The "gun culture"
The impetus for this was a posting on another blog that contained a link to a video wherein a very condescending professor talks about changing the American “gun culture”. I don’t like condescension or paternalism, nor do I care for those who make broad statements with no evidence or logic to support their claims. I like them even less when they have access to a bully pulpit that lends their baseless claims and silly ideas some air of legitimacy.
Let me preface this by saying I cannot lay any claim to having fired as many rounds as Larry Correia. I don’t know how many thousands of rounds I’ve fired, I’m sure it hasn’t been as many as he. Likewise, I’ve never owned a gun store, I’ve never taught a gun safety class, I’ve never owned a gun shop and I’ve never written for any national publications regarding gun laws or use of force. If you want to read about the gun culture from his perspective, I’d encourage you to read here.
My experience with guns is a little different. I grew up around them. We used them to hunt, for target shooting and kept them for defense (and never had to use them for such, thankfully). We didn’t really talk about the 2nd Amendment that much. As a, mostly small town, newspaper family we were far more likely to discuss the 1st. I would eventually join the United States Coast Guard (where I enjoyed a blessedly brief flirtation with gun control advocacy) and, after returning to college, become a commissioned officer in the US Navy. Throughout all this time I used and trained with firearms, maintaining my “weapons quals” while on active duty and firing thousands of rounds. I’ve carried and used weapons in lots of places around the world up to today. And I still don’t have the experience of Larry Correia. That’s okay. Mine is sufficient for me.
While there are exceptions, virtually all the men and women I’ve met who I’d consider part of the American “gun culture” (geeky sociology note: it should probably be referred to as a subculture) are current or past members of the law enforcement or military communities, or friends/family members of those who are. This is important. These are the people who understand guns, practice and train with them regularly, like them and generally spend a fair amount of time working with them and thinking about them and their uses. Likewise, these are the people who train other law enforcement and military personnel on the proper function, use and care of guns. That’s the way we want it, really. I can think of little that is more disturbing than the idea of someone who lacks that experience, knowledge and familiarity trying to instruct someone else in the use of a gun.
While I lack Correia’s experience of talking with those who have knowledge of what happened in Mumbai (the 4th most populous city in the world) I can relate what I’ve experienced and had corroborated by others regarding a coalition military unit from a Eastern European country that lacks a significant gun culture. If they heard, or thought they heard, “something” outside the compound they would open fire. Period. In fact, when they took their turns standing guard, it was accepted that the rest of us would be awakened in the middle of the night by gunfire. Get this next part, because it’s important. Nothing was ever found, afterward! Don’t get me wrong. They were, to the man, very nice, intelligent, friendly and always willing to help with anything and everything. And absolutely incompetent with guns. I’ve spoken to LEOs who report widespread firearms incompetence in their departments among officers whose only training/practice with guns comes during their mandated qualification periods. The ones who know what they’re doing train all year long, paying for the majority of that training themselves because it’s not a priority for their various departments. When we hear talk about “changing” or “eliminating” the gun culture in America, this is the end result of such a thing.
So, when people talk about the gun culture and its harmful effects, they’re either ignorant of the reality or willing to sacrifice public safety, national security and the lives of the men and women who work to preserve both in the interest of achieving the gun control measures they want. But this is what we will get with severe gun restrictions that differ only marginally from outright bans or that lead to them: A nation that lacks the ability to defend itself or deal with violent criminals. And, if you are insistent that “no one wants to ban guns”, then please, look at two recent examples of that idea.
The first is an article from that shining example of unbiased journalism, The Huffington Post, as is the second. I thought these were good choices because so many of the gun control advocates with whom I talk like The Huffington Post.
There are some things we can do to combat violent crime in America. Further restrictions on the rights of the law abiding, leading to the virtual destruction of the real gun culture isn’t the answer. It’s a recipe for disaster.