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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
SDShad Hilary Clinton (96* d) RE: Hilary Clinton 01 Nov 01


Okay, that was my "why, exactly, was it necessary to be insulting?" reply. Here's my serious reply:

That was pretty much the reaction in the anti-McCain screed on NewsMax, Troll. But they didn't even have the decency to make the exception for sporting-gun-owners that you do.

Our guns, in fact, are not in a cabinet. Haven't been able to afford a decent one yet, what with buying a new house this year and all. We plan to get one, but in terms of gun safety, it's not an immensely high priority for us, since it's just the two of us living here--no children around to make unlocked guns a large risk. We hide 'em when other people's children are around, and keep them unloaded, always, with the ammunition on a different floor of the house. Mind you, I don't have the most precise knowledge of our ammo's location right now, since we're still unpacking. I remember which box I put them in--but I can't say with certainty where the box is (he admits sheepishly).

But lemme tell you a little about where we live, and why we own guns. In our town, there's been something like four murders in the last 25 years. There's crime, yeah--there's crime everywhere--including burglaries, but armed intruders are about as common here as coelocanths. We own guns because...well, in large part because we inherited them, but also because Hypatia is a (currently inactive) hunter, and I want to learn to hunt. My need to defend my home with my firearms is virtually nil.

But that's not to say that defense isn't part of the motivation. And this gets into why I no longer favor limiting the citizenry's 2nd-Amendment rights to own firearms. It really crystallized for me in about the year or two leading into the Oklahoma City bombing. I was, at the time, fairly actively involved in anti-Holocaust-denial activity on Usenet, and the bizarre, eclectic mish-mash of reading you need to do in order to post in an informed manner against Nazis, skinheads, cranks, pseudo-scholars and various other assorted racists leads you into some very interesting territory.

One conclusion I reached fairly early on, from reading their own material, was that the White Power/Christian Identity/KKK/Aryan Nations/what-have-you movement was intricately linked with, and often was really the same movement as, the Patriot/Militia movement. Gotta remember, this was when Linda Thompson was organizing her big "march on Washington" that in the end never really materialized, where her followers were issuing veiled threats to make Congresscritters vote the way Linda wanted at gunpoint. Their rhetoric was militant, and it was clear that they considered themselves an army, bent on setting things right for God in a way that I think He'd have a hard time recognizing as "His" work.

It was equally clear that if they ever got the civil unrest (and probably civil war) that they clearly wished for (unlikely as that may have seemed, even then), because of my other activities, there was a chance, however small, that my name was on some dimwitted--but well-armed--loser's list of "Race Traitors Who Should Be Put Against the Wall When the Revolution Comes." And even if I wasn't, well, people who think, talk, act, and look like me would be their targets eventually, and the only hope that normal people--left, right, center, or indifferent--would have against the tyranny of their mob would be an armed citizenry. Hippies with guns, if necessary, but everyone else, too, anyone who opposed the Militia Movement's extremist agenda--the true people's militia, if you will. And so I came, reluctantly, to oppose anti-gun legislation.

And then Oklahoma City happened.

In the first few hours after the bombing, before McVeigh and Nichols were captured, and people were starting to harrass and attack anyone who looked vaguely Middle-Eastern in revenge, I felt like I was the only person in America (well, except Hyp), who was shouting at the TV, "it's not Arabs, you idiots! It's the Militias!" From the first moment, I knew it was someone just like McVeigh turned out to be.

Now, it'd be easy to say, in retrospect, that my reaction to the Militia Movement was, at the time, was in fact an overreaction--but given the terror they carried out in OKC, I'd still argue with you, a little. But reading their stuff, reading about what they wanted to implement and how they wanted to go about implementing it, those were kind of scary times, even before OKC, and they shaped me philosophically. In the years since, I've seen less need for being armed against them, but not a disappearance of that need. But all in all, the possibility of needing to keep a loaded gun in our bedroom at night seems even more remote than it did then--unless, say, there were an escaped, armed, and dangerous felon on the loose in the area of our town, in which case I'd do that without hesitation, until he was captured, since we live on the edge of town.

But, there is, in recent days, one nagging doubt. I have no doubt at all that Bin Laden is behind September 11, and we need to go after him--I've been as certain of it from the moment it happened as I was of Oklahoma City and the Militias. But, while it seems likely that the ultimately the Anthrax attack can be laid at his feet as well, I can't get rid of the nagging doubt in the back of my head that the Anthrax could be the opportunistic work of that shadowy internal movement whose face most of America has seen only in that of Timothy McVeigh.

Anyway, short version: unless the unlikely event of massive civil unrest coming to our sleepy South Dakota college town comes to pass, I am highly unlikely to ever need my guns for self-defense. I plan to get a cabinet, and once I have one, should I keep them in the cabinet, locked? Yes! Seems to me the only times to have your guns out of that cabinet would be: if you want to display them in a decorative way, in which case keep the ammo buried from prying little hands, or better, don't have ammo for decorative guns; if you live in an area where armed intrusion when you're in the house is a likelihood or a distinct possibility--in which case, seems to me it's likeliest under cover of darkeness, so keep the guns locked up when no one's around, or especially when only the kids are around (which in an area that dangrous probably shouldn't be happening anyway), and keep a gun within easy reach--loaded or unloaded with rounds nearby, your call--only during whatever hours you deem an armed intrusion a distinct enough possibility to warrant it.

There's no excuse, including home defense, for making it easy for children to gain unsupervised access to guns and ammunition. None. They aren't adults, don't have an adequate sense yet of their own mortality, and don't really understand the profound responsibility of gun safety until they're way past the point of being physically capable of grabbing the gun against your wishes and orders and doing something stupid with it.

But I don't want to turn this into a thread for us to disagree about gun control (since we don't), or to disagree about approaches to gun safety (where obviously we do). So, sorry for the long rant. Kind of covered more territory than what you were asking about, Troll, but hopefully it clarifies my feelings on gun ownership, gun safety, and 2nd Amendment rights.

Shad


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