I went to a relative’s house for Thanksgiving this last year, and someone who wasn’t really part of the family was hanging around. It wasn’t awkward, as such, it was just one of those things that makes you frown for a second and pull your head back a little, and then you move on and eat a bunch of turducken. But I did have a conversation with her that I thought was worth mentioning. It was one of those things that made me frown for a second and then pull my head back a little.
So I walked into the house and shook all the dudes’ hands and kissed all the ladies’ knuckles and hugged all the kids. The usual. Then I said hi to this woman. And she saw the handgun I was wearing in a holster under my jacket, on my hip. So she sees my gun and says, “You think you’re going to need that on Thanksgiving?” and sort of made that face. You know the one. The one that says, “Ooh, you just got burned.” And I looked at her for a second and said, “I don’t know.”
Now let me back up a little bit and tell you that I carry a gun everywhere I go. If a place doesn’t let me carry, I don’t go there. Obviously there are necessary exceptions, of course. But if a business puts up a 30.06 sign saying I cannot bring my handgun in, that’s a decision the business owner has made to keep law-abiding citizens from being able to arm themselves and defend themselves if necessary. And if a business owner is that much of an idiot, then I refuse to spend my money there.
“Why is he an idiot just because he doesn’t want guns in there, Space?” I hear you asking. Well, allow me to explain. So I turn the question around on you: is a bad guy going to obey that sign? As far as I know – and I will have to check with my attorney on this – it is against the law to hold up a store. So if someone is intending to go into a book store and rob them, is he going to see the sign on the door and say, “Oop. Never mind. These guys don’t allow guns in here.”? But what if I were in there with my gun and someone came in to rob them? I’m not saying I am a hero, but what if I did get the jump on the guy? If there presented itself an opportunity wherein I was able to make the guy drop his weapon and give up the fight? Then wouldn’t the store owner be happy I – or someone – was able to save his business – or a life – that day?
Anyway, I said, “I don’t know. I certainly hope not, but it’s scarce that people know when a place is about to get robbed, am I right?” She looked taken aback for a moment and then I said, “Do you know how many home invasions happen during the holidays? And why? Because everyone is standing around merrily drinking and eating and not paying any attention to the fact that the front door is unlocked. No one is ready.” And you know what she said?
She said, “True.”
I’m not one of those crazy guys who keeps a loaded shotgun by his bed. That’s just ridiculous. I do, however, keep a loaded handgun and a flashlight next to my bed. But seriously, people sometimes ask me if I’m paranoid. They think I’m overboard for carrying everywhere I go. Someone once laughed at me for strapping on my pistol when I was on my way to church. “Worried that the preacher is gonna shoot someone? Ha!” The next weekend, a church got shot up in Sutherland Springs. Had someone been standing in the lobby with a concealed handgun, things might have turned out differently for that church. Maybe not. But at least they would have had a chance.
I work on an armed security team for my own church. And sometimes people ask me if I could really make a difference. Absolutely, I say. Even if we don’t win out, I think there’s a better chance of eliminating danger if we are there than if no one is there at all. And, of course, I do have a pretty good load of confidence in my team. We’re all pretty well trained.
But my argument mainly lies with these anti-gun nuts. They are, obviously, the polar opposite of gun nuts. They think the world would be a better place if we could just get all the guns off the street. And maybe it would be. But you know what? That’s just not gonna happen. It’s impossible. Because here’s the bottom line: any law regarding turning in or getting rid of guns only affects people who obey the law. And last I checked, criminals are usually known for not obeying the law.
Therefore, comma, those of us who actually do obey the law need some way to defend ourselves against those who don’t, and who have guns they’re not supposed to. So then, here comes the “Well, why not just call the cops?” argument. This one always gets a huge rolleyes from me. Number one, why is it okay in your gunless world for a police man to carry a gun, but not other law-abiders? You do know that police are human beings, and therefore corruptible, right? But aside from that, you do also know that most crimes that involve gun violence take less than a minute? It takes the police several minutes to get there, best case.
As I sit here writing this, I’m almost cringing with how obvious all this is. I’m sitting here thinking, man, everyone who reads this is smart enough to know it all already. But crazy as it seems, some people don’t know. Here’s an example: I was speaking to my daughter about one of the recent school shootings. I asked her what she thought would have stopped it. She said stricter gun laws. I went through the routine telling of how laws only apply to people who decide to follow them. Then said, what if there was a sentry on duty? One teacher, or a principal who was armed? Better chance, right? And like that, it snapped. Suddenly her viewpoint was changed. No more did she think a law would protect these schools. So far, no law has ever prevented a woman from being raped. At least not that I know of. Or from someone getting kidnapped, or robbed or mugged. All the law does is punish those (if they can catch them) who do commit the crime.
So I think it comes down to education. And I don’t think that’s the right word. Because I didn’t teach her anything, as such. I just opened her eyes to a different point of view. All the kids whose parents tout that BS that getting guns off the streets or making new laws would protect anyone all tout the same BS at school. But no one has just broken it down for them and shown them how silly and preposterous it is.
Just like my conversation at Thanksgiving here. She thought I was silly for wearing a gun. By the end of the conversation though, she saw that I wasn’t trying to be Mr. Cool with a gun. She saw I was just trying to be prepared and she appreciated it.
I realize this sounds like a politically charged column, but don’t try to narrow down my political views to one side or the other just based on this rant. I’m not going into that, and still refuse to discuss politics in any situation. But this is a bigger issue than which side of the aisle you’re on politically. My personal belief is that the gun gripe has nothing to do with politics at all. Typically liberals are against them and conservatives are for them. But I think it’s beyond and above that. I think its a human rights issue. No government should be able to tell someone what he or she can or cannot own. Or carry around.
But we’re talking about belief here. Not whether or not the government is telling its citizens where they can and can’t carry a gun. I’m talking about whether you believe following that law will make you safer. And when you really crack into the heart of it, you will see it’s just a common sense issue. The answer is undoubtedly, unabashedly, absolutely no. It’s a human issue. There will always be bad humans. You cannot deny that. And as long as there are bad ones, there will be illegal guns on the street. How do you balance the scales against the bad ones? You arm the good ones. And I’m sorry, but if you can’t see the fundamental obviousness of that statement, then I don’t think you should be talking to anyone about gun laws.