Difficult Choices

Written by Kathryn A. Graham

I am a veteran and a patriot. Such a remark often makes a writerrepparttar target of ridicule or worse, but I refuse to withdraw it. It happens to berepparttar 126056 plain, unvarnished truth. In September of 1972, on my own 18th birthday, I raised my right hand and swore solemnly to protect and defendrepparttar 126057 Constitution ofrepparttar 126058 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 thatrepparttar 126059 Constitution could possibly have domestic enemies. If I considered that phrase at all, I would have thought of something like Robert Philip Hanssen ofrepparttar 126060 FBI – a traitor, a criminal and a spy – not other ordinary citizens like myself. I took that oath forrepparttar 126061 purpose of serving inrepparttar 126062 U.S. military – therefore,repparttar 126063 enemies expressly mentioned in that oath had to be foreign. Didn’t they? My discharge from duty withrepparttar 126064 armed services did release me from that oath, didn’t it? Or did it? Today we watchrepparttar 126065 painful, day-by-day erosion ofrepparttar 126066 freedoms promised us inrepparttar 126067 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 arerepparttar 126068 worst enemies – domestic enemies – that our Constitution has ever faced. I am a veteran. I am not afraid ofrepparttar 126069 word “duty.” Where does my duty lie today? If I am to embracerepparttar 126070 concept of “freedom,” then I must answer this difficult question for myself. No one can give merepparttar 126071 answer. I can’t suck up torepparttar 126072 state nanny and beg for an answer. I must seekrepparttar 126073 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 torepparttar 126074 Bill of Rights is null and void underrepparttar 126075 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 protectrepparttar 126076 rights of individuals, not groups. Every word inrepparttar 126077 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 thatrepparttar 126078 Second Amendment protectsrepparttar 126079 individual right to keep and bear arms, notrepparttar 126080 right ofrepparttar 126081 military to do so. That means thatrepparttar 126082 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 downrepparttar 126083 streets of my city, it is absolutely legal underrepparttar 126084 highest law of this land. Of course, cold reality says that if I do so this week,repparttar 126085 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 Gander

Written by Kathryn A. Graham

If you believe passionately in political correctness and cannot bear to see it used as a weapon in a war againstrepparttar idiots who originatedrepparttar 126055 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 inrepparttar 126056 State of Texas. I am also licensed as a concealed handgun instructor in Texas. Contrary torepparttar 126057 belief held by most residents ofrepparttar 126058 other 49 states, Texas has some ofrepparttar 126059 strictest gun laws onrepparttar 126060 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 ofrepparttar 126061 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 ofrepparttar 126062 population has something to be found inrepparttar 126063 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 byrepparttar 126064 majority. It’s a very good thing I don’t have children. If I had kids,repparttar 126065 venerable American Medical Association would advise you to ask my children (if you were too embarrassed to ask me) aboutrepparttar 126066 guns at my house – and forbid your children to play with mine if mine were to answerrepparttar 126067 “gun question” inrepparttar 126068 affirmative. Oh, yes. Absolute fact. And you don’t even want to contemplaterepparttar 126069 lawsuit that would have occurredrepparttar 126070 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 inrepparttar 126071 1950s. I am discriminated against because of my deeply held belief that self-defense (and defense ofrepparttar 126072 genuinely helpless) is my right and my sacred duty. How does this discrimination work? Well, aside from complete morons likerepparttar 126073 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 withrepparttar 126074 businessperson’s decision to totally exclude firearms (except, of course, forrepparttar 126075 firearms belonging to those individuals who will ignorerepparttar 126076 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 thatrepparttar 126077 fact thatrepparttar 126078 Attorney General has ruled thatrepparttar 126079 business owner’s “premises” specifically excludes parking areas – and we have come torepparttar 126080 crux ofrepparttar 126081 problem. Because ofrepparttar 126082 Attorney General’s ruling, there is no immediately apparent problem. In fact, in theory at least, there is no problem. I disarm inrepparttar 126083 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 breakingrepparttar 126084 window. The youngerrepparttar 126085 perp,repparttar 126086 fasterrepparttar 126087 job. And if you think you might have a rough time withrepparttar 126088 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 obeyrepparttar 126089 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) obeyrepparttar 126090 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.

Cont'd on page 2 ==>
ImproveHomeLife.com © 2005
Terms of Use