Saturday, January 22, 2011

Interesting E-mail from Dog Gone

Dog Gone, one of our newer commenters, honored me with a private e-mail which she said I could use as a post.  It offers us a fascinating glimpse into one person's decision to own guns. Tell us what you think.

A friend had taught me to use a handgun many years ago; he was a former Army gunsmith, and himself a gun collector - and the owner of my all-time favorite 9mm to shoot.  He also taught me about hand-loading ammunition.  It was all 'his thing'.  (My thing, other than blogs is dogs-look! that rhymes).

While taking on the power of attorney for a cousin of mine during his divorce from a crazy woman, because he went to China on a very long consulting job (when they were building their dam /hydroelectric system) I had to contend with her as a stalker.   First the civil restraining order, then eventually a criminal restraining order - the difference being with the second one, so long as she was close enough to shoot, I had legal probable cause to do so.  That was when I got a gun of my own, for very specific protection when I was advised that my life was under a real and legitimate threat - not some vague hypothetical protection paranoia.  Otherwise I wouldn't be a gun owner, but I would enjoy rare occasional target or skeet shooting with friends.  I took a combat pistol class, a more rigorous class than needed for the permit to carry, because I was advised it would be more useful to someone who might actually need to shoot another human being.  I also felt that firearms would be generically less frightening if I knew how to use them, clean them, take them apart, etc.  If I ever needed to use one in an emergency, I damn well wanted to know how to take the safety off.

Fortunately I never needed to shoot anyone - but I would have, if the occasion occurred to do so.

Unfotunately, my gun expert friend died a few years ago of cancer, so I no longer find enjoyment in target shooting for fun or to stay in practice.
A mutual acquaintance of all of ours represented himself to be a member of the Minnesota Highway Patrol - had the outfit and everything, routinely carried a gun, would even stop people.  Turned out he had a psychiatric discharge from the navy, was not what anyone would call sane, and was kind of scary....yet he legally had bought a gun, due to the failure of background checks.  I reported him to the police but it was my gunsmith friend who somehow persuaded him to leave me alone.  I don't know what he did or how he did it; I just know this person stopped being a problem for me.  But it did make me feel more safe to know that I already had the gun, the training to use it safely and accurately, and the permit.
So....this is pretty ballsy of me, on such short acquaintance, but would you like to post something of mine about my gun experiences  on your blog? How-I-came-to-own-a-gun?
I think it might add an interesting dimension, because while there are female gun owners, my experiences were that I was the only woman in my combat pistol class, and usually the only woman at the shooting range most of the time.  It kind of ties in to Congresswoman Giffords being a gun owner, having been in legitimate fear of violence, and a recent gun violence victim.


  1. I had planned on tightening this up a bit, before you posted it, LOL, but it works 'as is' well enough.

    To expand on the threat that prompted me to become a gun owner, the stalker in question would show up at my house at all hours. I would find her literally lurking in the bushes at odd hours, because my dogs would wake me up at 3 a.m. in response to her presence. I would receive up to 50 threatening, quasi-religoius creepy answering machine messages a day. The woman's own attorney believed she could be violent, and admitted in court that the stalker hated me obsessively. The criminal restraining order was issued ONLY after repeated violations without consequences of the civil restraining order. The police were relatively useless, although the dogs chased her out of the bushes and gave her a good run a couple of times.

    To give you an insight into the mentality of the stalker, at one point she was considering becoming a martyr, stating that she believed that if I shot her, my cousin would come back to her, feeling guilty, and coming to understand that he really did love her after all.

    That only ended after I pointed out that I went to the gun range twice a week, had become a good shot, and that she wouldn't be around afterwards for him to come back to.

    She didn't care. We were, for all intents and purposes, disposable extras in her movie.

    What did stop her martyr nonsense was that I told her if I had to kill her, I wouldn't inform my cousin until after he came back from China, in another year or two.

    It ratcheted up her desire to harm me, but it did remove the martyr scenario from consideration.

    I would like to believe that shooting another human being would distress me, but I think had I needed to do so, in this case I would have only felt a sense of annoyed relief.

    It somewhat shocked me that people who knew me,who were aware of the problem, expressed the conviction that I would not hesitate to shoot.

    I wouldn't. But it surprised me that other people believed that of me so easily.

  2. Wow, that was a pretty powerful story.

  3. Here's the problem: obviously, your stalker had a screw or two loose. What is she had obtained a gun and decided to act on her delusions? It's happened before.

    That is the problem. If we make guns so readily available to everyone, the law of averages says they will wind up in the wrong hands. Not might or maybe--will.

    And let's face it--the term "law-abiding" is a pretty low bar. You can have a string of misdemeanors a mile long, some including violence, and be "law-abiding" enough to get a gun legally.

    Re your gunsmith buddy, that's exactly the type of behavior that could easily backfire. I really don't want armed vigilantes running around thinking they can administer justice on their own terms.

  4. Jadegold wrote:

    "Re your gunsmith buddy, that's exactly the type of behavior that could easily backfire. I really don't want armed vigilantes running around thinking they can administer justice on their own terms."
    Not at all Jadegold. My gunsmith friend was the person who was adamant that guns were not fetish items, that they did not provide some hypermasculine character, and that you didn't carry one unless you had a need for it, and were prepared to use it. Never to threaten, or swagger, just self-defense if everything else failed.

    I am confident that however he handled the problem, it was not with a threat involving a gun. Far more likely it involved some form of threatened social ostracization, along the lines of go away quietly and I won't tell everyone who knows you about this problem.

    There was no person in my life that was less confrontational, or who treated guns with a healthy attitude - including recognizing what a gun could and most likely could not do in a threat situation.

  5. I had a certain comfort that the odds of someone not being able to hit what they aimed at would be in my favor, especially given the inferior level of training that I believe most gun classes provided. To get a gun permit, a gun safety class was a requirement; I would expect that is the norm in most states, but I don't actually know if it is.

    Although I could never prove it, I stronglyy suspect that what resolved my problem with the nut-job woman was that someone (a family member)may have circulated the theory that if anything happened to me my dogs would go after her and no one else could call them off if I were ...dead, or in the hospital, LOL.

    Who really knows though; the wacko framed her reality by reading boxes and boxes of romance novels. I have a theory of my own that can rot your brain in large quantities....

  6. Thanks so much, Dog Gone, for the e-mail and the comments. I like what you have to say about guns very much.

  7. Dog Gone,

    I had some extra time, so I found this. It's interesting that Jadegold used some of the same arugments against you that you use against me. As always, I cannot see how you're better justified to own or carry a handgun than the rest of us.