Last summer I was on my way to Scottsdale, Arizona to deliver the commencement speech at the Sonoran Desert Institute’s first graduation ceremony. In April, 2018 I earned the degree of Associate of Science in Firearms Technology and as a graduate, I was honored and humbled when they asked me to deliver the speech. Before I knew it, I was on a plane and in standard form I had my Recoil magazine with me and I looked forward to reading through the articles. As I opened Issue 54 I immediately turned to page 15, the “Down Range” segment for the editor’s thoughts and they were spot on. Mr. Ian Harrison’s commentary touched on the history and origin of gun laws in the United States of America, and more importantly, asserted the fact that we are more powerful when we are united as citizens to protect our precious Rights. His thoughts were an outstanding prelude to the articles that bolstered his point. In all honesty, I don’t recall what I appreciated and embraced more, the raw truth of Mr. Harrison’s words, or the beautiful irony that they were written by a former British Soldier. His words went directly to the meaning of our rights as Americans and the intent of our Founding.
I considered inserting Mr. Harrison’s name and thoughts into my speech in order to let the graduates know that sometimes it takes those who were not born with the Privilege of American Citizenship, to remind us what it means to be Americans. Nonetheless, I delivered my speech without modification and it was well received. But, I am forced to revisit that publication and my reaction because I keep thinking about a subsequent article I read in issue 57 of Recoil magazine which was an interview with the National African American Gun Association (NAAGA)
I strongly encourage you to read those articles for yourself but in a nutshell, the substance of those words, and many of the articles in this publication, connect directly with the intent of our Rights as Americans and the Ideas behind the Founding of Our Country. Our God given Rights, some of which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights, are for all Americans. They do not apply to just gay Americans, Asian Americans, or women. They apply to Americans without regard for race, sex, religion, or creed. When individuals are not permitted to exercise their Rights because of discrimination or unequal application of the law, we all should be furious and motivated to correct that wrong. It does not matter whether the Right is to practice religion freely, the Right to privacy, or the Right to bear arms. They apply to ALL Americans and the last 24 months have been a significant reminder of the importance of that fact.
As an American, I look forward to the day when we’ll have gun owners focused on preserving our Rights without the need of qualifiers of identity such as “African-, Asian-, or whatever the case may be. The word “AMERICAN” says enough. And, I look forward to the day we need no further descriptors.