The ignorance of the American people with respect to the Second Amendment is startling:

‘A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’

As a descendant of 18 men who fought in the American Revolution (1776-1783), I understand that the right to keep and carry a weapon, not just a gun, exists as the final and fundamental protection against tyranny. This is not about protecting the ability of hunters to plug a deer or an elk. This is not about the joys of target shooting. This is about having the ability to kill someone who is intent on taking your life, your liberty or your property.

My ancestors enjoyed the right in a variety of ways. There was Jeremiah Burnett the II (my fifth great grandfather):

He enlisted on 26 December 1776 from Amherst Co., Virginia for six months in the Revolutionary War and was a private in the 10th Virginia Regulars under Capt. James Franklin. The company muster roll of 31 May 1777 shows that he and his brother, John, deserted on 15 March 1777. Bork indicates that Mr. Ray Blevins had related to her and that she had heard the same story while in Wayne Co., Kentucky on several trips, that Jeremiah of Wayne was called “Big Jerry.” and was a champion bare-fist fighter. He is said to have bitten a finger from an opponent when the opponent played dirty. Also Jerry had captured two British Officer’s and to humiliate them, he made them drink whiskey from his hands until they became drunk. Realizing the difficulty he faced, due to his conduct, he went AWOL from the Army.

Knowing the story of Big Jerry helps me understand some of my tendencies. They may be genetic.

Then there was Samuel Crowley. I picked up the following story at

SAMUEL CROWLEY has been credited as the first man to die in the Revolutionary War at Point Pleasant on the 10th of October 1774. Almost any history of the day of the battle repeats the story of the TWO hunters (scouts) who went out “very early” at dawn on that calamitous day and discovered a large Indian force on the Ohio bank and ONE WAS KILLED and the survivor returned to give the alarm that the Indians were on them. That “ONE” was SAMUEL CROWLEY of SMITH RIVER, while acting as a scout against the Indians under General Andrew Lewis.

Great Grandpa Crowley died in that battle.

And there was Captain John Sloan, who was killed at the battle of Ramsour’s Mill (North Carolina):

During the Revolutionary War Capt. John Sloan received orders to report with 13 men to Ramsour’s Mill in Lincoln County. On Sunday morning, June 18, 1780, he, along with Davidson, Sharpe, Falls and Houston joined other troops from the Catawba Valley. The Tories outnumber them 3 to 1, but a retreat would encourage the Tories. They decided to march throughout the night and surprise the Tories at daybreak. At the end of fierce fighting, some with swords, about 70 were lost by the Patriots, including George and Andrew Davidson and Capt. John Sloan.

Great Grandpa Sloan and his neighbors, who were committed to the Revolution, were fighting other neighbors who were loyal to King George. They could not rely on the “government” to fight for them or protect them. Why? Because America was born in the promise that each and every person was endowed by their Creator with certain rights that could not be abrogated nor usurped by a King. Having the power and wherewithal to fight back is the heart and soul of the Second Amendment.

Americans have surrendered many of their rights since 1776. Even staunch conservative justices like Scalia have manufactured an excuse to keep certain weapons–e.g., machine guns and bazookas–out of the hands of citizens. The right to keep and bear arms has been infringed to some degree.

We will see where the debate goes once Obama and his team unveil their proposals. But I guarantee you one thing–if Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, the Principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School had been properly armed and trained, she would have had a good chance of stopping a crazed soul from slaughtering her and her students. We cannot ban the ability of someone to kill someone else. We can try futile, feckless methods to limit the number of people a crazy person can kill. But ultimately, you can always find a work around in an open society. It is only when you surrender your freedom and civil liberties that you can obtain the illusion of 100% security. And such security is a fantasy that weak minded, cowardly people grasp for desperately when confronted with the reality of evil.

As for me and my house, our guns our loaded and we will fight those who threaten our lives and property.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.