Monday, August 17, 2009

I Woke Up this Morning, and Got Myself a Gun (Pondering My Next Move)

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.


md20737 said...

I think some folks really believe that there will be a race war. And some people really cant believe or accept we have a black president. The day he won I came into the office it was quiet like I never heard quiet before. I work around mainly white people in the south. Before he won they would come to my desk and say things like its just something about him, and I hope he dont win, etc. Than they started with the non factual emails. I had to them not to send them to me. It can go really small to really large depending on the mental state of the person you are dealing with. I think your wife's fear is justifiable, and precautions are needed. I dont know if I am just a delusional as the people I just described, but it scares me the lenghts people will go to excercise their rights and beliefs.

Renee said...

As a Canadian I am even more baffled about the gun culture in the US. Though we do have gun involved criminal activities, it does not approach the level that occurs in the states. Other than a few hunters, I know very people that own a gun, let alone know how to operate one safely.
I must say I do understand your wife's fear. From watching the news it seems that daily the racial tensions are increasing. I wonder if the Republican even realize what they are promoting. Has it been so long that people don't remember how the deaths of JFK, Malcolm, Martin and RFK nearly ripped the country in two? Have people really forgotten the little girls that died in the church bombings. Racial hatred leads to violence and as the rhetoric increases each day, I fear for the young Black children that must grow in it.

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

This is quite an interesting, eye-opening time. Fear makes people act strangely and illogically. I recently heard a radio discussion related to a shortage of ammo. I found it fascinating that they talked about every possible cause other than a race war. Why people want to insult our intelligence by using the health care debate as a shield for the real hate they have is ludicrous and cowardly.

Your wife's reaction is understandable considering all the doggone craziness going on in the world. Being the wise man you are, you will make the decision on whether or not to purchase after careful consideration. The folks who do it just because or with malicious intent are the ones I want to avoid.

msladydeborah said...

I am pro-gun ownership. This is due to the fact that for several generations we have had guns in our household. Mainly to provide for our family. But, there have also been times when a having a gun has made the difference between being the victim of someone who thought they could invade our space without any response.

I know how to use a weapon. My dad and mom both insisted that I learn. They both still own weapons. I don't currently own one but-I'm seriously thinking that it might be time to purchase one again. I had one at one time because I lived alone and my dad insisted that I have an equalizer. I opted not to have one while my boys were growing up. The urban mentality about using a gat was just too scary to me. Plus that my ex is very afraid of guns.

I believe that people have to be taught to have a healthy respect for the power of a gun. My parents firmly believe that it is better to have one than not to have one. This is a nation that has blood and violence on its roots. It seems that it is the only way that they know how to solve problems.

I have maintained for a long time that we were going to enter a period when this would be a house divided. When you factor in the prediction that people of color will be the majority population within the next ten to fifteen years, the election of a Black POTUS and the fact that ignorance abounds-it is ripe for a bloody confrontation.

Anonymous said...

Very thought provoking piece. My husband and I differ on this issue. He believes in gun ownership and I, having grown up in NYC and losing friends to bullets, can't stand them. However, when I contemplate the situation, I would not be surprised if we do experience a complete uprising in our lifetime.

When discussing historical eras, my husband and I often say we would have liked to be grown during the civil rights movement. When I studied African-American history, I was quite drawn to the militant stance of the Black Panthers.

Recent events have drawn a parallel for me and caused me to reconsider, igniting a fear rather than romantic notion of being down for the cause. I still don't ever want to hold a gun because I don't think I could psychologically survive the feeling of pulling the trigger and taking a life. Yet, given American history, I suppose I'd prefer to live by the gun than die by one.

Craig Brimm said...

"I did not want the two of us to make such a serious decision out of fear" When does one ever purchase a device to stop (read end the life of) another human being and it is not a decision born out of fear. I feel you brother. Living in Georgia is about the same as N. Florida. And I too have considered my own personal call to arms. But when I think of the children. The answer is a resounding hell no. But most importantly, I truly believe my protection comes in a higher form of defense. And my faith is there. We (you & I) will be safe.

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