heard of an insurance company charging higher accident rates for gun owners - again, not a perfect argument, but we could use insurance rates as a rough proxy to actuarial risk. They've decided dogs can factor into policy premiums; they have not yet decided simple gun ownership should. This to me is a fair argument that dog ownership is 'riskier' than gun ownership.
C) Home defense experts say all sorts of things. Some say shotguns are what you need, some say short-barreled rifles are better, still some others suggest that installing bars on your doors and windows trumps them all. I'm not arguing that a dog is a poor
choice for home defense. Far from it. I'm simply postulating that it is incorrect to say that it is better
than a gun; the data, as shown above, doesn't support this. If one's goal is ONLY home security, then there are more effective means than a dog, or a firearm. And options with fewer downsides.
And you're quite right; out of the 40 million injuries suffered by Americans each year (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm
) a very small amount of either are caused by dogs or firearms. Worrying about either to excess is a waste of time. And you are correct, part of this argument is flippant, as people own dogs and guns for reasons beyond just home security, and will own them despite the fact that they pose risks. The fact that they can serve this purpose is simply one 'pro' side of ownership, to offset some of the 'cons' that each has.
I truly believe once the facts and information and data is out there, a lot of 'fear' of guns can be rectified when they're directly compared to other things that people own without a second thought. It's also useful sometimes to turn the arguments used against one object around on things that other's view as important to them; opposing viewpoints and exploring both sides of a discussion is healthy and helps differing sides find common ground and understand each other better. I hope you didn't take my arguments personally Lagom. I enjoy exploring all sides of an issue, even if most people in the discussion have made up their mind.