I took my daughter and six of her closest friends to see Maleficent yesterday. When the family reconciliation scene arrived – and it always arrives in Disney movies – tears rolled down my cheeks. As usual. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not prone to blubbering. It’s just that Walt’s movie makers are masters of emotional manipulation. And yes, I’ll admit it: I’ve got a lot of sadness locked up inside . . .
Especially lately. A few days ago, I ferried my second ex-wife to rehab. Again. Still. And I still haven’t gotten over the forced estrangement from my ex-step-daughter. I feel badly for my 10-year-old, who’s growing-up without a mother or on-site siblings. All that “baggage” sits on top of the stress created by running this site and another business, playing Mr. Mom and looking for an Israeli supermodel (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) with which to share the last quarter of my life.
And yet, through all that and more, I keep and bear arms.
Gun control advocates would (will?) see my sometimes turbulent emotional landscape as a reason to deny my gun rights. You know; for my own good. Because if it all gets on top of me, if the black dog sinks his teeth into my flesh and I can’t cope, I might not have the sense to seek help (no small thanks to the inhibitory effect of their anti-gun mental health jihad). I might eat my gun. Which I couldn’t do if there wasn’t a gun for me to eat. In which case gun control would save my life!
Yes, well, suicide’s not in the cards. For one thing, I’m not going to abandon my daughter to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. For another, I have access to a fantastic farrago of coping mechanisms: Dan, Ralph, Little Feat, Vizcaya, Rocky Patel, Mercedes CLS55, Amazon Kindle, miniature schnauzers, Gold’s Gym, sashimi, Match.com, writing for this blog and shooting.
OMG! You shoot guns to chase the dog away? True dat. There’s nothing like busting a few caps to get the endorphins inside my head to do front flips and other crowd-pleasing tricks. Equally, when I’m shooting a gun, I’m not thinking about anything else (nor should I). The task at hand banishes all thoughts of ex-wives, alimony, kids, work or unique visitors per month. The idea that guns aid mental stability may be an anathema to the antis, but there it is. And in this I’m not alone.
More to the point, how often do you hear Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and the rest of the gun control industrial complex single out a firearms-related suicide and say “See that grieving parent! That’s the NRA’s fault! We need gun control!” Never. They mention gun-related suicides in the abstract; often tacking-on the issue to [half-baked] stats on the danger of keeping a gun in the home. This despite the fact that suicide accounts for half of American gun-related deaths.
In truth, they don’t care. Also true: tens of millions of Americans – including tens of millions of gun owners – take anti-depressants. We can argue about SSRI’s side-effects, their long-term impact on health, and the worrying fact that many if not most spree killers were taking anti-depressants when they committed their heinous crimes. But people wouldn’t be taking anti-depressants if they didn’t work.
These pill poppers aren’t abusing their gun rights. They’re taking their meds, coping with stress, packing on a few pounds and doing whatever it is they need to do to put food on the family’s table and get through a day. They have guns for sport, hunting or self-defense. They are not criminals nor proto-criminals. They are honest, hard-working, tax-paying, loving adults responsibly exercising their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.
FWIW, I don’t take drugs. I don’t need to. After some insanely turbulent years dealing with the chaos of my wife’s alcoholism, I made the life changes I needed to make to gain enough emotional equilibrium to carry on. So to speak. As I made this life journey, I didn’t shoot anyone – myself included. At no point did I even think about shooting someone – myself included. Why would I? Why would anyone?
That said, some people do. Some people murder other people with firearms. These killers are a tiny minority of the general population and the gun-owning population. You can round to zero the percentage of people who take a gun and shoot themselves or other people – including bullied teenagers, gang bangers, spree killers, wife beaters, children playing with guns and yes, armed self-defenders.
As tragic as most of these firearms-related deaths are, as willing as the pro-gun side is to discuss ways to reduce the death toll (and we are willing), it’s clear that society doesn’t need any more gun control laws to protect me, you or the rest of America from gun owners with “mental health issues.” The laws put the cart before the horse. They don’t work. They infringe on Americans’ gun rights. And that’s the truth, no matter how you, me or anyone else feels about it. Or feels, generally.