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God bless Texas. 

And no, I don’t write that in the flip way so many people use the phrase…. offhand, reflexive, expressing the sentiment and the rhythm and almost-rhyme of the phrase, but not really meaning it. 

I mean it when I say it. I say it as a prayer. Yes, I believe in God, and in Jesus of Nazareth, the risen savior of the world. I don’t beat folks over the head with it, but I believe it in my heart and bones. So when I say, “God bless Texas”, I say it to anyone in earshot, but primarily I say it to God. Asking God to keep on blessing this amazing place and these amazing people. 

I am a Texan, and I thank God for that, too. As the saying goes, “Texas: I wasn’t born here, but I got here as fast as I could.” I, and millions of other Texans, are immigrants to this great state, and for good reason. We didn’t move here because it was a toss-up between here, or California, or Florida, or Alabama… we moved here because Texas has become the shining example to the rest of America of the indisputable values that America great to begin with. 

Texas is traditional America personified and with the authority of statehood. Texas encourages business, and businesses thrive here because of it. Texas rejoices in personal financial success of its 28 million citizens by not imposing a state income tax on their hard-earned dollars. And contrary to the bigoted views of east coast and west coast liberals, Texas is a racially and socially diverse state that takes damn good care of its citizens with laws that actually have some commonsense basis in the values that America was founded on. 

Texas is about living well, and living right. Texas is about letting others get on with their lives even if they’re different. Again, despite the stereotypes perpetuated by echo-chamber coastal journalism, Texas is not a backward place where people of color fear for their lives from the Klan or any other boogeyman. 

I’m writing this piece this morning at the airport in Corpus Christi, Texas, waiting to board a flight for Nevada (one of my other favorite states). Tomorrow I will be teaching a Shooting With Xray Vision class to a group of Nevada law enforcement folks. Yesterday I was working up in my old home town in west Texas, where I had lunch with the chief deputy of the county Sheriff’s Office, and we discussed that county’s plans to train a select group of teachers in their school district to carry firearms in their schools for the defense of their children (and they might want TAS to come in and assist in that training). So I had two red-letter days on my mind here  when I got to the airport, and I was already in a really good mood when I walked into the airport store where they sell magazines and books and sundries. 

But it got better. When I approached the magazine rack, there was a plethora of gun magazines. I don’t mean the usual cou8ple-three “outdoors” magazines you find in most airport newsstands. I mean that out of the 80 or so magazines on that huge rack, 12 were gun and/or hunting magazines. I bought the new editions of Guns of the West, Lands & Grooves, Garden & Gun, and Western Horse & Gun. 

Now, there’s something important about these four magazines, in case you haven’t seen a copy. These are all upscale magazines. I don’t mean “upscale” in the sense of Gray’s Sporting Journal or Shooting Sportsman, which are fine and well-established magazines. No, these new magazines that are clearly targeting a market that the mainstream media is trying to pretend doesn’t exist: people who have (or aspire to) wealth, who believe in the core values of America, and who are unashamed of their enthusiasm for firearms. These magazines are aimed at family men, business leaders, and women as much as men. (If there is one trend in the past decade that bears closer scrutiny, it’s the surging interest in firearms and shooting among women… mark my words, female gun-owners and shooters are going to be the demographic that finally kills the anti-gunners’ agenda in America.)

The MSM wants America to believe the stereotype of the white beer-gut ignoramus redneck male as the typical gun owner. They want to dehumanize gun people… actually, they have to dehumanize us, because it’s only by dehumanizing us that they can generate the hatred of us in their readers and viewers that they have themselves. Pejorative names and shallow stereotypes were crucial tools of propagandists in WW1 and WW2, when the Germans were called Heinies and Krauts in Britain, the Japanese were called Slopes or Nips in America, and cartoon caricatures of big-nose evil-looking Jews were used to fan the flames of anti-semitism Germany. And that is exactly what the liberal media is trying to do with us today.

If you dehumanize the people you fear, it’s easier to hate them. And that is what the MSM is trying to do to us, the people who own and carry and shoot firearms. 

But it ain’t working here in Texas. Here in Texas we embrace the “gun culture”, because it’s our culture, and guns are only a part of it. And it ain’t working in large segments of “flyover country” in Ohio and Iowa and Nebraska and Utah, and most of the other non-coastal states. Here, in the real America, we know guns are tools and symbols of free men and women.  

So, I say again: God bless Texas. And God bless all of my fellow gun-owning Americans who share the rock-solid American values that make Texas and America  great. 

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