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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is somewhat of a bittersweet day, for it’s my first Thanksgiving in more than a decade on my own. But I’ve been spending the day nourishing my soul: a good friend and I took a trip to the range earlier, and I’m going out for dinner with friends this evening. It’s a different way to spend the holiday than I’ve done in years past, but that’s all to the good.

Over the course of the day, I’ve been thinking about all that I have to be thankful for on this holiday. My divorce is underway, and that’s bittersweet but ultimately to the good. I’m blessed with an amazing new job and coworkers, friends who love and support me, and the space and resources to pursue the things that matter to me. I am intensely grateful for all of these things.

And I’m intensely grateful for you, my dear readers. You enable me to write about things that matter to me, you listen and provide your feedback and share your experience and ideas generously, and together we grow. It is a distinct privilege to have this forum, and I couldn’t do it without all of you. Thank you, thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. May this day be full of joy, love, and enjoyment of the people and activities that matter to you.

More Than Just Self Defense

The students in my basic pistol classes are usually too overwhelmed with new information to ask many questions, but I often get good ones from the intermediate and conceal carry students. This last week I got an exceptional one, and it caused me to consider rewriting a part of my book.

We had been going over situational awareness, and she asked if I had any suggestions, beyond the exercises in the book, to help practice for that. We discussed some, and then went on with how that could contribute a lot to other areas of our lives, giving us both the motive and opportunity to actually practice it all the time.

The implications for self defense are important, obviously, so that we may be aware of danger as early as possible and can avoid it or respond otherwise as appropriate. We agreed that it was very important to teach this to children early, since they are even more vulnerable.

So, in what other ways would the constant practice of situational awareness benefit us and those around us?

We can become much better, safer drivers. Now this might seem contradictory a little, since distraction is a major cause of accidents and we are proposing to be aware of a great deal more than we might otherwise be, but if we integrate that awareness into other safe driving habits, consciously weeding out the irrelevant things that are so often distractions, it only seems logical that we become a better driver. We train ourselves to observe what we see around us, the actions of other vehicles and pedestrians, and assess them for potential problems. We also would be thinking of simple plans to avoid problems. The key is to be aware and prepared, rather than surprised when danger strikes.

By the same token, we become much safer pedestrians.

We can become better shoppers. I had not thought about this before, but it seems clear. If we are practicing being aware of our surroundings, why would that not extend to examining, assessing and evaluating the things we propose to purchase? Did you ever get home with a rotten potato in the bottom of the bag? Did you determine to lift the bag and LOOK for one next time? Cracked eggs? Out of date milk? Dented cans? A tear in a shirt, or a missing hook on a boot after you got the items home? I’ve done them all at one time or another, but I’ve done that far less often since I began to practice awareness… and I wasn’t even thinking about it that way. It was just a part of the whole process.

Might we not become far better friends and neighbors? Before I began to carry a gun, I could not have told you much about the normal happenings in my neighborhood to save my life. I literally was not paying attention. After several years, and consciously practicing the drills, I can actually look out my windows and  spot a car, truck or person that doesn’t “belong” because I’ve invested the time and effort to know who and what does belong.  That doesn’t mean the stranger is up to no good, obviously, but they are worth a second or even a third glance. If I see a stranger hanging around, with no evident purpose, I’ll watch even more closely. And my neighbors commonly do the same now since I suggested it to them years ago. I live alone, and one neighbor has called me many times when strangers drive up here, just to be sure I’m OK.

Now, some people might not appreciate that part, and in a crowded neighborhood it would be impractical, but it works out well here. Another neighbor called once this summer to let me know my sneaky horses had gotten out on the other side of my property. I would not have known about it until I went out to feed otherwise, and they might have gotten into real trouble by then. So the exercise of awareness can help to build safer and more friendly neighborhoods.

Obviously, you don’t want to become a nosy parker, and interventions like the phone calls would be reserved for serious situations or questions, but the very practice of observing and assessing is what is most important for your own development and safety.

We came up with a good list, I think, but I would be very glad to get your feedback so I can add as many practical suggestions as possible to my teaching material. How would you go about expanding your own practice of situational awareness, and how do you think it would it affect your family, neighborhood and safety? What might be a downside or problem with those listed here?

[The book, “I Am NOT A Victim” is still available free to anyone who sends me an email and asks for it. Please let me know where you saw the offer. I am sending it only in pdf format now, so if you can’t open a pdf document for some reason, or would just rather have something else, let me know that too.]

And…She’s Back!

It seems fitting today to be writing this post announcing my return to the blogging world. You see, today I’m celebrating a milestone. Today’s my birthday. But not just any birthday. Oh, no. Today I turn 40. I know in the scheme of things 40 isn’t that old. But still, this is a milestone for me, and it’s got me in a contemplative mood. So I hope you’ll bear with me, dear readers, while I reflect upon some of the lessons of the past year, the changes in my life, and the insights I draw from them:

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A Gentle Reminder

This is just a brief post to offer a public service announcement: Hug your loved ones and tell them what they mean to you. Do it now, and do it often. Don’t trust that you can do it later. Then, go look in the mirror and give yourself some love too.

I found out yesterday that an acquaintance of my sister’s, and the son of one of my mom’s good friends, passed away suddenly and tragically on Tuesday. He was younger than me, and I’m not yet 40. We never know how many tomorrows we’ll have until it’s too late, and neither will our loved ones. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether it is an act of violence, an illness or accident, or another kind of tragedy that ends our lives.

So, go hug your spouse, your children, your parents. Call a friend and tell her what she means to you. Write a letter, a card, an e-mail. Reach out and connect with your loved ones, and do it often.

Life Well-Lived

Over at Home on the Range, Brigid has a fabulous, touching, poignant post about her dad, who’s taking a trip to Montana. As we all do, Brigid’s dad is growing older, and she definitely has the sense that time grows short.

Read the post. Just — read it. I’m still wiping tears off of my iPad screen.

But I wanted to comment on something Brigid said. She wrote:

I’m wiser now then I was at 20 something, or even older. I’m more cautious as to the acts and conceits of man, but I feel no different than I did then, but for my knee and a couple of faint lines around my eyes, the reminder that years grow short, even if we live our lives standing still, fearful of their passage.

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An Open Letter to the Anti-Gun Folks

Over on the A Girl and Her Gun blog, I came across a terrific post with the same title as this one. Reading it, I was struck by the realization: I could have written this. Sure, some of the details of my life are different: I adopted my daughter from the US foster care system and not from abroad. My religious experiences were with the Jewish, not Christian, community. But I too have been awed by the kindness, support, encouragement and sense of belonging I’ve found in the gun community. And so, with AGirl’s permission, I am reposting her open letter here.

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My Story

I read a poignant post over on A Girl and Her Gun today, and it got me to thinking about the reasons why I am a believer in armed self-defense. Despite the increasing prevalence of women in the shooting world, the question of why I shoot continues to be a distressingly common one, and I too struggle with how much of my personal history to share.

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Deconstructing the Aurora Shooting

Bryan over at the IT’S Tactical blog has a terrific post deconstructing some of the myths, media hype, and reality behind what’s come out so far about the Aurora shooting. This part struck a chord with me:

Something important to ask is whether carrying effective medical equipment to treat gunshot wounds would have saved lives. That’s the first thing that crossed my mind, what if many people in the audience had a pack of Combat Gauze in their back pocket, would they have been able to treat people quickly at the scene until EMS arrived?

As mentioned earlier, the first dispatch was at 12:39 a.m. and shortly thereafter in the audio recordings, you hear an officer ask for permission to take some of the victims by vehicle to the emergency room, as there are no ambulances on scene yet. I’m willing to bet that they didn’t have proper medical equipment in their squad cars to treat people either, but I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

This is what I’ve been preaching for years; when you need it, help isn’t coming. You can just look at typical EMS response times vs. the time it takes for someone to lose enough blood to be beyond saving. Not to mention in a situation Law Enforcement might find themselves in where it’s still to dangerous for EMS to even enter the scene.

At the very least you should get trained in basic First Aid, understanding direct pressure, how to pack a wound and place a tourniquet. Then carry what you need to do so.

Personal protection is about so much more than simply carrying a weapon. If you’re not prepared to deal with the aftermath of a criminal encounter, having a gun doesn’t make you less vulnerable.

You might have a Glock in your pocket, a CCW permit in your wallet, and good-quality ammo in your mags. You might (I hope) have the training under your belt to use those tools effectively. But does your CCW permit share wallet space with a current CPR and first aid certification? Do you have even basic first aid supplies somewhere you could get to them quickly? Don’t ignore this part of your preparation, or you may find yourself winning the battle and losing the war.