A friend sent me this email and I thought I should share it. He wrote it.
While reading some stuff online I felt compelled to write this and share it
with you. I know it’s long, but there’s a lot to say, especially in
understanding background and thus context.
As most if not all of you know, some months back I applied for and received
my Texas Concealed Handgun License. I took the 12 hour class (learning the
laws and means of non-violent dispute resolution — most of which I already
knew), 2 sets of fingerprints, probably the most extensive set of background
checks I’ve ever undergone (and I’ve been through others for Boy Scouts and
via the Austin Diocese), and since I’m a good law-abiding citizen and Texas
is a “shall issue” state, I was issued my CHL. Since the day I received my
license in the mail, I’ve been carrying a handgun on my hip.
I now own 3 handguns (all flavors of Springfield XD-9), 2 shotguns (both
Mossberg 500 pump, one in 12 and one in 20 gauge), and 3 rifles (Ruger
10/22, Rock River Arms AR-15, and Springfield M1A). There are hopefully more
purchases in my future.
I have taken numerous classes on defensive handgun use (krtraining.com), as
well as courses from top visiting instructors on defensive knife, street and
vehicle tactics, and other means of defensive skills (insightstraining.com).
Much of what I’m learning isn’t just marksmanship, but much in terms of
psychology towards “street smarts” and doing all you can to notice trouble
before it starts so you can avoid it. My training has been geared towards
avoiding violence at all costs and having the mental, emotional, and
physical tools to do so; but if violence must happen to be as swift,
effective, and decisive as possible with it. In January I will be taking
classes to become an NRA Certified Instructor, which will be useful in the
I’m a Life Member of the Texas State Rifle Association and recently signed
up for a 3 year membership in the NRA (I’d go for Life Membership but it’s a
wee expensive… eventually tho).
And yes… I think next year I may finally go hunting. 🙂
I never was anti-gun, more that “guns aren’t right for me”. I didn’t grow up
around guns, but they weren’t forbidden in my house… just never a topic
one way or the other (tho my first real gun shooting was my Dad taking me
skeet shooting as a kid one time, and that was fun; and I had a replica
revolver CO2 pellet gun in high school, which was a lot of fun to plink
within the backyard). I recall in college speaking with one of my roommates
and taking mostly the “anti-gun” stance on things while he promoted how “an
armed society is a polite society”. After I was married and had kids, I
didn’t want guns in my house, didn’t want my children exposed to them (we
didn’t even want toy guns for Wade when he was very young). I didn’t
understand guns, gun culture, believed what the mainstream media (MSM) told
me about guns, didn’t see how “assault weapons” in the hands of
non-police/military could be a good thing. Basically, I was rather ignorant.
So what brought about my change?
There are stories like this every day. Chances are you won’t hear the
stories when guns in the hands of good people do good, you’ll more than
likely only hear the stories when guns in the hands of bad people do bad
(but when was the last time you heard the news report on a happy and good
story? 95% of “news” is negative, sad, depressing, bad, destructive, and
other “downer” stories). And what doesn’t help is when the stories are
sensationalized and/or filled with ignorant reporting — 100 rounds of .22
LR is NOT an extensive cache, a clip is not the same as a magazine,
semi-auto and auto-load are the same but not the same as full auto, “assault
weapon” is a misguided term, why are inanimate objects demonized and the
demons that used the object so protected… and so on. What ultimately
spurred this email was in light of our recent national elections and the
potential for what may happen in the near future. What happened on that day
didn’t quite go the way I wanted it to (for the record, I’m not a McCain
supporter either), but it’s just another day — the fight for the
conservation of our rights and our country doesn’t end, it must grow
You see, for me the big reason I changed is because some years ago I woke up
and realized that there’s no one that can protect me and my family except me
and my family. As the cliché goes, when seconds count the police are only
minutes away. It is my duty and responsibility to enable myself to protect
myself, and my loved ones, and my family the same. Here in the United States
we live under an illusion that “it won’t/can’t happen to me… not in my
town, not in my neighborhood” but if something bad happens, the police (or
someone) will protect us. Sorry but no, it’s been ruled by our court system
time and time again that the police are under no duty to protect us (look it
up if you don’t believe me). And even if they could, how could they protect
you? As you sit in your house right now reading this, imagine someone
kicking in your front door right this second… who is around to protect you
and the others in your home? You are. Sure an alarm system that notifies the
police is nice, or dialing 911, but by the time that information is relayed
and police show up, minutes will have passed. Do you understand what sort of
evil can happen to you in those minutes?
And that’s coming from LEOs.
This doesn’t mean not using an alarm system. This doesn’t mean not putting
lights outside your house. This doesn’t mean not getting a dog or two. No,
these are all good things and layers in an overall security plan. But the
key is that YOU are taking care of YOU, because you cannot expect someone
else to take care of you. Thankfully we do live in a world that’s mostly
filled with good people, and chances of bad things happening are rare… but
they do happen. Chances of being in a car accident are rare, but they do
happen, and we always wear our seatbelts just in case. Chances of having a
house fire are rare, but we still have fire extinguishers. Chances of being
around someone choking or having a heart attack are rare, but we still learn
the Heimlich maneuver and CPR. I don’t get on my motorcycle expecting to go
down, but I always wear my helmet and leathers because I cannot choose when
some cager is going to claim “I didn’t see him”. No one wakes up and goes
through their day wanting bad things to happen, but bad things do happen,
and the wise man is prepared for not if those things will happen, but when.
My first big step was starting martial arts study, and about a year ago I
took my first steps towards becoming a gun owner. Why guns tho? Because
technologically speaking, it’s a very good tool, a tool that no other tool
in its class can match, it can do jobs that other such tools cannot do, and
it complements the other tools that I have quite well. But it’s just that, a
tool… a hammer doesn’t cause a house to be built, a computer doesn’t cause
hacking to occur, a lighter doesn’t cause arson, a Bible doesn’t cause
piousness, nor does a gun cause evil in the world. It’s people, and tools
are just things to help the person get a job done. Yes a gun can be used for
evil, but a gun can also keep evil in check or rid us of it fully.
Some say there are two sorts of people in this world: sheep and wolves. Most
of the world are sheep, and they live in fear of the wolves. Well me, I got
tired of being a sheep and I joined a 3rd sort of people in this world, the
I now can’t imagine living life any other way. I’m still not perfect, I’m
still not 100% where I want to be, but I’m working on it.
So why do I carry a gun with me all the time? Well, better is to say why I
don’t carry a gun:
And yes, all the time… even to church. You can’t choose when and where bad
things will happen. If Boy Scouts taught me anything it’s to Be Prepared.
Look at the first article I mentioned in this email…. that was in church.
Note the 4th paragraph of that article. Heck, I even looked up in the
Catholic Catechism what it has to say about self-defense. I’m ok doing what
I’m doing. 🙂
And why am I teaching my children to shoot? Because I love them. Because it
is my job to educate them and prepare them for the world and what it holds,
both good and bad. Because the best way to keep them safe regarding guns is
to educate them on guns (most “senseless gun deaths” from accidents,
especially involving children, comes because the children were uneducated,
ignorant, but curious… and since they didn’t know better, tragedy
happened). And let’s face it… shooting is fun! Plinking tin cans together
has been a lot of fun (Fiona really likes shooting the 20 gauge shotgun).
Melons are really cool to shoot. Wade’s looking forward to going hunting for
the first time. Aaron likes shooting a BB gun but actually seems to like
archery a lot more. Michele has finally comes to realize that she shoots
better lefty. It shall be good time together as a family, and it doesn’t
involve sitting in front of a TV and most certainly requires going outside!
By now some of you may be thinking I’m paranoid. No, just more aware. I’ve
become more aware of the world around me (including the people that have
attacked my wife, the people that have cased my house). I’ve become more
educated about firearms. I’ve become more educated about what the Second
Amendment (2A) of our US Constitution is really about, and how without it
there’d be no 1st Amendment (or any of the others for that matter). I still
feel the world is filled with mostly good people worthy of trust by default.
But enough things have crossed my path that I can no longer walk through
life unprepared in this area.
But what’s more interesting is that I didn’t expect myself to get
politically active on this matter. The reason I’m speaking up about this now
is because I fear what may lie ahead for our country. Our next President has
one of the worst track records regarding guns. While he means well, while we
all want less violence and tragic death in the world, I fail to see how
restricting the God-given rights of law abiding citizens will accomplish
that end (only good honest people respect the law). Yet now with Obama
taking office and a Democrat majority in Congress, there’s fear of pushing
through another “assault weapons” ban, this one worse than anything before.
It is misguided and wrong, and tho well-intended, as the saying goes “the
road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
Update: I’ve been composing this email over the course of some days and when
I wrote it the above “change.gov” stuff was in place but it seems to be gone
now… change you can believe in. Of course, folks aren’t going to let them
forget what they said:
Update 2: well, it seems to be back now… nevertheless, his proposed policy
Address Gun Violence in Cities: As president, Barack Obama would repeal the
Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to
access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the
nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms
trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second
Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from
criminals who shouldn’t have them. They support closing the gun show loophole
and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the
expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on
foreign battlefields and not on our streets.
All of the above sounds good, and it should — it’s marketing. A good
marketer knows how to make things sound good, even if it’s crap. Just look
at the commercials on TV… look at how many movies looked great in the
trailers but left you very disappointed when you left the theater.
You want the truth about “assault rifles”? Watch this (2 parts):
They say AR-style rifles have no sporting purpose. I guess they’ve never
been to the annual NRA National Rifle and Pistol Championships at Camp Perry
and seen that the majority of rifle shooters shoot AR-style rifles. I guess
that’s not sporting enough:
But you see, the Second Amendment to the US Constitution is NOT about
hunting, it’s not about target and sport shooting (tho those are
side-effects). It’s about understanding that governments can grow too big
for their britches and We The People have the duty to keep it in check.
It’s about being able to defend ourselves — be it from invaders from
another country, terrorists, robbers and muggers and rapists, or our own
government. It’s about being able to keep evil at bay in whatever form evil
may take. The Bill of Rights does not grant us these individual rights
(implying that someone can take them away), the rights enumerated therein
are endowed by our Creator and were only put on paper to ensure it was clear
that we cannot allow our government to abridge those rights. We tend to
spend our lives too far removed from realities and thus most think it can
never happen here (abridgment of our religion, of our ability to speak
freely, of our ability to protect ourselves). Well, maybe not in our
lifetimes, but history shows time and time again the civilizations rise and
fall (look at how the world map has changed in your own lifetime)… and
we’d do well to ensure that ourselves, our children, our grandchildren or
beyond will have the means to take care of business when the time comes.
We keep hearing the news stories of mass shootings.
In a way, it’s sad that we’ve had enough events to be able to study and
arrive at these conclusions. But hopefully that does mean people will be
willing to learn and take measures to prevent history from again repeating
Of course, it further demonstrates how concealed carry and an armed
citizenry can be effective. First, the crazies choose gun free zones… or
rather, places they know will be full of defenseless victims. Second,
they’ll keep shooting until confronted. Third, the new tactic now is the
first person on the scene needs to engage immediately…. why wait for a cop
to arrive when an armed citizen may already be on the scene and able to
engage (if it ever got that far… see point 1).
But Obama is on record as opposing concealed carry.
Why he’d oppose law abiding citizens from being able to protect themselves I
do not understand. You cannot receive a concealed carry permit without
extensive background checks, training, and basically proof of good
character. That is, it’s the Good Guys that are allowed to do this… so why
disable them? The criminals will always carry guns… it’s not like laws
stop them (that’s why they’re criminals, by definition). Why would someone
want to be at a disadvantage? Why would we allow ourselves to be put at a
disadvantage by using the force of law to weaken and punish the good guys?
People fight so hard to preserve their 1A rights, why not our 2A? It’s our
2A rights that allow us to keep our 1A rights, and history has proven this
time and again. History has also shown that if you give up and/or lose your
2A rights, your 1A rights are next in line.
Again, I did not take up firearms to hunt or sport shoot (tho I enjoy target
shooting and hunting is on the horizon). I took up firearms as a means of
defending things that I hold precious and dear. It galls me that the man
that is soon to be our President gloats about how he can use guns to protect
his family but seeks to rob me of the same. September 6, 2008 in West Terre
Haute, Indiana, speaking to a crowd and mentioning that his daughter was
about to start 5th grade Mr. Obama asked “Any tips? What should I be waiting
around for?” Someone in the crowd shouts “Boys!”. Mr. Obama’s response?
“Maybe that home-schooling is alright. One reason I have to win here is so
that I’ve got Secret Service around my girls at all times. They carry guns.”
(his backhanded smack of homeschooling is another topic for another time)
At a BBQ in Eau Claire, Wisconsin Mr. Obama said, “…the real reason [I’m
running for President] is Secret Service protection for my two girls as they
enter their teenage years…. [the Secret Service] they’re armed, they’re
I grant he’s saying these things in humor and yes in their context they are
funny. But they show that Mr. Obama doesn’t have to worry about the things
that you or I have to worry about. He now has 24-7 protection for himself
and his family, from highly-trained men with guns and massive technology and
tactical ability, from men whose duty it is to protect him at all costs
including giving their own lives for his. I wish I had that sort of
protection. But I don’t, and neither do you. And since all I have is myself
and I realistically understand that only I can protect myself, I just cannot
fathom letting someone rob me of my ability to protect myself and my family.
And yes, while once I thought that perhaps a deer rifle was enough to defend
yourself, that a revolver could be ok to carry around… well yeah, these
aren’t ineffective, but they aren’t sufficient. A pump action shotgun is ok
for home defense, but an M4-style rifle is far superior. I’ve come to learn
that the firearms an “assault weapons ban” wishes to outlaw are actually
rather mundane and make good sense for Joe Citizen to be able to have access
to. I’d explain more of that but this letter has gotten long enough (I’m
happy to explain if you’re curious). The key is that such a ban is due to
“scary cosmetics” and a fundamental ignorance of firearms and facts — I was
once in that ignorant camp, I am no longer.
I urge you.
If you’re not a member of the NRA, become a member.
If you live in Texas and are not a member of TSRA, become a member. If you
live in another state, find your state’s local organization(s) and become a
If you can obtain a concealed handgun license in your state, do so, even if
you don’t plan to carry. The more of us there are, the less likely
legislators will bring up legislation that we’d actively oppose.
And most of all, continue to educate. Educate yourself. Educate others. Take
someone to the range and give them an honest introduction to firearms… an
introduction that makes them realize firearms are not scary and can be a lot
of fun… an introduction that makes them itch for another trip to the
range. If you’re anywhere near me, I’d be happy to take you.
As well tho, if you don’t understand or agree with what I’m saying and see
things totally differently, then I encourage you to engage me in civil
discourse on the matter. I don’t expect to change your mind, but I’d
appreciate the chance for us both to become better informed of the other’s
take on the topic.
I leave you with these thoughts:
Actually, let me leave you with something a little more lighthearted:
Thank you for reading this far. 🙂
From My Friend
“Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of
citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a
world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional
place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a
worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its
citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when
terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.” —
I was reminded of the email by this post.