Thursday, December 20, 2012

Firearm Philosophies

There has been quite a bit of discussion lately regarding the topic of gun ownership and legality.  Both sides of the aisle have been trying to make their voice heard, and are using current events to support their cause.

As for me, my dad was a cop for 23+ years, so I grew up around guns.  He wasn't a nut about them or anything though - he mainly had his service revolver and one or two others, that I was aware of anyway.  They were a familiar sight to me, not only because he wore one when coming and going to work, but also because he usually wore a concealed weapon anytime we left the house.  I also watched him clean them once in a while, after he used them for practicing at the range.

So guns have never been a big deal to me.  My dad sternly taught me to respect them, but also to accept them.  When I was old enough and physically able to operate his service weapon (at the time it was a Smith and Wesson .38 revolver), he unloaded it, let me hold it, then showed me how to operate it.  After that I will never forget what he told me "You are never to fucking touch my guns on your own.  Never." "However, if you do ever want to look at them or touch them, then you just tell me and I'll pull them out for you."  Problem solved.  Even as curious as I was about most things, once I knew that I could access them whenever I wanted to (under his supervision), I never really felt much of a need to.

Now my dad is gone and I'm an adult with kids of my own.  I ended up inheriting a few of his weapons when he passed away, but have never purchased any of my own (although I've thought about it).  I don't have a permit to carry one, and I don't see a great need to either.  As with purchasing one though, I have given it serious consideration.

All of the recent discussions have caused me to ponder the perspective of both sides of the political spectrum.  Why don't liberals feel a need to protect themselves at all?  Why don't I feel the need to take that next step to purchase another one and/or carry it on me?  What would the world look like if gun purchases were banned altogether?  Didn't most men carry them once upon a time, in the days of the wild wild West?  How did we move away from that?  Can the same principals that moved us away from that be applied to today's society, and if so then to what effect?  And on, and on...

The more thought I gave it, the more I thought that maybe I could sufficiently summarize the main differences between people who support using guns and those who support banning them.  This is what I believe to be each of their perspective (told from a first person narrative):

Gun rights advocates believe in preparation and prevention:
Even if I never run into a person who will threaten my life and/or my family, I absolutely do not want to be a victim, and I believe that if the situation arose that I would need to protect myself or my family, then carrying or owning a gun will help tremendously to do so.

I don't necessarily dislike or distrust the government, but I want to rely on them as little as possible.  The more self sufficient that I'm able to be, the better.  As such, I want to be able to protect myself (not depend on the police to be there when I need them), provide for myself (be able to kill food, if necessary), and prevent those in power from over extending their boundaries into my own rights and privacy.  No, I don't expect to ever need to use my guns against the government, but the mere fact that so many law abiding citizens own them helps to prevent the authorities from ever considering over-extending or abusing their power.

I don't know when or if the civilized world is coming to an end.  It might be next week, or the next decade, or in the next generation.  But I want to be ready for it, when or if it ever comes.

In short, I will do my best to prevent myself from ever being caught unprepared, or with my pants down, so to speak.

Gun control advocates prefer relegation and passivity:
First of all, I've never owned or used a gun, so frankly they freak me out and/or scare the crap out of me.  Sure, I've seen them used in movies, but I don't want to further promote or explore this dark sides of humanity.

I don't really think that anyone will ever threaten me such that I would need a weapon.either.  Or, if such a threatening situation were to arise then I would rather run, submit, or surrender (myself, my money, whatever they ask) than to fight back and risk getting hurt.  I think these options (running, submitting, or surrendering) will always prove to be sufficient enough methods that I can use them to avoid any harm to myself or my family. I would rather risk the odds of being attacked (which seem infinitely slim), than risk having an accident with firearms, especially if my children were involved.

The world already has too much violence, and by learning to defend myself I am only increasing the level of violence that exists and also increasing the likelihood that I would have to use it.  Speaking of using it, whenever a firearm is used, whether for attacking or defending, someone is likely to get killed.  If I choose instead to just give them (whoever) what they want, then everyone lives and we're all better off that way.

Yes, I mostly trust law abiding citizens to own guns, but I trust the government much more.  In fact, those employed by the government are must more likely to make the right decisions with guns, because (a) they make the laws regarding them and (b) they are much more highly trained on how or when to use them (weapons).

Our society is stable enough and its people civilized enough to survive any doomsday scenario that we will realistically encounter (seriously, zombies?).  Preparing for society's collapse is therefore a waste of time and money, and those who do so look like paranoid rednecks.

My current position , practices, and ponderings:
I doubt I will ever realistically run into a person who will threaten my life and/or my family.  In fact, I'm certain that the odds are highly in my favor.  But I don't want to ever be a victim either, and I believe that if the situation arose that I would need to protect myself or my family, then carrying or owning a gun will tremendously help to do so.  That being the case, why don't I carry though, so that I can be prepared enough just in case the situation ever arises?  The only answers I have is that (a) it takes a considerable amount of effort and cost, (b) even though I observed this practice with my dad, it's still completely unfamiliar to me, and (c) can't imagine it's comfortable to carry (heavy, bulky), and the places to hide them (ankle, shoulder) seem completely unrealistic when doing anything except wearing a full suit and standing completely still.

I don't think that our government will ever actually try to increase its power to the extent that they would restrict our rights enough to warrant a possible uprising.  And accordingly, I don't think the American people will ever need to utilize our weapons to rise up against it.  But is it really a bad thing to be in such a position that we (citizens) could do so?  In other words, just because we trust the government to usually do the right thing doesn't mean that we always will, or that it always will either.  So why not be prepared accordingly?  Doesn't having an armed citizen militia help prevent the government from considering expanding its power beyond what it should?

I'm not a doomsday prepper.  I don't have a stock pile of anything.  Not food, not water, not a bunker, and not ammunition either (just a little left over from my dad).  I honestly don't believe that these preparations would ever be utilized or necessary.  But I can't help to sometimes feel a little short sighted when I hear, read, or talk to someone who is prepared for whatever the future may hold.  While it may seem a bit odd and paranoid, is it ever a bad thing to be overly prepared?

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