Under The Gun.
I thought about getting a gun.
Like many people, I thought about getting one for my own personal protection, especially in rough, crime-ridden areas where the onus to protect one's self becomes exceedingly great. I also thought about obtaining a concealed carry permit. It's something I've thought about doing for a while, now. Thing is, I've never had one before. As a youngun, my mother wouldn't even let me entertain the notion of playing with one of those toy cap guns. Considering how law enforcement officials tend to mistake cell phones and wallets for deadly firearms, it was probably for the best.
In my state, it's relatively easy - a simple exchange of funds (and a perfunctory background check for gun store sales) and a permit application that'll most likely be accepted without much hassle. However, I've always developed second thoughts about having a gun.
I started asking myself a few questions: "do you really need this? Can you handle the responsibility of having this around?" A purchase like this is nothing to take lightly...or perhaps I've just always talked myself out of going through with it at the last minute...
A gun is nothing to fuck around with. It's an instrument with one clearly defined purpose, leaving the user to decide whether to use it for protection of oneself or others, or to use it in malice. It's an easy instrument to use in anger, as tens of thousands of people currently incarcerated for firearms-related crimes could attest to. 8,583 Americans would attest to it, too, if they were alive to talk about it. It's also an easy instrument to use in despair. 19,392 Americans would attest to that fact had they managed to survive their suicide attempts with them.
One has to consider their own mental state of being when it comes to purchasing and keeping a firearm in the home or on one's person. One has to consider the well-being of others who could possibly come into contact with one, either by accident or otherwise. 1,300 Americans under the age of 25 would attest to the dangers of accidental gun discharges if they were still alive.
Last but not least, one has to be careful not to get sucked into the "cowboy/tough guy" image that comes with certain aspects of gun ownership. For some, having the ability to end someone's life in an instant is the ultimate rush and it's one that often leads them to adopt cavalier attitudes and to do stupid things and take idiotic risks that they otherwise wouldn't have taken had they not had instant death in the palm of their hands.
A gun comes with a healthy heaping of responsibility. For protection purposes, it should be treated as a means of the very last resort. Not as a tool of intimidation. Not as a trump card for dealing with otherwise trivial situations. Not as a cool accessory that makes you look tougher than you really are. A gun should not give you false courage. A gun demands a measure of respect for its abilities. Those who don't respect guns are often undone by them.
There are people who responsibly own and enjoy firearms for sport - hunting, target practice, etc. - that sort of thing. By far and large, they respect their firearms for what they're capable of and handle them accordingly. As it should be everywhere else, gun safety is paramount with these folks. Sadly, there are many people who don't share the same sort of beliefs or respect for firearms.
For now, I've put off buying that gun, especially in light of continuing gun violence from all corners.