There are a few issues that, while I understood that there were left and right takes on them, went for years without making it to my front burner. Immigration was kind of like that. While I was aware that the influx was gaining momentum, my sense was that America was big and absorbent enough to keep it from exhibiting really disturbing cultural implications. It was only when it was brought home to me that the crux of the matter was the country possibly deciding en masse to disregard its own laws about such a basic matter as what qualifies a person to be here that my concern level began going up. I also started to consider its role in voter fraud and the fading of our cohesive sense of identity.
It was like that with guns, too. Maybe I bought into the stereotype a bit before my ideological evolution was complete. I think my reaction to gun-rights zeal at that point was along the lines of, "Isn't such an emphasis on the right to own and carry a gun based on an undue suspicion that one's fellow human being is going to mess with you?"
Then I started considering something that's not often brought up in polite company: brute force is implicit in every human action. Even the most sublime and tender. If a deeply-in-love-couple gets married and subsequently splits up, there will be some sort of contractual arrangement for sending each party on its way with some of the material goods it has jointly acquired. Of course, remedies for failing to comply will start out at the level of court orders and lawsuits, but if the intransigence reached its logical conclusion, a gun could eventually be drawn. Other examples abound. An unruly school kid's disciplinary measures (this example resonates with me, given my lifelong authority issues) may start out with detention, and, below a certain age, progress to paddling, but, should he, say, go wild in the principal's office and endanger the lives of authority figures, the ultimate societal remedy would be available. Employment plays itself out the same way (hence the need for security personnel to see dismissed employees to the exit), as does behavior in a crowd.
My wife and I are friends with a couple who live on a wooded hilltop. We don't get together socially with them as often as we once did, but there were a few summers during which pretty much every Sunday afternoon was spent floating in their pool, with blues and reggae emanating from the stereo speakers, the aroma of grilled food wafting across the environs, drinks aplenty and a general atmosphere of laughter and good conversation. One day while standing in their kitchen, I noticed a tiny sticker in the corner pane of the door opening to their driveway. It read: Anyone entering this house illegally will be shot. It took me aback at first. It seemed so incongruous to their lifestyle and demeanor. My first thought was, "What's the motivation for such a hardass statement?"
Further reflection, however, got me thinking deeply about home as a concept. You know, the castle image. Home really is the space within which, provided your mortgage or rent is current, no one can mess with you. (Again, this assumes that anyone with whom you share your home is at least relatively delightful company. If not, see the first of the examples in my implicit-brute-force paragraph.) You and yours do things your own way within your walls, and you don't need anyone's permission. You also don't anticipate any interference.
A gun is the final confirmation of the individual human being's sovereignty. Your will and your breath are your own, and there must be a recourse if violation seems imminent.
The current nationwide push for various gun-control measures in various locales enables those behind it to waffle on the basic issue of what the second amendment guarantees. "We're just talking about certain kind of sizes or capacities," they say, or "we just want to tighten up background-checking procedures." Do you think there's not an ultimate aim lurking behind such parsing? Me neither.
So how about me? I've never owned a gun. I've enjoyed the few times I've done some target shooting with various weapons. The other day, though, I stopped into a firearms store just to ask some questions. I also bookmarked a firearms-terms-glossary website. It looks like I will be taking a safety-and-handling training class this spring. That's about as far as I've gone. For one thing, I don't know how my wife would feel about any further steps. There's also the affordability issue. Getting into weaponry ownership requires some bucks.
Still, given the rapidly changing cultural and political landscape in this country, I'd like to at least know a thing or two about how to assert my sovereignty.