Monday, April 13, 2009

Hit me with your best shot

Happy Dyngus Day, y'all! They say that on St. Patrick's Day, everyone is Irish. On Dyngus Day, we're all Polish! Is that a polka I hear?

Girls with guns I have a serious subject today, something that has been weighing on my mind lately. I found some amusing pictures for a little comic relief, but there's really nothing funny about what seems to be an increase in the frequency of mass shootings. Perhaps it's due to fears over the economy and job losses. Desperate people sometimes resort to desperate acts. Sometimes it's just some whackjob who finally snaps. Whatever the cause, it seems that we hear about a new one every couple of weeks.

There has also been a big increase in gun and ammunition sales. Last night, there was a story on "60 Minutes" about it (click the link to read a transcript of the story), and it made me feel very uneasy for many reasons. I'm still trying to sort them all out, so please bear with me. (There’s also an interesting interactive site with information and statistics about guns in America that’s worth a look.)

First of all, let me say that I am not anti-gun. In fact, I'm a gun owner. I've had one ever since I lived in a house off-campus, for protection reasons, especially because I lived by myself for several years. And yes, I know how to use it, and I"m not one of those idiots who thinks Gangsta Bitch Barbiethat waving a gun at someone is going to scare them away. I would be prepared to shoot someone in my house if I felt that their intent was to harm me or Ken. Or the cat. Don't mess with the kitty! My Dad taught me to shoot, but he taught me first about gun safety: always assume that a gun is loaded, and that's the first thing you check; never point a gun at someone in jest, even if you know it's not loaded. He never put it quite this way, but basically, guns are serious business, so don't screw around.

One of the things that bothered me about the "60 Minutes" segment was hearing that many states have very few restrictions about buying guns at gun shows. If the seller is a dealer, they have to have the buyer fill out a form for an FBI background check. If the seller is person just selling a gun...there are no background checks needed. While I don't want to stop gun sales, I don't see any reason why a reasonable person would object to a background check. Why would that be a problem? I recently read something in Blogtropolis where someone was objecting to restrictions on Alzheimer's patients getting guns. Are you freakin' kidding me? Apparently they've never watched "The Sopranos." (Episode 66, the opener of the sixth season, in which Uncle Junior's mental faculties are growing worse, he mistakes Tony for someone else, and shoots him in the stomach.)

There is also speculation that President Obama will renew the ban on assault weapons. Why on earth does anyone feel they need an assault weapon? (I'll answer my own question in a moment.) For some reason, there are many people who believe that at the top of the President's agenda is a major crackdown on gun ownership and the enactment of strict gun control laws. Folks, that's not even on the radar. He's got bigger fish to fry, and any sort of gun control--although he's said repeatedly that he supports the right of America's citizens to own firearms--is low priority. Even the renewal of the assault weapons ban is low on the totem pole.

Gun ownership As far as I can tell, there are some people who think that they need to own an extensive arsenal, including automatic weapons like AK-47's and Uzis, because they believe that there is going to be a massive breakdown in our government, law and order, and our society in general. Whether this will be caused by war, disease, or an economic collapse they don't know, but they believe that the chaos is coming and want to be ready for it. Maybe they aren't watching "The Sopranos," but they might be watching a little too much of the SciFi channel. I guess they envision some sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland in which they have to fight off bands of armed marauders intent on stealing their food? clothes? big screen TV? what?

Is such a scenario possible? I suppose so. Anything is possible. Maybe I'm a little too happy-go-lucky, but I don't spend my time worrying about the coming apocalypse and the resultant anarchy, or on planning accordingly. (What does one wear to an apocalypse?) It's a sort of low-level paranoia, thrumming beneath the rational surface of our society, and I find that it's giving me the creeps.


  1. Obama never spoke about a ban on assault weapons. Unfortunately. What the hell do we need with weapons like that on the streets? Even hand guns in the home cause far more deaths of innocent lives than of "bad guys." When a gun is in the house, a child may get their hands on it as well as an angry adult. More guns mean more death and injuries, plain and simple. How much more evidence do we need? And hunters? Killing for "sport" is obscene. (Beth, remember I mentioned my soap boxes?!!)

  2. When my ex started stalking my daughter to find me, I seriously thought about bringing a gun in the house. I still don't have one. There is however a bat next to my front door (the door was replaced by a 2 inch thick oak door for security as well with double bolt locks).

    Security checks in my book never truly wean out the bad guys. The man who shot 13 including himself in my hometown passed with flying colors for his permit and they said it was up to date.
    Case closed on how good those checks actually are. In any case no one needs an assault weapon around the homestead.

    I have to agree with Debra on the killing for sport is obscene statement. I guess in the long haul I'm just not an advocate for guns. It's all to easy to see someone having the very gun they intended to protect themselves with turned on them. I can't tell you how relieved I am that I didn't have a gun in the house in some of the brutal situations I found myself in. Either I would be dead or sitting in a jail cell right now.

    Yeah, I'm slowly making my way back into the mainstream blog-sphere. (Hugs)Indigo

  3. It's a sort of low-level paranoia, thrumming beneath the rational surface of our society, and I find that it's giving me the creeps.

    I thought that this said it all. It is a low level paranoia, that can't really be explained away. Watching that segment, actually spurred ME to want to have a gun, the 'if they have one, I need to get one' motivating me. Personally, I find that if there was a decent system set up for background checks, it would be different. Yes, it was way too easy to get a weapon, let alone a gun.

    But I believe that 'Posse Comatitus Act' (man, there was a reference to that on '24' recently as well ... that was 'Baader-Meinhof' in action!) is not enough to ensure that the citizens won't be over run. I have always thought it possible, as the seperation between classes grow wider.

    Anywho ... my head hurts. Do you watch 'CSI'? They are doing a 'Trek-ish' theme this week. Made me think of you 'n Ken. Anywho, have the best evening!!

  4. LOL, what does one wear to an apocolypse? Perhaps something green, camo was pretty in last season.

  5. I saw the report on 60 Minutes also, and it was disturbing. That Gun Lobbyist guy saying college students should be allowed to arm themselves to "prevent" another Virginia Tech-type massacre was absolutely insane.

    Unfortunately Fox News and people like Rush Limbaugh are whipping pro-gun conservatives into a frenzy by saying that "Obama is Gonna Take Your Guns!!!". Which only makes these idiots arm themselves even more.

    There should be a friggin' IQ Test to own a gun - not a background check...


  6. There are huge gun shows here in Tulsa and, Tulsa being...well, Tulsa.... they are amazingly well-attended. That's an understatement. They're mob scenes, and they tie up traffic all around the Fair Grounds. I agree that there's a creeping (and creepy) paranoia in the U.S. today. As trite and ridiculously impossible as it is, it makes me want to scream "Can't we all just get along?"

  7. We are gun owners also. I kinda feel like no matter what the government does.....the bad guys will find a way to get a gun no matter what. I agree that I don't see any sense at all in owning the AK47s or Uzis.

    My fellows enjoy hunting, & they don't just go out & kill anything that moves. They only deer hunt, & I assure you when they kill a will be eaten. (Not by me, but by some of our family members or extended relatives). I am told that it helps control the deer population & also gets rid of the weak deer....

  8. Brilliant post, as usual, Beth.
    You know my stance on gun control; I am so not a gun person, and I don't "get" hunting for either pleasure or sport, but if that's your thang, then g'head and do it.
    And if you want a gun in your home because it makes you feel safe, again, g'head.
    But, seriously, let's make it a little more difficult than signing a form to buy guns at gun shows; let's make sure that the people buying the guns are gun-educated, and not armed to the gills; let's see to it that, just because you have a wad of cash doen't mean you get an arsenal.

    Gosh, I do go on.....and on.

  9. Hi Beth,
    This trend -- tragic and senseless mass shootings -- is pretty frightening and I don't think we can chalk it up to the current/desperate times alone. It seems like it's been building for a while, even during the recent boom years. It's downright scary ...

  10. The weak-minded think negative aggression=power.
    I hate when anyone says I am "pro" gun, because not being anti something doesn't exactly dump you into pro. My Dad always had guns, and for a long while(until I cried him out of it) used to hunt. I am so anti-hunting(except for very specific circumstances), but believe owning a gun, in many cases can be of benefit for law-abiding citizens.

    I do not believe the economy is directly responsible for increased mass shootings. I do believe over time we have become a place that has devolved into solving problems and maneuving lives through blame and violence much more than personal responsibility and compassion. There has always been violence, but I am continually shocked at how very ANGRY so many people I meet are~ and it is always SOMEONE ELSE'S fault they have (blah blah blah) and they don't have (blah blah blah). ~Mary

  11. Wow, we haven't had a post this provacative in our little corner of the blogosphere in a long, long time!
    Personally. Miss G does not own a gun for a number of reasons. First, if she ever needed to use it to defend herself, she pretty sure she would be too terrified to use it safely. Secondly, if she doesn't own a gun, she can't be tempted to turn it upon a human who pisses her off, including herself! Thirdly, it would take up space that could be consumed by jewelry!
    Her final comment: she can't imagine why anyone thinks they need or have the right to won "assault" weapons. What's next; "it's my right as an American citizen to own this nuclear warhead?" I think the American people need to realize that even in a democracy there are limits to what is resonable and best for the public good. Isn't democracy supposed to be about what's best for the country, not what's best for individuals?

  12. I'm not a gun owner, as you might remember, but I do know two people from my old place of employment (neither of whom know each other) who own and use what would be considered assault rifles. Their arguement against the ban would be that the definition of an assault rifle is so vague as to include everything short of a muzzleloader, but how legally accurate that is I can't say. For them, I think the rifles are more of a 'cool' toy than a political statement.

    * * * *

    I was at a friends house the other day - a financially conservative college grad who's a pro-abortion computer geek; moderate on most issues, left of me on others - and he just WENT off on a rant about how this society was crumbling and it would be, and I quote, "neighbor versus neighbor soon enough". He now has security precautions in place at home, 'code' words for his wife to use on the phone, is contemplating buying a weapon, etc.

    I've known him long enough to have called him a "F*ing kook" to his face, but if HE'S feeling that way, then a whole heck of a lot of this nation echoes his views.

  13. I had a gun for protection, until I had my son, and once he's out of the house, I will get one again... (he's old enough to know better, but definitely young enough to make a stupid mistake or dumb decision). Anyway, this was a very thought provoking entry... I so agree with all of it. Assault weapons should absolutely be banned.... nobody has a good enough reason to own one.

  14. We don't own a gun. There was a huge fight in our house when I put my foot down and said no guns in my house. His claim, he wanted it to protect his family... HOWEVER when I went on and on about the kids being around guns and what could happen, he said he'd keep it in the garage and locked so they couldn't get in it. If it's in the garage, doesn't that defeat the purpose of protecting the family? On top of the kids, I, personally, should not be around guns due to my past history with depression. I have no problem with other people owning guns but I'm VERY big on gun control. You and I both know a really good reason why people who have known mental issues should never be allowed to own a gun. If that was the case, there'd be one more police officer on the local force and one less family that had to grieve over a hero. When we were looking for houses, years ago, we found a house that was for sale by owner. The guy talked up the location, the amount of land, the house, etc... and then he began talking about the ONLY neighbor you could see from the house. Who happened to be some nutjob that thought the government was just waiting for the right time to attack so he'd built up an arsonal at his house and even a bomb shelter. We passed on that house.

  15. Well Beth you sure opened up a debate today...It was an excellent article. Thank you for making folks think again. Over here in the UK of course we don't have a gun owning society...True there are many many people who own guns (and more and more seem to be young people who I am convinced play on their TV things so many games that all involve killing etc) but mainly for organised (and in most cases costly!!) hunting. We have had horrible cases where automatic guns have been used and always they say the conclusion is that the person who has used the gun is mentally unstable...How would any one selling a gun be aware of that ?
    The fear society paranoia I am afraid is taking hold here as well...It does scare one to think about it...but owning a gun...NO NO NO...
    would I like to be shot ? why then would I want to shoot someone else..I know that is easy to say when sitting here in a comfortable safe little village...if someone did barge in and brand a gun would I feel different...not so sure on that one, but hope that I would still feel the I would certainly vote against easier any gun legalisation over here..
    Love Sybil x

  16. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned this yet (and I'm not criticizing you or anyone who has commented), but the demographics of who is affected most by gun violence are staggering: urban, poor areas affected by high proliferation of drug use. And, frankly(not to mention pathetically), much of society seems A-OK with that.

    If we suddenly saw the amount of gun violence and death in "affluent" areas that we see in minority neighborhoods, there would be fast changes to laws regarding gun ownership. It boggles my mind that with every new incident of mass shootings no one anywhere does anything. How many Columbines need to occur?

    And the GOP, the "party of life," conjoined to the NRA, is more than happy to watch these slaughters continue. God Bless America.

  17. There was a man here in my area who just in the last couple weeks, shot his 5 kids and then turned it on himself, killing himself. He used a shotgun that had been used in deer hunting. It's sad but true that ~ there are a lot of people who shouldn't be within 10 miles of any type of gun. And no one needs any of the assault type guns. Their ownership should be strictly banned. Unfortunately, the bad guys will still get their hands on them somehow.

  18. i can shoot a gun but don't know if i would ever want to own one. one of my best friends EVER got shot in high school because of someone playing with a shotgun (or so says the police report).

    a background check doesn't prove sanity any more then an iq test proves intelligence.

    i had to write a paper on the second amendment once, i will post if i can find it.


  19. when my kids were young they did not go into anyone's home who owned a gun. Not that i did not trust the parents, i did not trust the children and their curiosity. Millions will tell you it is not the gun laws that have a thing to do with the mass has more to do with the fact they believe the end of the world is coming and these people need God. I think there are many reasons. This world, today, is not the world we knew when we were young and i believe things will get much worse before it is all said and done.

  20. I know my first reaction would be to throw the cat at an intruder :o)

    The most recent New York incident involved a current gun permit, even though he had previously been charged as a felon. So much for the gun laws.

  21. I've never heard of Dyngas Day, and I'm not Polish, but I am German (one of my dad's grandmothers was German), and he taught me to polka when I was a child. So I'm happily dancing around the living room floor as I type!


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?