My good friend Kenn Blanchard is the creator and host of The Urban Shooter podcast, and the author of Black Man With A Gun. He does so much for so many and asks so little in return.
TRL readers know also that I am an occasional contributor to The Urban Shooter podcast, most recently with a piece on how hundreds of thousands of Americans are stimulating the economy each weekend -- at gun shows. To give a listen to that entire show, and my contribution, check out Urban Shooter Episode 104, by clicking here.
In that same podcast, he had a monologue that just knocked me away. His focus was "Freedom." What it means, how it can be taken away, and how to defend it. Most importantly he talked about vigilence, something I have written about previously. His most important statement, and I concur, is that apathy is unacceptable. He hit so many points that I asked him if I could post the text from his piece on The Ready Line. He graciously is letting me do so.
Here is his essay.
Exempt from external control, the power to determine ones actions without restraint, political and personal independence, not subjected to despotism, ease of movement. To be able to own a gun is a symbol of one freedom. Being able to legally own a gun means that you are an adult. Free. You are no longer under daddy’s or momma’s rules. Free. It usually means you have no domestic violence, felony or drug convictions. You have not been incarcerated. You are law abiding. Free. It means you can pass a background check. Free. It means you are able to vote. Free. It means you are a citizen of the community. You don’t have to check in with your parole officer, you can go where you want to. FREE.
I didn’t grow up during the time of institutionalized slavery but I learned from my history that slaves could not own guns. I am free. If you have the power to determine your own actions without restraint you are Free. Gun ownership is more than hunting, collecting, competition, or recreational shooting or self defense it means you are not dependent on the government, for your safety. Free. It means you rely on your own strength, wit and ability. It is what separates this country from so many others. Here you are free. You are not dependent on a master, the king, the queen, a religious leader, you are in authority of yourself. You are not controlled. You are Free.
Right now across America at gun shows, federally licensed firearm dealers and firearms enthusiasts are active. The drum is beating. The trip wire on the perimeter of freedom for the law abiding gun owner has been crossed. The alarm has been sounded.
What is the big deal? Why are the natives restless? The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. The vigilant has seen the gathering of personalities that believe our freedom is too broad. The awake and the conscious gun owner is watching the assembling of forces of despotism and political power contrary to ideals of the founding of this country. Those that see, hand gun control incorporated, the Brady campaign against gun owners and even the United Nations marshalling forces to force Big Brother, socialism, One World, the We know better than you elite, singing Cum Ba Yah and creating ways to take away our rights--hidden behind sound bytes, stripping us instead of whipping us, using the under educated, the Mis-informed, victims of violence, the afraid, the cowardly, and the scared.
Almost 150 years ago, fear of African insurrection and native American payback, guns were regulated, made expensive so only some people could afford them.
Almost 100 years ago, gun control was enforced by men in white hoods, against black, brown, yellow, and Hebrew people in the form of domestic terrorism.
Almost 75 years ago, gun control was pushed to limit certain types of guns for certain types of people all in the name of public safety. Italian immigrants, World War veterans and a migration of field hands from the south were challenging the status quo.
Almost 50 years ago, gun control through politics and persuasion evolved as propaganda for a nation witnessing televised violence on a global scale in Korea, Viet Nam, the civil rights struggle and the assassination of beloved figures.
8 years ago, the average Joe in America was introduced to an old term—terrorism. That word denies freedom. It oppresses with fear. It is used to manipulate and scare the weak into seeking help from outside sources and not independence.
We now stand a proud and weary nation. Proud that we have collectively elected the first president of color in the history of the United States but we are tired of fighting racial, spiritual and ideological wars. But in every decade, every skirmish, every misstep in Americas history there always arose a minority that opposed the rich, the affluent and the wrong to fight for what is right.
If it weren’t for the Underground Railroad and white men and women that knew that institutionalized slavery was wrong, nothing would have changed. If it weren’t for men and women that started the Niagara movement, a small number of clergy and people that risk death, nothing would have changed.
After the dogs, the water hoses, the imprisonments, the lynch mobs, and the murder, if it weren’t for the continued struggle of those that believed in the rights of all people, Martin, Medgar, John Robert, and Malcolm would have died for nothing.
But now let every gun shot remind you that you are American. Let every round you load, and fire remind you that this is a product of freedom. This is why you fight. This is why you don’t let some smooth talking politician go when he suggest that you don’t need this or that. This is why you write to your congressperson and say no to this and no to that because freedom matters to you. This is why you support those that support your rights. This is why you are skeptical of feel good laws that are big on emotions but small in problem solving. This is why we fight for the right to keep and bear arms.
Don’t let the times fool you or lull you into thinking that today is different than it was 150 years ago. People haven’t evolved. There is still crime, terrorism, greed, poverty, ‘ism’s (alcohol, drug addictions, etc) that seek to take away your freedom. They are smarter now, the gun grabbers. They seek to divide and conquer. They will pit the hunters against collectors of military style arms. They will convince you that they are not taking away your rights but protecting you from yourself. Repeating a lie, many times does not make it true.
So here I stand, to inspire, and remind you that freedom isn’t free. Some paid for what we can enjoy with blood. Don’t give it away.
Apathy is unacceptable.
Now is the time to get involved. Now is the time to lend a hand. Now is the time protect and serve your nation by first protecting and serving your community, your household and our way of life. From all enemies of this freedom, foreign and domestic. There is no compromise in right or wrong. There is no second place in a gun fight.
If you want to protect the children, protect their future from those that seek to take away your right today. If you want to stop the violence, stop the violent. If you want to increase the peace, prepare for war.
You and I – my fellow citizens – need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nations' great goals. (from President Eisenhower). I have been given the opportunity to talk to you one on one, take what you need, share what you don’t.
President Abraham Lincoln said:
"The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act, as the destroyer of liberty."
Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails today among human creatures.
Bet you are saying wow, all of that from a preacher.
Martin Luther said, “A preacher must be both soldier and shepherd. He must nourish, defend, and teach; he must have teeth in his mouth, and be able to bite and fight.”
YOU ARE the shepherds and the caretakers of freedom.
Talk to you soon, thanks.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard, Urban Shooter Podcast episode #104, © 2009
Nicely said. Kenn, once again, thanks for letting me reprint this piece.