Longtime lurker, first-time diarist. Heck, I almost had to start a new user ID, since it's been so long since I used my password, I don't even have the email address I started with. Close call that I remembered it. I come here to become informed and motivated, and to take comfort in the community from time to time, whether you know I'm here or not. I love you people. I love this place. I love what you've done with the political landscape since I started reading the site around the time of Howard Dean's moment in the sun in 2003.

I've been wanting to rant on the subject of guns, gun violence, and gun control this evening, and all of my Facebook friends are ranting away. However, I can't use Facebook as a microphone tonight. My family are all "friends" there, and I don't want them to get hurt inadvertently by having to read what I have to say. But y'all are my friends here as well, so here goes: My family experienced gun violence earlier this year, and has been shattered by it. I know what most if not all of us are thinking tonight, but it's still just too hard to put into words in a non-anonymous setting.

Last summer, a family member of mine shot himself in the head. In front of his wife. With the gun he'd been keeping in a locked box as "household protection." Up to this time, he had seemed like one of the cheeriest, happiest people I knew, and they seemed to have a loving and happy marriage. No one knows what went wrong that night, other than the fact that he'd had too much to drink.

Here's what I say to the RKBA folks: your gun that you keep in the house for safety? Safety my ass. Not only was the owner of this gun not safe from it, but no one who loved him was safe from it. And there were a lot of people who loved him. None of us would ever, ever, ever, ever have expected this sort of thing could possibly happen. Actually, not many of us even knew he had the thing. But the damage it has done will reach for miles and years beyond counting.

Guns need to be controlled. I am not going to get into it with anyone about why guns are OK. They are not OK. What do we need them for? What do we really, really need them for? Who is going to have the poise and the fast-thinking-in-a-crisis that would actually be called for to use it for defense, short of a trained soldier or cop (who I'm sure has plenty of nightmares to live with already)?

There is no safety as long as a gun is anywhere nearby. And having one nearby will not make you safe from someone else who has one nearby. And it should be unnecessary to say that getting shot isn't the only way to get hurt.

I'm writing this because I'd like to add my voice to those calling for gun control tonight. More than enough is more than enough. If you've got a petition, I've got a signature. If you've got a ballot measure, I've got a vote.

That is all. Thank you.