Via Keepandbeararms.com comes this LA Times op-ed in approval of guns! (Registration required, use Newslinks for both user and password. And captialize the “N”.) But I’m going to quote it and comment throughout:
Skeptic Gives Guns a Shot
The firearms issue looks a little different from behind the trigger.
Yes, it does. And author Diane Wagman illustrates this beautifully. Continuing:
Guns are bad. All my life, it’s been that simple. At my son’s preschool, if a child pointed a banana and said “bang,” he was admonished to “use the banana in a happier way.” As far as I was concerned, the 2nd Amendment gave us the right to protect ourselves against invading armies, not the right to buy a gun and keep it under our beds.
So what would make someone like me change my mind? I met this gun enthusiast. As research for my new novel, I asked him many questions, all the while voicing my disgust. My character might use a gun, but I never would. “Come to the range,” the gun guy said. “I’ll teach you to shoot.”
I expected a dungeon full of men missing teeth and wearing T-shirts decorated with Confederate flags. Instead, I found a sunny, wood-paneled lobby and guys who looked like lawyers on their lunch break.
Point 1: She bought the knuckle-dragging, single-digit IQ’d racist white male stereotype the anti-gun forces have been selling for decades, hook, line and sinker.
The man behind the counter was as pleasant as a grandfather from Central Casting. “What would it take for me to buy a gun?” I asked him. He explained the California laws, some of the most stringent in the country. I would have to wait 10 days ? the “cooling off” period. There would be federal and local background checks. I’d have to take a safety class. I’d have to buy a childproof lock. I couldn’t purchase an assault weapon. I couldn’t buy more than one handgun per month. Of course, he said, if I didn’t want to wait, I could drive 10 minutes and buy an Uzi illegally out of someone’s car.
Thank you, thank you, thank you sir. And thank you, Ms. Wagman, for repeating it.
When my guide arrived, he gave me a choice of handguns. I went with the .357 magnum – I recognized the name – and a traditional target with a red bull’s-eye. I couldn’t imagine shooting at one shaped like a man.
First lesson, respect your firearm. I got a little talk about how powerful it was. I learned how to hold it. To load it. And finally to fire it. It was terrifying. The gun was so heavy, I couldn’t keep it steady. It took both index fingers to pull the trigger, and then there was a flash of flame, a loud crack, a substantial kick. It was much harder than it looked in the movies.
Point 2: The only experience most people – especially most anti-gun people – have with firearms is in the popular media. And they are horribly, horribly misinformed because that source never gets it right.
I occasionally hit the target, but I also managed to obliterate the metal hanger that held it.
I have to admit: I loved it. I had a fantastic time. The power of that gun for me, a 5-foot, 3-inch woman, was immediately, shockingly seductive. The thrill when I hit the bull’s-eye (once) was as great as making a perfect tennis shot. I felt like I was playing a careful game of darts in a small, alcohol-free bar.
Point 3: Shooting is fun, and anti-gun people always find this amazing. Or fear it as a corrupting influence on “right-thinking” people.
Later, I was surprised to discover that some of my closest friends owned guns. People I never would have suspected confessed that their guns made them feel protected.
Point 4: Many, many people own guns. Far more than anti-gunners want to admit to themselves. After all, if the UN estimate is correct, there’s almost a 1:1 parity of firearms to population in this country, and that doesn’t mean 10% of the population owns ten guns each. (The pikers.)
Still, most of my friends thought handguns should be outlawed, completely, in every circumstance.
Point 5: Yet we’re told constantly by the organized anti-gun forces that they’re not interested in banning guns, only in regulating them. They’re only interested in gun safety. And they can’t imagine why we’re so paranoid as to think that the ultimate motive is the disarmament of the American public, “completely, in every circumstance.” We have to be brainwashed by the extremist NRA.
I no longer was so sure. I did some research – there are countless testimonials about guns saving someone’s life. I looked into shooting as a sport. I spoke to a woman who had found a wounded deer and shot it, ending its agony. I changed my mind: Guns aren’t bad.
Point 6: If you actually look at the facts with a fair, open mind, this is the conclusion any reasonable person will come to. And I applaud Ms. Wagman for making the effort.
Which leaves gun violence. At least in California, we don’t need more laws – we just need to enforce the ones we have. What else?
Here Ms. Wagman and I disagree – I don’t think California needs most of the laws it already has, but she’s new at this, so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.
The answer has to be education: teaching people to deal with anger, to solve problems, offering them brighter futures, but also Gun 101. Maybe if teenagers were given computer-generated pictures of their own bodies, post-gunshot wounds, it would help them understand the enormity of firing a weapon. Maybe if everyone spent an afternoon at the shooting range, forced to follow the rules, they would respect the power of a gun.
Point 7: Except that the anti-gun forces have done everything they can to ensure that the only exposure most kids from the cradle have to firearms is through the media that never gets it right. (See the preschool banana incident above) Or unsupervised; in criminal activity or in “playing” with the guns that she didn’t know that people like her friends owned. Yet these very same organizations are flying behind a banner of “gun safety.” The media teaches that either you’re shot dead, or “it’s only a (painless) flesh wound.” They’re taught that guns have incredible, attractive, nearly magical powers – and that they’re so evil they should never be touched. But they’re never taught the reality. After all, if they’re exposed to the truth they might become knuckle-dragging, single-digit IQ’d racists. You know: gun-nuts.
The anti-gun forces aren’t interested in “safety with guns” but “safety from guns.”
Now she sees, even if dimly, that down this path lies disaster.
I confess, I don’t know exactly how to solve the problem, but at least now I know I don’t know. Firing guns as a sport is great fun. Having a gun because it makes you feel safer seems understandable. Changing the way people behave? If you thought gun control was a distant dream – it could take centuries.
That’s the first step – admitting ignorance. Changing the way people behave? It only took us a few decades to get to where we are now, but…
Meanwhile, my 15-year-old has asked me to take him shooting. And I’ve agreed.
Ms. Wagman’s behavior has already changed, and for the better.
One at a time…
And a reminder: Don’t forget my invitation over there on the left side of the page.