Instead of my usual Tuesday article on firearms and related issues, I have, today, a sad duty: writing about the death of a great friend of the Second Amendment, and a great friend of SMM, Bob Owens (1969-2017).
It was in mid-2010 that, browsing the Internet, I chanced upon the long defunct Confederate Yankee blog. I enjoyed the commentary of the proprietor—Bob Owens—and often commented on his articles. Eventually, Bob wrote of wanting to build an AR-15—he was very interested in firearms and writing about them, but had little experience at the time—and I offered some advice, which began a lively and friendly correspondence.
It was circa September, 2010 that Bob published an article on the shooting of Erik Scott, who was murdered by three panicky, undertrained cops in Las Vegas on July 10, 2010. Reading that article, my cop sense, like Spiderman’s spidey sense, began tingling like mad. Even though I knew little entirely accurate information was available from official sources, everything about the case, done and not done, felt wrong. I had no idea at the time how accurate my cop sense was, and readers may refresh their memories with the Erik Scott case archive, here.
My correspondence with Bob about his article led to his invitation to produce a guest article on the case. That guest article, published on September 21, 2010, and reader response to it, led Bob to write: “You Sir, are my co-blogger.” Thus began my sojourn on the stormy seas of the Blogosphere.
For something more than a year, Bob and I, with the occasional article by Brigid, worked to expand Confederate Yankee beyond its then current state, and with some success. Though our articles contained our respective names, readers often, judging by their comments, thought articles I wrote were written by Bob. Bob and I often laughed about that, and I always considered it a compliment.
Bob was among a rare breed: writers confident and humane enough to be generous and helpful toward other writers. I appreciated his counsel.
Eventually, Bob felt the siren call of gun blogging, and decided to bring Confederate Yankee to an end. Bearing Arms was the result. As he worked to raise Bearing Arms to the top rank of world gun blogging, I established this scruffy blog. Bob, of course, helped me sort out all the issues relating to establishing a blog—I was pretty much clueless—and in my first post on October 09, 2011, I wrote:
Welcome to my new blog! My prior blogging home has, for more than the last year, been Confederate Yankee where I was fortunate and pleased to work with Bob Owens and the mysterious and wonderful Brigid. I’ll be making the final transition to this, my new home, in the very near future. We’ll keep CY open for the archives, and I’m excited about the opportunity to try new things.
The Confederate Yankee archives remained available for less than a year. Though I kept copies of all my articles, I did not keep copies of Bob’s. We often regret such omissions so easy to overlook at the time.
Among my first articles on SMM was a reprise of my initial guest article on Confederate Yankee, which I began thus:
September 21, 2010: I published my first article on the Blogosphere (at Confederate Yankee) with the kind encouragement of Bob Owens. After gauging the response to the article—which I found surprising—Bob offered me a position as his co-blogger, a position I gladly accepted. To paraphrase Casablanca, it was the start of a beautiful friendship.
And so it was. Characteristically, Bob asked me to contribute articles to Bearing Arms, a practice I’ve continued to this day. At one point, he offered me something of a staff position, but my other life obligations made that impossible, something I’ve always regretted.
In the Internet age, we often make friends, kindred spirits, people with whom we are comfortable, though we have never met them face-to- face. So it was with Bob. Most of our correspondence was via e-mail, though we did converse by phone upon occasion. Bob was at the top of my “travel and spend some time with one day soon” list, a list I intend to work through when I retire in the near future. It’s a happy task I’ll never have the opportunity to undertake, for Bob has, according to reports, apparently taken his own life.
In a long police career, and in teaching, I’ve often dealt with suicide, which is the apparent preliminary finding in Bob’s death. In my experience, never could I have predicted when others would commit suicide, though had I known, perhaps I could have prevented it, for a time at least. I sometimes was able to do that as a police officer. Not this time.
I had no idea Bob was in distress, and our last correspondence in April, when he posted another of my articles, was as cordial and upbeat as always. I never met his wife Christine, or his daughters, Kate–9 and Maya–17, but never had reason to doubt his love for them. A Go Fund Me page has been established, and I encourage you, gentle readers, to contribute to aid the family of a good man, a patriot who worked to preserve the Constitution.
A man’s legacy may be determined not only by his accomplishments, but by his friends and enemies. Bob worked tirelessly to educate, and to convince all of the value of the Second Amendment, and with great success. He lauded and supported his friends, who are numerous, and mocked and exposed the ill will of his equally numerous enemies, the enemies of liberty, of the God and gun clingers of flyover country, a company Bob was proud to number himself among, as am I.
Among those friends are Andrew Branca, who has written a eulogy at Legal Insurrection, his colleague at Bearing Arms, Jenn Jacques who also wrote of Bob, and my friend, and Bob’s Bookworm. they’re far from the only loving articles about Bob, but by all means, take the links. They’ll give you a sense of Bob’s influence.
And so I mourn the loss of a friend and colleague whose hand I was never able to shake, whose family I was never able to embrace, a legacy of the Internet age. Yet, without the ‘Net I never would have known Bob, I would not be writing this on this scruffy little blog, and never would have had the opportunity to be thankful for that relationship, and to pray that Bob’s family and he will know the peace which passeth all understanding.
Ave atque vale, Bob; requiescat in pacem.