Some time ago I resolved to begin each Monday on a positive note. However, events of this past weekend have pushed me completely in the opposite direction.
The tension out there is getting thick. On Saturday morning, I awoke to find in my local morning paper an article about a local businessman who is absolutely enraged that local authorities will not consent to him hosting a “Leaded Tea Party” over the Labor Day weekend on property owned by his business. [See original post.] Celebrants were to be able to fire weapons on a shooting range he set up on the property.
He has reacted by banning all government personnel from the property and erecting barricades and employing security personnel to enforce the ban. This is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Perhaps I should not be surprised. In fact, I actually expected this kind of reaction in this area sooner. After all, North Florida is but an extension of South Georgia. But I am cautious, perhaps overly so because I know these people are reacting not out of anger but out of fear. Yet, fear can make people react in ways in which they normally would not react and make decisions they will later regret. And with the hysteria stoked by the lies and propaganda from the right, anything is possible.
However, my wife’s reaction to the whole situation is what really disturbs me.
I am baffled by the whole gun culture. There is a segment of this country’s population who has enjoyed a long running love affair with guns that does not make sense. I have tried to explain it, but I honestly cannot. I have an idea that he has something to do with the power a gun suggests.
Though I have never owned a gun, I am more than capable of using one. When I was in the military, I qualified as an expert on a number of weapons—the M-16, the M-60 machine gun, the grenade launcher, the .45 caliber pistol, and the shotgun. However, I believe guns in the home are more trouble than they are actually worth; stories of catastrophes caused by guns in the home abound. And there is no conclusive proof that the presence of a gun in the home increases the safety of the home’s residence.
And my wife is even more strongly anti-gun than I. She vowed long ago that we would never possess a gun. So, imagine my surprise when on Saturday as we stood in the front yard, and I showed her the article alluded to earlier and casually joked that it might be time we armed ourselves.
She looked warily toward our neighbor’s home, the one outside which an oversize Confederate flag flies, and who drives the pick-up truck replete with anti-Obama and anti-Socialist bumper stickers. And then she looked either way up and down our street perhaps remembering that we were one of very few minorities in the area.
And I think I saw just a hint of fear in her eyes when she said, “I think it is definitely something we should talk about.” Her capitulation to the no gun rule by even considering bringing a gun into our home caught me and my children completely by surprise. It is not an overstatement to say we were unsettled by it.
And I did recognize the look of fear in my children’s eyes as they looked first at each other, and then at my wife, and finally at me. And I did recognize a slight twinge of fear of my own as I considered the possibilities and pondered how I might protect them if worse comes to worse.
Later when my wife and I were alone, I thought of broaching the subject with her again just to see if she was indeed serious, but I thought I would wait a while before mentioning it again.
I did not want the two of us to make such a serious decision out of fear. Because I know that fear can make people react in ways in which they normally would not react and make unwise decisions that they will later regret.
But today I think I will stop and price a few guns on the way home just to be on the safe side.