Yesterday I attended a conference in Washington DC put on By Students For Conceal Carry on College Campuses, http://concealedcampus.org/. They had a variety of speakers from victims of the guns laws, to lawyers, to politicians, to college professors. There was so much information presented there I couldn’t possible go into it all here, but I did want to talk about one speaker who intrigued me.
If you are in the gun world or from Virgina then you already know this kid, but just in case you aren’t, he was one of the students who was shot at Virgina Tech in 2007. Since being shot he has become a strong anti-gun lobbyist and he currently works for the Brady Campaign, who are also strong anti-gun folks.
Mr. Goddard made all kinds of rude and insulting remarks about gun owners and in particular, those of us in the room, but what impacted me the most, was how scared and emotional he was.
I will admit that I am sympathetic to what this kid went through and I wanted to hear what he had to say. Even though I knew his goals were different than mine, I thought he might be able to offer some insight that perhaps I hadn’t thought of before. But, from the beginning he showed his point was not to educate or share ideas, but to attack.
He started off with a smug joke about how he felt safer knowing that none of us were carrying our weapons. I can understand fear and how it controls a person and I can understand how that fear can cloud ones judgment, what I don’t understand is how someone can have such hate for an entire group of people that have never caused him one ounce of pain.
His attitude did give clues into his mind set, though.
Fear, controls him.
He is afraid of everything.
Whatever he went through on April 16th, 2007, left him with much more than gun shot wounds and from how he presented himself yesterday, I would say he has allowed this one bad guy to repeatedly terrorize him and he makes all of his choices based on his experience with this bad.
That’s an awful lot of power he is choosing to give up.
He is not only afraid of the gun, or bad guys, he is afraid of all people. He makes no distinction between the weapon and the person. To him all people are bad and dangerous and at any moment any one of them, us, could snap and kill someone, all they, we, need is a gun to do it.
As he stood there making insulting remarks, I thought it funny that there was no one in that room that posed a threat to him, not even if they had been allowed to exercise their constitutional right to carry their gun. Not one single person in that room had any desire to harm him, not with their weapon and not with their words.
Every other person in that room was their to take responsibility for their lives and to protect what was theirs.
His mission was to be hurtful and try take away something that was never his take in the first place.
It seems to me he is using his bad experience to justify his hatefulness. That because he is “right” and feels strongly about something, it is okay, for him to take something from someone else.
I think that is the mindset of all bad guys.
The second clue to his mind set was his reference that he understood that, “we” are all afraid. Meaning we are all so afraid, that we go to the extreme to carry a weapon.
Again, I chuckled because for me it is the complete opposite.
My gun is the second most valuable thing to me, in terms of self defense. The first is my mind. Preparing my mind is the first thing that was taught to me by every single gun person I came in contact with.
“It’s your mind that has to change first”.
I was told again and again, “If you don’t take responsibility to prepare your mind, than your gun or any other self defense method will be rendered useless”.
I had to train my mind not to be afraid in order to be able to train to use my gun in a way that would work for me and not against me.
Fear was my number one enemy and I had to conquer it first. That was more valuable than any time I spent on the range.
From what I could gather Mr. Goddard was the only one in the room that looked scared out of his mind. There is no way for me to know for sure, but from the way they presented themselves, the 2 woman who spoke of being victims of violence and of the gun laws, were emotional about their experience, but not scared. Determined, resolute, absolutely, but not scared. One of the young kids who spoke at the end of the conference was a little nervous about public speaking, but he was not terrified and he certainly didn’t let that nervousness control him or stop him from moving forward.
If you watch Mr. Goddard speak and you can here, you will hear him say that he has no facts or proof of any gun law or restriction reducing crime, that all he has to offer is his personal experience and you will hear him say that his mind was weak that day he was shot. That his body panicked and unlike one of his friends, he was paralyzed with fear and he just laid on the floor waiting for whatever was going to happen to him happen.
That was not shocking to me as I believe that many American’s, including me, are raised to believe that they don’t have to worry about their own personal safety. If one is a good person, stays out of trouble, only goes to “safe” places then they can rely on the police to handle any and all situations so, in the event that a bad thing happens, those of us living in this fantasy land, are completely unprepared to react.
Of course, we all have seen where that idealistic view of life, has been brutal interrupted and good people in safe places have been made violently aware that, there is no, “safe” place.
What did shock me is this poor kid doesn’t seem to have learned anything from that awful experience.
His whole platform is based on preserving his fantasy. On hoping other people will take care of him and hoping that if we implement his ideas, that those people will execute them flawlessly. His plan is that it is every ones responsibility to protect him, us. Everyone, except, of course him or me or you.
He is looking for better doors and no chains on doors and better background checks and a whole host of regulations that have no hope of stopping some one who is determined to do harm.
I sat there and thought this traumatized kid has no better idea of how to help himself should he ever find himself in this situation again. His mind set is still “I am a victim”, “I am weak”, “I need someone to save me”, “I can not do anything but lie on the floor and hope the door holds up”.
I have never experienced anything like what Mr. Goddard had to endure and I have no problem with him doing whatever he needs to do to heal and move on with his life, except that he has no right to use his personal tragedy to force other people to abide by what works for him.
When I was anti-gun, I never did anything to legislate what other people’s rights should be. I did a lot to educate and try to convince people guns were bad. My only real information was based on my own personal upbringing and my family tragedy. I was sincere and I was passionate about spreading what I believed to be the truth, but at no time did I think I had the right to force other people to give up their guns simply because of what I thought.
My mind was weak and I wanted to believe in a world that doesn’t exist and I didn’t want to even think about taking care of myself. It was too scary to live there, so instead I stuck my head in the sand and created a world that I could live in, until one day, a bad guy in a grocery store parking lot, ripped my head out of the sand and made me face, head on, how cruel and scary the world could be.
I do not know what saved me that day, why I was afforded the gift of someone coming along to “save” me, but when the bad guy ran away, I was left standing there with no one to look at but myself…and my 7 year old daughter.
I knew, in that, second, something had to change.
I knew I could no longer leave my personal safety up to anyone else. I had to grow up and do what I was afraid to do.
I needed to stop blaming others and waiting for someone to save me.
I had to take responsibility for my life and for the lives I created.
Mr. Goddard makes reference to gun rights people believing that there should be no laws. Since bad people always exists and we can’t stop them, why have laws at all and he used a red light as his example.
He tried to set up an analogy between gun laws and red lights. His argument is that people who believe in the 2nd Amendment do not think we should have laws stopping people from anything to include red lights, because there will always be people who run red lights, so why bother having them if people are just going to run them. So, he is saying if you believe in the rule of law, ie the Constitution of the United States of America, then by that belief, you are actually against, all laws???
He needs to work on that argument.
However, I do think an analogy can be made between gun rights and red lights.
I think it is more like, people are going to run red lights, so it is MY responsibility to slow down when I approach a light & look both ways before I proceed.
Taking the… RESPONSIBILITY on MYSELF to make up for where traffic laws lack.
Similarly, with my personal safety. There will always be people who break the law, so while I am against more laws, I am not for abolishing laws altogether.
However, since I know that there will always be people who will disregard them, it is MY RIGHT and MY RESPONSIBILITY to take steps to protect myself.
Laws are good and they are necessary, but no law will ever be enough to stop bad people from doing bad things. We know this, we have seen this time and time again.
I do not appreciate Mr. Goddard trying to legislate my rights away. The Constitution is the ultimate governing law. I am all for following it, to the letter.
I am not for implementing a law that mandates my right to self protection away and leaves me with no other choice, but to lie on the floor and let whatever is going to happen, happen.
If that is Mr. Goddard’s choice, so be it, but I have news for him. His life, while extremely valuable, is not more valuable than mine. Simply because he isn’t comfortable fighting for his life, does not mean I shouldn’t be allowed to fight for mine.
He views my life and the right to protect it, my right to self defense, as a last resort, after all other people have failed to protect me.
I view my life and that of my family as paramount and it is my FIRST responsibility.
I would rather not leave that decision up to the legislative choices made by an emotional kid.
He has a compelling story that moves people who live in that same world of ignorance, a world I lived in for far to long, but unfortunately his emotions and gun laws have absolutely no hope of saving lives and I have no intention of giving up MY life so he can feel better about his.