- Posted January 10, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
I have been accused of a lot of things of late. I have been called afraid. I have been called paranoid. I have been called irrational and out of touch with modern society. All sorts of motivations have been ascribed to me. All because I carry a gun. I hear people making statements like “Nobody needs to have an assault weapon/30 round clip/etc” and pontificate about the purposes of these weapons and how this isn’t 1776 and we are in a civilized society and so on. I feel the need to clear things up a little.
I am not afraid, paranoid and I have quite a rational streak. I am very familiar with modern society and just how shallow the veneer of civilization is. Moreover, I take exception to someone trying to inform me just what I do or do not need. You see, my motivation is very simple. I want to be prepared. For what you ask? I don’t know. That is the point. I carry a pocketknife, a Gerber multi-tool and a good LED flashlight as well as a pistol with me everywhere I go. I want to feel like I am prepared to deal with any little bumps in the road that come up. I don’t use any one of them constantly (though I cannot understand how any adult can go through their daily life without a pocketknife, I do use that constantly) but they are there and from time to time each comes in very handy. Be it for something as mundane as shining a light to find a dropped button or as serious as offering a non-verbal deterrent to some overly curious pedestrians down-town St Louis, I want to be prepared.
I don’t know when or exactly why but, sometime in the last 30 years or so, folks that like to be prepared for the unexpected have been collectively labeled as slightly nutty. If you want to cause the average suburbanite to raise an eyebrow and snicker behind your back, tell them that you have a couple weeks supply of food and water in a safe room in the basement. Show them a drawer full of batteries and strategically placed flashlights around the house. Throw in a kerosene heater and some water purification tablets and they will nervously back away. One word of guns and you will acquire an empty seat at your next neighborhood bbq! I have found that my flashlight is enough to make some people think I am a little off. I don’t get it. When did assessing the odds and severity of risk and taking precautions toward mitigating them become the sign of a loon?
I remember an OSHA class I attended once where the instructor said, referring to injuries,”It doesn’t happen every day, but every day it happens is a bad day.” I like that . Do I need a thirty round magazine? Do I need a semi-automatic pistol with a fifteen round magazine? No more than I need a pocketknife or a spare tire or my trusty little flashlight. For that matter I hope I never need any of them! Let that rare situation arise in which I do need any one of these items and I will be very glad I expended the relatively minor effort to keep and maintain them though. So you don’t feel a need for any of these items? Great. Don’t have them. Your perception of my needs is irrelevant. I choose to live with that level of preparedness. I hope it is all in vain. I hope my guns will only fire at paper and wildlife. I sincerely do. …but if a tornado rips through my town or the big quake hits and I need to protect my food and family from lawlessness (make no mistake, civilization is a veneer that is readily rubbed off when accountability goes away), I want to be ready. You take your gamble, I’ll take mine.
You see, I am just interested in living my life as I see fit. My guns and knives and water and food stores are not hurting anyone. You have absolutely no right to tell me that my freedoms should be restricted because someone else did something bad with a gun, particularly when there is no evidence that your restrictions will do anything to so much as slow the tragedies down. I want to live prepared for things. If you don’t feel a need to, fine. Disasters and power outages and floods don’t happen every day, but when they do, it is a very bad day. If that day happens, I won’t snicker at you when you are asking me for a drink of clean water because the National Guard truck won’t be here until tomorrow and your cell phone stopped working. I might even let you sit next to my heater and have some Ramen. In the wise words of Louis Pasteur, “Fortune favors the prepared mind.”