By Dan Eden for viewzone.com
Once you leave the main highways in Maine, it gets real rural, real quick. It's not really a matter of "You can't get there from he-ah." It's just that the directions often refer to landmarks so vague that you might need a trail of breadcrumbs to find your way home.
I was hopelessly lost. The Sweden Gun Shop was no where to be found and I had already come to the fork in the road where, "If you get there, you've gone too far." Up ahead there was a gas station with a small general store. The inside was stacked with Budweiser cases from floor to ceiling and two of the locals were having a conversation about Jesus when I entered.
I paused politely while the customer recited a verse from Isaiah, then they both looked my way. I felt awkward and sinful, but I had to ask.
"Excuse me, but do you know where the Sweden Gun Shop is located?"
They looked at each other for a second. This time the man behind the counter spoke. "Are you lookin' fer a huntin' rifle?"
"No. I'm looking for a handgun to protect my family."
Both men lit up with a smile and began an enthusiastic description of the advantages of a 9 mm over the larger and smaller caliber guns. They both owned Glocks and highly recommended that model to me. The man behind the counter showed me his and even let me pick it up. It was much lighter than I imagined, and had a kind of square, box shape. By the time I left, I had a half dozen business cards of private gun dealers in the area who would be glad to help me "protect my loved ones" on a cash-and-carry basis.
"Isn't there a waitnig period?" I asked. "Hell, about ten minutes," was the reply.
Lions and Tigers and Bears --Oh My!
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor and early supporter of Barack Obama's presidential campaign, has warned that civil unrest on American soil is a possibility that should not be dismissed. Brzezinski explains it this way:
"...[the United States is] going to have millions and millions of unemployed, people really facing dire straits. And we're going to be having that for some period of time before things hopefully improve. And at the same time there is public awareness of this extraordinary wealth that was transferred to a few individuals at levels without historical precedent in America... hell, there could be even riots". [thanks to GlobalResearch.com]
Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy (the largest in American history) was merely the tip of the iceberg and economic and financial conditions have dramatically worsened ever since. On January 22 2009, the Christian Science Monitor published that the four largest U.S. banks "have lost half of their value since January 2." Moreover, in the period from summer 2008 to March 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index has decreased more than 50%. Furthermore, during February 2009 alone, more than 651 000 jobs were lost in the US, whose unemployment rate has now reached 8.1 %, the highest in 26 years.
New York Times, writes that "Some of the large banks in the United States, according to economists and other finance experts, are like dead men walking."
What this could mean to ordinary people
As the "bear" market trickles down to ordinary people, unemployment, higher food prices -- indeed food scarcities -- will cause some people to think that these are "emergency times" where the normal standards of morality and law cease to apply. In my small and usually quiet town we have already seen this phenomenon. Oil tanks in remote locations have been drained, summer homes have been stripped of their copper pipes and fixtures and some restaurants have reported families who eat and run, without paying their check.
Fast forward a year or two and you might well see hungry bands of people invading homes for food, or whatever can be used to buy food. People do some pretty crazy things when they're hungry. Food riots have already been a fact in industrialized countries like China and are commonplace in many underdeveloped nations. In Russia, two men were recently arrested for kidnapping women from the streets of Moscow and eating them. What would you do if you had no food for days or weeks?
To shoot or not to shoot
The decision to own a hand gun is not to be taken lightly.
Statistics say that 34% of American households have a gun. A good 35% of these guns are handguns. This translates into a loaded gun in one in every ten households with children. So that's a concern. The "typical" gun owner, we are told, is a middle class male with some college education who lives in a small town. Really?
The risk of homicide in the home is three times greater in households with guns. Where giving the single-finger salute or some choice profanity was the most violent act before gun ownership, the new demonstration of how upset you are can now be lethal. If you have a problem with anger -- maybe a handgun is not for you. Also remember, if you live in an apartment or condo with drywall, that bullet will continue its trajectory and may have unexpected victims nextdoor. Perhaps a shotgun, for personal protection, is better.
Next, are you depressed? The risk of suicide is five times greater in households with guns. So, logically, you should ask yourself about the mental stability of people in your home who will potentially have access to a handgun. For sure you will want to lock it with a trigger lock and maybe even consider putting it in a safe. There will be time enough to gain access to it should the "bad men" be at your door, demanging you turn over your bags of rice. And if these bad people are in your head, the delay may help you come to your senses.
And how about your spouce? From 1990-1998, over two-thirds of spouse and ex-spouse murder victims were killed with guns. An argument over bills or a bad dinner could easily turn into the "big sleep" and the "big house" if you are a person with a short fuse and have a problem with anger management. Things to consider...
An then there are the accidents. A gun in the home also increases the likelihood of an unintentional shooting, particularly among children. Unintentional shootings commonly occur when children find an adult's loaded handgun in a drawer or closet -- so NEVER keep it loaded -- and while playing with it shoot themselves, a sibling or a friend. The unintentional firearm-related death rate for children 0-14 years old is NINE times higher in the U.S. than in the 25 other countries combined.
These are things that separate the gun owner from the non-gun owner. There's a lot more to buying a handgun than if you would buy, say, a coffee maker...
I didn't buy that Glock in Maine. But I did find a gun dealer in my town who has one for sale, and I'm trying to decide what to do. The Glock-17 is a 9 mm gun that has a clip which holds 16 rounds (one in the chamber). It is pretty acurate and lethal -- more so than a 22 caliber which just wounds an attacker -- and it has less of a recoil than a 45 or Clint Eastwood magnum. It's the same handgun that the police and FBI use. That's pretty comforting to know. And my local dealer is asking just $485 for it.
But it isn't a matter of money. To me it's psychological. I've never been a gun owner. I am not even sure I could fire it at another person. Could you?
I'd like to think that I could wait until things got really really bad. Maybe when there are home invasions in the metro area... but that could be too late. I understand that if things get bad the president could enact martial law and ban the sale of arms. Then I'd be one of the unfortunate unarmed households, vulnerable to those who already bought theirs! What to do?
...to be continued...
Do you have any advice? If so, please write. Tell me what you are doing to prepare for this apocalyptic depression. Do you own a gun? Would you be able to use it to protect your family? Has it really come to this yet?
Let's hear from you. Thanks.
Dan Eden / Viewzone
Well I finally was convinced that it was time to get ready to protect my family. Weird stuff going on in the world made me imagine desperate people breaking in to our home with their own weapons. The long and short of it is I bought a Sig Sauer P250. It's small enough so my wife can handle it and it's a 9mm -- but also can quickly be converted to other calibers if the supply of rounds gets scarce.
We're taking lessons on how to respect it and we bought a safe to keep the clips in.
I personally feel good just knowing I have it near-by. I hope I'll never have to use it but, if I do, it will be for a good reason.
It's a crazy world out there!
March 2010: What a different attitude I have now! I took some classes on firearm safety and joined a shooting range a couple of miles from here. The people I met were mostly old men, like me, so besides taling about guns I get to learn about my prostate and how to cope with losing my friends to cancer. It's like a fraternity and I absolutely love it.
The first time I shot my gun I was addicted. Like motorcycle riding, it somehow forces you to be in the here and now, and makes you relax. When I got home from the range I felt like a million bucks. I was stress free and couldn't wait to get back out there.
My wife was so impressed with my enthusiasm that she wanted to try it. She weighs just 95 pounds and has very small hands so aiming the P250 is a bit hard for her. The solution -- the Sig 900L laser sight. Now she can shoot bull's eyes and thoroughly enjoys it as much as I do. It's all the more enjoyable since we can do this together.
Once you have learned all the safety stuff the fear of a handgun dissipates. It turns to a respect for the gun and reminds you always that you have a responsibility to be alert and aware at all times. In this regard, the safety course offered by the NRA is excellent.
My wife has a weak wrist sometimes after she has fired several rounds. She sometimes gets an empty shell caught in what is called a "stove pipe" position. Thanks to the NRA course I didn't freak out when this happened and knew just what to do.
Well, enough for now. If the rowdies come to invade our home, I'll be ready. But I have found a new hobby and I feel the comaraderie of my fellow gun owners. Who would have guessed?
Viewzone || Comments?
It sounds like you have given more thought to the dangers of owning a handgun than most people. The questions you ask are important and if you can pass your own test then I would say go ahead and buy it. Remember, you can always shoot in the air if you feel threatened and that should persuade any intruder to run away. If they have a gun, well, that's why you bought yours! Also, the Glock 17 is an excellent choice. Get some lessons so you feel comfortable with shooting it. Good luck.
I agree with Gab's post. You can always get a 38 or 22 but if you are going to buy a gun for protection then the 9 mm is the way to go. Also, that's an excellent price - is it used??
I just read your piece about hand guns. I'm in the same boat as you are on this topic. I really don't want to buy one, but with everything going on, you feel like you need to do something "just in case", but pointing that gun at another human being, even if they are hostile towards you or your family, and pulling the trigger, at least for me, would be difficult to do.
I have some self defense items around the house, for that "just in case" scenario, but no guns. I took firearms training for 16 years, it was a requirement for my job at the time. I shot many rounds at practice targets at the gun range, but personally, I couldn't point it at another human being with the intent to kill them......can't do it.
Here's what I prefer to use....
1. GOD....he warns me of evil motives, so, it is up to me to listen and act accordingly.
2. I have a few man-made gadgets at the house, if necessary, will be more than enough to protect my family from evil.
3. Kindness......if someone comes around here hungry.......I will feed them.
You can kill a person with a knife or a baseball bat. Heck, your car is sometimes a lethal weapon. You need to get over the psychology of thinking about guns as inherently evil. They are tools, machines if you wish, that are for protection.
Just like some nations have nuclear weapons for detering an attack, so some people have guns for the same reason. You hope and pray that you will never need them but if you do then you have that peace of mind.
Take some classes and speak to other gun owners and you will see what I mean.
I highly recommend taking some classes from a professional. For one thing, it does you no good to own a handgun if you don't know how to properly hold and shoot it. Just pulling the trigger needs some practice or you will nudge the gun (usually down) and miss the target. That Glock you are thinking about has a bit of a recoil - kick - also and you will have to get used to it to shoot well -- also the noise. Once you do however, you will learn to respect the weapon and store it safely and maintain it. Anyway, welcome to gun ownership.
To Buy a Gun, or to be Defenseless
I read the article titled "Is it time to buy a gun yet?" Posted on Viewzone. And it got me to thinking, "Could I use my knowledge learned over my 42 years on this earth to help some people with this decision? Well sure I could!" I might even help save some people grief caused by not thinking this through, or listening to lesser informed people.
The decision to become a gun owner or not to become a gun owner will not change your life like the decision to become a heroin user would. It might even save your family some truly terrifying moments when confronted by criminals who intend you or your family harm.
Much like a new computer, or a new electronic gizmo there is a period of adjustment that all new gun owners must go through. If you run out and purchase a gun and ammo, then promptly lock it away in a safe or secure place, then you not only have failed to protect your loved ones, but you might be a danger to yourself if you ever do really need it. Most local Sheriff Departments conduct free Firearm classes to introduce new gun owners to the advantages and cautions that come with responsible firearm ownership. I STRONGLY advise anyone purchasing a firearm to enroll in a class, learn about your new gun and practice, practice practice. Learn how to load, aim and fire your gun quickly, because the more muscle memory you develop using any weapon, the quicker and more accurate you become in the event that you ever have to rely on it to defend your family.
Depending on how you view the media, and your feelings about gun control as a topic, you might need to do some research into the subject. Heated feelings and emotions on both sides often skew facts and figures that the media is all to ready to toss out with little or no fact checking. Many gun control advocated boldly state that if the government would just outlaw all firearms and force citizens to surrender them for destruction, then America would be a better place, a safer place. Well one factor in this equation that is intently overlooked is the fact that criminals have never, nor are they likely to begin obeying gun laws, nor any laws for that matter. So what happens then, law abiding citizens are disarmed, making criminals and the police the only ones who are armed. "That's not so bad, the police are there to protect us." Well you might be surprised to learn that the police are under no obligation to protect American citizens! This is a fact and was the result of a court ruling a number of years ago as a result of a suit filed by a injured party who felt that the police should have been there to protect them. So who does that leave when your family is threatened? You, that's who.
It may come as a shock to many reading this, but do you know which caliber firearm results in the most injuries and death yearly? The lowly .22. You don’t need a .44 Magnum "Dirty Harry" hand cannon to protect yourself and your family, a .22 caliber handgun will do the job just as easily. I may also come as a shock that just having a gun is often a deterrent to crime. Few criminals will bother a armed homeowner, preferring to move on to a less protected "Target". Another thing to consider is a Dog makes a wonderful deterrent for criminal action. Few criminals will willingly tangle with a dog, no matter their size or breed. Dogs can also serve as a early warning system, giving you valuable time to prepare that you might not otherwise have.
Much has been made in recent years about children gaining access to firearms and causing injury or death unintentally as a result. Many companies have introduced products like lockboxes that can only be accessed by a fingerprint, or a code allowing the safe storage of firearms in houses that have young children, so this scare tactic is simply that, a scare tactic.
Another thing to be considered is what type of ammunition to use. There are myriad types of ammunition available for every caliber of firearm. For those who don't wish a fired gun to penetrate indoor walls endangering others, there are now Glazer Safety slugs that fragment on impact as well as rounds filled with pepper spray, even bean bag filled ammo. These “Less then lethal” rounds are valuable tools for the responsible firearm owner.
Guns have become good investments of late, often doubling their value in a short period of time. And unless you purchase a firearm from a friend or family member, EVERY firearm buyer must go through a background check in order to purchase a firearm, the myth of the "Gunshow Loophole" is just that, a myth. In my state even guns bought during gun shows require the buyer to go through this government background check. The only way around this is if the seller agrees to sell you a firearm illegally without this mandated background check and in all the years I have been collecting firearms I have never heard of anyone buying a gun at a gun show without having to submit to this background check.
When considering which type of firearm to purchase you will likely be faced with numerous choices. Do some research beforehand, understand the difference between a revolver and a automatic (Semi-automatic). A rifle or a shotgun, each type of firearm has it's uses and not all types are for everyone. Often there are ranges which will allow you to fire different types of guns to see which suits you best. I advise you to make use of these places, they aid new gun owners in figuring out what suits them best.
What separates the United States of America from most other countries in the world is the 80 Million gun owners. These people are the citizens last line of defense against terrorists seeking to destroy our way of life, they also serve to protect us all from a Government that for whatever reason, becomes tyrannical as was witnessed in Europe under Hitler's Nazi Germany, or Saddam Hussain in Iraq. Our founding fathers fought and died to ensure that we all have the right to life free, in peace and happiness. So if you decide to become a gun owner, feel proud knowing that you can protect your family and defend yourself and your community against attacks that seek to spread terror and destruction throughout our great country.