Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Readers!

Welcome new readers. I put the word out on a few gunny blogs that I read and they're all ready rolling in.

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.

Continued tomorrow...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Welcome, Part II

As I mentioned in my last post, I came to guns in a round about way.

I'd been around them as a kid, but as I grew up, got married and had kids, they were not part of my life they way they had been. And I didn't really miss them as I had other hobbies.

As I mentioned in my last post, my wife and her family was very pro-gun control. Coming from the left, guns were seen as relics of a past - a barbarous past where cowboys shot it out with bad guys because things were not yet civilized. Furthermore, my wife's main concern concerned was that if guns were available in the house, that we'd have an accident and lose a child. She didn't want to be responsible for such issues. I can certainly understand that.

To many not in rural areas, guns are mainly abstract things - the focus of periodic stories of some moron leaving his gun out and a kid shooting themselves (or others) with it. In fact, I remember two examples of gun violence as a kid in Canada (a kid shot himself and another shot a cousin for teasing him). Both not good.

Couple that with some very strong advocating by groups such as the Brady Center etc. and you get a media saturated with statistics that point out the number of deaths in the US vs. everywhere else (including Canada) and you have a pretty air-tight case for gun control. Remove guns, remove the problem. Its an enticing argument and I bought it. Mostly.

Furthermore, the more I refined my philosophy of life, the more I came to see Gandhi and MLK as the heros they were - and that non-violence was the way to enact social change. I grew up in Canada, remember, and I don't carry around the same ideology about the US revolution. We did just fine in Canada without having to resort to rebellion and treason. I also grew to believe that the military industrial complex was more of a threat to this country than fraudulent congressmen or the so-called welfare queens. I think Ike was right on when he warned us back in the late 50s or early 60s about what could become of us. Certainly the Bush years solidified that in many peoples minds.

Add in Christ's admonition to turn the other cheek and to not live by the sword and I was on pretty solid ground.

Until last year sometime.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Welcome to the journal of a new gun owner.

I decided to put this together after a a year of wrastlin' with the idea of gun ownership and my political leanings. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let me fill in some details before I go on...

I was born in the United States to a Canadian father and an American mother. My parents made the choice to live in Canada when I turned 3 years old, and I spent my childhood growing up in a small town in Southern Alberta. I'm blessed to be a citizen of both countries.

As I got older, my parents would send me down to the states to stay with my Grandparents in rural Idaho. They lived on a farm and I got to spend weeks (and later months) on the farm doing whatever I wanted.

My grandparents were wonderful. I loved spending the summers with them. One of my favorite things to do was to go shooting. You see, my grandpa was an NRA life member and was pretty motivated by the second amendment. We would go shooting on occasion, but mostly I'd just tramp around with a lever action BB gun. Mainly I hunted birds and shot pop cans.

I would immerse myself in my grandpa's extensive collection of American Rifleman magazines. To this day, I love magazines and the information I can glean from them. I'd poor over those magazines and had all kinds of ideas about how I was going to someday get my own Browning Hi-Power and Ruger 10/22.

My grandpa stored his guns unlocked in a cabinet in the room I slept in. They were freely available, as was the ammunition. I remember getting them out on many occasions and mucking about with them. Although I was always smart about handling them, I look back and marvel at the folly of the whole setup. Of course, we didn't wear seatbelts or helmets on bikes back then either.

Weirdly, I don't remember being taught much about the 4 rules of firearm safety. I don't remember getting lectured to keep my hands off. They were just there. Like hammers. Hammers that could shoot bullets.

As it is with kids, as I got older, girls became a greater focus of my attention. By the mid teen years I transitioned from summers on the ranch to working at home and my life as a teenager.

Funny enough, I don't recall Canada being much different than the US for us when it came to guns. We didn't have any handguns but my Dad had several rifles (a Ruger 10/22, a lever action 30-30 and at least one shotgun). He kept them in the back of his closet, and the ammo was likewise available. Again, pretty silly in my book now that I think about it. I do remember taking the Ruger 10/22 out once and firing it in town limits. I was pretty freaked about it, and only did it once - this happened about the time I was in grade 9.

Anyhow, as I got older, I had my own 22 rilfe and we often went shooting gophers on the ranches surrounding our town. Many of us had guns and we used them. We also had BB guns of various types and we shot with them all the time.

I remember going and shooting handguns and rifles as part of scouts as well. I remember at least once going to a scoutmaster's barn and shooting his .357 revolver. It was pretty big and had quite a kick.

But as I grew up, guns became less and less a part of my life.

I went to college in the US and pretty much focused on the things most students do. Books, classes, punk music and the opposite sex.

Interestingly, I come from a culture that has two very interesting components: self-reliance and communalism. Being Mormon immersed me in a culture where we learned to be independent (food storage, hard work) and at the same time we knew that God expected us to take care of one another. And he meant it in a very practical way, as there were many attempts by the early Mormon church to live collectively in what is called "The Law of Consecration" - where all of our bounty was given to the ecclesiastical leaders to doll out as people needed. It didn't last too long - people being people - and God got pretty upset with us and substituted what we refer to as the lesser law of tithing - where we pay 10 percent of our income to the church to help build God's kingdom and help others.

We believe that someday and we believe we'll be asked to live the Law of Consecration again though. And I think most of us hope we can do it with fairness and equality that such a decree deserves. And don't confuse Mormons with communists or marxists - we don't believe that communism was anything but a shady mimic of the law we had tried to live. It held tyrants and sycophants at the top instead of God. A recipe for failure, and that has certainly played out.

So add this background to a youth spent in Canada - land of universal healthcare and what some south of the border refer to as socialism and you find I'm very different than the average American in many ways.

In college I swung pretty far left, influenced by my soon-to=be bride. She came from the same background, but was farther to the left politically and self identified as a democrat. I'd never voted in the US, having grown up in the north countries - and I didn't take advantage of that until I voted for Bill Clinton over Bush in the early 1990s.

My wife's family was incredible. They were highly educated, had money and were very close; I loved them and fit right in.

They were very liberal in most respects - childcare was very open with no spanking etc. Guns were *not* something of interest, and most of the family believed in gun control quite strongly. Guns were not part of their lives and never had been, even though they'd spent years in Boise, Idaho growing up.

Me? I'd had guns. I'd even been a member of the NRA as a kid (thanks Grandpa) but I had little to do with them now and it was never an issue in our courtship or marriage.

Part II coming soon...