Friday, December 04, 2015
My home is in the region that today would be considered part of the gun culture-- actually it always has been if we take it back to pioneer times. The home where I grew up was pretty much the same. From as far back as I can remember, I've had guns in my home. When I was twelve, I asked for a .22 for Christmas. With it came a gun cleaning kit. I wanted that rifle as a tool, not as a macho symbolism but as something I needed. My parents raised sheep. I had seen the sides of ewes torn out with their entrails trailing after neighbor dog attacks (coyotes kill-- dogs play). I took that .22 for walks over our 80 acres, hoping I'd see those dogs before they got to our sheep. Kind of silly as I think back as they were German shepherds and most likely a .22 would not have killed them unless I hit them just right. Still I had a reason for the gun and have had various reasons ever since.
Here on our Oregon farm, we raise cattle and sheep. I've been out multiple times with my rifle looking to kill a coyote before it can kill one of our lambs. A few times I have gotten off shots before the sheep got killed. I always missed though. A zigzagging, fast moving target isn't easy to hit. Coyotes are good at broken field running. Each time, a shot was all I got as to take more would have risked the neighbor's home. Reasonable gun owners are careful that way. That shot though chased off the coyote before it could kill the lamb it was chasing.
Twice I have saved a lamb from a coyote when I had no time for finding a rifle. I ran straight at the predator just as it got the lamb down and I screamed the mad mama yell, and the coyote looked as though a banshee was after him and ran for its life. One lamb had a neck wound but survived, the other I stopped before the teeth got a hold. A gun is a more reliable stop. and my husband has killed several when he did get the right shot with a coyote trying to go back to a lamb it had already killed and was planning to eat more than the hindquarter.
Many people on the right or the left do not see a rifle as a tool. Some think they need it to defend the country against its own military and police. That's the argument for owning an assault rifle. There is no other argument that makes any sense. The thinking, that their own government will need to be overturned, goes back to the Revolutionary or Civil Wars. The idea is ridiculous considering today's military but the thinking is pushed by those who profit from it.
As a gun owner and one who has had a concealed weapon permit ever since my state allowed them, I favor meaningful background checks. It would not stop all of these attacks. If we look at the most recent assault rifle attack, that guy likely had the legal right to purchase the weapon. Although I have read he didn't buy them (assault rifles of that level are very expensive and not possible to buy in California). The FBI is looking for the person who may have gotten them the rifles. The truth is though that with their interest in bomb making, they could have killed who they wanted anyway.
We should have a meaningful background check similar to what it takes to get a concealed weapon permit. Next, would be accountability for gun ownership. That means if my gun is used in a crime, and they trace it back to me, I could face legal and civil acountability for how that happened. These parents who buy their mentally sick offspring a gun need to know they are going to be held as an accessory with a criminal penalty. In the Roseburg killings, the mother should be held responsible as it seems she got the guns. The mother in Sandy Hook should have been, but she got her accountability when her son killed her.
I also would ban all assault rifles of the type only intended to kill humans or blow apart targets and buildings. A rifle that can penetrate police armor and go through walls really does not belong in private hands. Along with that would go extended magazines. Seriously, in a home invasion, you can't get the person with 6 shots? Maybe you should not have a gun.
Given our current level of violence, I would also have all schools with limited access and metal detectors to enter. We think we should protect airplanes but not schools? They say it would create the wrong atmosphere. So fear is a better atmosphere? Seriously, there is something wrong with a culture that doesn't see their schools as a first line of defense. When nothing was done after Sandy Hook, it was clear to do anything is going to be difficult. When Congress recently refused to even ban those on the FBI terrorist watch lists from buying a gun, it was clear the NRA and a small percentage of gun owners are dominating the conversation. I say small because most gun owners are like my husband and I-- favoring realistic gun regulations.
Listening to Rush Limbaugh this week, he deliberately or stupidly misstated what the left said after the latest mass murders. He implied lefties were putting down prayer. They weren't. Many of them likely pray. What they were saying was when we can do something but have not, it's maddening and pointless to say we'll pray as if that's enough. It's fine to pray. Also do what is possible to at least make the next attack more difficult.
Unfortunately, it seems we live in a time when none of that will be done. Seeing guns as tools is limited today with a culture that espouses violence. I have said many times that this concept, that we can fight wars overseas, with some naive attitude of avoiding blood being spilled here, ignores reality. With Vietnam the blood came back and with every war we fight somewhere else, we see increasing instances of violence here.
I don't know if there is a solution with the current mood here where each side seems unable to see the other side; but we should stop calling ourselves an exceptional people when we don't even try and when we allow dollars to rule our laws. That can be changed. I don't know that it will!