Monday, June 9, 2008

Arming Children and the First Freedom (part 1)

After the death of Charleton Heston, and a few exchanges with everyone's favorite liberal blogger (toad734), I decided to address his comments toward Heston, the NRA, and the second amendment in general. This is especially important as we await the DC gun ban case currently before the Supreme Court.

So let's begin. Back in 1999, after the Columbine massacre, the NRA was scheduled to hold its convention in Denver. Between protests, there was a scaled down gathering. I was a little oblivious to this, although I had followed news of the massacre and had even written a song about it (which was fun but sucked (long story short)). The problem, I discovered, is a fundamental lack of understanding of what the NRA and what the second amendment really means. And from then to the Virginia tech shooting and beyond, people continue down the same confused path. So here's the truth. For sake of brevity, I'll deal with my children today and the value of the NRA tomorrow. (For part 2, click here)

A sign left at the memorial site that sprang up said, in part, "-- is the right to bear arms worth the lives of our children?"

YES. Furthermore, to correct her question and make it a statement: The right to bear arms is for the lives of our children. As most of you know, I have a set of these younglings myself. I'd like to say they're already accomplished shooters. But being preschoolers, and the older one mildly autistic to boot, I haven't had the pleasure and the fundamental responsibility of teaching them to shoot. Yet. I have personally had to consider all the questions concerning guns and children since then, and here's what I have come up with:

1. I will teach my children to respect guns. This is the responsibility of every parent who has contact with any gun, legal or otherwise. After all, we are talking about a weapon, designed to kill people. For anyone who has never held a gun nor looked at the business end of one (done both), the first impulse is to fear it. For the child, the first impulse is to touch it. With so many people not owning guns, it's no wonder there are so many people that think with their hearts and not with their minds. My children will know where my guns are, what they can do, and when they may look at or touch them. They will come to understand that a gun is not a toy, it is a birthright, and it is ALWAYS loaded (whether it really is or not (first rule of handling guns)).

2. I will teach my children how to handle guns. The first rifle they will fire will be my semiautomatic .22 rifle. I'm not sure how soon we will be taking it to their grandparents' house to shoot something (as 3 1/2 is a little young), but that day will come. When they are older, they will be given time with a BB gun. And when the opportunity presents itself they will, in turn, be able to go hunting with me, or their grandfather, and experience a closeness with nature that no tree hugger will ever know. There is also something important when you learn the power of the gun when you take a life, whether it is a small animal (rabbit, squirrel) or a majestic creature more akin to you (deer). This difference may be what separates those who handle guns well and those who shoot people for fun.

Reducing gun violence is that simple. I'll deal with the NRA tomorrow.

18 comments:

Toad734 said...

I'll start off by saying I own a gun.Well, that is if you can count a single shot 20 guage as a gun. I try to go skeet shooting at least once per year. I am not opposed to the theory of someone owning a gun. Its the kinds of guns that almost anyone with a pulse can get and with very little oversight is where my problems lie. Just as our freedom of speech, press and religion are not absolute, neither is our right to bear arms. The NRA doesn't get that.

Andrew Golden and Mitchell Johnson were both raised around guns and Golden had owned a gun since he was 6 years old. The killed 5 people in a school shooting spree in Jonesboro, AR and were released from prison in their 20s and are now able to legally own firearms again. That is why the NRA, not the second amendment, is bad. I don't have a problem with hunters owning shotguns but I do have a problem with the NRA.

My parents taught me not to smoke, do drugs and drink but I did them anyway. Just because you expose a kid to guns and then tell him not to use them on anyone doesn't mean it wont happen.

Tell the parents of nearly 3000 kids who die in America every year that guns are for them. The United States has more child gun deaths every year than 25 other industrial nations combined.

Who do you think is more likely to be killed by a gun:
A. someone who lives in Chicago that doesn't have a gun in their house
B. Someone who lives in a crime free area but owns a bunch of guns

By owning a gun, which is the most likely scenario:
A. You will use it in self defense when a burgular with a gun breaks into your home and you legally shoot him and can prove your life was threatened
B. Your gun will be used against someone in your family/household
C. Someone, knowing you own a gun, is more likely to break into your house when you are not home to steal your guns where they will later be used in another crime. (happened in my neighborhood growing up)

Some of the most dangerous places in the world such as Colombia, Iraq, South Africa, Algeria, the United States and Detroit, etc. have:
a. Very few guns
b. a whole lot of guns

My father used to hunt a lot for all kinds of different things and mainly because he liked being out in nature. Now the only two things he hunts are Turkeys and mushrooms. Yes he hunts mushrooms, but not the magic kind and he gets the same closeness to nature as he does when he goes out into the woods with a gun. My friend, a tree hugger, hiked through yellowstone for a week with only a backpack, no gun. I can assure you that his experience brought him closer to nature than any hunter who drives out to the woods for the weekend to poach deer and drinks beer all night in his hunting lodge.

Toad734 said...

Bottom line is that more guns don't make you safer.

No 9 year old has ever been killed on a playground by an errant drive by stabbing.

Guns don't usually kill people on their own but they are tools which make killing someone a lot easier to do. It takes a different kind of person to actually stick a knife into someones stomach and stab them until they die and bleed all over you or to look someone in the eye until you strangle the life out of them. A gun is to murder like a hammer is to a nail. Sure, you could eventually get a nail into a wall without a hammer but very few people would hang pictures if not for the hammer. It would take someone who was very committed.

Ill probably have to repeat all of this for your next post...

Patrick M said...

First of all, a 20 gauge shotgun is a gun. And pretty handy in close quarters.

Now I will be the first to admit that there will always be someone who will use a gun to do harm. Or a knife. Or, for that matter, some explosives they learned to build on the Internet. The point is there will always be someone who wants to do harm. As for the Jonesboro boys, they probably should have lost that right when they pulled the trigger. I don't remember the full circumstances, being I only focus on the current events, but there had to be signs.

Now, on to your multiple choices:

A. someone who lives in Chicago that doesn't have a gun in their house (although I'm sure you have a statistic to prove otherwise)

C. Someone, knowing you own a gun, is more likely to break into your house when you are not home to steal your guns where they will later be used in another crime. (happened in my neighborhood growing up) (it's called a gun safe, especially if your neighbors are shits)

b. a whole lot of guns (because the bad guys have guns, thus the need for conceal and carry)

Clarification: ...any hunter who drives out to the woods for the weekend to poach deer and drinks beer all night in his hunting lodge. That's not a hunter, that's a poacher.

Also, you have to repeat yourself? Maybe because that's because you rely on cliche instead of arguing my original points. Especially since I mentioned I was going to cover the NRA in part 2. So I'll let you rehash the NRA stuff, then knock your arguments out of the park....

J_G said...

Patrick, this argument about having guns not making anyone safer is a slam dunk. You are more likely to be shot and killed in Chicago than you are if you live in a reduced crime neighborhood and own firearms.

The truth of the matter is if everyone where allowed to carry a weapon to defend themselves there would be less crime not more. It is proved every place it is tried. Take Marion, Indiana for example; they banned the possession of firearms completely and the criminals, heh, the criminals flocked to Marion Indiana because they knew that there was no chance of being stopped by a homeowner and the police were up to their elbows trying to regain control of the town. They had to reverse themselves eventually because the crime rate had risen so high and people were afraid to live there and housing prices dropped through the basement. That's just one example.

In Philadelphia Pennsylvania the, lets say not so intelligent new Mayor and his new Police Chief are completely against the private ownership and concealed carry. They passed laws in the City Council against the State Constitution trying to limit the possession and purchasing of firearms in the city. That never works and only affects law abiding citizens. The Superior Court ruled against Philadelphia and their not so Mayor. The NRA lead the way with it's lawsuit against the Mayor. God bless the NRA and it's freedom loving members which I am one.

Every point that toad made is refutable and fallacy. Nothing, absolutely nothing is worse than a government that believes they are the only ones that should own firearms, that is called a police state. I know more than a few people that own fully automatic firearms with their license to do so. I might add that more people have been killed in Ted Kennedy's car than there have from people that legally own fully automatic firearms.

I am a certified NRA Firearms safety instructor and I have trained many on the safe operation of firearms and you can believe I own a lot more than a single shot shotgun.

The question that comes from liberals is always amusing to me. Why do you need a gun like that? My answer is; What business is it of yours?

Toad734 said...

I did address your points, every single one of them.

So if your guns are in a safe, how are they protecting you in the middle of the night against an intruder? Scientific American found that using a gun in defense actually increases the victims chances of injury or death.

And yes, it is 43 times more likely that the gun in your household will be used against you or a member of your family than be used on an intruder.

A household owning a gun is 2.7 times more likely to experience a murder than a household without a gun. Any person living in a place like Chicago is probably about twice as likely to be murdered by a gun than someone who lives elsewhere in the state but that doesn't take into account the number of people in Chicago who owned their own guns when they were killed by a gun.

I can assure you that the majority of the people in Chicago aren't unarmed citizens who are killed in their home during a robbery. Most are again, gang bangers who own guns.

But that would almost be an impossible statistic to find if I was trying to get exact percentages.

JG:

Im not talking about gun laws, Im talking about guns. Almost everywhere in the world, the more guns you have the more gun deaths and gun crime/crime you are going to have. Detroit has more handguns than people and guess what, one of the highest murder rates in the country. Again, Colombia, Algeria, South Africa, Iraq, Russia, the United States all have two things in common, a whole lot of crime and a whole lot of guns for which to commit those crimes.

Marion INdiana, Is that supposed to be a joke? First of all, I was just in Marion a few months ago, I can assure you that criminals weren't flocking in the streets with their illegal guns.In fact, I thought I saw Opie while I was there. I can also assure you that this isn't a place which is going to ban guns...Everything except the churches is closed on Sunday the the Church parking lots were full of pick up trucks with gun racks. What you are probably talking about is Marion County (Indianapolis)where I am from and where my gun owning father lives. Again, I can assure you that there has never been and never will be a gun ban there. I also couldn't find any references to any sort of gun ban or crime rate increase because of a gun ban. What I did find is a rise in the murder rate after the assault weapon ban expired. You can buy things such as AK-47s in Indiana, thats where the Chicago gangs get a lot of their guns and its the kind of Gun which gunned down the family of 7 in Indianapolis last year.

I am going to also assume that your statement about Philadelphia is also erroneous.

Patrick M said...

J_G: The question that comes from liberals is always amusing to me. Why do you need a gun like that? My answer is; What business is it of yours?

I couldn't have said it any better than that. Because that's the essence of the Second Amendment.

Toad: So if your guns are in a safe, how are they protecting you in the middle of the night against an intruder?

Uh, you take it out. The safe is to secure your stuff when you're not there.

Now for every statistic that shows more death surrounding guns (it is designed to kill, after all) there are statistics that can show how guns reduce crime.

However, safety is not the issue; a right secured by the Constitution is. For centuries prior, possession of weapons has always been controlled (thus peasants fighting with pitchforks) because leaders and kings have always known an armed populace will be a free populace. And if not, the king was going to get beheaded. That is precisely why the right to keep and bear arms was secured for us: To protect that right from a power-hungry government.

And no matter how you justify gun laws, it's still only a tool to take away weapons from law-abiding people while the criminals laugh and lock and load.

Toad734 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Toad734 said...

So, while someone is crashing through your window, you are going to get up from your sleep, go to the safe, unlock it and pull your gun out before he shoots you? Or as soon as you get home you take all your guns out of the safe and sleep with them under the pillow? Can't you just get a Rottweiler?

Again, Im not talking about gun laws, I am talking about the fact that there are AK-47s on the market. I have a problem with guns which fire 1000 RPM of armor piercing bullets being on the market and I am sure any police officer would agree with me. I have a problem with the NRA saying thats exactly what Thomas Jefferson envisioned 13 year olds carrying to school with them.

I will be the first to say that banning anything in an area where you can just go a mile away to get it is pointless. A national import or manufacturing ban, such as the assault weapons ban would be the only real type of ban I would support. That and the type of people who are allowed to buy guns. "Law abiding" citizens are buying guns and thats fine but the criminals are getting them from somewhere so this means the people aren't really law abiding and they are selling guns to criminals or the criminals are stealing them from people who have them in their home...this isn't that Pakistan frontier; they aren't manufacturing these guns themselves. I would bet that most guns enter the country legally which means that the people whom you say are buying the guns legally are either then selling the guns illegally or not responsible with them and don't lock them up in safes.

Patrick M said...

I have a problem with the NRA saying thats exactly what Thomas Jefferson envisioned 13 year olds carrying to school with them [AK-47s].

Toad, I'd love to see where you get these crazy ideas.

And you obviously missed me saying to put the gun on the nightstand before bed. But I surspect that's because you have an ax to grind. I'll figger out why eventually.

Mike's America said...

"My parents taught me not to smoke, do drugs and drink but I did them anyway."

That explains a lot. "Did" or do?

And a single shot 20 gauge (correct spelling)?

That's a glorified BB Gun.

My favorite is a five shot semi automatic 16 gauge. The 12 gauge gives too much kick.

Patrick M said...

Mike: Be fair. At least he has a gun. His will make someone in a hallway just as unhappy.

Plus, despite his perception of the second amendment, owning a gun means there might be (non-Obama) hope....

Toad734 said...

Pat:

Agreed, where do they get those crazy ideas?

So, it is possible, that when you are sleeping at night that a, mildly autistic child for instance, could wonder into your room and see what looks like his favorite toy sitting on the night stand??

Where the hell do you get a 16 gauge? Don't see too many of those. And no its not a glorified BB gun, that would be a 22 or a 410 even. And if I can hit a skeet just as well with a 20 gauge as other people can with a 12, I think I'll be fine. Its not that a 12 has too much kick, it just happens to be the gun I have had since I was 12. At some point I will get a 12 gauge pump because lets be honest, you don't even need to fire that gun to get someone out of your house, you merely need to pump it, I think that one sound is an instinct I think humans are born to recognize.
Most states say that you are only allowed to have 3-5 shells in the chamber at all times...Gues what, thats gun control.

Yes, I did drugs and I do drink like most people who aren't part of the Christian Coalition and have a life outside of their blog.

But seriously, like I pointed out, if you really want to protect your home at all times, get a Rottweiler. It's far more effective than any gun, the criminal can't use it against you and it will protect your home even when you aren't home and it can't be reasoned with. You, a person with a gun, might hesitate to pull the trigger even if someone is breaking into your house or you may be less likely to start a gun fight with children in the next room; a rottweiler isn't going to think about that shit and will just get down to business.

So, to recap: I own a gun. I am not against a reasonable interpretation of the 2nd amendment which was written long before automatic weapons and armor piercing bullets. I am not for banning guns. I am for gun control and gun laws which keep people from buying too many guns which they can sell to criminals, background checks on people who want to buy guns and even limits on how many of certain types of guns someone can own. I don't support the NRA because they don't want any laws or regulation on guns at all and would fight for someone's right to own anti-aircraft guns. The NRA, along with other organizations such as MADD have too much power and influence. I don't believe owning a gun is the best way to keep your family safe. I realize that the people who usually end up getting killed by guns are people who own guns or innocent children in the crossfire. No liberal wants to take away shotguns from deer hunters!

BB-Idaho said...

"I am a certified NRA Firearms safety instructor and I have trained many on the safe operation of firearms and you can believe I own a lot more than a single shot shotgun." So, what do you make of the 4 year old that shot herself with granny's legally concealed pistol from granny's purse while riding in a shopping cart?

Patrick M said...

Toad: I asked you about the crazy ideas. I noticed you forgot to answer....

Now if I had a pistol or a shotgun at my bedside, I'd have it there in such a way that that 4-year-old sure as shit wouldn't get it.

Now with young children, I'd feel better with a well-controlled weapon than a dog with a higher level of aggression. Plus, then I'd need the gun to shoot the dog.

BB: Just in case J_G doesn't get back here, I'd say Granny should be losing that permit for incompetence.

BB-Idaho said...

"and experience a closeness with nature that no tree hugger will ever know." You must admit that's a bit of a stretch. A lot of us have hunted and enjoyed nature: or backbacked/canoed/xc skied/climbed
w/o a weapon and enjoyed nature.
Are you sure that we can only enjoy nature while blasting away?
(I suspect not..you are likely using tree hugger in the perjorative term of some green organization folk that never left the confines of the office!) In my book the Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited etc are treehuggers too..anyone seeking to preserve the outdoors in its original form.

Patrick M said...

BB: YOu know what I mean when I say tree hugger. I'm referring to people who talk "Save the whatever" incessantly when they really don't spend that time outdoors. Usually, they're just them damn dirty hippies.

The experience I speak of is becoming a part of nature, of spending the day seeing the woods live. Having a chipmunk run up your leg and not notice you're there. Waiting (in futility, if all that matters is "blasting away") for an opportunity that may not come that day or that trip or that year.

So to clarify, hunting is about as close to nature as we can get, even if we don't shoot something. There are other ways top get close to nature. And the people who take the "Bambi" view of hunting (those aren't hunters) haven't a fucking clue.

Toad734 said...

They say they get them from the 2nd Amendment.

Patrick M said...

Toad: Yet you manage to avoid giving me the site where the NRA is calling for legal fully automatic weapons.