Savvy men wear their guns in the house. It's called "home carry." Why should you unstrap that Glock just because you've kissed the wife and kids and hung up your coat?
This was a suggestion offered with complete sincerity in the comments beneath an article entitled "Inside the Twisted Mind of a Gun Grabber Pt. 2." Full disclosure: I am the gun grabber in question, and the twisted mind is my own. Which all goes to show that being screwed is very much a matter of perspective.
Now, let's argue for the hell of it that home carry makes you safer -- as opposed to more likely to be shot by your four-year-old. What's interesting is that these people like the idea of living in a nation where packing at the dinner table is the sensible thing to do. They sneer at those nations in which this proposition is considered loopy and loathsome (which is to say, most of the civilized world).
I have tried to squeeze myself into the untwisted mind of the enemy: what kind of person genuinely wants to impose that kind of hellish life on his fellow citizen?
It's certainly someone who considers his hobby more important than other people's children. Toting a gun is one of those thrilling activities that he is just not willing to give up, and -- luckily for him -- the Constitution was amended to defend his hobby.
He is also someone, however, who refuses to recognize that this is anything more than a hobby. He wants to believe that he does in fact live in a Die Hard sequel: that this hobby is necessary to his safety. To the safety of his family. Because God knows, Bruce Willis has to be prepared for armed bad guys emerging from the bathroom. Bruce Willis, bladder full to bursting, is wise to be packing when he approaches that bathroom door. If you live in a Die Hard sequel, home carry is more than just sane: it's responsible.
Let's say, however -- just for the sake of argument -- that you don't live in a Die Hard sequel. You don't live anywhere in the franchise: you're not even starring in that inspired first installment, with Alan Rickman as the dry Eurovillain. You live in the United States of America, a place where a man's home is supposed to be his castle, as opposed to his rifle range.
Real life isn't Die Harder, or Die Hardly Dead, or Die Hard Trying Hard Not to Die. Real life isn't even paintball. There is an entire mode of civilian existence -- experienced by all sorts of people in the free world -- in which the prospect of armed ambush doesn't play any role whatsoever.
This is what upsets the hobbyist. What kind of place is that? Where a guy doesn't require guns to defend his freedom? Surely that kind of place is fertile ground for an ambitious tyrant (usually Hitler). And even if it isn't -- even if people are in fact free and safe in such a place -- who the hell wants to live in that film?
A movie in which home carry is an idiotic and repulsive concept isn't the kind of movie in which Bruce Willis feels properly at home. Bruce doesn't do rom-coms. (Okay, perhaps he does, but they're a brief lapse in judgment, and nobody remembers them.) He doesn't do moist upbeat love stories or six-hanky weepers. Bruce -- and the sequel to Bruce, and the home carriers who hope to be cast as cameos in the fifteenth or sixteenth Bruce (Die Harderest) -- never enters an en-suite bathroom without his Bushmaster locked and loaded.
Ambush is the central concept here. That's something you can't really guard against, according to "Inside the Twisted Mind of a Gun Grabber." Ambush is what happened to District Attorney Mike McLelland, when he and his wife were shot to death in their own home. That's what I got wrong, when I noted that here a good guy with a gun -- in the safety of his own house -- was easily murdered by a bad guy with a gun. Only a silly non-sequel-dweller thinks that packing is going to help you survive an ambush.
What home carry does allow is for the good guy to prevail in an O.K.-Coral-style firefight in the living room. Bad guy twirling mustache at the mantelpiece. Bruce aware and smiling wryly in the La-Z-Boy. Wife and kids cowering behind the couch.
That's a scenario, friends, in which you're gonna wish you had that gun.
It's not entirely clear that home carry is necessary unless you're being hunted down by the guy who killed your deputy. On the other hand, you get a strong sense that it would a be a lot of fun even for the unthreatened hobbyist. Quoth one commenter beneath "Twisted Mind":
It was reported on the news that McLelland was trying to get to his gun when he was shot. The real lesson is home carry. When my wife read the story in the paper her first word "Given the threat to his life why didn't he have his gun with him."
To which another responded, "Yes, that is critical."
Speaking of critical, if you write a series of articles about the NRA and its victims, you receive a lot of feedback (to put it politely). Not all of that feedback, however, is predictable: I hear from quite a few impressive non-hobbyists.
A surprising number of professional soldiers support rigorous gun control. It's easy to see why: they have lived a life in which a gun is something you have to wear, every day, like shoes. They look at these hobbyists, and they see... well, hobbyists:
"Only 7 percent of American veterans say they are very confident that those who have not served in the military take seriously the responsibilities that come with gun ownership."
Oh, and quite a few veterans are in favor of background checks: 91 percent, in fact.
Professional soldiers don't uniformly love Wayne LaPierre, the muscular millionaire mouthpiece of the NRA. Oddly enough, 27 percent of veterans have an "unfavorable" view of this non-veteran, as opposed to only 15 percent who admire the man.
The guy who wrote that canonical piece, "Inside the Twisted Mind of a Gun Grabber Pt. 2," is not a veteran. His site, The Truth About Guns, doesn't have a whole lot of veterans on staff. One writer studied at the Citadel; another rejected an academic deferment to enlist in the Vietnam War (admirable); but most seem to have seen no more active combat than I have. Yet somehow -- despite our shared martial inexperience -- they have become straight shooters, and I have become a twisted gun grabber.
I'll grant that many of these guys are amusing writers. The article and the comments are meant to be devastating, but I'm an old-school debater, so I got a kick out of them. (With the exception of the cowards who insulted my dog. Frederick the Great rode to war with his Italian Greyhounds, and towards the end of his life preferred them to humans. But then, Fritz was an actual soldier.)
Relative to my other sworn enemies these days -- supporters of PETA and the HSUS -- these guys seem almost human. I'd prefer to go drinking with any of them than I would the average PETA apologist. Most of these gun fetishists strike me as irreverent, humorous, assholes, and surprisingly bright. But not soldiers.
And, oddly enough, veterans -- people who have in fact used their guns in a non-fictional way to stop bad guys -- don't want to see these stateside, self-identified good guys armed to the molars. Some 60 percent of veterans support bans on high capacity magazines and assault weapons.
Note that such bans would prevent them -- responsible veterans -- from owning these weapons as well. There's an odd absence of selfishness here. This is a broad generalization, but it would appear that actual soldiers care more about other people's children than they do about their own God-given right to sport an arsenal.
Compare and contrast with these Truthers About Guns.
Now, I'm not suggesting that your average veteran has anything much in common with me. What I am suggesting -- demonstrating, in fact -- is that these guys don't live in Die Hard: The Sequel.
Many veterans own legal guns, yes, but they have some idea of what home carry truly entails, and they don't much like the concept. They live in Afghanistan: The Sequel -- that episode in which the professional returns to America, and is dismayed to discover that he and his family are endangered by big swinging hobbyists with semiautomatics.