...I just mind if you decide that I must be just like YOU.
Longtime reader Ryan Gill (aka "Montieth") emailed me yesterday for a link to an older post, and today I noticed a visitor in Sitemeter from a location I didn't recognize. Turns out it was a Livejournal post. I visited the site, and found a post that I think is very interesting, coming as it does, from "the other side" as it were. Titled Why I Do Not Own A Gun, let me excerpt a bit from the piece, and follow up with some of my favorites from the comments to it:
A lot of my friends have the gun terror – they've never fired a weapon, and guns terrify them. They not only refuse to have one in the house, but they don't want to see anyone holding a gun. I get the impression that to them, guns are kind of like landmines – even if you're just holding one by the barrel, it could go off and kill everyone in the room at any time. And for them, the idea that someone would keep a miniature Death Star in the house is evidence of purest insanity.And it did, to the tune of over 400 comments. I can't read them all tonight, but I read quite a few. Here are some gems, and (of course) my comments:
But me? I think guns are simply a tool that can be used for good or evil. I think that having a gun in the house is a choice that people should be allowed to make – it's not always a wise choice, but like smoking and drinking and drugs, as long as there are laws to force people to do it responsibly, I have no issues with it.
I'm just smart enough to know myself. If I bought a gun, I'd buy a damned fine weapon, and it wouldn't just sit in the closet in a safety case; I'd have to take it out and look at it a lot, and I’d dress up in my Matrix trenchcoat and pose with it, and I'd probably be dumb enough to go out in the backyard and see what the hell it did when I shot a tree. Give me long enough, and I'd accidentally shoot someone while experimenting to see what the gun could do, maybe with a bad richocet, and then look phenomenally stupid when the cops showed up.
I am not responsible enough to own a gun. And that is why I do not have one.
The comment fury may now commence.
Seems fair and sensible to me - but then I live on the other side of the pond.Thanks for staying there!
I'm glad I live in a country where private guns are illegal, because I don't trust myself with a gun. (I worry I'd end up taking pot shots at the local kiddie gangs out of my window when they kept me awake AGAIN.) And if I don't trust myself, I damn well don't trust anyone else.But you trust your government with guns? Again, thanks for staying wherever it is you are.
Actually I'm right there with you on this. I started a sword collection a few years back (amazingly it's more than just *gasp* katanas!) and toyed with the idea of starting a gun collection as well. I knew though that I probably wouldn't have the responsibility and intelligence it takes to safely own them.What else don't you have the "responsibility and intelligence" to "safely" own? Can we trust you with those swords? Kitchen knives? Play-doh?
I have a full-fledged case of Northeast gun terror and am proud of it. Then again as I get older I become more pacifistic. I get queasy at the concept of killing imaginary NPCs in role-playing games. I just don't like pain and suffering for anyone. Period.But if you hear someone breaking into your home, will you call the police - who will come with guns to investigate the incident and mark your chalk outline because the person who assaulted you didn't have a pacifistic streak? Do you trust those men and women with guns simply because they draw a government paycheck?
Personal repsonsibilty is why my boyfiend doesn't own anything that could be used as a weapon... between his eliteism and his temper it would be too dangerous- I dont want him in prision beceause he snapped due to the cashiers incompetance for example. (But YOU LIVE WITH HIM???)But of course! You're from the land where they've neutered 90%+ of the nation and made the populace totally dependent on the government for everything. Take the guns away from everyone! Disarm the victim class!
However, although I think that tighter laws in America should be the next step, getting rid of guns altogether I feel should be the last. You can regulate all you like, but you never know who will commit a crime, only who has. And as long as you can't stop people from having guns because they're irresponsible (not everybody has the same sense as you to leave well alone) or stupid- they've a huge risk waiting to happen. (But we're not supposed to believe that each successive "next step" is leading to that last one - "getting rid of guns altogether." We're told that it's paranoid to believe that.)
Thats my view from blighty.
Hrm, I don't know. Outlawing guns seems to have worked pretty well for the UK, and this is coming from someone who was born in the South to a family of card-carrying NRA members. It's amazing how few people feel the need to own guns when they can't buy them when they buy their groceries.Here's the obviously ignorant speaking from his lack of information. Uh, they banned handguns in the UK and firearm crime went up. A LOT. "Outlawing guns" didn't "work pretty well."
But most people don't realize this. The problem is, most of us who support the right to arms don't understand that the majority of the population lacks basic data like this. That population believes what the media tells them. They have no interest in looking for themselves. Ignorance rules.
There's a deep, rich vein to mine in that one post and comment thread, but let me finish with this true gem:
I shot a gun once. I didn't like it. They're not for me. I'm not sure if I could ever be comfortable with one in my home.My question: What makes you think he'll let you stay?
That said, one of my good friends is a hunting/survival kinda dude. Lives on lots of wild open land, hunts deer and pretty much anything else he can, grows his own veggies and owns *many* guns. I spend the night at his house a couple times a month when he throws a party. He is *very* responsible with his guns and never once have I felt uncomfortable being around him or the guns. (Excepting perhaps when I actually *shot* it that one time.)
Truth be known, should civilization start falling apart, I'd probably high-tail it out to his place asap as the safest place I could go. So, you know, even if I *personally* am uncomfortable around them, buddy you better believe I'm happy that other people aren't like me.
Honestly, if someone believes, for whatever reason, that he or she should not own a gun I think they really ought not own a gun. This is America. Freedom means the ability to choose "no," too. But I think Eric S. Raymond was on to something when he wrote in Ethics from the Barrel of a Gun:
(T)he bearing of arms functions not merely as an assertion of power but as a fierce and redemptive discipline. When sudden death hangs inches from your right hand, you become much more careful, more mindful, and much more peaceful in your heart — because you know that if you are thoughtless or sloppy in your actions or succumb to bad temper, people will die.I think Eric is absolutely correct.
Too many of us have come to believe ourselves incapable of this discipline. We fall prey to the sick belief that we are all psychopaths or incompetents under the skin. We have been taught to imagine ourselves armed only as villains, doomed to succumb to our own worst nature and kill a loved one in a moment of carelessness or rage. Or to end our days holed up in a mall listening to police bullhorns as some SWAT sniper draws a bead...
But it's not so. To believe this is to ignore the actual statistics and generative patterns of weapons crimes.Virtually never, writes criminologist Don B. Kates,are murderers the ordinary, law-abiding people against whom gun bans are aimed. Almost without exception, murderers are extreme aberrants with lifelong histories of crime, substance abuse, psychopathology, mental retardation and/or irrational violence against those around them, as well as other hazardous behavior, e.g., automobile and gun accidents.
To believe one is incompetent to bear arms is, therefore, to live in corroding and almost always needless fear of the self — in fact, to affirm oneself a moral coward. A state further fromthe dignity of a free manwould be rather hard to imagine. It is as a way of exorcising this demon, of reclaiming for ourselves the dignity and courage and ethical self-confidence of free (wo)men that the bearing of personal arms, is, ultimately, most important.
This is the final ethical lesson of bearing arms: that right choices are possible, and the ordinary judgement of ordinary (wo)men is sufficient to make them.
We can, truly, embrace our power and our responsibility to make life-or-death decisions, rather than fearing both. We can accept our ultimate responsibility for our own actions. We can know (not just intellectually, but in the sinew of experience) that we are fit to choose.
And not only can we — we must. The Founding Fathers of the United States understood why. If we fail this test, we fail not only in private virtue but consequently in our capacity to make public choices. Rudderless, lacking an earned and grounded faith in ourselves, we can only drift — increasingly helpless to summon even the will to resist predators and tyrants (let alone the capability to do so).
As the subquote at the top of this blog says, "I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing."
Oh, and I bought myself another gun today. A nice used Ruger GP100, 4" with the "Target Grey" finish. I'm taking another new shooter to the range this weekend, and wanted something suitable for him to try. At least, that was the excuse I used to convince myself to whip out the plastic this afternoon.
UPDATE: Upon request, here's the best image I've found of a GP100 in the "Target Grey" finish, and a regular stainless one to compare it to: