I’m going to start out by defining a term that gets thrown around in the gun debates we hear every day. This simple definition should silence a lot of opposition assuming they believe in logic at all.
“Paranoia: a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality.”
Now that that’s out of the way, I am a police officer. I carry a firearm with me every place I go. I carry it for the protection of myself and that of those around me. At no point in the average day do I feel that anyone is out to get me, no do I feel like the people around me are persecuting me, as the definition above describes. What I do have, is the not so unique knowledge that there are bad people out there willing to do harm to others. I carry a firearm because if I am ever confronted by one of these terrible men, I want to be able to end the threat. I could not live with myself if I had left my gun at home and knowing I could have stopped the bad guy had I had my gun.
On top of all that, I train regularly, and I train other people regularly. I train myself for the obvious reason. If I’m even in a confrontation for my life, I plan on walking away the victor. Let’s not forget the obvious fun factor. I train others as well because I’ve found it is the best way to find flaws in my methods, my tactics, and even my own skills. Additionally, seeing other people’s strengths and weaknesses forces me to examine the way I train certain skills, and gives me more tools to develop not only my students skills, but my own. Something every student of mine should find comfort in, every drill and skill I teach, is a drill and skill I use myself, every time I’m on the range. I only train with drills I believe in, and I only teach what I personally use.
As for the gun cultures habits of collecting numerous guns, well lets face it. Women collect shoes, I collect firearms. There’s nothing odd, morbid, or violent about it. Fundamentally, firearms are mere objects, tools for everyday life. A tool we all hope never to have to use, but a tool never-the-less. I find a sense of enjoyment collecting different makes, models, styles, calibers. I feel a sense of accomplishment in learning their functions, the different methods of firing, and how to utilize them with skill and precision. It’s a never ending form of education into a world so few people understand.
Speaking of those who don’t understand. Now we have the anti-gun culture. Organizations like Moms Demand Action (or MDA for simplicity). They believe all gun owners are paranoid psychopaths intent on forcing the world into the pits of anarchy. They have this non-sensible belief that the mere possession of a firearm turns even the most decent of men into lunatics that want to kill everyone. Speaking of paranoia, how would you define a person that thinks an entire group of people are out to harm them without cause. It’s interesting when you actually look at the definition of the world and you apply it to the situation.
The fact of the matter is, MDA uses manipulated statistics, a grossly inflated budget, and media hyperbole of isolated incidents to keep its members scared. It jumps on ever possible firearm related incident and event, drags it into the national spotlight, and claim there’s some sort of epidemic going on. It completely ignores the fact that gun violence is actually down in the past 20 years.
On top of all this manipulation using media, the organizations claims new laws will solve all the problems. However they fail to explain how exactly they’re going to do that. They merely preach that disarming law abiding citizens (or criminalizing the ones that choose not to submit) will make bad guys, stop being bad guys. It ignores the obvious fact that guns to not make men into evil creatures. They’re already evil creatures that will use any and all tools available to do evil things. This ignorant mentality only manages to vilify very respectable, decent people.
Of course, sometimes us red blooded, America loving, gun nuts are our own worst enemies. Long gun open carry demonstrations are the obvious example. And I know I’ve harped on this previously, so I’ll try to keep it short. People notice things that are out of place. A rifle strapped to someone’s back in a Starbucks, is out of place. It makes people uncomfortable. Especially those not savvy in the world of firearms.
The solution to bringing more people to our side of the table is simple. Educate them. Take a rookie to the range. Stop referring to people as “libtards” or even liberals for that matter. People are exactly that, people. You might not share a single view of how the world should be, but that does not make them any less a person, and any less deserving of your respect. Do not force the opposition to be our enemies because you do not like how they think right now. If they claim to be an open minded, person who only wants the truth, then this is easy. Tell them to prove, and try this life out first hand, instead of taking the media’s word for it. Bring them to the range, bring them to a match. Teach them gun safety, and firearms mentalities. Explain why you own a gun, or why you carry one. Explain to them that it’s not about paranoia, it’s about preparedness. It’s about our God given rights as Americans.