Sunday, July 17, 2005

Why do you carry a gun?

In the July/August issue of American Handgunner there was a terrific article by John Connor on which the magazine has since removed copyright restrictions and told their readers to feel free to disseminate. I'll reprint the last part below.

The Connor Clan has been nomadic, and we've lived in a number of places. In one of 'em, we shared a side yard and friendship with a young woman we'll call Miss Maine, and her knee-high daughter, Little Lizzie. Miss Maine quickly bonded with the Memsaab Helena. Clearly, Helena's Amazon-warrior spirit and skill with arms impressed Miss Maine mightily, and much of their time and talk revolved around that fierce self-confidence -- and guns.

As for Little Lizzie, the munchkin almost duct-taped herself to the Mem's leg. She followed Helena everywhere, but always, always, kept glancing back to check on her momma, as though she were the worried parent.

There was something guarded, something hurt and defensive about both of them, and that fearfulness extended to me for a while. They got over it, thank God. Then I sorta became a moving bunker for 'em, representing cover and protection. Finally, we learned the story.

Miss Maine had been attacked - brutally and viciously. You don't wanna know the details. As with so many such crimes, it wasn't really about sex. It was about hate and domination, cowardice and cruelty. And an even younger Little Lizzie had witnessed it. I like to think the Memsaab and I helped them to recover emotionally.

Then one day Lizzie came and snuggled into my shadow, visibly disturbed. That morning her kindergarten had put on "Frighten the Munchkins Day." Some schools do a pretty good job of alerting children to predators -- don't go with strangers and that kinda thing -- but others do more harm than good. All they do is terrify the tots and give 'em no operating options. Lizzie already had twin tears glistening, ready to fall when she grabbed a tiny fistful of my trouser-leg and asked, "Conner-Sir, will you a'ways be here? Wouldja be here...When the bad mens come?"

My knees cracked on the sidewalk as she slammed into my shoulder, shaking with sobs as the hot tears came, splashing my neck and searing into my soul. " 'Cause I'm a-scared!" she choked, and clutched me tighter.

Oh, GOD! Who would not - who could not - fight without fear, suffer without sense of sacrifice, and kill or die deliberately, using the most effective means available -- to protect life, liberty and a Little Lizzie? For God's sake, who?

Those who would not are no better than the predators.

Maybe in Phase 4, when somebody pops The Big Question I'll just smile and say, "For life, liberty and Little Lizzie." You guys can fill in the details.

Yes, this is just one reason to carry, but it is probably the kind of sensibility we all feel when heading out the door, or when doing a routine inspection of our home protection guns. We all have a Little Lizzie that needs our protection.