My Opinion . . .

. . . of people is rapidly plummeting.

Paraphrasing another blogger (with opposite views to mine), I really don’t want to get into this fray.  At the very least, I planned to wait a while.  I’ve never found arguing in the heat of strong emotions to be conductive to a productive conversation.

However, friends and foes both are asking me what I think about the recent shooting, and its significance to gun owners, specifically with regards to the anticipated push for “gun control”.

Let me digress . . . for as long as I can remember, and based on some photos from when I was very young, even before I can remember, I had a particular fascination with guns.  Oh, and knives too.  I’ve had knives since I can remember as well.

I remember, when I was very young, drawing guns on plywood, then carefully cutting out the outline with a hobby saw.  I would construct swords and knives out of this one particular wood which was easy to debark, carve patterns on the handles, and make very pointy.  

Since I can remember, I’ve had pretty good hand-eye coordination, and it served me well when, many years later, I bought my first gun (the deal was we had to be out of debt before I would spend the money on a “toy”).  I’m no marksman by any means (don’t put enough time at the range), but my groupings are respectable, with either hand.  

For years the idea of owning a gun was with the intent of becoming proficient in target shooting.  Then a few things happened, and the idea shifted to one of protection.  That mindset remains today, even as I hope, and work hard at avoiding it, I will never be a victim, random or intentional.

I don’t expect others to have my views with regard to personal safety and responsibility for same . . . but I damn well expect others to respect mine.  

You do not like guns?  Don’t buy one.  You don’t think I should have one?  Well, now . . . let’s swap wants;  I don’t think you should have kids, have access to alcohol, and probably a number of other things depending on who you are and where you live.  

Foul!! Not the same!!

As the echo of your indignant whiny cries fade, I shake my head, and know I am dealing with someone who, should I continue to engage them in debate, I will eventually have very little respect for.  I won’t defend that statement here . . .

BUT . . . let’s assume I’m a glutton for punishment, and further, let’s assume that I, and this is not an assumption, am in fact in favor of strict regulations regarding guns.  (Note: I am also in favor of stricter regulations about owning and operating cars, stricter rules regarding the availability and quantity of alcohol, having kids, etc. – in fact, I have very high expectations of others humans when it comes to a number of things.  Nothing I would not hold myself to . . . but that’s another windmill I’m not in the mood to tackle).

So, now we are on the same page . . . however, before you open your mouth to speak to me about what should and should not be done about guns, here are my conditions:

1) Educate yourself.  Do not try talking to me about gun control when it is painfully obvious you have no clue about even the most basic of gun facts.  (Example 1:  stupidly labeling weapons as “military-style” because of the way they look.  Hint; the same type of bullet can be shot from widely different-looking guns.   Example 2: learn about the different types of bullets, their relative power, their general application, availability, cost, etc. Hint: you can kill someone with a .22)

2) If you want a serious discussion about “sensible” gun control, don’t start by saying “There is no need for anyone to own guns”.  I’ll know you don’t have a clue about the subject, and tune you out.

2a) If you want a serious discussion about “sensible” gun control, don’t start by saying “Emilio, you own guns, therefore the blood of innocents victims is on your hands”.  I’ll know you don’t have a clue about the subject and you’re trying to insult me, and I’ll tune you out.

2b) If you want a serious discussion about “sensible” gun control, don’t start by saying “You should not own guns because someone else might misuse them”.  I will think you an elitist dolt, easily influenced by other elitist dolts, typically in the entertainment industry or the political arena (not all, but enough to make the generalization) . . . and then tune you out.

3) Read, and I mean every word, not just “skim”, the following resources.   There is one short video; I’ll put that first, knowing the short attention span of the anti-gun crowd.  

And here is your reading list.  It’s not short . . . but if you want to speak to me about guns, gun control, and what we should do about the violence, read this stuff.  Take your time.

http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control/

This next one is very long, and very thorough.  If you are only going to read one, read this next article.

http://8minutesoffame.com/america-freedom-vs-freedom/

You don’t have to agree with anything said in there . . . but you do have to understand, and provide a reasoned counter argument.  At the very least, you will walk away able to speak intelligently about guns.

Before writing this, I had started a lengthy post complete with graphs and numbers, drawing on research from various sources, using raw data from the FBI, DoJ, and CDC studies and reports on violent crime, drawing from research in other countries . . . a lot of work, I did, and have been compiling it since September (long before this last shooting).  Last weekend I came across the above two articles.  

You know what?  There is no reason to present all my stuff, and try to make an argument that no one will read.  I can just point to those exhaustive links (which no one will likely read).  While they don’t make the same argument I was going to make, they provide a lot more information than I was going to provide.  It’s good stuff, from people who know their stuff.    

My bet is not one in ten (if I even get that many views) will finish my piece, let alone look at the links.  That’s fine with me, but then don’t tell me you want to discuss gun control; go yell at someone else.  There are religious nuts I can point you to, and you can yell irrational stuff at each other.  

My new rule in life . . . don’t debate religious nuts, and don’t debate any of the anti-gun crowd.  It does no good, is bad for my calm, and ultimately serves no purpose other than to draw me away from writing, taking pictures, and enjoying life.   

I add a few more links . . . stuff, you know, worth reading . . . as if anti-gun nuts really want to know this stuff.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1612694,00.html

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201207/mass-murders-are-the-rise

http://reason.com/blog/2012/12/17/are-mass-shootings-becoming-more-common

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/17/graph-of-the-day-perhaps-mass-shootings-arent-becoming-more-common/

Finally . . . I head the current proposals for “stopping the madness” . . . a renewed ban on “assault rifles”.  A new ban on “high-capacity magazines”.  And of course . . . a commission to study the problem.  I can see the problem going away as we speak (for the uninitiated, that’s called “sarcasm”).

May I make a suggestion?  When I visited Texas last year, I had occasion to go to a couple of banks.  I was curious about the cop car in the parking lots, and the cops that sat at a desk in an alcove to the side of the entrance.  I walked over and asked one of them if there was a problem at this bank.  

No . . . it turns out he was an off-duty cop, and with permission from the Police Force, he was hired by the bank to sit and be a deterrent.  Apparently, many banks do that, but not all.  Apparently, it works.  And he was happy to make some extra money as he sat there surfing the internet, and reading books.

Well, dang!  Why would the school systems not do the same thing?  Not enough cops?  We have volunteer firemen, right?  Why could we not have volunteers who get trained, are deputized, and their sole responsibility would be to serve shifts at schools, and be almost immediate responders in case of an incident?  Tell you what . . . me, a person who has no kids, and has no inherent interest in their safety other than, you know , they are kids, would quit my job, and work there for a fourth of what I make now.  In a few years, when I retire, I would do it for free.

I’m willing to bet there would be others.  Many others.  Some are probably fathers and mothers of the kids that go to that school, and potentially have even a greater concern for the kid’s safety than I do.  

. . . unless they are idiots, and think calling it a “gun-free zone” is the key to keeping kids safe.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me some recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline nominations whereby one blogger bestows an award onto another blogger, or group of bloggers.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I would much prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would actually mean something to me.

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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.