to get shot.”rnOpponents of gun ownership forrnhome defense insist that—despite whatrnburglars say again and again—the fear ofrnarmed victims has Httle to do with burglaryrnpatterns. Instead, burglars arernclaimed to be nonconfrontational by nature,rnwanting to avoid seeing any victim,rnarmed or not. But this assertion fails tornexplains why burglars in Great Britain orrnCanada are so much less shy than theirrnAmerican cousins. Besides, burglars arernnot nonconfrontational by nature. Arnmultistate study of felony prisonersrnfound that 62 percent of burglars had alsornperpetrated robberies. (A burglary isrnan entry into a building to commit arnfelony, and does not necessarily involve arnconfrontation; a robbery is the taking ofrnproperty from a victim through force orrnthe threat of force.)rnlire St. Louis study of currently activernburglars observed: “Most offenders inrnour sample . . . showed little concern forrnthe well-being of their victims. In fact,rnseveral of them said they were preparedrnto use violence against anyone who gotrnin their way during the commission of anrnoffense.” As one St. Louis burglar toldrnWright and Decker: “When [the victims]rncome in there, they better havernsome boxin’ gloves on cause . . . I’m gonrnhurt you, I ain’t lyin’.”rnWhen burglars do encounter victimsrnwho cannot protect themselves, the resultsrncan be terrifying. In 30 percent ofrnthe cases in which a burglar does confrontrna victim, the victim is assaulted orrnthreatened. In ten percent of these cases,rnthe assaults turn into rapes. Florida StaternUniversity criminologist Gary Kleck, inrnPoint Blank: Guns and Violence in America,rnexplains the implications of thesernstatistics:rnSuppose that the percentage ofrn”hot” burglaries rose from currentrnAmerican levels (around 12 orrn13%) to the Canadian levelrn(around 45%). Knowing how oftenrna hot burglary turns into an assault,rnwe can predict that an increasernin hot burglaries tornCanadian levels would result inrn545,713 more assaults every year.rnThis by itself would raise the Americanrnviolent crime rate 9.4%.rnWhile the gun prohibition lobby portraysrngun owners as atavistic and selfish, gunrnownership for home protection is considerablyrnmore beneficial to the entire communityrnthan many other anti-burglaryrnmeasures.rnBurglars (or convenience-store robbers)rndo not know which of theirrnpotential victims may be armed. Until arnconfrontation with a homeowner, thernpotential burglar generally has no idearnwhether any given homeowner has arngun. Thus, burglars must (and most do)rntake care to avoid entering any homernwhere a victim might be present. Becausernabout half of all American homesrncontain a gun, burglars tend to avoid allrnoccupied American homes. People whorndon’t own guns—even people who belongrnto gun-prohibition organizationsenjoyrnfree-rider safety benefits fromrnAmerica’s armed homes.rnIn confrast to guns, burglar alarms appearrnto have no net community benefit.rnBurglar alarms have been shown to reducernburglaries for homes in which theyrnare installed; but the presence of manyrnburglar alarms in a neighborhood doesrnnot appear to decrease or increase thernburglary rate for unalarmed homes.rnFalse alarms—which account for 94rnto 98 of all burglar alarm activations—rnimpose very large public safety costsrnthrough misappropriation of limited policernresources. False-alarm signals tiavelrnover 911 lines, and may crowd out genuinernemergencies. Guns, of course, lierninert until someone decides to use them;rnthey do not go off because a cat jumpedrninto a beam of light.rnGun prohibitionists make all sorts ofrnclaims about the risks of “a gun in thernhome,” and these claims have some validityrnif the gun happens to be in thernhome of a violent felon, or an alcoholic,rnor a person with suicidal tendencies. Butrnin responsible hands, guns are no dangerrnat all, since the gun will only shoot in therndirection in which it is pointed, and willrnnot fire unless the frigger is pulled.rnIn any case, whatever risks a gun in thernhome may present are borne almost entirelyrnby the people in that home. Thernnon-gunowners in the community getrnthe benefit of safety from home-invasionrnburglars, while assuming no risks at all.rn(The only significant external danger of arngun in the home is if the gun is stolen byrna criminal, a risk that also applies to anyrnother device that could be stolen andrnused by a criminal, such as a car or arncrowbar, or any valuables which couldrnbe sold and the profits used to buy crimerntools.) And, of course, guns stay quietrnand unobtiusive until needed. They dornnot bark all night and wake up the neighborhood,rnlike dogs often do. Nor dornguns rush into the street to attack andrnsometimes kill innocent people, as somernguard dogs do. Guns in the right handsrndo nothing at all, until they are needed.rnFirearms, which are typically stored deeprninside a home, do not make a neighborhoodrnlook ugly. But window bars give arnneighborhood the appearance of arnprison, and some window bars can traprnthe occupants of a home during a fire.rnMost people consider it rational forrnhouseholders to have burglary insurance.rnYet insurance premiums must (forrnthe insurance company to stay in business)rnbe set at a level at which the cost ofrnthe premiums exceeds the probable payoutrnby the insurance company over thernlong run. Insurance is, by definition, arnlosing bet. If it is reasonable for people tornreduce the risks of burglary by buying insurance,rnit is far more reasonable for peoplernto reduce the risks of burglary by purchasingrna gun for home protection. Overrna ten-year period, the cost of insurancernpremiums far exceeds the cost of a goodrngun. Moreover, the gun, unlike the insurancernpremium, can actually prevent arnvictim from being injured.rnUnfortunately, the antigun lobby isrnmorally opposed to gun ownership forrndefensive purposes. As Sarah Brady ex-rnLIBERAL ARTSrnTHEY’LL BE COMINGrnROUNDrnTHE MOUNTAIN . . .rnAccording to Immigration Watch, arnpublication of American ImmigrationrnControl, Prime Minister MahatirrnMohamad of Malaysia recentlyrndenounced economic globalizationrnas a Western plot to reimpose colonialismrnon Third World countries.rnIn a scene seemingly drawn fromrnJean Raspail’s novel The Camp of thernSaints, Mohamad warned that,rnif the World Bank and the IMFrncontinued their current policies,rnresidents of the Third World “shouldrnmigrate north in the millions, legallyrnor illegally, if we are going to be globalrncitizens. Masses of Asians andrnAfricans should inundate Europernand America.”rnJANUARY 1998/37rnrnrn