Skip Coryell lives with his wife and children in Michigan. He is the founder of the Second Amendment March and the author of six books including his newest “RKBA: Defending the Right to Keep and Bear Arms”, the Ted Nugent-acclaimed book “Blood in the Streets: Concealed Carry and the OK Corral, the hunting novel “Bond of Unseen Blood”, and the Second Amendment novel “We Hold These Truths”. He is an NRA Instructor and co-owner of Midwest Tactical Training, teaching concealed carry classes in Michigan. He also owns and manages White Feather Press. To find out more about Skip, his classes and his writing, go to www.skipcoryell.com and www.mwtac.com. Skip is helping to preserve our liberties and graciously accepted our interview offer.
This is our tenth in our interview series.
1. What is the most important individual freedom and why?
I suppose the obvious answer is the Second Amendment. All of us know that the Second Amendment is the one right that protects all others, but I'd like to add to that. While I believe that the Second Amendment protects the others, I also believe that it's the First Amendment that protects the Second. These two freedoms are God-given and inextricably linked and when one falls so will the other. The moment people stop speaking out boldly against tyranny and oppression, then the Second Amendment will fall by the wayside. The moment we cease verbally defending the right to keep and bear arms, then tyrants will assume it's not important to us and strip it away. Then they'll have total control and absolute power. Then we are enslaved. So exercise the freedom of speech, of peaceable assembly and continue to petition our government for a redress of grievances. In colloquial terms that means we have to shout as loud as we can to our government "Get your grubby hands off my guns!" We have to march and write letters and speak out on every occasion. That could be as simple as a pro-Second Amendment bumper sticker, joining the NRA or wearing a Second Amendment March t-shirt. Every little bit helps so help every little bit you can because it all adds up. Every time you speak up in support of the right to keep and bear arms, you add your weight to the multitudes of people who have spoken up before you. You join the ranks with Sam Adams, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In short, you're in good company. Every word you say is a drop of water falling into a stream, which flows into a river, which eventually leads to the sea. Without boldness and courage, the Second Amendment will dry up and die.
2. What is the biggest threat to the Second Amendment?
The biggest threat to the Second Amendment isn't our government. It's all of us. It's fear. More specifically, it's our fear of our own government. It's a devastating, paralyzing fear that shuts good people up and forces them to hunker down and hide from the very people they elected. Giving in to fear is the worst possible reaction. On the other hand, there can be no fear without the possibility for courage. More now than ever our country needs brave men and women to stand up and let their voices be heard. Every day people tell me they don't want to speak up for fear they'll be put on some sort of government list. My counter to that is this: "Yes, that is a valid fear. It has merit. But you know what? I don't care. The government works for me and they need to be reminded of their proper place. They are temporary stewards of our power. It's just a loan. They should be afraid of us."
Instead of being afraid of their list, I say it's time the American people made a list of their own. In the Marine Corps we had a saying "Take names and kick ass!" We voted them in and we can vote them out. Never make decisions based on the weakest part of your character. Never let fear make decisions for you.
3. Have you considered public office?
Never. I hate politics. It's dirty and foul and nasty and I want no part of it. Unfortunately, I have to be involved in politics in order to save America's freedom and way of life for my children. Sure, there are some good people in politics but every time I get involved in politics it just makes me feel like I need a bath. So many politicians seem dishonest and I no longer trust them. America doesn't need more politicians - we need leaders with solid moral values. We need our elected officials to tell us the truth.
4. When did you start SAM and why?
Oddly enough, I didn't plan on the Second Amendment March. It just kind of happened to me. Granted, it would have been better if I'd planned it all out in advance, then launched it with an organization, goals, and mission in place, but it just didn't happen that way. I write a bi-weekly column for Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners (www.mcrgo.org) and in my February column I raised the topic of a Million Gun Owner March on Washington DC in support of our Second Amendment rights. In the column I challenged someone to step forward to build a website for the effort because I had no skills in that area. Much to my surprise, hundreds of people emailed and called me over the next few days volunteering to build the site. Many were professionals so I chose a lady in Ann Arbor and she had a professional website up and running in 48 hours. That first week we had so much traffic that we crashed the server and it took another week to get up and running again.
The Second Amendment March is a noble effort, but also an overwhelming task. Many times during the last few months I've felt like Frodo Baggins talking to Gandalf in the first of Tolkien's trilogy "The Fellowship of the Ring".
The conversation went something like this:
Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me, I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time we are given.
I understand that I'm supposed to be the fearless leader in all this, but the truth is I'm human and I lose courage as much as the next guy. I also understand that when I publicly admit my doubts and my fears I run the risk of losing supporters, but I feel it's important to be honest with your readers.
And that ties in with the first half of our written mission statement of the Second Amendment March which states:
"The mission of the Second Amendment March is to galvanize the courage and resolve of Americans"
5. Do you believe that the President's ultimate goal is to ban firearms in public hands?
No. I don't think he looks at it in those terms. I don't know the man from Adam but I suspect he's an idealist and his ideals just happen to conflict with the true intent of our founding fathers in regard to the Second Amendment. His voting record prior to the election was quite clear. He's anti-gun. The bad news is I believe he's one of those serious politicians I was talking about earlier. I find it hard to trust any man who lives and dies by a teleprompter. Just say what's on your mind so I know the words are yours and not those of some hired Public Relations writer. the nice thing about telling the truth is that you never have to remember what you said because the truth never changes. I believe that a lot of our politicians have been professionally made over so many times that they have severe identity crises. They no longer know who they are or what they stand for.
On the other hand, we can use that to our advantage. Politicians like this are linguini-spined and tend to bend with whatever wind is blowing strongest. Our job as Second Amendment Activists is to make the wind blow in our favor with conviction and outspoken courage.
6. Why should Democrats support gun rights?
I don't believe the Second Amendment or any of the Bill of Rights for that matter are a respecter of political parties. The right to keep and bear arms is not a Democrat thing and it's not a Republican thing. True, the Republicans have championed the cause more often than Democrats, but I believe that's changing. Case in point, a few months ago when Representative Bobby Rush from Illinois introduced his Draconian anti-gun bill HR 45, it was Democrats who killed it in committee. There are a lot of Democrats in the Southern and Western states who are saving our pro-gun bacon right now and I for one am appreciative.
But to answer your question more directly, Democrats should support gun rights for the same reason that anyone else should; It's the right thing to do. It's good and moral and just, and things like virtue don't change simply because you join a certain political organization.
The Second Amendment is not a political thing - it's an American thing!
I don't suppose that will endear me to the Republican party, but that's not my goal. This year I didn't renew my membership in the Republican Party. Instead, I sent them a scathing letter saying how disappointed I was in their watered-down platform and weak choice of candidates. I think a lot of people have put the Republicans on notice and I wouldn't be surprised to see a viable third-party candidate in the near future.
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