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