Fun with guns…let’s figure it out

I am whatever the opposite of political is.

Apolitical?

It’s not that I don’t care about what happens in the world I live in, no, I do.

I get enough argument and headache at work and with trying to carry on a conversation with my four year old, so the last thing I want to do is argue politics with people outside of work who, quite frankly, aren’t going to change their minds anyway.

When I do want to vent about a situation, I try to do it by writing, and even then, in a mostly non-confrontational way. An example of this is when I finally had to write about the whole mess in Ferguson, MO. 

That post was written during a tumultuous time in in the St. Louis area, but the media was blowing it way out of proportion. If you turned CNN on, you’d have thought that the City of St. Louis had become the Beirut of the United States. That was simply not the case, and it was my hope that by sharing my little story, people would understand that it wasn’t all as bleak as it seemed. Life was still happening. I tried to further that notion with this post reminding people who were angry about some of the better times we’d shared in the hopes that we’d not lose touch with them as we tried to move forward.

Those posts sort of turned this blog from a “humor” blog that was read by my grandma and four other people, into a blog more focused on my work life, but one where the posts were being read and shared by a lot more people.

It was bound to happen, and that’s why the name of the blog has always been “Donofalltrades.” I reserved the right to talk about whatever I wanted to, and that’s what’s going to continue to happen.

This blog has received more attention than I’d ever imagined it would or even could, and that has everything to do with posts I’ve written about my experiences working as a cop.

I know that.

Hundreds of thousands of people have read what I’ve written about my own singular experiences working what have become typical scenes in almost every large urban area. People seem to enjoy being let into areas of a crime scene where a journalist can’t take you, through no fault of their own.

My thoughts and experiences have made many of you laugh and cry. When I read that in a comment, it makes me happy. If you laugh, good. If you cry, good. It means you have a heart, and it gives me hope.

The stories really tell themselves, I’m just spewing words onto a page.

Whether it be about a mom getting shot while pumping gas or one of my simple car stops turning into a sweet moment, I want you to walk in my shoes a little bit and see that there is much good being done in law enforcement, along with some of the bad that does make for better headlines I suppose.

If you walk in the shoes of any working police officer in the City of St. Louis long enough, you’ll see plenty of shit that will make you want to throw your hands up in the air and just give up on humanity.

Many of those moments include gun violence.

Little boys riding in a minivan shouldn’t have to worry about being shot in the chest, but it happens.

Police officers shouldn’t have to worry that every time they put on their uniform, they’re inviting somebody out there to have a shot at them, but we do.

Gun violence is a very real problem in the United States.

We are so jaded in our high opinions of ourselves that we don’t recognize that when it comes to gun violence, the rest of the world is scratching their heads and wondering what the fuck is wrong with the United States?

Sure, gun violence happens elsewhere, but not like it does here.

I’m not even talking about the school shootings or the fact that you can’t take your family to a movie theater or other public gathering without worrying on some level whether or not some lunatic is going to show up and start randomly shooting people.

I’m more concerned with the everyday violence.

Thousands of people will be killed with a gun this year in the United States, yet nothing will be done about it.

Not a thing.

Why?

If we’re being honest with ourselves, we don’t care about it as much as we should because when we turn on the news and listen to the every day stories about another person being killed, it’s almost always in the “bad” part of town, far from where those whose opinions really matter live.

You know, those black neighborhoods.

Heroin is a hot button issue today in no small part because it’s mostly rural and suburban white kids who are becoming hooked and dying from its use.

If suburban kids were being gunned down at half the rate as inner-city kids, we’d be inundated with stories and ideas for fixing the problem.

Guns don’t kill people, Don.

I get that.

Even though some comments on my blog posts have insinuated that I’m anti-gun, I’ve never said that.

I’m not, even a little bit.

To infer that I’m anti-gun because I find it fucked up that more women and children are getting shot and killed right along with the young men who’ve always been getting shot and killed is absurd, and part of the reason that gun related discussions aren’t happening.

There’s a difference between gun sense and gun regulation.

I do have guns in my house, obviously, and I worry about them being found by one of my kids, in spite of the measures I take to keep it from happening, because kids are kids. They’re curious.

Every few weeks we read about a child finding a gun and accidentally shooting himself or somebody else.

That’s fucked up.

That’s a lack of gun sense.

If a three year old finds a gun in your house and hurts or kills another person or themselves, then you should be punished.

If your three year old isn’t a lemur or a monkey, then he shouldn’t be able to get it from the top shelf of your closet, or from inside the safe, or he shouldn’t be able to manipulate the gun lock I’m sure you’re using when the gun is being stored.

Gun sense is simply not being negligent with your very dangerous instrument.

Sure, guns don’t kill people, but they make it a whole hell of a lot easier.

Drive by killings with Chinese throwing stars or steak knives or rocks are much more difficult than they are with guns.

It’s just a fucking fact.

Guns don’t belong in the hands of people who can’t be trusted to make rational decisions.

If you’re drunk with your gun, you’ll get arrested.

Certain felons can’t have guns.

Folks who have been institutionalized because they’re mentally deranged can’t have guns.

Possessing a gun unrestricted, isn’t your God given birth right, in spite of your beliefs to the contrary.

Should those of us who are responsible adults be able to own guns?

Absolutely.

Any sort of gun we want?

Meh, probably not a great idea that we allow folks to own bazookas or aircraft cannons, but that’s not my call or my concern.

My concern is with the lack of respect people have for guns and their ability to end your life just like that.

My concern is that we aren’t talking about realistic ways to curb the violence and the death.

People making stupid choices with guns is my concern.

Gun suspects being allowed to plea to crimes that won’t prevent them from being able to possess a gun in the future is my concern.

I have many concerns.

My hope is that we can ignore the people on the extreme ends of this issue who won’t listen to anything contrary to their opinions and have an intelligent conversation among those of us in the middle, those of us who want what’s best for our kids and our society.

Whatever that may be.

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57 Responses to Fun with guns…let’s figure it out

  1. lrconsiderer says:

    Intelligent conversation will happen, I think, when the people in the middle realise the power they have in numbers, and stop letting the extremists bully them into silence. But yes – people need to care more…not about their own, but about EVERYONE’S own.

  2. As one of the four who, along with grandma, read your “humor” blog, I’m glad you’re drawing more attention to the “on-the-ground” perspective, even if it’s not as funny as circus bear riding a bicycle.

  3. sweetsound says:

    “We are so jaded in our high opinions of ourselves that we don’t recognize that when it comes to gun violence, the rest of the world is scratching their heads and wondering what the fuck is wrong with the United States?”

    Exactly.

  4. Erik says:

    It seems that the ‘mandatory minimums’ written into RSMO 571 involving crimes where lethal weapons are used end up being used more to elicit pleas than actual incarceration.

    I point to the woman shot a few weeks ago by a guy waiting for sentencing on a previous violent crime.

    I find this far worse than the parents who do not take classes on firearm safety in the home.

    While I do not feel that the concept of manditory minimums is a good thing, I do not think that they are even being used as anything more than leverage at this point.

    • Lenient judges are another good target. People who’ve shown a propensity for violence, particularly with the use of weapons, should be punished more harshly and held on higher bonds than those who haven’t proven they aren’t salvageable.

  5. flemily says:

    I’m kind of similar to you – apolitical and yet of course I care about this and many other issues…I am glad you contributed to this conversation today because it’s important to hear from someone in law enforcement, someone who sees the violence and the lack of gun sense out there.

  6. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I just commented about my thoughts on the gun situation in general on another blog, but I will say that I completely agree with you too. I grew up with loaded guns around the house. My father was a police officer and trainer and made me and my brother sit down for the full firearms training that he had to present to new recruits…when I was 9.

    Now, I will never have a firearm in the house again. Mainly because of mental health issues with me and M, but just in general. There is still so much lacking in education and responsible ownership. Just because a person can do/get something doesn’t always mean they should. I don’t understand how that is so hard for others to comprehend. :/

    Thank you as always for being you, Don. ❤

    • Thank you, ma’am. People are silly. I can count the number of times a gun owner has protected themselves from a violent encounter during the past decade plus here in my city on one hand. Chances are remote that a person will ever need to use a gun like that, and if that need arises enough that it’s a worry, then we should be addressing other issues in society.

  7. Paul says:

    Well said Don. As a Canadian I have often wondered why Americans continue to shoot each other without much interest by the general population.

  8. jgroeber says:

    Well put and totally thought-provoking. Two weeks ago my five-year-old daughter had a play date with a new family. I sent my pre-playdate questions: 1.) No guns in the house that the kids could ever acces? and 2.) No non-monitored screen time? (I choose my battles sort of randomly, I know.) When I finally met the Mom face-to-face when she dropped off my daughter at the end of the (uneventful) playdate she said my e-mail seemed so ridiculously funny she copied it and sent it to her friends, assumably in England, where she’d just moved from. My e-mail seemed so American. And yet, not so much, too. Because I think most Americans tend to assume: that bad things happen to other people (who are perhaps bad anyway) and that just because I live in a certain neighborhood, I’m safe (which suggests somehow that it’s the fault of the people living in the other neighborhood that they’re not particularly safe.) Not that I think I’m all that unsafe on most days. But assuming that it’s always someone else’s issue just seemed to be at the heart of the problem.

    • Is it wrong that I laughed at your comment? I used to think it ridiculous that a person would ask another parent if they had a gun in their house, but now? Now it’s almost mandatory, especially where I live. Lots of guns.

  9. Laurie Works says:

    This was an incredible post. I remember reading your post last year about the boy and the minivan… I don’t know if I could even get through it, it so closely echoed my own experience. To have you write this now, thank you. This speaks to me so much. I also deeply appreciate that you mentioned the every day gun violence. I’m a shooting survivor, and statistically, what happened to my family is far less common than the every day violence that happens in, as you put it, “those neighborhoods.” Honestly, I’m far more concerned about that than I am about mass shootings. Sure, I want to keep those from happening, but the everyday violence in my mind is far worse. THANK YOU for addressing that in the way you did.

    • Thanks for your nice comment, Laurie! You’re sweet. It’s just sad that we allow ourselves to be all worked up about something and then, after some time has passed, we move on and accept that another incident is going to happen to work us up again like that’s okay.

  10. Did you see the recent bit about the guy who shot himself in the leg with his concealed carry while in the theater in Salina, KS? My first thought? What a dumbass! He’s carrying the weapon in his pants pocket without the safety on. He’s lucky he didn’t shoot someone else.

    I’m not anti-gun, but don’t the rest of us have rights when it comes to not having to deal with that sort of thing? That guy being allowed to carry a weapon around, thank you Brownback, doesn’t make me feel any safer than thinking about a criminal, or someone with a mental illness, carrying a gun around.

    I grew up with weapons in my house–mostly shotguns and rifles–but was taught to keep my hands off of them unless an adult was around to supervise. Problem is, these days, even some adults aren’t very good at “adulting”.

  11. goldfish says:

    I’m somewhere in the middle with you. I own guns and I very much want to continue owning guns. But, I store my guns in a gun safe, I had no problem waiting ten days for a background check, I took a gun safety physical and written test before I was allowed to take my gun home with me, and I don’t necessarily mind being listed in a registered gun owner database somewhere. It’s the irresponsible gun owners who ruin it for the rest of us.

  12. tric says:

    I’m with the rest of the world wondering what is your fascination with guns over there and why any house would have one in it?
    I can’t see any good at all in them and even with plenty legislation in place there will always be accidents, and crazies and those who lose their temper and judgement. As for certain people not being allowed them, well it looks like they seem to be getting them.

    • Oh yeah, those who shouldn’t have them have the most guns! I only have them because of my job. Once i retire, I’ll probably sell them and live gunless. The chances that I’ll need one are so slim, and that I’ll have it ready when I do even slimmer, that it doesn’t seem worth the risk. If we’re so worried about our safety that guns are the answer, then maybe we need to redirect our attention to what happened to make it so.

    • Barefoot in MN says:

      hello ! & I ask your indulgence for me popping into your conversation. I can offer a smidgeon of input as to “why would anyone ever want a gun?” …um, safety. Because rapists. which, because porn. Because idjit “judges” have released Bad Guys on technicalities that amoral lawyers crowed about ’cause it proved the lawyers were smart…. it didn’t bother said lawyers that they were also morons…. and, because Hellywood; with all the porn they produce & sell — the whole culture is one in which anything female is a potential victim. Humans, cats, dogs, doesn’t matter, if it/you is female, you are a walking target. What happened to protecting females*? what happened to defending the weak ? sure the laws are still in place — but the culture doesn’t agree with the law. 😦 Want me to give up my guns? okay — that’d be great. Getting dressed for the day would be simpler, & faster. But first really (REALLY) keep all the rapists & child molesters in jail, for…ev…er. NEVER to get out. None of this nonsense about a 10-year sentence commuted to 18 months. No. FOR EVER. like as in TILL DEATH. Kidnappers too. And more than that : start preaching about the value of innocence. Boycott Beyonce’ & Lady Gaga & such like, and don’t publish them. The producers who bankroll such filth should have to answer for the rotten unsafe culture they are pushing on us. I had to teach my kids to always be watching for an escape route, a safe place—- in kindergarten. I had to teach them about safe touch & not-safe touch at age 2. What the hell is up with that ? they should never have to worry about that. never. (& even so, they have both been molested — by a neighbor kid, under age ten! & this is in a “good” neighborhood!) …we had a couple video stores in our small town. One had a X-rated section in back. I asked the proprietor once if he would consider suspending the X section , like if I could get my friends to promise to make up for the lost business…he said “no way; if it weren’t for the x-rated stuff he couldn’t afford to open his doors”. Does anyone see anything wrong with this ????…..I should never have to worry about hitchhiking and not coming home alive. My grown kids should not have to seriously consider a nanny cam to see if their child has been abused by the sitter. NO: I require that the ones in charge, the producers, the ones with money, first create a culture that pushes noble deeds, honorable living, and SELF-CONTROL as hard as it now pushes the opposite. All aspects! games, movies, comic books, the clothes worn at Grammy awards, the lyrics of pop songs, the ads for cars & burgers & makeup etc —- Create a safe environment, and I will gladly put the guns away. Until then: no way. When I first got my permit, I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders; a weight I had not realised was there, it grew so slowly & seemed so “normal”….. Much to my surprise — for no one had said this might happen — I literally felt I could breathe more freely, and I know I stood up straighter. This gal is no longer prey, no longer a scared bunny. She is a bunny with a means to defend herself & others; and until you FIRST kill or incarcerate ALL the wolves, every single last one, I am keeping my borrowed teeth. Secure the border, kick out the lawbreakers, push good behavior — REQUIRE it, push it harder than “tolerance” is pushed now —- then, we’ll talk. But until then, I have to defend myself. Because although cops are the good guys, they can’t be everywhere. (Indeed: these days I slow down to see if a cop needs MY help. Honest)

      thanks for letting my rant/vent. Please be safe, all y’all, whatever that requires of you in your circumstances. ❤

      * yes, I know males are at risk. One of my male cousins was raped at age 12 by a dirty old man in his neighborhood. believe me, I know. 😦 One of my best (guy) friends was gang-raped by kids from his high school; it ruined his life…. but most porn involves females. Just sayin'. thanks.

  13. Elyse says:

    I’m anti gun, but am willing and able to compromise. And I absolutely think that adults who do not properly put away their guns so that some child shoots him/herself, a sibling or anyone else SHOULD BE SEVERELY PUNISHED. Stupidity should never trump intelligence when it comes to lethal weapons.

    • Agreed! It’s just gotten to the point that there are so many guns on the streets, that there would be no way to “ban” them without the bad guys keeping theirs while the law abiders get rid of theirs. Just a little common sense, is all we ask.

  14. Susan Murphy says:

    Thank you Don for everything you write

  15. Kristi Campbell - findingninee says:

    Glad you wrote. I go live with mine tomorrow at 10p eastern, with FTSF as it should be in the laws of nature. Which means I should probably write something. Also love you.

  16. Yes! People in the middle, that’s where the magic can happen. And the fact that the media and people don’t care about gun violence that happens in the poor minority neighborhoods is disgusting. But we tell ourselves it’s isolated. It’s a poverty/gang/inner city thing. It makes us feel a little bit safer if we think we can avoid it for ourselves just by avoiding certain parts of town. Ugh.

    I know people, well a person, who should absolutely without a shadow of a doubt not have a gun. She was able to plea down on multiple offenses and still has a gun. (actually, she doesn’t at the moment because she eventually shot someone and is going to trial soon, though she’s out wandering the streets as we speak). Her parents tried to tell the judge and lawyers she shouldn’t have access to guns. Didn’t matter.

    And here’s my thought on arming citizens to protect themselves and the public. I look at all the training that the police and military have to go through before they are issued a gun. Right? The scenarios that are practiced and drilled so that you guys can react properly in the heat of the moment. The idea that any Joe can grab a gun and protect and serve is insulting to people who wear a badge and go out and do the job every day. And to the soldiers who had to endure hellish basic training before going out and serving our country. But these people think that you can just grab a gun and you’ll know what to do in an active shooter scenario…

    • Guns are so prevalent, that I’m actually surprised there aren’t more accidental shootings, honestly. Thanks for the great comment, Gretchen. You rock!

    • everglowz says:

      What about the farmers and blacksmiths that took up arms against the greatest army in the world at that time and won this countries freedom? They didnt need SEAL training, requiring stuff that is simply asinine. How come that was acceptable for average citizens to have military weaps then but not now? Just because its 2015 and theres twitter, common sense and survival need to go the way of the dinosaur? No, guns are a right to protect against an overreaching and tyrannical govt, like a president who focuses more on creating illegal laws instead of doing his actual job and enforcing the current laws. We have had to fight for this before and the way this country is heading down the shitter, people who gave up/were forced to give up guns will all become slaves or dead. Its not about the person carrying in the theater, its about each individuals natural law right.

      • Paul says:

        Oh everglowz. When guns created America – they were fighting against other guns. You’re government does not even have to get close to you to kill you now – with missiles, bombs, tanks, aircraft, drones, satellite targeting, etc – they can kill you without even blinking , in fact without leaving their offices. You can no longer defend yourself against your government with a gun. Unless you intend to up your armament, you need another argument to justify guns. P.S, – with IR scanning they can detect bunkers no matter how far underground and with bunker busters, destroy those bunkers regardless of how deep or how much cement you put in.

  17. KODonnell says:

    Great post. Just when I think I’ve left the blog world to concentrate on my novel…you pull me back in! I don’t own a gun. I wouldn’t want guns in the house if I had small children. However, I was raised with guns in the house. They were locked in a cabinet. I knew how to shoot them. I’m going to admit I don’t know what the answer is. Taking everyone’s guns away will be as successful as Prohibition and the War on Drugs. What’s to be done? Wish I knew. I do think your blog nudges us. Makes us think. It’s our brains that might save us.

  18. Mental Mama says:

    Well written, sir. As someone who was taught proper gun handling and shooting technique starting at the age of 8 I have a very healthy respect for the killing power of firearms. And as someone who also has a mental illness I have no desire to own a firearm. I also opted not to breed because of my mental illness. But I’m self-aware and not everyone is. Anyway, right on with this.

    • Awe, you’d have made a great breeder! Your self awareness is to be applauded. Normally, it’s the person who’s the most ill suited for whatever who’s the last to know it. Hope you’re well!

  19. markbialczak says:

    Well said, my friend. Something’s gotta give in our society regarding the ease in which people blow other people away with guns. My BloggyVille point after the last massacre — how sad, typing that phrase — was that our society’s behavior was tilting toward the loss archaic Constitutional right to bear arms. Yeah, it’s a tough one, indeed, with so many lives on the line. Oh, for a different way so that the words last massacre can mean the final horror, past tense.

  20. beth teliho says:

    I love hearing your thoughts on this, and, as usual, I totally agree with you. I’m apolitical too, but obviously care. Your point about gun sense versus gun regulation is spot on. It’s a scary situation for us right now – this whole fear of gun violence thing we live with day to day. Pretty unbelievable.

  21. Denise G. says:

    I’ve been reading your blog a long time. From funny to serious to thoughtful, I love it all! Great post!

  22. Melanie says:

    Legislation and regulation isn’t the answer, unless it has to do with disallowing changing criminal charges so one can continue to own guns when one shouldn’t own guns in the future.
    Personal responsibility and accountability will go a long way. Unfortunately we’ve become a society with a serious aversion to that, made worse by the “that happens to other people” attitude.
    I don’t think we need to get rid of guns. I think we need to stop owning them like they’re toys. They’re not collectibles. They’re lethal fucking weapons.

  23. This country is running out of common sense. God help us.

  24. Mike says:

    I agree we need common sense approach. Ditch the extremists and get some shit done

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