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News & Editorials

Gun-hating Grandmother Tries to Divide Loving Family

by Michael Z. Williamson

"Well, yes, there was one small detail. I own guns."

February 6, 2001

As I write this, I am faced with the (hopefully slim) but real chance that my children will be taken away from me.

Morrigan Kayleigh, age 3. Eric Bryan, age 10 days.

Why? It seems their maternal grandparents donít approve of how Gail and I live our lives. "I reported you to Child Protective Services today," says my mother-in-law to my wife of ten years. "And I hope it makes you mad that I did it."

"I reported you to Child Protective Services today," says my mother-in-law to my wife of ten years. "And I hope it makes you mad that I did it."

At one time, we lived in a 1700 square foot house. We now live in an 800 square foot house. There simply arenít any houses that size in our rental price range in this town. Ironically, the smaller house is cheaper here. While we were able to dispose of much excess baggage and furniture and two cats, we still have a lot of personal property. Over 14,000 books, office clutter and gear, my machine tools, Gailís sewing shop and crates of fabric, my guitars, bass, keyboard and signal processors. Add the usual clothing, stuff, and household bric-a-brac, and this place is full.

They made this threat previously when Morrigan was born. To be honest, that house was a mess. Papers, fabric, computers and equipment scattered throughout the common room. However, trash was removed daily, food kept refrigerated as needed, dangerous objects put away. I make a weekly effort to clean and organize my stuff. I canít organize Gailís stuff though, and sheís a slob.

Why is she a slob? Well, letís look at the record:

Whenever we have visited her parentsí home, her mother follows around picking up dishes, misplaced items, and dropped packages. Gail never learned to clean up, because it was done for her. While I certainly could go through her stuff and sort it for her, anyone married or in a long term relationship will understand that such actions do not help relations any.

I cook, take care of yard work and trash, do repairs and maintenance.

Gail is tasked with general cleaning, dishes, vacuuming and pickup.

With a three year old, that last is a full time chore all by itself. Two months of gestational diabetes (she lost weight during the first half and last month of her pregnancy) and the subsequent recovery from squeezing out an 8 lb, 9 oz baby boy made any recent efforts impossible. Likewise, I can either work at my store, or pay someone to do it. I choose the former, not being made of green folding stuff.

So, the house is a mess. Anything else?

Well, it seems that after turning down an invite to dinner for her birthday, Grandma "stayed home" with her grandkids, and snooped about the house. I neither know nor care if she found copies of the erotica I write and publish. Likewise, I donít care if my reference books on religion, politics, tribalism, warfare, the occult or cannibalism meet with her approval. The point is, neither Gail nor I gave her permission to dig through our belongings. Silly of me as a child of 34, I suppose, but I assume I will be granted the same consideration of privacy I give them or anyone else in their own home.

When all this hit the fan, Grandma being on her way to an early departure at the airport, I called her husband. He admitted to "Some knowledge" of what was going on, and stated that it was up to me to "force" my wife to do the housework.

Really now.

I suppose since their upbringing failed in this crucial feminine role of housekeeper and cook, that I should take over the task. Perhaps I should also follow the Biblical theory of not striking her with a rod thicker than my thumb? No, they are not particularly religious, but their assumptions are appalling in their archaicness.

Well, I confess to being a lousy traditional husband and father. For the first seven years of marriage and two years of my daughterís life, I stayed home weekdays and traveled weekends, and sometimes took my daughter with me. I find nothing unmanly about feeding a baby, changing a diaper, and keeping my children near me and not under a babysitter.

So, the house is, by their standards, a mess. But itís not unsanitary, itís not dangerous, so thereís no issue here. Of course, their home is a brand new 3500 square foot home in the Tucson Mountains, with a maid. That is the standard they judge by, and it just isnít going to happen here in the next five years.

Some mess? Thatís all? Nothing else?

Well, yes, there was one small detail. I own guns.

Now, I have owned guns since the day I turned 18. I have been in the military, either active or reserve since I was 18. I shoot competitively in combat pistol and combat rifle, as well as civilian archery. I hold trophies and medals from both the Army and the Air Force. To this end, I have target rifles and pistols. I have hunted on occasion, and I shoot trap on occasion. To this end, I have shotguns.

Before my annual military rifle qualification, I put a few hundred rounds down range for practice. On the rare occasions when the weather is nice and I have a day off, I drive to Camp Aterbury Reserve Base and utilize their range to hold off an invading horde of Evil Communist Soda Cans. Iím proud of the fact that I can dispose of ten cans in ten seconds at 100 meters. Standing. Right handed. (I am a lefty.)

I also collect antique firearms dating back to WWI and even to the last century. Few of those see action, as ammo no longer exists for most of them, and I canít afford a custom load.

None of this justification is necessary, however. In Indiana, I have the right to own and carry anything from a Deringer to an M-60 machinegun. I have the right to own but not carry (for obvious practical reasons) field artillery, interceptor aircraft, or just about anything short of a nuke. I donít need a justification. In this state, people who donít own weapons are in the vast minority.

My weapons are stored in a large pantry. Most have the bolts removed or are otherwise deactivated when not in use for several reasonsóI am a trained professional, after all. The ammunition and any relevant loaders, clips and magazines are stored on an upper shelf. Since a 3 year old canít even lift a Remington 870 police shotgun, much less assemble, load, and point, even if all parts were present, I see no risk. Nor does the State of Indiana. The only exception is my carry weapon, a Colt 1911A1 .45 pistol, which when not on my person, is in a fannypack holster on top of the refrigerator. I am confident a 3 year old cannot reach it, open it, unsnap it, take out the weapon, remove the safety, handle it so as to open the grip safety, and pull the trigger while I am in the house. As the children age, I will take appropriate precautions relevant to the situation. I am in compliance with all Federal, State, and reasonable safety standards, and no one with lesser qualifications on the subject of small arms has any right or business suggesting otherwise.

Now, Gailís parents have known since day one that I have weapons. It was never an issue untilÖthat magic day.

That magic day when we visited, and her father was told that his daughter had a breakaway holster built into her purse, a Taurus model 606 ported snub .357, and the training necessary to use it. Since we sell weapons (knives, swords, police supplies and martial arts gear), and carry large amounts of cash, any civilized jurisdiction grants us the same right as a courier or armored car driver. But this was his little girl. 27 years old at the time, but his little girl.

At this point, we got media canned speech number 1: quoting self-styled Professor Arthur Kellermanís statistical masturbation that "A gun in the home is 43 times more likely to be used against you than against a criminal." First of all, itís bull. Not only was this fool discredited, he later admitted himself that he was wrong.

Second of all, owning guns is far safer than smoking in bed, using candles or space heaters, or sticking 50 appliances into one outlet.

Third of all, itís my home, and if I want an opinion, Iíll give it.

Two otherwise intelligent people -- brainwashed by the repeated lies of the rating-seeking news whores -- took it upon themselves to dictate what legal activity I may engage in, based on an assumption.

The assumption, that because I own guns, Iím a deranged lunatic waiting to go on a killing spree. The assumption that I must have seething inner hatred and must be waiting to explode at any time. Never mind that most cops and veterans own guns. Never mind that 83 million people own guns in the US, and that less than 1/100 of a percent of those commit actionable crimes in any given year. Never mind that Gailís father owns a gun -- and has done so longer than his daughter has been alive.

"He owns a gun? Isnít that hypocritical?", you ask. Why yes. Of course, his gun isnít my (plural) guns. His gun isnít the gun his daughter carries for protection when she carries a bankroll, and his gun is handled by an "adult." 

Now, one would think that if I really were a threat to human existence, simply by owning a gun, that I would have raced this meddling, intrusive grandma to the airport and gunned her down. Or perhaps Iíd rush home to create a bizarre murder-suicide for the evening news. I could poetically climb the Veteranís Memorial tower and treat the city to a Valentineís gift of a Charles Whitman Sampler. Did any of this occur to the concerned grandparents?

No. Why not? Because after 10 years, they know inside that I am a decent person, that I rarely raise my voice, never commit violence except in defense of the helpless, and hardly have any speeding tickets. They know I stop after two beers, that I never use drugs, that I hold that individuals -- not upbringing or inanimate objects -- cause crime.

But, they also know Iím a gun owner. And for their daughter to marry a "gun owner" in the 90s is morally equivalent to her marrying a "nigger" in the 50s. Back then, the bigots were racists; now they are gun-bigots. One must assume the worst. Simply for the good of the family, of course.

So, in a house that is kept clean of filth and unsanitary conditions, due to my years as a restaurant manager; where kitchen knives are kept on a 5 foot shelf, due to the fact that I own a cutlery business and know what knives can do; where household chemicals are kept 8 feet off the ground or outside, due to my concern about my children; where thereís a fire extinguisher and field surgical kit in the bathroom, kitchen, basement, shop and both cars, due to my military training; and where the weapons are stored safely and with care, due again to my military training; a little clutter and the epithet "gun owner" warrants a call to Child Protective Services. I suppose I should count myself fortunate that my wifeís choice of religion, my lack of religion, and the details of our personal and social livesóall legal, and irrelevant hereóarenít known to these meddling fools.

If I were a praying person, Iíd pray that when the CPS people show up, whenever they deign to grace us with their unwarranted presence, we get the reasonable ones who understand overreactive relatives, and not the "for Godís sake take the children now before this lunatic blows his top, and he can hire a lawyer to get them back" inept idiot accompanied by two armed deputies to seize my weapons.

Because, in America today, despite any talk of rights, independence, and due process, the accusation is all it takes. One is presumed guilty, assumed guilty, maintained guilty until overwhelming, incontrovertible evidence and legal fees prove otherwise, and then the resulting financial insolvency may be used against you. And even if one wins, THEY may return whenever and as often as they wish. Refusing to allow them in without a warrant will simply cause them to obtain a warrant, armed officers, and assume once again that you are unworthy of someone elseís definition of "good parents." I repeat: these are otherwise rational, intelligent peopleóan engineer and a CPAówho truly feel that they know better what is good for my family, and feel inclined to violate my privacy, my authority, demand fealty from me and demand that I "force" my wife to comply with the standards they neglected to instill in her as a child.

Neither of us are children. Neither of us will be treated as such, and neither of us will stoop to their sociopathic level.

I asked Founder/Director Angel Shamaya for input today, and after we talked, we discussed my sharing this story with you. He urged me, under these circumstances, to be as polite and circumspect as possible for this article. Iím afraid I canít quite accommodate his request. I firmly believe that these people are intrusive, elitist, paranoid, obsessive freaks.

I will play this out as the law requires. I will retain my children.

And the grandparents have simply chosen an exotic means of ensuring that they never see their grandchildren, never cross my threshold, never pollute my property with their shadows again.

Copyright 2001 by Michael Z. Williamson. All rights reserved. See other articles by Mr. Williamson at and


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