The juxtaposition of the killing of a two year old in Kentucky this week with the NRA Convention in Houston provided the NRA the opportunity to strongly get behind the concept of child safety when it comes to firearms. It gave them the opportunity to show that they had a mature, reasoned, thoughtful idea of what to do to protect children from gun violence.
I know it will come as a surprise to many of you but apparently the NRA chose the “Hold my beer and watch this” approach, with marketing to kids in the forefront and seminars that continue to foster the paranoia of marauding hordes of home invaders.
Think Progress managed to snag a video of one of the vendors at the NRA Convention as he gave a home defense seminar. Again, I know it is a surprise but he has a shaved head, goatee and dressed in black…official uniform of the gun enthusiast.
From Think Progress we have a transcript of much of his position that it is just an awesome idea to keep a weapon in a safe in your children’s room.
PINCUS: How about putting a quick-access safe in your kids’ room? […] Good idea or bad idea? We have an emotional pushback to that. Here’s my position on this. If you’re worried that your kid is going to try to break into the safe that is in their bedroom with a gun in it, you have bigger problems than home defense. [Laughter] If you think that the kid who’s going to try to break into the safe because it’s in their room isn’t sneaking into your room to try to break into stuff, you’re naive and you have bigger problems than this. So let’s settle that issue and think about it. In the middle of the night, if I’m in the bathroom or getting a glass of water or in the bedroom or watching TV in the living room, if that alarm goes off and the glass breaks and the dog starts barking, what’s the instinct that most people are going to have, in regards to, “am I going to run across the house to get the gun, or am I going to run over here to help the screaming kid?” And if I’m going to go to the kid anyway, and I have an extra gun and an extra safe, why not put it in their closet?
You can hear all the words in this video. [link]
Now, about those quick action safes and kids – you know where the speaker says “If you’re worried that your kid is going to try to break into the safe that is in their bedroom with a gun in it, you have bigger problems than home defense.” Yeah…about that.
If you want to see a three year old kid pop the most popular “quick-access safes”…here you go [link]. What do you think a curious eight year old will do? Or a 12 year old?
But this brings up questions, philosophically, practically and tactically.
Philosophically and practically, the question revolves around just how prepared a person needs to be to protect his home and family from the extremely rare home invasion. There are no official statistics that define what a home invasion is or how many occur, but it is common for robbery and domestic violence to be included in home invasion discussions, more likely if the writer is trying to show just how many there are, usually for his profit.
I have spoken with police commanders and other government folks about this and the overriding opinion is that “if you really think you are going to get your home invaded, you are likely doing something else to make that happen, selling drugs, receiving stolen property, and stuff like that”. In other words, your likelihood of being a victim of home invasion is based on the likelihood that you do things that draw bad people to your home.
Now, that is a generalization based on the observations of some cops in urban and rural areas and having read news stories about reported events. There are genuine home invasions, unprompted by environmental conditions and they deserve attention, the victims deserve the right to protect themselves and their family.
That brings us to responsibility…how do you SAFELY and RESPONSIBLY protect your family and home without stepping over that edge into paranoia? How do you keep your family safe without also endangering them with guns strewn all over the house – “just in case”?
Now, tactically, and this is the one that bothers me – stowing a gun in the children’s room to be quicker at getting to a weapon. The question becomes – does the gun owner risk bringing the potential gun battle into the children’s room where they are in Harm’s way?
Or does John McClane believe he will be able to get to the kid’s room, make safe the kid, extract the weapon from its safe and then move to his more battle hardened Maginot Line?
What we have in this seminar, and in many gun discussions around the country is the concept that the homeowner should never be over a few seconds from his gun. Many gun owners acknowledge carrying a weapon in their home during normal family time. Many acknowledge stuffing guns in out of the way places like between couch cushions to have one ready. At what point does this level of fear, rationalized as “being prepared”, that chaos is only moments away override reason and make a home less safe rather than more safe?
I want to be clear; I have ZERO problems with folks protecting their home and family, whether with alarm systems which light up the place and blare until turned off, a family dog or a firearm [or a combination]. Most cops say that if you have an alarm system that cranks up bad guys will find a different place to be stupid.
But I have big problems with the current gun culture that says that you should keep guns everywhere, carry them all the time, be hyper-vigilant for the extremely rare instance when chaos comes calling. The problem is shown in incidences just this past six months. Cop showing guns to neighbors at parties…kid grabs it and shoots, kid finding gun in granny’s backpack…six year old kid “playing” with his own rifle…kids playing in the yard, one goes in, gets a gun and shoots his friend. In the gun culture mind it is not necessary to properly stow your weapons because that might be the five seconds you need to stop that marauding horde.
If only as much thought was put into safety as is into the planning for that horde, that coming apocalypse. But it is not, because that doesn’t sell more guns, doesn’t drive the addictive urges that the gun culture fosters.
McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.
You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.