Exercising my Second Amendment rights

Twenty years ago, if you had offered me the opportunity to fire a gun, I would have recoiled in absolute horror and read you the riot act.  I can still recite my standard factoids from memory, although I’m too lazy now to string them together into a coherent narrative:

Guns are dangerous.  They kill people.  America is the most violent country in the world and it has the most guns.  Look at England and Sweden.  They have far fewer murders per capita than America does (although I have to add here, in 2009, that when I was making this argument England did not have gun laws as stringent as it does now, and it even then had a very violent knife culture).  Most gun crimes occur in a moment of passion because there is a gun in the home and someone grabs it.  Children can’t stay away from guns and will invariably kill each other or themselves if they stumble across one.  And the Second Amendment is all about militias, and individuals who have guns aren’t forming formal militias, they just want guns to kill people and innocent animals.

I think I got everything there from the old standard riff.

As with everything else in the last decade, my views about guns have changed substantially.  I understand now that, even if all of the above facts are true, the bigger issues surrounding the right to bear arms transcend — and offset — those concerns.  The biggest principle is that the right to bear arms is the hallmark of a free society.  It is no coincidence that, as my pro-gun brother-in-law always said, one of the first things the Nazis did when they came into power was legislate against private gun ownership.  Even though they understood that a rag tag band of citizens is probably of little immediate effect against a well-trained, well-supplied standing army, they also understood that armed, enraged citizens can engage in guerilla warfare that is sufficient to hold off even a formal military — especially if the military is comprised of troops who share the values of the armed citizenry.

I also know now that, even if the government isn’t my enemy, it may not be at my side when the chips are down.  This won’t be from a lack of will, but from a lack of ability.  Hurricane Katrina vividly illustrated that, with the best will in the world, when all systems break down, law enforcement cannot be at your side and you are on your own.  In New Orleans, those communities that could boast that they were protected by Smith & Wesson were left alone by marauding bands of looters.  The same will hold true if, God forbid, there is another major terrorist attack against the United States, paralyzing government, and its ability to protect us both from terrorists and from fellow-citizens taking advantage of the anarchy that can occur in the wake of a major terrorist attack.

I’ve also figured out over the years that similarly situated societies that have outlawed guns have much higher gun crime than those that haven’t.  Look at Texas and California for a nice side-by-side comparison of gun policies.  The former is much more gun friendly, but traditionally has had a lower per capita crime rate than California. And we all know that, when cities such as London or Washington, D.C., enacted complete gun bans, violent crime sky-rocketed.  These comparisons seem to lend complete credence to the saying that, “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

It’s an interesting question, though, whether banning guns really is a direct cause of the subsequent increase in crime.  Another one of my brothers-in-law, who is pro-gun, does not believe that there is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between crime and outlawing guns. He points out that, in Los Angeles, most of the gun crime involves gangs.  In those cases, both sides are armed.  The combatents are young men who are not at all deterred by the fact that the house or car they are targeting contains equally well-armed combatents.  In the tribal cultures they’ve created in the ghettoes, warfare is normative, and the other side’s weapons are not a deterrent.  This means that, for these young men, it is irrelevant whether a homeowner has arms.  They’ll break in anyway.  And they’ll shoot regardless.  Gun control or not, these guys shoot to kill.

Thinking about it, I believe my brother-in-law has a poi nt. Gun control laws alone are probably not the direct cause of an increase in crime.  But how about this:  Is it possible that the same democratic societies that voluntarily enact gun control laws (as opposed to totalitarian dictatorships that disarm their citizenry for power purposes) are societies that have already broken down at other levels?  When you look at cities or that have outlawed or severely limited access to guns, they are also cities or states that have embraced welfare, that are hostile to self-reliance and traditional Judeo-Christian morality, that are “soft on crime,” that oppose capital punishment, that have high rates of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and that generally have fallen into moral disrepair.  Outlawing guns is part of a package deal of social decay — and social decay invariably brings with it rising crime rates.  In other words, gun rights are the canary in the coal mine, giving one a fairly good reading of a society’s level of freedom and morality, without actually having a direct causative effect on either one of those things.

All of which brings me back to the start of this post.  I mentioned that, in the old days, I would have reacted in horror to an offer to fire a gun.  On Thursday, however, when yet another brother-in-law (I seem to have a lot of them) offered to take me to a firing range to try out his revolver (357 Magnum) and his rifle (I have no idea what kind), I jumped at the chance.  Yesterday morning, therefore, saw me at the Angeles Shooting Range, just outside of L.A.

I have to admit to being quite intimidated.  I’ve never been next to a gun in my life (except for museum pieces, and those were behind glass), and suddenly I find myself surrounded by dozens and dozens of people armed to the teeth.  Even with hearing protecting, my ears were ringing.  I was instantly impressed, though, by how well-organized the shooting range was, and how respectful the customers were of the rules — which makes sense, since the rules were so obviously for everyone’s benefit.

My bro-in-law first had me fire the revolver.  I did exactly what he said:  After carefully loading the gun, I got into a balanced stance, held the gun in both hands. extended my arms, and looked down the sites to aim the gun.  My hands were shaking, but I took a deep breath, held it for a second, and fired.  I was surprised by the kick.  When I’m working on the bag at the dojo, and I punch it, the push-back I get from the bag is pretty much equivalent to the energy of the punch.  With the gun, though, a teeny movement of my finger caused the gun to rear up in my hands.  It was disconcerting, because it seemed to defy physics.  (And yes, I know that every time I get into a car, I defy physics, but that’s such an integral part of life I no longer think about it.)  Most magical of all, though, was the fact that a hole appeared in the piece of paper that was hanging some thirty or so feet away.  I ended up firing about 21 shots, and all of them hit the paper.  Here’s the result of my first ever attempt to fire a gun:

photo(2)

(My brother-in-law, by the way, hit the bulls eye on his target.)

After using up all the revolver ammo we bought, my brother-in-law and I headed over to the rifle range.  This was much more difficult for me.  The weapon felt awkward (which the revolver didn’t), I kept being worried that I’d manage to break my jaw with the recoil, and I couldn’t see the target very well.  Or rather, I could see the target but, because I couldn’t see whether I hit the target, I wasn’t able to correct my form from one shot to the next.  Here are the results of my first outing with a rifle:

photo(3)

It’s a bad photo, so it doesn’t show that I hit the paper in the white area several times,but it still gives a pretty good idea of the difficulties I had with the rifle.  Still, I don’t regret firing it, and would certainly do so again.

As my long-time readers know, I’ve been talking since Hurricane Katrina about learning how to shoot.  Somehow, though, I couldn’t seem to get myself going, no doubt due to some lingering liberal procrastination, coupled with the fear of going alone to do something entirely different.  Now, though, thanks to my bro-in-law’s help, I’ve taken that first step, and will try again, with pleasure.  I enjoyed the experience a great deal.  Ialso came away with a much greater respect for the gun, both as a weapon, and as a source of sportsmanlike pleasure.

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  • Doug

    If you want something structured, when I first learned the Bayprofs course http://www.bayprofs.org/ was very helpful.  It was some years ago but hopefully it hasn’t changed too much – one day course, emphasis on safety but they do teach you how to shoot, and it ends with some range time.
    People seem to like Bullseye range in San Rafael for shooting, and I think they have rentals and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have some kind of classes as well.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Congratulations, Book…that’s actually some quite good shooting.
    I think you may be onto something with regard to Liberal/Lefties’ attitudes toward guns being a symptom of social decay. I too have noticed how many Liberals are quite frightened of even the idea of guns. I actually had a (very Liberal) niece squeek in horror and drop the pistol that I had given her to hold…as if the handgun was evil incarnate that was going to turn around and harm her.
    Perhaps peoples’ fears of weapons are symptomatic of their own submissive, beaten-down, victim mindsets. These are people who no longer feel empowered to defend themselves and, for them, perhaps, there is a delusional comfort in passing ineffective gun laws that allow them the pretense of making bad things go away. Allowing others the right to bear arms and defend themselves only reminds these “victims” of their own learned helplessness and inadequacy. Liberals, especially, want to live in carefully nurtured protective bubbles where they can delude themselves that bad things will not happen to them.  They still think like children.
    I am so glad that your first shooting experience was such a good one.

  • Jose

    Good for you BW!  Keep at it, be safe, and have fun.

  • 11B40

    Greetings:
    Something else to give thanks for, Bookie’s got a gun.
    But seriously, my favorite training technique for firearms is the old “Control yourself; control your weapon; control your target”mantra.  It’s worked well for me in real life and in real, real life.
    In regard to your pistol shooting, I still not fully sold of the two-handed grip that’s so popular these days. I see the advantage of better control of the weapon, but I also see the shooter presenting a larger target to the opposition and a disinclination to practice shooting with either hand and from behind cover.
    If I may be so bold, I would like to share my favorite pre-military firearm story:

    I grew up in the Bronx of the last ’50s and ’60s but was fortunate to be in a family that had a summer bungalow about 60 miles north in Putnam County. Thus, I had the benefit of both an urban culture and a country culture.
    Spending summers upstate, my friends were country boys, used to going into the woods, camping overnight, and having our days to ourselves with no threat of nearby adult supervision. 

Before long, I wanted to acquire the local accoutrements, guns and knives being my highest priorities.
    My city-girl mother wasn’t having any of it; my father, born in Ireland and a WWII graduate, quickly became my only chance for a successful acquisition. Initially, I separated him from his “war-knife” and subsequently began working on him for a 22 caliber rifle.

 When my mother found out that my father was having me join a gun club in preparation for my new tool, he and my mother had an intensive dinner time discussion about the appropriateness of a relative youngster having his own firearm.
    My mother insisted that this was no way to raise a child. My father’s conclusionary statement was “I’m not raising a child; I’m raising a man.”

     

  • Tiresias

    Perhaps a little odd.  Generally the long gun is an easier – and more accurate – time for a first-timer.

    You refer to the .357 as a revolver – was it?   Or was it a pistol?

  • Mike Devx

    Book says,
    > Gun control laws alone are probably not the direct cause of an increase in crime.  But how about this:  Is it possible that the same democratic societies that voluntarily enact gun control laws (as opposed to totalitarian dictatorships that disarm their citizenry for power purposes) are societies that have already broken down at other levels?

    Book, I believe you’ve basically hit the nail on the head.  Gun control laws imply a basic disrespect for the rights of the individual.  That is the level at which the society has already broken down.

    If a government – and its sheep citizenry – enact more and more gun control laws, then they have by fiat placed their lives more and more into the hands of the government.  That is the recipe for the breakdown of  a society.

    I would also add that while the gangs do in fact prey upon each other, and don’t care that each other are armed, they *also* prey upon the citizens of the communities as well.  They prefer that you be unarmed, for they wish to be your tyrannical lords.  An armed citizenry is not to their liking either.

  • Zhombre

    Awesome shooting, Book.   Stick with the revolver.   It’s all you need for self defense.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The gangs do care. They are not stupid and thus they utilize rational decision making process. The chances of them dying when their foes have guns are increased, so they would prefer their targets not have guns. To a certain point, they have to fight rival gangs or otherwise face a fate worse than death by gunshot. But if they are choosing targets for extortion or burglary, you bet they don’t want to get shot. That’s a choice to rob some place. But in gang warfare, they don’t have a choice about fighting. They either fight and kill, or sit and die.
     
     
    And congratulations on your first gun marksmanship experience, Book. Another thing to be thankful for because of Thanksgiving. Where your brother in law saves you from your own procrastination and uncertainties ; )
     
    Breathing is one of the most important skills to have in marksmanship. Being able to remain perfectly still lends great accuracy, conjoined with hand to eye coordination.
     

    The gun is magic, Book. But if the gun is magic, then what do we say of the human mind that conceived of it and built it? That is the source of all mortal threats: the human mind. Everything else is simply an extension of that original human weapon.
     
    Don’t feel bad about the rifle. Depending on various factors, they extended the range, by how much I don’t know, and combined with unfamiliarity and perhaps a non-fitting stock, will lead to point wavering. Once you get a comfortable stance, control your breathing like giving birth training; ), you’ll start improving by leaps and bounds.
     

    It’s natural for people that have been indoctrinated to think of guns as magic, as a magical talisman, to feel nervous handling it. The gun, after all, has been taught to you to be an end all and be all to human killing, containing intent, power, penetration, and rotation enough to destroy physical matter beyond the limits of human physical capability. It’s like superstition, Book. Witches. The ignorant villagers have to blame somebody and so when the dangerous witches come, they gotta burn out the witches. At a certain level, of course, they know that if the witches were so powerful as to curse livestock and kill unborn, that trying to fight these witches may be unwise. They know the witches aren’t as powerful as they accuse them of being. But it doesn’t mean they don’t feel uncomfortable, great fear, and shaking nervousness in the presence of accused witches. They may not believe witches have the control to use their power to harm their attackers, but they believe in magic, of a sort. And certainly they believed in the curse of the Devil, and in the protection of the Lord’s cleansing fires.
     
    Once you get used to the idea that you control the gun, not the other way around, you’ll lose much of your apprehension and finally unshackle yourself from Leftist indoctrination and social controls. This takes familiarization and training, however. Just keep at it.
     
    <B>In regard to your pistol shooting, I still not fully sold of the two-handed grip that’s so popular these days. I see the advantage of better control of the weapon, but I also see the shooter presenting a larger target to the opposition and a disinclination to practice shooting with either hand and from behind cover.</b>
     
     
    I believe that expert shooters are able to shoot from the hip, rapid action, and hit multiple targets at the extreme limit of a handgun. But that kind of talent and skill is pretty rare and I’ve only seen it once. For a beginner or those of small frame, the two handed grip/stance is pretty good I would say. Tactical training in the form of correct cover/concealment use and various other things are more normally used for police or tactical squads. For the average member of society, it’s usually enough to simply put the bullet into the target and wreck something.
     
    <B>I kept being worried that I’d manage to break my jaw with the recoil</b>
     
    Well, technically, you’d be in danger of breaking that fine collar bone of yours more than you would break your jaw because the gun hit you on its recoil action ; ) Not that this should you worry, of course!
     
     

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Also, who zeroed the rifle’s sights, Book? Depending on the shooter, each rifle has to be zeroed to the shooter’s unique stance, otherwise the sights and the bullet track is not exactly aligned.
    Although you never mention the name of the rifle… hehe.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I’ll tell a story, second hand account, of a SF guy I know by association. I’ve only spoken with him on internet audio, but even though there are a lot of fake SF/Seal claiming people, I believe this guy is legit given the consistency of his stories and particular segments of history that is not common knowledge.
     
     
    He was at Fort Hood, wearing his SFG patch or equivalent identification, and was at the bar on base. And a group of people were doing Eight balls, cocaine and alcohol I believe it was. So, naturally, one of em started getting out of control and the police were called in. Since this was back in the 80s, there were no tazers and the guy causing trouble was six feet nine, and the cops simply weren’t trained to deal with this. Their only option was to take their guns out of their holster and shoot the guy. Given that being their only option left, one of the officers saw my SF associate given his identification tabs, came over, and asked him if he could help take this guy down. In response, he said that he’d have to kill this guy because his training wasn’t to subdue people or take them alive. And the police responded that no, they didn’t want him dead, just subdued so they could take him away and lock him up (presumably for his own good).
     

    So the SF operator goes over the guy, who’s high on cocaine and his particular drug concoction, and kicks in the guy’s knee joint so that it’s bending backwards. The SF operator reported to me that he was kind of surprised, because normally someone receives that injury they just go down. But this giant of a guy high on cocaine, just reached down, snapped back his leg so that he could lean on it, and started going after the SF guy with fists. The SF then goes to attacking pressure points, which given the skill of a good soldier, good training, and hard conditioning, is enough to disable any normal person. But the guy’s size meant his pressure points were hard to get to, especially since pain wasn’t making him helpless. So the operator had to go for the carotid artery choke as a last resort, flying around like a monkey. The guy fell down like a sack of bricks eventually.
     
    This story is not fully understandable unless you pick up two things. The operator in question trained under Special Forces rules, which is sort of like no rules: if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying. It doesn’t matter whether you wish or do not wish to kill someone, if you are fighting him for real, you are going to do whatever you can and if that leads to death, then that leads to death. That’s how you win, and if you don’t want to win, you don’t have to try. You can let him do it to you.
     
    The second thing is: the brain is your ultimate target, not anything else. The brain is the source of the threat. You destroy the body of a person to prevent the brain access to physical tools. In most normal people, injury combined with pain will make them incapacitated or dead, depending on certain factors. But a guy high on weird drugs is not reacting with normal human reactions. He’s reacting under physical laws alone. The physical law says that a broken knee joint will not kill you. It will only prevent you from using that leg. If you choose to continue the fight, you can still fight with what you have left: arms, other leg, body, gun, knife, bomb, grenade, whatever. That choice is available to you. Whether you have the will, or the amphetamines, to make that choice, is up to the individual.
     

    If you understand these two things, you will understand also why it is critical to not play around, to get to the business at hand. Destroy your target and wreck either the brain or the physical tools connected to the brain. Because if you don’t do that, you are giving him the opportunity to do it to you. And you may not recover in time.
     
    But there’s no reason to be apprehensive just cause of the guy in the story. You’re the same way. True, you’re not high on drugs, but you are also given the choice. You can choose to let pain make you stop trying, or you can choose to keep fighting even though you got hit by something, somewhere. The same is true of you, that is true of your enemy. He’s not invulnerable just because he doesn’t feel pain. It may look like he’s invulnerable, but he’s not. He just can and will choose to fight, unless made incapable of fighting. That’s the difference between choice and inability. You can’t say you can’t do something, unless you try and fail.
     
    And the very importance of marksmanship is to accurately target the kinetic energy of chemical reactions to separate the brain from the body, destroying preferably the former, but if not, then the latter.

    If people are scared of guns because guns can kill, then they should be aware that human beings does not and NEVER HAS needed the gun to kill. People should correct the deficiency of their human history. It’s embarrassing, really.

  • Doug

    One practical point – if the loud noises bug you, there’s something called “double plugging”.  You put in earplugs and put the earmuffs on over those.  It works extra well if you have the electronic kind (you can turn them up so that you can still hear people through the plugs, but they cut out when a shot’s fired and it’s really very quiet.)  It’s much louder indoors so you should especially consider it in that case.

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  • Charles Martel

    Well, while all of you have been sitting around sipping your tea and politely discussing guns, I’ve been shivering, unable to get that photo of all those shots Book placed near the center of her target out of my mind—on her very first try!

    I live two miles from Book and we have a good relationship. But what happens if she gets mad at me one day?

  • http://lookingforlissa.wordpress.com lookingforlissa

    Oh, congrats, Book!  My husband and I are proud owners of two Sigs, which we have owned for about eight days at this point.
    I’m only 29.  In my lifetime, I’ve seen two complete societal breakdowns — Katrina in New Orleans, and LA in 1994.  If the next disaster is in Boston, I want the ability to defend myself and mine.
    If a regular circle-target gets boring, you can try one of my personalized fisher-cat targets!
    And my explanation of why I own guns is here.  If you find it interesting.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I spoke with a police officer in the Charlotte airport last weekend.  Among other conversational bits, he gruffly declared that the motto on police cars — Protect and serve – would more accurately be stated as We can’t protect you, but we’ll show up after the damage is done and try to avenge you.

    Hey, that’s similar to what i said, that the police come to clean up the body bags.

  • Mike Devx

    Ymar said:
    > Once you get used to the idea that you control the gun, not the other way around, you’ll lose much of your apprehension and finally unshackle yourself from Leftist indoctrination and social controls. This takes familiarization and training, however. Just keep at it.

    A subtle and powerful point, I think.  Leftists have elevated “The Gun” to a magical and fetishistic totem.  It is a fearsome thing, existing in and of itself, and for itself.  It possesses its owners.  It is an evil thing.

    Just remember that it is a tool.  As Ymar said, you control it, not the other way around.  It’s a tool, just like a hammer, a toaster, a broom, or a vacuum cleaner, is a tool.  A gun is a dangerous tool, true, but that only means that you have a responsibility to LEARN how to use it correctly, if you intend to keep one around and use it.  As Book is now doing.  Congratulations!

    Would you leave a circular saw laying on the floor plugged in with an infant crawling around nearby?  A five year old sitting in the driver seat of your car with the engine running while you ran into Wal-Mart for 20 minutes of shopping?  Respect for the tool helps.  As does common sense.

  • Gringo

    While my position on gun control tends towards the right (if guns are illegal only criminals will have guns),  I  have a personal aversion/ avoidance towards using guns myself, the result of a childhood friend being killed in a gun accident with his older brother.
     
    (At least one lesson: adults should closely supervise and train children in gun use. The father of the deceased was himself somewhat careless in gun use, apparently needing some instruction himself. In a dinner with a childhood friend this year, she mentioned that one time her father had chewed out the aforementioned father of the deceased for hunting and firing a gun where he should not have done so. Even when one lives in the country, surrounded by woods, one does not take kindly to having a bullet fly over one’s head when in one’s front yard.)
     

    Charles Martel:
    I live two miles from Book and we have a good relationship. But what happens if she gets mad at me one day?
     
    Dunno Charles, maybe she might turn into a Pistol Packin’ Mama. As done by Al Dexter in 1943:
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2my6C_yIOXc better sound but no visuals
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOEJTMNXt8s&feature=related good visuals, scratchy harsh sound
     

  • http://connectthedots2006.blogspot.com ConnectTheDots

    Congrats, Book, on two counts: on actually firing a gun (quite successfully, I might add) and on overcoming your liberal aversion to firearms. I disagree with your discussion on crime vs. gun control. I have seen studies (can’t lay my hand on one right at the moment) that show an armed society is a safe society. Do you think the LA gangs could have gained a stronghold if the citizenry had been armed and trained to protect themselves? They would just go elsewhere (which is why they’re in LA, Chicago, NYC, Detroit etc.).

    Of course, with gun ownership comes great responsibility. Most of the gun owners I know, myself included, keep their firearms locked (but nearby for quick access) and practice safe handling procedures. When we’re in the hunting cabin, we unload before we go into the cabin, for example.

    I do agree with the control of gun ownership indicating the beginning of the end for modern society. I believe there is a direct correlation between gun ownership and personal responsibility. If the nanny state is going to provide everything for you (food and ‘safety’ in particular), why would you need a gun?

  • Danny Lemieux

    Just had a conversation with a nice young lady from Singapore last night. She intoned that she did not believe that any citizen should have the right to own guns (they are banned in Singapore). Conversation went something like this:
     
    1) Do you believe that you have the right to defend yourself? (she agreed)
    2) If only criminals have weapons, how can you defend yourself?
    3) If you believe that you have the right, then how can a government deny you that right, unless you are a subject or ward of that government (i.e., unless they “own” you).
    4) Even if you have a benevolent government (Singapore is a benevolent dictatorship), how can you guarantee that this will be the case tomorrow?
    5) Even the police cannot protect you, they can only come after the fact. So, who protects you before the police get there?
    6) Is it fair, just or moral to ask a policeman to take a bullet for you? After all, they have families too.
    I heard nary a word of disagreement.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Even if you discard the personal liberty or public safety side of things, you still have the argument of the Great Game.
     
    The Great Game is what nations and civilizations play around with, and should they fail, their people and their culture will disappear unto dust. Look up Zoroastrianism in Persia for an example. The Arabs came and the Arabs were more unified and vital than the rulers of Persia, weakened by their internal strife, power plays, and eternal enmity with Constantinople. Guess what happened when the Arabs tried to conquer Persia. And guess what happened to Constantinople, sitting and watching in glee as their ancient enemies, the Medes, were taken out by the barbarians.
     
     
    The Great Game, which determines the end fate of all civilizations and nations.  If you want your country to lose, you will simply be conquered and at the mercy of a new, more vital, more populous and militarily/economically strong rival. This is the law of nature. And no law of man can perpetually keep this reality at bay. We can create Golden Ages where the rule of law prevents such preying upon the weak, the destruction of all for the sin of not being mighty enough to defeat all enemies, internal and external. But Golden Ages do not last forever.
     
    When barbarians are at the gates, the chance of a peaceful, prosperous, civilization to win and survive is directly dependent upon the citizens of the nation being willing and able to fight. In human history, many were willing to fight, but few were professional warriors so their willingness to win did not overcome the physical reality of the bullet or the arrow. We do not accomplish things through magical wishes. We get them done with wisdom and deed. And for those nations that had hired mercenaries to fight for them, that didn’t have a class of citizens eager to defend their nation, will suffer the fate of Carthage. Even if a nation of money grubbers like Carthage had an effective field army, their politicians, due to the political system of not cherishing martial virtues, will attempt to extort, exploit, weaken, sabotage, and play politics with that army. Ultimately ending in the destruction of those politicians and their way of living.
     

    If peace and prosperity is valuable, it is only made into reality by a consistent, stable, political system. Anything that threatens that system is a mortal danger to any civilization. The Left always speaks of internal enemies of the state being the end all and be all bogey men of the American way of life. Conservatives, with their appreciation of history, tend to look outwards. But when one political faction sees their neighbors as mortal enemies and evil threats, while the other political faction believes external enemies are mortal enemies and evil threats, you have an imbalance.
     
    The civil wars of Persia led to their destruction at the hands of the Arabs. The civil war of the Roman Empire paved the way for the Emperors Caligula and Nero, which started finishing the destruction of the once great Roman Republic. More and more, the political influence of Rome led to the decadence and immorality of basic Roman virtues of stoicism and honor and courage. While the legions fought at the outer limits of Roman territory for the safety of all, the Senators and arse kissers of Rome looted the treasury for their personal parties and sexual entertainments.
     
    You want your citizens armed and able to defend themselves. In human history, this was an ideal but never attempted because it was politically contradictory. To a king, arming anyone that felt like it was a recipe for disaster, civil war, and revolutions. In the advanced political experiment of the United States of America, finally we have a system which aligns the interests of the people with the interests of the nation, without any inconsistent contradictions, fears, ancient hatreds or atavistic instincts interfering.
     
    Always before, the total military power of a nation was limited by class, by money, by land, by citizenship vs slavery, by the fear of kings and tyrants, by the loyalties of feudalism and the top down command structure of Absolute Monarchy, but now comes a nation that rests the basic military power of a nation upon the single individual. This isn’t special or new, in the abstract sense. Monarchies and nobilities of ages gone have always preferred to place power in the hands of a worthy few, the special individual, and so forth. So let’s look at something from ancient times: The Circle of Justice.
     
    There is no authority (sulÔān) without men,
    and there are no men (rijāl) without money,
    and there is no money without cultivation (‘imāra),
    and there is no cultivation without justice and good governance
    (

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Weird symbol cut off the parsing.
     
     
    -Attributed to Ardashīr
    “Justice here (according to these sayings) must mean not only equality before the law or
    adherence to it, but whatever else is necessary to ensure the prosperity of agrarian
    society, such as protection, stable administration, a working infrastructure, or provision
    for peasant subsistence. The ruler who wished to govern securely had to provide this sort
    of broad-based ‘justice’ to the cultivators, who in turn provided taxes to the treasury, in
    order that soldiers (‘men’) might be paid to protect the realm, put down unrest, enforce
    the ruler’s decisions, and refrain from preying on those under their protection. There is
    even a sense in which justice could generate prosperity not only by making it easier for
    agriculturalists to be productive, but also by ensuring divine benevolence and the
    provision of rain.” -Linda Darling Pdf source

    In times before, stability was achieved through divine power conferred upon a dynasty, that dynasty maintained through the collection of taxes, the raising of an army, and the separation of society into different classes each with their own duties and privileges. Given human nature, this naturally put the classes with more martial power at the top, compared to the farmers and craftsmen who devoted their lives to creating rather than destroying. This always created an imbalance, and even though this justice was the ideal, it was almost never achieved in reality.
    Until the United States. Justice can be accomplished by individuals, but never has it been achieved over a stable period under a consistent style of government. Always before, prosperity and golden ages came because of an enlightened ruler or some stroke of prosperous luck, but never consistently, ruler after ruler, without fear of upheaval or revolution. Even the US’ Civil War strengthened the bonds that bind, rather than diminishing the nation as it would have done to any other nation in human history.
    The secret of this strength is true justice, based upon the foundation of true liberty for all men and women. Instead of the kings holding such power to order society, now each individual is his own king, her own queen. Thus when we bind ourselves to the US Constitution through our oaths of loyalty, we are not swearing to obey a mortal king or a mortal dynasty. We do not swear to defend the flaws of human beings nor do we swear to kill the enemies of those corrupt men and women in DC. Instead, we recognize that it was God that gave free will and thus human rights to humanity, and what God has given, no mortal may take away. In ancient times, it was the King that had Divine Inspiration and Favor. Whatever he did, could not be questioned for to do so would be to encroach upon the power and dignity of the King, resulting in Lesse Majesty (a capital offense). Because you are not just insulting a mortal, but insulting God. That made the throne a very favorable reward to be taken by force by greedy and ambitious men and women, who cared nothing for the stability, security, and prosperity of the farmers and workers: you know, the people made the country work in the first place and filled the treasuries to buy up the military arms and aristocratic parties.
    The American foundation is much stronger than the socialist and elitist aristocracy of the Left, or the Marxist class warfare and party apparatchiks of the Soviets, or the Divine Kings and Queens of Ancient Times. By distributing the power to the people and making each and every one of them into what was once called nobility, you have eliminated much of the class and social divisions that divided a society and had prevented true justice from being achieved. Equality before the law does not exist until equality of classes is created. And equality of classes cannot be created until the equality of human rights are recognized and protected. But, historically, this wasn’t feasible. Each specific individual in a human civilization COULD NOT defend themselves against professional armies or armed robbers even. They did not have the firearms, so they lacked training and physical fitness, as well as the intent to kill and loot.
    But we do have the firearm. We have the great equalizer. The one thing that allowed men and women to be able to compete on a level playing field, forever rendering the restrictions of muscle power, which elevated men over women, obsolete. Biologically, the playing field hasn’t been leveled, but that may be something future generations will tackle.
    The gun, contrary to popular opinion, is not the cause of war, but rather the end of many wars and the creation of an opportunity for fairly long term peace and unity. Always before, people in positions of power had to rule over peasants that couldn’t adequately defend themselves (because training in an army means the crops aren’t being planted or harvested). So the rulers always had to have a huge military budget, or get conquered by external enemies. They weren’t given much of a choice, even if we assumed they were actually honest rulers (in the sense that they don’t tax the people and tell them the money is going into security when it is going into the pockets of the royal family and friends). This ended up creating a division between rulers (nobility and the military) and those paying the taxes that support the top (farmers and workers and artisans). Given human nature, I hope I don’t have to tell you what eventually happened given this imbalance.
    Now, a government need not fear the people arming themselves, because the people will now arm themselves, not to rebel, but to defend the land as loyal equals, not superiors or inferiors, all bound by a common interest to defend the land and each other’s rights. Now a people need not fear the government, for the government no longer need have a huge military overseeing security and domestic tranquility (that oftentimes simply looted the country side and set up military juntas). By removing the NEED for this tension, rule of the people by the people could be instituted.
    And that is how the rule of the people by the people will be destroyed. By making the government desire to control the people, pay them off with bribes or extort more taxes for military/domestic spending, bankrupting families and making them wards of the state. Now people fear for their rights, prosperity, property, and lives. Now they will stock up arms and prepare to defend against the government as a mortal enemy, which will then be used as justification for military spending and occupation on the part of the government’s ambitious men and women.
    You see, technology has changed and inevitably given us a way to get rid of slavery and still make a profit, in addition to other practices that negatively impacted human liberty in favor of more positive and efficient practices. But human nature has not changed. People will still try to destroy what they cannot have and what they should not. They will continue to envy what they are too stupid or weak to achieve. And they will continue to hate those that climb higher than they ever could dream of (like crabs in a bucket not needing a lid). Which is why, in the end, if people wish to see the United States of America continue to grow and learn, they must first improve themselves. From that, all else follows.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Forgot to add double lines because the stupid parser doesn’t read single line spaces as single line spaces, sort of like how Obama can’t tell the truth without telling a lie to go with it.
     
    The paragraph format is correct on my blog link, however.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    that show an armed society is a safe society.
     
    Technically, that’s only true if there is a rule of law, rather than a rule of Obama or junta or Afrikan Way or Sharia, present in the civilization at large. But I get your point.
     
    It is just that the Left thinks of an armed society much like a war camp or trench lines.  They see the Palestinian situation and they see LA gangs and they think “these unfortunate people need the grace, excellence, intelligence, wealth, and power of the true enlightened class of aristocrats… us”. Of course, those precious nobles created the LA gangs and the Palestinian situation, or at least funded their creation.
     

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I love Hollywood and Leftist hypocrites that nag us about our guns killing people here in the US, when they are perfectly eager and willinger to get multiple organisms sending money to Palestinians and Muslim terrorists to kill Americans and Jews using guns and weapons bought by the Left’s money.
     
    I like the Left’s hypocrisy. Only such extreme violations of common human decency would warrant the ultimate merciless and ruthless response, and still be in line with justice.
     
     
     

  • Berkeley Hillbilly

    Good shootin’, Book!

  • Danny Lemieux

    Just curious, Book. How has Mr. Book reacted to your newfound warrior-woman skills. Proud, intimidated, fearful, curious? How about your kids? Do they want to shoot, too? Also, your B-in-laws…from your side or his side?

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    Nice shoot’n tex!

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Re your questions, Danny (#27):  My husband has been dismissive and my kids proud.  My son has wanted to get his hands on a gun since he was 2.  We have promised him a youth gun safety and training class when he is 12.  He thought that was too long a wait but, when he actually got his hands on my brother-in-law’s unloaded revolver, he was very intimidated, and realized we had a point.  As it is, he is the itchiest, twitchiest, wiggliest little boy in the world, and I wouldn’t put him near a gun until he’s mellowed out a little.

    As for the in-laws, the one who told me 30 years ago that Nazis took away guns, that’s my sister’s husband.  The other brother-in-laws are, respectively, my husband’s brother, and the husband of my husband’s sister.  In other words, both of the latter in-laws belong on my husband’s side of the family.  As I’ve mentioned before, that whole family, but for my husband himself, has become staunchly libertarian/conservative.

  • Oldflyer

    Your mentor started you out with some heavy artillery.  Nice shooting.
    The gun issue in our society is pretty simple.  More frequently than we would wish, we read about a home invasion in the local area.  Too frequently they result in assault, rape or murder.   I am talking suburbs, not inner city.  I live in the exurbs/rural..  If I were able to call 911; and the operator was competent  and dispatched the nearest patrol car (I never see one in my immediate area), I could be dead before they could reach me.  We do not have police protection in this society.  Maybe we never did, but certainly not now.
    We did not have a gun in the house for about 30 years, though I grew up with them.  But, when my wife was at home alone a great deal she decided she wanted one.  Now she has a cute little, mostly worthless revolver and a simple rifle that will shoot a number of times in a short time frame.  I have a more serious revolver.  I have thought of acquiring a “home protection” shotgun.
    I sleep better with my revolver within reach.  I am  comfortable driving with it within reach.  I do not carry it on my person, though I do have a permit to do so.  I am comfortable knowing that I could if I felt the need.
    Besides, shooting is really a pretty satisfying activity.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    We have promised him a youth gun safety and training class when he is 12.
     
    Get him a BB gun. One of those red Ryder thingies. I’ve heard that the shooting mechanisms are exactly the same, except, obviously, there’s more bullet drop.
     

  • Doug

    A Ryder BB gun?  Are you crazy?  You can shoot your eye out with one of those things.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    He thought that was too long a wait but, when he actually got his hands on my brother-in-law’s unloaded revolver, he was very intimidated,
     
    He’ll be more intimidated once you blow up a watermelon and tell him that’s what should happen to somebody’s head.
     
    This is to eliminate the wonder and curiosity factor. Any skill, under intense training, should start becoming very boring and predictable. It’s when things are new that people get nervous and start forgetting what they shouldn’t forget. And the curiosity of kids are more dangerous than other kinds in this situation, because their instincts tell them that self-preservation will be furthered by finding more about the world but parents think they can hide kids behind a bubble forever. Neither is completely true. You learn too much about the world before you’re ready and you can die due to lack of preparation. At the same time, nobody knows what will happen so keeping people in a bubble doesn’t do them any good because you won’t always be by their side telling them what to do or what not to do.
     
    Human preservation is much better through distributed individual successes rather than central control, but human society is ordered through a hierarchy so we still operate under the principles of a hierarchy.

  • Danny Lemieux

    So, Book…is Mr. Book’s real problem that he is the last, living fossil of Liberalism in your family? Maybe it’s his way of declaring his independence. Doesn’t he wonder why so many close to him disagree with him?
    Just FYI, one of my own b-in-laws is the same way…my wife’s oldest sibling. Typically Liberal, he brags that he doesn’t have to listen to other people’s opinions because he himself has figured out how the world works. Typically Liberal, he will also tell you in the same self-delusional breath that he is a true “intellectual”.
    Regarding your first target, it’s impressive enough that you may want to inscribe “0.357 Magnum” across the top in large block letters and keep it to post in your front window should your neighborhood ever suffer a spate of robberies or home break-ins.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Sure, Danny, his independence from reality.

  • http://gregorys-rantsite.blogspot.com gkong3

    Danny: You have to understand, our neighbours (I’m from Malaysia) and we have a different understanding on the role of ‘guns’.
    You see, we pay lip service to the fiction that if we can restrict guns to the ‘right’ people (i.e. police and security forces), that makes life safer for everyone else – because your common hoodlum can’t get them either, see? Of course, your common hoodlum will simply hold a knife to your throat, but let’s not talk about that…
    Strictly speaking, Malaysia does not ‘ban’ guns (but the present condition of gun ownership in Malaysia should serve as a sobering reminder to 2nd Amendment proponents what gun control could look like). Rather, the government licences them. If you can demonstrate that you need firearms for work-related purposes, or because there is a current, constant, credible threat to your bodily safety, then you will get the licences. You will also get ‘grandfathered’ licences, and if you are in East Malaysia (or the more remote areas of West Malaysia), hunting licences.
    In other words, the only people who can apply for gun licences with any real hope of getting them are ex-mil or ex-cop, security forces, sundry law enforcement people (judges etc) and the ‘elite’ (politicians, tycoons, royalty etc), and hunters.
    There are in fact Malaysian gun shops – and some of them even have Web presences.
    The Malaysian government does see its people as cattle to be milked of votes every 5 years, though.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I am eagerly awaiting your second experience, Book ; )
     
    You must know that you have our very best regards and encouragement in this aspect.

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