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I don't know if the recent shooting at a courthouse in Tyler, TX (an hour from where I live) made national news, but it's all over the media here. In case not, a man opened fire on people coming out of a courthouse, upset with a verdict, killed three, and wounded several. A man with a concealed weapons license opened fire and wounded the gunman, but was killed in the process.


I'll preface this with the following: guns scare the shit out of me. As they should, right? I also am a marksman with a .22, which means out of 200 attempts, I'll hit the bullseye over 170 times. Handguns? No. Fired them a few times, and the awesome power makes me need to pee and tuck my prehensile tail between my legs. (I don't actually have a tail. Hee!) I also grew up in a family of girls, and my father (who had enough of guns and death in Vietnam and while growing up on a farm in the mountains with black bears and coyotes) didn't have any guns in the house.

My husband has a rating of sniper with all guns. Meaning, the target thing? 198 out of 200. He has a concealed weapons license. He had to go through several courses to learn gun laws, responsibility, a psychological background check, yadda yadda. He hunts, he goes to the gun range for fun, and he has guns in my house. At first I yelled, cried, screamed, "there will be NO guns in my home." And he bought a gun safe with a keypad and keylock. And then he bought locks for the guns. They fit on the trigger, so you can't squeeze off a round without the tumbler combination selected. And we've educated our kids about gun safety. They have no idea how to get to dad's guns. Ammo is in our separate fire safe.

But I'm still scared of guns. As I should be.

That being said, my thoughts about accepting guns in my home is that regionally, guns are okay. This is Texas, after all. My dad was a farm boy from Utah, so what the hell did he know about "prying it from my cold, dead fingers?" I have Alamo blood in my family line. He grew up with a shotgun and rifle to protect the cattle from wolves and coyotes. Or to put an animal out of it's misery, should the need arise.

But I live in the city. According to recent stats on Dallas, TX, we are the crime capital/murder capital of the US. Yay, team! Lots of gun-for-hire kind of murder around here. Lots of folks with money that other people want. In our old neighborhood close to downtown, it was a weird hodge-podge of houses: million dollar mansions and run-down 100 year old bungalows. Very distinct line between the haves and the have-nots. I remember sitting in my living room late one night, reading by the window when I saw a face in my window. (MY god, I just got chills remembering this.) Very calmly I called out to my husband, as if I was telling him something interesting from my book. He walked out the side door with his shotgun and threw on the porch light. He stopped this man from breaking into our neighbor's house. But he could have been killed, as I frantically and emotionally yelled at him.

So there is this vigilante, this man who lived by the "cowboy code" who tried to stop a slaughter. If he hadn't wounded the gunman, the gunman may have killed more. BTW, the gunman had an assault rifle, which I am VEHEMENTLY opposed to. They (and handguns, for that matter) are designed for one thing, and one thing only: killing people.

Now we get to the Buffy portion of this ramble. Buffy was obviously opposed to guns. "These? Never useful!" But they can be. But they should be in the hands of people who are trained and people who are aware (and RESPECTFUL) of their awesome and frightening power. And there's the rub, right? You have Wesley who IMMEDIATELY turned to guns in a crisis. When he shoots the intern's knee for questioning his dedication to the "Burkle case" and when he unloaded his gun into his "father," for starters

I guess what I'm getting at is that it ISN'T black and white. We don't have slayers defending us with their fists and cunning. Guns can save the lives of those being threatened...by...guns. [/irony] There are also five year olds who pick up daddy's gun when he is coming off the shift at the Penn and shoot through the wall and kill their mom. (Happened the same time as the courthouse shooting.) And I'm wondering if we are even having this discussion because ultimately, I'm Texan, and I have the "Rugged Individualism" ideal pounded into me from birth. Is this a regional topic? Outside of the Grits Line is this even a topic? Are people from, say the Northwest, automatically going to shout down any and all gun use? I ask because I want to know. Have any of you had any experience with firearms? Good or bad? Spam me with your insight, your fervor, your questioning of it all.


And I leave this with my Deadwood icon, and if you haven't discovered this show, you are REALLY missing something earth-shatteringly phenominal, and is very relevant to the "cowboy code" topic of discussion.

Comments

( 81 comments — Leave a comment )
sdwolfpup
Mar. 1st, 2005 07:49 am (UTC)
This is a really difficult question. My stepdad took me out to the shooting range when I was 12 and I got to fire a rifle (and cursed out loud for the first time when I said "holy shit!" after it fired - hee); I also have been to the range and used a 22 (I'm not sure what my proficiency is but it's much better with this than any other because so little recoil) and a 45.

Guns ARE scary. And it would be best if they only ended up in the hands of responsible adults. But they don't. A lot of people make the argument that if you got rid of guns then no one would have them, except I don't think that's a viable solution anymore. Guns are too ubiquituous. The criminals won't be turning them in, not even for money (IMO). So how do we try to control it? I have no freaking idea. I think assualt rifles should be banned; there's no point in private ownership of one. People say they collect them; well then they should be made unfireable. Again, IMO and all that.

I wish I had something smart to add. I'm not again guns just because they're guns. I am against careless and dangerous gun owners. We need a Bad Gun Owner detector!
stoney321
Mar. 1st, 2005 10:44 am (UTC)
Bad Gun Owner. Right. While we're at it, let's throw in Bad Parent Detector, Bad Animal Owner... And if I think of any more, I'll let you know. Hee!!

"Guns are too ubiquitous" That paragraph of yours is smack on.
beadattitude
Mar. 1st, 2005 07:50 am (UTC)
I have very limited experience with guns. My dad, evidently, was a crack shot (a la Atticus Finch) which he forgot for 30 or so years until some friends took him quail hunting and he bagged more than the rest of the group. He said he and his dad used to go hunting for supplemental food during WWII when he was a just over 10 years old.

His friends gave him a quail gun, which he kept under his bed. One night he heard a noise that woke him from sleep, he said threateningly, "I have a gun back here!" And then called the cops. The cops came and couldnt find anything. Unable to sleep, he and mom turned on the tv, and a tiny little squirrel came shooting out. Hee.

My best friend from college had a stalker, and bought a 9mm because she was that afraid of him. She also got a brown belt in....something. I was never comfortable around her when she had the gun, because she was pretty tightly wound. Luckily, her stalker didn't move with her when she left that town.

A friend of ours was going through a rough time, and one night a counselor at the local crisis center asked us if we would go to her house and remove her gun. So, venturing 45 miles away in a pretty steady snow, we did. It's in my attic, in a box of old knicknacks nine years later. She never asked for it back, and I never offered, because honestly, I don't think she was ever calmed down enough to have it back. She's moved clear cross country now, and I made it pretty clear I'm not mailing a gun. I don't even think you can.

Lastly, I fella I dated briefly shot his tv while watching a Dirty Harry movie. So, with the exception of my dad, all the people that I knew who had guns, really weren't people who should.

But I also live in a village where it's the exception to lock your house when you're not there. If I lived in certain areas in my hometown, (Atlanta) maybe I might think about it. But I'd get a different kind of protection first - mace, martial arts, something.

Guns seem so...final to me, if that makes any sense. You have one and you're saying, "I'm willing to kill to protect myself." I'm just not ready to say that. I've never been in that much danger.
stoney321
Mar. 1st, 2005 10:45 am (UTC)
It seems reasonable to ask people to go through psychological testing to make sure they aren't crazy before giving them a gun. Same with cars, though. There are strict regulations for the concealed weapon license (as there should be) but any wacko can go to a gun show and walk out with a gun.

Loopholes. Therein lies the problem, IMO.
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poshcat
Mar. 1st, 2005 08:01 am (UTC)
As a Canadian, this stuff makes me boggle. People just don't have guns here. Lots of people in rural areas have hunting rifles, but in the city? It just doesn't happen. The only shootings we have are Asian gang members and crazy ex-husbands - but you're way more likely to be stabbed than shot in Calgary...and that's just in the nightclubs.

Although we still lock our doors. ::smacks Michael Moore upside the head::
hellespont
Mar. 1st, 2005 10:05 am (UTC)
There was actually a number of shootings in Toronto either last summer or the one before. It may have been gang-related, but I think some totally uninvolved people also got hit. There is more gun violence in Canada than a lot of people think, at least in Toronto. I live there now, and it's in the papers. Very sad, and scary.
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likeadeuce
Mar. 1st, 2005 08:35 am (UTC)
It's definitely a topic in Virginia. To say nothing of DC.

My father likes to say that the world would be safer if everybody carried a gun, although I think he actually knows that this is insane. I mean, he has a gun for his work (law enforcement) but it's not like he carries it with him. He's offered to take me target shooting but not with great enthusiasm and in fact I don't think he's ever taken any of his kids (though I'm sure he would if any of us asked him; which makes me hope seekingxanadu doesn't read this post because it's not like he needs to learn more potentially destructive behaviors). Guns freak me out in real life. In movies? They can be cool. As long as I'm able to think of them as "things that belong in movies."

I hope you weren't expecting this to be coherent or anything.

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spikesbint
Mar. 1st, 2005 08:37 am (UTC)
cute icon, havent heard of the show.

Guns are still a really scary thing in the UK. We have gun crime here, but its not that rife at the moment, we just have dumb laws that let mentally unstable people on the street to stab to death unsuspecting victims.

Our police still do not carry guns as every day protection, although i am sure it will one day come to that.

Angela
stoney321
Mar. 1st, 2005 10:53 am (UTC)
I knew about the lack of guns in the UK... Honestly, I'm more afraid of a mob of angry hooligans after a lost football match than I am of a gang of black guys in a hooptie. Mainly because I know that Hollywood exaggerates the "black experience." Which is probably true of hooligans, too. :-)

(Deadwood just came out on DVD. It's about the town of Deadwood, SOuth Dakota in the days of Wild Bill Hickock, shootouts, gold mines, etc. The characters are based on real people, and it's raw and painful and ugly and lyrical and just fantastic writing and acting. If you can find it, watch it. You won't be disappointed.)
somecandytalkin
Mar. 1st, 2005 10:15 am (UTC)
Okay, not much to contribute. I'm from Louisiana people, who use guns for everything, including exterminate rattlesnakes that are IN THE HOUSE with them! So...
And yesterday? Heard on the news that some poor woman around here got shot in the back while sitting at her computer because her five-year old found the gun. And the reporter goes, "It is thought that the shooting was accidental." Ummmm....okay.
And that made me think of the Wiggums' quote: No jury in the world is going to convict a baby. ...Maybe Texas.
Gotta love our state!

Whoot Deadwood!
stoney321
Mar. 1st, 2005 11:33 am (UTC)
Yeah, I hinted at that 5 year old in the original post. Which is why I stressed that we take extreme measures to lock up our guns and make them unusable at the house.

I forgot about that Chief Wiggum quote. Hilarious. *mourns the Simpsons being funny*
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hellespont
Mar. 1st, 2005 10:19 am (UTC)
I'm also from Canada - I spent early years in some pretty "sketchy" areas around Toronto, grew up in a "nice" suburb, and have now moved back to Toronto for university. I've never fired a gun. Never touched one. Other than in museums, on police officers, and in Wal-Mart, I don't think I've ever even seen a gun in real life. Certainly not one belonging to a friend or in a private home. My neighbour back home apparently owns hunting rifles, although I've never seen them; he was the first person I ever knew personally who had guns.

I have an intellectual fear of guns, not an emotional one, because I've never been around or been threatened by them. I've never been a victim of a violent crime or seen one in progress. I walk the streets of Toronto at night alone coming home from parties, and I know I should be scared, but I'm not. Probably I'd be more scared if I thought that the people around me were armed (they may be, but I don't think so). I could never have a gun in my house, any more than I'd have a venomous cobra. But then, other than my toddler years, I've never lived in an area where there is a legitimate fear of violence (and I don't think my parents were really afraid then either). Maybe I'd change my tune, maybe not.
stoney321
Mar. 1st, 2005 11:35 am (UTC)
This hit me in your statement: I have an intellectual fear of guns, not an emotional one

I think most people's reactions to guns (either pro or con) is emotional. But the fact remains that they are dangerous tools. Getting beaned over the head with an adz or shot through with an arrow isn't going to kill you. Getting shot in the abdomen with a gun? Most likely.
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stoney321
Mar. 1st, 2005 11:39 am (UTC)
I was interested in how many people in Wisconsin hunt, as well. Colder, more large animals to hunt. Get south of DFW, and you are in prime hunting land, though. My husband's gun use was almost a deal breaker for our marriage, that's how strongly opposed I was. he has made me see that not all gun owners are nuts, and proper care and respect of them (while not making them less dangerous) makes the liklihood of an accident closer to nil.

Isn't that a terrible thing about Dallas? It isn't random violence, however. The majority of murders are gun-for-hire scenarios. Then there are all of the accidental shootings... Yikes. Lots of armed robbery. Makes me soooo glad we left the Lower Greenville neighborhood (where there was a drive-by shooting behind us on Goliad) and here in the gated communities of McKinney.
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smashsc
Mar. 1st, 2005 11:45 am (UTC)
just random thoughts
I can't really make sense of any of this. Just some thoughts

I live in a city with alot of violence problems. Area folk are scared of my city as if the city limits somehow form a boundary wherein the problems become scary. Guns are a huge issue here. I was working a table outside a bar downtown (voter reg) and, as usual random people walking the street stopped and talked to me as well. I had a long conversation with a man who was very nice, a few minutes in he pulled out his (proally unlicensed) handgun just to show it to me (seriously, we wer chatting about safety and such it wasn't a stickup or anything like that). About 10 minutes later I saw a nice dykey couple happily walking down the street walking the dog. And later a friend of mine randomly drove by parked and got out and sat with me for a while. That's Durham to me, all three of those things coexisting sometimes uncomfortably. Guns and gangs are an issue here but in the city they are a symptom not the problem.

My sister spent 6 weeks in Bermuda and there the gangs that were forming ran around with pipes and clubs and knives.

When my granpa left teh Air Force he was a techinal supervisor for a company making fake (realistic lloking) guns for kids.

When I stayed with them in the summer he used to setup bb skeet and rifle shoots for me. Always controlled and monitored by him.

The other day I had the urge, for the first time in years, to go shoot skeet but I don't know of any place to go.

I've been hunting.

Handguns seriously scare me. I've never shot one but I've held a few and the cold power of it gave me chills. One of the families I used to keep for had a handgun int he house (not in a safe dumbfucks) I made them take it out of the house whenever I kept the kids because there was no place to lock it up. A year or so after I stoped keeping for them one of the kids found it, but didn't shoot it and the dad came it and saw it in his kid's hands and got rid of it.

Holding a gun, being still, breathing, and pulling the trigger is a calming thing for me. I haven't shot a gun in years but when I get really worked up I close my eyes and imagine all of that (the power, the stillness, and the pull) and it calms be down.
stoney321
Mar. 1st, 2005 12:15 pm (UTC)
Re: just random thoughts
The Bermuda info is very interesting. My BF's husband (who grew up in Detroit, in 8 mile-type neighborhoods and saw it ALL) said the worst things he ever experienced (and the most fearful time of his life) was when he was working with the Peace Corps [/irony] in Malawi (sp?).

He was riding on a bus (hanging on the edge outside) when a large crwod began running towards the bus, holding pipes, sticks, etc. They were shouting "thief!" over and over. The bus STOPPED in the middle of the street, the people on the bus waited to hear the name from the mob, then they THREW the man off the bus. Horrified, my friend held on and watched the mob rip him to pieces. Literally.

A man on the bus looked at him and said, "he had property. They wanted it."

There is a survival part of me that is proud that (if needed) I could defend myself either by hand or by gun. It's the same part that likes watching "Red Dawn." Generally, I am just boggeled at the need to have a "collection" of them. Someone above mentioned the idea of disabling them if they indeed are for a collection, especially AK-47. I know of people who have cannons, machine guns from WW2, and just wonder what the fuck for.

Funniest thing ever from the Simpsons (subjective, I know) is "that's my dad's shootin' car. Two more payments and it's ours."
bisi
Mar. 1st, 2005 11:47 am (UTC)
Hi, I'm just a random lurker.

This was such an interesting question. I was going to say, that living in Britain, I've never even SEEN a real gun, but that's not quite true. I've never seen a gun in England, but I know of about five incidents in my town where guns were used, all related to drugs and gang culture, all very shocking, all leaving people thinking they were the result of massive social change/alien influences. This is in a period of about twenty-five years.

When my kids were growing up, I used to get criticism for letting them play with toy guns, the nursery where my son went had a 'no toy guns' policy (the little boys used to turn anything into a gun, sticks, wooden spoons, dollies) but we were quite close to an area where the gangs were, and I remember the son of a friend being forced to the ground and searched by police when he'd been fooling around with a water pistol in a fish and chip shop. He was ten.

Where I have seen guns is in my home country. It's violent, life isn't safe: you can't travel from one town to another after dark for fear of armed robbers. Soldiers and police carry loaded weapons. Cash transfers betwen banks are done in a jeep with armed guards - one time I visited, I was with my Dad in a car stuck in traffic and heard click-click behind us - I don't technically know what that is, somebody does a sort of shunting thing to a rifle? submachine gun? to make it ready to fire/switch the thing on? It was one of those armed guards in the vehicle behind us, getting out to direct the traffic. I was FREAKING. Nobody else batted an eyelid.

Hearing that sound, which I only recognised from watching American action films, was like suddenly being dropped into the world of those fims, where life is violent, unpredictable, scary and the villains are much larger than life. Except it's not a film, so you don't know what kind of ending you're going to get. And life in my country can be extremely violent and unpredictable and scary and random - the main thing that keeps you going is that family/social bonds are very strong, and gun culture is in no way a part of that. That's very strong: normal people don't own guns, in my country, unless they're in the services. Speaking of which, I was sitting on the end of a relative's bed and he brought out a - bear with me, I may get this wrong - double barrel pump action shotgun - the thing with a curved handle Wesley's always hiding under his jacket - spilled the seven cartridges onto the bed and explained how he was going to shoot the burglars before they shot him.

Now everyone in my family considers this guy to be crazy, and not just about weapons. Certainly I was never more terrified about armed robbers than after I'd talked to him. But nothing had changed except my perception: the risk was the same as it had been before, the difference was that I was terrified, jumpy, frightened of every little sound in the night.

If you live in the developed world, you have an expectation that you'll probably be alright and that normally, your life will be under control. In the developing world, you don't really have that: you don't necessarily expect water to come out of the taps or the electricity to come on a night, or the phone lines to work, or the roads to be driveable, or your government to be stable, or the civil service to be doing their job. But you work around that, and the thing you really depend on are family - the whole extended family - and friends. And relying on something like a firearm - I know I'm simplifying this terribly - but it's the act of a crazy person, in that context, because such a lethal thing can't be part of socialised behaviour - you'd use them if you had stepped out of socialisation, like in a war, or if you were a criminal.

So in Britain, it's like guns aren't part of 'real life' either. If there was a shooting in the street, I think most people would stand around not believing what they were seeing. What I found really interesting about your post is that you're describing a situation were guns and their ownership do seem to be part of socialised behaviour.

Sorry, rambling and unfocused and spammy, but I think the differences are intriguing.
stoney321
Mar. 1st, 2005 12:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, so glad you thought to post (I'm all for delurking. Never be afraid to throw two or more cents in!!)

If you scroll up, in response to
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<lj-user="smashsc">') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

Oh, so glad you thought to post (I'm all for delurking. Never be afraid to throw two or more cents in!!)

If you scroll up, in response to <lj-user="smashsc"> I mentioned an incident my friend experienced in Africa that is mind-boggling, and ties in with what you are talking about. Gun ownership is such an emotional issue in Texas. We were the only state in the US that were our own nation. Through our own milita (and the help of the British) we overthrew Santa Anna and called this land home. Where there are still cowboys and cattle raids and horse thieves.

I live in Dallas, which is a heavily metropolitan area, but still that mindset of our forefathers is ingrained in everyone of us. The "Pecos Bill" myth, and such.

But I think you have given this discussion a very thought provoking argument. It's hard for me to separate myself from my past in not wanting to abolish all guns, but it just isn't LOGICAL to have them, is it? It's Western Civilization. We aren't being kidnapped for ransom in the Colombian jungles, or taken from our beds at night to be sold into slavery in Indonesia.

I'm going to re-read your comment and think hard about the need for them in our modern society. It's just a mystery.

(which is probably why I love the show "Deadwood." It's such a dark part of US history - well, one of the dark parts - but still... That idea of "Rugged Individualism" is fostered in everything considered "American" here, that I'm not sure how to disassociate myself from it completely. If you can get your hands on the DVD of the first season, it's worth a look. Fantastic television, period.)
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sangueuk
Mar. 1st, 2005 12:59 pm (UTC)
I find myself a little scared to comment here because, with all due respect to you guys and your constitution, this is another world to me. I've never seen a gun, never want to and get very angry with kids at school when they 'make' guns from bricks or whatever comes to hand. We have a policy at school where all 'gun-play' is stamped out. I wonder if I had sons how I would have dealt with their wanting to play with toy guns. I hope I don't get flamed here - yes I know that there are responsible gun owners in the US, many, many of them but this is a case it's impossible to outlaw something which has been a historical part of your society. It would be impossible to ban alcohol and cigarettes too. All are killers.

I had to say my piece, even if it is muted. It's another world.
bisi
Mar. 1st, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC)
Oh oh oh, I'm on a spamming roll, hope you don't mind -
I kind of had an equal opportunities thing about boy and girl toys, they all had guns and dolls and cowboy hats and my little ponies. As you noted, little boys will turn anything into a pretend weapon - I'm sure it's something to do with tool-making. I think, if you suppress 'gun-play', it gets a lot more masculinised than it need be, cos the girls will stop, and the boys will carry on. And, what, they're wrong for being boys?
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crayonbreakygal
Mar. 1st, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
You always bring up the topics that are so relevant.

My hubby's from Nevada. Lots of people carry guns there too. They hunt. My hubby couldn't touch a hunting rifle until he had the gun safety class and all that goes with it. I'm with you. Guns do scare me. They are so final. I do think there are people out there who are responsible gun owners. Putting their weapons in locked, combination cases and all that. I am also a marksman with a 22. I only earned that at the camp we go to in the summer. That's where my kids have learned gun safety, how to shoot, etc. But no rifles in the house.

I'm not even sure there is an answer. Sure, all of us would like a world without weapons. Will that ever happen? No. We can just teach our children not to touch them, teach them that they are very dangerous and hope that they have learned from that.

Will we ever get our boys not to make weapons out of sticks, Legos, bread? No, I really don't think so. I had the weapons ban also. They still made them out of anything they could get their hands on. As a rule, I don't let them buy toy guns of any sort. Why should I? They know how to pretend make them anyway.

Sorry I don't have anything to add. I think that everyone else has chimed in and said some pretty powerful things.
stoney321
Mar. 1st, 2005 03:00 pm (UTC)
Hasn't this been a great discussion? I love it when people can just say what they think (or don't think) and we can all read it and just scratch our heads and get a little closer to sanity.

You had some very valid points in your comment about boys and toys. True, true.
julia_here
Mar. 1st, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC)
One of my first fandom friends was T'Pauer/Joanne, who was a lot of things: a Southie hardscrabble up-from poverty success story, an incest survivor, a Trekker, a competition pistol shooter, a right wing Republican, a breast cancer survivor, a lapsed Catholic, funny as hell, charge nurse for a big trauma center.

A whole lot of bad things happened in her life, very quickly, capped off by a HIV positive needle stick, a bad bone scan, and a three year old coming into her triage area after being raped by an adult male. And she fought the depression for three months, convinced her husband and her shrink to let her have her pistols back, and went out into an industrial area and blew a hole in her aorta.

I grew up with rifles- all the men in my families of origin hunt. But they are so thorough, and so quick, and so impossible to defend against. And it's really hard to get around how I felt when I found out the news about T'pauer.

Julia, ten years ago, now.
stoney321
Mar. 1st, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)
Holy Jeebus. You know I've been wanting to hear from you on this, right? I think I know where I stand on handguns vs. rifles. (or shotguns). The latter just maintains that pioneer "defending the homestead" feeling, whereas handguns are for killing people, end of it.

That being said, and in no way to diminish the sadness of Joanne's demise, I have to say that if she was planning on ending it, she would have found a way. I find it odd she chose a gun, as women generally do not commit suicide in that way. So sad. Such a waste of someone who seemed like such a source of strength for so many.

*plays in my garden where I don't have to face the ugliness of our world*
paynbow
Mar. 1st, 2005 04:31 pm (UTC)
Gun scare me shitless. Absolutely shitless.

I also have firearm experience. Not extensive, but I went to a summer camp yearly were one of the activities was riflery. I know how to use a weapon. I've known since the age of 8...now there's a scary thought.

My mum was a little nonplussed when I came home that first year and told her I'd learned how to use a gun. But we didn't have one in the house, so she didn't worry to hard about it.

I suppose part of my gun mentality is that I live in Canada. Despite having laxer gun laws than many states, there are fewer gun related fatalities in Canada. And it's a matter of perception of the role of guns.

In the US guns seem to me like a "just in case" type of thing. What if a robber breaks in? What if we go to war and are invaded? What if I have to defend myself? And that's a dangerous attitude. If everyone else was gunless it wouldn't even be an issue.

There's the saying "guns don't kill people, people kill people." That is complete bullshit. People may kill people, but guns make it a hell of a lot easier. Guns allow people the means to kill people. If people had to use throwing knives or swords I think a lot of them would just give up. They are so much harder to master than guns. Any moron can kill somone with a gun. You need skill and strength to kill somone with a lot of other weapons. I'm not saying that everyone is good with guns, but it's essentially a point and shoot method.

When I worked for the Park's Board the Brinks security guys would come in once or twice a week and pick up the revenue. And they were armed. Everytime they came in I was a fraid of them. I tried not to be, but the fact was that there were people standing in the room with me with loaded handguns. These are people who weren't accepted as Police officers for one reason or another. I have friends in security...they don't do a whole lot of tests for entrance. WHY didn't these people make it as cops?

There's something about a person with a gun that makes me instantly not trust them. It's all that power at their fingertips. I don't know them...what if they're unstable?

So I guess you could put me in the extreem anti-gun camp. However I'm also practical. I know that in the world as it is currently guns are necessary. I also know that there is no fucking reason around for people to have assault weapons in their house. Charleton Heston is a bastard and I fully intend to pry his gun from his cold, dead hands and make sure that some kid doesn't.
paynbow
Mar. 1st, 2005 05:03 pm (UTC)
AH! Forgot to post my most fun gun story...

My cousin Chris has bad luck with guns. At the age of 10 he was playing cops and robbers around his house with his firends from up the block and because he was always a fan of the method, he was wearing a black balaclava and carrying a fairly convincing plastic gun.

10 blocks away a convience store was robbed at gunpoint. The perp? A short, skinny man wearing a black balaclava. Well, the cops spread out and started looking for this guy and what do they see? Short, skinny person in a black balaclava carrying a gun. The only reason my cousin is not dead through being shot by the cops is because when they rolled up with their gunsa and yelled at him to drop his weapon he dropped his toy gun like it was red hot and followed police instructions until they realized they were about to shoot a short scottish kid and not a short asain man.

Flash forward to Chris at 15. He's doing a school project where they're filming a movie for class. Being a group of 15 year old boys they decide to do it on cops and robbers (he hadn't matured much *g*). Chirs is wearing the balaclava again and carrying the same damn toy gun. He gets into his role and really projects his lines. The neighbours hear, look over and see what appears to be a robbery in progress. Again, Chris is told to drop his weapon. Man, he has fast reflexes.

As for my fun time gun story, when I was in grade 3 or 4 we recieved a call from the police at my school. Someone had spooted two men in the forset surroing my with a rifle. The school went to blackout and we were told to hide under our desks. I spent then next couple of hours terrified that someone was going to come busting into my school to kill us all.

It turns out that it was two kids from a nearby highschool with an air gun who skipped to go shoot squirrels. Even though it was nothing it was still one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.

In conclusion: I. Hate. Guns.
tx_cronopio
Mar. 1st, 2005 04:57 pm (UTC)
Another Texan weighs in....
Great post, Stoney, as you can see by the response.

My experience is very similar to yours...not surprising, since we are both in Texas. I own a gun, I shoot well. If you break into my home, you will face my .22 pistol. However...AK-47s???? Not so much.

My father is an NRA Gun Nut. Seriously. The kind of guy that Michael Moore would love to have on film. My mother has a purse with a special compartment to hide her gun in. Since I'm a dyed-in-the-wool leftie, you can imagine that this makes for some interesting family dynamics. Or, it would if I weren't so conflict-avoidant.

My whole issue with the NRA is this --- the NRA has seriously screwed itself by not being reasonable. When you argue that any gun, every gun, anywhere should be legal, why should anyone take you seriously?

My father has, in two rooms in his home, a framed rendition of the 2nd amendment (for those of you outside the US, that's the amendment giving people the right to bear arms). However, he doesn't give a flying fig for the first amendment, the fourth amendment, etc etc.

I'm rambling, aren't I? I meant to say that I agree with Stoney that there are some limited circs in which gun ownership is appropriate, but because of the NRA's extremism, it's hard to even express that opinion without being labeled a nut.
paynbow
Mar. 1st, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Another Texan weighs in....
My father has, in two rooms in his home, a framed rendition of the 2nd amendment (for those of you outside the US, that's the amendment giving people the right to bear arms). However, he doesn't give a flying fig for the first amendment, the fourth amendment, etc etc.

Read this: http://www.mrcranky.com/movies/bowlingforcolumbine.html

I think you'll enjoy *g*
Re: Another Texan weighs in.... - stoney321 - Mar. 1st, 2005 05:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Another Texan weighs in.... - tx_cronopio - Mar. 1st, 2005 05:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - stoney321 - Mar. 1st, 2005 05:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - tx_cronopio - Mar. 1st, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - stoney321 - Mar. 1st, 2005 06:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
melbournegirl
Mar. 1st, 2005 05:31 pm (UTC)
Australian Perspective.
About five years ago, there was a devastating crime committed in Port Arthur, a former penal colony in Tasmania. (little island down the bottom of Australia) A man called Martin Bryant, for no apparent reason brought a semi automatic rifle into a public space and shot dead 25 people. Now, if there had been someone with a concealed weapons license, that death toll might have been less. But if the gun laws had been as they are now (All handguns, auto and semi automatic rifles are completely illegal barring police and security) there is also the chance that Martin Bryant never would have had access to that gun and ammunition. I really wish that the US could ease off the constitutional hysteria for just a moment and look at the devastating effect that guns can have on a society.

The only good that came out of this was newer, stricter gun laws. This means you need a license to even use a paintball gun now. I heartily approve of these laws. I'm not saying that shootings have been elimnated, but most are due to the various gangs. (Also, if you see the NRA ad going around a couple of years ago saying Australia's crime rate had gone up, thats a big, fat, Charleton Heston-endorsed lie.)

On the same topic, I know that the ban on semi automatic and automatic guns in the US ended this year. Can anyone tell me if its been resigned or has Dubya let that fly as well?
stoney321
Mar. 1st, 2005 05:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Australian Perspective.
Oh, you can chalk up the lax laws on firearms to Dubya. Who claims to be a Texan. Which he isn't. Most Texans believe in being able to have a gun, but are not opposed to the idea of a waiting period, psychological examination, etc.

But there is NO reason for a person to have an AK-47. Or an M4. Or an M1. (are also semi-automatics)

Charlton Heston is a moron.
phfeenikz
Mar. 1st, 2005 06:39 pm (UTC)
I feel that the argument that we need to remain armed to protect us from our own government, as much as any invading force, might be true. But then I think about the ghastly weapons at the American military's disposal, and think about how insignificant a thing a handgun can become up next to a Tomahawk cruise missile; I waver. But only for a moment.

Perhaps it is just a personal qualm, but I would not feel all that comfortable with allowing control of the guns to go to the government. I have a suspicious disposition toward them anyway, but that is not the point. Ultimately it comes down to how much we can trust our government to resist the temptation to take advantage of an unarmed populace.

And taking away the guns, assuming that all the criminals comply with such regulations, would not level the playing field. As a law abiding citizen in a society where gun ownership is banned I would still be subject to other dangerous weaponry. For instance during the 911 terrorist attacks a few individuals were able to subdue plane loads of people with simple razor blades.

To ban an object simply for its inherent capacity for violence does little, if anything, to rectify the human behaviour that is the true culprit. Consider TEH ubiquitous logical statement: "Guns don't kill people, people kill people". Remove the "Guns don't kill people", and regardless of whether or not you agree with that portion of that statement, you are still left with "people kill people".

And yes, guns do provide a far more efficient way for one to dispatch of their foes, so to speak. And yes, one should be required to become educated and licensed in firearm safety before being permitted to purchase one. But an outright ban would achieve little in its implied intent to curb violence.

As far as assault weapons, gun shows, and the loophole arguments are concerned, the statistics just don't support them. I'd rather take my chances with the occasional whackjob with a score to settle than to have the U.S. government further consolidate its power in the banning of firearm ownership.
stoney321
Mar. 2nd, 2005 05:54 am (UTC)
you know, I lived in SOuthern Utah for several years, and the mountains are FILLED with self-taught vigilantes and gov't haters, those who think all foreign policy is to nuke them all and live alone. The Mormon Church teaches it's followers to prepare for Armeggedon (stockpile a 2 year supply of food, energy - generator and gas, 2 year's income is preferrable). you look at Utah's history and they have a strong connection to guns and homesteads, and we are talking about 1923 - shooting "interlopers."

So at times I get nervous reading about "anti-gov't" statements. But then I remember that you are sane, our current gov't is not, and I don't worry so much about YOU. An outright ban is ludicrous.

I'm more waxing philosophic about my deep-seated connection to guns, and is it necessary to have handguns in these modern times. There have been some interesting comments over here, and I was waiting for yours. :-D
... - phfeenikz - Mar. 2nd, 2005 07:35 am (UTC) - Expand
lynnenne
Mar. 1st, 2005 06:44 pm (UTC)
There are seven million guns in Canada. Considering that there are only 30 million people here, that's a lot of guns. Yet the number of gun deaths is 10 times less, per capita, than the number of gun deaths in the U.S. I can't help thinking that there must be something else at play.

Most guns in Canada are hunting rifles. I know several people who keep them in their homes. But hand guns are much tougher to get, and automatic weapons are illegal. Maybe there's a different psychology between owning a hunting rifle and owning a hand gun? As you pointed out, one is for hunting and keeping coyotes from eating your sheep herd. The other is for killing people, plain and simple. The only time I've ever even *seen* a hand gun was when it was being held to someone's head. That, right there, was enough to convince me that these things should not be allowed in modern society.

We live in a violent world. People will fight and rob and rape -- especially men, and especially *young* men. Giving them easy access to hand guns is just giving them an easy way to win the fight, without ever having to throw a punch. Who da man now, sucka?

stoney321
Mar. 2nd, 2005 05:49 am (UTC)
I really DO think there is a primal understanding of the difference between a rifle/shotgun and a handgun. (Well, primal may not be the right word, but you catch my meaning.)

There's a connection to frontiersmen when you put a rifle to your shoulder and look down the long barrel. I can imagine picking off a rabbit or two for supper. Where as holding a handgun makes Dirty Harry come immediately to mind. They are people killers. You don't go hunting bears with one. (Actually, there are fuck-nuts who DO, but I'm all for thinning the herd, you know?)
(Anonymous)
Mar. 1st, 2005 10:24 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure an easy answer exists
I'm from Southern Ohio with some Appalachia roots, but my parents raised us in a larger small town. Growing up I saw guns when visiting family but they were rifles used for hunting. When I was 7 there was a boy in my class named Jimmy Thompson. I remember my best friend had a huge crush on him, as only a second grade girl can. One day Jimmy didn't come to school and the principal spoke to our class. Jimmy was playing with his father's gun and it went off. It was my first experience with death. I didn't know Jimmy that well but I mourned the idea that one day my best friend was trying to kiss him by the swings and the next I never saw him again. From that day on I was terrified of handguns. My parents never owned them and I was thankful for that. Then two years ago my sister-in-law married this great guy who happened to have a licensed handgun. I never thought much of it because he didn't flaunt it and is a very responsible guy. One night while he was at work she woke up to hear someone trying to get inside . Someone was trying to break into the house. She did exactly what her husband told her to. She got the gun out of the box under the bed, called the police and began screaming her head off that she had a gun. I'm not sure if she would have used the gun, but what I do know is she is a smart person who felt empowered that night because she was equipped to protect herself. The person ran off but there is no way to know what might have happened. I'm thankful everyday that her husband felt it was important that she be able to use the gun responsibly.

Frankly, these are the only two times guns have directly touched my life, other than when I eat dinner some members of my family. They are such contrasts about whether or not it is smart to own a gun. I still don't know. A gun robbed Jimmy Thompson's mother of her son. I look at my children and can't imagine. In my heart Jimmy is forever 7 years old, and that makes me sad. But, I also look at my sister-in-law, her parents, my husband (her brother), her husband, and now the child she carries that will join us in May. I can't imagine our family without her. She truly feels that the gun saved her that night. It made her calm and confident without it ever being fired.

Even as I write this I am just as confused over guns. I am thankful everyday that the life I have hasn't forced me to make a decision.
stoney321
Mar. 2nd, 2005 05:46 am (UTC)
*waves hello*
Thanks for dropping by, _____. It IS sad and horrible when an accident results in a child's death. The whole "playing with his father's gun" thing is just horrifying to me. Which is why I insitsted that my husband keep them in a gun safe with a keypad/keylock combination, as well as a trigger lock. And the ammo is kept in a separate safe, altogether.

I am thankful everyday that the life I have hasn't forced me to make a decision That IS something to be thankful for, right? Thanks for dropping by [and sign your name so I know who to thank next time! ;-) ]
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Mar. 3rd, 2005 08:58 am (UTC)
Tee hee!! Spock rocks. I forgot to give credit on my banner. No, that is photoshopped to hell, and borrowed from Worth1000.com. Probably illegally, but since I am not profiting, maybe they won't kill me? I need to put the credit for that in my bio...

I think a lot of these accidents with guns are simply from negligent parents not putting their shit away. How does a 5 year old "play" with a gun? I know where my kids are, first of all, and know what they are doing, second of all. It's called paying attention to your kids. Then there's the whole locking up and disarming the guns if they ARE in your house, talking to your kids about the dangers of guns...

I make a habit of talking TO my kids about things. They've asked some hard questions about homosexuality, death, God, guns... I try to answer them, teach them, not brush it off... It's hard. But then, parenting is hard and it's the friggin' job.

We so have to meet in RL, Anne. I'd just hug on you for about two hours, then braid your hair, then get to some drinking. (How're the migraines, by the way?)
(Deleted comment)
... - stoney321 - Mar. 3rd, 2005 09:49 am (UTC) - Expand
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