So....my Dad died when I was 11...almost 12, he was sick for what I think of as most of my childhood. I think he was diagnosed when I was 5 or 6? Not sure, you know memory can be a fuzzy sort of thing. He was also a cop. I always remember having guns in the house. This was the 1970's so they were never secured. There were some guns in the bottom dresser drawer (cedar lined to make the guns safe from moths?) and some were up in the attic...just inside that little panel you push up on. Not sure which where where or even why...not sure why they were "hidden" when we all knew where they were. Again...it was the 70's so the ammo was right there with the guns and I bet some of them were even loaded.
My favorite was this little one, well compared to the police revolver, that had a mother of pearl handle. When no one was home; which was a lot since my dad was in and out of the hospital, I would play with it. I just like how it felt in my small hands. As my Dad got sicker and sicker I used to fantasize that he would give it to me. I am guessing it was actually my mother's gun...but you know I was 9 or 10 so who knows.
I do remember him showing me how to shoot...and later my brother Marc would take me out with a bb gun. Lots of rabbits and birds died. Sorry.
I wasn't afraid or nervous around guns...I wasn't cavalier either once my Dad placed the gun in my hand. I think he told me the old standard, do not point it unless you are ready to kill. Even at that young age I got it.
I do remember when I developed a distaste for weapons. It was my Dad's wake, not very long after feeling comfortable with a weapon. That is a whole other story...but the switch happened because we had a house full of drunk cops and one of my brothers took a gun and went after my other brother. All the cops, at least in my memory of things, were too drunk and oblivious to do anything about the impending violence. No one was shot that night, but it left it's mark on me. A few months later the weapons had been "stolen" from the house by one or more of my siblings and I had heard later that they had eventually been seized by police for...well, one drunken drug fueled rampage or another...even the police revolver and the little pearl handled pistol....things were never very clear back then.
The ex and I never had guns in the house until recently. He inherited his Dad's hand guns and rifles. He would take the kids shooting, but I some how never went or it happened when I was busy or I, perhaps, chose not to go. I do know that I never even was told where the weapons were in the house. I knew the rifles were in the garage somewhere, but really that's all I knew. I am not blaming him for that...my choice that I never pushed or asked or insisted or whatever. Because of my choices and my history, these guns sorta became mythic in my head, way out of proportion. Once I asked to separate, they held more power, once that dark night happened...well....yeah.
All of the weapons were confiscated that night by the police. So, for almost 6 months, I have given them very little thought....until now. The weapons will be released after the final court date in April. Now let me make this perfectly~crystal clear he has never ever threatened me with a gun. Lemme say that again...he never...ever threatened me with a gun. Even that night, the target was himself, not me. Ok. Even so, fear is fear and does not always match with what happened in the past. There have been strange things that have passed between us since...and I think because the weapons hold this mythic standing in my psyche I am~anxious.
Now some of you are on the left some of you on the right...I have even had someone say to me, get a concealed carry permit, keep it in your purse. Another person, protect yourself, but not with a gun. The problem I have with getting a gun is with me, not the gun. It would not do me any good to have a weapon I am afraid of or afraid to use. I know that many many people are shot with their own guns. It isn't about HAVING a weapon...I realized this weekend, it is about getting over my fear of them, stretching way back to my Dad's wake and the powerlessness I felt as I felt sure one brother was about to kill another. I saw the chaos of my childhood flooding back, the mistrust of my family~of me to be responsible enough to own a gun. I think I had always feared these weapons because there was no trust that in a moment of pain or panic or desperation this would be a choice that would end in my death or the death of someone I love.
But it is about seeing a gun for what it is.
A destructive tool yes, but only in the wrong hands; shit I could get hit over the head and be killed with all sorts of stuff. Like a caber...but I digress.
So, this weekend, I realized that Grant's travel tool was in the same kind of case as the one that I wrestled away from the ex that night. I asked if I could work on this anxiety of mine. He placed it on a table and let me open the case, let me hold it, let me turn the clip over and over in my hands. That is when I remembered the tool thing. It was heavy, but I no longer felt like that 9 year old sneaking into my parents bedroom to play with the guns. I realized there is something calming in Grant's handling of this weapon that calmed me. I did not think for a minute it would be used in a heated moment. I know I am about to get shit from someone when I say this, but I finally understood that the chaos did not come from the gun itself. Perhaps that belief had been held so long because it was created when I was only 11.
Am I gonna go out and get a gun this afternoon? Um no. I have asked Grant to reteach me how to shoot. Probably the best way to reconnect myself with my Dad and with an adult view of this tool.
Besides, I doubt I can find a mother of pearl handled little pistol.