When I’m free, you’re free. When we’re free, they’re free.
I live in the great state of Texas, the land of cowboys, guns, oil rigs, guns, pickup trucks, guns, recent U.S. Presidents, guns, the annual Houston Rodeo, guns, a NHL franchise, a couple of NFL franchises and, did I mention guns? Though gun ownership is a strong characteristic of American culture as a whole it is a predominant trait in Texas where it is rightly taken as a guarantee of freedom.
When President George W. Bush was running for governor of Texas in 1994, one of his campaign pledges was that if elected, he would pass the concealed carry law that then-governor Ann Richards refused to pass (and promised to veto). Bush won that election, and a law allowing Texas citizens to acquire a permit which would allow them to carry concealed handguns on their persons began its way through the state legislative chain. Subsequently, of course, every anti-gun activist within shouting distance of a telephone began calling media outlets and Texas politicians, predicting the “certain” bloodbath that would follow the implementation of the new ordinance. The truth, however, was another thing altogether.
Amidst the frantic disinformation campaign by gun control proponents, the NRA and the Texas State Rifle Association asserted that concealed carry laws reduce crime and violence because they present would-be criminals with a serious problem: the problem of ascertaining who is and who is not armed. For example, once such a law is in place, the would-be sexual predator must start guessing which female might have a .357 magnum in her purse with which to defend her life and dignity, and which might not. The dilemma for such a thug is that if picks the wrong the woman, his life is over. That is quite a deterrent for anyone accustomed to breathing, eating, and sleeping, criminals included.
Bush, the NRA, the Texas State Rifle Association, and common sense had the facts on their side. Prior to Florida’s passage of a similar concealed handgun law in 1987, the crime rate in the Sunshine State was a whopping 36% above the national average. I remember that time prior to 1987 vividly because my father, who used to take the family to Florida for vacation each year, decided to vacation elsewhere as a result of the literal onslaught of killings, burglaries, and other crimes being committed against tourists month after month in Florida’s rest areas. But within four years of passing a concealed carry law, Floridians saw their crime rate plummet to 4% below the national average, according to David Kopel. Although my father never carried a gun in Florida, we began vacationing there again and benefited from the safety that resulted from other citizens carrying their concealed weapons.
This is a lesson that I have never forgotten: When I’m free, you’re free. In other words, when I carry a concealed handgun, people around me who do not carry one, and who may not even know me, are safer because of its deterring affect on the behavior of would-be criminals.
This came to mind recently as I was watching a morning show on one of the Hispanic channels on television. Two women were hosting the show and providing a mixture of news and entertainment, an arrangement similar to Fox and Friends, Good Morning America, or any number of morning television shows in America. As I watched, my thoughts moved from noting how the Latino morning show imitated popular American culture to a similar, yet fuller realization: When we’re free, they’re free. The Latino hosts’ laughter and frivolity, though taking place in a country less free than ours, takes place in country as free as it is because we are beside them, armed and ready; a quasi-permanent protective stance we took through the issuance of the Monroe Doctrine in the early 1800s.
Their laughter was reminiscent of the laughter my parents and I shared on the Florida beaches, in a similar happy go-lucky existence that resulted from law-abiding citizens around us carrying guns they could to use to defend justice by stopping criminal aggression.
As this realization churned in my mind, I thought of other countries, the freedom of which is perhaps even more clearly tied to our freedom. Countries like Israel, Iraq, Taiwan, The Philippines, South Korea, Poland and other former Soviet satellites. When we’re free, they’re free.
When opponents of concealed handgun laws protest because such laws will lead to bloodshed, rising crime rates, and increased “shoot outs” in the streets, they fail to take into the account the fact that the evidence is wholly and overwhelmingly against them. And most importantly, they fail to understand that whether they ever get a concealed gun permit or not, a gun concealed on my belt makes their children less likely to be targeted by criminals or pedophiles as they play with my children at the park. To put it another way, again: when I’m free, you’re free.
When Leftists such as George Soros or Barack Hussein Obama decry our military might or seek to lessen if not destroy our status as the world’s lone superpower, they do so at the very expense of those about whom they claim to be concerned. If we truly want children, families, and individuals the world over, but especially in the lands of our allies, to be safe and free, we must remember that when we’re free, they’re free.
Our status as sole possessors of certain weapons and armed forces in this world poses no threat to those who do not threaten us or our allies, and they allow our neighbors to the South to spend their weekday mornings laughing with Americanized television hosts instead of crawling into bomb shelters.