Gun Culture

I’m not going to get into the whole parenting issue again, or talk about the laptop shooting dad, but rather an issue that I noticed while reading the many, many comments on my blog and others.

Lots of people were completely put off by the fact that the dad shot the laptop.  A good blogging friend of mine made the comment that to her, all of the validity of his point was lost the moment that dad pulled out the gun.  Several of the other comments were along the same line, and that made me stop to think about my own reaction to the gun.

I really didn’t have one.

That got me thinking.  I don’t think I’m right and the people who were disturbed by the gun were wrong.  I just think we’re different.

Let me get one thing out in the open–I’m not one of those so-called “gun enthusiasts” who hunt ducks with automatic weapons.  I don’t know why someone needs to own an AK47 (or whatever.)  Waiting periods and background checks don’t upset me.  Hunter education and firearm safety are fine ideas as far as I’m concerned.

So no, I’m not a gun nut….er….enthusiast, but I’m also not bothered by guns.  That’s because I live in a gun culture.

I’m in southern West Virginia.  If you think West Virginians are a bunch of gun-toting rednecks in pickup trucks, well, you’d be right.  I could personally shoot a shotgun, rifle, and handgun by the time I was eleven years old.  Most of my family was the same.  I was a tomboy, but even the “girly” girls around here have probably still been exposed to guns often during their lives.  There are guns in our house, and my own son can shoot and handle them well.  It’s just something that I’ve never really thought about.

But I guess to some, the thought of living in a house with numerous firearms is very alarming.  I remember meeting a dad on one of my many trips to Bethesda with my daughter.  He was a nice man from Baltimore, and he was talking about some problems with crime they were having in a neighborhood very near to his own.  We started chatting about where we lived, and about crime, and I mentioned that I could use a handgun and sincerely hoped no one would ever break into our house.  He was surprised that I even had a gun, let alone that I knew how to shoot it.  I told him pretty much every household in our whole region had a gun in it.  He sort of sniffed, and then said in this really snotty voice, “Well, I’m glad I don’t live there.”  I just shrugged.

I thought it was odd that he had just been telling me he was afraid he was basically going to be murdered in his bed, but the thought of having a gun in his house appalled him.

We have guns here.  Our kids see them all the time, and they aren’t impressed.  It’s no big deal.  There’s no mystery or intrigue, just knowledge and a healthy respect.  Of course there are idiots who break the law and do stupid things, but you don’t have to travel all the way to West Virginia to see that.

That’s why when the dad in the video pulled out his pistol and shot up the laptop, I wasn’t shocked.  There were other things in the video that shocked and upset me, but the gun wasn’t one of them.

Like I said, I don’t think I’m right and anyone who feels differently is wrong.  From my point of view, it’s no different from the way anybody reacts to things they aren’t used to.  It’s understandable.  There are habits and mannerisms in other states and cities that I’ve been to that were very off-putting to me.  It’s hard to refrain from passing judgement on people for those things.  But you have to realize that what you see as strange may just be the cultural norm for that person.  Stop and consider the things that you might do that others would think of as strange.  You might be surprised.

I’ll leave you with some advice.  Don’t be too quick to judge someone.  Stop to think about whether or not what they are doing is wrong, or just different.

Oh, and think twice before you break into my house.



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