Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I am a Gunnie

There has been a great deal of outrage in the past few days, in the wake, as it were, of the one year mark of a terrible day in Tucson, AZ. Certain people, or groups of people, attempted to capitalize on the tragedy, suborning the day to push their personal views. A very disparate group of people took umbrage at their actions, and staged a counter protest, mostly on the internet, but in some cases in person, both privately and publicly.

The truth, as usual, is down a few more layers. The Brady Campaign staged a candlelight vigil to... well I'm not sure. Certainly to draw attention. Ostensibly to combat violence through legislation. Possibly to bid for a shred of legitimacy, as their movement seems to be faltering, based on record gun sales and the plethora of new shooters we have seen in the online gun community. That very same gun community responded with a counter vigil; many shooters posted pictures of the candles they hold against the dark. That is to say, photos and messages about fighting back.

There are people in the world that intend ill things happen to good people. There are two ways to combat this: 1) remove the ability to do harm and 2) make the situation untenable for them to continue. The Brady Campaign believes in the first. There is no level of stricture too extreme to endorse, if it 'saves a single life.' The problem is, it doesn't. Even were the law of the land to remove all private gun ownership, then all knife ownership, then all bat, ax, and stick ownership, they will not have removed the impulse to do harm. What they will have destroyed, however, is the ability to pursue the second option. To make the situation untenable is to fight back, to defend; to deny, in the moment, their ability to victimize.

A person who intends harm trains for the moment. They make themselves into a weapon, and avail themselves of the tools of their trade. If not a gun, they rely on a knife; if not a knife, they rely on a bat; lacking that, their own muscles. A person who would defend must train just as much, with the same tools. The best way, the safest way, is to carry the finest of them, the tool that requires the least strength. That tool is the great equalizer. The one tool, of those listed, that can enable a physically weaker woman to defeat a criminal in his prime. The gun.

I choose the gun. To defend myself, to defend my wife, to defend my family. I am a gunnie.

I am not alone. I am part of a community, a community based on shared respect. Its not just the gun that unites us. Its the worldview. The view that we are our own first responder. The view that if we can't rely on ourselves, how would anyone else be able to rely on us? I am a gunnie.

I am a carpenter. I am a husband. I am a son, a brother, an Uncle. I hope, one day, to be a Father. I am a gunnie.

We are accused of being ignorant, of being illiterate, of being fools and hillbillies. We are much more than that. We are engineers, scientists, geeks, nerds, professionals, tradesmen, librarians, soldiers, farmers, pilots, and performers. We are gunnies.

We are not always right, but we admit our shortcomings. Its easy to join us. We make it easy. We welcome new members to the community. Its fun. Its freedom. Its liberating in a way that cannot be defined. Come see. You may like it here. If you don't want to stay, that's fine too. If that's the case, just leave us alone.


  1. Not meaning to fan the fire or take anything away from gun ownership - I'm not against people having guns for hunting, protection, hobby. I can see the utility and the fun of gun ownership and I was in the service. I just think it's the responsibility of the people with the guns to protect the people without the guns including their immediate community. Some of the solutions being presented in the press just seem ridiculous to me. Don't they seem that way to you? I don't want to see gun turrets over grade schools. And none of the solutions address the recent problem (parent leaves guns out where they can be accessed). Until guns can be developed which will only fire while in the hands of the owner, I believe people with guns should be accountable for the safety of the community they put at risk when they have a gun. Any thought on how to do that? Thanks for blogging- JB

    1. I think... Well, I think a lot of things- but mostly I think that your points are misleading. In order of presentation, lets start with 'gun turrets over schools'. Nobody, thats right, nobody, is advocating for turning schools into prisonyards. What we ARE advocating is an increase in situational awareness, self-defense, training, and preparedness. Next, safe storage. First, personal responsibility is not a matter of legislation. I keep my guns appropriately to the situation. That argument does not apply to, for example, the Sandy Hook tragedy- I remind you, the guns used were stolen by a madmen, stolen from his own Mother, who he killed. Second, the only way to enforce those laws are either after the fact, meaning the tragedy is not prevented, or by violating nearly EVERY right that is nativr to being human, much less American. Next up, smart guns. This technology, besides being non-existant, is self-defeating. What you describe is a gun designed only to work under perfect circumstances; if you need a gun, you are certainly not in perfect circumstances. Won't work. And even if it did, it wouldn't be a widespread application- unless you place confiscation of non-smart guns on the table, which is gun-ban. Non-start. Finally- the ideas that 1) there is any reason that gun owners should be held responsible for any actions beside their own and 2) that owning a gun constitutes a material threat to the public. Both of these are, at the root, disingenuous. I am no more culpable for the actions of other people than they are to blame for any deeds of mine. I am no more a threat to safety with a sidearm than I am without- that is to say, it is the PERSON who holds the tool that is responsible, not the tool. If you wish to discuss these things, bring real arguments. Take your strawman fallacies elsewhere.

  2. Whoa. I never suggested taking guns away. I just want to hear what solutions you might offer. My reference to gun turrets was a hyperbole to make a point that guards with side arms in schools won't guarantee safety. And I admit ignorance regarding smart guns and perhaps it is a stupid idea but no one has come up with a solution that really protects the non-gun owner.The "madman" was a young man who had a psychotic break. How would any gun law barring the mentally ill from owning guns have prevented this situation given that the gun owner made her weapons available to a family member. Perhaps you are right in that gun owners have no social responsibility. It's just difficult for me to see guns in the same light once loaded.

    1. Perhaps I did reply a bit strongly, but thats the problem with hyperbole. The root of the problem is one of social or community responsibility. There isn't any, and there can't be. Its a matter of personal responsibility, and that can't be legislated into effect. I have no idea what lengths the despicable creature in Conneticut had to go through to obtain access, but it does not and cannot change the way I store mine. I am not responsible for his actions, any more than I am responsible for drug violence in Chicago or Phoenix. As for laws that would have changed things? There aren't any. However, we do have some options, that we can advance as a culture and a society, NOT as a nation. We can offer training for people that may be put in that situation. We can help fund treatment for the mentally at-risk, to get them treatment before they shatter. But the end result is that we won't find a solution. Changing access to firearms won't help the mentally unstable. Changing mental health treatment won't solve the gang violence problem. As for protecting the non gun owner? I can help protect those in my immediate vicinity. After that, not much. The Police can't be all things to all people, although (with a few ugly exceptions) they do the best they can. The best advice I can give them is to learn to protect themselves. When it comes to violence, for the first five minutes you are on your own. I can't stop every non-swimmer from drowning, either, but I can teach them to swim. Right now, the only answers being floated are akin to either outlawing the beach or placing a lifeguard on every puddle.

  3. Appreciate your comments - It is a truly complicated issue. Dealing with the mentally ill is quite a tricky issue. The questions would have to be very specific- and then what does mental illness encompass? Someone with depression who is recovering from the loss of a loved one? Someone with an anxiety disorder? Where should the line be drawn on mental illness? How would it be defined, you know? What about HIPAA?

    I really don't think anything we do would change things. Guns are a part of our culture. If someone wants to shoot you or go on a rampage they will. Even if everyone had a gun - would that change things. I don't think so. Someone would be the first to go. It's just sad.
    Nice chatting with you