Gun People. Are We Not Men?

Once again, TTAG’s been Instapundited. This time, Glenn’s sent us an Instalanch of extremely well-informed and passionate gun owners. I’m only saying that because it’s true. Check out the comments underneath that post Self-Defense Tip: Home Carry. While I was tempted to break-out the dog discussion, this one grabbed my editorial eye (ouch). Living in a state so blue I wonder when it’s going to pass out from hypoxia, I face the same steroetyping (the sound of two hands tapping). Here’s outnow’s dissection of another commentator’s derisive dismissal of home carry . . .

I appreciate that you acknowledge the incredibly low odds of being the victim of a home invasion.

Stereotype alert: Define “incredibly.” Or was that a term you have been imbued with as a result of the intellectuals’disdain of self-preparedness becoming infused into the popular culture.

“Gun people,” for lack of a better term

Are you KIDDING ? Need I SLAP YOU IN THE HEAD with the stereotype inherent in any statement that starts that way ?

If you are honest with yourself, you might ask two questions
1. How many armed citizens do I really know ?
2. How many of them can get past my stereotypes of them such that I really know a damned thing about them ?

I suspect the honest answers to both so far in your life is “few to zero.” Here’s hoping that can change.

I’m not trying to be hostile, but can you understand that the schism between firearms owners and other begins with you and others like you ? As long as you carry that attitude, the only place I’m likely to even communicate with you is here in anonymity land. And then only because I think there’s a chance you might realize that you, yourself, don’t exactly come across as (to paraphrase lending yourself to introspection.

What’s really important about this is that you recognize how that schism comes about. Most firearms owners are eager to share their hobby with others, even as are philatelists, art collectors, tea-cozy collectors, and others. It can even get annoying.

What turns us off is the barely-restrained or unrestrained contempt, condescencion, and stereotyping we undergo universally in the popular culture. Try telling a bunch of college professors in a liberal arts school that you hunt and enjoy shooting. It led me to create one of my tee-shirts — “Instant pariah, just add gun-ownership.”

This firearms enthusiast is not “Bubba,” doesn’t know any “Bubbas,” and has seldom met a “Bubba.” Which might let you know how rare Bubba is outside perhaps a few specific circles.

And if you think that’s because I’ve led a parochial life, you’re so very wrong. I was raised in the NE USA, lived for years in the deep South, spents several more years in the western USA, and have traveled internationally for business. As a former firearms instructor and competitive shooter, I suspect I met more “Gun people” face to face than most others will see on television and the movies. I have a doctorate, as does my “Gun people” wife (who’s working on her second).

Three thoughts:

1. If you own a firearm already, taking some measure of preparedness to use that arm in self-defense is an intelligent act of preparation, for certainl values of “taking some measure.” This is why many firearms owners who did not purchase a firearm for protection nonetheless take some steps to be able to use it in case it becomes needed.

2. As I have told various people in the past (some of whom have REALLY annoyed me with their attitudes), mankind has achieved primacy over the animals in large part thru preparation. Through the ability to recognize not only current threats but possible future ones, and by taking steps to eliminate or mitigate the effects of those threats. This philosophy in my case is why I carry a jump kit (think “first aid” — I’m a former paramedic), a flashlight, and a fire-extinguisher in my car.

It’s why I have smoke-detectors on each level of my house, and 2 CO detectors as well. It’s why I do 45 minutes of exercise each morning and several nights per week. To fail to prepare for credible adverse events is to accept personal extinction with the uncomprehending docility of a bovine (another T-shirt). And we each have our own definition of “credible.”

3. In my experience with hundreds of “gun people” over the years, I am not at all atypical — because there IS no “typical.” I have shot alongside or taught police officers (well, I was an instructor trainer), doctors, lawyers, teachers, housewives, teens, etc. Some have had a 9th-grade education, others are PhDs and MDs. One drove a beat-up pickup truck, another a Maserati. What I learned is “make no assumption who might come to class or show up on the range.”

Semper paratus is not just for the Coast Guard :)

 

comments

  1. avatar Magoo says:

    Robert Farago says: “What turns us off is the barely-restrained or unrestrained contempt, condescencion, and stereotyping we undergo universally in the popular culture. Try telling a bunch of college professors in a liberal arts school that you hunt and enjoy shooting.”

    Hmm. Isn’t “college professor in a liberal arts school” a stereotype?

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Note: it’s my byline BUT the post was written by one of our commentators.

      1. avatar Dan says:

        Can you point us to the indication of such in the original post?

        If not, learn to attribute.

        [edit to add]

        >Here’s outnow’s dissection …

        Okay, I see it now. But I must say it was very unobvious. I read the whole thing and thought it was RF all the way through.

    2. avatar Magoo says:

      Thanks for straightening me out.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        You’re hard to figure out, Magoo. You say you like guns but it’s obvious you don’t like us. So why are you here?

      2. avatar Magoo says:

        I like you fine, even though you are often a rude jackass. I don’t take it personally.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Gee, thanks, even though you’re obnoxious. But I wasn’t talking about me — I was talking about gun owners in general. You know, the great unwashed to whom you consistently condescend.

        2. avatar Crispin says:

          He might be like me — someone who’s so left-wing as to be practically communist, but firmly believes in the second amendment. I know I often get annoyed at the right-wing attitudes of fellow “gun nuts” (and I use the term endearingly).

  2. avatar karlb. says:

    Hey, I am a professor at a university, English, no less, and there are several of us in the department, including my department chair, who own handguns, rifles, and shotguns and hunt, shoot skeet, shoot targets.

    I am pleased that the writer of the post works-out regularly, for, let’s be honest, we all have a much greater chance of having a stroke or a heart attack than being attacked. If we all spent as much time at the gym lifting weights and exercising aerobically as we do reading these post and thinking about guns, we would do more to influence our longevity than about anything else we could do.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Stress is a killer. Most firearms enthusiasts enjoy practicing, handling, shooting and reading about guns and find it relaxing to do so. So I think we are doing something healthy, but thanks for your concern.

      1. avatar karlb. says:

        I agree that shooting is a wonderful stress relief, but it does not, unfortunately, lower heart-rate, blood pressure (in the long-term), cholesterol, or aerobic conditioning. And as RF has always mentioned, running is one of the options when confronted with a bad situation. We could consider aerobics as an integral part of our self-defense arsenal.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Shooting does lower my bp and heart rate. No, it’s no substitute for aerobic conditioning, but so what? It takes about 30 minutes a day to improve conditioning. That leaves plenty of time for things I really like.

    2. avatar Buuurr says:

      I am already doing all this. Is there any fresh advice you can give me, Karlb?

  3. avatar John says:

    The only “Bubba” I know was my brother-in-law’s dog. And as far as I know he did not own any firearms.

  4. avatar Magoo says:

    Last week I watched Shooting Gallery, a personal-defense firearms show on the Outdoor Channel (the notorious “Zombies” episode). One obese co-host became so winded while walking that he had trouble speaking clearly. Wow, what a gun-totin’ badass. An 11 year-old girl could have crept up behind and garroted him like Jabba the Hut.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      So why didn’t you?

      1. avatar Magoo says:

        Because a) I wasn’t there, I was watching it on television, and 2) he wasn’t hurting me any, he was shooting “zombies.” I’m a lover, not a fighter. I still haven’t garroted anyone in weeks. I’m the lonely housewife’s companion, the working girl’s friend, the first and last teenage idol. When you put your key in your front door, ever thought you heard your back door slam? You’re welcome.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          That was you? My cat will never be the same.

        2. avatar Buuurr says:

          Son of a bitch, Ralph! I almost spit water on my monitor.

    2. avatar Buuurr says:

      “Magoo says:
      April 2, 2011 at 1:03 PM
      Last week I watched Shooting Gallery, a personal-defense firearms show on the Outdoor Channel (the notorious “Zombies” episode). One obese co-host became so winded while walking that he had trouble speaking clearly. Wow, what a gun-totin’ badass. An 11 year-old girl could have crept up behind and garroted him like Jabba the Hut.”

      What’s your point?

  5. avatar NCG says:

    I’ll repost my response to outnow here, since this whole thing has caused such a fuss (I’m in italics):

    I spent a lot of time in deep East Texas as a kid, so I’ve definitely met Bubba. In fact, my dad’s second wife used to call me Bubba, for which I will never forgive her.

    “I’m not trying to be hostile, but can you understand that the schism between firearms owners and other begins with you and others like you ?”

    Um, I am a firearms owner. I grew up with guns. I hunt. But I don’t keep a gun handy for self defense. In fact, mine are all locked up at my folk’s house, because they have a safe. I don’t think it’s wrong or crazy to have a gun for self defense, it’s just not the choice I’ve made, though it is something I consider. I am making an honest intellectual inquiry here.

    Other than that, I am pretty much Liberal Elitist Scum. No advanced degrees, though.

    I do know a lot of people who shoot, hunt, and like guns, and most of them are left-of-center like me, so maybe the schism isn’t so much between gun owners and non gun owners.

    This stereotyping business definitely flows both ways.

    Really, RF, I made no “derisive dismissal” of home carry. You might be confusing me with some other commentors. I merely wondered about the amount of time and effort some people might put into preparations for a very unlikely event, while possibly ignoring other, greater threats to health and well-being. Honestly, many responders made very good cases in favor of armed self-defense.

    I think Seerak made a very thoughtful point, which I’ll take the liberty of quoting:

    “NCG: from what I’ve seen you write in here, what you are getting at, is that you don’t understand the apparently disproportionate emphasis on home invasion, mugging etc. shown by “gun guys”, versus other statistically more likely dangers such as car accidents or health issues.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can speak for me: I find the thought of being a victim of *evil* far more intolerable than being a victim of bad luck, nature, or my own choices. That’s why my risk management is much more focussed in general on self-defense.

    That’s me. Others, including yourself, may have a different “sense” of what risks one is more concerned with than others.

    Think of health nuts versus gun nuts, for example: they obsess about their food, its provenance, and/or take stacks of supplements according to the latest research trends. It’s easy to imagine such a person running across this article and concluding that those of us seriously thinking about this topic are just being paranoid, just before freaking out over the latest study finding a tenous link between improperly cooked rutabagas and cancer.

    In general, people do not stack up the risk numbers like an accountant, and calculate their $ expenses, time and effort focus accordingly; they tend to focus on the possibilities that bother them more, and put more into them because the emotional payoff is greater. Given my stated bias, together with my naturally defiant and independent mien, and the result is someone who will eat a McD’s hamburger occasionally, but has a concealed carry permit, is naturally in Condition Yellow at all times, and insists on carrying just about everywhere — because I can’t stand the thought of being unable to fight when that time comes.

    My wife doesn’t carry, and is overall much more open and trusting of people than I am — but she lost her father at a young age to heart issues, so she’s a vegetarian and overall much more focussed on food, safety and health than I.

    Vive la difference.”

    So, let’s keep our hands where we can see them, carefully set down our preconceived notions, and slowly step backward.

    1. avatar Pearlite says:

      “I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can speak for me: I find the thought of being a victim of *evil* far more intolerable than being a victim of bad luck, nature, or my own choices.”—– Beautiful.

  6. avatar Charles says:

    ‘In my experience with hundreds of “gun people” over the years, I am not at all atypical — because there IS no “typical.” ‘

    This has been my experience as well. I am often surprised at dinner parties, etc. by “closet shooters.” I’m an artist, so folks tend to assume I’m in the Liberal, gun-haters camp. I’ll let a few telling references slip in the conversation with some person or other, and when I’ve hooked one they smile and in hushed tone say, “You like to shoot? I love guns! When I was a kid my dad used to take us shooting…” and off they go with the gun stories.

    As a shooter, one of the things I most enjoy is the variety of folks I share an enthusiasm with.

    One thing that is typical, however, is a sense of fun. Whether it’s paper, water jugs, skeet or steel, as Old Painless says, “Shooting stuff is fun.”

  7. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    “1. How many armed citizens do I really know ?” I love guns and I hang out with others who also love guns, so I know lots of armed citizens. RF is right about the running, but you should be running after the badguy not away from the fool.

  8. avatar Kerry says:

    The only people stupider than “you gun people” are the stupid “fire extinguisher people”. Oh yeah, and the “smoke alarm people”…

  9. avatar ExurbanKevin says:

    We are not men, we are DEVO. D – E – V – O.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      I’m a man on a mission.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email