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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A story about guns

A few days ago, during the inevitable debate about gun regulation, I received the following from a reader named Dan. with his permission, I would like to share it with you. He wrote in response to a tragic story published in TPM, written by a reader known only as PH. (Many of you will recall the terrible details.)

All the words below the asterisks are Dan's...

*  *  *

I grew up hunting and knowing all about guns and having guns all over our house in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the '60s, and yeah we were free.

Us kids sometimes got to ride on the package shelf of the car on trips. That's how free we were. Our old '56 Plymouth Savoy didn't have no stinking seatbelts because it didn't have to and nobody thought anything about it.

One day when I was in 8th grade, my best friend JD and I were hanging out in my room and I was showing him our Colt 38 Super. I loved that gun. It was almost as sweet as the M1 Carbine we had.

At some point, leaving JD alone in my room, I went into the living room to say something to my Dad and all of a sudden a BOOM comes from my room.

My Dad and I thought, "Oh shit."

It kind of passed through my mind that JD had shot himself as JD had seen his Dad shoot himself because JD's Mom was divorcing him. (Ended up two of his Brothers who also witnessed that event killed themselves with guns over women leaving them, but that's another story.)

Turns out JD had not shot himself, thank God.

JD, not knowing much about guns and assuming the 38 Super wasn't loaded even though I told him it was loaded had aimed it at the light switch in my room and pulled the trigger. He must have cocked the hammer on the gun otherwise it would not have fired.

(We always kept our guns loaded because my Dad always said an unloaded gun is worthless.)

Anyway, for a novice JD's aim was pretty good as the bullet went dead center through the metal light switch box, through the bathroom wall, through the bathroom door, through another door, and through half of another wall before it stopped no less than 10 feet from where I was standing talking to my Dad.

But for circumstances, the outcome could have been like PH's. All in all guns went off three times in our house at 4252 back in the day. Twice by accident, and once on purpose.

Dad had a hell of a temper and late one night he got into a fight with my Mom because she objected to the fact that he wanted to shoot a neighbors' dog because said dog was barking and keeping him awake. Well, when he accidently smacked the crap out of my Mom while she was trying to get the shotgun away from him, resulting in her receiving a bad cut over her eye, the fight was over, but his anger persisted.

My Mom when to bed and my Dad sat on the living room couch. After ten minutes or so, my Dad, in order to excise his pent up rage, sent a double barrel 12 gauge shotgun blast through the living room wall into the bedroom where my brother and I were sleeping. He aimed high, so we were only subjected to lots of noise and hot pellets ricocheting off the ceiling. Of course we had pretty much pulled our sheets over our heads out of fear from the fight prior to the blast, so no harm no foul.

One Morning while we were getting ready to go to school my Mother and I were talking in the living room when we heard a gunshot in the room my Brother and I shared.

Turns out my Brother, while kind of looking down the barrel of our Colt 38 Police Special had pulled the trigger blowing a hole in the ceiling. Why? I don't know. He knew better. You could see daylight through the hole in the ceiling, but thankfully not through my Brother's head. (Even though I think you can see daylight through his ears these days - RW conservative that he is. And yes, he has lots of guns, nice guns, that I like to shoot whenever I'm back in Oklahoma.)

(Despite what my story might indicate I really did have a happy childhood We were free and roamed from dusk till dawn.)

I did, and still do know a lot about guns. Gun safety was drilled into us at an early age, but people are people, and shit happens. Even if you are trying to be careful. Even if you do know what you are doing.

Hell, a couple of months ago while up in Tennessee shooting with a bunch of Marines just back from Afghanistan I accidently pulled, heck touched, the trigger on a friend's AK 47 he was letting me shoot and it went off. Had it been pointing anywhere other than towards the ground I could be PH.

So, not only have I almost been shot accidently shot, I have almost accidently shot someone else, and I know all about guns and gun safety.
Gun safety rules only work if you follow them.
ABC-Always-Be-Closing. Clear your weapon. The military is absolutely fanatical about gun safety.

Anything you take for granted, and get too comfortable with, makes your somewhat careless.

My Dad resisted my desire to get a motorcycle until I turned 18 and he had to relent. I remember his words;
"Promise me, when you get confident enough to travel on the freeway, you'll think about getting rid of it."

You see, one starts to think 'I CAN'T go down', and there's the rub. You see these idiots all the time in SoCal. Road Racers, hunkered down, weaving through lanes like superheroes they watch on TV.

And then there's those signs warning cars "Share the Road'. Hmmpff.

Well, I reckon we have been wasting our time promoting gun safety, since Dan, his Dad, Mom and Brother, as well as his best friend PH, have all survived their various stupidities.
We were taught a gun is handled as if it's loaded and the safety is off.

Photographs of Neanderthals at guns shows and the recent I Luv Me Sum Guns rally show guys with what looks like AR-15 clones as fanny packs. Now how the hell is that having control of a loaded weapon?

What happens if another idiot walks up behind and pulls the trigger?

Since the muzzle is only depressed about 25 degrees in the photographs that slug is going to travel some distance before it hits the ground and at that shallow angle it is likely to ricochet.
If these guys want to be Rambo why can't they use paint ball guns, afraid of the sting?
Um, yes to Mr. Mike's comments upped to some exponential. May Dan and his cretinous crew uhhh
..progress.. to the extinction of whatever existed before neanderthals. "Accidentally" smacked his woman, huh? Too bad he and all his offal (pun intended) mouth-breathing offspring didn't gaze into loaded barrels and pull the triggers. There is still time, Dan. ::hint hint:: Have a human woman explain it to you, dearie.

Attack Media! Attention,read the article at this link!

Yes, it's awful, horrible and never should happen, but there's no excuse for media lying. Also there's no excuse NOT reporting when guns save lives, which is really quite often but attack media's agenda must be served.
Instead of asking "what really happened and why" media ignores the fact that the problem is people are not getting mental health services like used to be the norm? "Reporters" who weren't around before the 60s have a weak excuse for not realizing that mental health problems used to get mental health services within asylums. But that ended when 60s radicals idea appealed to taxing districts, let them free to do whatever they wanted to do. Families of the mentally ill no longer get services either, and mental ill family members sometimes kill and often abuse them, make their lives hell. I'm sickened wheh I hear "WE COULDN'T GET ANYONE TO HELP US" with our mentally ill son/daughter. This usually happens after a killing. Attack media's solution: "After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs." Doesn't anyone in media notice? Do they pay attention, or ever "get" what really happened?
Using a highly visibile example,since the 60s how many stalkers of celebrities or politicians have killed because no one would do anything to help stalked victims? Now let's think about how many people now can't get help with mentally troubled stalkers who will end up killing them? Where's attack media on this problem?
Instead of mental-health services, $$$$BN of dollars are spent on brain-altering pharmaceuticals prescribed to US kids. Kids are getting more depressed and sicker, not more stable and healthy. The problem could be as simple as diet. Our bodies and organs can't be healthy without the foods that nature intended us to eat. But pharmaceutical companies make billions, and kids aren't helped,and media serves its own agenda.
If an asylum atmosphere would keep people from hurting themselves or others, why would that solution not be better than the non-solution, prescription drugs and confiscation of guns, neither of which will fix the problem? No wonder kids are depressed. Media ignores their stories. A whole generation, perhaps two, are lost for to illegal and legal drugs. No one in attack media has called for an investigation of how one could perhaps lead to the other, and never will. For crap's look at what is really going on and try to become part of a solution. Stop agendizing something that won't solve the problem.
New perspective that adds to our understanding... but only if we can think straight. The murder rate in the U.S is the lowest in the world, 4.2 /100,000 and that is from all causes (probably 2010 figures). That number covers all murders.
Trying to work up a conspiracy theory around MSNBC is nuts. Just because you see someone on TV advocating a position you don't like does not mean you have a right to cry "Conspiracy!"

That said, there is a lot of truth in what you say about the unavailability of mental health services. But I've studied how that really went down in the 1960s. The mental health system was undone by a weird combination of conservatives who didn't want to spend money on social services and "radicals" who became enamored of the idea that madness is really a fictional construct. The latter viewpoint -- "crazy is beautiful" -- was expressed by some of the films coming out of that period: "A Thousand Clowns" and "They Might Be Giants" come to mind.
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