And then I get this e-mail:
I'd just like to say, 'Thank you for your writing.' I'm a long time lurker; without the gun blogosphere, I wouldn't have a permit, any experience with guns, or finally a gun of my own. Although I have always been a firm believer in the Constitution; the 2nd Amendment was an abstract, a piece of rational, political philosophy that I agreed with in a disinterested way without personal investment. It was only over a number of years, and severe annoyance about being completely defenceless while living in cities outside of the US, that I began to pay any attention to it. (Though I had a long aesthetic appreciation of weaponry of all types) When I moved back to the US, I was ambivalent about it but felt that the only responsible thing to do was to learn more. I duly went through the permit process because I felt that as I could, I should, otherwise how could I honestly decide who had the right of the debate? (This was just after the Heller case went to the Supreme Court)
The first time I touched a gun was during that training session. I've had my permit since 2009, I can't say I've had the occasion to shoot much, a few revolvers and rifles chambered in .22LR is about it. But I can say that I was hooked from the first time, which is saying something, I don't hook easily! Following a summer of annoyance caused by groundhogs, a generous birthday/Christmas present, your blog post about .22LR rifles a week or so ago, and irritation over this latest political nonsense; I finally own a gun. A very nice (in my uneducated opinion) lever action .22 rifle. I'd have been shooting it all day, if my hands hadn't gotten cold. That rifle will probably only ever kill paper targets, but I think it will get a lot of those!
So thanks for your writing. This over-educated (Ph.D. in history), young, female, east coast native is a supporter of the 2nd Amendment.
I confirmed with Acair, it's a Henry lever action rifle, one of the most consummate American brands out there. And it's in her hands - in some small part - because of a post I wrote. That's humbling.
The forces aligning against those of us who love freedom - especially as defended by the Second Amendment - would have you believe that all gun owners are white male inbred rednecks who want to keep women barefoot and pregnant (and hate minorities) while compensating for their inadequate sexual organs. I'm sure I've missed a derogatory stereotype or three - while they praise "diversity" as an abstract concept, they simply cannot abide it in practice, at least when it comes to groups they don't like.
Acair is one of the last demographics the gun-grabbers would ever consider as a gun owner. Female. Advanced degree. East coast denizen. That's not a cousin-humpin', NASCAR-followin', chaw-spittin' good ol' boy! That's... suspiciously like one of them! How on earth could she be seduced by the evil allure of a firearm? She's supposed to know better!
Well, she does know better. She recognizes that - in the abstract - firearms represent freedom. Our Second Amendment recognizes that all men wish to be free - and that the best way to keep men free is for them to be armed. "An armed man is a citizen. A disarmed man is a subject" - truer words have never been spoken. Once a government stops recognizing the right of her citizens to keep and bear arms, they become subjects quickly.
When the people cannot be trusted with the best tools for keeping themselves safe and their country free, tyranny always follows. It's not always the fascist tyranny associated with Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany; sometimes it's the soft tyranny of the nanny state that dictates what lightbulbs you can and can't buy or the amount of water your toilet can use.
In a more concrete way, though, Acair has learned the dirty little secret of all gun owners: guns are fun. Read that sentence again: "But I can say that I was hooked from the first time, which is saying something, I don't hook easily!" Shooting *is* fun; shooting stuff is fun; the people you go shooting with are fun. I don't think I've ever gone to the range and come away in a worse mood that which I started.
This is how we win: one convert at a time. One new shooter at a time realizing just how enjoyable it is to punch holes in paper, or bust orange clays on a berm, or make metal cans dance around a dusty field. Guns are not scary, they are not evil, they have no mind of their own - it is solely the intent of the person wielding the gun that determines the outcome. When you stop viewing the gun as an evil totem and start seeing it for the simple machine that it is, that is the first step towards enlightenment.
Thanks for writing, Acair, and if you ever want to shoot more than .22s let me know!
That is all.