I'm going to step back from fishing here. I'd like to get on a soap box and voice my opinion on the gun situation we've been hearing so much about lately.
Shootings like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School are horrific. My family and I have kept the families of those children, teachers and school employees in our prayers, and our hearts go out to them.
Unfortunately, terrible events like the S.H.E.S. shooting are leading people to make rash decisions concerning gun laws. My biggest problem with it is that people who know very little or even nothing about the guns they are trying to restrict or ban are the ones attempting to make the changes.
I think if you want to get into a gun debate of any kind you should at least have knowledge of the guns and their capabilities. The way I've heard some people debate these guns, you'd think they were fully automatic weapons like our soldiers are using or like something you would see in a movie.
If you put yourself into some of these scenarios where people are defending themselves and saving their own lives, would you want 5, 6 or 20 shots?
Why do I need 20 shots in my magazine? Because that's what I want and may need to defend myself. I am a law-abiding, honest person with a clean background and no sign of mental instability. Why shouldn't I be able to defend myself with what I choose?
If we could snap our fingers and make all guns disappear, things would be different. However, we all know that can't happen. The only thing any gun law is going to do is remove guns from honest people who want to defend themselves and their possessions.
We have metal detectors and armed guards at sporting events, political events and banks. Banks have locking vaults, bullet proof glass, emergency buttons behind the counter and more. Why shouldn't we consider the same thing for our children and our schools?
Why not have a button in every classroom that automatically dead bolts the classroom door and signals the police. This wouldn't stop the shooter, but it sure beats hiding in a closet when someone starts shooting in the classroom next door. This would make most classrooms exponentially safer, and the cost would be far less than trying to enforce rash gun laws that, in the end, simply won't remove guns from the criminals' hands.
I'm not sure what the exact right answer is (if there even is one), but I do know that removing guns from good law-abiding citizens only strengthens the criminal's position.
All I can ask is that no matter which side of the fence you are on, educate yourself before getting into the debate. I suggest reading "Armed Citizen," the NRA's collection of articles from newspapers around the country. You may not feel like it could be you, but it really could be you.
Back to fishing for just a minute. Take these last few weeks of cold months (in most areas) and use it to get prepared for the fishing season. Check all your rod guides, organize your tackle and make sure that when the fish start biting you're ready to go. That's what I'm doing right now in preparation for the Bassmaster Classic.