I definitely don't disagree with you Cord. For myself having the safety of the bars, and had to use them last night ... go figure, I have come to feel a sense of safety when pushing myself beyond my limits. When lifting with dumbbells I cannot lift the same amount of weight but I sure try. Some of the last ones get VERY shaky but I can get them done however in the back of my mind as I'm lifting I'm saying "don't drop those, don't drop those ....", for if I did I would certainly hurt myself.
Now put into the context of no safety bars then for sure I would suggest dumbbells over the barbell method; just as you pointed out. I would sooner have a chance of dropping to the side or if have to take impact take less impact then to have a whole ton of weight drop on my chest and/or neck.
"IF I COME ... I'M BRINGING THE PAIN WITH ME"