Yesterday marked a milestone – we told the first of our family about our great plans and simultaneously did our first real bit of downsizing – Mark sold one of his guns to his brother and in doing so, we broke the news of our upcoming departure. There were all the expected questions – WHERE will you be going? WHAT are you going to do about (fill in the blank: the house, employment, your stuff, etc., etc.)? HOW will you support yourselves? IS it safe? WHEN are you leaving (and/or coming back)? And, above all, the most burning question of all: WHY? (This last one paired with a follow up question: ARE you nuts?). We answered them all with our carefully rehearsed responses – after all, we’ve both been having secret conversations in our heads with all of our well-meaning friends and family, so we’ve developed logical arguments to everyone’s misgivings.
In the end, Will and Janette took the news in stride – after all, my Darling is the wanderer of the family who, unlike both his siblings, really never settled down and bought a house until recently. I think they were a little disappointed that Mark and I were eschewing the stable life we had built for ourselves – with a dog and a home in the suburbs with the “two cats in the yard” (as the song goes) – and going off on a wild and crazy adventure. But we swore together that we would keep in contact regularly and Janette suggested they might come and visit us at some point once we’re settled again.
Today also marked another first for me: I fired my Darling’s AR-15.
I asked to shoot this gun because I wanted to have the firsthand experience of what it feels like to fire off rounds from this – the preferred weapon of choice of mass shooters and survivalists arming themselves for the Zombie Apocalypse or the end of the civilized world. Up until now, my perspective has only been from watching action movies, but movies tend to not really be accurate when it comes to firearms.
It’s a frightening piece of equipment – really designed for warfare and nothing else. There’s no polished wood stock or decoration of any kind that might give off a reflection or get damaged from being exposed to the elements. It is stripped down to the most basic components and everything on it is designed to achieve one thing – to fire multiple rounds of high-powered bullets at people. It is about as utilitarian as you can get. I’m really not much of a gun person – to be quite honest they make me a little nervous. This gun was downright scary!
I shot it twice without coming close to hitting the target. The gun was so hard for me to control that had I been aiming at the broadside of a barn instead of a target set on a pile of logs, it’s highly likely I wouldn’t have hit that either.
I handed it back to my Darling.
“So what did you think?” He smiled, knowing exactly what I thought.
“Ummmm… I don’t think I want to shoot that thing ever again.”
“It’s a little different than your peashooter.”
“Yeah.” What I was actually thinking is HOLY CRAP! This is a murderous weapon. How on earth is an eighteen year old who isn’t old enough to buy booze or cigarettes legally entitled to purchase this? Anyone who thinks they should needs to fire off a couple of rounds from this gun and then explain why an eighteen year old who isn’t allowed to buy a .22 handgun should be allowed to own a high-caliber rifle like this one. It’s a little like the equivalent of telling a kid they can’t fly a propeller plane, but then handing them the keys to a fighter jet. This just exemplifies just how completely whacked this country has become.
My Darling put the AR-15 back in its bag and handed it over to Will for safe-keeping. “So I guess this means you’re okay with leaving it here,” he chuckled.
I nodded. Mexico has stricter gun laws than the U.S. You flat out can’t bring firearms into the country and there are heavy restrictions on what kinds of guns you can own. They recognize that there are certain weapons that simply shouldn’t be handled by untrained civilians, and I tend to agree with that philosophy. I know here in the U.S. there are fears of a corrupt military armed to the teeth oppressing an unarmed population, but I don’t see that happening here any time soon. I’m really tired of people using that as an argument to arm themselves to ridiculous levels and fight laws that place any type of restrictions on gun ownership. After all, there is no reason a private citizen should have access to military-grade weapons without at least military-grade training in how to operate those weapons safely.
So I was not unhappy to leave the AR-15 behind when we left Will’s place. After all, you can’t take firearms into Mexico and I’m quite okay with that.