Mudcat Café message #3452489 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #148617   Message #3452489
Posted By: Joe Offer
15-Dec-12 - 08:04 PM
Thread Name: BS: Shooting tragedies and guns
Subject: RE: BS: Shooting tragedies and guns
Although I don't own a firearm, I guess I would say that rifles or shotguns could be considered necessary tools in many rural locations in America - for varmit control or hunting, not for use against human intruders. Still, there were one or two times that I wished I had a rifle in hand when I approached strangers on my property. Having a big, friendly, black dog at my side worked pretty well, though.

My next-door neighbors killed a couple of bears on their property last year, and I keep wondering whether that was necessary. The bears really haven't been much of a problem. They raided our garden a couple of times, but I've only seen a bear once in the ten years I've been here - and that was a thrill. And yes, you hear about mountain lions, but I've never seen one.

There are also reports of rabid raccoons in the area - that does scare me a bit, and might be the one thing that might make me want a rifle. There are rattlesnakes around, but they haven't been a problem - and I have only seen one snake that might have been a rattler. I think I'd call the rattlesnake removal service if one took up residence around the house.

And even though I see some justification in owning firearms in a rural area, I have to say it makes me really nervous. More than once I've encountered people shooting into the area where I'm legally hiking. Now, THAT is disconcerting.

But in urban locations, I just can't really see the need for a firearm. There is a certain amount of risk of violent crime anywhere in America, but I really don't think it's all that bad. I worked for thirty years as an unarmed federal investigator, and I took pride in the fact that I never avoided work in any location because I thought it too dangerous. I used my head and stayed away from certain areas at certain times of the day, but I always did my job and knocked on the doors and did my honest best to find the people I needed to get my work done. Other investigators would write off certain areas, but I never did. I met only one situation where people pointed guns at me, and I admit that was a little disconcerting. They were in a remote location, an area where I admit it might be justifiable to have a gun. I have an appointment, but then these people had second thoughts and were afraid I might be the person who had threatened to kill them. So, I had to talk them down. I think if I had shown a firearm, they would have shot me.

It's a difficult issue. Gun owners are absolutely correct when they say that the vast majority of gun owners are responsible, and would be responsible in a dangerous situation. The trouble is, there is a good percentage of people who have attitudes that would make them irresponsible and dangerous as gun owners. Many of them wanted to be cops, and it was my job to investigate them and weed out the ones who would be irresponsible. One year, I had two Border Patrol Agent applicants who had shot themselves in the buttocks, trying to tuck their guns under their belts. I don't believe those applicants got the job. I had coworkers who carried firearms despite the fact that they were not supposed to - these were people who thought their badges didn't give them enough authority. I had one coworker and a number of applicants who used their firearms to put power behind their road rage.

Admittedly, it's a small number of gun owners that are troublesome - but the troublesome ones can be very dangerous if they have a sidearm. I'm sorry that the troublesome ones make it difficult for all gunowners; but it seems to me that the danger presented by the small minority of irresponsible and dangerous gunowners, outweighs the safety brought about by the many responsible people who carry firearms. So for the general good of society, I think that handguns should be outlawed and rifles and shotguns should be strictly regulated. Semi-automatic and automatic firearms (anything with a magazine) should be outlawed altogether. Taking time to load forces a shooter to take time to think before shooting.

I know gun owners think otherwise, but the rest of us consider them to be a serious danger to our personal safety. The fact that my neighbors have guns makes me feel nervous, not secure. What guarantees that their bullets are staying on their property.

I'm saying this as one who has worked unarmed in law enforcement for a thirty-year career. And by the way, I qualified as an Expert Marksman in the U.S. Army.