Friday, November 9, 2007

Our 500 Year American Gun Culture

Our 500 Year American Gun Culture. I got sort of carried away with all this as I reread what I have written so at the very least I need to give some of the history of what I'm talking about.

First of all guns came to America with the first English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish and other colonists starting during the 1500 and all the way back to 1492 if you include Columbus. Back then, walking around without some kind of useful weapon would have been suicide because if it weren't the bears and other animals it was the natives who had a different cultural point of view and believe me psychology wasn't really invented yet although diplomacy was but only for the very educated and wise. So the common man was left to his family if he had one and his weapon or weapons.

I don't know about you but even raccoons, porcupines and skunks can be a problem if you don't have a weapon in some situations. Raccoons can be problematic if there are a lot of them there (a big related family of raccoons) or just one porcupine or skunk can ruin you or your dogs whole day, week or life. You may not realize how many animals die after contact with skunks or porcupines. If I run into a porcupine in the forest as long as it is daylight I don't worry about it unless one accidentally steps on one. They usually aren't a problem for people. Skunks can be difficult for both people and children however, no matter what time of day it is. Tomato juice is the only thing I know that will take away the smell and stop the children or adults throwing up from the toxins from being sprayed in the face. Eyes especially should be protected.

Also, about 3 years ago I lost one of my dogs to a raccoon. She was a jack russel corgi mix and her jack russell terrior side just wasn't going to give our trash can to a big raccoon. We found her with blood in her mouth but also a bad bite in her chest. She died of kidney failure a week later. If we had been there she wouldn't have been outside at night where we live as there are not only raccoons but mountain lions and skunks where we live. I don't think porcupines live around here though. A few years ago a bear came into town as well because of low water and lack of food.

So anyway, in the 1500's the English and all the others came to the northern East Coast of what is now the United States and brought their guns. People at that time knew quite well that without a gun people weren't going to survive at all. It's just that today people have gone to theory over reality. I think that is the biggest problem not enough reality for people living in big cities. At least the kind of reality that makes one practical living anywhere on earth.

I think if you asked soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan whether Americans should have guns they might just laugh at you. After what they all have been through there would be no doubt at all of the necessity of obtaining a weapon to protect oneself and ones family because of what is going on in the world and will continue to go on in the world no matter what Americans do.

At this point I'd like to share my families history. My father's side came to the United States from Switzerland and Germany between 1720 and 1730. Many families sailed into Philadelphia Harbor and then settled in Pennsylvania, then Ohio, Kansas, Illinois and eventually all the states. Most of my relatives are from Washington, Oregon and California now.

My Grandfather who passed away in 1970 was born about 1888 like one of my grandmothers. His father fought in the Civil War. My grandfather married a woman from Texas who was related to General Bullard of the Confederacy even though his father was a captain in the Union Army during the Civil War. By the early 1900's most people at least in the north had forgotten the Civil War pretty much. My grandfather had upwards of 20 or more hound dogs when my Dad was a boy and he and his brothers had to take care of them. They were only for hunting which my grandfather did whenever he wasn't working. It was his favorite thing to do. My grandfather sometimes spent winters in the Sawtooth mountains with his trap lines because he found it hard to winter with his wife and 5 kids. Most of the time he was an electrical Contractor and travelled until my Dad was 15 throughout Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Texas wherever he could find long term Electrical building contracts. When Dad was 15 he bought a house in Lake Forest Park Washington.

My father was given a 22 rifle when he was 6. His brother Tommy was 4 and was given a 22 pistol and his older brother was about 8 or 9 with a small shotgun. The parents sent them out alone in Coos Bay, Oregon to get quail but because they were so young they brought back robins. Their mother dutifully cooked the robins but Dad said there wasn't enough meat really to even consider eating a robin. They spent most of their time spitting out the shotgun pellets he said.

For my grandfathers family for almost three hundred years this was the right age to train kids to hunt and shoot. You trained the oldest kid and then gave him the responsibility of training the rest. His life depended not only on training them but having the younger kids respecting him so the guns wouldn't be turned on him. This was just how it was for hundreds of years of American culture in the Country. In this way loyalty to family was indoctrinated early.

When it came time my grandmother waited until I was 8 to give me my Dad's 22 rifle he had hunted with as a boy. Though I might have wanted a new one. Somehow getting my Dad's boyhood rifle was even better. It was one more way to tie myself to my Dad and his life. This meant a lot to me then and now. Though I never hunted for food because my Dad had raised me a vegetarian for health reasons, he taught me to shoot and hunt jackrabbits in the desert along with my cousins and my boyhood friends. So saturdays we were often out in the desert 100 miles from home shooting at jackrabbits and learning to shoot things on the run accurately. By the time I was 12 I thought shooting something I wasn't going to eat was a fairly wrong thing to do and I stopped shooting anything living, although I probably could hit with any good rifle anything larger than a rat at 100 yards if it stayed still long enough.

This gun culture was part of what kept America alive and part of what still makes America great. It is very easy to put down the gun culture. But without it we could easily look like the old Soviet Union within about 5 or 10 years if all our weapons were taken away.

Politically I call myself a moderate. What that means in actuality is that I have conservative views on some issues and liberal ones on others. My most conservative view comes directly down from the founding fathers and is the main reason we don't speak England English, German, Japanese or Spanish here in America as the primary laguage. Americans have always been allowed to own rifles and pistols. The primary reason is that we need them in case we get a dictator who won't step down as president and then we would need them to overthrow that government if possible. The other reason we need them is so citizen militias can police our borders like we always have to protect what our ancestors fought and died for these last 500 years. One of the main reasons America works is that its citizens have weapons and aren't afraid to use them in any emergency.

Now I know people who live in big cities might be horrified by this way of thinking. However, even you must realize if you are practical that the world is a very unfriendly place and there is in the end no one but God that anyone can actually put their trust in. So therefore since this is absolutely true in the end the only one that can protect each one of us is us both individually
and collectively.

For those of you having a problem with what I'm saying and since my most conservative view is that every American should own at least one gun to protect themselves, their home and their country I should also tell you my most liberal view. My most liberal view is that everyone on earth should have food, clothing and shelter even if it is a tent. I think all the rich nations should be ashamed if they can't make this happen. Actually doing this would prevent most terrorism and violence now on earth. So let's please make this last idea happen soon. If my most liberal view actually took place then there might be less need for everyone in the United States to own a weapon.

I look at countries like Britain in which longer ago most people weren't allowed guns. Then 150 years of IRA and British stiff upper lip and now Islamic terrorism and Britain is now turning into a police state with TV cameras on every corner watching citizens every move. Unfortunately, it looks more and more like this sort of thinking is coming to America too. I'm very sad to see this as the American Spirit is best maintained by everyone protecting themselves. I would much rather see citizens wearing holsters and pistols down the street as in several Texas towns than to witness America become just another absurd police state. Because my view of a police state is when people have given up the idea of protecting themselves. No police force will be there when your house is being broken into. No police force will be there when you or your family are being raped or beaten in front of you. Your best hope is a knife, sword or loaded gun somewhere people who are harming you don't know of. That is the sad and true reality of life!!!

People who actually believe otherwise are at best deluded! At the worst they are living in a fairy tale. I meet people like this all the time and wonder where their actual experience of life went or if they just went to private school and never had a real experience of their lives being threatened ever! By the time I was 10 years old two different boys had tried to kill me with a knife. One boy tricked me into watching he and his friend playing mublypeg (throwing jacknives into the ground as a game played for hundreds of years) This took place in 1957. Then he took the knife and put the sharp edge to my throat and laughed as I squirmed to get away. As the blood from where the knife met my neck dripped down onto my shirt I finally calmed down because I was in the end intelligent enough not to die right there. Then he said, "I'm going to cut your head off!" I looked into this boys eyes and realized he was crazy enough to actually do this. I realized I might have enough intelligence to survive this. After about 1/2 hour or more they let me go. I went home and loaded my gun, a Remington 17 shot pump action rifle to end that boys life for what he had done to me. However, because I was always very intelligent I called my friend on the phone first. He said, "Don't go shoot that guy and his friend. They'll be in jail soon. They are juvenile delinquents. Let someone else kill them, Fred. You and I have a good future coming. They don't!" I realized my friend was right. These guys would be very lucky if they lived to age 15 or even 20 the way they were acting. All I had to do to have a good life was to avoid them at least until someone else killed them!

I had at least two experiences like this. The main thing it taught me is you can't really trust anyone. The second person was a second cousin that did this. Later, after his mother killed herself, he killed himself too. People like these are excellent arguments for abortion. When kids aren't wanted they are abused and beaten until they are crazy and a danger to both themselves and society.

My Mother and Grandmother wanted me and my father had to get used to the idea. However, after I was 10 or 12 my Dad and I were best friends.

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