About twenty years ago I was playing in a band. The drummer was the second-youngest of about eight kids from a very left-leaning family. All eight of the kids were very politically aware, and some of them – not the drummer – were quite active. And it was fun; I’d get into long political discussions over all of the issues of the day; the siblings were all pretty sharp, passionately motivated, and had strong opinions.
Including about gun control. They all favored it. I, being at the time a conservative talk show host (who hoped to be right between jobs, any ol’ day now), opposed ’em. Older brother sneered “a real man doesn’t need a gun to protect himself”; he got a good yuck, until I asked if his sexagenarian father would be “not a real man” if set upon by a gang of young toughs.
One evening, not a week after a long argument about guns, the drummer called me. “We gotta go gun shopping”. He’d been mugged while walking down Pleasant Avenue just off Lake Street.
We went to the gun shop. I talked him out of buying a chinese-made AK-47 knockoff, and into a revolver (a Charter .44 Special). We then went to the range and busted off a couple of boxes of ammo – I brought my whole arsenal (a .45 Colt Auto, an 8mm Hakim battle rifle, and a .22 rifle and .22 automatic pistol) along with to get him seriously oriented. He ended up turning into quite the gunny; the last we talked he had the Charter, a .44 Magnum, an SKS, a .303 Enfield Mark IV, a .45 Auto and a Walther P38 his father had brought back from the war.
Proving, as the old saying goes, that “a conservative is a liberal that’s been mugged (and a libertarian is a conservative that’s been audited”).
It happened in Cleveland (from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, via TvM), where State Rep. Michael DeBose, a previously anti-gun Democrat lawmaker, had nearly the identical epiphany while walking around his “transitional” neighborhood:
The loud muffler on a car that slowly passed as he was finishing the walk caught his attention, though. When the car stopped directly in front of his house – three houses from where he stood – he knew there was going to be a problem.
“There was a tall one and a short one,” DeBose said, sipping on a McDonald’s milkshake and recounting the experience Friday.
“The tall one reached in his pocket and pulled out a silver gun. And they both started running towards me.”
“At first I just backed up, but then I turned around and started running and screaming.”
“When I started running, the short boy stopped chasing and went back to the car. But the tall boy with the gun kept following me.
It was a “road to Damascus” moment for Debose:
DeBose twice voted against a measure to allow Ohioans to carry concealed weapons. It became law in 2004.
He who votes last votes loudest.