Sunday, August 7, 2011

Can Gunloons Be Good Parents?

Think about it.  Jon C. Sullivan hasn't:
To take it from the top, there is absolutely no shortage of firearm-owning parents who also weblog, who have been 100% successful at keeping their children from unintentionally or intentionally shooting themselves or others through the use of “setting firm boundaries” in addition to self-imposed safety measures – SayUncle, JayG, NancyR, Les Jones, and Robb Allen are all ones that come to mind right off the top.
I could easily "fisk" this, but I won't.  But I will note a couple of items.  First, Linoge (Sullivan) has no idea whether these weblogging gunloon kids have been involved in intentional or unintentional shootings.  Second, isn't the notion that a kid has to shoot himself or another, a very low bar for good parenting?  And do near-accidents or near-incidents count?

For example, I'll bet a very small fraction of a percentage of drunk drivers are ever involved in an accident.  Does that mean it's ok?  Most rational people would say, 'hell, no.'

And I'd bet most of us could recount stories of people we knew growing up who had absolutely abysmal parents who managed to escape childhood relatively unscathed and more or less intact.

I see a number of problems with gunloon parents.  First, and what is commonly mentioned but denied by every gunloon, is that despite how well-trained and disciplined you may believe a kid is--he or she is just about 100% guaranteed to violate whatever rules or training are invoked.  Doesn't matter if the training concerns guns, drinking, drugs..whatever..a kid is going to get into it.  Parents who don't believe this are deluding themselves.

Second, gunloon parents create a fantasy that a gun is needed for respect or self-protection.  Kids tend to internalize the habits and attitudes of parents.  Gunloon parents are demonstrating that might makes right.  It's often quite a confusing message because, invariably, it's dad who feels the need to carry a firearm--not mom. 


  1. You're setting the bar a bit high, don't you think?

    We hunt. My family - uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc. - all hunt, and have since before I was born these 50-odd years ago.

    Now, my two sons and my daughter hunt. They all went through the official firearms training, plus they all grew up with firearms nearby.

    I let them use my welder, my power tools, the lawnmower, and our cars, all of which can maim or kill if used incorrectly. But we did our best to impart to them the knowledge needed to use them safely.

    We did the same with firearms.

    They've not had a car accident, a circular saw accident, a welder accident, a chainsaw accident, nor a firearms accident.

    The day they are old enough to move out, they'll be able to purchase any of these items for themselves and use them as they see fit. Do you have any idea how I cringe when I see one of our neighbors using his new chainsaw for the first time? Ever see a chainsaw kick back into a face?

    Point is, firearms are just tools. Many tools are as dangerous (in terms of accidental injury) as firearms. Am I a good parent if I shelter my kids from ever using a circular saw while they're living with me, if that leaves them unable to use them safely later?

  2. As a woman who is competent with firearms, vehicles, and uses a chain saw safely, I found your analogy intriguing.

    The ONLY one of the above my parents felt a need to provide me with instructions in handling was a motor vehicle - (and that didn't include learning to drive a stick shift or motorcycles), and a riding lawn mower.

    I have to admit to never having learned to use welding equipment (or having a need to do so)but I have on more than a few occasions used a circular saw and other power tools, as well as having spent way too much time using chainsaws, courtesy of a lot of storm damage to a lot of our trees the past two years. I count myself fortunat to have been taught to use those correctly as an adult.

    The difference I see in your examples is that of all the things listed, only firearms are intended to be used as weapons, not 'just' tools. Weather a weapon for hunting or a weapon for home defense, they're still weapons, not just tools.

    While others CAN be harmed by the items you listed, notably vehicles, the kind of accidents tend to be somewhat different.

    What came to mind reading this, and the reference to 'setting firm boundaries' was the example of my god son. His father grew up around guns, and there were a few (well secured) in their home. My godson attended a very rigorous military accademy, where he also was exposed to guns, including as a member of a drill team. His parents set firm boundaries, and this was a kid who certainly had plenty of instances of discipline, as well as emphasis on self-discipline, probably more than most.

    And yet my godson, whom I love dearly, and respect, and who went on to have a distinguished army career, around not only guns, but other weapons including tanks, DID violate those firm boundaries and did have a couple of "incidents" in his teenage years. And firearms and power tools weren't the only concern; he and his school friends used their education and considerable intelligence to build their own lasers and other dangerous toys. What they could do with computer code and hacking was a separate nightmare.

    The idea that setting firm boundaries is some sort of a guarantee, or even that education is a guarantee, that accidents, near accidents, or 'incidents' won't occur or those boundaries won't be violated is a crock.

  3. Gun owners who are parents are faced with a terrible dilemma. They feel they need guns in the home for protection, whether this is foolish and paranoid or not is beside the point, they feel the need to have guns. But, securing those guns the way I would consider responsible and the way some states deem lawful, detracts from the self-defense capability and the reason for having them in the first place. I mean, what good is a gun locked up and separated from the ammo when a maniac is breaking in your front door?

    I think we should have sympathy and respect for the men and women who bravely attempt to wrestle with this dilemma.

  4. bobby: Perhaps, you believe that I think gunloons are everyone who owns a gun.

    I don't. I actually don't care if someone owns a gun or several to hunt. Or if someone likes to kill skeet or paper targets. You behave responsibily WRT your guns--I've no problem with you.

    Gunloons are those who don't. They're the ones who believe they have to own arsenals--often with military grade firearms. They're the ones who think they have to go out everywhere armed to the teeth and get to go wherever they like. They're the ones who believe drinking, drugs, mentall illness, criminal behavior or physical infirmity should be no bar to any firearm.