Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Once more into the breach, dear friends.

I hope that nothing I write here will offend anyone - but I'm fairly certain that it will. I hope it won't run anyone off, but it's a risk I am obviously willing to take. It is, after all, my blog, a place for me to write the things rattling around in my head and set them loose to bother someone else for a while so I can have a nap. I am afraid that this will be long, because it's not an easy subject for me to discuss, and I haven't really had an opportunity to reach any sort of clarity with it. Hopefully it'll be worth enduring, and also give you pause for thought. It's OK if you don't agree with me...sometimes I don't think I make any sense, either.

First, a little history on how I got to writing this post, because you may need a little help sleeping: Because I am such a slacker fabulous mum, I have spent a large chunk of my day an hour or so meandering around Blogopolis. I was doing my usual daily perusal of sites, hopping from one to another with an ease born of familiarity. On my way through Dad Gone Mad (a Daddy blog worth reading, even if I am a mum) and decided to check out his forums. I'm a sucker for a well developed forum. One of them has links to folks needing help and support - causes that DGM's readers think are worth time and/or money. One of the people I already knew about, and posted about her here a while back - Crystal from Boobs, Injuries, and Dr. Pepper. The other two, I hadn't heard of, but being the intrusive curious critter that I am, I went on over and looked.

I read this post, and then poked around a little more on the blog, and it sparked some thoughts. Lucky, lucky you, I am now going to share them.

First, I think it despicable that anyone would use the court system as a means of vengeance. It's called the Justice System for a reason. Carrying out personal vendettas against others by lambasting them with legal fees, calls to court, lies and obfuscation is cowardly. Using a person's religion, politics, or beliefs in personal freedom against them in an effort to show them unfit is equally cowardly. Threatening to take children away from a mum simply because he doesn't want her to have them make a man less a man and more...well, honestly, I can't think what. There's not a critter in the animal kingdom low enough, and I wouldn't like to insult another life form by making a comparison. *Edit - this is equally true of women using the tactic against daddies. If you continually lose, you might want to reexamine your whole basis of complaint. Also, when you have made children, your first responsibility will always be to them and their needs, whether you like who the kids are with or not.

Granted, I don't know the folks over at Anarchangel, and am writing this after reading only their POV, but I am OK with being lopsided and biased a little. It balances out my constant need to be fair elsewhere.

So I think it stinks to high heaven that someone can use their financial means to try and wrench kids from their parents, and cases like this are a prime example of why people with real legal needs are often left in the dust, with no recourse but to take the kids and run or just give up.

Even if this particular tale hadn't set me off, there are others. Cases where divorcing parents have used religion as a means to take children away from each other (it was OK to be Pagan while we were married, but now that I'm dumping her for someone my mommy likes better, her Paganism is a means for her to corrupt and abuse my children, and no I don't think her clean, loving, smoke free home is a better place than my beer-fueled-nightly-tirade-filled-half-a-trailer, your honor, because I'm Christian and that's my trump card. Burp.)(I know that's offensive - but it happened. To someone I know. Not a friend of a friend. Someone I actually know.)(Although perhaps I am exaggerating a mite...I'm pretty sure he didn't actually burp in court, or admit that he was an alcoholic, drug using, spouse and child abusing asshole to the judge, and the only reason he wanted the kids was to hurt her and get child support. And the only basis he had for complaint was that she was Pagan. Which was fine with him until he started cheating on her with a teenage waitress. Oh, yes he did. Springer episode in two parts, truly)(And while it may seem like I'm generalizing about a religion here, I don't mean to - I have Christian family and friends whom I adore and who love me no matter who, where, or how I worship, bless 'em) make me angry.

So it isn't about religion for these folks...it amounts to the same thing - a strongly held belief in personal freedom and responsibility being used against someone to try and punish them. Please. Keeping a gun in the house isn't abuse - beating your child bloody, making their life hell, verbally abusing them, sexually abusing them, or allowing others to do so - that's abuse. A gun in the house needn't be any more dangerous than keeping a butcher's knife.

Enough - I am getting myself all riled up.

The second thing I thought about was gun ownership. I am a staunch supporter of the Bill of Rights and believe in personal freedom and responsibility above law. I think a government should protect the borders of its nation, enact and enforce the laws of its citizenry, and always remember that it serves the nation's people, not itself. Hah!! I believe that people should be permitted, if they so choose, to own, carry, and even use when necessary, firearms.

My father hunts. My brother used to hunt, and would still if he had the time. My father-in-law hunts. I benefit from the skills of the hunters who use my mum's land, because they are kind enough to share venison with her, and she with me. I grew up in a home with rifles, shotguns, handguns, crossbows, and knives. For all I know, there was a cannon in my grandfather's attic - we are sea-faring folk, after all. I ate game animals and birds on a regular basis thanks to the skills of our family hunters. No one ever got shot, either by accident or on purpose. I even learned to shoot - first with a .22 rifle, then a .22 handgun. I wasn't all that bad, either.

Having said all that...oh, dear...I must admit here that...sigh... I don't like handguns. Hunting guns are different - they provide food, and my philosophy has no difficulty with that. It's the handguns that bother me.

Life is so complex, so special, so very unlikely that I have difficulty with anything that makes it so easy to take away. Guns are...impersonal. I feel that if you simply must take a life, it should have meaning and be deeply personal. It should never be easy. It should take thought, effort, a consciousness of your act. It should be visceral. There, I've said it. Of course I know that's insane. I don't hold with going around killing folks for kicks, or to take what they've earned but you want to steal. It's all terribly wrong to me.

Because of the way I feel, I don't believe that I could use a gun on another human. Because I don't believe I could use a gun on another human being, I will not carry one. This make T unhappy. He wishes I would. He used to ask me to, but has given up on it (at least for now). I won't though. Carrying a weapon you won't use is just another way of arming the thugs. I'd carry a knife if they gave permits for that...or better yet, a sword. I am a complete geek, I know. A blade doesn't discomfit me the way a handgun does, though. I believe I could use a blade to defend myself or my family. I could not use a gun.

Because of the way I feel, I am teaching my son what I call The Rules of Guns:
1. You never point a gun at anything unless you intend to shoot it.
2. You never shoot at anything unless you intend to kill it.
3. You never kill anything unless you intend to eat it or it is in defense of your life.

I have no issue with people who hunt and enjoy it - as long as they are not hunting wastefully and for trophies. I do have issues with trophy hunting. I think it's arrogant and disrespectful, at the very least. I don't even have a problem with mounting dead things on the wall, if that's what people are into - as long as the critter once attached to the mounted body parts was actually used for something besides decor. You know - like clothing or stew or something. I believe that a life taken must be used to its utmost, or it is dishonored, as is the one who took it. Maybe I should make a fourth rule - always honor the life you've taken.

I have not banned guns from the house. I think it's important that Bird learns that they exist, that there are rules and consequences to them, and that he has to obey these rules or suffer the consequences. Come to think of it, I think everyone who has a gun of any sort should learn those things. I don't refuse to associate with people who keep and carry handguns or other firearms. I know that most owners are careful, responsible, rational people, and I do feel safer sometimes knowing they're there - if you'd been some of the places I have, you might feel the same.

I don't yell at my son for playing "guns" with his fingers or sticks or whatever - I just quietly remind him of the rules. He may only be five, but he has them memorized and can repeat them with just a little help.

I wish I wasn't such a wuss, so squeamish about them. In the abstract, the power, chemistry, mechanical engineering, and ingenuity that they embody is awesome. I even think some of them have a terrible beauty to them. But I don't like them, so I won't use them. Collect them, perhaps, but not use them. I am told I'd likely change my mind if someone threatened Bird. I don't know. I hope I never find out.

T carries a magnum somethingorother...one of those great big ones. He can do the shooting while I do the dialing-of-911. Yes, I realize that smacks of cowardice and sexism both, but I can own who and what I am, at least in this.

I could go on, but I really do need a shower and a nap, and to let my somewhat overheated brain cool off a bit. Whatever your feelings on the above, I hope you'll go give Anarchagel a read - they've got some terrific geekery that confused me entirely, a few cartoons, and they are refreshingly honest. Also, it's two people sharing one blog, which I find astonishing since I don't even really like sharing a computer with T, never mind a blog!!


foolery said...

Your feelings about guns come pretty close to my own. And yet, I am waffly enough to possibly be swayed by a good argument, either way. I was raised in a house with a .22 rifle, a shotgun, and BB and pellet guns. I can't remember shooting any of them. I shot the hell out of a lamp at an old dump one time, using a friend's Baretta and something bigger. But I have all of the same reservations that you do.

This sentence caught my attention right away:

"It is, after all, my blog, a place for me to write the things rattling around in my head and set them loose to bother someone else for a while so I can have a nap."

I can't tell you how many times I have said very similar things! Usually, "Sorry to dump this on you, but it's in my head and I have to get it OUT or it will drive me CRAZY."

Small world.

Kyddryn said...

Heh...even on the Internet, like attracts like.