Yesterday, I didn't have one. I didn't want one. But when my girlfriend calls me, hysterical, after someone attempted to break into our apartment with the presumed intent of assaulting her (all clues point to this), I'm getting a fucking gun. A loaded 9mm will be in my hands by sunset.
Don't fuck with my loved ones.
Edit: obligatory "hurrdurr relevant username"
Edit2, 1 year later: I never did get a gun. Instead, I relocated to a better neighborhood, and things have been swell ever since. Dear gunluverz - sorry for not following through on my plan of action.
Disconnected Connected Thoughts
I got a hysterical call from my girlfriend in '99. I was mixing at the club and she was getting ready to go out with a girlfriend when someone tried to break into the house. They yelled and screamed and he went to the house next door where he pulled a knife off the kitchen counter and held a little Vietnamese woman hostage by holding it across her throat while SWAT tried to talk him out for five hours. No guns involved, nobody died. Did she want a gun? Yes. Was she the exact wrong person to own one? Yes. Did I own one at the time? Yes. Did I tell her? No.
I bought a Chinese SKS at 18 out of the Little Nickel. The dealer lived in a trailer in the desert and had Rottweilers named after Hitler's inner circle. Back then $79 would buy you an SKS, $59 would buy you 1440 rounds of Chinese steel-core and $9 would buy you a 30-round banana clip. It was a shitty gun and shitty ammo and I mostly used it for plinking (stealing shit from Ed Grothus and annihilating it at the pumice mines). My dad knew about it, my mom didn't.
I bought it because I was depressed, angry and powerless. Owning a Chinese assault rifle made me depressed, angry and powerful.
I took it to college. No assault rifles in the dorms; I had to keep it at the campus police. Which was inconvenient most of the time because chinese steelcore is corrosive and if you don't clean the gun within several hours of shooting, it'll pit the barrel and your pattern ends up worse than a Mossberg 12ga, rather than on par with. Meant that there were times I was literally cleaning an assault rifle in my dorm room. My roommate's best friend was an RA; he came by one time looking for my roommate while I was cleaning. I couldn't hide it. He said "you know what would happen if I reported that, right? Since I'm not, can I hold it?"
So you get sloppy and you end up with an assault rifle under your bed. Which isn't really a problem until the rival dorm sets a time bomb under your dorm such that at 2am during Finals Week you end up with about a hundred dollars worth of firecrackers and whistles going off and a bunch of chuckleheads across the canyon laughing at you.
And your first instinct is to grab the assault rifle. Why? Because you're angry and powerless and a gun makes you powerful.
I didn't. I had the forethought to go "these are fireworks, this is stupid" but not the forethought to go "these are fireworks, you've been punk'd" so I ran out with a claw hammer. Apparently I'm pretty scary at 2am with a claw hammer. Thank god I had the presence of mind to leave the SKS under the bed.
It broke something. I realized that I was allowing my emotions to be controlled by a cheap-ass $80 piece of Chinese junk - and that the only thing that piece of junk would ever get me was prison. So the last time I went plinking I left the gun with my cousin. he may still have it; he may not. He's got an FN-FAL and a couple AR-15s and a Barrett light 50 and a Desert Eagle and god knows what else. And you know what? He's a lot angrier and a lot more powerless than I am.
I was out with some buddies night before last. Friend's wife is on crutches; she's got a torn ACL. And it was 11:30 and Ventura was empty and they were hobbling across the street and some doofus in a Datsun 1600 comes screaming up, drunk, and he didn't see them so of course he leans on his horn because he's scared and pissed off and nearly killed somebody.
My friend's wife is also scared and also pissed off so she started beating on the dude's hood with her crutch. So he gunned the engine and scooped 'em both up onto the hood, drove 'em about 20 feet, then slammed on the brakes. Then he drove off. Whole thing took maybe 7 seconds. I was 50 feet away for the whole thing.
HERE'S THE THING
There are legitimate reasons to buy a gun. "Because I'm scared" isn't one. A gun is a terrible responsibility - it wants to be used. The Sikhs have a rule - you can't resheath the kirpan until you've drawn blood. This generally keeps the sikhs from carving the shit out of people who piss them off. Not always, but mostly in the US. But they also practice like 3 hours of martial arts per day. They've got discipline.
A gun will not teach you discipline. It will not make you hesitant to use deadly force. It will not de-escalate your problems, it will not simplify your life. A gun is a rhetorical nuclear option - "Yeah you maybe didn't really mean to do much but steal my liquor and credit cards but now you're dead."
Yesterday, you didn't have a gun. If you had, you'd still be talking to the police. You'd be looking down the barrel of a months-long investigation at best and somebody, who has a mother and probably brothers and sisters and people who love them, would be forever dead.
OR your girlfriend would have scared off the intruder.
Which - let's be real - is exactly what she did without the gun.
The difference between yesterday and today is today you're scared and flirting with destiny.
Used to go plinkin' with a buddy. He probably had two dozen guns. I looked at them admiringly once and he said "yeah, I prolly coulda won Waco."
Somebody pissed off one of his friends once. Everyone got upset. So they emptied out the rec room and went out to straight shit out. Armed standoff - 6 people on one side, 4 on the other, probably 12 weapons in the field. It's a miracle nobody died. Three of them have since, two by gun violence.
My buddy? His family stopped collecting assault weapons and started collecting livestock. And the world is a better place.