Thursday, December 15, 2011

Never again

In the 28 hours that it took for my name to be approved for a new firearm transfer, I came to the conclusion that I will not go through that process ever again. Though I did willingly consent beforehand, and He who derives a benefit from a thing, ought to feel the disadvantages attending it, I've had my fill, and will stick with private sales from here on out. A man should never feel so convicted in his heart that he questions whether he is a criminal or not, or questions who he is. It is unconscionable.

To be clear, I do not blame those within the Virginia State Police or FBI who administrate background checks, as they are not the ones who placed the repulsive concept of pre-criminalization on us; that blame lies with the greater American public first and foremost for not only agreeing to this insanity up front, and perpetually consenting to it, but for also continuing to demand it, under the naive belief that scumbags would be eradicated if we could only ensnare them with a piece of paper. I'm ashamed of myself that I ever fell under that criteria.

Last night I was doing mental backflips trying to find out what it was that would make a state and federal government hesitate to approve of a transfer. Though nobody could tell, as I have a knack for taking physical, mental, and emotional punishment with a calm demeanor, I was questioning myself over and over until I was actually thinking "what did I do wrong?" It was there where I realised I had left the Line of Departure into a hostile place that I had no business being.

I recall a time when I was in sunny Ramadi, talking to my beautiful wife on a private, Iridium satellite phone, when she told me she was delayed for a transfer for a handgun. To say she was upset is an understatement, and no doubt she was feeling exactly like I was last night: convicted. Though she had harmed no one, she combed through her past out loud to me, searching for a crime she didn't commit. I tried to convince her that everything was OK, and it did turn out to be -- that moment was my first warning notice of how harmful a background check could be, and I missed it. A dear friend of mine, who was instrumental in keeping me grounded last night, was also delayed on a gun purchase some time ago, and he also felt the same convicting thoughts -- that was the second notice that I again missed. Last night was final notice.

Whether you've ever bought a gun or not, or have any intention to, feeling convicted of something you didn't do is something everyone has probably experienced at one time. It's similar to the feeling of being falsely accused of something; not a - "you're a poopie-head" accusation, but a serious one, like - "you stole from me, didn't you?!?" The latter has the tendency to cut very deep. Having to explain yourself and why you're not in the wrong used to be a viscerally unnatural act. There was a time where it used to be a man would recoil at such a thing, as it was against all human nature to stand quietly in the face of an accusation -- "Are you calling me a liar?" Perhaps it's "reality shows" and bad TV that has put us into the mindset of constantly defending who we are, that I'm-right-and-you're-wrong, and getting comfortable with conflict and confrontation in situations we do not belong in. I don't know about y'all, but I am done putting myself in the middle of situations like that.

So now I'm here, having passed through the eye of the needle, and before too long somebody will come across this post and scoff "Big deal. Get over it. It's for the greater good. Getting criminals off the street is worth making millions of good people go through a background check." My retort is to try it sometime. If you get approved in two minutes, close enough to "instant" I guess, then you most likely won't get the full effect and have an understanding. Consider though that very few transfer denials are even prosecuted (also note in there that ATF agents didn't feel that most of the prohibited persons were dangerous enough to timely retrieve a sold gun). If you still feel that catching a handful of people that probably aren't dangerous is worth criminalizing tens of millions of Americans every year, then you can have the system. Hook, line, and sinker. As for me, I'm out.
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