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40+ years ago, I was reading late one evening in my living room in a run-down fixer-upper house in a transitional neighborhood. Our mid-sized city was in a growth spurt and the police department was understaffed.

While I sat there, someone tried to break in through a nearby window.

I called the police department (this was before the 911 system) and got a busy signal.  Uh-oh.  

However, the situation wasn't as dire as you might think. The window glass was broken when I bought the house. I had patched/covered-over the window with some sticky plastic do-it-yourself "storm window material" I had seen on TV.  

"EasyPeasy" the commercial promised.  But I have limited craft skills. I soon got all tangled up in the sticky plastic and just jammed what I could into the window opening and cut myself loose from the remainder. It was a big old wadded up mess.

The home-invader, poor guy, was probably some homeless person looking for a night's shelter. It was really cold and my house certainly looked abandoned.  

I could tell from the thrashing around sounds and muffled cursing that he had got himself tangled up in the sticky "storm window". He retreated and after awhile I retired.

But the police department busy signal bothered me and the next morning I bought the used .38.   If I had had it the night before I certainly would not have shot.  I am a sensible restrained person.  

A lot of people are not, though.  So I don't mind reasonable gun-control laws. And I especially am in favor of restricting/banning high-capacity magazine and rapid-fire weapons.

Originally posted to Mayfly on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 05:54 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    Fiscal conservative: a Republican ready to spend $5 to save a dime--especially if that dime is helping a non-donor.

    by Mayfly on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 05:54:33 PM PST

  •  A revolver is great. (9+ / 0-)

    Never jam, very safe.

    And once you want to get more high-falutin' there's no end to it.

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 05:58:32 PM PST

  •  A revolver is one thing, but to have war weapons (6+ / 0-)

    is another and that is what we are needing to get rid of.

    •  some of the most dangerous firearms are those old (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DavidMS, Texas Lefty

      empty war trophies hung on the wall or that empty 38 that someone knows just about nothing about and hasn't even fired in years and it's just collecting dust and doing nothing all empty and stuff and it looks very old fashioned and harmless and then they just up and kill somebody who kinda looks at it or points it at someone to joke cause it was empty and safe and stuff.

      There are no war weapons and all other guns are ok.

      A gun is a gun.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 09:25:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A gun that fires multiple bullets in a second (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mayfly

        is a war weapon.  A single shot revolver is not the same as this.

        •  The vast preponderance of gun deaths are from (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Texas Lefty, Mayfly

          one shot. It doesn't matter how scary the thing looks, the first shot out of any firearm can kill you just as dead as the first shot out of any other firearm. The idiotic belief that because something looks like it might be a hundred years old and somehow it is safer because of it is just crazy. And very dangerous.

          Assume every firearm is always loaded, never point it at anything you don't want to destroy, if you don't understand firearms don't touch or handle them at all.

          Gun ignorance terrifies me.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:22:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wait a minute. Are you saying a loaded gun (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ban nock

            is dangerous? I thought they were just harmless inanimate objects, no more dangerous than a bat, a knife, a plastic bag, or a pillow. I guess my father, the cop, was right.

            Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

            by rasbobbo on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:02:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I guess just sitting there they are the same (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rasbobbo

              but people tend to pick them up, sometimes people who aren't fully aware of which end is the one things come out of.

              You ever notice people tend to look at other folks when they first pick up a gun? They are noticing "is this person a menace to themselves and everyone else who might get swept with the muzzle? Or are they someone who has handled firearms before and is aware of which way it's pointing?" It just takes a brief glance to tell.

              How big is your personal carbon footprint?

              by ban nock on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:25:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've been witness to a couple of accidental shots (0+ / 0-)

                going off when safe, sane, expert handlers of firearms - just ask 'em - didn't know a gun was loaded. There is a theory that a responsible citizen with an openly holstered sidearm extends this circle of protection around himself. I have asked about a dozen convenience store clerks about this & absolutely none of them felt more secure when a customer came in with a gun strapped to their hip.

                Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

                by rasbobbo on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:53:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  So one shot can kill as many as a multiple shot (0+ / 0-)

            devise.  Really?  Whatt are you saying?

  •  I have two .38 revolvers (6+ / 0-)

    There were my dad's.  I cleaned them 5 years ago when I brought them home and have never taken them out of the box since.  They are locked away.  

    The ammo is 5 years old and probably no good - I certainly wouldn't load it!  

    If I could be certain that selling them wouldn't lead to them being used in a crime that would come back to haunt me, I might do that.  But in the meantime, it's 2 less guns on the street.  

    My brother in law told me to trade them in and get a Lady Glock, because it requires less finger strength to pull the trigger.  I decided not to - I don't want it to be "easy" to shoot somebody.  

    "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

    by Ricochet67 on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 06:37:57 PM PST

    •  Your amunition is fine (6+ / 0-)

      Store it in a cool dry place and its good for years.  Occasionally ammunition turns up from circa 1900 and its still safe to fire if it was properly stored.  

      If you are going to have a gun, know how to accurately shoot it and maintain it safely.  

      Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

      by DavidMS on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 06:43:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ricochet67--the ammo probably is still good. But I (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      louisprandtl, eztempo, dewley notid

      appreciate your feeling of responsibility.  Owning anything that can be dangerous is somewhat of a burden.

      Fiscal conservative: a Republican ready to spend $5 to save a dime--especially if that dime is helping a non-donor.

      by Mayfly on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 06:44:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, dont sell them. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      louisprandtl, ban nock, jplanner

      Salt water. Deep salt water is the best thing for handguns.

      GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

      by gzodik on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:42:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks - I think I'll have my brother in law (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eztempo, freerad

      take them to the gun range.  He'll clean them for me and see if the ammo is any good.  I haven't used them in years.  Used to go shoot with my dad at the target range before he retired and moved 300 miles away.  

      They've been locked up for 5 years, in a locked boxed, inside a safe.  The bullets are in their original carton, just stuck in the safe next to the locked box.  

      Whether it's been cool and dry, I don't know - I live in Florida - the papers in there seem to be OK, despite the humidity and most of the time I do have my air on.  Safe is in the house, not out in the garage, so it's semi-climate controlled, but I'm at the age where the a/c makes me feel cold so I don't run it all the time.  

      Only reason there are two of them is because one was stolen when our house was broken into 30 years ago (which is why my folks left Miami).  He bought the second one and then got the first one back when a guy tried to hold up a 7-11 - his girlfriend had my dad's gun in her purse (it was not used in the robbery) when they caught the two of them.  

      My dad made me crazy because he kept them in the night stand drawer, unlocked.  With only two adults in the house, he never planned ahead when I was visiting with my son.  First thing I always did on arrival was take them out of the nightstand (and once out from under the bed), unload them, take the bullet cartons out and lock them in the trunk of my car and the guns in the locking file cabinet out in the garage. He used to get so mad at me - but my son was 3 and if the guns weren't in the nightstand, they were on the floor under the bed - no trigger locks.  

      I was NOT about to leave them there where he could find them.  You can tell them "don't touch" a million times, but when you're playing hide and seek with pop-pop and mom-mom, and you're 3, a good hiding place is always under the bed or the sofa.  That was 30 years ago.  It just never occurred to dad to get a gun safe or a trigger lock or anything like that, because there were "never" any kids in the house - except when we came to visit.  

      Eventually, when my son got older, dad took him to the range and they did target shooting with a shotgun, a .22 rifle and the two .38s.  The rifle is long gone - he sold it or gave it away.  The shotgun is still up at my mom's house.  My son didn't want any of them - he's a vet, he's not the type to go hunting and doesn't feel he needs a gun for protection.  He's got dogs and crazy attack cats (well, his wife has the craziest attack cat, but still...)  

      "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

      by Ricochet67 on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:52:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I shoot Russian ammo from the 50's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mayfly

      It still shoots, although I get an occasional failure to fire.  Ammo can last a long time if stored properly.  

      "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

      by Texas Lefty on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:56:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Aesthetic considerations (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608

    Semi-automatics are sexy.  I can’t imagine James Bond with anything else.  But a revolver has a no-nonsense attitude, which is just the thing for Walter White in Breaking Bad.

  •  I have a .38 revolver. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo, YucatanMan, Tinfoil Hat, freerad

    Somewhere in the attic. It might take me a while to find it. I bought it about 35 years ago, because my friends had some cool guns. A toy, in other words.

    I can't imagine a scenario where it could have benefited me. I can think of a lot where it could have caused a tragedy.

    Thanks for this diary. It reminded me of something I need to do.

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:46:31 PM PST

  •  A Couple Years Ago There Were Cheap Used S&W (0+ / 0-)

    I think it was the french police surplussed their old .38 revolvers (probably barely used).  $450 revolvers could be had for $200.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 08:42:45 PM PST

  •  Get rid of the gun (0+ / 0-)

    I think your judgement isn't so great and you probably aren't a real good candidate for owning a firearm.

    Get yourself one of those big cans of industrial strength bear spray instead.

    Realize that I support a very liberal interpretation of 2A.

    I think everyone even convicted felons if they can show they are responsible and not a danger to society have a right to a firearm.

    But I think you are dangerous, and I seriously recommend you get rid of it.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 09:16:21 PM PST

    •  Spray is not so simple. (0+ / 0-)

      If the perp broke through and wind was at his back you could get most of it right back in your face.

      Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

      by dov12348 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:50:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  but nobody would be dead, not that I worry too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Texas Lefty

        much about the health of a home invader, but anyone who buys a second hand 38 and doesn't realize that they too have a rapid fire weapon is a danger to themselves and those around them. The poster wants to restrict others from owning  a rapid fire weapon, just what the heck does he or she think a revolver is? Chopped liver?

        What I'm hearing the poster saying is "I'm a responsible person and it's ok for me to have a gun, the rest of you mouth breathers not so much"

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:32:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So in the same scenario youda killed the guy? (0+ / 0-)

    Not sure I see how this is an example of why you need a gun. Guns turn non-lethal situations like yours into lethal ones. If you had lost your cool and shot the guy you could be in jail, depending on the state and the exact circumstances.

    A loud warning and a baseball bat would have done the trick, sounds like.

  •  Please (0+ / 0-)

    read this.

    I'm a Democrat - I believe that government has a positive role to play in the lives of ordinary people.

    by 1BQ on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 09:49:32 PM PST

  •  I was just reloading some .38 Special (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annecros, Mayfly

    I have quite a few revolvers that shoot .38 Special. Some also shoot .357, but I don't shoot much of that because of recoil.

    I have had a .38 revolver around for protection and entertainment for years.

    Lady Glock sounds real feminine, and the trigger pull might be a bit less than the double action revolver pull, but racking the slide can be difficult, physically and emotionally under stress.

    If the double action pull is too hard on the revolver, pull the hammer back with your thumb. That single action trigger pull will be much easier than the Glock.

    Older Smith & Wessons are showing up in great shape with regularity as the older folks pass away. They are not cheap. Not inexpensive and not poorly made.

    I have a 6" Model 14 single action only which is the old bullseye competition gun. It really does hit small objects at 50 yards if I do my part. It is not unusual for me to shoot 3-400 powder puff .38s at a range trip, mostly busting up clay birds, and the small pieces. It is a form of meditation.

  •  i understand completely what you did. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly

    in the late 80s, someone tried to enter my living room window and was halfway through before he thought better of it.  why?  my very large wolf/shepherd was barking the most ominous syncopated warning i've ever heard.  it woke me from a dead sleep - and as i called out to her to be quiet, i heard him at my front door - knocking and peering into my house demanding i open the door and give him "water".  

    each time my groggy hand went toward that door, m'lady (said wolf/shepherd) positioned herself between my hand and the doorknob and said "NO!"  my other dogs, two sammies and a german shepherd were circling around me.

    as he stumbled away, i sensed something very wrong - and it wasn't until later someone asked me what he had in his hands.  it was only then i realized he had kept one hand behind his back, out of sight.

    that day i borrowed a friend's double barrel shotgun that stayed beside my bed (low to the floor) where only my hand had to drop over the side to have the gun.  would  have shot?  i also would like to think not, but if someone made it that far, he would have had to go through four very large, very protective dogs...

    i moved within two weeks.

    not everyone has that option - to move - but i no longer felt secure in that apartment.  oh, and i did return the shotgun - unused, thankfully.

    EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

    by edrie on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:15:17 AM PST

  •  Could someone explain the logic of this: (0+ / 0-)
    The home-invader, poor guy,
    Clearly you didn't feel very threatened, and you even had sympathy for the guy who was so inept he couldn't even get through sticky plastic ....

    .... yet a day later you would have put a bullet in him?

    So, by this Diary, an attempt to seek shelter in an apparently empty building is cause for a death sentence?

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:37:56 AM PST

    •  twigg, no I didn't feel very threatened when I (0+ / 0-)

      realized the poor guy couldn't get through the plastic.  But I wouldn't call him inept.  Nobody could have gotten through that wad of plastic unless they were willing to spend a long time trying.

      What made me uneasy was the busy signal when I called the police.

      No, I would not have "put a bullet in him" a day later.  

      But, if in future, I really needed the assistance of the police and got another busy signal I wanted to be prepared to defend myself.

      As it turns out, I did have to order someone out of the house a year or so later.  Didn't shoot him either.

      I think your comment is melodramatic.

      Fiscal conservative: a Republican ready to spend $5 to save a dime--especially if that dime is helping a non-donor.

      by Mayfly on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:45:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Someone broke into my house once (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dov12348, freerad, Mayfly

    Smashed his way through the front door. I had to get oout of bed naked and deal with him. at that time I was totally antigun so was unarmed
    I bought a gun the next day. and I never sleep naked any more

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:10:04 AM PST

  •  really? and you know that how, exactly? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    "If I had had it the night before I certainly would not have shot.  I am a sensible restrained person."

    then what's the point of having the gun to begin with, if you don't plan on actually shooting it, when someone is attempting to break into your home? basic gun safety training states that you should, "never point a weapon at anything, including people, unless you intend to shoot", so it strikes me that you wasted however much you spent, on a gun you never intend to use, for the purpose it was made for.

    did you ever take a gun safety course? if you had, and you made this same comment to your instructor, i suspect his/her response would have been similar to mine. perhaps, you might want to re-think having that gun. if you don't plan to use it, it simply adds an unnecessary, additional danger in your home. i suggest getting a baseball bat, in place of the gun. you can whack an intruder with it, and then go play ball.

    •  cpinva, guess I wasn't clear. I certainly would (0+ / 0-)

      not have shot through the plastic at someone outside or partially inside.

      I am assuming you wouldn't have either.  

      "...basic gun safety training states that you should never point a weapon at anything...unless you intend to shoot"  well, duh.
      I know that.

      I won't go into my background but I am familiar with the type gun I bought.  And I've been in some dangerous situations and behaved with caution and restraint.  Doesn't mean that I've taken an oath to never ever defend myself.

      PS.   I person could be killed with a baseball bat, so I would be very cautious about using that also.

      Fiscal conservative: a Republican ready to spend $5 to save a dime--especially if that dime is helping a non-donor.

      by Mayfly on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:57:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fear, guns, what one actually does (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly

    I have hunted in the past, but lost the taste for it many years ago.  I live in a rural area and I do keep a shotgun around out of habit I suppose, although I haven't loaded it in many years and don't even own any ammunition now.

    An observation:

    I have loaded, unloaded, and fired a shotgun hundreds of times.  When I did hunt, I experienced the killing of an animal leading to a dramatic adrenal narrowing of focus, judgment, and action.  Pulling the trigger, one is not in a normal mental state.

    A bit of personal history:

    Also years ago, we and our neighbors were having problems with irresponsible dog owners allowing their "pets" to roam at night.  With suburbia encroaching, we were faced with nightly dog-pack raids on chicken coops, paddocks, and pens.  

    After experiencing the trauma of dismembered fowl, goats with ears torn off, and a valuable horse having to be put down after a night of terror, I loaded my 12 gauge pump with two rounds of #12 birdshot (small pellets intended to deliver a painful message) followed by three rounds of 00 buckshot (large, heavier lead balls designed to kill). A 12 gauge shotgun is a powerful weapon, a small cannon with 3/4" bore and a large charge of gunpowder contained in a shell the size of a linebacker's thumb.  I was ready.

    Soon after, awakened by the terrified bleating of our near neighbor's goats, I jumped out of bed, got dressed in pants and shoes, grabbed a flashlight and gun, and ran shirtless and sockless the hundred yards to the fence that separated our property from our neighbors.  I saw two dogs, one with jaws clamped on the goat's muzzle, the other on a back leg.  At close range, I stuck the gun through the fence wire and, trying not to hit the goat, fired once at the hind end of one of the dogs.  The close range resulted in a crippling wound to the dog.  I fired again with the same result for the second dog.  I was now faced with utter chaos, a wounded and terrified goat along with the rest of the herd bleating in the corner of the pen, and two badly wounded howling dogs lying crippled on the ground.

    At this point I will admit, I was in an altered state; my normal mental process stopped and I could not remember that a short while previously I had loaded my gun with cartridges capable of finishing the horrible task of putting the dogs out of their misery.  Instead, I ran back to the house, frantically unloaded the gun, and reloaded it with buckshot cartridges identical to the ones I had just removed.  I'm lucky I didn't accidentally discharge the thing inside the house. The rest of this sad story I will leave to you.

    Ever since then, I have been completely skeptical of the ability of an average person, confronting a human being who MIGHT represent a real threat to make a careful and correct decision over how and when to use a gun.

    I also note that it is statistically much more likely that a gun kept for personal protection will be used in a suicide or involved in an accidental shooting, most tragically involving a child.

    If we really want to live without fear, we need to make the brave choice of leaving the shooting of humans to the police, and to work honestly to solve the real sources of the fear and violence that stalk our lives.

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:54:53 AM PST

    •  Thanks, boatwright, for sharing your experience. (0+ / 0-)

      It reminds me of an incident I should share someday.  

      I remember reading that some watermelon farmers used to load shotgun shells with rock-salt instead of bird shot, to shoot at kids who were stealing melons. I never knew anyone personally who did that, though, and don't know if it was just a story.

      Fiscal conservative: a Republican ready to spend $5 to save a dime--especially if that dime is helping a non-donor.

      by Mayfly on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:05:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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