Monday, December 7, 2015

How safe do we feel? And is it our neighbors who scare us the most?

As if the police- and gang-related violence in Chicago isn’t enough to scare us senseless, there’s also the other deadly outbursts taking place about the nation.

Including that mass shooting last week in San Bernardino, Calif., which has all of us worked up into a frenzy – fearing that they are going to be the next victim.

AND PROBABLY ALL scared that the horrid driver’s license photo they have will wind up being the mug shot that gets disseminated across the news media and become the memory of their victimhood that gets burned into the public conscious.

But aside from that shared fear, we really have little in common in the way we perceive that fear.

Such as the polls that contend many people who identify as Democrats are the ones who push for tougher gun laws, while those who consider themselves Republicans are the ones who want looser laws – at least looser in terms of letting people have the firearms they think will allow themselves to provide self-defense. And maybe even those GOPers who think violent video games, and not firearms themselves, are the cause of gun crimes.

In short, the kind of people who’d actually buy a sign I saw advertised for sale at the Cabela’s sporting goods stores that warns people there’s nothing in a house they could rob that would be worth losing their life for.

MEANING THE HOME’S owner is itching for the chance to pull out the pistol and have a legal reason to open fire on another human being.

Those are actually the people who scare me whenever the discussion of violence and firearms comes up – because at least with the so-called criminal element having weapons there is a certain stupidity to the logic.

Whereas with the firearms rights crowd (I’ll be polite and lay off the “gun nut” rhetoric), they’re going to try to claim a reason that legitimizes their actions.

We do have a split in our society, and a large part of it has to do with regionalism and urban vs. rural segments of our society.

I STILL RECALL a family gathering (one of those types of events where the cousins you only see once a year actually show up) where one of my aunts made a confession of sorts.

Her former husband (she’s widowed, and now remarried) was a Chicago police officer, and among the possessions of his she still has is his old service revolver.

Although in the quarter century since my uncle Bill died, she has never had a reason to fire or, or touch it, or even look at it. She keeps it locked away and has no desire to dig it out of storage.

Which actually was a thought that thoroughly astounded the spouse of one of my cousins – a woman from rural Ohio who still lives there and is in an intense commuter relationship with my cousin.

SHE FIGURED IF a weapon was on hand, it needed to be easily on hand. The very presence of a firearm was needed to scare off the would-be burglars or rapists or anyone else who’d think of breaking into a house.

Of course, that was a dispute that ended with an “agree to disagree,” which means we didn’t have a family dispute that ended up on the evening news with one person plunging the carving knife into someone else’s chest.

But I bring up this family quarrel only because I figure it is typical of the split many in our society feel. This argument could take place just about anywhere – and probably is what with the fear many are feeling following San Bernardino.

With that fear leading some to take advantage of that Cabela’s sale this past weekend to purchase a semi-automatic rifle. Just in case their pistols don’t make them feel secure enough.


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