The Aldrich Alert
Gary Aldrich

A Publication of the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty

Life’s Fundamental Truths

December 26, 2001

by Gary Aldrich - Volume 1, Issue 50

This article appeared at on Thursday, December 20, 2001. As of December 20th, Mr. Aldrich is officially a weekly columnist for the world’s number one news site.

I recently spent the day with one of the founders of a group opposed to gun control, the "Second Amendment Sisters," or SAS. You may recall that last Mother’s Day, there was the so-called "Million Mom March." Except that there were not a million moms, as advertised – but several thousand highly emotional, well-funded women who descended upon Washington, D.C., to demand that politicians pass still more gun-control laws.

However, five women in different parts of the country refused to buy into the flawed logic of the "Moms." They could not allow a political interest group to claim that they spoke for the "women of America." Juli Bednarzyk and four of her Internet friends believed there was a majority of women who were certain they had the right to defend themselves, including the use of firearms, if it came to that.

With a few dollars, Internet e-mails and website networking, Second Amendment Sisters built a momentum for a counter-march on Washington, D.C., that blunted the "Mom’s" efforts and took away a lot of the media attention. Thousands of Second Amendment Sisters, newly minted, came to D.C. and with both points of view represented, it was impossible for the "Mom’s" to claim they represented "all women."

I asked Juli, a young professional with a demanding full-time career, what would possess her to leave her job, her family, her hometown of Chicago, and at her own expense come to D.C. to raise the argument for gun ownership. Juli stated that she and her friends believed that there were certain fundamental truths, that as a society we can all agree upon. One such truth is the slogan of her Second Amendment Sisters; "Self Defense is a Basic Human Right."

As a former law-enforcement officer who used to carry a concealed firearm on the job and off, I understood the wisdom of Juli’s position. For 26 years I did my job, then headed home to extend the protection my federal firearm granted me to my family, my friends and in my neighborhood store – virtually everywhere I went. How beneficial to have that level of protection available to my family and myself and to total strangers too, if I witnessed a crime in progress.

What wonderful freedom from the fear ordinary citizens face, day after day. But, if an off-duty federal agent and your average police officer can enjoy that level of protection, why is it that the average law-abiding citizen cannot?

The federal government has recently admitted that it cannot possibly protect us from every threat. Some like Juli knew that was yet another fundamental truth. The irrefutable evidence is a smoldering rubble pile in New York City. Even President Bush’s Homeland Security czar has warned in recent days that, "everyone should be an air marshal" when traveling the less-than-friendly skies. He knows the impossibility of having an armed air marshal on every flight.

Has the September 11 attack on our nation cleared the way for logical discussions about the right of every citizen to protect themselves against violence, no matter what form it may take? Recent press reports of a major increase in gun sales should come as no big surprise. But what’s really interesting is that many of the gun purchasers are women, and many of those same women have applied for "Right to Carry" permits in the 33 states that "allow" people – not just cops – to defend themselves.

Patrick Henry has been considered the "voice" of the American Revolution, and when people remember what Henry is famous for, they normally refer to his "Liberty or Death" speech as the reason for this honor. But how many Americans know why he made that speech at Saint John’s Church in the first place? He convinced the other leaders attending, that war with the British was inevitable, and that a well-trained, well-equipped militia should be formed without delay.

But was this the first time Virginia colonists had considered the use of firearms for protection against violence? Hardly. The gun had been a tool used for self-defense and hunting long before the British became an issue. History books prove that it was not only the men who knew how to use them. Women and young children were trained to load and fire the weapons, because the men could not always be around to protect them against the beasts and the savages that were part of every settlers’ reality.

Consider the following passage lifted right out of our Declaration of Independence, "He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions." In other words, the terrorists of Henry’s time also killed innocent civilians: the children, the women, the sick and the elderly.

And just who do you think protected the children and the homesteads while the men were off fighting the British? Yet another fundamental truth emerges – our women were pressed into service, and by all accounts, they did a splendid job – and not by calling 911 to seek a police officer who could not possibly ride fast enough to save them, they swallowed hard, grabbed their guns and did what they had to do.

In those days, nobody debated the "correctness" of gun ownership. Before September 11, 2001, our society had become frivolous to the degree that we actually began to believe that somehow the government could do all the dirty work for us.

But Juli Bednarzyk and her Second Amendment Sisters always knew better.