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When I was about eight years old, I was blessed with being sent to Deerfield, a day camp in St. Louis, Missouri. The activities provided included going to the gun range and getting to shoot five .22 caliber Long Rifle bullets down range at a time. Oh, what joy that was. And I was pretty good, earning NRA marksman and sharpshooter badges.

The day camp provider, St. Louis Country Day School, continued having weapons on-campus and a rifle team until the 1980s, when the range space was given over to the football program. I wonder how much political correctness was behind that change.

We lived on 26 rural acres. Dad had a handgun and a rifle in the house. But we didn’t hunt. Those were likely for home defense. One day a group of men, all armed, showed up at our door. Wild dogs had killed some livestock and were going to be hunted down. Dad got his rifle and went with them, but I was too young to be allowed to tag along. I was probably nine years old at that time.

After we moved from that rural area where every farmer had guns, both for hunting game and self-defense, the weapons were sold off. Living in an urban area made them seem unnecessary to my parents.

Some decades went by. During late 30s, I was watching Monday Night Football when Howard Cosell reported that John Lennon had been shot. Following that, I took myself to a movie line in Westwood, California with an anti-firearm petition (where I got it, I can’t recall).

Oddly enough, not one person was willing to support “doing something” about Lennon’s murder. I hung onto this sentiment for quite some time, until I moved from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, New Mexico. There, I purchased a .38 caliber revolver and kept it bedside.

One Thanksgiving I went to the Albuquerque Police Department’s gun range and test fired it. I purchased that weapon because my home there was situated in such a way as could facilitate some miscreant making a quick get-a-way from an armed robbery.

I also read a self-defense pamphlet by Massad Ayoob. It explained self-defense in the home. My understanding from that is that the police, even if they believe an act to be justified self-defense, still turn the evidence over to local prosecutors, often city or district attorneys, for final determination. So, a self-defense shooting in the home best be “truer than true”, in the words of my lawyer friend Joe. Oh, and other piece of Ayoob advice is to not talk to the news media. True then, truer now.

An event that drastically changed my mind about what is now called “gun violence prevention” (formerly and honestly, “gun control”). I had a date with a woman who traveled the back roads of New Mexico as a public relations agent for a livestock cooperative. Exiting the city of Espanola, she was followed by one or two pickup trucks filled with men hooting, hollering and making her fear for her person. She brandished her semi-automatic handgun and the assailants, as cowards do, backed off.

But I was shocked that she had been accosted. Espanola has a seedy reputation in New Mexico, but I had no idea it was that low. In retrospect, while New Mexico is no California when it comes to undercutting self-defense, I am not certain that the weapon she possessed was legal. But I was so relieved that she wasn’t gang raped, robbed, murdered, and left on the side of a lonely byway.

Thereafter, I lost all interest in the case against people being able to protect themselves. The lady certainly wouldn’t have been rescued in time by passing Highway Patrol or police personnel.

I’m now in my 70s, living in California. Some of the July 2020 rioting took place less than half a mile from where I live. The gang of protesters came, as a group in a line, down the sidewalk past the property where I live. Everyone here was in a state of confusion and consternation, except for one tenant whose boyfriend is a Black Lives Matters member. He is alleged to have threatened the life of the resident manager, causing her to leave the state.

I wanted to buy a handgun. I had to make appointments at gun shops even to see weapons. The prices were quite high at the height of the unrest. But I found that my hands were too weak to rack the slides of the few handguns I held. So I’ve decided on a shotgun, and have to find one that suits me now.

If Democrats’ accusations about Republican extremism were true, every sensible progressive, every “commonsense” individual, would own firearms to counter the day of the coming conservative coup d’etat. And they are buying more firearms. So here I stand, politely and proudly, as a supporter of our Second Amendment for everyone.


Mark Preston claims to be an idler but has actually worked hard, from day laborer to librarian to landlord. Before attending Vanderbilt University, he flunked shop but aced home economics. He has authored California Mission Cookery and countless articles on food and cooking. This lifelong foodie blogs at Danger! Men Cooking!

This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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    • Ralph,

      I must be a super-genius then: I got an A in both metal shop and home economics in middle school!

      On a much more serious note: to this day I still use some of the skills that I learned in both metal shop and home economics–especially the sewing stuff!

      • Clothes that would’ve flunked an oldschool home-ec class and made the sewing machines file a restraining order, nowadays grace fashion runways and sell for hundreds of dollars in high-end stores. This is simultaneously amusing and despairing.

  1. When a Democrat makes an accusation you can be certain of one thing … it’s something they are already doing. In this case they have been doing it for over 100 years, since the post-civil war era. Then as now the victims were blacks and Republicans.

  2. Another guy here who flunked shop class. I built a bird feeder for my final project. It was condemned by the local housing authority.

  3. Mark sounds like a good guy with a gun. The only thing he needs is 26 acres as far away from CA as he can get.
    He also noted he learned a bit from one of the best and that person is Massad Ayoob. And not surprising Ayoob gave my beloved Sar9 several thumbs up in various articles, etc. However being an owner of various Glocks I did not need anyone’s persuasion especially after picking up a Sar9 as its potential was obvious.

  4. I often open carry. When I do not, I carry in a Sneaky Pete, which is only semi-concealed. Lots of folk recognize it for what it is.

    Open carry has sparked some good conversations. Gun owners who do not carry, and non-gun owners, both groups always say they see no reason to carry a gun. To them, it is a sign of insecurity; an emotional defect. I recite statistics on the number of defensive gun uses, lives saved, but they do not believe me. They feel safe. They believe they are safe. They think I am extreme.

    So, I ask them to imagine the bad thing happening to them. What will they do? How will they respond? I tell them I do not want to hear their answer. Just run some scenarios, let it cook for a few weeks.

    That’s what I did, and it is why I have an M&P 9c on my hip right now, as I sit on the living room sofa, enjoying the crackling log fire, reading TTAG, and replying .

    • Ever watch Game of Thrones?? It’s stupid, but the series had one character I liked. The Hound.

      “I’m Honest. It’s The WORLD That’s Awful.”

      “Nowhere is safe.”

    • I’ve never been “made”(as far as I know)carrying my Taurus 709 in a Nemesis holster LifeSavor. I’ve asked several gun people if they can tell too. None could…

    • LifeSavor,

      I have had some very good/productive conversations with unarmed people when I was carrying my everyday-carry self-defense handgun in an openly visible holster.

      In one case a person was genuinely curious and asked a lot constructive questions. I provided accurate and helpful information. I am pretty confident that he pondered that information for a while and most likely became a firearm owner.

      In another case I was at a beach with my family when a father with his wife and young daughters saw me. It took him a couple seconds to process that I was armed and the associated implications. He quickly realized that he and his wife and daughters were much safer thanks to my presence. He then thanked me for being there, being armed, and enhancing everyone’s security. I also overheard him discussing it with his wife and it sounded like he decided at that point that he wanted to pursue getting a concealed carry license.

      And those positive encounters/exchanges happened several years ago. I am fairly confident that people would be even more positive given various events over the last two years.

  5. Used to be if you stayed out of “certain parts of town” there was no need for a personal equlaiser on your person constantly. Not so any more.

    The story here earlier about the woman attacked by a nasty dog, and the guy who left his own weapon at home was telling. I bet he’s got it on his person always everywhere now. Thantfully he was able to ring his Dad and have hiim bring his weapon, which seems to have saved the attcked woman’s life, or at least greatly reduced her injuries. I don’t wanna think too much abut the number of yards of suture they used to stitch her back together.

    Then we read last week about the 14 your old hero who sprang into c action when a thug had his Mum over the counter and was activly arming her. He grabbed the handgun he knew was kept handy just under the counter and taught that punk a bit of a lesson. Imagine if that hin,g per some of the gun grabbers and their infernal ‘laws” had to be lockd up cause the 14 year old “kid” is “too young” to be trusted with a fireearm readily availble.
    Or a year or two bck, the Arizona highway patrolman who had been chasing an erratic driver westbound on Highway Ten our of {hoenix.. the chasee crashed, and as the officer approached to see if he was OK the clown began firing at him. f Officer had been hit but ws not outof action, but in a VREY precarious position, backed up agaisnt his car pinned by the incomoeing rounds. A passerby saw what was up, stopped, and deployed his own personal peacemaker and took care of business. The Staters seemed to think their fellow officer could not have held out for much longer.

    Or the eleven year old, seeing his Mum backed up against the kitchen counter by a breakin thug who grabbed a large knife, ran upstaris, got his trusty Daisey BB Gun, raced back downstairs, and began peppering the perp in the face as fast as he could crank in another round. The perp tossed in the towel and made an informed decision to leave off his intended “prize”. He was arrested some time later at a local hospital looking for care for his red-peppered ugly mug. That eleven year old was ready for a real gun after that. But the crybabies likely would go apopleptic at the very thought of a man that young even tuching a firearm. Daiseys are bad e=nough. but a REAL gun? Sure… hes proven himself.

    • Tionico,

      I think you hit the nail on the head with the notion that serious violent attacks only happen in “bad areas of town”. That was largely true in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s–and probably even into the 1980s. Serious violent crime did not seem to happen outside of a few very small and very well defined “bad areas”. That supported the idea in many people’s minds that they did not need a self-defense firearm at home and certainly not while out-and-about in public.

      It seems to me that serious violent crime started spreading beyond those historical “bad areas” in the late 1990s–and it has only become worse since then. That is finally driving many people to consider self-defense firearms for both home and public activity.

  6. Gun violence prevention sounds cool. It’s something we could all get onboard with, if it were an honest representation of Dem’s goals. Who doesn’t want to see less violence? Better yet, less violence with guns!

    Alas, people with political goals seldom state their true intent. If it were their true intent to reduce the number of senseless deaths, they would be locking up fewer people for petty crimes, and locking up violent criminals for much longer periods of time. Violent people commit violent crimes. Your average shoplifter isn’t going to commit violence, unless you lock him up in cages with genuinely violent criminals, who will teach him violence.

    Bring back corporal punishment, give the petty criminal a couple of whacks, fine him, and send his young arse back to work so he can pay his fine, make restitution, then get on with his life.

    Nod to Cheech and Chong –

    • Paul,

      I don’t even have to click on that video link:

      “I plead insanity your honor! That’s right, insanity. I was crazy for the girl!”

      “Bailiff, whack his pee-pee!”

    • Yes “violence” is just so icky. And just go buy a pair (demtards approve). “Violence” DOES solve many human issues. Old axiom “some people just need killin'” IS TRUE. We have artificially delayed much needed resolution, for at least several years, of criminal problems that will need to be fixed in the future.

      Join the real human world of reality. Now in progress.

  7. Just remember its not only if you are legally allowed to shoot or rape someone but often “who you shoot or rape”.

    Case in point: A man confronted an intruder coming in through his window in the dark of the night. He fired and killed the intruder. Was it the end of the story? No, because he shot and killed a star high school football player who was also white and well to do and football players are often held in as high a regard as Roman Gladiators once were. The result was the home owner was charged with murder and had to stand trial and it cost him a bundle to defend himself in court. Yes he eventually won but came close to being convicted as the prosecuting attorney used every dirty trick in the book to try and convict him.

    So the next time you think that your home is your castle think again, it all depends “who” you shoot even if it supposedly is legal.

    Another three examples:

    Home owner shoots a white kid breaking into his barn which had previously been broken into twice before. He is convicted of murder and sent to prison.

    Bar owner shoots and kills black kid dangling from a rope coming in through the roof top. No charges filed. Black lives do not matter as is often the case.

    Jewelry store robbed down town. Store owner chases robber down the street and opens up with a Mac sub-machine gun spraying bullets everywhere down town and shoots robber in the back. Kills robber. No chargers filed.

    By the way all the cases were in the same state and happened even a few miles from each other.

    Another case: Again it depends on “who” you are if you can get away with raping women.

    White Judge rapes several black women who work for him at the courthouse and rapes them in his chambers and sends one of the girls boyfriend to prison to get rid of him, length of sentence way out of bounds. Judge after years of rapes is eventually caught, gets slap on wrist and then given immediate “shock probation”. Judge laughs his ass off and retires on big pension.

    Moral of all the stories is that if you are a white business man or a white judge feel free to do what you please but if you are a garden variety home owner you get the book thrown at you. Such is life in Capitalvania. If you are white and have money and power you can get away with just about anything. Ask Trump about it. He will verify.

  8. The left is getting so authoritarian anymore that I think the Dems will have another explosion like they did in ’68. The party can’t just be the party of slackers and welfare recipients. There are many people in this country that believe in personal responsibility and productivity. Remember that the hardest worker in a union shop is usually the shop steward. Dems should have the same God given rights to self protection as Reps and it should not divide us.
    Maybe after some of the gangbangers that they want to help so much will turn on them and they will decide that they need self protection. JFK was a big supporter of the NRA, back when they were actually a gun rights organization.

    • “WORKING” would be productively adding value on behalf of the guy providing his paycheck. NOT what a union steward does

      Union agitating and rabble rousing NOT being “work” as it destroys productivity. In the same category as any other gov’t forced welfare program.

    • quote—————- The party can’t just be the party of slackers and welfare recipients. —————quote

      You are an ignorant Moron. Republicans give billions of subsidies to Corporations, its called Corporate Welfare that dwarfs welfare to needy people.

  9. Mildly off topic, but anyone know what kind of handgun is show in the top image? That recessed hammer is kind of unique as far as I know.

    • Well since no one knew I spend the time to look into it myself. Turns out it’s a Russian MP-443 Grach

  10. I’m not sure what the point is. Someone having minor experience with firearms and getting convinced of left is good and right is bad living in and around violence?

    This really sounds more like a half-hearted attempt at something that barely became noticeable in the twilight years of a persons life.

  11. “If Democrats’ accusations about Republican extremism were true, every sensible progressive, every “commonsense” individual, would own firearms to counter the day of the coming conservative coup d’etat.”
    if you believe that bull … you should not be allowed to own a firearm.
    you don’t have enough sense.

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