2015 – The Year of Responsibility

Many of us have worked hard to bring about positive political change; to maintain or restore liberty.  But let’s not forget the other side of this equation: this idea of responsibility.

Many of us have gotten to know our town/city council representatives, were active in the sheriff’s race, we donated to political causes we support, we are much more in-tune with politicians and bills than we ever were before.  That’s all good stuff.  And as a newbie to that whole thing, and speaking to myself now, let me say it’s about time!!

Being involved politically in our quest for liberty is absolutely critical.  Now more than ever.  But don’t forget something – that’s only half of the equation!

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”  — Winston Churchill

“In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.”  — Abraham Lincoln, December 1, 1862 Message to Congress
(if only Congress would listen to that one now!)

“Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each one of us individually.”   — Dalai Lama, Nobel lecture (December 11, 1989)

I contend today that our problem isn’t with liberty… first.  Our first battle should be over responsibility.  It seems that most or all of our political battles today center around this idea of responsibility: who has it, whether people are worthy of more, should we take it away, whose fault it is, can we trust parents with the education of their children (#StopCommonCore!), can we trust you with a gun, etc.

Liberty comes second.

It’s time to start taking responsibility: responsibility for our lives, for our children, for our texting behind the wheel, for our swimming pool… but we’ll teach our kids how to swim next year, for that one more drink before we get behind the wheel, and for this thing we call self-defense.

Every day there are stories of people screwing up.  I’m not just talking about gun owners, I’m talking about people.  I’m talking about drivers, skiers, and hikers.  But here’s the secret: we all screw up.  We’re all, ahem, human.  But it’s time we start taking responsibility for the decisions we’ve made.  THAT is the rock upon which liberty is built.

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We’ve all heard the stories lately, whether it was a 2-year-old getting access to a firearm in Walmart or a 9-year-old shooting her instructor at the range or heck, the distracted driver who hit multiple pedestrians while on a cell phone.  Our decisions have consequences – it’s time to be honest about what those might be and to take ownership of those consequences.  Here’s a story about a cop who shoots his own finger off after a gun store clerk handed him a loaded gun.

Trust me, I get that this is a 2-way street.  Those who would promote gun-free zones are conveniently ignoring the consequences of those Victim Zones.

But let’s start by taking out our own trash.  Take a look at your own life: are we knowingly engaging in behavior that we should be more mindful of?  (hint: we all are)  Look, I don’t care if you always leave a candle burning near your curtains, if you have a bad habit of golfing during thunderstorms, or if you eat bacon-wrapped glazed donuts 5 times a day.  I really don’t.  To each his own.  (although now I’m hungry)  Just be honest with yourself about the potential consequences.  Take responsibility.

My family and I take self-defense very seriously.  But that means a lot of things: it means I’m interested in which tools I can carry legally to aid in my own protection.  It means I need an intimate knowledge of where I can and can’t carry a firearm.  It means I need an understanding of what the law, and what society, expects from me.  It means acknowledging and mitigating the risk associated with carting around a deadly weapon.  It means I need practice, I need training (more training), and most importantly, it means that I need to be honest with myself.

For me, the risks associated with not having a self-defense tool available are significant and possibly fatal.  I shall do everything in my power to avoid being a victim.  But it also means I have to take responsibility for everything involved.

Let’s take responsibility for the politicians that we elect.  Newsflash: the person we elect may or may not be acting in our best interest.  Do you even know what your interest is?

Let’s take responsibility for our own safety instead of relying on someone else to do that for us.  The fire department is tremendous – but their job isn’t to keep my house from catching on fire.  That’s kinda my job.

Let’s take responsibility for our child’s education and not allow a bureaucrat to determine his/her fate.  Your child’s teacher needs to be working for you, the parent.  And that means you need to know what and how your child is being taught.

Let’s take responsibility for our driving.  Hang up and drive.  Drive now, talk later.  Humans somehow did that successfully for the better part of a hundred years.  I’m fairly certain we can do it again.  Unless it’s a matter of life-or-death, whoever you’re talking to can wait those 10 minutes until you get where you’re going.

Many of us are quick to stand up and fight for liberty (and many more should be)… but we need to also start taking responsibility for our actions.  Having the liberty to carry a self-defense tool is great.  But if we’re the type that shoots at passing motorists on the highway, that’s a responsibility failure, and also a great way to lose liberty at the same time.  So please, take this responsibility thing seriously.

Carry on, Colorado!

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