As part of my job I attend a rather large number of firearms-related events and conferences, among them the annual NRA meeting. This year the NRA meeting took place in Nashville, Tennessee, and on the second morning of the event attendees were treated to a bit of audience participation. That Saturday morning as I took my time getting my pack together, tucking ink pens and note pads into pockets, double-checking for fresh batteries and spare fully-charged battery packs for electronics, the local news droned on in the background.
I rarely have time as it is to watch television, and business trips are even worse, so I’d never changed the station from local to national news. Of course, this particular group would have been featured everywhere, because it was Moms Demand Action announcing their intent to protest at the weekend’s NRA meeting. Catching on to what was happening, I paused long enough to listen to a moment’s rhetoric being vomited from the hotel television’s speakers. Moms Demand Action was heading to the Nashville Music City Center, expecting at least 400 protestors, and they were going to make it clear the crazed gun-toting nuts at the annual meeting were unwanted. They didn’t understand how anyone, how any American, could go down the path of Evil, Scary Black Guns, how we could willingly choose to use and carry these Devices of Doom. Yes, I paused long enough to sigh, shake my head, and laugh, before fastening my favorite IWB holster to my jeans and heading out the door.
There were not 400 protestors awaiting my arrival, there were, perhaps, a few dozen. A few dozen anti-2A protestors raising a fuss against 78.8 thousand pro-2A NRA meeting-goers. For the most part, the protestors were ignored; those attending the meeting understood the pointless nature of engaging the flock of uninformed – and angry – people wandering on the lawn. A few pictures were taken, forever capturing the small size of their gathering, but the bulk of attention was granted by none other than the mainstream media. This pint-sized protest inspired me to explain something via article to those protestors: my love of guns, also known as I Am Black. Forgive me if I make a few all-encompassing statements, I realize I cannot speak for all of us, but this is, after all, an article – my article – and meant to make a specific statement. Besides, you’ll more than likely agree.
Decades ago – how many I’ll leave up to your imagination – I was an innocent child. Although pink has never been my favorite color, I did, at least, see the world in pastels. My child’s mind did not grasp the horror of violence or the pain of loss. Children give special meaning to the phrase “seeing things through rose-tinted glasses” because they do, indeed, see the world in shades of rosy, cheery pink. To a child each day is fresh and new, filled with nothing more worrisome than whether or not there will be chocolate milk with lunch.
The average child hangs on to their innocence for quite some time, but it does vary. For the most part children fully expect their parents to protect them, even if they don’t fully grasp what from. To a child there is no doubt whatsoever their parent or parents will slay the proverbial monster in the closet and save the day. They wake up in the morning with grins and giggles and go to bed at night with a sleepy smile. They are children; they are pink.
One day, something happens. Perhaps a beloved pet is hit by a car or an elderly relative passes away. The pain of loss is introduced into the child’s life. It isn’t violent loss, but it is loss all the same. The soft, rosy edges of their lives is filed sharp. Pastels darken and sharpen; baby pinks and soft blues become hot pinks and teals.
Now, holding the knowledge of real emotional pain in the hearts, the children aren’t exactly children anymore. The age at this realization varies rather widely. Some of us are young yet, while others are older. Which side is luckier is a matter of opinion. We become aware there are real dangers in the world, that the monsters in the closet aren’t hidden after all but exist in the real world in the form of speeding cars and cancer cells. No longer mentally innocent, untouched children, they take on the neon brightness of newly realized pain.
Next comes the moment you realize the monster in the closet is the strange man in the grocery store, the unknown face on the news. The cause of this change might be something as small as overhearing a snippet of news – the anchor’s voice droning on about the Ted Bundys of the world – or it might be more personal, but still somewhat detached. The monster takes a step closer, and fear begins to take shape. The realization that your parent or parents are not super-human, that they may or may not be capable of protecting you from the real-life monsters, begins to grip you. Danger is real, and no longer distant; your colors bleed from neon brightness to the harsh tones of navy blue and forest green. Your color is not yet gone.
Someday something will rob you of those final shreds of hope and innocence. It might take years. It might take minutes. But it’s going to happen. It might happen at the fists of an abuser, or courtesy of violence visited upon a loved one. An elderly World War II veteran might be beaten to death by a pair of thugs in a parking lot. The gas station attendant you see every time you fill your tank might be shot by an armed robber. Your spouse might cross the line from verbal to physical abuse, and the moment their hand touches you, something in your mind snaps – or clicks into place, depending on your perspective. Whatever makes it happen, it happens. You now know violence is real. It can – it will – happen to you, to those you care about. Now, now you have a choice to make.
There are countless clichés and allegories describing the two ways you can choose to react to that moment violence is visited upon you or near you, and you realize danger is not just something you see on TV; it’s real. Some choose the example of choosing to be a sheep or a wolf, a sheep or a sheepdog.
Being a sheep means you’ve chosen to be helpless; a victim. You have no means with which to protect yourself, let alone others. You don’t want to. You are content to hide in a flock and hope you blend in, go where others lead, and surrender decision-making abilities to someone else. Your fluffy wool and fuzzy face aren’t an effective defense against the thugs and rapists of the world, and believe me when I say those thugs know. They recognize a sheep when they see one, and sheep tend to come with big targets painted on their butts. You believe if you’re attacked someone else will save you, the police will save the day, and all will be well. Sheep are also recognizable by their color; white wool tends to get dirty and stained rather quickly, turning an ugly shade of yellow, especially in certain areas. You are a sheep, and wool, when it’s your constant cover, doesn’t stay the snowy white of pure, good intentions; you are yellow.
Whether wolf or sheepdog the allegory is the same: you bear the sharp teeth of the protector, the alert nature of one hell-bent on survival, and the ferocity of a fighter. You will survive. You will not go down easily. You will not surrender. Perhaps most importantly, you are willing to protect the sheep. You understand their weaknesses and know they will be no help. You’re aware they’ve put themselves in that position; chosen their own color. You’re aware they will try to make you one of them. You refuse to be swayed; you will not be taken, whether by an assailant or a slick-talking activist. You strap on your holster, you load your gun; you are black. Black, like your gun.
We are black because we refuse to be victims. Because we understand the police are in the business of dealing with the aftermath of crimes, not preventing them. In a utopian society, there would be no violence, but we do not live in utopia. We live in this world, a world filled to overflowing with violence. If we want to ensure our survival, we will fight.
We are black because we love. Whether our significant others, our children, our friends, or our families, we want those we love to be safe. We refuse to stand by and watch them be terrorized or killed. If an attack is going to take place, we’d rather take the brunt of the blow because we know we’re capable of fighting back, or offering protection to those we love. Because we would rather suffer the consequences, the pain, than see those we care about be hurt. Bring the fight to us; we will not disappoint.
We are black because we are Americans. Our right to bear arms is found in the Second Amendment. It’s a right written by our founding fathers, a right granted us by men who knew the true meaning of justice. An inalienable right won in blood centuries ago.
As a woman and a single mother my reasons for being a gun owner are numerous. On the day the last shreds of my innocence were ripped away I chose to fight rather than to lie down and take it.
My first serious firearms instructor once told me if I decide to walk out the front door without my gun on my hip I should take a moment to go “Baaa.” Being helpless, he said, is a choice. Being strong is a choice, too.
Much has been made of the big, bad black guns, especially ARs. Anything with an external resemblance to a military firearm is cause for concern according to groups like Moms Demand Action, although they’re also equal-opportunity anti-2Aers. To them, all guns are bad. Sheep are commonly afraid of the very things which protect them, and one day, when danger strikes, the sheep will run to the sheepdogs for protection.
I am black. I have long since lost the innocent pastels of my childhood. I have no illusions regarding the state of the world around me. I do not rely on others to protect me. I do not fool myself into believing the police will reach me before the men breaking my bedroom window will. I take my weapons seriously; they are not toys. I know the golden rules and I put them into use. I am responsible and cautious, because that is the job of a sheepdog, to protect and guard in every way.
Contrary to the beliefs of the sheep, I am not bloodthirsty. I do not hope to see red; I do not want to be red.
I am black. What are you?
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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