[Edit: I cocked up the names. I have fixed them. Thanks to my friend Rachael for the catch!]
This is a weird topic for me. When I was a kid, I strongly believed that guns should just go the heck away, and only cops should have them. This was based on my belief that everything was essentially fair, and that making guns illegal would mean that only police would have them. This, of course, is dumb. The reality, which I have recently seen first-hand, is that any jackass can get his hands on a gun, such as the jackass that shot a guy outside the bar I was bouncing in. I don’t know the particulars, but I strongly doubt that this gun was a legitimate gun owned by someone who had gone through the requisite steps to legally own a handgun, which are defined in Canada as a restricted weapon.
Now, I don’t own a handgun. I would like to, but I have concerns based around having children in my house. The last thing I would want would be a child to get his hands on the gun and have something bad happen. That would be utterly devastating to me. But I like guns. I like shooting them at paper targets. I want to get better at doing that. Right now I can definitely take out the broad side of an attacking barn, but that’s not really enough. I would like to be able to circumcise a gnat at twenty paces with a well-placed bullet. I’m tired of gnats flaunting their foreskins.
I have been the victim of a violent crime. I was not in a position where I would have had a firearm available even if I owned one, so it would not have helped me in that situation, but having been the victim, I can safely say that I would prefer to never be the victim of a violent crime again. If someone came into my home late at night, I would have no problem whatsoever stopping them with a gun. They are not there to sell girl scout cookies or do a rough estimate of property value. If you are in my house without my permission, you are probably there to do me damage. Of the two of us, it is far more likely that you will have a gun. I don’t like those odds.
As I’ve said, I don’t have a gun and I have no desire to get one for the time being. Instead, I have a wonderful dog. She is half pit and half shepherd, one of the sweetest dogs I have ever known, and I firmly believe that intruders would be in a world of hurt from her. I have checked with police, and if she was to attack a home invader, she would not be in the wrong. I like this.
But I would never prowl the streets with her looking for trouble. I would never patrol my neighborhood with a gun, unless some kind of surreal zombie apocalypse happened, and that whole zombie apocalypse thing is such ridiculous crap that it would never happen. Sorry, teenagers and horror punk aficionados, it just isn’t going to happen.
Trayvon Martin was killed by a guy named George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was out patrolling his neighborhood, and had a gun on him. Trayvon was a kid who was at his girlfriend’s house and went for a walk to the store to pick up Skittles and an iced tea. Trayvon was suspicious to Zimmerman because Trayvon’s skin was black, and Zimmerman clearly watched a lot of television programs about how black folk are so darned dangerous. Zimmerman called the cops (“There’s a black feller walkin around! SEND BACKUP!”), was told to stand down, ignored the order, confronted Trayvon, and shot him dead.
Zimmerman has claimed that he was acting in self defence, which in Florida and several other places is plenty acceptable for killing someone. It seems highly unlikely that he was actually acting in self defense. But you know what? I don’t care whether he was or wasn’t. The fact of the matter is he had no right to be out on patrol, was told explicitly to fuck off, and he still managed to create a situation where he had to shoot a man. At what point does it become obvious that he’s a guilty shithead?
I don’t believe for a minute that gun control would have kept a gun out of Zimmerman’s hands.
I differ on the gun control topic from a lot of people I know. I recognize the dangers of gun ownership, and I recognize that there is no such thing as a safe gun. However, I also know that I would gladly use one in my own self defence if the need presented itself. If I was going to own a gun, I would never take it out of my house (except to take it to a gun range), and I would ensure that I and everyone in my house understood how to use it properly, safely, and confidently. I would not shoot to kill, but I would shoot.
I understand the facts around handgun dangers in the home. I understand why people want to make them damned near impossible to get their hands on. But I also believe that it is my duty to keep my family safe, and the most effective way to do that might very well be to put a lump of lead through someone’s kneecap (or the foreskin of a cocky gnat). Right now, I don’t give myself that luxury out of respect for the lives of others in my home. To me, that’s all the gun control I need. Self control.