I Thought It Was Illegal

Well, our annual 4th of July celebration activities came and went with the usual barbeque/cookout and fireworks display. We live in a relatively small town in mid America and this year, one of the ‘old guard’ relatives proposed we all take a ‘2nd Amendment family photo’ to show our support for the country and the Constitution.

We had about 24 of us in all and everyone thought it was indeed time to update the big family picture for posterity. As the gun safe was opened and the various firemans were being handed out, suddenly, the mood changed and we became a mob of fanatics who decided we could take the picture for all of the family, but ONLY four of us wanted it to be posted on any of the various social media sites.

I have never witnessed such a quick reversal of support for family values and American ideals as I did on Wednesday evening. Consensus started to build with almost everybody becoming afraid we would be chastised, or worse, if a photo showing us holding firearms was going to be posted in the ‘public square’ for all to see. Several of the Millennials in the party even had to hide upstairs, inside the house, while the rest of us took the picture outside on the lawn. A couple of them even ‘had to leave early’ because of the anxiety of just seeing firearms within 20 feet of their persons. Where do they get this terror? Ours is a family whose members regularly go to the gun range, almost every one of us with the means to buy one, has one or more pistols, several rifles, always at least one shotgun and the ammo that will hold off at least a 72 hour assault by any well equipped enemy wishing to do us harm. But here’s the rub, anyone under 40 seems to dislike and despise firearms. All the veterans are 60 or older, the smaller kids (under 15) are indifferent, but the young adults ALL were very timid when it came to handling a firearm, even if only for a 2 minute picture and video.

I learned to shoot during my first summer camp (I was 8 years old). I could only close tightly my right eye, so I had to learn to aim the 22 bolt action rifle holding it on my left shoulder, even though I was very right handed. Regardless of having that ‘handicap’ I learned the safety rules when handling any firearm, proper use of a rifle for target shooting, how to score a target, etc. I can’t remember EVER being afraid of a firearm (well, maybe once when my Air Force buddy wanted me to shoot his flint lock rifle with 100 grains of gunpowder and a 44 caliber ball…) and I have owned numerous guns, pistols, revolvers, and shotguns all my life. In fact, even though I started shooting at an elementary age, I viewed shooting sports as a special privilege that required responsibility and knowledge that was primarily reserved for more mature people than myself. I felt quite grownup whenever we decided to go shooting, whether at a bird hunt, target range, or any other place to shoot.

But apparently I had neglected to instill the same fondness for guns into my own kin. All of the grandkids really didn’t want to hold the guns but humored Gramps for a 2 minute picture, even the boys were not really interested in posing or aiming the weapons at out of frame targets; it was like they were all holding some spoiled meat that was about to make them stink if they didn’t put them down soon.

I have laughed at the numerous videos on YouTube depicting totally ignorant college students that had no idea who fought in the Civil War, or couldn’t name ANY of the Founding Fathers, yet here I was witnessing the results of the last 20 years of public education rearing its ugly head – turning my own blood into gun fearing, liberal softies who now cringe at anything that requires a strong stance, or ANY stance or conviction at all.

The only positive outcome of this observation was the realization that it was, and IS up to me, and my family members, NOT the media, NOT the schools, and certainly NOT the government to educate and train the next generation of Patriots. Otherwise, the LEFT has won the battle and they threaten to win the whole struggle. If I and mine don’t get off our collective butts and get these youths to a gun range, a pheasant hunt or two, and remove this anxiety before their kids grow and end up without ANY choice on which gun to hold for the 4th of July family photo in 2028. MAGA!

Tom Raup is a veteran of the USAF, and has an MS in Animal Sciences. He’s a graduate of the University of Illinois with a BS in Agriculture, and held careers in Electronics Tech, Database management, and managed a 1300 acre family farm the last 20 years. Tom left high school as a long haired, ultra liberal peace-nick, living the Mother Earth lifestyle for 10 years who came to his senses after Jimmy Carter’s economic fiasco. He’s lived and worked towards his current belief system as a former Tea Party Conservative, and a Libertarian who believes in, and wholly supports Trump’s agenda and policies. He’s currently enjoying watching the world return to a place we all can prosper, and greet the future with high hopes and full expectations of greatness.

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