It was just after midnight in January of 1993 when John and Tiffany left a party at the Sigma Chi house in Starkville, Mississippi. The band was winding down as the couple walked to their car in the parking lot close to where Highway 12 runs into Scott Field on the campus of Mississippi State University.
When they came upon a man who was trying to break into a car parked near their own, all hell broke loose. Before they knew it, they had been abducted at gunpoint. Words cannot describe the horror that John witnessed before Tiffany?s life was taken. Shortly thereafter, he too was murdered execution-style by the side of Highway 45. Many tears were shed on Monday night when our fraternity met to mourn the deaths of the two young students.
After the murders, I had to endure driving by the murder site every Thursday night at about six o?clock on my way to Tupelo, Mississippi. My band played once a week at a bar in Tupelo called Jefferson Place. That meant that I had to drive by the murder site again on my way home at about two in the morning. The images got to me after a couple of weeks, so I called my friend David and asked whether he was still selling his .357 magnum. It was a model 19 by Smith and Wesson. I bought the gun thinking that it would be better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.
After I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, I sold that .357 magnum. At the time, my friend Barry Whitehead told me that selling a gun was always a big mistake. Three years later, when I bought my first house in downtown Wilmington, I learned that Barry was right. Despite rampant crack sales, it took almost nine months to get the police to take an interest in the drug trafficking in my neighborhood. Later, I bought my second .357 magnum and a concealed carry permit to go along with it.
In the three years that I lived in that neighborhood, I rarely ?used? my permit by carrying a concealed weapon. Nonetheless, it came in handy late one evening when I was walking in my neighborhood and accidentally stumbled upon a crack deal. When the dealer asked what I as doing there, I simply told him that it was my neighborhood. He smiled and told me his name. I suppose that he knew I was carrying a gun because of my confidence. Two months later, eighteen people were arrested smoking crack in his house. I should know because I arranged the drug bust. I told him it was my neighborhood. He should have listened.
For those who don?t know, the concealed carry laws that have been enacted across the land have had a clear effect on serious crime that most social scientists refuse to recognize. Serious scholars such as John Lott have shown that lives are saved as a result of these laws. Nonetheless, Lott has been shunned by academics more interested in showing their classes ?Bowling for Columbine? than in actually saving people?s lives.
Less murder, less rape, and less robbery would be nice unless, of course, it interferes with the liberal desire to take another shot at Marxism. No pun intended, of course.
As an out-of-the-closet gun owner, N.R.A. member, and hunter you can imagine the comments that I hear from disapproving faculty members here at my place of employment. When one colleague learned I was in the N.R.A., he asked why ?we? think that everyone should own an ?assault rifle.? That discussion ended when I asked him to tell me what an ?assault rifle? was. He didn?t know. He just knew he hated them because Dan Rather said they were bad. Oh, the intellectual curiosity.
Of course, giving up my concealed-carry permit and quitting the N.R.A. would never be sufficient to redeem me in the eyes of the anti-gun fanatics here in the ivory tower. My status as a hunter is alone sufficient to condemn me in their eyes. Many of my colleagues who fail to muster compassion for unborn humans are staunch defenders of the local deer population. The fact that the overpopulation of deer causes numerous highway fatalities is of little concerned to them. And most would rather see a deer wrapped around the grill of a Ford Expedition and dragged down the highway than to have it experience a clean, quick death with the help of my Browning A-Bolt.
I know that my membership in the N.R.A. helps to neutralize these extremists, some of whom would outlaw hunting scopes because they are ?unfair? to the deer. If you think I am kidding, think again. I have actually heard it suggested in the faculty lunchroom.
Of course, I really don?t mind when the academic anti-gun nuts use the First Amendment to express their opposition to the Second Amendment. Every time they do, I just head down to the local sporting goods store and buy another gun that I don?t really need.
When I joined the N.R.A., I became part of an organized effort to neutralize the wacky ideas of the anti-gun lobby in America. I also believe that the N.R.A. won the last Presidential election for George W. Bush. Even Bill Clinton says so and we all know that guy never lies. He isn?t in the N.R.A.
Some people say that a conservative is a liberal who?s been mugged. Maybe an N.R.A. member is a liberal whose unarmed friends were killed by the side of the highway on a cold night in January.