This is hard to write. Those of you with a biblical background may be familiar with the story of Paul. One of the most noted Apostles in the good book got his start persecuting the very thing he became later in life. It was a lesson lost on me growing up in the Baptist community in urban Chicago. It’s no secret guns aren’t the favorite topic among the dwellers of that metropolis and I was no different. I wrote many a lauded term paper in high school supporting the Assault Weapons Ban . . .
and I pitched a proper teenage liberal fit when the Supreme Court ruled in a fashion which meant Al Gore lost the election. Yes, I used to be one of those radical, low information voters who’s easily swayed by CNN and Al Sharpton. It’s a good thing time travel isn’t achievable yet because sometimes I want to go back and slap myself so hard I’d probably cease to exist entirely.
But then my life circumstances changed and my back was against a financial wall. Thus motivated by circumstances and a desire to do something good with my life, I joined the Air Force. All along, right up until the first time I shot at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, I thought the government, media, celebrities and black cultural leaders were right about gun control. It all came crashing down, though, when I pulled the trigger of that M16A2 set to three-round giggle mode. I left the range wondering why I had waited so long…..and that’s when I got angry.
I was angry because I realized I’d been lied to my entire life. What’s worse, I didn’t have any way to know it was all a load of bull. I drank intellectual KoolAid my entire life on the issue, thinking it was water.
I now own an AR15, two 9mms and a shiny NRA membership card. The transition hasn’t been painless: as of now I’m barely on speaking terms with my extended family after they discovered I hold a CCW permit and my mom thinks there’s no reason for AR15s to be civilian-legal. The reaction of my black relatives to my ownership of guns and a carry permit has been about the same as coming out as a lesbian would have been in 1947. If they knew I’m an NRA member and a registered Republican, too, I’d probably be disavowed entirely.
I share all of this because I believe people who’ve grown up in pro-RKBA families and states can’t fathom the kind of social information and message management that motivates voters to support gun control. As Sun Tzu said, to know our enemy and to know ourselves means we can win a hundred battles. There are times today I can’t comprehend what the liberal disarmament lobbys up to, and I used to stand with them.
What we’re up against isn’t just laws, statutes, rules and regulations. We’re fighting, without sinking into hyperbole, a system of cultural and social control. We, the people of the gun, need to break the back of the disarmament lobby by getting positive word about the RKBA past the information barriers erected by anti-gun politicians and their lackeys in the media. By changing the culture, we’ll change the laws. We take down the anti-gun culture by substituting the KoolAid millions of voters are drinking in New York City, Chicago, Baltimore, Honolulu, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles with the water they never knew they missed.
FORMER liberal gun hater. FORMER being the operative word here.
Girlie pics too?
Girlie pics? Wait, what did I miss?
Almost forgot, welcome to the lightside of the force ST.
We are fighting:
1) People who actively want the monopoly on the ability to use violent force to reside with the political class (to which they belong or think they are a part of) and their extensions.
2) People who are so terrified of their inability to take care of themselves that they have deluded themselves to the point of zeal that accomplishing 1) will finally free them of their self-responsibility.
I will remember these next time I dive into a debate on the virtues of gun control.
I’m sorry that your family won’t simply agree to disagree. Welcome to the light side of the force, though.
Great post ST.
If we are not politicaly motivated there will not be any guns / gear left to review. I believe there is still a significant # of pro gun folks out there who do not yet think their guns will be next or their state or local is close to a california , nj, maryland etc. so have not felt motivated to become involved. This and all gun sites need to try to get their readers and followers motivated to fight the anti’s or we truly will have very little to talk about.
Unfortunately I have within my family very liberal members who are anti gun yet very pro marijuana legalization and some who are anti abortion, anti drug and anti gun. Some have begun to see the extremes that we spoke of becoming reality. What they thought was just my tin foil hat talk now has become reality for folks in Cali, Jersey, Ct and NY.The problem is it is almost impossible to find some one who can run for office and win on a mixed platform. We need those on the liberal side to help us maintain our RKBA they need us to help gain gay rights/gay marrige laws( just examples). As long as we fight for specific rather than broad rights we will never win. The politicians will keep us as fractured as they can.The parties are polarized to the extreme edges so there is very little common , middle ground legislation. The politicians have to cater to the special interests and to the extremes which they will do to keep the seats and power they have and to try to gain more . I think we need more of the left to come to us and some of us need to go tward them so we can put up a more unified front to the politicos on both sides to say we want a country where people can be free to do the things they want as long as that does not directly hurt someone else. Some who might be against gay marrige may need to recognize the rights of others to marry whom they want since it truly does not hurt you. They need to recognze our right to KBA unless you do something illeagal then of course you loose the right and should be punished.But as long as we vote for candidates based on single issues and they feel that from their constituents they will not be willing to find middle ground. We need to start changing the paradigm to one of guaranteeing freedoms first for each party. Enforcing existing laws to keep society safe. Legislate only based on sound evidenced based logic not emotion or retaliation.
Unfortunately, legislators are only interested in passing new laws, not pressing for enforcing the laws we already have.
Hell yeah, I live in Baltimore where it’s been illegal to carry a handgun for a long, long time…. yet I fall asleep every night to sounds of gunfire (I try to guess the calibers until I doze off). Instead of enforcing (and prosecuting) the existing laws, our then Mayor and now Governor O’Malley bans ARs – solving a problem MD doesn’t have and ignoring the one we do have. More smoke and mirrors from O’Malley.
Hat’s off to the OP – march to the beat of your own drummer.
As for guns, gays, and marijuana – be careful when mixing them together.
ST thanks for sharing. Fortunately for me I grew up with a bb gun and later a .410. My father was an avid gun collector and it rubbed off. But I guess that would make me blind to the other side.
Who is the mysterious “ST” … why not go by a longer handle here on the ‘net?
What difference does it make?
Great post ST, and glad to have you aboard! Glad to have you on our side.
I like this story, awesome!
if there is another contest I retroactively nominate this post as winner, give this man a shiny new gun. or better yet, ammo.
Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?
Thanks for your service, and welcome to the world of firearms and independent thought.
The more to come to our side the better.
Great story and a bit of an eye opener I guess having been raised in a family which loved hunting and the army its easy to lose insight on the other side. I view guns and gun laws about like most people view hammers and ratchets they’re tools for a specific set of purposes others might view them as so inherently dangerous a device that outlawing them is justified.
This just all lends more to my belief that we as gun owners are doomed. There are more of them than us in the places that matter to the folks to run things. In short we are screwed.
If that becomes the undeniable truth one day then “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” tells the American people how they must secure their Liberty.
There’s always the old cliche “when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.” I don’t see the gubmint coming after ~80 million outlaws. I’m yet to be convinced that the 300+ million guns in private hands in the USA will be sheepishly handed over because some D-bags on the Potomac said to. JMO, but all is not lost, we’ll keep fighting the good fight, until the bitter end. Cold dead hand, etc, etc…
Need ammo for that…
Those of us who live in Red State America need to understand what we are up against. A single real story like this one is worth one hundred Talk Radio rants. Here is some hope I can believe in.
I have no problem with family members that want to run around pre-victimized. Doesn’t make me happy, but its their choice. I’m sorry your family doesn’t respect your choices.
What ST describes is exactly the anti gun progressive liberal societal brainwashing effort we are up against. It has been going on a long time.
The sad part is that, unless the victims of this insidious social engineering are somehow immersed in the truth, they’ll never know the truth.
I’ve seen glimpses of ST’s predicament in previous comments, where ST describes how if the family knew what views s/he held, s/he would be ostracized.
Knowledge is power and the best way to enslave a population is to keep them ignorant. The slaves in the south were forbidden to learn to read. Women in the most backwards of Muslim countries are also forbidden to learn to read. In the middle ages the Catholic church burned people at the stake for reading the Bible. All of this was out of fear that the slaves might enlighten themselves and become free.
It’s not a coincidence that the most vocal proponents of disarmament seem to be the most ignorant about firearms. They are slaves and they fear freedom.
Keep up the good fight.
Excellent. Knowledge is power; ignorance is slavery.
I really needed to read something like this. Recently I’ve been wondering if there’s any real hope of reconciliation with people on the other side and if we’re just doomed for one to eventually destroy the other.
You’ve proven that isn’t always the case. Thank you.
Nice post, ST, but surely the mere touch of a giggle switch didn’t by itself drive your epiphany.
We want to know the rest of the story.
This. I want to know more. How did this transformation occur? Also, I want to know why the author picked the military, since you know, the purpose of the military is to launch projectiles that kill people and blow things up. Apparently the author had a strong aversion to this sort of thing.
Well said, sir.
To the others I would add – find a non confrontational way to introduce new shooters into the fold, expose the myths of gun control, and highlight stories regarding successful armed self defense. Do not escape from the world – engage with it. Introduce people to the truth as well as you can.
You are welcome in my family!
Welcome in mine also, we would be happy to have you as a brother in arms.
I dig the political stuff. Go ahead and give me more.
Thank you for your service! I encourage healthy debate regarding the 2nd Amendment but most of the Gun Control ilk sink to emotion. I still respect them and would never think about disowning a member of my family. Maybe your family will come around?
Forgive them, for they know not what they do…
Welcome, brother. There is room for all in the House of the Spiral Tube (but not those straight wall guys… shotgunners make my a$$ drag). 😉
Might want to visit this FB page and give them a like… Also for education for rights as opposed to propaganda… https://www.facebook.com/choosetherightfight
I’m wondering what exactly was the impetus for the sudden epiphany you had when you fired the M-16A2? What aspect of firing it, at what point in the process you decided it or if it just struck you like a bolt from the blue? Inquiring minds want to know. Don’t know why I want to know, maybe I’m looking for suggestions as to how to proselytize Liberty and following the Constitution. 😉
I had a similar conversion. My fist time firing a weapon was a humble 9mm pistol. A friend, who was an avid shooter, practically dragged me to to local range and insisted I try shooting.
I’m kind of a goofy guy, absent-minded professor type. There is a near permanent hunt in my house for my keys and glasses which always seem to be slipping away to hide.
But when that loaded pistol was put into my hand, a realization struck me like one of Zeus’ thunderbolts: if I screw this up, I could kill everyone in the room with me. My mind focused like it never has before. I put all my mental energy into making sure I did not do anything stupid with that gun and into listening very carefully to every instruction being given to me about how to aim and fire.
After firing my first shot, I realized something else.
Shooting a gun is hard. It takes incredible mental focus. Over the next hour, my friend and the RSO (who’d taken an interest in the newbee) talked me into that state of focus and concentration necessary to put holes in the right part of the paper.
I did pretty well, and I left that range suddenly loving the sport of shooting. As I tell my liberal friends when they ask why I like guns: the closest I’ve ever come to a state of zen perfection was on a shooting range.
But I still had that other monkey hanging over me, the “guns are bad” argument I’d been indoctrinated with my entire life.
So I started to do my own research and soon learned everything I thought I knew (which wasn’t much more than slogans) was wrong. Guns were not evil, they were a societal boon. And the right to own one was not granted by government, but instead was a natural right.
That also freed me and set me on a lifetime pursuit of questioning everything.
So guns taught me mental focus, and guns set me intellectually free.
And yeah, I’m a libertarian, jammed right up in the top corner of that “quiz” map.
Now for your next step. If you want to amplify that “zen” situation 100 times, try deer hunting if the idea of hunting isn’t appalling to you. Everything you do is careful, planned, and critical when you are a serious deer hunter. Your training and target practice, your scouting and selection of location, your clothing selection and attention to scent control … all are hugely important. And when you put them all together, actually go hunting, and finally see a deer that you may have a chance to shoot, you will experience an intensity, focus, and satisfaction that is hard to describe with words.
On the other hand if you have no interest in getting outdoors to hunt, consider long range rifle shooting. It is on par with hunting in terms of training, practice, research, equipment selection and maintenance.
I suppose that is the beauty of firearms … there is always another facet to ownership and use that you can dive into headfirst.
And, of course, after you shoot your first deer, you get to have the Zen epiphany of cleaning it. ;-P
Wow! That’s very powerful.
It’s kind of sad that JT was subject to the slingshot effect and snapped all the way to the Republican wing when she decided not to be a Democrat any more.
JT, when you decided to switch, did you even consider stopping off at the Libertarian party?
(Whenever I mention the Libertarians, I like to include a link to this quiz.)
I’m surprised you don’t refer to yourself in the first person.
You know Rich, I wish *everyone* in the entire flipping universe was as utterly omniscient and incredibly, insufferably sanctimonious as you are.
If everyone was *exactly* like you with *exactly* your life experiences and *exactly* your train of thought, then all problems in human existence would be solved instantly.
All hail Rich Grise because he knows everything and all you little people who aren’t Rich should shut up and worship his complete and utter lack of empathy and forethought!
Jesus. I now just realized that *I* come of as a sanctimonious ass ranting in that tone. Oh well . . . .
Sorry, I didn’t know it was sanctimony. From my POV, I was just sharing what I thought I knew.
This actually goes to one of my pet theories: An all-volunteer Armed Forces is a very bad thing, because it is less democratic (note lowercase “d”). People who would be forced, by induction in the draft, to be exposed to alternate points of view, are now able to continue to live blissfully in their own comfortable world.
In 1968, there was a draft; I first went for the “student deferment,” but college was just more school, without adult supervision. After 12 years, I was sick to death of school. So I dodged the draft by pre-emptively joining the Air Force. 😉
I believe that any danger in an “all-volunteer army” would depend on how they’re used, specifically, for actual defense of the Nation against an actual attack, (like in 1941) or to go over to far-away places with strange-sounding names on some lunatic CinC’s personal crusade (like every “war” ever since)?
Don’t feel bad about your former liberalism. I think it was Churchill that said: “Show me a young conservative and I shall show you a man with no heart. Show me an old liberal and I shall show you a man with no soul.”
The quote attributed to Churchill is:
“If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”
“Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.”
or some other variation.
Great quotes, but there’s no proof that he actually said any of them.
WTF man? I was reading Ayn Rand, Robert Heinlein and Orwell at 12, and I totally have a heart…
Great points all around! Thanks.
You know its ironic that the so much ground has been made on pot using this very same reasoning. Once enough real information got past the rhetoric and the propaganda, change started happening rapidly on the issue – indeed that process is very much still underway. And just like the author suggests, all that headway was made on the cultural front. Change the culture, then the culture will demand the laws change as well.
ST – my family is the same way. Black, pro-gun and very conservative don’t mix well at family get togethers. even my wife has come around and admits to her love of guns and conservative traditional family values.
and even better, just this wknd, I won over more Black converts! i have a whole bunch of men and women who want to shoot. and one guy at church asked me if i would take his son to the range to learn to shoot before he is to report to basic training next month . . . . patience rewarded indeed.
Well done. The best way to overcome an enemy is to turn him into a friend.
That is why, if you don’t agree with something, you must always do the proper research, if you want to take a stand, one way or the other. That includes listening to and understanding the arguments, both for and against. With that information, you yourself make the final decision on the validity of whatever subject. It comes down to the core issue being the lack of proper education.
One thing that really amazed me the most about gun culture, when I took it from curiosity to passion, was just how dead wrong even I was about who gun owners are. Even in Utah, the range is a regular cross section of society. And easily the most accepting demographic in the state.
For living in a state that churns out children of the corn in half dozen batches, it was very impressive to see no more old fat white guys than there were old fat black guys. Or skinny young ones for that matter.
If there is one group of people I think we’re severely underrepresented with though, it has to be young black women. And that has always upset me, because I think that they could benefit the most as a group from being able to properly defend themselves. Its always seemed so strange to me, that a group so often recognized for their strength in the face of being subdued and victimized isn’t the first in line to arm themselves for defense.
I blame a combination of indoctrination, denial and blame-shifting. Black women have been brainwashed by corrupt churches, insular elitist intellectuals and big city machine politicos of all parties to believe that guns are what’s causing their gang-banging children to die in the streets.
They truly think that more Jesus quacks, more spankings and fewer guns will fix everything messed up about their kids when they honestly need less television in the house, less ignorant consumerism, more formal education, more licensed therapists and more law-abiding people with guns.
Good on ya!
I have a black friend from Chicago who is a hardcore Republican. But it’s okay, because he knows the other one, too.
I have a black in-law in Philly that is hard core conservative and republican/Libertarian and he is looking for the other one.
I’m black and about the only things I’m conservative on are education and self-defense, and I only care enough about what you think to write this post.
Thank You for the insight. The problem is the self-righteous liberal insight that they are superior to anyone who does not see it their way. Control, insults and “I
When I was a kids my grandparents had a bolt action, pump, pellet rifle… I couldn’t tell you how old it was, but it was made of heavy wood and metal that real guns aren’t even made of today.
The first time I put my hands on that rifle the addiction took hold of me… I was so little I couldn’t hardly even work the action or pump it, but I spent the summers in the back woods of their farm shooting that rifle and playing with the old timer pocket knife I got for my 6th birthday.
Today, the gov’t would probably throw me in a home for wayward boys and put me on anti psychotic meds for playing with guns by myself and carrying a pocket knife and they’d put my grandparents under the jail.
Guns and knives were a way of life and right of passage for me growing up.
I am glad you are now open to the idea that guns are not bad. I wish those who hate guns so much took Dr. Piazza’s from Front Sight offer to take them out and teach them what it feels like to shoot a machine gun and the proper use of weapons.
ST I am happy for you the US Air Force allowed you to shoot an AR-15 so you could see what a great weapon it is. No I am not trying to say the AR is the one and only weapon to own. I am saying I really love shooting my AR.
I found I was having so much fun with guns that I studied to be a gunsmith on my days off. Yes I too carry a concealed weapon and have a federal firearms license (FFL).
Don’t feel bad, just takes some awhile to sort things out. Like right in front of your eyes, but blind. Why do we arm police? Because they come into contact with criminals. Why are citizens armed? Because we come into contact with criminals. A good, honest, and thoughtful government of the people ALWAYS WANTS AN ARMED CITIZENRY. But a government of gangsters and criminals and killers, just the opposite, want to DISARM CITIZENS!!!!
Not rocket science.
My own evolution has been similar. Reality…teaches.
Most firearm owners are not the stereotyped slack-jaw camo maniac the extreme left loves to demonize. WA State is under attack to 2nd Amdmt. rights with the pass of I-594. Billionaires bought the votes, period. Nevada is likely next. The SHTF, not an overreaction, it did. WA has law now which is so restrictive you can’t believe it is true. The loophole background check sales job was a ruse, it read well for the naive, many bought in. We now need to gut and or repeal which is a huge hassle.
Fantastic and well written article.
I am pro second amendment, have shot an AK 47 along with other types of weapons, and I hate guns. Guns are meant for killing period….well practice shooting too. However, I would hate to disarm citizens in this country for many of the reasons people have stated in their replies to this article.
I totally distrust our government because like you, I was young once and drank the Kool-Aid without bothering to read the ingredients LOL. For twenty years, I was so angry when I figured out that my dad along with the lousy California public education/indoctrination that I received when I was young had been one long ideological lie. Dumbing down public education and a radical left socialist media is frighteningly similar to Hitler and Stalin. So for now, I am pro gun ownership.