Changes Not For the Better

Sep 11, 2014
"I know some of you will notice on the range tomorrow there are some people wearing guns. Please don't freak out, they're there to protect you. It's a different world today and we're affiliated with the NRA. Some people hate the NRA, so we are taking some precautions.">
Although the mood at the World Shooting Championship is still light, no one in attendance has forgotten the significance of today's date in U.S. history. And the seriousness is reflected in the presence of armed match staff. Jim Shepherd/OWDN Photo.
That was part of the information passed during the mandatory shooter's meeting for the World Shooting Championship. That competition continues today at the Peacemaker National Training Center in Glengary, West Virginia and the security comment reflects how much our world has been allowed to change only a few short years.

Although the more than 200 people in the room understood, no one was pleased. The meeting was to give match information to professional shooters, including law enforcement officers at the state and federal levels and members of shooting teams from the Navy and the Army Marksmanship Unit. The field also includes enough veterans to quickly reconstitute a company of extremely skilled marksmen.

Our stated purpose for being here is a shooting competition. It's designed to identify the single best shooter across all the varied shooting disciplines via a complicated blend of 12 main stages and a variety of side matches. But the remark from our match director reminded us all that while we're in the mountains of West Virginia, we're really not that far from Washington, DC. And that there are still many in the world who want us all gone.>
With few exceptions, no one here requires a reminder of today's horrific anniversary. Security in today's world remains a major topic of conversation. Several of the military tell me they're serving because of 9/11. Others tell me the memory of 9/11 is one that motivates soldiers who were only children watching in shock as their generation's Pearl Harbor unfolded -live- on television screens.

"The whole country's messed up," one acquaintance said, just before confiding that his wife had asked him to skip the competition because she didn't want the family separated on September 11.

I know the feeling- and remember vividly my fear when I realized my family was scattered and I was still hours away. The feeling of eerie calmness as I drove through Atlanta, Georgia and suddenly realized the skies were empty - there were absolutely no airplanes flying, or the feeling of pride as I drove across Interstate 20 through Georgia and Alabama and saw American flags flying from virtually ever underpass in the 150 mile drive aren't difficult to recall. While I was very concerned, I was equally proud of the response to an act designed to cow, not inspire the American people.

Since then, it looks like we've lost a lot of that national pride, and a significant amount of our personal liberties. We allowed those rights to be flushed in our well-meaning rush to grant the government the tools and flexibility they told us were necessary for the war on terror.

At the time we granted those permissions, we had no idea the same politicians would re-define the term terrorist by minimizing the role of those who committed 9/11and substituting almost anyone among us with the audacity to remind the government that it is supposed to work for us, not attempt to contain us with an ever-tightening grip on our freedoms.

On this most solemn of national anniversaries, I'm not calling for a change of heart nor an opening of our arms - and borders- to people who want to change our country to fit their beliefs.

My feeling toward them is much like theirs for me. If that makes me "lesser" in the eyes of people who naively believe that "being nice" to everyone makes everyone nice in return, well, I can live with that.

Instead, I'm going to share a comment first given to me by Rich Grassi, editor of our companion service, The Tactical Wire. I think it sums up what we should all feel, every day, not just on September 11.

"Pat Rogers puts it this way," Grassi told me: "Never forget those who died. Never forget who killed them."

Hopefully, many who seem to have forgotten will remember -before history repeats itself.

--Jim Shepherd