Odd Couple

I grew up in rural western New Jersey, where guns, and hunting, were ubiquitous. There was no mystique about them, and no agenda; they were just another thing. I learned to shoot as a little boy, and used to love plinking with a .22 at the farm down the road where my best friend lived. I am still a gun owner, and consider our Second Amendment rights to be fundamental, and a priori — an extension of a “natural” right to self-preservation and the defense of liberty that is not “granted” by the Constitution, but pre-exists it, and is only acknowledged and protected by it. (I realize that the idea of “natural rights” is philosophically controversial, but the right to survival, and therefore self-defense, is one that a rational actor will “naturally” claim whether it is acknowledged or not, and it is in that sense that I use the term.)

My lovely wife Nina, on the other hand, grew up in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Her father (who was in many ways a very remarkable man indeed) was a committed pacifist (in fact, he won a landmark case in which he claimed conscientious-objector status on non-religious grounds during World War II). His aversion to firearms was so absolute that when Nina and her brother were little they were not even allowed to watch TV shows with guns in them. All of this rubbed off on my Nina, who finds guns horrifying, and has never touched one in her life.

While my wife’s upbringing was more hoplophobic than most, this sort of divergence is not uncommon in American marriages — and as you’d expect, far more often than not the differences fall out along predictable male-female lines. Here, then, is a thoughtful and understanding piece by a progressive woman, no lover of guns, who is married to a man who sees things otherwise. It’s a brief article, and well worth your time. (It also makes a nice companion piece to the item we linked to here.)


  1. Doug says

    This fellow Henry Dampier has another angle on what you wrote Malcolm you would probably find interesting.


    My wife didn’t have an upbringing where weapons where a part of life either. It was more of growing up where there just weren’t weapons around than anything. She understood and accepted guns where a component of my, and our life subsequently, more out of love and respect than interest or understanding of why. It involved a lot of patience and communication for her to understand I had a duty to her, which is inviolate, and our liberty, and the idea guns are property as component of liberty, and that to possess weapons beyond the practical use of hunting was essential to primal rights.

    It has been a most interesting and wholesome journey in which we both came to appreciate many great things.

    Two kind of transformative moments took place along the way. Early on in our marriage she voiced her opinion how she didn’t think it was right to use a gun to take another humans life. And how she could never kill somebody no matter what. She asked me what I thought. It just popped in my head and I said look at it this way, we pull into a parking lot to go eat at a restaurant, as we are getting out of the truck a man runs up to you with a tire iron and is cracking your skull with it, do I draw my pistol and shoot him dead to stop him from killing you, or do I stand on the other side of our truck and wrestle with the philosophical fine points of culturally imposed ideology of the rights and wrongs of defending you and protecting you as your husband while this man is killing you? The look on her face was priceless. It turned out to be a defining moment I think.

    Then one day my wife not too long ago, out of the blue, looks at me and says “Honey, you don’t have enough ammo.” Pretty remarkable moment right there.

    Hoplophobia is a really foreign thing to me.

    Posted November 5, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink
  2. I have a profound abhorrence of violence and frankly male aggression has always frightened me a great deal. I grew up in rural northeastern PA, where guns were a normal part of life and had no cultural indoctrination on pacifism and many women learned to use guns out in the country too, so perhaps my fearful nature led to my aversion to violence and along with that, guns.

    It wasn’t until I joined the Army as a young woman, that the profound differences between use of force for a just cause or survival and killing just for the sake killing (murder) entered into my namby-pamby, “I’d- like-to-teach-the world-to-sing” thinking. While I still prefer not to use guns or resort to violence, I assuredly respect all those who do use force for the good – whether it be keeping their loved ones safe, our nation safe or even simply hunting for food to eat. And I am thankful that so far in my life, I had strong people (usually men) around to keep me safe.

    Perhaps, inherently more women are sheep, as Dave Grossman explains it, in “On sheep, wolves and sheepdogs”, but if it comes to my family or things I believe in, I will fight, so perhaps I have a little sheepdog in me too. Here’s a link to Grossman’s piece: http://www.killology.com/sheep_dog.htm

    Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    Thanks, Doug. Excellent points, especially about our duty. The article I linked makes that point as well, and it is a very important one.

    Interesting piece from Henry Dampier. He is probably NRx’s most prolific writer (and that’s saying something!). I don’t know how he does it.

    Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink
  4. I wrote a comment earlier and it must have disappeared into the ether. Here’s a article by Dave Grossman, “On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs”, which goes to the heart of the disparate mindsets:


    Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:40 am | Permalink
  5. Asher says

    I am always amused at people who consider themselves pacifists and also support taxation. Doesn’t occur to them how taxes are collected.

    Posted November 6, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Libertybelle, my apologies. For some reason your comments were blocked by Akismet, my automatic spam-filter.

    Let me assure you also that I too prefer not to resort to violence.

    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
  7. Musey says

    I do not know anybody who has a gun. I grew up in England where, even the police, except in extraordinary circumstances, do not have guns.

    There is, I think, a difference between country people who have a rifle for hunting purposes, and those in the city who have guns in order to protect themselves and defend their property.

    Unfortunately, allowing all those sane people to own guns also means that the crazies have access to lethal weapons.

    What’s wrong with a baseball bat?

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 12:30 am | Permalink
  8. Doug says

    Musey, you wrote:
    “Unfortunately, allowing all those sane people to own guns also means that the crazies have access to lethal weapons.”

    Crazies are going to find a way to kill rob maim etc sane people no matter what “laws” are created.
    Kind of proves how useless laws are, how moral people don’t require “laws”, and immoral people are not prohibited by them.
    Have any “laws” preemptively stopped crazies from killing or robbing anyone?
    How about that crazy last year who decapitated one of your fellow Britton’s in broad daylight while people watched?
    Why did no one stop this crazy?
    What has a “law” have to do with it?
    Why do you live in a place where you are forbidden to defend your life?
    Are people so willing to be a victim of crazies they will choose a “law” over your or your loved ones life?
    Makes me wonder if they are sane.
    In America we have millions who say a sane person has no “right” to own or use a weapon. That common sense laws are required to stop people from murdering people.

    Ever stop to think maybe it is the “law” which is the true lethal weapon, that the immoral and misguided application of laws is as deadly as a crazy with a weapon?

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 7:08 am | Permalink
  9. Whitewall says

    libertybelle, I read that link of yours some time ago. It tells a lot about mankind and the ever present world around us. The world will never change as long as humans inhabit it.

    Doug…I grew up in NC and never thought of guns much. I knew and know plenty who do. I also know a firearms instructor who is an expert on specifics of more types of weapons than I knew existed. I went back over the last week or so of entries on this blog and saw where you had come back with a response about your experiences in New Hampshire and recently in WVa. Sorry I didn’t know you had written that reply as I never went back to the thread in question. Events got in my way and took up a lot of time. I liked your reference to “cultural Marxists” regarding refugees from Massachusetts.

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink
  10. Doug says

    Funny you say that Whitehall, I think guns aren’t for everyone, like most things, it comes to choice and preference.
    In no uncertain terms for me, it is not anyones business what property I own or not. Weapons are property exactly as ones house and land is. Just who the fuck do these hoplophobe’s think they are?
    OK, you want to take my guns, well then by Jove are you going to give me your house just because I have an opinion you have no right to own it?
    Ah, houses kill people too. They burn people alive. That gives me the power to deny whoever I want the right to own a house.

    no worries, so many great things in the blogsphere to read and comment on, too little time.

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink
  11. Doug says

    Well Malcolm, I thought what you wrote was a kind of sweet and genuine missive. But thanks.

    Ole Henry [Dampier] has a talent for putting his critical thinking into words of wit. I’m with you, some of the stuff he writes, I think he sees things in X while most of us think in Y. I’m of the opinion The Corporate Slave Class is one of his masterpieces. Henry wrote another essay shortly before Corporate Slave Class, I think it was titled Killing The Kulak’s or something. About the Kulakasation of the productive and traditional bitter clingers, amerikan style. The parallels he draws between the Russian Soviet Marxists and the red diaper baby cultural marxist of America are uncanny. I’ll try to dig the link up for if you care to read it. It was stark and chilling in its portrayal of present truths.

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink
  12. Doug says

    Found it. Some things in this one best understand sooner than later.


    Another perspective:


    Posted November 7, 2015 at 6:34 pm | Permalink
  13. Doug says

    This is a worthy essay:

    But this one here, “Then There Where None” is for me, a true masterpiece:

    I read this Eric Frank Russel story in Analog when I was a kid. It stuck like glue to my spirit. As simple and fictional as it is, in no uncertain terms it defines for me all I really need to know about my freedom. If you read it, maybe you can agree. What I admire most about it, and its a long list let me tell you, it defines a plurality, how undeniable a plurality can be, how essential and manifest ones freedom and primal rights are. How when you are so totally free you deny tyranny in every way of the fruits of its destruction. Because I believe the cultural marxists are really nothing but a human extinction movement, as it is they who require total existential destruction, nothing less will do. Its a fun fable to read too.

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink
  14. Doug says

    To say the Magna Carta was a turning point in the reason of man is an understatement. How far England has fallen, is beyond suitable words. And we are cousins. Yet the Magna Carta made the idea of liberty, primal rights possible. The cultural marxists are anathema to these ideas, it is why they exist. Abelard has provided a translation:

    The context of time is very germane to its contemporary social interpretation, but the essential ideas are timeless, like in the Declaration of Independence, (tyrants never learn), such ideas as Posse Comitatus and the whole reason for the Magna Carta, the writ of Habeas Corpus.
    I have a real serious problem with people and the state that is actively working to deny me my property, physical, intellectual, and spiritual. The kind of problem where my weapons, my property, my will, my intellectual property, and my faith and virtue, my spiritual property is going to become a weapon against the sonofabitches they will rue.

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 7:18 pm | Permalink
  15. Malcolm says


    What’s wrong with a baseball bat?

    Not bad at a particular range, but you’d better know what you’re doing. I have a feeling that if I were attacking you, even unarmed, I’d be inside that bat radius before you knew what was happening.

    That close, what you want is a knife. And at medium range or longer, what you want is a gun.

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 11:40 pm | Permalink
  16. Musey says

    Malcolm, my love, if you were that close I’d have other options. And no, I don’t want a knife so you can breath a sigh of relief. A gun is out of the question.

    Doug,I don’t even know where to start and I know that nothing I could say would change your mind.

    Posted November 8, 2015 at 2:42 am | Permalink
  17. Doug says

    Why bother to change my mind in the first place? Its not any of your business and not your mind to change.

    To be perfectly frank with you Musey, you miss the whole point. It is not any of your business to change my mind. That is my liberty. Not yours.
    I have the impression from your comments, you hold a statist mind set seems to give you some sort of special power where your views or beliefs are special and I have to conform to them or I am a savage.

    There is a name for people who believe like you do.

    Posted November 8, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  18. Doug says

    Malcolm that is a very thoughtfully written piece by Sophia Raday. Thank you for suggesting it. I’m seriously impressed by it. And just how did that get by the political cencsoring of the editorial staff at Politico? That in itself is remarkable. Maybe Sophia is far more correct than she knows in how it is beyond the scope of progressives to grasp. If so, WOW! If so, you really can’t fix stupid.
    What is that axiom about not attributing to malice what you can to ignorance?

    What is your thoughts on that Duty?
    I am most willing to share my thoughts on my duty as I see it. All day long. It is an essential component of my character. I feel both humbled and hold an unshakable sense of pride in it. It makes me indomitable.

    I think too duty is at the heart of much conflict between freedom and tyranny today across the entire sphere of our culture and in particular the emasculation of virtue in both men and woman, the heart of the insurgency into our self determination and individualism by real politik.

    Sophia is one sharp cookie. I can’t help wonder if she fully grasps the profound implications of her contentions?
    Maybe she does. Hard to say though, Sophia’s almost complete lack of dissimulation and her heart felt prose is disarming in one way, but is most arming in another. (Pun intended).
    I’ve come to understand signaling is a complex ritual with progressives, and cultural marxists thrive and are sustained because of the hubris of it.
    Was her missive deliberately cautionary? I got the sense it was. Its a whopper of a tempest in a tea pot for sure.
    What she is intimating at is a very certain kind of plurality.
    She didn’t, to her great credit come out and mention bitter clingers and rightwing white extremist racist tea party terrorists. That alone gives her credibility in my book about her veracity.
    Do you suppose Sophia is writing about a most reserved and discreet plurality which is smoldering with a cold anger? The kind of cold anger once it is pushed too far becomes something which knows no limits and gives no quarter. The kind of plurality that will not be denied by its enemy?
    If she did, my hats off to her. Because if nothing else thats a path that will lead to another kind of “fundamental transformation”, like as in elections have consequences, and crisis as a means that turn and bites you on the arse, not a few are going to find a most rude awakening?

    You grok where I’m going with that?

    Posted November 8, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink
  19. Apropos nothing in particular within this thread, except for the arrogance most of us recognize in Leftist ideology, here is a bon mot I came across recently:

    It’s amazing how left-wingers can detect the secret motivations of everyone except for militant Islamists who don’t make their’s a secret.

    Posted November 8, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
  20. Musey says

    No Doug, it’s not my business to change your mind and like I’ve already noted you don’t seem like a compromising type. However, totalitarian, I am not. I have always held though that if people put out their very robust views into the public domain then someone should have a right to reply.

    And Henry, arrogance is not a trait confined to the left, as you must surely know.

    Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:21 am | Permalink
  21. Doug says

    Your full of shit Musey.
    You want to bullshit yourself or others, thats your business. you not foolling me. Your dissimulating, and that is less than honest. You started it, and your wrong, you don’t like being called out on your bullshit, you know it, and your trying to cop out.
    All the difference in the world between my principles, and you who believes it is your world view to deny others their liberty and subtly denigrate those principles because you simply don’t agree with it.
    As far as my “very robust views” goes. Fuck you too. Your a shit stirrer.
    And you are a totalitarian. Your the totalitarians among us.

    Posted November 10, 2015 at 7:10 am | Permalink
  22. Malcolm says

    Doug, you are new here. You may disagree with Musey all you like, but this is no way to speak to a lady, and it makes me wonder about your upbringing. Given that our aim here is the preservation of what remains of a high civilization, you should be able, at the very least, to keep a civil tongue in your head.

    As someone once said to me: “Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.”

    Posted November 10, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink
  23. Whitewall says

    Doug, Musey is not the devil you make her out to be. I have read her longer than you. She deserves better than the way you have just spoken to her. She is a citizen of another country that is similar to our America. Musey is a good person and most of all a lady.

    Doug, I understand your passion and I am on the same page with you on quite a bit. The types of people you warn against–totalitarians, Marxists etc–I have been among them and seen them and know what they look like at the end of a gun barrel. I am speaking of places like Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and even Yugoslavia. Yes some of those are old Iron Curtain countries. It gives you an idea though of my age and world view. I have been around in my younger years.

    I’m not looking to make you angry. Just asking for a bit of restraint. Thanks, Robert

    Posted November 10, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink
  24. I am not offended by Doug’s use of the vernacular. Sometimes it is appropriate. But this is not my blog, and so I respect Malcolm’s guidelines for discourse here though I myself have been reprimanded by Malcolm on occasion (rightfully so).

    As for Musey’s commentary here, she is wont to frame our discussions such that she can express her opinions about the commenters’ personalities. I know that I have done so myself about the OEM, but he is truly beneath contempt (ibid.).

    And yes, Musey, I do know “arrogance is not a trait confined to the left”. But you are not a careful reader because I made no such claim. Nevertheless, I appreciate your schooling me about the ways of the world.

    Posted November 10, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink
  25. Musey says

    Sorry, I’ve only just looked back here and I don’t like to cause a lot of angst. Your gun laws are your concern, and if I’m honest and I am, I would be sorely tempted to own a gun if everyone else had one. I’m just happier that most people in Australia don’t possess weapons so that I don’t feel the need.

    Doug, I think you called me out first regarding a fairly benign comment, little bit frivolous, which maybe wasn’t obvious but nevertheless you started this: I grew up in the UK and I do keep up with the UK news, from a distance. You mention the Lee Rigby case and talk about the defenselessness of the people. Fair enough, but the man was first mowed down by a car before being mutilated so that probably wasn’t the best example that you could have chosen. The fact is that these monsters are locked up in prison for the rest of their lives and really, wouldn’t they have got off lightly if they had been shot down on the street?

    Henry, it’s not vernacular, it’s swearing and it’s abusive. I was pointing out that arrogance can be found across all levels of society and in all political spheres, left, right, and in the middle. You agree with Doug. Just say so, I don’t mind.

    Malcolm and Whitewall…do you know how much I love you? Thanks. Much appreciated.

    Posted November 10, 2015 at 10:47 pm | Permalink
  26. “You agree with Doug. Just say so, I don’t mind.”


    Your remarks are speculative. I generally say what I mean and mean what I say. Unless I choose not to. But the choice is mine alone. Because First Amendment. So I’ll thank you not to tell me what to say or how to say it.

    BTW, the word “vernacular” is a reasonable euphemism (in polite company) for the word “swearing”. And nitpicking about the distinction is also abusive (in polite company).

    Posted November 11, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink
  27. Musey says

    Okay Henry, I’ve been away and checked out the meaning of the word “vernacular” and I’ll concede that it can cover swearing. Evidently though, it’s primary meaning is “the native language or native dialect of a specific population”. When I was in the US, admittedly a very long time ago, I heard very little swearing. Maybe times have changed.

    I didn’t tell you what to say, just that you wouldn’t offend me in the least if you also wanted to indulge in some rough talk. So stop being a pompous twit and go and play some more bridge.

    Posted November 11, 2015 at 10:42 pm | Permalink
  28. “I didn’t tell you what to say, …”

    Most rational people would interpret “You agree with Doug. Just say so” is telling me what to say — literally. Have you stopped taking your meds?

    Name-calling is also abusive, you pompous twat.

    Posted November 12, 2015 at 12:05 am | Permalink
  29. Incidentally, I am playing bridge, even as we exchange such pleasantries …


    Posted November 12, 2015 at 12:26 am | Permalink

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