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Culture & Politics

These are the times that try men’s souls

by Robert W. Hunnicutt   |  December 19th, 2012 18

“…panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered.” Thomas Paine, The Crisis, December 23, 1776

When Tom Paine said the times of 1776 would “try” men’s souls, he meant that souls would be tested. Some would stand the test and others would be found wanting. Some, like the heroes who froze at Valley Forge, would pay the price; others would prove to be summer soldiers and sunshine patriots, willing to join the fight only with the sky clear and victory in sight.

The times we are in test souls in similar fashion. We are discovering, day by day, those who are really with us and those who are with us only when money or votes are there for easy collection.

The real character of men or institutions is vividly displayed when the lynch mob is howling, and make no mistake: what you are seeing these days is the mob in full howl.

Politicians who flip-flop, companies that tiptoe away from suddenly controversial products, TV personalities who say “this time is different,” networks that cancel shows: this crisis has shown us their true colors. We will remember.

Others are sticking with us, even in the full gale of hatred that is currently buffeting us. Those who stand with us in this moment are true friends. We will remember.

We’ve been lucky to have had many relatively quiet years. A whole generation of gun owners has never known a crisis like the one we face. This one will test their souls. Sheep and goats, wheat and chaff, will be separated. Core principles will be fought for or abandoned.

“Which side are you on?” was the refrain of an old union song, and it’s a question we will be asking often in the days to follow. The answers will determine who gets our dollars and our votes for years to come.

  • Hekkenschutze

    I'll never shut up or be disarmed

  • scout

    so the clinton era gun control was effective in stopping columbine…

  • http://twitter.com/benjammindeth @benjammindeth

    Yeah, something about folks that are intent on murder not giving a damn about it being illegal, so why care about any other law?

    The Alphabet Gestapo can pack their asses with salt and piss up a rope.

  • MKG

    "Bulls-eye!" Thomas Paine has a way of describing the fickleness of people. That same fickleness is being played out on the political scene right now. "What's in it for me?" People are trading in their chance of self determination for entitlements. Along with entitlements comes oversight, bureaucratic management and bankruptcy. "Freedom?" What is freedom but to have self determination? With self determination comes self responsibility and that is where our citizens are failing. The term freedom seems to be taking on the meaning of "free from responsibility." "If I have shelter, food, and drink provided, I will be free to pursue my preoccupations(entertainment)." Our politicians are selling our country right out from underneath us in order to finance these entitlements. "Vote for me or you will loose your entitlements and you will have to be responsible for yourself." This is corruption at its best; being its worst. The final failure will be the day our debtors call in their debts. BTW Gun ownership is an essential part of self determination. And they know this.

  • RoverCapt

    Gun owners have to join together and keep the pressure on the politicians to not let evil people win. If the gov. takes our guns we become sheep and will have no rights or freedom.

  • AshleyDale210

    "When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty."

    • Let my people think

      Actually– Revolution, and they (Thug-a-ticians) AKA–politicians– know this, sadly many people do not.

  • dtruth

    Who trained him to be such an efficent killer, that is the question not being asked. As we all know from operating these guns, you do not wake up one day and posses those skills necessary to do what he did in the time he did it, even if they are defenseless childern and adults. So we will not discuss the terrible job we have done as parents for letting our childern become stone cold killers; after years of letting the video games be the babysitters of our latch key kids, as we chase the mighty dollar, no we will focus on the tools and not the act. There is a real and present danger to moral fiber of our childern and it is being ignored like the pink elephant in the room because everyone does it and it must be okay. It is not okay and if anyone has not witnessed first hand what these video games are and what they teach are childern you better take some time to understand what you let come into your house. Not mine! So we will have to weather "The Crisis" but I would say that we do have to share in the blame as we have done nothing to prevent the real problem. Be strong and stay the course!

  • Hekkenschutze

    Gun control for a civilian starts after self control.  If someone has no control over themselves, they are by definition out of control and shouldn't drive, have a gun or anything that has the potential for hurting or killing someone else. That is a personal crisis that spills over onto family, friends, coworkers and society in general; not a crisis of law abiding citizens who never want to hurt anyone.

    There are six reasons for gun ownership:
    1. Competition: where highly modified firearms with high capacity magazines are required

    2. Target shooting/plinking: pure enjoyment in a safe environment

    3. Self defense: where you save lives while cops are a phone call and five minutes away

    4. Hunting: where traditional guns are used to cleanly kill food

    5. Tyrants: straight forward-> our founders knew first hand that guns protect our other rights

    6. Collectors who by definition collect guns they never intend on firing.

    The writers of the Bill of Rights had just rebeled and over thrown their government; they insisted on a free and armed population and feared standing armies.

    I am sure the sociogist knows about the 80:20 rule whereby 80% of people cause 20% of societies problems and 20% of people cause 80% of problems. 20% of bicyclists cause 80% of the trouble for everyone else on the roads just like 20% of people drink and drive. You can't castigate law abiding citizens because of a few nuts.

    I have taken an oath to defend the constitution and it sickens me that the 4th, 5th, 2nd and 1st amendments are being eroded away. It is a bill of rights, not a bill of priveledges that can be taken away on a whim by a "feel good law" after a tragedy. 9/11 gave us the aweful "Patriot" Act and now after this tragedy some want something just as draconian for our guns?

    The truth is, is that more law abiding citizens should carry a concealed handgun. If someone or a few had a gun in that movie theater, campus or schools the outcome would have been similar to the other incidents lately of armed citizens thwarting criminals.

    A bad guy with a gun is a bad thing, but a decent person with a gun is only a threat to bad people. I have a shotgun next to my bed because the police are a phone call and five minutes away (at best). I'm not looking for trouble but when it comes my way this law abiding citizen, husband and father will take care of the trouble.

  • Vladimir1956

    Indeed, these are times that try men's souls, with the the latest massacre in New Town, Connecticut. Anti-gun liberal democrats are following to a tee Rahm Immanuel's admonition to never let a good crisis go to waste because one can do things impossible under other circumstances. The liberal/anti-gun communists have been waiting for just such an occasion to enact another assault weapons ban and more gun control laws. Outwardly, these people act indignant and show sorrow when such tragedies take place. But, inwardly, they rejoice at an opportunity to politicize such events and use them to further the anti-gun agenda. They also know that gun control doesn't work and that it hasn't a damn thing to do with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. It has everything to do with control of the masses. Adolf Hitler knew it. Chairman Mao knew it. Joe Stalin knew it and every other tyrant who ever lived knew it.

  • Bruce

    While I agree with practically everything stated here, I would like to see more concrete suggestions as to what we can actually do to improve our position. It's very easy for the anti-gun fascists to point to the horrors of Newtown and CO. What do we point toward? How do we convince honest, but non-shooting, Americans that we are not evil fostering child killing monsters?

    • Edward

      We keep our cool and We argue with facts not emotions. The one thing these Liberals hate is for Us to argue the fact that 25,000 children are murdered by Planned Parenthood every week in this country. Ask them what side of the abortion arguement are they on. They can only answer the life side or they look like a looney. Get them on the defensive. Call the sponsors of the media and complain and write letters.

    • osan

      One points to fundamental human rights. Inalienable human rights. Rights with which NOBODY on the planet may violate, disparage, abridge, diminish, or in any way interfere.

      It does not matter how many people march into schools and shoot children where my rights are concerned. I neither waive nor cede any portion of any right to anyone at any time or for any reason. I reserve all my rights at all times, to be exercised at my discretion when and how I choose. There is no authority on the planet to restrict, regulate, or otherwise violate the prerogatives I reserve pursuant to my rights. Anyone attempting to violate me will be met with force in defense of those rights.

  • Darren

    I second everything said above and have a suggestion on what we can do to improve our position. "Mandatory training to purchase different types of firearms." Not mandated by the government, but mandated by the firearms industry. All firearms, but especially the higher capacity pistols and rifles that are berated in the media can cause serious damage in the wrong hands. What if the industry as a whole said they require some type of periodic training in the type of weapon you are buying? To go SCUBA diving or even buy air for my tanks, I have to prove that I am SCUBA certified by PADI. PADI has no relationship to the government, and by requiring a minimum level of training they ensure injuries are kept to the minimum and the government stays out of their business. I know this wouldn't have stopped a mentally ill child from taking two unsecured handguns and killing 26 people, but it would save countless lives every year and show that the gun industry is working towards making guns safer.

    • osan

      Catastrophic FAIL all around, and for reasons that have been discussed to death on more forums than I could shake my not-inconsiderable stick at.

    • Heretic

      Perhaps you should do business with a more freedom minded company. I can purchase a scuba tank and get it filled no questions asked. Lots of people are using scuba tanks for charging air guns these days.

  • Miszczak

    1776 ? This is the backbone of your argument ? Get out of your cave and wake up .

  • John

    “It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, buy they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”
    -Daniel Webster-

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