[lit-ideas] Re: Didn't I tell you so?

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 30 May 2006 16:02:17 -0700

As Taylor tells us, we have a lot of reasons for the things we believe and
do.  You live in Canada and don't want a gun because guns kill people.  The
implication being that you don't want a gun because you don't want to kill
anyone.  I wasn't raised with any idea like that.  Guns are offensive or
defensive depending upon who has them and what his intention is.   The guy
coming to rob you and kill you if necessary intends his gun for offensive
purposes, but you, if you had a gun could use it for defensive purposes.
You could let him know you had a gun and perhaps that would cause him to
leave yours tackle a less-defended house, or you could actually use it for
defense if he were persistent.  But, of course if there are few criminals in
Canada who use guns to do such things as I described, then why bother?  In
such a peaceful environment only hunters, target shooters, and perhaps
war-paraphernalia collectors would be interested in owning guns.  


At Boeing years ago, my office was across the aisle from a very Liberal
fellow who was against the owning of guns.  His wife was Canadian and he
used to travel up there regularly - claimed to be treated rather shabbily by
the Canadians by the way.  This fellow lived near the beach and had
something of a hippy life-style.  Sometimes on holidays people who used the
beach would park in his driveway so that he couldn't park his own car there.
He had a lot of confrontations with them.  He was a big guy and despite his
Liberal leanings could confront with the best of them.  He also had a
baseball bat in his bedroom for defense.  


If you don't feel comfortable with a gun because you were taught certain
things about them, had certain experiences with them, or you can't remember
why but just don't like them, then you shouldn't have a gun.  Get a baseball
bat or get good locks on your doors and windows and hope if someone ever
does try to break in that the police will get there before they get to you.
Furthermore, your chances are probably good no one will target your house.
Only 16% of men will contract prostate cancer sometime in their lives.  The
chances of your being robbed in your home are probably much lower than that.
I think it entirely reasonable to rely upon the laws of chance and take no
precautions against either eventuality.   





From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Paul Stone
Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2006 2:00 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Didn't I tell you so?


At 04:26 PM 5/30/2006, you wrote:

I havent heard anyone address the most important question: had these guys,
the ones whose testosterone went up, ever fired guns before.  So much myth
has been created in recent years about guns; they probably had little or no
experience with guns and thought they were doing something dangerous.  

I fired lots of b-b and pellet guns when I was a kid and did target practice
a lot. Until I was an adult, I had never fired a gun. Since [hand] guns are
basically a complete hassle to own -- and even more of a hassle to fire --
in Canada, the whole gun thing was never much of an issue. Besides, I'm
basically non-violent and believe that guns DO at least ENABLE people to
kill people. 

One day, a friend of mine and I went to Detroit and we were driving down a
main street and we saw a "gun shop and range" that advertised "walk in and
fire any of our guns". We looked at each other and said "hmm.. that sounds
kind of interesting" (I was about 25 at the time). We went in and selected 6
or 7 guns and over the course of about 90 minutes went into the target room
and fired off dozens of rounds of ammunition for different guns. 

Bill (my friend) had fired a gun a few times, so he went first -- i have to
admit I was excited but petrified (the myths being what they are) and his
first gun was a .357. The first shot was a very low BOOM with a concussive
force that made my chest vibrate. I was intrigued to say the least. I lined
up my cop-issue .38 revolver and fired off a shot. It was a firecracker
compared to my pal Clint's long barrel wrecking machine. Not much of a kick
and it felt "relatively" harmless. I emptied and reloaded the gun a few
times and then retrieved my silhouetted man. I had some head shots and heart
shots, but also many outliers that were complete misses. Not bad I thought.
I put a new target up and sent it back down the line.

 Then it was on to my beretta. I think it had 12 in the mag and one in the
chamber and I got to load the magazine myself. It was a bizarre feeling to
actually load a gun like this -- so easy. I line it up and fired once. The
kick was substantial compared to the little revolver, but because of its
grip shape and the balance, it was easy to firmly re-aim in half a second as
the slide slid back and chambered another bullet. Bill informed me that it
was semi-automatic and I could basically fire it repeatedly, but that I
needed to push the trigger each time. I tried a set of three. Bang bang
bang. It felt good and I hit three good shots all to the head. I let loose,
emptying the remaining rounds. Bang bang bang bang bang bang in a few
seconds. What a rush, tremendously exciting. The next mag I felt a little
profligate and just emptied the whole thing at once. I think only about half
hit in the centre of the target, but I was gaining control. "These things
are cool" 

With a little practice I could get good at this -- but why?

Then I traded my 9mm for Bill's long barrel Magnum. I loaded up the
revolving part (sorry, don't know terminology) with bullets and snapped it
shut. I was hesitant remember the tremendous boom that it made when Bill
fired it. I squinted and pulled the trigger. Carnage was unleashed from my
hand. The gun kicked up a few inches and I realized that in the future, I
need to set my wrists a little stiffer but relaxed so that i didn't hurt
myself. The power of this gun was ridiculous and I began to, not so much
fear it as much as I respected, more rightly "understood" the power of such
a weapon. A few more guns, a glock, a special, a something something. We
returned them and left.

We walked out into the sunlight afternoon after our little fantasy land and
I can honestly say I still didn't like guns. Now I had a reason. Although it
was fun and a huge 'rush' [endorphins were kicking], it was also scary and
brutal. I understood even more the SOLE reason for inventing/firing a gun is
to do damage. Target practice is a useful offshoot (pardon the pun) that
comes with wanting to become proficient. Afterall, men will compete with
ANYTHING -- I saw electric belt-sander races at an autoshow once. But the
reason that guns exist is to kill things. That's the flat truth. And they
are perfectly designed to do that expeditiously and easily -- even an
amateur can do it and that's proven every day in your streets, and sadly,
more and more, in OUR previously basically gunless streets.

So... yes, as Lawrence says, it is an interesting question as to what
percentage of these people had ever handled a gun, had ever thought of it,
had ever fired etc. I'd also be interested to see, of those who HAD, who was
still charged by doing so -- sounds a bit adolescent and if you're testing
adolescents, your testosterone readings are going to be COMPLETELY

As for firing a gun, I know I can never do it again for the first time and
if I did, it wouldn't be nearly as novel and my testosterone levels would
probably not be affected. I'd still feel the dreaded reality though. 


Paul Stone
Kingsville, ON, Canada

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