Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Gun Culture

NBC sports announcer Bob Costas continues to rail against the "gun culture" in the United States in the wake of the Jovan Belcher incident last weekend where an apparently otherwise normal (by NFL standards) player decided to murder his girlfriend and then kill himself.

On MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Costas stated,
"[The gun culture] demonstrates itself in the Wild West, Dirty Harry mentality of people who actually believe that if a number of people were armed in the theater in Aurora, they would have been able to take down this nut-job in body armor and military-style artillery."

As someone who grew up around firearms, I have lots of fond memories that involve firearms.  I remember getting my first BB gun and shooting it in the backyard with my dad.  I remember buying my first .22 from a family friend (with my dad's permission) with money that I had earned.  I have given and received firearms as gifts for special occasions.  I have introduced new people (including my kids) to firearms.  I have put meat on my family's table with a firearm.  I have picked up a firearm when someone was pounding on my door at 2AM in a less-desireable section of town.  At no point in any of this did I hurt anyone.  This is my gun culture.

When people are new to firearms, or they have questions about a particular firearm or getting their carry license, most people in the gun community will bend over backward to help them out.  It is not uncommon to be at a range and have someone offer to let someone else shoot their gun if they've asked a question of expressed interest in it.  That is my gun culture.

Back to Costas's comments, I do not carry because I harbor some Walter Mitty-esque fantasy of being a hero.  I carry a gun for the same reason I have a fire extenguisher in my house: duty.  I have a duty to my family to take care of them.  That includes getting them home safely.  I don't know if I could have stopped the Aurora shooter (who was NOT wearing body armor, and whose "military-style artillery" functions no differently than President Teddy Roosevelt's Remington Model 8), but I know that if I were trapped in that theater, I'd rather have a gun than not have one.

My gun culture is one of responsibility and self-reliance.  What is the matter with that?

For further reading/viewing on this subject, I recommend Katie Pavlich's article here and/or Mr. ColionNoir's video here.


  1. My gun culture is your gun culture. Even though my dad hated guns when I was growing up (a side effect of Air Cav service in Viet Nam, though he kept a 12-guage shotgun for protection), other family members, friends, and neighbors taught me to use and respect firearms - from my cousin's old 4-barrel Derringer-style pistol to my grandfather's hexagonal barrel 8-guage shotgun to my other grandfather's 30-06 hunting rifle. Firearms have always meant protection and sustenance (and therefore, freedom) to me.

  2. Perhaps it isn't because these things are happening in your gun culture, they are happening in my culture, the suburbs.

    They are happening in places where an expectation of safety is assumed.

    They are happening with guns obtained legally (for the most part) but are not properly secured or in auspicious numbers and types.

    This is more than just a mythical "gun grab". Even the talk of regulation results in the pejorative, "gun grabbers". When, exactly, have guns been grabbed? They haven't. When Obama was elected, gun sales went up and the NRA warned that he would make gun ownership illegal. That didn't happen, in fact gun carry in national parks expanded. In 2012, again the NRA warned that NOW, in a second term, would come the gun grab, and sales went up. How many times is that going to stop having the desired effect and get gun advocates riled up at rabid gun grabbers and cause the Pavlovian "gun sale increase"?

    A conversation about the violence in our culture is not possible without the involvement of those who advocate for guns, but they have to see that there is a problem NOT caused by not enough guns. With over 300,000,000 guns in the US, how many is enough?

  3. Absolutely, an expectation of safety is assumed. It's part of being a responsible person. I don't know anyone who wouldn't help out a neophyte in learning the 4 rules of gun safety or any other issue. Where I'm from, Hunter Safety training (mandated by the state) is taught by volunteers. Volunteers help the Boy Scouts shoot .22s. There are many other examples. I hope to become a concealed carry instructor in the future, in addition to doing both of the above.

    The gun grab is NOT mythical. Sen. Feinstein has openly advocated taking all of the guns she can. Gov. Cuomo has put "confiscation" on the table as a possibility. Are you suggesting that prominent members of your own party should not be taken at their word as to their intentions?

    You're correct in saying (assuming I correctly understand your meaning) that there is no public support for confiscation at this time. That doesn't mean that anti-gun rights folks (who admit that the proposed legislation wouldn't have stopped Sandy Hook) won't come back after the next shooting (and there WILL be one) and try to ban something else. This is why every time a gun bill is signed, the anti-rights folks say, "We didn't get everything we wanted, but this is a good start." We need to be careful giving up rights because the government doesn't like to give them back historically.

    As to President Obama, he's never met a gun ban he didn't vote for. He's even on the record in IL as being against self-defense. He has voted to ban all handguns and semi-autos. Just because he "talks purty" (when he thinks he's in public) doesn't mean the leopard has changed his spots. As to parks carry, here's a little history. President Bush signed that legislation in Dec '08. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly blocked the rule it in March of '09. The Democrat-controlled Congress passed legislation allowing CC in national parks that same month. It was attached as an amendment to credit card reform legislation that Obama desperately wanted. So, yes, he did sign one piece of pro-gun legislation in order to get what he wanted. Please don't act like he campaigned on this.

    I agree that a conversation about violence needs participants from all sides. However, let's make the conversation honest. What I've seen so far is the same old anti-gun claptrap that the anti-rights folks have been spouting for years. They're even using the same sketchy figures (e.g. 26 year-olds as children). Sen. Feinstein was on 60 minutes in 2009, where she told Leslie Stahl "I'll pick the time and the place [for pursuing a new AWB], no question about it." She has been working on her current proposed legislation "for over a year", and she miraculously drops it after Sandy Hook. Tell me she's not using the Rahm Emmanuel rule of "never let a crisis go to waste."

    If we want an open conversation, why aren't pro-gun people being invited to participate on the national level? The SAF and CCRKBA have proposed a national commission on the causes of violence. Strangely, there have been no takers. Let's have a conversation about the actual issue at hand (school violence and violence in general), and not a one-sided lecture using scripted talking points from 20 years ago.