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January 16, 2013

Moving the river

I have always dreamed of having a gun, owning a gun. After all, I’m an American citizen; it is my prerogative to own a gun. It’s the American dream, right?

I had held other people’s guns over the years, and, to tell the truth, it used to make me nervous. Am I holding it right? Would I drop it?

The older I got, I started to think it was probably a bad idea. There are so many guns in the world, it felt like I was maybe being selfish wanting one of my own, but then I would hear stories about people who had six, eight, a dozen guns! Single people, married people, gay people, straight people, people of different races and religions. It seemed like everywhere I looked, everybody had a gun or, like, a whole bunch of guns. I just wanted one! My own gun. Was that too much to ask? Was I being selfish?

Still, I didn’t want to get a gun under less-than-optimal circumstances. I wanted it to be perfect. I did a lot of reading, and I talked to a lot of people who already had guns, but ideally, I wanted to have someone help me with it. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I looked, I never got that feeling of security from any of the people I talked to about guns. Some of them seemed a little too rough, too quick to anticipate the damage I could do with my gun. Others just seemed irresponsible, like they weren’t being sensitive to how important this was to me, like it wasn’t a big deal, but to me it was a big deal. Having a gun is a big deal! I didn’t want to make a mistake!

I did meet this one guy who had a gun, and he was pretty comfortable with it. It was almost kind of impressive how comfortable he was with his gun. He wasn’t cocky with it, nor was he timid. It was just part of his circumstances, part of his life; he took good care of it, and he didn’t abuse it. I started to think it wasn’t really such a big deal after all. But, he already had a gun, so I didn’t feel right about getting a gun with him.

Still, I didn’t want to wait too long. Knowing President Obama is going to outlaw the possession of firearms any day now, I figured I had better go ahead and pull the trigger on my gun purchase, so to speak. So I got one. I hired a lawyer and I went through the proper channels, and I got my gun! It’s not exactly what I had hoped for, but it’s mine, and nobody’s ever going to take it away from me.

The first day I got it, I was so excited, but it was also kind of anti-climactic, you know. I mean, it didn’t really do anything. It just lay there. I had some pictures taken with it, but after I got it home, I felt as alone as I ever did. I didn’t feel safer. I didn’t feel like I had accomplished the great achievement that I had built it up to be. I had changed my status from whatever to gun-owner, but I still felt like whatever.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my gun. I have high hopes for it, and I’m going to do my best to help my dreams for it come true, but life is long, and every day seems small when compared to the enormity of a life moving forward with a gun. There may be great days ahead for me and my gun, but today is kind of anti-climactic. Maybe having one gun isn’t enough.

I guess it’s like what they say about tattoos: Once you have one, you’re gonna want to get another one. Yes, that’s what it’s like. Having a gun is just like having a tattoo. Ha ha, isn’t that funny? I hadn’t thought about it like that until just this second, but it is so like that! I’m going to think about that some more. I can get another gun! Now I’m excited! I can’t wait!

For further consideration: If I were to watch only one television show each week, it would be “Moyers & Company.” In recent weeks, Bill Moyers has had incredibly engaging, civil conversations with Junot Diaz, Anthony Leiserowitz and Paul Krugman. You can watch a dozen or so recent programs at billmoyers.com.