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View Diary: Yes, even liberals can internalize the NRA's paranoid rhetoric (316 comments)

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  •  Only once have I been "scared" enough (34+ / 0-)

    to have a gun.  It was in Iraq, in 1991, and the Ba'ath security services had placed a bounty on relief workers.  Over the course of a year, several friends were shot at and three of them killed. I bought a 9mm pistol and practiced using it.  I'm not sure what kind (Browning?) - whatever was standard issue for the Iraqi army, because that was the type one could buy in the market.  I did feel some slight sense of security carrying it, although in most circumstances it would have done very little good. For example, two armed men approached the car of an unarmed German journalist we knew, and shot her dead.  In that case, a handgun might have been useful.  Others were shot at by snipers or ambushed on the road.  A handgun would have been fairly useless for preventing the attack.  The truth is, handguns have only limited utility in either deterring attacks or responding to them, whether in Iraq or in Chicago.

    After leaving Iraq I remember how strange it felt, but also how good it felt, to reach for my wallet and my keys in the morning, but not also reach for my handgun.  I do not see why people who love guns would actually like the sensation of having to carry one.  It seems to me distorted, sort of magical thinking, an illusory sense of power. A gun is a tool - sometimes you need one.  But the paranoid sense of having to carry one daily in the US, unless you are a drug dealer or a policeman, is weird to me. The need to carry one is sad, but sometimes necessary.  The desire to carry one seems to me something sort of ugly.  I am not for banning handguns, but the love of guns and the fetishism on the part of collectors is something that is frankly creepy, and that I do not understand.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 12:08:51 AM PDT

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    •  Thanks for relating this excellent point (11+ / 0-)

      You mean a gun isn't a shield?! Well, knock me over with a feather!

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 02:53:11 AM PDT

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    •  I've only felt the need to have a gun in (8+ / 0-)

      my presence for security against humans once.

      It was when I had to collect a large cash money order at a Western Union in the southwest corner of Uganda. In nearby Goma (DRC, arguably the most blighted city in Africa), a volcano eruption had created chaos and the Western Union was filled with refugees also collecting money wires.

      My personal space during the transaction was limited at best. Some guy's chin was practically resting on my shoulder. The jerk giving me the money made a point of counting it out loud for everyone to hear.

      We had a three hour drive back to the remote town we were staying in (work related) and my driver was convinced that we were going to get hijacked along the way. He insisted we hire an armed guard for the trip.

      The guard looked about 16 but his AK47 looked 40.

      About half way back, my driver plowed over a rooster in the road. I didn't for a second believe he hadn't seen it. The whole village was there watching it strut drunkenly around. And the whole village was NOT happy that it was now dead.

      We could have kept driving and taken our chances that they wouldn't let some village up the road know but rules are rules. Kill livestock with your car, pay for the livestock.

      Anyway, about 30 panga wielding villagers came running up to the car, furious. I'll never forget how their expressions changed when they got a load of the kid with the AK in the front seat. We overpaid for the rooster and went on our merry way.

      I've spent time in plenty of dangerous/blighted places - Kinshasa, Dakar, Johannesburg, Ward 9/New Orleans, North Philly (total mistake. Scariest place ever. The last place you want to be driving around lost.) - and I can't imagine how a gun would have made me safer in any of them.

      Tell Warner Brothers Pictures that Rooney Mara is #NotYourTigerLily.

      by ExpatGirl on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 07:13:14 AM PDT

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      •  Goma (0+ / 0-)

        Didn't read this until just now.  Goma - what a place... with that lava flow right through the center of town.  Probably a guard did make sense - the problem being that good guards (and responsible drivers) are hard to come by.  

        Anyway, glad you made it OK.  Publicly carrying large amounts of cash in rural eastern Uganda, at that time in particular, is a little scary.

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:27:43 AM PDT

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