Warning! What you're about to read might alter the image that you have of me, but allow me to explain. For a little over 60 years on the planet I've never owned a firearm. And thank God we've never needed one for home defense although there was one time early in our marriage when we might have come close. Our oldest daughter was just an infant. There was a knock on our door one night. When I opened the door the strange looking guy seemed surprised. After a couple of seconds of a blank stare he asked, "Is Mike here?" To which I replied, "Yes I'm right here." Another long blank stare and saying nothing he did an about face and walked into the darkness. I followed him outside asking what he wanted, which in hindsight wasn't a good move, but he kept walking and never turned around. I guess he picked the wrong name out of the blue. That experience would go on to alter the way I answer the door at night.
A few years ago a man and woman posing as husband and wife and pretending to be stranded knocked on the door of a nice older couple across the street and down a few houses. They pulled a gun and tied up the man while the lady took the wife to the ATM to make a withdrawal. Fortunately no one was hurt and a few days later the news came out that it was an inside job. A few weeks earlier these folks had hired a contractor who told someone about the potential for a heist at their house. This event shook people up in our neighborhood and was a reality check that this can "really happen here". I felt the strongest urge ever to protect my family and came real close to buying a handgun. What stopped me was Amber's strong desire to not have a gun in the house.
Through the years while we lived in California every once-and-awhile I would have the urge to get a .22 rifle to go plinking with other guys. But I've always respected Amber's desire to not own a gun and just put that urge out of mind.
As I've mentioned before our son is a policeman. For the past four years I've watched his transformation in many areas including his growing interest in firearms. Recently I expressed my desire to go shooting sometime with him and our oldest grandson. I was pleasantly surprised that Amber finally relented to me getting a handgun if it meant that the three of us could develop this interest together. I don't mean to make this sound like Amber rules the roost but a person's stance on this subject, like a few others, is rooted deep within so I haven't wanted to go to the mat and argue my position.
Friday I made the plunge and bought a handgun. (Wow, that was new statement!) I've been researching it for a few weeks and in fact struggling a bit with how it'll all pan out. As many of you know who read this blog I'm a volunteer chaplain at the county jail. Let me pose just a couple of questions that I've been pondering. Does owning a gun for protection mean that I'm not trusting God? Is it okay to tell someone about the love of Christ while carrying a concealed weapon? The answers that I've found to these two points deserve at least a full post on their own but I won't go into it now. Maybe you have some thoughts on these questions and I'd really like to hear them.
It's an unpredictable world with some people who mean harm to others. I don't think that statement means that I'm paranoid because I do fully trust in God. But because I work at the jail I'm more aware than most about the reality of what goes on around us. Everyday all of the news sources bear witness to the fallen world around us.
Years ago I was in the National Guard. We were trained on all sorts of firearms because back in the day the National Guard was just that - a national guard. I enjoyed it when we would camp out at Camp Pendelton Marine Base and have our annual weapons training. So firearms aren't new to me but like motorcycling there are do's and don'ts and I plan to restart the learning curve. I'm looking forward to our son teaching our grandson and me.
Yesterday I made my first purchase of ammunition. (Wow, that's another first.) Bi-mart has it on sale. I'm such a newbie I just turn myself over to the people who know what they're doing. Isn't that the way it was when we first began riding? You have to trust and learn from the experienced people.
I know some of you might find this subject scary and upsetting. Recently we had the tragic event in Tucson, Arizona where six people lost their lives and nineteen were injured including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords when a gunman opened fire at a shopping center gathering. Amber and I were watching NBC's Dateline the following evening. They interviewed a guy who was nearby and carrying a pistol. He got to the scene after the gunman was wrestled to the ground and felt bad that he didn't arrived earlier and maybe prevented some of the devastation. Amber said it's scary to think there are people walking around us with guns. I said no that's comforting to know that there are people familiar with guns who are available to help protect us. Even police agencies will tell you they can't be everywhere.
A couple of years ago an Iran veteran attending an Oregon University was expelled when it was discovered that he had a handgun on campus. He was a Marine veteran with a concealed permit trained in the use of weapons and he got verbally scourged and expelled. My feeling is this is the guy you want on campus and in fact he should have gotten a break on his tuition to help compensate him for his experience and availability.
Well, I thought I would "let the cat out of the bag" and write on this subject since most likely there will be a sprinkling of future posts on this point. Our oldest grandson is 14 and has plans to go into the Army after high school. He really looks up to our son so who knows, he might want to go into police work.