Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Weapons Cache: Guns and Gun Control

Howdy folks!  Before I get into the gun toting action of this blog too far, I wanted to share with you about A Round of Words in Eighty Days.  Some of you know that I participate in this event and on Wednesdays with my Mashup you can find a list of my goals for the week with the event.  Well... just to let you know the second round started today!  Woo hoo!  So if you are looking for a writing community to help you to reach your potential this is a great place to stop.  We have several published and unpublished authors who want to support you and help you to reach your dreams.  So give it a shot.  Now that we've finished that, it is on to the guns!

Even though I've been a soldier for the past twelve years I never really got into guns.  Now I know there are folks out there who are thinking that this is some sort of crazy sacrilege, but it is the truth.  I've always thought they were neat, that they were powerful, but I'd take a sword any day over a gun.  Swords in my book are just cooler.

That is probably how a lot of folks feel about guns, because I remember when I was younger seeing the character to the left in a video game called Final Fantasy 7.  A great game and a great story, but some of the science they had in the game was dead wrong.  Like Barret here.  Notice the chain gun on his right arm.  That isn't something that could ever be attached to a person because it wouldn't ever work.  It is a nice idea, but it wouldn't function in real life.  The reason that comes to mind most immediately is that the recoil on such a weapon is incredible.  He would be thrown back every time he tried to fire such a weapon.  There is a reason why police officers hold guns in two hands and a person with a rifle puts it up to their shoulder.  You can't fire accurately when you can't control the weapon properly.

For example, I'm sure all of you have seen this: the sidehold.  Kay, this doesn't work because one, the gun is pointed down.  Two, he doesn't have the proper support to actually aim his fire.  And three because he's put it on its side he can't aim it because the weapon is designed to be aimed when  everything is horizontal rather than vertical.  This is not cool, nor is it neat.  The way this man is holding this weapon shows his disrespect for the weapon and carelessness for human life.

Through my training in the military I've developed a moral sense of how a weapon should be handled, and I think if everyone followed these rules we would have no need of gun control laws.  I'm going to share with you a version of these rules from the Marines and then I'm going to break it down in the style of the OG.

The four rules of safety for a firearm are as follows:

1. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
     This means that you should treat it as if it were loaded at all times.  I've seen folks who have pointed guns at other people because they think its funny.  I'm sorry, its not.  Please don't point a gun at me, because I don't know if it is loaded or unloaded.  And you should only point a weapon at someone or something you intend on killing.
2. Keep your finger straight and off the trigger, until you intend to fire.
     This is such an important rule.  Triggers do not take a lot of pressure to pull.  Consider it only takes a little strength in one finger to pull most triggers.  And if you have your finger in the trigger well and someone surprises you, guess what, your gun just went off.  This is even worse when you consider a hairline trigger, that takes hardly any pressure to cause the hammer to drop.
3. Never point your weapon at anything you don't intend to shoot.
     When you point your weapon at someone you don't intend on shooting, you start a habit of being careless with a firearm.  You should NEVER be careless with a firearm.  Consider the purpose of a gun for most folks is to kill.  Do you want to make anyone feel like you are out to kill them?  I certainly hope not.  This might seem a little repetitive.  Did I mention this above?  Yeah, I did.  Put a star next to rules one and three.
4. Keep your weapon on safe until you intend to fire.
     You know what this really means?  Be familiar enough with your weapon to know when it is on safe and on fire.  This means you might need to find out what all the parts are and what they do.  The diagram to the left is a good start to understanding a gun a lot better.  But I'm certain if you Google it, you can find much better examples.

Now honestly if we actually had most folks follow those rules, we would have little need for gun laws.  If we actually would spend time learning the correct principles behind how to use these we wouldn't have the government dictating who and who can't purchase a weapon as much as they do.  Say what you want about Obama and Democrats wanting stricter gun laws, I believe that we have a great amount of say in the laws we have in our country.  And when we don't take responsibility for our actions, others will do so for us, because they want to protect their families from those who might hurt them because they do not have the good sense to be responsible.

Government has the purpose of guiding and protecting us as people.  And just like a gun when we choose to ignore the proper use of the government, or abuse its power, we deny ourselves the freedoms that we would otherwise blessed to enjoy.  That's part of the reason that I've chosen to be a soldier, it is because I care about the freedoms that I have and I'm willing to kill, and even die to protect those freedoms.

Most people have guns for similar reasons to that.  They have them to protect their homes, nothing more.  The gangsters from Los Angeles and New York we see have them to protect their families too.  Misguided though they are, they want to protect what they feel is theirs.  Hunters use them to provide for their families.  So even though this weapon has the purpose of killing, it can provide through its proper use several blessings.

Do you own a gun or a rifle?  I didn't until recently.  My adopted Dad, purchased me a Mosin Nagant for Christmas.  It is a beautiful weapon with a maximum effective range of 2000 yards.  I'm really looking forward to getting out to a range to learn better how to use it.  Because I refuse to be an uneducated gun owner.  When you hold the power of life or death in your hands, it is crucial that you understand how to use it, and even more important that you can use it properly.

Well another month has come and gone.  I'm sad to see March gone, but April looks like it is going to be a beautiful month to be honest with you.  I feel like I'm going to get a lot of writing done and that's always a good thing.  Another good thing is that we have a winner for our giveaway last month.  And that is: Carmen Esposito.  Congratulations!

Unfortunately, I need to be responsible.  My family has fallen on some hard times financially, so I cannot do this for the month of April.  Perhaps in May things will be better and I'll feel like we can afford it, but not this month.  My apologies.  But I'm sure if you look around my blog you'll always find a good book to read, cause I like to recommend books.

Well that's all I have for now.  This is Jayrod Garrett, the First OG keeping it real with a few questions for you.  For those of you who are gun nuts out there: What would you recommend for a good pistol?  And for those of you who barely know anything about guns: How do you think gun safety education would benefit us as a society?


  1. Thank you for a thoughtful and intelligent post about guns. I don't agree with you about the hunting but (hopefully) we both live in free countries! As an English woman I had never even seen a gun less still fired one until we last went to Vegas on holiday. We went to a gun range and I explained to the guy who was helping me that I'd never fired a gun before. He was extremely helpful and I did everything he told me to do. It seems silly but I was so surprised by how loud it was and I was wearing headphones! And the recoil took me by surprise as well. But as a writer I thought how am I ever going to write about this authentically if I've never done it? My gun rule (there is only one) is that a gun is not a toy so don't play with it!

    1. Yes! I'm so glad you had that experience Janet. It is very important to have fired a gun to realize how to correctly write it. I'll also suggest that you watch someone who knows how to use a gun well also that you see how an expert handles a gun. It is a beautiful thing to watch. Thanks for your comments.

  2. Thanks for the info! I'm bookmarking it for future research needs. I think a few guns are going to be making an appearance later in the story I just started.

  3. LOL @ "Unfortunately, I need to be responsible."

  4. AMEN,AMEN,AMEN. There is no doubt that there is so much sloppy gunhandling being passed off as 'cool'. The entertainment industry is fairly responsible for this. The character in the picture is little more than "cannon fodder" for the competent combat marksman. In spite of the good that has come from "shall issue" concealed carry permit laws, there is of late some haphazard teaching going on, so much so that at least three other states will not offer recprocity with Utah's permits. I had the good fortune to be taught by one of the best. His name is Steven Beckstead. He asked, quite without being intrusive if any of us were familiar with Joseph Smith's principle of leadership: "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves." He then told us that that is the whole idea behind carrying a concealed or for that matter, any weapon. He was also very thourough in teaching situation avoidance, and in carefully defining the specific situations where deadly force may be used lawfully. There have been of late some examples of misconduct, which will have the exact effect Jayrod describes, of more controls being proposed. As an interesting aside, Jayrod's mother-in-law was present when we took his Mosin Nagant out of the box. Unfamiliar with guns,she nervously asked if we could open it to demonstrate that it was not loaded, and she was entirely right to make this request. It is sometimes problematic that those like myself, who are of some experience with guns to become careless about safety protocols, and we should always take stock of our habits. I thank Jayrod for this blog, for rights ALWAYS go with responsibilities. (Cool gun picture too.)

    1. Dad, thanks for adding your voice to this. All your comments are entirely correct. Once I was told that the mark of a good gunman was if you handed him a gun the first thing he did was check the weapon to make certain that it wasn't loaded. I hope to be that wise and well trained one day. :D

  5. I've never actually handled a gun (beyond a few unloaded ones that I looked over in the presence of their owners), so I cannot vouch for the impact or recoil of one. I have no doubt about that however, just based on the weight of the weapons I held...even the palm-size "ladies pistol" (which I asked to be unloaded before I would hold it, despite the fact the girl who owned it keeping it loaded loose in her purse....yes, yes, I know, please, don't get me started) was heavy for its size.

    However, I agree wholeheartedly on the rules of gun use and the concept of responsible handling and learning that until it is ingrained as much as instinct. I have some experience in this, because I bow hunt, which comes with its own, similar, variations on those four principles.

    As for politics... It seems to me it has always been that way. Half of our banking industry woes are for the same cause... We stopped taking responsibility for the use of our money, we let others dictate our choices. It happens with the medical industry, with guns, with drugs...

    I'd better stop now. You don't deserve me ranting about these things, Jayrod. You've chosen an honorable path, and a hard one, given our political situation these days.

    1. To the contrary Eden, part of our conversation here is to talk about the hard things. The fact that we've given up our responsibilities for the privilege of not having to think, and allowing someone else to guide our freedoms. I am the last person to say that we can make our voice heard for every last piece of legislation, but we can speak up for the pieces we are aware of. Thank God for citizens like you who care about the state of our nation, and realize that when we reclaim our responsibilities to this nation we reclaim in large measure our freedom.

    2. I guess a lot of my problem then would be "where to start". I wish I knew how to encourage more political and social awareness in people. Sometimes, I wish I was more "aware" (you noted in your Mash-up/Insecurity post today about how you tend to "ebb and flow" in your activity, be it school or life... I do that too). As the child of two former (and still somewhat) hippies, I was raised in a household of "causes" to be involved with, crusade against, etc., and at times, I confess, I hated the idea of always making a stand when it seemed that all it did was cause grief for the people standing.

      It took time... It's still taking time. My family is from the Syracuse area of NY and my great-aunt actually met Elizabeth Cady Stanton and taught my father (and me, though I was too young to fully take in the stories) about helping out with the women's rights movements as a little girl in the 20s. She'd be heartbroken to know we're still fighting for that now in some ways, but because (as with so many other things, I'm just using this as a personal example) we've allowed ourselves to become complacent, to say "oh things have never been better (not saying they are good or bad, mind you", we have said to those who would like to remove personal rights "We don't care".

      Well, I do care. I care about women's rights to her body. I care about treating people irregardless of skin color or height or gender or ideology or .... nose job even as human beings with thoughts and feelings and experiences worth listening to and acknowledging, and understanding (not necessarily always agreeing, but understanding IS vital). I care about mercy and I care about respect. I care about our world and clean air, and...

      Umm, yeah, it's about where to start.

    3. Okay that being the problem, I'll share with you something I use: http://www.signon.org/ On their website they'll send you a lot of issues that you may or may not agree with. From their you can at least sign a petition and be a voice for change. But I'll be honest, that isn't the most important start I think you can make.

      Take a stand on the issues and speak on them honestly without fighting with others when you have an opportunity. Freedom means everyone's voice has meaning. Freedom means you and I can also be right (in certain situations). It also means we both can be dead wrong. We are about trying the increase the freedoms of the individual which requires us to seek out education on what the issues really are. I believe involvement in the discussion in as small a way as being actually educated as how to deal with it is the real first step.

  6. Terrific post, Jayrod! My thanks for serving as a soldier. My father, my husband, and now, our daughter serve(d) in the U.S. Military.
    My father taught each of his children (there are 9 of us) how to handle a weapon. We had to learn all gun safety tips, how to fire the weapon, how to load, unload, and clean. My father taught us to respect the power that a firearm represents. Your four rules were like gospel to my father. If he said it once, he said it a million times. "Rule number one: The gun is always loaded. If the gun is not loaded, refer to rule number one. Never point a gun/rifle at anything/one you don't intend to kill. Guns are not toys they are tools. They have the power to take life away."

    I think that proper instruction in firearm safety would not only cut down on accidents, it would instill a proper respect for what a firearm is capable of. Fear is a big factor in proponents of gun control. If everyone was taught gun safety and learned how to handle a weapon, maybe they wouldn't be so afraid. What do you think?

    Thank you for stopping by my blog earlier today. Glad you did! I'll see you at the check-ins.

    1. Nadja, I was glad to stop in there. It was very interesting to see a guest blog post for the first post of the round. I think education is the method by which we teach our children that they don't need to be afraid. I think if that fear of guns was gone we would be able to reclaim our streets from the gangs. They control because folks are afraid of their guns. Just my thoughts. Thanks for sharing yours.


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