A Rant on Gun Rights, Freedom, and Fitness

A Rant on Gun Rights, Freedom, and Fitness

There is a huge and unnecessary debate in our country right now about firearms. I say unnecessary because our right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in our Constitution. I am a full supporter of 2nd Amendment Rights for all law abiding citizens of this country, but many people seem to be confused as to why.

  • It’s not because I want to go hunting – though I love game meat!  People who use the idea that you don’t need an AR 15 to go hunting against gun rights miss the entire reason why law abiding citizens need guns in the first place.
  • It’s not because I think guns are cool.  I do think guns are awesome, but this is not the main reason why I want to have one.
  • It’s not because I want to prove my manhood. I believe its even more necessary for women to carry guns than men, not because it’s sexy, but because in the hands of a trained woman, a gun is a great equalizer in any situation where there is a violent attack.
  • It’s not because I’m a Republican. To me it’s dumb that this is even a party issue. Denying a law abiding citizen the right to bear arms is unconstitutional, plain and simple. No political party owns the Constitution, and believing in the ideas enshrined in that document does not mean I wear any party affiliation on my sleeve.
  • It’s not because I’m uneducated. This really pisses me off – when people with ideas that differ from a certain belief system are couched as uneducated or ignorant. I have a BA, an MA, and doctoral work under my belt. I am aware of the string of mass killings. I’m also a realist, and if you believe that keeping firearms out of the hands of good people is going to keep the bad people from getting them, I’m surprised you passed high school. I’m also aware if the data, like the fact that gun related deaths in Washington DC went up by 73% between 1976 and 2008 during the city’s ban on guns, which was eventually struck down as unconstitutional. I’m also aware that Great Britain’s homicide rate is 58% higher since its 1967 gun control law and 15% higher since its 1997 handgun ban. Plenty of other statistics to site here, but this is a blog, not a research paper.
  • It is because I believe the protection of my home, my family, and my person is my responsibility and that so called “assault weapons” are also the most effective weapons for home protection.
  • And then there’s the Second Amendment: A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
  • A lot of people seem to get hung up on that “well regulated militia” part. They say, “we’ve got the national guard” and that’s what the founding fathers meant.
  • Well, James Madison wrote the Second Amendment and he told us why in Federalist No. 46: “Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.”
  • Hence, the Second Amendment was written to instill a final defense against tyranny and that was the purpose of “a well regulated militia” in the first place. The National Guard, though under state control, does not count as a militia for this purpose because it is another extension of the government and still falls under the direction of the United States government.

Anyways, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into the real reason for this blog: fitness. Fitness? Why the hell am I going from the Second Amendment to fitness?

There’s a big reason, and that is my belief that the greatest source of tyranny is that tyranny that we inflict on ourselves.  

The truth is this, we can sit here an complain about gun control all we want (and we should, it’s complete bullshit), but having all the weapons in the world makes no difference if we can’t breathe and we can’t move.  In fact, the sound employment of a weapon under stress requires you to be physically fit because if you can’t breathe, you won’t be able to shoot properly.  

Additionally, there’s the notion of freedom. We like freedom. That’s why we want to bear arms in the first place. But getting winded after walking up a flight of stairs is not freedom. Not being able to play with your kids because your back or knees hurt is not freedom.  Not being able to go where you want when you want because you’re sick, tired, or feel like shit all the time is not freedom.  

Now I’m not talking about training for the Olympics or trying to get six pack abs, but if you’re truly concerned with your own personal freedom, then let’s start with your greatest source of it: you. Take care of yourself.

You don’t have time? Do some pushups or some other calisthenics before the kids wake up in the morning or after they go to bed. Get up and move during commercial breaks while you’re watching TV at night, or skip a half hour of TV and go out for a a run or a walk.  

This also eliminates the excuse that you don’t have money for a gym. Burpees, pushups, and walking cost nothing.  

On top of that, eat well. No you don’t have to eat like a vegan hipster, but avoid putting the poison in your body. Get rid of the sugar and the prepackaged snacks.  Put down the soda. Cut down the beer intake.  Get some vegetables in your diet. Eat some whole foods. Drink water.

Fitness is not just for the economically endowed, and it is not just to be pretty or to set personal bests in the gym. Fitness is supposed to be a source of freedom. It allows you do do what you want to do, when you want to do it. It is also your security. No amount of tools for personal protection matter if you are physically unprepared. At the end of the day, you are your only real source of escape, your last line of defense, and your greatest weapon.

Physical fitness is your greatest source of personal freedom, and without it, you are willingly chaining yourself to an existence that is far short of your capability.

So just as I vigilantly support the right to bear arms under the Constitution, I implore you to care for your own greatest source of personal freedom, and that is your body.