Thanks for that.
Anywho, back to my rambling story. (See Parts I and II below)
I had mentioned that I lean left politically. But not that far, and I jump back and forth quite a bit. I like to think of myself as middle of the road in a world where the extremes are all that we tend to see exemplified in the modern media.
They'd like to have us think everyone is a die hard Limbauist or a raving abortionist looking to impose "I have 2 mommies" books on everyone else's kids.
As I've matured, I've grown to see that the real world is filled with good people who vary on what they think is rational, acceptable and workable in society. I have friends across the spectrum and I can generally find good things in most people's outlook.
So as I mentioned, I lean left on issues like healthcare, taxes for social spending and the like. I love to see people come together to help the less fortunate. Yes, there will be abuse, but they'll answer to God and he's asked us explicitly in the scriptures to give freely. Its called charity.
I lean right on social issues like abortion, personal responsibility, family and gun rights.
Well that last one is kinda new.
5 years ago, I owned no guns and really felt like guns were an anachronism. I felt we'd progressed beyond a world where people needed guns to solve problems. Thinking with your head and not with your fist, as it were.
I was appalled at the disparity of gun violence in other developed countries.
I felt like having a gun was ridiculous because the odds were someone in my house would be hurt with them rather than use them to defend myself.
I had not touched a gun in 15 years, I'd grown out of them and was, frankly, scared of them.
I remember seeing a woman packing a pistol on a backpack trip with some boy scouts a few years back and was furious that she was doing so (open carry on public lands is mostly OK here in WA state).
Then Hurricane Katrina happened.
As a mormon, I spend a fair amount of time focusing on providing for my family. It is one of our tenets to prepare for emergencies, and that involves having the necessities set aside for a rainy day. Or a hurricane day, as it were.
We store food and other provisions that will help us in an emergency - be it unemployment, natural disasters or a terrorist incident.
Read more about it here: http://www.providentliving.org/
Here is a nice example: A few years ago we went without electricity for 7 days in the middle of a WA winter due to severe storms. We didn't even blink, but many around us were really hurting. No way to heat their house, no way to cook food (if they had it), no way to function. They were out of luck and by the end of the third or fourth day they were getting a bit dicey. Luckily, power was brought back online before things got really desperate.
Weirdly, many didn't learn a thing from those dark days in December. Me? I learned I needed a way to wash clothes without our machines and quickly addressed it.
You have to realize how precarious our current way of living is. JIT (just in time) is the way everything works. Food in the stores, gas for our cars. Everything. Our entire society is now based on efficiencies in a system that could easily just end with frighteningly ease.
Yes, I'm a bit of a prepper. It goes back to our roots as a people persecuted and driven about. There was an extermination order in Missouri to kill us all at one point. So that kinda stuff gets to you. Add in the fact that our grandparents eked out a subsistence living in the western states during the depression and you get a certain outlook on life.
So when Katrina hit and I watched the mess unfold a good friend of mine asked me what I'd do with all that bounty stored away if something happened in Seattle and the golden horde came knocking. He pointed out that non-violence was great code when your opponent is moral, but wouldn't work well when hungry gang members came to the neighborhood and 911 was dead.
It stuck there in my head for weeks. I had nothing to defend myself or my family with. Nothing but words and maybe a stick. Not good.
I fought it for *along* time. It took from 2005 when that went down until the fall of 2008 for me to finally address that need.
In the end I decided a few things:
1. If I didn't have weapons to defend myself and my family, then I was out of luck for sure if it hit the fan.
2. I wasn't sure if I would use them, but the time to make the decision was now, and not when they knocked on my door. I was out of luck if a disaster hit - the shelves would be empty of bullets and guns by then.
3. There are ways to mitigate and control the risk inherent in bringing a deadly weapon into the home.
So off I went to the store, a weird knot in my stomach.