Happy Thanksgiving from Bearing Arms!

(AP Photo/Matthew Mead, File)

We’ll be back to posting on Friday, but from all of us here at Bearing Arms I want to wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving holiday. And since I don’t get the opportunity to do this that often, I also want to express my own gratitude for Tom Knighton, John Petrolino, Ranjit Singh, and Ryan Petty for all of their contributions here. I’m truly blessed to not only work with but share a genuine friendship with these guys, and I’m so glad that I can help shine a spotlight on their reporting and analysis of Second Amendment issues.

If you’re reading this, please know that I’m also very thankful for you. This has been a very challenging year for my family, but the love and support that I’ve received from the community of Bearing Arms readers and Cam & Co listeners and viewers has had a real and positive impact on me, which I believe in turn has enabled me to be a better husband and father when my family has needed me more than ever. I’ve reached out and spoken with several of you individually, sharing more about my grief than I even intended at times, and I’m grateful for the strength and support I’ve received in return.

As I get older, Thanksgiving has taken on a different meaning for me. When I was a kid, I was grateful for the stuff I had; a bike, an Atari, my own bedroom. As a young adult, newly married and with an instant family, I was thankful for my new life and what lay in store. Now, at age 48, I find myself thankful not for every moment I have with my loved ones, but for the time that I was given with those who are no longer here. My mother passed away in 2009, my father in 2018. This past April our oldest son died just a week before his 31st birthday. They will not be physically at our table this year, but they will be in my heart as I sit down with my wife and our three youngest kids (our oldest daughter can’t make it home this year, unfortunately). I miss them every day, sometimes so much it physically hurts, but I am grateful for the years that we were able to share together even if I wish we could have more.

We don’t know how much time we have with our loved ones, but we know it’s never enough. For more than six years now my wife has been fighting lung cancer, and her living with a diagnosis of a terminal illness has, if nothing else, helped me to appreciate even the most banal moments of our everyday life, because I know one day those moments won’t be possible. I can’t and won’t say that I’m grateful for my wife’s cancer. I hate it with every fiber of my being. I’m just thankful that I’m not still mostly mindlessly walking through (and subsequently wasting) my time with my family, as I admit I tended to do at times before her diagnosis.

I don’t know if Miss E will feel up to walking down (and back up) the hill where we’ve got our little shooting spot on the back part of our property, but I’m looking forward to spending a couple of hours plinking with some of my kids later today; making memories and enjoying the here and now. My 22-year old son is interested in getting his concealed carry license, so we might brave the Black Friday crowds at our local gun store tomorrow and see what’s in stock before he heads back home. As a dad, I’m thankful that he’s taking his personal safety seriously, especially given that he lives in a not-so-great part of one of those cities suffering from rising violent crime rates and fewer cops on the beat.

As a gun owner and Second Amendment advocate, of course I’m grateful for things like the Supreme Court’s decision in NYSPRA v. Bruen, which will ultimately have a hugely favorable impact on our ability to exercise our right to keep and bear arms in self-defense. But at the moment we still have a long way to go before our rights are secured, especially with anti-gun Democrats invoking the spirit of Massive Resistance in their attempt to defy the Supreme Court and criminalize the Second Amendment as much as possible. To that end, I’m grateful for all of the gun owners who are supporting the legal challenges to these civil rights violations, because this truly is the work that can secure our right for generations to come. From the individual plaintiffs to the gun owners across the country who are digging into their wallets to help fund the litigation; you are having an impact, and I’m thankful for the efforts of the millions of grassroots activists to defend our most fundamental civil right; the right to protect ourselves and the people around us.

No matter your gender, your race, your religion, your political party, your sexual preference, meat eater or vegetarian; your human right of self-defense and your Second Amendment right to use a firearm in defense of your life is shared, exercised, and supported by tens of millions of your fellow Americans; gun owners and non-gun owners alike who fall across any spectrum you might conjure up; economic, political, or cultural. I’m truly thankful that a growing number of Americans from all backgrounds are not only embracing gun ownership, but are becoming activists themselves in support of We the People’s fundamental right to keep and bear arms.