Why we "love" our guns.
The reasons seem to escape so-called "bleeding hearts". Those of us who hold the Second Amendment protections so dear "get it". Those who question "why do you need a gun?" simply don't want to acknowledge the real world around us.
Those who promote infringing or repealing the Second Amendment portray law-abiding gun owners as "violent kooks" or "bitter clingers". Some of those that understand our reasoning want a tyrannical government in which they are part of the oppressive oligarchy. Others who understand our reasoning but promote infringing upon that natural right wish for an environment more permissive for violent criminals. Those that don't buy into their false rhetoric and propaganda.
We appreciate the engineering and aesthetics, sure.
Human beings love art and engineering. Good engineering is a form of pragmatic art. We can look at the Capitol Building in DC. It has a pragmatic function. It has offices, meeting rooms, and the congressional floors. However, its iconic image is impressive and beautiful. The architectural engineering is both art and function.
It is the same with firearms. Older weapons carry with them history. You can look at an M-1 from World War I and appreciate its place in history. You can also look at a "Peacemaker" that was personalized and decorated in a similar way. You feel its place and role in history when it helped "tame" the "wild west".
Today, we can marvel at the engineering and inventive beauty behind several designs. For example, Kahr makes a .45 cal. concealable pistol. In the mid-20th century, such a feat seemed unimaginable. Yet, today we have a pistol small enough to comfortably conceal that won't remove your hand from your wrist on the range.
Another great and aesthetic marvel is the gun made from a 3D printer. Just 10 years ago, this concept was pure science fiction, like teleporter beams in Star Trek.
We like the feel of the recoil and the sense of achievement when we see the bullets strike the center of the target on the range.
Competitive marksmanship takes a lot of practice and a lot of work. Like martial arts and most other sports, it takes discipline and determination. Even the basics of marksmanship takes practice to acquire.
I taught rifle marksmanship to young lieutenants in the US Army. Many had been through basic marksmanship courses already. However, most were at a level they celebrated making just the minimum qualification standards. Through 4 days of intense, hands-on training, I helped many of them greatly improve their scores.
There is a sense of achievement when a neophyte shooter puts those first few rounds downrange and hits somewhere on the target. As they improve, so do their spirits. Determination supplants the initial apprehension and fear of the noise and recoil. Familiarity brings respect of the engineering. It also makes the shooter safer. Somebody using a gun who is afraid of it is unsafe. Respect of the weapon along with familiarity with how they work makes them safer to handle.
Like with martial arts, the more a marksman practices, the more confident they become. Marksmanship isn't just pointing and pulling a trigger. It involves how you position your body. It involves breath control an maintaining a clear head. It involves maintaining firearms. It includes handling the weapon safely, knowing how to load, unload, and clear a firearm. It also brings knowledge of your own capabilities and vulnerabilities. Then, just like in martial arts, when you are confident in what you can do, you become aware of what is really necessary to do. Just because you know you can land a back-spin kick against the side of a guy's head faster than he has a chance of blocking it doesn't mean you have to. You know you can if you need to. The need to do so, however, becomes lower. You know you can, so you can just smile and nod knowing this "potential threat" really is not a threat.
It is the same with marksmanship. You have the gun. You can use the gun. You are confident that you can defeat the perceived threat. You are prepared if it becomes a real threat. The threat diminishes. Your fear is abated. Nobody gets hurt, and the gun is never taken from its holster.
We like the food we bring home from a good hunt, sure.
Hunting has been a human survival tool since Grog first sharpened a stick and learned he could throw a rock. Today, humans have advanced to the point most of our food comes from agricultural activities such as ranching and farming.
However, hunting still remains. For many, it is an outdoor pastime and hobby. However, it still serves several purposes. We tend not to herd several animals that are still "good eatin'", such as deer. We hunt them.
In many areas, the deer population has grown to dangerous levels. If not reduced through a "natural predator", their population will threaten not only agricultural efforts of humans but the habitats of other animals. Hunting them keeps their numbers at levels good for the species and good for the environment.
The same goes for wild hogs and boars.
The practice also allays concerns over human survival should technology or government fail causing civilization to fall into dystopia such as in "The Walking Dead".
But those are not why we "love" our guns.
We "love" our guns because we love what they better enable us to protect:
We love our families.
That should be a given. As humans, we are family-oriented social creatures. Most religions include some variation of honoring your family name, your parents, and doing their reputations proud.
It is a natural inclination to advance our species. It's instinct. For humans, that means our families. We look to our children to continue our lines in order to preserve our ancestry.
We love them. So, we want them to thrive, protected from harm.
To do so, the responsibility falls first on families and individuals to protect themselves. Additional law enforcement, protection, and security personnel are supplementary to those efforts. They are not meant to be the primary means. In the United States, the Supreme Court decision in the Gonzales v Castle Rock case drives that point home.
We love our US Constitution and the American Dream.
Is the Constitution perfect? No. However, it still stands as the best foundational and supreme law of any land on the planet. No other system of government promotes individual liberty and prosperity as well. The US Constitution is designed to grant a necessary centralized federal government with very limited powers and authority necessary to enable a national based upon the rule of law, not the whims of man.
The American Dream is one of individual opportunity to pursue happiness. John Locke defined that pursuit as the acquisition, trade, and accrual of property, be it physical or intellectual. We thrive on the fruits of our labors. To do so, we must be afforded the means to protect those fruits from vandalism or theft. Our very lives are dependent upon what we build, grow, and achieve. The American Dream is that we can succeed and thrive on our individual efforts or fail, trying, without some tyrant hindering our efforts.
We understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch. We don't want somebody acquiring a cheap lunch by using force to deny us the fruits of our efforts in providing our own.
We love our natural rights of life, liberty and property (also called the pursuit of happiness).
As already illustrated, our natural rights are intertwined with our survival as a species, the supreme laws of our land, and the American Dream.
Part of the natural right to life is the ability to protect it, to fight for it, to defend it. Only with the inherent right to defend our lives can we enjoy the natural right to have them.
Liberty is our freedom to live and enjoy other rights and privileges as long as we do not infringe upon those of others. There are forces of evil in the world. That is a fact. There are those who seek to deprive us of our liberties. We should not seek them out to eradicate them, though. That could easily turn to tyranny and deprivation of those very liberties to others.
However, our liberties must be guarded and protected. That requires individuals to be allowed to arm themselves adequately enough to repel any tyranny or evil that attempts to steal our liberties.
The Pursuit of Happiness is property, be it intellectual, physical, or spiritual. We work hard to acquire it. Our labors and the trade of portions of our live to provide goods and services is compensated monetarily. That compensation can then be traded to acquire properties we are not able to create ourselves, such as some food stuffs or automobiles or iPads.
Nobody should be allowed the right to take those fruits of labors, that pursuit of happiness, from another by force. To prevent that, reasonable, hard-working, law-abiding citizens require the means to protect themselves and their families.
The right to keep and bear arms is one of the natural rights, bestowed by our creator. It is the means to insure the other natural rights from being infringed or stolen by force. The Second Amendment does not grant that right. In its own wording, it preserves and protects that natural right.
And we are willing to die for them.
No, we are not willing to die for our guns.
Historically, though, we are willing to die over the ideals of natural, individual rights. Brave men and women throughout history have placed their own lives and well-being on the line to defend those rights of others. Molly Pitcher did so. Patrick Henry did so. Sergeant First Class Schuyler Haynes did so.
Senator Ted Cruz did so. He went to battle to defend individual rights to include the Second Amendment when he was part of the litigation team that won the Heller v DC Supreme Court trial.
The tradition continues. Those who claim to "support the troops" must, regardless of political party affiliation, then also support what those military service members swore a solemn oath to support and defend. Their first loyalty is to the US Constitution and the base ideology explained by the Federalist Papers. That means, in its purest form, individual natural rights of each individual US Citizen.
More than that, we pray we are able to protect them so that we don't have to.
All those things we hold so dear and precious must be guarded, defended, championed, and protected.
We don't love our guns, folks. We love those people, freedoms, natural rights, prosperity, opportunities, and dreams. Guns are just the current, modern tools that help us to defend those things we hold most dear.