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Yesterday was John Lennon’s birthday. I know, because they celebrated the in Shreveport, with a rooftop concert at noon, and an evening concert/potluck supper. This got me to thinking back on the life – and death – of Lennon, and of how things have changed since that day, both for me and for the country.

I’m a night-owl. Always have been. It’s a useful thing trait for a professional musician. But that particular Monday night, I chose to go to bed early, rather than watch Monday Night Football. The next morning, my clock radio awakened me to one Lennon song after another. At the fog cleared in my brain, I remember hearing the DJ talk about “the late, great John Lennon.” I immediately thought, “That’s crazy. Lennon’s alive. Hell, he just released an album.” Then it started to sink in. I raced to my pitiful excuse for a TV (black & white, natch), where I learned the grisly details.

As I’ve recounted here before, Lennon’s death made a profound mark on me. In this, I’m not alone – most people of my generation feel a connection with the Beatles that later generations just don’t grok. At the time, I was regularly playing gigs downtown, where I was having to pack-out after midnight, in an alley, populated by denizens of the night. Scary stuff.

I was toying with the idea of buying a gun. Lennon’s death brought the whole gun thing home to me in a personalized way. I decided to stay unarmed, because I thought that carrying a gun would make me automatically ratchet up any conflict from “avoidable” to “tragic.” I felt as if I’d be a danger to myself and others. And frankly, I just didn’t want to have anything to do with something that symbolized the death of one of the best songwriters the world has ever known.

So, you see, when I write about anti-gun people, I know what I’m talking about. I used to be one of them. Well…not really “anti-gun” but I saw their arguments as reasonable and valid. The good news (for me, anyway) is as I got older, I re-evaluated that position, learned some lessons, and changed my mind. It’s called “growth,” people, and I highly recommend it. (This is why, by the way, I recommend you be nice to anti-gun people…they CAN be taught. Except for the really rabid, obnoxious ones.)

The thing that really changed my mind about guns? Having a child. I realized that, with the proper training, I could become a responsible gun owner, and that I owed it to my family to be able to protect them. “Hoping that a disaster doesn’t occur” didn’t seem like much in the way of a winning strategy to me, regardless of if you’re talking about tornadoes, hurricanes, carjackings or home invasions.

But with the observation of Lennon’s birthday, I flashed on that old Firesign Theatre album. It was a funny gag, that juxtaposition of V.I. Lenin  and John Lennon, as well as Marx (Karl) versus Marx (Groucho). And then I wondered if life wasn’t imitating art.

You see, I don’t just watch guns in the news. I follow politics. Many TTAG readers do. If you don’t, you might wanna start. For within a month, we’ll have a nationwide election that will largely determine if the country’s careening towards Karl and Vladimir, or staying with Groucho and John.

Make no mistake about it: the policies pursued by the current administration are Socialist in nature. (Don’t ask an Obamanaut. Ask a socialist.) Sadly, the policies pursued by the Bush administration weren’t much better (or different). Remember: we have Bush to thank for the “Stimulus” package, the TARP program, and things like the prescription medicine addendum to Medicare. One of the major tentpoles of Socialism is that the government rules the people – essentially, in a Socialist State, the People work for the Government (regardless of whether they actually work directly for the government).

It’s a whole lot easier for a Socialist government to keep the People in line if they can’t argue. Arguments that are not one-sided take place with two antagonists that play on a level playing field. If one is armed (the Feds) and one is not (that would be YOU), it’s not a fair fight. And Socialism isn’t really interested in “fair.”

So as I ponder the meaning of life, liberty and the pursuit of Lennon, let me remind all of you, if you like the freedom to defend yourself against all enemies, and prefer the option to do so with a firearm, you might want to get serious about listening to the candidates. You have skin in the game, whether you like it or not.

The Beatles may have preached “All You Need is Love,” but when the ability to defend yourself is on the line, you’d better hope that you’re not reduced to Maxwell’s silver hammer, and find that Happiness is a Warm Gun.

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