Here we go. Another senseless act of violence, 9 dead, and everyone is expressing an opinion about it. So, I will add mine to the noise.
I’m not going to discuss the how, why, or what, which motivated a high school drop out with a background of drug use and racist hatred to do what the little bastard did. Given the state he grew up in still has not gotten over the unpleasantness of the 1860’s, still flies the confederate flag at it’s state capitol, and names roads, schools, and other edifices after confederate leaders, it’s not surprising this uneducated ass decided it was time to take up arms and stir some shit. At least they caught him, and if anyone there had the balls, rather than go through the expense of a trial and imprisonment, because he will never be executed, give the son of bitch a pistol with a single shot, leave him in a cell, and let him finish what he said he was going to do, which was to kill himself.
But, as I said, this post will not get into the why. Instead, as you may well guess from the title, it’s going to be about guns. Now, before you get all derp about this, I have no intention of changing anyone’s mind regarding if they are pro or anti gun/2nd amendment, etc. Your mind is most likely made up on the subject and nothing will ever change it. I’m just going to give you my experiences with firearms, and how I see things from my perspective.
Where I grew up, in the mountains of Pennsylvania, guns were as much a part of life as anything else. It was rare, probably still is to find anyone up there who did not own some sort of firearm be it handgun, rifle, or shotgun. The area up there is prime hunting territory and most of the males there grew up learning to shoot and hunt. My father, my uncles, my grandfathers all hunted. But it was not out of sport or the desire to simply kill something. It was survival. They grew up in hard times. Depression, world war, it was pretty tough. So sitting down to the dinner table with 10 or 12 kids, parents, etc., meant getting enough food to feed everyone took some work. Shortages, rationing, or not enough money meant finding other ways to get meat on the table. Hunting and fishing become a necessity. Chicken, pork, and beef were replaced by rabbit, turkey, and deer. A good size buck would provide a lot of meals for a hungry family back then. As such, virtually every male member of the family was learning to shoot at a very early age, so when they were old enough, they could get out and put food on the table. It was simply the way a lot of families survived.
When I was growing up in the ’50’s….1950’s smart ass…hunting was still popular. The prosperity was just starting to kick in but old habits die hard. Many of my friends and I were taught how to shoot about the same time we were learning to ride a bicycle. For us, owning and shooting a firearm was no big deal. We had guns in the house, we knew how to use them, how to care for them, and how to be safe with them. Guns were, and maybe still are a ‘matter of fact’ part of the lifestyle up there, but not in a violent way. You may go out to the firing range now and then, go plunk bottles at the junk yard, but not much more. Come the fall, you took the guns out, cleaned them up, went to the range and sighted them in, and prepared for hunting season. During said hunting season, if you lived anywhere close to the woods or out in the country, you could hear gunshots all day long in the distance. You could hear gunshots up in the mountains from the classroom in school. Nobody paid it any mind.
The entire community took guns in stride. The school I went to actually held gun safety classes. Imagine if such a thing could happen today. In fact, the classes were mandatory if you wanted to go tramping in the woods when hunting season opened up. Churches, fire halls, even Boy Scout troops would hold raffles, with one of the prizes being some sort of rifle or shotgun. Must be 12 or older to win.
It would not be uncommon to go visit someone who lived out in the country, sit on their back porch and talk, and in the middle of the conversation, they would casually get up, go to the corner, grab a rifle and shoot that groundhog out in the yard which had been digging up the garden. My old man kept a pellet gun for keeping the chipmunks from stealing potatoes from his patch. Such a thing garnered no more notice than getting a drink of water.
Through all of this however, gun safety was always first and foremost. While everyone kept a gun in a relatively convenient spot for home protection, it was rare when anyone actually pointed or threatened anyone else with a gun. Gun violence was quite uncommon. Many people drove around in pickups with a rifle rack hanging from the rear window, a rifle or shotgun attached for all the world to see. Nobody cared. I don’t follow the news up there but based on my last trip, things have not changed all that much.
As for me personally, I did do a lot of hunting as a teenager, but rarely shot anything other than the occasional rabbit. I enjoyed just being out in the woods more than anything else. When I moved away to Delaware and then Florida, I stopped hunting altogether. As for the guns, we had several shotguns and a couple of rifles. My old man was a crack shot but he quit hunting long before I did. It just wasn’t necessary anymore but we kept the guns out of habit.
I also had a muzzle loader rifle and cap n ball revolver which I loved to shoot. They made lots of smoke and noise, were inaccurate as hell, but it was fun to go the range or a junk yard and waste some ammunition shooting targets or bottles. When I moved away, all the guns stayed behind. I had no use for them in Florida. I did try hunting one time, tramped through a muddy swamp for two hours, saw the biggest goddam snake I have ever seen, and got a fine for not having the proper permit. That was the last time I hunted or carried a gun. When we sold the family house about 10 years ago, I sold the all the rifles and shotguns and have not owned a firearm since.
I no longer have a need for any firearm. There is no hunting in the Keys, nor would I go anyways. I’ve never felt in any kind of personal danger which would require me to arm myself. When I did live on the boat I considered getting something on board for protection. Things get a bit different when you are out on the water and occasionally, someone may decide to board your vessel without permission. Most every live aboard I know keeps some sort of firearm on board and rest assured, if you try to board without permission, be prepared to duck, fast. Even the water police know enough to announce when they are coming aboard, and one of the first things they will ask, is if you have a firearm on board. Not to take, just so they know and there are no surprises. They understand the need as well. But, I never got anything for the boat. With all the moisture, salt, and humidity, even a stainless steel firearm will not last long in that environment. So why bother.
Short of any major civil unrest or upheaval, I doubt I would ever own another firearm. It’s not that I am pro or anti gun. To me, a gun is just another possession. It has it’s specific uses, none of which I need, so I don’t own one. Given all the travel I would like to do, carrying said gun across state lines, attempting to fly, um…probably not the best idea. But as I said, a gun is of little concern to me. I know how to use one, if memory serves I wasn’t a bad shot back in the day, but unless things change drastically, I will remain unarmed.
So, when I read about what happened in South Carolina this week, and all the other shootings going on, it kind of perplexes me. I cannot fathom specifically going out, obtaining a firearm, with the intention of killing a bunch of innocent people. It makes no sense to me. And when you factor in the racial end, it really makes no sense. But, obviously, the place where this piece of shit grew up, has very different views on what firearms are for.
No matter, he did what he did, and now the feces is striking the wind movement device. The media is going apeshit because a mass murder of one race by a member of another is ratings gold. Politicians, a year or so from a big national election, will be in full derp mode, promising their constituents, be they pro or anti, depending on the area, that something will be done! A few laws might be passed here or there, but in the end, nothing really will change, and there will be more incidents like what happened this week. Guns may or may not be involved, it doesn’t matter. If somebody wants to kill somebody else bad enough, and they can’t get a gun, they will find another way. Guns just happen to be the convenient excuse for the moment. The fact that this punk was brainwashed and fed a bunch of bullshit about race differences is secondary. Guns fuel ratings and garner votes no matter which side you favor.
Should there be stricter gun control? I don’t know. In my case, given my upbringing, it was never an issue. Everyone owned guns and that was that. To me, having guns around the house, taking the safety and hunting classes, being taught by my father and uncles how to shoot, how to care for a firearm, and how to use it safely, meant more to me than any law. I knew then, and know now, what a specific firearm is for and how to use it correctly. It was that simple.
Will the 2nd amendment be repealed? Unlikely. Given the fact there are millions of firearms in this country, no one is going to be able to take them all, try though they might. Repeal said amendment and the bloodshed will be far worse than any battle fought during the Civil War. Bet on that. Ban gun ownership and you won’t stop what happened this week, nor probably any other shooting incident. If someone wants a gun bad enough, and they intend to commit a crime, the fact that a firearm is illegal won’t mean a damn thing. They will get one.
In the meantime, we will hear the rhetoric, the speeches, the news media specials, the Hollywood celebrities looking for attention, coming out and expressing opinions about gun control, for and against. As I said, it’s ratings and voter gold. Personally, I have my own feelings on gun ownership, as I stated above. You all have yours and you should stick with them no matter what anyone tells you. But pro or con, use some common sense when it comes to guns and firearms. If you don’t want to own one, have no need for one, then don’t own one. If you do own one, make damn sure you understand how to use it, take care of it, and what it’s intended purpose if for.
A gun has no political affiliation. It is not racist, sexist, nor does it have any feelings. It is a mechanical device designed to propel a projectile in what ever direction it is pointed at a high velocity. It will only hit where the user aims it. It cannot think, it cannot express emotions, it is an inanimate object. It is controlled by the person pulling the trigger. So perhaps gun control is not the issue. Maybe education is.