Tragedies and Verbal Attacks

First of all, yes, I’m still here (if just barely, it feels like!) Things have gotten a bit crazy work-wise, and it doesn’t look like they’ll settle down much until after I move (same city, different house) in July. I also hd a minor motorcycle accident a month ago, and my hands have been in enough pain to make blogging a challenge.

I had a post ready to go on another subject, but then this horrific tragedy happened in Santa Barbara (just about a 90 minute drive away), and…well, it’s been ugly. So the post I had written is being shelved for another day so I can express some of what I’m feeling.

[Read more…]

I Love My Guns

By MamaLiberty

Some recent comments on various message boards frequented by shooters indicate that a few people are either changing their minds or are bowing to the politically correct pressure of the day. They have begun to assert that they do NOT “love their guns” and only view them as necessary tools.

While I couldn’t agree more that guns are simply tools, pretty much like any others, I don’t know why that would make them unlovable. Most men love their tools, all different kinds, and men have always loved their guns. I’m certainly not ashamed to join those men.

But, you might ask, just what is it that we (who still profess it anyway) actually love about guns? Aren’t they killing machines, good only for harming others? We hear that a lot.

So, why do I love my guns? Let me count the ways.

To start with, about 30 years ago I was attacked and would likely have died if I had not been armed.

At that point the man started to walk toward me, in a few words telling me just how he would hurt me. I raised the shotgun, but he just sneered and said confidently, “you won’t shoot me” and kept coming.
He was still too close to my car, so I aimed the .410 shotgun just over his head and pulled the trigger.
I saw the shocked look, just before I saw the blood on his face and chest where the tiny #6 birdshot had hit him. He turned and ran away, destroying a low ornamental fence in the process, but never even slowing to untangle it from his legs.

How would the world be better and more peaceful if I had been raped and murdered instead, simply because I had no gun?

I love to take my guns apart and clean them, usually after a satisfying day at the range or out on the wide grasslands. I love their mechanical simplicity and elegance, the engineering miracle that really has not changed much for hundreds of years. I love the smell of the cleaning products and the silky sound of the action when it is oiled properly. The crisp “snap” of the trigger release is music to my ears.

Though I protect my hearing religiously, I love the sound of gunfire on the range when I’m there, and in the distance as others shoot. I’m about a mile from the range and can hear it often. It is the sound of freedom to me – other men and women both enjoying themselves and practicing a useful skill.

I have an old M1 .30 carbine. The scratches and dents in the old wooden stock have a serious story to tell… though sadly I can’t read it and the man who could is probably long gone by now. I love to shoot that gun, and imagine the story it might tell if it could. It’s a good old gun, and would certainly help me to defend myself and my neighbors if necessary.

My old Marlin 30-30 lever gun is just about perfect for hunting, which could keep me alive if things ever got to that point. That might mean bringing down deer for food, or holding off predators who would take my food away from me.  The scarred old stock has another and just as beautiful tale to tell, of hunts and shooting matches and the companionship that both can bring to all kinds of people.

The Springfield XD 9mm I carry on my belt each day, everywhere I go, is part of the ongoing story of my life. I’m 67 years old, and not able to run or fight meaningfully with my bare hands. The tool in that holster gives me the power to overcome my physical shortcomings and equalizes my opportunity to save myself or others from aggression and great harm or death. That is a heavy responsibility and one that most armed people take very seriously.

A Ruger .357 magnum revolver is my back up and concealed carry gun. I carried it openly for years, but found I had better control of the semi-automatic. Concealed carry is good for certain situations, but I’m glad that it’s not necessary all the time.

The most important reason I love my guns is something quite different, however.

They represent self ownership, and true independence. They mark me as one who is responsible for myself and willing to risk everything to protect myself and others. It also marks me as a free human being and not a slave. Slaves are not “allowed” to own and carry guns. Free people can’t be stopped from doing so.

I love my guns, and the liberty for which they stand.

******

*NRA Certified instructor and other certification for handguns, self defense. Thirty years teaching and shooting experience.

I Am Not A Victim” is available as an e-book free. Read the story at the link and follow the directions to get your pdf copy by return email.

Magical Thinking and Newtown

It’s hard for me to believe it’s been less than a year since the terrible, tragic actions of a disturbed young man took 27 lives in the State of Connecticut. I believe in armed self-defense precisely because I value the lives of myself, my loved ones, and the innocents of our society, and precisely because when the predators and the madmen come for me and mine, I’m prepared to stand between them and their prey.

Yesterday, the Connecticut State Attorney’s office released their preliminary report on the Sandy Hook massacre, and it’s interesting, if unsurprising, reading. It contains more detail about what happened, but not even speculation about why it happened. But it did include a couple of interesting facts which make what I think is an important point that people often overlook: “Crazy” is about motive, not method. And this is why Gun Free Zones and other gun control laws that only control the law-abiding are doomed to fail to prevent future tragedies.

[Read more…]

Self Defense or Revenge?

Man Faces Prison for Shooting Carjackers 
A Houston man is facing a pretty severe penalty for defending his property, after shooting and killing one carjacker and wounding another.

He’ll probably be ok under Texas law, but this was clearly not self defense. Since they had the drop on him, he did the smart thing and let them have what they demanded. Now, if he’d been openly armed, they probably would never have approached him, of course. But that’s a separate issue. He may have had no chance to access his gun during the confrontation, though many do… and succeed. He’s the only one who knows what the actual threat was at the time.

Fail on several other counts, however. He let his situational awareness lapse, for a big one. Houston is a big place, and I have no idea what the reputation of that particular area might be, but it’s probably not all that wise to go out alone, in the evening, and not have someone to watch your back.

Shooting up your own car doesn’t really seem like a good idea anyway. I’m assuming he was insured for the loss. Since the criminals already had everything else… what was the point? Revenge alone accounts for it, not self defense.

Now, whether or not he should face any particular penalty for this, I won’t be the judge. He needs to answer to his own community and family for it.

Do you think this was self defense? What would you do?

Make Your Voice Heard

20121222-101435.jpgI try not to get too political on this blog, but today I’m going to break that rule and make a personal request of my readers.

GET INVOLVED.

It’s time for firearms owners to take a lesson from the gay rights movement and come out of the closet. Those that would ban firearms need to see and hear from us right now. We need to be respectful, intelligent, and informed, but we need to be visible. We need to say, “We are your daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers and neighbors and friends. We sit next to you at the PTA meeting, worship with you in your church/synagogue/mosque/etc. You KNOW us, you KNOW we aren’t criminals or murderers. Forget the stereotypes you see in the media; WE are the faces of America’s gun owners.”

Write your elected officials. (You can find your Congressperson here, and your Senators here). Tell them why people like you are not the problem. Encourage them to take real action on the real problems (public safety funding, mental health services, ineffective and dangerous gun-free zone laws etc.) rather than demonizing the vast numbers of law abiding American gun owners.

Support the Second Amendment Foundation. Or the NRA. Or your state and local gun rights organizations. Better yet, support all of them. They need your money, but they also need your time and energy and passion.

When Great Britain enacted a ban on most firearms, they declared open season on law-abiding citizens. The crime rate soared, and now the UK is the most dangerous country in Europe, with a per capita violent crime rate that exceeds the United States. The same thing has happened in other countries that have banned guns.

Don’t think it can’t happen here.

Make your voices heard, now and often. We’ve had historic gains in gun rights in recent years, but the war hasn’t been won yet. Get involved, get active, get visible.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

For the Good of the Children

20121125-220322.jpgWhen they’re pushed for a justification for the latest proposed restriction on the right to keep and bear arms, gun control advocates often dredge up the rationale that it’s “for the children”. They assume that the public will support any measure that claims to make society safer for our kids, and unfortunately, too often in the past the public’s fallen for it.

I had a couple of teaching and shooting things going on this past weekend, and one of them was a Ladies Night at the range I frequent. I took the almost-16-year-old daughter of a close friend of mine who enjoys shooting (and has quite a bit of natural aptitude), and enjoyed watching her score hits on her target. While we were shooting and afterward, we talked quite a bit, and so I’d like to share a few things that I think are good for our our kids.

[Read more…]

Availability Bias and the “Right to Safety”

Robert Farago at The Truth About Guns had a post the other day titled “Note to Gun Control Advocates: Safety is Not a Right” In it, he responds to a northjersey.com editorial which preaches that:

Holding up the shield of the Second Amendment does not cut it. Yes, Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. And children have the right to attend school without worrying they’ll get killed. Pedestrians have the right to walk down a street without fearing for their lives. Moviegoers have the right to sit with strangers for two hours without thinking they’ll be mowed down.

Robert responds to this post and makes an impassioned argument that “safety” isn’t a right, and that it isn’t a right the government could guarantee even if it was. (I think he’s correct in both of these assertions, by the way).

He writes:

In fact, gun control advocates’ attempts to make safety a “right” reduces public safety rather than increases it. You only have to look at every country that’s instituted gun control—especially as a preamble to mass murder—to see the truth of that statement.

Bottom line: gun control advocates can argue for the need to “balance” the right to keep and bear arms against an individual’s desire not to get shot. But unless gun control folks amend the U.S. Constitution they’re claiming ground which does not belong to them. And never will.

Although I think Robert’s analysis is correct, I think this argument is likely to be dismissed by the anti-gun folks as legalistic hair-splitting. More to the point, though, I think Robert’s focus in his response mentions, but fails to delve into, a far more rational reason why the anti-gun argument to which he was responding is wrong. The basic problem is that the anti-gun crowd is falling victim to a common cognitive bias and not realizing it. As a direct result of thousands of years of evolution, their minds are leading them astray.

[Read more…]

Why Do They Want to Help the Predators?

I’m very gratified, and appreciative, to see the spike in traffic to my blog yesterday as a result of the link to the post about my story that Kathy Jackson posted yesterday. Welcome to all my new readers – I hope you find what I have to say valuable, and I look forward to interacting with as many of you as I can in the comments. I always enjoy connecting with those who visit my site, and I do respond to every e-mail I get, and as close to every comment as I can manage.

When I logged on this morning, I saw a pingback from Barron at a blog callled “The Minuteman”, who wrote a post titled “Why I Get Angry“. I’d like to share one part of what Barron wrote, and then reproduce and expand upon a comment I left there. Barron wrote:

So yes, when you go off spouting your mouth about how gun control would help the world, yes I take it personally and yes I will call you on it. Because the day may come where my wife, my daughter, my son, any of my friends, and lastly even myself may have to call upon my firearm to defend ourselves or our families. And no one has any business telling me, my family, or my friends what tools we should or shouldn’t be using to defend ourselves.

[…]

So yes I take it personal, yes I get angry, and yes the mere suggestion is an insult and a disgrace to humanity. Only a cold-blooded animal would wish real victims to continue suffering after an attack. We see how each side of this debate treats victims of violence. One wants to rebuild them, make them stronger, and faster, because we have the technology. The other side would rather bury their heads in the sand and use the force of government to make everyone else do it too.

[Read more…]

Mass Murder: Blame and Responses

With three mass murders in the past few weeks, the predictable froth is getting whipped up in the media and the court of public opinion about who’s to blame and what should be done about it. Predictably, some quarters are calling for renewed restrictions on firearms and associated components, despite decades of evidence that there is at best a net zero correlation between gun control laws and violent crime rate.

In a superficial sort of way this response makes sense. This murderer used a Scary Black Rifle with a beta mag, so let’s ban SBRs and beta mags. That murderer used ammo he bought online, so let’s ban ammo purchases online. This murderer used a pistol he bought at a gun show, so let’s ban sales of pistols at gun shows.

But it comes back to the divide between feeling safe and being safe: Taking a potentially dangerous item out of the hands of law-abiding citizens (who, by definition, won’t abuse that item to cause harm to others) won’t keep criminals (who, by definition, won’t abide by the laws and rules of society) from behaving like criminals. It might make us feel safer, but we won’t actually be any safer. In fact, since we’ll make it harder for people to use those tools in defense of themselves and their neighbors, we’ll actually make them less safe, even as they feel more safe.

So, who is to blame for these acts of mass violence, and what can we do about it?

[Read more…]

Why Logic Isn’t Enough

I had an interesting conversation with a family member yesterday that illustrated to me why discussing guns with those who aren’t already shooters is so challenging. I was born in Canada, and much of my family still lives there. As most people know, Canada has a very different culture around guns than the United States – handguns are much rarer than in the US and much more tightly controlled, and high-capacity long guns are exceedingly rare.

So, yesterday, I was talking with a close family member and I told her about the IDPA match I shot over the weekend. I told her what IDPA entails and that I intended to keep shooting. I invited her to attend an IDPA match and watch me shoot next time she visits. Predictably, the conversation then turned to the recent Aurora shooting, as well as a mass shooting that took place in Toronto a few weeks earlier and which seems to have rocked the Canadian cultural consciousness even more than Aurora has here.

Then she asked me if I would ever use a gun for self defense. Yes, I told her, if I ever found myself in a situation where my life was in jeopardy and there weren’t other options available to me, I would use any means necessary – including a firearm – to keep myself safe.

[Read more…]