On Guns and Control, Tools and Instruments, the Quick and Dead

I’m back to writing a monthly column for the Ann Arbor Chronicle. February’s column kicks off a series on guns (and largely builds off thoughts I posted here back in January). If you have experiences of guns–your actual first-hand experiences–that you’d like to share, please feel free to hit me over Twitter or email.
The Ann Arbor Chronicle | In It For The Money: Guns And Control

A gun isn’t a tool – it’s not a hammer or a drill that you can pick up, use to solve a problem, and put away until you have the next problem you want to solve. It’s an instrument, like a guitar or piano. It requires constant care, it requires checking and tuning before each use, it requires an intimate relationship with its mechanisms, with its parameters, with what it can do and what it should do and what it is meant for. It requires care and feeding. And it requires practice, near constant practice for you to be any good at doing anything with it.
But most of all, it requires attention – all of your attention. You are exquisitely focused when you are holding a gun – and not just because the gun can hurt or kill anyone nearby, including you. (Our cars are far more likely to hurt and kill anyone nearby, and we zone out behind the wheel all the time.)
There is an essential quality to this instrument compared with others; its nature is to make us aware of how vital and powerful our attention is, in and of itself. I don’t look at my father when I’m holding my loaded shotgun. I don’t look at my son when I’m holding my loaded pistol. I look at the target – only at the target, because whatever I’m looking at is the target.