I was driving behind a truck today on the highway. It had a sticker like the picture above. I was late for work, behind a giant truck full of rocks, going 35 MPH and was being advised by a sticker that I had to stay back 200 ft. Which means no passing, more lateness, a long line of cars all afraid of getting dings and scratches and cracked windows.
Well, thankfully I drive a 1998 Ford truck. This truck made it through the giant baseball-hail storm last spring with very little damage, when most of the vehicles parked around it at work were totalled, or nearly so. I passed that old rock truck like it was sitting still. I wasn’t scared a bit. Lots of other cars didn’t pass, though, and it made me think – one truck full of rocks and a sticker can sure scare a bunch of people. Warning! Stay back! You’re going to be damaged if you get near or try to pass me sodon’teventryitbeveryafraid…YOU SHALL NOT PASS!
These days, there’s so much to be really scared of. It seems like every day we hear of a mall shooting, a theater shooting, a school shooting, a church shooting. Then we have to debate about what is and is not an assault rifle. It doesn’t matter what kind of weapon was used, it was an assault weapon.
I was afraid to send my daughter on a field trip last Monday to the local mall. She wants to ride the bus home with a friend next week, which scares me. Both kids go to daycare after school, where just about anyone at any time can walk right in the door. Most of the workers are older ladies. It all really scares me sometimes. But what can I do about that? I don’t really know.
What I do know is, I’ve been handling weapons since I was 5 years old – guns, knives, you name it. I grew up on a farm, in a military family. I fired my first handgun when I was 6. It was a .45. I hit what I was aiming at. I generally do, to this day. I’ve handled bolt action, revolvers, semi-auto and full auto. M16s, MP5SDs, P-90s, Thompsons, Mac 10s, and yes, even an AR 15. Compared to almost every other rifle, the AR 15 was a lightweight.
I’ve held and fired and torn down suppressed weapons many times – rifles and handguns both. The MP5SD is the coolest gun I’ve ever seen, and when I have the money for it, I’ll buy one of my own. It shoots 9mm, 30 round mag, can fire up to 700 rounds per minute. It won’t shoot subsonic ammo at all. 115gr hollow point is best. It’s funner than crap to shoot.
I blew up a small tree once with a Desert Eagle. I was shot at with an SKS (I still have that old SKS) and a .22 rifle.
Why have I had access to all these (and many, many more) weapons? Just the way I grew up, the people I hung around with. Do I need to add that none of us are murderers? Well, we aren’t. We just like to shoot guns. It’s fun – it’s a kind of fun that you can’t even describe, so I won’t even try.
Most of these weapons do not belong in most people’s hands. The vast majority of people will not even have the opportunity to even see a suppressed handgun or rifle, much less blow through 1000 rounds of ammo in less than 30 minutes time.
Just about anything can be called an assault weapon. The vast majority of people do not even need be around these things. You’ll hurt yourself or someone else. But there is a vast minority of people who do have access who should not. They are the ones who dream unspeakable dreams, who cause unimaginable pain.
Am I against legislation? No. Something has to be done. Am I against a ban? Yes. Am I for deeper background checks, longer waiting periods? Yes and no. If there’s a clean background, even someone who is planning something completely horrible will be delayed only a relatively short time. Should we have psych profiles on gun owners, potential buyers, deny access to people on certain drugs or with certain conditions? Yes.
The thing is, this most recent tragedy didn’t have anything to do with any of that. The weapons were owned by the mother, who purchased them legally. She should have had a gun safe, at the very least. She should have torn the weapons down and hidden the parts in different areas of the house. She should have had the ammo in a safe and guns hidden. She could have rented a self storage locker and kept them out of the home. She could have done a lot of things different, things that we are going to have to think of going forward. She messed up and the cost was too high. Just reading various reports, there may have been a lot of warning signs. Signs that the people in the know just blew right past.
There are warning signs everywhere. “Stay Back!” “Bad Dog!” “High Voltage!” Just like I ignored the warning on the truck, we tend to wave the warnings off and just move on. We can’t do that anymore. Something has to change, and there’s currently nothing that will accomplish that task and keep the 40 million gun owers (who hold about 270 million weapons) happy. We think we have the right to own these weapons, and we think we are right because we think the Constitution says we can have them. Good luck changing that. But we (gun owners) need to be extremely sensitive to what happened, and to what is coming.
Things are going to change, because they must. Can we at least all agree to that?