Austin Ruse

According to his lengthy polemic at Crisis Magazine, Austin Ruse purchased a firearm, at least in part, as an act of political defiance:

But my reasons go beyond home-defense and solidarity. They are also political. I bought a gun, Obama, and there is not a damn thing you can do about it. My gun is a statement to all those like him who hate the Constitution. This is who we are as a people, utterly unlike that continent of Europeans who have outsourced their own defense to Americans for more than half a century.

Statistically, Ruse is far more likely to shoot a friend or family member than he is to thwart a felon. Ruse, his friends and family assume that risk. So be it. I have legally owned guns myself.

While I disagree with Ruse on many things (SPLC labels his organization, C-Fam, an anti-gay hate group), he seems reasonably sane and he is not a felon (at least I don’t think so). To the best of my knowledge Ruse has not physically abused his wife. I have no desire to take away Ruse’s gun or to prevent him from purchasing it in the first place and neither does President
Obama. To suggest that our President hates the constitution is absurd hyperbole.

Ruse is not the problem — I am.

I have acute PTSD, the result of having been ambushed and shot, point blank by a .45 in the hands of a prohibited purchaser. I have a volcanic temper. Indeed, my temper has no rheostat. In spite of years of therapy and a shelf full of meds my temper is either off or at batshit. The three day waiting period in Florida for a handgun might deter my desire to settle a score. Of course there is no waiting period for a shotgun and I pass the background check. I should be a prohibited purchaser.

As a society we have placed limits on the Second Amendment. For example, n spite of the ruling in Heller, you cannot bring a gun to the Supreme Court. We generally preclude convicted felons from purchasing firearms.

In Florida, we love our weaponry. According to Florida law, there is no limit to the number of firearms you may purchase per background check. Any paperwork associated with the sale must be destroyed once the background check is completed. I can load up on a veritable armory and then resell the firearms at a gun show to people who cannot pass a background check.

Over the last few years nothing has upset me more than the Newtown massacre. I cried, uncontrollably, for days while imagining the size of the exit wound from a diminutive six-year-old. Adam Lanza should not have had access to a gun. The NRA’s response was what it always is. We need more guns. Right because teachers under tremendous pressure shooting over the heads of children is such a great idea. Trained cops miss most of the time.

The same people who are obsessed with Muslims don’t seem to be terribly concerned with how easy it would be for a terrorist to acquire weapons. The simple fact is that we allow too many guns to get into the hands of criminals and crazy people. It seems like a good idea to get a handle on that. No?

Fortunately, for most people, gun violence is an abstraction. I have been tempted to post photos of my scars. They are a testament to two objects trying to occupy the same space at the same time. With bullet vs. body parts, the bullet always wins. I have a two-inch diameter scar on my back (the entry wound). For years you could see the stippling but that has faded. I have two eight inch scars; one along my thigh and one along my hip. I have a four-inch piece of handiwork across my lower abdomen. One bullet can do a great deal of damage. There is no room for “oops.”

Austin Ruse is presumptively  a responsible gun owner. I have a personal letter from the President. It reads, In part:

… Michelle and I are deeply saddened by the all-too-common tragedies of gun violence across the nation.

[ … ]

But our anguish is not enough. I remain committed to doing everything in my power to reduce gun violence.

President Obama goes on to say, among other things, that he wants to keep “dangerous firearms out of the wrong hands.” In 2015 we have had too many needless deaths because guns were in the wrong hands. I have yet to hear the NRA offer practical, common sense solutions. The NRA won’t suggest anything that will result in fewer gun sales regardless of who those guns are going to. The NRA is actually an industry trade group.

2015 was bad. In South Florida, we’re not off to a very good start in 2016. There were at least five gun deaths that I am aware of yesterday; three in Tamarac and two in Ft. Lauderdale. That does not depict a civilized society.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.