An Open Letter To A Sheep

An open letter to a Sheep

First of all I would like to encourage all of our Cold Steel fans, friends and customers to read the following LA Times article, entitled "Dorner case shows the folly of armed fight with government" by George Skelton, dated Thursday February 14th, 2013.:,0,2648847.column

Skelton (whose articles show a decided anti-gun stance) describes "obsessed gun owners" and "disgruntled misfits" who believe in the "nutty notion that a citizen can be heavily armed enough to fight off the government".

It's hard to respond to this article without playing into Skelton's stereotypical caricature of the angry ranting gun owner. I can't help it, when you talk about taking my guns from me I get mad. It brings out that knee-jerk reaction in me. Therefore I wanted to take the time to reflect on his article and calmly respond to his points.

The reason the second amendment is so important is that it exists to protect not only the people but the other amendments. Without the second amendment the people cannot defend any of their rights. Without the second amendment the government can rule without the good will and support of the citizenry that it should exist to serve and represent. Any threats to the second amendment understandably make a lot of people (myself included) very angry and very concerned for our nation's future.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not only a firm supporter of our second amendment rights but a keen historian. I take great pride in not only owning and appreciating firearms but having no small amount of knowledge regarding their history, social context and their place in our society, as well as their development and application. I could quite easily turn this into a history lecture, but I will try to be brief.

Rather than reply to Skelton's fear-mongering and confrontational tone with an equally aggressive article I would like to point out a couple of errors on his part and then maybe ask a few questions of my own...

Dear George,

My name is Lynn Thompson, and I am the President of Cold Steel Knives. I have been reading your articles in the LA Times with great interest and growing concern. I'd like to respond to one particular article from February 14th entitled "Dorner case shows the folly of armed fight with government" if I may. As a proud gun owner and supporter of the second amendment I felt obliged to raise several points. I understand that you may disagree with them, but hopefully you will find this of interest...

"...the 2nd Amendment was written by patriots who did successfully rebel against the tyranny of a foreign power"

I'm sorry George, you are mistaken. England wasn't a foreign power at that time - they represented our government. America was a colony. Those brave patriots successfully rebelled against their own government. Those individuals, with their grit, determination, passion and - yes - their guns, then went on to form the great nation we have today.

"...too many people think that private citizens should be sufficiently armed to take on not only the local police, but the Army, the Navy, the Marines and even the Air Force"

Let's look at this historically. The English were 1000 times richer than our poor colony. They had not only one of the finest standing armies but the most powerful Navy in the world. They were the super-power of their day and their troops were armed with the state of the art weapons of that time. From Brown Bess Musket and Bayonet to Hanger, Tomahawk or even a Broadsword (in the case of the Scottish troops). By contrast our militiamen were armed with their own private guns! That's right, their personal arms. At Concord and Lexington the militia, using guerilla tactics and hard won frontier honed marksmanship skills, slew or wounded 200 British troops (losing only 8 men in the process). When patriots, who love freedom more than life, take up their personal arms - they do alright. 8 to 200, not too bad, George...

"You can't protect your freedom when the government has more guns than the people."

The government doesn't have more guns than the people - and that's what we are talking about in this context, not a crazy lone gunman (whose actions should never be condoned or justified) but a people rising against a government. There are approximately 70 million gun owners in the USA, with roughly 300 million guns and untold billions of rounds of ammunition. That's quite possibly more guns and ammo than any of the world's standing armies combined! These guns that you are so afraid of, well our enemies are afraid of them too. That's not scary, that is empowering! There are those of us who see responsible and law abiding gun owners as a huge asset to this nation - it's a great comfort to know that they are out there!

"All those tens of millions of high-powered weapons out there - stacked in arsenals to fight off tyranny - are available for criminals to steal or to be wielded by nut jobs"

When you actually take the time to look at statistics the percentage of crimes committed by criminals wielding high capacity firearms is incredibly small. In fact, very few criminals have access to these so called assault weapons - why? Because they are owned and protected by good guys! Not all gun owners are your enemy. In fact, amongst concealed carry permit holders the crime rate is so low it's considered statistically irrelevant.

"What if the German Jews had been well armed against Hitler? My answer: They would have been slaughtered by the Nazi Panzer divisions"

Now this is interesting. I wonder if you realize that the Jewish freedom fighters in the Warsaw ghettos (using small arms against the well-equipped German war machine) held out longer than the entire nation of France! The French surrendered. Now compare that to a truly dedicated group of riflemen with nothing to lose and the will and desire to fight back. The Jews were a people largely without possession of firearms or the skill to use them - and no resistance equals slaughter in the face of a madman like Hitler. To even think about those awful events is heartbreaking but there is a valuable lesson here. Never underestimate the fighting prowess of the rifleman. Right now in Syria freedom fighters are resisting tyranny. Fighting with their own personal arms they have degraded the Syrian army and almost brought the government to its knees. Perhaps a less popular (but still valid) example could be the armed civilians in Afghanistan. Armed with a .303 Lee Enfield rifle that could quite easily be 80 years old and combining the forbidding topography of his homeland with his own skill at arms he is still the bane of the modern battlefield. He is able to be a thorn in the side of the world's biggest superpower without the aid of tanks, missiles and drones. Don't pontificate that private citizens cannot oppose a government - it's happened before and it could happen again.

"They [gun owners] hang onto the words in the 2nd Amendment about the people's right to bear arms "being necessary to the security of a free state," but ignore the part about the militia being well regulated."

Our founding fathers didn't want a standing army, they wanted a well-organized, trained, equipped and viable military force made from armed civilians. They had learned to fear the standing armies that enforced the will of the despots in Europe at that time and they had discovered the amazing potential of the armed civilian - and they wanted to harness that in case of times of need! I want to stress this point - "Well regulated" does not mean limited, controlled and governed, it means equipped trained and supplied.

"Guns for hunting turkeys and skeet shooting, yes. Guns for protection against bad guys, sure. Guns to overthrow tyranny, irrational. That's why our founders gave us the ballot box"

Look at Zimbabwe. Mogabe ignored the ballot box - he just stayed put! With no arms to resist him the common people were helpless. The same thing happened in Libya. Gadafi reigned for many years without the will of the people. We can vote all we want but where is the guarantee that the people you vote out of office will actually leave? Sure, this sounds extreme and it sounds scary, but it should give you pause for thought.

"I'm certainly no constitutional lawyer, but it should be obvious to everyone by now that the right to bear arms can be "infringed." We're not allowed to bear bazookas. Or machine guns. No automatic rifles"

You are right. It has been infringed. In our not too distant past a civilian could own whatever firearm he desired. Did you know that in the 1950's we could legally own cannons (one of the most destructive weapons of their day) but somewhere along the line we let that right be taken away from us. It's only now, when we are in danger of losing semi-automatic weapons that people have taken notice and drawn a line in the sand. So much attention has been drawn to this infringement of our second amendment that people are finally waking up and saying enough is enough!

"We hire cops to protect us against criminals and crazies. The idea that we should allow citizens to be as well armed as the police - and, unfortunately, too many are armed better - is simply idiotic"

Why should only government funded individuals be armed? Anyone who knows me or my company knows we have a lot of love and support for both the military and law enforcement. But I am also a firm believer in the concept of the armed civilian.

Why do you mistrust me George? Why are you afraid of your fellow citizens? What makes us less moral or less trustworthy than a cop? Not all gun owners are criminals. In fact an overwhelming majority are innocent, law abiding individuals who not only have every right to protect themselves and their families but are also there for their country and their people when needed, regardless of the danger - whether it comes from overseas or - heaven forbid - our own government!

A key point to emphasize here is that the second amendment protects our right to overthrow a government - but that doesn't mean we are plotting to do it! Again, you have nothing to fear from the good guys.

I'm a firm believer in what the incredibly knowledgeable Lt. Col Dave Grossman refers to as the "Sheepdog" principal. Many people see the world as black and white, sheep and wolves, but this isn't the case. There are also the sheepdogs. Honest, dependable, moral and upstanding individuals who have the capacity for righteous and justified violence. In many cases those individuals choose to follow a career in law enforcement or the military but this isn't always so. It makes the sheep uncomfortable to see the sheepdog as it reminds them of the wolf (and of violence) but you must remember that those sheepdogs are there for you.

Remember, I may disagree with you (I definitely do!) but I would still defend you if needed. You have chosen to give up your own right to defend yourself and to become a sheep, and that's perfectly fine, but I want to keep my teeth. You may not like me, you may even fear me, but I'm not a bad guy. I've never robbed anyone. I'm not going to go on a killing spree or try to topple the government. I'm not a bad guy.

So, I urge you, George - don't encourage them to take the teeth from the sheepdogs. As a sheep you have nothing to fear from them.

Thank you for your time

Best Regards

Lynn C Thompson

President, Cold Steel Knives

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