And If You Did Know?

In Memory of Sharon Michele McAvoy Nichols .:. December 24, 1949 – October 10, 2005

September 17, 2004

More Guns?

Filed under: her words,social issues — mark @ 6:17 am

Yesterday I spoke with my husband about gun ownership in this country. Now that the assault weapons ban has been lifted it has become figure for me. It seems that a number of people he works with own guns. This took me aback. I have seen what guns can do to people. Working as a crime scene technician for a few years I saw the aftermath of violence up close. It is so different that what is seen in movies and television. It is not glamorous or pretty. It is sad and ugly.

As my husband was talking I saw an image of people having guns to help them feel safe in this scary and noisy world. I understand the fear. Yesterday I had to talk to my boss. He pointed out that I had missed a meeting. I felt that sinking feeling that I get when I have been caught in a mistake. I always revert to a young child in those circumstances. When I was a young child and was caught in a mistake my father would punish me, usually in a violent way. He spanked or he beat both my brother and myself. So when I get caught in a mistake my first reaction is one of fear and dread. I am afraid I will get punished before I can explain or protect myself. Since the meeting with him I have been thinking about the situation. I see that I am so afraid of mistakes that I have tried to create a world around me that is safe and secure. The truth is I cannot make the world into what I want it to be. Fear is going to happen. I cannot stop others from being themselves, nor do I want to. Being in the world is going to bring up issues. My job is to take care of me no matter what is going on out there. It is hard to be myself in the world when I want to protect me from the fear. It is hard to stay balanced when the fear can happen at any time.

Fear happens no matter what. It has always been thus. We have been trying to feel safe forever by trying to build a fortress of some sort. I know I have tried in recent years to limit my contact with the outside world so I would feel safe. I felt safe in some ways, but not others. I felt cut off and afraid that I would not see the “bad” coming. Then about 4 years ago we elected a new president. I began to see some scary things start to happen. We got attacked and then went to war. My goodness, this is scary. So I am feeling afraid more and more. I know that there is little I can do about the world situation, but I am still very afraid right now. As a result of this I need to be very gentle with myself and not try to protect me from it. I can make myself safe and not let the fear take over, it is hard but I have always been able to take care of me and I will now.

The point is that fear is a natural part of life in this world. It is a constant and always will be. Trying to protect myself from it does not work. I know that if I go out into the world I am at risk for being afraid. I am also free to enjoy the beauty and joy in the world. So in order to be available for the joy I have to be in a place that might bring up some fear. Trying to come up with ways that help me feel safe is good; trying to feel safe by putting others and myself at greater risk is foolish. I know how to use a gun; I have been through training for using one. I also know that that it takes practice, a lot of practice, to use one in a danger situation. Putting a gun in the hands of someone who does not practice constantly is a prescription for disaster. All one has to do is look at what happened to President Regan. Trained professionals, people who practice constantly, when someone tried to shoot him. Watch what happens, everyone gets disoriented and is not sure what to do. These people work at dealing with these situations, they are lost. So how well is someone, who does not practice at all, going to deal with this type of situation? Most law enforcement officials will tell you that having a gun in a danger situation often leads to death, often for the owner of the gun. So perhaps we can look at helping the world feel safe by helping people feel protected and cared for instead of trying to arm ourselves more and more.

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