Guns: 9/15

How do you feel about guns?

For some, guns mean hunting with family or friends. It can be a hobby, like gunsmithing or antiquing, or a sport: skeet shooting, target practice. For other men, it’s serious business, as well as a part of the job: soldiers, police, security guards.

Do you sell guns? How do you shop for a gun? How do you keep a gun in good repair?

There’s no doubt that guns are powerful weapons, and in the United States, there are a lot of them: nine for every ten Americans, with perhaps half of households having at least one gun. Do you have a gun? Do you want one? Why?

With the power to kill comes mortal responsibility. Have you ever aimed a gun at another human being? Who should have the power to kill? Has a gun ever been directed at you? Have you lost someone to gun violence?

Tell us your story involving a gun. Pitches and queries welcome. Final submissions due to Justin Cascio (email [email protected]) by Saturday, September 15 for consideration.

Tucked in a belt pistol image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Comments

  1. wellokaythen says:

    (Sweeping generalization alert.)

    American culture celebrates guns without sufficiently respecting guns or understanding them. To many Americans, the handgun is some kind of cure-all, something that literally provides a magic bullet. It’s one more quick-and-easy throwaway consumer item, marketed as something that no home should be without, and if you really cared about your family you would buy one. Just point and spray and all your troubles go away, as if your Glock shot out those little scrubbing bubbles. You can just stick it in your pocket like a cellphone. Or your inhaler.

    Notice how many times in Hollywood movies someone just tosses away a gun that’s out of ammunition — quite a few. Compare that with how many times you see someone in a movie cleaning a gun – virtually never.

    In reality, a handgun is an extremely effective tool for a very small number of very specific circumstances. In most other situations it is useless, and in many other situations it is actually counterproductive and more dangerous than reliable. For self-defense purposes, it is a very limited device, extremely powerful and effective if and only if the scenario is just right. To stop an attacker, it has to be loaded, in your hands, pointed in the right direction, in range, etc. And, of course, you must use it on the attacker before the attacker can use it on you.

    Too often a gun gives a false sense of security. The power of a gun can be an intoxicating influence, so much that it can make the shooter feel invincible. I don’t think there’s enough discussion about this aspect of gun ownership. The experience of shooting or even just holding one in your hand can be like a drug, and it’s a drug that can distort your perception of what you’re capable of. Responsible, mature people have to be aware of this distortion and stay conscious of reality.

    Once a gun becomes central to your identity or becomes your security blanket or becomes a necessary extension of your self-image, then something has gotten seriously warped. Ultimately a gun is a tool for a very specific task. It’s not magic, and it is extremely bad at solving 99.9% of your problems.

  2. wellokaythen says:

    P.S. Great photo. It shows a very effective way to put a bullet into your femural artery and/or put powder burns on your scrotum. Very impressive.

    • Plaxico would agree!

    • OMG! i hate powder burns on my scrotum!

    • Give me a f*ing break! Having a gun is not a false sense of security; having a gun IS SECURITY. Do you know why cops carry guns??? They carry guns to protect themselves – NOT YOU! Anyone who carries a gun intelligently carries it loaded. Oh yeah, when you pull a gun out to protect yourself YOU SHOOT until there are no more bullets left. So there shouldn’t be an issue with using it before the attacker gets to you. I’m surrounded by easily led, easily butchered, automatons that don’t feel the need to protect themselves or their loved ones…. so comforting. A gun is not a solution to all problems and most reasonable, logical, people don’t even think that way. A gun is protection and freedom. Oh yeah, those of us that carry guns in our pants, pockets, purses, etc. keep the safety on and yes we can flip the safety off with a single click and fire away if an attacker threatens. All it takes is practice. Aside from all that, guns also protect us from would-be foreign conquerors. Admiral Yamamoto said in WWII that the American mainland could NEVER be invaded because behind every blade of grass, there would be a gun. Let’s keep it that way. If you know how many guns you have then you don’t have enough guns.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    For a normal person, writing about guns would be as interesting as writing about, say, chain saws. They’re tools. Some people are really gun guys. I live sort of in the country. Some guys are really chain saw guys. Point is, listening to either one of them is boring. Guns are guns. I qualified with pretty much every weapon in the rifle battalion back in the day. Not heavy mortars, but the rest of them. I know guns. Also bottle openers.
    It’s said the male analogy to “the distaff side” is “the spear side”. IOW, without a spear, you didn’t get to keep your distaff side safe from the other guys with spears. Then there were guns. Tools.
    Wellokaythen. Guy in my father’s platoon got a round in the femoral artery. Bled out in about ninety seconds.
    Plaxico Burress was luckier. Moron.

    • Any tool can be written about in an interesting way. Case in point: Drew Diaz wrote about hammering here, and it was a good essay. It has a voice, a rhythm, a world it belongs to. You can write about guns hundreds of ways in the way you talk about here: as a powerful tool. Tell me guys don’t like chain saws.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Justin. As to writing: Dealt with a free-lance back in the typewriter days. Said he put his three kids through college by having his butt in the seat six days a week. No new subject, only new and engaging ways of writing about it.
    My point is, why write about guns as a powerful tool? Some people know it and other people get nervous about it and never the twain shall meet.
    The guys who know it don’t need anybody to write about it and those who get nervous will start thinking about Freud and weird guys, and inadequacy, and getting even more nervous.
    That said, as my free-lance friend would have said, a tour de force can be about anything.

  5. desert voice/troubledgoodangel says:

    Guns kill human beings which is why I can’t have them. I wish there was a way that older people could defend themselves without guns. I don’t even carry a knife for exact same reason. Killing someone is for me unthinkable. But, as I say, I don’t feel safe in the moder world! We need some defensive devices that are legal and secure, but which do not kill!

    • “****I wish there was a way that older people could defend themselves without guns.****”

      One thing you don’t EVER want to do in certain states (MA, CA, NY, CT, RI, IL, MN, WI, HI) is use a gun to defend yourself. Yer likely to hear the judge, at sentencing, say; “if you truly defended your own life and that of your child, be happy you did so…but do it from a prison cell.”

      Tis why I always suggest people keep a 25-foot-stream wasp spray-can handy. The foaming-type is greatly safer for you! I’ll say that again: “The foaming-type is greatly safer for you!” You can defend against home invaders and car-jackers and rogue clowns of all flavors. If you are out on foot, you probably know the bad areas to avoid, so avoid them! If you HAVE to walk through a sketchy area (HAVE TO)…carry same spray-can in a bag.

      These cans are legal to carry without a permit (even in Massachusetts) as you need it for spraying wasps at home (or your sister’s home). And IN the home or car; keep another fresh can handy. DO NOT go out and procure Mace or Pepper-Spray. Chances are, you’ll break the law by accident by taking it into the movie theater or your kid’s school because they are smallish and fit in your purse…you forget its there. You can’t forget a Wasp spray-can.

      Mace is unlawful in more and more states and cities. I don’t get why, but it is. Its also useless! I’ve taken direct hits in the face and still function enough to chase someone down and tackle them. A crackhead will just wonder what that funny smell is. A Meth-head will think its a squirt-gun fight.

      Use of a gun to defend yourself in high-stress and fear has a high likelihood of ending badly and just getting worse by the minute. Your muscles don’t work the way they should. Neither does your brain. The adrenaline blasting into your blood may cause you to shoot anyone and anything other than the assailant. The bullets go through walls, through people, and go-on to possibly hit someone you never intended.

      The 25-ft wasp spray will drop a full-grown angry, hyped-up man instantly. You just have to hit him in the face with the foam. You may have seen the spray do the same to wasps…where they literally die on-contact. Same thing with bad-guys. Within 5 seconds, they are no longer a threat. Within 15 seconds, they can no longer breathe. If they DO in fact breathe, they die even quicker. Then you make ALL efforts to get yourself to safety, to clean air and away from him. You also have an obligation to try to save his life, so call 911 ASAP and tell them what you hit him with. But he won’t survive the 4 minutes for paramedics to arrive.

      You won’t be arrested. You’ll never face horrid gun charges. You risk hitting no strangers beyond the wall. You don’t have to deal with politically charged judges, DAs, Police Chiefs, press, etc whom all hate civilians with guns. You’ll also not witness a very very traumatic scene. People don’t just drop and die with a gunshot. A shooting creates a horrible scene, and you’d never be the same after seeing it.

    • Seriously, so if some maniac was coming at you, intent on killing you and raping your wife and children, you would rather try and immobilize them rather than do the world a favor and put them out of their misery?

  6. Besides “abusive,” people might call my childhood “abusive.” My exposure and access to guns was unlimited, yet I never hurt anyone. I never killed anything, including rapists.

    My childhood with guns would appear abusive to many people today in that I had such heavy exposure to them. I was on rifle teams from Jr High – on. I saved my money to buy the gun I LOVED at age 11. I still cherish her to this day. I’ve put 5000 rounds through her and she’s still looking new.

    I use to walk down the street with one of several family rifles under my arm to the sand-pit where I would work on my 100-yard shots. I did that from age 10 – 16. No one ever said a word. The police only stopped once just to waive and drive-on.

    This whole “ability to kill” question has virtually no place in any discussion of guns unless you are willing to discuss my steak knives, my Ford, my fist…

    This country has gone “pussy” for lack of a better word. Why do we (as a society) think that 2012 is so darn special? We did not have school shootings in the 1840s, the 1940s, the 50s or 60s!

    Now we guts skool shootings. If you are not willing to look at that blatant fact, you (general “you”) have no business visting the limp-wristed, hand-wringing side of gun-talk.

    Guns don’t walk into schools and “go off.” Phucked-up kids and adults do. Guns have no more ability to use their dastardly mind-control techniques today, than they did when I was in school. But rest assured; Winchester placed some mighty mind-control power in their modern manufactures. Henkles knives are next!!

    • “We did not have school shootings in the 1840s, the 1940s, the 50s or 60s! ”

      Psychotropic drugs. A lot of school shooters were on them from my understanding. Even before Columbine kids on psychotropic drugs told docs they had fantasies about shooting up the school.

      • *****Psychotropic drugs*****

        I guess it depends upon what school you attended…don’t believe me? Go ask Alice.

        Sorry Alice. I had to.

        • You shouldn’t believe everything you read in anonymous diaries marketed as YA cautionary literature.

          • You may think I’m not serious, but people forget that prescription drugs are still drugs. The fact that these drugs cause violence isn’t controversial. Oftentimes it is listed as a side effect on insert.

            What diaries are you talking about? I’m talking about research. Dr. Breggin has good info on this.

  7. To me…

    …guns are spending many good mornings and afternoons with my father.
    …my shotgun is my excuse to go walk in the woods with the my bird dog.
    …an M1 Garand or 03-A3 is a link to our country’s past.
    …a gun is a way for the physically weak to be equal to the physically strong, even in the scariest of situations.

    And to me, these things are a large part of my human rights, parts of my life as a peaceful, law-abiding, nature-loving American man.

  8. wellokaythen says:

    Why is a gun considered manly? Any three year old girl can squeeze a trigger and kill someone, as you can see regularly on the news. I think anything that a toddler can do is automatically disqualified from being a sign of manliness. Look at me! I can use a TV remote! Kneel before my masculinity!

    Put a bullet through someone with your bare hands and I’ll be impressed.

  9. Carl Menger says:

    I own several guns, all of them for hunting. I agree with some here that have pointed out how popular media gives people screwy ideas about firearms ie who, besides some moron that learned everything he knows about shooting from “Boys in the Hood” turns a handgun sideways so he can’t see the sights? When did a shoulder wound become superficial? (the shoulder is a joint, any medium caliber wound could result in loss of the arm), when the hell do people with chest wounds give noble soliloquies, (people with gun shot wounds to the chest can’t breathe or talk), and only in movies do revolvers hold 17 rounds and full autos with 15 round a second rate of fire make 5 mins of fire from a 30 round clip.
    Owning a gun, or even holding it in you hand will not make you “Safe”. Only a very tiny number of us will ever find ourselves in a situation where a gun could improve our circumstances, yet so many folks seem to think that they MUST be arm at all times. This to me speaks to insecurity more thananything else.

    • You think people that are packing our insecure???? HA! So much for being a gun toting hunter. Just a wanna be. If you’re insecure with a gun maybe you should consider therapy.

  10. I am sure this post has helped me save many hours of browsing other similar post just to find what i was looking for. I just want to say thank you.

  11. I enjoy going to the gun range and also collecting them as well. It’s definitely one of my favorite hobbies, I even own a few gun safes as well. Of course anyone who owns a gun should automatically be held to a high level of responsibility and accountability.

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