It's big, heavy, and probably metal.
It's also useless, unless you are The Incredible Hulk. A man with a bat loses 100% against a man with a small pen knife. Intertia is not your friend. I know that it's possible to do fencing with heavy weapons, but it requires a very uncommon physique. This article could be useful, even though it talks about an edged weapon. A blunt weapon, like a bat, is far less useful in a battle.
Swing with two hands and an adrenaline rush and you don't risk missing and killing one of the kids
Get a heavy pipe and try swinging it in your small apartment, I dare you. It is just not feasible; houses are built with narrow hallways. The target of your attack can just lazily step aside, and your swing is wasted. Unless you are a second coming of Terminator, you will not be able to control a heavy weapon, with one hand or with both. Your advantage would be in a light weapon, with katana being on the heaviest end of the spectrum, and a rapier on the lighter end. With the latter you can easily defend yourself against multiple attackers, assuming that they don't have ranged weapons. A rapier will be also very accurate in thrust style attacks, so that you can work around the hostage.
Oh, you said "kids?" Well then, imagine that the criminal is holding your daughter. With a handgun, from several yards away, you can hit him in the eye of your choice, and the hostage will be only slightly scared. Can you swing a heavy bat at the same criminal when he can always push your kid under the strike? When I said "overwhelming force," there is a reason for that. This is not a duel between two French aristocrats; it's not a game.
Besides it's a contrived situation. Given me and the criminal both having guns and me and the criminal both having a bat I'll opt for the bats every time.
It's your life, even if somehow you can convince the criminal to have a bat (that is hard to conceal) instead of a knife or a handgun. I'm just telling you how, in my opinion, the conflict will unfold. I have no dog there.
Besides, even if Trayvon was beating a man who was down that's a long way from murder, sure it might have eventually resulted in death, but most likely the worst case was some broken bones and a concussion.
A strike in the head is often fatal - instantly, or a short time later. There are several medical reasons for that, and none of them are particularly pleasant to discuss.
Russia isn't exactly a model of good governance.
It's worse pretty much everywhere else, except a handful of countries. But even in the UK the percentage of gun crimes is rising with every year. The situation in the USA is much worse still.
Most of the criminal firearm problem in North America is due to guns coming in from the US.
Then please ask Obama to stop sending weapons to Mexican mafia. But regardless, Mexican narcocartels are rich enough to buy their full-auto weapons anywhere in the world. You simply cannot get most of these weapons in gun stores in the USA.
Criminals don't come from another planet.
Mathematically thinking, they actually do. The fact that they were born here is not relevant; their minds are out of this world. You can also say that your mind is out of this world, depending on what mindset owns this planet :-)
They have guns because Americans say guns are acceptable, even cool, they have guns because they're really easy to get so you don't have to be part of some sophisticated underworld because they're floating around everywhere.
Criminals have guns not because they watched TV one day, and their favorite hawk Piers Morgan told them, in plain text, that guns are cool. Criminals get guns because guns give them power over people who have no guns. That's the same reason why police and army have guns. Power is the end goal, not the pleasure of lugging a pound of steel in your pocket. (Yes, it is heavy and uncomfortable. I guess you never tried...)
As I said, guns are always easy to get for a criminal. He is already in that "sophisticated underworld," where drugs, weapons and everything else is available for a reasonable price. Do I know where to get a gun with removed s/n? No, I do not - and I have no need to know, and it's illegal to own one anyway. But criminals don't care about laws.
Every extra gun makes everyone else a little less safe.
There must be rivers of blood flowing down the streets of Swiss cities... and those poor American colonists, how did they survive, being 100% armed?
By having a gun you're maybe making you and your family more safe
(more likely less safe with suicides and accidents)
Suicides are going to happen anyway; it's just less painful with a firearm. But if you insist, a cancer sufferer can throw himself from a roof of a tall building. Accidents with firearms are extremely rare; statistically they are not even a blip on a radar. Car accidents are 10,000 times more likely and more deadly, but we don't ban cars (yet.) Nothing in life is free, and Darwin clearly explained how his laws work. If you are inclined to do the "Hold my beer and watch this..." routine, do not be surprised that you hurt yourself in one way or another. IQ is required for survival, even if you just are crossing a street.
but you're most certainly making my family less safe.
My calculations show the exactly opposite effect. If a neighborhood is known to have guns, criminals will be less inclined to break into them because they are not sure who is at home and who is armed. This means that if your family has no guns, but your neighbor does, and that is known, you gain protection.
On the other hand, if a house or a neighborhood are known to have no guns, any gang of burglars can waltz in at any time. If there are homeowners, they can be beaten up or better killed, so that there are no witnesses. There is no danger. Therefore I can claim that you, by having no weapons, and by not opposing the criminals, are endangering everyone - and myself.
And one more thing. Let's for the moment imagine that *all* firearms disappeared from the planet. Perhaps the powder does not explode anymore, like in Amber. What will the criminals do? What will the police do? What will the peaceful, innocent citizens do? Would you want to live in such a world?
This, actually, was the case before firearms became common - from the first days of human history and until, say, 1700's. It was a sad time for anyone who is not a trained fighter. I will not waste space here on retelling the history of middle ages, but you get my drift. A Burgher is not safe in his shop, unless he surrounds himself with hired swordsmen. A family of a laborer is just a prey for dagger-wielding dwellers of the bad part of Ankh-Morpork. Murdered citizens were daily (or nightly) occurrence in large cities. The life belonged to young and strong. Do you approve that message?