February 6th, 2008 12:14 PM
The West, Washington, D.C., and Weapons
I really like this article and thought it was a good read.
The West, Washington, D.C., and Weapons
By William Perry Pendley
Monday, February 4, 2008
In 1989, John Shuler of rural Dupuyer, Montana, heard grizzly bears outside his house; fearing they would kill his sheep, he grabbed his rifle and ran into the night. The good news is he survived his encounter with four grizzly bears, as did his sheep. The bad news is his lawyers spent eight years and a quarter of a million dollars to get him acquitted of charges that he violated the Endangered Species Act by killing one of those bears. Early on in that legal battle, the federal government ruled that, although Shuler justifiably feared “death or serious bodily injury”—the test for a self-defense claim—he had no right to arm himself and enter into what the government called “the zone of imminent danger.”
That conclusion conflicted directly with an 1895 opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, in which, quoting authority, the Court ruled, “Where an attack is made with murderous intent . . . the person attacked is under no duty to flee. He may stand his ground, and, if need be, kill his adversary.” Moreover, the government’s view of Shuler’s right to arm himself and confront danger conflicted with the ethos of the American West, a vast area from the midst of the Great Plains to the Cascades, from Canada to Mexico.
In the West, the virtues of individualism, independence, self-sufficiency, and self-governance yield, not only a strong distrust of government, but also a citizenry that forms the bedrock of America’s gun culture. Their State constitutions go further than does the U.S. Constitution as to their right to “keep and bear arms”; their laws include “make my day,” “castle doctrine,” and “stand your ground” provisions; and their supreme courts interpret broadly the right of self-defense outside the home. Little wonder then, that the story that captivated the Nation last December of a voluntary security guard who saved scores of churchgoers by shooting a heavily armed killer took place in the heart of the West—in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “[I]t was me, the gunman, and God,” she humbly proclaimed.
Washington, D.C. may only be 1,500 miles from Colorado, but it is light years away in the distance that separates the two cultures. In fact, Washington proves the truth of the ubiquitous western bumper sticker, “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” For while Washington has had, since 1975, perhaps the Nation’s most stringent gun control laws and boasts more law enforcement officers per capita than any other city, it annually competes for and often wins designation as the Nation’s “Murder Capital.” No wonder that, for decades, law-abiding Washingtonians complained that they may not keep weapons in their homes to provide effectively for their own self defense.
One of those was Dick Anthony Heller, a District of Columbia special police officer permitted to carry a handgun while on duty but barred from keeping a gun in his home for self-defense. When his application to do so was denied, he sued under the Second Amendment. After his lawsuit was dismissed by the district court, the U.S. Court of Appeals reversed in March 2007. Last November, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the Constitution protects, as the Court of Appeals ruled, an individual right to keep and bear firearms unrelated to militia operations.
Scores of briefs will be filed and the March arguments watched closely. Nowhere will the Court’s likely June ruling be more anxiously anticipated or closely scrutinized than in the West. For westerners believe what the Founding Fathers believed, that they have the right to keep and bear arms to defend themselves and loved ones from danger and their society from tyranny. While westerners may abide the Court discovering new rights in the shadows of the Constitution (its famous “penumbras”), westerners will not accept the Court destroying a right that has been so clearly in the bright light of the Bill of Rights since 1791.
“The will to survive is not as important as the will to prevail... the answer to criminal aggression is retaliation.” Jeff Cooper
February 6th, 2008 12:29 PM
Thanks for the post! It is a good read & sent it my sons and friends in Florida.
BE PREPARED - Noah didn't build the Ark when it was raining!
Si vis pacem, para bellum
NRA Life Member
February 6th, 2008 02:34 PM
I'm pretty sure that article nailed the idea. Out West, guns are a way of life. Just about everyone has at least one and many have more than that. A lot of us shoot for recreation... and because of the realities involved out here. There's a lot of undeveloped country and critters that don't care if you are wearing clothes: You look yummy or might be getting close to their young.
Here's my view from living out in Arizona for a few years:
As a general rule, Anti-Gun people stay in the big cities. Those that either don't care or who like them aren't afraid to venture out to live or spend a lot of time elsewhere. Going camping out west? Three things people know to bring: The sleeping bag. The cooler. The guns. Nothing else is really neccesary except maybe a lighter.
Here's my view from living in the DC suburbs for more than a dozen years:
Anti-Gun people are everywhere and they aren't afraid to tell you you're wrong. Not as an opinion - as fact. If you own a gun, its probably a well-kept secret. In the DC area if you want to go camping, you bring your permits, a map, emergency contact info, firewood, cell phones and all that crap.
Out here its a whole different way of life and one I love to no end. Every time I go back to DC to see family and friends I can tell how far I've drifted and I'm not going to complain.
The Gunsite Blog
ITFT / Quick Kill Review
"It is enough to note, as we have observed, that the American people have considered the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon." - Justice Scalia, SCOTUS - DC v Heller - 26 JUN 2008
February 6th, 2008 02:41 PM
It's sickening how far they have come in their utopian society - murder capital of the USA. I have no desire to ever set foot where I can not protect my wife & kids.
The most exhilarating thing in life is getting shot at with no results.
- Winston Churchill
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U.S. Army (72G) 1975-1980
February 7th, 2008 11:35 PM
John Shuler did one thing wrong, he made it known that he shot the bear, better to bury it and be done with it.
I grew up in the foothills of Colorado, I was given my first .22 rifle at age 12, That rifle has been a constant companion for a lot of years. It has come between me and several girlfriends who told me it was the rifle or them, I've never been married so you can see what won out. Many years ago, I moved back to Arizona, my native state. I have had the great priviledge to become friends with quite a few Navajos, a very proud and patriotic people, I am blessed to know them. The Navajoes think of a rifle as a tool much more than most white men, If something is bothering thier lvestock, then that is what the rifle is for, they do not take the killing of a coyote or other predator lightly, but their livestock is thier wealth, food, and clothing. The guys that I know carry thier rifles with that certain grace and comfort that I learned as a child. If you stop your truck along any backroad in Arizona and walk into the wilderness, you will be comforted by the firearm on your shoulder or hip. Vast miles are still rough and uninhabited in the west, therefore the gun will always have a home out here.
"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 his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the
love and thanks of man and woman."
-- Thomas Paine (The American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)
February 7th, 2008 11:41 PM
Much of what that article said about the West could be said of the South as well....(especially, I guess, the place where they both meet- Texas)
"...bad decisions that turn out well often make heroes."
Gary D. Mitchell, A Sniper's Journey: The Truth About the Man and the Rifle, P. 103, NAL Caliber books, 2006, 1st Ed.
February 8th, 2008 06:00 PM
The Three S's would apply here.
"It does not take a majority to prevail,,,,,,but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men." Samuel Adams
February 8th, 2008 10:25 PM
I 'second' this approach...
Originally Posted by abuttermilk
The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.
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