Guns!I am not a gun owner or gun enthusiast, and I’ve never shot a firearm (BB gun, yes, and my father seriously emphasized not pointing it anyone). I grew up in rural Oregon where guns abound, and at my high school lots of students kept guns in their vehicles for convenience shooting animals in the woods after school.
With all the controversy about guns, and especially the right wing folks wanting more and more guns, more guns in schools, everyone armed, etc. and how I'm appalled at how they treat teenagers who are speaking out after being shot at at their school in February.
I was thinking about how most of the right wing commentators have little right to speak, as they probably haven't been shot at.
And I realized I've been shot at twice, myself. Maybe that does give me some qualification to open my mouth about the issue.
I went to a college that was a gun free zone, though as a new policy at that college, it wasn’t yet enforced very well, and I was shot at, twice (not hit either time). Both shooters were, in theory, responsible gun owners, military reservists, one a sergeant in the Air Force and the other a Marine. Yet both treated their guns like toys.
The first incident was the first day back our sophomore year. My buddy, the Air Force sergeant, brought a gun for the school year, intending to shoot small rodents around campus (not an uncommon sport there…)
We were hanging around, meeting up after our folks all dropped us off, and he took the gun out, waving it around to show it off. He pointed it at me. I told him not to, but he laughed and said it wasn’t loaded. I asked him again to point it away, then I got lucky.
Lucky that he lowered it just far enough between my thighs (and I was skinny then, had thigh gap) that his “see, it’s not loaded,” didn’t end up being the last words I ever heard. The look on his face, the shock, when he pulled the trigger on his “not loaded” gun, from the shot that came out of his own hand… All that came out of his mouth for the next few minutes, till our hearts stopped racing, was a combination of “oh fuck” and “I’m sorry.”
Much later that same year, me and him, tripping on LSD, were getting out of the concrete dormitory for a walk in the high desert scrub behind the campus, a popular spot for shooting and motor sports. But we didn’t go all that far out there. We heard laughing and then gunshots from a hill in the not too far distance. Bullets were hitting the ground around us.
We discussed it and decided that someone was shooting at us, and that it would behoove us to depart, back to campus.
Later, after the drugs had mostly worn off I was back in my room, and my roommate, a Marine reservist, returned. He said it was him and another gun enthusiast friend who’d been shooting at us. He explained they were bored, since Klamath Falls, Oregon has little youth entertainment, so they grabbed some of their guns to go out into the high desert scrub and disintegrate some lizards or other small animals.
Bored. Bored and armed. They happened to spot me and the other fellow and got it in mind to scare us, just for entertainment. Of course, they didn’t know about the LSD, so they kept shooting around us, unsure why we weren’t reacting with panic. They were afraid we might have been armed and angry so they didn’t want to let us know at the time who they were, hiding behind a low hill.
So, while I was shot at twice, neither time by anyone actually intending to hit me, both involved highly trained gun owners with a military background. But away from their military units with their discipline, structure, responsibility and accountability, both guys treated their deadly weapons as toys.
I don’t feel making schools a gun toting zone would increase safety. Sure, someone might, and there’s no guarantee of success, stop a malicious shooter, but just having guns around increases the odds of accidents and unintended shootings (“see, it’s not loaded…”).