The Cost

By Gerard Valentino

Imagine that someone broke into your house and forced you to defend your family by using the gun kept stored in your nightstand. The instant you pulled that trigger your life has changed in ways you cannot fathom.

Right now your ears are straining to hear the sirens that trumpet the arrival of the people that will save you from this nightmare – the local police.

As a law-abiding citizen, you are taught never to fear the police, and, when you are in a jam, they will come to your aid. At first, the police question you in an understanding manner about what happened; but, as time goes by, their questions become more and more pointed. They then secure your firearms and go through the unnecessary step of hand-cuffing the four-time felon lying on your kitchen floor - just in case he isn’t convinced that he is dead.

What happens next is the most shocking thing that has ever happened to you, including the very recent trauma of shooting another human being: Time now seems to truly stand still as the Police calmly read you your rights, place you in hand-cuffs and lead you to a patrol car for transport to jail.

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You now have to defend yourself in court for shooting someone that came into your house, where your children play, and attacked you. The shock of hearing a four-time felon that carried an axe into your house described as the victim echoes through your mind as it races to come to grips with the pre-trial hearing, where an anti-gun prosecutor portrays you as a blood-thirsty vigilante.

Even if you beat the criminal case, it is more than likely the family of the four-time felon will sue you for lost wages and companionship. Since most home ownership policies don’t cover “intentional acts,” your decision to shoot the intruder voids insurance coverage, meaning you will have to pay for your own lawyer.

Friends, and even family, now see you as a murderer and, due to the social stigma, many will stop talking to you. If you’re lucky enough to keep your job through the ordeal of being jailed, your relationship with your boss, co-workers and subordinates has changed permanently.

When everything is said and done, all you’re left with is your life and immediate family.

Of course we’re using an extreme case as an example of what can happen if you use a gun for self-defense. The establishment media portrays just such occurrences in after school specials and made for TV movies.

What they don’t cover is the cost of choosing NOT to own and use a gun in self-defense.

Imagine the same situation that forced you to shoot the four-time violent felon standing in your kitchen. Instead of having a gun to resist the violent attack, you are bare-handed and quickly beaten into submission. Your wife now comes into the room to investigate the noise and you are too battered to stop the inevitable.

One by one each of your family members is beaten, bound, and brought into the room. You stare into the terrified eyes of the children you promised to always protect, knowing that promise is now forever invalid. A thought starts to form that dying would be better than being at the mercy of a person that is clearly without conscience.

The elation felt when you hear the door close behind your tormenter as he leaves is short-lived, because he quickly returns to gather up another bundle of your most precious possessions. When the thug finally leaves, your son breaks free and calls 911.

Physically, you’re beaten, bruised and broken; mentally, the psychological devastation is more than you can bear. Living with the decision not to make an effort to protect your family is crippling.

Once again, people that were your friends cannot cope with the situation and simply shut you out of their lives. Financially, you’re made whole again by the insurance company. Your employer gives you a paid leave of absence, and counseling to deal with the trauma, yet nothing seems to help.

Ultimately, your life comes full circle and people forget what happened, although many friends and family members never let you back into their life. Work returns to almost normal, although sometimes you hear the whispers when a new person is told the horrible story. You’re not whole, though, and never will be. The vulnerability and feeling of helplessness never goes away, and the look of terror in the eyes of your children appears in every dream, causing you to wake up sweating and screaming. Nightmares continue for years, until sleep is seen as the enemy.

Both scenarios are illustrative of what can happen if you make a choice to use, or not use, a gun for self-defense. There are many possible outcomes, and each person will have a different experience when faced with such a life altering decision.

The establishment media and so-called personal protection experts, however, only emphasize the bad things that can happen if you keep a gun in the home, without regard for the bad that can happen if you don’t. Their decision to slant the news in order to push their anti-gun agenda shows a complete disregard for the safety of everyday Americans.

It is most important to understand that when confronted in your home by an intruder, you are on your own. Unlike the movies, the police rarely arrive in time to stop the attack, and when they do, it is often with the intent to prosecute the law-abiding gun owner instead of offering help.

In 15 states, law-abiding citizens acting in self-defense have been given back the presumption of innocence through the passage of laws that strengthen the legal protections for homeowners forced to use lethal force.

Ohio, however, is again lagging behind in the passage of a law that is a benefit to the law-abiding and detriment to criminals. It took nearly 20 years for Ohioans to enjoy the same right to legal concealed carry afforded to Floridians through passage of their concealed carry law.

Let’s hope, for all law-abiding Ohioans, that it doesn’t take that long this time.

Gerard Valentino is the Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio Chair.

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