Sad and Angry and Scared

This summer, I’m planning on learning to shoot and hunt, just in case the world ends.

That sounds dramatic. What I really mean is, ‘just in case the speed at which we are approaching societal breakdown turns from a creep to a sprint and outpaces the attempts to fix it.’ Yeah. That sounds better.

I don’t usually bring up my motives for wanting to learn to hunt because I don’t want to be labeled as a prepper. I’m not in a cabin in an undisclosed location deep in the woods, collecting guns and ammunition and MREs and burying gold and silver bars next to a series of specific trees. I don’t think that everything is going to collapse into a Mad Max situation where everyone is immediately at each other’s throats and willing to kill to get the last known bottle of Mountain Dew Code Red, or whatever.

But I do think things are going to get harder. Things have already been getting harder for the past twenty years. I don’t have to list out all the ways. If you’re willing to listen to me then you already know and you’re just as perpetually sad and angry as I am. If you’re not willing to listen to me, then you’re not and you won’t hear it. You’ve either stopped reading or are already coming up with all the ways I’m blowing things out of proportion and needlessly panicking. I get it. It’s hard to accept. I keep seeing people say the only way to be happy right now is to dissociate and I get that, too. I’m there.

But you know what I keep thinking about? I got my first job at a movie theater in 2006. The minimum wage in my state that year was $7.50. That’s an entire quarter more an hour than the current federal minimum wage. Now. In 2022. Sixteen years of inflation and the federal minimum wage has increased an entire sixty-five cents. You can’t afford rent anywhere in the US on minimum wage anymore. It’s getting hard for someone on minimum wage to afford anything, actually. But that’s their fault, because they have the audacity to want their streaming services and their occasional store-bought coffees to make their lives a little less terrible. Or something.

To be perfectly honest with you, I’m fine. I’m more than fine. As a millennial, I have beat the system and rose up on top the only way a millennial can: hard work, up at four in the morning, always saved every single dollar I could, I only eat oatmeal for two meals and then fresh grilled veggies for dinner, and I have never, ever, not even once, ordered avocado toast.

I’m kidding. I owe everything to my parents, of course. That’s the real way people in my generation geta leg up, even if most of them insist on writing entire articles that are just extensions of my last paragraph, and then somewhere toward the end drop a line about how their parents gave them $500,000, or bought them their house, or paid for all of their schooling at a top-tier college. I don’t want to play that game. I’m where I am because my parents worked their asses off in a time when that actually got you something, gave me enough money to go to college so that I only had to take out government loans, gave me more money to go to college again to get a second degree that actually got my a good paying job, and then bought the house I’m living in.

I don’t pretend like I’m some self-made person, because I’m not. I don’t think anyone is. We get where we are through the support of those around us. When I say I’m sad and angry and scared I’m not really sad and angry and scared for me. It’s for all the people who don’t have enough support, and who keep seeing what support they do have taken away. Piece by piece.

Anyway, things are going to get worse and I want to learn how to hunt in case we get to the point where hunting is the only way to keep ourselves fed. I’m also working on building a vegetable garden, and I’m going to learn how to sew. I like to think of myself as less a prepper and more an aspiring solarpunk. Less about collecting guns and being ready to shoot on sight, more about collecting skills that will help me and my family and our neighbors survive.

So. The point. Never had a gun before. The last time I even held a gun was when we did target shooting during the worst two weeks of my life AKA summer camp and that was when I was around twelve. I’ve been doing research. Local classes and shooting ranges to learn how to use the thing. How to get a hunting license, rules on what and how much you can kill and when, and looking for classes to teach me how to field dress and actually cut down the meats. And then I keep getting hung up. My mind keeps coming back to the same point, over and over. I mean it, I have had this ‘realization’ probably half a dozen times since I decided to learn how to hunt.

I haven’t looked up how to get a gun.

By ‘how’ I don’t mean where to buy. I mean I keep thinking things like:

Oh, I haven’t looked up what sort of registration forms I need.

I haven’t looked up if I need a background check.

Maybe I need to get fingerprinted again.

I haven’t looked up how to get a gun license.

I keep thinking that there’s a process to getting a gun. Because there’s a process to get everything else. I had to take classes and a test and get a license to be able to drive a car, and then I had to register that car with the state. I’ve had background checks and credit checks done to get new jobs and rent apartments. To be a nurse I had to get a couple of background checks and my fingerprints taken.

Do you guys remember Sudafed and how well that stuff worked? I haven’t taken any in over a decade because tweakers started using it in meth and they regulated it to the point where I don’t understand how to get it or if the stuff I’m paying for is even the same as the stuff I got in the early 00’s.

It’s so incredibly logical that you’d have to jump through hoops to buy a literal weapon that my brain keep insisting there’s some part of this process I’ve missed, something I still have to research.

But there isn’t.

In my state I do need to fill out a form for a background check. A form I fill out at the gun store, and the websites I’m looking at say the approval/rejection process typically takes less than half an hour. I had to wait four entire days to find out if I passed my boards to be a nurse, but I could pass a background check to buy a weapon on my lunch break.

I just…I don’t…I can’t…

My husband and I have also agreed that if I do buy a hunting rifle, first we will be buying a gun safe. Because the idea of having a gun in the house just…out. A gun. A weapon. A thing that could kill someone, either intentionally or accidentally. And it’s in the house. Sitting somewhere. On a shelf, maybe, with the ammunition right next to it. Or leaning against a wall. Being a weapon. In my house.

I can’t get over it. It’s a thing people absolutely do and it freaks me out.

Anyway, sorry. Usually when I get too scared of the…everything…I write something like Dick Dangerly, but everything feels too broken and I’m scared and sad and angry and I feel helpless. I’ll try to write something funny or weird for Tuesday.

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