Saturday, November 28, 2009

That ol' can't do attitude.

My brain has been chasing itself around in circles because of the latest flame-up in the blogosphere, specifically the brouhaha betwixt Nurse K and Ambulance Driver over whether KatyBeth should be shooting. Having been caught with her ass hanging out in the comments, she seems to have decided to take a different tack.

Now it's not bad that KatyBeth is shooting because she's so young, it's bad because she has cerebral palsy.

I should probably back away slowly at this point, because I do not personally know AD or KatyBeth, but it pisses me right the hell off. Maybe NurseK was trying to back herself up out of the first hole, but I think she dug another, deeper one.

I wanted to respond in the comments there, but like I said my brain has been chasing itself around in circles. Here I can talk it out as I please.

See, here's the thing. Like I said, I don't know KatyBeth. I am not even particularly knowledgeable about cerebral palsy in general. What I do have is the intelligence not to second-guess another parent on their child's capabilities. I've read AD's posts on KatyBeth with great interest--she's a few months younger than my oldest daughter--and I've always been fascinated by how he slips in a little bit of occupational therapy where she won't notice it. I will take his word that her work with guns helps her learn fine motor control.

Granted, learning to crochet or to knit would probably also help with fine motor control. But those damned steel hooks can be dangerous, as can aluminum needles, and even those big wooden ones. She could stab somebody with one! Or, you know, herself, on account of that weaker arm, you know. And I'm just not certain that's an acceptable risk.

I do have a dog in this hunt. My boyfriend has CP. He also really likes guns. I'll tell y'all what I told him--I trust him farther around any gun than I do my ex-husband.

The thing is, CP is a limiting condition. The extent to which it limits a person is incredibly variable, though. Erik cannot swim, cannot (legally) drive a stick shift, and...well, I think that's about it. The biggest reason he's not limited is because he refuses to be. AD is refusing to limit KatyBeth, and he's going to teach her to refuse to limit herself, and that means she will be unstoppable. Her limitations will be real limitations, not psychological ones. This will make all the difference.

Beyond all that, there's another aspect. Every time I hear of someone telling a person they shouldn't have a gun, I ask myself this question: Why do they want to keep that person subjugated? It's a serious question. We all know the history of gun control as a tool to keep black folks second-class citizens. I am firm in my belief that women are taught to fear guns for similar reasons--if we are armed, we are now the equal of the men who are otherwise much stronger than we. So, why should someone with cerebral palsy not be allowed to have a gun?

From where I'm sitting, KatyBeth has twice the reason to know her way around the boomsticks as the rest of us. For starters, she's female, and that already means she won't be stronger than anyone who might have evil intentions toward her. The cerebral palsy, far from meaning she shouldn't shoot, makes it that much more important that she can. That lack of full arm strength doesn't mean she can't handle a gun, but it does mean she won't be able to go one-on-one with someone who means her ill. The gun, once again, is an equalizer.

I'm damned glad KatyBeth has the parents she does.


Mark said...

I am reminded of that conversation we had at Jack-in-the-Box re. gun safety. It is far better than children know the rules about guns, and hell ... how to shoot one, than to not know.

I agree that Katy Beth's Cerebral Palsy leaves her at a physical disadvantage; accordingly, any tools at her disposal for personal defense and confidence building should be made available.

I don't know that I would choose to bond with my child that way, but far be it from me to say anything about someone else's child-rearing choices.

Julie said...

well said!

Mattexian said...

CP must not be much of a limiting condition, I didn't know Pistolero had it, he's never mentioned it, and it doesn't come across that he's limited in any way (I didn't know he wouldn't be allowed to drive a manual).

Perhaps he should put in his 2 cts, as someone with it, as an advocate for KatyBeth using/learning about firearms. She'd be better for it, least she won't be like her peers and first time they pick up one, they imitate the movies and sure as shit someone gets shot.

Sabra said...

Matt, he's mentioned it once in his blog that I know of, and that was a year or more ago.

CP is one of those conditions where the severity varies considerably from person-to-person. To some people this means being in a wheelchair. To others, it doesn't mean much at all--I've noticed a good many folks on campus with that telltale limp. A positive attitude and parents who are determined to let it impact their child's life as little as possible can make a huge difference.

The bottom line for purposes of being armed, so far as I'm concerned, is that there's no way someone with even a mild case of CP could be expected to fight off a fully-able-bodied attacker. Again, a weapon acts as an equalizer.

the pistolero said...

a weapon acts as an equalizer

A-yep. And as Sabra mentioned, I do have a mild case of CP but it doesn't hinder me too much. I can handle full-house .357 Magnum pretty well, even, though out of a snubbie it IS a pain. But it's like that for most folks, I'd think. ;-) I will be posting about that soon. With luck before Monday...

Mark said...

As for disabilities. I have dyslexia. It hasn't stopped me from enjoying to read a good book, it has limited me in my math skills. I am also disabled from having steel plates, rods and screws being put in various places in my body. I still enjoy shooting. By myself or with my kids. Yes my 7 children. The 3 youngest shoot the BB gun and the pellet rifle, and I"m on the lookout for a decent single shot like a cricket which fits into my budget. A child whose only firearms education is the X-box, Wii, Play Station or Hollywood is dangerous to themselves and others. My children know proper safety around and with firearms. And it would be irresponsible of me to not instruct them in proper firearms handling. Katy Beth and AD are doing just fine. and I'm looking forward to the day KB takes her first deer.