Don’t buy a gun, it could kill you

Jon Cooper
4 min readSep 6, 2020


As you very well may know, on Tuesday, August 25th, Kyle Rittenhouse killed two people and injured a third during a night of unrest in Kenosha, Wisconson. What you may not know is that Kyle put both his life and the lives of others in danger well before he stepped foot in the city. That is because guns, contrary to popular belief, are not a tool for self-defense. In fact, if your goal is to defend yourself, you would be safer buying a cheeseburger than a gun.

That is not a joke. It is not hyperbole. You are statistically more likely to be shot in an assault while armed. Almost 4.5 times more likely, according to a 2009 study of gunshot victims in Philadelphia. But how is this possible? After all, how are you supposed to defend yourself against an armed assailant if you yourself aren’t armed? The simple answer is you probably don’t need to.

Even in the United States, homicide is not all that common. People get a perfect score on the SAT’s at a higher rate (30 per 100,000) than they get murdered (6 per 100,000). When you only count random murders that are committed by a stranger, the kind you would need to carry around a gun at all times for, the number drops even lower. Only about 11% of homicides are committed by a stranger, which makes your chances of dying this way only slightly worse than having conjoined twins. How many conjoined twins have you even seen in your life?

Okay, its rare to be murdered by a stranger, but that only explains why you shouldn’t be too afraid of it. That doesn’t explain why having a gun makes you more likely to die. After all, if you are unlucky enough to be one of the few people at risk of being murdered by a stranger, wouldn’t having a gun allow you to defend yourself? Well yes, but that doesn’t really tell the whole story.

The thing is, there are many situations that become far more likely to result in death if there is a gun around. You may not know many people who have been murdered, but I am sure you know a few people who have been in a fight or other physical altercations. Maybe it was a love triangle gone wrong, maybe it was a drunken bar fight, or maybe it was a political dispute at a protest. Whatever it was, if everyone walked away alive, there is a good chance that no one had a deadly weapon.

If they happened to be carrying a gun like Kyle Rittenhouse, then the chances of that gun being used become very high. Having the gun in the first place makes it possible for someone to take that gun away from you and use it against you. And if shots get fired, anyone else with a gun in the area has just made you a primary target. You could have been one of the people ducking and running away that no one is going to aim at, but your gun has suddenly made you too dangerous to keep alive.

The Kyle Rittenhouse situation is actually a perfect example of this. Someone threw something at him, which caused him to shoot them in the head. If he didn’t have a gun, the result of the conflict would have probably just been a fistfight, or even better, one of them running away. Instead, one person died and Kyle is facing murder charges. But the most illuminating part happened afterward.

Kyle was then chased by a group of people because he had just shot someone. He was jumped, and someone attacked him with a skateboard, and another person pulled their own gun on him. Kyle killed the guy with the skateboard and shot the guy with the gun in the arm. Yes, Kyle’s gun was able to save him from the assault, but only because he was lucky. If the guy with the gun had happened to approach from any other direction besides directly in front of him, Kyle would be dead. No level of John Wick super soldier training would have saved him.

Plus, do not forget, the only reason that there was a gun pulled on him in the first place was that kyle had a gun himself. Saying that he was saved from the assault by the gun that caused the assault to happen is like saying that saying a faulty parachute saved you from a skydiving accident when it failed to release but got caught in a tree instead.

So if guns don’t actually defend you, should they be illegal? Probably, but that is just my opinion. But what is a fact is that when you buy a gun, you are willingly putting your life and the lives of those around you in greater danger. And if you decide to go to a center of civil unrest with a loaded rifle? It is your right to do so as an American, but at least acknowledge the serious risk you are taking for your life and the lives of others. “Self-Defense” is literally not a real excuse.