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I live in Texas, but I don't own a gun. Never have, and, if I listen to my boyfriend, never will. Before I moved to the Home of the Brave, I never thought I needed a gun anyway. Besides, I am visually impaired (I drive with heavy-duty corrective lenses), and nowhere BUT in this Land of the Free would I ever get a gun license.

The first time I ever considered getting a gun was after I had been mugged and friends suggested that I start packing heat. My BF told me not to do it, wisely pointing out that both the teenage punk-ass robber and I came out of the situation alive. I even got my purse back since a boy running through the night with a woman's purse under his arm attracted a cop's attention.

I told my BF that IF I were to get a gun, I'd take classes so I'd know what I'd be doing. BF, who owns a shotgun (for bird hunting) that he stores in a rented storage locker, said that wasn't point. The reason he doesn't want me to have a gun is, as he said, that it changes one's way of thinking.

Yesterday I was again reminded how smart he is.

On Valentine's Day, of all days, South African runner Oscar Pistorius' status changed from icon to suspect. He shot his girlfriend, aspiring model Reeva Steenkamp. Why did Oscar have a gun? For self-defense, of course. With the crime rates in South Africa, you've got to have a gun, after all. Apparently he's got several weapons lying around, just in case, and baseball bats, too.

However, just as my BF says, having a gun can make a person paranoid. From yesterday's NYT article:

In a 2012 interview with The New York Times Magazine, Oscar Pistorius said that he owned a 9-millimeter pistol and that he had wielded it once in response to a false burglar alarm at his home. When asked how often he went to a shooting range to practice, Mr. Pistorius said, “Just sometimes when I can’t sleep.”

Mr. Pistorius had posted a Twitter message recently about another false alarm that might have prompted him to grab his weapon.

“Nothing like getting home to hear the washing machine on and thinking its an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry!” he posted on Nov. 27.

(emphasis mine)

Immediately after my encounter with teenage punk-ass mugger, that totally could have been me. Weary of anything that goes bump in the night, I might have shot my cat. Or worse.

The NYT article continues:

Adele Kirsten of Gun-Free South Africa, an organization opposing gun violence, said that whatever the motive, the shooting was avoidable.

“The idea that you have a gun to protect your family against intruders, the data doesn’t bear that out,” Ms. Kirsten said. “What it tells us is that having a gun in your home puts you and your family at risk of being shot.”

Homicides involving guns have declined in South Africa in the past decade, Ms. Kirsten said, a development many here attribute to the Firearms Control Act of 2004. It restricts South Africans to one gun, either a handgun or a shotgun, for self-defense. Exceptions exist for regular hunters, but all weapons must be licensed, and gun owners are required to demonstrate that they are trained in gun safety and are free from mental instability and substance abuse.

The overall murder rate has dropped by 50 percent since its peak in the late 1990s, and the number of women killed by intimate partners using a gun has also dropped. In 2009, 17 percent of such intimate partner killings were gun-related, down from nearly 31 percent in 1999.

I think I'm going to listen to my boyfriend on that issue.

Originally posted to MaikeH on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 01:01 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have always said (12+ / 0-)

    I have only one reason to own a gun.

    I have thousands of reasons not to own a gun.

    It just doesn't add up. When all you have is a hammer, all your problems tend to look like nails.
    IF I have easy access to a gun, all my problems would wear a target.

    I believe very strongly in the Second Amendment, the ENTIRE amendment, especially the first part because, well, they put the first part first. I don't think it was a mistake to caveat the right to bear arms with the need for a well regulated militia. It must have had more importance to them than the second part or they would have reversed the order.

    Just another Supreme Court mistake, IMO.

    We've been spelling it wrong all these years. It's actually: PRO-GOP-ANDA

    by Patriot4peace on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 01:20:29 PM PST

  •  I've been robbed three times (25+ / 0-)

    twice at gun point. After the first time, the police officer who handled my case said it was a good thing I didn't have a weapon. I asked him why, and he said that in the time it would have taken me to get the gun out, I would have been killed. How the event actually played out was more like a business transaction, I handed the two guys all the money I had, and with that I purchased not being injured.

    These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

    by HugoDog on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 01:23:06 PM PST

    •  You obviously don't have enough heroic fantasies. (11+ / 0-)

      You know, where you suddenly whip out your gun and take down the bad guy, ala, Charles Bronson in the 1974 classic, Death Wish.

    •  which was the best thing to do (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Naniboujou, NancyWH, samddobermann

      unless your name is Wyatt Earp Jr.  In order to win a gunfight (according to the rules of Mysterious Dave Mathers) is to get your gun out first and shoot straight.

      Old joke about Old West was there were 3 kinds of lawmen
      1) would warn you about carrying a gun in town and then arrest you for carrying the gun if you did it again (Earp)
      2) would warn you once and then shoot you the next time he saw you with a gun (James Butler Hickok)
      3) would shoot you on sight for carrying a gun (Mathers)  

      •  My daughter is (0+ / 0-)

        named after Wyatt Earp's wife, sort of. Shortly before our kid was born, Mrs. HugoDog and I were going through the process of trying to figure out a name. Most of the time what would happen would be that one of us would say a name and the other would make a face. After a while it got ridiculous - I was suggesting names of Wagnerian opera characters for comic relief. But one afternoon we heard on the radio that Wyatt Earp's wife XXXXX was one of the founding member's of San Diego's first Synagogue. Both  Mrs. HugoDog and I looked at each other and said "I've always liked the name XXXXX"  Later we learned the radio voice was wrong, Mrs. Earp was named Sadie.

        These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

        by HugoDog on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 02:25:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  to be purely technical, I think Urilla was his (0+ / 0-)

          only wife and the other two were common law brides as was common in the West:
          Wyatt Earp Spouse
          Josephine Earp
          (m. 1892–1929)
          Mattie Blaylock
          (m. 1878–1882)
          Urilla Sutherland

          I also think (from memory) that Josie was Jewish which could have been a bar to a church wedding.
          (They are running reruns of The Life and Times of Wyatt Earp with Hugh O'Brien which is shot full of mistakes and I may be confusing some of my facts)

          •  It was Josephine. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlackSheep1

            According to her autobiography, she went by the name Sadie.

            These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

            by HugoDog on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 02:51:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  as an interesting aside, another Earp brother (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BlackSheep1

              (Jiimmy, I think) openly pimped his wife out for extra money

              Much of the Earp family history is as reported by Wyatt and Josephine years after the fact.  Shortly before his death Wyatt stormed Hollywood selling his life story during the spate of Westerns made during that time.  However, it appears Virgil was really the leader of the family and the true lawman in the family.

              After his "vengeance ride" over the murder of his brother Morgan, Wyatt never worked as as a peace officer again, making his living as a gambler and boxing referee (in an era when the fights were bare knuckle bouts and some went for almost 100 rounds)

              •  I believe (0+ / 0-)

                Sadie may have been working the streets when she met Wyatt. She doesn't mention this in her autobio., however.
                I believe she stopped once Wyatt & her became an item.

                These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

                by HugoDog on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 03:02:10 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Either that or she was shacked up with his (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  HugoDog

                  political rival, John Behan at one point; there is a reputed semi-nude photo of her which is extant but is hotly disputed as to authenticity to this day by Earp partisans
                  http://www.flickr.com/...

                  •  I think Behan was (0+ / 0-)

                    pimping her out just before she got together with Earp.
                    That photo is on the cover of her autobiography. It also was displayed prominently in the now closedWyatt Earp Museum

                    These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

                    by HugoDog on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 03:45:50 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  it was supposedly made by the photographer (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      HugoDog

                      Fly (it was in front of his studio where the famous shootout happened) for Behan.  In the movie he was shown passing it around, perhaps as a h/t to the real history.  In the early West, with "white" women at a premium, sometimes as many as 100:1 ratio, many men pimped out their women as a quick and easy source (for them) of money.

                      OTOH Tombstone was relatively civilized when the Earps were there, with polka bands in the beer halls and ice cream parlors and not too much later, a symphony I think and a couple of French cuisine restaurants.  So much for frontier stereotypes

    •  as I have often noted, the odds of someone being (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HugoDog, luckydog, samddobermann

      killed by a homicidal stranger who is intent on killing them, are virtually zero.

      When someone breaks into my house, they want my TV set, not my life.  And I'm more than happy to help them carry my TV set to their car. Everyone goes home alive.

      But then, I don't have the silly vigilante hero fantasies that many people with guns seem to.  (shrug)

    •  It very much depends on the person (0+ / 0-)

      who's being assaulted. John Blackwolf has wise words:

      Twenty-one feet. About 9/16ths of a second, if they're running. (Two steps, maybe three.)

      I will say this -- the person who makes the decision to buy and carry and use, or maybe need to use, a firearm had better first make the decision, with full understanding of the decision they're making and the aftermath of acting on that decision, that they can use deadly force.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:26:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This. SO much this. (0+ / 0-)

      You need to consider the "instinct" - Somebody has a weapon in their hand and is threatening you with it and you give them an instant to feel threatened and they will use that weapon before they even take a moment to think.

      As a former martial arts instructor I used to tell my students that "If you need to think, its already too late to do what you're thinking about" - and in a situation where you're threatened with a firearm, if the person doing it sees danger you can bet he will have pulled that trigger before he even completes the THOUGHT of "Oh Shit!"

      I can draw and cut any target within a few yards with my katana in under half a second from the moment my hand moves towards the tsuka. With a yari already ready in my hands I'll put a nice big hole within an inch of where I'm aiming on any target within a much longer range in the same timeframe. That's an unfair comparison I admit because I've trained with both those weapons for years, to the extent that the technique is almost complete by the time I'm aware of having formed the intent to execute it. Within my effective range, if he aint aiming it at me already even a guy with a gun is probably going down hard. Even if he gets me in the process he aint going anywhere after.

      But think of it this way - if I can train myself to even the odds that far, even "bringing a knife to a gunfight" (expanding the definition of "knife" to include all edged and pointed non-projectile weapons), how much simpler is it for a single trigger finger to tighten under stress and discharge a round? Bad guy has a bead on you already then forget Rambo, forget Colonel Matrix, you cant beat that reaction. Period.

  •  I am no gun nut (16+ / 0-)

    But I do own a pistol and a couple of 22 rifles. None have been fired in decades. I have picked up the pistol a few times in the middle of the night and once when a bloody man appeared on my back doorstep (just a week after a robbery down the street).

    I'm not buying the argument that having a gun changes a person. I keep mine because I live deep in the woods and it would take the police a while to get there. I will never shoot my wife or son with it, even by mistake, because I doubt I will ever have to fire it.

    But, if you think it will change you, by all means, don't get one.

    It's the logic of the argument I take issue with.

    •  there are many reasons to own a gun (6+ / 0-)

      from collectors with their wallhangers to hunters to shooters to home protection folks to militia folks to survivalists.  There is a broad spectrum of people who have guns and registration with a waiting period for extended background checks really inconveniences very few folks

    •  Not that it matters what I think, but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, dewley notid

      that seems perfectly normal and will always be legal.

      “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

      by jeff in nyc on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 02:14:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We live in a condo complex (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tytalus

      with police on the premises. Different situation.

      261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

      by MaikeH on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 02:19:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I find you to be a perfect example. (6+ / 0-)

      Guy shows up covered in blood on your doorstep and your reaction is to grab a gun? Pretty clear it's already changed you, whether you want to admit it or not.

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 02:19:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Apparently you missed the part. . . (0+ / 0-)

        . . .where I also mentioned there was a break in on my street just previous to that event. You don't know all the details, but I might add that I think you would have been a little freaked out under the circumstances. Grabbing a gun was a wise idea. I never pointed it or used it. In fact, it was not loaded.

    •  I wouldn't shoot anybody NOW (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tytalus, unclebucky, samddobermann

      because I've calmed down, and if I hear something at night, my first thought is, "It's a cat." But immediately after the mugging incident, I totally might have.

      261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

      by MaikeH on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 02:23:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No change? I would like you say why... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlueDragon, samddobermann

      you don't think a person is changed by having a gun.

      A person is changed by:

      * Speaking one language vs. another or speaking many languages.
      * Living among some people rather than others.
      * Being insulted all one's life.
      * Being...

      Need I go on? Your environment (including your mode of protection) does change you. And your basic makeup (genes, etc.) is the starting point.

      Maybe YOU are not changed. That's OK. By comparison, I am very lucky to not be allergic to sugar, alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, that is, it seems that I am not very easily hooked on substances. Other people are INDEED allergic and are very addictable.

      So, let's just say that everyone is different and some will be changed by owning a gun, having it at his/her side at all times, and having practiced in ranges and safety drills. Other people, not so much.

      K?

      --UB.

      "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

      by unclebucky on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 03:42:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You and BoyFriend are right. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, samddobermann

    You might not be as diplomatic if you think you are armed up, but diplomacy works better than guns.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 01:33:25 PM PST

  •  Yeah, but that's simply because (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy, alain2112

    they (most likely) banned lead from gasoline:

    The overall murder rate has dropped by 50 percent since its peak in the late 1990s,
    There was a diary about that here at DailyKos just a few weeks ago, and I was like * totally * convinced.
  •  20,000 gun suicides per year (8+ / 0-)

    Between 1 in 5  and 1 in 6 americans will come down with clinical depression at some point in their lives. Oftentimes undiagnosed. Other psychiatric problems are less common, but still very prevalent.  We all like to think we are masters of our own fate. But the truth is, we are all fragile creatures not always in control of our faculties.

  •  resistance is futile. This is how the NRA wants (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, a2nite, samddobermann

    women and the young to feel regarding their latest plans to perpetuate themselves. There was a really great NRA story in a recent issue of Rolling Stone, about how this operation really funations and how powerful it has become, and how little it plans on changing.

  •  Everything looks like targets with a gun... n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    samddobermann

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 03:33:15 PM PST

    •  I don't know firsthand since I've never carried (0+ / 0-)

      But that doesn't line up with what I've heard from people who do.

      On the other hand there are clearly people who do react that way: recent headlines prove that.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:16:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At base, everything looks like a target with a gun (0+ / 0-)

        when you are poorly trained, badly mentored and weak of self-discipline.

        "what I've heard from people who do" = anecdote.

        Ugh. --UB.

        "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

        by unclebucky on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 06:46:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Meaningless. (0+ / 0-)

      Everything looks like dirt with a shovel.
      Everything looks like a nail with a hammer.
      Everything looks like a tree with a chainsaw.
      And so on.

      •  Everything looks like a punchline with... (0+ / 0-)

        a post such as yours.

        I repeat my post just above:

        At base, everything looks like a target with a gun when you are poorly trained, badly mentored and weak of self-discipline.

        The problem is NOT those people who have good training, good mentors and peers and a good sense of the outcomes of self-discipline.

        Of which group are you? :)

        Best,

        --UB.

        "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

        by unclebucky on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 06:49:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Two things (0+ / 0-)

          1. This

          The problem is NOT those people who have good training, good mentors and peers and a good sense of the outcomes of self-discipline.
          applies to both sides of the self-defense equation. I would contend there are vastly more of them on the legal side than not.

          2. This

          At base, everything looks like a target with a gun when you are poorly trained, badly mentored and weak of self-discipline.
          is not a psychological condition unique to firearms, nor is its mitigation.
  •  I was in South Africa thus past December (0+ / 0-)

    Nobody I talked to had a gun. (Everybody I talked to thought Americans were gun nuts.)

    But virtually everybody had a razor wire fence around their house and some very large dogs.

  •  My guns are for putting holes in paper (0+ / 0-)

    wouldn't even be the 3rd thing I'd reach for.

    but that's me.

    I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

    by wretchedhive on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:27:07 PM PST

  •  If you don't want a gun, you shouldnt have one (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, KVoimakas

    But why have others make the decision for you?

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 05:04:09 PM PST

  •  If you can't follow the rules, then no gun 4u! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shamash

    In no particular order...

    Finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
    No pointing at anything you aren't prepared to destroy.
    IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET AND WHATEVER IS BEYOND IT.
    See, it's like driving to the liquor store. Follow the rules, don't drink while driving, and you should be just fine. Break the rules, and there's a solid chance your fuckup mistake will cause a wreck.

    Obviously Pistorius didn't follow the rules, and that fuckup mistake caused one seriously tragic wreck. It's up to you to determine if you are able to follow them or if you will also fuck it up like that idiot did.

    If you feel you can follow the rules, then your cat is safe. As a fellow cat lover, I'm finding it hard to imagine worse than shooting my Thieving Bastard (he loves to steal my food). But if you feel that you can't manage to follow the rules, then keep your hands off of any firearms that might ever be near you.

    The onus is entirely on you. It can't be shrugged off as the gun's fault, the gun does whatever your hands cause it to do. No more, no less.

    It's safe to trust a sane person with the keys to nuclear weapons, but it's not safe to trust an insane person with the cleaners under the kitchen sink. The answer is not more gun control, it's people care.

    by JayFromPA on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:18:35 PM PST

  •  move out of the city (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KVoimakas

    I always read about people getting mugged and robbed and home invaded in the city.

    Why bother?

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:29:58 PM PST

  •  The patriarchy in action. (0+ / 0-)
    I live in Texas, but I don't own a gun. Never have, and, if I listen to my boyfriend, never will.

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