One of the reasons it is difficult to believe advocates of ever more oppressive gun laws when they claim to be motivated by the desire to reduce violence is that they so often measure the usefulness of guns by the frequency with which they are used to shoot and kill someone. They seem really to believe that a gun not used to kill people is "useless." So, for example, you have this dubiously derived statistic cited in News Medical, that, "A gun in the home is twelve times more likely to result in the death of a household member or visitor than an intruder."
Even assuming this statistic is true, its usefulness in gauging the cost vs. benefits of gun ownership would require that the death of an intruder be the only possible positive outcome for the gun owner. Not only is that not true, it's not even true that the intruder's death is the best of several possible positive outcomes. In reality, of course, the best outcome, in the eyes of anyone who would much prefer to avoid violence (a description that applies to the vast majority of gun owners), is one in which no violence is necessary. This is often the case when a home invader and would-be assailant realizes that his intended victim is far better equipped to defend herself than he had guessed.
Now, Amanda Marcotte, writing for the Raw Story (the "Half-baked Story" would be more accurate), measures the usefulness of guns the same way, in "Guns: So many people obsessing over a tool so few will ever use" (Warning: sexual references and profanity abound in the "article"). She continues that theme with the caption under the accompanying photo of a pistol and ammunition: "Loud. Expensive. Useless." Here is the gist of her "point":
“Guns are a tool.” It’s the mantra of gun lovers. But in order for a thing to be a “tool”, you need to use it. The problem is that the function of a gun is to kill people. Unfortunately for gun nuts, murder is illegal. The only, in theory anyway, legal reason to kill someone is self-defense. But, realistically speaking, the “opportunity” for self-defense simply doesn’t come up that often.
She waxes even more contemptuous of those who buy more than one gun, concluding that they have been "bamboozled" by the gun industry into thinking that they cannot do enough killing with only one gun, and thus need more:
Even dumber are the people, who are the majority of gun owners now, that the industry has bamboozled into buying multiple guns. The odds of firing one into a live human being are low. The odds of using every gun you own that way are basically nil.
Again, for this to make sense, one would have to believe that the only way to derive value from gun ownership is to shoot people. Such a bloody-minded, sociopathic attitude says a great deal more about her than it does about the "gun nuts," as she refers to America's scores of millions of gun owners.
What she is not getting is that a person carrying a gun in a holster is using the gun, and deriving benefit from its use, with every minute of peace of mind that comes with knowing that one is equipped to defend oneself. A firearm near the bed is being used to good effect with every moment of restful sleep made possible by the knowledge that a home invader will not find a house full of defenseless victims. An AR-15 in the gun safe is being used by its owner, as he knows that a government bent on tyranny will have to somehow deal with him and millions of others equipped with life and liberty preserving firepower.
Marcotte takes the "guns as penis substitute" meme even further than most other forcible citizen disarmament zealots. She might be better served looking for a substitute for intellect and morality. Best of luck to her on that.