02
Aug
10

The Redcoats are Coming!

With My Rifle by My Side

Are those ducks or geese? Or terrorists?

Do your kids have enough firepower at their fingertips?

Just out this summer is a children’s book about the 2nd Amendment: With My Rifle By My Side (via joemygod). The title reminds me of similar stories about teddy bears and dolls. With their best buddies, real or imaginary, at their sides, there is no adventure they can’t meet, no task they can’t accomplish.

These days, apparently, teddy bears and dolls are just a distraction from what our children are truly called to do. Kids, we are told, need to be taught to defend their country.

The book is about “A boy’s initiation into rifle safety and hunting; and his awakening to the solemn necessity of firearms for preserving personal and national liberty. The young protagonist observes of the Founding Fathers: ‘With their rifles by their sides, they protected their right to be free. They defended their land, neighbors, towns, and families.’

I have nothing against kids learning gun safety and hunting. Yes, please do teach them respect and admiration for the guys who founded the United States. And if the country were threatened by an aggressive colonial superpower, and we were in desperate need of revolt, I might even understand the need to teach kids about the eventuality of taking up arms and fighting for our rights as free people.

However, in the real word, the United States itself is the aggressive superpower. What precisely are we telling kids they will need a gun to defend themselves against? You live in a dangerous neighborhood? Get a gun to defend against intruders. You have a problem with bears or wolves? Get a gun. And if you want to defend the country, go into law enforcement and work the border patrol. Join the Coast Guard. Join the Army or the National Guard.

The book was printed by a Christian book publisher, Young Heart Books, whose mission is to “encourage the young to seek the Lord in prayer, worship in church, and love the liberties provided by the sacrifices of our country’s forefathers so they may grow into tomorrow’s American patriots.”

The book’s description calls it “a charming children’s story written in verse that reclaims American values” and “a book with colorful illustrations and a delightful story that renews the spirit of American liberty and honor.”

Got it. It all sounds great. But under what circumstances does Young Heart Books think their readers will be called upon to fulfill their sacred destiny and defend their neighbors, towns and families? Do you think if this country were attacked, we’re going to want a bunch of yahoos with deer rifles running around shooting at anything they see as a threat? Isn’t that why we have an army?

The author, Kimberly Jo Simac, has another book out about appreciation of America’s military (American Soldier Proud and Free). Why isn’t that enough? Why do we need to essentially say that we don’t trust our military to do the job; we need to keep a back-up plan in the coat closet?

And what’s this business about reclaiming American values and renewing the spirit of liberty and honor? Are gun-owners the ones who own American values? If I don’t tell kids that they should buy guns when they grow up so they can defend their neighbors, towns and families, am I letting them down? Am I disrespecting the Founding Fathers? Am I trampling on the spirit of liberty and honor?

I don’t really see the connection between the Church and the 2nd amendment anyway. Using religion to justify government is an activity America doesn’t seem to tolerate in other countries — at least, if the religion in question is Islam. I am continuously intrigued terrified by the alignment of Christian morality with advocacy of gun violence.

There are so many ways to be patriotic, to defend America and to make it great, to celebrate liberty and live an honorable life — like … getting an education, working your way to the top of your field, and having some intellectual influence in the world. Or making global contributions as an American inventor or scientist. Defending America’s honor and reputation. Justifying our position of leadership. What about becoming a doctor and healing Americans or working to cure a disease? Or working to reduce or eliminate social catastrophes like poverty and urban decay? Getting guns off the streets instead of introducing more firearms to the problem.

Honestly, the ability to get a gun license is nowhere near the first thing I think of when I consider what can make this country great. But if you have to do it with a gun, join the damn Army and put your money where your mouth is. Find out what warfare and defense are really like. Hating terrorists from the comfort of your cabin in the woods or your ranch on the prairie is pretty easy.

In other words, let’s teach our kids to put some real work into making America great, and not just sit by the window with a cocked shotgun, or worse, go out looking for a fight.

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1 Response to “The Redcoats are Coming!”


  1. August 15, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Yes, I do love all of these holier-than-thou types who twist history to their own perverted view of the Constitution, individual liberties and the intent of the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers’ intent couldn’t be clearer, but the people who are too frightened to sleep without a .38 under their pillow twist all of it. And don’t get me started on the religious nuts.

    Sticking to gun rights, I love the people who say their guns are a guard against government tyranny. First of all, the government has Abrams tanks and attack helicopters. So these yahoos are going to do what with their deer rifles? More to the point, let’s go beyond the Founding Fathers to Andrew Jackson, undoubtedly one of the most ass-kicking, “man of the people” Presidents we ever had. His view of taking up arms against the federal government? “Disunion by force is treason.”

    But let’s not dwell on any of this. After all, what do Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and their ilk know about the soul of this country? After all, they weren’t NRA members!


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