It is what they know of themselves that causes leftists to cultivate and wallow in a culture of hatred and fear. This fact is revealed in how leftists prefer to organize society, in how they misinterpret the US Constitution, and in how and whom they choose to target publicly with their vitriol. But nowhere is a leftist’s fear and self loathing so clearly demonstrated as in how they approach issues of personal responsibility.
If you’re paying attention you’ll find evidence of this fear and hatred every day in newspaper op-eds and on social media. In their essays and public messages leftists describe, in so many words, their utter disdain for personal responsibility with vituperous criticism of the moral values and societal mechanisms built upon personal responsibility; things like God-given rights, citizenship, and policies or laws that are meant to bar against totalitarianism. Once in a while, though, American leftists like to go on safari and take a wide-eyed-but-cynical journey into the heart of that which they fear and hate as much as they fear and hate themselves: the society and culture of responsible, principled, and moral American citizens.
Note that I refer to citizens in contrast to leftists. Leftists have contempt for citizenship because it involves responsibility—which they abhor and are threatened by—and objective rules and values like national identity and borders—which they despise because they interfere with leftists’ more destructive political efforts. In any event, every foray into the heartland of America involves a journey outside of the leftist’s insular commune. For leftists, these journeys are typically described as experimental and are always referenced in emotional terms.
One such journey was chronicled in a recently published essay in The Stranger (a digital and print tabloid newspaper for the Seattle, WA area), wherein a leftist snowflake decided to get a concealed-carry permit and then purchase and carry a pistol. Here’s how he described what he later called his “experiment”:
“My project was simple: Buy a handgun and carry it, loaded, on my person, for some period of time. My goal was even simpler: See how it felt.”
As the essay confirms, he never once looked further than his own navel in the process, which was entirely focused on his feelings and, oh yes, his mental illness. As you’ll find, the essay presents a striking illustration of why leftists should never own or carry firearms.
Here I’m going to examine some of the more disturbing facets of the author’s experience and point out the root causes and specific problems they indicate. Even so, you will likely benefit from reading the essay yourself. It is a bit long and filled with errors and teachable moments, to which the author and others like him will likely forever remain oblivious. That last fact scares me and I’m compelled to expose some of the scarier components of his story as lessons to my countrymen who might possess the same naïveté, but perhaps not the same aversion to personal responsibility.
Problem 1: The Overall Approach
As the earlier pull quote from the essay indicates, the author undertakes this otherwise serious endeavor for no reason beyond an exploration of his own feelings. True to the leftist idiom, he is defined by and defines all else according to feelings. This moral and intellectual flaw is a plague upon all leftists and, by extension, society.
Sadly, he and others like him cannot grasp the fact that feelings are irrelevant to everyone and everything on earth except the one feeling them at the time. Feelings are, by definition, irrational; they are the misleading substitute for thinking. That which one must or must not do is in no way rightly penetrated or influenced by how one feels. Otherwise, society would need no laws and instead everyone in it would be subject to the emotions and whims of an irrational and tyrannical ruler class. Sounds a bit like the Utopia all leftists envision for us, doesn’t it?
The choice to own and carry a firearm has nothing to do with how one feels. It is rightly about the choice to take responsibility for one’s own safety, as well as the associated behaviors and obligations. In other words, if this choice is not approached from the idea of responsibility first, it is in every case the wrong choice. That author made the wrong choice in his foundational motivation. As goes the foundation, so goes all that is built upon it.
Problem 2: “It’s for killing people.”
The essay’s author makes the same obligatory mistake that all those like him make every day. When describing a firearm, leftists project their fear and hatred upon it, personifying it with the character traits they know best: their own.
“The criticism that they are ugly, boxy, and unstylish is hard to deny, but then, the idea that a gun could be a thing of beauty is totally alien to me. It's a gun. It's a tool. It's for killing people. How can that be beautiful?”
Leftists love half truths because it allows them to lie outright while pretending to tell the truth, fooling many in the process. A gun is no more a tool for killing people than a car is a tool for speeding and crashing. In civil society, arms are for defending life and individual liberty. Death may result in that righteous and moral effort, but death is not the aim. Stopping the threat is the aim. Guns can be used to kill, but only willfully or negligently by a person. It takes a specific sort of character to employ that volition. The ones who employ that volition daily and most prolificly are leftists who populate the worst neighborhoods in our nation; all of them run by other leftists.
Leftists don’t hate that guns can be used to kill. They don’t even hate guns (they want a totalitarian squad of stormtroopers to have exclusive use of them!). What they hate is the fact that owning and bearing arms requires self control, responsibility, and moral core values. Leftists don’t trust self control because they have none. They eschew responsibility, ceding it to the state, and neither possess nor understand core values. On the contrary and as mentioned before, they believe everything should be considered in the moment according to emotional whim. In that idiom, core values are unnecessarily constraining. So leftists dismiss firearms as something useful only in purposes they themselves would undertake, had they the courage, like killing in order to impose their terrible values upon others. That, by some strange coincidence, is exactly what the leftists in America’s death-cult inner cities do with guns every day.
Problem 3: Mental Illness
The most frightening aspect of the author’s essay is the fact that he has been suicidal since the age of 15. That fact is frightening enough, but then this…
“Though I hadn't admitted this to myself earlier, it was perhaps inevitable that the very first thing I did when I brought the gun home and was alone with it was to put it in my mouth.”
That’s right; the long-time-suicidal and now new gun owner put his brand new pistol in his mouth as soon as he got home from purchasing it. He admits holding it there “for a while,” even put his finger on the trigger, all while “contemplating” (a better word is “fantasizing”) his own suicide.
Leftists, along with the rest of us, rightly decry the horror of violence when someone uses a firearm to murder a bunch of innocent people. What they avoid and leave out of most of their criticisms following one of these events is that the killer is almost invariably a leftist and/or mentally ill. Yet if you examine the comments to this essay you will see his brethren thanking and applauding him. You get in society what you encourage and enable. Clearly, leftists want more mentally ill, willfully irresponsible scary people with guns behaving illegally and irresponsibly.
There are 4 rules of gun safety that must be held as inviolate by those who own firearms. Those new to handing firearms will often accidentally break a rule or two until practice and instructor reinforcement ensures they become unconscious habits. This guy deliberately broke all of them because 1) he’s mentally ill, and 2) he lacks the capacity for and interest in being responsible with firearms. And he’s applauded for it by the left.
Problem 4: Appendix Carry
I carry my pistol in the appendix position and believe it to be the best location for retention, concealment, and deployment if the need arises. However, carrying in the appendix position means drawing from and reholstering to an anatomically vital and delicate location. A negligent mistake while doing so will likely end your life. This carry position is therefore a good idea only for well-trained individuals who continue to practice every week.
The essay’s author had never carried a firearm, had never and did never train with a firearm, yet he chose to get an appendix-carry holster and carry in that position. As irresponsible and unsafe as that was, he went on to describe other irresponsible actions:
“It's also physically uncomfortable. Sitting down involves a good deal of futzing to keep it from pushing up into your kidneys. And wherever you go, there's a bunch of plastic and metal digging into your stomach, pelvis, and thigh. But you can get used to it if you're determined to.”
Proper carry involves none of these things. He didn’t know this fact because he didn’t care to take a responsible approach. This man is, in so many ways, a danger to himself and others.
Problem 5: Looking For Trouble
The responsible armed citizen takes pains to deliberately avoid dangerous situations and to defuse heated ones. Our leftist hero here did exactly the opposite.
“I wouldn't say I went out looking for dangerous situations, but I was curious about whether the gun might serve as a divining rod for them. […]
“Nonetheless, I thought that if my experiment was going to be fair, I should try a little harder to put myself in situations where I might have reason to feel, if not actually imperiled, then at least uneasy. Fortunately, I live right around the corner from what KIRO once called "the most dangerous block in Seattle. […] I now made a point of walking down the block, at several times of day, while exercising the right granted me by that permit. It felt ghoulish, like I was looking for trouble where trouble already abounds.”
The reason it felt ghoulish to him is because it was. It was deliberately irresponsible, deliberately dangerous, and worse yet, deliberately evil.
Though leftists always believe otherwise, he was granted no right by that permit. Leftists ever decry the notion of God-given, natural rights and believe them to be privileges by another name (again, because of what they know of themselves). They are not, of course, but the essay’s author illustrates the principle perfectly here. By evidence, this guy is precisely the kind of person that leftist decry “having access to firearms.” Again, he is a danger to himself and others, yet he’s a laudable figure among his leftist peers. The insight his account provides is nothing short of terrifying.
Problem 6: He Exemplifies His Own Straw Man
The author of the essay does not fancy himself a bad person. He states no desire to kill anyone (other than himself) and he deliberately chose to legally (ostensibly) acquire and carry a firearm in public. Yet after all of this he makes this observation:
“I believe the NRA's rhetoric about "good guys with guns" is largely bullshit, the same as all marketing that tells you one thing in order to sell you another.”
We have here a deliberate confirmation of my original thesis: leftists hate and fear because of what they know of themselves. Not even he believes that he was a good guy with a gun. He’s right, of course, but his belief comes from his leftist idiom that rejects the idea of responsible, moral people. In the mind of a leftist, evidence of moral responsibility is nothing more than pretense. He believes this because of what he knows about himself.
“…before we reached the terminal, I'd decided that the best way to exercise my Second Amendment right was to waive it, and get rid of my gun as soon as I got home.”
Again, he erroneously posits that his right to arms comes from words written on paper. He is, if anything, consistent.
This person conducted his “experiment” in order to find out how it made him feel. At first it made him feel dangerously malevolent and in the end it made him feel fearful and uneasy. It reminded him of his inadequacies and he resolved to get rid of the gun and end his experiment (for which we should all be grateful!). I sincerely hope he did get rid of it. We are all safer without him armed. I also sincerely hope that he continues to address his mental illness (which made his gun purchase more than unwise and less than legal).
Gun ownership is not novelty. It is not a project or an experiment and it is not something to approach with anything less than a moral core and a firm sense of personal responsibility. You, I, and the rest of our fellow human beings have the God-given right to arms, upon which no man or “law” can infringe. Even so, we may, as this person did, become unworthy of the blessings of our rights. His is a cautionary tale.
It is my sincere hope that those of you reading who are contemplating arms ownership will not take the frivolous and irresponsible approach described in The Stranger essay. Instead, seek professional training on a regular basis, follow the 4 rules of firearm safety at all times, practice often, model and expect personal responsibility, and resolve to be a positive influence in your family and in society.