This morning, before heading off for work, I checked out the news websites to see what was happening. On the front page I read the headline "Weapons enthusiast takes aim at canidates." Here is the article from the Freep.
Weapons enthusiast takes aim at candidates
He challenges Dems on gun control in debate
July 25, 2007
BY JIM SCHAEFER and JULIE HINDS
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS
CLIO -- Jered Townsend is a single, 30-year-old gun enthusiast who lives north of Flint on a rural road with his parents and his baby.
Well, "baby" is his way of putting it. He doesn't have children.
As America learned Monday in a nationally televised debate featuring Democratic presidential candidates, Townsend's baby is a Bushmaster AR15 semiautomatic rifle, all black and polished and pretty.
He does like his weapons.
Townsend brandished his rifle in a YouTube video he created to raise the topic of gun control during the presidential debate, which featured the first-ever video questions from everyday citizens.
If a gearhead can call his car "baby," and a sailor can call his boat "baby," can't he refer to his weapon with the same affection?
"It's just my hobby, you know?" the proud owner of "11 or 12" guns and a concealed-weapons permit said Tuesday afternoon.
Townsend shot his video last week in his family's spare bedroom, beneath wall posters of sleek speedsters from Porsche and Dodge. He posted the clip on the Internet video repository YouTube, which invited submissions for Monday's debate aired on the CNN cable network. Townsend's was among about three dozen chosen from thousands.
The format produced several unexpected moments and inspired some refreshingly different queries, such as one that asked whether the candidates would be willing to work for the minimum wage if elected.
"It really gave the average citizen an opportunity to present questions that are relevant to Americans' lives," said Eric Foster, director of political strategy for Urban Consulting Group, a Detroit-based communications firm.
"It wasn't contrived. It wasn't from an elite perspective. It was about real people's lives," he said.
For Townsend, the topic at hand was guns and what the politicians were going to do about it.
"Tell me your position on gun control," he asked in the short clip. "Myself and other Americans really want to know if our babies are safe."
Then Townsend reached temporarily out of view, grabbed his AR15 and hoisted it onto his lap. "This is my baby," he said. "Please tell me your views. Thank you."
The view of U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., was that Townsend "needs help."
"Whatever," Townsend retorted Tuesday. "I'm not the one on stage trying to get the presidency, making myself look like an idiot. ... And if I did make myself look like an idiot, I don't care."
His mom doesn't think he did. "I'm just glad that he's trying to understand what guns are supposed to be used for, and not what they are being used for," said Kathy Townsend, 55. "He likes shooting. He's very proud of that gun."
Jered Townsend said he paid $800 for the rifle in 2003. Since then, he has added a special stock and a scope that push the weapon's value to about $1,400. For the record, Townsend and his parents all have a taste for target shooting, and collecting guns is a passion father and son share. They store their pistols, rifles and shotguns safely in three gun lockers in the spare bedroom.
"I got all kinds of stuff," Townsend said. "I have a 30-30 deer rifle ... couple of .22s, four pistols ... a couple of shotguns. I have a shotgun that's actually 95 years old that was actually my great-grandfather's gun."
Their property north of Flint abuts a farmer's field, on a fenced 1.5 acres patrolled by a 9-year-old malamute named Tux. There is plenty of room for outdoor fun, but they said they respect their neighbors and go target shooting elsewhere.
"No problem about the guns," neighbor Patricia Rose, 60, said of the weapons cache next door. She noted that her own son has a stash of guns at his home in North Carolina.
Mom Townsend will even fire the family .22 caliber on occasion, though she doesn't have a permit as her husband and son do. "I've thought about it," she conceded.
Jered Townsend said he doesn't carry a gun on him often, mostly just around the holidays.
"Let's say you go to Christmas shop and the stores are packed and you know you got cash on you," he said. "Anything can happen anywhere. But we're not cowboys anymore. There's carjackings all over. It doesn't just happen in the inner city anymore."
The family said it keeps a police scanner running in the kitchen. Townsend recounted the tale of a local pizza deliveryman who recently fended off attackers by pulling his weapon.
Despite the potential threats, Townsend said he never has had to pull his gun in self-defense. He said he gets his fill wielding his AR15 in the woods, plinking targets and hunting for coyotes -- so far, unsuccessfully.
It truly makes me sick how manipulative our media has become in this country, as well as how Liberal they are. Within the first few sentences of this article, I could tell which side the writers were on. They couldn't simply report about the question at hand, nor could Mr Biden, who challenges the guy's mental stability. The guy referred to his gun as his baby, which is no different than somebody referring to their car as their baby, their boat, the love of their life, or any other thing they are passionate about. I've met a few police officers that even go so far as to name their guns. Everybody has hobbies, this guy's hobby is collecting guns.
The newspaper had to add that the guy was single, 30 years old, lives with his parents, and doesn't have any children. So naturally, he must be a gun carrying radical...right? I mean come on, the guy is single, 30, and living with his parents. Here is a thought, perhaps he's living with his parents because this state's economy is such a shitpile right now, he can't afford to live on his own. Maybe he can't even find a job, as the state leads the nation in unemployment. There are many reasons as to why this guy may be living with his parents, though it truly has nothing to do with the question he asked the canidates, but the writers took it upon themselves to point that out in the first senence. Here is the question along with two of the canidate's responses.
I find it sad that most will read about this incident, listen to Mr Biden's response, and look at Jered as the bad guy. So he owns an AR-15, so what. An AR-15 is next on my list of guns to buy, right up there with a back up pistol and tactical shotgun. Yes, I see myself heading down the path of gun collection as another hobby of mine, yet as Jered made apparent, it's more than just a hobby, it's sometimes for self protection as well.
I would love to hear the canidates field a question as to whether or not they believe the citizens of our major cities would be safe if they no longer had police departments. I am certain that the overwhelming majority would agree that a police agency is required in order to maintain peace, and to protect the people.
Well, how about incidents like last week when two people lye bleeding on a sidewalk in Royal Oak Twp, after being shot, waiting 30 minutes for the police to respond? That is all the proof you need to see that the police won't always be there. I have spoken with officers that have said that while they would love to be able to respond to each and every home invasion emergency, the fact is, they often get pushed down the list as a lower priority. Shootings and other emergencies tend to supercede them. How safe and secure does that make you feel, that you can call 911 while an intruder is in your home, and they may not be able to respond for hours, if at all?
How about the person who was carjacked at gunpoint for their Cadillac a few weeks ago by one of Detroit's most wanted? The victim shot the guy dead, possibly saving his own life, who knows. The fact is, there are situations like this when the police simply won't be there. While some may view they AR-15 as an assault weapon that has no purpose in the hands of the public, we should all recall the black out from a few years ago. Let's say that black out continued for a few more days than it did. I personally had no water nor electricity for about 1 1/2 days. Now think if that had continued for a few more days. Society would have turned into a mob scene, as people will turn to their own means for survival. Hell, look at what happened to New Orleans when response took a good 5 days. People looted stores of everything in stock, and the majority of the police simply up and left town. So if you and your family were trapped in a situation like this, how would you protect yourself? Stories of murder and rape followed up the aftermath, even reports of children being raped during all the chaos. THIS is a situation in which even the biggest anti-gun crown would probably with they had a gun. Something else to consider, in case of an emergency, who do you call? Somebody with a gun, the police.
It really bothered me today when we discussed this topic at work, as people seem to be quick to judge the guy asking the question. I was recently single, unemployed, am 30, and was arguably in a situation where I could have been once again back living with my parents. I also have a gun, and a permit to carry that gun. What gives some asshole newspaper writer the right to pass judgement upon me? What gives a political canidate the right to question my menal stability, thus avoiding the question at hand? It also bothers me that so many canidates seem to take the 2nd ammendment of the Constitution so lightly.