And we’re not talking, here, about legal strictures. (You could make a colorable case that some of the legal prohibitions sweep too widely, actually). We’re talking about people who, as individuals and not as members of some prohibited category or class, might be safer without a gun.
We realize this is arrant heresy, and fully expect to be burned at the stake forthwith, but if we could ask you to forbear for just a moment, and listen to two case studies.
Case Study 1: Neuro-Atypical Boy
So, he’s a basically good kid, and everybody loves him, but he’s a little… off. He has a high raw IQ but has some of the markers of autism spectrum disorders: very degraded motor skills. Relative absence of empathy. Complete absence of any, there is probably a better word for this, ability to sustain focus on anything or to maintain alertness.
It was once thought that at an appropriate age he’d be introduced to firearms for sport and defense. Question: what’s the right age? The answer in his case, there probably never will be one.
Case Study 2: Scatterbrained Woman
A woman of our acquaintance recently had a fairly terrifying experience — especially considering that she lives in one of the safest towns in the country, where people talking about a murder are talking about one decades ago, that’s still town gossip. But as she worked in a church, squaring things away late at night, she became aware that she was not alone.
She encountered a woman who should not have been there, and told her to leave immediately. The woman looked at her calmly and walked deeper into the church, into a dark function room. Our heroine executed a sharp exit, stage left and from the safety of the parking lot dialed 911.
The police arrived and cleared the building systematically. A male intruder — not the woman — was found hiding in the choir loft and detained.
The female intruder was not caught, but her identity was later determined. Both of them turn out to be residents of a notorious halfway house/homeless shelter/ drug distribution center in Big City; their objective appears to have been larceny. The priest declined to prosecute the captured male, and without his commitment to prosecution, the cops released him — but this makes the dynamic duo the leading suspects in a string of church burglaries in the neighboring communities. The MO is to enter the church in the evening when it’s open for a meeting, Christian Doctrine or Bible Study lessons, Alcoholics Anonymous, any of the civic groups that meet at church. Then they wait until the group leaves, steal any collection boxes and whatever can be quickly converted to drug money, and let themselves out.
Of course, the churches, all of which support Doper Grand Central Shelter, post their event calendars on the bulletin boards there.
So how do we get to guns? After this incident, she was visiting a couple that she’s friends with, and the guy (a school psychologist) suggested that she get a small pistol for self-defense. She gave it due consideration, and by the time she mentioned it to us, had already rejected the idea. She knows her own limitations: she’s a bit scatterbrained, always forgetting keys, checkbook, sunglasses, you name it. She didn’t think she could shoot anybody, but more than that, she didn’t think she could hang on to the gun.
It was a remarkably frank self-assessment. We concurred, actually.
Our conclusions were that the boy in Case Study 1 should not be brought to the range or indoctrinated into firearms, at any age; and that the women in Case Study 2 should be supported in her decision not to arm herself.
What were your conclusions? Are we right, or wrong?
Because we think that many people would be safer with a gun, but not everybody, and everybody should be considered as an individual.