When I was growing up, it was a universal trait of every neighborhood boy to own and play with all manner of plastic toy guns. There were squirt guns, cap guns, nerf guns, guns that fired suction-cup darts, ones that lit up while playing recorded gun-noises, and ones that just clicked with a rat-a-tat-tat when fired. There were ones that looked reasonably like real guns (some in bright colors after some kid got shot by a cop who didn’t know he had a toy), and ones that looked like they were from outer space. Every little boy had at least a few, and if he was ever without them he knew he could always form his fingers into an approximation of one.
I, however, had the largest collection of any boy I knew. Not only that, but I could name just about any gun I saw in the movies. I was known to check out Jane’s Infantry Weapons
from the library, and pour through its encyclopedic listings.
Unfortunately, my parents never shared my enthusiasm, and so I was not able to take my fondness beyond a boyhood dream for a number of years. Thankfully, my Grandfather – a WWII veteran – had no such hang-ups and taught me how to aim and how to properly handle
a firearm. But aside from shooting a few BB guns with him, I had little to do with anything that actually fired
. I had to stem my thirst with video games, Heinlein, and Tom Clancy.
Eventually, I would correct this imbalance. It took too long, mostly due to a lack of funds, and living in a gun-unfriendly state. Money is still tight, but at least I’ve handled the latter.
But suffice to say, for me the second amendment is more than just a philosophic abstraction. It’s personal
. And while I can understand that not everyone will get as fired up on the subject of ordinance as I do, I simply do not understand why more Americans aren’t armed. Even lacking the understanding of both American and world history that I have, it’s plain common sense to have an efficacious means to defend oneself; doubly so for women.
Considering the fact that I go just about everywhere with a gun on my hip, I do get a certain number of comments. For the most part, they are overwhelmingly positive. Most people just ask me what kind of gun I have, or comment on how nice it is. A few are incredulous that it is actually a real
gun and ask why I have it. I have to explain to them calmly, as one would to a child, that yes it is a real gun, no I am not with the police, and the reason I carry it is for self-defense.
Given the enthusiasm of my youth, I find it ironic that it takes a positively childish
attitude for someone to go through life deliberately unarmed. Mostly it is simple naďveté; having grown up in relatively low-crime neighborhoods and not being the victims of violent crimes, many people think that this somehow protects them from the possibility of aggression. As if the fact of something never having happened to them in the past precludes the possibility that it might happen in the future. I’d like to think that this sort of attitude is abandoned around the same time as the security blanket,
but in our feelings-over-reason culture it is all too common even among supposedly responsible adults.
But occasionally I hear of or encounter attitudes that go far beyond the simply jejune, into an eye-crossingly irrational attitude that some have called hoplophobia
My wife, especially, seems to be a magnet for comments from these kinds of people. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that a lovely young woman of 5’1” packing heat is a walking slap in the face to their prejudice that guns are Platonically Evil instruments carried only by psychopaths and Neanderthals. (oh, and by policemen too but that’s different somehow) She does revel a bit in this fact.
I still laugh about the time she was at school and her classmates were discussing what they had done over the weekend. She mentioned idly that she had gone shooting with me at our gun club. The response was a worried and somewhat stunned, "Oh? Why did you do that
?" It was as if she said she had been out wrestling with komodo dragons
Of course, it gets much worse than mere squeamishness. The most priceless comment of them all was from a relative who explained why she would never own a gun: "Well, I don't believe in violence." As if, when a crazed murderer breaks into her house she need only explain to him, "Excuse me, Mr. Crazed Murderer, I don't believe in violence,” to which he would reply, “Oh, well since you are of such an enlightened viewpoint, I will be going on my way and will not murder you after all.”
It's like she thinks if she pretends crime doesn't exist, then it can't hurt her.
I call these ideas childish because they are just so completely disconnected from reality that I can’t even fathom the kind of mentality that could seriously believe in them. I think to myself, “…and you use the very same mind that holds such an ‘idea’ to tie your shoes and drive to work? It’s a miracle you haven’t choked to death on your own tongue!
But suffice to say, consider this my official announcement that I am a 100% certified gun nut. There will be some gun blogging going on here in a bit, so be ready for that.