Sandi and I were up in Billings recently, as I needed to pick up more leather for making sheaths for my homemade knives. We visited Cabela’s, as is our custom when messing around in Billings, to check out its handgun and used rifle inventory, which was decidedly meager on this trip, especially the inventory of new and used handguns. The story was similar throughout Billings, used and new handguns were either absent or at a premium.

I understand even around Cody, firearms sales are brisk, mostly since the COVID thing and the election of Joe Biden as president. Perhaps even more frustrating, ammunition, for everything from .22s to .416 Rigbys, is, for all practical purposes, nonexistent. This is due mainly to hoarders, speculators and everyday jerks trying to corner the supply for their own profit. However, even regular, once-a-month shooters or just plain old “gun in the sock drawer” types are laying in supplies of ammunition they think they may need.

Why? And remember the following is nothing more than this writer’s personal opinion. However, perhaps the recent rush to buy firearms and ammo by private citizens can be best explained by the obsession of our national media with crime and violence. Not to mention the sensationalizing of reports on the TV news at night of the tremendous rise in violent crime statistics over the last year. Some of the urgency to own a firearm could also be attributed to the extreme left, now in power politically, vowing to disarm America. Thank you, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

No, it isn’t because otherwise responsible people are running out and committing crimes with legally purchased firearms. Rather, the criminal opportunists, along with the usual suspects, have decided to use the new Democratic administration and the national media’s use of the COVID-19 pandemic scare to escalate the tendencies of the weak-minded to be anti-social, which has resulted in many average citizens buying firearms and whatever ammo they can find to protect themselves and their families.

Tens of thousands of these citizens who have never owned a firearm are buying guns and stockpiling ammunition. Even Democrats. Again, why?

It’s simply because most intelligent people understand that, however well-intentioned and civically motivated our LEOs are, they can’t be everywhere at once. In times of local or national emergencies, like with hurricane Katrina, the cretins and zombies start coming out of the woodwork. In that instance, the New Orleans police were going door-to-door and illegally confiscating firearms from those citizens that needed the weapons to defend their lives and property most desperately.

This is not to mention the antifa thugs and the rest of the criminal opportunists taking advantage of the current racial crisis to spread their own criminal and socialist poison across the country by looting private businesses and attacking officers sent in to contain the carnage.

Most reasonably intelligent people understand that one of the basic tenets of our society is that we, the people, are ultimately responsible for the safety of ourselves, our families and our property. Or, at least it used to be.

Although the socialistic progressive Democrats decry this attitude with a great wringing of hands and predictions of wholesale disaster and a resulting “Wild West Mentality” taking the place of controlled social intercourse during these extremes of culture, the truth is just the opposite. Even the weakest minded of the miscreants should understand that getting shot, possibly killed, while trying to rip off society’s usually pacifist members and visiting violence on the usually silent majority, is the new reality. People will fight back, given the opportunity.

Even with their diminished mentality and lack of appreciation of accepted social behavior, much of the criminal element understands that when messing with a bull, you can get the horns, so to speak.

So society at large is starting to do what I’ve done for over 60 years. They’re carrying a weapon and preferably a gun, wherever they go. Regardless of the often-quoted imprecation that “every bullet fired has an attorney’s name attached to it,” my basic philosophy is and always has been that it’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by six. Simple as that.

What many otherwise well-intentioned citizens fail to understand is the decision to carry a gun in the public forum requires total commitment. If you’re not willing to train until you’re qualified with your firearm of choice and, even more importantly, if you do not feel morally directed to use extreme force to protect the lives of your family or others, consider leaving the gun at home. It’s not a halfway lifestyle. It’s an “all the way or nothing” reality. In other words, you can’t just shoot the bad guys up around the edges and hope to scare them off.

Many years ago, a firearms instructor on the Montana Highway Patrol, who was also an ardent hunter, gave me this advice. “Bear or man, if shooting’s required, you don’t stop shooting when you think they’re dead. You stop shooting when they think they’re dead!” And always be ready to reload when needed.

Understand, however, if you shoot someone, whether they needed shooting or not, you’ll probably get sued. In our modern society, if you shot Attila the Hun in the act of raping and pillaging in your home, some opportunistic lawyer would be only too glad to try to render a profit from the incident and you’d inevitably get sued. Yes, castle doctrine has some merit here, but an opportunistic type of lawyer will likely try to find a way around that.

No, all lawyers aren’t social leeches. However, as with any group of people, be it professionals, tradespeople or just the normal hangers-on in any civilized society, while most are trustworthy under most normal circumstances, many are not. Ergo, there are probably as many people with law degrees that would use the law as their choice of weapon to steal from the public and the public purse as miscreants who would use a gun or knife. Professional politicians come to mind here.

Regardless, you can avoid this situation by remembering Meinecke’s No. 1 rule for gun fighting, “Don’t be there!” There is no dishonor in being absent from a possibly deadly confrontation or mounting a strategic retreat if possible.

There are no happy endings to a gunfight, only survivors. So avoid the fight if you can. But, if forced to fight, be in it to win. No rules, and cheating and doing the unexpected are the order of the day. And yes, expect to be sued after the dust settles. So what? You’ll be alive to be sued. If not, then you really won’t care.

Simply put, almost everything other than this, this having to fight for your life and possibly take someone else’s life, nearly everything else in life is just a game.

(1) comment

Gary Warner

This belongs on the Opinion page, not the Sports page.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.