The Corner

I’m Not Willing to Sacrifice My Family for Your Gun-Free Dreams

Two weeks ago I published an extended essay describing my family’s ordeal at the hands of pro-Trump alt-right trolls and thugs. The response was overwhelming. There was renewed alt-right harassment (of course), but it was swamped by support from across the political spectrum. Pro-Trump conservatives were appalled, as were progressive Hillary supporters, and the story was shared far and wide.

After the piece went viral, I appeared on television, radio, and podcasts describing my experience, and in most of those interviews I very intentionally mentioned that my wife and I both carry handguns. We’ve taught our older kids to use firearms as well (my oldest daughter is a natural with the AR-15). I had two reasons for doing this — first to send the message to anyone thinking about harming our family that we’re armed and know how to use our weapons, and second to remind readers and listeners of the vital importance of the Second Amendment in securing the blessings of American liberty. Quite frankly, it’s harder to intimidate and silence armed citizens.

In the middle of the media blitz, my colleague Charlie Cooke reminded me of a key difference between left and right. “All those progressives who say your story is moving,” he said, “probably want you disarmed.” And, like clockwork, here comes a lefty writer to make Charlie’s point. Writing in the New Statesman, assistant editor Caroline Crampton says this:

Listening to a recent episode on the “alt right”, I experienced an utterly discombobulating moment when the guest, the National Review writer David French – who has experienced some extreme harassment from Trump-supporting trolls – mentioned that he is “a strong second amendment supporter”. He went on to explain that both he and his wife “carry a handgun” and that his older children, who are 17 and 15, “know how to use a gun”. Up until that point, I had been nodding along with all of French’s statements about Trump and the election, but at that moment the podcast gave me a sharp reminder that what I am prone to think of as a battle between “good” and “evil” is actually so much more complicated than that.

Unless my reading comprehension is failing, she’s either implying I’m “evil” or implying its rather hard to discern my goodness simply because I’m trying to defend my family against threats. This is truly absurd. I live in rural Tennessee. If I call my friends at the sheriff’s office, they’ll come as fast as they can, but the laws of physics dictate that they won’t reach my house for several minutes. What am I supposed to do while I wait? Should we just go ahead and die so that people like Ms. Crampton will still think I’m one of the good guys? ”How sad,” she’d say, “that thugs murdered such a good family.” Does she have any idea how unbelievably callous this statement sounds to a person under actual threat?

Caroline Crampton can’t un-invent the firearm, take firearms out of the hands of criminals, or alter human nature — including the reality that evil men seek to harm the innocent. I have a natural right of self-defense. Government can choose to recognize and protect that right — or it can choose the path of tyranny — but don’t for one minute pretend that tyranny is virtue or that involuntary vulnerability is in any way “good.” A good man protects his family if he can. A good man will shoot an intruder to save his wife and children. A good man gives his family the tools and teaching they need to protect themselves. I aspire to be a good man.

Crampton’s politics have blinded her to reality. That doesn’t make her evil, but it does make her wrong. Many of the worst ideas are grounded in the best of intentions, and the intentions of the gun-control Left cost good people their lives.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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