Thursday, February 4, 2010

Perspectives on armed adults

I'm sorry - the more I think about it, the less I'm done pontificating on the subject. Bear with me, or just skip over this one.

Maybe ten years ago, in the course of a Usenet (that's "proto-internet," for you youngsters) argument over gun rights, I received the following message. I copied and saved it because...well, because I thought it was hilarious, if you must know.
"You are infringing on the rights of the unarmed people of the US to live a peaceful existence without fear of being gunned down by a citizen carrying a concealed weapon. You are interfering with their right to openly express their frustration if they feel so inclined. Always in their minds is the thought, 'He might have a gun'!"

A few years ago, a friend said to me (paraphrased, since I didn't save a transcript),
It makes me feel safer when you're armed.

So the first commenter did not know one single thing about me other than that I claimed to often carry a gun. Yet she was filled with terror at the mere thought that I or someone like me might be out there somewhere, just waiting to go postal at some carelessly 'open expression of her frustration.' The second knew as much about me as almost anyone knows, and actually felt safer at the sight of a loaded pistol on my belt. I should also point out that my friend is an occasional shooter, while my Usenet correspondent claimed only rarely to have ever seen a gun in her life.

So...(just repeating for emphasis here) a person with knowledge of guns and of me not only didn't get her knickers in a twist, but actually felt safer. The person who practically had a nervous breakdown at the thought, had no knowledge of either subject.

Uh huh.

What the hell does that say about the fearful one? Granting the possibility that my friend was dangerously delusional, it still seems more likely to me that it's my anonymous usenet correspondent who's got her worldview out of whack.

Forgive me, but it's just awfully hard to take people like that seriously. But when they're the ones screaming for laws against what I take as a natural right, I not only have to take them seriously, but in fact I react to them in pretty much the same way they react to me. Only in my case, it isn't driven by propaganda and ignorance. It comes from sad experience.

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