The well-educated, homeschooling, breastfeeding mom at one of the Southern California homeschool park days that we attend, has summed me up as a libertarian. I use the small "l" variety only because I’ve yet to register as an actual Libertarian: "I like what I’ve read about Libertarians," she told me, "but I have a problem with the gun thing."
"The gun thing" is something that I thought I understood until I met my capital "l" Libertarian husband over ten years ago. "Guns protect us from the government," he told me, which I thought at the time was a statement made only by anti-government freakish types. I now respect such supposed freakish types much more than I used to. In any case, I thought he was really nice and that he’d make a great father. Three children later, I still think he makes a great dad and I’m even more fond of him these days, but my ideas on the gun thing have changed.
I grew up in rural North Carolina, close to the mountains, where almost everybody hunts. Indeed, everybody has a gun. When supposed gun safety advocates tell us that our guns should be behind twelve or fourteen locks and placed in a high corner that is only accessible by ladder, I smile. Gun safety at the house I grew up in consisted of saying, "That gun can kill you; don’t touch it." Those eight words were all I really needed. As much as life sometimes got me down, I really liked living. I still do. As a child, I wanted to grow up. I wanted to have my own children. A gun could put a stop to that. So, I never touched it, and it stayed in its place, leaning against a closet wall in the utility room.
That was pretty much it as far as gun safety went.
When I went to college, I learned that politically correct people don’t like guns. I learned that guns were awful and evil and that I’d grown up in some kind of abusive home, supposedly, because our shotgun wasn’t behind all those locks.
During my last semester of graduate school, I met the man who would become the father of my children. But there was the gun thing that I had to just accept about him. I didn’t understand what he meant about all this guns-protecting-us-from-the-government stuff. Guns were for hunting, I reasoned, and if you have a license for a gun, then you should be happy, right? We didn’t talk much about the gun thing for a while.
Our first son was not quite a year old when the September 11th tragedy occurred. While nursing his younger brother a couple of years later, I began to read on the Internet. I read about freedoms that I had thought I’d always have. I read about the loss of those freedoms, especially after September 11, 2001. I thought about how free we were, even as high school students, to make mistakes, to ride around town, to go through high school without signing a paper that says I have to agree to a random drug test if I want to participate in extracurricular activities.
Only a couple of decades later, a friend’s daughter, who goes to a high school close to the one that my friend and I attended, must sign a paper saying that she’ll agree to a random drug test. The closest town to where we grew up in North Carolina has banned cruising and signs tell you that you can now receive a ticket if you drive through town more than once; I noticed a similar sign near the ever-communist West Hollywood the other day. There is now zero tolerance for mistakes.
Things have definitely changed since I was in high school; freedoms are being lost faster than Confederate flags are being banned. People watch television and don’t put up too much of a fight about these freedoms.
But what about guns? As I read more, I saw that Ruby Ridge, Waco, and other such tragedies, including the recent one in which several children were taken from their parents in Texas, are all about government control over people. The mainstream media make the victims of these things look crazy, and sometimes that’s not hard to do, but the reality is that they are people who want to do their own thing while doing no harm to others. Why should the government care?
The more I began to read, the more sense that guns made to me. Would I have to worry, for instance, about a Virginia Tech shooting scenario happening if I carried a gun? If someone came in a classroom with a gun and all the students were armed, how many students would a lone gunman be able to kill before he was killed? Could we not have avoided the campus lockdown thing and many deaths if guns had been encouraged on campus?
Besides the gun thing, there is the other-parts-of-the-Constitution thing. I’m beginning to understand now that many people are not into the Constitution these days; it’s become somewhat passé in our current police state. Another homeschooling mom that I was talking to earlier this week seemed to think that I had a novel idea in citing the Fourth Amendment if a social wrecker comes to my door, asking to come in without a search warrant. Ah, the Constitution is great, when people remember it and apply it in their lives.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
This kind of writing makes the gun permit that many of my friends and family in North Carolina hold so sacred seem silly. Why does anyone need a permit when the right to have a gun should not be infringed? Guns are powerful tools that allow us to defend ourselves and our families. Imagine how those who were alive during biblical times would have loved to have that kind of technology.
I currently live in California, where even those who value the freedom of homeschooling often fail to value the freedom of having a gun. Or twelve. Or a hundred. All owned sans government control. Such a scenario scares far too many folks. Many people in the Southern end of the Golden State believe that guns cause problems and that the world will be a much better place when only government-deemed police officers are able to legally obtain guns. Most people don’t think, although it could easily happen, that if the police break into your house in the middle of the night, a gun might protect you from them. Many people fail to see that if you’re at a traffic light and someone carjacks you and your children, a gun might scare the would-be-thief away much more easily than a scared and desperate call to a 9-1-1 dispatcher. Maybe the problem is that not many people think much about guns anymore; we simply accept what the government and mainstream media tell us.
What will happen to us as a society when we’re completely unarmed and the only armed folks are police officers who have been well-trained by federal officials — as most police officers are these days — the federal officials who, ignoring California state law, for instance, come in and close down perfectly legal and thriving marijuana dispensaries? What will happen when federally-trained police officers, many of whom have been trained to kill in the unconstitutionally declared Iraq war, come to your door demanding your children, as officers did recently in Texas? Do guns look so terrible, so ominous, when these things occur? Does defending ourselves against an out-of-control government seem silly when that government is threatening your family?
Photo Credit: Mr. Comic Mom
Turns out, my husband was right about the gun thing. Although many people have a hard time understanding this idea, government works much better when we are armed, the way that our Founding Fathers intended it. An armed citizenry allows government to truly be by the people: Think about how much the government does what you want; then think about how many people walk around unarmed these days. The fewer armed citizens there are, the more powerful the government.
Tricia Shore [send her mail], Comic Mom, is the breastfeeding, homeschooling, thinking mama of three sons and the wife of their dad, Mr. Comic Mom. Currently living in Los Angeles, where she has recently become hip enough to be on MySpace, she misses the sweet tea and barbecue of North Carolina.