Friday, July 4, 2008

Guns.

I got into a discussion about guns recently and I thought I would write down my thoughts on the whole matter of gun control vs. 2nd amendment rights.

I am not often accused of being crazy, I attribute that mainly to the fact that I do not often engage in political discussions.

When I am called crazy, it is usually by a crazy person. I don't by any means fall under the category of crazy-gun-loving-backwoods-hillbilly-republican.... at least one of those descriptors is not accurate.

I love guns. I was raised around guns, my father had quite a collection of guns for both practical and recreational use. I love shooting guns. It is fun and rewarding, and I take pride in being able to handle one with skill. Some of my fondest memories are of shooting guns with my father, or on a camping trip with the other young men from church. I love cleaning and polishing guns, I like knowing my gun inside and out, being able to disassemble it, make it gleam and then put it back together... It's the equivalent of any other craft hobby. It's not playing with fire if you follow the rules of gun safety. I love building guns, my brother helped me build a gun this year from scratch, not scratch, but... kinda.

I also fear guns. I fear being shot; This is why I am certified to carry a gun to protect myself and others. If someone around me has a gun I want to see them following the proper safety techniques to ensure that I will not be staring down a loaded barrel. I have a fear of shooting myself; I always check my gun to be certain if it is loaded or not, even if I just checked it 20 minutes ago, 1 minute ago even. Sometimes I double-check, just to be sure. I don't take for granted that my gun is totally safe simply because I am AWARE of how to safely handle a gun, I am always AWARE of the state of my gun and ensure that it is totally safe. I leave nothing to logic or reasoning ("oh yeah, this gun is unloaded because I remember checking it before I put it away..."). I fear being at fault for someone else shooting themselves(leaving a gun in reach of ignorant hands, Etc). This is why I think I have a very low likelihood of having one of these incidents--Because I am fully aware if the very HIGH likelihood that these things can, and do, happen if you get lazy, cocky or stupid even one time.

When I hear about people whose friends accidentally shot themselves or others, I think of two things. #1. That poor guy and his family/friends. #2. what an Idiot.

People too often try to imitate Hollywood depictions of what it means to shoot a gun. They get really familiar with guns, but not the correct/safe way of handling guns. They know their gun inside and out, but they are careless when they handle it. This is certain to catch up with them sooner or later.

I think it is the people who love guns for the right reasons, or in the right ways, that are least likely to ever have an incident with one. People who are raised with a fond curiosity of guns usually aren't instilled with a sense of the devastation they are capable of. All they know is that guns bestow power and luster on the handler. Not to say they aren't aware that they can blow someone away, more like they are raised by TV and video games to think of shooting/handling a gun as mainly an aesthetic art. In video games, you never miss, you never accidentally shoot yourself in the foot, you never accidentally shoot through your bedroom wall and kill your little sister. In movies, they never check to see if a gun is loaded before waltzing off with their finger on the trigger, they constantly carry a loaded gun and there is never an accidental shooting (a few of them are out there, like the cat scene in Boondock Saints). For many, a gun is synonymous with being a badass, a vigilante or judge and jury. not much credit is given to gun owners as being respectful of their guns. More often, guns are seen as a symbol of power, and they demand respect for the individual wielding them. Again, thank Hollywood for that.

When people say that "only law enforcement should have guns." I have to wonder whether or not they are serious. It sounds like a great solution; only those who have taken an oath to protect the citizens of this country should have the tools to do so. if it were possible to enforce, this logic could solve the drug epidemic, "only those who have a medical need for narcotics should have them". My point is that idealogical reasoning has no place in regulation/gun control. If there were no law enforcement, there would be only those who act in a way that is congruent with mainstream society, and those who act in a way contrary to social co-operation. throw in the enforcement of these standards (police, etc.) and all you have done is assigned a group to be responsible for dealing with the delinquent members of society... so here we are with 3 groups. The group of people who have the common value of life, and integrity, who set the standard and definition of values that make up any given society, the group of people sworn to uphold these standards (police and government legislation), and the group of people who don't recognize or adhere to social standards, or recognize the authority of law enforcement or legislation--criminals. Criminals break the law, a law stating that you're not allowed to have a gun is only effectively taking guns from those who are willing to comply with that law. leaving guns in the hands of criminals and law enforcement. So what is the point? who notices a law abiding citizen? you didn't notice that they had a gun before because it wasn't used in an illegal manner. you don't notice that they don't have one now because they act in the same way as before, sans personal protection. Where we notice the change, after gun control, is the spike in criminal use of firearms. the inability of people to protect themselves means easy targets for perpetrators of violent crime. take a look at D.C. Until a few months ago, it was illegal to carry a gun--concealed or not. The rate of crime is nearly twice that of the national average. I wont presume to attribute this rate to the fact that criminals are capitalizing on the knowledge that there is a low percentage of their victims who are likely to have guns, allowing some room for criminal on "criminal" crimes--"criminals" being citizens who have guns despite the law, but only for personal protection, their only crime being gun ownership, as opposed to being a perpetrator of violent crimes. also, allowing for some criminal on criminal crimes, such as gang warfare.

The causes of these high crime rates could be attributed to variants of anything from a higher presence of gang, or organized crime rings, poverty levels, depression, gentrification/ghettos, etc. But, in any case, these higher crime rates do not justify a legislation that takes away the ability of innocent victims to protect themselves from attackers. I hate statistics, because they never fail to make a strong point for someone's argument-- an inherent effect of biased research. anyway, here I go, using some statistics that make my point. about 1 in 5 victims who are armed with guns suffer injury or death from an attacker, as opposed to 1 in 2 who are protected with other weapons or no weapons at all. so one could say that, even if crime rates are neither increased or decreased, by taking guns from those who use them responsibly we would increasing the mortality rate of violent crimes. Gun control is essentially the opposite of a deterrent for crime. criminals will be criminals, you cannot keep guns from them, they will acquire them via illegal means. But seeing that victims are able to thwart or deter crimes more effectively when they have a firearm, taking their guns from them would be to eliminate a deterrent of crime.

I feel the gravity of a great responsibility to use my gun with discression. I don't have any aspirations of blowing someone away. I don't daydream about killing people. In fact, Nightmare is the word I would use to describe the idea of having to shoot someone. But, with enough evidence of the risk of being caught in a classroom or cafeteria, gas station or office cubical, post office or burger joint, I also feel very strongly obligated to defend those around me who would otherwise be fish in a barrel for some mentally unstable man with a death wish, or a vendetta. Or a sociopath criminal with nothing to lose. I get dressed and evaluate the risks around my errands or destinations. Some days I decide that the only risk would be in traveling between destinations (I don't consider church a High-risk zone) in those cases I leave my gun in the car. If there is even the slightest risk of a situation where I would possibly need my gun, I am most likely going to carry it. Some days I don't want to carry, but then I consider the guilt I would feel if I chose not to carry and then witnessed a crime I might have prevented otherwise. I feel obligated to carry even if I don't want to.

3 comments:

Erin said...

do you ever feel terribly depressed at the state of logic in the world? or the lack of common sense, consideration/kindness, and honesty?

Vero Awesome said...

Holy fuuu your blogs are long. Honestly Ev, I love them, but sometimes I have to take a break in the middle just to get my mind back.

PS - I want to buy a handgun. Want to help me find a good one?

Gypsy Kid said...

Vero, I recommend you take a gun safety course first. Might as well get your Concealed Firearm Permit, that's 4 hours of safety training and a lot of things you should consider before getting a gun. I dunno how much experience you have with handguns so that's all going to factor into what is good for you. lemmi know.