I wrote this in the early ’90s when I was a cattle rancher in the Sierra foothills above Bakersfield.  The Mexican gangs were just exploding across California into the smaller towns, and much in the news.  At the same time, the gun control lobby was in ascendancy.  Had I known then what I know now, about where the trend was heading, I might have written it with a little more passion.

Urban Varmints

It is hard for this simple farmer to understand why city folk do not defend themselves against the violent brutes among them.  Are the cities filled with cowards?  We country folk still recognize our responsibility to defend ourselves.  The nearest deputy is usually thirty miles away.  I don’t expect the Sheriff’s Department to protect me; they couldn’t if they tried.  Their job is to investigate and make a report after the smoke has cleared.  It is exceedingly rare for them to catch a perpetrator in the act.  Isn’t this true in the cities too?  Does anyone really expect the cops to always be handy when urgently needed?  Are they?  What happens when they are not?

Why are city folk so all fired anxious to disarm honest citizens?  Do they actually think I will abdicate my right and responsibility to defend my family, just because they pass another imprudent statute?  Don’t their cops have enough to do now without adding me, and several million other here-to-fore honest citizens, to the ranks of wanted criminals?  Given the negative choice of being labeled a criminal or a victim, only a fool would choose victim.  It is unfathomable that men exist who refuse to personally prepare and provide for the safety of themselves and their loved ones.  What manner of moral bankruptcy permits a man to yell for help while refusing to even try to defend himself?

Weapons exist.  That is reality.  It has always been so.  It will always be so.  No amount of wishing, or foolhardy legislation, is going to change this truth.  Weapons are what elevated man above a helpless savage.  Without weapons, man is defenseless against any number of beasts bigger, stronger, quicker, or better equipped for combat than he is.  The violence-prone bad guys are always going to have weapons.  How could a rational mind conclude that the solution to their threat is to disarm the good guys?

Repeating firearms leveled the playing field for mankind.  Before their invention, stronger individuals could always intimidate and dominate the weaker members of society.  Now, any able-bodied man or woman can attain competence in the use of firearms and become the equal of the largest brute.  It is irresponsible not to acquire this skill, and have such a weapon handy anytime one’s family is at risk of encountering a violent criminal.

We have almost no crime here in the hills.  Doors are rarely locked.  Windows are never barred.  Our dogs are our alarm systems.  Criminals realize that folks who live at the end of dirt roads are usually armed and dangerous.  I have a profound reverence for wildlife, but I often have to shoot varmints who are after my critters.  Should I do any less to one who threatens my family just because it walks on its hind legs?  I am a peaceable man, but any fool who comes on my place looking for trouble is sure to find it.

No teenage punks wearing “colors,” and a chip on their shoulder, dare show up in our mountain community; there aren’t any cops around here to protect them from my neighbors.  It is amazing to me that these gangs are tolerated in the cities.  Don’t city folk realize that they are forcing their children to join alternative gangs for the safety their fathers can’t, or won’t, provide them?  It seems that the police are more effective at protecting gangs from honest citizens than they are at protecting citizens from the gangs.  Or, are all the menfolk in the cities too “spinally challenged” to consider the obvious solution?

Our criminal justice system is a joke.  Who decided to change its purpose from punishment and deterrent, to rehabilitation?  Violent criminals must be removed from society so they can do no further harm.  Otherwise, society has no purpose.  What ever happened to “Wanted: Dead or Alive!”  Now that was a deterrent.  Are city folk really more interested in rehabilitating the brutes among them, than protecting their own families?

My lady expects me to keep all snakes out of her yard.  Unfortunately, they are common here.  If a benign species shows up, I catch it and release it down in the pasture.  If one wearing rattles and armed with poisonous fangs intrudes, I don’t hesitate to kill it.  Their propensity for deadly violence is well documented, so I just cannot risk “rehabilitation” in the pasture.  How could I live with myself if it returned and harmed one of my family or a neighbor?

Notice that I did not have to wait for it to bite someone before I dispatched it.  It showed up wearing its “colors,” and flashing its signs.  When approached, it coiled and brandished its deadly weapons.  That is all the evidence I need to realize that I am dealing with a dangerous varmint.  I really do not care if it had a “disadvantaged” childhood, or whether some do-gooder thinks it could be tamed.  I don’t care how old it is; the younger ones can be more deadly than the adults.  It should have stayed in its own “hood,” I certainly don’t go looking for them.  But, if it comes into my neighborhood, wearing rattlesnake markings, tail buzzing, and fangs bared, it is history.  I suppose it won’t be long before some animal-rights nut tries to have shovels banned – my weapon of choice when dealing with snakes.

It is beyond my comprehension how those charged with the responsibility of our criminal justice system can sleep at night.  Do they feel no remorse over those who suffer at the hands of the scum they release back into society, unpunished, undeterred, and un-rehabilitated?  I can’t conceive of cowering fearfully in my home like city folk.  Who among us has watched a Bronson movie and rooted for the criminals?  It may be a dirty job, but someone needs to do it.  If our hired public servants won’t do their job, somebody had better eradicate these varmints or we all might as well crawl back into the caves.

Peace, love, and understanding sounded good, but it just didn’t work folks.  You cannot afford enough cops, and trying to disarm honest citizens is just plain dumb.  If you did manage to disarm us, how would you then disarm the bad guys?  If that were possible, wouldn’t it have already been done?  Wake up!  Your families deserve your protection.  Get a gun and learn how to use it.  Society used to be civil, and a lot safer, when men were men and gentlemen were armed.  ◄Dave►