Tonight Collin took me on a very special date. Part of what made it so magical was that we weren't celebrating anything in particular - this date was "just because". No, we didn't dine at a five-star restaurant, nor was it a night at the opera. We gulped down Wendy's value meals in the car and then we were off for some quality time on the firin' range.
So how does a 35 year old, homeschool mom, who has never handled a gun, end up in a parking lot full of pickup trucks outside a TN indoor shooting range? It begins a couple years ago...
Collin approached me with the idea of buying a hand gun for home defense. I was horrified at the thought of having a gun in the house. A half a dozen objections jumped to mind. I was terrified at the idea of having to use it, for one. Also, four curious little hands have explored most of the nooks and crannies in our house already. Finally, I had a severe case of general anxiety of the unknown. I decided not to press the issue, however, figuring it was one of Collin's wild hares.
To my dismay, he continued to talk to me about it in the months that followed. I found that he had given a lot of thought to all of the same questions that I had. I also found that he was willing to listen to my concerns and not just minimize them. I finally came to see things differently. The first fact that I came to grips with was that guns do not make us safe, nor do they guarantee that you will not be the victim of a violent crime. You can still be killed wearing a seatbelt.
The second realization I had was that the Bible does not call on us to be passive victims in every circumstance. When Jesus talks about "turning the other cheek", I don't believe He means I ought to let myself be raped or murdered. I don't know what to say to someone who would suggest that if a drugged-up felon breaks into my home and waves a knife around, and I'm not able to escape, that my Christian duty is just to let him have his way. Besides, you can own a gun and still choose not to use it, but you have given yourself the choice.
This issue takes on a whole new dimension for parents, because now I am not just making a choice whether to defend myself but whether to defend my children. Not owning a gun means severely limiting your ability to defend your family in a "home invasion" scenario. Collin, in particular, felt responsible to use any available means to ensure our safety. While it's conceivable that he might feel led not to defend himself in some situation, he can never imagine a situation where he would not be responsible to defend his family. And if he had to choose between the safety of his wife and sons and a criminal, he would choose the safety of his family.
I realized in the end that my ideas about guns had been shaped by mass media and that I hadn't come to my conclusions based on my own thought, experiences, and research. That's how I found myself on Wednesday night squeezing off shots from a .22 revolver (the .38 hurt all the way into my teeth!). I wasn't ready to fire at a man's silhouette, but I put those little .22 slugs as close to the center of the target as I could.
Epilogue...While we were at the range we ran into a member of our parish who herself had just purchased a handgun. She told us that a woman in our congregation had been murdered last month by her ex-boyfriend as a result of an ugly custody battle. It reminded me again of the need to be prepared to defend myself, particularly as a woman.
By: Collin and Brittney