I read this article about a guy at a kids’ softball game in Oklahoma who apparently completely lost his shit and pulled a gun on the coach and waved it around with kids nearby. He was mad that his granddaughter didn’t get to play but I don’t care why he was mad because, unless someone had walked up and started harming someone else, his reaction was so far out of the realm of proportional that I can’t believe we’re even discussing it.
This guy is probably one of the zillions of “good guys with guns” across this country. There’s no reason he shouldn’t own and carry a gun, honestly. He’s probably not a criminal or a domestic abuser. He’s just a guy exercising a right. Right? He has guns as a tool, maybe for hunting, maybe for defense, maybe for a combination of the two. And, like most of the zillions of gun owners, it was probably all ok…until it wasn’t.
It only takes a second for a good guy with a gun to become a bad guy with a gun. And it’s not because they snap or become bad people all of a sudden or because they were bad to begin with. Instead, what I think happens with people like this is that they decide to finally use their cool gadget.
Think about it. When you got your first video-chat-enabled phone, how long did it take you to try the feature? Not long, right? You probably programmed your first DVR to record your favorite shows the moment you got it hooked up. I remember a neighbor coming into my yard to chop up fallen branches after a storm, partly because he’s a nice guy but mostly because he didn’t want to stop using his new chainsaw after he’d finished chopping up his own fallen branches.
We like toys. We like gadgets. We want to play with them. Guns, for some people, are very cool gadgets. On some level, people who own them are hoping to be able to use them for their intended purpose. Some of them want to shoot a 10-point buck. Some of them want to shoot a paper target.
Some of them want to defend themselves or their family. Sometimes they use the gun to do it when the gun is the wrong gadget. But the gun is there and…And.
It’s when guns get pulled out at the wrong time for the wrong reason that a good guy turns into a bad guy. It’s incumbent upon gun owners to stop and think about the outcome when they draw their weapon. Are they saving a life? Or proving a point? Will the headlines say “He is a hero”? Or will they say “He was a madman”? Are they using the right tool at the right time? Or are they showing off their fancy, and lethal, gadget?
A friend of mine who owns guns told me “The philosophy of the CCW permit holder is exactly that. The gun is a tool that you carry ‘in case’. You don’t show it, brag about it, wave it around or brandish it for any other purpose than to save your life or the life of another human being.”
If you are a gun owner, or considering becoming a gun owner, please remember the responsibility the owning a gun entails. It’s not a toy. It’s not a point of pride. It’s a tool with a specific purpose and it leaves almost no room for error. You can own it, and carry it but please do it the right way.
Only you can ensure that you remain a good guy with a gun.