Here’s How ‘Gun Culture’ Is Built – One Law-Abiding Gun Owner at a Time

The gun debate has heated rhetoric on both sides. How can we be better? National Review’s David French wanted to reach out to people who don’t understand why anyone needs to be a concealed carry permit holder, so he wrote a piece for The Atlantic explaining American gun culture to anyone who finds it foreign.

“[M]any millions of Americans don’t truly understand how ‘gun culture’ is built, how the process of first becoming a gun owner, then a concealed-carrier, changes your life,” French wrote. “It starts with the consciousness of a threat.”

For French and his family, the road to becoming part of “gun culture” started with disturbing threats and the realization that they were completely vulnerable until the police arrived. He joined Glenn on today’s show to talk about why many Americans want to own guns and how we can work together to find focused solutions to keep guns away from dangerous people.

“I just wanted to connect people with the real story of people’s lives,” French said.

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: David French who is a senior fellow of the National Review, is joining us now. Hello, David, how are you?

DAVID: I'm good. How are you doing?

GLENN: Well, I've been better. I've been better.

Yesterday had to come as kind of a surprise to you because you're a guy who is -- is authoring some of the bills they were talking about yesterday.

DAVID: Well, yesterday, it was one of those moments when somebody takes an idea that you've been talking about, twists it, distorts it, misstates it in such a grotesque way that it's unrecognizable.

It was really an amazing moment. So you had Mike Pence talking about -- in a very responsible and sane and sober way, the concept of the gun violence restraining order.

GLENN: Right. Right.

DAVID: Which allows people to seek an order from a court. And with due process, with a hearing, when someone is exhibiting dangerous behavior, to allow temporary seizure of their guns when there's red flags. And the vast, vast majority of these shootings, there have been red flags, and a lot of times, people haven't had the tools to do anything about it. This changes that. And then Trump stepped in and said, no, no, take the guns first. Then due process.

And you just -- you know --

GLENN: He did say -- he said, you know, there is a different system. Take the guns first, and then due process. And I believe that system is fascism. Authoritarianism. Totalitarianism. Communism. I mean, there is another system, David.

DAVID: Right.

Yeah. Yeah. His views on due process are really interesting. So if you're a credibly accused wife beater in the White House, well, then due process. But if you're a law-abiding gun owner, then no due process. So it's a very strange system. It's a very strain of constitutional thinking there.

But, yeah, you know, look the bottom line is he's not drafting a bill. He's not proposing the bill. He doesn't really know about any of this --

GLENN: Yeah.

DAVID: -- in any detail.

GLENN: No. When he was saying that Toomey was afraid of the NRA, it shows, you have no idea. You have no idea.

DAVID: Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, the thing that was stunning to me about -- well, I am on record many times for having low expectations of this president.

GLENN: Yes.

DAVID: But he underperformed even my low expectations yesterday. And the reason is that, the NRA has been probably his most loyal conservative friend. The NRA has been relentless for him. A lot of people have criticized the NRA for taking a turn -- perceived turn towards Trumpism, where they're promoting the president as much as they're promoting the Second Amendment. So the NRA has been ferociously loyal to Trump.

And yesterday, he not only said, hey, take the guns first, due process second, he -- he essentially said, no -- no concealed carry reciprocity. He made fun of a senator for being in that pocket of the NRA, or being scared of the NRA. And then he pulled the idea of an assault weapons ban, all in the space of about 30 minutes.

And my jaw hit the floor. It was an amazing thing to see.

GLENN: So, David, the -- a lot of people will say, nothing is going to come of this, so don't worry.

This was so jaw-dropping that -- I mean, I've said this for years, long before Donald Trump, you have to have a guy in the Oval Office, whose natural first instinct is constitutional. That is -- that it is freedom-based.

DAVID: Yeah.

GLENN: For instance, when you have a problem, who you know also didn't get due process? The Japanese as they were put on a bus for an internment camp. When there's trouble and you are not based in the Constitution, that -- that is -- that is a moment that could go horribly awry, as it has in the past here in America.

When the president says, well, I'm not really afraid of the NRA, I don't think in 2021, he'll be afraid of anybody. And if we have trouble, this is a giant red flag.

DAVID: Right. So not only is it a red flag on poor policy grounds. In other words, how does the president exercise the powers of his office? It's also, look, the bully pulpit matters.

You know, this is a nominal theory on the part -- many parts of the public, that what the president says doesn't really matter. Which is just a rationalization and an excuse. The bully pulpit matters. When you're talking about the person, when perhaps the greatest public platform in the world. And they're indifferent at best to the Constitution. They're obviously here, seem to really not care about the Second Amendment all that much. Those things matter, especially when the other side is locked in. I mean, the other side is locked in on messaging. It is locked in -- has extraordinary party discipline right now. I believe it was 156 of the 193 members of Congress signed on -- Democratic members of Congress signed onto the assault weapons ban legislation that was just introduced.

So the other side is focused and locked in. And, you know, when the bully pulpit is occupied by somebody who is not as focused -- focused -- not as locked in, and apparently indifferent to core constitutional values, that's a problem.

GLENN: We want to talk to -- we're talking to David French. We want to talk to him about a story he wrote in the Atlantic. What critics don't understand about the gun culture. We'll go there in a second.

GLENN: David French, who has just written an article for the Atlantic. What critics don't understand about the gun culture. And he really tried to reach out to the other side and said, look, I know there aren't people that don't understand guns or the gun culture. Let me try to demystify this a little bit so you can at least understand the other side. David, can you take us through this rather quickly?

DAVID: Yeah, absolutely.

See, what I wanted to do was talk to folks, the Atlantic readers are mainly progressives. And I wanted to walk them through how you -- of how a person enters gun culture. And how it begins often with an actual threat or a perceived threat, where you realize that the police can't protect your family in time. And how actually walking through that process of buying a gun, learning how to use a gun, going to concealed carry permit class, getting training, actually brings you into a new community of folks. And also changes your outlook on life in a significant and positive way.

And so I wanted people to understand that this isn't a product of, like, NRA lobbying or congressional actions. It's a product of people's lived experience and how they respond to threats to their safety and their family's safety.

It just -- I just wanted to connect people with sort of the real story of people's lives.

GLENN: Yeah. You know, I just had a friend of mine say yesterday, Glenn, I -- I mean, I'm not worried about my family. And I don't -- it's just not part of anything. I don't worry about any of this.

Well, some of us do.

DAVID: Yeah.

GLENN: And some people -- mainly Hollywood and people like me have the money to be able to have an armed security guy with him the whole time. But that's not the average person.

I mean, my daughter, you know, if she had a stalker, she would want a gun. And I will tell you this, I am -- I am somebody who felt I was not responsible enough to own a gun, what? Twenty years ago. And I had to -- you know, I had to have serious threats in my life. And the gun was the last step that I took myself.

And then I really took it seriously and became responsible enough to own a gun. I know everybody isn't like that, but they should be.

And in your article, you -- you point out that we were -- as gun owners, we're horrified by the -- the killer in -- you know, at the high school, having these guns. And all of the warning flags. And the system failed. And we were horrified here in Texas, when the system failed.

DAVID: Right. Right. Exactly. You know, there's this perception. Odd, strange. I mean, how evil do you think your fellow citizens have to be, to believe that you're indifferent to what happens in Texas? But you get that rhetoric all the time, that people who belong to the NRA have blood on their hands, they belong to a terrorist organization. When the fact of the matter is, as I related in my piece, I'm not someone who can afford armed security around my family. A guy came to our house. He blocked our driveway. He walked straight up to my wife and kids when they were in the backyard. And I was -- and the police and I were many minutes away, demanding to see me. He had an empty holster in his hip. He had just been driving slowly through any kids' school. So this kind of thing focuses the mind pretty -- pretty intensely. And that's what -- you know, it's those kinds of things.

And, look, there are a lot of people who are not in the public square, who are not out there tweeting and writing and doing TV appearances. Maybe it's an ex-boyfriend. Maybe they live in a dangerous part of time. You know, there are lot of reasons why people quite reasonably say, you know, when the police can't be there instantly. And the police can't be there everywhere. I kind of need a first line of defense, and that is not unreasonable at all.

GLENN: So I've got about 45 seconds here, David. Can you tell me -- what has the response been from those who read this?

DAVID: I would say, overwhelmingly positive. Of course, some people have been very angry. One person said it was like white privilege on steroids. Something like that.

GLENN: Whatever. Whatever.

DAVID: Yeah, but overwhelmingly positive. Not so much that they say, oh, I want to join -- I want to buy a gun. I get this.

GLENN: That's all we have to do. And, look, we're never going to convince, nor do I think we have to make the effort to go after the most staunch people. Because they're never going to change their mind. But we have to at least reach people so they hear the reasonable, rational argument on the other side. And we can learn from them. They can learn from us. And maybe we can pursue, you know, truly common sense things, that will -- will protect our families and our children in school. David French, thank you so much, appreciate it.

DAVID: Thank you.

GLENN: You bet.

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?