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.:
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...
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
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
"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
"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
Lynn C Thompson
President, Cold Steel Knives
6060 NICOLLE STREET
VENTURA, CA 93003