Why the Rifle?

Isn’t Our Society Past That Stuff?
So here we have a blog full of stuff about shooting a rifle.  Just why is that?  Aren’t there better things to do like stare into an iPhone screen while walking down the street or watching commercials on TV featuring various pills for “enhancement”?  The answer to the last question is clearly no.

So why learn to master the rifle, outside of the competitive arena?  I’m sure you can bring your deer down without getting into all the details, so there must be some other point in becoming a really good shot.

Let’s examine the second amendment to the Bill of Rights:

 “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

What does that do for us?  You will probably answer “It enumerates our God given right to keep and bear arms”.  Correct.  I believe there’s more to it.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “With rights come responsibilities”?  In our generation we have put a lot of focus on rights, but very little on responsibilities.  Do you think that it’s a coincidence that we’ve gotten this far off course while ignoring our responsibilities?

So what might our responsibilities be concerning our right to keep and bear arms?  Read the 2nd Amendment again.  Got it yet?  No?  Maybe it’s because of late the 2nd amendment has been divided into a prefatory clause (the first part) and operative clause.  Groups like the NRA tend to dismiss the prefatory clause as just something to provide context.  We’ve been concerned with “What’s in it for us?”

Read the 2nd Amendment again, but concentrate on the assumed vestigial “prefatory clause”.  It’s telling you in plain English that a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state.  It’s not optional, or “if you’re into that kind of thing”.  No, it’s necessary- as in: can’t do without.

If we’ve established that a well regulated militia is necessary, the next thing to determine is who is going to take on this task.  It’s always nice when a government “Certified Expert” takes over something that the rest of us would rather not do.  Then we can breath a collective sigh of relief and go back to our smartphones (Orwellian for “dumbing you down”).  But it’s not that easy.  The framers intended for all able bodied men to be ready to bear arms to protect the country.  Sure, you can always shirk your responsibility, but at least now you can feel guilty at the same time.  Or you could own a rifle, be skillful in its use, and be ready should your country need you.

There is an urban legend that during WWII, Japanese Admiral and Commander in Chief Isoroku Yamamoto said, “ You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”  Whether or not he actually said it, a country populated by people who are skilled in the use of the rifle would be a deterrent indeed.  At the present moment, the US population at large does not constitute much of a deterrent, unless the ability to walk while staring into a smartphone screen makes one formidable.

I’m not saying that you should up and join the local bunch of camo wearing anti govt. fellas and plot to take down the man.  Absolutely not.  Anyone rushing to arms at this point is missing the point by a huge margin.  But we can be ready without being loony about it.

Another way to put that is: Instead of trying to be a badass and increase machismo, ask the question, “Is my country a little safer because I am ready?”
Maybe you think all that constitution stuff is hooey.  Then what about learning to shoot to protect yourself?  That’s what the cops are for, right?  Wrong.  No one owes you anything.  Nothing in this moment guarantees anything in the next.  Better to take responsibility for your own welfare and protection.

If you want to take your chances, that’s fine.  If it’s your life, then it’s your prerogative.  That’s fair.  But do you have a family?  Then you have a duty to defend them.  You should be asking, “Are those around me a little safer because I am there?  Is my community a little safer because I am there?”

Maybe you think that owning a rifle and being able to shoot a small group off the bench makes you good to go.  Have you shot it in the field, or even from a position you might be realistically likely to use in the field?  Do you have the things you need to take care of your rifle, and the accessories necessary to field it?  Do you have enough ammo “just in case”?

If you have done these things, are you continuing to improve?  My favorite reason to practice with my rifle is because it’s interesting and challenging.  There’s so much to learn, and so many facets to explore that mastering the thing is hopeless, but maybe I can get really good at some aspect of the thing.  I hope.

There are a lot of other things you may choose to occupy your time with.  Of all the things you could choose to do, why choose the rifle?  On the anniversary of our independence, consider this: rifle shooting has an intimate connection with the founding of our country.  If it wasn’t for our forefathers being better shots than the British, you might be reading this with a silly accent.

Now get out there and celebrate the founding of our country by shooting your rifle!

9 thoughts on “Why the Rifle?

  1. Well, I am not American but I feel the 2nd amendment is a must for any nation. I found your blog yesterday and I have to say it is my favorite so far. I to wish to become more then an adequate shot and did not find much on the internet. You Sir have given me what I was looking for and I thank you for it. I am an Ex Royal Canadian Artilleryman and so was my Father. I found this particular post Inspiring. Thanks for your lessons learned and I hope to have some myself.


    • Thanks for reading and for the nice comments. I’m glad to have been of help. I agree that God given rights are a must for any people, and that codification on a document is not of primary importance.

  2. Well written, as always. Very salient point about the relationship between rights and responsibility inherent in the 2nd Ammendment.

    Most people can acknowledge Natural Rights ( the idea that rights exist with or without government assent ) but few examine the corollary of Natural Responsibilities.

    Thanks for pointing it out so well!


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