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My Thoughts On The Las Vegas Tragedy, And Our Civil Rights

My heart goes out to my friends who were affected by the tragedy in Las Vegas this past Sunday...

These past few days, we have joined together in sadness, shock, and grief as we mourn the loss of over 50 people during the tragedy in Las Vegas on Sunday night at the Route 91 Festival during Jason Aldean’s concert. I had the sincere pleasure of living and working out there for a year, and met many amazing people, most of whom I’m still friends with today. Thankfully, they are all OK, but each was affected by this act of pure evil. I stand solidly today with them as they work to assess the situation and go on with their lives. My best wishes also to the first responders and local, state, and national law enforcement agencies who are no doubt working hard to find the correct answers as to the motives of this unhinged maniac. I know the answers will not come easy, but when they do, I hope they shine meaning into the darkness.

Typically, in the wake of any tragedy, I’ve always waited a day or two before offering my commentary to the internet. Mainly since reasoned debate get shut down by shouting, and also no one is really listening. I think Active Self Protection’s John Correia has put it best with his 72 hour rule regarding commentary on these issues. It gives everyone time to breathe, process things, and more importatly, it lets those best tasked with discovering answers the time to get a good start on their grim task, and not be bothered by the armchair quarterbacking of people pecking away on Facebook all day.

That being said, the responses thus far have been what you’d expect. Us on the Second Amendment side have begun our impassioned defense of the right, and those against the Second Amendment have dusted off their usual tropes, tweeting about “assault weapons” and banning all the things. Too easily, people on both sides have already forgotten that real people have died, and name calling and the usual round of nonsense accomplishes nothing.

It’s a free speech thing, too

If you or someone you know was personally affected by the tragedy in Las Vegas, you have my deepest and sincerest condolences. I know in times like this, saying “thoughts and prayers” is considered contrite by some people, but from afar, aside from monetary and maybe blood donations, it’s about all someone can do. I wouldn’t malign it, if tragedy befell me, and someone 3000 miles away offered their sympathies.

I also support your right to say whatever’s on your mind, not just now, but at anytime. Go ahead, bash firearms, gun owners, and conservatives. Heck, rip on me personally if you want. I’ll probably just sit here and take it. Sure, it may spark some resentment and anger in me, but that’s normal when you or your closely-held beliefs are attacked.

Rights are funny like that. You might not think you need them, until you need them.

It works that way for the Second Amendment

You might not own a gun. Or you might. You may own an old Smith & Wesson revolver or a Beretta 92, and you don’t see the point in an AR-pattern rifle. And that’s fine. However, just because one has no need of a right, doesn’t mean one shouldn’t accept infringements on it, even when the chips are down because someone abused that right. A person of influence on TV inciting his followers to riot or “burn the mother down” is abusing his right to freedom of speech, but it doesn’t warrant restrictions on the right. Since we have that right by virtue of being human. The same goes for the Second Amendment. Yes, when someone abuses the right to keep and bear arms, people get hurt and killed, but that doesn’t mean society should renounce the right as a whole. Nor can society, or the “mob” be the arbiter of that right. Because those civil rights (and yes, the right to keep and bear arms is a civil right) is something we are born with. And no man, woman, and certainly no government, can restrict that right. Going along with whatever Big Brother says is your choice, of course, but always remember, you are truly free to practice your rights.

And yes, rights do come at a cost. The ignorant in our world speak inciting and foolish things, gullible and lonely folk get suckered into radical Islam and Scientology, and yes, bad people will get ahold of firearms and do unspeakable things with them. But as supporters of liberty, we should always stand guard of our rights, and be ready to challenge those who seek to restrict, and yes, abuse that right. Counter the ignorant with logical speech, lead the suckers away from vile ideologies, and seek to intercept and defend against the evildoers who abuse the right to keep and bear arms. We must police ourselves.

It’s gonna be rough for a bit

If you aren’t familiar with the battle over firearms rights anytime a major tragedy happens, the usual tropes and fallacies get trotted out. Misguided, as well as genuinely sociopathic people, call for bans on “assault weapons” and other pieces of legal construction. Fact is, the weapon they want to ban is nothing but a dressed-up plinking gun. Yes, the 5.56mm/.223 round is lethal, but no more so than any other commercial or military round in common use. Grandpa’s old Remington in .308 will do far more damage upon impact. It’s a round meant to take down large game, after all.

And even with the current mass casualty even in Las Vegas, the amount of people killed by so-called “assault weapons” is mind-numbingly low compared to even blunt force trauma. More people are killed in the US by bats, clubs, and even bare hands than by rifles of all kinds, not just ARs. The FBI stats speak for themselves. But yet there’s no calls to ban hand-to-hand combat, baseball bats, and clubs. The “black rifle” is low-hanging fruit, and it’s easy propaganda from those in our society who are against individual civil rights. However fallacious their statements are, they are doubling down on them. Fight back. Contact your legislators, make your presence known in the media. A ban is relatively ineffective, and is just window-dressing.

Furthermore, it shows that people are willing to sell and gamble away their rights. Those aligned against us won’t stop with banning evil black rifles. They’ll go for other kinds of weapons next, and then after a few decades, the right will no longer exist. There’s a historical trend already in our nation. Each round of gun control is worse than it’s predecessor. Only by fighting back, even in emotionally charged and trying times like this, can the right be preserved. Don’t be cheap and sell out for the sake of temporary peace and quiet. Even if you don’t own a gun, do not support gun control. You’re selling out an unused right, and next they are going to come for a right you treasure. Tomorrow the same scolds who want to confiscate guns could be seeking to make “hate speech” a crime. Already our youth are being indoctrinated to think this is true, along with a hatred of guns. Especially now, in a crisis, we have to stop it.

Challenge the stereotypes

It’s super-easy to slide into the world of “derp, the libtards are coming for our guns”. Well, they are, even if they don’t know it, since the timeline is over the course of generations. But calling them out for being “libtards” won’t endear you to the masses. You’re just playing into the stereotype that gun owners are mindless drones repeating some shopworn supposed talking points from the NRA. Are gun owners being selfish? No, we’re seeing the long view. Firearms ownership isn’t just an embrace of the practical, it’s an embrace of the sense of true independence. Picking up and carrying a gun, whether it’s for hunting or self-defense, symbolizes a dedication to self-reliance and self-responsibility, both admirable goals worth striving for. A gun owner isn’t content to just call 911 and wait it out, he or she will deal with the threat presently and save their life and the lives of others.

We don’t embrace murder and carnage, we embrace individualism and freedom, and know the long-term game of any checks on those rights. The erosion of rights never “stops” in one place, it always continues. Those who seek to rob us of our rights know this, and cruelly exploit any tragedy where a right is abused, to suggest that a right must be infringed upon over some mythical greater good. However, I would never ask nor would I think it wise or good for America as a nation to acquiesce a right. Any right, any time, anywhere and at whatever cost. Speech, privacy, religion or guns, in the wake of tragedy we must cling to our rights. If it makes us ‘bitter clingers’, so be it. We’ll gladly lay down our lives in the defense of innocents, but asking us to lay down or restrict our arms for some ambiguous promise that a Las Vegas will “never happen again”, is the peak of irrationality.

It’s a trade off

Any right is a trade off, as I have said. Bad people say bad things, start or join hokey religions, and occasionally pick up a gun and kill innocents. The right to keep and bear arms is so important, our founding fathers put it as the second right on the list. It’s the right not to acquiesce personal control to the State. To do so is to be no better than the ‘subjects’ of other nations, and the ‘serfs’ of old. If serfdom suits you, fine, but don’t ask anyone else to involuntarily subject themselves to servitude.

The right to keep and bear arms is a cornerstone of our nation - our founding documents acknowledge the existence of the right, and that it not be infringed upon. There’s no asterisk there that says “except when a bad guy does a bad thing with a gun”, it’s plain as day. And like any right, it must be defended in good times and bad, by all who love freedom.

Do I have thoughts and answers as to what is to be done to minimize the abuses of rights? Sure, but even after I share those thoughts with you, I will continue to “stick to my guns” and defend the Second. That right, and the others, are too important to liberty, now and forever, to take a risk on.

A reminder

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