The problem is not the availability of guns, it is the availability of morons.
~ Antonio Meloni
I’ve been told I should own a gun, I should learn to defend myself if the need presents itself. You hear so many quotes from the ‘pro-packing’ people defending their Second Amendment right to bear arms. It’s not that I care if people want to acquire and hold weapons, I’m just not sure that I even want to connect to that part of defeatist reality culture.
Like today, headline, “Grandmother Shoots Her 7 Year Old Grandson By Accident” – sad sad sad. Hard to know what was in her head other than perhaps she fixated on someone breaking in and had to hurry to defend herself. She had called police many times in past thinking an intruder was near and in her haste, shot her own flesh and blood. That would leave me devastated beyond a Hellish planet of grief, even without charges. I would never be whole again. Though parts of me seem to be missing and falling off anyway…
I drove over to Gander Mountain to look at the Gun department. Guns were presented en mass before me, rows and rows of cold steel: long, short barreled, huge caliber, small, big, pink handled, designer fancy and basic. Cases and cases of death merchants exposed, lying on their sides waiting for the human touch to activate and the cost wasn’t cheap either figuratively or literally looking through price tags.
Eddie became the “White Rabbit” though nothing rude about him as we gently made our way through an area I would not otherwise traverse. He was a not pushy, not heave -ho, he was there slow feeding me gun powder pabulum, with lots of valid information. Getting behind the sea of machinery, as each wave brought more and more info and questions back and forth. He described and showed the difference between pistol and revolver, how a longer barrel could be more stabling than the small little “purse guns”. He talked about gun safety, stance, showed me gun protectors, safes, all manner of related items. I told him I had never shot a gun before and he smiled and told me to come with him through a hallway. Eddie took me back into Gander Mountain’s private gun ranges. They have an “Academy”, a virtual range and a real one. He led the way into the virtual one. It was like being with a calm Circus Barker on an empty side show stage, no one else inside, the quiet and serenity of the booths held no anxiety as he pushed responsible gun usage.
Buttons were pushed and targets went back and forth in different lengths, the green circles with varying Dante degrees could be modified to represent a head and shoulders. A Glock was placed on the shelf. Eddie picked it up and wrapped his large hands around it gripping it sincerely, well thought out, maybe lovingly(?) while explaining it had been modified to have a cartridge simulating a bullet and noise. He handed me the gun, I swallowed knowing Alice had gone down the hole now and had swallowed what was in the “Eat Me” jar. Abbe felt rather small and kind of shaky. Eddie reassured me and showed me how to fashion my hands around the grip for recoil and stability. Most importantly explaining how to line up the little notch at the tip to the target and go for it. I blasted away. I grew big, drinking in the fun, I’m in a video world – it was easy, I shot my assailant dead. He corrected my stance explaining how I should stand in different situations if right or left-handed. The act itself was simple for the faux reality it was. You can blast away for $25 a half an hour or come to Ladies nights on Thursdays from 6-9pm for $12.50 and play bang bang with the girls. They have two women’s groups meeting once a month with all levels of gun experience from none to heavy-duty. It even went so far as Eddie opening other doors along the hallway which seemed like a march into infinity with private rooms with private ranges. One room had a three life sized screens in a row and you could program nature or situations in a cinema-like reality scenerios. Then onto a room with 5 giant screens with actual life situations to see how you react and shoot from all angles. Did you kill or wound the bad guy or was that person reaching for their cell phone and not a gun? Reaction time was key. Eddie had morphed into the caterpillar atop the mushroom speaking about feeling big and small, brave or cowardly, it’s all where you bite into the mushroom. I wondered if Hunter S. Thompson would have enjoyed these virtual ranges, but he probably just shot at his walls for fun when starved for pleasure. He loved his weaponry and booze and drugs which enhanced his everyday world while he was alive – and we loved his demons.
It was all too Parker Brothers easy, a game like many play on computers nowadays. Then, suddenly Alice grew small again with overwhelming anxiety thinking how in that virtual, dark cave, I was slow and deliberate. In reality it would be something else, hurrying to thwart my attacker, the body saturated by adrenalin ready for action! Taking into account the wounding or death that clings to it and rots. A gun in my hands might be useless as I pondered on about what to do, I would be toast. Maybe you only know what to do when the situation is right before you.
Was it Jewish guilt? OY! I don’t want to ever harm an animal with a bullet – I don’t eat any red meat and only have chicken or fish once every couple of weeks, (could it be my mind wields thoughts while being on a protein deficit diet ?) With fishing, anything I catch goes back into the water, “live long and prosper,” I borrow from Gene Roddenberry while releasing aquatic, scaled, slimy souls back into the water. If I’m dining at Red Lobster, I put my head in the opposite direction not to see those pathetic, banded lobsters cloistered in the tank. , I don’t want to know my food — it would be nothing to live without having to kill something for food if I had too. Though I’m not below killing cockroaches if they visit inside nor squashing mosquitoes and red ants who dare draw blood without hesitation, but killing ‘someone’ is a whole nother realm to this thick, complicated reality. It would test my conscience, I would re-live the circumstances over and over even if totally cleared of all charges that is was self defense. “What if”, God forbid one of my kids walked in or “what if” I missed while shooting and and one of my precious ‘grandmonkeys’ was harmed? I could never live with myself, turn that gun on me and put me out of my misery. My brain is wired for thinking and over thinking and analyzing many situations as it is, maybe it’s not a big Einstein brain, but it’s switched on and even sleep in abbesworld is almost virtual too. Everything collapses into chaos if I dare try to close my eyes when not exhausted, too much too much too much on the mind about this or that, future, past, present. I accept my fate of living in a perpetual brain drain.
All my friends who are gun owners are living bi-polar states, some are gung-ho over the top waiting for someone to dare invade their space, in the meantime some of them shoot targets, skeet, animals to prove their almost campy bravado while honing their skills, thoroughly at peace with what they can destroy or might destroy! Some always watching local and national news as the violence unfolds, the paranoia washes over with the politics convincing some their gun rights will be diminished soon and a few stockpile weapons and bullets while waiting for the socialist, police state, “Obama” overreach revolution to arise any day now. I hear the talk as many let it be known they own multiple firearms and are within fast reach of both car and home, so don’t fuck with them if you mean to do them harm and don’t get in the way of their target. Others I know keep a much lower profile, not discussing, reticent, not wanting to think about having to be ‘boy scout’ prepared, but they are all realists – both camps take it seriously, they know how it works. Florida is a “Stand Your Ground” state, you find someone on your property or in your personal space, BANG BANG, go right ahead, mostly the law is behind the shooter in these cases, though it has been proven to be a bit flawed for sure. (It breaks down to how much you pay for a lawyer, or what lawyer chooses you for “cause celebre”.) My relatives who own guns encourage responsible ownership, making sure to know the basics and beyond, but in my mind, I live in abbesworld, it’s so delightful that it seems wrong to have to contemplate death and destruction of the body and spirit. But they continue pressing for taking the steps to secure the homestead.
I can remember my ex husband and his “Glocks” — he had stashes of bullets, he would occasionally take them out with someone to go shoot at a range, not playing much real emphasis on it. I picked the guns up a few times, but didn’t find them appealing in any way, shape or form, was glad to finally have both he and the weapons gone after he left for “greener pastures”. And as I stood before Gander Mountain’s vast inventory, I was wishing for a world of greener pastures though that’s my thwarted reality of living in the ‘ideal’ world. I thought of the Cheshire cat sitting on his limb saying the whole world was mad, even me!
Guns looked so delinquent like vested mercenaries you keep around as a lonely, desperate, cold hearted companion.
I think of my son saying, ” hopefully you would never have to use it, but just in case.” That ‘just in case’ are a monolithic linking of words, words that could be the regret for a lifetime for not defending oneself or regret for having defended. “What if- What if”
Abbesworld had grown a bit pale. It was too much to think about, I tend to shut down when presented with too many options doing nothing is easier than the application of many things that need attending too. Let a time-warp, black hole vacuum suck up the immediate things that have to be done and tuck it away in some wormhole for another day. I love putting things off.
So I ran to the opposite side of the store and disappeared amongst the forest shade of many colored kayaks standing upright. Arcs and arcs of fishing rods rising overhead basking in the window light, some much longer than others. Rods and reels, enough fishing line to pull all the continents together a couple times over. So many plastic boxes, hooks and hooks and hooks while basking in the neon color of baits and lures, and jigs, fake shrimp, shiners, as petroleum coated brightly skinned worms advertised their means to entice fish with scents behind bold print. I felt safer over in this part of the store, a reminder of my life that is simplistic.
I got out of Gander Mountain paying $2.12 for worms, but paid a much higher price in thought. I traveled back home and wondered how you wind down from thinking any minute someone can shatter your world. It almost seemed once you own or contemplate handling a gun and go through all the possibilities, your thought process changes – you look through eyes of suspicion.
Finally I quieted my head by standing on the banks of my little lake taking in the nature and water so soothing to my soul with this pseudo feeling of control over abbesworld though several times catching my wandering eyes scanning the back of my house and the neighbors, I was humming, “nowhere to run to baby, nowhere to hide” my mind churning it’s rich imagination, “what if? What if???