Merry Christmas To All…

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“How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, His precepts!” ~Benjamin Franklin

I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m still here. I’ve been having some problems with my internet connection, which should be resolved by this weekend. I’ll be back to posting after Christmas. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and as someone who missed 4 straight while serving overseas, God bless our men and women in uniform.

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Streamlight TLR-3

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“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” ~Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man

Having recently gotten out of the military and currently on the job hunt while awaiting school to start for me in June, I wasn’t able to post on Tuesday due to a couple of job interviews. I’m still planning on posting twice a week, but sometimes things happen. Today’s review post is on the Streamlight TLR-3, my weapon mounted light of choice for my home defense pistol, the Smith and Wesson M&P40. I’m not going to get into the debate on whether or not it is better to have a weapon mounted light or a handheld flashlight as each argument has merits. What I will cover is what I consider the most important factors in selecting a weapon mounted light. Those being: durability, illumination, weight, battery life, ease of use, and price.

Durability: The unit itself is polymer with an anodized aluminum facecap. Streamlight advertises it as impact resistant and waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes. Obviously, as this is on my home defense pistol, I have not tested it to see how impact resistant it is, nor have I dunked it in water for 30 minutes. What I can say about it is that it has been on my M&P continuously for 4 months now, and I haven’t had a hiccup.

Illumination: The TLR-3 puts out 125 lumens, which for me, is perfectly suitable for any home defense scenario I can think of. My house is only 1,400 sq ft, and the TLR-3 is able to illuminate every room in it. It is also bright enough to disorient or ruin the night vision of a potential intruder from any self defense distance I have tried in my home. If you have a larger home, or have the need to search the property around your home, the Streamlight TLR-1, with its 300 lumens, or the Surefire X300, with its 500 lumens, may be more suitable to your needs.

Weight: Weight and size is a big reason I chose the TLR-3 over some of the larger offerings from Streamlight or Surefire. At 2.32 ounces, it weighs almost half of what the TLR-1 weighs. While a little under 2 ounces may not be much, I will take any weight savings I can find, without sacrificing function.

Battery life: The battery life is approximately 90 minutes of continuous use, which is pretty standard for lights that use a single CR2 battery.

Ease of use: The TLR-3 attaches easily to most handguns with a rail, with the exceptions being some of the H&K models, which Streamlight does make mounting kits for. I haven’t taken mine off of my M&P since I got it, and have put over 1,000 rounds through it while attached and it’s still as secure as the day I put it on. Activation is fairly standard, pushing down on the toggle with your trigger finger (right handed) allows you to to turn it on for continuous use, while pushing up allows you to flick it on and off for intermittent use.

Price: I picked mine up from Amazon for $73, which at the time was around $50-$60 less than the TLR-1’s were going for, and over $100 less than the Surefire X300’s were. That being said, price isn’t the sole reason to chose a product that you may have to rely on to save your life.

Overall opinion: I really like the TLR-3. It fulfills every aspect for a weapon mounted light that I see myself needing. I’m not an Operator or SWAT member. I don’t live in a huge house. I don’t have a lot of land or external buildings on my property that I may have to search. If you are or have any of those things, or are just more comfortable with a more powerful weapon light, the TLR-3 may not be for you. You may want to look into the TLR-1 or Streamlight X300 series. But for a suburbanite looking for a small, lightweight, weapon mounted light to protect themselves, their family, and their property with, the TLR-3 fits the bill for me.

Let’s Talk “Knockout”

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“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved….” ~Jesse Jackson

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and I apologize in advance for some of the language I plan on using in today’s post. I generally try to keep my posts as family friendly as possible, but today’s subject elicits so much anger in me, that I feel that it will be cathartic for me to spell out exactly how I feel. Some may say that this is evidence of a poor writer. Well, I never claimed to be a good writer. I’m just a former sailor approaching middle age who has something to say.

The “Knockout Game”, a crime in which someone targets an unsuspecting person on the street and attempts to knock them out with one punch, is sweeping the nation, or at least reports of it are. Some question how much of an epidemic this “game” really is, and how many random assaults that have been happening for years are now getting reported as instances of the “Knockout Game”. Whether or not it is an actual organized “game” makes no difference to me. There is no doubt that across America, random people are being targeted for violence.

While there have been reports of Hispanic, Indian, and white perpetrators of these attacks, the majority of perpetrators have been black, and the majority of victims have been white. The thing that angers me the most is that when you watch interviews with young black people, they laugh it off like it is nothing. This is unacceptable. The funny thing is, these assholes that laugh it up about black people beating up on whites, would be the first people to bitch about people crossing the street or grabbing their purses tighter when a group of young blacks approaches. Fuck that. I’m black and I do the same thing. It’s a fact that young black men commit a disproportionate amount of crimes in America. There isn’t any way around this. It’s behavior like this that causes blacks to be subjected to unconstitutional practices like the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” program. It’s too easy for people like Sharpton to blame this phenomena on “institutional racism”, or others to simply use it as “proof” that blacks are inferior. The hard thing to do is to look at the real reasons and act to fix the problem.

One of the most alarming trends resulting from racially motivated black on white crime is the brewing resentment and backlash of whites towards the black community. Some of this backlash is justified. When people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson scream racism every time a black person is killed by a white person, but suddenly lose the power of speech when a white WWII veteran is killed by black thugs, they lose credibility with anyone who has an objective mind. There is no doubt in my mind that when one of these thugs gets shot and killed playing this “game”, Jesse and Al will parade the dead boy’s mother on television proclaiming that it’s open season on black men.

However, some of the backlash is aimed at all black people. On several of the online communities that I am part of, you’ll see various posters complaining that blacks are racist, blacks aren’t as intelligent, they’ll bring up examples like Detroit as “proof” that blacks can’t govern, but ignore cities with black mayors like Cincinnati, which has seen a decrease in crime and has received several accolades since Mark Mallory was elected. Detroit and Chicago were shit holes when they had white mayors too, and Oakland continues to be a shit hole with an Asian woman as mayor. The situation that many of our large urban centers find themselves in has nothing to do with the race of the politicians running them, and everything with the policies that they promote. When you combine the breakdown of the black family in America, with policies that encourage women to have more out of wedlock children that they can’t afford, the outcome shouldn’t be surprising. More black children without fathers + those children living in poverty because of a lack of a second income  = more black crime.

In my closing, I’d like to remind people that there are those, both black and white, that would like nothing more than to drive a bigger wedge between decent, honest, law abiding blacks and whites. Don’t play the game. Mark 12:31 is a verse I try to live my life by. I don’t care if you are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, straight, gay, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Atheist, or anything else. If you believe in liberty, freedom, family, and basic human decency, you are my blood. Whether or not the “Knockout game” is an epidemic or overreaction, be safe out there. Always be aware of your surroundings, don’t get caught up with your iPod or smartphone when walking down the street. If you have a CCW, carry it. If you don’t, carry a knife or pepper spray. Always be ready to defend yourself.

Knife carry options

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Rule 9: “Never go anywhere without a knife.” ~Leroy Jethro Gibbs

I’ve never really gone anywhere without a knife since I got my first one as a Cub Scout. I grew up in a rural area on Maryland’s eastern shore in the 1980’s, so bringing a pocketknife to school wasn’t a big deal. Hell, it wasn’t a big deal for students to have shotguns or deer rifles in their vehicles following an early morning hunt. There used to be a time in America where you could stop any man on the street, and chances are they would have a knife of some kind on them.

Times have changed though. Most schools have “Zero Tolerance” policies regarding knives in schools, and your average man on the street is not likely to be carrying a one. Today’s post is not about the the right to carry a knife, or to bemoan some of the overzealous zero tolerance policies that have some good kids facing expulsion and/or arrest. Today’s post is about why I choose to carry a knife, and to give some examples of which knives I carry and why.

A knife is a tool, and as such, I don’t think of one any differently than I do a hammer or a screwdriver. Some tools are used on a regular basis, some have specialty uses, and some can save your life. Of most importance before selecting a knife or knives to carry, is to make sure you are aware of your state and local laws regarding folding and fixed blade knives. Remember, there may be locales that are stricter than state law regarding knives. For example, in California, the cities of Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles have a 3″ blade limit, which isn’t state law.

Deciding what kind of knife to carry is a personal decision that depends on: philosophy of use, weight, attire and lifestyle. We will cover each of those below.

Philosophy of use: What do you foresee yourself needing a knife for? If it is for self defense, you may want to carry a fixed blade (Make sure you know your local laws concerning fixed blades.), or folder that is easily opened with one hand. Some of us aren’t lucky enough to live in an area where self defense is “good cause” to be issue a concealed carry permit for handguns. If you intend on using it a lot to cut ropes or open packages, you may want to look at something that is known for holding an edge for long periods of time. If it is purely for a “what if” scenario, a multitool might serve your needs the best. Remember, there is no reason why you can’t carry multiple knives. On days that I carry a multitool, I usually carry a lightweight folder as well for self defense.

Weight: Weight is a big issue for carrying a knife. To borrow a common phrase from the concealed handgun world, “The one you will carry is better than the one you won’t.”. The 17oz folding bowie with a 4 1/2″ blade isn’t better for self defense than the 1.2oz folder with a 2″ blade, if you don’t carry it because of weight.

Attire and Lifestyle: Certain styles of knives lend themselves better to certain types of attire, and attire is usually dictated by one’s lifestyle. If you work in an office and business slacks are proper work attire, you may not want to have a 9″ KA-BAR attached to your belt. Something smaller and lighter is going to be a better choice. However, for someone that works in the outdoors or in a more manual labor oriented field, a fixed blade might be a better choice

So, all that being said, which knives do I carry? On a normal work day, I usually carry a Gerber Evo Tool. It is a combination of pliers, wire cutters, serrated blade, saw blade, fine blade, drivers, bottle and can opener, and scissors. Like I said earlier though, I also carry a lightweight folder for self defense when I carry the multitool. Usually the Evo is paired with the .94oz Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Scout with its 2 1/2″ blade.

When I am not carrying a multitool, I carry my Kershaw Leek, which was a gift given to me by a coworker for being a sideboy at his retirement from the Navy. The Leek is extremely sharp, and is a modified drop point which makes it excellent for slicing and piercing.

A knife that I keep in my vehicle comes from a company that is known for firearms. The Smith and Wesson Border Guard 2, is a large heavy knife with a glass punch and seat belt cutter, which make it ideal for escaping a vehicle or extracting someone from one. The only downside is that the 4″ tanto blade is constructed from a cheaper steel than some of the more expensive knives out there, so it doesn’t hold an edge as long. This isn’t a concern for me, as it is an emergency tool not intended for everyday use. The cheaper steel lowers the price though. I got mine on Amazon for $22.

Finally, the last blade I am going to cover isn’t something that I carry, I keep it in my survival bag. The Cold Steel Gurkha Kukri is a versatile knife that is suitable for self defense and survival. The design of the Kukri gives it almost unmatched chopping capability compared to other knives, and is perfectly suited for collecting branches for firewood, or dismembering an assailant. Yes, you can remove an arm with a swing from this knife. Here is a link to Nutnfancy’s review of this blade.

Some people may tell you that you need to carry an expensive knife if you plan on using it for self defense. I disagree. You want a quality knife, and there are plenty of inexpensive knives out there that are high enough quality to defend yourself with. It’s likely that you’ll only use a particular knife once in a self defense role anyway, since it will be taken as evidence after a self defense encounter. The most important thing is knowing how to use your knife. Spend some money taking a class or getting some other form of training. I’ll take a guy with a $20 knife who has training, over a keyboard commando with his $500 custom folder any day.

We The Divided People

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“There are forces all around you who wish to exploit division, rob you of your freedom, and tell you what to think. But young folks can rekindle the weary spirit of a slumbering nation.” ~Wynton Marsalis

Division, we see it in all aspects of life. Some of it is natural and can be innocuous, but division is at its most insidious when it is carefully crafted. There are those who profit both financially and politically from stoking the fires of division, and care little for the harm that it does to our great nation.

One of the easiest sources of division to exploit is race. Sowing the seeds of racial mistrust and hatred have made some individuals very wealthy, and made some politicians very powerful. Alexander Lamis’ infamous 1981 interview with Lee Atwater, who at the time was working in the Reagan White House, gives some insight on how politicians can use racial division to gain power.

“You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites. And, subconsciously, maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract and that coded then we’re doing away with the racial problem one way or the other, you follow me? We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

Let me make this clear. I am not saying that Lee Atwater or the GOP were/are racist. In fact, I think that some of today’s GOP policies are more in line with MLK’s dream, in respect to content of character over color of skin, than most Democratic policies. What I am saying is that politicians will use any angle to win elections, and if it takes appealing to racists, either consciously or subconsciously, they will do it. I don’t trust any politician who has made politics a career choice.  Gone are the days of the citizen politician. They have been replaced by the career politician.

Now, don’t make the mistake that the Democrats haven’t done the exact same thing. In fact, the Democratic Party has a long history of supporting slavery and segregation. In the early days, the majority of the KKK’s membership was comprised of southern Democrats. Moving forward to today, the Democrats proclaim that any criticism of their politicians or policies is racist, and Vice-President Joe Biden remarked in 2012 that Republicans wanted to “put ya’ll back in chains“, while speaking in Danville, VA, which is a majority black city. For years, the Democrats have promoted policies that keep minorities dependent on government.

Another source of division that politicians love to exploit is the creation of special classes of people. I’ll use an example from here in California. In California, private citizens are prohibited from purchasing firearms magazines that have a capacity of more than 10 rounds. There are however, exemptions for current or retired law enforcement officers. This isn’t because police officers are any better trained, have better judgement than private citizens, or have greater need for standard capacity magazines. LEO’s were exempted to garner their support for these magazine restrictions on the rest of the populace. By creating a separate class of citizens who are exempt from certain laws, the California Legislature succeeded in sowing distrust between gun owners and law enforcement.

As Americans, we all are endowed by our Creator with the same inalienable rights. Crafted division only distracts us from the real problems our nation faces, and allows the government to curtail our rights. Things like warrantless wiretaps and stop and frisk were commonly ignored by many, because “that kind of stuff only happened to other people”.  A  divided America allowed programs like those to come forward. When it is ok for certains groups of people to have their rights violated to “keep us safe”, crafted division has worked. We are the frogs in the pot, and the water is heating up…

Netflix and Amazon Prime Picks: Everest: Beyond the Limit

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I’ve decided to alter my format a bit. I’m still planning on updating twice a week, but on Tuesdays I will be reviewing a program, product or service, and Fridays will be for legal or political topics. For my inaugural review post, I will be reviewing  Discovery Channel’s “Everest: Beyond the Limit”, which can be watched on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Everest: Beyond the Limit: I became interested in Everest after reading John Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air”, his personal account of a 1996 expedition that ended in disaster. Eight climbers were killed during a freak storm on the mountain, including Rob Hall, who at the time, had summited Everest more times than any other non-Sherpa.

Each season of Discovery’s EBtL tracks a group of climbers led by Russell Brice and his company, Himalayan Experience (HIMEX). The show follows the group members, who have each paid up to $60,000 to attempt the summit, through their introductions, acclimatization climbs, and finally their summit attempts. Some of the cast of characters throughout the 3 seasons I have watched include: a motorcycle builder from California, a British millionaire, a double leg amputee from New Zealand, a Dane with asthma trying to summit without supplemental oxygen, and an elderly Japanese man trying to become the oldest person to ever summit Everest. Also included are the backbone of the expedition, the Sherpas, led by Phurba Tashi, an Everest legend, who has summited 21 times. The Sherpas are responsible for guiding the climbers on the ascent, carrying supplies, and the most dangerous job on the mountain, climbing to the summit, fixing ropes along the way.

One of the things that watching this show really brings to your living room that a book can’t, is just how dangerous attempting this climb is. With avalanches, shifting ice, and unstable crevasses, the specter of death looms on every portion of the climb. Watching someone cross an 8ft wide crevasse of unknown depth, on an aluminum Home Depot ladder, is nerve wracking, but once they reach the “death zone”, the tension ratchets up.

At 26,000ft, the climbers reach Everest’s “Death Zone“, which is where the earlier acclimatization climbs come into play. Without becoming accustomed to the altitude, most climbers would lose consciousness within 2-3 minutes, even with supplemental oxygen. It is in the Death Zone, where the dangers of an Everest expedition become evident. If you get in trouble up there, you have a very short window to descend, because once you lose the ability to do so on your own, your chance of being rescued is slim. Because it is so physically taxing to move your own body weight at that altitude, those who die high on the mountain, stay there as a grim reminder to those attempting the summit.

One of the controversies around Everest expedition services is the fact that many believe that they bring people to the mountain who have no business being there. Russell Brice has never lost a climber on Everest. One of the reasons is that if he sees that one of his climbers is either not experienced enough, or is having difficulty due to injury or illness, he will not let them continue, no matter how much money they have paid him. That can’t be said for other expeditions. There have been several tense moments on the show when an inexperienced climber from another expedition, has put dozens of climbers in peril.

If you like outdoor adventures, and are inspired at what the mind can will the body to do, I highly recommend Everest: Beyond the Limit.

Why Texans Should Care About What Happens to California Gun Owners

Antonio Villaraigosa, Darrell Steinberg, Leland Yee, Ed Lee

In addition to being hampered by the California Handgun Roster that I outlined in my Monday post, another source of frustration for us can be attempting to buy firearms and accessories from online vendors, out of state FFL,s, and auction sites like gunbroker.com. Many online retailers will not ship anything firearm related to California, and while shopping on gunbroker.com, many sellers make it very clear that they will not ship anything to California, often making snide comments about those of us living here. One of the last ones I saw from an FFL from Texas was: “No sales to California until you guys get your heads out of your asses and vote out the gungrabbers.”.

Now, I am all for business owners to do business how, and with whom they wish. In fact, I understand why many vendors do not wish to do business with Californians. As I write this, a California friendly firearms accessories company, Exile Machine LLC, is fighting a lawsuit by the city of San Francisco for selling magazine parts kits, which are fully within California law for citizens to purchase. What disappoints me, are the attitudes shown by gun owners in other states towards those of us in states like California and Maryland, who are fighting these unconstitutional laws. If it was simply a matter of California gun owners voting against the politicians who pass these laws, we wouldn’t be in this situation. California has more gun owners than many states have residents. However, we are still a minority in our own state. In 2012, California placed 44th in NICS background checks for gun purchases per capita, with 3,611 per 100,000, while Utah was 2nd with 46,898 per 100,000. Interestingly, the total number of NICS checks in 2012 was almost the same for both states, but with a higher representation as a percentage of the total population, gun owners in Utah have more power than gun owners in California.

So why should gun owners in Texas, or any other state, care about the fight that gun owners in California are waging? If you look at states whose legislatures are dominated by large population centers, they are the ones with the most restrictive gun laws. In my opinion, any state which has around half of it’s population centered around large cities is at risk for a future that looks a lot like California, due to those areas voting overwhelmingly Democrat. Now granted, a California Democrat is a breed all of it’s own, but Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has already stated that he would like to model Maryland’s gun laws after the ones in California.

So what does this mean for Texas? Well, between 2000-2010, Texas added more residents than any other state. 88% of those new residents were Hispanic, Black or Asian, groups that overwhelmingly voted for Obama. 8 of the 15 fastest growing cities in America  are in Texas. Texas’ largest population centers, Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio voted for Obama. See a trend? Texas is on a path similar to what happened in California. From 1952-1988 California was a pretty reliable red state, voting for a Democratic presidential candidate only once in that time frame, LBJ in 1964. Fast forward to Clinton in 1992, California has been solid blue ever since. If the GOP can’t attract the Hispanic vote, it’s only a matter of time before Texas turns blue, with 2024 being a mark that many statistics show that Texas becomes a swing state.

Some may argue that Texas has a very different culture than California does, and even if it went blue, would never restrict gun ownership in the way that California does. To them I say, reread the above paragraph. The people that are changing the demographics of Texas, aren’t native Texans. They are outsiders, both legal and illegal. Many of the long time residents of California have told me that the beginning of the change in attitudes about guns in California was the tech boom of the 1960’s, which brought hundreds of thousands of people from outside the state to Northern California.

So what can we do? We fight. The people of Colorado are a shining example of the power of the people. We get more people into shooting for both sport and defense. I’ve yet to see a first time shooter leaving the range unhappy. We find allies. Gun owners aren’t just old white men. Minorities own guns, women own guns, homosexuals own guns, atheists own guns. Most importantly, gun owners need to be united. In California, many hunters didn’t care that “Assault Weapons” were banned, as long as their hunting rifles weren’t affected. Likewise, many non-hunters didn’t care about about our recent ban on lead ammo for hunting. We need a united front.

In closing, instead of ridiculing and showing disdain for gun owners behind the velvet curtain in states like California, Maryland and Massachusetts, think of us more like the men manning the walls of the castle. We may be taking some heavy losses, but if we surrender, those inside are at the mercy of the invading hordes.

The California Handgun Roster Discriminates Against Poor People

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One of the most daunting tasks for a new resident of California, is navigating some of the most draconian gun laws in the country. There are magazine capacity laws, storage laws, transport laws, and certain cities have laws banning possession of ammunition marked as “Law Enforcement”. Probably the two most onerous laws are the “California Assault Weapon Ban”, and “The Roster of Handguns Certified For Sale”

Today I would like to share my thoughts on the roster, and specifically how the roster harms Californians of modest means. I do not plan on covering the complete history of the roster, which can be found at: http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/The_Safe_Handgun_List

The California Handgun Roster purports to be a safety measure to protect people from dangerous handguns, when in reality its purpose is to gradually eliminate the majority of handguns that can be sold in the state. What started with drop tests, moved to loaded chamber indicators and magazine disconnects, and finally to microstamping, a process in which the firearm imprints the identification of the firearm onto the cartridge case. As of May 2013, no handgun can be added to the roster unless it has microstamping technology, and manufacturers have to pay an annual fee to keep their handguns on the roster.

Now that we have covered the basics, how does the roster discriminate against law abiding citizens of modest means? It discriminates because it limits options. Not every person can afford to spend $500 on a gun. A person may not be able to afford a $550 Glock 19, but they might be able to afford a $300 Kel-Tec PF9. Someone might not be able to afford a $599 CZ P-01, but they can afford one of the $350 CZ clones by Tri-Star. The problem is that neither of the lower cost alternatives are on the roster, and with the new microstamping mandate by the CA DOJ, no new high value, competitively priced handguns will be made available to Californians. The result will be that as firearms fall off the roster over the years, they will not be replaced by guns that are affordable for most Californians. The elites and the government will have the guns, and we will be at their mercy.

As I close, I’d like to remind people that for many of us, the roster is a source of annoyance, as we have ways of purchasing non roster firearms that are completely within the law. However, those perfectly legal transactions often add cost to the purchase of the firearm, which defeats the purpose of a value priced gun in the first place. For others however, the roster preventing them from purchasing an affordable gun to defend themselves with, could be a matter of life or death.

An Open Letter to Al Sharpton

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Rev Sharpton,

As a black man, I feel the need to address the elephant in the room that many in the black community refuse to acknowledge. Black men, from the street corner dope dealer, to the multimillionaire celebrity, have failed the black community.

Racism isn’t the reason 72% of black children are born out of wedlock. Racism isn’t the reason that there are more black men in prison than there are in college. Racism isn’t the reason black popular culture demeans women as sexual objects in music and film, and teaches that they are to be subjected to violence. Racism isn’t the reason that every night, the streets of every major city run red with the blood of black men, killed by other black men.

You spent months attending rallies and devoting hours of your show to try to paint Trayvon Martin as a victim of racism, while ignoring men like WWII Veteran Delbert Belton, who was murdered by four black teens. Was Mr. Belton unworthy of justice in your eyes?

Does racism exist? Sure it does. Is it the cause of all of the black community’s woes? Absolutely not. Before we can point our fingers at external problems, we need to get our house in order. As long as black fathers continue to abandon their children, the black community will continue to have higher incarceration rates, lower educational success, and will have a harder time trying to achieve the American dream. It’s very difficult for a boy to become a man without a father.

I am everything I am today because of my father. My dad gave up his personal dream of graduating college when I was born. He spent my childhood working 70 hours a week at two different jobs to provide for myself and my mother, who also worked full time. That is what a man does. It is because of him that I was the first in the family to graduate college, my only run in with the law was a speeding ticket at 18, served my country honorably in the US Navy, and have no illegitimate children.

In closing, I would like to remind you that changing the fortunes of the black community is wholly dependent on us to raise our children right. There is no government program, or combination of programs, that will benefit the black community greater than fathers being men and raising their children will. Jay-Z and Ray Lewis should not be role models for our children. Men Like Dr. Ben Carson should.