Although it would seem that the world is rife with conflict and tragedy, statistically speaking, we’re currently living in a golden age of human peace and cooperation. As individual economies grew into one another, our nations grew to depend on the prosperity of our neighbors in order to maintain our own prosperity.

China, for instance, may be a global competitor and even a sometimes aggressive opponent in the South China Sea, but our economic dependence on one another forces us to play nice. Even Donald Trump, who campaigned on a platform that included a good deal of animosity toward China’s trade practices, was forced to acknowledge China’s “One China” rule recently. Not out of fear of military reprisal, mind you, but because the exchange of money flowing between the two countries is too great to dismiss over differences in our respective leadership.

That same peace that pervades international dealings nowadays exists in a local sense, too. Violent crime has been on a steady decline in the United States for decades now, and violence all around the world has dropped dramatically when compared to the vast majority of human history. For a species that once held warfare in nearly as high a regard as hunting and gathering, we’ve become downright tame. It’s not uncommon for many Americans, for instance, to go their entire lives without ever experiencing any real danger of violent death.

So if things are so much better now than they ever have been, why are so many of us carrying guns?

Those on the left have been making the argument for years: In a safe society such as our own, there should be little need for everyday citizens to carry around the type of firepower I strap to my hip when I leave the house. Statistically speaking, the likelihood that I’ll ever have to draw my pistol in defense of myself or my family is so low, those in the pro-gun-control camp would argue there’s no reason for me to carry it at all.

Statistics are funny that way. They can give you an important level of perspective on your place in the world, and I can see the Left’s point. Statistically speaking, I could have gone my entire life without ever needing to use my pistol to protect my family. The thing is though, I already did. Now, I didn’t have to shoot my way out of trouble. In fact, I didn’t have to shoot at all, but in my opinion, that’s exactly how I’d like such a story to end.

While living in Massachusetts, my wife and I were staying in Army military housing established for Natick Labs. I received orders for a short deployment (a bit over a month) and we had just moved to the neighborhood recently, so I walked across the street to the only guy I already knew and asked if he’d stop by and check on my wife now and then while I was gone. He was happy to help, and suggested that he get his wife involved because it might make Jamie feel a little more comfortable to receive visits from another spouse, rather than some soldier she only barely knew. I thanked him, said goodbye to my wife—confident that she’d be safe in our military neighborhood and with good folks nearby if she needed them—and headed off for my deployment.

Little did I know, during the first few weeks I was gone, my well-intentioned neighbor and his wife had mentioned my absence to their neighbor. They got together and decided to put together a little care package for Jamie, an awfully sweet gesture with unexpectedly unfortunate repercussions. Soon, that neighbor told hers, and down the line it went, all the way to a small house a few blocks away that housed an abusive Army master sergeant, his continuously “ill” spouse, and a teenage son who had the sort of drug problems teenagers tend to develop in those sorts of houses.