Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. – Benjamin Franklin
It is time to fess up to a personal fact. I am a long-standing member of the NRA. Why do I mention this? Because I am sick of hearing gun control advocates vilify the organization. When they blame the NRA for gun violence they are in essence blaming me for that crime. And I have had enough of that nonsense.
The NRA is an organization that represents the firearms industry. But that is a minority contingent of their composition. The majority of the NRA’s membership are responsible gun owners like me. It is your average, everyday American that likes to hunt, compete, collect or defend with a gun that is the core of this lobbying organization. There are millions of us. And almost every one of us is a true sheepdog.
What is a sheepdog? In a famous essay, a former military leader identified three types of individuals that make up a free society. Wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs. The wolves prey upon the sheep. Criminals, gangsters, and quasi-legal parasites are examples of wolves. Sheep are individuals who quake at the reality of a world filled with wolves and hope they are not the next victim. They also lobby for someone else to take responsibility to protect them from wolves. Historically, this is a poor position to take.
Sheepdogs are the legally and self-appointed watchmen of a free society. They do consist of police, fire, military and other public servants. But they also consist of private individuals who will not hesitate to take action to stop a wolf from preying on the sheep. A lawyer who will take pro-bono cases of injustice is a sheepdog. A doctor who will teach correct preventive health practices is a sheepdog. A hunter who will teach his family, friends, and neighbors correct wildlife management skills and gun safety is a sheepdog. A citizen who will use force to defend innocent people, such as Stephen Willeford in the Sutherland Springs, Texas church shooting, is a sheepdog.
There was a time when America was full of sheepdogs. Now it seems to be filling up with sheep. How can one tell? The gun debate is a fine example. I trust a legal gun owner and NRA member ten times more than I would trust a gun control advocate. I trust someone who understands reality and correct principles of self-preservation. That is how a real sheepdog operates. I do not trust someone who is so blind or passive that they trust their personal safety and the safety of others exclusively to some civil authority.
I do not trust a person who does not understand that police have no legal obligation to defend life (they do not, only a moral obligation). I do not trust a person who does not understand that over ten times as many people were killed by their own governments in the twentieth century than were killed in two major world wars. I do not trust a person who thinks it is impossible that such things would happen in America. History shows it can happen anywhere.
I do not trust a person who will vilify a gun, a simple tool, without ever having fired one or researched the positive history and statistics of gun ownership. Here is one hint out of thousands. After Pearl Harbor, the Japanese did NOT invade America (something their high command wanted) because officers familiar America knew there were millions of gun owners that might take such an invasion personally. Thousands of current anti-gun advocates infesting California may not be with us today if their parents or grandparents had been confronted with a foreign incursion at their doorstep seventy-five years ago.
I do not trust people who misinterpret the intent of the Second Amendment and think it refers only to hunting or muskets. I cannot trust or support people who equate their outrage with some special insight into sound policy. It disturbs me greatly when such gun control advocates state that my disagreement with their foolish demands somehow makes me heartless. Such ignorance is inexcusable and shows the detriment of neglecting to study the salient issues that determine a free society. I cannot trust such people for if they had their way, we would not be a free society much longer. Such is the fate of sheep. Benjamin Franklin understood this. So did Thomas Jefferson and many other founders. Many subsequent generations have understood such responsibilities. How have we forgotten so quickly?
I am deeply disturbed by the rise of sheepish mentality in America. It is being bred into the system by (sometimes) well-meaning liberals who do not comprehend the consequences of their fallacious positions. In the case of gun control, it is a position that could result in the erosion of free society. As a sheepdog, it is natural to seek a singular outcome. Forcefully chase off as many wolves as you can. It may not be comforting to some, but that is the solution. And to take away an important tool that preserves such liberties is not just mindless, it is suicidal.