By Andrew P.
My father used to tell me you can pick your friends but not your family. And while you can choose you wife, you’re also, often tragically, stuck with your in-laws. If you are as, um, lucky as I am, those in-laws just so happen to be anti-gun . . .
I found out early on that my mother-in-law puts guns’ collective value to society somewhere between herpes and genocide. While that may leave a lot of wiggle room, her opinion of firearms in general is low, but fluctuates based on what the liberal carnival barkers are saying about them.
For example: double barrel shotguns are less evil than black rifles because Joe Biden says so. The rest of the family holds similar viewpoints, which come out whenever they bring up gun control at family gatherings. The discussions always start out civil, but never stay that way. They quickly devolve into an argument that’s about as pleasant as a prostate exam.
Until recently, that is, when the unimaginable happened. For years I had argued with these people about rights, the Second Amendment and freedoms. I tried to use logic and facts to refute their claims, assumptions and outright lies, but it was no use. It turns out the mind of a gun control advocate is a dark, narrow corridor where logic goes to die. You would be better off trying to convince a member of the Flat Earth Society that our planet is round.
But recently the town I live in was shocked by a rare and horrific crime. An elderly clerk at a local hotel was the victim of a vicious assault with no motive. A much younger, much stronger masked man walked into the victim’s workplace and struck him repeatedly over the head with a blunt object until he collapsed, unmoving, on the floor. The attacker took nothing, and left this poor man to die. Luckily someone found him and called an ambulance so he survived the ordeal.
When my mother-in-law brought this up at a recent visit, she was visibly disturbed. Things like this don’t happen here, she stated. I expressed concern for the victim, yet couldn’t help but shrug and say things like this happen everywhere. She asked why I wasn’t worried about a cold-blooded criminal being at large in our community.
I explained to her that this is one of the reasons I own guns. Because when that criminal comes to my door I will be able to stop him. And if he brings his friends, I will be able to stop them too. I told her that guns are the great equalizer, that without one she is only as strong as the lock on her door, and that for years now, I was prepared for a situation like that…a situation that she couldn’t even bring herself to think about.
I was expecting the usual “guns are not the answer” reply, so couldn’t have prepared myself for what came next. She said she might want to borrow a shotgun until they catch this guy. Spparently the world will again be a safe place after he’s in jail. The only caveat to this deal was that she would want me to load the shells with rock salt because she can’t bear the idea of killing someone. I joked that she would have to undergo a background check first, and that rock salt probably wont shoot through a door the way the vice president recommends. Neither joke landed, not that I was surprised.
As the visit continued, the topics changed and the shotgun wasn’t brought up again. When we got home I half considered loading a few 20 gauge rock salt shells just in case she calls us about it, but I doubt she ever will. She was either trolling me like a pro or managed to catch a fleeting glimpse of the light. I’m inclined to believe it was the latter.
I figure the take-away here is that amazing things can happen when gun control advocates can’t blame guns for violence. In this case, my mother-in-law was forced to either bury her head in the sand and continue to believe that “this can’t happen to me,” or to realize that she could just as easily end up like the victim; defenseless, and completely at the mercy of a stronger attacker.
Whether that attacker is a common criminal or a tyrannical government, the motivation for armed defense remains the same. She may not have ultimately chosen to arm herself, but the mere fact that she considered a gun as a solution (even one that shoots significantly less-than-lethal ammo) is a major breakthrough all by itself.
My hope is that my mother-in-law will someday join my wife and I when we go shooting. I believe she now understands the primary reason for owning a gun. I’d like for her to understand another major factor about gun ownership, one that can only be experienced at the range: that guns are fun as hell to shoot.