I am going to be fairly strait on this one. I toned it down. I am speaking as your neighbor, your friend, the guy in the Jeep in the woods and the one ahead of you in the line at the Supermarket. NOT as the other side.
For too long and now, too deeply we are dividing. We are dividing on only a few issues but they run deep and these are growing pains. I get it. But it pains me not to see division, but division based on lies, miss information and willing lack of understanding.
I know no cure and I often feel I am fighting the wind. A hot wind. An evil wind at times. Not your evil, not my evil … hatred. Know why people get angry over some hot button issues? Fear. Fear is the root of anger. This topic angers me as much as racism and elitism. But I keep trying. Not trying to change anything, I am but one man against the wind. I will be happy to get someone to listen.
I have listened my whole life on the gun issue. I have listened and tried to understand and I cannot. Or at least, not yet. I understand all I can right now but I don’t honestly feel the other side is listening at all. Or even trying.
Here is a song I just discovered in this version … It reflects how I feel this issue has become. Dark. Heavy. Painful. Divisions are running deep. And dividing. I ask you … just read. You don’t have to like it, or even believe it, or like me. I’ll take the hatred if it means you listened. But this is my side. I speak the same words as many others on my side but I speak for me. ME. Not the other side.
We have a strong, proud and vibrant gun culture in this nation. (The US, as if I needed to say that) The culture is all based on the second amendment. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” I put that there because it is miss-quoted more than Mark Twain.
I get it, it is there in calligraphy on parchment, (not hemp, sorry miss guided 420 revisionists), that makes it all very official. I agree. I am also a gun owner. I get it. The gun culture in this country is full of many very proud and hard working men and women. This is not an anti-gun blog nor one seeking gun laws. I expect no new gun laws in my lifetime. And within 15 years to have no laws governing them at all.
Much of the point I will be making is about the culture around guns that has been built by gun owners and one special interest group called the NRA. They don’t speak for who you think, but we’ll get to that. I wont pretend to know it all since I am not really part of this culture. Much like someone telling me why people race cars or Jeep or write when they do not, I wont speak for a culture and proud people I am not part of. I will talk about what I have seen and what I have heard. This is from my perspective and information I can quote and trust.
First, I will point out this culture seems to be rife with myths and ubiquitous facts often claimed as unique to support the culture. The first is very direct. I have heard much of my life that this nation was forged from war and thus the need to be armed is necessary for a “free state”. Almost every nation was forged in war so this is not validation alone when so many nations who have a strong history in war have very restrictive gun laws as well so that argument is not well armed, nor does it make sense.
Most nations in Europe was forged in war and they have fought more wars and actually been invaded in most cases yet they have fewer guns. And no, they were not invaded BECAUSE they have fewer guns. We’ll get to that.
Secondly, the military serves the role of national defense, or as the Second Amendment states, a Militia. The people are not expected to and would not be able to defend this nation from any other nations military, or militia. Even if every man and woman in America had guns, it would be damn hard to stave off a true Army. It is NOT about national defense, get over that idea.
Third, the Switzerland example. Please, get the information right. Every time I hear this nation come up in the gun debate I am told they have 100% gun ownership. That isn’t even close. The estimates are between 20% and 40%. Not close to 100% so PLEASE, stop lying to yourself. At one point they did have much higher % as part of national defense. They are also between two nations that fought on opposing sides in two world wars in 30 years. We are not, nor ever been, or ever will. They do have compulsory conscription though, if you’d like that and no one can own a machine gun which would make at least three of my friends felons. Also, conceal and carry permits which are a joke here are almost impossible to get there. They also have to have their medical records reviewed for EVERY gun purchase permit and EVERY GUN is registered. Up to 3. Three. Tre. Not unlimited, three … you would have to get rid of more than half your guns on average. Wanna keep siting the Swiss example?
Getting back to the idea that citizens will defend the nation from foreign aggression as the “Invisible Army”. That is an embarrassing statement. Please stop saying it. First off, there is a sub culture in this nation that often refers to itself as “The Invisible Empire”. As the invisible army you sound like the army for the invisible empire. If you don’t know, the invisible empire is the KKK. If that is your intent, so be it, First Amendment baby, but you sound silly calling yourself the invisible army.
There are about 100 million gun owners in the country. The average person who owns a gun, owns 7. This is from the NRA before someone claims I am using liberal propaganda. Now I admit, this is a lot of guns.
But the idea that gun owners believe they are invisible, or an army, is mythical and immature. #1, gun owners are anything but invisible. Many of the ones I know wear their guns with pride. They are easy to see under your shirt, trust me. They wear them often and talk about how many they own. The NRA and 2nd Amendment bumper sticker or in my region, RMGO and armed Calvins for God’s sake are far from invisible. This is a declaration, not invisibility. If you are referring to unofficial, not in uniform army as invisible, then ok, makes a little more sense but please see #2.
#2 To claim yourselves as an army is a power fantasy of childhood and Hollywood. Lets consider the Army, the real one. The one with months, years and generations of training based on centuries of refined principles for both individual skills and military planning. To think 100 million men and women with Glocks and HnKs are an army cause they go shoot in the forest illegally 3 times a year and leave a mess behind like it is their urine on a tree is not training. I suspect you know that too. A large well armed group of people acting without regulation is not called an army, it is called a mob. Mobs usually end well for the citizens. Look up Reginald Denny and get back to me.
One of the other common myths in my part of the country is the idea that the west was settled with guns and they were responsible for the calming of the west. This is so wrong it is embarassing. I wrote about it in “How the West Was Won …”
The west was not like the movies love to portray. The west as we know it was largely made up by penny novels sold in the east about the west where no one was there to prove it wrong. The myth was further perpetuated by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. Both, were fiction for profit. Neither were wrong because neither were trying to be factual. They were and are fiction and so is the myth the west was won because each settler carried guns and used them to kill Indians.
The west was tamed from cold hard steel, yes. The plow. Very few people in the American West owned guns. They were damn expensive to own, much more so than now as a percentage of income, and bullets were also very expensive. The price of one quality gun could feed a family for half a year.
The old west as many see it is 100% the product of Hollywood and fantasy. There is no record known of any high noon gun fights that seem to happen in every western. This was a myth invented in penny novels and perpetuated by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. Shootings and some shoot outs did happen. But that was lawlessness, not civilization. Cowboys were not the white men in Stetsons on horseback portrayed in almost all western movies, they were usually Mexican and Spanish men wearing sombreros who herded and managed cows, most of who were unarmed and likely did not wear what we know as a cowboy hat. Also, most were not on horseback.
As a point of reference for the myth we see on TV, the Cowboy hat as we know it and I wear was not invented until 1865 and in New York City. They were very expensive and few owned them. The hat was discovered by Buffalo Bill later on and used in his shows. Hats were common though. Any kid of hat. Usually straw or cloth. often sombreros.
I don’t wear one because of the west. I wear one because it used to be a tradition that the men who graduated from Colorado School of Mines received one. Then, handed down father to son. But i digress.
The most common claim I hear in this country regarding guns is the gun people carry under their shirt as if it is not known by all is that it is for protection. Ok, I get it. You are scared and feel that you will be attacked at any time. This must be what you believe since you carry a gun that is heavy and uncomfortable and not easy to sit while wearing. I ask you this, what are you so scared of that you are armed so much of the time? I have never carried a gun and never been a victim of a crime a gun would have prevented. Neither has most Americans.
Gun owners seem to me to be the most scared of all. They arm themselves with one of on average 7 guns because they are scared they will be mugged, robbed, attacked or killed. Fair enough. You must be scared. You seem very scared. There is a slight statistical chance you will be attacked or robbed or killed. But pay attention to the realities of guns when fired later in this piece.
Here is the irony. Many gun owners claim they want lax gun laws so they can protect themselves from those who have such free access to guns …. say that aloud to yourself and see how you sound. Do you also feel that the best way to put out a fire is with fire? (yes I know forest fires can work that way) And the best solution to a flood is more water. I assume you turn on the heat when you are too hot. When your child gets the flu, do you have other kids with the flu come over and play with them in hopes of a cure? Do you pay bills with other bills? The answer to gun violence is more guns? Really?
Since 2014 a gentleman in Kentucky, Mark Bryant, who is an avid gun owner has been tracking gun violence in America. Of the 100,000 or so violent acts committed with gun in that time, according to the national statistics he tracks, 3% were in self defense. 3% …. Three …. That is the same as saying that if Gary Johnson won 3% of the vote, he should be president. That sounds stupid doesn’t it…
Are the other 97% of gun violence acts justified or simply “acceptable losses” so we can have the 3%? Would you mind if 97% of your family was killed so 3% could live? Even if there is no proof or even strong evidence the other 3% would die? This is how you sound to me. “I’ll be part of the 3% so I don’t care about the other 97%.” Very neighborly.
Mr. Bryant developed his site for one purpose, keep in mind he is a happy and proud gun owner. He wants a real discussion about guns, not one based on myth, lies and manipulation. Truth is hard to find on this topic, not because it does not exist, not because it is hard to track, because it is a deadly issue killing thousands every year, and millions of people trying to convince everyone else the answer to gun violence is more guns. And they are angry. That is very obvious.
Do you know that the leading cause of death for black males in America ages 16 to 35 is homicide? How about this, the third most likely cause of death for white males 16-25 is homicide. Is the solution more guns?
Proving a false positive is the simple principle that if I carry a gun and never been robbed or killed then I was not robbed or killed because I carry a gun. The same could be said for shoes. You wear shoes more often so that could be the reason. Or maybe it is the simple idea that few people are are victims of a crime a gun could prevent. Ever. Crime is pretty much statistically spread among guns owners and non-gun owners equally and rare. So far the guns are not preventing many crimes. Hardly any in fact. 3% according to gun loving and proud American Mark Bryant.
Most of my gun owning friends are very careful and responsible gun owners. They use trigger locks and gun safes and lock boxes. Many also do not store the ammunition with the gun. That is also very responsible. But this means it is not about protection. In the time it would take me to sneak into your house (part of my past) and you finally hear me or see me if at all cause I am not there to interact with you at all, I can be out of your house and down the street before you can get to any of your 7 safely locked away guns.
I could have also beat you with your shoe as you opened your gun safe. Or are you expecting me to wait as you open your gun locker? I’m quite confused about this safety and home defense claim.
… Many gun owners claim they want lax gun laws so they can protect themselves from those who have such free access to guns …
Or … do you in reality have several of your 7 or more guns in your home hidden in sneaky and unlikely places around the house, like by the front door behind the coat rack or in the drawer of your night stand where no one would ever think to look when they sneak into your house at night. Or the one hidden in the corner of your closet, behind something so it is not obvious. Or clipped to your steering column or under your seat or in the glove box or ….
Maybe they aren’t all locked away safely like you claim.
I can remember the number of times I have seen Facebook posts of people I know firing a machine gun in the woods, and I am certain most if not all do not have the tax stamp to permit a machine gun. Makes me wonder who the lawless people are. Makes me wonder alot about your honorable claims…
Those in defense of free gun purchases often have said to me, “well, gun statistics and deaths from them are so hard to track so most information out there is inaccurate.” Yet, they will tell me millions of people use guns in self defense every year. So THAT is the only valid and track-able gun statistic? In reality, gun violence is one of the most tracked statistics in law. The truth is not a lie just cause you don’t like it.
“It’s clear from Bryant’s data that there aren’t anywhere near the 1-2.5m instances of defensive gun use per year that gun rights advocates claim. Those figures, unlike Bryant’s, are based largely on the results of a survey [not actual legal tracking] taken more than 20 years ago. Because it’s an estimate, there’s no way to verify the incidents, something advocates attribute to the nature of crime reporting.”
Lets be clear on one thing, other than target shooting guns, guns have one purpose. Guns are designed and intend to kill. They are designed to as efficiently as possible, end life. They are very efficient at it. The machine gun is the deadliest invention in history. Guns are only invented to end life. Responsible gun owners will also say, you do not draw a gun unless you intend to use it. A gun’s only use is to kill. Unless you plan on and intend to end another life do not un-holster your gun. I agree.
I say this to be clear that every person carrying a gun around you, around your kids, is carrying one of the very few items in the world an individual can carry that is solely intended to terminate life. It is not often said, that that .32 pistol in the holster under the person’s jacket in the line behind you at the store was designed to be efficient at killing another human.
This doesn’t mean the owner is wanting to kill, or hoping to kill or needing to kill. But it is also reality that the person carrying that .32 semi automatic in the line behind you at the store has likely never been trained how to fire it in close quarters at a moving target. Most examples of citizen defenders were firing at people unarmed. Now lets make it worse and less likely, you with no training will not hit an innocent with the variable of that person you are aiming to kill fires back. Now who is the most likely to die? That is the scenario I often hear … ‘I am behind you at the supermarket, I am armed, you are not. If a criminal comes into the store to steal hoho’s and is armed, I am willing to and armed to protect myself, and you… ‘ Bullshit. That’s not likely why you carry it.
- I offer a simple observations: Those most adamant about responsible gun ownership have not passed any laws governing ownership.
- The Brady Bill has been dismantled in most states due to NRA funding.
- Most who oppose gun laws blame the Brady Bill on liberals. James Brady was a Republican and it would not have passed if not for the 16 Republicans that voted for it
- Those who criticize gun laws as ineffective, don’t seem to be doing anything at all to propose effective ones.
- Those trying to stop grade schooler’s from being killed, are very confused by those who only propose more guns as a solution to gun violence. Much like more water is not the cure for drowning. Most of the nation is waiting for those who claim to be responsible gun owners to propose responsible gun regulation.
- The only logical conclusion we can come to is, those who believe in gun ownership believe in unrestricted and un-tracked gun ownership for all. Because that is the only termination of the path we are one with these laws.
Also, for those who are not gun enthusiasts, it is important to know that buying or owning a gun does not require any guidance in using a lethal device that can be carried in public. None. No training in loading it or its safety features. For a conceal and carry permit I am told there is a written test. The written test is not about safety as much as how to not get into legal trouble. Only some testers require you to demonstrate the ability to fire a gun down range. “Down Range” does not assume skill or marksmanship in a crowded space like that supermarket. It tests to see if you know which way to aim it and how to fire it down range. That is essentially it. Compare this to driving a car and what we all had to do to earn and maintain that privilege.
Those of you with conceal and carry permits … have you had holster training by someone who knows? Do you know that most self inflicted wounds come when un-holstering your sidearm? Do you know that it is harder to get a Ham radio license than a conceal and carry permit? How many people have ever been killed with a ham radio?
I have been told, “Any responsible gun owner will know more than just how to fire a gun down range”. I agree. Most of my friends have gone into the woods with their friends and fired guns with one another. Yet the papers are full of stories demonstrating that this is not enough. I have also been in the woods with friends when an accidental discharges has occurred. More than once. NO JEEPS WERE KILLED IN THE MAKING OF THIS ARTICLE. Most gun owners have never been formally trained on use and almost none have been trained on how to use one in a public area. This has always made me wonder who that person behind me in line with a killing device will kill if hey pull it out only with the intent to use it which means they intend to kill.
Do those people carrying a gun in the line at Walmart “for your protection” know what ammunition to use for close quarters firing? Do you know that the ammunition most people own, which is great for shooting trees in the woods and penetrate well, which trust me, gun owners like to talk about penetration, is NOT the ammunition you want for protection in Walmart?
… Many gun owners claim they want lax gun laws so they can protect themselves from those who have such free access to guns …
If you have a gun in your home and you have kids, IF that gun ever kills anyone, which is rare, the most likely person to be killed according to national fire arm statistics is your child. The second most likely is your child’s friend. The third most likely person to be killed with your gun in your home is your significant other. The fourth most likely to be killed with your gun in your home, is you. That robber you are so scared of doesn’t even make the top four. Outside of your home, the most likely person to be killed with your gun, is you. Again, most guns never kill anyone. But that is what they are best at and the only thing they are intended to do.
I understand that people who are scared of the unlikely event of home invasion or being present at a robbery or if the Cubans invade Colorado via Mexico they want a gun for self protection. But we know these are very rare. Hell, Colorado has only been invaded by Cuba via Mexico once in history and only occurred in Hollywood. Some will say the news is full of evidence to the contrary. Agreed, gun violence is a common occurrence. 100,000 acts since 2014. But according to your own Mr. Bryant most of that gun violence is not in defense. Where is this self defense you speak of?
Every day we hear of people shooting guns in public. But how often do you hear of people defending themselves with a personal firearm? It does happen. I will never deny that so please don’t quote me the little old lady who defended herself from 8 rapists in her home with an AR15. Heard it many times and it seems to happen every year and the number of rapists grows along with her age and the profile of the gun. This doesn’t mean the story, in some version is not true. I am sure it is. I can easily picture it.
Again, this is not about gun laws or an anti gun stance, I am working towards something. Bear with me. (pun intended)
Do you know that you can be sued for discharging a firearm in public? Even if you hit Bin Laden and kill him and prevent him from stealing all the kittens from the internet? (yes I know he is dead, work with me here) Civil suits do not require legal conviction or even arrest, even though discharging a firearm in public is illegal. Do you know that each person endangered can sue you? Do you know that the average settlement is about $4,000,000 per person suing you? Do you know that on average the court cases last for 12 years for one discharge? Food for thought.
… Many gun owners claim they want lax gun laws so they can protect themselves from those who have such free access to guns …
I am also a counselor. I can tell you from first hand accounts from clients that the killing of another human, even in combat but this is very not about combat, is devastating. It is something we approach from the holstered side of this argument like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Yippie Ki Yay mother … lover. We think of this hero idea and think we will defend our family and all in the supermarket from the dude who is trying to steal the Hohos. If you think this is why you should carry a gun do all responsible gun owners a favor and STAY HOME.
Go back to my statistic about the most likely one to be killed by your gun … imagine your child being killed by YOUR gun. Imagine any child being killed by YOUR gun. It is unlikely. But from the un-holstered side of that argument, the stats are clear. You better be ready to be a killer. If you pull it out, you intend to kill, right? That’s what I have heard all my life. You are carrying the gun in-case you need to kill another human being. Lets be simple and clear on that. To review so far:
- Firearm sales go up after every mass shooting?
- It is harder to get a Ham radio operators license than a conceal and carry permit?
- There has not been any significant gun laws passed in decades yet you are NRA and you vote … against what?
- Did you know that the NRA works on behalf of the gun makers, not the gun owners?
Just some perspectives ….
As I said, the way that most people quote the 2nd Amendment removes the first half. “The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.” is not complete. If it were that direct and simple that is all it would say. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This from a nation that had no national army: That did not spend 16% of its annual budget and 56% of discretionary budget every year on the military, that had no means to draft or much ability to even arm men for service. That era is antiquated and long past. Militias are no longer needed or used. Unless you count some small well armed factions in some remote areas of the west … I’m craving potatoes.
Here is the issue I have with all of this. Yes, I think guns are silly. To me they are a symbol of fear, not force. They project and advertise fear to me. They project fear of the unlikely much like walking around in hip waders in fear of a flood does.
I have no issue with gun owners other than some rationalizations being offered for why they own on average 7 guns. This is about two of the rationalizations. The first is do not try to justify your gun ownership as national defense. You sound silly. Consider armored vehicles and your .38, or .45. You and those of us with guns could not defend this nation from any reasonable army. Look up ‘tank’ and get back to me. Also, my disagreement with you does not mean I am leaving the country or even liberal. I’m not. The often heard attitude that I must agree with you to live here goes back to that invisible empire argument. Oh yeah, and first amendment baby. I’m not leaving no matter how many guns you own or carry. I am protecting my nation right now … without a gun.
Second is that I know that gun laws would decrease gun deaths and reduce crime. I know this because 17 industrialized, educated, intelligent nations have restrictive gun laws and they all have lower crime and murder rates than us. Studies have been done and done and done and those not done by the NRA or paid by gun makers all show that gun laws work. They also worked here when they have been enacted and before they were dismantled by one party and largely one gun selling advocacy group. But I am not proposing any gun law. I am hoping for something far more simple…
… instead of claiming you are carrying that gun hidden under your jacket for mine or national protection, just say you like guns, or that our world scares you. There is nothing wrong with that. Stop lying that it is about my protection or national protection. If you are scared, then maybe carrying a gun will help. Maybe the most scared of us needs to carry the most guns, or the biggest guns. If you tell me over and over as I have heard that you are not scared, but you own 7 guns on average and am carrying one to the King Supers then I am confused.
Just say you like guns or they are beautiful or the craftsmanship or the RIGHT history … there is nothing wrong with that.
Just say the truth, not this lie about protecting me in a line at the store … you would kill me or most likely you or your kid or your wife. And be sued. And lose on average 4 million dollars, per settlement. But I’m not sure the money would matter after killing your kid, or anyone else for that matter. I’ll take my chances with the criminal. At least they aren’t lying about why they have a gun, if they do …most crimes do not involve a gun.
I have given up on the fear some gun owner do gooder will kill me. If it happens I will be dead, so what. But I hope my estate sues the life out of you and takes your house, your pension, kids college fund and that lovely gun collection. If you shoot me, you better kill me or I will use the rest of the laws and rights to take everything I can from you… The same flesh you shoot off me I will take from you. I can recommend good therapists and one hell of a defense lawyer though if you want to have them ready.
You only carry in case you have to use it. You would not un-holser it unless you intend to kill. That’s all that killing machine you are hiding on your hip is designed to do. Kill.
The simple observations I recall when you tell me how you carry a gun for yours, mine or our nation’s protection are these:
- I wonder why you are so scared when most people including my mother who is a 5 foot tall white woman with gray hair who worked in South East DC for 8 years and never even carried a cell phone never carried a gun, nor needed to.
- The time when the word militia was used, it had a very different and clear meaning that has never been challenged at the Supreme Court.
- You sound silly telling me you will protect the nation from invasion or terrorists with your untrained and obviously fearful skill set.
- A concealed gun is not a deterrent.
- You very likely have no training in close quarters use of a firearm.
- The trees don’t shoot back and half the time you miss anyhow.
- There are valid and normal reasons for owning guns, yet I almost never hear them stated by anyone who owns on average 7 guns.
- Your reasons so often given sound like excuses, not reasons.
- You sound scared.
- When you say you are wearing a gun for anyone-else’s protection, all I hear is that you desperately wish you were a super hero and really want to wear a mask and cape and kill someone.
- Maybe you will…
Thank you for reading.