i own a lot of things, though, and i don't ascribe a lot of emotional weight to what are, basically tools or sporting implements. i don't have them for self defense, or some sense of machoness. i own them because i like to shoot in the same way other people play golf.
it strikes me that cary's advice is good. until you resolve some of the emotional issues that involve your father, and his father, and guns, you should hold off until you are more comfortable. you're young, and you'll always be able to buy a gun (well, depending on how long the constitution lasts). put your money in the bank until you're more comfortable with yourself and your family. -- trey goesh