A couple of weeks ago, we ran a personal essay by Samuel Ligon agonizing over the push-pull of gun ownership in a state where armed militias are growing ("Gun school: A true story of fear, fatherhood and the collapse of the empire," Oct. 20). The ambiguity of Ligon's feelings was reflected in the responses we received from readers. A lively yet (mostly) respectful discussion sprang up on our Facebook page between readers self-identifying as Republicans, conservatives, leftists, liberals and anarchists. We appreciate these reactions, which (mostly) ran counter to our writer's point of view, yet were expressed in (mostly) valid and non-abusive terms. The responses below are from some of our frequent sharpest critics as well as a few first-time readers.
I am a contractor and I picked up a recent copy of Orlando Weekly when I was working at a local university. I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, so I grabbed it and threw it in the truck. I am always open to other people's opinions about something that is so polarizing.
My takeaway from this person's article is the number of times he used the word "hate" in the story. Toward the end he writes "I hated this" or "we hated that" a number of times. I believe that if you hate something that controls you. In this instance, if I were in his hometown and he saw me with a firearm strapped to my side, he would hate me. At that very moment in time I am in control of his emotions, I am in control of his next actions, and I am in control of his mind for the next few minutes that he will never get back.
The beautiful thing about the documents our forefathers wrote is that they provide him an opportunity to protest, to march, to try and make change. The days of discussion, tolerance and patience are gone from this country, as well as a number of things that I'll not discuss here. Given that everybody wants to call somebody a hater of something else it is unfortunate that this person hates so many things.
Despite the fact that I am a 56-year-old white male redneck I don't hate anything. But if I was to hate one thing, it would be cigarette butts. — Greg Johnson, Orlando
@Victor Chin: Wow, I didn't expect such an honest article about firearm ownership on this site. Everything he said was true. There is a "fever" to wanting to be able to protect oneself and their family.
This was actually how I started to lean toward conservatism. I had a son and no one on earth was going to take me from him or him from me. So I purchased a .38 Special Taurus from a pawnshop in Longwood. Then I took lessons. And soon I started to learn that everything I have been told about gun ownership growing up was a lie. The more I trained, the more I saw how it was my responsibility to care for my family. Then I started to think, what else have I been lied to all my life about ... this is how I went from liberal to conservative over the course of a few years. Today I am a certified firearm instructor.
I can see the author taking the very same steps. And I applaud him. One thing I would recommend for everyone is to take more than just the initial class. Get further training than just going to the range. Once you learn to control the firearm, people will see it for what it is — just a tool. So many people hold it like a dead mouse at first, LOL.
I know the author is going to buy a gun. And eventually he will buy more than one. And then he will actually get his concealed carry permit. And then he will look back and see what a dummy he was for being "mad" at that person at the store. I have seen this happen so many times.
@Dave Oswald: Exactly none of the people mentioned in this article should own a gun.
@Manuel Gomez: "I'd be able to shoot all kinds of people with it — in self-defense." That is the wrong kind of mindset. You don't "shoot all kinds of people" for anything. You should only stop "imminent danger of great bodily harm or death." That's it. I found [the writer's] paranoia, fear and insecurity very disturbing. And to make matters worse, his constant "killing killing killing" remarks were also unsettling.
I agree with Dave: None of them should own guns. Although, I believe in rights over security. Some stupidity can be fixed, but we can't get our rights back once we lose them. The author is the perfect example of what Colion Noir once said: "Just because you don't trust yourself with a gun, it doesn't mean I don't trust myself with a gun." That is exactly why gun-grabbers call us names. It is all psychological projection. They are the scared ones. The ignorant. And dangerous. His mindset is the greatest example of it.
@Alyss Casey: Hi, trans girl here. Take it from me, leftists love guns, just thought you should know that. I'm on the left, and I assure you, nobody wants to take away your guns. That's fearmongering and propaganda. The reality is, nobody is coming for your guns, ever. You can relax a bit.