As a person who is FOR sensible gun laws and AGAINST gun violence, I am often asked whether or not I have ever shot a gun, or whether or not I own one. Well, I haven’t and I don’t- at least, not yet. My total experience to date regarding the handling of guns is that once upon a time I dated a guy who was in training to be a police officer. I used to carry his gun in my purse when we went out. That’s the extent of my gun handling, and it is something I wouldn't do today.
I’ve been around gun violence most of my life. Most recently, there were several murders by gunshot in my neighborhood. And who can tell on New Year’s Eve, what are fireworks and what is gunfire? We stayed in, as far to the interior of the house as possible.
Just under 30 years ago, my father was killed by a gun. It was a shotgun, wielded by one of two gang members who knocked on his door in the middle of the night. I still haven’t recovered, either from that or from the ambient violence of life in my childhood neighborhood surrounded by gangs. Every year on the anniversary of his death, whether I remember that it is the day or not, my body remembers. Every March 3, I always feel horrible, and have a very short temper. When I remember, I can make plans to take care of myself. If I forget, which is about half the time, my family has to deal with a cranky, aggrieved person. That’s just how it goes.
Needless to say, I am not a fan of guns. Nonetheless, I am curious to see what it is like to shoot one. So, this Friday, off I will go for lunch and shooting with a couple of really amazing women. I’ve asked my dear friend, who is a gentle soul, a poet, and a gun owner, to take me shooting for the very first time. She’s asked another friend of hers, who on Facebook at least is hilarious, to come and instruct me. So, there will be three madcap gals a-shootin’ (safely, of course) at a range in somewhere in the northern parts of Los Angeles. Perhaps we’ll strike a ‘Charlie’s Angels’ pose. In any event, it will be a safe space to learn and explore.
Let us see if this shooting day helps me in some way to better understand the answer to my question: “Why guns at all?”