This feature appears in the March ‘16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
When President Barack Obama, surrounded by family members of Americans murdered by violent criminals or psychotic killers, went on national television in January to push his executive actions to further restrict the right to keep and bear arms, his remarks contained a litany of half-truths and outright lies.
But one thing he said was completely truthful: “In this room right here, there are a lot of stories.”
First, let me say that, like President Obama, I am horrified and furious when madmen kill innocent people. My heart goes out to the families and friends of these murder victims. Any human should feel the same way—gun owner or gun-hater, alike. As a father myself, I can’t overemphasize the pain I feel for parents who have lost loved ones—especially children—to despicable cowards who kill the most innocent among us. It’s impossible for me to truly understand their heart-wrenching grief.
To disarm the people in the second room to appease those in the first will only lead to more death, injury and heartache for all.The difference between my anger and the president’s lies in who, or what, our anger is directed toward. President Obama tends to blame the gun, and tries to find a solution by curtailing the rights of the law-abiding. I, on the other hand, blame the violent, often repeat, criminals bent on selfish carnage, and seek a solution that targets that tiny but vicious segment of Americans who see the rest of us as convenient prey.
As I pondered those aggrieved people alongside the president, I envisioned another room—a room full of Americans who have used their lawfully owned firearm to defend their own lives and the lives of their families. This room, like President Obama’s room, would be quite diverse—men and women, old and young, black and white, rich and poor.
In this room, there would also be “a lot of stories.” Some might tell how they used their guns to save their families from brutal armed intruders who broke into their homes in the middle of the night. Others might relate how they were attacked while on a walk in their own neighborhood, and the presence of their firearm was all that came between life and death—perhaps without even firing a shot. Still others might speak of how having a concealed firearm, and the ability to use it, thwarted an armed carjacking that could have ended up deadly for members of their families.
While I care about the people in both these rooms, the president refuses to admit that the second room even exists. The same goes for many in the radical gun-ban movement.
As America moves forward in its search for solutions to the problem of violence perpetrated by dangerous criminals and psychotic murderers, we must recognize the existence of both rooms, and realize that the people in both rooms have value. To disarm the people in the second room to appease those in the first will only lead to more death, injury and heartache for all.