Those who know my gun story often focus on the disturbing encounter I had in my apartment complex with a neighbor and her boyfriend/dealer. Although that was a pivotal moment in my conversion, I did not rush out to Gander Mountain that weekend and buy a gun. I had never even touched a gun, so such a step was too far.
In fact, it would be another three months — and several conversations and a trip to the range and lots of reading — before I bought my first gun. And even once I decided to buy a gun, a defensive firearm was not my first choice (a Ruger Mark III .22 target pistol). Or my second choice (a Ruger Bearcat .22 revolver). Or my third choice (a CZ Redhead Deluxe 12g O/U shotgun).
I am thinking about this because of a Facebook memory that popped up today. It reminded me that 12 years ago today I was in Columbus, Georgia with my son for a tennis tournament. There was a three-hour rain delay. And during that delay, we went back to our hotel and I stumbled upon the History Channel TV show, Top Shot.
It was seeing Top Shot, as much as the apartment complex scare, that made possible my becoming a gun owner. Why? Because it allowed me to see something that I now profess as a mantra: guns are normal and normal people use guns. It laid the foundation for seeing guns as a reasonable response to my felt need for family, home, and personal protection.
For many people in the US, guns have long been normal. But this is not true of many others, including me 12 years ago. With TV shows like Top Shot gone now, I wonder what popular media is helping bring the normality of guns to those currently outside of gun culture?