I’m learning how to use a gun.

I’m not thrilled about this.  I wish this wasn’t the reality I was living in.  But reality is what it is, not what I wish it would be.

Now, I’m about as far away from a fanatical gun nut as you can get.  I was raised in Europe, and there were almost no guns around when I was a kid.  The countries I lived in had very strict gun control laws, and I’m glad they did.  I continue to be a strong supporter of strict gun control laws.

But the American culture I live in is full of guns.  My neighborhood is full of guns–almost all of my neighbors have them.  Even though Portland is very progressive, there’s a strong gun tradition here in Oregon.  It doesn’t seem smart to be the only one without.

And there’s something scary brewing in this country.

Maybe this feeling has come over me because I’ve been watching the BLM protests, and the armed militias which have started showing up–and which seem to be supported by the police.  There is, of course, 17-year-old (!!!) Kyle Rittenhouse who killed two people and injured one person at the Kenosha protests, after having been given water and thanked for being there by the local cops.  In my own neck of the woods, Portland police basically allowed Proud Boys and other right-wing groups to run wild last weekend, to beat people up and point guns at them, including one guy who had a warrant out for his arrest…but was permitted to show up at the protest and then walk away.  Once the right-wingers were gone, the police declared a riot and tear gassed the protesters who remained.

Maybe I’m feeling this way because I’ve made the painful mistake of actually listening to the Republican convention this week.  I’m hoping this grave error doesn’t cost me my marriage, by the way.  Every time my poor husband walked into my office and heard one of the Trump-bots talking, he would clutch his head in horror and flee.  Thank goodness it’s over.  But it didn’t improve my mood to hear the President’s fans making hysterical speeches about how he is the only one who is standing between America and the country’s destruction by the radical left.  That is cult of personality talk, that is dictatorship talk.  It raises the temperature, and it makes me suspect that even if Joe Biden wins, we will have crazies on our hands who will be on a mission to “save America” from the rest of us.

Back in the day, when I was a bit more naive, I was one of those people who would have said “Well, if anything happens, I’ll just call 911, right?”  Unfortunately, everything that has happened recently has made me question how much we can trust our policing system.  Obviously, I realize that since I’m white, I don’t even know the half of it.  And I’m also pretty sure there are individual police officers who are genuinely wonderful people.  But when I see that instances of police brutality against black people just keep coming, and then when I see the police seemingly taking the side of armed vigilantes at protests, that worries me.

And if you visit any Facebook group or other online forum where these militia-type groups gather, you will see them discussing, with great excitement, the possibility of civil war and violent conflict in our near future.  This certainly didn’t start with Trump–I remember these same types threatening secession and armed insurrection all through the Obama years.  And I’m sure there are many big-bellied keyboard warriors involved, who may talk a lot, but would never get off their couch long enough to start a war.  Still, one theme is repeated over and over again in these discussions–it’ll be great when the shit hits the fan, because we’re the ones who have all the guns, and the “libtards” will be sitting ducks.

I used to dismiss that as idle chatter from incels stroking their own egos, but now that fanatical Trump-worship has been added to the mix, my perspective has shifted.  If the fascists ever decide to come for me, I don’t want to be defenseless.  Now, I’m not about to start doing stupid, showy things.  I’m not going to start showing up in public places or at public events wearing large machine guns.  That is just plain dumb and it’s asking for trouble–kind of like that St. Louis couple who decided to come out of their large mansion and wave their weapons at protesters, with their finger on the trigger.  But I will have a chance to defend myself if anyone ever enters my home with ill intentions.

I’m interested to hear opinions from others about this.  More and more, my point of view is shifting to the belief that the left should be armed, so that if the country slides into some ugly form of totalitarianism, we’re not completely helpless.  Or is that something that will just cause more problems and stoke more violence?  Obviously, my preference would be that we just vote Biden into office and the Trumpster phenomenon quietly dies away.  And that is what I will be working for all this upcoming fall.

But at least for now, I’m a reluctant gun owner.

 

 

 

 

(First of all, it’s so nice to have my online access back! Our Internet was down after a windstorm last week, but now I’m up and running again!)

There’s a douchebag I blogged about over a year ago, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of him now. The douchebag in question paraded near a middle school here in the Portland suburbs with a rifle, in order to make a statement about his Second Amendment rights. This was not long after the Sandy Hook massacre, so naturally there were frantic parents who were calling the police, thinking that there was a threat to their children’s safety. The police stated that they couldn’t arrest the guy, as he wasn’t doing anything illegal, but a couple of the schools in the neighborhood did go into lockdown mode. It seems that Mr. Douchenozzle purposely picked his location to make a point. You can see why I have low regard for this individual.

And in light of everything that’s happened recently, I have to wonder, what would have happened if Mr. Nozzle had been of a darker complexion?

Because the way this situation resolved itself is that “officers talked to the man and determined he wasn’t doing anything illegal.” Sounds like it was a nice, calm conversation. Let’s be blunt here. If he had been black, would that polite conversation have happened? Would he have been allowed to strut up and down the street with a gun strapped to his back? Or would the cops have instantly shouted at him to drop his weapon, and pointed their guns at him? I wonder how that would have potentially escalated things, and how the Second Amendment defender would have reacted.

Or…would the police even have given him that much time to react? Would they simply have started shooting? After all, the only thing a black man needs to get killed these days is a toy gun or fake gun in his hands.

But nah, there’s no double standard here. And it’s definitely not about race. In fact, I’m the race-baiter for bringing it up. My apologies….

For once, there’s a gun controversy I don’t have strong opinions about.  I mean the Starbucks vs guns brouhaha, caused by the Starbucks CEO politely asking firearms owners to refrain from bringing their weapons into his coffeeshops, so that they don’t scare away the customers.

Thing is, I’m already terrified of Starbucks, because everything there is so overpriced.  On the rare occasion that I run in there to get a snack, it’s always a moment of hair-raising shock, guns or no guns.  I’ve been told that I’m being charged so much because I’m getting the Starbucks “experience”.  I don’t know what that means.  The Starbucks experience feels very generic, and there’s nothing there that I can’t buy somewhere else, either for less money or with more ambiance.

Now, if I walked into a Starbucks and saw a rally of Second Amendment supporters armed to the teeth, would that be frightening?  Well, sure.  But only slightly more frightening than how much I have to pay for one of those tiny packets of sliced fruit.

So, Starbucks Appreciation Days?  Starbucks boycotts?  Meh.  And if I want to splurge, I’ll stick to my Steven Smith Tea.

So now we have this dork to deal with in my local area.  A man (his name remains unknown, as he refuses to identify himself to the cops) who has decided to stand up for his Second Amendment rights by parading with his gun in front of elementary schools and middle schools.  Naturally, this causes people to call 911, parents are panicked, schools go into lockdown mode.

Fine, I get that you’re trying to make your point–you have the right to keep your guns and you don’t want anyone to take them away from you.  But this guy has to know that, especially after the horrific Newtown shooting, this kind of act is going to rile up emotion and fear, and I can’t help but think he must be getting some asshole satisfaction out of that.  Well, isn’t he oh so powerful.  A lot of the wanna-be militia types all seem the same–bunch of potbellied middle-aged warriors with an ego problem.

I wonder if there is anything that can be done to stop him, but there probably is no solution.  It’s legal for him to be on the sidewalk just outside the school.  You don’t really want to get into an argument with him, because he’s armed.  So I suppose for the time being he can continue proving to everyone that he’s got the biggest penis in the neighborhood.  Which I strongly suspect is not the case.

Oh, the bizarre logic.  Republicans in Maryland talking about how something just has to be done about video games:

“These video games are out of control.  They are way too violent,”  Parrott said.

But they are against any gun regulation in the state.  Right, because it was the video game packaging that was used to kill in the Newtown massacre.  

Republicans are adding to their weird list of deadly objects every day.  Cars are just as deadly as guns!  Pencils!  Spoons!  After all, stabbing 20 people to death with a spork is so much easier than shooting them.  But move right along, everybody–no gun problem to see here.

I’m assuming guys like Parrott would like to propose warnings or restrictions for video games.  I don’t like violent video games either–but if we’re going to say they contributed to the problem and something needs to be done about them, what about the actual weapons used in the shootings?  A cartoon portrayal of violence is more dangerous than the real-life tool used to do violence?  Conservatives like to poke fun at liberals for not being logical, but this makes no sense to me.

“I think they should tread lightly…because North Idaho will become North Ireland if they take it too far” — attendant of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho Second Amendment rally, speaking about imagined government gun grabs.

Let’s start with the fact that the Second Amendment isn’t going anywhere.  Sometimes I wish it was, but it isn’t.  It’s in the Constitution, and it’s there for a reason–for the population to defend itself from a tyrannical government.  There are varying interpretations of this–were these meant to be armed individuals?  Militias?–but the essence of it remains.

It’s times like these, though, that make me wonder if the Founders had thought of the possible unintended consequences of this idea.  The day’s news is filled with stories of misguided murderous individuals who were not seeking to revolt against anything, except perhaps their own depressing lives.  And then there is the other problem–the people who are talking about armed revolt these days aren’t thinking of a monarch or a totalitarian dictator.  Their fantasies are of overturning a government and a President which were democratically elected, but which they happen not to like.  This would be the exact opposite of the populace rebelling against an oppressive elite–it would be a group of extremists depriving the majority of the vote they had lawfully cast. 

What can we do to stop this from happening?  Well, really, nothing.  Again, our citizens arming themselves is legal and constitutional.  Within the next few years, we may find out if that constitutional right was actually a good idea.