Oh, what the hey...
I guess I am going to screed a bit on the subject of the big bad guns after all, after reading this via Kim.
I first became interested in firearms around the age of five or six, and like all children with fathers who are not metrosexuals, mine taught me the function, maintenance, and above all respect of firearms. He bought me my first rifle, and I was off working the bolt on soda cans and paper targets whenever the chance presented itself.
Why? Because it was fun. It's an amazing feeling to control a small explosion, propelling a chunk of lead into target at your command. It's enjoyable to hone your skill until you can pick what letter in "Coke" you want to hit at great distances. It's both sport and skill, much like archery. I did not give thought to the protection a firearm offers at that time, as my father was the one shouldered with that responsibility over our family.
Over the years, I became even more interested in firearms not only because my father was, but because I was. As he was (and is) a gunsmith, I had access to volumes of Spear reloading manuals, ballistics charts, Brownells catalogs and advertising brochures, soaking up info on new (and old) technologies, or just plain admiring the beauty that is a hand crafted chunk of walnut out of the Weatherby factory that looks as if it belongs in an art gallery.
I spent a lot of time with my father working on firearms, loading ammo, blowing holes in things at the range, and gabbing at the gun store. This, ladies and gentlemen, is male bonding, the absence of which is what leads to degenerate slime in our inner cities raping and pillaging as they please.
Was that all I did with my Dad? Hell no. We also worked (endlessly) on cars, or jumped on the dirt bikes and headed off to parts unknown, or a zillion and five other things a son should do with his father.
As I grew older I became only too aware of the other uses of firearms. Protection. Not only of myself, but of my family, friends and loved ones. This country, and the reason I love it so, is that it was born out of one primary goal. The desire to be free. That desire was realized by men who gave their lives to win it, and defend it, over many hundreds of years. All of them, with rifles or pistols, cannons or smart munitions hanging from the wings of aircraft. It all boils down to the same universal concept: Killing whoever wants to take your freedom away before they can.
There are other metrics, of course, but beyond the scope of this. The point here is that freedom, whether it be the freedom of speech, or the freedom not to be hacked into fish-bait while your family is raped, is universally and ultimately protected by a man (or woman) with a weapon. We sleep safely in our beds, work at our jobs, and watch our families grow because people stand at our borders ready to die, and to kill, to defend us.
That's the reality of our country, and the world we live in. It's also the reality of every man and woman in it. On a small scale, in our communities and towns, we don't have the might of our military to stand outside our door and protect us from evil. We have a few cops, trying to protect thousands and millions of people. Unfortunately, they are largely ineffective simply due to the number of people they try to protect. As such, it is left to us to defend our freedom on that level. We have a choice: Defend what we are, or let it be taken away.
I choose the former, and as such I own firearms not only for sport, but for protection. The need for such is especially evident in the world we live in today. We are at greater risk than we were a hundred years ago, not less. Consider, for example, the following situations:
Situation A) al Qaeda has managed to smuggle several dozen suicide bombers into a major city. In this case, Newark, New Jersey. On the prescribed day and hour, taking advantage of winter clothing to hide the fifty pounds of plastic explosives, cut up nails, and metal shrapnel, each terrorist makes their way to a highly populated public school. Once shooting any security guards or other figures of authority with an illegally purchased firearm, they make their way into the nearest classroom and detonate themselves, spraying what was previously thirty students over the walls.
Several parents and average citizens witness the horror from across the street, but are powerless to do anything to stop it, as any weapons they may have are required by the state to be locked up at home. Should al Qaeda come after their corn flakes one day, they might just be in a position to do something about it.
Situation B) al Qaeda has managed to smuggle several dozen suicide bombers into a major city. In this case, Houston, Texas. On the prescribed day and hour, taking advantage of winter clothing to hide the fifty pounds of plastic explosives, cut up nails, and metal shrapnel, each terrorist makes their way to a highly populated public school. Upon witnessing an individual brandishing a firearm and running towards a school screaming "Allah Akbar!", several parents who happen to be exercising their constitutional right to own and carry firearms draw their weapons and cut the terrorist into dog food. At worst, the terrorist prematurely explodulates, and a few people are mildly injured by flying shrapnel. At best, the terrorist bleeds out on the sidewalk while everyone else waits for the bomb disposal unit to cart his dead carcass off.
Several parents go home that night, with their children, and cops are stationed outside all schools for the immediate future in case of additional attacks.
In one situation, an individual's right to protect themselves with the most effective tool possible is removed by the state government. As a result, they are powerless to watch in horror as they and their family are slaughtered. Whether it's al Qaeda or some dopeified criminal breaking into a house, the result is the same. People are dead, and they didn't have to be.
In the other, an individual's right to protect themselves was not stripped away by the state. Those individuals exercised their constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and they did so. As a result, people are empowered to protect their own lives, their families, their possessions, and their very country by force of arms.
You can feel free to replace "al Qaeda" with "common criminal" and the school with your home, with the desire to acquire wealth the easy way in place of the desire to kill infidels. The cause and effect are the same, in both cases.
So, that's why I like guns. That's why I own them, carry them, and will always recommend that others do so as well. While I am confident in our amazing military and their ability to defend us as a country, I am most certainly not confident in the ability of local governments and police forces to do the same. Therefore, I will not live under a mask of ignorance, assuming that should it hit the fan one day, I can simply dial 9-1-1 and the cops will be there within seconds to save my butt. I won't, because I know it's not true.
And that said, I like marksmanship today as much as I did as a child. The weapons are larger, and the targets farther away, but the same excitement and sense of accomplishment still holds true to this day. I'll never fear these pieces of metal, because I understand them, enjoy them, and realize what they can and can not do.
I am not a drooling barbarian, nor a country hick. I listen to beethoven, mozart and berlioz. I can recite Shakespeare with correct diction and tempo, as well as build a sportscar into a six hundred horsepower fire breathing monster. I've made audiences of thousands laugh and cry, and sat in front of glowing screens cranking out things that help make our economy run. I also happen to be able to keep anyone from stopping me from doing any of it, because I have a gun.
posted by Mr. Lion | 11/12/03 @ 11:39 | comments (1)