I watched the culture change from being able to buy surplus rifles and handguns out of the back pages of the American Rifleman, to the Gun Control Act of 1968 to 1986 and then 1994, almost despairing that we would ever begin to turn the tide.
Then talk radio came along, and the internet and the blogs and we found a new voice for the millions of people who had been out there all along but whose voices had been not just muted but drowned out and strangled by a hostile mainstream media - and the tide began to turn. People found common ground and renewed hope in common cause to resist the gun-haters. The culture began to speak out for itself, and the left began to take a licking.
And now - Heller. I will always love that name, from this day forward. After all these years knowing what Jefferson and the other Founders had written, knowing what English common law and Blackstone had written and knowing that all the rights we recognize are individual rights, that our nation was founded in the belief that men must always be able to resist tyranny and that would require that they be armed, and proficient with arms, that the anti-gunners were perpetrating the worst sort of deliberate hateful deceit on us, after all that - Heller.
I dragged my butt home Friday morning after working three nights in a row and was worn out, so wasn't able to celebrate in any more than just quiet exultation, thrilled as I was. Saturday I taught a concealed carry class and that occupied me all day. There was some discussion of Heller, but not a lot, had to concentrate on the mandated material.
But last night, after the dogs were fed and all the necessaries were out of the way, I opened a bottle of champagne and toasted the Heller decision, and a great new era in our lives. After all these years, all the anger and frustration and despair melted away. We had won.
I recognize that the fight continues, that this decision left things unsaid, things that were less than we had hoped for. But to see those names enshrined in a Supreme Court decision - Blackstone, et al - after all these years of worshipping those ideals is, for the moment, enough. I am content for the first time in my life, if only for a few days until the fight begins again.
I leave it to others to carp about Scalia's inadequacies and the decision's lack of perfection. I will think back to those days of reading the American Rifleman and Jefferson, knowing in my heart that our enemies were lying about us, about our rights and be glad that this day has come and their lies are held up to the light and turned to dust.
And I will have another glass of champagne, and laugh!
Watch six - Charles.
"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775