Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

18 December 2012

On Guns and Shooting

I own a gun: A .40 caliber Glock model 22. It holds 15 rounds in the magazine and I can have an extra one in the chamber if I choose, for a total availability of 16 bullets. Over the years I have put a lot of bullets through this gun at the range. I am not afraid of it; I don’t see it as a horrible device for human destruction. I am comfortable and proficient with it. I pray to God that I'll never have to use it in anger. But if I do, it will do what I ask of it.

I have carried it – both on my person at times but mainly in my car. I have taken it camping and hiking. I have a shoulder holster for it, but honestly the Glock is so bulky that it’s hardly concealable. I could wear it in an ankle holster…if bellbottom pants ever come back into style, and dear Lord we hope they don’t. Otherwise, the only other option is a small-of-the-back holster, but even then you have to wear a jacket or an untucked puffy pirate shirt. And let's hope those never come back in style either. If I am ever carrying it when we are together you will probably never know for I will not tell you.

The Glock does not give me a sense of invulnerability or power, and it doesn’t turn me into Dirty Harry, but it does give me a tool to use if something really, really bad happens. Something to level the playing field, if you will.

Do I seriously expect that something really, really bad will happen? I’m not sure. I wonder if those people in that mall in Oregon recently ever thought about it. And I wonder if those people who had merely shown up at a movie theatre in Colorado to see the latest Batman movie ever thought about it. Lastly I wonder if the teachers at the school in Newtown, Connecticut ever thought about it. Bad stuff happens. I’d rather be prepared than not, thank you.

With all that’s been said and written about the tragedy in that school in Connecticut, I can’t help thinking that if *I* had been in the building that day with my gun, I would have at least had a chance to do something before that Lanza kid could kill 27 students and teachers. In other words, I would not have had to be a victim – at least not initially. And I think the odds would have been pretty good. He, with his larger and bulky semi-automatic rifle; me with my lighter and more maneuverable semi-automatic pistol. Unless Lanza was really proficient in the use of that Bushmaster rifle and the two pistols he carried, he might have been an easy take-down. But yeah, I know, that’s pure speculation, isn’t it?

I’m not being overly macho or pompous here. I have a gun and I know how to use it, simple as that. Could I have shot Adam Lanza with it? Yes, without hesitation, yes. In the head. Does that make me a horrible person…because deep in my heart I know that I could take the life of another human if it came down to that? Does that make me as bad as him? I don’t think so. I had to wrestle with that issue when I bought the gun. I had to ask myself: Could I really kill someone with it? I think we have a fair duty to protect the lives of others, to not merely lie there and be a victim, to do what’s necessary to eliminate the threat, even if it means taking the life of someone else to do it. You may think it makes me a bad person, but I can live with that, no pun intended.

What happened in Connecticut on Friday, December 14, 2012 was a terrible, unspeakably horrible tragedy. I wish it had never happened. I wish that Lanza kid’s mother had the common sense God gave a flea and would not have had guns in the house with that emotionally disturbed child of hers. Sometimes I wish that guns had never been invented at all. But they were, and they’re not going away anytime soon. And as long as there are crazy bastards like Adam Lanza out there, random shootings will happen again. I go to the movies…I go to the mall. So…how would you want to prepare for such an event?


Bob said...

Good points all. I remember a similar comment to a post I made a couple years ago. I would never want to take away your gun. You are responsible and sensible with it.

I am not sure the answer to this, however, is for everyone to be armed. Just don't think that is the kind of society I want to live in. And somehow I think we have to reach some common ground where our safety is preserved at the same time our rights are protected. But maybe I'm not realistic.

I totally agree about Lanza's mom. My god what was she thinking?

Anonymous said...

OK, let's do a little hypothetical here....Mom has son with similar problems and "bonds" with him by bar hopping and imbibing at home. She leaves liquor somewhere that is accessible to said son. Heavy drinking occurs, anger builds, and the next thing a vehicle rams a bus from school, full of kids, and all perish. Does the government shut down the liquor store, the distillery, the bottle maker? I think the answer is an emphatic no. The conclusion is obvious. DId the car kill, or did he? The gun did not kill, he did. Someone that is determined to commit heinous acts as this will do it somehow, someway, period.
I get so tired of the lack of placing blame where it should be or accepting responsibility for one's actions. He should not have had access to guns and she was the facilitator.

Bob Barbanes: said...

Bob, the solution - obviously - is not to have *everybody* armed...only enough of them to deter a lunatic from wanting to shoot up the place. Did you know that with reference to the movie theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado, the theatre was the only one in town that displayed a sign that read, "No handguns allowed?" Other theatres in the town had no such restriction (although paradoxically one chain does now - which I don't understand at all). The shooter was confident nobody else there would have a gun. Perhaps it's why he chose THAT theatre?

No, the solution is for people who are not afraid of guns...people who are comfortable and proficient in their use...that THEY be allowed to possess and carry their gun. To work? Yes. To school even? Yes! In Colorado, Columbine H.S. killers Klebold and Harris KNEW that nobody in the school would be able to challenge them. In Connecticut, with even more strict gun laws than Colorado, Lanza knew this too. Doesn't that seem bizarre to anyone but me??

It literally makes me sick to think about those poor, defenseless teachers in Connecticut, hiding in closets and under counters, cowering in fear for their lives as a lunatic roamed through their school shooting people at will, KNOWING that barring a miracle of some sort they were about to be killed. The teachers not only had no way of defending their own lives, but no way of defending the lives of their students as well. To me it is simply unfathomable.

People should be allowed to defend themselves.

Stricter gun laws won't change a damn thing. Crazy people will find a way of getting guns. Lanza did not wake up that morning and decide, "What a pretty morning! Heyyyy, I think I'll go shoot up a school today! I wonder if mom locked the gun cabinet?" No, he meticulously planned this out. He didn't just "snap." He had snapped a long time ago and his mother either "didn't notice" it or consciously denied it.

He used a gun in the commission of his awful quest, but let's not BLAME the gun. Because as Cass says, he could have used any weapon with pretty much the same results.

And Cass, you are absolutely correct, as usual.

Anonymous said...

And, speaking of inane gun laws, how many schools do you know of that permit firearms on their campuses?

Bob said...

Bob thanks so much for your thoughtful comments here and at my blog. I can't really refute anything you say and no I can't prove stricter gun laws would prevent these tragedies. And maybe a comprehensive discussion includes discussion of defense training and education for teachers and others. Maybe they should be armed, or at least trained, as you suggest.

And there is the whole matter of mental health. Lots to talk about.

Bob Barbanes: said...

MdeM, there is one school system (in Texas, naturally) that allows teachers to carry. There may be another, but I don't recall it at the moment.

The point though is not to require ALL teachers to be armed. We should allow those who are comfortable and proficient in their use to carry them. Hopefully, no one would ever know which teachers have them and which don't.

I just get this image of the teachers at that school in Connecticut, cowering in locked closets and under counters, in absolute fear for their lives, knowing they were probably about to die. What must have been running through their heads? Was it, "Gee, I'm glad Connecticut has such strict gun laws!"

Probably not.

The ONLY way to prevent such horrible things from happening is to completely remove guns from society. And you know that ain't gonna happen in our lifetimes. In the interim, PLEASE don't take away my ability to defend myself. "Gun-free zones" are a laughable, pathetic farce. All that means is that law-abiding citizens will not have guns to protect themselves when non-law-abiding citizens decide to come in and shoot up the place.

Greybeard said...

Okay, step back, take a deep breath, and let's talk.
Why did our Founding Fathers put the 2nd amendment into our Constitution?
It has nothing to do with hunting, as many are trying to make us believe.
It really has little to do with personal self-defense...
Taking down the Adam Lanzas of the world, (although that would have been a GOOD thing).
Our Founding Fathers knew we might eventually have to do what they did...
Throw off the yoke of a tyranical government. And they knew we'd need the tools to do that if it became necessary.
Simple as that.

So when you hear rumors about strange encampments being built by FEMA in out-of-the-way places...
When you see photos and read about HumVees built like tanks being distributed around the country, does it give you pause?
How effective would a Glock 22 be against such a tool?

Our government is getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Our president now wants a civilian security force "every bit as big and powerful as our Army.

I never, EVER thought I would NEED a .50 caliber Barrett rifle.
Now, I'm not so sure.
The world is about to go crazy.
Be prepared, or be a victim.

Bob Barbanes: said...

Gee, Greybeard, paranoid much? That link you posted to the incriminating video of the "strange encampment" was shot in 2006. In the six years that have elapsed, the site (which was claimed to be an Amtrack facility) has been turned into...wait for it...an Amtrack repair facility! THOSE EVIL BASTARDS! Hey, don't take my word for it, GoogleEarth it yourself. (But maybe that's just an elaborate cover, huh?)

I don't know what it is about getting older that turns people so bitter and paranoid. Stockpiling weapons and ammo for the armageddon that is sure to come seems pretty "out there" to me - no offense.

Hey Greybeard, you profess to be a Christian, right? Then have a little faith, man.

As for the police getting stronger and stronger...it's because we (the American public) demand it. A couple of years ago in rural south Alabama a gunman went on a shooting rampage in and between three very small towns. He ran around (drove around, actually), pretty much unopposed for a while, randomly killing as he went.

The national news media were simply apoplectic: WHERE WAS THE S.W.A.T. team??? Well...you know...in a lot of areas in this country there just *aren't* such teams ready to spring into action. And with each of these "crazy gunman" shootings the police are called upon to be able to react more quickly and effectively. If certain law enforcement agencies are getting beefed-up HUMVEES, it's because the people are demanding them.

Greybeard said...

No offense taken my friend.
Do you have a link for your "gotcha" re: Amtrak?
Here's my thoughts on what you consider paranoid-
We now have a president who seems focused on financially running the country into the ground.
Several Federal Law Enforcement agencies have just made massive purchases of ammunition.
The IRS has just hired a TON of new employees to enforce tax laws required to implement our wonderful new health care plan, (and they are one of the agencies involved in the ammo purchase.)
Paranoid? Maybe.
But if I'm wrong, I've got a bunch of ammunition I can use or sell to others.
If you're wrong, what then?

In the meantime, I'm pouring myself another glass of vino, and smiling.

Greybeard said...

In the meantime, Homeland Security apparently feels threatened by something, or someone!

Greybeard said...

I'd still like to see a link about your Amtrak comment, Bob.
(Not that I think you're full of Bull droppings or anything.) :>)

Anonymous said...

Cannot agree more. Had an old pilot friend ask me the other day if I wanted to invest in precious metals with him. Told him I was......lead wrapped in copper. Hope he has a good slingshot for his gold.