I walked into the grocery store this morning and the mood there was vastly different than it was just a week ago. This is a time right in the middle of protests against police officers, days after 5 police officers were shot by a Black Lives Matter member, days after what appears to be an overzealous police officer shot and killed a complying concealed carry holder in Minnesota, and days after a career felon in Louisiana fought with police and was shot and killed by them. Once inside the grocery store I purposely made eye contact with most everyone I encountered. I noticed many uneasy glances, tension, and people avoiding eye contact. This is in my neighborhood. This is where I live. This is where my family lives.
I continue to watch America pull itself apart as the president rejoices in his successful efforts to do just that. I see smart people and stupid people acting stupidly. I see racists getting the chance to be openly racist without being condemned. I see a national community on edge. Among this community on edge we find ourselves – responsible, law-abiding gun owners and carriers.
As responsible gun owners, we cannot follow the president’s lead or any other self-proclaimed leader when they say that we should all “rise above” when they themselves only sink farther into the poisonous atmosphere they encourage. We cannot allow them to excite or enrage us because we are different – dare I say better – than they are. We are ARMED. The fact that we have already taken it upon ourselves to be armed for ours and our families’ safety is exactly why we cannot risk that right to be taken away from us by being baited into doing something stupid with our firearms. Most of us accept that we may need to protect our neighbors in our community at some point and that cannot change. We cannot become overly bitter and change our frame of mind from being our brother’s protector to being a threat to our brothers.
I realize that what I describe is not an easy task. I for one cannot help to bury my face in my hands when I hear the president and others on the left say that we need to “have an honest conversation” when they themselves avoid that like room temperature Chinese food. We have to realize that the president and the left are not reasonable people and will never be honest about any topic without circling back around to demonize guns. That is a conscious effort by them. They exploit every headline and attempt to make it a gun issue. There is no doubt in my mind that when they heard of the Dallas shooting that they hoped is was a racist gun owner shooting at the protestors. It was, in fact, a racist gun owner, but not the kind they’d hoped for.
We honest, law-abiding gun owners absolutely cannot be baited or coaxed into doing something stupid with our own firearms. I for one will stand by and watch our president, the left, and racists on both sides jibber jabber back and forth with narrow minded racist taunts and digs. But I try to rise above it. Because the gun on my side is the greatest equalizer in the world. With it comes great responsibility that I accept. I will still protect my neighbor and brother even if they spout racist comments at me or others. Because I am the better person and I know that petty, shallow words are nothing compared to the true value of a human life. But I should also warn those that may attempt to resort to violence that may threaten my life, my family’s life, and those of my neighbors and brothers that I will also not run from my responsibility to defend this group of people. I will stand my ground with a degree of determination and fervor that you have never witnessed before.
Do not confuse my calmness with fear.