Roberta X asked Why do you shoot? Which got me thinking.
Several years ago, I was asked to help with a local election for mayor of Cleveland. The organizer said “SInce you’re a coroner, I’m sure you could give us good information on a logical firearms policy.” I was happy to do so. I learned that that candidate and I had different ideas of what a “logical firearms policy” might be.
And that a Swiss-style army/militia, where every adult male has an 8×57 mm Mauser (now a SIG 550) was not what they considered to be a “logical firearms policy.” John McPhee’s essay aside. Oh, well.
Be that as it may, I learned to shoot because I was a forensic pathologist, and I wanted to know more about my profession. I had been interested in history for many years, and I’m particularly interested in the military-surplus rifles of WWII. I find shooting relaxing, because you have to concentrate on safety to do it properly. I also like well-made, precise tools. I’ve shot skeet, and enjoy the challenge of hitting a moving target
I’ve worked with many armed individuals over the years. I remember scene visits with the Cuyahoga Coroner’s Office, where I was the only un-armed man at the scene. I’m not looking for an armed confrontation. I intend to go to great lengths to avoid it, which is just common sense. I have no wish to live my life in fear. There are many bad people out in the world. A few are in jail, and I helped send them there.
Ultimately, though, the only one who is responsible for my own safety is me. I want to have the tools to protect myself. People who cannot protect themselves are dependent, and get taken advantage of, either for their own good, or as a result of unintended consequences. I remember several “Take back the night” rallies from undergrad. Frankly, I thought they were misguided, as we’ve never had the night to begin with, and so it’s pointless to talk about taking it back. I did safewalks with some of my friends, two escorts with a radio and a 7 D-cell flashlight made out of aircraft aluminium. I always wondered if a .38 would do better at wresting the night from the bad guys, but that wasn’t a popular avenue of discussion at my college.
There are more articulate folks than me out there. Marko has a good take on why the gun is civilization, as do Brigid and Carteach. But to summate my reasons in a sentence, it’s a skill that challenges me and makes me more capable for feeding and protecting myself.