I am relatively new to the south. I lived here for a few years as a child, but have been away a long time. Thirty-five years in New England left me immersed in a culture I was not really aware of until I left. Southern culture includes guns, gun safety, hunting, and other forms of recreation and personal protection that are totally alien to me. Recent events have convinced me that it is time to embrace that aspect of the culture of my new home.
I love steak. As far as I am concerned, steak comes from a styrofoam and plastic package in the supermarket meat section. By faith I accept that and refuse to look past the obvious. Until recently, I believed that my safety was the responsibility of the local and state law enforcement people and that they would adequately do their job. I still believe that they do their job to the best of their ability, but it has occurred to me that I need to look past the obvious and begin to take some responsibility for my own safety.
The shootings in Paris and in California both took place in locations with strict gun laws. In both cases, the shootings occurred in gun-free zones. I believe that the end result would have been different in both cases if one of the intended victims had been armed. Despite the fact that the news is reporting today that the weapons used in California were legally purchased between 2007 and 2012, gun controls in California have supposedly taken those weapons off the streets. Obviously, not everyone in areas where certain (or all) guns are banned is interested in following the law.
I am not enthusiastic about learning to shoot and learning to defend myself, but on the other hand, I definitely have a vested interest in my own safety. At least temporarily, I believe that we have reached a place in America where good people have to take responsibility for their own safety. Unfortunately, the police cannot be everywhere at once, and there are obviously some people in this country who want to do us harm. Historically speaking, police will tell you that most murder victims are murdered by family members or people they know. This means that as long as you are careful in choosing your friends (and hopefully have upstanding family members) you are unlikely to be a victim of a killer. Since Paris, San Bernardino, and other incidents involving members of the military on American soil, that has changed. It is time to put away our naivety and learn to protect ourselves. Hopefully at some time in the future, the threat of terrorism will be gone, but it will still be to our advantage to know how to defend ourselves.