I spend a lot of time surfing the net on behalf of TTAG readers. I’m always careful to read the comments underneath gun-related articles. In the main, it gets real ugly real fast. Often times comments are deleted by the moderator, or the discussion is closed to comments completely—and for good reason. Gun control is no less of a left – right “touch stone” issue than abortion. I’m not saying that the level of discourse makes a second grade playground seem like the Oxford Debating Society. It’s a lot lower than that. But every now and then, I encounter a stunning example of careful, considered, reasonable and well-reasoned commentary on gun rights from John. Q. Public. Here’s one I scraped from msnbc.com; the original comment from “Patriot” that inspired it was deleted.
If I may a few questions please. I am requesting out of respect so please do not take offense.
As I have been concerned with the manner (and constant reference) you make to guns, the promotion of carrying concealed weapons, and a suggestion that more people should “pack” in public in defense of the innocent I had some questions. And the reason I ask these questions is because I have several close friends, and know of many others, who although are strong proponents of a person’s right to bear arms do not do so themselves for reasons I will mention later. But my first question Patriot is, have you ever served in actual combat in the military? My second question is, have you ever shot and killed anyone?
My experience with guns has been limited to pheasant hunting when I was a kid followed by three tours in Nam as a sniper and several years in other places I won’t mention as a sniper in service of my country. Many of my close friends, and many of our/their acquaintances experienced a similar background. We have remained a tightly knit group throughout the years. All, myself including, have seen combat in the military and all, including myself, have shot and killed people. I’m not speaking of combat fire fights where the air is so thick with hardware that no one really knows who killed who, but actually viewing the explosion of another human being’s head or chest in the cross hairs. And if upon discovering that we may have been off by the smallest of fractions leaving the target still alive, slowly and deliberately placing and viewing another round enter the target ensuring instant death.
Interestingly, of these close friends, those still alive, and the many acquaintances who performed similar duties, none carrying concealed weapons. Many do not even own a gun, and most if not all if threatened (even by another with a gun) would do all it takes to protect themselves by means other than by carrying a similar weapon in the event such an incident might occur.
My point is this Patriot. My friends and myself are firm believers in a person’s right to bear arms and a person’s right to protect themselves and loved ones. We would be the first to take action, whatever action was necessary, to protect innocent people. But after having served in combat after having participated in and witnessed up close and personal the results of taking another’s life (even if they were enemies), gives one pause at times when hearing or reading strong comments from others who promote gun toting that can and will result in the death of another human being. I just wonder sometimes if those who have not participated in the taking of life as my friends and I experienced would be so willing to verbalize their support of arming everyone in order to protect innocents. I don’t know. But I do know this. Not a day goes by that myself and my associates do not ask for God’s forgiveness for the lives we ended even though at the time such persons were attempting to take our lives.