This is a gear-related web site, devoted to helping other thrifty tacticians find deals on the gear they need or want. I refrain as much as possible from bringing politics or my personal views onto the site. However, with current events in mind, I feel it pertinent to share my stance on freedom, liberty, and patriotism.
I posted the following letter last week on my personal page. You see, I wasn’t always a cop. I spent the first half of my professional career teaching English at the collegiate level. (Yes, I have English degrees in addition to my CJ degree. Yes, it’s weird.) Spending so many years in higher education provided countless benefits to my transition to law enforcement: removing my naive closed-mindedness; exposing me to other cultures and backgrounds; expanding my knowledge of social movements, beliefs, and subcultures; and providing me the time to study the writings and teachings of countless brilliant thinkers. As you might imagine, many of my fellow students and instructors were politically liberal, and they often supported as many civil rights movements and causes as you could imagine. I agreed with them more times than not. However, I now realize that we differ on a few critical points:
Dear Facebook friends,
Many of us stand side-by-side when we speak of equality, fairness, due process, free speech, religious freedom. We champion the same causes and fight for high ideals. However, when it comes to my right to bear arms, the majority of you abandon me. Many of you hide, remain silent. Others of you, indeed, become the very persons attacking my gun rights.
It amazes me that you ridicule closed-mindedness, fear, even hate and bigotry, when we speak of marriage equality or censorship, but many of you display similar hate, fear, and closed-mindedness when it comes to my right to own firearms. You’ll say gay marriage won’t kill anyone, my gun is too dangerous. But those against gay marriage say it will kill the sanctity of traditional marriage, that it’s dangerous to the fabric of our society. True, guns can cause physical death, rather than the death of an ideal. I guess that’s how you rationalize your behavior. Guns ARE dangerous—that’s why I own them. I don’t hunt. I don’t compete in shooting competitions. Their threat of deadly force is what I use to stop others from harming me or anyone else.
I am not conservative. I am not liberal. I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I am not gay. I am not religious in any sense of the word. But I would die if necessary to defend your right to be. I would die if necessary to defend my right NOT to be.
Finally, I have come to the conclusion that I am a Patriot. Not in the ethnocentric, xenophobic I-hate-everyone-else sense of the term. Not in the I-love-the-government-and-its-politicians sense. I am a Patriot because I believe in liberty and freedom, not just for those people who share my beliefs or ideas, but for everyone—just like it’s written in the Constitution. True, many of my fellow Second Amendment supporters prove themselves closed-minded or hateful when discussing other issues, such as gay marriage, abortion, immigration. I could go on. Unlike them, and many of you, I will defend EVERYONE’S liberties, whether I agree with them or not. The Constitution and its amendments guarantee us all certain, inalienable rights—I took an oath to defend these rights. Not because of the shiny badge I got to wear, nor the money the department would pay me, nor the benefits the city offered. I swore that oath because it was right. Because I believe in it. Because the government proposed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights can be the greatest ever created.
You might actually succeed in regulating my right to bear arms as if it were a privilege. You might even amend the Constitution to completely remove the right to bear arms. But know that I will STILL defend your rights, even giving my life if necessary. If it comes to such an extreme, I just won’t be prepared for the fight.
To poorly paraphrase Tolkien—and reveal my English teacher roots—I do not love the flat-black rifle with its 30-round magazine for its effectiveness, nor the copper-colored hollow-point it fires for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.
And defend it I will.