There is a lot of fear-mongering going on right now, and I want to go ahead and share with you just a bit on my change in stance regarding firearms.
I was raised to be afraid of guns. There are a lot of reasons for this. People only know what they know and experience. My Parents are no exception.
My Father was a World War II Veteran who was stationed in the Pacific. He never spoke much about the combat part of what he saw and experienced, but what little he did tell is enough for me to say it was horrible. He operated what I believe is called LCVP, the boats that brought troops to the shores from the ships. Knowing many of the people he was delivering would not survive had to be hard, and he did tell of some bad stories that he said were just scratching the surface. Former Military typically are not afraid of firearms, but there could be further history he never discussed. He was against guns in the house.
From my Mother’s side, she lost a brother to an accidental shooting and a nephew to a moment of carelessness as he was cleaning a gun and told his wife, “Hey look honey! I’m a suicide!” whereupon he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger, not having checked first to see whether or not it was loaded. She commented often about how in the casket he seemed to have a surprised look on his face.
I first learned about the freeze response on a basketball court in south Austin when a car drove onto the parking lot and fired some rounds at those of us playing ball. I stood there like an idiot, unable to even flinch. My friends said I was hardcore. I knew I was scared out of my mind.
I was raised around the open fear of firearms. It was taught to me and hammered into my brain.
Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, as I advanced in the martial arts, I classified guns as the weapon of cowards. I know all of the arguments used by the anti-gun people and know them well because I used those arguments. If social media existed back then, I am sure one would be able to find damning evidence of a flip-flop on my stance in the subject.
I grew up, and never really thought about owning a gun.
The first point where my mind started to change was when I started losing venison connections. I had been surrounded by people for a long time who supplied me with deer meat. When these connections moved away, I started thinking about taking up hunting.
Yup. My first thought about owning a gun had to do with eating.
But if a person has a brain, they have to be able to see that the world is not always a safe place. Loving your enemy sounds good until he starts killing you for fun. I want peace, I hope for peace, but if the bad guy kicks in my front door and he has a gun, peace is no longer an option. An added challenge; if the bad guy has a gun, my awesome kung fu skills don’t mean doodly-squat. Even the many swords I have will not help as much as I would like to think. I have often said that “when I start swinging a four-foot razor blade at him, he is going to hesitate”. I really believed it, but it is an untested theory.
What if he didn’t hesitate? What will he do to my Family when I am bleeding out on the floor and no longer pose a threat to him?
These people exist. Those thoughts kept me awake.
Regular readers know that my first firearm purchase was not a hunting rifle, or an “assault rifle” (a term made up by politicians). I bought a handgun.
The criminals will be armed, no matter what laws are passed. Terrorists will be armed no matter what laws are passed. They also seem to have no issue with killing you over a disagreement on how to live your life. I get tired of being lectured about the American gun obsession. Being able to protect my Family is not something that I care to put up for debate.
The bottom line is this – self-defense is not just a Constitutional Right, it is a human right. No one should be the victim of the destructive aims of another person. I stopped being afraid of guns when I became more afraid of not being able to protect my Family. I hope I never have to use my gun against a person, that would be terrible. But if that person is intent on hurting my Family, at least I can even the odds. And if I fall in the process, my Wife can pick up the gun and take over where I left off. That gives me peace of mind.
In closing, I want to offer a simple thought. Instead of looking at those who have a different opinion than you as an enemy, how about seeing that we can disagree on small matters and great matters, but in the end, we need to stand together. I am not your enemy unless you want to harm my Family, so stop viewing different opinions as reasons to hate and stay divided. And how about not waiting for a tragedy before we consider doing so?