The Column, No. 49:

Why Gun Sales Soar; Why Support for Gun Ownership Skyrockets

By Randy Wakeman

Pundits remain puzzled; some politicians seem terminally baffled. There are some who just don’t get it; they cannot understand why Americans buy more guns. They seem equally puzzled by the proven fact that by putting more guns in the hands of the American citizen, crime is reduced.

Americans are not afraid of themselves, but they are deathly afraid of their government. They are afraid that our government is going to control us from cradle to casket. They are afraid that our government is going to control manufacture of our automobiles, take national control over our banking system and seek to control our health care. They think that government seeking to expand its invasive influence over “We, the People” and will one day decide what companies and what sectors survive solely by the policy it sets. Sound familiar?

The government does not trust the people to choose their own doctors, manage their own finances, or raise their children. Nor does the government trust people to be able to defend themselves. The people seem to trust our government even less. It is bothersome to big government that they don’t have more direct control over the general population and that sometimes the Constitution is not disregarded entirely.

The obvious is ignored. The obvious in this case is that are no bad guns, any more than there are inherently bad swimming pools, lakes, ponds, or streams. Water is dangerous, though; it rusts and sinks ships, it drowns people. In drowning cases, just how often is water involved? In the case of people injured by fires, how often is flame involved? The government hasn’t found a good way to regulate possession of water, a boat, canoe, or swimming pool. At least not yet, that is. Government also has failed to find a way to control the use of fire. Government has not yet quite taken full control of the automobile industry, although though they are far down that road as I write these words.

Yet, a pack of matches or a Volvo is both far more potentially lethal than firearms. Do you have your “Bic Lighter Safety ID Card” in your wallet? If not, should you prepare to be arrested? As long as we are on Bic lighters, do you have a government issued card that permits the concealed carry of your Bic lighter? Can you carry one into a National Park, or can take it with you to church? Despite the inherent danger of fire and water, responsible people seem able to use both quite responsibly.

Is it wrong to think that a government that controls your retirement, your doctors, your health care, your bank, your stockbroker, your insurance company, and perhaps your automobile company wants to control, restrict, constrain, have more control over your ability to defend yourself? Most new gun buyers, despite the economy, tend to think so. It isn’t hard to get the impression that our government wants to repackage the “Rights of the People” into rights per month, now, is it?

Some people might just get the impression that taxes, licenses, and other fees piled on top of ammunition costs and related gun costs are driving things to the point where only the wealthy or at least “well-to-do” can afford a gun. This as if those that are in the middle class or beneath it from a financial perspective are somehow less deserving of the rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution. What is this; aren’t poor people allowed to defend themselves?

However, what of the children? Yes, the children. The same children that responsible parents raise responsibly; apparently the government feels that mothers and fathers who naturally have their children’s well-being in mind to a far greater extent than any socialist bureaucracy could possibly be are not incapable of the task.

This is the same government that has armed our children since its inception, sending our youngest and most promising around the world to defend American interests. All too often, the ones that have made it back intact find the American freedoms that they put their lives and futures on the line for are now taxed, constrained, and are repackaged in allowable “freedoms per month.” Or government has left enough American blood in the jungles and sand dunes of the world over the years to satisfy most. Many families now live in fear of the government they gave so much to defend. I can’t say I blame them.

Consider the plight of 57-year-old military veteran and pharmacist, Jerome Ersland of Oklahoma City. Reportedly, we now have a mob of four people involved (ages 14, 16, 31 and 43) in the attempted arm robbery of the Reliable Discount Pharmacy on May 19, 2009, in southwest Oklahoma City.

Two young men burst into the pharmacy where Mr. Ersland was working ostensibly attempting armed robbery. Confronted by two holdup men, pharmacist Jerome Ersland pulled a gun, shot one of them in the head and chased the other away. Rather than cower and possibly lose his life in the process, Mr. Ersland defended himself in an obviously out-numbered situation. I don’t know of a single soul that would not say that Mr. Ersland acted bravely, courageously in successfully defending his own life. I also know of no single person that would disagree with the advice of "If you don’t want to get shot, it is good not to try to rob drugstores." Are we trying to promote armed robbery as a safe activity? Do we seek to make it safer to rob people?

Pharmacist Jerome Ersland has been arrested and is now facing a first-degree murder charge. How could this be? Well, after chasing the second assailant outside, Mr. Ersland grabbed another gun and fired shots into his still-alive robber’s belly. In the mind (?) of a completely sea-slug stupid government, this could be “murder.” First-degree murder.

When you are forced to use a gun to defend yourself (and I do mean forced) common sense tells you to continue using it until the threat is eliminated. That’s what “double-tap” and “triple-tap” is all about. Far too many American soldiers, police officers, and civilians have lost their lives to supposedly “dead” adversaries. It is common knowledge.

The government did not prevent the attempted robbery of the Oklahoma City pharmacy that day. The government did also not protect Mr. Ersland, nor did the government stop or thwart the robbery. The government was not there to ensure that a still-alive assailant would not be able to continue the attack, that the temporarily grounded robber had no other weapons or would not gain access to other weapons. The police were not there; 911 was way, way too late. No one really knew how many people were involved in the perpetration at the time; certainly not a 57 year old pharmacist wearing a chest brace trying to do his job. Any panic stricken individual, fighting to survive a sudden attack against unknown odds would quite reasonably eliminate any threat still present. By eliminating a violent, dangerous thug the way Mr. Ersland was compelled to do in a situation not of his making, he protected not only himself. Mr. Ersland also protected other would-be customers, neighbors and innocent passers-by from potential harm.

This man is a courageous hero. Our government claims he is a murderer. Who do we trust, Citizen Ersland, or our government? It is an easy question for me to answer. What happened that day was simple: an armed robbery was prevented. Our government claims that’s what they want, less armed robberies. As sad as any violent encounter is, it would be far sadder if Mr. Ersland allowed himself to become a victim.

Military veteran Jerome Ersland is now suffering the ultimate indignity inflicted by an untrustworthy government he has served, that being arrested by a thankless, terrorist government for a crime he did not commit, in a situation he had absolutely no hand in creating. Rather than being paralyzed by fear; Mr. Ersland reacted. Not acted; reacted to surprise attack. Our nation’s military and law enforcement community honor instinctual responsiveness to life-threatening situations every year. Identical courageous acts as that recently demonstrated by Mr. Ersland, in fact. For Jerome Ersland, the only reward was a murder charge inflicted upon him by the very people he protected, by the very government that failed to protect him. It is the ultimate disgrace; a vile indignity from an increasingly vile government out of control.

Note that Pharmacist Ersland was not alone; two women were working with him. The two women working with him immediately fled. However, Ersland, being a disabled Army veteran from Desert Storm, wearing a cumbersome back brace and having just had back surgery six weeks ago, could not reasonably flee, and so he pulled out a semiautomatic pistol and shot one of the robbers. He protected himself and two fellow workers. The outcome could have been different, of course; a successful hold up and three dead drug store employees. Thankfully, that was not the case. Extreme self-defense is called for in a surprise, obviously planned, armed attack. It is appallingly, revoltingly imbecilic to state otherwise.

Mothers, if you want your kids to grow up, please keep them from donning ski masks and robbing drug stores. If you can manage that, there would be no story to write about, and no victims on either side of the counter. That would be a better thing. For those that choose to grab ski masks and rob pharmacies, if anyone gets hurt, it should be you. I’ve not heard of a “support your local thug week,” that is, not until now.

Some still wonder why gun sales climb and pro-gun sentiment continues to rise? Well, I don’t. I think it is a very good time to go buy a gun. Thomas Jefferson got it right when he said, "Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not."

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Copyright 2009 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.

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