Sometimes, we the people are our own worst enemy.

Have you ever gone to the grocery store when a major snow storm was predicted?

Typically, there isnít a flashlight battery, loaf of bread, gallon of milk or jar of peanut butter to be found. To add insult to injury, the price of gasoline hikes 15 cents a gallon while youíre at the grocery store, apparently because the gas station owners know no one wants to be stuck at home with less than a full tank in the family bus.

Iím sure thereís a scientific name for whatever instinct befalls us making us swoop down like a bunch of vultures to sweep store shelves clean and then suck the life-blood out of us when we stop to gas-up.

Remember Y2K? Thousands of people went out and bought guns and ammunition, leading to a shortage.

Because of all the recent talk about gun control ó and a growing mistrust of all things government ó consumers once again are running out to buy guns and ammunition, causing an increase in prices and a nationwide shortage.

While thatís more irritating than a bunch of stick-tights on your socks, there could be long-term consequences that would change our way of life and security.

Some law enforcement officers say the kind of ammo they need to do their job is getting more and more difficult to find. A serious shortage, long waits for shipments and skyrocketing prices will affect the amount of time they train. That would ultimately affect crime-fighting readiness.

And those legal gun owners who like to spend time honing their skills at the shooting range likely will see a decline in their own proficiency. I donít know about you, but I think owning a gun is like owning anything else: You have to understand it and practice using it.

You wouldnít buy a car and only drive it on the fourth Thursday of every other month. Well, I guess technically you could, but you probably wouldnít be a very good driver.

The same is true for gun owners. I, for one, donít want a bunch of folks out there toting a gun who canít hit the side of a barn or who canít remember how to engage the safety button because itís been eons since they had the thing out of the drawer.

Not to mention the economic impact the shortage of plinking ammo (target shooting) would have on shooting ranges like The Gun Guys in Ottawa or The Bullet Hole in Johnson County.

I understand people are worried about the rhetoric and the government attaching a huge tax on ammunition. I understand no one wants to buy the high-end ammo unless they have to ó most of us never plan to actually shoot at anything other than a paper target. But some common sense really needs to be applied so that thereís actually enough to go around and we donít go about making a bad situation ó talk of recrafting the Second Amendment comes to mind ó even worse.

The best proactive response to the nationwide shortage that Iíve heard comes from Walmart, which is limiting consumers to buying three boxes of ammo at a time per local address.

Isnít it sad that we didnít come up with that one on our own?

Linda Brown is marketing director for The Ottawa Herald. Email her at lbrown@ottawaherald.com