Bud Wright: Now a gun owner — but not happy about it

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I recently purchased my first gun. It’s a jim-dandy, replete with state-of-the-art laser sight and the ability to accurately pump eight 9mm bullets into the object of my derision within seconds. I keep telling myself that it’s for self-defense.

That’s at least a partial lie. The 10-year-old boy within me cannot seem to move past the fact that I now own a gun that looks and functions very much like the one that James Bond carries.

I’m not sorry that I bought the gun. On the other hand, I’m desperately sorry that I felt the need to.

This was not an impulse purchase. I had mulled it over for years. As of this writing, I have yet to fire or even load the thing. Oh, I’ll get around to it. I intend to become a marksman. Thus far, I’m still familiarizing myself with the feel of my sleek, seductive sidearm. I find it repellent.

You are, by now, aware of the massacre that took place in Colorado last Friday. Every pundit within range of a camera or a keyboard has weighed in on it. Opinions vary, but not by much — mine included.

The only thing more predictable than the massacre itself was the saturation coverage by the media and the re-emergence of the Great Gun Debate.

It always plays out in the same morbid fashion, doesn’t it? A deranged individual decides to arm himself to a ludicrously lethal degree, selects a venue and then sprays enough bullets to kill dozens of innocent people. Death rules the day. On the heels of this carnage comes a national outpouring of grief and outrage, followed by calls for more and better gun laws. The only things that change from incident-to-incident are the body count and the roll call.

So … will this be the event that finally triggers the reversal of our nation’s gun violence epidemic? Is stricter gun control in our future?

Not a chance. Lead, follow or get out of the way. I have grudgingly decided to join the parade.

The gun debate is over, you see, and advocates for tighter gun regulations have been thoroughly routed. I know – because I’m one of them.

Things were much different when I was younger. There were never any guns in our house. I wasn’t allowed to frequent houses that had them, either. This wasn’t a big deal, though, because almost no one we knew owned guns — except for the hunting kind.

The push for universal gun ownership grew out of the culture wars that erupted in the latter part of the last century. It seems to have much more to do with inchoate fear than any innate worship of firearms. The conservative movement has made us so afraid of “the other” that a unilateral call to arms became inevitable. The outrageously empowered NRA has spent decades successfully lobbying to eliminate gun laws all over the country by greasing the palms of politicians and waving the Second Amendment like a battle-flag. They managed to frame the debate in such a way that opposition to unfettered, unregulated gunfire appeared to be downright un-American. I’m still not quite sure how they did that.

There is now at least one gun for every man, woman and child in America. The results are staggering. Americans are 40 times more likely to die from gunfire than Canadians or Europeans.

To put it more bluntly, if America had the same rate of death by gunfire as Great Britain; just since 2001, more than 100,000 people would be alive today that were shot dead.

But like I said, the debate is over. Guns are not perishable. They are loosed upon the land and will remain among us for centuries, even if their dispersal were somehow abrogated tomorrow.

Please don’t demonstrate your patriotism by brandishing the Second Amendment at me. While its wording does support gun ownership, no “right” to dispense death is completely unqualified.

The argument can be made that we need guns to defend ourselves from citizens like the Perquimans County man who was recently sentenced to 30 years for shooting up people’s houses. It’s a good argument. I can’t knock it down. If threatened, I now have the capability to respond with deadly force. So why don’t I feel more comforted?

I have no sense that my purchase has made the world a safer place. I have, in fact, experienced a profound sense of loss over it — although I’m not quite sure of what. Innocence, maybe? I’m a tad old for that. I do feel more secure within my own walls.

But that’s a hell of a trade-off, isn’t it?

Bud Wright is an author and resident of Pasquotank County

Comments

DoMo & Jorge & buds27t1, relax, please

Bud, it's okay to feel conflicting emotions about this. I appreciate your honesty in this. Many of us feel that we are being forced to arm ourselves simply because of the sheer numbers of weapons around us now. And yes, the shouting voices of the right reinforce our national paranoia and ensure ever greater gun sales. In fact, if any kind of critical thinking was applied, we would admit that we have less need for personal weapons now than at any time in my life. And I'm no kid. But, fear sells guns, so fear is the constant theme. In my own case I've decided against concealed carry, although I do own guns. I question whether carrying a weapon might inflate my ego just enough to give me false courage at the wrong time. In other words, I may stand my ground when I should be running away. I think this is what happened to Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Martin - the psychology of concealed carry resulted in death. The thing about a personal weapon is that it's no better than a bare hand if its not loaded and on you or in reach all of the time. So, are you willing to wed yourself to this mindset? My own feeling is that the true risk of being a crime victim is so low that I'm better off not carrying a weapon. And so are my children and neighbors. Respectfully Submitted, Force 12

You have done the right thing

Bud, Never be ashamed of having taken advantage of the right to protect yourself, your family and your property. Without that right you would be a subject and at the mercy of the government. That is a scary thought isn't it. Bud Stinson

Good column Bud

Good column Bud. I like the personal touch. You've developed into a helluva good writer. Keep 'em coming.

Bud with a GUN?

Let me get this straight. 1) Brag about your new gun 2) Say how sorry you are about your "need" to get one 3) Make statements about deranged individuals with guns 4) Blame conservatives and the NRA for your purchase 5) Make more statements about how bad guns are 6) Instruct people not to "brandish the second amendment" at you 7) State your need to defend your home Bud, this is the most blatant display of moral cowardence I have seen from you yet. Own up man! You bought a gun. No one made you write about it. But to blame the NRA for your failure to practice what you preach is ridiculous. There are thousands of people in EC that don't have guns. Many of them have been the victims of guns. They don't blame conservatives, they blame the thugs that terrorized them and they still don't get a gun because it goes against their convictions. Face it Bud, you don't have the stomach to be a good liberal, but you are a textbook hypocrite.

Bud with a GUN?

Bud with a gun? Now THAT is scary!

Gun Control

I’m glad to see you’ve realized that it’s a dangerous world – and it’s your responsibility to provide for you own personal safety. It’s not something you’re entitled to as those who wish to take away your gun rights would have you believe. To demonize the NRA for defending your constitutional right to gun ownership – and then turn around and purchase a gun sounds like the drivel of a double minded man. The book of James has much to say on this… a highly recommend read to help you deal with your internal struggles. The NRA does not advocate that every citizen mount a mini-gun in their window. They've always advocated responsible gun ownership, proper training, keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, and yes; defending the rights of law abiding citizens to own and carry. Making new laws while not enforcing the ones already on the books is folly... but stand-by as politicians will strive to push their agendas on the heels of the tragedy in Aurora, CO. Decisions based on emotions vs. logic… but that’s how the left rolls… Safety and security are dangerous words when coming from government… To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them. – George Mason

We Should Demonize the "Cynical."

The NRA does a good job supporting the 2nd Amendment. But, WHY they support it and HOW they support the Amendment is the problem. Yes, the NRA is made up of 4.2 million dues-paying members, but it's political clout comes from gun manufacturers and weapons dealers that donate massively to the organization and the organization, in turn, funnels the donations into political campaigns. If the NRA steps back from that commercial support, then they may lose some of their critics, but that won't happen in an organization that pays almost a million bucks a year to its president to make sure the money flows and legislators stay on point. The NRA shouts the loudest whenever someone mentions gun control, but they are paid to do it because they are solidly in bed with manufacturers and gun shops. This is what corrupts the principles of the Association and the reason that we SHOULD demonize this cynical organization. I'm a law-abiding gun owner that refuses to join the NRA because they support profits over common sense. Respectfully Submitted, Force 12

What is logical about

What is logical about allowing citizens to purchase assault rifles with extended clips? It's not like these weapons will be used to keep the government in check as the second ammendment was written to do. All the government has to do is declare martial law like they did during Katrina and forcefully take your weapons.

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