Gabby, the Astronaut and a SEAL

A former Congresswoman, a former astronaut, and a former Navy SEAL walk into a bar…

Gabby and the Astronaut have recruited a Navy SEAL in their mission to destroy the Second Amendment. Senior Chief Petty Officer Jimmy Hatch was seriously wounded in the hunt for the traitor Bowe Bergdahl. Now, he's speaking out. Not against the administration that hailed Bergdahl as a hero, but against your right and ability to defend yourself.

Hatch is a personal friend of Gabby Giffords and a member of Veterans for Responsible Solutions, an offshoot of the Giffords' parent group Americans for IrResponsible Solutions. He is out to spread the message that gunfights are hard, and he knows because he was a Navy SEAL. The idea that you can use a gun to stop a bad guy is a myth perpetrated by lobbyists, “career politicians,” and people who have never been in gunfights because they aren't Navy SEALS like he is. His message has been promoted in USA Today and in a fundraising email to Giffords' supporters.

The use of veterans in this way is a shrewd attempt to blunt criticism of the group's shared message. You can see it's effect in the over 980 comments on the USA Today website. Anyone who criticizes Hatch's conclusion are shouted down because Hatch has, as one anti-gunner put it, “spent more time in the military than you have breathing.”

Well, I'm 46 and nobody is above criticism. Even veterans. If you're wrong, misguided, stupid, or all-of-the-above, I'm going to tell you. But let me get this out of the way before I say anything else that might be construed otherwise. I salute Mr. Hatch and all our veterans for your service to our once-great nation. I thank you for your sacrifice, both for the years you served, the hardships you endured, and the injuries you suffered.

Now, with that in mind, here's my response to Mr. Hatch's opinion piece.

After the slaughter of 14 Americans in San Bernardino, Calif., when two people armed with high-powered rifles and handguns ambushed unsuspecting Americans in a conference room, United States senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz held a press conference to issue a familiar refrain we hear after every major gun tragedy: If only there had been a “good guy” with a gun there….We heard the same call after the recent tragedy at a medical clinic in Colorado Springs, and after attacks in Paris, where 129 people were murdered in a theater by terrorists armed with guns and explosives. That's when former presidential candidate and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich took to Twitter to issue his call to arms: “Imagine a theater with 10 or 15 citizens with concealed carry permits.”

First off, your reference to Planned Parenthood as a “medical clinic” tells me a lot about who you are as a person and where your letter was headed. Planned Parenthood is to medicine what Jeffrey Dahmer was to fine cuisine.

I know that the political advocates for this “good guy with a gun” mantra like Sen. Cruz and many of the other politicians and lobbyists think that this is a politically expedient catch-phrase to support their own interests. I doubt career politicians like Sen. Cruz and the rest of the Washington operators have had much experience with gunfights.

Your snark about “career politicians” is interesting given who you're shilling for. Mrs. Giffords would still be a “career politician” if she had not been shot in the face by a mentally ill man who managed to pass the same kind of background check that she is fighting to expand. And her experience with guns is? Getting shot? I guess that does put her above Senator Cruz who, to my knowledge, has never been shot. But, as I said previously, getting shot in the face does not make you a saint. Or an expert about anything when it comes to guns.

In my experience, being the good guy when the bullets start flying is very difficult.

Nobody is suggesting it's easy, least of all Senator Cruz. How hard is it to take on armed killers with your bare hands? Or harsh words? Or gun-free zones? Being a sitting duck in Aurora, or San Bernardino or Paris didn't look like it was a walk in the park, either.

I say that as someone who spent 25 years serving our military. For many of those 25 years, I was a member of a Special Missions Unit. I've been in dark rooms with “good-guys and bad guys” going at it with guns, and let me tell you something: Gunfights are crazy. Gunfights are hard.

Again, props to you for your service, but we're not saying fighting back with a gun is easy. Nobody on the pro-gun side has EVER suggested that. Let me ask you this way: when you were in those dark rooms with the good-guys and the bad-guys “going at it with guns,” did you have a gun? Would it have been easier, better, safer if you had been unarmed?

On my final combat mission, I was shot in the leg with an AK-47 from about 30 feet away and it blew my femur in half.

adventurer_like_you“I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee.” I'm sorry, that's the nerd in me coming out. For you Skyrim fans this is the first image that came to mind when I read that sentence and now I think it every time I re-read it.

I guess for Mr. Hatch it's “I used to defend the Constitution, then I took an AK-47 round in the knee.” “I used to support the Second Amendment, then I took an AK-47 round in the knee.” Or perhaps, “I used to defend the Constitution and the Second Amendment, but then I came home and started hanging out with my old friend Gabby and now I don't need no steenking Constitution.”

Here at home, there are almost 13 million Americans who have a license to carry a concealed weapon. The vast majority of them are responsible, law-abiding and good-hearted people. Many of them want to be prepared to be the good guy, to do the right thing and to save lives. I hope they never have to face being the target of a dangerous person with a gun. Because it's hard to make the right decisions.

Here comes the condescension and the point at which I start to lose my filter, so forgive me if the rest of my critique seems a but brusque. I don't suffer arrogant fools well. Mr. Hatch, every one of those 13 million men and women also hope we never face the day when we use our weapon in self-defense. We hope our homes never catch on fire, but we have fire extinguishers nonetheless. We carry a weapon hoping we never need to use it, but many of us do, and we'd rather be faced with that hard decision than find ourselves at the mercy of a murderer or rapist (or both). The fact that the decisions are difficult is no reason to be unprepared to face them. You, as a Navy SEAL, should understand that.

Unfortunately what I hear you saying is that “Mr. and Mrs. America” (as Diane Feinstein once called us) are not prepared to make that decision so we are fooling ourselves to think we can. We who spend our time and money to train and compete and practice, we don't know what we're doing. We're a weekend warrior wannabe and our best bet is to lay down and die so we don't hurt someone. See, Mr. Hatch used to be a SEAL until he took a bullet in the knee, and he knows better than we do. Like Secretary of State John Kerry (who served in Vietnam), he assigns to himself a status above the hoi polloi because of his service.

I'd bet we can find more spec ops guys who would disagree with your assessment than who agree. I'd bet a majority of your special ops brothers would rather take an arrow AK-47 round in the knee than be associated with Americans for Responsible Solutions.

There are groups of individuals, like me and my fellow Special Operators, both military and law enforcement, who train for years to be good at close quarters shooting: shooting with discernment, keeping your head clear and making snap decisions before you pull the trigger — all while being shot at by the enemy. And after dedicating their lives to being good operators in those extreme circumstances, even those professionals make mistakes.

Yep. Mistakes happen. Pat Tillman would agree with you on that. You can see where this is going…permit holders don't have enough training to make these kinds of tough decisions.

Then consider that people like us trained for firefights for years, and that in many states there is virtually no training required for someone to legally carry a loaded, hidden gun.

And, there it is.

So think about 10 or 15 people, who are weekend shooters with limited tactical training, deciding to shoot it out with a criminal in a crowded office holiday party, a medical clinic or a darkened theater, while people are screaming and running, and no one knows who or how many of the people shooting are the “good guys” and how many of them are the “bad guys.”

I've never been in a gunfight, I'm one of those “weekend shooters” you are looking down your nose on, but it's a safe bet that if you show up to my Christmas party dressed like Jihad Johnny, screaming “Allahu Akhbar!” and shooting my co-workers, I'd know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. If you can't tell that the guy in the tac vest shooting innocent people is a “bad guy”…you're an idiot.

And why is it that we should trust police officers who typically qualify with their duty weapons once or twice a year? Many metro police officers, apart from the Special Tactics guys, never shoot their weapons except to qualify annually. How is it they can tell the good guy from the bad? And don't tell me they can tell because the good guys wear blue. Many of the recorded cases of concealed carry permit holders stopping active shooters involve retired and off-duty cops who were in street clothes.

Many of the best shooters I have ever met are cops. But they aren't the best because they are cops. They didn't become great shooters thanks to their department training. They are great because they take their personal time to be “weekend shooters” and to get better on their own time and at their own expense.

In some cases, can a “good guy” with a gun neutralize the threat and help save lives? Absolutely. But it doesn't happen very often. It is, for the most part, a myth perpetuated by people who've never been shot at.

For the most part? Here's where my blood begins to boil and I don't give a rats rear-end how many years you wore the uniform. Stupid is as stupid does. How often do concealed carriers stop armed threats? Estimates range from 150,000 to 1-million times per year. Most of those episodes don't involve the good guy actually shooting anyone. It happens quite often but is rarely reported by the mainstream press because they share the same opinion on gun control that Gabby Giffords holds.

Google “concealed carry holder” and then add the word “stops” or “saves” or “shoots” and see how often it happens. You'll be surprised. Based on your attitude and tone in this letter, I'm guessing you've done zero research on this subject and are just parroting anti-gun talking points out the side of your neck.

And let's talk about myths, Mr. SEAL. Background checks, which your pal Gabby pushes after every shooting or terror attack. Never stopped a single spree killer. San Bernardino, Chattanooga, Charleston, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Isla Vista, and Tucson where Saint Gabby got her new mission in life; what do you think they all have in common? Background checks. Passed by the criminals who committed the killings. The “solution” your friend Gabby is pushing is the biggest mother of all gun control myths in the history of the planet.

Magazine bans. “Assault weapons” bans. Worthless myths that your friend Gabby supports. How about “gun free” zones? That myth is second only the the background check in it's absurdity. All but two mass shootings in the past forty years have been in places where law-abiding citizens are prevented from carrying a gun by law. And yet, the criminals ignored the law (imagine that) and took guns there anyway, knowing nobody would shoot back.

I am a proud Navy combat veteran. I risked and nearly gave my life in dozens of combat situations in defense of our Constitution. I value the Second Amendment and the right of responsible Americans to own guns for self-defense.

Here comes the “BUT”…

But people need to know that it is a fallacy to believe that the everyday gun owner can be expected to make all the right choices in a dangerous, fast-moving situation like a mass shooting with high-powered weapons. When the bullets are flying, determining “who's who in the zoo” is hard.

When you make the statement that you risked your life in defense of the Constitution and that you value the Second Amendment but then shill for Gabby Giffords, you prove one thing. You're full of crap. Everything you say after the “but” is invalid and everything you said before the “but” counts for nothing.

Concealed carry permit holders, those 13 million Americans you look down upon, are the most law abiding and best trained of the nation's over 100-million gun owners. Nobody is talking about “everyday gun owners.” And nobody is talking about making all the right choices. People make mistakes, even Navy SEALs. Nobody expects concealed carry permit holders to make perfect choices. What we're saying is that we should be allowed to make choices. Most permit holders are far better prepared than you think. But assinine gun laws like “gun free” zones often prevent us from making any choices at all.

If the scenario that Sen. Cruz envisions were to ever unfold, we'd have a lot more dead innocents. And it would probably include some of the “good guys.”

So, we get to the usual refrain from the gun banners. It would be sooooo much worse if someone had used a gun to try to fight back. Really? Worse than 14 dead in San Bernardino? Worse than 129 in Paris? Remember the French police officer, wounded during the Charlie Hebdo attacks earlier this year? The one who was unarmed and had to plead for his life before the Muslim savage executed him? Good thing he didn't have a gun, right? I'd bet survivors of the Bataclan Theater wish there had been someone there to shoot back as they were helplessly gunned down like fish in a barrel.

Imagine if 10-15 of them had been armed. Imagine that there had been an accident and someone had been unintentionally injured or killed by one of the concealed carriers, but the terrorists had been killed or driven off before they killed nearly 90 people in that theater? Is five dead or 10 dead better than 89? Is fighting back and taking a chance to save lives really worse than helplessly watching as everyone around you is gunned down? Or hiding under dead bodies, hoping they don't shoot you? Which is really worse?

I am not a Navy SEAL. I have never been in a gunfight, and God willing I never will be. But I refuse to be talked down to like some rube by a guy who puts his personal relationship with Gabby Giffords ahead of his allegiance t the Constitution. Your experience and your service to our country don't automatically make your opinions any more valid. You're entitled to your opinions, even if they are stupid.

What really amazes me is that you fought to defend our freedoms overseas but now that you're done, you're helping anti-gun zealots to undermine the freedoms you took an oath and fought to defend.

I guess Bowe Bergdahl wasn't the only one to forget his oath.

6 Comments on "Gabby, the Astronaut and a SEAL"

  1. I just don’t understand how a service member either current or former could take this position. We all swore to uphold the Constitution when we joined, when you separate you don’t “unswear”. In any case no one is asking gun owners to become police officers or soldiers. Gun owners who become concealed carriers are not going around on patrol or clearing buildings. This whole article is insulting, not just to people who decided to become responsible Citizens, but to anyone who wore the uniform and served our great country. My hat is off to anyone who decides to serve, but I don’t care what your MOS was if you want to trash the Constitution. It has been my contention that people who serve get a deeper respect for our founding documents as well as the sheer genius of our Founding Fathers. But I see I am wrong, you can be misguided no matter what you do in life!

  2. Anyone who talks like Mr. Hatch is either stupid, ignorant or has hopes of being in the elite class when the rest of us are kept in poverty and servitude.

  3. Better to have a chance to survive with a gun in hand, than begging for your life on your knees with nothing but your cell phone. No, I’m not a SEAL, but I am not a helpless sheep, either.

    • But, if you have a (smart) cell phone, you would certainly be safe because of having a “Victim Me Not” APP on that phone?

  4. And what of the Astronaut’s guns? We’ve seen him fire them in his Arizona backyard, a target propped up against a dozen large rocks, as a TV stunt. What of his guns, is he ready to turn them in or does he get a pass?

  5. +1 Victor Au

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