Difficult ChoicesWritten by Kathryn A. Graham
I am a veteran and a patriot. Such a remark often makes a writer target of ridicule or worse, but I refuse to withdraw it. It happens to be plain, unvarnished truth. In September of 1972, on my own 18th birthday, I raised my right hand and swore solemnly to protect and defend Constitution of 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 Constitution could possibly have domestic enemies. If I considered that phrase at all, I would have thought of something like Robert Philip Hanssen of FBI – a traitor, a criminal and a spy – not other ordinary citizens like myself. I took that oath for purpose of serving in U.S. military – therefore, enemies expressly mentioned in that oath had to be foreign. Didn’t they? My discharge from duty with armed services did release me from that oath, didn’t it? Or did it? Today we watch painful, day-by-day erosion of freedoms promised us in 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 worst enemies – domestic enemies – that our Constitution has ever faced. I am a veteran. I am not afraid of word “duty.” Where does my duty lie today? If I am to embrace concept of “freedom,” then I must answer this difficult question for myself. No one can give me answer. I can’t suck up to state nanny and beg for an answer. I must seek 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 Bill of Rights is null and void under 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 rights of individuals, not groups. Every word in 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 Second Amendment protects individual right to keep and bear arms, not right of military to do so. That means that 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 streets of my city, it is absolutely legal under highest law of this land. Of course, cold reality says that if I do so this week, 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.
Good For The Goose Is Good For The GanderWritten by Kathryn A. Graham
If you believe passionately in political correctness and cannot bear to see it used as a weapon in a war against idiots who originated whole politically correct idea, do please leave now. And you needn’t return. Folks with no sense of humor give me a severe pain somewhere south of my belly button. I hold a concealed handgun license in State of Texas. I am also licensed as a concealed handgun instructor in Texas. Contrary to belief held by most residents of other 49 states, Texas has some of strictest gun laws on books anywhere outside of New York City. I mention this only to illustrate that I have absolutely zero criminal history in a state where at least ten percent of population can expect to spend a year or more in a penal institution at some point in their lives – and it seems that more than half of population has something to be found in way of criminal history, whether violent or otherwise. This makes me a minority! Forget that I’m a woman (we are 52 percent, after all, even if it isn’t fashionable to mention it). Forget that I’m a small business owner. I am not a criminal. I own – and carry – a gun! Voila! I am a genuine, card-carrying minority. It gets worse. I am a minority who is hated and feared by majority. It’s a very good thing I don’t have children. If I had kids, venerable American Medical Association would advise you to ask my children (if you were too embarrassed to ask me) about guns at my house – and forbid your children to play with mine if mine were to answer “gun question” in affirmative. Oh, yes. Absolute fact. And you don’t even want to contemplate lawsuit that would have occurred first time that happened to any child of mine! Luckily for those hapless parents, it won’t ever happen to me or to my non-existent kids. You may not be that fortunate. Nevertheless, I am a full-fledged victim of discrimination. Yes, you heard me right, folks. I am a victim of discrimination every bit as severe and as real as that which was directed at people of color in 1950s. I am discriminated against because of my deeply held belief that self-defense (and defense of genuinely helpless) is my right and my sacred duty. How does this discrimination work? Well, aside from complete morons like American Medical Association (who don’t even pretend not to discriminate), it works like this: Texas law states that a business owner may forbid firearms carry even by licensed individuals on his/her premises if they are posted properly. Fair enough. That’s just freedom, no matter how vehemently we may disagree with businessperson’s decision to totally exclude firearms (except, of course, for firearms belonging to those individuals who will ignore law, anyway). However, Texas case law has also established that a gun owner is responsible at all times for properly securing his or her firearm. Add to that fact that Attorney General has ruled that business owner’s “premises” specifically excludes parking areas – and we have come to crux of problem. Because of Attorney General’s ruling, there is no immediately apparent problem. In fact, in theory at least, there is no problem. I disarm in parking lot, lock my firearm in my vehicle, and go transact my business, right? Are you out of your bloody little minds?? Does anyone here really believe that a locked vehicle is secure? Boy, have I got a news flash for you! It takes less than five seconds to enter one – and that’s if you’re polite enough to avoid breaking window. The younger perp, faster job. And if you think you might have a rough time with law if your firearm is stolen and used to commit a crime, you don’t even know what a rough time is until that firearm is stolen by a minor in Texas! In practical fact, therefore, a business owner who excludes firearms excludes me – because, idiot that I am, I do honestly try to obey law. So I am a genuine victim of discrimination. I belong to a class of people who are being deliberately excluded from a fairly large number of businesses in my state. This class of people consists of those who (a) have no criminal history, (b) obey law even when it’s silly, and (c) carry a firearm for self-defense – and, just incidentally, for defense of that business owner’s business, although he is obviously too ignorant and frightened to see it that way.