The Accidental Activist

As I’ve noted here before, I wasn’t always a Second Amendment activist. I grew up in a pretty gun-controlly family, actually; dad’s a union Democrat, mom was a sort-of-repressed hippie.
I didn’t grow up around guns – which took some doing, in rural North Dakota. Mom didn’t allow toy guns in the house. I didn’t shoot a gun until the summer after I got out of high school. I remember feeling programmed contempt for the NRA even into my early twenties.
But there were a couple of things that changed that.
One of them happened when I was in 9th grade. I stumbled on a copy of “The Black Book” – the B’nai B’rith’s compendium of Nazi crimes against European Jews. And even though I was a 14 year old bobblehead, I realized that “It’s a lot easier to herd unarmed people into cattle cars”. I didn’t jump immediately to “therefore let us be armed”, but is slowly crept up on me.
As did the further realization that society’s veneer of order is perilously brittle; the Great NY Blackout, the LA Riots, Katrina, Hurricane Sandy – all showed that while our civil society is fairly resilient, it’s not weatherproof – and that the only thing that kept the Korean merchants of South Central LA from getting cleaned out as thoroughly as the shopkeepers of New Orleans and the Rockaways was a line of determined men with the means to defend order themselves, after the police high-tailed it outta there. George Orwell once wrote “We sleep soundly at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf” – and while heaven forbid it happens, and for most God willing it never will, nobody can know the time or place when the regular schnook in his Barcalounger will be called upon to be that rough man seeing to his own family’s safety.
It got personal in 1988: I had a breakin in my house. I woke up on a sweltering July night to the sound of a couple of people downstairs. There was no way out of the house that didn’t go past the burglars. There was no phone upstairs. But I did have a gun -a little .22 rifle. I padded over to the top of the stairs (the burglars didn’t run away at the sound of the creaking floor) and racked a round. I saw two pairs of Adidas running out the door. I was a believer.
And I also realized: just as I didn’t know at 8PM that at midnight I’d be aiming a rifle down my stairs, neither did the merchants of Koreatown or the residents of the Ninth Ward know they’d be facing complete anarchy the day before they were up to their necks in it; nor did Hitler’s future victims realize in 1932 what awaited them in 1942. Nobody can read the future; one can merely prepare for it. Or not. That’s your choice.
It didn’t start to coalesce into a philosophy, though, until I read this piece, probably 20 years ago; “A Nation of Cowards“, by Jeff Snyder.
And it started me thinking: the “gun safety” debate wasn’t, and isn’t, about facts, or hardware, or even anyone’s safety; it’s about two radically different points of view about how the individual and society interact.
And vis a vis Snyder, it’s best summed up by a subtle rhetorical difference between the sides; one that you see every time you listen to “gun safety” advocates talking at the Capitol. One side believes there’s a “right not to get shot”; the other knows there’s a *responsibility* to protect one’s self, family and community.
Is there a “right not to get shot?” Sure, why not? But like the right to speak, publish, assemble, worship, privacy and a fair trial, it’s worthless if you don’t actively use, and protect, it.
Do you farm your right to free speech and the press out to the media? (Some certainly do). Do you assume the ACLU will guard your right to privacy? (Some do!). Do you assume that the police will protect your “right not to get shot?” Some, most definitely, do.
Do you assume your abstract “right not to be robbed, raped or assaulted” is ironclad just…because? Or your “right not to be looted?” “Your right not to have your social or ethnic group jammed into cattle cars to oblivion?”
Seems excessively optimistic to me.

8 thoughts on “The Accidental Activist

  1. You have a right to remain silent… while libturds exercise all the other rights they believe are given to them to lord over you.

  2. We were living on the East Side of St. Paul when my wife was greatly pregnant with baby #2. It was bitterly cold and I was out of the house at a meeting when my wife heard what sounded like our back door being kicked hard, twice. She was in the bedroom, and looking around, the only defensive strategy she could think of was to possibly throw the 15-pound cat at the face of anyone who came through the bedroom door.

    Turns out the noise was the hydraulic arm of the screen door snapping free of it’s screws and hitting the wooden door like a drum. Our defensive response options are now a bit more comprehensive, however.

  3. Boulder made me a pretty hard gun rights activist for about the same reasons. You simply saw how warped things were there and how many druggies were more or less invited by the city to come.

  4. Bigger cat?

    The wife and I were having dinner with the neighbors one night and got to talking about a variety of emergencies, including home defense since the lesbian couple down the road had just gone through a rough breakup that included a fairly violent home invasion by the ejected partner complete with sheriff’s department response. When the neighbor’s wife asked what she should do in an emergency, the neighbor’s response was simple: “Just keep passing me loaded weapons.” Considering what his walk-in closet looks like it would have been quite a while before she would have had to reload. His collection of shotguns alone makes me green with envy!

  5. May have posted this before, but it is on topic.

    When my wife and I bought our first house in Houston, we were just outside of Houston’s city limits. We were in the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s department in a neighboring county. There were no street lights and our closest neighbor was 8 houses away, in fact, we were the only two couples on the block for over a month. They were a couple from PA in the same status as we were: DINKs. We introduced ourselves right away and ended up being friends to this day. Well, I traveled at least every other week and my wife was justifiably concerned about being alone. So, I bought a Winchester Model 12 Featherweight and loaded it with 00 buck. Even though she had never handled a gun before, she reluctantly learned how to operate it. She was terrified of having to shoot anyone, so I told her that if she heard anyone in the house, she should shout that she had a shotgun and then to rack one. I told her that not too many burglars were going to stay around long enough to see if she would shoot at him.

    By the way, I still use that shotgun for hunting pheasants and grouse. It’s one fine gun.

  6. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 06.16.16 : The Other McCain

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