There are many things that make me extremely angry about the violence that plagues certain areas of our country’s urban jurisdictions. Specifically, I am referring to the violence that involves the use of firearms. It is perpetrated predominantly by an extraordinarily small, career criminal population that is exploited by the professional anti-gun establishment to try to strip essential freedoms from tens of millions of law-abiding, contributing members of society like you and me. Of course, the erosion and elimination of gun rights they seek will only protect the bad guys and make the good much more vulnerable.
If anyone should question this concentration of violence, Professor John Lott recently issued a report that found that 54 percent of U.S. counties had precisely zero murders committed by any means in 2014. Of course, these counties are areas of the country in which per-capita firearms possession is the highest. It’s worth a hearty laugh that millions of the guns owned in these counties are the “really scary-looking” kind the antis most want to ban because they are “weapons of war.” That is all just one more part of the overwhelming body of evidence proving that guns in the hands of good Americans should be the last issue of concern.
The American violence problem that is nearly entirely concentrated in these urban centers usually involves gang members warring with rival gang members over an insult or control of drug turf. Once someone is killed or wounded, retaliation is required, and the cycle continues. The triggermen are predictably violent felons (legally prohibited possessors of firearms) who weren’t kept segregated from society in prison long enough, if they ever were at all.
For gun-banners, it is so much more expedient to engage in this charade than it is to try to tackle the complex problems at the very root of all the violence.The politicians from these areas focus all their wrath on guns and the National Rifle Association—the civil rights organization that champions the individual freedom to own firearms that has been officially recognized for a mere 226 years. For gun-banners, it is so much more expedient to engage in this charade than it is to try to tackle the complex problems at the very root of all the violence. At best, these politicians are lazy, reckless slobs. At worst, they are actively trying to force citizens to be entirely dependent on them (the government) for all their essential human needs, including security.
I recently met a man who was born and raised in one of the most violent areas of St. Louis. He is not a politician, and he’s most certainly not looking for the easy way out. His name is Kevin Dixie, and he owns a company called No Other Choice Firearms Training. The name says it all, in that he trains his students to ensure that a firearm is understood as a last-resort tool for defending life and limb.
Along the same lines, he believes firearms should be the last thing targeted by policymakers who claim they are trying to address the violent crime problem. He is a rational man fighting in an irrational environment, but it doesn’t mean he is giving up. That’s not in his operating manual. In one of St. Louis’ most troubled areas, he recently hosted an event appropriately named Aiming for the Truth. Oh, how I wish politicians would do the same.
Dixie advertised his event by handing out flyers in the neighborhood and working the social media platforms. He asked local organizations to help get the word out, but most balked as soon as they heard that part of his message to the people was one associated with the empowerment that comes with lawfully bearing arms and being trained to use them effectively. This brand of censorship kept attendance lower than it should have been, but this is only the beginning.
Speakers at Aiming for the Truth addressed the real causes of violence. They talked about breakdown of the family, with approximately 70 percent of all births in the area being out of wedlock. Dixie was raised by a single mother, and he challenges the city’s fatherless youth to remember the pain they felt so they don’t cause their own children to experience it. The cycle must be broken. Practicing what he preaches, he and his wife are the proud parents of two adorable, bright children.
Mental health providers spoke about the realities of mental illness among today’s population and the stigma associated with seeking counseling and other treatment services. Leaders with KIPP St. Louis stood in stark contrast to the defenders of an eroding traditional public education system that leaves too many kids with a long, uphill climb to hope. They are a network of charter schools with more academic and budgetary freedom than traditional public schools. It is evident that all involved with KIPP tirelessly push their kids to one thing—success.
Others spoke of the importance of being financially responsible and having the ability to seek employment opportunities. Much of it boiled down to planning for a future. If people believe they have a promising future, they are less likely to act impulsively. They understand that prison is the last place they want to be when so many other opportunities exist.
Men like Dixie provide hope to those of us who see too many negative trends in today’s America.Finally, Kevin spoke to the audience about gun rights and gun control. He told them that the one way they are able to protect everything that matters to them, including their lives, is by being armed and educated. He informed them that gun control is really motivated by a desire to control who possesses guns.
As evidence, he briefly ran through a history of gun control schemes intended to do little more than keep blacks from exercising their right to arms. Of course, this overt racism is still alive and well today in supposedly “progressive” bastions like California, Maryland, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and New York City, where handgun carry permits are issued only to the rich, famous and well-connected. There, omnipotent government officials decide which lives are worth more than others.
Men like Dixie provide hope to those of us who see too many negative trends in today’s America. He is actively trying to make a difference by facing the tough problems and talking about them in an honest manner. He seeks to empower the people who others are trying to render entirely dependent and strip clean of any dignity they might have. The people who call themselves “progressives” have a weird way of showing that the name fits. Maybe it’s just that they are trying to “progress” an agenda that they aren’t really willing to publicly acknowledge—at least not yet.
If we don’t shame more politicians into swallowing hard and stepping up like Dixie to face down the real causes of our nation’s violence, they will continue to take the easy route and blame an inanimate object until they succeed in their march to dramatically erode our rights. I have no idea what they might then blame for the all-too-predictable crime wave that would follow when the bad guys could act without fear of facing an armed victim. I hope that I will never know.
We need more honest and motivated men like Kevin Dixie to ensure I don’t.
Darren LaSorte lobbied with NRA-ILA for 14 years and now lives and works in Dallas. His passions are shooting, hunting and self-defense training.