Tuesday, March 12, 2013

ALLAN SAXE: Guns useful when combined with training and background checks

I have never liked guns myself. I am a little guy, wimpy some may say. But I really like the idea of those who have proper licensing, training, a sense of responsibility and who pass background checks to have guns and concealed carry permits.
I want them to protect me.
Protect me against terrorists, robbers, home invaders, carjackers, dope crazed idiots and others who wish me or my friends and neighbors harm.
Let me tell you a story of why I am for gun ownership. Many years ago in Oklahoma City, when I was about 6 or 7 years old, my father took me and my mother out on a summer Sunday evening to get some ice cream. My father was a tough man, unlike his wimpy son. My dad was a carpenter, car mechanic, soldier, hardware store manager. Many men of that day were like him.
He knew firearms and was not fearful of them. I saw him many times load and unload a variety of weapons and there were shotguns and rifles hanging on our family walls.
 Allan Saxe
 He was not a hunter, but loved fishing. I did not like hunting, but did like to fish occasionally. I did go deer hunting with an uncle and my father one cold Thanksgiving Day near Stroud, Oklahoma. It was horrible and the dead deer were hung on the street in Stroud so the hunters could proudly proclaim their kills.
But back to the ice cream venture. My mom and dad were in the front seat of an old Pontiac with me in the back. We lived near downtown in an old house with my grandparents. The home had a big front porch and I remember looking back at the home and big porch as we drove away. It was early Sunday evening.
My dad made a left turn onto a fairly busy street. His left turn did not interfere with oncoming traffic in any way. After about three blocks another car started following us. The ice cream store was near Northwest 23 rd. Street and not many blocks away from our home.
My dad was not fearful of anyone, or so it seemed to a small child. We parked in front of the ice cream store and my dad opened the door and got out. My mom hesitated and I instantly knew of her hesitation. The car which had followed us had suddenly parked in back of our car on the street blocking any getaway.
My father started walking up to the store when three men who were in the car suddenly assaulted him. They were armed with knives and my mother started screaming. My father was unarmed, but fought back against the three assailants. Eventually, another man seeing the fight from the ice cream store entered the fray assisting my father.
But the sight of three men with knives assaulting my father was and still is a frightful scene for a child or anyone else. The three assailants were driven off by my father. He had been stabbed  three times. We drove immediately to St. Anthony’s Hospital not too far away.
 Eventually, the police were called by bystanders and the assailants stopped and arrested blocks away. The muggers were high on drugs and whiskey. Drugs were a big problem, even many years away.
And now you can understand where I am heading. If my father had taken his handgun with him that early Sunday evening he might not have been stabbed and the three assailants driven off without the horror of that evening.  It was a miracle that neither my Father nor my Mom were killed. I was huddled down in the back of the car but able to view everything. Even stupid and violent people cranked on speed or whiskey have enough brain cells working to know they don’t want to be in the vicinity at hammer-goes-down time.
My father often worked in a rather tough part of Oklahoma City and routinely carried a handgun with him. He never encountered any trouble, perhaps due to many knowing he was always armed. But on that nice Summer Sunday evening he was unarmed and could have been killed.
So, that is my story. Handguns are dangerous. And our environment is often dangerous too with others wishing us harm.  It is too bad that violence or the threat of violence is often necessary. I need those of you with guns to protect a little wimp like me.
Allan Saxe is a political science professor, pundit and philanthropist.

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