I don’t like guns.
There. I said it. The cat is out of the bag. Does that make me a snowflake; a social justice warrior? I sure hope so.
To be honest with you, if I woke up tomorrow morning and discovered that guns no longer existed—that every one of them had been tossed into the deepest depths of the ocean and mankind had somehow lost its ability to manufacture more of them—I’d be happier than a fat kid locked overnight in a Krispy Kreme store.
The Second Amendment is a tricky beast. It gets interpreted in more ways than an Old Testament verse. It says, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
A lot of folks like to single out that annoying little phrase about the “well-regulated militia.” The words “well-regulated” are the basis for consternation of both sides of the gun issue. In fact, if you go to the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Va., you will notice that the organization has the Second Amendment inscribed in its lobby, but with the militia clause removed. That’s cheating—and it ought to tell you something.
Look, I am a fairly reasonable and rational guy. I know guns aren’t going anywhere, so I guess I am fine with hunting rifles and/or a revolver in the closet safe if it helps people sleep better at night. I think our Founding Fathers had that sort of thing in mind when they were writing the Second Amendment anyway. After all, when they crafted it, assault weapons such as the AR-15 and the TEC DC-9 weren’t yet invented. They had flintlock muskets. You’d fire a shot and then it would take 20 minutes to get another round ready. You’re not going to wipe out an entire movie theater full of patrons with one of those. Perhaps if automatic weapons were around back then, the Second Amendment, if it had been created at all, would read much differently.
I believe the fanaticism that surrounds guns is like any other passion—it develops in the home at an early age. If you are a big NASCAR fan or WWE devotee, chances are someone in your family had the bug first and passed it on to you. Growing up, we had no guns in the house. The topic never really came up. My dad didn’t hunt and didn’t seem overly worried that intruders would want to take anything from our house. We didn’t have anything any self-respecting burglar would want.
My brother did have a BB gun. He is eight years older than I am, so I only have vague recollections of him using it. The one memory that sticks out is him shooting at those little plastic army men he would stage in battle scenes around the backyard.
I thought this was cool. So, of course, I wanted a BB gun of my own. But when I asked, I got the same response that Ralphie got in “A Christmas Story”: You’ll shoot your eye out, kid! Apparently, my parents thought my brother to be a more responsible gun owner than I would be. Once, I found that notion insulting. Now, I know they were spot on. I would have definitely shot my eye out.
My neighbor, Sam, however, did have a BB gun and one day when I was about 12 years old, we set off for a nearby meadow to have a little fun with it. He handed it to me to take a few shots. I spotted a small bird high up in a tree about 100 feet away and took aim.
I hit it. Never in a million years would I imagine that was possible. It was my second time shooting the damn thing and I had all the weaponry skills of Barney Fife, but still, I hit it.
The bird fell from the branch, deader than disco. I was devastated. What had I done? I handed the gun back to Sam and went home and shut myself in my room the rest of the day, being careful to wipe away the tears. If my parents discovered I’d been crying, their inquiries would likely lead to the revelation I had been—gasp!—shooting a BB gun.
I’ve had an aversion to guns ever since. I knew I would never make a good police officer or a soldier. I was too young for Vietnam and too old for Bush’s wars in the Middle East, but I would have declined to serve in either.
I am a reasonably good American and more than willing to do what it takes to protect our country. I just believe that the events that precipitated those aforementioned conflicts presented no direct threat to our country but, tragically, many brave patriots lost their lives in those wars or were forever affected by their service. That breaks my heart.
So, as recent events have transpired, like the horrific incident in Charlottesville, I started wondering if our country is actually edging closer to another civil war. Is that even possible? Are we going to re-fight the same battles we fought 80 years ago? One-hundred and fifty years ago? I thought we already eradicated the abomination that is the Nazi party. When we hold our Memorial Day parades and events, aren’t we paying tribute to those who made that happen?
Yet, here they are again—tag teaming with the evil cowardice that is the KKK—all with the seemingly tacit approval of our commander in chief. It’s surreal; some sort of fever dream.
I don’t think it will come to a civil war. But then again, I never imagined we would elect a reality star con man to the Oval Office.
But for the record, if it does come down to that—if the worst-case scenario does transpire—I’d be more than willing to enlist (if they’d have this ol’ fogy) and I would reconsider my stance on guns. Those Nazis have no idea what a good shot I am.