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gun shy

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gun shy

Father kills son, wounds boy's mother at school
This is a scenario I worry about.

When I first saw the movie Falling Down, a creeping fear settled in my brain and stayed there. That could be him, I thought. That could very well be my ex-husband.

We've had run-ins before, never anything quite so violent as what Michael Douglas or the man in Missouri resorted to, but there were enough incidents - and enough venom present in the incidents - to make me fear what could happen should my ex ever snap. And trust me, he is about one tiny little push away from snapping.

I've wondered how I would protect myself should the situation ever arise. What if he was once again waiting for me at my car, but this time he was more violent, more on the attack? What would I do? Hit him with my purse?

I started carrying mace around with me. I learned how to hold my keys in such a way that they become a weapon. It's not just my fear of the ex, it's my fear of my surroundings. I work in a high crime area. The days are getting shorter and it's near dark when I walk out to the parking lot after work. It makes me nervous.

I want to protect myself. I want more than what mace or car keys can afford me. I want a gun.

This isn't something new. I've always wanted to a gun. When one lives in a high strung state of constant anxiety like I do (or did, pre-Paxil), you fear everything and everyone. You are sure that every shadow is the bogeyman, waiting to get you. And then you grow up and realize that not every shadow is out to get you, but there certainly are people lurking in the corners, waiting to pounce on you or break into your house or assault your children.

I don't feel protected. I feel naked and vulnerable when I am walking through a parking lot alone. I feel like a target when I am driving alone at night and the car starts making a funny noise and I need to pull over. I lay in my bed sometimes and think, what would I do if someone came into the house and tried to kidnap my kids or tied up my husband? What would I do if someone was attempting to mug or rape me?

I would do nothing, of course, because I have nothing to defend myself with. The hockey stick next to my bed will only do so much to ward off an attacker who is filled with rage or fueled by crack.

My brother-in-law would be happy to take me to the range, teach me how to shoot. But would I sleep better at night knowing I had a gun? Would I live in fear that one day the kids would accidently find it? Do I trust myself enough to not gun down the first person that cuts me off on the parkway? Would owning a gun make me feel safer or more nervous?

I just want to know that when my ex-husband goes off the deep end or someone jumps up from behind my car in the parking lot at night, I have the means to keep them at bay. I may never have to shoot the gun, just showing it would be enough, I hope. I want them to look at me and see someone who will not be a victim.

Just something to ponder on a Friday morning.

Comments

If you do get a gun, you take the children to the range and educate them as well. Whether they like it or not. Merely hoping they won't find it is unacceptable gun safety.

I have the same worries. We do have guns in the house and we do have kids. The guns are locked up in safes, bullets seperate. So, if someone did break in, would it help? My kids are small boys, I could never just hide a loaded gun somewhere. I never had a huge interest in guns. But recently I had my husband go over , again, loading, etc of the guns. And I think we will go to a range here and there, just because I think I should know. I can shoot ,but I want to be able to load w/o thinking about it. Just in case....

I stumbled across your site and read your entry about getting a gun. Living on the east coast of canada, I can truley say that guns have not become a common place in our culture. When I was younger I trained with guns and have a friend (a european) who has an extrensive collection which we have taken to the range. But overall, my thought is this, if you have a gun, you not only need to know how to use it, but you must know how to stop someone from taking it from you. Then they have the gun.

My other thought would be, couldn't your post send your ex into a range?

Excellent suggestion re training the children to be comfortable around firearms. Curiosity sated, gun becomes just another tool in the home. Forget friends and family training you -- find a licensed professional with no dog in the hunt. Go to Kim duToit's site -- I'm sure he would have some very valuable advice both on training and weapon selection. Do it now. Woman in Denver Post article Tuesday regrets not making a move sooner after dipstick loser boyfriend shot her in the chest with a crossbow. Best of luck and please keep us all informed.

If you have a gun in the house you have to worry about your own kids and their friends who come over to visit. Educating the family in gun safety is a good idea, but the gun would also have to be hidden and not accessible to visitors and if its hidden and not accessible, like Carol said, relying only on a gun for self-defense might not work.

Weve been thinking of moving to the city. My daughter and I were planning to take a short class in self-defense - something you can use quickly, in an emergency.

Hope this helps.

These are all good ideas. I recommend talking to people in the know, for instance at gun stores, ranges, gun shows, etc., for ideas on safety. There are several ways (Trigger locks, etc.) to keep a loaded weapon safe even if children find it, but which allow the intended user to get to it quickly.

As for using it responsibly, if you haven't maced or hockey-sticked someone who annoys you, you certainly aren't likely to shoot someone just for that. Bad people use whatever weapon is handy all the time, clubs, knives, etc. Good people don't. It doesn't much matter if a gun is handy (Except for someone facing one of those bad guys).

When I was a kid we kept guns in the hall closet. It's a matter of teaching kids what guns are. It wouldn't occur to you not to live near roads because kids might be killed crossing them.

Have you seen Enough?

Get some guerilla training and attack his ass.

You may want to check out Women Against Gun Control (WAGC.COM) or this article by the Independent Womens Forum.

The bottom line is that women shouldn't be afraid to use firearms, or have them taken away. However, anyone that pulls a firearm, ought to be prepared to use it.

As an owner of a few guns, most for sporting but one for self-defense, I'd like to make a point. A gun that you are not prepared to use, and I mean to kill, is more dangerous to you than an assailant. Showing a gun to scare someone only ups the ante, removes the element of surprise, and increases the risk of losing it to him.

Think long and hard before buying a gun, because if the time comes to use it, you have to have already made up your mind that you are prepared to kill. You won't have time in that situation to debate ethics or morality.

This brings me to my final point. Although there are certain individuals with the skill and training to fire warning/wounding shots, most of us in an emergency situation do not. It follows that if you decide to use a gun for self-defense, shoot to kill. The corrallary is this -- do not reach for a gun until you believe you have no other alternatives.

My two cents...

Tyson

I think you are doing exactly the right thing.

You have a legitimate problem, and a gun might be a legitimate solution. However, you need to be very sure that this weapon will not present a safety hazard to your children, and that you are emotionally prepared for the reality of using it.

I think you will find that most of these concerns can be easily addressed.

Will your kids be safe? of course. Take a good class and do what they tell you to do.

Will you kill somebody in a moment of road rage? Get serious. If that was a real concern, you'd have no right to get behind the wheel of a 3000 pound car. Unless you have committed unnecessary, serious violence on people in the past, you have no reason to assume that owning a gun will change who you are.

Are you ready to handle the responsability? You must learn to use your weapon, keep in under control at all times, and deploy it, if necessary, without hesitation or remorse. That's up to you. Personally, I find it a hell of a lot eaiser to be responsable every day than to be afraid.

Lots of people do this; virually all of them find that it's not a problem, and it brings they real peace of mind.

Michele, if you were prepared with your keys and carried Mace, it sounds to me like you were prepared to defend yourself. I somehow doubt that you'd be unwilling to use a gun, if it got right down to the nut-cuttin' (as we said in the old country). The important thing would be to practice with it until your body is comfortable using it and can do so without your head having to think it over.

About the kids and guns: it's like anything else, teach them well and love them well. When my father taught me how to shoot, he made me dig the bullets out of the box of newspaper so I could understand the damage; I remember the confetti to this day. I messed around with lots of stuff, but never the guns... and they were just sitting in the closet, along with the ammo.

Dunno if pepper spray is legal where you live. My retired cop buddy says it's waaaay better than mace. I keep a ball bat handy in the house. A Sosa/Bonds on the side of the knee puts em down. Then i can whip on em all i want. Keep on bloggin, gurl. You do it well.

Michele,

This suggestion won't help with the parking lot/ex husband worries. BUT seven years ago one of our neighbors (we were living in the Watsach Mountains, Utah - pretty rugged and isolated) went beserk, robbed the bank he'd been a customer at for twenty years, shot a teller and headed up our canyon on foot with his gun, followed by swat teams. One of our other mountainside neighbors called to warn us to stay inside. Thanks to our scenic mountain view windows in every room, a moron with a rock could have broken into our house, much less an armed loony. So much for staying inside. We really wished we had a gun right then.

The next day, after the guy had killed himself in the woods (about a quarter mile away), my husband and I decided a gun would be a dangerous thing to have in the house with a curious (and rule testing) child. We got (another) dog instead (total of 3). With three (medium/large) dogs in the house, I feel pretty safe at home. Parking lots, deserted streets still freak me out though.

Hope this makes some sense. I've had a couple of glasses of wine on an empty stomach tonight.

Jeanne

My Dad taught us kids how to handle a gun when we were 7 - 8 years old... it was a rite of passage in the family... imagine an 8 year old holding a hog-leg Webley .445... he also taught us to never expect someone to be frightened by a gun... if you pull it you shoot it and you shoot to hit the kill zone, nipple to nipple to navel... he also kept his pistol secure and I never did know where he kept the ammo...
When I was eighteen I was heading to New York City and had an old .38 special that I wanted to take with me, "for protection"... he told me to file the front sight off... I thought about that, wondering if it was so I could draw it from my pocket without it snagging the cloth of my pants or what... after a few days I asked him why and his reply made me put the gun back in the closet... "It won't hurt nearly so much when someone takes it away from you and shoves it up your ass."
All that said, nothing beats a Remington pump shotgun for home protection...
a clear shot is usually fatal...
folks in the other rooms are safer (a .45 round will go through four or five apartments)...
the sound of a shotgun shell being chambered (schlick-schlock!) will weaken the knees of the meanest SOB on earth...