If you’re a frequent visitor to A1F Daily, we hope you’ve noticed a couple of things. Well, not “things,” actually—more like obsessions.
The first would be safety. As a matter of design, we try to work at least one specific safety consideration, and often more, into every column. We talk about the “Golden Rule” of dry-fire for instance (no live ammo in the same room while in this training mode), or the fact that, as the shooter of any bullet, you are responsible for where it comes to rest, period. No excuses, no apologies. “Cowboy up!” as the saying goes.
The second obsession—about which we feel even more strongly, if possible—is competence. We don’t back away from the huge responsibilities implicit in firearms use and ownership: We embrace them. We make, or take, every opportunity to become safer, more precise and more responsible in what for many is both hobby and profession.We don’t back away from the huge responsibilities implicit in firearms use and ownership: We embrace them.
We do so for the obvious reasons—like just being a true grown-up—but also because we like to train those accountability reflexes. Simply, they make you a better spouse, parent, co-worker and citizen.
Right now, however, there is a firestorm of hand-wringing surrounding such considerations. Despicably, the elemental wickedness in Chattanooga is being bypassed in favor of the longstanding “progressive” lust for civilian, and now military, personal disarmament.
As it has for decades in the arena of civilian concealed carry, the assault is along a familiar salient: “You” simply aren’t qualified.
It’s this last that draws our ire today. Just what part of protecting our nation requires serving military to submit to whatever random, reckless violence comes their way? And make no mistake, such knuckling-under is what the Arroganti—the Ignoranti—really want, as current fact with respect to whatever nastiness comes along, and as subsequent habit for whatever right they want to confiscate next.
If the mainstream media were doing their job, this would be easy to prove, too. Merely ask the question: Under what circumstances should recruiters (for instance) be allowed to carry and use defensive weapons?
Crickets chirping, you think?
Worse, you can turn the interrogative into a fill-in-the-blank extravaganza of condescension, if not out-and-out discrimination. Replace the word “recruiters” with almost any demographic and stand by for the crickets fortissimo.
But back to our soldiers. At the least, they’ve been trained in a range of professional responses to the crack of gunfire, and some of their installations actually feature armed protection.
Their families are another matter. Three things come to mind, the first very personal: As a military family in the Vietnam era, ours unwillingly became high profile. Long story short, there were multiple, surprising cruelties and invasions. Some were inflicted by supposed adults on children as young as 11 (and maybe younger, given the age of siblings). The point? Even 40-plus years ago, haters were gonna hate: The reasons (even if remotely coherent) are of no consequence or consolation to the victims. Attacks on us were limited to vituperation, but in the modern era who can say what might have happened? Chillingly, we would have been unprepared for anything more.
Second, soldiers worry about their families, and for good reason. Often far from home and supporting family, a deployment by a spouse means the “security contingent” at home is cut in half, while other responsibilities double. Especially in the enlisted ranks, financial resources are often tight as well, and limit security choices the arroganti take too much for granted—namely, the necessity of living in a tougher, lower-rent part of town.
The connection here is that over the years, a disproportionately high number of students we have trained have been military and law-enforcement family members. How this occurs can’t be said with certainty, but perhaps it’s sufficient to observe what a compliment it is to be entrusted by these professionals—up to and including Special Forces personnel—with such a task.Going into the election year of 2016, remember who it is that will likely define “skilled enough” as you consider your vote.
The last of those family considerations are where this whole business gets gritty and we get a little protective, even to the point of meanness. A military husband and wife we’ve trained with extensively come to mind, and there is simply no accounting for how precious these relative strangers seem. She is a willowy delight with a subtle hint of youthful Yankee edge, and he is not even U.S.-born. Yet you won’t find a more determined Army E-6 off on his Nth deployment, and she does her own sort of grin-and-bear-it soldiering to keep the home fires burning.
We worry about them both, but perhaps oddly, less about him. We met him on the range dutifully trying to develop his skills beyond what the Army could offer. When he saw that a civilian environment had skills to add, he dove right in, any sort of shoulder “chip” or vanity be damned. Since he’s now in a combat zone, he can at least be armed. She followed suit here at home—a cheerful, dedicated pistoleer who practices in his absence. And you betcha we’ll take her shooting as he asked.
But this newest brand of tripe from the likes of The Trace and Juan Williams is breaking dangerous ground. For decades, anti-gunners have sniped the civilian practitioner as unqualified, especially when it came to concealed carry. The Williams segment even contains the now-laughably untrue “Wild West” assertion. Pathetic.
Now, it appears that military members—and perhaps their vulnerable families, also—must fear for their Second Amendment rights under the same shabby pretense: To gun-banners, they simply aren’t skilled enough. That they can be trusted to defend our nation, but not themselves and their families—well, we simply have no words.
Going into the election year of 2016, remember who it is that will likely define “skilled enough” as you consider your vote.