Pushed Over the Edge?

Second Amendment

Reminder to self: this “Founding Philosophy” of the U.S. is NOT universally self-evident…

Um, wow. I posted the other day without even thinking about how differently my topic would come across to various of my “international audience” of blogging-buddies. Lots of food for thought in the ensuing commentary…

The dodgy topic: my “Concealed Carry” handgun class. (There, I’m being more “international” today—dodgy isn’t an American term. I looked it up while reading Harry Potter…  “Evasive, shifty,” OR “So risky as to require very deft handling.” Ha, blew that one.) Okay, the post wasn’t entirely a disaster, but I DID go merrily prancing into the topic without any forethought about the serious cultural and political differences it might stir up.

Startling statistics: gun ownership by country (image courtesy of smallarmssurvey.org)

One of the early comments (from France) brought me up short: “It’s such a surprise that America has a gun problem. I can’t see how that happened at all.” Wow. Okay. But I can see his point—there I was, after all, nonchalantly waxing enthusiastic about killing my cardboard cut-out with a 40-caliber handgun.

Another reader (from the UK) inquired what a Concealed Carry permit constitutes, because their laws are so different and she didn’t have a frame of reference. Good point. Here was my explanation, which she found somewhat alarming:

Most U.S. citizens over the age of 21 can carry a weapon (that includes knives, etc. as well as handguns) but without a Concealed Carry permit, the weapon has to be in plain sight. (Exceptions to the “right” to carry weapons include people who have been convicted of a felony crime, anyone who has been deemed mentally unstable, anyone discharged dishonorably from the military, anyone on probation or parole, and anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol.)

WITH a Concealed Carry permit, the weapon doesn’t need to be visible, so I could have one in a purse, pocket, or hidden holster, or out of sight in my vehicle—and can carry it anywhere except a courthouse, jail, airplane, or school property.

Her response brought home to me how little I had considered how differently we treat guns here: “Wow! That… that is nutty. So as long as the weapon is visible, its legal to carry one (except for those omissions). That’s most people in the US, surely? Meep! I can’t even begin to imagine that here; I’d shit bricks if I saw someone just ambling along the street with a gun on their hip!”

There’s the cultural divide. She can’t imagine seeing someone with a gun, and I’ve never thought twice about it. I mean, they’re not all over the place, you don’t see them on every second person in the supermarket, but the sight of a shoulder holster doesn’t even make me blink. Her amazement echoed in additional comments from Italy (“I’m curious, does it mean that you can walk along a street with a gun hanging on your side like in western movies?“) and from an Aussie-transplanted-to-Canada:

I’ve lived in Australia and now Canada, where wearing a gun (concealed or otherwise) is anathema in both countries, ** and although I’ve become sort of aware of it since I’ve been here, the concept’s never really ‘clunked’ into my forebrain until reading through these comments.

You’re right that it’s a cultural thing, ‘cos I can’t get my head around walking into my local coffee shop and seeing someone sitting there sipping his or her latte with a gun on their hip, and checking their facebook account!

** apart from criminals and police.

Ah, there’s the rub, in that last line. As the bumper sticker would have it: If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.

gun control

Truthfully, there are logical arguments on both sides of the gun control issue… (image courtesy of memegenerator.net/instance/23767318)

And with that pithy observation, we just hit the slippery slope of American political vitriol. In the interest of full disclosure, let me say here that I’m a Democrat. Socially and politically, I’m pretty far Left on the scale of Liberal. But then there’s this “gun thing”… The Second Amendment (Right to Bear Arms) seems, for some reason, to “belong” to the right-wing crowd. It causes some dissonance in my own brain, I must confess, on occasions when my thoughts seem to echo rhetoric from politicians whose positions I generally detest.

The topic has been distilled into political sound-bites and statistics, banalities and bumper-stickers, all of it heated to a slow boil of emotion. All the arguments seem circular, and I acknowledge the logic of both sides’ contentions. On the one hand, there’s the platitude that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” True—though the fact remains that those people would be less lethal if they didn’t have a gun to hand. That axiom about “only outlaws” having guns is true as well, and would leave the rest of the population without equivalent defense. But with the sheer numbers of guns, we get a corresponding number of incidents in which those guns are used—episodes that could not have ensued in the absence of those firearms.

I won’t pretend to have any answer to the political question of whether citizens “should” be allowed to arm themselves. I’m not interested right now in trying to decry or defend my nation’s current laws. I’m just going forward from the point where we ARE. I can own and carry a weapon, and I am choosing to learn how to use one.

image courtesy of CNSnews.com

Why? Well, let’s step back from the sound-bites and bumper-stickers, and bring the question back into the realm of people. The instructor of my handgun class made an observation that really hit me in the gut. He said he has been a cop for twenty years, and he’s never once arrived in time to STOP a rape or a murder. He said his job is to show up afterwards, clean up, and hope to figure out who did it. But he’s not on hand to prevent it. That is specifically why he teaches concealed carry courses when he’s off-duty.

Of the people I know who regularly “carry,” most are law enforcement officers who carry even when they’re off duty. The rest are mostly women who have previously been raped or sexually assaulted, and who are determined not to be helpless in the future. My own history on that score? I was sexually assaulted a few years back—by a sitting State Senator (Republican “family values” guy, wouldn’t you know it?—but hey, today he’s sitting instead in the county jail).  If I had been armed at the time, it would have been a briefer incident—and I’m ready to swear I wouldn’t have needed to USE the weapon. Having it would have been sufficient.

image courtesy of someecards.com

That incident isn’t the driving force behind my interest in the handgun, though it plays a part. I’m not a person who devotes undue mental energy to fretting about threats, but I acknowledge their existence. I’ve faced some already, and I’ll face some in future. I sincerely pray that I won’t face any that might warrant the use of a weapon, and I hope I will not EVER have cause to draw one—let alone fire it!—outside of a shooting range.

But… A life can change—or end—in just a few moments. I’m exercising my power of choice, the chance that I could influence the outcome of “a few minutes” when they count most… should the occasion ever arise.

A couple days after I wrote about my shooting class, Keoni’s friend Mike came home from his night shift at the prison to find his wife Sherryl dead in their home, shot four times in the chest. The killer is not being charged with premeditation, which leaves us to wonder whether Sherryl might not be alive if there hadn’t happened to be a gun to hand at the time. From a “political” angle, this death might seem like a straightforward example to support gun control. Although… For what it’s worth, the murder weapon wasn’t a handgun or automatic or any of the categories that cause most contention; it was a hunting rifle. And to counterbalance the question of how-it-would-have-been if he didn’t have a weapon, there’s the reverse of that same question: what if she had?  If Sherryl had ever taken the training I just finished, would Mike still have his wife? I don’t have any answers. I just have my own choice to go forward with.

girls with guns

Finger doesn’t touch the trigger unless I’ve made a conscious choice to destroy something. (Case in point: Here I am on a shooting range, pointing at a cleared target… Finger NOT on the trigger.) No accidents allowed!

I choose to know how to use a weapon, both wisely and well.

I’ll continue praying that the only use it will ever see will be in the context of “sport” and practice.

I’ll admit that I thoroughly enjoy the “sport” aspect of target shooting, but please believe me that I don’t treat guns or shooting lightly. Keoni (who was a Range Master and competition shooter with Oregon’s Department of Corrections) drilled me thoroughly in safety and protocol before I ever set foot in that class, and my finger doesn’t touch that trigger unless I’ve made a conscious choice to destroy something. (Case in point: I reprise this photo to point out the positioning… On a shooting range, sighting a cleared target… finger NOT on the trigger.)

I can’t say whether this post will prove soothing to those who were taken aback by my original, but I will say that it has been an interesting exploration of my own head! My thanks to my blogging friends for giving me so much food for thought.

Will I be starting a whole new round of controversy if I mention that our eleven-year-old son begins his Hunter Education classes this Tuesday?  For better or worse, America’s “Old West” is still alive and kickin’ here in Idaho…

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About Kana Tyler

I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a minister, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a cartographer, a joyful wife, a mom (and Granny), an island-girl at heart... a list-maker! :) View all posts by Kana Tyler

44 responses to “Pushed Over the Edge?

  • rddenton

    “I choose to know how to use a weapon, both wisely and well.”

    This, to me, is key to this whole topic. I too am a shooter, and this policy is one to which I hold myself as well. I was taught proper respect of a gun and its dangers when I was growing up, so much so that it’s ingrained in my brain, and safety is always the first and most important factor when it comes to shooting!

    A wonderfully-written article that approaches both sides of what is otherwise a very sensitive topic! Thanks, Kana!

    • legionwriter

      Compelling stuff, Kana. Thanks for creating this forum. Personally, I choose not to carry a weapon, but I suppose that choice is easier for a guy my size. People tend not to mess with a man who *appears* to be able to handle himself. If my wife wanted to carry, I would fully support her, and I support any law abider who chooses to carry.
      American media irks me. Every time a whack job goes on a shooting spree, they go crazy on gun control stories, but when a good person with a gun HALTS a potential crime – nothing. It happened not so long ago at a church near the place I used to live. A guy walked in with a gun, started to shoot, but before getting far, he was gunned down by a female member who did security for the church.
      Very little publicity from the media on that one, I think because it seemed to make the 2nd amendment look better and because it was a very right wing church where it happened. I think the media likes it better when it’s a conservative gunning down liberals. (spoken from an independent.)
      Great post!

      • Krinkov

        Being a large and intimidating person is no reason to go unarmed. Your size actually gives smaller people more leeway in using deadly force against you. Next time you run into a petite police woman, ask her how she would deal with a person your size in a one on one violent encounter.

  • Pepper

    Currently, I am a Democrat [as attested to on my own blog] very much socially and politically. My current view of the Republican party [which I have in the recent past supported by vote, at least] is that it combines a bunch of really wacko-nuts. Yet, in spite of the fact that they spout off about “the right to carry” and own guns, I disagree only in the AK-47 type of combat weapons that they want to own. Some states with heavily weighted Republican legislators want to expand the gun ownership rights to include grenade launchers and that type of weapon. Of course, these are the same people that see terrorists around every corner and view their neighbors as enemies about to breach some imaginary castle wall.

    In Florida and Virginia, it is legal to own and carry on your hip and on your car seat – several guns including military armaments and as many clips as you choose.

    In 2010, The Tea Party Republicans [Romney's supporters] SPONSORED an event in the same city where President Obama was speaking OUTDOORS and the Republican group ENCOURAGED all its participants to wear all their guns openly. Thousands came from all over the country to protest the RUMOR that Obama was going to override the Second Amendment by asking the congress to vote FOR the Brady law against automatic weapons licensing.

    Anyone that thinks of Obama as a wus is so mistaken. He has received more death threats since his inauguration than any President to date. Yet, that man STILL went out and spoke on an outdoor stage surrounded within gunshot distance by extremists. He refused to play into their fear mongering and refused to use his power to have the secret service jail the whole bunch for carrying weapons within x distance of the president. THAT is one very brave man!

  • Le Clown

    Kana,
    I’m not one to link back to my site, but in this case, I thought it was ok, and appropriate:
    http://clownonfire.wordpress.com/magnificent-ecards/#jp-carousel-4189
    Le Clown

  • Food,Photography & France

    I think that the explanation of American culture doesn’t answer the question. Statistics are a tool that can be used to either party’s advantage. I know that England is becoming a far worse place because of the amount of guns that are now on the streets and allowing everyone to carry one just brings about what is currently happening in America. I’ve just had a couple of friends from Kentucky staying with us, and they told us that people near them own an arsenal of weapons,including heavy calibre military weapons. There can’t be a justification for that. The problem may lie in the fact that America sees crimes against money as far more serious than crimes against the person. You also have an army of “lawyers”, as does England, that make the chance of conviction very slim indeed. You’re better off having an accident in the office and using those same “lawyers” to sue the company and earn you a million.

    • tmckee

      “they told us that people near them own an arsenal of weapons,including heavy calibre military weapons”

      And you immediately explained to them, the differences between “heavy calibre military weapons” and civilian versions, right? Because it’s obvious you and “your friends” have the breadth and depth of knowledge to discern between them. You’re clearly intelligent and will know when to differentiate between hyperbole, fear and anti-civil rights soundbytes. I can tell. Nope, no hyper-partisan anti-civil rights fearmongering for you. No siree bob.

      I wait with anticipation to you agreeing with my assumption. I’m even holding my breath, assured that you will indeed agree that this is exactly what you did.

    • Pepper

      Hello, France … :D
      In some states there are militia organizations in the rural areas … some members like to refer to them as “clubs”. tmckee has a point, though. These are militia weapons vs. military grade of the same type. The main difference lies in the bullet … armor piercing bullets are not on the open market here anymore. That said, a .22 cal can still kill you if it hits you right [as can a spit wad!]

      I think Europe hears more about our “violent” streets than is actually proportional to the number of incidents. We are not free from violence – but then, no nation is.

      As far as hiring lawyers a] to get them off … not true! It’s very difficult to get someone off with a jury trial and appx 85% of those arrested enter a guilty plea long before any trial takes place. It is equally as difficult to suit your employer and win. A trial – whether civil or criminal – takes on average from 3 to 7 years to reach the courts because of all the rules of evidence and procedure that takes place. Translated, the average cost of a criminal trial for the attorney fees is $50,000.00 plus costs for things not covered by a retainer. The average cost for a civil trial is $250,000.00 plus $500.00 per hour – up front.

    • Kana Tyler

      Well, there’s certainly no arguing that America has become a ridiculously litigious society. I confess to being puzzled, though, by the statement about chance of conviction being slim. The most recent U.S. Attorney’s annual report reveals a conviction rate of 92% for violent crimes (91% for white-collar crimes).

      There’s another interesting statement here: “America sees crimes against money as far more serious than crimes against the person.” Truly? Although my own circle of acquaintances certainly couldn’t be said to represent the entire country, I do believe they would all be surprised to hear this attitude attributed to them. Rather a sweeping generalization to make, don’t you think?

      As to England “becoming a far worse place because of the amount of guns that are now on the streets,” I’m puzzled again because you’re writing from France, where the number of guns are higher and the percentage of gun deaths more severe than the equivalent statistics for the U.K. A three-way comparison, by the numbers:

        * The U.S. rate of annual gun deaths is 10 per hundred thousand people. France sees 6.4 gun deaths per 100,000. And England has half a death per hundred thousand people.

        * In the U.S. there are 89 guns for every hundred people. France has 31 guns per hundred. The British have six guns per hundred people.

        * In the U.S., 39% of households have guns. In france, 24% of households have guns. In the U.K., 4% of households have guns.

      Interesting numbers, yes? As you point out, statistics can be used and skewed by anyone, which is why I’m simply presenting numbers and leaving it to you to draw a conclusion.

  • onlyspartanwomen

    Excellent post Kana! I think the comment made by your instructor that as a cop, he has never arrived in time to stop a rape or a murder, really drives the point home.

    I think for the international audience it’s important to point out that gun laws vary dramatically from state to state. Having lived in both New York and New Mexico, I’ve been able to experience both extremes of gun control (or the lack thereof). In New York, if you do not have a gun permit and you are found with a handgun in your possession, the mandatory minimum sentence is one year in jail. You will never encounter an ordinary civilian on the street with a weapon holstered in plain sight, and a carry and conceal permit is almost impossible to get (I do know people who have them, but it takes well over a year and a tremendous amount of red tape to get one).

    In New Mexico, on the other hand, all you need to get a handgun is a driver’s license. You are quite likely to see someone walking down the street with a weapon holstered in plain sight, just like in an old Western flick (and the person carrying it will probably even be wearing a cowboy hat!)

    Having lived in both environments, I can whole heartily attest that my utopia is a world where gun control laws fall somewhere in the middle. New York is a place where most of the people with hand guns are in fact the criminals. They do have them, they do use them, and the restrictive laws in place do nothing to change that. New Mexico, on the other hand, is a place where people are afraid to honk their horns in traffic because the person you’re honking at most likely has a gun, and you never know if he or she is the type who will snap during a heat wave and use it. (Coming from New York, living in a place where you are free to carry a weapon but afraid to honk your horn ironically felt like having your freedom stripped from you).

    So thanks again for so eloquently shedding light on both sides of the debate, and illustrating that not every American with a firearm is a member of some right-wing fringe lunatic group!

  • tmso

    I’m an American, not a gun owner, living in California. I grew up on a ranch with guns around. So, yes, if you gave me a rifle or pistol, I’d be able to shoot it. I also had family members involved in gang activity. Also, my brother is a former cop, brother-in-law is a cop, and good friend is a cop.

    Though I am for gun ownership, I am not for everyone having access to them legally (and never illegally, of course). I think the requirements for getting a gun should be more stringent. Like getting your driving license, there should be practical classes to take BEFORE you get the license and buy the gun. That is, in your case, Kana, you shouldn’t have been able to buy your gun until *after* you took the class you are currently taking.

    As you mentioned, a lot of these courses are taught by industry professionals and they instill the correct amount of respect and fear needed in anyone about to own a gun.

    That’s just my opinion. I do wish that more gun owners viewed guns the way you do, but the fact is that a lot do not.

    • Kana Tyler

      I whole-heartedly agree with your suggestion. Nobody should own one of these things without getting the full-on safety lesson!

      (I’ve often joked that parenting should require training and a license too…)

  • i mayfly

    Speaks volumes of my American roots I suppose, but I totally missed the controversy of your last post. I focused instead on your grandfather’s death and how emotional that must be for you.

    I’ll have to go back and read the comments, but from the above I’d say having your “back story” must add a dimension that others may not have considered before.

    Education by blogusphere: what a wonderful invention.

    -Nikki

  • Judy

    Thanks for a fascinating discussion of how our cultures contribute to our ideas about what is right and wrong. In US politics, the gun issue is one in which I’d like to just sit down with whoever it is that decides which hills his or her political party will die on and just say, “Give up the old party stereotypes and just use your heads!” I tilt toward the right politically, but I see no reason to allow any and all types of firearms for general use. (I’ve never even touched a gun and don’t know enough about them to comment on exactly which guns are clearly out of line, but I know they’re out there.) Ironically, while we would probably disagree on many political issues, Kana, I think we’d find common ground on the issue of guns (among others). And I enjoy your blog! Judy

  • robert che vola, quiet photographer

    Interesting post Kana, thank you. And interesting comments. Personally I’m still a little confused about this. I have to think about a little more.
    robert

  • Widdershins

    Couple’a thoughts
    a – I loved how we all respected each other’s point of view in the comments of both these posts.

    b- These types of global discussions make me want to hug the interwebz for making it possible.

    c- Chortled at LeClown’s ecard and thought it very sad at the same time.

    d – A ‘thank-you’ to Kana for expanding this topic.

    e – it’s enabled me to revisit where my boundaries about firearms lie, which not surprisingly has evolved from my much younger idealistic self who wouldn’t even entertain the idea of touching a gun, to me now, who is troubled by the thought that she wouldn’t hesitate to shoot someone if she thought it was necessary … and also troubled by how the world she lives in has created her ‘necessary’ list. i.e. being a pacifist won’t stop you from getting shot by someone who means you harm!

    • Le Clown

      Widdershins,
      It is of course an exaggeration, like all of these e-cards. They’re meant to be funny, but more than anything, they are meant to provoke and encourage a dialogue/conversation around topics that are close to me, as a father, but also, as an individual. Somehow, I feel you’ve gotten the idea of them. Thank you,
      Le Clown

  • Miranda Gargasz

    Again, we are so alike. I am also a Democrat (I know–what a shock, right?), but also feel that we should retain the right to own firearms. For me, above and beyond the stats on crime and the what if’s associated with concealed carry or otherwise, is the truest nature of that right. We were given the right to own firearms in the beginning so that we, as citizens, never need worry about a government rising against us and we being unable to protect ourselves. My Cherokee great-great-grandfather would attest to enjoying this right after having lost his entire family as a child on the Trail of Tears. As a child he had no choice. As an adult, he was armed to the teeth, and for good reason. For me, that is why I will always defend our right to own firearms. In truth, like your Willy Wonka meme, criminals are criminals, guns or no guns. Where there is a will, there will always be a way…………Thanks for the wonderfully well thought out approach to this topic. It’s nice to see someone write something using common sense and not just political rhetoric. Keep rockin’ on!

  • valeriedavies

    I’m still gobsmacked that anyone would feel so unsafe in their society that they need to carry a gun for protection. Seems to me, that it’s not about gun control, but about tackling the causes of violence, , which I know is a huge sprawling concept, but maybe we could start by NOt condoning violence on TV, film, DVD and so on.And not just physical violence, but violent sex, and every other form of hurt to other human beings. Violence also seems to escalate in societies where there are huge extremes between rich and poor, so I suppose I’m saying it’s time we actually looked at how society operates, rather than just the gun culture….

  • Diana Douglas

    I’m not comfortable around firearms, but as long as gun owners are RESPONSIBLE I don’t–theoretically–have a problem gun ownership.
    However, when I hear about kids getting shot because an adult left their firearms laying around, or someone who was killed because the driver in the car next to them suffered from road rage, (I’m sorry to say that both incidents have happened to people we know) I wonder how we can prevent this from happening. Unfortunately, we humans have a propensity for violence that began thousands of years ago. We’re actually very civilized compared to our ancestors. So how do we keep guns out of the hands of careless or violent people? How do we enforce responsibility? I don’t have a clue.

  • jannatwrites

    I liked your presentation of the information here. I didn’t go back and read the comments on your last post, so I wasn’t aware of the controversy, so to speak.

    I’m torn on the gun issue because I see both sides. On one hand, I’ve met several people who shouldn’t be allowed in the same room with a firearm. The fact that they can legally carry is downright frightening. On the other hand, the right to own a firearm for protection is a somewhat comforting though, a way of evening the playing the field in a way.

    That being said, I took a concealed weapons class over ten years ago just to get over my intense fear of even touching a gun. I enjoyed the target practice, but I don’t think I would get the same enjoyment from shooting a living thing. I never did buy a gun or carry it, mainly because of other disturbing thoughts: What if I don’t act fast enough and the person takes my gun and uses it on me? What if I accidentally shoot a loved one in a moment of fear? These questions are enough to keep a gun out of my hands, until the time I know I can handle both scenarios.

    What’s scary is that the laws in our state changed several years ago – a concealed weapon permit is no longer needed to carry concealed. (Of course the same exclusions of who couldn’t carry still apply, but how are they (law officials) going to know since they can’t even see the weapon?

  • 4amWriter

    I applaud you, Kana. You handled a controversial topic in a fair and balanced manner. There will never be a consensus on this issue, and everyone will have their own personal reasons for being pro or anti – anything, really–not just gun control.

  • Mary Ann

    You did a nice job of covering both sides of this issue. I was interested in reading how others felt about your last post, which I liked very much!

  • Beth Parker

    Great post, Kana! Very interesting. I have my concealed carry permit and feel safer for it. Oklahoma has [assed the Open Carry Law, which will take effect on Nov. 1st. Here’s a link if you want to read the article… http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=336&articleid=20120516_16_A1_CUTLIN363815

  • Beth Parker

    passed…. not [assed. he he

  • Hermionejh

    Great thoughtful post, and here I am being all petulant because I’ve used ‘dodgy’ as a U.S. citizen for over 30 years! hmmm :-)

  • Ileandra Young

    Okay! I’ve been waiting since you posted this to get on my computer long enough to comment – I’m sick of commenting from my phone!

    Okay! First of all; I’m still fascinated at the way the law works. Second I’m interested in when it became ‘unusual’ not to carry a weapon. If I think about it; I write fantasy. All my characters in those settings carries swords, knives, bows, arrows polearms… whatever. When I LARP I don’t dare leave my tent without a sword on my hip and a dagger at my back. That’s just the norm. And frankly put, if I see someone out in the fields without a weapon I get very (VERY) suspicious.

    Consider also that very many years ago, it would not have been unusual to see someone walking about with a sword on their hip. Soldiers as well as any old lord. Even some ladies hid daggers on their thighs.

    With all that in mind I’m fascinated with my fascination. o.O (I’m the commenter from the UK incidentally) and I maintain my earlier comment; I’d be terrified if I saw someone just sitting in a coffee shop wearing a gun.

    In fact, I remember I went on a visit to Nottingham a couple of years ago and they do have a gun problem there, so much so that the police do wear guns. When I saw them, I remember looking twice, blinking a few times, then promptly turning around and walking the other way. I know they were police, so I had nothing to worry about from them, but the fact that it was NORMAL in Notts for them to be wearing guns, just made me twitch. What can I say? ^_^

    • Kana Tyler

      Hmm, that’s an angle I hadn’t even thought about—the historical “normalness” of going around armed… Although I suppose even then, there were some people who *weren’t* permitted weapons… which is maybe why the U.S. Founding Fathers had a bug up their ass about their right to bear arms. ;)

  • butimbeautiful

    I think it would be good if only nice people had guns (maybe in the hands of nasties they’d turn into peanuts?). Half the time when you need your gun it’s probably in the closet or something. I’d much rather live in a society where most people don’t have them – here, criminals do have them but luckily they mostly shoot each other.

    • Kana Tyler

      What a fun idea! (And just imagine how useful it could be to assess character on a first date, for example… Hand your date a gun to hold, and see if it turns into a peanut. Oops, no second date for YOU, sir!) ;)

  • The World Is My Cuttlefish

    Very interesting exploration of the issue. Once a country has gone so far down the path of gun ownership it is difficult indeed to change laws and attitudes – and to know where one would start anyway. Thanks for the post.

  • Marylin Warner

    Excellent post, Kana, with a good balance. As a Colorado h.s. teacher during Columbine, I have very mixed feelings. One gun in the hand of the right person could have save lives taken by guns in the hands of two wrong people. And we both know the “exceptions” to those who have the right to carry guns really aren’t exceptions at all because of all the illegal gun sales. Thanks for the discussion.

    • Kana Tyler

      So true—NONE of the restrictions matter as long as the “bad guys” can get guns in places where the restrictions aren’t observed. I think Columbine hit “close to home” for all of us who were teaching at the time–but man, it really WAS close to home for you.

  • allthingsboys

    My dad was a career sheriff. I grew up learning to shoot. I still don’t particularly care for guns, but I know gun safety, and how to use one. And I wouldn’t hesitate in the least to use one to defend myself. It’s funny, because I have a friend that is a Brit, and she is just as perplexed by the whole gun thing as well. But it’s not surprising, when you consider how this country started, the people that were here first, and the armed farmers that were responsible for making the USA. I’m of the belief that if you want to get a gun bad enough, you’ll find a way. And you can’t have all the felons armed, and the regular people have no way to defend themselves. Just my two cents.

    • Kana Tyler

      It’s definitely a topic where we can’t realistically argue about the “morals” or “shoulds” of the situation without attention to the existing circumstances… Bad Guys CAN get guns, so…

      Still, I can really see the arguments on both sides. In the end, I’m making my own choice within the parameters of how things currently ARE… Quite the conversation, though! ;)

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