Sangamon County Rifle Association
Right Reason on Second Amendment Rights
"An American Presence"
"Badlands Bill" Oglesby
SCRA meeting 3/6/06
April 2006 GunNews
All to often we hear what is wrong with this country, in the news, on the airways, in editorials, even in movies and plays. And more often than not, we hear how the gun is responsible for scores of tragedies and losses.
The purpose of this column called "An American Presence" is to inform and promote just what is right with this country, specifically dealing with what the gun has given us and what it has helped us sustain throughout our history. I will write about historical accounts and events, people, places, and the guns involved. Guns are interwoven with American history. Without them there would be no American history.
I will attempt to share with you that American presence that has exerted its influence in the shaping of the world as we know it and the firepower and policies that have made most of the world a safe place. Our greatness stems from our ability to have the firepower and means to challenge injustice and oppression of free people whenever or wherever it may occur.
America became great because she has never been out gunned by any power at any time. Our war of independence was fought over the confiscation of arms and powder, not over taxes as many people believe. The American West was opened by fur trappers, traders and the discovery of gold. Not until the repeating firearm was invented, did the means to protect ones self and family on the frontier exist.
From that point, America has taken the lead and never looked back. The gun has procured and maintained the American Presence. From that Presence has grown the envy of civilization as we know it, the home of the free.
Freedom is expensive, it has and always will be, paid for with the blood of free people. It is easy to understand that the most precious commodity, next to the gift of life, would be costly. For, as with all things of value, there are those who would take it. The means that allowed the birth and longevity of this, the greatest of all places, is the gun. This is a historical fact. Whatever anyone might say to the contrary, all that we have is all that we have won and defended with the gun.
There are those who would have you believe that the Constitution, the gun and a higher power are not really needed. After all these people tell us that everywhere else, there is less crime and violence, that these others have control of the situation, and in reality are friendlier places. Then these same people appropriate billions in defense spending in order to protect us from those other less violent, more friendly people. Doesn't figure does it?
I believe The Constitution of the United States of American was a divinely inspired work. I feel that no group of men on their own could create a document with such forethought and powers of deduction.
Remember what George Washington stated:
"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence, the church, the plow, the prairie wagon and citizen's firearms are indelably related. From the hour that the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable. Every corner of this land has firearms and more than 99.99/100 percent of them, by their silence, indicate they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference....they deserve a place of honor with all that is good. When firearms go, all goes... We will need them every hour."
President George Washington
address to the second session
First United States Congress
People invented firearms as they invented all tools. People use those inventions every day. They did not create themselves or their means of use. That lies with the same people. Good people act accordingly and the majority are good people. In a free state the majority rules.
Next time you hear what the gun has cost us, try and think what the cost would be without it! My grandfather once told me that an imperfect people can't create a perfect anything but they can strive for excellence. America is most excellent. She's not perfect but she is the best there is!
I travel quite a lot and I have yet to find a better place. A few years ago I was shooting an exhibition in Germany. A gentlemen and his lady friend came up to me upon completion of the exhibition. They informed me that they were thoroughly impressed with my shooting skills, but in all honestly, they felt that most Americans were blunderers. As they saw it, Americans just used their money to blunder through life. I stood there for a moment pondering my options. I could shoot this man! Or I could try and explain my feelings. I decided to shoot him! No, not really. I'm just joking. Instead I looked at him and said, "You know, I couldn't agree more. Americans are blunderers. As a matter of fact, my father was with Patton when he blundered into Berlin. My grandfather was with Black Jack Pershing when he blundered through France, and my great-grandfather blundered up San Juan Hill." I went on in detail that "if weren't for the plunderers, there would be no need for the blunderers. As a historical fact, the first plunderers we encountered in America had the blunderbuss used on them." After a sheepish apology, he conceded that his observations may be flawed.
During my travels I have heard many comments on the subject of our crimes, guns and mistakes. It is at these times I remind myself of something my grandfather said. "Billy, the only way the other dogs can chew on your butt is if you're leading the pack!"
It was while I stood in the morning mist at Arlington Cemetery transfixed on the rows of white markers before me that the realization of what a price this precious freedom and the right to own firearms has cost. I expected it to be peaceful and tranquil. Instead I felt an uneasiness, a feeling of despair for each and every soul laid to rest there. A fear that perhaps they had died in vain. Fears that the gun would vanish from a place of honor and not be cherished and used for all time, to uphold the very principles and God given rights they had paid the ultimate price for. I knew from that moment I had been given the chance to repay these people for their sacrifice. I would not stand by and let the powers of the Constitution be dismantled one piece at a time to allow the illegal and downright shameful disarming of the Greatest Country to ever exist. I was overwhelmed by emotion and wondering how to proceed when my thoughts once more returned to something else my grandfather said. "Billy, no matter what derogatory statements might be made about our guns, our handling of crime or our policy, remember this, that same country, be it great or small, whenever they get in trouble they will come to us and plead, "Please America, come, bring your guns and save us!"
Springfield’s "Badlands Bill" Oglesby
to be in sharpshooting documentary
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