Are guns an evil necessity?

When I was very young (and by very young I mean under the age of 7 years) my grandfather decided that it would be a good idea to have me use his rifle to try to shoot some glass bottles off of a log. He did not put any kind of ear protection on my head, and did not warn me that there would be any recoil. I probably weighed all of forty pounds, had never been around guns before, and this was a very new experience for me. I remember lying down on my stomach and propping the gun on a log, and aiming the gun. The noise was very loud, and the recoil was very painful. I was scared and hurt. I cried. That was the end of my wanting anything to do with guns.

Rifle (free clip art)
Rifle (free clip art)

Ever since then I have respected the right of individuals to own and enjoy guns, but I have avoided them. There have been so many terrible stories in the news all of my life about the horrible things that have been done with guns. I am a peace-loving person that would prefer to reason with people than to fight with them. As a middle child, I’ve always been a peace-maker, a negotiator, a diplomat. I’m a lover, not a fighter!

I have not wanted to look at, touch, or hear guns. When I was single, and dating guys, if they expressed any interest in guns, I broke up with them! That was a deal-breaker! I did not even want any guns in my house, out of fear of someone getting hurt.

But recent events with a neighbor who has threatened the safety of my family has forced me to reconsider my position. I reluctantly agreed to learn to handle a gun. Just in case I really needed to use one in self-defense. But I did so with great trepidation. What if the recoil hurt my hands, which already hurt so much from that traffic accident that I was in a few years ago? And so my gun-loving friends and relatives have come out in droves to encourage me to learn to shoot.

Browning Buckmark 22 handgun (free clip art)
Browning Buckmark 22 handgun (free clip art)

This week I agreed to “try” one of my stepfather’s guns while I was visiting with my parents at their house. I think that my agreeing to try it shocked us all – I have been very reluctant to have anything to do with guns up until this point. But I decided to “suck it up” and give it a try. I won’t lie about it – I was nervous. Very nervous. I almost wanted to cry when he put the gun in my hand! He gave me a Browning Buckmark 22 pistol to use. He gave me some ear protectors that looked like overgrown ear-muffs, and I put them on. I was surprised that I could still hear his voice a bit after I put them on!

I listened to his instructions, then took a deep breath to calm my nerves and turned towards the target. The target was twenty-five feet away, stapled to a wooden pallet and was actually at a bit of an angle away from me – I could not see it “straight on” so the circles were actually a bit smaller than if I had been able to see it “straight on.” I held the pistol with both hands, propped my elbow against a pole he had implanted in the ground, closed one eye, and aimed at the target. I was very aware of my breathing, and focused on keeping my breathing calm and steady. When I couldn’t “put it off” any longer, I tried to keep my hands steady (which is hard to do when you suffer from “essential tremors”) and very cautiously, slowly, squeezed the trigger. The recoil was a lot less than I expected, (the gun went upwards instead of back into the palm of my hand) and I actually hit the target! Unbelievable! I’ve always been terrible at sports when I had to aim at something – basketball, archery, bowling…. You name it, if I had to “aim” at something, I was horrible! But this shot actually was within the circles of the target! Amazing!

First time with 22 pistol 8-27-14
First time with 22 pistol 8-27-14

I put the gun down and went to inspect the hole for myself – yes, it really was there! I laughed and said “I can’t believe I actually hit the target! Must be beginner’s luck!” Then I proceeded to shoot again. I hit the target again! And again! I experimented with which eye to close, whether to have my left foot or right foot forward. Most of my shots hit within the circles – and quite a few hit within the bulls-eye rings! My step-father encouraged me to shoot 100 rounds, so I kept going. The most difficult part was loading the ammo into the clip – holding the spring-loaded clip open with my thumbs was painful, so I had to figure out a way to load the clips without using my thumbs to hold the clip open. It was awkward, and slow, but I managed.

By the end of the 100 rounds, I was firing the rounds off quickly, and my aim became more reckless, but I was experimenting to see how well I could shoot if I had to shoot several rounds off quickly. For the most part I still hit within the circles, so I was satisfied that this was something I might actually be able to do.

When we finished for the day he said “I think I’ve created a Monster” and I laughed, replying “Now people are going to start calling me Annie Oakley!” I took some pictures of the target, and texted my hubby with the picture. His reply was “Well well, Annie….” And so it begins…..

Today he took me to the range close to where I live, and I managed to get off 90 rounds. I used the same pistol as before. This time the target was only twenty feet away. I think I did better, but I don’t know if that’s because I am getting better, or if it is because the target was closer.

8-29-14 Opal VA 20 ft distance
8-29-14 Opal VA 20 ft distance

Now my hubby, step-father, and mother are all encouraging me to go out and buy a hand gun of my own. I went to Gander Mountain yesterday with my step-father while we were running errands to try to buy some ammo for his guns, and while we were there we consulted with the guys in the firearms department about their recommendation. I have small hands, and some physical concerns.

Bersa Thunder 380 (picture from Wikipedia)
Bersa Thunder 380 (picture from Wikipedia)

They recommended a Bersa Thunder 380. I was shocked to see how expensive guns are! They let me hold one in my hand, and I agreed that it felt “right” in my hand. As if a gun will ever feel “right” in my hand. But it had a good light weight to it, and felt well-balanced. They told me that if I wanted a gun for protection that a 22 caliber was not a good idea. (They said that if a guy was attacking me that the 22 caliber would just “piss him off” but that the 380 caliber would stop him. Since I don’t want to “piss off” an attacker, I guess that a 380 would be a better choice.) The told me that this Bersa Thunder 380 gun has very little recoil, and is very accurate. They explained that this type of gun had a different recoil that would be going back into my body more than upwards, and that should decrease the possibility of hurting my hands. (I’m not sure which type of recoil is actually “better” for me at this point!)

I was concerned about the barrel length because the Bersa barrel is shorter than the barrel of the 22 I was using, and I thought that a shorter barrel would be less accurate. My hubby tells me that the velocity of a 380 will make up for the shorter barrel. I don’t know that much about the logistics of guns, so I’ll have to trust him on that one! I like that the Bersa has an optional laser feature that could be used to increase accuracy. I like that idea a lot! If I’m trying to defend myself, that would be a big benefit!

I’ve been watching some YouTube video reviews about the Bersa Thunder 380, and I haven’t come across any negative information about the gun yet.

I don’t know if I will end up getting one or not. I’d like to try it out before I buy it, and I don’t know if there is anywhere around here that will let me test fire one before committing to the purchase.

Are guns an evil necessity? I hate to think that they are, but maybe they are. That makes me sad.

I’ll have to give this some serious consideration. My money doesn’t grow on trees, and I still am ambivalent about being a gun-owner. But I AM concerned about protecting myself against my crazy neighbor. I’ve already tried to get the police to help, and there really isn’t much they can do until he actually attacks/kills one of us….. what to do, what to do…

Justice Prevailed Today

Scales of justice (free clip art)
Scales of justice (free clip art)

Unfortunately we have had difficulties with one of our neighbors since almost the day we moved into our house. Difficulties that eventually forced us to put up “No trespassing” signs up around the yard, hire lawyers, and send out letters advising the neighbor that he is not welcome on our property, and to stay off of our property.

The neighbor I am writing about is a scary and dangerous man who has threatened to kill everyone in our family. He has threatened to kill us himself, and he has threatened to take out “hits” on us. He has bragged that his concealed weapon permit gives him permission to kill us if he wants to kill us.

We have gone to the police for help on more than one occasion for these threats, and the magistrate refused to do anything about it each time. The neighbor continues to violate the no trespassing orders, and we have filed trespassing complaints and gone to criminal court twice now over those violations. The first time the judge dismissed the case. This time, even though the neighbor claimed that he has never stepped on our property since we purchased it (He has been on our property a lot and caused much aggravation from his presence on our property, which is why we served him with papers to stay off the property) however, the judge found in our favor, and found the neighbor guilty of trespassing.

The neighbor was fined $400. The judge suspended $200 of it. The neighbor was sentenced to 60 days in jail, all suspended. The judge told both of us to have no contact of any kind with each other, and instructed the neighbor to stay off of our property. He warned the neighbor that if he violates the order to stay off of the property within the next two years, that he will have to pay the rest of the fine, and serve all of the jail time.

Upon arriving home, I called the Culpeper Sheriff’s Office and left a message for the officer that has been helping me with the troubles with our neighbor to please return my call. Within a few minutes, he called me and I filled him in on the verdict. He was very glad to hear that justice prevailed today, and he agreed to increase the neighborhood patrol to help keep us safer from retribution by the neighbor.

Although I am very glad that the judge found our neighbor guilty of trespassing, I have concerns that the animosity and bad feelings will now escalate into something even more ominous, with sinister results.

We already have a security system installed, and we are going to have a better one installed really soon. My hubby is a crack shot with his guns, and has a concealed weapons permit. I’ve resisted going to the gun range to learn to shoot, but maybe now is the time to give in and do it, for my protection. I have concerns that the kick-back (recoil) will hurt my hands and/or shoulder. My hubby insists that he has at least two or three guns I could learn to shoot that won’t hurt me with their recoil.

We have two very vocal, protective dogs to sound the alarm and help protect us. I don’t know, maybe we’ll buy a trained guard dog that will attack on command as well. We will have to wait and see.

If anything bad happens to us, and we all end up dead, please tell the police to look very hard at the neighbor that we are having problems with. Thank you all!

Guns guns guns

Angry man
Angry man – photo found at http://www.myfacewhen.net/view/3619-angry-black-man

Yesterday, at around 4:45 pm I was sitting at my computer when I heard a very loud pounding on the front door. I got up from the computer and started to walk towards the door. I could see through the studio windows that the person pounding on the door was our cranky neighbor Mr. X. “Oh great,” I thought. “What now?”

Before I could get to the door he used his fist and  pounded on the glass storm door so hard that I thought it was going to break! I have no idea why he did not use the doorbell – it works just fine! When I opened the door, I asked him “what can I do for you?.”

In response his face contorted in anger, and his neck veins started to pop. He waved his arms around, and started to shake his fist at me. He was shouting that we had no right to touch his rocks at the end of our driveway, and that they were his property. (We had to put our trash cans down there, and the trash cans touched a couple of the rocks.)

Then he started to yell “You tell that husband of yours that I know what you are doing in that garage and I’m not going to let you get away with it!” Shaking his fist and leaning over me he continued to yell “I’ll see you in court!”

At that point I saw Michael in the driveway, headed towards the house, and I pointed to him. I said “I’m done with you, there’s Michael, go take it up with him!” Then he turned and started to walk over to Michael.

I closed the front door and locked it, turned around and walked quickly into the living room, telling my step-father Dick “quick! Come outside with me right away, I think we are going to need to be a witness to this!” So Dick and I immediately went outside to keep an eye on what was going to happen.

I had my cellphone with me and I called the police (dialing 911) while I was heading outside. As soon as I stepped outside I loudly announced that I was calling the police, so everyone knew that I was calling the police. Michael said “good!”

When the dispatcher answered the phone, she asked me where the emergency was. I gave her our address. She asked me what was the emergency, and I told the dispatcher that I needed police immediately, there was a heated argument going on between two male neighbors and I was afraid that it was going to become violent at any moment. I told her that both of the men had guns and that I was afraid that someone was going to get shot. She said “they have what?” I said “guns.” She said “what?” I said “guns.” She said “what?” I said “guns. Guns. Guns. You know, like ‘bang bang you’re dead!’ Guns!”

 

gunfight - free clip art
gunfight – free clip art

At that point, I was starting to wonder if this was just a nightmare! I don’t have a thick accent, and I don’t stutter! I grew up around here, English is my native language. Exactly why the emergency police dispatch lady did not understand the word “gun” is beyond me!

After all that, it took the police over forty-five minutes to arrive at the scene. They talked to all four of us, and they told us that no charges were going to be filed.