So this story (found via Joan Peterson), starts out the usual way:
According to Pew Research, different estimates say there are from 270 million to 310 million guns in the United States — almost one firearm for every man, woman and child. Statistics from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence include these depressing numbers:
On average, 32 Americans are murdered with guns every day and 140 are treated for a gun assault in an emergency room.
Every day on average, 51 people kill themselves with a firearm, and 45 people are shot or killed in an accident with a gun.
American children die by guns 11 times as often as children in other high-income countries.
In 2007, more pre-school-aged children (85) were killed by guns than police officers were killed in the line of duty.
Yep we have the standard murder rate, and suicide rate. The Brady Campaign likes to re-package it by slicing it up, and setting up different variables to make it look different, but still we have the same roughly 30,000 “Gun Deaths” every year. That’s the same number as in the 90s when we had the Assault Weapon ban, the same as in the 80s when Crack was hitting the scene, and more-or-less the same today. Gun control isn’t the issue, hence why they don’t just say “30,000 gun deaths per year” because people are used to that number and get that everything Brady has proposed, and the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation work to restore our freedoms hasn’t changed this.
(Hint, it’s Gang culture which is essentially unchanged since I’ve been alive. Gang members are violent, they sell drugs and women illegally, and they kill each-other. Cops don’t play the game too hard because A) it’s gang members shooting other gang members, sounds like they have that under control, B) they are concerned that they too might catch lead, and over one felon killing another, I can almost understand. More on that in a moment. Next up we have suicide, again virtually unchanged, but because Americans, vs. other nations, prefer to use guns at a rate of 50% to kill themselves, this is blood the Bradys can dance in, because only gun death counts)
Next the children dying, well 85 is a really small number, and the only similarity between these cases are the bullets. Some are domestic issues, some are gang violence issues, some are bad SWAT raids, some are accidents. Either way it isn’t even a relevant number when you think of how children in this age gap die. Poisoning, fire, falls, car accidents, abuse, cancer, swimming accidents. Pick one, it’s magnitudes more no matter how you slice it, but hey let’s ban some guns, because only “Gun Death” counts, right!
Also comparing it to Officer Death is a little disingenuous. Have you noticed that whenever an officer gets shot, its HUGE news? Why? Because being a police officer is relatively safe. Hell the leading cause of officer death is CAR ACCIDENTS, mostly from officers getting struck while serving traffic citations.
A 9-year-old girl in Arizona fatally shot her instructor while learning to use an Uzi submachine gun at the Bullets and Burgers firing range on Monday. She was on vacation with her family. An 8-year-old shot and killed himself while learning to use an Uzi at a gun show in 2008; in between those fatalities, thousands of children were killed and injured by guns, most not under the controlled conditions of a range.
Oops, you mean those thousands of “Children” from 16-24 who were killed committing violent crimes in the name of gangs? This range accident is really sad, it’s also crazy rare. You want to read about the accident, read Tam, she knows a bit more about teaching kids to go full-auto than me!
Now comes the mistake:
This summer, three of my four children learned to shoot a .22. I relearned, too. I hadn’t fired a gun in years.
She hit the range! And not is some horrible shock-jock way to fire a machine gun or rifle horribly and then claim “NOBODY SHOULD HAVE THIS POWER!!!!111″, but to learn like novices should. The result?
To be honest, it was fun; like the many visitors who reviewed Bullets and Burgers on TripAdvisor before this tragedy, we enjoyed having a safe opportunity to do something my children had seen only on television or in video games. We had headgear, clear limits and a known, trusted instructor, and we spent an hour challenging each other to put a bullet hole closest to our target. That paper squirrel won’t be bothering anyone again soon.
This is why most anti-gun people know NOTHING about guns, and will never handle, shoot, or learn about them. Because indeed guns are FUN! Now that isn’t a carte blanche on guns being fun, they aren’t much fun when they don’t work, when you aren’t shooting the right gun for you, or when things are not otherwise safe. So many times when taking a new shooter to the range they might ask where that last shot hit. I tell them that I don’t know, and don’t care. I’m standing beside them with my eyes as focused on the front sight as they are. I’m watching the muzzle to make sure they’re putting the rounds into the berm safely, I’m watching for signs of fatigue, or bad trigger manipulation when I’ll call for a rest break, and I’m ready to grab that gun if the muzzle starts pointing in any unsafe direction. I really don’t care WHAT their target looks like. Ok, I might care if there aren’t any marks on them, or the marks are REALLY bad, as that means time for more instruction before fresh ammo goes into the gun. Really all I want them to do is get comfortable with the gun and be safe.
Why? Because that’s the part that’s fun! They get to say “I shot a gun!”, rather than “I hurt myself” or “We got kicked out of the range because I was lobbing rounds over the berm between bouncing them down range off the floor!”
Now comes the conflict:
Given our country’s record of gun violence, the question is, should it be fun?
Given our problems with drunk driving and alcoholism, should I have fun enjoying a fine cocktail? Given the number of people who die in traffic accidents every year should I enjoy my car?
OF FUCKING COURSE I SHOULD!!! I’m not drinking martinis out of a travel mug while doing 110 down the highway. I’m not getting liquored up and passing out when I should be watching my baby. I’m not getting black-out drunk and waking up in the drunk tank. Same with my car, I like my car, it’s nice. It’s fun to drive, and it gets the stuff I need to get done done!
Here’s one of the issues with the antis. It’s the same as many other action groups. All or Nothing binaries. If you own a gun, you’re the same as the dude on the news who killed somebody. You’re the same as the person who took their own life. If you smoke one joint in college, you’ll fail out and be found in the gutter smoking crack out of a broken light bulb.
It sucks that 30,000 people die every year, but it isn’t just because people own guns, or like to shoot. If that was the case the number would be changing depending on gun ownership rates, and popularity with different shooting sports. Also the guy who taught you to shoot is NOT the same as the meth dealer in the inner city who has a gun he bought from one of his clients. The anti-rights forces WANT that dichotomy to be true, but really there is about as much in common between gang members and me, as there is between police officers and me, or the gangs and the cops etc.
The reasonable behavior continues:
No matter how you feel about firearms and gun laws, we live in the country we live in. My neighbors have guns. Your neighbors have guns. Your guns may be locked up; the babysitter’s boyfriend may keep his on the seat of his car. At some point, some child is going to take my child or yours by the hand, open Mom’s closet or the trunk of Dad’s car, and say, “Look!” At that point, I don’t want my children to say, “Wow, let me see that.” I want them to shrug and say, “Whatever” and “Let’s go do something else.” (I actually want them to say: “Suzi, get away from there! That’s dangerous! We have to go tell your mom and mine right now!” But I’m realistic.)
I’ve talked to my children long and hard about guns and gun safety. I’ve made them practice what to say and do. And now I’ve made sure three of them have had a chance to pick up a gun, shoot it and see what they think. (Why three? Because I deemed the fourth not yet ready to follow instructions well enough to do something so dangerous.)
But I didn’t present it as “here, touch this hot stove so you’ll never do it again.” We had a good time on a beautiful day doing something that if, done wrong, could have killed any one of us, and does kill people every day. While the same could be said about other activities, like driving, there’s no denying the unique nature of a sport whose other face is crime and tragedy.
I wonder is Joan Peterson even read this one! She’s committing another cardinal sin of anti-gun dogma! THERE IS NO REASONABLE REASON TO OWN A GUN!!! THERE IS NO REASON TO TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT GUN SAFETY BECAUSE WE SIMPLY SHOULD LIVE IN A WORLD WITHOUT GUNS!!!!
Still she does slip a little by comparing shooting sports to gun crime. Again, apples and oranges. Sorry the Bloods and the Crips are NOT active members of the LA Shooting club, or ranked at their local IDPA/IPSC league. They aren’t going out and plinking targets on the weekend, hunting, or breaking clays at the local trap league.
When we talked today about what happened in Arizona, my children were shocked. One said she never wanted to learn to shoot now; one that she never wanted to do it again. The boys wanted assurances that they — and the friend and instructor — had been and would be safe. I gave them that, up to a point. I also gave them a reminder that they were only as safe as they and the people around them were smart and careful, and a renewed talk about how “just because you learned to shoot doesn’t mean you should pick up a gun.”
Would you teach your children to shoot, or take them to a shooting range? Or would you say that guns and entertainment shouldn’t mix?
She’s right. Having an unsafe time at the range is neither prudent nor fun, and the accident in Arizona was a bad lapse in judgement that sadly was fatal. Also good on her for knowing the difference between a novice child and somebody who has logged the time for responsible gun ownership. Pro-gun people always point out that simply owning a guitar does not make you Jimmie Hendrix, nor does owning a gun make you an expert shot. Same goes with a mistake you frequently hear from Hollywood stars after their latest action movie.
We’ve all heard it. They bring in a Police or Military trainer, set up a range and have them practice shooting before the cameras roll so they don’t look like a bunch of theater majors holding a gun. It’s safe, it’s smart, and it shows up on Camera when a shooter like me watches a movie.
But then comes the promotional interviews. Mark Walberg (a convicted felon) claims he’s a sniper because he logged an abbreviated sniper course before filming “Shooter”, Val Kilmer thinks he’s a hot shot shooter because he looked awesome on camera during “Heat”.
No, just because you’ve pulled a trigger a few times does NOT make you an expert, and it certainly does not mean you should be handling guns unsupervised in an uncontrolled environment.
Good on her!
Now comes the exit question. Will I teach my daughter to shoot? YES! I own guns, and that won’t change, everybody who lives under my roof should know how to safely handle and shoot a firearm. EVERYBODY should really know this because again you don’t live in a vacuum. Just because your house is a “Gun Free Zone” does not mean every place your child goes will be just as “Gun Free”, further while I store my guns in ways that children cannot easily access them, that doesn’t mean my daughter might not be in somebody’s house where they think keeping a loaded GLOCK in a desk drawer while kids play in the house is a good idea. You don’t gun proof your house, you gun proof your children.
Should I make shooting instruction entertaining? YES YES YES!! Why? because if shooting is boring she’ll never learn a thing! If it’s fun, she’ll want to keep going back to the range to learn more, and maybe become an expert. Why would I NOT want that?
So yeah, this article is probably to be considered anti-gun, but really because the author isn’t as intentionally unreasonable as the “Common Sense” types, I really don’t have a huge problem with it.