I have a question, not sure if it's silly sounding or not, but something I've been pondering for some time. Almost 2 years ago, I moved WAY out into the woods in the country. I live alone in a cottage, I'm very isolated and the dirt road that leads to my house is private and not even patrolled by police at all. Mail isn't even delivered out here, no town snow plowing, etc.
So when I first moved in I met a few of the "neighbors", none of whom are actually close to my house at all, but a good walking distance. The first advice they all gave me was to get a gun. It's not that we're in a dangerous area or anything, but more because it's the remote country, and that's what they do around here for protection. So I disregarded the advice, since I'm not into guns. A few months later there was an incident where a guy showed up at my cottage drunk and tried to barge in. The police did not answer (can you imagine?), instead I got an answering machine! The guy ended up passing out on my property and I ran up the road, woke a neighbor that I knew is friends with this guy, and he came down and dragged him out of here. He reminded me I need a gun. Again, I disregarded it.
This week, about a year after the aforementioned incident, I walked down to the mailboxes, which are not at our driveways, but instead are at the end of the long dirt road. While I was there, I heard a bunch of men coming in a truck. Because it was very late and there are usually no cars at that hour, and because they were loud and boisterous, my instinct told me to hide. So I jumped behind a rock wall behind the mailboxes and hid. They pulled right up to the mailboxes, didn't see me, but pulled out 4 x4's and proceeded to bash in the entire row of mailboxes. I was so close that pieces of metal and plastic were landing in my hair and hitting my face. It was very scary, because I thought sure they would see me, but I guess they were drunk and preoccupied. They finally got back in their trucks and pulled off. I jumped up and got their plate # and ran home and reported it. They were eventually stopped, and I later found out they were on a spree that night that spread across 3 local towns, with 16 other vandalizing acts, windshields, mailboxes, rocks through windows, etc.
I am a member if a country-living oriented message board, and when I told this story the vast majority of members said I need to get a gun. At this point I've been told this by numerous people. I have even brought up alternatives, such as pepper spray or mace, stun guns, etc. But they all provide reasonably valid arguments that in order for those to work, I must be pretty much under direct attack. The thought of a gun, being potentially LETHAL, really scares me. I don't want to kill anyone. Obviously if I got one I would go to a local gun place, thoroughly learn to use it, how to handle it, etc. But I'm just not sure how this comes into play with my general ethics. I am peaceful, try to "do no harm", etc. But neither do I want to be a peaceful idiot who gets raped or killed because I refused to get a gun. I'm just not sure what to do. I also try to consider that I could be overpowered and my own gun used against me.
I would appreciate some opinions on this. The people on the country message board are all a bit bias, because they are country folk and guns are all they know. I thought I might get a more open minded opinion here. How do guns (for protection) come into play with Buddhism and doing no harm? Completely out of the question, or a good idea for protection? What do you think?