my song

Please forgive the theft of lines from Johnny Cash and Buffalo Springfield.

I’ve never gone out walking with a bible and a gun, but I own and know the value of both.  I was raised on them, taught to respect them, shown their strengths and weaknesses and then given the freedom to decide what they meant to me.  They don’t define me, though.  Only my actions can do that.

When President Obama won election for his first term, I joined the NRA.  I’m educated.  I’m empathetic.  I’m aware of the pain that easy access to guns has caused to countless in this country.  However, I don’t believe that the guns themselves are the problem and I am troubled by some of the legislation that has been enacted in recent years that make it harder for good people to get guns and, more importantly, to get to their guns quickly when they are needed most.

You can share statistics about the likelihood of a gun in a home being used to prevent a crime verse it being used to, accidently or otherwise, harm a family member and it won’t change my stance.  The world is a dark and tragic place and bad things are going to happen.  It is because of that truth that I still want the option of defending myself and my family with the same tools that could be used against me.

Plus, in my heart, I’m a cowboy.  I may not ride a horse or work the dusty trails with a gun on my hip.  But, I fight for those I love and take care of my community.  I stand up for what is right and don’t expect anything in return.  I take responsibility for my mistakes and try to improve myself to keep from making them again.  I’m a poet with my head in the old west, in the romantic taming of this great country.

Sadly, I can’t actually pull off the cowboy hat look.  However in my imagination, one is always there, with the sleeves of my shirt rolled up, dirt on my jeans, and a weathered revolver in the leather holster slung low on my right side.

There’s a man with a gun over there, telling you you ought to beware, but it isn’t me.  I’m over there minding my own business, trying to do right for my loved ones, trying to build a better community.  I’m living by the codes of conduct I took from the bible in my youth: respect, patience, forgiveness, and belief in the potential in us all.  We can be great.  I believe in us.

That doesn’t mean that I trust all of us, and I am ready to take care of trouble should it find me.

33 thoughts on “my song

  1. I am not against gun ownership, I just have issue with certain guns being available to the public (remember, I live in a very NRA-friendly state; no idea how it is for y’all). Personally, I will never own one even though I grew up with them and know how to shoot. That’s me though.

  2. Hi Matt,
    I believe in choice. Also, I honor and respect a person who acts with honor and respect. Thank you. Here’s to your wisdom about guns, “They don’t define me, though. Only my actions can do that.”

    Have you ever seen the movie, “True Grit” ? It’s a movie I really like…I wonder if you like it.
    Good day,

    • True Grit – Are you referring to the original or the more recent remake? I’ve seen both, and I enjoy both for different reasons. Though, for Westerns that really tug at my emotions, I’d rather watch: Open Range, The Shootist, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, The Magnificent Seven, and the original 3:10 to Yuma. These movies are all about choice and action.

      • Yes, True Grit, I was referring to the remake. I have not yet seen the original. This may be a new genre for me during my remaining and limited “free time.” Maybe I enjoyed the fact that the main character was a little girl. I’m pretty sure that helped me appreciate her grit on another level – a film that spoke directly with the voice of a female protagonist was the grit that I connected to, also that she sought to redeem her father. I’ll see if my movie buddy (aka husband) wants to watch these with me.

      • I would wager that The Fastest Gun Alive is what you’re talking about. A little closer to you, from what I’ve come to know. Also, he doesn’t wear a hat either.

        Also, your choice in movies makes my heart swell.

      • Well, you might be on to something about the fastest gun… but, … can’t I at least pretend to be Wayne’s character from the shootist?

  3. I hear what you’re saying, but you guys have an astounding rate of killing each other for a country that is first world, and civilized. Unfortunately, I think not everyone shares your principles. You have to remember that rules are made for the lowest common denominator – they are meant to curb the stupidity of the stupid. Sometimes the responsible people get caught in that, but I figure we’re in this together, and sometimes losing a bit of freedom to overall make a positive change… sheesh, what am I saying? I sound like a bloody Canadian!

  4. Perhaps you haven’t found the correct hat. We could go hat shopping and hit the gun range afterwards.

    So, here’s my take:

    I’ll give up my right to guns when I can be promised that police will not be the only ones who will have them…but then, I’m a black guy who’s grown up both in awe and in fear of guns. I’ve seen them used by and against the African-American Community. I’ve known them to have taken and save lives of folks in The South. They were a great equalizer in The Black West for some, and a cause for fear in the modern age.

    Also, I live in an irrational fear of the Zombie Apocalypse. I wanna be able to bring it if and when the time comes. The Road Warrior is an instructional video.

    I asked my wife if I could get a handgun. She said “Can you keep it under lock and key somewhere else?” I said I wasn’t sure. She said “No, not with the kids.”

    I asked if I could get a machete.

    “Of course! I’ve got no issues with that.”

    I bought a machete. I’d get a katana, but you can’t get away with walking down the street with one on your hip or on your back as It’s considered a concealed weapon. (Also, there’s this weird thing where “they” shoot black folk for carrying pretty much anything that looks like a weapon, let alone a real one).

    But you can walk down the street with a shotgun over your arm as long as it’s broken in half and unloaded.

    OK, I’m torn. But I have a machete and you don’t have to reload it.

  5. While I’m opposed to guns for the reasons you bring up, I would be willing to compromise. You want a gun for protection of your family, personally, I think a dog is better, but I can respect that choice.

    So here is the compromise: ban weapons of mass destruction — automatic (which are banned most places), semi-automatics. Have real serious background checks. Prove to society that the folks who want a gun are sane, not abusive, not one-job-loss shy of committing mass murder on live TV. right now we have no filtering system, and THAT is why we have this killing culture.

    • I’ll compromise with you – figure out how to keep the bad people from getting the weapons you are afraid of, and I won’t demand access to them anymore either. I should be able to defend myself with the same weapons that might be used against me, shouldn’t I?
      Here’s something funny: dogs scare me more than guns.

      • Personally, I’d propose destroying all of them (along with the 2nd Amendment which is read incorrectly by most gun owners — it supports a militia, not a gun in every pot.)

        It is funny that you’re afraid of dogs. But the statistics show that households with dogs do not have more murder/suicide/accidents. Bad guys are afraid of my dog, too. (Which is stupid because he is a sweet thing)

  6. I love this.
    I love that you wrote this.
    I love the “they don’t define me…” and the “in my heart I’m a cowboy” and all the parts in between, before and after.
    Cheers from another family with morals and guns!

  7. I just wish everyone else was as responsible as you! If people want weapons, they should apply for a licence and undergo training and pass a test. I mean, everyone’s pretty happy about learning to drive and having to pass a test to get a licence to drive aren’t they? So why not the same for a weapon? I bet statistically, more people are still killed in car crashes than in shooting incidents (although I haven’t looked that up so it’s just a guess – but if it’s not true, then it’s more evidence in support of getting people to be educated about guns).

    • Actually… I don’t like drivers licenses either. But, yes, people need to be more responsible, and they should do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because the government tells you to, and makes you get a card that proves you’ve reached a certain standard. I’d reached that standard long before I was allowed to get the card…

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