William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Friday, 17, October, 2008

Why I Shoot.

Filed under: Forensics,Social Commentary — williamthecoroner @ 15:30

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.

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1 Comment »

  1. I don’t share your point of view, but I think I understand why you hold it. I prefer to hold tight to my conviction that my world is a safe place. The night still belongs to us in some places, us and the wolves.

    It’s not true of everywhere, and for that I am sad.

    Perhaps if I was back where I lived a few years ago, where security was an illusion that went as far as my front wall, I would share your point of view. I would be armed and learn to shoot. But not here and not now.

    Comment by red rabbit — Wednesday, 22, October, 2008 @ 19:29 | Reply


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