Cougars and the 2nd Amendment

We went riding yesterday, the second time this week. Good for the horses and good for us. We ride bareback, both for riding practice and because it’s really good exercise. Jere rides Heavy, our Belgian-mix mare, which is sort of like riding a sofa. I ride Mellow, our thouroughbred, which is more like riding a jack-in-the-box (he’s just a tad skittish at times).

Yesterday was one of those skittish times. At the entrance of what we call Charlie Rock Road (that’s another story), there was a dead animal, probably a raccoon. It looked like a cougar’s recent breakfast or dinner. Horses don’t like cats (big cats, anyway) – and that’s what brought on Mellow’s skittish demeanor. He really, really didn’t like the smell of that cat, but we rode anyway. The whole time I felt watched, and Mellow was on edge … I wished I’d brought my gun with me. And that brings me to the 2nd Amendment.

Out here, firearms are pretty much a way of life. We have several of different kinds of guns and feel strongly about our right to have them. Actually, around here it can sometimes be a necessity. With cougar and bear living in the woods we nearly always have a gun nearby when going very far from the house. And recently, with budget cuts in our county, the Sherrif’s office has said they are reducing the calls they make to only the most severe. Of course, in our case, it takes at least 30 mintues for a sherrif to come … so we’re pretty much on our own.

I did a lot of soul searching before I got my first gun. I had to come to terms with myself on when I might use it and then I had to make sure that I was able to handle it well. I did many hours of gun training and now occasionally do target practice. We don’t hunt for sport or food, so our guns are primarily for protection – from predators of all kinds (four-legged and two-legged). Thank my lucky stars, only once have I had a gun in hand when greeting someone who drove up (at 11:00 pm and I knew there were some major parties down the road). But I’ve never been faced with the necessity to actually use a gun for protection, and I hope I’ll never have to. But if I ever DO have to, I want to know I am able.

Jere and I are going to do some intensive firearms training at Front Site sometime this year. I’m really jazzed about it. (See some info about FrontSite here.)

To quote L. Ron Hubbard (from a policy letter of 30 January 1983 entitled “Your Post and Life”):

If one knows the tech of how to do something and can do it, and uses it, he cannot be the adverse effect of it.

Along with the right to bear arms, comes the responsibility to know how to use them safely. I intend to be fully versed in the tech of handguns and other firearms so I will never be the adverse effect of them.

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