I had a humbling day last week. You know me, this blog is also my diary so you get to listen to my mishaps as well as my successes. Ever have hindsight about what you wish you would have said in an interview or conversation? When you walk away and think of all the smart things you should have said? Last Wednesday I had a correspondent from a big international news network come and interview me. It is for a story about I-594 and also how bills are brought to ballot anymore rather than going through the Legislature. He found me through the NRA ad I did opposing 594 and my blog. I took him to the range and they filmed me doing what I do and I let him shoot one of my rifles also. (Funny, that might not be legal shortly without going through extreme measures of getting background checks) We then had a question and answer session. The correspondent was great and he made no bones about digging right into the questions of the day. I was fine with that. What I was not fine with were my answers.
(As a side note, I am so concerned my interview was not good that I am not going to mention the news source. I don’t actually know when or if it will air. I can’t watch.)
It is not so much that I said anything bad. In my opinion I just felt my answers were weak. I have unintentionally become a voice for our gun community. I am proud to do so and I want to make sure I do it well for us. That is my number one priority. I am my worst critic but I felt I was not at my best when I should have been. I have done so many interviews recently that I thought I was immune to any questions thrown at me. I realized I got complacent. Like a job interview you need to have 5 well rehearsed statements you can fluidly use no matter the question. Then from there you can elaborate using your personality. I feel bad for the correspondent. This is just my personal criticism but I would not be surprised if he were disappointed in the effort. The good thing I will take away from this is that now I know what I need to work on for future things like this. I learned a big lesson. But the question I am most upset at my answer was “What does the 2nd Amendment mean to you?”
To those of us in the gun culture that should be an easy answer correct? That question is actually very loaded. It is an emotional subject for many of us. I have answered this question before many times in my head. But I realized yesterday that I never had answered it verbally on the spot. Especially when I am outside in 35 degree weather and an international news network is in front of me. Can you answer it quickly and in a couple of sentences?
The 2nd Amendment is more than about owning cool guns and competing and being able to carry concealed. It is even more than feeling the need to have a gun in my nightstand to protect my family from bumps in the night. These activities were not the reason the Amendment was written. These activities have developed over time just like the 1st Amendment and the progression of typewriters, computers, CNN, and Facebook. No one predicted the future of our world back then for any of the Bill of Rights. The musket was the technology of that time. It is was equal to what we were defending against. Currently our firearm technology has advanced. We as citizens should have the same technology to defend ourselves. The Amendments, especially one through ten were meant to guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and reserve some powers to the states and the public.
I wish I could have a Mulligan on my answer I gave him for this question. I asked him later if he would not use that. It just was not a good answer defending the 2nd. I thought my response stupid looking back. So what does the 2nd Amendment mean to me and how did I wish I had answered him?
Here it is. “To me the 2nd Amendment has a romantic side to it. We are sovereign. We are free. We, as citizens, are equal to the powers of the king. Yes, it is still applicable over 200 years later. We are at least equal in power to our government. We as citizens should actually be more powerful than the government as the Constitution was intended. But it seems as though we are letting them strip away our freedoms little by little. Like a frog to boiling water. We are not seeing it coming. I believe that without the 2nd Amendment the entire Constitution would crumble. We would just be another homogenous society. Why would any citizen of the United States of America want that?”
Okay, so right now, off the top of your head, what does the 2nd Amendment mean to you? You don’t get to contemplate and polish your answer. You must say it out loud as though a camera just appeared in your face. Then you can take your time and write down your compelling brief answer in the comments section here. I want to hear your answers. Now Go.