I Lived A Completely Gun-Free Life — Until Now, an Update
June 18, 2016 10 Comments
I published this a couple of years ago because it’s an interesting article, well outside my experience. I’m of that generation that played war, whenever we could, and BB guns were employed, sometimes to our parent’s despair.
I brought this back up today because we are again seeing, after Orlando, another group that is taking responsibility for its own safety, our gays. Good for them, they will find that taking responsibility for themselves will make them more confident, and even more easy-going, the word rational comes to mind. And that self-confidence is what has always struck visitors to America, we don’t look to government, or whatever to fix our problems, we simply go do it ourselves. And you know, as you may have seen this week, the most color, and gender blind group I’ve ever been around is the gun culture. We simply don’t care about any of that, it’s all about how proficient and, not unrelated, safe you are in using what is, after all, a dangerous tool. So welcome, to some of the gay community to my America, where we look at results, not intentions. It’s a nice calm world until someone tries to trample our rights, even if our tools are a bit noisy.
This is interesting, and it’s a completely different perspective than mine. I grew up in farm country and long enough ago that guns were just part of life. Unless you misbehaved with them of course, for the most part, the rules were the same ones taught to soldiers for their (and other soldier’s) safety. Most of you know them as well as I do, just like we know what side of the road to drive, until we visit Britain, anyway. Just another tool, chipmunks digging holes in the yard, squirrels eating the garden? A ten-year-old boy or girl, with a .22 can fix that, no muss, no fuss. Bats in the barn? Unless you’re really good with that 22, borrow Dad’s shotgun, it’s easier on the roof. And so forth.
But not everyone grew up that way, I guess. Those lessons learned in youth never go away but some poor people have to learn about tools in adulthood.
A gun is not the tool for everything, any more than a hammer is. If your only tool is a hammer (or a rock) all problems look like a nail, and if your only tool is a gun, all problems look like a target. That’s why God (with a little help from Gerstner’s and Snap On) created tool boxes, so you had a place to keep thousands, make that, tens of thousands of dollars worth of tools.
But let’s see what Rachel Lu says about coming to guns, later in life. And I would say to her, “Welcome to being responsible for yourself.” No, it’s not all about guns but they are an apt sign.
We just became a Second Amendment family. For the first time in my life, my home contains an object that is, by the manufacturer’s intent, a deadly weapon.
I received fair warning that this would happen. Even before we were married, my husband announced his general intention to own a gun. A year or so back he started researching the topic more earnestly, and then one afternoon there was a gun sitting on my kitchen table. It was unloaded, of course. We had extensive conversations about trigger locks and all the other safety measures. I know that the kids can’t get it, and are in fact far more likely to be injured by stairs or cleaning solutions or sporting equipment. Intuitively it still feels like a menace.
The thing is, I don’t come from a gun-happy culture. Apart from my husband, I doubt any of my near relations have experience with firearms. Mind you, I was raised by conservatives, but Mormons trend towards a communitarian, good-government brand of conservatism. They’re rarely drawn to the more suspicious and individualistic culture of the N.R.A. If my parents had any gun-owning friends when I was growing up, I wasn’t aware.
Thus, I can tell you how it feels when you’ve lived a completely gun-free life, and suddenly have a gun under your roof. Your instincts tell you: we don’t need it. It’s threatening. Bad things happen to people who own guns.
I’m pretty sure this instinct is dramatically reinforced by the violence-drenched entertainment that we (like most Americans) consume in considerable quantities. This might seem counter-intuitive, especially to men, but psychologically it feels to me like the obvious dividing line between the world of television (in which people regularly die horrible deaths) and the world I live in (in which they don’t) is the presence of guns. Leave guns alone and they’ll leave me alone, or so my subconscious tells me. It’s worked for me so far.
Let’s add this to gain a little perspective.