How do You Paddle the Second Amendment Canoe?

Get in the Second Amendment Canoe

by Todd Ellis, President, Keystone Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc.

Several years ago I was on a Scouting trip in North Carolina to a unique place called Bear Island. Located about two miles offshore from Hammocks Beach State Park, people could camp and explore the island. There is no motorized access to the island, so a common method of transit is by canoe. Our Troop utilized a half-dozen canoes to bring Scouts and camping gear through marshy areas onto the island.

There isn’t any power or communications on the island. It was too far out to obtain a reliable cellphone signal, so the adult leadership had no idea that a nor’easter was brewing in the Atlantic and heading our way. By Sunday morning the temperature had dropped into the mid-30s and a gale was approaching. At daybreak a decision was made to scuttle the rest of the schedule and get everyone back to shore.

My elder son and I took the last canoe. The biggest, heaviest one of our small fleet, we both knew the task required experienced paddlers. The rest of the canoers had gotten to shore, but being heavier, our canoe was much slower. A three-knot outgoing tide did not help matters, and early winds were blowing southerly and laterally against the canoe. Things didn’t look good.

My son paddled from the bow, and I paddled from the stern. When canoeing it is important to synchronize efforts so that the person at the front paddles on one side of the canoe while the rear paddles on the opposite side. Both communicate in such a way that both paddlers switch sides at the same time, or the canoe can capsize.

In one dreadful moment a sizeable gust of wind hit the canoe broadside and the canoe lurched to the left. My son hollered, “oh no!” and immediately switched paddling from the right side to the left to compensate – except I had just dug into the water on the left side as well. Almost instantly the canoe flipped and we fell into the ocean – along with our gear and our pride. Remember that the tide was going out, and with it went our camping gear. My son and I were mad at each other, cold, and disappointed. Clearly this trip had become a small disaster.

In the end made it back to shore with soggy life preservers, a slight case of hypothermia and no gear. It certainly wasn’t the glorious end to an otherwise fantastic weekend we had planned, but we were alive.

Let’s think in a different direction for a minute.

In the Second Amendment community we have many splintered groups that can’t seem to work with one another. Some feel they can do a better job on their own, while others point fingers and blame others for various misdeeds or wrong moves. In history we have seen similar things happen in Eastern Europe, where ethnic groups in the Balkans war with one another. In fact, the term Balkanization is defined by Wikipedia as “…the fragmentation of a larger region or state into smaller regions or states, which may be hostile or uncooperative with one another. It is usually caused by differences of ethnicity, culture, and religion and some other factors such as past grievances. The term is pejorative; when sponsored or encouraged by a sovereign third party, it has been used as an accusation against such third-party nations. Controversially, the term is often used by voices for the status quo to underscore the dangers of acrimonious or runaway secessionism. Balkanization is a type of political fragmentation.”

It’s this fragmentation among us that the anti-gun constituency is counting on.

We need to stop this today. Not tomorrow, not next month, and certainly not after the next election cycle. We need to overcome our differences, coalesce, bond, and become a solid wall of real common sense to protect our Second Amendment rights.

We need to get onboard the Second Amendment canoe. We need to row together, synchronize our efforts, and bring us all to shore. If we don’t do it, we’re going to fall into disorganization and our Second Amendment rights, just like my camping gear, will float out to sea – never to be seen again.

The anti-gun constituency is standing at the shore with binoculars and watching. They’re waging bets that in a short time we’ll implode, and we’ll never get the canoe to shore. It’s our collective job to keep that canoe righted, paddled expertly, and preserve our God-given civil rights.

It’s time to work together to preserve our rights. The work will be long, the pay is terrible, but the satisfaction of preserving the Second Amendment is complete. Join us and contribute your time, talent and treasure to help keep the Second Amendment canoe on its course!