Chad Perrin: SOB

10 March 2009

I’m A Citizen

Filed under: Humor,inanity,Liberty,Miscellaneous — apotheon @ 08:45

I never really connected with my stepfather very well on a personal level. We’re simply too different in many ways. For instance:

  • He’s definitely a Republican, whereas I’m a libertarian who sympathizes with the Republican Party just very slightly more than with the Democratic Party (probably because Barry Goldwater, the most recent prominent Republican politician who wasn’t a complete asshole and wasn’t shunned by most of the party, is a lot more recent than Grover Cleveland, the most recent prominent Democrat politician who wasn’t a complete asshole and wasn’t shunned by most of the party). Note that saying I sympathize just slightly more with the Republican Party than the Democratic Party is equivalent to saying I feel just slightly less unendurable loathing for the Republican Party.

  • I’ve played RPGs for much of my life, and consider them an excellent means of developing linguistic skills, creative talents, and various areas of academic knowledge. Meanwhile, he always used to call D&D “playing dolls” (even though I never even used, or owned, miniatures for D&D until very recently).

  • He has, at various times, been a pretty avid fan of football, baseball, and NASCAR. In fact, he has worked for a pit crew. I, meanwhile, would be pretty hard-pressed to care less than I already do about those sports. I guess I enjoyed the NHRA event we attended a bit more, though.

Suffice to say that we essentially lived in different worlds. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t had an effect on my life, though.

I don’t know why he chose to teach me about the safe and effective handling of firearms; his motives in that regard are mostly opaque to me. I suspect part of the reason for it is that I’m his wife’s son, and he was trying to find some way to connect with me. He has no children of his own, so I guess I’m about as close as he got. In some respects, I wish he had felt more fulfilled in that regard with me being the placeholder for a son of his own — since I’m pretty sure he didn’t feel terribly fulfilled that way — and his attempts to be a sort of mentor and teacher where guns are concerned would probably have been a good way to do it. Unfortunately, our differences were enough that he might be surprised I turned into an adult who has handled firearms professionally and still has an interest in the things.

My current interest in firearms is, of course, significantly different from what I suspect he intended to pass on to me. While he has been known to keep a revolver near at hand when he sleeps (in a nightstand, decades ago — I have no idea whether he still does so now), it seems his interest is largely geared toward hunting and related areas. I, on the other hand, am far more focused on the defensive uses of firearms. Where he has been an NRA member for most of his life, my sympathies run more toward the goals of the RWVA and the JPFO. I find the policy of certain Colorado sheriffs to enter registrants for CCW permits in a state database extremely offensive, while simply mentioning the idea that I might get a CCW a while back prompted my stepfather to ask why the heck I felt a need for one (and I suspect if I mentioned the database issue, he’d probably be even more baffled at my complaint).

I guess you could say that my own attitude about gun control can be summed up with the common refrain:

With guns, we are citizens.

Without them, we are subjects.

Regardless of how well our respective attitudes on the subject match up, though, I owe him a debt of gratitude. I think I was about eight or nine years old when I first held a loaded firearm in my hands, and he was the man who put it there. Many years later, as an adult who had been around the world a bit and handled quite a few more firearms (many of which he probably has not handled, now that I think about it), he put another gun in my hands — one that I still have, and that I am glad to have.

I don’t know how my life would have unfolded without him in my life. I suppose it is possible I may never have fired a gun at all. If that is the case, it might be said that I’m a citizen because of his influence.

I received news earlier today, while I was far from home (still am as I write this) to visit my grandfather after my grandmother passed away: I was informed that my stepfather is scheduled for bypass surgery tomorrow. My thoughts are with him.

. . . and I hope the notion that these things come in threes is only superstition.

UPDATE

It turned out to be a quintuple bypass. It went well. I imagine there’ll be less cholesterol in his future, though that’s an uneducated guess on my part.

13 Comments

  1. That is definitely not how I define a citizen. A gun is designed to kill. Not guarantee liberty.

    A gun is an egoistic instrument. We are a community. Soon, there will be only one world. Even sooner, there will be only one nation of humans.

    It’s best to let the gun in the nightstand and build things together. We ought to think more of our ties.

    I hope your children don’t kill mine.

    Good luck to your step father. Things do come by 3. We just don’t know how to count them.

    Comment by Antoine — 11 March 2009 @ 02:00

  2. We are a community.

    While I would love to buy into this utopia idea Antoine has going on here, the only way we are going to have one nation is through opression. It is the nature of humanity to group together based upon cultural and national identity, and I don’t see the Middle East living under the same banner that supports the people of Isreal or any of the African warlords joining hands and singing.

    Anyone who can pick up a history book can clearly see that trying to unite disparate nations under a single authority is doomed for failure, and the only thing that has changed since the Ottomans, the Romans, or the British Empire is technology. The human lust for power remains the same, as well as the corruption that power breeds.

    I share Apotheon’s feelings on bearing arms, and almost view it as an obligation. Antoine just better hope our children will be their to defend his when the time comes…

    Comment by Mad Brew — 11 March 2009 @ 04:10

  3. I hope your children don’t kill mine.

    If your children don’t try to make subjects of mine, I’m sure they’ll get along just fine.

    Comment by apotheon — 11 March 2009 @ 07:20

  4. […] gun of the citizen is akin to the sword of the honorable knight: it is a symbol of responsibility, of duty. It is the […]

    Pingback by Chad Perrin: SOB » Heinlein's Law of Arms — 11 March 2009 @ 08:08

  5. the only way we are going to have one nation is through op[p]ression.

    Or not ?

    We should start by stating that the current model of democracy is not working well, and that more and more people consider 50+% of the population rules the other 49%. We would need to understand that people should be free to move from one community to another. We need to be more flexible. We need to agree how we live together. We need to educate ourselves of others. I need to understand that need of yours to bear a gun for example. And I also need to respect it. That’s pretty damn hard but that’s also the only way we may live together and form one nation.

    This is happening now. A century ago, I would never have heard of you. 50 years ago, I would have called you a yankee. Today, I’m running in your fire range.

    The question is: are you going to shoot, or try to understand others and live with them ? I hope that’s not something contradictory to you as much as it seems to me.

    That’s how we form one nation. All different and living in all our own communities, but aware we live together in the same space.

    Comment by Antoine — 11 March 2009 @ 08:48

  6. We would need to understand that people should be free to move from one community to another. We need to be more flexible. We need to agree how we live together. We need to educate ourselves of others. I need to understand that need of yours to bear a gun for example. And I also need to respect it. That’s pretty damn hard but that’s also the only way we may live together and form one nation.

    That’s well stated. I don’t disagree with any of it, as you said it with these words.

    Today, I’m running in your fire range.

    I’m not sure what you mean by that.

    The question is: are you going to shoot, or try to understand others and live with them ? I hope that’s not something contradictory to you as much as it seems to me.

    The world contains people who would do others ill, regardless of the tools used to do so. Responsible citizens, who keep and bear arms, are people who use the tools available to us to protect themselves and others from the people who would do ill if their would-be victims are undefended.

    I am, frankly, pretty damned baffled that anyone would look at someone (like me) who keeps and bears arms as a responsible citizen of his or her community, and equate that person with those who would use any strength they have (whether natural or acquired through tools) to subjugate others to their wills. From where I’m sitting, the difference is greater than that between night and day.

    I make a serious effort to understand that some people simply lack the perspective to grasp that difference, though, as part of an effort to avoid taking offense at what appears to be some people expressing mindless, fearful hatred of what they don’t understand.

    Comment by apotheon — 11 March 2009 @ 12:24

  7. I’m not sure what you mean by that. I just mean that I’m the other side of the gun. I don’t like that.

    You certainly are very responsible and well educated. What will you do of your gun when you grow old ? If you have a heart attack and suffer massive brain failure ? if you lose everything you love ? If your country impoverishes and the Chinese govt buy the Texas ? You state you are good and others are evil. Who are you to judge ? What criterias do you use ? Who defined them ?

    Taking a look at our earlier exchange: If your children don’t try to make subjects of mine, I’m sure they’ll get along just fine.

    OK, but what if my children sit on the last oil field of the planet. Will your children kill mine because they would become de facto their subjects because of their oil dependency ? Irak anyone ?

    As long as you decide who is good and who is evil by yourself, everything is fine and you should certainly carry a gun with you to continue to make those calls.

    Otherwise, you can be like me and decide to build a society based on trust over which you decide what is good and what is not allowed, and enforce the regulations.

    It may seem like Irak is far and hasn’t much to do with your rights. The problem is that it is a slippery slope: the more you want to protect the State, the more protectionnist you become, the more people you will kill.

    Comment by Antoine — 11 March 2009 @ 01:51

  8. I just mean that I’m the other side of the gun.

    How would you be “at the other side”? So far as I can tell, you’re no (physical) threat to me.

    You state you are good and others are evil. Who are you to judge ? What criterias do you use ? Who defined them ?

    Asking those very questions the way you do betrays a belief in something like “good” and “evil” and in your own ability to recognize the difference, even if you don’t recognize it yourself.

    OK, but what if my children sit on the last oil field of the planet. Will your children kill mine because they would become de facto their subjects because of their oil dependency ? Irak anyone ?

    Dependence on oil is of the dependent’s own making — at least in an aggregate sense. To the extent our government misbehaves in pursuit of that oil, it is the government’s own fault that such misbehavior is perceived as “needed” in the first place. As such, I really don’t see that as a valid problem — because a responsible person wouldn’t be in the position of being “dependent” on the last oil field on the planet anyway.

    It is, in fact, the ceding of ever-greater power to centers of assumed authority that creates the kind of problems those centers of assumed authority set out to “solve”. To the extent that individual sovereignty is respected, real solutions arise, thanks to the distributed power to pursue solutions. To the extent it is not, bureaucratic attempts to maintain the status quo (often under the guise of “fixing” problems that wouldn’t exist without that centralized power in the first place) will hinder solving such problems as a dependency on oil.

    Respect for individual sovereignty is incompatible with a central monopoly on tools for the defensive application of force.

    As long as you decide who is good and who is evil by yourself, everything is fine and you should certainly carry a gun with you to continue to make those calls.

    That’s backwards.

    See Heinlein’s Law of Arms: “Colt made them equal.” Restricting the capacity to judge good and evil to a small, biased group is the consequence of preventing the general run of humanity from having access to the tools of defensive force.

    Otherwise, you can be like me and decide to build a society based on trust over which you decide what is good and what is not allowed, and enforce the regulations.

    1. The only way to make that work is to remove volition.

    2. So far, the only way to do that is to remove it from most people, and leave all volition in the hands of a privileged few.

    3. I don’t trust the privileged few. I prefer the democratization of sovereignty, rather than the centralization of it with dictatorial power over the rest of us — because centralized power will be abused, given any reasonably foreseeable future.

    It may seem like Irak is far and hasn’t much to do with your rights. The problem is that it is a slippery slope: the more you want to protect the State, the more protectionnist you become, the more people you will kill.

    Exactly what State do you think I want to protect?

    Comment by apotheon — 11 March 2009 @ 05:56

  9. Aha, I got you where I wanted: you want to use firearms to protect yourself, while the right to bear arms is meant to protect the State. If aliens come tomorrow and agree to sign a peace treaty with your State at the sole condition they destroy all the things you love dear, do you have the right to fire at them ?

    I agree with all your other points on power and centralization of it. We both know the first goal of a person trusted with power is to keep it. The first fear of a person trusted with power is to lose it.

    I believe our societies are completely abject to that regard. I believe all our laws should have a timestamp : “Good till 2020”. I believe all people exerting power should have it for a limited duration and should be impeachable very easily by those who appointed them, just like it is the case for a normal job. A two weeks notice would be great. Having a presidential election that doesn’t last a full year would help too.

    So I agree with Heinlein’s law to some extent. We need ways to become truly equal. I believe that may never happen. Guns might be a way, but I think that’s a cultural thing, like Tommi underlined in your other post. The bitter truth is that there are plenty of ways to be equal, but none of them are good or doesn’t come with sacrifices.

    Comment by Antoine — 12 March 2009 @ 04:39

  10. Aha, I got you where I wanted: you want to use firearms to protect yourself, while the right to bear arms is meant to protect the State.

    You did? It is? What?

    What the fuck are you even talking about?

    Comment by apotheon — 12 March 2009 @ 04:54

  11. Best to your stepfather. There were a lot of things my own father and I disagreed about over the years, but he too taught me the proper care and handling of firearms.

    Comment by Sterling Camden — 12 March 2009 @ 02:25

  12. Wow… The fuck dude? Antoine, your comments just fell straight off a cliff. There was an intelligent and lively debate going on, which I enjoyed reading more than the article (no offense to the author), then you go and say something so COMPLETELY wrong such as this:

    >you want to use firearms to protect yourself, while the right to bear arms is meant to protect the State.

    Did you read anything about the founding fathers? You obviously don’t understand the concept of gun ownership, otherwise you would not have said something so completely backwards that it was laughable.

    Then, you continue onto some shit about aliens. You’re crazy dude…

    Comment by Mick — 6 June 2009 @ 04:50

  13. […] Growing Up Without Guns, former Soviet subject Leyla Meyers explicitly ties the horrors of the Soviet Union to its almost-total monopoly on modern […]

    Pingback by Chad Perrin: SOB » Communism, Revolution, and Tyranny — 6 February 2010 @ 02:32

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License