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My husband grew up deep in the cowboy country of eastern Colorado, on a wheat-and-cattle farm/ranch on the high plains near the Kansas border, 15 miles from the nearest small town. His parents were warm, friendly, loving people. When I first joined their family, they were still raising their younger sons (who were in high school) and maintaining a way of life which had been in both of their families for generations. During the first years of our marriage, my husband often took leave from his service in the U.S. Navy to help out during harvest season, so we spent part of every summer with them.

In this household, guns were available as a matter of course. One of my father-in-law's proudest possessions was his father's "six shooter" pistol. He told me that his father had worked for the railroad in Horace, Kansas, and used to always wear the gun whenever he had to go into Dodge City. It wasn't quite as bad as in the days of Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, but things still got pretty rough.

During my visits to my husband's childhood home, I actually saw guns taken out for use only twice. Once was when a strange dog wandered onto the place, was offered water by the younger boys, trembled and shook, but would not drink, and then raced away across the fields. My father-in-law concluded that the animal was rabid and would have to be destroyed. The deed would have to be done while the dog's whereabouts was known and before it could spread the disease. After coming to this conclusion, my father-in-law sat quietly at the table for a few moments with a fortifying cup of coffee, then stood up with a sigh and went to fetch his gun. He turned down his sons' offers of help, climbed into the four-wheel drive vehicle, and went off to take care of a situation that, in a city, would have been relegated to an "animal control officer." He was neither happy nor excited by the prospect, but he was doing his duty to protect his family and his neighbors.

I should point out that neighbors were important in this part of the world.  Folks relied more on each other than on the far-away authorities, and there was an unwritten code of honor. One day, after a neighbor had stopped in to borrow something, my father-in-law remarked, to no one in particular, that the tool would never be seen again. In my innocent city-girl way, I asked why he would lend anything when he knew it would never be returned, and he replied, "It's neighborliness. If I help him, he'll help me. I'll need a helping hand someday. It'll even out. He's a real good helper. He just never keeps track of his tools."

The second time I saw guns used at my in-laws' home was the summer that their oldest grandchild, my daughter, was taught to use a .22 caliber rifle. Ten years old was considered the proper age to begin to learn this skill. Using a gun was a serious responsibility, the beginning of becoming an adult in this family's tradition. (My daughter was told, among other things, that a rifle shot from a safe distance away was the best method of killing a rattlesnake, if she saw one when no one else was around. A shot to the head was best, but any hit was good.)

I learned in Colorado that guns, treated respectfully and used only as a last resort, were an important part of a culture that had been foreign to me before my marriage. I do not pretend to know the motivation of any person who is both angry enough and cowardly enough to attack perfect strangers with an assault weapon, but I do not consider that person to be part of the tradition that I came to respect in cowboy country many years ago.

Originally posted to CyberLady1 on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:09 AM PDT.

Also republished by Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The victims and relatives (4+ / 0-)

    may not have quite such a Norman Rockwell view of things.

  •  Thank you. (24+ / 0-)

    it is nice every once in while to hear a calm and fitting perspective.

    Hey dumb dumbs, if tax cuts created jobs, we would have so many jobs that we would glady let the illegals come in.

    by hkorens on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 12:28:23 PM PDT

  •  What a beautiful diary. I was particularly (16+ / 0-)

    taken with this:

    If I help him, he'll help me. I'll need a helping hand someday.
    This video says everything your father-in-law knew.  It is truly beautiful:

    Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around the World

  •  Nowhere in the gun control debate (23+ / 0-)

    that I have read so far, has anyone seriously suggested that firearms of the kind you describe, are under threat.

    Good Diary, Thanks.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 12:47:09 PM PDT

  •  your father-in-law (11+ / 0-)

    sounds much like my grandfather. We all learned to use and respect a pistol, a rifle and a shotgun. I didn't much care for the shotgun. But he would certainly not think his rights were being infringed upon if he had to register his guns and was limited in what kind and how much ammunition he was allowed to purchase. It is too late for gun control, let's control the ammunition.

    If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

    by texaslucy on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 01:42:07 PM PDT

    •  I reload my own and shoot a bit (5+ / 0-)

      I'll start with my bias: there is a reason guns are controlled not ammunition.  Parts of my experience is unusual, but I think it is a good place to begin a discussion of ammunition.

      A reloading bench in the basement or shed is pretty common in rural homes.  I have one.  Trying to describe how that works and why that means I have quite a bit of ammunition after a session on the bench got far longer than I think is warranted.  So, let's just focus on how that control of ammunition might work where the cartridges are not purchased.  

      If I am going to use a gun, I am going to shoot it.  That is how one gets good enough to use it safely and effectively, which, after you weed out the head cases, is a big part of not being a dangerous jerk.  Those rifles have to be sighted in every year.  Every gun has to be shot enough that I can hit my targets reliably.  That means targets get punched, clay pigeons get busted, and ammunition gets used in quantities that often surprises non-gun owners.  There are a lot of cartridges in my ammunition closet.  Who is going to be keeping track of my use of that?

      •  probably no one. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Who is going to be keeping track of my use of that?
        and for the guy who's seriously into guns, enough so to go through the expense and trouble of loading his own, that's probably ok. so far, i've yet to hear of one these mass murderers loading their own, it's hard to do that with all those voices in your head confusing you. they can just as easily buy what they need.

        of course, i don't have to keep track of the finished product in your case, i can simply keep track of the materials and supplies you purchase, that will give me a pretty good idea of how many rounds you can crank out. if your purchases suddenly increase exponentially, that might give me cause for concern. as well, i can regulate the sales of both finished product, and materials/supplies much more easily than actually keeping track of the individual items, i can levy a huge excise tax on them, reducing the amounts you're able to afford.

        •  Actually, purchase of a bunch of reloading stuff (6+ / 0-)

          doesn't mean anything at all.  If I am going to work up loads for something I haven't been reloading, typical purchases include 3+ pounds of powder, a couple of hundred bullets (often more), etc.  That's to test the various recipes for a particular gun and cartridge, with component purchases in the smallest quantity available.  It's not evidence of an impending rampage.  

          I went to the expense and trouble of learning to reload because I acquired an antique European single shot rifle - 8x57 JR.  Cartridges for it can be ordered from Europe, but a box of 20 cost $100+ the last time I did that (a couple of decades ago).  At that price, I can't afford to shoot it enough to be sure the sights are on and to be able to rely on muscle memory to be sure the safety is properly engaged/released, etc.  There is no such thing as too much emphasis on this, competent use of a gun requires practice.  So, I got the stuff needed to reload.  Of course, once I did that, friends and relatives asked me to help them out with odd ammunition needs, and the amount of ammunition I reloaded grew a bit.  

          We come back to the essential point, the owner of any gun that is not a wall hanger should be practicing.  Putting aside the question of what to do about the monsters who walk among us (without dismissing the importance of that question), there are a lot more unintended injuries and deaths from guns in my state than there are intended ones.  You know who causes those unintended injuries and deaths: dangerous jerks who don't exhibit enough respect for their guns to store them properly and practice with them enough to be able to competently use them.  Purely from a public safety perspective, you ought to be a lot more concerned about the guy with a gun that sits in the corner unused than the guy whose monthly purchases show a bit of ammunition use - who is much more likely to have a gun safe and a lockable ammunition closet.  In fact, accepting the reality that guns will be common, the last thing public policy should be encouraging is their owners' unfamiliarity with their use.  

          As to monsters: the argument that regulating guns will not prevent all mass slaughters like our most recent example in Aurora is setting the bar too high.  Nobody bats 1000 and secretive sociopaths are a particularly difficult problem.  Not that we shouldn't try, but we shouldn't make that a necessary test for acceptance of any change in public policy.  Instead I suggest focusing on people like the guy who shot a door-to-door salesman in Florida recently - people whose murderous acts surprise no one.  That seems to me to be a problem we can solve.  This response is already too long, so let's just leave it that this is a conversation our nation needs to have.

          •  salmo, would you expand this into a diary? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Otteray Scribe, fuzzyguy, ozsea1

            Please? Your valuable perspective and calm voice deserve it.

            Texas is no Bush league! LBJ & Lady Bird, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Drew Brees. -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 08:31:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I know lots of folks (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            who reload, some who would think the world is coming to an end if their purchases were tracked and regulated, others would not give a flip. The problem is that one side thinks there should be no regulation at all. I certainly don't think this colorado shooter would have done what he did if he had to learn to reload his own ammunition and then done so before he went on his rampage. Do you?

            If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

            by texaslucy on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 11:02:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have no idea what went on in his head (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              texaslucy, fuzzyguy, Zinman

              Whatever it is that makes a guy like the shooter in Aurora kill people, I don't share.  I suspect that I am incapable of understanding.  It must be horrible to have those thoughts.  So, I can't comment about whether or not having to master reloading, and reload a couple of hundred rounds would have been sufficient to dissuade him.  If someone can get into his head and explain what would have turned his demonic obsession into a treatable condition, I am sure we would all be thankful.  I prefer to think about what would have made that a detectable condition.  Treatment would be nice, prevention should be the goal.

              Contrary to any number of assertions that Holmes' was undetectable, it turns out that he was under a doctor's care for exactly the thoughts and impulses that lead to all those deaths (  The notebook in question reportedly gives a very accurate description of the horror he planned.  Reasonable people might conclude that Holmes not only could have been detected prior to all those murders, he was seeking attention.  It seems the psychiatrist thinks the courts and the public should not know this - it's not hard to imagine why, after the fact.  We honor the doctor/patient relationship for practical reasons.  Where that relationship appears to have taken precedence over the lives and safety of all those people, that historic deference needs to be rethought.  

              •  Reasonable people (0+ / 0-)

                Might also think that if we had reasonable waiting periods and other regulations on gun ownership and sales of ammunition we might not have situations like this occurring on a way too often basis. What are your opinions on such regulations?

                If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

                by texaslucy on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 12:03:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What is the evidence? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  To the extent that large unregulated purchases of guns facilitate criminal activity, I do not think there needs to be a search for further evidence about the effectiveness of banning them.  Reading about sham buyers and their link to criminal enterprises, I think the case has been made.  

                  I think that there is evidence of a reduction in crimes of passion when a waiting period for gun purchases is imposed.  It seems to me that this argues for imposition of waiting periods for gun shows, for example.  Regulation along those lines will effectively force private sales even more underground than they are now.  I'm nevertheless willing to consider such a policy if I had more data on the frequency with which private sales, one at a time transfers from citizen to citizen, lead to criminal activity.  Transfer within a family ought to be exempted from things like a waiting period - regulation will engender opposition to no effect.  Is that sufficient?  

                  I suspect that a mandatory training program, with encouragement for routine practice at a range where there is effective supervision would be far more effective.  While obviously not mandatory, back in the 50's when I learned to shoot, the NRA did just that.  Rod and gun clubs routinely do that.  My police chief has told me he wants to see me at his range far more frequently, although the reason for that is a bit unusual.

                  I think that the monsters, people like Holmes, are unlikely to be affected one way or the other by waiting periods.  They are problems of a whole different sort.  He appears to have planned and waited for some time.  But, what evidence do we have about efficacy?  Do jurisdictions that impose waiting periods have fewer mass murders along the lines of the Aurora shooting?  Maybe the answer is yes.  Is it possible to separate the cultural aspects of those more restrictive jurisdictions from the legal hurdles to make reasonable judgements about what to do?  There have been more than enough of these to do a well reasoned analysis, but if someone did one, I am not aware of it.  In the meantime, I am leery of responses that seem on their face to avoid the problem, which is detection not deterrence.

                  What is the evidence that ammunition regulation is useful?  I think that I have made my arguments fairly clearly above.  Is it going to impact crimes of passion?  Rarely, perhaps, but I doubt it.  It doesn't take many rounds to kill the offending spouse.  Is it going to impact unintended harms from dangerous, careless jerks?  Arguably, it makes the problem worse.  Is it going to impact criminal activity?  Not at all.  Will monsters be better detected?  Maybe Holmes, but that presupposes that he would be unaware of the thresholds for detection.  Assuming that one simply registers ammunition purchase regardless of purchase volume, there would have to be some system for integrating all that data, together with some identifier like a license number to avoid confusion about which Holmes guy bought what, for example, and then total it over time to note unusual activity.  I doubt the effort would be worthwhile, to say nothing of the opposition it would generate.  I think that is why nobody does it.

                  •  arguments against any and all (0+ / 0-)

                    regulations are what I seem to be seeing in your response. Starting at the bottom the issue on regulation of ammunition, we already know that you believe it won't be effective because of reloaders, I could argue we won't know if it is effective without giving it a shot. So ignoring the effectiveness of such regulation, what are your objections.

                    Your arguments against waiting periods seems to be your personal belief that mass killers wouldn't be deterred. Any other arguments against waiting periods?

                    I am confused by your statements on a couple of occasions that seem to be saying this is a mental health detection problem rather than a gun problem. Isn't this transference of blame? And is your remedy for this issue that all our health information be available for the police to peruse at their leisure to see if we are competent to have guns. And what if the answer is no, do they then have the right to come unannounced and search our person, home and vehicle?

                    If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

                    by texaslucy on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:28:04 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Ignoring the effectiveness? And an AHA moment (0+ / 0-)

                      Effectiveness is a big deal when we discuss potential laws and rules.  It is an especially big deal if part of that change arguably would make the problems it purports to address worse.  If you want to argue that contrary to my points, controls along the lines you advocate will be effective because ..., and my objections will not actually work out the way I envision because ..., I think we might have something to discuss.  Otherwise, I am being asked a variation on, "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"  

                      It is obvious that deterrence of mass killers hasn't worked so far, if one confines oneself to data on those who carried out their plans.  That is what the list of mass killers shows with great clarity.  And, that applies to even some much larger hurdles than waiting periods.  It not my feeling, that's what the data shows.  

                      What I wondered was, is there evidence that some deterrence did work?  Was there a pool of data about those the various barriers did stop?  What I found instead was the appalling failure of US efforts to meaningfully use existing law, especially when the attention is on criminal insanity.  (Google updating the National Registry)  We already have a registry that is supposed to prevent people like Holmes and Loughner (it turns out), and a lot of other people we would probably all agree should be excluded from gun ownership, from buying weapons.  We won't fund it and states, particularly lax gun law states, won't keep it up to date so it can be useful.  It was one of those, "Well, there's your problem, right there" moments.

                      The implication of your final question is, "What about the 4th Amendment."  I am not advocating something like our response to anti-terrorism because my unsophisticated assessment of what I read about Holmes is that a notebook full of detailed descriptions of the slaughter he planned should meet any probable cause test.  In practice, this gets worked out on a case by case basis.

    •  texaslucy: there's no reason to blacken (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BobTheHappyDinosaur, fuzzyguy

      every American's future because known psychopaths (the VaTech and Aurora shooters, & IIRC the guy who took an AK-47 to a McDonald's parking lot next to a school several years ago; and then there are the DC Snipers) are not properly diagnosed, treated -- or restrained.

      The flaw is in the people who misuse tools. Deny them guns they'll turn to fertilizer and diesel oil.  Or airplanes they steal.

      Our healthcare system in this country is shameful, and our lack of a mental healthcare system in remote eyesight of reality and usefulness is shameless. All in the name of bigger corporate profits.

      On another note: THANK YOU CYBERLADY1 for this diary.  

      Texas is no Bush league! LBJ & Lady Bird, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Drew Brees. -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 08:28:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  tools (0+ / 0-)

        we license and regulate all types of tools. Cars, airplanes, nuclear weapons.

        If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

        by texaslucy on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 10:56:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  ? (0+ / 0-)
        Blacken every American's future...
        Blacksheep1--I am dense sometimes, can you explain?

        If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

        by texaslucy on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 11:07:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  when you threaten a right (0+ / 0-)

          be it the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, the right to speak your mind to the Westboro kooks, or the right to vote without paying a million dollars for the privilege, you cast a long shadow over the future of the nation and every citizen in it. Being that the 2nd Amendment does in fact say what it says, that's a particularly dark shadow and I'd purely hate to see it successfully cast.

          Texas is no Bush league! LBJ & Lady Bird, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Drew Brees. -7.50,-5.59

          by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 05:28:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's not an automatic assault rifle. (15+ / 0-)

    An automatic assault rifle is what the guys carried in vietnam. Fully automatic hold the trigger and it keeps going until it's gut empty type of rifle.

    It's a semi automatic modern rifle that was used in aurora. Used, I might add, with a novelty item that is actually substandard and introduces an amount of unreliability to the rifle. In other words, that novelty drum magazine is what caused the thing to jam.

    Furthermore, your parents-in-law used guns that were reliable and familiar to them. The guys in vietnam came back and wanted guns that they found to be reliable and familiar - thus the growing amount of ar15 rifles.

    Familiar, because the civilan grade semi-auto ar15 is the same size and shape and same safety controls as the military grade fully auto m16 that they came to know like the back of their hand. Reliable, because they already knew how to care for something like an ar15.

    Just like nobody expects your parents-in-law to dump what they have in favor of flintlocks, nobody should expect the people of today to dump what they have in favor of guns from more than a century ago. The traditions are the respect and treatment, not the item.

    •  By the way.... (11+ / 0-)

      I owned a deer rifle and a single barrel break shotgun at birth. Now, I am faced with three or four recipients of what I hand down.

      I am not going to limit myself, and thus limit my descendants, to guns from fifty years before I was born.

      Rifles, of both the deer strength and the less powerful ar15 small game strength, go to the nephews. I'm growing a handgun collection for the niece, and I'm going to have a variety of sizes and calibers in both pistol and revolver for her to try out.

      Because it's the tradition and the sentiment that will matter, not whether there are polymer frame glocks in the collection.

    •  Source for this? (0+ / 0-)
      The guys in vietnam came back and wanted guns that they found to be reliable and familiar - thus the growing amount of ar15 rifles.

      Familiar, because the civilan grade semi-auto ar15 is the same size and shape and same safety controls as the military grade fully auto m16 that they came to know like the back of their hand. Reliable, because they already knew how to care for something like an ar15.

      I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

      by Wayward Wind on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 02:08:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  a minor detail you neglected to mention: (0+ / 0-)

      those semi-auto AR-15's are fairly easily convertable into full-auto weapons. anyone with even a minimal knowledge of guns can do it. fortunately, the aurora shooter hadn't done so. same thing with the civvy version of the AK-47. the AK has an even neater aspect: the tolerances are so loose, you almost can't jam it. you can literally run a tank over it, in the mud, pull it out, give it a quick swipe with a rag, and it's good to go.

    •  so what about the guys who drove tanks? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Should they be able to have civilian versions of those?

      Praxis: Bold as Love

      by VelvetElvis on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 07:06:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Grew up with shotguns a regular part of my fall (5+ / 0-)

    and winter world in Western Kansas.  The use of them was for sport and never, never as substitutes for male virility.  Hell, my Dad, uncle, and everyone else I knew had the male identity thing taken care of by what they did for a living every day, or by what they had done in WWII.   That's my problem with the Eric Cantors and Karl Roves of the world.  They don't look or act like the men I grew up wanting to be like.  (And, by the way, I know exactly where Horace, Kansas is.)

  •  I hear the rhythms and cadence of your father in (11+ / 0-)

    law's speech through the words of your post. I can almost taste the dirt driven by a wind that has nothing to slow it down this side of Illinois.

    I like to take my kids way out there. Below is a photo from a day we went plinking. I think we're 60 miles from the Kansas/Nebraska border, 20 miles from Wyoming, 75 miles from the mountains in the background. You look at things differently when the horizon is so far away. I love the people and the land of the Colorado high plains.

    Click to see entire image.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 08:24:11 PM PDT

    •  reminds me of a joke from when I lived in Okla. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock, AnnCetera
      I can almost taste the dirt driven by a wind that has nothing to slow it down this side of Illinois.
      Q:  Why is it always so windy in Oklahoma?

      A:  Because Kansas sucks, and Texas blows.

      Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 08:29:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lovely picture (6+ / 0-)

      (particularly the enlarged version) and moving words.

      You look at things differently when the horizon is so far away.
      That rings quite true to me.

      The truth always matters.

      by texasmom on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 08:31:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm usually one to find something positive in (0+ / 0-)

      any outdoors experience, Ban Nock...but that looks like some seriously desolate and boring and flat terrain there.  The mountains in the distance are nice, but there's a whole lot of nothing in between.  Even the Mojave Desert is more interesting.  

      Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 08:34:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You'd be amazed. the slight tilts and rolls of the (9+ / 0-)

        land show you whole miles of prairie that were hidden just a little while ago. Golden Eagles and smaller raptors wait for something to eat, speed goats see you and get nervous when you are still half a mile away. When the antelope break and finally run they are the fastest thing on earth that can run further than a sprint. Ten different kinds of sage, ground nesting birds, hidden water courses from the spring run off. Arrow heads and chips from those who came before.

        I used to walk, paid by the mile, mostly in the mountains of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. But I've also walked in North Dakota, and Oklahoma. It's impossible to describe the beauty. People also say how boring the desert is, or the arctic tundra north of the Brooks Range. If one gives them a chance most places are breathtaking.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 08:53:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm with you - (6+ / 0-)

          most places grow on you if you give them the chance.  I found NW Texas desolate when I first arrived, but after 30+ years, I find it natural to see for miles in all directions.  It actually makes me vaguely agitated when vacationing if I'm surrounded by trees so tall I cannot see the sun.  

          I guess I like to see what's coming.  ;)

          The truth always matters.

          by texasmom on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 09:15:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the trees aren't the right size? ;7) nt (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            texasmom, KenBee, ban nock, Tinfoil Hat

            Church: Where Republicans worship a socialist carpenter/community organizer who healed the sick, fed the poor, denounced the rich and told people to pay their taxes, for which the ruling class caused him to be murdered by their religious base.

            by duckhunter on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 09:39:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not if they are too close (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KenBee, AnnCetera, Tinfoil Hat, duckhunter

              together to tell what direction I am facing.  A thick stand of timber makes me lose (what I thought was) my internal compass.  That bothers me.

              The truth always matters.

              by texasmom on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 09:44:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I hear you, texasmom: born & raised in Lubbock (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                texasmom, duckhunter

                can't think when I'm east of Abilene ... or south of San Angelo. There's something wrong with a sky that stops more than 30 degrees above the horizon.

                Texas is no Bush league! LBJ & Lady Bird, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Drew Brees. -7.50,-5.59

                by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 08:42:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  heard someone say of kansas that it's so flat you (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  can see for 10 miles and 25 if you stand up.

                  •  that's no joke... (0+ / 0-)

                    I did a run through NM with my dad on our motorcycles about 3 years back.  While riding through KS, I started playing a game where when I saw a grain tower off in the distance, I would just glance down and check my trip odometer and keep that number in my head - a couple of songs later on the mp3 player, we would pass said grain tower - and it would usually be about 25-30 miles from where I last checked.  

                    Parts of SD, big sections of WY, and MT are all like that too.  You can see for miles and miles.  It really changes your perspective when you are used to lots of trees and hills in the Ozarks.

        •  I'll have to write a diary about the night, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ban nock

          the motel that I stayed Limon, Colorado.  Talk about a flop house, and a flea bitten town.

          Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

          by Keith930 on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 09:59:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  This Volvo Driving Liberal Supports the RKBA...... (8+ / 0-)

      You need a bumper sticker.

      Church: Where Republicans worship a socialist carpenter/community organizer who healed the sick, fed the poor, denounced the rich and told people to pay their taxes, for which the ruling class caused him to be murdered by their religious base.

      by duckhunter on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 09:32:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Notice the bolt acton CZ and Daisy Red Rider (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc, BlackSheep1, duckhunter

        leaning against it.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 05:59:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I did. OT, talked to a Conservation Agent last... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ban nock

          the work on the mud hole has been delayed again.  I asked him what impact the drought might have on the migration and he said the full impact until next fall and/or the following.  He went on to say that they are considering an expansion to the deer season and/or adding special seasons to prevent a population collapse from starvation.  You can already kill a doe a day in nearly every county.  I don't know how much more they can do.

          I have not had my hands on a CZ but hear a lot of good things about them.  Well, there is one complaint with the new trigger guards being plastic.  How do you like yours?

          •  Wonder why so many deer? (0+ / 0-)

            Deer here are getting fewer and fewer. Not sure why but I read the same from Montana, Utah, Idaho. Less mulies. Most units here you have to draw and you might not get a tag. Maybe the age of the forests or the number of predators. They've been trying to get people to hunt bear.

            I'd think the migratory birds would be affected by the drought in their winter and summer range. (if you call bird habitat range)

            I was out canvasing this afternoon, knocked on the door of a Republican bird hunter from Missouri. We didn't talk politics much but he had lots to say about birds. Mostly he liked ducks and doves. Guy was crazy for birds, mostly used and old 16 but took his kid's youth sized 20 for doves.

            My CZ is a youth model 22, I love it, improved my off hand shooting tons. All metal. good trigger.

            How big is your personal carbon footprint?

            by ban nock on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 05:08:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  ducks and doves are about the only bird hunting (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ban nock

              left.  my dad used to do a lot of quail hunting but farming practices have taken care of them.  some pheasant near the iowa border.

              i shoot a 20 for dove.

              it's called range.  i predict an early migration.  they just aren't going to find much food when they get here either.

  •  Wonderful writing, and again... (7+ / 0-)

    I invite folks to read the 'guns chapter' in the late Joel Bageant's book 'Deer Hunting With Jesus' for a similar perspective on firearms as a necessary tool and part of rural life. In the rural South, and Appalachia, we've shared similar experiences as the writer shares.

    Branding such [gun] reality that many of us grew up with, and live, as some kind of "Norman Rockwell story" as one comment has, could be taken as a cheap shot at our experience. More likely it's a remark by a city person who makes a 911 cell phone call to delegate responsibility for looking after their family and community to someone else. What a luxury. Our rural experience and growing up with guns has little to do with this deranged California boy shooting up a bunch of strangers in suburban Colorado.

    Where I grew up in North Georgia, if a vicious or rabid animal came around, no one was waiting for your phone call to handle it for you, and often they weren't there to protect your livestock, or even your family. It was up to you and yours. Same for protecting from home invaders, if a reasonable response time mattered. Lights and noisemakers work sometimes, but guns do offer a means to stop a rabid threat, or criminal attacker.

    In my childhood, and up until the Gun Control Act of 1968, you could mail order guns from the Sears catalog, and many other sources. Yes, no background checks! While the 'gun show loophole' needs to be closed today, back then we didn't have urban psychos conducting mass shootings on innocent public citizens. We sure didn't have these things in rural communities, as you left strangers alone, back in the day when guns were not so maligned and people generally knew and cared for those around them.

    What changed? No, not gun technology--600 or 800 "rounds per second" cycle times isn't the difference--it's more crazy people. Roger Ebert's excellent column, 'We've Seen This Movie Before' gives some thinking points on that fact.

    Time we encourage more engagement with our neighbors, and more vigilance. Be willing, and capable, of coming to the aid of others. It's the old neighborly way of looking out for your community. Guns can be as much a part of saving life as of ending it. It's the crazy that's the problem.

    •  "Crazy people" who are linked to, and support, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      authorities, institutions and laws that have all the trappings of normalcy and regulation and all the veneer of legitimacy.

      The NRA.  Right-wing talk radio accusing liberals of wanting to take everyone's guns away.  Right-wing groups promoting mass hysteria around infiltration by commies and immigrants.  Network nightly news broadcasts that sensationalize community violence.  A rise in drug trafficking in both cities and rural areas, with law enforcement and military collusion.

      I don't think that what changed is a higher prevalence of "crazy people."  I think what changed is the coming-together of a bunch of complicated factors drawn squarely from the supposedly real (i.e., not crazy) world.

      That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

      by concernedamerican on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 07:23:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well put (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        concernedamerican, wonmug

        As I read the diary, I was both in agreement about rural gun use but also like, the problem isn't that rural folks own guns...the problem is that rural folks keep voting for people who insure our society is cruel, lacks a floor, and engages in endless war...which makes for a place where people do batshit things with...guns.  

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 07:45:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Beautiful diary (11+ / 0-)

    You described the world that I am closest to. All of the people that I know who have guns view them as tools and they treat them with respect. One of my friends has two children (now grown) one hunts and one doesn't. It's his daughter who is good at it and his son just could care less.

    They don't sit around and think about guns all the time, it just isn't that way. I find people who like to refer to guns as symbols of manhood silly and offensive and nine times out of ten the people who think that way are part of the anti-gun crowd. Actual gun owners just aren't the stereotypes that people want them to be.

    Years ago I was totally anti-gun. I really could not see any reason people would want to own a gun and believed the world would be better without them. I had a friend who left and went to live in Denver, when she returned she was packing and I was furious.

    I lectured, I ranted, I knew better. She told me that she had been raped while doing the laundry in her apt. complex and to my eternal shame I still went on like I was the font of wisdom. I hate myself for not realizing that the mere fact that she felt like she could protect herself gave her the courage to go out the door by herself. I didn't care.

    Later the friend I mentioned who hunted w/his daughter told me that when he was a child he accidentally shot a friend. He was blamed for years and felt horrible about himself. It was his dad's fault not his and one day he got it. He determined he would get over his feelings about guns and he would be responsible. He taught his children gun safety, he taught them to respect guns and gave them a choice.

    I understood the choice he made.

    Slowly I changed my mind. I came to realize that I had made my mind up without thinking the whole thing through. I know that if we banned guns today tomorrow they would multiply, just like everything we prohibit. The black market of guns we have now would be nothing compared to what we would reap.

    We are a nation with a long history of gun use and frankly abuse. We need to focus on the reason people do what they do and work on it. I'm not against gun regulations but it's not my call on what would be best. I believe that people who know guns best are the ones to best work that out and that isn't the NRA.

    That's my take on this subject.

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 08:50:13 PM PDT

    •  as an avid hunter of paper targets only (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, BlackSheep1, fuzzyguy

      I agree; that the NRA does not speak to or for me.  At least on the national political level, though I am looking forward to participating in their Appleseed program (rifle shooting course).

      "Hey Joe Walsh, when did you stop deadbeating your wife?"

      by wretchedhive on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 05:26:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hard to know guns better than the NRA. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      They're the gold standard for training and short-term smithing credentials.

      •  You clearly approve of them (0+ / 0-)

        I don't. I do support local NRA programs. My brother works with one in our area on training young ones. He's mostly conservative, retired military, the whole bit but even he hates what the Nat. NRA does to the political landscape.

        I wish that they weren't such a avaricious fear-mongering group because I do believe they do more harm than good.

        "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

        by high uintas on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 09:40:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They do harm only because Dems let them. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And Dems let them by adopting insane positions on gun control.  Stop that, and the NRA ceases to be a thorn in your side.  Very simple.

          •  Chicken and egg (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            They piss me off just as much when they do that. That's why I'm a member of RKBA. I'm not a gun owner myself as I've said, but I've seen the damage done by over zealous gun control advocates. I'm now pointing out the damage done by over zealous NRA political operatives who want power more than they want to adhere to the Constitution.

            "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

            by high uintas on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 09:49:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't harbor any illusions. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              high uintas, KVoimakas

              I don't think Dems and the NRA will become bosum buddies overnight.  Too much history.  I also don't expect for progressive gun owners to forget that history even though they find themselves in complete agreement with everything substantive the NRA has done.  On the other hand, this canard about the destruction the NRA is doing to the Constitution also needs to drop.  For two reasons:

              1. It's apocalyptic hyperbole more typical of the right than the left, and it doesn't suit us, and
              2. The NRA is, for better or worse, the premier gun rights organization in the United States.

              The first point concerns our temperament and essentially sanity.  The second restates the political reality, and is even more important.  There is no better organized movement for gun rights now or on the horizon.  Democrats should understand this dynamic well.  We deal with flawed icons in our own family that we can't simply toss over the side.  I imagine the same condition exists when we look at other social movements.

  •  BUT this does nothing but solidify the point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rodentrancher, concernedamerican

    that many gun control advocates hold.  The U.S. is composed of many different types of communities.  While it should be necessary to demonstrate some sort of minimum capability with firearms in any community, it makes no sense to suggest that one size fits all when it comes to control.  

    The NRA advocates federal control - that is federal edicts that no one shall restrict any type of gun ownership.  But just as free and unfettered gun access can be useful in some places like Colorado, this doesnt hold true for Chicago.  Why cant local municipalities restrict the type of guns it tolerates within its borders?  The NRA seeks to dramatically restrict the rights of a particularly community within the U.S. to protect itself through the control of firearm sanctions generally, thereby denying municipal control, without context.    

    •  because civil rights shouldn't be restricted based (7+ / 0-)

      on geography.

      Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

      by KVoimakas on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 09:16:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But they already are. (3+ / 0-)

        Certainly there are restrictions to rights for people that live in cities vs. those that live in sparsely populated areas.  The difference between a civil right and other "rights" is one of degree.  Surely, zoning i a right of property but it is more restricted in one place or community than another.  Remember that the "right" we are deeming "civil" here is only one that is tied to the formation of militia.  And HOW such militia are formed and practiced are certainly different for different regions.  The right to do as you wish to your own body is among our most deeply held rights, yet in some areas you are restricted from the use of alcohol while in others you are not.  (dry counties).  Communities decide all the time which "rights" it will allow within its borders.  The ease of access to guns should be no different.

        •  And I have a problem with that as well. (0+ / 0-)

          If it's a right enshrined in the Constitution, law should be universal throughout the land when it comes to that right. It'd be great if P&I was used to incorporate against the states but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

          And no, the right to keep and bear arms isn't restricted by the formation of a militia.

          Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

          by KVoimakas on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 03:43:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But... (0+ / 0-)

            There are a very large number of people within our communities that believe it IS related to militia formation.  This is based on the context that the document itself gives.   And this is dancing around my point exactly.  Why is one interpretation better than another in this case? Why take something without context simply to justify a position one wishes to hold?    I dont personally believe it is OK to do this.  If a community has the right to restrict other rights, it too has the right on guns.  Moreover, I have trouble with the very idea of a group of people (those that wrote the constitution for instance) dictating how people 200 year later or more MUST live.  While one must approach changing the constitution with caution, there is no doubt that it was written with the idea that it could and would be changed as new information becomes available. Afterall it isnt a Holy writing, meaning these writers werent endowed with a system of government from God. Though many believe that it was divinely inspired, I dont.  In fact, I think the founders would have been appalled at the idea. So I see this as just another place where the ideals of the founders was a boo boo.  It was simply written in another time with priorities that no longer hold.  So "enshrined" is surely a word I would not use, and arguments based on such enshrinement seems to me to be a bit weak.  This is because it requires me to buy into the "God given" nature of the document - thereby invalidating the very concept that no religion should be established by the government.  This, it seems to me, establishes the religion of the constitution. Besides, we tend to ignore those enshrinements where ever it suits us anyway.  This also seems to be in direct contradiction to Scalia's interview today, where strict constructionists insist that the founders must never be wrong.  

            So as I say, it seems a good compromise to allow certain communities to limit some forms of gun ownerships and stop trying to build a one size fits all reasoning.  

            •  I'm not saying there isn't an ability to restrict (0+ / 0-)


              They aren't dictating. Hell, you can change the Constitution with an amendment.

              I'm an atheist. Enshrined in this case means:

              Preserve (a right, tradition, or idea) in a form that ensures it will be protected and respected.

              Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

              by KVoimakas on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 07:04:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  C'mon, Kyle (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        matching mole

        that is pure crap and you are smart enough to know that.

        I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

        by Wayward Wind on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 10:19:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The NRA doesn't advocate federal control. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It advocates federal preemption (or state preemption when unavailable).  For the most part, the NRA is very skeptical about supply side gun control to deal with public security and safety.  And for good reason; the advocates to the contrary know next to nothing about firearms, safety, or security.

  •  This diary is one that I can resonate with (4+ / 0-)

    on so many levels because it accords with my own personal experience. Everyone I know, more or less, owns a gun where I live. It's not even a Right-Left sort of issue here. Not fully anyways. People have guns. This is a rural area. It's filled with ranches.

    I've never known anyone to get shot, not ever. And if everyone who I know owns a gun, and none have ever been shot, I have trouble following many of the arguments made about guns because they don't follow any of my life experiences at all -- where people own guns but no one winds up getting shot. However, I've known three people who have been stabbed, all in bar fights, one who died as a result.

    I wish I could find a strong reason to not support gun ownership. I don't much care about the Constitutional part of the argument because the Constitution's frequently been something which I take issue with here and there. I can certainly support increased screenings, licensing, and how guns are purchased with more limitations.

    The rest, I get lost. Again, if I know... say... 5,000 people in my town who own at least one gun, many who own many more, and yet in my time, none have ever been shot or shot at anyone, I really have trouble understanding how the issue is guns. I see that there is a problem. That's obvious to me. But how it translates into an issue involving murder seems to me to be a fundamental societal problem which then becomes all the more messy in the minds of some warped individuals.

    I can never fully articulate my position on this, but I tipped and rec'd your diary because it makes sense to me and reflects a lot of what I know too.

    •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This is only my second posting to Daily Kos, so I still don't know much about how things work in the tipping and recommending areas.

      I agree that people who are trained and respectful of guns don't usually cause gun accidents. But in the U.S. any idiot with a chip on his/her shoulder can buy a weapon and use it in a random act of violence.

      Maybe we need to look at the Swiss model. As I understand it, a person in their "civilian army" must keep a weapon in the home. And training with that weapon, as well as physical training, must be done at specified times throughout the year. The Swiss Army is about 5% professional, and the other 95% are ordinary citizens who can be called up for duty at any time--and are fully prepared to do so. (There's a reason why nobody messes with Switzerland.)

  •  i noticed that you neglected to mention (0+ / 0-)

    the AR-15, with the 100 round drum-type magazine, hanging over the fireplace mantle. i'm sure that was an oversight.

    actually, i kid. that family had no need of anything like that. guns are tools, with a specific, deadly purpose, used only when absolutely necessary, and there are no viable alternatives. this is kind of what the authors of the second amendment had in mind, while writing it. these are the folks that the NRA started out with as members. your in-laws have no need of guns to prove their manhood, or shoot that very scary steak salesman with. clearly, your in-laws are about as unamerican as you can get, short of not owning any guns at all.

    however will you explain this to your daughter?

  •  This diary is disturbing (2+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101, CitizenKane
    Hidden by:

    First, was your dad a vet? The dog could've had something else, or nothing at all. To just assume it needed to be shot is fucking crazy.

    That's not tradition, that's just shooting something to shoot it.

    The "cowboy mentality" is a big problem, not something to look at as if a soup kitchen doing a greater service.

    Also, what's the point of killing a rattlesnake that is far away from you? Sure, I can see if it's in your car or your house, or about to bite a pet or loved one.

    Your view on animals is fucked up, and I hope you don't pass it down to your kids.

  •  Ignore Gallatin's comment (5+ / 0-)

    It's an example of the Worst of DKos trolling.

    Like, say, you posted a thoughtful essay on the importance of having a garden. Gallatin here would chime in, "But you didn't acknowledge US genocide against the Indians!"

    Non sequitur, and non-interesting.

    This diary is quite important because it zeroes in on something not many people understand: Not all of America is the same.

    When people talk about banning guns, banning handguns, confiscating firearms, restricting ownership to certain types of weapons or certain types of people, all that, they tend to think about New York City, or Los Angeles.

    But, per CyberLady, there's also Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming - ranch country - wide open spaces where keeping a gun in the truck is as normal as carrying a spare tire. They are common tools for handling varmints and such.

    And it's not like you walk across a line that demarcates "rural, normal use" from "urban, mall ninja." It's a gradual continuum. Any discussion of firearms policy has to consider this range of need and purpose.

    When I lived in a deep southern state, getting a handgun carry permit was as simple as signing your name on a slip of paper at the Sheriff's office. Now, in a metropolitan area, it requires substantial paperwork and training and all number of things that would be a problem for someone mentally ill.

    It seems that local, not federal, oversight is a better way to go in that each community can devise a framework that reflects the reality faced by its members. More density of population should require more scrutiny of fitness.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to the man. - dls

    by The Raven on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 05:13:10 AM PDT

    •  Although I wouldn't have phrased it quite so (4+ / 0-)

      bluntly the only thing that disturbed me about the diary was the rather casual discussion of the best way to kill a rattlesnake.  I suspect this represents an equally wide cultural spectrum that should be discussed in another diary.

      "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

      by matching mole on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 06:46:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very much so (0+ / 0-)

        Living in the south, you figure out real quick that most people kill rattlesnakes and it's a major waste of time to lecture them about how such creatures mean no harm and should be left alone. They're not going to change.

        Every day's another chance to stick it to the man. - dls

        by The Raven on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 07:11:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, it's really straightforward. (5+ / 0-)

        I've lived in areas where venomous snakes were common. A few points to understand:

        1) Rattlesnakes are territorial.  They also migrate between winter and summer habitats.  One source (Ohio DNR) suggests:

        The average home range sizes for timber rattlesnakes are 160 acres for males, 42 acres for barren females, and 9 acres for pregnant females.
        Other sources suggest that rattlesnakes have a range of up to 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) from their den.  So, if you encounter a rattlesnake on your rural property, it is HIGHLY unlikely that it is "just passing through."

        2) Given #1, such snakes are a persistent threat to humans and animals within the snakes' territory.  The rattlesnake I find today is the one my child, dog, or livestock is likely to encounter in the future.

        So, if your home/livestock/etc. are within 1.25 miles of a rattlesnake get the picture.

        I didn't have all those numbers when I was young, but folks in my area put it more simply back then - "if it's too close to your home or animals, kill it; if it's down in the deep woods, leave it be."

        •  don't forget distance to hospital (0+ / 0-)

          What some may not understand about living full time in a rural area is how much time passes between calling for an ambulance, the arrival of said ambulance, and medical assistance in a life-threatening situation.  The poisonous snake looking out from under your porch is a serious threat to the lives of your family...and the snake fully intends to follow it's instinct and breed right there in the crawl space under your house.
          Pregnant copperheads just aren't going to be more important to protect than your own little children for most sane people.

      •  Said so much better than I (0+ / 0-)

        Exactly, I think you have hit it.

  •  Rural experience with guns vs. urban (4+ / 0-)

    As the diarist eloquently points out, guns are part of the background for country people. In the country, a gun is just a tool, a means of dealing with dangerous pests, or perhaps a way of putting a little extra food on the table.

    Whereas city people are quite likely to come in contact with firearms only when they're stuck in their face during a mugging. It makes perfect sense that the prevailing views on guns, and gun control, are radically different in urban and rural areas.

    If people on both sides of the gun control debate could keep this in mind, perhaps we could have somewhat more rational discussions about the topic.

  •  Military ordinance at home is not traditional (3+ / 0-)

    The insistence that civilians should have the right to own 100 round magazines is new and radical.

    •  VelvetElvis: don't assume (0+ / 0-)

      'cause it sure as hell IS traditional in some countries where you don't have the kind of incidents we have ...

      there's never been a Columbine or Waco or Ruby Ridge or Aurora in a nation where by law everyone is a member of the militia required to have and annually requalify with a proper military weapon at home. The Swiss and Israelis, therefore, must be doing something right.

      Texas is no Bush league! LBJ & Lady Bird, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Drew Brees. -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 08:48:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Difference=the "hidden" NRA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Grew up in the same environment. My Dad and Husband hunted, and as a teacher I co-taught hunter safety.

    The idea that someone would need or want an assault weapon to hunt or "defend oneself" was invented by the gun dealers behind the NRA to make money, pure and simple. The idea that Obama was planning to take away guns made them billions.

    In Northern Michigan there are whole compounds of folks convinced that the government is horribly evil and they must learn to survive when Armeggedon comes.

  •  yes and no, good and bad (0+ / 0-)

    I like this diary and think it makes a good point about the protocols of rural gun culture.  But there ain't no history in it.  Though a couple of historians have argued (VERY wrongheadedly) that the Old West was not particularly violent, it was.  Cowboys ... most of them out of Texas, filtering north into the Plains States and Rocky Mtn. states with the herds ... were prone to violence.  Homicide and "self-defense" killings per 100,000 were astonishingly high.  Lynching rates in the so-called "lynching belt" of TX, NM, AZ, CO, WY, MT were higher in the late 19th c. than lynching rates in the south.

    Arms manufacturers used the idea that guns "won" the West to sell their product in the late 19th and early 20th c.  I guess they still do.  They ignore the fact that the gun culture of the West created tens of thousands of needless deaths ... deaths in "self-defense" killings and homicides.  Kilings of Indians (in CA, settlers really did pursue genocide).  Deaths of animals ... like the buffalo ... many of them shot for nothing but hides, or for nothing at all.  Except "sport."

    In the early 20th c., one state after another, along with major towns, passed gun control laws.  They also often went dry, gave women the vote, abolished lynchings.  They reacted against the needless violence of the cowboy culture.

    I think the gun culture to which this author refers is actually more typical of farming culture than cowboy culture, though the two get conflated today.

    They get conflated, sadly, because farmers, esp. in the West, now think of themselves as heirs to cowboys.  And hence they oppose gun control laws.  Rural areas throughout the West are the obstacle to gun control laws.  So, yes, they may use guns responsibly, but this idea of the greatness of guns makes them completely irrational and irresponsible voters viz. gun control.

  •  also .. about "angry and cowardly" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    This is my impulse, too ... I mean, that orange-haired man makes me sick.  But I must catch myself.  We all must catch ourselves.  If he was indeed schizophrenic, is now looks to be the case, he was not living in same world with us.  He was living in a world of paranoid delusions (I know all about these because my mother was schizophrenic).  Perhaps many of these guys who go back to the office and blow away a few people ARE angry and cowardly.  Even then, they are human.  And as for schizophrenics ... anger and cowardice have NOTHING to do with it.  We need to provide FAR better treatment--esp. followup--for these people.  Far far too many of them end up on the streets or in jails, or, like this guy, apparently, in a movie theater killing people.  Most schizophrenics are NOT a threat to others, but a few are, and we need to do much better at making that determination before bad stuff happens.

  •  The NRA is fringe (1+ / 0-)
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    I grew up with guns in Pennsylvania, took the NRA safety course when I was in my young teens and lettered on my high school rifle team.
    Like most gun owners, I am not a member of the NRA and I do not hold with its radical positions. A little over 4 million people are in the NRA and there are about 50 million gun households in the U.S.
    But to read most press coverage of gun issues, all gun owners are stereotyped into the NRA's position. That's really not surprising because the press is incredibly dumb about firearms -- 99 out of 100 news stories are filled with technical errors.
    I think most gun owners are protective of the right to bear arms, but there is little solidarity with those who demand unlimited magazine capacity, no waiting period or private gun show sales that receive no background check.
    Responsible gun owners will put up with the inconvenience at the range if it keeps maniacs from spraying crowds with large-capacity magazines.
    But the NRA's strength far exceeds its numbers when it comes to Congress. The firearms and ammo industries shower them with money because it's good for sales, and devoted NRA members can swing close elections.
    So gun laws are dictated by a very small minority of gun owners, to say nothing of those living in the other 50 percent of households that do not have guns.

  •  I grew up in rural Iowa...Hunting for the table. (1+ / 0-)
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    You will likely not find anyone more liberal/progressive in their political thought than me.  I fervently want universal healthcare for all.  I fervently want a more progressive income tax system.  I fervently wish for no human being in our country to lack food, clothing, shelter and healthcare.  If we wish to be considered a civilized country, we should do no less.

    Now that I have presented my bonafides, let me just say that I am a fervent supporter of the Second Amendment.

    I own firearms.  I seldom use them.  I still do occasional deer hunting...Thinning Bambi via hunting since Bambi has so few natural predators insures the health of the greater  Bambi population.  I also own two pistols, one of which is in a locked box at my bedside.

    I would suggest that no honest, law abiding American should be denied the right of weapon ownership.  By all means, it would be prudent to modify such laws as those that allow anyone to buy a gun at a gun show, but with proper documentation and background checks, Any law abiding American should have the right of weapon ownership.

    The true answer to tragedies such as the recent one in Colorado is expanding mental health services, working to remove the stigma of seeking mental health treatment and re-opening of mental health facilities.  Say what you like, but only supremely sick minded, mentally ill people commit violent atrocities.  Let us not penalize honest, responsible citizens in our fervor to solve a problem that at its heart is a mental health management problem.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

    by Randolph the red nosed reindeer on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 03:30:51 PM PDT

  •  A firearm on a farm is like a valuble tool in your (1+ / 0-)
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    tool chest.  You don't need it or use it all of the time and just "for fun" unless you are into competition, and, of course, keeping up your skill set, but when you do, it will get the job done of protecting your livestock from predators.

    “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    by LamontCranston on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 03:33:34 PM PDT

    •  Bullshit. (0+ / 0-)

      There are numerous, and successful non-lethal methods that ranchers use these days.

      Shooting animals that "irk" you is part of the culture of death that permeates this country.

      Sorry, but you can't be lax about ending anything's life, and then expect it not to overflow towards people's lives.

  •  It takes far more skill, thought, and courage (0+ / 0-)

    to deal with situations without shooting something.

    This belief that "y'up, we dun got to go and shoot that thang" is pure nonsense, and a leftover urge from when we pioneered this country and needed to hunt and trap or to fend off those foxes from our chickens or we'd starve.
    That's not the case today.

    Time to grow up and learn to solve problems with your mind, and not a bullet.

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