Lately, I’ve been thinking about buying a gun; probably a rifle, because hand guns give me the creeps.
This development seems to make a deep kind of sense on one hand, and a deep kind of nonsense on the other. You see, I was brought up around guns in a rural area of Ohio. My grandfather, uncle, and father participated in civil war re-enactments when I was a young boy. My grandfather (a navy man and retired journeyman) also owned and operated a gun store for a number of years. My father is a member of the NRA. I’ve been around guns all of my life. It makes sense that after years of ambivalence towards them, I might find my interest piqued.
On the other hand, I am a liberal who supports reasonable gun laws, including waiting periods, background checks, bans on assault weapons, and measures to close the so called ‘gun show loopholes’. I also don’t support any kind of public-carry licenses, concealed or otherwise.
I know that there are many liberals who like guns, and like hunting, and support the second amendment to varying extents. I know Hunter S. Thompson was a political liberal who loved guns, and if I am to believe the subtext of so many election year photo ops, so do many, many, many (many) left-of-center presidential, senatorial, and congressional candidates.
But it still feels weird to me to think about buying a gun and taking it to a shooting range. More often than not it seems like you need to buy into some weird mojo to get on the gun bandwagon. It seems like you might need some ‘Real America’ credentials; like getting into Glenn Beck and NASCAR, and begin hoarding canned goods, bibles, and bottled water in preparation for the coming Socialist Superstorm that the Obama administration is deftly war-gaming with their reptilian-muslim-communist-atheist-homosexual-secularist-sorosian cohorts.
I don’t like Glenn Beck or NASCAR, and I’m not in the tinfoil hat business. To the generator buying, ammo-stockpiling, book of revelations survivalist I will comfort with the following Dennis Miller quip:
“The biggest conspiracy has always been the fact that there is no conspiracy. Nobody's out to get you. Nobody gives a shit whether you live or die. There, you feel better now?”
That being said, I think I want to shoot a gun. I have a certain primitive urge that is hard to define that I think shooting a gun would satisfy. This urge is part of the reason I can’t be a vegetarian (I like to eat meat when I am frustrated), and probably explains to some degree my simian appearance when I walk around without a shirt on.
Some other benefits to owning a gun: My kids seem interested in them, and I would like to embrace every bonding activity with them that I am offered. They’re going to be growing up around guns whether I own one myself or not. I still live in a very gun-friendly part of Ohio, and guns are pretty important to many members of my family. I might as well be the one to teach my boys how to respect and shoot them, and maybe I can even model a reasonable way for them to think about the things.
But it’s difficult for me to extricate the gun from what I have come to conceptualize as ‘the gun culture’. I’m certain it’s possible. After all, I still love to cook, even after watching Mario Batali in Spain...On The Road Again!