The United States is a nation born out of revolution. In the face of tyrannical British rule, the thirteen colonies combined to form the first version of the United States of America, and in so doing declared independence from British authority. As was to be expected, Great Britain resisted, and the armed conflict known as the American Revolutionary War ensued. Tens of thousands of American militiamen and British soldiers died as a result, most as a result of starvation and disease, but many as a direct result of battle. From the very beginning, guns helped to ensure that the revolution took hold and stood firm, and helped to shape the kind of nation that future generations would inherit. The American gun culture was born.
There’s a lot of fretting going on about the election, and many people are flat-out scared about the state of the union in general. On Wednesday of this week roughly half the country will be down in the dumps because their guy lost. Next Wednesday, the other half will be a nervous wreck because they’ll realize that their guy has to somehow fix a terrible economy. Both sides will continue to wonder if we’ve reached a new status quo, or if things will start to turn around. I’ve never heard so many expressions of worry and consternation over the future of our country as I’ve heard over the past six months.
Of course I remember where I was and what I was doing when I found out. Everyone who lived it remembers. I was walking out of Morgan Hall on the University of Alabama campus. My eight-o’clock class had just ended, where we discussed Act I of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s funny how memory works. I can’t remember the specifics from any other class from that entire semester.
Groups of students were huddled together outside the door and down the steps, whispering to one another, arms around shoulders, heads bowed. I remember thinking that it looked odd. As I passed one group on the way to my car, I distinctly heard the word “attack,” but the word didn’t convey any worry to my mind, and certainly did not convey the true magnitude of that word in that moment. I was still happily living in the pre-9/11 world over one hour in.