In the Crossfire


My Dad was a Sharpshooter.  One of the mementos he kept in his drawer was a penny with a hole through it, which he had supposedly shot out of his father’s hand.   I never knew at what distance … it was not an event my Mom wanted us to hear about.  I grew up going to the rifle-range with my Dad to target shoot and received my own rifle for Christmas. I hunted in the woods once or twice but couldn’t stand seeing a bird I’d shot. But I don’t own guns, don’t understand aficionados, and can’t understand why anyone would search the woods for a beautiful animal then kill it. Yet my daughter is married to a gun collector hunter and has learned to shoot the guns they keep in a safe (thank God). I have a few gun collector hunter friends who seem like regular guys but they are fanatical about their right to bear arms.   I have no moral objection to hunting and do not oppose gun possession.   Back in December, after the killings at Sandy Hook, I took this position , in a comment on thesinglecell’s post, Now is the Time:

The Constitution may not be the Bible but I’m not ready to throw the Second Amendment under the bus. It is a document that has served us well and I’m glad it is hard to amend. But I agree, it’s time to put on the brakes. It’s time to outlaw possession of assault or military-style weapons meant for warfare and for high-capacity clips that make no sense as self-protection. It’s time to tighten standards for gun possession. Gun rights folk talk about only criminals having guns but crimes like Sandy Hook are more often committed by the mentally or emotionally debilitated and there certainly can be more control of access for the potentially unstable. Still, the guns Lanza used were his mother’s. Sadly, I think only more extreme security measures at the schools can keep them from being a target of choice.

There’s a line in an old Buffalo Springfield song, “A thousand people in the street, Singing songs and carrying signs, Mostly say, hooray for our side .” When that happens, those of us in the middle aren’t heard … and nothing gets accomplished. I’m with you but I won’t carry a sign that says, “Hooray for our side.” It has to start with dialog, something we seem incapable of these days. My sign might say, “Here’s what I think. What do you think?”

I suspect that opinion would bring the ire of my gun collector hunter friends.  It’s easy to feel caught in the crossfire when the gun folks see  a moderate position as the first step to complete capitulation.   In my own post on December 19, Can’t We Wait? prompted by the rush to politicize the Sandy Hook tragedy in favor of gun control, I said:  Suppose we all do this.  Between now and the New Year, we shed our tears and say some prayers for the people of Newtown.  We shut the hell up about gun control and take this time to learn about both sides of the issue.  What a concept, huh?  Then we come back from the New Year not only opinionated but educated and we’ll have an intelligent dialog.  We owe it to twenty children who are looking down and hoping we’ll act like grown-ups.

It hasn’t happened, has it?  Becoming educated isn’t easy amidst all the shouting.   As the posters at the top of this post show, the gun control people like to take the Compassionate American position, appealing to our emotions, while the pro-gun people prefer to be the American Patriot, Defending Our Rights rationally.  I find both approaches disingenuous.   I don’t find the gun control folk especially compassionate to those that don’t agree with them … and I’m willing to bet that a fair percentage of the American Patriots defending their gun rights would not be so ready to take to the barricades to protect the right to believe in gun control.   Gun control advocates are fond of anecdotal evidence, out of context quotes, and partial statistics to prove their point.   The gun rights folk tend to overwhelm with statistics that ignore that these are human lives we’re talking about and accuse me of knowing nothing about firearms.   And both sides love to argue about the true meaning of the second amendment, as if their side is fact and the other’s opinion.  But I’ve been doing my part, casually reading papers and positions on both sides of the issue.  I now know more about guns, gun casualty statistics and the second amendment than ever before.  And, so far, I’m still comfortable with the opinion expressed above.  But I understand more why gun rights folks aren’t which I’ll be saying more about in future posts.

I know that this is a more volatile subject than I usually post about Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog.  When Stephen King wrote his treatise on what we should do about guns … appropriately titled Guns and offered it on for $.87, others quickly offered Stephen King Doesn’t Know Shit and Guns at Stephen King’s Head for a buck each (here).   This isn’t Amazon … I control the comments on Bud’s Blog but I will approve any response offered respectfully from either side.  This really needs to be discussed.  Intelligently.

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3 Comments on “In the Crossfire”

  1. Glenn Reed Says:

    Intelligent discussion, where is it? Even a greater loss than Sandy Hook, we seem to have lost the art. And I say that knowing just how great the loss there had to be. Though I am deeply conservative on most issues, on this one a bit of intelligent thought could persuade me one way or the other. Why is it with all we have, all we are capable of, and all we know, we settle for today?

  2. cherperz Says:

    As usual, Bud, very well stated. I don’t disagree with anything you said. I, am not an ardent proponent of guns but I believe the right to bear arms is a RIGHT and don’t feel that we have to throw the 2nd amendment away. …..but still it is a right that comes with some accountability.
    I love your use of the word “brakes”. Very good word that needs to be applied to a lot of our “rights”.

    I was recently watching a program that talked about the SMART guns that require RFID or fingerprint recognition so children or intruders can’t do harm with a persons gun. I don’t understand why gun enthusiasts are against additional safety requirements that would limit their exposure to misuse of guns…esp. by children.

  3. […] that space, I’m posting my response to him here, as a broadened topic. Please read his posts, In the Crossfire and In the Crossfire, Too, so that you understand to what I am responding […]

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