A number of years ago my daughter needed to attend a Hunter Safety Class. Being the proud dad of, at the time, a seven-year-old precocious suburbanite little girl, I dutifully hauled her out to our local range where they were conducting the class. This was my third time sitting through this. The first had happened 20 years ago when I went through the program. Then again, when my older daughter, Carolyn, was about nine, and now it was Chaney’s turn. Sort of like a state-sponsored “right of passage,” if you will.
What struck me this time was a casual statement the instructor made to the class.
“You have a responsibility to the 20 not to turn the 60 against us.”
What he meant by this little missive was a rudimentary study in political demographics. Twenty percent of the population is pro-hunting. They understand the benefits of hunting, both to themselves, as well as game populations. They may have unique personal agendas… from cultural, to spiritual as to why they hunt, but collectively they form a voting block that will never support legislation that would limit a hunter’s right to pursue game.
Then there is the other 20 percent. These guys are completely antagonistic to hunting. They see no benefit to going afield, and consider hunting and hunters barbaric. While they may consider themselves reasonable, logical individuals, they have little regard for science or logic when it comes to this. To them, hunting is not morally ambiguous, it is evil and, therefore, their crusade against hunting is inherently righteous. The fact that it is grounded in emotion, rather than logic, is of little consequence.
These two groups essentially cancel out each other when it comes to voting. To be sure, full participation in an election is required of each, lest the other one gain a numerical advantage to the apathy of the other side… but for the most part, there is a static balance between the two.
Then there are the 60 percent that lie between. These are the voters that can be swayed to either side from election to election. It is these 60 percent that hold the future in their hands. The mission of both enemy camps is to shore up their own base, and then to persuade the 60 to vote for their cause.
This persuasive argument comes in two forms: Appealing to the logic of the 60… and pointing out the bad behavior and egregious acts of the opposing 20. If the other side acts unreasonably, then the 60 will logically gravitate towards the opposing 20, regardless of the merits of their overall argument. After all… who wants to associate or defend the egregious behavior of others?
This is where we are now when it comes to firearms rights.
The debate is not just about the logical right of a CCW holder to defend children in schools, or the inherent right of individuals to exercise their Second Amendment rights by buying the weapon of their choice… this has become an existential threat to the Constitution itself. For once the Second has been repealed or neutered to such a degree that it becomes ineffectual…there is nothing that prevents the tyrant from moving on to the First, the Fourth, or the Fifth. (Yes, Cosmo…even the Third could be repealed!)
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This brings up something that I have been observing for quite some time when we go to the range for our live-fire shoots.
One of the things that we, as shooters,… (not just CCW holders, who are a special group which requires a unique set of standards)… need to understand is that we are literally on stage, all the time.
The 20 percent who find the idea of firearm ownership abhorrent is in a continual battle with us, and the prize is the hearts and minds of the 60.
It isn’t supposed to be this way.
The Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights, is a document that is specifically designed to protect the minority from the majority. If the majority of voters thinks that a specific race of people should not be afforded the right to vote, or engage in economic activity, or speak, or enjoy the right to counsel, their efforts to impose their will on this minority are stymied by the very document that empowers the majority to vote in the first place. The Constitution is the ultimate protector of “minority rights”… and with that comes a predictable body politic. When predictability occurs, trust is generated. Trust is not necessarily altruistic. It is just a reasonable interpretation of what will logically occur given a set of actions. Since there is trust in the polity, there can be a measure of risk incurred. Risk may take the form of voting, risk may take the form of signing a contract for employment, or the lending of money. Since the rights of the minority are sacred and protected by our core document, we can make measured decisions and rely on predictable outcomes. When we become totally dependent on the will of the masses, when the rights of the minority exist temporally based exclusively on the whims of the majority… there is no predictability and our society, our economy, both cease to exist.
The truly scary part is that we now have a clarion call to repeal or ignore sections of the Constitution for the singular benefit of the 20 that find the idea of personal firearm ownership, and use of firearms, antiquated at best… antisocial at worst. They are prepared to destroy the foundations of our Republic in order to achieve the emotive goal.
And some of us have aided them.
There are evil individuals who have taken up arms against their fellow citizens and students. They are the friends of the anti-gunners.
Whether their motivation was political, retributive, religious… or just because they are insane, makes little difference. The beneficiaries of their actions are those antagonistic to the Second.
Just as Daniel Boone, Davy Crocket, Annie Oakley, Audie Murphy, and Chris Kyle serve as models and inspiration for our side of the pro-2A 20 percent… so do the monsters at Columbine, at the Pulse Night Club, Aurora, and now a school in Florida serve as evil icons for the antis.
That leaves the question of where do you stand?
I told our CCW class this last weekend that things have changed. When you are at the range and you are training, what do you look like?
Think about that question for a second.
What do you look like?
Are you polished? Are your weapon manipulations honed? Do you look terrified to be holding a gun? Do you look ridiculous holding a gun? Are you following range rules as though they were inspired by Divine Providence? Are you polite? Are you competent?
Here is the big question…. If you could look at yourself in the third person and watch your actions, your attention to safety, your marksmanship, your skill sets… would you be comfortable allowing someone that looks and acts like you being the guardian of the Thin Red, White and Blue line that exists between your child and oblivion?
The 20 percent that would seek to empower the tyrants by disarming the citizens are clear in their message to the 60…”The other 20 cannot be trusted!”
What do we show them when we are at the range?
Do we show them, and all who watch, the sheer fallacy of the message… or do we confirm it?
You must assume, at any moment there is a news crew from the legacy media at the range videotaping and hoping for a disaster. If not a news crew, then a kid with a cell phone will do just fine.
“You say that teachers who have CCWs should be allowed to carry on campus… Well, let’s just show you and the audience this video footage of CCW holders training at the range. This was filmed last Sunday… Bob… roll the tape.”
25 million people are now treated to the spectacle of civilians imitating the Keystone Cops, and one having a negligent discharge into the ground.
You think that might have an effect on the 60?
Second Amendment supporters are a massively egalitarian bunch. We are also, contrary to the other 20 percent, the most inviting. We yearn to bring more into our community. We are successful, too… which makes the antis that much more nervous.
Check yourself. Be active, train constantly, train consistently, and train with purpose… but always know that, while you are training, you are being watched. We are not just in a fight for the hearts and minds of the 60 percent… we are potentially seeing an existential threat to our Republic. With the highest standard of professionalism, patriotism, and dedication, recognize our new reality, and act accordingly.