Second Amendment Mentality

Courtesy Google Images
Courtesy Google Images

Is "NRA Mentality” an Oxymoron?

Having been in the retail grocery business for many years I was able to see a lot of different people traversing through my store. I would see how people dress when they go to work, how they dress on the weekends, and how they look when they get out of church. What I found satirically comical is when they dress to show off their Second Amendment rights.

People carry guns for a number of reasons. They may need to carry a weapon for their job, such as a bounty hunter or police officer. They may choose to carry a gun for personal protection, probably for a myriad of reasons. But then there is what I call the “Saturday Vigilantes”. They are the ones that get up on Saturday morning, put on some “manly looking clothes” and strap on a sidearm, to purposefully go out in the community to proudly display their “right to keep and bear arms”. I even saw a man wearing an NRA t-shirt backwards "Becuz ah wanted th' big pitchur on da frunt!"

That’s all well and good, it’s a free country. The local authorities seem to hand out gun permits like Halloween candy, as long as the applicant has no criminal record. What about their mental state? I think that their mental state is questionable just by the mere fact that they have to prove that they have same Second Amendment right as 340 million other people in this country do (and by wearing their t-shirts backwards).

Why does this bug me? In part, it’s because of the redneck intellect behind it all. But mostly because of what I have experienced in my youth. When I was in 7th grade, about 12 or 13 years old, I was trick or treating with my friend, Vernon Woodman. We lived in South Central L.A., and the gang violence of the era was blossoming at an exponential rate. There was a group of bangers going from house to house ahead of us. They were stirring up trouble as they went. When Vernon and I got to this one house, the door opened and the occupant fired a shot from a handgun into Vernon’s stomach, and slammed the door. I was mortified. Growing up in South Central after that became a whole new learning experience. Because of my exposure to that incident, I was singled out by the “bad boyz” and sought protection just to live. I saw more and more kids bringing guns to school, and soon I was labeled as one of the “bad boyz”. It was a scary and turbulent time. But Vernon lived. He returned to school six weeks later, and had to transfer to another school.

I have a friend nowadays that carries a gun, but as a concealed weapon. He has a permit for it. It is his prerogative to carry one if he wants. I’m just glad to see that he doesn’t display it proudly. It only asks for trouble. Old habits die hard, though. I have been known to carry a concealed weapon, but not a gun. I don’t carry it nearly as much as I did 25 years ago, but in some circumstances, I find it necessary to do so, depending on my surroundings. I just don’t display it proudly. There is nothing proud about having to carry a weapon. It is a gross illustration of the society that we live in.

We live in a great nation. Despite our current economic crunch and the problems we have to face because of it, we still have certain inalienable rights that no other nation on this planet affords its citizens. It is our responsibility to use our minds and our God given intelligence to decide to do the right thing with our rights in the name of common sense and leave the pride, ego and vanity by the curb.


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