I'm in favor of gun control—for you. Come over to my house at night and break in through a window to find out whether I'm in favor of gun control." So said one of my favorite writers, P. J. O'Rourke.
Have to say, I pretty much agree with him. I never liked guns, never wanted to own one. That is, until my life was threatened – twice. The first guy was arrested for something else and ended up being held for psychological observation and I don't know when or if he got out. The second guy is still out there. He's in his 40's, unemployed, lives with his mother and sends me drunken emails at two and three o'clock in the morning. I have no idea what I might have done to him to earn his threats but I take them seriously. Being a reasonable person, I checked to see how long it would take the police to get to my house if this guy ever showed up some night. The average response time in my neighborhood is 14 minutes. Yup, 14 minutes. I can hear the conversation.
ME: “I've called the police and you are hereby warned that they'll be here in about 14 minutes!”
BAD GUY: “OK, then. Let's all sit down. I'll keep threatening you with my gun while we wait for them.”
Being a right thinking person, I went to the Police Department and explained the situation and showed them the emails. I asked for advice. I was told that I should think about getting a gun to protect myself and my family since they didn't have the manpower to sit outside my house 24 hours a day.
I called an old friend named Mark, told him the situation and asked his advice. Mark owns a gun store. He told me he was starting a class next week for a concealed carry permit and I should take the course. I did. When I got my official Concealed Carry Permit, I felt like Magnum, P. I. Only problem was, I didn't have a gun and no idea what kind of gun to get. I read an FBI study that the most effective gun is a .22 handgun. The reason is that armed felons are hit more times on average with a .22 than with any other weapon. The reason is that the .22 has very little kick and is easier to keep on target resulting in more hits on average than heavier caliber guns. I also learned that most “shoot outs” happen in less than 21 feet. OK, off to see Mark and I am soon the new owner of a brand new, .22 caliber Ruger semi-automatic pistol. I just had one problem. They didn't have any ammunition. They've been sold out for months because of the panic buying by all the gun owners who think Obama is going to show up at their home and take away their guns and ammunition. No one had any idea when ammo for my new self-defense program would be available.
I took the gun home anyway and practiced pointing at things around my house, pulling the trigger and shouting “bang!” and yelling “take that you a^%hole!”. I'm feeling much better about my ability to protect my family.
Finally, ammunition arrives and I buy two whole boxes and head to the shooting range with my new target which looks suspiciously like a chalk outline of a body. No matter. I hang up the target, pace off 21 feet and get ready to fire. I aim for the head because if I really have to shoot someone, I don't want them getting up only wounded and being mad at me.
Seven shots to the head. I pull the target back to see how I did. I actually did hit the target in the head – once. Are you kidding me? OK, go center mass, it's an easier target. Seven more shots. When I check the target, there's one shot in the chest, two in the shoulder, one in the ribs and three that I shot apparently just to scare him.
OK, maybe I'm not a marksman but do I really need to hit him to protect my family? No, I didn't think so. I reasoned that making a whole lot of noise would be just as effective so I bought a Beretta 9 millimeter. It makes a very big noise! I can't hit anything with it, but if someone breaks in, I can make a hell of a racket!
So I am now officially a licensed gun owner. Flush with testosterone and determined to protect my family at all costs, I buy a second . 22, a 20-gauge shotgun and a 12-gauge shotgun. I'm also comforted by the fact that there's no sound quite so intimidating as the sound of loading a 12-gauge pump action shotgun. Even when it's empty, it's a sound you recognize immediately. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger in your living room. I also bought a .22 rifle with a scope just because it looked so cool. I've never fired any of them but they're here, just in case I need them. Don't let this out, but I forgot to buy ammunition for the shotguns.
By the way, I didn't tell you that I'm still intimidated by firearms and probably overly concerned about gun safety so I keep the guns locked in a special case. If I need them, I'm not really sure where the key is. I also keep the ammo locked up in another case in a separate room and I'm not sure where that key is either. If someone breaks in, I'm going to have to ask him to wait while I find the key to the ammo case, unlock it and get my ammo, find the key to the gun case, unlock it, pick out a gun, load it, rack the slide and them I'm ready, baby!
That should take about 14 minutes . . . .