I haven’t always been a gun advocate. If you were to call me anti-gun for much of the first half of my life, you would not get any objections from my end. It was not until halfway through my university stint that my attitudes towards firearms changed.
One particular weekend, a friend I met during Freshman year in the dorms invited me home with him for some R + R before finals rolled around.
Brad was one of those guys you would want dating your sister; intelligent, grounded, and from a good family. Weekends could get lonely at my Big Ten school, so when Brad offered an invite, I jumped at the chance.
The drive was three hours to a blue-collar town eighty miles outside Chicago.
Brad was one of two boys in a family of four. His mother was kind, a tremendous cook, and welcomed me with open arms; his old man, a little harder to win over.
A grizzled veteran of Chicago Law Enforcement, Mr. B. was one of two homicide investigators responsible for catching serial killer John Wayne Gacy. That’s right. I was spending the weekend with the man who put the Killer Clown behind bars.
When we first met, Mr. B. hawked my every move. His eyes were lasers. His Sam Elliot mustache furrowed every time he had a thought. He didn’t speak much. Trained to observe, he took his time inspecting my every tick, my every idiosyncrasy.
By the end of the night, Mr. B. decided I was on the level (much of which I attribute to good manners thanks to my parents). After dinner, his wife excused herself, and I found myself in the study with Brad, his father, and a bottle of top-shelf cognac. My real education was in session.
Mr. B. shared countless stories about life in law enforcement. He was one of those people one perks up around. I knew I was in the presence of someone knowledgeable and that it served my interests to shut up and listen while he spoke.
The bubble I lived in day-in, day-out at college did not apply here. Very quickly, I gathered that in this world, there are victims. There are survivors. Which side one finds themselves on is often defined by one word; preparation.
Most of the crimes Mr. B. divulged about had one constant variable; the victim had no way to defend himself.
Gun-totting Americans are violent, paranoid individuals who make our country look bad. Something to this effect is a contention one can hear on most University campuses, and mine was no different.
“Son… education is important, but don’t devour every morsel they throw your way ”, Mr. B. instructed as he sipped from his spirit.
The following day, Mr. B. took Brad and me to a local gun range. I’d never fired a gun before. I was excited and nervous. I did not want to disappoint my host.
Mr. B. filled me in with some basic gun technique etiquette. The more he divulged, the more I realized my beliefs about gun owners were falsities.
The range had varying types of individuals. A few of Mr. B’s colleagues were there brushing up on their marksmanship.
These men were nothing like I expected; educated, soft-spoken, well-mannered. They kept to themselves. The only thing they demanded was respect.
My performance at the range was acceptable. The first time I squeezed that trigger was nothing short of exhilarating. I had won over Mr. B. by being humble and respectful.
Twenty years later, I still have contact with my buddy from University. Brad’s old man retired about a decade back and now calls Jamaica home with his lovely wife.
Brad says that now and then, his father asks how the skinny Armenian kid is doing [I am paraphrasing him].
The moral of the story – be keen on how your core beliefs and contentions have taken foot throughout your development.
Our school systems are left-leaning and imbed certain attitudes towards guns and gun owners. These views are political and are often outright lies.
The gun owners I know are intelligent, responsible citizens. They refuse to be victimized by anyone, whether it be opportunistic criminals or bought politicians.
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