Odds and Ends
Armed to immobilize
8 10, 10:14pm
"Criminal getting killed or apprehended through threat of death from a victim or passer by not only prevents repeated attempts by that criminal, it creates deterrent for next one who would try."
Yes I agree that some times all go according to plan and you do manage to apprehend the aggressor without killing him. But my point was that I don't think those successses outweight the times when you end up with one dead person or even two (maybe I'm wrong though as I've got no idea about the frequency of both those events chances of happening).
Also yes it can creates deterrent for other people, but again, you're just looking at the bright side, it could also prompt the future agressors to carry more weapons and be more ready to use them when attempting this kind of offense because they know they could get caught or killed otherwise. Again, do the benefits outweight the losses ? This is not that obvious.
"While burglary is not as clear cut, I'm pretty sure that in cases of assault and rape you can't realistically say that not resisting is a better option."
On a purely utilitarian reasoning, I would argue that this is debatable only if you think that injuries or rape are worse than death (because every life is worth the same on an utilitarian PoV) otherwise it is not and killing your agressor by defending yourself has value only if the agressor intends to reiterate his offense/crime (which is not necessarily the case for every offense). That's why I made a special case that i called mass-murderer (maybe serial murderer would be a better name). Also I supposed that a crime that was not a murder attempt was not supposed to end up with someone dead but it is not necessarily the case. And there are a lot of cases you're omitting which are offences without violence in which case having a gun for self-defense has almost always negative utility.
NB: I don't know what your reference was supposed to prove but the table 20 only expands on household burglaries (I didn't have time to read the paper completely so I may have misread things) that have cases of violence which represents only 8% of the total of burglaries. On those 8%, only 10% of cases do end up with people with serious injuries so a little less than 1%, making my case all the more stronger, because it seems that non-violent offenses are the norm and violent ones the exception.
Ultimately I agree that it is debatable, but my main point was that it is not that easy to prove that self-defense with guns has a positive utility value because a lot (most of the time it would seem to me) of times it seems like it has a negative value in the big picture, the big question being if the positive examples outweight the negative ones, also it is probably dependent of your own moral system (do you think grave injury to be worse than death, do you believe every life to be of the same value...).
NB : Of course, it always has utility value on the individual level, but there is something in game theory that is called the "price of anarchy" which basically says that if every independent individual tries to maximize his own utility function, you end up with a less than optimal global utility. Classical examples include the prisonner's dilemma or traffic jams.