Sunday, November 12, 2017

Thou Shalt Not Kill … Here!

The Real Lesson
Thou Shalt Not Kill … Here!
Second Amendment Misfocus
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            We got to Lilly Park about 2:30 and it gave us time to put the tent up, stow our gear, repair a used fire pit, and chop enough wood for the evening and the next morning. The ride from the main fork of Mogollon Creek and across McKenna Park had been one of those great Gila rides. We had dismounted and stalked two bunches of deer, but there was nothing in them that suggested an opening day tag needed filling.
            The ride out onto the benches above the eastern rim of the West Fork after we set up camp, though, was different. Our big ride and camp preparation had been accomplished and it was time to get more serious. We saddled two of the mules and rode out without speaking. The light of that cloudless November day was simply beautiful. Not a breeze stirred.
            Our route had taken us around the west side of Lilly Mountain as we angled on toward the bluffs above the river. We completed a wheeling action and were riding south and parallel to the stream when Theodore flicked his ears and looked left. I immediately followed his gaze and there stood a Coues buck not 25 yards from me in oak brush. In front of him and slightly to his right, I noticed more movement but my attention was on the buck that had caught the mule’s attention. He was a real trophy.
            I clucked softly and Dusty looked immediately at me. I nodded my head in the direction of the deer and never slowed knowing that if I did he would run. Dusty paused only so slightly to use me for a shield and in one fluid motion stepped off pulling his rifle from its boot as his mule walked on. He let me ride about ten yards before he took his shot.
            I have never let him forget that he should have mounted that head. It was the best Coues I ever witnessed taken. It was a beautiful deer with matched mahogany colored antlers and hog fat, but the kill was never the issue. It was the unforgettable fall evening, the lifelong friendship, and the country that we loved. Every minute of it was special.
            We dressed the deer, loaded him, and headed for camp. A warm and comfortable camp would be the focus of our evening. We had harvested an aged, mature deer humanely and every bit of that venison would be used and appreciated.
            Second Amendment Misfocus
            I saw a report that indicated 47% of young black men in Chicago between the ages of 20 and 24 have no job and live on welfare. That coincides with the metric that the city is nearing its 600th homicide victim this year. Of course, that goes along with the suggestion that Chicago has the toughest gun control laws in the country.
            Something isn’t working, is it?
            As I was finishing my treadmill regimen, Fox and Friends had a panel of folks discussing social issues and that matter of Chicago was at the center of the discussion. It got so heated that the screaming and the shouting were getting on my nerves, but I wasn’t the only one. Ainsley stepped in and told the group that viewers were not appreciative of the noise and, if there were valid points, they were being lost in the confusion.
            Although we are witness to that constantly, calling attention to it reminded me that we are tired of hearing the constant “Help, help, help!” of certain banter. Without a doubt, we have become inoculated from any real attention. Any positive response has long been lost in the haze. If people are unwilling to make a change in their own lives, we certainly can’t fix them.
            As for the matter of more gun control laws, we have come into full view of the truth of how well the system is run. The church killer could have gone on buying guns for his arsenal into perpetuity if he had not spun off the deep end. The reality is guns are and have always been our personal protection of last resort. We can’t depend on the police or any other agent to protect our being and those who are our greatest responsibility, and that was exactly what the framers knew too well. They actually looked down the throat of the Crown’s muzzles, and … it is no different today.
            Thou Shalt Not Kill … Here!
            The thread has been broken.
            Churches are no longer safe havens. When little kids can be gunned down by monsters in their own sanctuaries, it is time to make sure we have our own default preparations. Pastors have to understand the implications.
            As a matter of interest, I asked several from my most trusted list if there was any policy, written or unwritten, regarding conceal carry in their churches. To my utter surprise three of them said, “Absolutely.” One from New Mexico indicated “several” were always present with the pastor having access to one from the pulpit. The next, from Oklahoma, indicated “Yes, always at least six in the sanctuary and one outside”. The third, from Texas, went on to describe his church’s policy as one that began with armed security, but moved to congregational assignments now replete with a recently retired Navy Seal as the trainer of tactics and recognition surveillance.
             “The Word tells us to always be prepared,” he counseled me.
            Indeed, it is time for us to put warning labels on something that means something. No, it shouldn’t be addressed to the demons that dare to desecrate our most holy chambers. It should be emblazoned in our hearts and minds that if someone dares to hurt our most innocent and defenseless in that manner, we will see to it that he does not walk from our presence.

            Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico.

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