The Winds of War
David A. Lombardo 9/30/2016
There are a couple of hard truths that the shooting community must face and this is not an indictment of those denizens of the Second Amendment community but rather a reaffirmation of understanding. I doubt few would disagree that for the most part, the shooting sports have historically been populated by white, middle and upper class males. That isn’t to discount the fact that there have been more than a few women and persons of color but a hard, longitudinal look at the world of guns is clearly pasty white with facial hair.
It’s not my intention to obviate the efforts of many organizations over the years to make the shooting world accessible to what I have long called “non-traditional shooters” meaning women, youth, minorities and the disabled. However, it is my intention to point out current research conducted by the Pew Research Center suggests only about 11.7 percent of legal gun owners are women, blacks and Asians each account for 15 percent and 11 percent are Hispanic. Similar statistics for disabled Americans are apparently non-existent however the Disabled Americans for Firearms Rights, a group formed before the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, quadrupled its membership to 19,000 after that event.
Now let’s put that in perspective. The United States has a total resident population of about 324,227,000. Non-Hispanic whites constitute 63 percent of the U.S. population with women accounting for about 50.8 percent of that demographic. Hispanics make up 17 percent of the U.S. population, blacks 12.3, Asians 5 and multiracial Americans at 2.4 percent.
And yes, I realize that according to the National Rifle Association, between 2008 and 2015 the number of female instructors has climbed from just over 4,000 to more than 9,500. As laudable and neuvo-Norman Rockwell as that may be, the truth is those 9,500 women have joined the ranks of 125,000 male NRA instructors.
My graduate school statistics book was titled, “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics” which is to say you can slice-and-dice those numbers in a lot of different ways but one thing is inescapable – Women, minorities and the disabled are still grossly under-represented in the gun world which brings me to the point.
The winds of war are blowing across our country and they’re coming from many different directions. Unlike Mr. Roosevelt’s War there are more than two, very disparate fronts and most Americans are not prepared to protect themselves from ISIS, Black Lives Matter or the psychotic whack-job down the block who you’ve long suspected is burying people in his basement.
Those threats notwithstanding, as formidable as they may be, pale compared to the threat posed by our own government. The fact is, precious few Americans are prepared to refresh the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Well, the blood of tyrants to be more specific. The blood of patriots will flow freely among the unprepared; the blood of tyrants not-so-much because they’re armed to the teeth with M-4s, MRAPS, body armor, and other military accoutrements. Seriously, you didn’t know we were outgunned by the government? Perhaps you should stop watching The View and actually take a look at the view outside your living room window; the picture ain’t pretty.
Those that choose to not warm themselves with the blanket of protection we call the Second Amendment are most likely aiding and abetting the dissolution of the Second Amendment either intentionally or through passive acceptance. In either case, it is naïve to assume that once the powers-that-be have disarmed John Q, you lowly non-believers will fall to the same fate as everyone else. Let’s face it, John Q’s only purpose will be to work to support those chosen few and failure to do so will likely see you whisked off to the U.S. Government’s version of that psychotic nutball neighbor’s basement.
At no time in history has it been more important to reach out to those groups, be they Republican or Democrat, male or female, white or persons of color, able-bodied or disabled, and assure them that everyone is welcomed with open arms into our world. Everyone has a vested interest in the preservation of our way of life and failure to successfully reach out will most likely see the winds of war sweep away our world forever.