Not half an hour ago, I called 911 for only the second time in my life. Was there a car accident nearby? Someone staggering around clutching their chest? Screams in the night? Blood?
Nope. It was just my neighbors,exercising their Second Amendment rights as they do nearly every nice day or weekend, and, as irritating as listening to a couple of hours of target practice may be, it's nothing compared to the alarm of hearing assault weapons fire at night.
That's right, they're out there shooting semi-automatic weapons, apparently just for the hell of it, in the dark. Add to that the fact that out here in this rural area, surrounded by acres of forest and field and hills, it's difficult to tell just where the shots are coming from. A couple of weeks ago, as my husband and I returned home from a barbecue after dark, someone fired two shots as my husband got out of our car to get our mail from the box. They were very close by and my husband thought they were shooting at him. I don't let my cats outside anymore since one of them came home with apparent knife and bullet wounds (she survived). I'm afraid to walk around on my own property for fear of stray (or not so stray) bullets. Even in the wake of Sandy Hook and Santa Barbara, these thoughtless assholes keep up the daily barrage, totally oblivious to the sensibilities of others.
It's worth mentioning that we've lived here for more than 30 years and have never had the constant shooting until the last two years. I'm not anti-gun; everybody who lives out here owns at least one or two rifles or shotguns, usually for hunting. We used to sight in our hunting rifles every fall right here on our own property. That was before all the new houses were built and new neighbors moved in and the population density became such that we decided it was no longer safe to shoot on our own property (and we became vegetarians and gave up hunting for meat). I still have guns, but they're gathering dust in a safe. And they're hunting rifles, not these pieces of Chinese scrap metal that spray bullets like a firehose and are good for nothing but killing people and making a lot of noise. In my humble opinion, if it takes 50 rounds to get the job done, you're a shitty shot who shouldn't be trusted not to blow your own fingers off with a cap gun.
I don't know what's going on with my neighbors, who've long since gone round the uber-religious Republican bend, or why such a bend seems so often to be associated with wild-assed lead-flinging abandonment of common sense and decency, but I've finally had it. I'm traumatized and terrorized and feel like a prisoner in my own home. It's perfectly legal in this county to shoot on your own property, but I think it's time for that to change. It's not the Wild West out here any longer, there are little kids and dogs and cats in the line of fire, and it's time that things changed - especially in the light of recent events and the grotesqueries of the NRA. I'd like to walk through the woods in peace. I'd like to sit on my front porch and feel like I live in America and not the DRC. And I'd like to live in an America where not one man, woman, or child has to die with a gunshot as the last sound they'll ever hear.
I'm waiting for the deputy to arrive, and we'll see how much gets done. I'm not holding my breath, though.