Virtually everyone that learns I am a shooter and instructor asks if I carry a handgun. The conversation usually goes something like this:
Friend: “Really? You carry a gun?”
Me: “Yes I do.”
Me: “Everywhere. I even carry a spear gun in the shower.”
Me: “No; but everywhere else.”
Friend: “But why?”
Why indeed? I usually hit on a few of the high points, issues of logic, common sense, gentle persuasion enabling those that already know me to accept a side of me previously unimagined, for few are prone to look on a teacher of English as a swaggering gunslinger.
So I recently sat at the keyboard (my natural weapon) and put together a list, a list that doesn’t—can’t—cover all of the reasons, but perhaps may serve as a resource for others, and for me, a starting point. Perhaps you, gentle readers can contribute to the list.
I CARRY A HANDGUN BECAUSE:
* Evil exists and may confront anyone at any time and any place.
* Self-defense is a God-given, natural, inalienable right.
* A handgun is the most convenient, usual and effective means of self-defense.
* Three times in my life I have raised my right hand and sworn a solemn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. I have never betrayed those oaths and never will.
* By carrying my handgun, I honor the foresight and wisdom of the Founders in writing the Second Amendment.
* It reinforces and upholds the Social Contract.
* I know that Thomas Jefferson was right:
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
That’s why we have a Second Amendment, not for hunting, not for self-defense, but to allow the common man to resist a tyrannical government, if necessary, and always to deter tyranny.
* It demonstrates—day after day—that I am the master of my government, not its slave.
* I am a free man and no evidence of that fact is more meaningful and convincing than that I own and carry firearms.
* It sorely vexes those who would enslave me—all of us—through tyranny, soft or hard.
* It reminds them that in America, there are lines no rational, honest politician dare cross.
* It reminds them at every iota of power they possess is on temporary loan from me and every other American.
* It reminds us all that the whims of the highest politician may not prevail over the Bill of Rights.
* It is the very means by which an oppressed citizenry may force despots to respect the Bill of Rights.
* Even in our democracy, tyrants are always present and always waiting their chance.
* With this in mind, Hubert Humphrey, one of the most devoted and famous Democrats of the last century was right when he said:
Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be carefully used and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of the citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.
* There is no gift so precious as God’s gift of life.
* To fail to protect God’s greatest gift is man’s greatest failure.
* My life is worth far more to me, those that love me, and to a just society than the lives of vicious brutes who would take it.
* The lives of the innocent—friend or stranger—are worth far more to me and to a just society than the lives of vicious brutes who would take them.
* Those who willingly and meekly surrender to criminals surrender more than valuables; they surrender civilization itself.
* I am old-fashioned enough to think it my duty to protect those who have less ability than mine to protect themselves.
* I know human nature. Like the Shadow, I know what evil lurks in the hearts of men.
* I know that many criminals experience pangs of conscience. I also know that it does not prevent them from being predators, only occasionally it causes them to feel badly thereafter.
* I know that sociopaths exist, in greater numbers than most imagine, and that they have no conscience.
* I know that some people really like hurting others. Very often, we don’t need to engage in psychological navel gazing to understand the actions of predators. They do it because they want to do it, because they like to do it, and some, because it is an intense sexual thrill.
* I know that such people are everywhere, and are for most, impossible to pick out from the mass of humankind.
* I know that living a virtuous life is no defense against such people.
* I know that having a Progressive political and social philosophy not only is no defense against such people, it encourages and helps them.
* Politicians sometimes speak of a “war on crime.” They have no idea. The streets are the battlefield, and whether we like it or not, we are all the combatants.
* The police have no legal obligation to protect me—or anyone.
* The police simply can’t protect anyone; there are far too few of them and far too many of us.
* When seconds count, the police are always minutes (or in Detroit, an hour) away.
* I accept personal responsibility and live accordingly.
* As an adult, I am solely responsible for my continuing existence.
* Accepting personal responsibility encourages me to be continually aware of my surroundings, to be tactically aware.
* Having situational awareness makes it more likely I won’t ever need to use my handgun.
* My training and experience give me confidence that if I do need it, I will use it effectively and properly.
* It gives me the ability to deter those younger, stronger or more numerous than myself.
* It gives me the ability to defeat those younger, stronger or more numerous than myself if they are too stupid, too drugged, or too predatory to be deterred.
* Criminals fear the guns of armed citizens far more than the guns of the police.
* Domestic terrorists have always been with us. The victims and survivors of Columbine High School (1999) and Virginia Tech (2007)—and I–have no doubt of this.
* In virtually every school shooting in recent American history, the police played virtually no role in stopping the killers. Armed citizens did.
* We are at war with uniquely blood-thirsty terrorists determined to slaughter Americans on American soil.
* I frequent the places (schools, theaters, shopping malls, grocery stores and other soft targets) terrorists long to attack.
* I can imagine few feelings worse than being unarmed when and where a terrorist attack takes place.
* Even unarmed, I would have no option but to attack armed terrorists shooting innocents.
* Armed, I would be able to save at least some lives and stop at least some killers.
* I could not bear the thought that I was less prepared than the Boy Scouts—in any situation.
* It is important to me to know that I can make a real difference when it most matters.
* I appreciate well-designed and made devices.
* They’re like fire extinguishers. When you need one, you need it right now, badly, and nothing else will do.
* The discipline of the gun helps to make me a better, more effective person.
* Thomas Jefferson was also right when he advised his 15 year old nephew and ward (in 1785):
A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind.
* Shooting and being a part of the “gun culture” is uplifting and simply fun.
* I recognize that I am the weapon; the handgun is simply a tool.
* Foremost, I am an American; it is my tradition and heritage.