By Kai Turner
If you’ve been paying attention to the usual jibber jabber in media recently, you most certainly will have noticed that the issue of guns and people, or more specifically, people with guns, is growing ever more prominent. One of the key topics in the debate regarding gun ownership, is the question of whether guns, particularly big guns, are necessary for home defense.
Critics suggest that owning guns to defend your property is more of an excuse to own guns rather than a practical means of home defense. Supporters, on the other hand, say that they as American citizens are simply exercising their rights to property and to firearms.
This debate has been going on for years now, and is only getting more heated with recent unfortunate events, but I have a solution! The way I see it, both sides would be able to come together and compromise if they simply opened their eyes to my alternative proposal. Simply put: use a slingshot instead.
The humble slingshot, also known as a catapult, ging, (as the Aussies call it), or shanghai, (if you’re extra Aussie), has been around as long as Texas has been a state. First fabricated in the late 1830s, the first basic slingshot was constructed from a convenient “Y” shaped twig, a rectangle of leather, and some rubber strips to tie it all together.
Frankly, the main concept of the slingshot hasn’t changed much since those dark times, but the materials have certainly improved. Tree sap rubber has been upgraded to latex tubing. Additionally, modern slingshots more often opt for steel “Y” shaped pylons and plastic/rubberized hand grips rather than wood ones.
Slingshots throughout history, no matter their design, have served as a nifty way for people to waste some time “plinking” cans, or accidentally “plinking” their siblings. They also became a staple of stereotypical middle school bullies with nothing better to do but threaten to “plink” kids at lunch if they didn’t cough up their lunch money.
Yet despite its mischief infused past, I see the slingshot as a perfect solution for those wanting to keep their home safe while avoiding nasty collateral.
Let me elaborate. Firstly, consider the current home defense meta. Firearms galore. You’ll be hard pressed not to find everything from pistols and shotguns, to rifles and bigger rifles, and yes, rocket launchers. It’s a “you name it, someone’s got it” kind of situation.
The current meta suggests if someone’s breaking into your house, say to steal some pop tarts, or perhaps your copy of Iron Man 3 on Blu-ray, the logical response is to, without any other thoughts, whip out the ol’ 45 w/ a tactical laser and put a few rounds down your living room.
With any luck, you’ll have struck the guy, but hopefully not killed him. Pretty slim odds if you ask me. But that’s not the only problem here, well, there’s a multitude of problems….
For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that the person who’s broken into your house at 2 AM is actually up to no good, as someone breaking and entering your house at 2 AM, probably would be. If shots are fired, and the invader has been properly “dealt with”, yes you saved your Pop Tarts and Iron Man 3 copy, but look at the collateral damage you’ve now caused.
The traditional purpose of bullets is well, to kill things, and they do a good job of that. We all know the result of unwelcome bullets penetrating our important parts, and for the most part, we hope that no bullets ever will. When a bullet does decide to “break and enter” our important parts, chances are the picture left over is not a pretty one. With open wounds comes, to keep it PG, a lot of pomegranate juice.
As we all know, pomegranate juice stains like blood. “My Iron Man 3 copy is safe!” I hear you yell, but did you ever take a moment to consider the well-being of your carpets? That red stuff is not washing out easily, and unlike pomegranate juice, does not smell very good either.
Blood stained carpets are bad enough, but don’t even get me started on drywall. Figure this. Shotguns, are more or less the preferred, (meta) mid-sized home defense weapon, and are some of the most popular guns in this category.
Obvious benefits include less need to aim, and a wide range of shells and payloads for every occasion. Buckshot for example, the preferred self-defense round, has anywhere from 8 to 27 small steel balls per shot. Now that’s pretty good for your odds of hitting your target, even if you’re off by a fair amount, chances are at least a few of those balls will connect.
But what about all the balls that miss? If the bad guy isn’t catching a bullet, who is?
That’s right! You guessed it, your drywall. Not just you drywall either. Windows, toilets, pottery, and grandma’s China are all potential catchers for your subsonic rain of fastballs.
To reiterate, guns in a home defense situation get the job done, yes, but how does your drywall feel about being a catcher’s mitt? How does your carpet feel about being a “highly absorbent” downy paper towel. And the windows? Windows have feelings too you know.
So with typical houses being made of things that are quite susceptible to damage from stray bullets, is the large number of rounds at your disposal from a pistol, or 27 steel balls from a shotgun, really the most drywall conscious decision for home defense?
Of course not! Enter the slingshot. For cheaper than 2 hours of minimum wage work, you can get your hands on a quality, practical, home defense solution.
For starters, slingshots are generally pretty small, easy to toss in a drawers, or hide under beds, hell, stick one in your pocket. Not only is it small, but the slingshot is the ultimate stealth weapon. No loud explosions or bright flashes to be heard or seen, and also much safer to use than one of those, complicated clunky firearms.
That’s right! There’s no chance of a misfire with a slingshot, because you, the user, does all the work.
Speaking of work, everyone wants an excuse to fulfill their new year’s resolution of exercising more, so why not turn a random home invasion into an impromptu bicep workout! Even if you’re not being invaded, you can still get those gains by taking time to practice your plinking skills, preferably not on children please.
But hey, there’s no fancy “shooting range” or “private, multi acre, back-country property” required!
Did I mention ammunition? Traditional bullets are anything but cheap these days, and your gun is essentially an awkward looking hammer at best without them. So why bother with specialty ammo when the slingshot is capable of turning even the most dainty of household objects into perfectly viable non-lethal projectiles. And the best part is, the majority of the ammo you’re going to end up using is completely free.
Look around your garden for 3 seconds and pick up a small rock. What do you know! ammunition! Those icky watermelon hard candies that no one is eating? Wabam, ammunition. As long as it’s no bigger than a chocolate truffle, you’re in business. (alternatively, “Hershey kisses” work just as well as a rock. Pointy too!)
If you’ve got money to spare, which you obviously do considering how much money you’ve saved by not buying a pricey firearm, you can get a box of hundreds of lovely steel balls for no more than 10 dollars. That’s less than 3 cents a shot!
Furthermore, if you manage to retrieve some of your shot balls, there’s nothing stopping you from using them over and over again. What bullet can say that?
In regards to the collateral damage thing from earlier, the slingshot is admittedly not the “perfect solution” to this. If you end up missing your shot, your drywall won’t be very happy, but hey, at least it’s not 27 steel balls being fired at ludicrous speed from a deformed drainage pipe.
In reality, the slingshot’s low rate of fire gives the user more of an incentive to take the time and aim a well-placed shot. With any luck, your drywall and windows will be spared. “Well then why can’t I just be accurate with a gun?” you ask. And to that I remind you about your pristine carpets. Yes, a well-aimed shot from a firearm should not cause any immediate harm to your walls and or windows, but the leaky waterbed disaster that follows is, at that point, unavoidable.
The main point I’m trying to make here is that, yes, guns work, but don’t they just seem a bit overkill when it comes to home defense?
Admittedly a slingshot is clunky, and a bit of an odd thing to use, but they are completely capable of hurting someone, which is the whole point.
If someone were trying to break into your house, simply lob a fat steel ball in their general direction, and catch em’ off guard with a welt the size of Nebraska. With any luck, he or she will vacate the premise lickity split without further incident.
The benefits: no major property damage, and no spilled pomegranate juice! But even more importantly, the kid’s still alive! Think about how many people who have fallen to hard times would be spared if homeowners resorted to non-lethal home defense measures, beyond even slingshots. For all you know, the guy who wandered in might just be desperate for some food or shelter, and doesn’t mean any harm to you or your family.
Honestly, offer the guy some pop tarts, some Tylenol for the welts (presuming you opted for the slingshot) and ask him about his day. If you’re feeling extra generous, offer him that Iron Man 3 copy (which you have but have never actually watched) because, let’s be honest, everyone could benefit from some Robert Downey Junior in their life.