Marcy Burstiner expressed interest in why people buy guns ("Recoil," Media Maven, Jan. 24). For me, owning a gun doesn't invoke either the mystic sexiness John Bennett describes or the fear that Burstiner posits. It's more prosaic, more like "Well, yeah, what's your point?"
Most of my family takes guns for granted. My brother and sister-in-law shoot competitively. When I was growing up, my paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother both hunted deer. (My grandma also shot squirrels. Not like chicken, more flavorful. Benefits from a dark roux.) Many family members own guns, and no one thinks it odd. Our high school had a rifle club. We went target shooting and studied gun safety. My sister and I shot handmade paper targets on a hay bale. We knew the rules and followed them strictly. None of this gun-involvement was full of heavy meaning; it was just fun.
In graduate school I lived in a tough part of Oakland, so it made sense to have a handgun. I suppose you could characterize that as getting one out of fear, but I didn't actually feel fear, either of possible home invaders or of the gun itself. It was just a practical thing to do.
Obviously you have to be careful. I'm a pretty good shot, but even so, I probably wouldn't shoot somebody who was breaking into my house unless they were close enough that I wouldn't miss.
So, there's the pragmatic gun owner.
If guns weren't infused with so much drama, if owning a gun were more routine, more ordinary, maybe weird folks would be less inclined to try to take the spotlight by shooting people.
Deanna Beeler, Arcata