By Rouen Heiberg
I’ve been involved with the shooting community for a few years. A decent percentage of that time being actively involved with firearm rights organisations by helping to admin and moderate social media, doing some one-on-one marketing, fundraising and all the other dreary boring jobs.
Part of this involves following the various gun debates on radio and television. The likes of Paul Oxley and Martin Hood going up against Adele Kirsten and Claire Taylor from Gun Free South Africa. Then of course there are the articles in the mainstream media such as the Daily Maverick, News24 and the Huffington Post.
Now, if you watch and read enough of these debates and articles you will see a repeating trend. Usually the presenter has already made up their mind (normally anti-gun), GFSA will throw some stats around (most of it made up from liberal tears and Kleenex), GOSA or SAGA will say its horse manure and counter with their own stats, then GFSA will get butthurt and accuse Paul or Martin of being a meanie, then at some point GFSA will play the “feelings card” and appeal to the emotions of the listeners. ‘Round and ‘round we go till the next debate. This is not a bad thing, because firearm rights organisations need to call them out on their nonsense, and we need to be there to spread the truth.
Those who know me well are aware that I’m a pragmatic kind of guy. Ideas and dreams are fine and all, but how a concept is applied to the real world is more my thing. And one thing I never hear from the anti-gunners is a solution: they are quick to complain and blame guns and gun owners and hell, occasionally they touch upon some truth, but never once have I heard Adele or Claire and any of their cronies give a realistic and practical alternative. They have the audacity and arrogance to believe they have a say in what happens in my house with my family, yet fail to accept any responsibility for what will happen to me when I am defenceless.
For the sake of the argument, let’s say they get what they want and we remove all guns. (With magic pixy dust or unicorn rainbows? – Gid.) What is their plan? If you are lucky you will now hear solutions like tougher jail sentences, better laws, more effective policing, education, yadda-yadda-fishpaste. It’s all there, far in the future relying on the massive wheels of government to turn and make it work. It won’t help me boggerol right now, when I lock the office and get hijacked in the parking area.
Alternatively, you will hear how they cannot guarantee your safety. Of course, they can’t guarantee my safety: it’s physically impossible. Yet some would say “don’t be unreasonable Rouen”…but they want to have a say over how I protect myself. How does that work? It’s textbook hypocrisy. I’m not a supporter, I didn’t vote for them. At which point did they decide that they have the moral authority to decide for me what is best for me? The same goes for any anti-gun group or supporter. How would you like it if I decide for you which car you can buy, or who you have to marry? Actually, I`ll name your kids as well seeing as you can have a say over the safety mine.
Now, there is a section of gun rights supporters who believe that guns are the be-all-and-end-all solution to crime, and every Jan Raap and his tjommie must have a gun. I do not subscribe to this view. Guns aren’t for everybody: owning them requires commitment, training, and a willingness to actually use it when the chips are down. However, I want people to have the choice. A decision that affects my life, my partner’s life, my family`s lives…I should be able to make that decision without interference from some illegitimate outside NGO. With that choice comes the responsibility of gun ownership.
If owning guns isn’t for you, that’s fine. No problem. Just as I want to be able to make my choice, you can exercise yours. I don’t have to agree with it, or think it’s the right choice, but it is still yours to make…and both of us will need to live with the consequences of our decisions. If you prefer to rely on the SAPS, ADT or whomever else for your safety, it is 100% your choice. Just leave me alone to make mine.
So, what is the problem with these people? Some armchair psychology: buying or owning a gun means you made the decision to protect your life or that of somebody else. Sometime during the process, you took cognisance of the fact that in order to save a life you may have to do something that takes one. Some think about it more than others, but somewhere deep in your subconscious it is there. Some folks have made peace with it. They have accepted that possibility exists, and mentally prepared for it.
The aggressive anti-gun lobby was at some point also confronted with that same choice. The only difference being that they looked deep inside themselves and realised they could not do it. Their gameplan is hope and luck. They accepted the cards dealt to them and moved on, hoping for the best. And good for them: it’s their choice. But…you get the select special few that regret their choice. It scares them that they cannot save themselves. If there were no guns, it wouldn’t matter: they would harbour the same resentment to knives, batons, pepper spray…any defensive tool. Guns are just a symbol. They aren’t really afraid of guns: they are afraid of themselves and their own inability to save themselves. They are scared of the people that made a different choice than theirs. Like most unfamiliar and alien things, it frightens them.
In conclusion, and to put it simply, leave us alone. If you don’t want to own a gun, that’s OK: you don’t have to. Nobody is going to force you to do anything you don’t want to do. Just keep in mind that we expect the same treatment in return. If you want a say, you have to shoulder the responsibility.
Me? I`ll keep my gun clean and my powder dry.
During the week Rouen works in the security industry designing integrated security solutions. During his free time he cultivates his tactical beard, causes butthurt amongst liberals, and helps to run an IDPA club.