How and when to Exercise the 2nd Amendment?

Posted by $ Flootus5 5 years, 11 months ago to Culture
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I saw a good comment posted on the Geraldolt thread about exercising caution when carrying firearms. The comment recommended forethought on the issue of armed self defense. There is truth in this. I decided to make a whole post on the topic. I apologize now for the length of my intro.

Way outside of the debate over whether people have the right to bear arms and defend themselves against thugs and thugs in government - that is all a given - is how and when to go about it.

I will relate some personal experiences. As a geologist in the western states, I go into places that may or may not be dicey, but unpredictable. Early on, I began work in my thesis area in a really tough corner of Yavapai County, Arizona. Tough, because law enforcement just doesn’t get out there on a regular basis. The only way in for Yavapai sheriffs is through Wickenburg in Maricopa County, quite a round trip for Yavapai sheriffs.

It was wild. I got shot at 3 separate times out there. Here I am, mapping geology of mineral deposits in 1980 when gold soared to $800. The area had also been newly opened to mineral entry (staking claims) after withdrawing plans to build a dam that would have flooded the area.

I had a rifle, but did not carry it during the day while hiking and mapping geology on public lands. I was not trespassing, but depending on what I was doing, some activities could be construed as violating property rights. There can be private rights associated with public lands. Unpatented mining claims give the claimant a private right to the minerals below and to surface use of those lands. Grazing rights give the ranchers rights to have cattle on the public lands.

DO NOT POACH CATTLE! DO NOT collect mineral specimens on valid claims without permission. It is called mineral trespass. These private rights are reason for valid producers to protect their rights.

My first day out there, an old coot pulled a shotgun on me right in the county road. He said that I was a “big company claim jumper”. While protecting his rights is correct, he had no evidence that I was claim jumping and he had no right to level a shotgun at anybody on a county road. Well, you don’t argue by waving a gun, obviously, but what if you have a sidearm? A tough one to make a call on. I had no firearm, so the guy was not threatened at that level and the situation was diffused.

Every time I went out there, something happened with guns. For 3 weeks, I stayed in a camp of ex-bikers turned gold miners. A whole lot of things occurred involving guns, drugs, dynamite, kidnappings, poaching ranchers cattle, stolen rent-a-cars, to actually producing some gold. I had had enough. I camped in a different part of my mapping area. I was alone towards dusk one evening cooking dinner over the mesquite fire. A quail hunter came tramping down the wash in my direction. I could hear his footsteps in the gravel. I banged the pans and skillets and called out repeatedly from my site behind some Palo Verde trees. My truck with camper shell was clearly visible. No response. A quail flushed out and flew right above me, and the guy opened up. His buckshot hit the amphibolite outcrop about ten feet above me and he missed the bird. Then he just leaves with more footsteps tramping back up the wash. Here I am flattened down on the gravels of the desert wash. Do you engage with guns?

The next instance was with a greenhorn old friend from Boston that had come out to visit me. I took him out there for some good Sonoran desert camping, steaks, and to see what it was I was doing. Some recreating assholes out of Phoenix down by a corral in a canyon saw us traversing the top of a ridge and decided to take pot shots at us. I heard the rotating swish of a bullet going past my head. We were young, in good shape, had played combat endlessly when we were kids, ran and ducked behind outcrops, over the ridge and outta sight. What do we do? Start shooting back?

The third and the most egregious was with a self designated preacher who was head of a very well funded Christian rehabilitation ranch on the River. One armed Preacher Jack. I had approached the group earlier in the year about permission to map through their area, some of which had valid mining claims, most of which had valid grazing rights. No problem. He knows my truck. The old blue Chevy pickup with the camper shell. He knew I was out there.

He parks near my truck on a ridge and starts taking pot shots at me on the next ridge over. Again over the ridge I go in combat style. The asshole. Fortunately, I was done with the field mapping and he never got a copy of my thesis as agreed in the beginning. But, does it make sense to carry and fire back when I am out there on public lands? Do I carry openly or concealed in these situations? These folks can rightfully guard their possessions – i.e. mining claims, livestock from actual human predators.

In any situation, I have the obvious right to defend myself from a desert version of Deliverance, and to dispatch said rattlesnake if I choose, but some discreteness is necessary. Quick access to concealed carry makes absolute sense. But there can be situations where it is wise to open carry. I have had “looks” from questionable types when out on the public lands, that when they saw that open sidearm, their inclinations were reversed. It can be the “wild west” when you are in the far rural open regions and there is definitely no calling 911. And this is all getting worse in the southwest with porous borders.

And so, how different is it in the open public arena of “settled, civilized” areas? It comes down to this veneer of civilization thing and how quickly areas of suburbia, schools, plazas, train stations, etc, can suddenly become the “wild west”. All these “mass shootings” are evidence of just that, regardless of the underlying reason. We know how fast a normal situation can become a kill or be killed situation. It descends into the same situation that 911 is too far away. It doesn’t matter if the police are ten minutes away or 4 hours.

I say it will always be up to the judgment of free rational people to sensibly exercise the means to stop madness. That is what must be empowered.


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  • Posted by gcarl615 5 years, 11 months ago
    I used to live in the boonies of Wisconsin. I had 113 acres and during Deer season it was open combat with trespassers. I had guys tell me that they had hunted on my land for 40 years and I had no right to stop them. After the first year I carried a .44 magnum pistol for the entire season. Never had to actually use it, but I did show it to a couple of guys a couple times. After a while word got out about the crazy Dutchman and I had no more problems but still carried the hand cannon.
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  • Posted by $ rockymountainpirate 5 years, 11 months ago
    Out in the wilds like you describe (yep been there for strategraphy class and trilobite hunts etc.) I would definitely open carry. Shoot back is a case by case basis.
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    • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 5 years, 11 months ago
      Same in Oregon. Too include cutting locks on gates.

      Step one shoot out their tires.
      Step two put a round by their heads most are city wusses but have them drop their big time deer rifles and start walking oh yes and their '
      hunting licenses and drivers licenses.
      Step three gather up the weapons and take them to the county sherrifs sub station that was back then and when with a bill for damages
      Step four wait to see if they showed up if not have the car towed to impound and a warrant issued if they did the deputies had an overnight in jail act they put on for the 'always' outsiders.
      step five if have a local JP get them in on the act.
      Sadly......those days are gone but it was back in the old days plural when it took more than one day. I'm assuming that idiotic statement referred to the day they voted for Obama
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  • Posted by Zenphamy 5 years, 11 months ago
    When I'm in the environment you describe, I openly carry. I have had a situation a little similar to your's on an elk hunting trip in Idaho, but it was hunter across a narrow canyon shooting at movement. Damn near hit us. We all found cover, then scoped out what was happening. When I spied the idiot, I placed one in the ground within a yard of his feet. He got the message and took off.

    I've been shot at in a lot of situations and I generally choose to shoot back. Putting a bullet near me will get the same back. Pointing a weapon at me, the response will depend on the situation and the attitude. I may even run, until I've got cover. If he keeps coming, I'll give one warning shot. But I'm not going to let someone shoot me. It hurts!
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    • Posted by $ winterwind 5 years, 11 months ago
      I think, when possible, that the voice is the warning shot. In the wilds, that's not practical, so you pick your option.
      In my home, especially, everybody would get one "freeze! I have a gun!", followed quickly by a shot if there was continued movement.
      Unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever give anyone enough time so I can use my favorite Equalizer quote: "Please do not do something which you will never live to regret." sign
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