Most of us live with our firearms. They are as much part of our daily routine as shaving, brushing our teeth, picking up our wallets and keys on the way out the door.
But, what if…?
Melody Lauer aka Limatunes recently made a choice to put her gun away for an entire year! Or in her words…
If you could put my blog into a category it would be “self defense.”
To me, however, it’s a little more than that. It’s my story–my unique journey. If others can glean a little from my experiences and thoughts I’m honored, if not, it’s no big deal. There have been times, however, when I’ve purposely withheld parts of this journey from my readers because I wasn’t sure how what I had to say would be received. Or I may not have been ready to put it out into the virtual void. This is one of those times.
I’ve been hanging on to this post for almost two years and it feels like a good time to get it off my chest.
I want to tell you about my biggest “break-through” year in self defense. It was a year I learned more about how to defend myself, increased my confidence, improved my overall skills and expanded my horizons. I learned how to manage fear and angst and to trust my instincts. I learned how to manage medical emergencies, have fun and express myself in many other ways. This was one of the best years of my life.
It was the year I put my gun away.
My journey, my work, my goals have all been a means to build confidence in myself, not a tool. I chose a tool to aide in my journey, not to define it. I sought to be well-trained with a tool, not ruled by it. Guns, to me, are tools to master in a long list of other tools to master (including my sewing machine).
I have always wanted real self-defense solutions, not crutches or bandaids, platitudes or false security. So when I felt my gun was becoming a crutch I decided it was time to get rid of it–or, at least put it away for awhile.
I want to tell you about why I felt compelled to put it down and why I picked it up again and why I always knew it would find a place on my belt again, when I was ready.
While my husband and I were packing for a much-needed vacation to a place without reciprocity I felt nervous at the prospect of having to leave my gun behind. I started thinking about all the “what if” situations and wanting my gun.
I hated the feeling.
It exposed everything I’d wanted to avoid about carrying a gun in the first place. It exposed my weaknesses and my fears, my shortcomings and false security. I showed me I wasn’t confident that I could protect myself without my gun. I was using that gun as a means to “feel” safer, but that didn’t make me safer. It was becoming a cliche I wanted to avoid.
I honestly evaluated myself and decided it was time to rip off that bandaid, throw out the crutch and walk on my own.
You should really go and read her whole essay. It does turn mindset on it’s head.
(Truly, I cannot believe it’s been Twenty Years!)
There are things that are good to remember; things bad to remember; and things important to remember.
The crummy part of all this is sometimes my brain is not too good at discerning which is which, or what goes with what.
My character (being flawed and neurotic as it is) has a tendency to default to the bad.
A shrink, I’m certain, would say it’s all about low self esteem, negative messages from childhood, etc. The reasons don’t matter.
Twenty years ago, today was the accident in which our daughter Molly was killed.
I was driving – this makes me ultimately responsible, as I was The Dad. The Protector. The fact the other driver ran the red light while speeding is of no consequence.
I carry a sidearm. I’ve done so for 41 years. Long before I even met Molly’s mother, I chose to do whatever I could to protect myself and my family and friends. It’s a roll I haven’t taken lightly.
And I took my assignment as Protector even more seriously when I became a father. It’s what father’s are supposed to do!
We were making a left turn from 44th Street, East onto Thomas Road. A little after 1 PM. Going to Monkey Wards after an earlier visit to Famous Footwear @ 20th St. and Camelback. Saturday’s with 12 year old daughters meant shopping! The signal didn’t have a left turn arrow back then. It was just like in the movies – in the midst of completing the turn, I sensed something was wrong. Based on the estimated speed of the other car, we were pushed across the intersection in about one-tenth of a second.
And many lives changed forever.
I’ve no memory regarding what happened next. Nothing to recall on the witness stand months later. I was told I regained consciousness enough to give my estranged wife’s phone number to the ambulance guy, when I was asked if there was anyone he could call.
I had early drugged hospital memories of being on board a ship(!) Not enough consciousness to ask why I was on a ship. Turned out, with one (now re-inflated) collapsed lung and the other half filled with fluid, County Hospital had me on a pneumatic bed which kept hissing and rolling, to keep fluids from settling in my damaged lungs. Ribs pushed into a lung. Broken collar bone. Broken arm. Tube up the nose, and IV morphine/ativan drip.
My sister, wife and friends were there, being supportive and keeping loving watch as much as they could. Not wanting to answer the obvious question: Where was Molly?
In my few awake moments, I remember asking about the funeral, desperately wanting to be well enough to attend.
My wife was told Sunday morning there had not been any brain activity, and had the courage to disconnect life support. Had our roles been reversed, I don’t think I would have had the bravery. I am forever grateful to her for this. A number of folks benefited from her decision.
The funeral was that following Tuesday. I was largely unconscious in ICU at County for another two weeks.
Ultimately, after being moved to Good Sam, being given Tylenol in lieu of the morphine/ativan drip (!) and weeks in the regular hospital and rehab, I was able to walk and breathe again.
I was deeply depressed and pretty much just counting the days.
Until I could pay my respects.
That came weeks later.
I’ll say it again, as long as I take breath – Tell your family and friends you love them, right now!
Because you may never get another chance.
AND be an organ donor.
I try to remember the good times. The IMPORTANT ONES. It’s what has kept me alive for the past twenty years.
My thanks to all of you, family and friends, for holding me up, until I could stand on my own.
(Commentary has been turned off – I know how you all feel. Thanks, again.)
(If you abhor whining, read no further)
It’s my fault, actually. I had the audacity to turn 62. And, with that milestone came the vultures.
First, my former employer TMCCC contacted me regarding applying for early retirement. I’m currently medically retired due to my contracting lymphoma in 2008. I left active employment in 2009, after six months of chemo.
Obviously, the sooner they can nudge me out, the less pension they will have to pay. And current calculations are not very promising, regardless of my retiring now or @ 65.
So, it wasn’t a complete surprise when my private medical insurance carrier (thank GOD I paid the premiums when I was working!) contacted me to update their information.
This means contacting my physician with regard to my current condition and ability to work.
In spite of the fact I was awarded SSDI and private disability due to having cancer, I have many other conditions which make returning to the workforce problematic. Even though I AM currently in remission! (knock-on-wood!)
Working while diabetic is no biggee, working with the neuropathy (chronic nerve pain) that comes with it – not so much. And the arthritis. There was a time I could stand and sit for long hours. No longer. Now, sitting more than an hour or two is painful. Forget standing and walking much.
Oh, I can (and do) take various prescription pain medications. Which make me dopey and put me to sleep. And still only lessen the pain. They do not take it away.
And my fear is the private insurance company will say, well, you have been in remission over 5 years…SAYONARA!
And the private addition to my SSDI payment isn’t much, but it is 21% of my disability pay. And the total is still poverty level.
I rent a room in a friend’s home, and drive a clunky 2000 Oldsmobile. I lost my home of 18 years, 2 1/2 years ago. I’m not milking the system here.
And now I get to jump through more hoops in hope of keeping that 21%.
Let me preface this post with I
don’t rarely get sick.
I had a minor bout of flu last Summer, for about three days. I’ve not had a cold in YEARS!
I’d like to say it’s because of my healthy lifestyle, but, that would be a falsehood. Because of my various ongoing ‘issues’, I get little exercise, and I eat the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.). Pizza, bacon cheeseburgers, spaghetti (now called pasta), some beer, Mexican food. If I eat veggies, it’s usually a salad, with Italian dressing, croutons and Parmesan cheese.
When I DO become ill, I usually don’t do it half way. Diabetes, lymphoma, skin cancer. And the whole fallout from that near-fatal auto accident some years back.
So, no one was more surprised than I when around Christmas, I began to wheeze upon exhaling. Just a tiny bit, at the very end. At first, I thought it was some fool revving his bike at 0600, while I was blogging(!) :-)
The Winter air quality in the Valley sucks – inversion, ya know!
Then, New Years Eve, I became congested, phlegmy. No sore throat pain, just throat-clearing nonsense. I thought it was a true cold, but, it just appears to be allergies, and reaction to the cold weather (28° F, in Phoenix this morning, cold and rainy New Years Eve Day!)
And this morning started with a minor sore throat and cough!
Guess it’s to the
drug store pharmacy for Guffaw!
I’m in whine mode.
(I know I said at the outset that I wouldn’t use this weblog for therapy, but, hell, it’s my blog, so here goes…)
Why? Not only do I not have any funds to get neat presents for friends and family, but, I’ve no one with whom to share the non-materialistic parts of the holidays. One terrific couple I know gifted me with a cool assortment of cheeses and beers (including Lindeman’s raspberry ale!), and all I could give them in response was a small bag of garlic goldfish.
Hardly an even trade.
I love my sister and her kids, and her kid’s kids dearly, but going to a family celebration alone with certain people in absentia is always painful.
Now it’s the downhill slide from the New Year, to Molly’s birthday, to the anniversary of the accident, in March.
We’re told the best way to get out of this kind of funk is to create a gratitude list. So here goes…
I’ve a roof over my head, and a working car. Thanks to my friends! I’m on Medicare. I’ve disability benefits, which, while in no way am I rich, I can buy food, gas, and pay rent. I’ve a select group of friends, both locally and on the Internet, who help out whenever they can. Many of these friends have gone above and beyond – for years – when I am unable to give back in kind.
This must mean something.
I’m disabling comments for this post. Because, in lieu of giving me an Internet “there-there”, or a virtual hug (or a kick in the pants), please stop for a moment and create your own gratitude list.
The Taurus Curve
Both Jennifer and Caleb trounce this newcomer .380 as poorly-thought-out and inherently unsafe. She is striker-fired, and designed (recommended by the factory!) to be carried in the pocket sans holster!
Can we say an accident waiting to happen? Sure we can!
Not to mention (but, going ahead and mentioning it, anyway) WHAT ABOUT WE LEFT-HANDERS?!
I suggest, if their going to do such a thing, it should be at least in a larger caliber (9mm? .45 ACP?) AND have a graphene frame, so it can curve either direction!!!
For the record, I was never a big fan of Taurus, although they used to have a no-nonsense replacement factory warranty(?) Might still. Never owned one. And, I’m a Sagittarian. :-)
I can’t find a single study from Bloomberg’s groups that aren’t loaded with errors. They have an anti-gun agenda and will lie to achieve it. – John R. Lott, Jr.
How Bloomberg’s Million-Dollar Desire For Gun Control Is Backfiring
[While I think there is a fair amount of lying going on they don’t think of it as lying. They just don’t understand facts are independent of their feelings. If they feel something then, in their view of reality, it is true. I’ve had people flat out tell me this. I would point out that what someone was saying was in direct contradiction to verifiable facts. And I would get a response of something to the effect, “Well, it’s true to them and that is what matters.”
There is also a very telling anecdote about liberal “research” in this same article:
In 2006 I was at a cocktail party in Arlington, VA, talking to a liberal journalist about his soon-to-be-released book on Iraq when John Lott joined us. John listened for a moment and then said to the author, “I’m curious. You say you just finished a book on the Iraq war. I always find it so hard to finish a book. I get so deep into the research I have a hard time stopping to write. I’m guessing you had a hard time leaving Iraq. There is so much to investigate and understand.”
The author said, “I didn’t go to Iraq.”
John paused with this quizzical look on his face before asking, “Oh, how did you do your research?”
The author said, “I didn’t have to do much. I mean, I already know what I think.”
Feelings versus facts. It’s a type of mental disorder.—Joe]
There’s a thesis in popular conservative/libertarian culture that liberals (or at least the current flavor of liberal, the progressive) act(s) based on feelings more than facts, even if the facts deny their feelings. “Oh, those cute polar bears are dying in records numbers, due to global warming!” – even though recent data shows their populations have increased and so have the square footage of ice on which they live. Not to mention they are extremely dangerous to humans, cuteness aside. “If it just saves ONE life.” or “It’s for the children.”, facts aside are other feeling-based statements.
I cannot speak for all conservative libertarians, but, I have on occasion questioned my use and ownership of firearms, looking at how doing so affects my community, my family and myself. And I stuck to my principles. And didn’t buckle to ‘feelings’ about some whack-job shooting up a school by disarming myself.
I did the same process after the accident that killed my daughter. However, I ultimately didn’t give up my driver’s license, my vehicle, or insist others do the same “for the children”.
I see that as counterproductive, and unscientific.
h/t The View From North Central Idaho, John Lott
Some of you may recognize the post title as the theme song to the film and TV show M.A.S.H. It’s ironic.
It’s obvious from the outpouring of emotion that the recent suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams touched many people. And caused THEM pain.
As a libertarian, I believe I’ve the right to do with my own body as I wish. You do, too. As long as it doesn’t affect other people negatively.
And there’s the rub.
I can eat more than is healthy, eat the ‘wrong’ foods, smoke or drink if I wish, watch ‘questionable’ videos, read unsavory material, and most of this doesn’t directly affect my family, friends, or former coworkers.
But, what if I choose to do something permanent…?
Why is it it appears the more artistic of us are the most tortured? Or is that a misconception based on the fact famous people get the media attention?
When I heard about Robin Williams, my first thought was he has children. And based on that fact alone, he should not have taken this path.
And then I thought of Ernest Hemingway, another artistic person with issues who ended his own life. And Vincent Van Gogh. And so many others.
If you have such issues, please get help! Know that there are people out there who care. And that the World would be lacking without you.
h/t The Actor’s Studio
or say a prayer, if that’s what you do.
Mary C. – Dave-the-mechanic’s mother passed away Father’s Day, after a short illness. She was 88, having had her birthday that Saturday. Her memorial is today.
Mary was longtime volunteer at Desert Samaritan Hospital, serving for 24 years in many different offices and was Volunteer of the Year for the State of Arizona in 1983. She was an active member of King of Glory Lutheran Church, singing in the choir for 35 years and serving as choir librarian for 20 years.
Mary is survived by her husband of 62 years, Al; her children Mick, Dave, Ruth, Karen; 8 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
To have been the center of such a great family, and been a giver of such service…
She will be missed.
My thanks to all of you who commented, wrote or at least stopped for a moment in your day to think of Dave and his family. – Guffaw
Well, it’s finally happened.
My neighbors to the South (I live in a townhouse – we share a common wall) have moved out. My roomie says she saw a social worker speaking with them before they left. They filled the backyard with trash bags – so many they have to leave by the front door instead of the back!
These were the folks who had multiple co-tenants, no motor vehicles and by all appearances liked to bounce bowling balls down the stairs at 0400 – repeatedly – making certain they bounced off the walls in the process, as well.
And they took their many shouting arguments into the back yard, for all to hear.
They were nicknamed by the neighbors ‘the WalMart people’. (not to cast aspersions on WalMart – we shop there, too!)
Now we know why they went outside…
It’s time for their landlord to commence cleanup. I suspect they didn’t get their security deposit back…
In addition to the massive amounts of trash outside…
Massive amounts of trash inside…walls covered with smeared fecal matter, filthy carpeting…
And, as their hosts left for parts unknown – the cockroaches have breached our common wall in search of a new home!!
The story from their Southern neighbors is they were breeding dogs inside – never saw them outside – heard them though, and this accounted for the insects and foul material therein.
We are contacting their landlord – as has the other neighbor – to see about having our house treated (insect bombed).
The cleanup crew have been working in shifts wearing clean-room type attire, and have told the neighbors ALL THE HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES had to be discarded due to the infestation!
Hopefully, all will be taken care of by their landlord. Perhaps next time he will be better at assessing the appropriateness of his tenants?!