Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Why Chris carries a gun... and so do I

So a couple of weeks ago my oldest brother was visiting my parents where they live in rural AZ. Chris and I drove out there because David was the only immediate family member who had not yet seen Chris and "passed judgment". His only complaint? He didn't see why Chris has to carry a gun, particularly openly.

Now I love my brother, but I don't see why this is an issue. Plus, he works in and lives outside of Dallas, you'd think he'd be used to people carrying by now.

But anyway, I was trying to explain to him in an IM conversation why exactly Chris carries. I could have sent him the link to Why I Carry a Gun but I know all of the talk about being a man would not sway him. But there is one thing that could...

Anyway, this is the letter I sent my brother. So to all of you who wonder why in the world Chris carrying doesn't bother me...

Dear David,

I know we were raised to be pacifists. God knows our living grandparents abhor violence and raised their children to, and Mom does as well. But do you know why?

Grandma's mother endured enough domestic violence that her own doctor, in a time where it wasn't acceptable, told her to leave her husband because otherwise he would kill her. She did, taking one child and leaving the other with her sister. Grandma witnessed all of this and to this day can't watch anything violent. As we all know Grandpa is probably one of the most mild people on the planet; between the two of them Dad learned to hate violence as well.

Mom watched domestic violence and sexual abuse within her own family, though not done to her... she also hates violence, and there was a reason I at least never met our maternal grandparents. I've been to the graves (as have you), but that's it.

But when Chris and John bought me a revolver for my birthday, neither Dad nor Mom objected. And when I was carrying it openly on my belt this weekend, neither objected. Why?

Because not everyone in this world is one of us. Our family as a whole is full of mild people who would never hurt anyone unless they had to. We're all law-abiding, religious people who definitely believe in turning the other cheek, almost to a fault. Not everyone is like that.

Chris carries a gun because he has all too much experience with people who don't care about laws, who are out to hurt other people. He carries not only to protect himself, but to protect the people around him. Self-defense laws in AZ are pretty simple; if someone is trying to kill someone else, a witness to the attempted murder can shoot and kill the attempted murderer and fall under self-defense. Sometimes it's not possible to call the police, and even when it is the response time is still enough time for plenty to happen. A person who carries can prevent tragedy during that time and does not have to depend on anyone to come to their rescue. Most of the time though, the mere presence of a firearm is enough to prevent trouble. A firearm is the great equalizer; it doesn't matter how big or strong you are, or how big or strong your attacker is, you have an advantage. Those people who are out to hurt others generally can't stand the pain themselves; if they can see you are armed, 90% of the time you will be left alone. A firearm is handy in a crisis, but is even better as a preventative measure. Chris carries because he knows this, and so he is always prepared. Once a boy scout, always a boy scout.

So why doesn't it bother me? Well, first of all, because I know Chris. He is protective of me and the kids, he considers our safety to be his responsibility. He and John have both gone through great pains to arm me and teach me how to defend myself. I know how to handle every firearm in this house, especially my own and Chris's handguns. I know what to do if I am ever in a threatening situation, particularly if I am by myself. People have asked me how I could not be afraid of someone who is constantly armed. It's simple. I know why he's armed, and if he ever intended to harm me, why would his first gift to me be a firearm for my own use?

Of course this entire time I've been talking about preventing problems that will most likely never occur. I will most likely never be in a life threatening situation, and most likely will not be randomly victimized. Carrying a firearm openly increases the chances that nothing will ever happen, as it happens to be a great deterrent.

But why have I recently started carrying my revolver? Well, besides the fact that I have become completely comfortable with it, and I need to start carrying so I am comfortable when I get my concealed carry permit.

I am sure you know by now how touchy the custody dispute has gotten. If you haven't heard yet, I am sure you will hear about it from Mom soon. We all know my former in-laws don't particularly have a respect for the law or for my safety, and while I have never been physically abused, I have certainly been threatened credibly. They want the kids at all costs, and that cost may be my safety.

So I have started carrying openly, like Chris, because I know that as long as I have the kids I am possibly in danger. The revolver I carry is a great deterrent, particularly since thanks to Mom, they know I have one and know how to use it. Now, just like Chris, I carry in order to defend the kids and myself. When he carries, he carries to defend all of us. He is attached to those kids like they were his own; he will not let anything happen to them or me.

Once this whole situation is resolved I will most likely start carrying concealed so I don't scare our family members like I scared our aunt this weekend (though within 3 hours of my leaving I'm sure she understood why). Until then I need to be armed, just in case.

I hope you understand now why it doesn't bother me that Chris carries a gun, and why I have started. Not everyone is one of us, and not everyone treasures peace.

Your sister,


Just call me Mel, everyone else does.