The Big Recommend: Joe Rogan interview with Douglas Murray

It’s long…. And the Joe Rogan Experience isn’t necessarily family listening or work friendly, but this interview with Douglas Murray, author of “The Strange Death of Europe,” is fascinating.

Not just on the topic of his latest book, but his take as an outsider looking in on our culture. Refreshing to hear someone admit they don’t get everything.

“The Strange Death of Europe” is available at Amazon.

You Don’t have an ‘Unfettered’ Right to Own a Gun, And Gun Owners aren’t Saying You Should

The argument that your access to own a firearm is ‘unfettered’ in this country has become ubiquitous among gun controllers.  Funny though, I have yet to hear a politician or a respectable proponent of the fundamental right to self defense argue that it should be. The reason they don’t argue that, is because . . . well . . . it is untrue.

Here, for example, is a 2015 Washington Post piece, on then GOP Primary candidates stating as much.  No where in the piece does Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) make make the argument that access should be unlimited. Here is former Rep. Dan Glickman of the Aspen Institute writing last week in the Hill: “It’s because the NRA has several million single-issue voters, who only care about protecting their essentially unfettered right to buy and use any type of gun.” And finally, Maryland Institute of College Art Professor Firmin Debradbender writing,  again in The Washington Post that, “The NRA’s logic dictates that we should make our schools look like war zones to accommodate unfettered gun rights.” If you don’t believe me, google the phrase yourself.

Proponents of the Second Amendment to the Constitution as well as gun owners see this line for what it is, mendacious and misleading. College professors and elected Congressmen know better.   And it makes it hard to have a reasoned discussion to find common ground when one side continually, whether willfully or not, mislead. The parties aren’t far apart just because of some culture war or mere politics. We’re far apart because people are lying. Those truly interested, like members of the NRA and supporters of Civil Rights, understand the Constitution and the concept of  Individual Rights. They are limited by their very definition.  Supporters of the Second Amendment live with the hassles and regulations everyday. On top of this there is the blood lible from the gun control advocates. It seems there is no price the gun controllers are unwilling to see gun owners pay.

One of my favorite quotes about the limited scope of rights comes in Russel Kirk’s discussion of Edmund Burke in, “The Conservative Mind from Burke to Eliot,  “A man has always a right to self defense; but he does not have, in all times and places, a right to carry a drawn sword.” The drawn sword for no reason, in this sense, is the unfettered right.  And in the case of the Second Amendment, it is certainly ‘fettered.’ What constrains the right is the appropriate time and place for its execution. It isn’t a license to use as one wishes; a Right exists in context. And there are already plenty of limitations on that context.

To begin with, there are age limits on the ability to purchase a firearm.  You cannot purchase across state lines.  You cannot purchase one if you are a felon or have been deemed mentally incompetent.  Some states, such as Illinois, have additional waiting periods on weapons plus other onerous burdens.  California has its infamous “bullet button,” regulation and a plethora of others that don’t make much sense and don’t work.  The Heller Decision itself states the right is limited and makes room for the above and more:

Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.

We do the background checks, the waiting periods, pay the extra taxes, take the mandated and un-mandated training courses, pay for the right to carry, pay for the regulations and carry the burden and responsibility for our rights and we put up with it willingly. We also live with the responsibility if God forbid we do have to exercise our right to self defense. Yet, we are told we are ‘unfettered.’ This is akin to urinating on my leg and telling me it is raining. If you want an honest dialogue on guns; if you want to discuss what may actually prevent the next massacre, then we’re here.  We’re willing and we’re waiting. All that were waiting for is a little honesty from the other side.

Being a Gun Owner/Soldier Doesn’t Make You an Expert on Gun Policy

As a gun owner, I’m not an expert on guns.  I can freely admit that. However, this is hard for some.  Usually, as in the example linked, they know less about guns than I do. They want their kids to be safe but they don’t like the NRA. They fail to realize that the National Rifle Association (NRA)  pretty much wrote the book on gun safety education.  Here’s a link to that site.

Next, is GI Joe (or Jane or both, I guess).  He carried a gun the military but doesn’t believe the rest of us should — even though a lot of us who were in the military own and still train with firearms.  Here is Army veteran and transgender (I’m not sure why that matters here) Charlotte Clymer:

The problem with this narrative (besides a lack of research or data suggesting more guns does indeed prevent violence broadly) is that killing another human being, even a “bad” one, is not easy. This is not “Call of Duty”: Despite the damage that modern weaponry can inflict, there is a reason that soldiers and law enforcement officers receive thousands of hours of training in firearms and tactics. This training is physical, mechanical and, most importantly, psychological, because in order to efficiently and effectively kill other human beings in high-stress situations, one must be conditioned to negotiate that stress.

I should know, because I went through it. As an U.S. Army infantryman, I spent thousands of hours, beginning in basic training and continuing throughout my service, becoming comfortable with killing and learning how to do so in a responsible manner. The psychological strength required to act quickly and effectively in a mass shooting comes from the kind of monotonous training that over several years builds up muscle memory. It is tedious and often boring, and that’s the point: it enables soldiers to respond in stressful situations as though it’s second nature.

The U.S. Army’s basic marksmanship training — just learning how to care for a rifle and shoot it — is three weeks long. That’s 18 full days (Sundays are usually semi-restful) spent getting comfortable with your rifle, learning how to dissemble and reassemble it, clean it, perform a functions check, correct malfunctions, load and unload it, conduct peer training with fellow privates, adjust its sights and, finally, how to actually aim and fire it.

It took him/her — again why does this matter– years of rigorous training and “thousands of hours” over an 18 day period.  Clymer’s argument, not mine.

How does this stuff get published?

These people are not experts. They do not know the history of guns, the law, the policy, or even, probably, how guns work. Fun fact, there is not a center fire rifle or handgun out there that at one time was not the latest, most deadly weapon in the hands of soldiers.  That bolt action Remington/Winchester rifle was based on a German infantry rifle.  The lever action rifle was a calvary weapon. Colt pistols were built for the military as well (revolvers).  The AR-15 (M4 clone) and it’s variants are just the latest in a long, long line of American soldiers bringing home their rifles.  It’s the same with modern handguns.  So, please, spare me the weapons of war… They all have military applications; they all come from the military.

Being a hunter or soldier does not make you an expert.  Just like being a driver doesn’t make you a Formula 1 racer.  Firearms policy is complex. It deals with trade-offs and is filled with misinformation, misnomers and plain old prejudice. Even the experts get things wrong.  But it is more so for that soldier who had years of training over three weeks. Being a soldier doesn’t make one a military historian or an arms expert.  It doesn’t make them an expert on the use of force nor on training. I’m sorry, but that you can point and shoot doesn’t give you any particular insight. In fact, it may even hinder your perspective.

Weigh that in mind the next time you read or hear, “As a gun owner.”


Here we go… (Actually this is just a test post)

Thanks for joining me!

It’s been a few years since I attempted to publish something. In fact, I think the last thing I published was a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal in 2014.

On this site I intend to blog about politics, culture and generally things that interest me. The tag line, Politics, Preservation and the Pursuit of happiness comes are the topics at hand. On the preservation front, I hope to write more about my development as a shooter and beginner martial artist.  Some of that bleeds over into politics.  On politics I hope to write about the broader issues of our times.  What the President tweeted at 3 am doesn’t interest me.  It really shouldn’t matter to you either.

The pursuit of happiness is about all of the above and more. For me happiness isn’t a state of being, it’s the act of pursuing it that makes life worth living. I hope it is the same for you. So grab your gun, your smoke and you joe and join me.

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