In Sunday’s Perspective section of the Denver Post, there was an op-ed article entitled, “My Month with a Gun,” by Heidi Yewman. This article was commentary about the feedback the author received from her June posting for Ms. Magazine where she wrote about what it felt like to carry a gun everywhere she went for a month, and by doing the absolute minimum that’s legally required in her state. Ms. Yewman makes it quite clear from the start that she is anti-gun/pro gun-control. I’ll give her props for doing something she is obviously biased against.* If she had taken it upon herself to get proper training, she may have had a different opinion at the end of her 30 days. We all know that knowledge of gun safety and training is essential, so I won’t go in depth about that here. I just wanted to point out and respond to a couple of comments the author made.
Ms. Yewman: “I decided to keep the gun in a locked safe and the key to it hidden when I was home. But that didn’t seem to make me less anxious. Before I had a gun, I would go to sleep thinking about what I’d make for dinner tomorrow or how to help my son on a project or remind myself to pay a bill I’d forgotten.”
This is called being a ‘sheep.’ You assume nothing bad will ever happen to you. As they say, ignorance is bliss.
(If you don’t know what I mean when I say “sheep”, do an internet search for Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and “On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs” to read more.)
Ms. Yewman: “With a gun, all I thought about were the sounds I heard at night. I would lie awake thinking: “Is someone breaking in? How fast can I get to the gun? Will they hear me? How much time do I have before they get to my bedroom? What if they go to my son’s room first?”
She never once thought that someone might break into her home before she had a gun?? She never thought, “Hmm, maybe I’ll put a baseball bat by my nightstand in case there is an intruder?” Again, ignorance is bliss.
Ms. Yewman: “I thought the gun would make me feel more powerful, more confident, and less fearful. I was wrong. All I felt was fear.”
If you had zero experience with riding an off-road dirt bike and someone put one in front of you and said, “Go!” Would you know what to do? Would you know how to start it? How to shift gears (without popping a wheelie and falling off)? Would you feel confident with your riding skills without any prior training or knowledge? No. You can’t feel more powerful and confident when you have no idea what you are doing.
Ms. Yewman: “Living with a gun was not easy. There was more worry, more responsibility, and higher risk for everyone in my home, especially my family.”
Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Welcome to the world of being a responsible gun owner.
Since Ms. Yewman is a parent, I wanted to expand upon this. As we know, just about anyone can have a child and there is no Parenting 101 class required before becoming a parent. Responsible parents make sure to child proof their home so their children don’t get hurt. Responsible parents will put up a baby gate so their child does not fall down the stairs when the parent is not looking. Responsible parents make sure there is a child latch on the cupboard and the childproof cap is on the bottle of Drano so Junior doesn’t come along and take a few swigs out of that brightly colored bottle.
Is it a lot of work to child proof your home? Yes.
Is there more worry when you have a toddler roaming your house? More responsibility? Yes.
You don’t have to child proof your home. You don’t have to be a responsible parent. You can leave your front door wide open and let Junior go for a stroll on a busy street. You can leave your kids in the car while it’s 100 degrees outside (and insanely hot inside the car). We see this type of tragedy on the news every summer, and I still have not seen the government require a Parenting 101 class.
The majority of parents take their role seriously and do whatever is necessary to keep their child safe. That is also what the majority of gun owners do. They know it is a great responsibility to have a gun in their home, especially if children are in the house. They will get training and store their firearms safely. Is it a lot of work and a lot more responsibility? Yes, but responsible gun owners know it is their duty to do this and they won’t complain about it. They just do it.
There are always going to be tragedies; that is a fact of life. It is normally a human error (ignorance, stupidity, carelessness or malice) that causes the tragedy, not an inanimate object.
* A final note: If you plan to own a firearm, it is your responsibility to learn about gun safety, how to store your firearm and ammo safely, and gain as much knowledge, understanding, and training as possible. This is not something that should be taken lightly. I did not go into it much above because the Ms. Yewman’s point was that she was doing the bare minimum to own a gun. We know the average gun owner will go above and beyond to be safe and responsible. I bet if she really wanted to own a gun for self protection, she would have taken every course available to her. She wouldn’t have been so reckless.