A Few Words About Gun Control

Posted: December 26, 2012 in The Roper Files
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Ever since the unfortunate mass shooting at the grade school December 14th I haven’t been able to open up my Facebook page without seeing a constant barrage of pro and anti-gun rhetoric. Endless babble and bickering about Second Amendment this and well-armed militia that; it just goes on and on. I was hoping that it would stop for at least one day on Christmas and that was apparently that was hoping for too much.

You Hollywood celebrities “demanding a plan” ; we’re tired of your stupid shit!” blah blah blah… spewed one local man on a page that is specifically designated for other nostalgic posts about my hometown only. Been blocking a lot of hateful people just because I’m tired of their stupid shit.

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Let’s get one thing straight. I like guns; guns can be fun. Not in love with them mind you and I’m not planning on marrying one. But I’ve owned a garden variety of pistols and rifles over the years and consequently have had a number of them stolen in burglaries, so now they are in the hands of scumbags who don’t deserve them and shouldn’t own them. So now I only own one I keep around for self-protection and will in all likelihood never own more than one; like breasts I think more than a hand-full is just wasteful and unnecessary. However I do not belong to the NRA and never will; they’ve done me no favors and will never collect a dime of my hard-earned cash for membership fees.

Second Amendment rights? Bush, Cheney and Congress ran the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights both through a shredder with the Patriot Act. “W” has been quoted as calling the Constitution “just a piece of goddam paper” and yet many (but not all)  conservatives worship him to this day. Where was the “Tea Party” and the rest of those great defenders of the Constitution when our own homegrown Axis Of Evil were wiping their spotty asses with it? They declared two wars we didn’t have the money to fight for reasons that have long been proven to be utter bullshit, thumbed their noses at the Geneva Convention, ruined the economy, put us in debt to our good friends in China forever and gave the Powers That Be authority to tap your phone, read your mail, medical records and see what books you check out of the library for little or no reason at all. And just like some goat farmer in Afghanistan, you can be rounded up, imprisoned with no charges or legal representation for little or no reason. But while the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth etc Amendments have been trampled on non-stop for the last decade, spread a rumor Obama’s A-Coming To Take Yore Guns and everyone in this country soils themselves.

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Not that we haven’t seen this before; in 2008 gun and ammo prices tripled when rumors spread at the gun shows and sporting goods stores that Obama was going to start passing legislation to make everything illegal. I often wonder if rumors like this aren’t spread by the gun manufacturers themselves; just like in 1994 when they tried to pass restrictions on AK47s. Every prick with ears all of a sudden just HAD to have one; they went from firearm status to Investment Item status overnight. Human nature dictates that the more you tell people they can’t have something, the more they want it. Besides “gun control” by its truest definition is a joke; the number of weapons already Out There makes  it unenforceable.

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This and other reasons is why I am against restrictions or bans of any types on firearms or ammo of any type, although probably for different reasons than the NRA and their membership. Besides being unenforceable, bans and restrictions just open the market door a little wider for people who probably don’t belong in the market to begin with and then the price of guns and ammo sky-rockets to the point where blue-collars like myself can’t afford them anymore. The NRA pays a LOT of lip service to “education” and “responsibility” on the part of gun owners but I sure don’t see a lot of evidence of it. One thing they should be teaching the public about is buying the right firearm for their personal needs.

For example let’s pretend you are a farmer or a rancher and your property is being over-run with feral hogs which ARE a genuine  problem for farmers and ranchers. They destroy crops and dig holes that livestock can stumble in and injure themselves. Feral hogs multiply rapidly and are vicious nasty critters that can weigh hundreds of pounds and run, hide and disappear in heavy brush or deep woods in the blink of an eye. Pistols and shotguns are ineffectual for them; you would require a large-caliber rifle to kill them and one that can fire multiple shots. But people who live in urban areas don’t need those types of weapons.

Bullets are funny things; a single bullet can go through JFKs head, Connally’s wrist and graze someone’s cheek standing under an overpass several blocks away…okay anyone with half a brain or more knows that’s bullshit. But seriously even a mere .22-caliber bullet (which is about as big around as a mini-golf pencil) can travel a mile and a half. If you shoot at an intruder with a cartridge-type firearm you might miss and then you stand a chance of shooting an innocent person in the next block.

If you are serious about defending your home in an urban environment you want a shotgun, not something that shoots a bullet. A 12-gauge shotgun will take down anyone or anything short of The Terminator and you are unlikely to miss them, even in a darkened room and you are unlikely to injure or kill your neighbor across the street. And despite being VERY deadly weapons, in comparison to TEC-9s, AK47s, AR-15s and the Bushmaster rifle, shotguns are not considered “assault weapons” and are relatively inexpensive and easily obtained.

Granted most burglaries occur when the burglars are confident no one is home. Criminals aren’t afraid of laws; they are more afraid of some angry pajama-clad home-owner with a firearm blowing their fool heads off. The “home invasion” as frequently shown in the movies doesn’t really happen that often; most criminals prefer their knee-caps in working order so they can run away. Your chances of ever confronting an armed criminal with your firearm are minimal at best but lightning does strike once in a while and when it does it’s usually without announcement and when you least expect it.

Back in the late 90s I was taking out the trash early one morning before leaving for my menial job; while hauling the bag out to the curb I noticed a car parked in front of the vacant house next door. It was dark but it looked to me in the dim light as if the guy sitting on the curb was trying to change a flat tire or having some other sort of car trouble. He looked at me; I looked at him. No words of any kind were exchanged. After setting the trash on the curb, I turned around and walked back into my apartment (I was living in a duplex at the time) A few minutes later I heard someone pounding on the front door of my neighbor on the other side of the duplex.

Her boyfriends car wasn’t out front and when I peeped through the peephole I could see some Charlie Manson-ish guy not any taller than myself pounding on her door. With a baseball bat within reach of the door, I opened the door. “Hey asshole; it’s five am. What the fuck do you want?” His eyes looked as if he had been up for a few days.

Gimme back my wallet; I know you got it!” Then suddenly he lunged at me as if he was going to shove me aside and enter my door. I slammed the door shut and he began hammering on my door instead of my neighbors. “I want my wallet back!”

Fucking loony…” I thought to myself and walked over to the phone and called 911. I had just enough time to tell the dispatcher there was some drunk on my porch when I heard him kicking the door. He was trying to break in!

Excuse me ma’am” I told the dispatcher and went to where I had my Smith and Wesson .357 hidden for just such emergencies and got it out. It was loaded with three hollow-points in every other chamber and three “snake-loads” in between those. Cocked it and had it pointed at the door with one hand as I picked up the phone again and was pissed off at myself for not having a 12-gauge shotgun instead. “Would you please get a squad car over here before I have to shoot this SOB?” I asked the dispatcher as the drunken moron continued to kick my door. Fortunately he was too wasted to get the door open. “We have units on the way; don’t panic” she told me. “Don’t Panic” I thought to myself; boy was that easily-issued advice when some asshole’s trying to kick my door down.

The kicking stopped suddenly. I peeked through the venetian blinds in my front window; in the darkness I could see the guy walk out to his car and open the trunk and begin to root around in his trunk for something. My heart-beat started to quicken. What was he going out there for? A tire-tool to pry the door open with? A gun? Then the street started to light up with the headlights of a half-dozen police cars; hooray! The guys with the License To Kill had arrived. The cops surrounded him and forced him to the concrete, cuffed him and tossed him in the back of a patrol car like a bag of fertilizer. Left my pistol in the house and walked out front to talk to the cops and tell them what was going on.

A female police officer told me she thought the guy was either drunk or on drugs or mentally challenged especially when I told her I was on the other side of the door with a cocked pistol. “Well if you had a pistol, why didn’t you just shoot him?” one of the other cops wanted to know. ( I consulted with an attorney friend of mine later; he told me it was illegal to just blindly shoot someone like that through a solid door) Told him I had NO intention of shooting the guy unless he got the door open and that knowing the town I live in the way I do that for all I knew that guy could have been the three-time loser black-sheep-of-the-family nephew of the district attorney. Besides I was supposed to work that morning, not spend all day downtown answering stupid questions over and over from the homicide detectives. It was a relief to NOT have to shoot that guy; I was glad I didn’t have to live with that if I didn’t have to.

I don’t have any brilliant answers to crime, guns, gun ownership or what to do about deranged people acquiring them. Are new laws and restrictions the answer? Probably not. But I don’t think running out and stocking up on military-type weapons is the answer either. Overthrow a tyrannical government? Good luck with that one; if you can shoot down a BlackHawk helicopter with a Glock or even an AK47, you’ve got my awe and respect forever.

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There have been three large gun shows here locally since the shooting in Connecticut; prices on guns and ammo have sky-rocketed 20-30% since then. Fear is a great salesman as long as people are buying the pitch.

Guns can either be life-savers or really scary things. I’ve known friends who worked as cashiers and had to beg for their lives with a 44-magnum pointed at their heads over some petty amount of cash in their registers. And on the other hand when I needed a gun I was glad to have it with me and not sitting on the table at the gun show I bought it at; I was equally glad I didn’t have to use it however.

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Michael Moore’s 2004 documentary BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE has been blasted by the NRA and other people for pointing out how trigger-happy we Americans seem to be and Mr Moore didn’t seem (as far as I could tell) to have any more answers than myself as to what needs to be done about the problem. As I said previously I don’t know what the answer is and I don’t really know if there is one. But I wish the NRA would place as much emphasis on education and responsibility on the part of gun owners as they do on just making sure we have more guns on the streets.

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