Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Appleseed Project - Getting Back Our Heritage as a Nation of Riflemen

Awhile back, I wrote an article entitled “People Don’t Talk Like That Anymore.” In that article, I discussed how in the days of our Founding Fathers, they spoke of values that they held dearly, values revolving around their belief in God, and values revolving around liberty and being truly free people. If you look at the wording that our Founding Fathers used in the Declaration of Independence, for example, you see a rich and powerfully worded dialogue about being tired of enduring “…usurpations and abuses…” at the hands of a tyrannical, oppressive government.

In this past year of elections and campaigning, I think we have further drifted away from not talking about those things any more, and talking more about “what’s in it for me?” and finding ways to “change” our country – just for the sake of change, I might add. But change it to what, exactly? I don’t think we need “change” in the context of how it is spoken about by current government leaders, but rather we need “change” in that we need to get back to thinking about the fundamental beliefs that the Founding Fathers held dear. We need to get back to the notion that “We The People” run this country, and that the powers enjoyed by those in office are simply powers that we have lent to them. They need to be reminded that they govern with the consent of the governed, and not the other way around.

One such way that we can explore our heritage and get back to those values that our Founding Fathers held to be so very important is through the Appleseed Project. One very important tenet of the Appleseed Project is to teach Americans how to once again become a “Nation of Riflemen.” Second only in the Bill of Rights to the amendment protecting our freedom of speech is the amendment protecting our ownership of firearms. Why do you think the Founding Fathers felt that this right was so important? It has nothing to do with hunting or sport shooting, but has everything to do with their experiences as farmers and civilians who had to defend themselves against a tyrannical government who had a powerful and well organized army, and the belief that their land could be overrun by invaders from far-away places.

Would it really be so terrible and dangerous if all Americans were proficient at rifle marksmanship, and knew how to handle a rifle? I unequivocally state: “No!” Contrary to popular belief (of those who love to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt), the purpose for getting back to being a Nation of Riflemen is NOT so that we can be more proficient at creating violent people. The purpose, in my opinion, is to get people to return to having their bellies on fire with the spirit of freedom, and a burning appreciation for the spirit that gave us liberty from a tyrannical government in the first place.

If you look at part of the reason that so many people want to ban guns today, those reasons are based in fear and miss-information. The idea behind creating a Nation of Riflemen is that more people would be proficient at safely handling firearms, and using them for their intended purpose – the defense of our homeland. We really need only be reminded that the reason why Japan didn’t invade the United States mainland in WWII was because of their fear that “…there is a rifle behind every tree.” We need only be reminded that the reason Adolf Hitler disarmed the German people was not to keep them safe but to ensure their compliance to his dictated will. And we especially want to be aware now that the reason so many wish to disarm the American people now is not to “get these killing machines off the streets” as the Brady group puts it, but rather to ensure that we can’t fight back against a tyrannical government, God forbid it should ever happen.

An Appleseed event is a place to get back to the nearly-forgotten-about history behind our heritage and our nation, and the solemn events of April 19, 1775. An Appleseed event is a place to learn how to handle a rifle, shoot it proficiently, and shoot safely. The rich heritage and culture brought from our Founding Fathers is responsible for the birth of our nation, but I fear that failing to remember why they did what they did will lead America down a path that we really don’t want to go. We can either get back to being a prosperous and powerful nation, or we can continue down the path of mediocrity and fade into the sunset. We need to get back to our roots, and we need to do so quick, fast, and in a hurry. The times are changing too swiftly to ignore the need to remember the events that ushered us into existence as a free nation.

Please, look into attending an Appleseed shooting event. The requirements are small. A simple .22 caliber rifle is all it takes to attend. The cost for a weekend is $70, but women and children shoot for free. If you can’t attend, then please look into supporting this worthy cause financially. Appleseed does not make a profit, and their instructors do not make a living doing this. The price for attending is small, but the rewards are immeasurable. The cost for NOT attending, or at least not looking into supporting this project are, I fear, too large to ponder. It might cost us our country as we know it, if we can’t return to that spirit of being a “Nation of Riflemen” and getting back the passion for our heritage that we once had.

My wife and I will be attending an Appleseed shooting event in Douglas, Wyoming in May. This will be our first (of many, God willing) Appleseed events. After attending, I will follow up to this article and share our experiences. But I will tell you that after already meeting some of the Appleseed folks in person, I can honestly and enthusiastically say that this will most likely be a weekend to remember.

For more information, visit:

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Afraid of Something Because of the Way it Looks?

As is typically the case in today’s society, many opinions about things are very emotional, very “knee-jerk,” and are often very much based on a lack of information. People “fear that which they do not understand,” as the saying goes. So it is true in the case of popular beliefs and (mis)understandings about firearms. Particularly, such is the case when the discussion turns to the so-called “assault” rifles.

The argument I hear from some folks is that “people have no business owning that ‘certain type’ of rifle.” Or “Those ‘types’ of rifles belong on the battle fields, not on our streets.” In fact, didn’t our President-elect say the very same thing in his quest to convince us of his “common sense” approach to guns in his upcoming administration during his campaign?

It has become common place, then, to discriminate against an inanimate object (and the people who own them) solely based on the color or appearance of that object.

Hmmmmm… Seems to me that we have spent many years convincing folks that discrimination based on color and appearance is wrong-thinking, and that we ought to be looking deeper.

Well – the same thing applies to firearms and firearm owners. A firearm is an inanimate object. It isn’t the firearm that commits a bad or irresponsible act. It is the person behind it. And the vast majority of people who legally own firearms are good and decent people who do not commit crimes or irresponsible acts. I said “legally” because it should be a given assumption on your part that criminals are not responsible people.

So now then – about those "certain types" of rifles. I am wondering - what "type" would that be? The type that "looks" a certain way? The type that is deemed "evil" because it is black and has "AR" in the model number? Does it shoot a certain caliber or composition of bullet? Is it fully automatic – capable of discharging hundreds of rounds per second, or does it discharge just one round with a single trigger pull?

Do some people fail to actually look into these questions before beginning their hysterical hand-wringing sessions? Did we as a society somehow fail them by educating them that poorly about firearms, types, and uses?

Since I think that the fearful folks have been miserably misinformed, I'll try to give my opinions and insights into this matter. Take them or leave them, but if you are going to fear and discriminate, at least do so having heard the argument from the other side of the fence.

So what exactly is the hang-up with these so-called “assault” rifles? The way they LOOK? The fact that "AR" makes up the model name? Do they make people that frightened?

Reasons for Owning Them:
Let’s look first at the reason why people own the commonly known “AR” and “AK” rifles that are in use by civilians everywhere. The popular civilian owned AR or AK, first of all, is a rifle, that just happens to have the letters “AR” or “AK” in the model name. I suppose the manufacturers did that to sell a product? Who knows? But people collect various types of rifles for various reasons. They collect them, use them for sport shooting, home defense, varmint hunting, or various other legitimate reasons. Ask a person who owns one what their reasons are. An AR makes a dandy rifle to use for competing in long range shooting competitions. Even if you hooked the law abiding and sane AR owners up to a lie detector, the reason of “using one to mow down all my neighbors” would not even surface.

The popular AR in the civilian home is not an automatic weapon (fully automatic weapons are mostly illegal) and not some horrific killing machine that can make 15 people's heads explode simultaneously. It is a rifle. It is nothing more, nothing less. That said, owning one is legal, and the reasons for owning one, quite frankly, don’t really matter. Owning rifles is protected by the Bill of Rights – 2nd Article of Amendment, to be precise. I’ll say it again: Bill of Rights. Not Bill of “needs,” not the Bill of Wants, and not the Bill of Whatever-frightened-people-want-us-to-have. It is the Bill of Rights. I don’t have to have a reason to own it (although home defense and sport shooting are pretty valid reasons in my mind).


So what about the ammo? My .243 caliber hunting rifle will do more damage to a target than my .223/5.56 caliber AR, but yet the frightened, uninformed, hand-wringing people **think** that my AR, because of the way it LOOKS, is capable of disintegrating a human being in one shot! As a matter of fact, the .223 caliber AR is referred to as a “varmint” rifle. I took both my .243 caliber hunting rifle and my .223 caliber AR to the range recently and did a little test. At 100 yards, the .223 AR put a hole in a plastic jug filled with water, and the plastic jug broke apart, but it did not explode in flames or any other drastic such things. The .243 round from my hunting rifle completely blew apart the water-filled jug. But yet if I showed both rifles to the fearful and uninformed, the AR would strike fear into their hearts, while the hunting rifle probably wouldn’t cause that much concern. Again – it’s the “looks” thing. To see an example of what I am talking about, see the videos below. One video explains the actual truth about what is and is not an “assault weapon,” and the other demonstrates the same types of tests (done on watermelons) which I just described, and using various calibers of bullets.

Are They Automatic Weapons?
The AR-15 and AK-47 rifles, which are legal to own by the way, are military “look-a-likes" but are NOT fully automatic assault rifles. A fully automatic rifle is the ONLY rifle that can be truly defined as an assault rifle. "AR" is just a model number

It All Boils Down to Appearance:
So the main thing we always seem to come back to with folks having a problem with these rifles because of the way they look. The way they LOOK? Puleeze!

Are people afraid of it then because a pistol grip or a black plastic stock makes it more likely to be used in a crime? That is part of it – it’s that “looks” thing again. But do these things add to the ability of the rifle to be used in a crime? I don’t think so. And I will go further by saying that these rifles are fairly expensive. The common criminal most often goes for the cheap handgun that is easy to conceal. These “evil black rifles” (or “EBRs” as we affectionately call them) have been found to have been used in an extremely low percentage of crimes.

Wrapping It All Up:
The only conclusion I can reasonably draw from all the hand-wringing and frightened rhetoric out there is that people are afraid of these rifles because they appear a certain way. I guess I don’t know what to tell you, other than that if you are one of these people, you need to get the facts. Try hooking up with a friend who owns one and have them take you to the range to shoot one. They are not evil, they are not scary, they do not cause people’s heads to explode on contact. They are rifles. Nothing more, nothing less.

For the still frightened folks out there: View these videos and you will see the truth about these firearms.

This is from a police officer in San Jose, Ca:

This video is from the Executive Director of the Firearms Coalition:

Cars with drunk drivers behind the wheel have killed more people than all American rifles combined.

A black rifle only "looks" evil. A black rifle is an inanimate object. It's the man or woman behind it that counts.

Don't be afraid of people just because they own a black rifle. Be afraid of those who would oppose freedom and who oppose what this country stands for.

Be afraid of ignorant, irrational people. Do not be afraid of law abiding, decent people who own firearms, know how to use them, and use them responsibly.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Why Do We Blame Inanimate Objects?

So many frightened and misguided folks in our society today want to limit that RIGHT which is protected by the U.S. Constitution and most State Constitutions. Self defense is a God given right. The Supreme Court, ala Castle Rock versus Gonzales, and Washington D.C. versus Warren made it clear that the police have no responsibility to protect me as an individual. But yet the desire is to take away the tools that I would lawfully and responsibly use to protect myself and my family. That seems funny to me. Not funny “ha-ha” but rather funny “strange.”

That being said, then I just have to wonder:

When an accident or crime involving a gun occurs, why do I hear people say that they can “…hardly wait until we get all the guns off the streets…”?

When Ted Kennedy’s car was involved in killing a young woman (because he drove drunk) did we hear cries to get all the cars off the streets? No!

When Timothy McVeigh parked a Ryder truck full of explosives that was used to take the lives of 167 people in a building, did we hear cries to get all the Ryder trucks off the streets? No!
When two airplanes were flown into some buildings in New York, killing thousands, did we hear cries to banish all airplanes from the skies? No!

When hundreds of children per year drown in swimming pools, do we hear cries to outlaw swimming pools? No!

When hundreds of unborn babies die at the hands of the abortionist, do we hear cries to outlaw abortion? No! Not only “NO” but the cries to keep abortion legal grow louder.

So I have to wonder further:

Why in the case of incidents involving guns, and ONLY in the case of incidents involving guns do we not hear cries to hold the PEOPLE responsible, but rather choose to hold the rest of society responsible?
Why do we punish millions of law abiding citizens, who just happen to be gun owners, for the transgressions of the people who commit crimes or other stupid acts of negligence?

Why do I hear no cries to get the criminals off the streets – and KEEP them off the streets? Why do liberal judges keep slapping them on the writs and sending them back out on our streets to commit more crimes?

Why do I hear no cries to hold the PERSON responsible who let a 2-year old play with a gun and injure/kill themselves? Charge a few of these nit-wits with reckless endangerment and child abuse resulting in death and you will find a decrease in that behavior.

Taking MY guns away isn’t going to punish the negligent party. It only punishes ME! And it punishes the family that I have a duty to protect.

Funny logic that frightened and uninformed people have. I guess we can blame that on the media though. “All the news that’s ‘FIT’ to print..” right? But then again, the final question would become: Is it the criminals our law makers REALLY wish to disarm? After all, it isn’t the criminals who will oppose tyranny – the criminals are tyranny – so to our legislators, they fit right in.

To wrap up, I will end with something re-posted from the Internet, Unknown source. But this makes perfect sense to me.

This is Why I Carry a Gun:

Why I Carry A Gun (Or Two) My old grandpa said to me son,' there comes a time in every mans lifewhen he stops bustin' knuckles and starts bustin' caps and usually it's when he becomes too old to take an ass whoopin'.

I don't carry a gun to kill people.
I carry a gun to keep from being killed.

I don't carry a gun to scare people.
I carry a gun because sometimes this world can be a scary place.

I don't carry a gun because I'm paranoid.
I carry a gun because there are real threats in the world.

I don't carry a gun because I'm evil.
I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the world.

I don't carry a gun because I hate the government.
I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government.

I don't carry a gun because I'm angry.
I carry a gun so that I don't have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared.

I don't carry a gun because I want to shoot someone.
I carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, andnot on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon.

I don't carry a gun because I'm a cowboy.
I carry a gun because, when I die and go to heaven, I want to be a cowboy.

I don't carry a gun to make me feel like a man.
I carry a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love.

I don't carry a gun because I feel inadequate.
I carry a gun because unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am inadequate.

I don't carry a gun because I love it.
I carry a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningful to me.

Police Protection is an oxymoron. Free citizens must protect themselves.

Police do not protect you from crime, they usually just investigate the crime after it happens and then call someone in to clean up the mess.

Personally, I carry a gun because I'm too young to die and too old totake an ass whoopin' unknown (but obviously brilliant)