Friday, April 20, 2007

Everyone needs to take a deep breath


I will pretty much always be receptive to being in the company of E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post. Smart guy, lots of common sense and he isn’t afraid to use it.

I have been getting a lot of criticism lately, from both sides of the gun issue. Some people on the left have denounced me as a “gun nut” to be “feared.” I have been called a bloodthirsty thug, mentally ill, and psychotically deranged. I have been informed that I am in need of a sturdy cage.

Because I own guns, and I hunt.

Lemme tell ya, being attacked by vegans is akin to being pecked by ducks. It isn’t sharp, it isn’t pointed, it’s funny at first, but soon gets annoying.

The gun-rights crowd has been just as judgmental in their denunciation of me – except they are more pointed in it. The paternalism is pretty thick on the sites that linked me that I bothered to check out. The gun crowd bristles at me because I have no use for the NRA, have never been a member and never will be. I also firmly believe that there are steps we can take to curtail gun violence in this country and part of what we need to do will involve common-sense gun control measures.

Let me give a little background. I have been around guns my entire life. I passed my first hunter safety course when I was 10. I took my first deer when I was 12., and with the exception of the year I had a baby in October, I have gotten my deer every year since. When I was 14 I built a .50 caliber black-powder replica of a Sharps buffalo rifle for a 4-H gun smithing class. I know how to reload ammo and cast lead. I know how to make black powder from scratch. I know guns. Inside and out. That is my responsibility as an owner of firearms.

Where I caught hell from the gun crowd was in disagreeing with those who say “Concealed carry! Then someone could have stopped him!”

At the mere thought of that, the first responder in me reaches a valium.

Everyone who has chastised me for that – I am sure you are every last one of you competent, rock-jawed, and staid. You would certainly be able to keep your composure and drop the dude and save the day. I get it. If I’m ever in a foxhole I’ll take you over anyone I know, because you have the right stuff. But c’mon – fess up – you know people who you wouldn’t trust. In fact, you know someone you probably secretly wish would go vegan and give away all their guns. Not everyone is Charles Bronson., and we all know it. In real life, bullets kill people, and once that trigger is squeezed, that bullet is no longer under your control.

I have a lot of cop friends and acquaintances. That is a side benefit of trauma team work. . I have been to the public safety training range many, many times. I always kill every “bad guy” target with one kill-shot. (I am not blowing smoke when I say I’m one hell of a shot. I am one hell of a shot.)

The thing is – I usually kill the guy with the camera or the cell phone, too. Most people do. I am curious about those who think I’m a silly little girl with a cop-worship complex. Have they even done the kind of live-fire course I’m talking about? (Most gun owners haven’t) If so, how many times? (68 times all the way through, which means that I got all the “bad guys “ and didn’t get “shot” I have been killed by a target I misread as no threat on nine more tries. Of the 68 times I have completed the course without getting “killed” myself, I have “killed” an innocent on 42 occasions.)

I do not offer this as if to say my experience should be considered representative. I just offer it for consideration. I am not saying my skills are any better than anyone elses,, (However I would put my knowledge and skill against pretty much anyones.)

Someone actually said in comments earlier in the week that even if an armed person firing back took out a couple of innocents, it could still have been a better outcome. I shook my head with incredulity at that one. Would someone who killed an innocent accidentally be subject to criminal prosecution? Civil penalty? Would you like to live with the knowledge that you took an innocent life? Have you considered the issue beyond the initial premise?

Common sense is lacking all around on this issue. Read E.J. Dionne’s column to restore some balance and sanity. He has the guts to ask the tough question that everyone has been thinking:

Why are our politicians still cowering before the gun lobby after Virginia Tech?

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