May 14, 2007

AnnieView Part One: Angel Eyes

Annika (of Annika's Journal) was kind enough to let me interview her. When I first met her she was living in Cali & had never fired a firearm before. Now she's still living in Cali but she's a gun owner, so I thought her perspective on a few things would be of interest. This was taken from an IM conversation. The links were added in the editing process. Iíve split the interview up in two parts. Open the extended entry to view the first. The second part will be added later can be found here.

& since the lady has a known preference, here's a vid of a singer performing in Amsterdam that she might dig & you might as well.

Pub: Hey Annika. How are you?
Annika: Great.
Annika: Hey, have you ever heard of the TAR-21?
Pub: TAR-21? Not right off. What is it exactly?
Annika: Itís one of the choices of rifle in this videogame Iíve been playing, i like it. i think i saw it on FutureWeapons once.
Pub: Do you know who makes it?
Annika: Its one of those Israeli guns i think, the magazine plugs into the stock.
Pub: Ah. Thatís called a bull-pup. Firearms nomenclature is a big problem. You have the companies naming conventions to deal with then if it gets adopted by a military that countryís naming conventions come into play. Donít ever delve into what a S&W model number means lol
Annika: It would make a nice trunk gun.
Pub: Heh. Funny you should mention that; the AK's Iím building - one of them will probably become a trunk gun. Anyway, speaking of firearms & knowing you have limited time, what were your views on guns as you were growing up? (i.e. from your mid-teens to mid 20's)?
Annika: i think i told you about my mom; her brother was killed in a hunting accident when she was a girl, so guns were a complete no-no in my house growing up. In fact, i havenít told her i bought my gun, it would really upset her.
Pub: Wait a damn minute - you said your mother doesn't know you own a gun - but she knows you're going to be a lawyer??????????????????
Annika: Haha, She married a lawyer, so she knows how to handle them.
Pub: Of your friends you've told that you're now a gun owner (who you've not been so ashamed to admit it to that is. Ahem.) have they reacted to it in a positive or negative way? Have you had conversations about it? Recruited any new converts to the cause? At least had a discussion of which Stacy Adams would go best with a retro 1911?
Annika: Pretty much all my friends think its cool, some think it's tom-boyish.
Pub: So you were pretty much foreign to firearms in general?
Annika: Oh yes. i didn't know the first thing about them, as you may remember. For instance, i had no idea that it was the cartridge, not the gun that is important. You can remember i would say things like, ďthe BAR is more powerful than the GarandĒ?
Pub: I recall
Annika: The first time i ever fired a pistol, at the range, i was so scared, because i had no idea how it worked, and being from a big city, i've been trained to believe that all guns are evil.
Pub: When was the first time you fired a pistol?
Annika: i'd have to check the blog.. It was a few years ago.
Pub: Ah. You mean when you blogged about renting a pistol?
Annika: Yes.
Pub: What got you interested in firearms? Did it have something to do with your history fascination?
Annika: i've always been interested in weapons academically, as a former history major with an emphasis on military history.

Pub: Let me back up for a minute. You had no experience with firearms & the big city life had taught you all guns were evil, yet when I found your blog you were writing about firearms in at least a neutral if not positive tone. How did that come about? Why didn't you still have the ďall guns are evil" mindset?
Annika: i always thought it important to understand the nuts and bolts of military technology when writing about the history, because it has so much of an influence on events. Most historians gloss over technology, and itís a mistake to do that. As i said, i was interested in military issues, because i come from a very pro military family, but i was completely ignorant of civilian firearms. My mom was/is against them and the default media position is that they should be banned, as you know. You know, i haven't really thought about it till now, but i'll bet moving to Sacramento had a lot to do with it. Lots of people have guns up there, and they seemed like normal people. Gun owners in the bay area are generally kind of scary. The only people who like guns in Oakland/SF are gangsters and crazy people.
Pub: You told me once you were robbed at gun point. Did that have any influence one way or the other on your views towards guns or weapons generally?
Annika: Yes, being mugged made me more scared of them, but i suppose it also made me more aware of personal safety issues. So when Hurricane Katrina came along, I started thinking even more about how I could protect myself if the need ever came.
The main thing i began to realize, which i blogged about after the VT massacre, is that the police are not going to be there when you need them most. Police are not designed to do that.

Pub: I know. I was very proud of you, because a lot of people, especially those under 30, just don't seem to get that. How much of a time lapse was there from the time you were robbed till Katrina?
Annika: i got mugged in the late nineties, i'd guess, maybe the early 2000s. i was at Berkeley still.
Pub: So you took 7 years or so to mull things over. What was it about Katrina that made you reflect more on the gun thing?
Annika: All those rumors, which i guess have been proved untrue, of complete lawlessness inside the Superdome. Women getting raped, people getting shot and thrown off the balconies etc. But then there were the stories i heard about people defending their property from looters, which did happen. It was just a really clear example of what happens when law and order breaks down. And with the threat of nuclear terrorism, it's not a stretch to believe it could happen anywhere. You have to remember that living in California, the same thing could happen after a massive earthquake. i lived through the big one in '89, but there wasn't any breakdown in law and order like after Katrina. Of course the LA riots are another possible example. In that case, the police made a conscious decision not to intervene, for whatever reason.

Annika: Have you heard whether Cho had ten round mags or not? iíve been wondering about that.
Pub: For the Walther maybe - it's a small pistol. For the Glock they were 17 rounders
Annika: He had 17 round mags for the Glock 19?
Pub: Yes'm that's standard for the Glocks
Annika: Not in cali...
Pub: I know, but in America... :)
Annika: Anyways it doesnít matter, he was going back over people he already shot, just to make sure he got them 3 times. He had all day long to make sure, and when he was done, he killed himself. Not a fuckiní thing anybody did about it either. What i canít understand is why more people arenít mad about that. Listen, i'm not saying i think people should have rushed him or anything like that. If i was unarmed, and i was a guy, i'm not sure i would have had the guts to rush him. Even if a couple of other guys went with me. In the spur of the moment, I can understand hesitating, who wants to be the one guy who gets shot so the others can jump him? Bravery like that doesn't exist in our culture anymore, as Professor Librescu demonstrated. What i am saying is that one guy with a gun could have stopped the whole thing. And every. body. fucking. knows. It. One guy. Because, think about it... If you're unarmed, it takes a hell of a lot of guts to jump a guy with two guns, but if you're sitting in that room, and you know you've got a gun in your pocket there is absolutely no way you're not going to use it. How could you live with yourself if 32 people die and you know you could have stopped it? You'd have to intervene. Whereas, unarmed people don't have that kind of motivation. They are more likely to wait for the Librescus of the world to save them.
Pub: Yes'm.
Annika: One guy with a gun. That's all that was needed.
Pub: I know. Or one girl with a gun. (Us gun nuts don't discriminate)

Annika: Let me digress for a minute because there's been something Iíve been thinking about this week, re gun control.
Pub: k, digress away.
Annika: Iíve been thinking that the problem with our gun laws is that they're in the middle ground. There are 2 extremes: anybody can carry who wants to carry (which is what it says in the Constitution by the way) and the other extreme which is complete abolition of ownership, sale, and possession.
Pub: Yes'm...
Annika: Look, you may not agree with this next statement, but i think its true. If we had complete abolition, the incidences of these types of mass shootings would go down. The reason is that if guns are completely illegal, guys like Cho would probably not be able to get one. Now here's the thing; i said these types of mass shootings would occur less frequently, i did not say that mass murders would be affected. How do people commit mass murders elsewhere in the world? They use bombs mainly.
Pub: Mainly, yes
Annika: That's what they do in Europe, and in Israel and Iraq and Afghanistan and Indonesia. In Africa, there's continual mass slaughter too. So i hate it when people say itís an American problem.
Remember, the Columbine killers had pipe bombs too. If guns had been completely illegal, and they didn't have access to any, does anybody really think it would have prevented them from killing anybody? So abolition, besides being ineffective, because you can't abolish mass murder, only prohibits one method of doing it, besides that it's unconstitutional. And thirdly it would make us less safe because it deprives us of the only way we have to defend ourselves from evildoers. Since calling the police, as we have learned time and time again, is not a way to defend yourself. Itís a way for your family to possibly achieve closure after they sit through the trial of your murderer. Assuming they can catch him
So what about the other extreme? The one mandated by the constitution? That would make us safer, with the trade off that crazies like Cho could get a gun legally, but if he tried to use it, he wouldn't kill 32 people because itís hard to kill 32 people. As i said, he had to go back over them and shoot them 2 or 3 times. The only way he could have time to do that is because nobody tried to stop him.
But that takes us back to your original thread, where you asked about my opinion of guns. If most of these students were anything like i was, thinking guns are mysterious and scary, especially semi-automatics with all their buttons and levers they probably had no idea about reloading, and that it provided them with their only opportunity to take the guy down.
Oh one more thingÖ i was going to say that the constitution says keep and bear arms, which by its plain language means the right to carry.

Pub: Yesím
Annika: So where does VT get off saying you can't carry on campus, or any jurisdiction for that matter? California especially. There. is. no. exception. Unless i'm by some stroke of random chance attacked while on the way to or from my target range, I can't use a gun to protect myself in California.
Pub: Actually car carry is verboten state wide - well effective car carry Ė a firearm has to be locked up & unloaded
Annika: True, it has to be locked and under no circumstances in the glove box, if i remember correctly.
Pub: Iíve been skimming through Cali gun laws so I'll know which ones Iíll be breaking when I head to L.A. Ya'll have it bad out there.

Pub: So after Katrina you decided to become a gun owner?
Annika: Yes, I'd been thinking about it for a while. So I went to a shooting range, just to see if I could handle a pistol. And as you know, I was pretty good for a first timer. It was amazing, I thought, this might make a good hobby too!
Pub: lol You were pretty good judging by your target (better than I am in fact). So after some browsing at the range you settled on an HK?
Annika: I blogged about my research. I tried the S&W (the CHP gun, they just recently had some trouble with), the Glock, the Sig Sauer, which I loved. And finally the HK in .40 cal. I settled on the HK because I wanted an external safety, like on a 1911, and it was the only German gun which had one. Also it was polymer, and like the other German guns, it never jammed on me. The S&W, and the Browning jammed on me lots, so I decided it must be a German thing.
Pub: lol I dunnoÖmy surname is Germanic & being a former guitarist I used to jam a lot. Ahem. :)
Annika: That's punny. i swear you're worse than i am if that's possible. In real life, i never let a pun go unsaid.

Posted by Publicola at May 14, 2007 03:16 AM | TrackBack