Why I’m (now) a gun owner. (Part 1)

Oh I have to be honest. One of my hot-button issues right now is guns. It’s one of the things that I’m really into right now, and given the current political climate in the USA, it’s one of the topics that I want to speak on in many ways. So I figure it’s a fair way to start off my serious blog content.

I wrote the following in my personal logs some months ago, and I’ve edited and updated it for posting here. It’s long, so I’m breaking it up into parts.

In May 2008 I was instant messaging with an old friend of mine from college. I mentioned about my recent handgun purchases (that I had 2), my intent to purchase some more firearms in the near future, the fact I was working to obtain a Texas concealed handgun license (CHL). He was kinda shocked that his old college roommate was turning into “a true fuckin’ redneck” (his words). 🙂  So I started to explain things to him, but IM isn’t the best communication medium for something so involved. So I thought that it might be worthwhile to jot down why it is that I’ve become what I’ve become. I’ve been revealing my recent purchases to some people and those people I know are people predisposed to guns so they’ve only been pleasantly surprised. But I know as more people become aware of my evolution I’ll have to defend/explain this more, so consider this something for them too.


As I see it, it’s a matter of solidifying my philosophy on life and becoming more consistent with myself.


I can’t recall my philosophy on life from my single-digit ages. About the only thing I can remember from then was that I really liked girls. But I do remember my first real philosophical realization: that everything is relative. I don’t recall when exactly that hit me, but I know I was quite young. Since then, I’ve seen nothing that invalidates that maxim and quite a bit to support it. I also recall that I observed many things about life and being, but it was always scattered and disjointed. In my undergraduate studies came my first exposure to Taoism. While at the time I didn’t really grasp formal Taoist philosophy, the introduction was useful because since that time I’ve always found myself drawn back to Taoism and the Tao Te Ching for whatever reason. As I continue to study that and other Taoist texts and philosophy (not the fabricated religion that  has been imposed on it), I do find myself resonating more and more with that philosophy — those scattered observations and posits on life and the world that I had always held were basically Taoist philosophy, and now with Taoism itself I had a formal medium through which to solidify, express myself, and continue to explore. I guess that’s why Taoism always resonated with me, because I naturally discovered those same observations and conclusions on my own before I discovered the formal philosophy. Even my martial arts study of the past 6 years has brought me more in line with Taoism; not that the art itself has some sort of cult or ritual or that such, but the historical Korean influence is there. For instance, the notion of You Won Hwa (유 원 화) is quite Taoist in its nature.

Another part of my life that I’ve come to is one of responsibility. I know the seeds were sown in me by my father (along with that good Protestant work ethic), but I can’t put my finger on the point in time where I started to feel so strongly about personal responsibility. I do recall in my junior year of high school, in my American Civilization humanities class (2 hours mixing our English and American History subjects together) that 3 students put on a presentation about political parties. One guy was telling about the Republican Party, what it was about and why he was a member. Another guy was telling about the Democrat Party. And the third well… it was this girl that was one of the “odd goth chicks” (so she was already viewed as being on the nutty fringe by the clique that is high school), and she was talking about being a Libertarian. That was the first I heard of that notion. Until that point it was always Reps, Dems, and “Independents” (or “other”), and the edict from Dad was that you voted Republican or you were disowned. I just remember sitting in class, and the poor girl never got much of a word out because she was just booed out by everyone, drowned out, and never really given a fair chance to speak (and she wasn’t the best speaker either). So as usual, if you weren’t part of “the big 2 parties” you were a nutcase. (Looking back, I feel rather ashamed of how the class treated her. Sorry Suzanna).

Moving into my undergraduate years at James Madison University. JMU, being a liberal arts college, tended to have your good share of stupid 18-21 year old “open minded” liberals. When the Gulf War broke out, protesting on campus happened, but it always felt to me like it was contrived: we’re college students, there’s a war, let’s protest because that’s what they did back in the 60’s so that’s what college students are supposed to do, right?  Things never felt to have any conviction, they just felt stupid. I always was annoyed at some of the “open minds” of the “progressive” people at my college radio station, because their idea of “open mindedness” tended to be that you were open minded so long as you agreed with them. But like it or not, it’s college, and you do start to explore and change your attitudes on things. I don’t think I ever swayed to being a full-fledged liberal, but I probably swayed closer to that realm than any other time before. I do recall during my junior year sitting in my off-campus apartment with my roommate and discussing guns with him. He would go on about how “an armed society is a polite society” and other such things. I didn’t see the merit. While I don’t believe I ever felt the Second Amendment to our US Constitution should be repealed, I certainly didn’t feel much need for your average Joe to have firearms, hunting wasn’t my thing (tho if others did it, fine), and I too bought into the hype about assault weapons. I did feel there wasn’t much sporting to taking a machine gun out to kill Bambi. When I look back, I can see how far I’ve come and how ignorant I was.

After JMU I moved to Texas to attend graduate school at Texas A&M University. There I spent my time playing with computers, programming computers, smoking pot (I don’t do that any more), playing Magic: The Gathering a whole lot, teaching public speaking, and of course attending my own classes. While life in College Station wasn’t very metro, it certainly was introducing me to Texas. After two years I met my wife and moved to Austin, where I currently reside with my wife, three children, 4 cats, 1 hamster, a mess of fish, and now multiple firearms.

Move on to part 2….