Do you own a firearm? If not, you should (even if you're not an American). The more I think about the Second Amendment, the more I realize there was a reason Madison put it into the Bill of Rights.
Now, I'm sure you just jumped to conclusions about me. Naughty, you. I'm sure you think I'm a beer-swilling, truck driver hat-wearing, Dukes of Hazard lovin' red neck. Far from it.
I was born in raised in Brooklyn, back when it was still Brooklyn. I grew up in New York and New Jersey and have very little in common with good ol' boys down South. I don't drink beer. Don't wear trucker hats. And the Confederate Flag doesn't fly at my house.
Like most Americans, I was raised with a general dislike for guns. Our pop culture, especially movies and television, seem to vilify firearms. The only people that we saw use them were criminals, drug dealers, and international terrorists. You know, the bad guys.
Movies reinforced the idea that the only good people that should use guns are cops or soldiers. Rarely was it shown how law-abiding citizens could safely own and operate a gun. I guess that's not very sexy, to limp-wristed, Hollywood writers.
But there's another reason why private ownership of firearms is rarely portrayed honestly in the media. It's because they want to condition you, the gentle viewer, into thinking it is a weird and unnatural thing.
If they can convince you that only cops should have guns, then you're far less likely to want to own one. The idea of having a gun in your house, let alone taking it to the range and using it is a concept completely alien to many Americans. And that's the idea.
They wanted to rob you of one of your Constitutional rights, convincing you that people who own guns are either criminals or potential criminals. We see on the news images of shootouts and robberies. They want to convince us that the only way to prevent gun violence is by banning guns. Because, you know, people intent on breaking the law will obey gun laws.
Don't believe me? Then think about this. Were you really excited about getting your driver's license? Was the idea of getting behind the wheel and experiencing a new kind of freedom so appealing to you as a teenager?
If so, why do you think that was? Because that concept has been glorified in movies and TV for decades. Most of us were conditioned to believe that when we turned sixteen, it was an obligation- nay a civic duty- for us to get that card and hit the open road.
It was no different for gun ownership, except instead of making us want to own a gun, pop culture has made us fear them.
I've seen it in myself. Although I am a staunch conservative on many issues, the idea of handling a gun seemed alien and terrifying. All my life I was subjected to the thought that guns were like cobras- ready to strike at the slightest provocation. Little did I know that guns were tools, machines developed to operate under certain circumstances. They don't just go off because you drop them. And there are many safety devices and steps a gun owner takes to ensure accidents are unlikely to occur.
Much the same way you were taught to operate that 2 ton monster in the driveway safely.
But despite the reality that safe gun operation is not only possible, but an inherent right for all Americans, we are still bombarded with anti-gun propaganda. You'd think, given the shocking disparity between gun deaths versus car crash deaths (35,000 car related deaths in 2015, versus 13,000 gun related deaths in same year), that the media would be making it harder for people to get behind the wheel.
Statistics aside, there is a reason why our founding fathers put the right to bear arms into the Bill of Rights. It's a fundamental part of the structure of our society.
Why? So that people can go on reckless shooting sprees? Of course not. It's a part of the idea that the United States is a country by the people and for the people.
There are some significant differences between America and European countries. I've discussed in the past how even our allies have restrictions on free speech. But the right to own a gun is virtually non-existent. For obvious reasons.
While the United States was built for the people to maintain power over their government, most of our European allies are structured the opposite way.
I can throw around the word Socialist until I'm blue in the face, but it's an older problem than that. America's fathers wanted to break free from the ancient, monarch-inspired governments of Europe. Even today, European nations like England still operate under a top-down system. The most powerful (i.e.: the nobility or people in office) make the decisions. As subjects, the citizens just have to deal with it.
Even though many of them hold elections, the structure of the governments still put the power in a select few's hands. Rights like gun ownership, free speech, freedom of religion, and the free press are greatly limited. Here they are celebrated, to ensure that the U.S. government is always beholden to the people.
If you safely own and operate a gun, you are never subject to the whims of a criminal. Or worse still, you won't have to depend on the state to protect you. Sounds silly? Well, cops won't always be around to help you- they're busy people. Plus criminals thrive on the knowledge that most citizens can't defend themselves.
While I'm not an advocate for those beds that launch spring-loaded shotguns, I think that is an issue worth considering.
The fundamental difference between the United States and the quasi-Socialist/monarchies of Europe is that American citizens are supposed to maintain a certain authority over the government. We chart our own destiny; it's not decided for us by a governing body.
Democrats don't like that, because they've been duped to believe that the government should take a greater role in deciding our lives for us. People who depend on the state for food, housing, health care, and protection aren't really independent citizens, are they? They're less likely to exercise rights like free speech. They are surely defenseless, should the government decide to take freedoms away.
Even when liberals try to mount campaigns against Second Amendment rights, it blows up in their faces. Cue the cold justice of facts and logic:
“Self-defense can be an important crime deterrent,” says a new report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The $10 million study was commissioned by President Barack Obama as part of 23 executive orders he signed in January. (CNS News)
President Obama has been quoted as saying he considers his biggest failure his inability to pass more gun control. He was too busy ruining immigration, health care, and race relations (cheap shots, I know). But in the final hours of his administration, he at least tried to lay the groundwork by ordering a study on gun violence. His hope, obviously, was to provide ammunition for gun control advocates in pressuring the government to pass more restrictions.
Because who can argue with facts, right? Except that the report only aided Second Amendment lovers.
“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies,” the CDC study, entitled “Priorities For Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence,” states.
Meaning people who shoot back are far less likely to be victims. The study also found that the vast amount of deaths caused by guns has nothing to do with crime. It's suicide.
“Between the years 2000 and 2010, firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearm-related violence in the United States."
That's a shocking and deeply depressing statistic. The majority of deaths caused by guns were self-inflicted. Does that mean we need better gun control? Obviously not. We need to confront the reality that so many Americans want to kill themselves.
Perhaps the solution involves better mental health care and outreach to those suffering from depression, but that's another article.
The study also found that most incidents involving firearms do not result in death.
More evidence that safely owning and operating a firearm saves lives keeps rolling in. The mainstream media may have suppressed coverage of the above study, but even NBC reported on this one.
A "good Samaritan" with a gun killed an active shooter who may have been gearing up for a deadly rampage at a Texas sports bar Wednesday night, police said.
When 48-year-old James Jones walked inside the Zona Caliente Sports Bar, started yelling and then allegedly shot and killed Cesar Perez — a 37-year-old restaurant manager who'd attempted to calm him down — Arlington police said witnesses were afraid they would be next...
An armed "good Samaritan" — as the Arlington Police labeled him — happened to be eating at the restaurant with his wife. A concealed carry permit holder, he told her to get down on the ground and then shot Jones in the back. (NBC News)
A horrifying incident, to be sure. The restaurant manager was mercilessly gunned down, just for trying to confront the man. Yet even more would have died had the Samaritan not been there.
Even NBC's expert on firearms commended the man. Although he had to preface with the usual gun control pabulum:
"Not everybody in the world ought to own a gun. Not everybody in the world ought to carry a gun. Not everyone in the world ought to engage an armed criminal where innocent people could be potentially injured."
Yeah, okay guy, we get it. And if people followed that advice, nobody would own a gun. Yet he did finally admit, "But this good Samaritan obviously had the ability to do what he did. Who knows how many people would be dead if he had not acted?"
Criminals and terrorists commit horrendous acts, safe in the knowledge that regular citizens are not equipped to fight back. They are by nature cowardly and ugly people- like overgrown and evil bullies. Should someone actually confront them with proper force, they back down. The guy at the bar didn't even anticipate that someone would shoot him; the man shot the criminal in the back. That's how little he expected resistance.
Does this mean that we should all live in fear, carrying guns around just to feel safe? I am not a fear-monger. But the reality is we live in a dangerous world. There are people who want to take advantage of us, abuse us, harm us in the worst ways. If we are not taking action to prevent these kinds of crimes, we are willingly making ourselves victims.
In President Trump, we have a strong Second Amendment advocate. He's already taken steps to undo President Obama's gun control agenda. More protections will be put in place to ensure Americans' Second Amendment rights will no longer be eroded.
But what about you? Do you hate guns? Do you believe that owning a gun is tantamount to criminal activity? I have good advice for you: you don't have to own a gun. You don't have to visit a shooting range. You don't have to educate yourself on gun safety and proper use. You don't have to have anything to do with guns.
But the next time the fur begins to fly, you'll be happy if you're near someone who does.