By Dan Shea

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” -Plato

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” -Pericles

While slightly paraphrased, I’m sure you get the point. A good friend sent these quotes over as part of a discussion we were having on the current state of affairs in US politics. While the statement “Governed by your inferiors” is a statement so far at odds with what I believe in about the American people, I must confess that after watching a few minutes of the drivel on “reality” television shows, I begin to wonder what will happen when popular culture truly elects our complete government.

Irrational and totally emotional voting preferences can only lead us to problems. When Jack Kennedy got elected, many of us in the Irish-Catholic community were dumbfounded and ecstatic. The number of people who voted purely on emotion was apparent in this election and the handsome young war hero fired up the imagination of millions.

My comments are not related to only the emotional voting of liberals; we conservatives have our emotional responses as well. A well reasoned voting populace who are willing to make tough choices and bear the responsibility of them, will build a strong country every time, just as an irrational, emotional group will elect those without the character to lead, simply because they say emotionally pleasing things. The quote from Pericles is even more telling, and it is something every American firearms owner should remember.

The gun laws we have today are death by a thousand cuts, and don’t make any sense because they were written by people who don’t understand firearms except on an emotional level. We in the firearms community want one law: commit a violent crime, go to jail. The architects of our gun laws basically want one law: outlawing private ownership of firearms. Since neither extreme can happen with our current state of the Nation, we end up with the push-me-pull-you goulash of laws and regulations we have today. My point? The same as dear old Pericles; get out and vote.

Speaking of JFK and the Days of Camelot, on 6 July 2009, Robert Strange McNamara passed away in his sleep at the age of 93. “McNamara’s War” that sprang from the mind of the original “Whiz Kid” is surely deeply in the thoughts of many of our readers who are old enough to remember Vietnam. McNamara’s involvement in leading us into Vietnam, then using the Gulf of Tonkin incident to rally America into massive escalation in President Johnson’s “Guns AND Butter” economy, and his final turnabout trying to freeze the troops and play peacemaker have left a scar on his legacy. McNamara was always accused of knowing about Agent Orange’s effects, as well as the loss of GI lives due to the ammunition changes on the M16. Whether that is true or not, it sticks in the craw of many Old Nam Vets. I recall a story in the early 1970s about a veteran who met Mr. McNamara on a ferry boat in Massachusetts, and promptly tried to toss Mr. McNamara overboard.

Those were indeed strange days, and we hope to not see repeats of this type of behavior from our leaders. May the “Whiz Kid” rest in peace...

On a lighter note, after the closing of our long time printer in Tennessee, we have recovered nicely, and after using the paper that was available - rough the first month, better the second, and now fully back to our spec, I am happy to report that not only did we not miss a beat, we negotiated to the point of being able to make SAR full color on every page. We believe that this will increase your reading pleasure, and drive Jeff Zimba completely mad as he revels in the opportunity to lay out SAR with ever increasing artistic opportunity. We hope you enjoy the results.


This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V12N12 (September 2009)
and was posted online on June 1, 2012


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