A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

30 Days- Gun Nation

Got 42 minutes and 32 seconds? Pia is a gun control activist from a suburb of Boston Massachusetts who just wants guns taken off the street. "In this day and age, the only people who need guns are police officers and soldiers. Those are the people here to protect us, and I don't see why anyone else needs a gun," she says. "It a killing machine, that's what it's for, to kill people." Her views were ignited by the death of her therapist and friend to what she calls "gun violence."

Pia agrees to live at gun owner Ken's home for thirty days. Ken is no Zumbo. He is a black rifle loving gun enthusiast. He spends quality time with his son Zach teaching marksmanship and the responsible use of firearms. Pia also agrees to work in a gun store, assist at a gun show, and learn to shoot. When she first shoots an O/U shotgun at a clay pigeon, the response is overwhelming.

Along her journey Pia meets Doug and Judy Stanton. Doug Stanton defended his wife and family from a vicious stalker who had already shot several people when he showed up at the Stanton's doorstep intent on murder.

Ever try to convert an anti-gun person to gun acceptance, and then gun ownership? You will never do it if you fail to understand their fear or if you ridicule their emotional responses. If you have 43 minutes, watch this video, and be better prepared the next time you try.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a coincidence. I was just watching the same thing today.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Reese said...

I had hope for Ken in the beginning, but his poise unraveled when he was put on the defensive. I was disappointing that the show attempted to frame Ken and his son as "uneducated rednecks." Pia's use of the words "nice, normal, everyday people" in describing the Stantons shows that she believes that most gun owners, Ken and his son included, are uneducated whack-jobs.

I had to chuckle at the anti-gun groups request for gun-rights advocates to "give a little" to help them in their quest to prevent gun violence. Gunnies have been "giving" since the 1960's.

In the end, I was happy to see that both sides were able to understand the other. Good post, Xav!

8:37 PM  
Blogger Isaac PC said...

I loved the video, though I certainly think there was a lot of room for improvement in how they all handled the situation.

For a person who was sensitive to the sound of gunfire, they should definetly have started her out with a nice .22 rifle firing subsonics, to minimize the trauma.

They should have brought up the topic of Israel and Switzerland's gun ownership rate, along with their low murder rates, to prove that America's problem is cultural, not mechanical.

Oh, well. Still pretty cool.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous azreel said...

They should have sent her to stay with Joe Huffman.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post! My only wish is that Pia could have been exposed to a more representative family situation. The show made gun owners appear to be obsessed. Many of us have collections that would make Ken green with envy, but we are professionals who live in upscale neighborhoods and not in rural farmlands. I agree with Reese, perhaps Ken (although he seemed to be a great guy) was not the best person to represent gun owners at large. As a teacher,I am often confronted by anti-gun attitudes and feel the need to defend myself or make excuses for my choice of hobbies.
Did anyone notice the change in Pia's whole demeanor when she was shooting the pistol? She appeared to become empowered and had the same grin I had the first time I fired some full-auto firearms. It would be interesting to find out how Pia feels six months to a year from now. She definitely needs to meet others who are not "red-neckish". Thanks for showing this program, it helped me better understand what we are up against.

10:05 PM  
OpenID cortillaen said...

The most striking thing in this video, to me, was that all three of the anti-gun people took their stance because of grief over loss of someone close. Their position is one born of trauma and emotion, not logic and rational analysis. While Pia was more toned down, the one lady from the gun-control group who accused Ken of holding a position born of fear struck me as amazingly hypocritical. If anything, his position is one of being proactive, of providing for defense of self and others before an event requiring it occurs, while they are purely reactive, lashing out at an object into which they have poured the grief of losing someone close and the fear of it happening again.
"I think that's a huge step for Ken, to own up to something like that, and I think I can take responsibility for changing his mind like that." This also struck me as a bit of arrogance on Pia's part. Ken basically said the same thing that all legal gun owners feel (though I take umbrage at the use of "completely", and I suspect he tossed that in to pacify Pia). Again, the change was in her mind, in the realization that he, as a gun owner, was not some maniacal loose cannon caring nothing if people are killed.

All in all, the video was pretty good, though it should have spent a bit more time on exploring how Pia became more comfortable around guns, and how the emotional impact of the gunshot sound was dulled by seeing and hearing guns used responsibly. I also didn't much care for the narrator's repeated use of the phrase "gun crime". They are "violent crimes". The fact that a gun was used is extraneous to the fact that a human being inflicted injury to others. It seems the root cause of anti-gun sentiments is a form of projection, and emphasizing the tool rather than the wielder only encourages this.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Wow, what a great post!

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Travlin said...

This is surprisingly good. I disliked the class stereo-type of tacky house with missing wall-board and torn furniture, compared to the sophisticated urbanite. But Ken did an amazingly good job of presenting gun owners in a good light. He seemed to have real empathy and was a good ambassador. Pia came a long way toward accepting a very different viewpoint.

For a hokey pseudo-reality show this was pretty well balanced and made some good points for gun rights. Thanks for posting this Xavier.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Connor said...

I have to salute Ken for his patience and willingness to show Pia just how skewed her views were. While I have the latter, I definitely am short of the former.

I like it that Ken didn't stomp all over Pia's views and try to pass off his views as the only way. Both sides managed to keep their minds open long enough for some education to seep in.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was interesting, thanks for the post.

2:31 AM  
Blogger tom said...

Travlin, some of us live in houses like that because we'd rather put our money in to acreage and things that say Dan Wesson and Holland and Holland on them and are bachelors, so we are allowed. Collecting, hunting, and shooting are not cheap sports. I'm quite happy with my second hand couches, They look nice beneath my collection of 19th century African War rifles that hang above them. Who needs wallboard when you have wildebeest rugs anyway?


AS TO THE SHOW, it was more balanced than most but I still felt it was anti-firearm at it's heart for reasons others have already detailed.

5:20 AM  
Anonymous Mr.Potato said...

The two sides kind of agreed on improving efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
Obamarama also wants to target straw sales at gun shows. I do not have all the pro's and cons on this issue but it seems to me that lot of improvement can be made by pleasing both sides. Have both lobbies and the government pitch in for a small web based computer program where the seller and the buyer enter in their basic information and the program does a very basic check on residency and accuracy of the submitted information. Have the program record and freeze the gun's serial number and model prior to beginning of the check so that this web program can not be used for anything else. The program won't reveal any sensitive information and it won't really do a 'thorough' background check but it should be good enough to raise a red flag on a convicted felon or erroneous information. It should also record the sale in a national database so that either the seller or buyer is covered by 'good faith effort' in case this gun gets into the hands of a killer.

I know that in my case if I sell a gun I will meet the buyer at a gun store and pay the money to do the check there just so that I am covered.

The thorough check should still continue to be used by gun dealers. Both lobbies should be required to contribute to this - "put your money where your mouth is!" ;-)

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Bryn, North Wales, UK said...

Hello Xavier,
Can you tell me if this video is available outside the U.S., on another server? Hulu will not allow me to watch this in the UK, and the only US proxies I know of are very slow at the moment.
Thank you!

7:17 AM  
Blogger markofafreeman said...

I saw this a while ago and like to re-watch it from time to time. Despite its weaknesses, it was actually pretty well done.

And Pia's reaction to her first time shooting caught me off guard, too. For some people, their only exposure to the sound of gunshots has, in fact, been of a violent, criminal nature.

Also, take note of her comment on the drive from the airport to Ken's place. She was in awe of the fact that they'd been driving for 20 minutes and hadn't seen a single soul. From that, I surmise that she'd never left the city. It was literally another world to her. But I was thinking, heck, you get that where I am here in the southeast. We need to keep this mind when talking to people who don't get the 'gun culture' and how it could possibly be a positive thing.

But, I have to agree about the hypocritical nature of the folks he met with from Cease Fire. They accused Ken of coming at this with fear and with self interest. It was clear that they were not basing their views on rational thought, but on pure emotion.

To Reese, I would add one small correction: we have been "giving" since the 1930s, not the 1960s.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

I saw this when it was first on TV and thought that overall, it was a pretty good job. The one thing I remember thinking was, "They aren't going to start her on a .22?...BOOM! Too late.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous HTownTejas said...

I think Ken and his son did a great job, especially by allowing the Ceasefire people and Pia to make their statements without jumping on them (something I'm guilty of). He taught by example and obviously made an impact on Pia. She came around almost 180 degrees.

Also, the reality show did a good job (for mainstream programming) in presenting the issue fairly. I recoiled a few times at inaccurate statements from the narrator, but far less than I expected to.

That video is a net-win for us.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous tjm said...

I wish someone would have argued that if you want to stop the criminals you should legislate criminals not tools they misuse. If you want to stop cheating, you don’t take away pencils you punish people that cheat….. It is so simple.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Peripatetic Engineer said...

Anti-gun proponents have an image of gun owners that we are all knuckle dragging cro-magnons. I was working in London several years ago. The environmental engineer (a female Brit) was anti gun. One day the conversation turned to guns and she looked at me and my colleage from Houston(both mature, clean cut engineers) and stated, "But surely you guys don't own any guns". She about fainted as we began to list the guns we had in our house. I don't think she was ever the same since.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It doesn't surprise me that this so called documentary tilts left when you consider who the producer is. He's just another Michael Moore wannabe.

On a side note, your blog keeps getting better and better Xavier. I hope you have a good 2009, and acquire many new guns to tell us about.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I duno Bryn.....

4:20 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I don't think Pia was in any way changed by her experience. She'll go back to Boston and vote the straight Democrat ticket, and never, ever consider arming herself for self-defense.

At the most she'll use the "30 Days" experience as a self-affirmation tool that she can point to to prove her tolerance.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great post. but should have given all 5 rules.

scott, wife and daughter

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

I am a little surprised that nobody in the video made the connection between gun prohibition and genocide (Nazi Germany, Russia, Rwanda, Cambodia, and many, many others). If you want to see carnage and killing on a truly massive scale, leave it to tyrannical governments and an unarmed population. The Second Amendment was designed to prevent just such problems.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be nice to see a follow up on Pia in a year.Especially if she went back to visit Ken for a week.

Dennis (the librarian shusher)

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Travlin said...

Tom - I hope you understand I'm not knocking Ken and how he lives. I lived in a truck for a year and all my furniture is used, including a sofa that is 50 years old.

But I have learned through sad experience that some people will be quick to unfairly judge Ken as an ignorant "red neck" and dismiss his views on that basis.

Pia's trip to college with the son was a way to highlight the supposed cultural and intellectual superiority of people with an anti-gun view. I hate it when people judge others this way, but it is a reality we need to be aware of.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Sevesteen said...

Thanks for posting this link. I've been to the gun shop Pia worked at, and I'd heard of the story but missed it when it came out. Interesting to finally see Toby Hoover.

I wonder how much the producers were involved in the story--especially how Pia came to shoot a shotgun before anything else. It is more dramatic than starting with a .22, but I don't know of any experienced gun owner that would start there.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First errror on the tape was the "...Forefathers gave us the right to bear arms 200 years ago.


They acknowledged the right was granted by the Almighty.

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Greg said...


Great post. This is the first time I've ever seen people come together over this issue and deal with it in even close to a reasonable manner. As a gun owner and an active licensed concealed carry permit holder I am so much more aware of my responsibilities in every situation now. I think Pia has seen this side of the issue also.

I have thought long and hard about the problems guns add to a society. I don't think there is ever going to be an easy answer to any of those issues though. To me the bottom line boils down to freedom. Our form of government was created to protect our freedom. It was never designed to be completely without limits and it was well known that with freedom came great responsibility. The great problem with freedom in our country is that it is also the right of the stupid and irresponsible, at least until they go so far that they have to give it up. I have yet to figure out how to solve the problems that come with freedom without taking away that very thing. Freedom to own firearms will always result in their abuse.

Until I find a better solution, I'm going to have to side with freedom and the consequences it brings. I am no stranger to those consequences. I had a sister-n-law that was shot in the head several years ago at work by someone who abused his freedom. No existing law would have prevented that attack as up to that point he was a completely law abiding citizen. She lived but is still disabled. Her 2 coworkers were not so fortunate. Even after that it took a while before I decided to become responsible for my own safety and start carrying.

I believe too many people on both sides of this issue have strong beliefs that they won't compromise. I have yet to see a 'win-win' solution for both sides but I hope to the day I die that I'm willing to look at all the options available and judge them by their merits. I can't deny that there is a solution out there that someone has yet to think of. As deep as this issue goes, I wish that person the best of luck.

Keep up the great posts!


San Antonio, TX

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting conversation about gun ownership.

I own guns, lots and lots of them. I also associate with lots of anti-gun people and there has been absolutely no gain for me socially to even try and articulate my views to them. It's way easier just keeping my mouth shut and my guns clean...

Surprisingly lots of anti-gun people never vote. I keep my mouth shut and cast my vote for gun ownership. It's my most powerful weapon.


4:13 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Links to this post:

Create a Link