ISRA Thursday Bulletin - May 14, 2020

by Richard Pearson

Gun sales in April were still amazingly strong and were 69% higher than April 2019.  Handgun sales were the majority of sales with 984,872.  It is obvious that people are worried about the times we are going through and the social unrest that may be on the way.  Everyone is preparing.  People keep throwing the term social unrest around, but what does that mean?  I can best describe social unrest by my own experience.  I witnessed this at my own front door.  In the late 1960s, I lived with two other guys on North Indiana Avenue in Kankakee, Illinois.  It was an old 11 room house and my share of the rent was $27 per month.  It wasn’t exactly Gold Coast property.  The house was located two blocks north of the Kankakee Police Station.  At the 4-way stop, a half a block from the house, people were getting robbed if they had the windows rolled down in their car.  It was simple, if you had your driver’s window rolled down and you stopped, a guy would run up to the car and put a hunting knife to your throat.  If you moved, you would get your throat cut.  One night we were having a party and three of our guests were on our front porch.  One-time riots broke out but we thought we were pretty safe with the police station only being two blocks away.  When we looked at the police station, the windows were all boarded up.  We had to park in the back and I carried my Winchester Model 12 shotgun in the car.  When I got home, the shotgun was uncased and loaded when I entered the house.  I know the neighbors saw me and that was just fine with me.  I remember being home and getting a call from one or the other of the two guys who lived at the house, telling me they were on their way home.  I would stand in the upstairs window and cover the rear parking lot with their pending arrival home.  Two blocks from the police station might as well have been 20 miles.  I totally understand why people want to arm themselves and why they need to.  Needless to say, it wasn’t long before we found more upscale living arrangements. 

In those days as a school teacher, I was making $105 a week so I was always working a second or third job.  West of Kankakee, there was an Illinois Youth Commission Forestry Camp which was a nice name for a juvenile prison.  Two of the juvenile prisoners had hidden five butcher knives behind a toilet.  About an hour after lights out, these same two claimed they had to use the restroom at the same time.  It was a policy violation to let two people to use the facilities after lights out.  The two night guards decided to allow it.  Within five minutes, one guard was dead and the other lingered for almost a year and died. These were 15-year old kids who did this. 

There was a part-time teaching position available at the camp and I applied.  I got the job and after a couple weeks they asked me if I would also supervise a table of 8 or 9 prisoners during breakfast and the evening meal.  Part of the deal was that I could stay in a room at the camp all night with my trusty Winchester in case more trouble broke out.  I had a place to live and two meals a day.  I taught four nights a week, with weekends off, and I was getting paid.  The neighborhood had not improved any.  Several of the prisoners went on to eventually murder people.  One prisoner who was at my table was approved for release by one of the psychologists.  Within two weeks this prisoner beat an 83-year-old man to death with a baseball bat, all for $3.00.  I worked there for 15 months.  As you might guess, I have some opinions about rehabilitation and being ready to defend yourself at all times.  The reason I quit was because I was assigned to develop a science curriculum using readily available materials so every prisoner (there were also four other locations) was taught the same thing.  There was a lot of slide and film support material because of the reading difficulties.  I turned in the project with two bidders.  Later I learned that the approved bid was exactly double the amount turned in.  Within a week, my supervisor was driving a new car and I resigned.  This is Illinois so I should have expected it.  What I am trying to point out here is there is a world out there that no one likes to think about but it is still there whether you want to think about it or not.  Moreover, you may have to deal with it.  I imagine, right now, you are thinking “I don’t live in that kind of neighborhood.”  Maybe not, that is why the looters and arsonists may just come to where you live.  The other thing that nobody wants to hear is that there are some 13, 14 and 15-year old kids, as well as older kids, that will kill.  If so-called social unrest comes, these are the type people we will all be facing.

The Coronavirus headache is obscuring the fact that in less than six months there will be a General Election.  The Presidency, all the members of the United States House of Representatives and about one third of the United States Senators will be up for election.  What is really on the ballot in this election is the future of the United States.  Everytown, one of Bloomberg’s anti-gun front groups, is busy registering voters.  Bloomberg has committed a billion dollars to influence this election and that doesn’t count what he has already spent on different supporting projects.  It is also time for pro-gun groups to prepare. 

If you have been watching the news at all it is evident that corruption brought on by the left goes all the way to the top.  I don’t think we have seen it all and we never will.  Some of these snakes will get away, crawl under a rock and live to bite us again.  We must be prepared to fight always.  After years of watching the world, I have determined that there are only two conditions in life.  We are either at war or preparing for war.  The next six months will determine as much about the future of the United States as the Civil War did.  

There is no doubt that the NRA has been weakened by recent events.  They have cut 60% of their staff. We must not lose them.  The reality is that other national and state organizations must step up and fill the gap.  The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms are sister organizations.  The SAF is a 501 (c) 3 and handles education and law suits and the CCRKBA is a 501 (c) 4 and deals with lobbying and political efforts.  I am not their spokesman but that is how I read it.  These two organizations are as fine as they come.  I get calls about what organizations to support nationally and I can wholeheartedly recommend both of these organizations. 
 
Recently the SAF-CCRKBA hired a longtime friend and former NRA employee, Glen Caroline.  Glen was with the NRA nearly 30 years and managed the NRA Institute for Legislative Action Grassroots Programs and Campaign Field Operations Division.  Glen will be a great asset.   Each year the SAF-CCRKBA hosts the Gun Rights Policy Conference (saf.org/grpc/).  This is the greatest event ever to update Second Amendment advocates on what is going on.  This year it will be held on September 18, 19 & 20 in Orlando, Florida at the Marriott Orlando Airport Lakeside.  If you can get there, you should go.  

The Illinois General Assembly will go back in session on a very limited basis starting on May 20, 2020.  There will only be discussion and voting on limited topics to meet constitutional and federal mandates.  The ISRA lobbying team does not expect any action on firearm related issues but, nevertheless, we will be watching.

Saturday, May 16, is Armed Forces Day.  Take a moment and think about our men and women in uniform who serve every minute of every day, some in hellish places, so that we may sleep safely in our beds.  Appreciate them and fly the flag!

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