IOWA ENVIRONMENT - Out of the ashes - firearm awareness

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

The pre-September 11 view was that guns were had and should be banned; the post-September 11, view was to buy more guns!

There's a point to be made, here. Firearms not only serve as offensive weapons, they can also be a great deterrent for criminal activities, including terrorism!

I'm not what most would call a "gun nut." But, I do believe in people's right to keep and bear arms, albeit for sporting use or personal defense! There's a place for weapons; perhaps not carried overtly, slung-over a shoulder, like the Afgan Taliban seems to be fond of, but, a place nevertheless.

Rhetoric cannot replace shock and horror and yes, even terror inspired by the WTC attack. Words can't replace years of anti-gun sentiment, either! But ever liberal anti-gun activists must recognize the need for a well-armed Militia during troubled times and when enemies threaten this Nation's soil!

And, if there's any good news from the WTC tragedy, it's that firearm sales are up way, way up! I got a good chuckle from the "boob-tube" while watching the re-opening of the NYSE. Commentators were wondering why a small company in Connecticut would have stock sales going up, while the rest of the economy was going down. Then, one of them remembered that the company manufactured guns! Then everyone, including staunch liberals who had been criticizing firearms just a few days before, agreed that having a firearm in the house might be a good idea.

Well, duh! That's what honest gun-owners have been saying all along: Perhaps there's a time-and-place for everything; now might be a time for a well-armed militia, just like our founding fathers recognized! Not that everyone would have some "stinger" missiles under the bed, 'y know, or, have a "nuke" in the closet. But, an armed and aware nation is and could be a mighty fighting force and deterrent to terrorism! Remember, the motto on one of the first flags of the nation was "Don't Tread On Me!"

But this is a "two-part story!" Just having a firearm isn't enough; one has to learn how to use it effectively and safely! That's why the liberal anti-gun lobby got so much propaganda; guns weren't being used properly, or, safely!

Now, someone, perhaps those who have used firearms safely for years for sporting use, should at least take the time to instruct the new gun-owners in the proper use and safety of firearms! This should be done in a non-criticizing manner; after all, the anti-gun people were "brained washed!" Now, it's up to honest gun-owners to reverse the years of mis-information!

And we'd better do it quickly, before all those new gun- owners shoot themselves in the foot or other parts of the anatomy, trying to load their new purchases; If what I see on the "tube" is correct, some gun stores have sold-out of weapons in stock; back-orders will take months to fill, America IS being armed, and ready!

God willing, none of these new purchases will ever be used to harm another person! Hopefully, most will be used for target practice and sport. But even here, America is woefully short on instructors in gun safety. Over the liberal years, we forgot that marksmanship is an acquired skill, one that must be practiced from time-to-time. Target practice may become an "in" thing for the new gun-owners!

And out of the ashes of the WTC, we have a greater awareness of the wisdom of our Founding Fathers in allowing a well-armed militia to keep and bear arms! But we also have a responsibility to do things right! That means replacing anti-gun sentiment with a sense of self-defense!

Now, I've got several suggestions, as usual, to help things along: First, I think that our school systems have got to quit teaching kids that all guns or weapons are "bad," and replace this thought with a self-defense ethic! Along with this change of thought, rifle marksmanship courses might be taught as part of school curriculum. No sense in having a rifle, if one can't use it, is there?

Second, both school systems and parents have a re-education job on their hands; the only practical use of firearms in this nation currently is for sport-hunting. So, instead of criticizing sport-hunting, we've got a whole generation to instruct in hunting ethics! Accurate marksmanship is respected among hunters; it's required for self-defense!

Finally, we of the general public who have safely sought game for years and are fairly-well versed in the use of firearms should pass this knowledge on to the kids who were "brain-washed" during the anti-gun years! Take a kid hunting: Make it an enjoyable experience. And emphasize proper firearm use and safety.

And, if there can be any good come out of the ashes of the WTC, perhaps placing firearm use in proper perspective might be one example. to finally realize this world might be a dangerous place to live in might be another. And to quit criticizing gun-owners for exercising their right to keep and bear arms may be another.

But, it's a terrible price to pay for these lessons...