I shot a gun once

Fresh out of college, visiting my friend Mike, I told him how my radio died just as I drove into his driveway. I know you’re thinking car-radio, right? But no, I’m writing about a boombox. My brand, new car stereo was on the fritz. The prior Saturday, a different friend, one possessing the electronic know-how I still lack today, helped me install it. It was sleek and beautiful; it rocked; it cranked; possibly, it forever damaged my hearing. A few hours after the install, I learned that we made a mistake. Some sort of electrical cross-connection left me with a choice. I could either use the stereo or use my headlights. Not both, not at the same time.

On my drive to Mike’s, I opted for lights. I brought along the boombox to fill the silence—my soon-to-die boombox. “Let’s shoot it.” Mike lived in a rural setting on the Chesapeake Bay. Target shooting with his twelve-gauge shotgun was a regular activity. I never visited Mike before. I’d never shot a gun. We set the radio on a rock on the beach. I took careful aim and pulled the trigger. I blasted the boombox right into the water, the left speaker gutted, wires and plastic hanging askew. “Nice shot Jeff.”

The end of my gun-career.

Every time the United States finds itself shocked by yet another mass shooting, I write a blog post. I’ve done so Here, Here, Here and Here. I’m vehemently antigun. To me, gun control means no guns. Period. None for hunting. None for target shooting. None for criminals and none for cops. A gun-free society. I’m the exact sort of liberal that second amendment advocates hate. So, don’t take it lightly when I say: The Democrats should give up on gun control.

The Democrats just tanked the 2020 election. Yes, it looks like Biden will prevail in the initial vote count, but then we face months of recounts, law suits, intimidation, violent protests, and a further degradation of democracy as we know it. The Republicans held onto the Senate and they even picked up a few seats in the House. All of this while fielding and supporting a racist, misogynistic, indecent and immature blowhard who sees himself as his only true constituent. Surely more than half of our country must find his behavior abhorrent.

Listening to NPR over the past couple of days, I’ve heard various people justify why Trump gets their vote. Mostly it boils down to abortion and the second amendment. These two line-in-the-sand issues steer so many voters away from the Democratic party that a complete absence of moral character becomes the lesser evil.

The right to choose an abortion is off the table. Choice is a basic human right. Plus, if abortion became illegal, women would literally be in back alleys with coat hangers. It’s an issue the Democrats can’t and shouldn’t give up. It’s our line in the sand. That leaves guns.

The nation is facing some of its biggest challenges in history. Covid-19 is running rampant, uncontrolled, and it will continue to do so until an effective vaccine is created—that’s not necessarily a when but possibly an if. Racism is on the rise, and thanks to President Trump, acknowledging racism is now considered unpatriotic. Millions are newly unemployed, business bankruptcies are rising, and evictions are gathering steam. And these are just some of today’s problems. Tomorrow, we need to deal with climate change.

Today, the United States officially dropped out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. This has been in the works since Trump got elected, and today—the day after election day, the election Trump lost—it finally happened. The climate crisis, the one we’re already entering, will be the largest mass murder in the history of the planet. We’re already well into the sixth extinction, on par with cataclysms like the comet that killed the dinosaurs.

Every country needs to do its part to eliminate carbon and methane emissions. The United States should be leading this effort, developing the technology to create clean energy, to move the world away from fossil fuels, not fighting to expand fracking, coal mining and oil exploration.

Comparatively, guns are noise. There are already 350,000,000 guns in the United States. Any opportunity to restrict gun ownership disappeared decades ago. There are millions of people who care deeply about the environment, but will always vote first to keep their guns. It’s time for the Democratic party to stop trying to take them away. In fifty years, it won’t matter if there are three hundred million or six hundred million guns in circulation. Climate catastrophes will be a primary cause of death. Let’s prioritize the problem that really matters, now.

18 thoughts on “I shot a gun once

  1. I agree, what the hell is the deep need to own a gun over giving a crap about our environment??? I don’t understand the need for a high powered assault rifle or why people feel the need to carry them on their hips for all to see. I do have a gun somewhere in the house without bullets. It was a gift from an ex husband 25 Y ago. Am I glad I have it? Um, I guess? We’ll never get rid of them (fine). I’d like to make sure the folks who buy them aren’t psychotic, hopefully that’s not too much to ask.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. America loves it’s guns! Cowboys, Zombie killers, cops & robbers… and don’t forget the military.
    You’re right, guns aren’t going anywhere.
    You’re also correct that if we don’t change our ways and quickly, drastically… the Earth will no longer support human life. All those guns will be rusting artifacts for the next life form to ignore or play with🤷🏼‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m currently reading kim stanley robinson’s Ministry for the Future which is sort of 80% novel, 20% nonfiction reference. In this book, Robinson seems to be advocation for eco-terrorism. Targeting and killing the biggest environment destroyers. Now I’m not going to agree with that, but it’s clearly time for drastic action and I think it’s time to remove some of the other distractions that impact our ability to get moving on the environment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Found this interesting and thought provoking, Jeff. Thanks.

    It has always puzzled me how a country can be both violently *for* instruments of (often random) death and destruction yet vehemently *against* reproductive rights for half the population on the ground that it is killing people. But then, I don’t understand religion in the 21st century either.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel if you mentioned you were a Biden supporter you were asked if you liked him because you hated Trump or because of something Biden was for. For me, it was the same – science and climate. That is where our focus needs to be. And I don’t like Trump. I am genuinely shocked that so many people support such a hateful man. I guess it gives them the right to hate without getting in trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

    • During the primaries, Biden was low on my list of candidates because he’s so vanilla. But ultimately, it’s that vanilla flavoring that put him in this favorable position. Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg and Harris wouldn’t have performed this well in the general election. So do like Biden? I certainly don’t dislike him. I don’t think he’s going to give the environment the attention it needs. Mostly because we’ve bankrupted ourselves over the last 20 years. Fixing climate change is going to be expensive.,

      Liked by 1 person

      • I thought the same thing. The only person that could be Trump out of that group was going to be Biden. I figure whatever he may do will be something more than what Trump would do. It was another thing I added to the list of “I can’t stand ______ for another four years.”

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, if I had to rank the issues of most to least urgent, environment would be #1. Biden may not do enough, but Trump would have actively harmed it more. Sucks that’s our choices but hey, hoping that the collective “we” can hold him accountable to do something about it once we are passed the court battles. (Yes, I’m thinking optimistically.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When I was a young girl, my dad taught me to shoot a gun. I think he had visions of me going hunting with him, but I never shot at anything other than clay pigeons and aluminum cans. I did win a trophy once for trapshooting (clay pigeons). I have to disagree with your idea about Democrats discarding their anti-gun message. I think my reasoning falls under the “Don’t let the perfect stand in the way of the good” heading. Let’s work on getting guns at least registered and then work on having fewer of them around. Let’s also work on our messaging too. Tell the 2nd amendment people we are not going to take their precious guns away (except maybe the automatic and semi-automatic ones).


    • The NRA will always out-message the democratic party. How on earth did they ever convince normal, law abiding citizens that outlawing assault weapons was an affront to the rights. Oh well, one of these days, the Greenland ice cover will slide into the ocean, raise sea levels by three feet and then we’ll all turn into ‘environmentalists.’


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