Everybody wants to be a patriot until it’s time to do patriot things. I first heard this quote on the internet some years ago, and though I’m not recollecting it word for word, it’s close enough. It is one of those glib, tongue-in-cheek statements that holds far more weight than a first glance usually warrants. You see, go on any pro-2A forum of the Facebook page on the internet and you’ll see countless quotes from random strangers ready to do patriot stuff; go to war, disappear into the woods with a backpack and an AR, to live off the land and fight for their freedom against hordes of invaders. It’s a lofty ideal, but that honestly isn’t the kind of patriot we need right now.
Politics have always made me sick to my stomach, they still do honestly. Do you want to be told your vote matters, when you’re a resident in a county of fewer than 100,000 people, in a state of fewer than one million people, and only two electoral votes? Forget about it. Why do I need a CCP when I live in one of the safest demographics on God’s green earth? Why should I care if a Democrat or a Republican runs the country, my guns are protected by the constitution that answers to a higher power. The political dogma of the average American.
I was a Junior in High School in April of 1999. I remember watching the news and hearing about Columbine for the first time, mulling over the thought of a school shooter for the first time, of feeling the fear and uncertainty for the first time. A couple of years later, I watched the towers fall from my employer’s living room couch. Since those days not a week has gone by without hearing about an act of terrorism, a school shooting, or an act of war. I grew up in a generation hardened by tragedy, and though I mourned those losses in my own way none of it compelled me to change the way I lived my life, or how I felt about politics. Then Parkland happened
Another tragedy had occurred, more lives lost, more tears shed, more pain, and more suffering. This time it was different, before the blood had dried the right to bear arms was hit with a new attack strategy. You see in general a person is held responsible for their own actions. But suddenly now guns were to blame not the people wielding them, the NRA was a terrorist group and anyone who felt otherwise was a heartless monster that didn’t love children, God, or their country.
Exploiting tragedy for greater control is not a new concept. It’s not the first time fear has compelled people to give up their civil liberties, an act with consequences that quickly overshadow the reason for the fear in the first place. Germany no doubt remembers the consequences of the Enabling Act, but not so much the Reichstag Fire.
Another concept that rings true through historical accounts is the responsibility of good people stopping bad ones. July 4th, 1884 in Lewistown Montana comes to mind, so does Omaha beach. However, no account rings more true than the one in my own imagination of what I am ready and capable to do if someone intends harm to my family. And that is why I changed because I saw a strategy employed by exploitive politicians that meant to do harm to my ability to protect myself, my family, and even my country. That is something I could never abide by, and neither should anyone else.
I didn’t get a weapon, go into the woods, join a militia, or anything of the like. I wrote my Senator, I started educating myself on what laws were being proposed and what I could do to oppose any law that challenged my right to my own defense. The founding fathers understood the inherent strength that comes from knowing you have the right to protection, that is the heart of the Second Amendment. They understood how empowering it is to know you can save yourself using the necessary means to stop your attacker and how that power translates into self-confidence.
Politics still make my stomach hurt, but I’m okay with that. I’m doing my part as a patriot. I’m doing my part as a protector. For the sake of our country’s future, I hope you do the same because it’s time to be a patriot.
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