Sunday, June 03, 2007

$700 Later, She Has a Gun

Here's a woman with decidedly mixed emotions.

I'm sitting at my desk, staring at my new Glock 19 semiautomatic 9mm handgun. The kind that Seung-hui Cho used in his rampage at Virginia Tech.

I am scared of the gun.

But I am also fascinated.

So far, so good. She's displaying respect for the weapon's potency.

I allow the fascination to run free, and I conjure up Hollywood fantasies of revenge and respect. A small, gray-haired woman, I imagine myself walking city streets and saying to any hulking guy who gets in my way, "Don't mess with me, I have a gun."

That line of thinking should last about 2 days--after which maturity returns and takes over (we hope.)

I look at the Glock, and it's hard not to appreciate its beauty, its sleek and economical design. I want to pick it up, feel its heft, admire its power.

Now she's auditioning for the Glock USA advertising account.

And then I remember its purpose: to kill. And I'm not talking deer or rabbits, because a rifle is better suited for that.

Depends how far away the deer is. Ever hit one with your car? The cop who responds will kill it with his Glock, rather than let it suffer.

No, there's little reason to own a Glock unless you intend to kill people.

Here Ms. Miner errs. The very best reason to own a defensive handgun is to NOT kill someone, but to frighten them. And 90+% of people who own or carry handguns have literally stopped threats by simply "brandishing"--pulling it out and letting the goblin know you have it.

I am torn by these conflicting emotions and wonder if this is how it begins, the crazy addiction to guns that captivates so many people in this country.

"Crazy" "addiction"? Please, Barbara.

I thought about buying a gun after Cho's rampage at Virginia Tech and in anticipation of another long, hot and dangerous summer in Milwaukee.

Looks like Ms. Miner may have a "crazed addiction" to self-defense. Should she have meds for that?

How easy, I wondered, is it to get a gun in Milwaukee?

The answer is that it is absurdly easy ...

Well, Ms. Miner, that means that you don't have a criminal past, don't beat your husband, and have not been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital in the last several years. You're probably a decent sort of neighbor to have!

It's not quite so easy if one of the above requirements is NOT true. So maybe you don't have a "crazed addiction" to anything, eh?

I knew that Badger Outdoors in West Milwaukee was a good place to buy a gun. Among its claims to fame, federal authorities cited Badger Outdoors as the top store in the country in 2005 for selling guns recovered by police after being used in a crime.

Three observations: first, Badger Outdoors is notoriously unfriendly to female customers. (And if you wanted "gun-buying" advice, you coulda emailed Owen, who tipped me to your column.)

Second observation: he did sell you the right weapon. The 9mm is easy to handle, particularly for a newbie.

Third observation: Badger takes its straw-buyers' word at face value. The fact that criminals send in their "clean" pals to purchase a gun on their behalf is no fault of Badger's. In fact, you (yes, Barbara, YOU) may have been suspicious to the Badger sales rep, because you "brought along a friend." In a noticeable percentage of cases, the straw-buyer brings 'a friend' who is unable to pass the background check.

...I probably would have left without trying the gun if my friend hadn't encouraged me to shoot a few rounds at the firing range in the back of the store.

Once in the range, I loaded the bullets into the clip, put in my earplugs and shot 13 rounds. Unexpectedly, I hit the chest or head on all but a couple of shots.

(Picky, I know, but it's a magazine.)

Good work! You're well on your way to becoming a proficient target-shooter. Of course, that, too, could be a "crazed addiction." FYI, Ms. Miner, most women are very good shooters by nature. And if you're just a bit competitive, my daughters would LOVE to take you on in a quick target-shooting match, for coffee & doughnuts...

I also took a closer look at the submachine guns on the wall behind the counter, realizing that I probably could have bought one of those if I had wanted.

You have something in common with a same-first-name Senator from California. If it looks dangerous, it must be a submachine gun, or "assault weapon," whatever the Hell that is...As Owen already pointed out, Badger doesn't have machine guns on its display racks.

Now that I have my Glock, the question is, what do I do with it? Part of me thinks it would be neat to become an ace shot.

But a more sober voice tells me that the sooner I get the gun out of the house, the safer I will be.
But how does one get rid of a gun?

I'll buy it--for a deep discount, of course.

But you actually COULD become an 'ace shot.' And Barbara--keep the gun. Put it where it won't be too far from you at night, but where children won't find it easily.

You may never, ever, have to pull the trigger in self-defense and that, Barbara, is the BEST reason to have a gun.

HT: Did I mention Owen?


steveegg said...

I'll buy it too. A 9mm is a bit small for me, but diversity in firearms is a good thing.

As for "scary" looking guns, I came THISCLOSE to picking up the M4 instead of my S&W .40 for the BBA Spring Shoot. The only thing that stopped me was a couple of unexpected expenses.

Dad29 said...

Steve, as we 9mm aficiandos are wont to say, "If you can't place your shot well, then buy a .45."


Grim said...

Of course, if you can place your shot well, a .45 will still work better. :)

The idea that the 'best' reason to own a gun is to frighten away criminals may need reexamination. The proper reason to use a weapon in any fashion, according to the law, is to stop serious crime. The law doesn't care in the slightest whether you stop a violent robbery by scaring off the thug, or by shooting him dead with a lawful weapon.

You oughtn't to rely on the 'power of the gun' to scare him off, though. If you draw it, you ought to be ready to kill. If you really can't do that, you've got more training to do -- spiritual training -- before you should carry a firearm; perhaps even before you should own one.

As Chesterton said, "Joan of Arc was not stuck at the cross-roads, either by rejecting all the paths like Tolstoy, or by accepting them all like Nietzsche. She chose a path, and went down it like a thunderbolt."

If you're going to fight for justice -- even in the small matter of self-defense or defense of some innocent you might find being victimized -- so should you. The time for deliberation is before you take up the sword. When the hour comes to draw it, draw it and lay on without fear.

Dad29 said...

Thanks for the GKC stuff, Grim.

He's right, of course, and there's no argument with your point that 'in extremis,' weapons are used to kill (or disable) the opponent(s).

My point, perhaps buried in rhetoric, was that since 90%+ of threats are dissipated by brandishing, then that, alone, is the "best" reason--at least numerically.

It's far too easy for an observer (such as Ms. Miner) to conclude that "killing" is a positive thing for those who have weapons. It is not, as you well know.