Teaching in an age-old fashion
What are our inalienable rights? I always thought the right to defend ourselves with whatever tools we could afford was one of them. I read the Second Amendment as a warning to the government not to infringe upon that right. An amendment can be eliminated, while inalienable rights cannot except by force or forfeiture, hence the need to give fair warning to government to keep hands off. I don't see the Second Amendment giving anyone anything....except a clear warning. The Constitution has many such warnings to keep the government in check.
As a child around Sylacauga, Alabama you might have run into WWII veteran E.B. Sledge who wrote With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa considered to be among the best accounts of the war in the Pacific theatre. My father's family lived just north of Birmingham and produced two M.D.s with just one high school diploma. In act of filial piety, my dad rebuilt his grandfather's log cabin on Smith Lake along the the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River where we commune with their spirits when we can. A book I read in my youth was Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark that reminds me of your grandfather teaching you the ways of the woods.
Worth my year's subscription !
A damn fine article, Glenn.
Another thoughtful column with a great message.
Writing like this is why I already subscribed.
Brings back memories of my dad (also a lifetime NRA member) taking my brother and and me to the rifle range on weekends, and plinking birds with our 410/22 over-and-unders on his 175 acres in the piney woods of East Texas. I grew up reading The American Rifleman every month. Now I’m a grandfather (also lifetime NRA) who has the privilege of teaching his grandsons how to shoot an AR-15--and still devouring The American Rifleman every month.
Thank you, Glenn
I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about the men who raised me. My parents divorced in the early 80's when I was six, and we left a suburban environment to go live with my maternal grandparents in rural Oklahoma. My surroundings changed from movie theaters, McDonalds, parks, and shopping malls to cattle, horses, snakey creeks, and oilfield equipment (the nearest McDonald's was an hour drive).
More importantly, in a rural environment as a kid, I was simply allowed to spend more time around men. In "the city", I couldn't go to work with my dad at the telephone company. There were rules against that. My teachers were all women. It was always moms who were taking us to baseball games, birthday parties, movies, etc...
In the country, my grandfather would take 7-year-old me to work with him checking oil wells... I got to ride in his truck all day, sometimes in the bed of the truck going down dirt roads. My uncles all had barns and shops and livestock... and after school I'd wind up in those places. They were all into rodeo and when I got a bit older would take me with them to ropings, where I would hang out with other kids my age taking care of horses in between events while the cowboys chased girls (sometimes we'd peek in the horse trailer to see what they were doing when they caught a girl).
In that environment, guns were just part of the tools everyone had at their disposal. Until I was in my 20's, I never once remember hearing an adult talk about the 2nd Amendment outside of an academic setting. Guns were a thing you used for hunting deer, birds, killing varmints, or plinking turtles at the fishing pond. Handguns were actually pretty rare in our family, more an homage to cowboys in old Westerns than something you'd actually use for self-defense... I had half-a-dozen rifles and shotguns before I graduated high school, but didn't own a handgun until I moved to a city and had a family. Likewise, as an adult my involvement with concealed carry, being pro 2nd Amendment, and tactical shooting were all things that stemmed from my life in the suburbs... not rural. And when we moved back to the country to raise our family many years ago, I found my relationship with guns changed as well, back towards more of a tool to use instead of a political symbol and/or insurance policy.
You've brought a tear to my eye, Bud III. I'm a little older than you. All, and I mean all, of my early adult role models were WWII Vets, most of whom saw action, especially my father, and the women who loved them. I grew up in a tiny village in the Hudson Valley Region of NY during the '50's. My hometown was as rural and Red Necky as anyplace you've ever seen. 5 miles from our only stoplight at the Four Corners were dirt floors and outhouses. Even living in our village, deep woods were only a casual stroll away.
My grandfathers and one grandmother passed before I was born, so it fell mostly to my mom and dad to raise us. I had the added bonus though of working with my father, who was a floor sander. All the men in The Trades were vets and heavily invested/informed on all matters 2d Amendmentwise.
How did this impact my life. Why do I think, feel, and act the way I do. 12/1/69 I had just turned 19, my number was 310, and I joined the Navy anyway. My mom got a little weepy when I left for Boot Camp.
"I thought we fought to end all this," she said.
I didn't go anywhere near Vietnam, many of my friends did. We all carried with us the integrity, the dignity, the purpose, the clarity, and wisdom of the Old Men.
Wonderful read. I too spent/spend a lot of time in the academic world and it never ceases to amaze me just how disconnected it is from the normals. I remember watching my grandfather put down a coyote at 100+ yards on his ranch and thinking, "Now this is a *man*!" Something I doubt any of my colleagues ever experienced. And at what cost? Love the substack, Glenn. Even if there were no content I'd pay just to say thank you for the last 20 years of Instapundit.
My dad, a miner, contracted TB and was out of the family for the time I was learning to shoot. My mother taught me, on her 1909 Winchester .22 (shorts, longs, long rifles too). I still have it.
Drafted into the Army in 1963, I was issued an M-1. I loved that battered old rifle, and qualified 'Expert'. A sergeant came to hand me the expert badge, and said 'Son, aren't you glad the Army taught you to shoot?' And I could honestly tell him, 'Sergeant, my mother taught me how to shoot!'
Old men can sometimes become legends. My grandfather was one such “old man”. Known to all as either Papa or Ed (depending on their relationship), he was the last of the cowboys. He grew up in Nevada in the 1920’s, served in the Army Air Corps in WW2, drove trucks on the AlCan Highway after the war, and much more. Whenever our family is together, the conversation inevitably turns to Papa and the stories by him and about him. Some are even true.
I don’t know if he knew much about what the Constitution means and says, he wasn’t the sort to really talk about that. But he probably did, he was an incredibly intelligent man that knew something about most topics. I do know that he believed in individuals owning guns, knowing how to use guns, and being strong, self-reliant adult humans. He didn’t tolerate men or women that couldn’t stand up to him well at all. And he certainly kept guns himself, hanging on his living room wall. And often carried with him daily on the construction sites he worked on.
The two men who most shaped me to be who I am are my Dad and Papa. Followed closely by my uncles. Without them, I suppose I would be someone much different. The power of old men, indeed.
Succinctly sums up what I have seen in the gun debate across America. My father was from northeastern Mississippi. Guns were a part of life there. When I used to visit there from suburban Chicago, it was my first real experience even seeing them. These comments on this thread about men going hunting to put meat on the table might happen again. I know people that grew up in urban areas that embraced deer hunting just to learn how to hunt, dress, skin, and eat a deer. Just in case.
I went to a much less prestigious law school and can remember maybe one discussion of the second amendment. I often remember our Constitutional law class; we never actually read the constitution.
Brings back stories about my father, who as a farm boy in 1920s North Dakota was entrusted was bringing some necessary extra meat for the family. When I was a boy, I enjoyed trap shooting with him and his guy friends (WWII vets) on Sunday afternoons and hearing their stories.