There’s been a bit of an up-tick in readership numbers on this blog in recent days. While not in and of itself a bad thing, I’m always curious to see how folks have found it–I don’t advertise; it usually comes down to a Google search for “left-wing” and “survivalist” or “prepper”. So I went digging, and found that I’ve been linked to in a comment to an article dealing with the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT. (The Newtown massacre was one of the worst types of tragedy imaginable, and my heart goes out to the victims, the survivors, and their families.)
For context, the perpetrator’s mother was apparently a “prepper” of the “Doomsday Preppers” variety. (I say “apparently,” as she ended up one of the victims; I don’t know her or anything about her, aside from what has found its way into the press.) She seems to have been excessively worried about one possible event (economic collapse), and had stockpiled an arsenal to protect herself after that collapse unfolded. My opinion of these types of prepper should be obvious, from previous posts (quick synopsis: there are things to be gleaned from the shows, but for the most part, these folks aren’t realistic in their fears or plans).
The majority of the comments to the above-mentioned article deride the right-wing survivalist community; the one linking to my blog in particular pointed out that “crazy comes from all places.” While that’s certainly true, I hope that I’ve not been coming across as “crazy.” I prefer when possible to approach problems by taking a good, long think about them. Does that make me crazy? I believe it does not.
I’m sure that certain of my views will be considered crazy by some–particularly the more strident–of whatever political persuasion. Do I believe in gun ownership? Yes. Do I believe in social safety nets? Yes. And with that, I’ve ticked off the far left, and the far right, in less than a mere two lines of print. But wait–it gets crazier!
I own firearms. When not being used, they stay in a locked gun safe. When in the safe, they are also secured with gun locks. The magazines (“standard-issue” ones, none bigger than 10 rounds) are separate, and not loaded. The ammunition is likewise separate. The keys for the safe and the locks are kept separate. So, in order to use one of the firearms, you must: find the key for the safe, then open it. Retrieve a weapon, find the key for its lock, and remove the lock. Retrieve its magazine. Retrieve the proper box of ammunition. Load the magazine. Only then, after loading the magazine into the weapon, can it be used as anything more than a club. Will I ever change this protocol? Not for the foreseeable future, but I would, should things devolve into post-apocalyptic Mad Max conditions. (If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I don’t think that possibility to be at all likely.) I lost most of the anti-gun folks at the first sentence. I lost most of the pro-gun folks when they realized the hoops I make myself (or anyone else) go through to use one of the guns. So be it.
Do I advocate having a huge, ready-for-the-zombie-apocalypse arsenal, with tens- to hundreds-of-thousands of rounds or more? Nope. If that’s your cup o’ tea, that’s all you; I’m not against it, but I’ve got other things I deem more important to spend my money on. Am I against civilians owning assault rifles? Aside from not much seeing the need to own “military-grade” weapons, nope. (And by “military-grade,” I basically mean any of the “tacti-cool” guns–if a civilian has somehow got his hands on fully-automatic weapons, there’s a completely different problem. What I don’t get is the supposed “need” for AR-15s and the like. They’re fun at the range, but the novelty really wears off pretty quick.)
What am I against? People making snap judgements, in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, before they’ve worked through the emotional effects. That sort of thing got us the PATRIOT Act after 9-11. While they may seem a good idea at the time, any laws or regulations passed in that way should be extremely closely scrutinized for potential side-effects or unintended consequences; an “unbreakable” sunset clause is a good plan. I’m against people saying, “forget dealing with mental illness, we need to deal with the guns.” How about we work on both, preferably after a bit of a cooling-down period?
If you were directed here from the article’s comments, welcome–please stick around, and read (calmly, and with an open mind) the entirety of the blog. I really try not to get crazy, but instead to offer common-sense advice, dusted liberally with my opinion.
All that being said, I’m going to take a couple of weeks off for the holidays, to spend some time with friends and family. I plan to start posting regularly again on the second week of January. Everyone have a happy, safe holiday season, and I’ll see you after the break!