Mind Game - A Different Take on Guns in America

In the wake of the Jovan Belcher murder/suicide case, sportscaster Bob Costas made his now well-publicized anti-gun rant during half-time of a football game. The reaction was immediate, and overwhelmingly negative.

Surprisingly, a number of NFL players chided Costas for blaming guns, noting that 3 out of 4 of their fellow NFL athletes are gun owners, with few incidents of violence. Even super-sports-celebrity Charles Barkley weighed in, stating that he has carried a gun virtually every day of his life since his youth.

A number of critics astutely pointed out the utter absurdity of Costas’ claim that “of one thing we can be sure, if there weren’t a gun around, both of these people would still be alive.” Oh, really? Apparently, Costas, a veteran sports commentator, completely forget the O.J. case – where there indeed was no gun around, yet Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Brown certainly did wind up dead.

Costas, for his part, refused to back down from his attacks on guns and gun owners. On “The O’Reilly Factor” he parroted the tired old liberal canard that guns in the hands of civilians are more of a threat than they are a defense against crime. Costas also reiterated all of the same “end-of-the-world” scenarios that, contrary to hysterical media predictions, never seem to actually materialize.

But Costas is not alone in his almost complete lack of understanding of violent crime and the role played by armed civilians in thwarting acts of violence – his views are shared by most of his fellow broadcasters, both in sports and the news room. Whenever the subject of guns comes up on any talk show, whether the ultra-liberal “The View” or FOX’s “The Five” you can count on some liberal guest to spout the litany of myths about guns that they so stubbornly believe:

“If more people have guns, then it is just logical that there will be more gun violence.”

“If people carry guns, there will be shootouts over parking spaces or fender benders.”

“More people are killed by guns than defend themselves with guns.”

Now, the fact that police and FBI records show that every one of the above statements has been proven completely false does not matter to the pathologically anti-gun types. To them, guns are bad, ALL guns. With one exception. Liberals do suspend the “all-guns-are-bad” rule where police are concerned – those same evil handguns that are normally to be abjectly feared, suddenly become just fine with them when they reside in the holsters of police officers. “But police are trained,” they cry, in spite of the fact that the average police officer only goes to a gun range once or twice a year.

And their lack of practice shows; unlike on television, where law enforcement personnel show almost super-human skills in shootouts, real police “hit-rates” (how many of their shots fired actually hit suspects) are abysmal; only 15 to 20% of their shots ever hit, at distances that average only 15 feet! Meanwhile, the average civilian who carries a gun for self-defense practices far more often, some almost weekly. And civilians are even less likely to hit innocent bystanders than police.

While most of those who write for TV or the movies seldom get it right, those who write books, especially crime novels, do a far better job. One local writer here in Minnesota does it particularly well. Mystery/suspense novelist Bob Rueff just released his latest book, “Mind Game” which is a sequel to his previous effort, “End Game.” It features a major female character, Darcy Austin, who for various reasons, decides to get a permit to carry a handgun. In fact, I appear briefly (as myself) in “Mind Game” wherein Darcy takes my Minnesota Permit to Carry class.

Darcy arrives at her decision partly because of her protector/lover, Police Lt. Hankenson, a tough detective who understands the dangers confronting a young woman in a world of gang-bangers, thrill killers, meth-heads, and just plain crazies.

In doing his research for the books, Bob took my carry permit class, and we subsequently spent considerable time together, looking into how the realities of civilian gun ownership differ so starkly from the false impressions created by most popular film and TV offerings.

Darcy Austin is a young, attractive, professional woman – not the usual gun owner portrayed by those in the media, who seem to think that there are only three types of people who own guns: cops, crooks, and rednecks who look like “Larry the Cable Guy” albeit without the humor. But as a professional firearm instructor for almost 40 years, I can vouch for the fact that the TV image of gun owners couldn’t be more wrong.

I have trained men and women, young and old, gay and straight, of every racial and ethnic background, and every profession from small business owners, to bank presidents, to university professors. Younger women particularly have been buying guns, learning how to use them properly, and, like the fictional Darcy Austin, getting permits to carry them.

What I like most about “Mind Game” is that it gives a far more accurate picture of the average civilian who owns, and carries, a gun for self-defense than Hollywood typically does. It is also a damn good read – fun, sexy, interesting characters, and with all of the twists and turns that make for a good crime novel.

Definitely worth a look.