He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, Who Doesn’t Want You to Take Away His Guns

My brother is not a fan of gun control. File that under things I did not know about my brother. I now know because while visiting my family in Maine last weekend my brother and I got into a little disagreement. We got through it because we love each other and we’re normal, if opinionated, people and we used humor to diffuse our mutual frustration. But we made other people very uncomfortable before we got to that point.

I’m going to try copying Genial Misanthrope’s format (Mike!) in covering a different version of the same subject. I think everyone should copy Mike’s example as often as possible.

Act 1: I was making meatballs in my Stepmom’s kitchen. I had invited everyone over for my famous meatballs except, unbeknownst to me at that time, the meatballs were not going to taste as famously good as they did at home, according to my eleven-year-old’s secret text to his dad. He was right. I forgot the secret ingredient. What’s the secret ingredient? Wouldn’t you like to know. I’m talking about gun control here. Making conversation, I brought up the shame of the Florida school shootings in a country like ours, with so many resources to prevent this kind of violence.

Act 2: My brother said everyone tries to blame the NRA and not video games, or mental health laws, or the failure of the FBI. I wondered how Sean Hannity had infiltrated our family and taken over my brother’s brain. I tried to stay calm as my brain imploded. Surely this could’t be my relative? I said that there is no harm in exploring gun control, is there? That nobody really needs an assault rifle to go hunting, do they? So we could take a look at who can own an assault rifle, couldn’t we? And also why does the NRA try to buy so many politicians?

Act 3: Well, that last question didn’t go over well. My brother said there are already adequate gun control laws and if they were enforced, lives could be spared. My brother said that if the first Florida teacher had been armed, none of this would have happened.

Act 4: I pointed out that while I agreed multiple issues should be considered, like the effect of video games, mental health laws, security, and the failure of government agencies to follow through on the laws in place, my brother seemed to be in favor of examining only things that don’t include any kind of gun control. I asked why that was.

Act 5:  My brother tensed, as if for battle, and talked about Switzerland, where, he said, citizens are required to own guns and the country has one of the lowest gun violence records ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!!! While other countries with strict gun laws have MUCH MORE GUN VIOLENCE. I do not believe this and had the temerity to say so. My brother, in a sudden twist, began talking about the Georgia Guidestones and how a secret society is trying to wipe out most of the population and enslave most of the survivors. The first step is…guess what it is? Anybody? If you guessed gun control you are correct. According to my brother, the NRA, that altruistic entity, is the final gatekeeper between mass murder and enslavement by the Elites after they’ve abolished the second amendment.

Act 6: My mind opened. Ah, fear mongering. I could relate. I have a fear that the troglodytes in Washington and the evangelicals everywhere, want to  transport my gender back 50 years and make them voiceless again. My brother would think my fear overly dramatic, as I do his. But maybe my brother is right. Maybe there is a secret order that wants to disarm the middle class and wipe out the neediest populations among us. However, I doubt they are the party fighting to maintain healthcare, a decent education, a path to citizenship, gender equality, food, and dignity for all. Why bother with all that humanitarianism as a prequel to annihilation and enslavement? It does sound like another significantly more right party, though, that wants to wipe out “Obamacare” and “Entitlement Programs” both of which keep people alive.

Act 7: I finished the meatballs. They were tainted with the absence of my secret ingredient and, perhaps, the less than amiable conversation. While the garlic bread toasted, and a half hour after the last barbed remark, I caught my brother’s eye and shook my finger in his direction. “Later”, I said, “I want to talk some more about gun control”. He laughed, I laughed, everyone else nervously laughed. The food was ready and we sat down to eat. There was room at the table for all of us.

Act 8:  I returned home and looked up the gun laws in Switzerland. I considered sending the link to my brother. Decided against it. He’d probably looked it up already. This is why we all need to keep talking.

Chicken  Out

  16 comments for “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, Who Doesn’t Want You to Take Away His Guns

  1. Joanne Noragon
    February 23, 2018 at 2:44 am

    I never cracked this conundrum, and ceased approaching the subject with my brother, my brother-in-law, the men in the neighborhood. Yes, they leaned back in chairs, rocking on the back legs, arms stretched along the rails of the porch, discussing the secret society, and it’s stealthy approach. Sometimes I would initiate the subject of guns in the company of like minded people, and watch the men slip away, to sit on another porch where there were no reproachful remarks.
    Sure comes as a shock, the first time, doesn’t it.


    • February 23, 2018 at 2:53 am

      Hi Joanne-yeah, it did come as a shock. But I’ve always been that person who doesn’t always understand that everyone doesn’t feel exactly the same way as me. I’m working on it:-) But pillars in Georgia being the work of a secret dem society? Really?


  2. February 23, 2018 at 7:27 am

    Excellent and engaging post, Chicken. I shall look up gun laws in Switzerland –have not modified my view of Swiss Army since learning many years ago about their elite bicycle corp defending the country with Offiziersmesser (Swiss for “really good pocket knives”). Probably time I updated my info. For what it’s worth, no real hunter would carry an automatic weapon –enough accidents happen with a single-shot discharge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 25, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Geo, and the fact that assault weapons have been used in many of these mass shootings make the idea of a gun carrying teacher seem pretty dumb to me but what do I know. I thought the Swiss take on arms was very interesting, actually. There does seem to be a national pride connected to gun ownership but that speaks to me more of patriotism than our country’s gun culture does.


  3. February 23, 2018 at 11:35 am

    It’s about the culture in the country. I am guessing that Americans always assume that if you go on a bus or into a bookshop or a cafe or anywhere, someone might have a gun so you have to be careful if you get mad with a stranger pretty well anywhere. In many countries in Europe & elsewhere the idea that someone has a gun usually doesn’t cross your mind unless you’re somewhere very very ghetto-y (and even then, you probably don’t think about it). For those of us living in places like this it’s a no brainer that we should continue to strictly control gun use. Even our police here in London aren’t routinely armed with guns. But would I suggest Chicago cops follow suit & dispense with guns…….? No.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 25, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      HI Jenny, thank you for commenting. I don’t typically assume that people around me have guns. What I do assume is that at any public gathering something can go wrong very quickly and I typically have a plan for if that happens. Sad that we have to think that way but these days, we do. And it still might not be enough to save us if we are at the wrong place at the wrong time.


  4. jenny_o
    February 23, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    In Canada, as you may know, people do own guns, although ownership is not nearly so widespread as in the States and we don’t allow the general public to have automatic weapons. If I ran the world, I would eliminate those from public ownership everywhere. But there does seem to be a strong gun culture among a large segment of the population in the US that goes beyond what kind of weapon is available to NEEDING to have weapons available. And there have been all kinds of misinterpretations of the constitution and misinformation about other countries’ statistics based on urban myths that continue to feed that culture. I feel you did VERY well to remain calm and reasonable in the face of such egregious misinformation, and I also feel badly that you have this point of difference with your brother. Maybe time and gentle persuasion and refuting his “facts” with Facts will bring him around. I hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 25, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      HI Jenny, I grew up with guns and most of the men in my family are hunters. I’m not against gun ownership. I’m just for stricter control over who can own them and which guns are allowed. This is just one of several differences of opinion that I have had with family members. My brother and I are fine. We both understand that it is just a difference of opinion and it won’t affect our relationship. I have a favorite cousin, however, that I think I offended soon after Trump was elected because she doesn’t stay in touch like she used to and the times I’ve reached out to her, she’s been pretty cold. That does make me feel badly. I would never let a difference of political opinion come between myself and a loved one, but she seems to be willing to throw away a lifetime of common memories and sisterhood because of an offhand comment I made on Facebook. Not sure how to rectify that or even if it’s possibly.


  5. Doug in Oakland
    February 24, 2018 at 2:38 am

    OK. I have been known to blow through the 4,096 character limit some blogging platforms impose on comments when I get going about guns, so I am going to try not to do that here.
    Just know that I have a lot to say on the subject.
    So, here goes:
    I don’t argue with right-wingers about guns any more because they are arguing in bad faith. Since 1996 the Republicans have prohibited the CDC from studying gun violence, and that had the knock-on effect of drying up most private funding for any such studies, so we don’t really know what works and doesn’t work for reducing gun violence.

    They are in effect saying that they don’t trust scientists to do unbiased work so much that they won’t allow them to do any work that might produce results they might not like.

    If you are so paranoid that you are afraid of government conspiracies against you more than you want to know the truth about what’s killing more than 30,000 people in the US each year, I just don’t have anything to say to you, and find it somewhat alarming that you are armed when so delusional.

    That said, I’m somewhat conflicted about gun laws, but not enough to oppose them when they help the problem.

    On the one hand, prohibition laws have a really long history of just not working. Not for alcohol and not for drugs. I usually mention that when I point out that although California has some fairly strict purchase restrictions, given the cash, I could get pretty much any gun you could name within a day, and could have obtained an AR or AK at any time during the assault weapons ban.

    On the other hand, one thing we do know about mass shooters is that they tend to also be domestic abusers, and here in California we have a law that not only can domestic abusers not buy new guns, but their existing guns are confiscated. Last I checked, that law had confiscated over 4,000 guns and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition.

    I grew up with guns, in a rural enough area that doing so wasn’t the pathology that it is here in Oakland. I also left them at my dad’s house in Eureka when I moved to Oakland in 1984.

    I guess I don’t really want the government to take the family’s guns away from my sister (who I assume is in possession of them now that both of my parents and my brother are dead) if she doesn’t want them to, but I also can’t imagine that she’d get too upset over having to give them up, especially if she was compensated for them. A couple of them are old enough to have quasi-antique value, and one of the rifles is the one my father and my uncle used to hunt to bolster their food supply after my grandfather was killed in an oil well accident, but as my sister and I are the only living people aware of that, and neither of us really care any more, the time of that’s importance has passed. Also, the government has no such intentions.

    Gun regulation is a complicated dance between the rights of citizens and public safety, but we can’t seem to even make it to the addressing of that issue when the truth is not allowed to intrude into the argument.

    I totally would have eaten one of those meatballs, special ingredient or no…


    • February 25, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      And I would have loved to have had you at our table to share them, Doug. I did not know that the CDC wasn’t allowed to study gun violence. And I agree, it’s a complicated dance but like you said, and I said, less well, you can’t even bring up the subject with NRA proponents. They want to blame everything and everyone except guns and they buy into and spit out every conspiracy theory they are fed by the NRA. It’s disgusting. I don’t want your damn guns and if there’s some kind of plan to reduce the population by 95% it is for sure coming from a base of deluded nationalists and/or religious fundamentalists, neither of which trend towards the left in their ideology.


  6. February 24, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Never heard of the Georgia Guidestones, in spite of having grown up in Georgia. But the secret society tryign to wip out/enslave us all? That’s the kind of nutjob conspiracy theorizing promoted by Fox that makes sane discussions of gun laws impossible.


    • February 25, 2018 at 2:36 pm

      Yes, exactly, and it was interesting to listen to the NRA spokesman, LaPierre, who was also feeding that same conspiracy theory about the “Elites” in his speech last week. I do not get why Nancy Pelosi is an elitist but Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell aren’t. If you ask me, they are far more elitest in their ideology than any dems out there.


  7. February 25, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Being able to talk and listen is rational behaviour. When people start deliberately not listening, it is scary times. Glad you haven’t fallen out with your brother, and actually sorry for your meatballs too. The secret text did make me laugh, but in a sympathetic way 🙂


    • March 3, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Yes, school’s should provide courses in active listening, don’t you think? I’m not sure what that curriculum would sound like, but it’s an important basic skill.


  8. March 24, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    I’m with you on this. Perhaps our country needs to imitate the gun laws in Australia where they haven’t had a mass shooting since 1996.

    Liked by 1 person

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