from the other side

While most of the media’s (in all its forms) headlines recently have been on the need for stricter gun control and the pending report the Vice President is going to place on the President’s desk (USA), I found an article on the Ventura County Star that discusses a recent rush on guns and ammo.

I find it very interesting how different we can be as a people.  We truly are two sides of a coin. 

On one side, heads, we have those clamoring for greater control.  On the other side, tails, we have those clamoring to snap up the potentially threatened weapons and their related ammo before any proposed bans can go into effect.

The heads side is arguing that if we make items harder to purchase and drive up their prices they will be less readily available and that may prevent further tragedies.  The tails side is driving up prices on their own through simple economics: demand goes up, supply goes down and prices escalate.  (Yet, the demand remains.)

The heads side is arguing that we need to ban the most lethal of the available weapons (for those who go through legal channels to obtain them – but that’s a separate argument altogether).  The tails side is not only picking up those weapons faster than the suppliers can get them to the stores, they are also picking up all other sorts of weapons too.  They aren’t just afraid that they won’t be able to get “assault” weapons, they are afraid that they will lose the ability to have something to defend themselves.  They are worried their rights are going to be infringed upon.

How did we come to this separation in our paths?  How did we become so different that we are the opposite sides of a coin?  We are all Americans are we not?  We are all in favor of the freedoms we get to enjoy because we are citizens of this country, right?  So, how can we be such polar opposites?

Much like the hypocrisy that is me, I find our duality endlessly fascinating.


Pogue Colonel: Marine, what is that button on your body armor?
Private Joker: A peace symbol, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Where’d you get it?
Private Joker: I don’t remember, sir.
Pogue Colonel: What is that you’ve got written on your helmet?
Private Joker: “Born to Kill”, sir.
Pogue Colonel: You write “Born to Kill” on your helmet and you wear a peace button. What’s that supposed to be, some kind of sick joke?
Private Joker: No, sir.
Pogue Colonel: You’d better get your head and your ass wired together, or I will take a giant shit on you.
Private Joker: Yes, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Now answer my question or you’ll be standing tall before the man.
Private Joker: I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir.
Pogue Colonel: The what?
Private Joker: The duality of man. The Jungian thing, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Whose side are you on, son?
Private Joker: Our side, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Don’t you love your country?
Private Joker: Yes, sir.

Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket


While I wrote this post geared mostly towards the recent events in the States, I bet it has implications across the globe too.  I’d love to hear what is going on in your country that is similar to our gun control debate if you want to share in the comments section.


38 thoughts on “from the other side

  1. Full Metal Jacket (brilliant movie!!) totally reminds me of the Taft shooting. I find the question you pose very interesting. I’m not American myself but I often wondered how people can differ so much in their opinions. It’s indeed fascinating.

    Over here in Holland we had one shooting in 2011. Some lad who’s girlfriend dumped him. We have very strict gun laws. It’s no easy to obtain them. After the shooting a law was passed that every gun owner needs to pass a mental health check. It still has some hooks and eyes but it’s a start. Over 37 people (which for us is a lot – we’re only with 16 million people of which 70.000 have licence) had to hand in their licence and guns for being tested as mentally unstable.

    Personally I would like to see the entire world without guns. I mean putting a bullet in a gun already means you are set out to kill another human being. Those guns with tranquilizers they use to shoot down animals could possibly be just as effective.

    That said.. it’s easy for me to say this when behind a keyboard. I assume that certain situations, where you have to defend yourself – idealism won’t help you a bit.

    • “I assume that certain situations, where you have to defend yourself – idealism won’t help you a bit.” It’s okay to hope for the best, but always plan for the worst. Hooray for more duality.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • No! Keep them coming! I don’t even see the typos anymore unless I’m in editor mode. And that is super rare these days. Something about a couch and it being wondrously evil, or something like that… I don’t remember anymore for sure, according to those Hulu people that’s to be expected since they’ve been feasting on my brain. (Do you remember those commercials?)

  2. I’m almost afraid to comment on gun control because one person “unfriended” me on Facebook because of my views. 😦 I simply don’t understand why anyone – who is not in the armed forces or in the first responders’ units – needs a “weapon of multiple destruction”. But people in other nations are able to handle mass-killing weapons without … well … committing mass-killings. IMHO in America we have a triple problem, a perfect storm: 1) relatively easy access and irregular regulation of weapons and ammo; 2) relatively difficult access to mental health care AND mental health follow up; and 3) a culture that *loves* violence. Americans grew up watching gunfights and WWII movies on TV. Violence is a big money-maker in the US – everything from movies to video games to TV shows. Sooo… how to fix the problem without a huge nation-wide wake-up call? I would have thought Newtown was that wake-up call … but evidently huge injections of money from the NRA are managing to stir up panic among the gun-loving crowd. And there aren’t a lot of people in the US advocating banning *all* guns. Just banning the nastiest and increasing regulation. And seriously — there is a HUGE difference between the “well-regulated militia” mentioned in the Constitution and a “heavily-armed, discontented mob” that seems to be forming as we speak. [stepping off the soap box now] [[ humble apologies]]

    • Don’t worry. I won’t unfriend you. I completely agree with your 2nd and 3rd points. Don’t necessarily agree with the first point, as is it can be very difficult to obtain weapons legally (background checks, waiting periods, etc…).

      Some people may think this is extreme, but I wouldn’t want to live in a country where I couldn’t arm myself: I don’t trust any government that much. The odds I would ever need to use any of my weapons to defend myself are astronomically small, but I’d still want the ability to defend myself if I did end up needing them.

      If you clicked on the “weapons” link above, you’ll see there is some discrepancy about what the “nastiest” weapons are and what the real differences are between those considered for ban and those not that aren’t being considered.

      Love the “heavily armed discontented mob” comment. I am a gun owner. I’ve supported the NRA over the years. But, I’m not panicing. I realize (for the most part) that people aren’t trying to disarm us. However, I don’t like the idea of not being able to defend myself with the same weapons (legally obtained, registered, whatever) that someone could end up using against me (illegally obtained).

      No need to apologize. Step up on that soap box whenever you want. I’m always happy to have civil discourse on any of the challenges/issues/ideals across the globe. So, thank you for being brave enough to say your piece.

      • Glad you’re not angry!

        Did you ever read Stephen King’s “The Cell”? He was very glad to have gun-totin’ neighbors when the masses turned into remote controlled zombies. (or whatever kind of zombies they were …!)

        I guess most of what drives my gun concerns these days is having a son in middle school and worrying about a Newtown or a Columbine. Heck, when I was in school I worried about bullies … never armed gunmen! Guess that’s showing my age …

      • With my first born due to arrive in a few months I worry about the difficulties he will face in school that now seem exponentially worse than the difficulties I had to face with bullies growing up. It’s a different world and perhaps we do need to work on changing it for the better (aren’t we always doing that anyway?) but I’d rather we treat the cause (they why kids are picking up these weapons and thinking they have no other solution to their problems) than give up more of our freedoms.

        I haven’t read that King story yet and will have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

      • It’s a huge, huge problem.
        Congratulations on the little one due to arrive soon! That’s awesome!

  3. Here in the UK gun controls seem to be working – at present. Knife culture is abounding amongst the young (even the very young) and is alarming. A few of our police are armed on rare occasions and I, personally, would not wish to see them armed on a day-to-day basis.

    • Which brings us back to: if people are determined to be violent and cause injury – they will find a way: the tools of their destruction just may change.

      Sometimes I forget that different police agencies around the world go about their daily business without being armed. That is a truly foreign concept for me. I guess that says a lot about our culture on this side of the pond.

      Then again, I just want to see less of the police in general – I’d rather they go back to being a “peace keeping” organization than a “law enforcement” one. But, that, once again, is a different argument altogether.

      Thanks for commenting.

  4. “However, I don’t like the idea of not being able to defend myself with the same weapons that someone could end up using against me.”

    In theory I understand your logic, but I just CAN’T wrap my head around this thinking. I don’t want guns near me, period. If I own a gun, that is one more gun that could be used to hurt me or my family. My husband is a hunter, so he has locked, unloaded guns in a locked gun cabinet and I accept that…but I don’t like it.

    I guess I just don’t think about guns the same way, and I would venture to say a large part of the reason is because I’m not from the US. I don’t see it is my right or my freedom to own a weapon, but time and again that is the argument I hear from Americans about why they deserve to carry a gun. It boggles my mind actually.

    • Just as living somewhere it isn’t a right boggles my mind.

      The obvious next statement is: it has a lot to do with how we are raised, right?

      Since ownership is legal here, perhaps we should be educating people more about them, creating an understanding and culture of respect about them rather than fearing them?

      I grew up in a house with guns. Learned how to shoot and clean them from a very early age (so young I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know how). I have my own guns now (and my wife doesn’t like that either). When we have kids (first is on the way) I will teach them about them as my father taught me and my brother.

      There is so much we could fear in this world if we chose too. Car accidents. Slipping in the shower. Falling down stairs. How many times throughout a normal day are you near or around something that could kill you? (I know most of these are different from something that is specifically designed to kill, but… the fear could still be there, and the likelihood that something would happen from one of those household accidents or car accidents is how much greater than any sort of gun violence?)

      (Which brings me back to our duality, to the hypocrisy that is me, because then if the likilihood is so low why do I use that as my reason to want one, in that unlikely event… I don’t have an answer to that that’s any better than anything I’ve posted above.)

      Thanks for the comment.

  5. I grew up in the same area as djmatticus. The first 16 years were in a smaller town, but within the same basic area (60 miles away), and then I have spent the last 15 years here in Ridgecrest. This is an area of California that is 60 miles away from the next town, down a two lane highway, no lights, no houses, no cops. Police response at best in remote areas is over an hour. In town, response at best is 15 minutes. I have a concealed carry permit, and I carry either a 45 or a 357 on my person when I travel these remote roads, which I have to do whenever I leave town. In fact, many people in this town carry guns when they do this, legally or not.

    One time, not long after I obtained my permit, I was eating in a diner in the town I grew up in. As I said, I haven’t lived there since I was 16, and a lot of the town has changed. At the time, the mine (the worlds largest open pit mine is in this town, Boron. The mine is for Borax) was on a lockout, and the union was picketing. A couple of the miners thought I was a scab, and assaulted me. They were between me and my car, I had no where to run, and no one was around. The only thing that saved me from a trip to either the hospital or the morgue, was my 357. As I brought my 357 up, they stopped, turned around, and ran.

    I grew up with guns, I learned to shoot at a young age, learned to respect guns and the damage they cause. I can honestly and totally understand the anti gun opinion, but I can also say that I would never give mine up.

    My only urging, is to become educated on what guns are, the types of guns, and how they function. Learn the difference between a single action revolver, a double action revolver, a single action semi automatic pistol, a double action semi automatic pistol, semi auto shotguns vs. pump and breach break shotguns, bolt action, pump, semi auto, and automatic rifles. Only by educating yourself on the guns, can you make an informed argument (either for or against). I see people arguing about guns that do not know the first thing about them, it makes their arguments hard to read/listen to.

    Last comment I’ll make is off of this sentence: “putting a bullet in a gun already means you are set out to kill another human being.” I have never set out to kill another human being in my life, I have killed a few birds (tasty tasty birds), cans, bottles, paper targets, etc. But never a human.

    • Hooray for education! Thanks for adding in your comments.

      I think maybe the “putting a bullet in a gun” comment goes along the lines of one of the tenants of our own gun safety – don’t point the gun at anything you don’t want to kill… the gun doesn’t do the killing, the bullet does.

    • You had me think (again) I love deer, doves, wild boar etc.. Most of these have been killed with guns. It’s a bit hypocrite to eat (a lot ) of these animals and still be against the use of guns.

      I guess it can be quite insulting if somebody says you’re set out to kill when you put a bullet in a gun. My apologies for this. In any case.. if you’re set out to kill another human being you can turn anything into a weapon. It’s not the gun.

      blah.. and now I don’t know where I stand on this anymore

      • Things are never as black and white as we’d like them to be, are they? I think it’s good to challenge ourselves to see things from all sides, break away from the stereotypes, and question our own reasoning for why we think about these issues the way we do. That’s why I really enjoy these types of conversations, so thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. At a Christmas gathering, my neice (a demure 20-something year old mother of two) was talking about the gift she got from her father. It is a “bed holster” – specificially designed to fit her pistol in at night so she can draw it quickly and shoot to kill an unsuspecting intruder.

    You are right that we are all Americans. Yet, part of our heritage as sons and daughters of a revolution is the presumed right to kill the bad guys who get in the way of our freedom. The silly notion that we are a “Christian nation” founded on such a radical ethic as “Love your enemy” is ludicrous.

    • Love your enemy, but be prepared and willing to protect your family all the same. That seems fairly Christian to me. But… that really is getting into a seperate argument altogether.

  7. We don’t have much in a way of gun control in Switzerland, sometimes unfortunately. Every village has it shotting group. Also bear in mind every able Swiss man is in the army until he has done his duty in time – you are then usually about 34 years old. At 18 they do the recruit school and start to serve a year later in the various regiments. They have to do 3 weeks a year until they reach the total service days. They all get an assault rifle (women get a gun). When the three weeks are finished they can go home back to their work and take the rifle with them, keeping it in a safe place at home. They also have ammunition in a sealed box. This is only to be opened in case of an emergency situation (like the surrounding countnries would invade us??). When you are finished with service time you can either give the rifle back or buy it. When you are in service you have to go to a shooting range once a year to show you are still able to use the rifle. Just the Swiss way of life. I could write more, having a son that completed his service and so I know how it works.

    • Thanks for adding the perspective for/from Switzerland. All those households with rifles and other weapons and no school shootings… definitely says something about the American society. I’m going to take the leap to say this probably has to do with education – your society is educated about guns (and therefore respects them) and mine is not.

      • We have shootings. some time ago a maniac got into the local government meeting in the town of Zug and shot a few politicians. Some were injured, some were killed. Very tragic, but this happens everywhere. A government official in Zürich once went to work with a gun. He was annoyed with how he was being treated in the office and killed a few co-workers. He was put in prison. This was a few years ago and he has since served his sentence. But it has nothing to do with the army and availability of weapons. I think if you want to kill, you do, if you are derranged. We are only seven million inhabitants in Switzerland, but we also have our share of madness. The States is much bigger and the population.

  8. I thought it was really runny what you wrote in your little bio comment because I initially had almost the same thing “blah blah blah….”. I just changed it a few months back when someone said I should write something more professional. Good blog post and I’ve actually heard that quote about 200 times as my son loves that show. I live in Alaska were a large percentage of people have carry permits. I don’t because I’ve never felt comfortable around guns. I don’t feel unsafe here though. I know that if I screamed a neighbor or 20 would come trotting over with a gun to help. If I had one I’d probably shoot myself. I always worried about having guns in the house with my kids. Now, with some of the recent events (meaning local people losing it or home invasions) I’m thinking about getting one but I’ll take a self defense class first and learn how to safely handle a gun before I try to use one. Oh, and I really don’t see the point in taking a gun to walmart…. do you?

    • Training is important so I’m glad to hear you say you’d do that if you were to ever purchase something for personal safety. On the WalMart question – that depends entirely on the neighborhood the wally word is located in. “Luckily” they are so prevalent, I can just go to one in a nicer neighborhood on the off chance I ever decided to go to one.

And, begin:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s