#683 – Dick Bernard: The Cost of Fear; the Power of Speaking Out.

Artists rendition of "Banana clip" automatic rifle seen at a Minneapolis restaurant

Yesterday I was at a local restaurant having a cup of coffee, and writing some letters. It’s a very ordinary activity for me. For some reason, I ‘ve always worked best where there’s some hubbub around.
At the next table, very close by, four men, obviously friends, and probably in their 50s, were conversing about this and that and at some point one of them mentioned that he had been actively thinking about ordering an AR-15, and a gun cabinet to go with it.
The chat went on a short while, then he mentioned the topic had come to the attention of his spouse, and apparently he had changed his mind: she would have nothing to do with the purchase. As he described it, they had an interesting conversation….
If I heard it right, I was listening to one smart man, talking about one powerful woman who had something to say about one important matter: an assault rifle in the home.
The conversation got me thinking in a direction I hadn’t considered before: how much does an AR-15 really cost?
I don’t have a gun, and I don’t plan to have one, and I don’t stop to look at guns in stores or even look at ads about guns. I don’t know the details about todays killing machines.
When I got home I googled AR-15, and there were lots of references.
Succinctly, if you can get the assault rifle (there’s been a run on them – supply and demand), it is not cheap. And that’s just for the weapon.
Plus, a well-equipped AR-15 owner should have a range of accessories to go with the gun, all which cost money; things like the locked cabinet, the ammunition, the gun range, etc., etc.
I also noted a more than subtle paranoid edge to the websites peddling AR-15.
Most merchants sing the praises of their product. These sites were less than welcoming or disclosing. No smiley-faces there.
Any reader can challenge my assertion, simply by doing what I did: google “AR-15 cost”.
So, if I heard this totally decent looking and sounding man correctly, he won’t be getting his new gun, and the family relations will be better, and he’ll have money to spend in more productive ways.
I am not, by the way, anti-weapon. Never have been. I am against the insanity of combat weapons for “self-defense”.
Would this guy lug his AR-15 with him everywhere? If he ever had need for the weapon at home, could he find the key to the cabinet? Would the cabinet be where he needed it to be when he needed it? Would he be thinking clearly when he was squeezing the trigger?
Would his investment prove to a blessing or a curse?
Back home I listened to gun victim and survivor Gabby Giffords brief and extremely powerful testimony to a Senate Committee on the issues of Guns. Her husband Mark Kelly’s testimony as well. And the testimony of NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.
Giffords and Kelly made sense. LaPierre simply “came out with guns blazing” and made no sense at all. He was speaking raw power, bullying behavior, that was all.
I’d recommend support for the Giffords/Kelly brand new website on Americans Responsible For Solutions (they are both gun owners, and not against guns per se).
And another good site to get acquainted with is the Brady Campaign.
There’s no need to be afraid of getting into this conversation. It may even do a lot of good.

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