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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Red state girl livin’ in a blue state world
So today I went to the "intermediate handgun" class. Yes, that’s right I have already taken "beginning handgun" and purchased a Glock, extra magazines and a holster. The classes that Bean and I take are offered by a short, chain-smoking pseudo-cop with aviator glasses and, most importantly, a CCW. He is a laugh-a-minute, which is good because the subject is pretty dry. Today we learned how to draw and reload, shoot single-handedly and shoot multiple targets. It was super fun. I think the best part is that I can be surrounded by like-minded people just an hour outside of Los Angeles. Put aside all pre-conceptions that you have about the kinds of people who shoot. The class was divided approximately 50:50 men: women and the attendees are all middle and upper-middle-class. Not a red neck to be seen. The assumption however is that we are all crazy-right-wingers and no other type would possibly show up at a shooting range. I guess this is true because we all laughed at his jokes and they are always partisan. When teaching us a shooting technique he calls “el presidente” in which we shoot at three different targets who are all purportedly attempting to shoot the president, he quipped “Of course I mean this President. If it were the last President we’d just let him get shot!” This joke elicited good-humored laughter all around. There isn’t a lot of time for talking and we are all wearing ear protection so I didn’t learn a lot about my classmates. However, knowing that these ordinary, good-natured people might be walking around with concealed weapons will help me sleep a little better tonight.

Next, "advanced handgun!"
I read somewhere that women in the military do worse than men in every category EXCEPT shooting at targets. Provided the gun is not too heavy for her, a woman does better than a man at this because it doesn't require superior strength or endurance but does require patience and a steady hand. Men tend to shoot wildly without taking careful aim.

If you are planning to get a gun and keep it at home, BTW, I'd wait till the kids grow up, personally. Too many stories about kiddies getting into the gun closet...

Of course I am pleased that some of my neighbors have guns and wish that more of them did, so the perps would be afraid to burgle ANY house around here, but I would not have a gun in my house myself. I hope no perps are reading this.
Toby? I grew up in a houseful of guns, and I never shot myself. I have a 10 year old daughter, and SHE lives in a houseful of guns- one of which is hers. She loves to shoot and has been doing so since she was seven. Children who are taught proper safety and respect NEVER have accidents. Ever. She will grow up knowing how to shoot, and she will always be confident and she will never be afraid, and never be anyone's victim. Show me a house where a kid got hurt or killed, and I wil show you irresponsible parents.

Mrs B, I applaud you, and I hope that if you ever come near Chicago you swing by and shoot a few rounds at my favorite range with me. And teach those kids to shoot.
Toby: You are right about women being better at shooting. The instructor said "women don;t have testosterone in their trigger fingers." I suspect that isn't the true, scientific reason though.

Og: I'm with you. I believe that the irrational fear of guns leads to not talking about them and leads to accidents. All of our guns are locked up and Bean and I are very careful. We have also taught our children the basic gun safety rules. Soon, we will teach them to shoot.
Since I've only taken the basic handgun class, you'd do much better in a gunfight than me. I'll be taking the intermediate class soon, but if bad guys attack before then, you get the gun; I'll try to stop them with math puzzles.

I'm a very lucky man.
I'm so envious. I can't wait for when I actually have time to start my own classes.
wait a second here... everyone knows men are better at hitting targets than women are... due to our.. crud, I can't bring myself to type it.

Anyway, what i really want to know is, did the instructor teach you how to shoot with one hand holding the guy sideways, gansta-style?
Ralphie: No, but we did learn to shoot one-handed. Right and left.
I am a huge fan of armed-housewives:)

Makes the world a bit more polite, I say.
I don't think Mrs. B would ever allow me to have a gun in the house.

Fortunately, I have violent videogames to fill the gap!

BTW, my dad kept a(n unloaded) gun in his night stand. When I found that, he put it in his dresser under his tee-shirts. It was never hard for me to find. He also kept the bullets in a similarly easy to find location.

He didn't shoot for sport, but he was robbed at gunpoint when he had his store in Harlem, and he was carjacked at least once. I assume he kept the gun handy for personal protection reasons. It wouldn't have done him much good locked up somewhere when there was a burgler in the house.
As long as those people in your class are not crackpots, I might agree with you. *sigh* perhaps it is because I was not raised with guns, and people close to those I love have died because of guns, that I am not comfortable with it. Somehow, in Israel it seemed natural and did not bother me. Lived there for two years and it never bothered me a whit. But here it terrifies me. And perhaps it is because there are so many irresponsible parents and children here, that I can't sleep at night.
Ezer: There isn't anything I can do to allay your fears. Although, apparently there are enough guns in this country for everyone to have one and accidental death by guns is very rare. Rarer than in Israel, I don't know.

BTW, what does ezer knegdo mean? I know I should know, but I don't
Ezer k'negdo: "A helpmate against him." It's what God said He was gonna create for Adam when He said, "It's not good for Adam (man) to be alone."

I was at a wedding last night where the rabbi said that when man is alone, he's at risk of thinking that he himself is God. So God created a "helpmate against him," a wife, and that way he'd never think he was God again...

Got a laugh at the wedding, anyway...
"Ezer" means "helper, helpmate"
and "kenegdo" means "corresponding to him" -- i.e, his other half. But the word "kenegdo" literally means "against him" so Rashi says about the creation of a mate for a man, "If he merits, she is ezer, a helper, and if he doesn't merit, she is kenegdo, against him" -- and seems to say that a woman SHOULD oppose her husband if he is doing wrong, and keep him on the straight and narrow. Now back to guns...

I do not understand what Ezer Kenegdo means when she says that people close to people she loves have died "because of guns" and therefore she is wary of guns. If people are killed by Arab terrorists or by muggers on the street, would disarming the Israeli army or the Miami police make anyone safer?

Maybe the world would be better off if guns had never been invented but since they exist, and since the bad guys have them, the good guys should definitely have them too. Except I'm a big talker. I'm afraid of guns and won't have them in my own house. But I want everyone ELSE in the neighborhood to have them so the criminals will be nervous and I can feel safer.
Ezer K'negdo is an apt description of the relationship between my wife and me.

Stop helping me already!
Well, having had my first experience recently with shooting a gun, I found it to be an interesting experience within the confines of a shooting range. I personally would not feel comfortable with guns in my home.
PT and Toby: Thanks but now I'm nore confused than before. Does it essentially mean "ball-and-chain?"
"Does it essentially mean ball-and-chain?"

Probably yes! If the role of a wife is to keep her husband from escaping into the wild and getting himself into trouble!
:- )
It means you can use firearms to oppose your husband.
Um, I don't read "knegdo" as "against him" although I know that is one translation. I prefer "alongside him", which is how I view my marriage, and my role in it. IMHO it is most definitely NOT 'ball-and-chain' no offense, B&C. I am actually working on a post specifically on this topic. I am about halfway through it. I picked this name as my "Cyber-ID" specifically because there are multiple interpretations of this phrase, this concept, this idea of what is a spouse. Especially because Mr. EK is a rabbi, and my role as rebbetzin has so many interpretations, some of which are contradictory. So that is why I picked this name. I consider Mr. EK my "ezer knegdi", btw.
My uncle was killed by his son. he used a 16 gauge shotgun to blow a hole in my uncles chest. I identified the body at the morgue. My uncle looked exactly like my father, who preceeded him in death by fifteen years. There was a hole in his chest I could put my fist in. This is not the first nor the most gruesome firearms death I have seen. None of which is a reason to 'fear" firearms. My cousin had serious mental defects and should NEVER have been able to get at a loaded firearm, my uncle was blatantly irresponsible. Losing people to firearms is not a reason, it's an excuse. If anything, it should be a reason to BE armed.
Ball & chain, good for you. There will always be a box of ammo waiting here for you to use if you like.
Og: That is a horrible story. What happened to your cousin? Your aunt? I liken guns to cars. I drive a large SUV which I could easily use to kill people. I cruise down the street, waving at friends and no-one thinks I am gong to harm anyone. On the otherhand, a friend of mine, who fears guns asked my husband if I got "hurt" at the gun class.
Gun:SUV is not a good analogy

The SUV has other purposes, other than to kill people. For example, it can heat up the globe and make a longer growing season in Canada. And some people use it to transfer kiddies from Point A to Point B.

A gun has no other purpose other than to kill people. True, it can be used in self-defense. It can be used to threaten death rather than to actually kill (but the threat only works because the thing can kill). But it fundamentally is an instrument of death.

What can I say, I'm politically conservative but I'm also a Jewish mother. I don't let my 15-year-old cut up hard food because I'm afraid of sharp knives, she might hurt herself. I don't let her take the cake out of the oven, it's hot. But that's me.
Y'need guns ta shute deer! Oderwise, dey be all over da place. Like in yer driveway and backyerd.

Unless ya use de bow.
Lucky for me Bambi's mother doesn't hang out in Miami.

We have other wildlife in backyards though -- raccoons, possums, feral cats, runaway dogs, foxes, rats, moles, squirrels, lizards, snakes, and occasionally alligators, or is it crocodiles.

So I guess you could find something to shoot, but here much the more common method of dispatching critters is to accidentally run over them with your car.
To be fair, guns can also be used to maim.
Toby? I have several rifles. Not one has ever been used to kill anything. Of them, three are so low powered and so purpose specific (match target rifles) that you'd have a great deal of trouble harming anyone with them. To say that guns are only to kill people is a lie, pure and simple. Most firearms sold in the united states are for target shooting or hunting, and more than 99.9% are never so much as pointed at another human being. Period. And while cars are NOT meant to kill people, they do. In numbers far higher than firearms deaths. In fact, you're more than three times more likely to die in a car than by all accident/suicide/homicide combined (not just firearms)Gonna get rid of that car now?

My child will fear nothing and no one when she arrives at adulthood. Intimate knowledge of firearms is a part of that.
To be fair, it could be just plain wrong, and not necessarily a lie. I think lying has to have intent.

Anyway, I just went out and bought me a pistol. What? Sure, it's real. It's a Magnum, P.I.! Fine, it's just a BB gun. But it could break the skin!
Hmmm. This is a lot to digest. I don't believe I can name anyone I know who owns a gun. Og, your thoughts are really interesting. I'm curious. What sort of school does your child attend? Do her friends have like-minded parents and similar familiarity with guns?
Indeed, Ayelet. The daughter attends a private school, which costs more than the payment on the wife's car. The five or six parents that I'm close to among her classmates all have gun cabinets as extensive as mine or more so. And ralphie, the intent is clearly there- anti-gun hysteria is persistent in spreading the deliberate misinformation (read: lie) that guns are only to kill people. When someone says that, they are repeating a lie that they have been told, and have accepted as truth. Mrs Ball & Chain: My cousin is now approaching trial, many years later, I have to attend on the behalf of the family. Not gonna be easy. As far as injury goes? I have been to the range hundreds of times, and never been hurt in any way. On the nother hand, I went bowling ONCE, and broke my toe, cut my hand, and crushed a toe on the OTHER foot. Take that for what it's worth. When bowling is outlawed, only outlaws will bowl.
Bowling balls kill far more people per year than guns ever will.
Don't know about that, but I'm staying away. Mostly I'm staying away because of the way bowlers look. Fat, balding middle aged men who can only run 11 feet before getting out of breath. Wait....
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