Thomas Paine once wrote that “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country.” At no time in my life have those words, written in December of 1776, been more prophetic than they are today. During the last four years or so, the “sunshine patriots” in and around the firearms industry have been happy to capitalize on the popularity of both the concealed carry movement and the tidal wave sales of the AR-15 or Stoner-based rifles. From huge investment companies and national sporting goods chain stores down to the local gun shop, profits from the sales of guns, ammunition, and related accessories have never been higher. At the 2009 SHOT Show, Jim Shepherd, Editor of the Outdoor Wire, dubbed Barry Soetoro as the “Gun Salesman of the Year.” And, whether you liked that or not, it was the absolute truth . . .
Despite pledging in July of 2012 to prevent crime only with “existing gun laws” (pre-election, campaign talk), Barry, with the fawning support of a sycophantic press and the useful idiots who inhabit his camp, has turned the preventable horror in Connecticut into a rallying cry for civilian disarmament. As the leftwing media machine beats the drum and fans the flames of hatred against lawful American gun owners, the “summer soldiers” are running in blind panic away from an industry in which they’ve made millions of dollars during the last few years.
To no one’s surprise, Hollywood television producers who were more than happy to cash in on the American gun craze, were some of the first dominos to fall. Discovery Channel, which aired of some of the most popular gun reality shows pulled the carpet out almost immediately on both of their existing programs as well as killing pre-production of shows that had yet to air. Ted Nugent’s Gun Country and American Guns have been officially cancelled and Sons of Guns has been “removed from the schedule.” Whatever that means.
Cerberus Capital Management, the monster private equity group who had been gobbling up gun companies for the last six years or so, announced on December 18th 2012 that they were divesting themselves of their gun holdings. Firearms industry insiders saw this as a blessing in disguise as Cerberus management had been ruining the reputations of its gun companies for years.
That doesn’t change the fact that Cerberus and its myriad investors had no trouble making millions — if not billions — of dollars from the American gun owner. Then, like Simon Peter in a moment of weakness, they turned their back on lawful gun owners who had nothing to do with the horror that recently took place.
Then there’s the Dick’s Sporting Goods chain. Like the quintessential wishy-washy Charlie Brown, Dick’s by policy does not sell handguns in its stores, though it sells shotguns and rifles. A few years ago, the only Stoner-based rifles Dick’s would stock were green-camouflaged versions in the forms of the R-15 and R-25 from Remington. Apparently black was bad and green was good.
Recently, though, Dick’s daringly opened their shelves to semi-automatic rifles from the likes of S&W and Ruger. But after Sandy Hook, they quickly turned tail and announced that they were suspending sales of semi-automatic rifles in their stores.
Betrayed from Within
It’s not terribly shocking that Hollywood elitists would run scared from the gun world after exploiting it. Nor is it a stunner that corporate executives, who view firearms as mere products — no different than power drills or vacuum cleaners — would turn tail and run. However, the issue I find most disturbing is the “reasonable” advice being put out by those who are supposed to be on our side. Some, though certainly not all, in the outdoor/shooting sports media, yet again, in the wake of an atrocity committed by an obviously derange individual, recommend a sort of acquiescence.
One piece of advice from a “firearms rights” columnist recommended against displaying “guns” in photographs or video on social media posts or You-Tube. Are we to hide who we are and be ashamed? Others in the self-appointed “traditionalist” category recommend that “real sportsmen” (their words) need to distance themselves from the AR or black rifle camp. Some have gone so far as to suggest that we “must be prepared” to accept certain “reasonable” restrictions.
Throughout the outdoor sports media, via the Internet, television and on the radio, gun owners are being counseled to respect the opinions of the other side and to be respectful of those attempting to disarm and thereby enslave the citizens of this nation. Advice has been given that we should not use “inflammatory language” or “provoke” our enemies. I’ll bet next week’s paycheck that I will be chastised for words I’ve written thus far in this piece.
It’s exactly that kind of “reasonable” thought process that has brought us to the state we are in. We’ve tried to be rational and reasonable when dealing with the mentally unbalanced forces allied against us. Yes, mentally unbalanced. How else do you describe humans who are completely governed by emotion and act contrary to facts and historical precedent? I won’t waste time quoting the hate-filled, vile rhetoric spouted during the last two weeks by the anti-gun zealots; you can find ample evidence of their imbalance online.
No Evidence to Support their Position
No nation on planet Earth has ever successfully disarmed its population and eliminated or even reduced violent crime. To the contrary, pure, raw data and facts demonstrate quite the opposite. Both Great Britain and Australia have effectively stripped away the privilege of owning firearms from their subjects. In both examples, all out gun bans and confiscation occurred after a madman had used a firearm to kill children.
Decades later, neither Great Britain nor Australia is “crime- or violence-free. To the contrary, criminals in major metropolitan areas have become emboldened and have no fear of the private subject or home owner. In Great Britain, violent home invasions have increased dramatically since the sweeping gun ban went into effect. But, this is all old news and completely immaterial to those ruled by emotion.
Far more sinister examples of civilian disarmament have played out and continue to play out in North Korea, China, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union. Of course, void of any historical perspective, today’s “ban all guns” crowd pay no heed to the mass genocide orchestrated against helpless populations.
In the end, those in favor of civilian disarmament — and make no mistake, that’s what it is — don’t hide behind or even acknowledge ‘gun control’ as a legitimate term. They fall into two categories; useful idiots living in a world void of reality and sinister elitists who wish to disarm their political opponents in order to secure absolute power. Hundreds and thousands of restrictive gun laws, statutes, and regulations have not been able to sterilize the nation and rid us of violence, crime or evil, and they never will.
Again, a quick review of our nation’s history will demonstrate that as restrictive gun laws have increased so has the level and frequency of mass murder-style violence. Eighty years ago when American citizens were free to own any type of firearm they could afford, regardless of caliber, action, or ammunition capacity, the instances of mass murder, outside of organized crime, were practically unheard of.
Is it really any wonder that as we have shifted responsibility away from the individual human and onto inanimate objects, that human behavior becomes more and more brazen? At this writing it’s been over three years since a Muslim jihadist killed 13 and wounded 29 soldiers at Ft. Hood. The killer has yet to be tried, much less convicted. What does that say about our willingness as a nation to stand up to evil behavior?
Wilt and Fade Away
Surely the trying times that we have experienced during the last four to five years are only magnifying and becoming more intense. We now have no other recourse but to face the threats and assaults on the lawful citizen of this nation. Recommendations against inflaming or provoking an internal enemy that calls out for our destruction are both naïve and childishly unrealistic. That kind of thinking is akin to petting a rabid dog to keep it from biting you. Unless you deal with the dog directly and forcefully, sooner or later you are going to get bitten.
I fear that Paine’s admonition about the summer soldier and sunshine patriot will ring all too true in the upcoming year. Those who once claimed to be on our side will wilt and fade away as their mettle is put to the test. For those entrenched in the camp personal responsibility and constitutionally affirmed liberty, we must be ever on guard not only for the enemy without, but for the enemy within.
Paul Markel © 2012
Paul Markel has been a firearms industry writer for twenty years and now hosts and produces “Student of the Gun” a show dedicated to education, experience, and enjoyment of firearms.