Difficult Choices

Jan 11 22:00 2003 Kathryn A. Graham Print This Article

I am a veteran and a patriot. Such a remark often makes a writer the target of ridicule or worse, but I refuse to withdraw it. It happens to be the plain, ... truth. In ... of 1972, on

I am a veteran and a patriot.

Such a remark often makes a writer the target of ridicule or worse,Guest Posting but I refuse to withdraw it. It happens to be the plain, unvarnished truth. In September of 1972, on my own 18th birthday, I raised my right hand and swore solemnly to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I served my country faithfully and was discharged with honor.

I am a veteran and a patriot. That has not changed – yet that very oath I was so proud to swear has troubled my sleep for many, many years now.

In my youth and foolishness, it never, never occurred to me that those words meant exactly what they said. “ . . . all enemies, foreign and domestic.” I was too young, too innocent, to really believe that the Constitution could possibly have domestic enemies. If I considered that phrase at all, I would have thought of something like Robert Philip Hanssen of the FBI – a traitor, a criminal and a spy – not other ordinary citizens like myself.

I took that oath for the purpose of serving in the U.S. military – therefore, the enemies expressly mentioned in that oath had to be foreign. Didn’t they?

My discharge from duty with the armed services did release me from that oath, didn’t it?

Or did it?

Today we watch the painful, day-by-day erosion of the freedoms promised us in the Bill of Rights. Those lawmakers who propose and pass legislation that strangles or even negates those rights – they are not foreign. The police who all-too-often trample on what few rights are left, rather than protecting and serving us, are just as American as you or I am. They may indeed be criminals, but they stand accused of no crime. No warrants exist for their arrest. Yet they are the worst enemies – domestic enemies – that our Constitution has ever faced.

I am a veteran. I am not afraid of the word “duty.” Where does my duty lie today?

If I am to embrace the concept of “freedom,” then I must answer this difficult question for myself. No one can give me the answer. I can’t suck up to the state nanny and beg for an answer. I must seek the one and only answer that satisfies my own mind, my own heart and my own conscience.

The only answer I can live with is no compromise! The Bill of Rights means precisely what it says – every word – and every law that has been passed contrary to the Bill of Rights is null and void under the highest law of this land. Every individual who has voted for or attempted to enforce such a law is himself (or herself) a criminal. Cut and dried.

The Bill of Rights was written to protect the rights of individuals, not groups. Every word in the Bill of Rights concerns an individual’s right to something – whether to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to due process, or what have you, these are each and every one individual rights. There should be absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to keep and bear arms, not the right of the military to do so. That means that the individual’s right to self defense is sacred.

Period. No compromise.

So if I strap my Kimber in plain view on my right hip and stroll down the streets of my city, it is absolutely legal under the highest law of this land.

Of course, cold reality says that if I do so this week, the police will arrest me and remove me from circulation for some considerable period of time. There is even a colder reality that says that a poorly trained and frightened police officer could very easily shoot me stone dead at his first glimpse that I am carrying a firearm. The fact I would not be threatening him – and that this young cop would probably feel terrible about it afterward – is cold comfort indeed.

I may yet do this one day. It would certainly be the easy way out. No more worries, no more struggle. And my conscience would be clear.

Or would it?

While I live and remain free, I can educate others about firearms and about their constitutional rights. While I live, I can continue the fight to restore the country I love. Dead – or imprisoned – I am just one more statistic, one more episode of police overreacting to a perceived threat. By the time the press gets through with me, I will probably have fired at least three magazines of .45 hollow points at the poor young cop.

Just for the record, if the local police or ATF try that dodge concerning my demise, I ask my readers to remember that I am a better shot than that. If the officer who shoots me is still walking around and breathing without a respirator after my death, count on one plain and simple fact – I didn’t shoot at him. Period. If there are other police on the scene, it’s starting to look like a better bet to check their ballistics. Friendly fire seems to be killing more cops than criminals are killing these days, and that is a sure sign of uncontrolled panic on the part of society’s finest.

Now I am faced with the most awful decision of all. Believing as I believe, it is itself a compromise for me to obtain my concealed handgun license. I should carry as I believe – asking no one’s permission. Or should I?

As I stated before, while I am alive and free, I can continue the struggle.

I do have my concealed handgun license. I scrupulously obey the laws concerning concealed handgun carry in my state. I now have my instructor’s license, too. While taking my instructor training, I was pleasantly astonished to learn that many of my state police believe in the Second Amendment – and quite passionately. They are our friends, not our enemies.

I will teach a class every time I can find enough students for a reasonable class. I will give discounts and even free classes to those with a sincere desire for this license, but who are strapped for cash. And in every single class I teach, I will encourage the exemplary students to obtain their instructor’s licenses, too – and pass the work on.

Do the math!

If I can do this or any reasonable portion thereof, it won’t be many years before half of my state will be “packing iron” – and at least that half will have lost the infantile terror of firearms that seems to go along with those who want to disarm us.

While I remain alive and free, I can spread the word and teach the principles of true freedom to anyone with the slightest inclination to listen. I can volunteer time and my personal assets to help elect true Libertarians to office (believers in Libertarian philosophy – not necessarily party members) – and remove the statist criminals from their positions of power and privilege.

What helps more to advance our cause? Becoming an obscure statistic forgotten almost overnight? Or training a large number of people in the safe and effective use of firearms and applying every ounce of determination, intelligence and courage that I have to political campaigns that advance our cause?

Do I believe in no compromise? Absolutely! I argue for the repeal of every single gun law ever passed every single time I get the slightest chance to bend a legislator’s ear, and I will continue to do so for as long as there is breath in my body.

If the day ever comes that the state attempts to confiscate my firearms, they will find themselves armpit deep in blood. Absolutely no question at all about that!

But until that day comes, I have found my answer, the one I can live with. I obey the illegal laws so that I can remain alive and free to work and to teach.

I will sleep tonight.

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About Article Author

Kathryn A. Graham
Kathryn A. Graham

At a tiny 5'1", Kathryn A. Graham is a licensed private investigator, pilot, aircraft mechanic and handgun instructor in Texas. Also a prolific author, she has written numerous articles, short stories and a science fiction novel.

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