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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Friday, December 30

The biggest threat to freedom - guns or government?

I've been puzzling over this recently. It seems that proponents of gun control either have a certain amount of trust in government that opponents don't or aren't bothered by the idea of having less freedom. Or maybe they're more worried that Joe neighbor's going to do something dangerous. Freedom, might reasonably presume freedom from the concern that they're likely to be harmed by Joe neighbor's gun. One isn't actually very "free" if one is constantly worrying that other community members may arbitrarily shoot you.

Take all the guns away, though, and we're left with knives and fists. Basically, anyone weaker is at risk from anyone stronger - women and children really. A gun could be an equalizer, but then again, it carries risks too. I thought about carrying one when Texas passed the concealed carry law, but then I wondered how practical it would actually be.

What if junior wants me to jump in the pool with him? Do I leave my weapon with my stuff and hope some other child (or adult) doesn't accidently set it off? Do I leave it behind anytime I might be going to a pool? What if we decide to go to the library? Any other building where it's not allowed? What if I just get tired of carrying all my stuff and want to put it down for a sec? What if I forget an leave my purse in a bathroom? (I haven't done that since I was a teenager, but it could happen).

Maybe carrying isn't so practical for women with children. Keeping weapons at home might be. Except, for the safety of the children, it's suggested you keep the weapons and ammo separate and locked. How quickly can you go and unlock two separate lock boxes, put them together, and be prepared to defend yourself? What if you're extremely nearsighted and need a few extra seconds to find your glasses? Personally, I've heard of more people shooting themselves or murdering others than I've heard of them protecting themselves. I think statistically, though, guns often do get used to protect innocent people.

One thing I do enjoy about guns is sport shooting (on the rare occasions I have time and money for it) . I have difficulty even allowing a bug to die by my hand, so I shoot at paper and metal animals only.

Despite shaking like a leaf every time I held a gun(worrying that somehow I'd blow my leg off or let go of the gun in the recoil because of that bizarre position I used for IHMSA), I found I had a certain amount of natural talent.

Then one day, as an adult, I tried standing to shoot. Wow! I still shook a bit just because I don't have much in the way of arm strength, but it was great fun. Much more control over the recoil and since the targets were closer, it was much easier to hit them. It'd be fun someday to practice more and see how I do.

I still get a little misty eyed at the smell of gun cleaner. I loved watching my father carefully take his guns apart and clean them. I love mechanical things. I used to enjoy looking through his digests and magazines that explained how guns worked. I don't remember much of it anymore, just that the firing pin thing hits a primer, the primer explodes and ignites the gun powder, building up lots of heat and gas and pushing the bullet out of the cartridge - or something like that. As a kid, I really wanted one of those "real working motors" that had a see-through case. I'd point to it every year in the Sears catalog. It was too expensive, though, so I never got one.

I used to love reading the bits about Laura's Pa in "Little House in the Big Woods". He had a black powder gun. I think that's all there was back then. He put in the powder and a little round bullet and maybe some other stuff directly in the barrel. I think he could preload two shots like that. After that, if he didn't hit whatever it was, it was pretty much all over for him. I imagined him facing a bear, knowing it was likely hit or die. There's a story like that in the book.

I love looking at guns in museums. Reusable catridges and revolvers must have seemed so amazing. "Pa" would have been a lot safer carrying one of them. Then again, they'd kill a lot more people in a war, too.

Still, most people don't know all that much about them. My father had a strict rule about never pointing one at anything you didn't intend to shoot. He also said "a gun is always loaded". Basically, he meant always treat one like it's loaded. Not everyone seems to know those rules. I've been around adults who were pretty scary in their handling of guns. They don't think about or maybe don't know about all the unloaded guns that have killed people.

To a seasoned user of guns, the required "training" and testing seems a bit silly, but after witnessing the risky behavior of some adults, I can see a certain sense in them. No class can teach a person to have good judgement, but it might help.

I think the biggest reason some people oppose gun control is that they see guns as a last defense against big oppressive government. I'm not sure what to make of that argument anymore. I don't think the typical guns Americans are "allowed" to own by government are going to do much to protect them from oppression. We saw that in Waco. I'm not defending the Branch Davidians - I think they were pretty nutty really and a danger to the community.

I'm just saying that even with all they had on hand, they didn't stand a chance. They only lived as long as they did because our own government held back - out of concern for their own lives and the lives of the children and innocents in the compound and, most importantly, because going in and killing people recklessly would have got them in big trouble with the American people.

1 comment:

Leo said...

Would you agree that guns are better off in the hands of good people?

Is that a problem that can and should be solved?