When Navy SEAL Dom Raso decided to leave the military, he knew his job of defending freedom wasn’t yet finished. What he didn’t know was how he would be able to stay engaged in the battle for American freedom as a civilian.
As a commentator for NRANews.com, Raso has dedicated himself to helping people understand the importance of the Second Amendment and the freedoms it protects. In that way, he is continuing his fight for liberty. See Dom Raso’s latest commentary at NRANews.com.
When I left the military, I never imagined I’d be in the public eye. To step into the spotlight is to risk the reputation that took a lifetime to build. You’re taking the chance that people will see you as just another guy exploiting his military service, trading years of dedication for a few minutes of fame.
For me, that couldn’t be further from the truth. When I chose this path, I hoped to educate our country on the subjects of freedom, liberty and what it means to be an American. It took every bit of energy I had to stand in front of the camera, but I knew the cause was worth the risk.
A few years ago, as I approached 12 years of military service, I realized I needed to do something more. I could’ve argued that what I’d already done in my career had helped make the world a safer, better place. I could’ve rationalized away my conscience. But I knew, in my gut, that I hadn’t done enough yet.
As operations in Afghanistan were coming to a close—politically, at least—I recognized that my experience would be put to better use outside the military. I believe the quality of America’s leadership is eroding. All the confusion, lack of direction and failure to stand up for tried-and-true American values is a direct reflection on our leadership. Politicians get elected because they’re good at appearing on TV, not because they have the right plan for the country. It’s our own fault for how easily we’ve let ourselves be manipulated.
America was built on the rights and freedoms granted to the people. A horrible event occurred in Newtown, Conn., about the time I left the military. Many people wanted something to blame. Believe me, so did I. But in my profession, the worst possible reaction is to make a decision with lasting consequences based solely on emotions.
That day, when 26 innocent people were killed, every decent person in this country responded emotionally. Everyone wanted to do something to help. So politicians blamed guns, and many people jumped on the bandwagon. They might’ve had good intentions, but they didn’t understand the consequences of what they were doing.
Recognizing this, I asked the NRA, “How can I help?” That’s how I ended up in the spotlight as an NRA commentator, trying to help people understand the importance of the Second Amendment. I realized then that tug I’d felt—that calling to do something more—wasn’t just about guns. It was about freedom.
I have great confidence in the American people. That’s why it amazes me to see some of them try to pass nonsense laws that threaten our future—especially when those laws trample the very freedoms that made America great. I don’t think that everyone should carry a gun. But I look around, and I see the great country that was built on those rights, and I worry about the nation we would become without them.
As a SEAL, I learned to analyze every move I made because people’s lives could be lost if I made the wrong decision. If our country makes the wrong moves on this issue, the consequences will be devastating.
In the military, I fought for everything America stands for. Now that I’m out, I’m still fighting for my country’s freedom—just in a different way.