Over on a site called xojane.com a self-confessed Texas liberal explains her decision to purchase a firearm. “For years, I was what we lefties in Texas refer to as, ‘A bright blue dot in a big red state.’ I believe in recycling, social services, a woman’s right to choose, and immigration. I spent a lot of time defending these things around my red friends, and bemoaning this defense around my fellow blue dots. And then I bought a gun, and everything changed. I was shamed by the blue dots and consoled by the red. I turned purple.” Well, now, hang on a minute . . .
Setting aside the question of abortion, Ms. Glasser is being disingenuous when she suggests that she had to defend recycling, social services and immigration around her “red friends.” Conservatives also believe in recycling, social services and immigration. It’s how government implements “these things” that separates the two political camps.
Conservatives believe in free market solutions for recycling, limited and effective social services, and legal immigration. They do not believe that the government should remove or discourage personal responsibility or reward lawlessness. Liberals believe in mandatory recycling, pervasive and comprehensive social services, and amnesty for “undocumented Americans.” They believe government is responsible for its citizens’ welfare and tackling the causes of lawlessness as aggressively as its manifestations.
So . . . what? Despite the Democratic Party’s official anti-gun party platform and the “blue dot” Progressive movement’s relentless attack on gun rights, Ms. Glasser can hold these views and a gun. Support the party that want to take away your gun? Uh, OK. More to the point, did purchasing a gun ownership really change Glasser’s politics, turning her “purple”? More generally, is gun ownership a gateway drug for conservative principles?
Glasser’s journey into firearms ownership started in a familiar place: criminal victimization. Burglars invaded her house five times.
As the little slips of paper with police report numbers on them piled up, I became familiar with the questions detectives would ask when they learned of my prior break-ins. “Any angry ex-boyfriends” was only a reminder that I had none worth noting. “Workers at the house lately,” just made me follow the cable repairman around like a crazy person. Everyone seemed suspicious.
I took every precaution I could think of before buying a gun. I built a better fence. I added a wrought iron gate. I got a dog, though he is more likely to lick someone to death than bite him. I put in a better alarm system. I eventually added cameras, and I could see the feed from them on my phone. I checked it multiple times while at work; if I was out of town, the first thing I did in the morning, and last thing I did at night, was check on my house.
Glasser’s realization that the police were no help lead her to buy a gun to protect herself. You’d think that the following paragraphs would complete the narrative, indicating her light bulb moment awareness of government’s limitations and the need for self-reliance. You’d think wrong.
Here’s the truth about guns that no one, on either side of the debate, wants to tell you: shooting them is fun. I’m a bleeding-hearted, left-leaning liberal and I get a cheap, easy thrill out of shooting my little .38 caliber pistol. The “I am woman; hear me roar,” thrill I’ve gotten the few times I shot an Uzi, AK, or even a Glock is enough to leave a tremble running up my arms (though in reality, that’s likely just kickback).
But the emotional component here is huge. That thrill at the range translates to confidence outside of it. And confidence was a great comfort.
People on the pro-gun side of the debate know that shooting is fun. Glasser’s obvious (to us) mischaracterization of the pro-gun position make me wonder if she’s living in a left-leaning anti-gun echo chamber, where feelings trump rational thought. Glasser argument so far: I needed a gun and … guns aren’t that bad! They’re fun!
It’s a strange pivot point for an anti-pistol protagonist, but understandable given her social milieu. If you engage a die-hard anti-gunner in a fact-based debate on the right to keep and bear arms, you eventually get to the point where you see their foundational belief: guns are icky. Glasser gives us valuable insight into her struggle to overcome her friends’ political and cultural disdain for guns.
I tried to help the blue dots understand my gun the same way I tried to help red friends I cared about understand the importance of recycling: by putting the cost in a familiar context . . .
I tell my blue dot girls, “Ladies, every day, before I leave for work, I have to hide my laptop in a new place – one that isn’t obvious to a burglar. The underwear drawer and between the mattresses, FYI, are considered obvious. And when you alternate between the sheets, at the bottom of the dirty clothes bin, or in the bathroom cupboard enough times, you start to go home at the end of your long work day and forget where your laptop is.
“And if I want to go someplace fancy, I have to allot extra time to go into my hall closet, climb on a stool, and pull down the cardboard box marked, ‘vacuum cleaner parts,’ because that’s where I’ve hidden any jewelry I care about. Not just nice jewelry, or family heirlooms, but any cheap-ass thing I like, because I’m still pissed about the loss of my $25 cocktail ring I used to wear three times each week.
“So when you live alone, in a house that has been broken into five times, and people keep saying to you, ‘Just move,’ or, ‘It’s only a matter of time before they come while you’re home,’ then you can decide that getting a gun isn’t right for you. But for now, this is what’s right for me.”
And that usually shuts them up.
Really? Glasser convinced her anti-gun friends about the wisdom of owning a firearm to eliminate inconvenience, with a small, off-hand reference to the possibility of being assaulted, raped, robbed and/or killed? Maybe “convinced” isn’t the right word. I’m thinking . . . silenced. Glasser silenced her anti-gun blue dots by shaming them. I can’t afford to live somewhere where I don’t need a gun like you can, so STFU.
How can I be so confident in this analysis? Her final paragraph.
I am happy to report that I sold the house and moved on, to a place where I no longer have to keep a revolver on my bedside table. It’s unloaded, and locked up, hidden away like my jewelry used to be, waiting for me to take it out on the range for a little bit of fun.
I reckon Glasser’s firearms purchase didn’t turn her purple. I bet she continues to cling to the liberal party line on guns and crime: making society safer is the “answer.” We should work to restrict gun ownership while removing the causes of criminality. We should change our society so that everyone can live in a home where a self-defense firearm is unnecessary. (Except for fun.)
To be fair, Glasser made a good if familiar case for gun ownership. Then she left it on the table and literally walked away, just as her friends recommended. Gun ownership could have been a step towards a political philosophy of self-reliance, but it wasn’t. She just couldn’t go there. In that sense, Glasser ended up as she started: yellow.