Friday, October 24, 2008

Be careful what you wish for

One of my favorite shows was Jericho. It was about nuclear bombs going off in several American cities on the same day. The show followed the survival tactics of the people of Jericho, a fictional city in the state of Kansas. One of the nuclear bombs was in Washington, D.C. The U.S. government was gone.

What did they do when everything modern shut down? The most important immediate needs for their survival was to get food (they lived in a community that could grow their own), water (again, they weren't dependent on running water), and to find a way to communicate with the outside world to get news.

So these people depended heavily on their guns. When conditions get really bad, the need for guns becomes urgent. I think of this when I think of the upcoming election.

There is a great video on You Tube with scenes from Jericho. The video features the song "World" by Five for Fighting. Watch the video:

Listen to the song. Think about what's at stake.

"Be careful what you wish for. History starts now."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mothers with guns

I am getting some comments from people who have read my blog and think I made the wrong decision when I decided to arm myself. "It won't help against terrorists." "Guns are dangerous to have in the house with children." They give me their statistics and facts.

I understand how they feel. I used to agree with them.

I know that having guns won't protect me against a terrorist flying a plane into a building or against a bomb, etc. It won't protect me against something I can't see like a sniper. I may never even have to use it (and I hope I don't!) .

But what if I do?

There is one thing that no man can understand, and that's how it feels to be a mother. I am much smaller than most men. I could never win in any kind of physical confrontation, and there's not too much I can do to protect myself. I've been there when some man thought he could take advantage of that. It's a pretty scary thing to go through your life feeling vulnerable. But I thought I just had to accept it. Add to that the responsibility to protect your children. If I can't even protect myself, how can I protect them? I would give my own life any day to protect theirs. Those teachers at Cooper Middle School and at Virginia Tech would, too. Sometimes there's absolutely nothing you can do, like when my daughter died. I was helpless. But maybe, just maybe, I can protect someone some day. And even if I never do, I don't feel like a walking target. That in itself is a big thing.

No man can ever understand how it feels when a woman realizes, for the first time ever, that she is not defenseless. More women should know what it's like.

Here's an example. One of my daughters is married to a firefighter. His shift takes him away from home for days at a time. She lives in a different state, far away from me. My daughter spends many nights alone with her baby girl. One night two houses on her street were broken into. The burglar entered the homes through the garage which all have automatic door openers. He somehow could get the doors open without tampering with them. My daughter called me and told me that when her husband heard about it, he went out and bought a gun for my daughter and took her shooting. She now feels safer in the house during the many nights he is gone. I feel safer knowing that she could protect herself and my granddaughter. She, like her mother, does not just leave the gun lying around where children can get to it. She is actually taking the opposite view to "It's dangerous to have guns in the house when you have children." She has concluded that it might be dangerous NOT to have guns in the house when you have children.

We can't stop everything. But some women have stopped intruders in their own homes. Some have stopped killers who were trying to shoot other people. I remember the woman who stopped a shooter at her church in Colorado. The press called her a "Security Officer." She was just a volunteer, and she saved lives. I wish there would have been someone like her at Virginia Tech.

I've always focused on "Guns Kill People." Guns also save people. Maybe I will save one someday. Maybe not. But there's a huge sense of empowerment that comes with knowing that I have a choice.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What gun control really does

In response to my "Anti-Gun Rights to Pro-Gun Rights: My conversion" a man posted the following reply:
Thanks for that most eloquent post. I am strongly anti-gun, helped partly by the fact, I admit, that I live in Rome Italy and not Newark NJ.

I seriously question (often on my blog) whether arming ourselves is the answer. Does it not lead to a never ending escalation of the very violence that you cite?
My response:

That certainly seems logical, doesn't it? More guns should equal more violence. I used to think so, too. However obvious that may seem, my experience actually tells exactly the opposite!

I moved to Virginia eight years ago from California. I had lived in California for most of my life, and that's where I developed my anti-gun attitude. When I came to Virginia I found that crime is different here, and it's even different from the crime in Maryland which is only a few miles from where I live. For years it didn't make sense to me.

We have never had our house broken into in Virginia. Not even an attempt. It's a much better house than we had in California, and we have more belongings. As I mentioned in my earlier post, my son bought a rental property. What I didn't mention is that it's in Maryland. The house was broken into within the first week of his ownership. He replaced the windows and door locks, and it was broken into again as soon as he was finished. After that, he did what almost everyone else in the area did. He put bars on the windows. As I drive through Maryland neighborhoods, I see bars on lots of homes. When I drive through Virginia neighborhoods, I rarely see them.

Although we have had no home burglaries, we have had four car breakins. One was when our car was parked in front of a friend's house. "They" stole a bunch of CDs that my son was dumb enough to leave where they could be seen through the car window. The other three times have been in our own driveway! They removed car stereos and a navigation system. I've been baffled. Are these criminals stupid? Why break into the car when we have better stuff in the house? Why not break into the house like they did in Maryland? Home breakins in Maryland and car breakins in Virginia. What's the deal?

Only after a long time did I realize what was going on in the minds of those criminals. People in Maryland don't have better things in their homes than people in Virginia, and Virginians don't have better property in the cars than Marylanders.

The difference is guns.

Maryland has very strict gun control. Law-abiding citizens have to prove that they need a gun to be able to carry one, and it's up to the police to decide whether your reason is "good enough." How about this reason, Maryland: "Because I'm afraid!" Sorry, that's not good enough in Maryland. Consequently, far fewer people in Maryland are armed. In Virginia I don't have to prove any "need" to carry a gun. I can carry it openly or concealed.

Here's the point: In Virginia a criminal can't tell whose armed. There's a fairly good chance that anyone might be. A potential burglar will have to spend some time casing a house to figure out when someone is at home or if the place is occupied by someone who is likely to be unarmed. In Maryland, the burglar can make a pretty good bet that the household is unarmed. In Maryland there's not nearly as much risk in breaking into a house. In Virginia, you can get yourself killed doing that.

Property crimes are much more prevalent in my neighborhood than violent crimes of any kind. It's just too risky to attempt to enter a house. However, a thief can easily tell whether a car is occupied. If he really wants more than a car sterio, he can quickly cross the border into Maryland.

So, to answer the question: "I seriously question (often on my blog) whether arming ourselves is the answer. Does it not lead to a never ending escalation of the very violence that you cite?"
I have to give an emphatic NO. Arming ourselves leads to LESS violence. Nobody in their right mind wants to mess with someone who might be armed.

John Lott understands this. He titled one of this books "More Guns, Less Crime." That was hard to believe, and even counter-intuitive, until I moved and saw what gun control really does. Gun control gives criminals free reign.