Gun Choices - The Perception of Need
Before I say anything, I want to say that (the collective) you don't know my heart, so please don't pretend that you do. Some of you would be sure to doubt if I tried to describe the horror and sadness that I and friends/relatives felt as a result of this week's sickening tragedy at Sandy Hook School, but you shouldn't.
I'm not a gun advocate. When it comes to guns, I'm simply pro-choice. If guns are not for you, I'm perfectly happy you've chosen to refrain from owning one. If you do own a gun, that's fine, too. There is no judgment either way.
NEED will always be subjective. We don't need gold rings on our fingers, or diamonds. Who really NEEDS a home larger than 1,000 sq ft, or a swimming pool? How does a family of 2 or 3 justify a Hummer or other large SUV? The fact is, those of you who own these things, or others another might find unnecessary, don't owe anyone an explanation. You don't have to justify your choices, which is as it should be.
This is a Ruger Mini-14 in .223 caliber:
There are hundreds of thousands of these guns in the hands of ranchers, farmers, varmint hunters, and plinkers/target shooters that enjoy the challenge of target shooting at ranges beyond the accuracy limitations of the .22 caliber rimfire cartridge. As long guns go, it's a rather innocuous looking thing, and there is one in the back window of half of the pick-up trucks or behind the seat of half of the cab-over tractors west of the Mississippi, and a fair number of the same east of the Mississippi. Please allow me some latitude in making the point that the gun is widely used as a tool and not often abused. A large number of ranchers/farmers consider this rifle their 'go to work' gun. Some may fail to see the need for a 'go to work gun', but they are probably not ranchers or farmers. Most ranchers and farmers are commonly considered hard-working, stand-up guys.
The route by which the .223 came into being might lend a little insight to the considerable number of posters weighing in that are unfamiliar with small arms. The long guns of WWs I and II were mostly used at ranges under 200 yds. When the US got involved in the jungles of Viet Nam, it became apparent that a lighter gun with an effective range of under 200 yards was preferable to the more powerful guns previously being used by the military. The Remington .222 was and had been a very popular mid-range varmint cartridge used by hunters and mid-range target shooters. Armalite (a gun builder) felt the ballistics of the .222 and .222 Mag were suitable, so they designed a select fire rifle around the cartridge. When they encountered feeding problems with the cartridge, they decided to modify the shape of the cartridge slightly. The result was the military 5.56x45mm cartridge, with Remington quickly releasing a commercial version as the .223 Remington - nothing more than a spin-off of the already widely used .222 Remington cartridge.
That a particular fraction of our population cannot understand how there could be a perceived need for a gun like the Ruger Mini-14 really isn't particularly important. Simply put, the gun is widely used daily for purposes other than killing or maiming people.
Here is the same Ruger Mini-14 as pictured above:
There is no functional difference between the two guns. They both utilize the same action (operate the same way), use the same ammunition, accept the same magazines, and fire one round each time the trigger is depressed. Most reasonable people would admit to the fact that the first rifle pictured is indeed nothing more than a tool that is used without injury to humans every day of every year by a multitude of owners. The second picture, as indicated by general consensus in some places, is ample cause for ululation and hand-flapping in extraordinary measure, yet there is NO difference between the first rifle pictured and the second "accessorized" rifle .... or the AR-15 style rifle associated with this week's tragedy, other than appearance.
There are a large number of other semi-automatic rifles in larger calibers that are used regularly for hunting. The Remington 742 and the older 740 comes to mind. This rifle is available in calibers far more lethal than the .223 Remington (.243, .280, 6mm, 30-06, .308). These calibers, widely available and widely used, would be far more deadly than the lesser .223. If scary-looking guns like the AR-15 and similar are banned because of the emotional response their appearance elicits, there is nothing to stop anyone intent on evil from picking up any one of a multitude of even more deadly substitutes.
Most of you feel that people who want to own guns, and particularly the scary looking ones, are paranoid. They think gun owners are ill-prepared to react to the threat of deadly force. That you have never encountered someone intent on implementing the threat, is not a good reason to conclude there will never BE a threat. If ever there is, I guarantee you'll wish you had the wherewithal to take control of the situation or at least have the means to defend your life or the life of innocents.
With the number of young people between the ages of 16-30 out of work, and with drug use among this group escalating at a dizzying rate, plus our other societal woes, it's a near certainty that violent crime will touch a loved one or someone whose well-being you value highly within the next several years. You can deal with the problem of crime by convincing yourself that you live/work/travel in your own "crime-free" zone(s), but all that does is increase the shock when you finally figure out criminals do not conduct themselves according to your imaginings. When touched by violence, some of you will reevaluate your positions. This I know with a great degree of certainty, because as a concealed weapons instructor and someone certified to teach a variety of firearms disciplines, I've heard the "I used to be soo against guns ...." story more times than I can count. Being victimized or closely associated with victimization changes perceptions.
Doctors, attorneys, business owners, night shifters, mothers, grandmothers, the young, the old, ..... people from all walks of life and from all political persuasions aren't exhibiting paranoia when they reason it's prudent to have the ability to legally protect their lives and property - they're simply trying to prepare themselves for potentialities many refuse to recognize as threats, and acknowledging that they don't have a porthole through which they might view the future.
We don't fault the lion for his fangs, the eagle for his talons, the wolverine for his 100 lbs of ferocity packed into a 45 lb body, or the bee for its sting - yet we fault a human being for wanting an advantage when it comes to defending himself. There are a lot of reasons people feel we should do away with guns, and a lot of reasons people feel they need them. In the end, a gun, any gun, is capable of no evil on its own. A gun can only be MADE to do evil when it's the tool used as an extension of a person's will to do evil. Knife, ball bat, hammer, poison ..... can all wreak the same havoc if the violator is determined enough.
I don't feel the need to defend or justify what I said, and I'm sure what I said will get hammered. I'm not a coward that posts what to this forum will be a controversial view and then heads for the hills, but that there are multiple threads all addressing the same horrific tragedy is enough proof that emotions currently run so high that reason is being forced to the rear, so I may opt out of additional commentary. It will be interesting to see if those who in the past have exhibited a strong bent against hate-speech will try their best to avoid it and put reason at the forefront in its stead.
This post was edited by tapla on Thu, Dec 20, 12 at 20:36