I got that boom boom boom (or not)

OK, if you know me, you know I am a consumer of mom blogs. I can't help it. I don't have a kid, nor do I want one for a long time, but I read them anyhow. To be prepared and stuff, right? Sure. Anyhow, I kind of love Girl's Gone Child, written by Rebecca Woolf, and she usually talks about things relevant to everyone but in the context of being a parent. Today her post was related to the most recent Momversation, which dealt with keeping/not keeping guns in the home when you have a kid.

Gun control is something I care a lot about, largely because I grew up in an area where guns were the norm and people didn't think twice about using them, whether for sport or fun or whatever, but also because you can hardly go a day without seeing something in the news about gun-related violence or accidental shootings or "how could this happen?" stories.

I wasn't really raised with a STAY AWAY FROM GUNS attitude; I remember shooting a rifle for the first time when I was 8 years old, and my brother and I stayed with our dad for a couple days. We shot some cans off a log in the woods, though; we didn't target any animals and we knew enough not to point the thing at each other. Then in middle school, instead of PE for a semester, we had hunter's safety (hunting was big, y'all), and we learned not only how to be safe while hunting but also how to be safe around firearms. At the end of the course, we (a bunch of seventh-graders...in hindsight I CANNOT BELIEVE this actually happened, but welcome to Sevier County, Tenn.) went to the shooting range and shot clay pigeons. Sure, it was fun to take a field trip to shoot guns, but I do think it was smart to apply all the things we learned.

That said, do I think it's a good idea to keep guns in the home? Unless you are a serious hunter, absolutely not. And if you are a serious hunter, I'm only (marginally) OK with it if the guns are kept locked up in a location inaccessible by anyone other than one single person they are licensed to and the bullets are kept in an entirely different location (also under lock and key). Otherwise, what business do you have owning a gun? What good does it do?

While I'm sure pro-gun people are tired of hearing us "pacifists" talk about Freudian complexes (tried to link to a comment on Rebecca's post but couldn't...ugh Blogger!) and how tighter gun laws prevent gun-related violence, I'm pretty tired of the guns-as-a-form-of-self-defense and freer access reduces crime arguments. The only way a gun is going to truly be of use for self-defense is if a) you have a concealed carry permit and are carrying the gun when/if you're attacked or b) you keep a gun/guns stashed around your home for easy access, in which case they are EASILY ACCESSIBLE BY ANYONE (including children, other adults and/or potential attackers who might know where to look). Also, if someone is hell-bent on hurting you, they're going to hurt you. I'm not saying you should just take it, by all means, everyone is entitled to fight back some way somehow, but is shooting (and possibly killing) someone going to fix it? What if there's a next time?

When I moved to Florida and lived by myself for the first time, I was capital-P Paranoid. I'm anxious by nature, but every little noise would have me questioning where it was coming from. My apartment was pretty secure, and my neighborhood was pretty safe, but there's always a big what if factor, especially for a single woman living alone. Did I wonder how I'd defend myself if someone ever broke in or jumped me while I walked from my car to the house? Sure I did, and I concluded that I would have to rely on smarts and/or physical strength because I didn't (and don't) have anything remotely weapon-like, with the exception of my kitchen knives and well, they're in the kitchen, not my bedside table. And what if a potential attacker had a gun or other weapon? I chose not to entertain the possibility.

I absolutely think that everyone has the right, nay, the responsibility to protect themselves and their family/friends. But isn't prevention a big part of that? I understand that not everyone has the luxury of living in a secure home with outdoor lights or a security system or a dog that's going to bark and alert you to something that might be wrong, but doesn't carrying a gun make you vulnerable too? Aren't people's weapons turned on them?

Gun control laws exist for a reason. People should have to go through an extensive background check and take exams or something in order to own a gun and then they should have to jump through a million tiny little hoops to keep the gun. There should be no gun shows. There should be small dealers, with limited inventory who specialize in certain firearms. However, I am not so naive to think that this will eradicate the illegal use of firearms, but I'd like to think it would make it more difficult to obtain them. If someone wants to get a gun and they don't do it through legal channels, they're still going to find a way to get that gun. I just want to figure out how to make it as difficult as possible.

That said, I think it is totally necessary to educate people about guns and how to use them properly. If ever you're in a situation where you have to use a gun, you don't want to be wondering about how it works. While I never plan on going hunting or owning a gun, and despite my hillbilly school system, I'm glad I learned at an early age how to handle a gun and, more importantly, how to get out of the way of a gun. When I have kids, I plan to educate them about the importance of self-defense (preferably with their fists), but I also plan to teach them about both the power and the danger that come with guns. Yeah, I'll probably let them learn to shoot when they're old enough, simply because I see that as a key part of firearm education. And I'll be the first to admit that shooting a gun is a pretty powerful feeling, but only when you're shooting at little clay discs or a piece of paper, not people or animals.

So am I scared of guns? Hell yes. Do I think they have their place in society? Yes. Do I think kids should be sheltered from them? No. Kids (and adults, for that matter) should be thoroughly educated about guns, but I'd rather teach my kids to be peaceful, to break down and avoid conflict and solve problems with their minds and their words rather than with violence of any sort.

But I promise you that my honor student will totally be able to kick your slacker kid's ass if the situation calls for it.

1 comment:

Minnie said...

My home defense weapon of choice? A machete. (As Dick says - No reloading required!) Oh, and a rottweiler. That being said, I don't have a problem with gun ownership. If I had kids I would be more concerned with guns at my kids' friends' homes than guns at my home. I imagine I'll be one of those paranoid moms that asks play date buddies if there are guns in the house.