My wife and I recently attended the National Rifle Association's 139th Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Charlotte, N.C. Wow! I've never found myself in the company of a group of people sharing such intense passion.
The misconception about we NRA members -- or rather the outright demonization by the "lamestream" media, as Sarah Palin calls it -- is we're all a bunch of fanatics. Well, we are. But it's not about guns, although we love our shooting sports. We're fanatics about America!
The weekend's exhibits abounded with every delight that a hunting or shooting enthusiast could desire. The constant metal-on-metal ratcheting sounds made by window-shopping shooters were intoxicating. And the speakers at the convention were incredible -- Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Oliver North and, of course, "Uncle" Ted Nugent -- among the many.
But the real excitement wasn't the exhibits or the speeches. And this wasn't a pep rally of political rhetoric. For the NRA, protecting the Second Amendment isn't about protecting our right to keep and bear arms. It's about protecting our freedom.
The British Empire, once the most powerful force on the planet, could crush rebellion -- and often did wherever it flashed throughout the empire. So when the hint of dissonance wafted across the Atlantic, King George III's soldiers were quick to respond, bent on crushing the American colonies. They arrived here expecting to find rabble -- peasants with pitchforks. Instead they encountered a well- armed, well-trained citizenry with a glorious cause -- Americans who shot back!
Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto of the Imperial Japanese Navy often is credited with a memorable quote. It's not clear if he said it, but it illustrates the American passion for defending freedom: "You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass."
We NRA members honor the sacrifices of our forefathers who had no choice but to fight. Thanks to them, we protect our freedoms -- not at the end a barrel, but at the ballot box. And "Red November" isn't too far away!