The Passion of Gun Lovers and Pit Bulls

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Ohg Rea Tone is all or nothing. He is educated and opinionated, more clever than smart, sarcastic and forthright. He writes intuitively - often disregarding rules of composition. Comment on his posts - he will likely respond with characteristic humor or genuine empathy. He is the real-deal.

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The Passion of Gun Lovers and Pit Bulls

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Gun lovers can sure be passionate.  We might have used the word fanatical – but that word has negative connotations.  Is it possible to be passionate about guns and not be fanatical?  Yes.  Is it possible to be passionate about anything and not be fanatical?  Yes.  I wrote a post last week titled The Phenomenon of Modern Guns.  That post instigated a healthy debate by gun lovers – and leads directly to this diatribe of values examination.

Some of the comments on the last post were understanding of my concern – if not in agreement.  Some tried to be polite by suggesting that I am just a ‘scared old geezer.’  But most of the comments came from fanatical gun lovers who are scared to death of life; people who only feel secure when in possession of their assault rifles.  This ‘old geezer’ is scared of a mentality that uses guns to feel power and control.  I am not at all afraid of the folks who enjoy participating in shooting competitions.  I have participated in those events myself.  While I was never more than a seasonal shooter – some of the folks win all of the competitions because they thoroughly enjoy the sport – and to be clear – shooting competition is great sport.  So what is the problem?

Personal Background of the Author:

After retiring from a career in information systems and finance, I took a job that required I teach life skills to parolees at a State Prison.  In three years I worked with about 1,200 convicted felons, out on parole with the stipulation that they complete my class.  My experience led me to believe that most convicted felons are regular folks, convicted of non violent crimes – like failure to pay child support, fraud with bad checks, and possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia.  Some, perhaps 5%, were serious criminals who should never have been on parole.  In those three years I learned to recognize the difference between a prison tattoo and one applied by a licensed artisan.  Most of my ‘clients’ were humbled by their life experience and wanted to learn how to live life without legal troubles. In my opinion we could probably reduce our prison population by about 70% and the world would be no less safe.

I learned to recognize the folks who were interested in changing their life and those who attended class merely to satisfy their parole stipulation.  Those hardened folks, hardened by an unfair world, would come to class late, strut their stuff, sit in the back, slouch in their chairs, not participate, and occasionally grumble about the bullshit of the instructor.  My view was that they were desperate to show that I could not control them.  I was authorized to discharge anyone who did not cooperate – and discharge meant they would immediately return to prison to finish their sentence.  Over time I developed an interactive style, leading directly to the class discussing how they might approach life  differently – I became the moderator of the discussions.  The hard cases would listen and talk with their peers – but they wanted nothing to do with me – a representative of the system that had wronged them.  No student was ever discharged from my class.  And most of the ‘hard’ folks left with thank you’s to me for not making the problem worse by unneeded exercise of power.

One evening in class a cell phone rang.  (Cell phones were not allowed in the building).  The student raised his hand and said to me, “Hold on a minute.” Then he answered his cell phone and explained to the caller that he was in class and could not talk.  He thought he was being polite by raising his hand before answering the phone.  I said nothing because his peers dressed him down for his inconsideration.  There are people in this world who have never been taught basic manners and politeness.  There are people in this world who have no idea what it means to follow simple rules.  They are not bad or wicked or evil – they just do not know how to behave in civilized society.

In a nutshell, here is the way the system works.  A person commits a crime and is caught.  The commission of a crime is a disregard for the rules – the punishment is being placed in an environment with very strict rules.  The attempt to gain control of life is punished by loss of control.

Which leads us to the problem:

The problem is one of power and control.  You folks out there who are passionate about shooting as sport are correct – it is not about the guns.  Assault rifles and Pit Bulls get a bad rap because of their owners.  The Dog Whisperer on National Geographic Television says Pit Bulls are good dogs, but they require discipline by their owner.  That is true with modern weapons of individual destruction.

We watch the news and are offended by reports of another mass murder at a school or a nursing home or a place of business.  Invariably the shooter is a person who has lost some control of their life and are desperate to be back in control, and they love their guns.  The fanatical gun owner lives a life around his guns.  He fantasizes about the day a burglar comes into his home.  He has worked out all of the scenarios, which window or door the burglar uses for entry – the clear shot with his AK-47 that brings justice to the neighborhood.  The praise from his neighbors for protecting all of them.  On his drive home from the shooting range he fantasizes about passing a grocery store or bank that is being robbed – but the Lone Ranger is there with his handy assault rifle to rescue the day.  Does the hero wear a mask, ride a silver horse, and have a minority person as a subordinate side kick?  Are his bullets solid silver, or just silver jacketed?

Pit Bulls and gun owners are very similar – give them a hard life and they will strike out at anything around them.

When I went to the local shooting range last summer, as reported in the previous post, I saw people with that obvious prison strut and prison tattoos.  They were well armed.  Some of these folks may not have been to prison – but they have purchased their ticket.  They were not people who participate in organized shooting competitions.  Their guns cost more than the car they drove to the range.  I watched a bare chested man shoot off six rounds from his semi-automatic pistol – he flinched at every bang.  Then he turned to his friends and strutted back to the bench, proud of his meager achievement.

Most cities in America have passed ordinances specifically identifying and regulating the ownership of Pit Bulls.  Why?  They must not have called the Dog Whisperer.  Legislators know that they cannot legislate every conceivable treatment of dogs by owners – but they can identify dangerous dogs.  The responsible Pit Bull owner suffers because of the wackos who abuse the dogs.  That is the same with guns – like it or not.  As a civilized society we will not tolerate anything that represents a threat to our civility.  And that is the way it should be.

We are fortunate to live in America.  A person cannot be arrested for fantasizing.  A person cannot be arrested for what he or she might do – only for what they have done.  The debate about guns in America only began about forty years ago.  For two hundred years the people in this country got along fine by simply acknowledging the 2nd Amendment.  Then the weapons became much more advanced – much more dangerous.

Critics of this writer suggested that my deer rifles were invented for military purposes.  They argue that the new assault rifles are no different than my 1935 Remington bolt action .30-06.  Pit Bull owners argue that their dogs are no more dangerous than any other breed.  The difference between the Pit Bull argument and the ‘bearing of arms’ argument is in the advancement of technology.  The Pit Bull defense actually makes more sense.  It is not a stretch to argue that hand grenades are merely a form of arms to be used in home protection.  I have always lived in a two story house – with the bedrooms on the second floor.  It would be very easy to toss a hand grenade down the stairs to welcome unsuspecting burglars.  Is that a reasonable argument?  Does ‘bearing arms’ only apply to projectiles from steel barrels?  If so, then perhaps all homes should be outfitted with Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs).  This argument is no less absurd than the argument for civilian possession of assault weapons. The 2nd Amendment does not specifically reference particular ‘arms.’

The problem is one of advancing technology.  What about ‘smart bullets’ that know to penetrate body armor before exploding?  Should every invention of military assault be available to the general public? What are the limits of ‘the right to bear arms?’  Will I return to the shooting range after another twenty year sabbatical to find people shooting their laser guns and photon rays?

When you fanatics write comments on this post, be sure to include your daily fantasies of heroism.  These stories might be very entertaining.

Most of the pictures in this post were found at armedamerica.org and Google images.

If one is interested in some crazy fanatacism then click here, or here.

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There Are 13 Responses So Far. »

  1. Thank you for an excellent analogy! To take it a step further, if I use my pit bull for home defense, does it then become protected under the 2nd Amendment?

    The problem has always been the technology. How many people, including the Supreme Court, stop to think that the “arms” referred to by our founders were muzzle loaded rifles that a good sharpshooter could fire and reload a whopping TWICE per minute? Or take into consideration that under British law – ie. the law of the land prior to the Revolution – no one was authorized to own guns except for peers of the realm, who were expected to maintain that militia mentioned. British gun laws didn’t take into account the various hostiles (people and animals) that colonials faced.

    My current favorite “lack of context” issue is the conservative’s “The Constitution doesn’t guarantee a right to health care”. Yeah, right, as if health care existed in the late 18th century.

  2. “The problem is one of advancing technology. What about ’smart bullets’ that know to penetrate body armor before exploding? Should every invention of military assault be available to the general public? What are the limits of ‘the right to bear arms?’”

    The limit was already set in 1986 and 1968: Unless you go through the governments onerous process, no full-autos, no short barreled rifles, no sawed-off shotguns, nothing over .50 caliber, no guns that look like non-gun objects (cellphones, briefcase, pens), no suppressors, no grenades, no rockets, no armor piercing ammo, and no mortars. And when they invent photon lasers and smart bullets, rest assured the government will restrict those as well.

    The government always takes, never gives.

  3. So Gerald, it sounds like you are unhappy that you cannot have mortars or grenades for home protection. And it is curious that you seem to be unhappy that you cannot have a gun masked as a cell phone.

  4. I may not like military style rifles, but many do, and I have no more right to say they cannot enjoy an AR15 or black plastic rifle as I can enjoy my Remington shotgun. The technology has not changed much since center fire was invented many years ago. The ballistics has improved and the powder is much better and less explosive than black powder.

    So what is the problem with shooters practicing with civilian military style rifles? I read your screed and it failed to delineate why theses guns bothered you so much other than a style you are not comfortable with. If I do not like black plastic rifles and I do not; I won’t buy them. But if my son or husband wants them, my sense of style does not impose on theirs.

    Many hunters love their particular rifle for their sport or skeet and trap shooters have their expensive shotgun. But those folks only support their guns, not all types of guns. Many who believe in gun rights not just gun use, call those types FUDDS. Those rifles have the same killing power, as any new rifle can and often the big game rifles are much more dangerous, since they are larger calibers and have longer-range capability.

  5. Ah! I think I understand those shooters had the strut of prisoners so in your mind they are just criminals waiting to do a horrific crime and be in prison. Am I right?

    “ I saw people with that obvious prison strut and prison tattoos. They were well armed. Some of these folks may not have been to prison – but they have purchased their ticket.”

    If so, you sure do stereotype. It comes off bigoted. I am sure you do not think so, but do you really think those shooters are people ready to be bad criminals?

    Maybe I have to broaden my exposure and visit some of these ranges with these weapons to get the feel for the biker vibes and gangster tattoos that you report. See if I get the same vibe. Of course I have not been contaminated by consorting with criminals and thus expect all to be like that.

    There is a problem with police and other professions that always deal mostly with the criminal class. These are the people they most see so, they tend to believe all people are like that. When that happens the person is getting burned out like a health worker in a hospital for the insane, needs a break to reset their normality sense.

    Maybe your sense of incipient criminality is correct. I cannot tell from this distant viewpoint.

  6. Incidentally I have never met a pitbull that was other than friendly. Their strength in the jaw once they clamp down it is very hard to pull it apart. I have a mixed breed Shepard and she is very loving to the family but do not allow her near a stranger since she will nip in protection. That is her breeding, to protect and I have to deal with that and protect all others from her natural instinct.

    Pit bulls were bred to fight other dogs and generally are good among people. Breed characteristics of temperament were breed into dogs for mankind’s use. Gun owner are not dogs and have all type of temperament, the difference is that humans are socialized longer that dogs.

    I watched the machine shoot videos and that looked fun but I will never be able to afford that regularly and I am glad that there exists a chance for people to shoot that stuff safely rather than in the backyard in an unsafe area.

  7. RAH – I see your point about police officers and others that deal often with the criminal element. My experience led me to believe that most of the felons are not at all dangerous – but it also shocked me at how extremely dangerous some really are.

    I worked with five murderers – or at least people convicted of murder. Only one of them scared me – the others either had legitimate remorse or were great actors. But I would not want that one person to have a gun designed to shoot many bullets a minute.

    But these convicted criminals are not the problem – the problem is with people like the Virginia Tech killer who had no criminal record and was able to purchase any weapon he wanted.

  8. “So Gerald, it sounds like you are unhappy that you cannot have mortars or grenades for home protection. And it is curious that you seem to be unhappy that you cannot have a gun masked as a cell phone.”

    I’m unhappy because I have to pay $200 in taxes and wait 3-4 months for a piece of safety equipment (a suppressor).

    Other than that, i’m just a realist.

  9. “So Gerald, it sounds like you are unhappy that you cannot have mortars or grenades for home protection. And it is curious that you seem to be unhappy that you cannot have a gun masked as a cell phone.”

    No. I’m unhappy that the government is whittling away what little freedom is left in this country, while using past whittling as precedent for future whittling. At what point will the government stop?

    Like I said, government always takes. Never gives.

  10. Another wonderful blog with great insights.

    Regarding the fantasizing, you’re spot on. These guys love to beat you over the head with their “law-abiding” status (even though any criminal can buy a gun in America, either through an FFL if they’re a misdemeanant or through a private sale if they’re a felon) while day-dreaming constantly about putting holes in someone.

    Sick stuff, glad this country has gun owners like you around who reject that nonsense.

  11. This was one of the most interesting articles on the topic that I’ve read in months, and I read quite a few.

  12. Whiskey and a biting stick did exist when the constitution was written, and I’m certain were used regularly. Health care did exist but again, the problem was in the technology noted above(and also nobody was gauranteed the right to equal health care paid for with taxes).

    Assault rifles also did not exist, so realistically they could not be written into the constitution no matter how forward thinking the writers thought they were being. Again, technology is the problem. Assault rifles and automatic weapons do exist currently, so anyone who is interested in protecting themselves is most likely not going to defend themselves with a muzzle loader, a sword, or a cannon.
    You know, muzzle loaders are much cheaper than assault rifles though, you can buy seven inexpensive muzzle loaders for the cost of a good AR-15, so as long as you have at least seven people around you could probably put up a pretty good fight against one law abiding person in their house with and assault rifle.

  13. A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

    the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

    the comma is to separate the people from the militia

    so the people get guns if they wish and i am glad, i am also glad we do not get mortars

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