2020-05-06 – In the morning, while I’m waiting for the shower to warm up, I often flip to Facebook. This morning it showed me an essay from a grandpa saying why he carries a gun. It seemed wrong to me but not unreasonable . . . as far as I read. I thought about it in the shower and while walking the dog, thinking how I would write this blog response. I think I have something to say on the topic.
I hadn’t finished the whole thing when I got in the shower, so, when I returned from walking the dog, I read the rest of it. Sadly, the end of it lost touch with reality, but I’ll tackle that part of it, too. Here goes.
Why I Don’t Carry a Gun
I’m not a grampa (yet), but I’m old enough to be one.
Although I wasn’t big on fighting as a kid, I sometimes was a target. Sometimes I took the punch and lost. Sometimes I punched back and won. It never made any difference.
By the time I was out of high school, the vast majority of the people I came in contact had grown up enough to settle things with words—or with silence, which was even better. Who wanted to hear from these people anyway?
My safety was guaranteed by the ability of the people around me to control themselves. I didn’t need a gun to force people to leave me alone. They didn’t need a gun to force me to leave them alone. So we didn’t have guns.
You might think that leaves us prey to people who haven’t grown up. And you are right about it. But in my neighborhood, it’s pretty rare. The most aggressive thing people will do to you here is cut you off in traffic. You have to watch out for BMWs.
The rarity of the threat makes the safety issues of gun ownership a very important consideration. If I only rarely need a gun to protect myself from other, the risk that I might blow my own damn head off outweighs its usefulness.
I don’t rely on the police. Police do many helpful things for us, but protecting us from criminals isn’t really one of them. I rely on my neighbors. Not their guns. I rely on their peacefulness.
Folks who rant about gun rights (here’s where the essay I wrote went off the rails) speak about the importance of guns in preventing oppression by the government. It doesn’t work that way. The folks who want to steal your labor and your money are not breaking into your house at night. The folks who steal your labor have figured out that all they have to do is support gun rights and gun-right supporters will return the favor by opening their wallets and letting the thieves have free reign all in the name of a fake kind of freedom. Freedom’s not “just another word for nothing left to lose.” That’s what they want you to believe.
Freedom doesn’t come from guns. Freedom comes from hard work. Freedom comes from courage.
People might call me a wimp for not carrying a gun or for not protecting my family. I can and have stood up when it was called for. But my approach is different.
When some neighbors wanted to shut down our neighborhood park against the “threat” of invading Mexican soccer players, I joined with a few other parents to start a kids’ soccer league instead. We turned a “threatening” environment into a place people love to be.
When my kids’ school was sinking under the mismanagement of a corrupt principal, I ran for the local school council and became its president. We got the principal fired and hired a new one.
When my country was under threat by the thieves who steal your labor and money, I walked door to door to get another candidate elected. And we won.
And once, while working as a community mediator, I even peacefully managed a case where one of the parties walked in with a gun. Everyone went home from that hearing in peace.
You don’t want to mess with me.
If you say that you are willing to take the risk of carrying a gun to protect yourself and your family, why won’t you wear a mask to protect against the corona virus?
* * *
The place where the original essay went particularly crazy was where it started ranting about how Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia and Red China had gun control. When they tell me that gun freedom would have save the Jews of Europe, I’ve had enough. Jews were a tiny minority and they did fight back where they could. The whole thing is a lie.
And focusing on these bad countries ignores the fact that most of the rest of the countries of the world have gun control as well. If you want to say gun control brought on totalitarianism, you could use the same nonsense argument to say that houses cause totalitarianism, or streets, or trees . . . or kittens.
I could go on about this, but I think I better stop here.
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