Whether some people like it or not, guns are a part of the American experience. People from other countries will occasionally ask their American hosts to take them shooting, an activity so forbidden in their home nations but common as hell here in the Land of the Free.

However, some people have it in their mind that the average gun owner fits a certain profile, that the guy who carries a gun on a daily basis is some wannabe Rambo with an inferiority complex and a hatred for humanity.

The reality is quite different. They can be anything. Like, say… a pastor.

An armed civilian is credited with saving several lives when he stopped a man firing shots at a Walmart in Washington Sunday.

The Tumwater Police Department identified the deceased gunman Monday as Tim O. Day, 44, of McCleary, Wash. He shot two people and tried carjacking six people. Day also fired shots inside the Walmart, but did not hit anyone inside the store.

A man who would rather not be identified stopped the crime spree when he shot and killed Day. Police say the 47-year-old man is from Oakville, Washington. He is a pastor, volunteer firefighter, and medic.

In other words, he’s a man who is clearly dedicated to helping his fellow man. That makes sense. After all, what did he do in Tumwater that day? He helped his fellow man.

People who carry guns don’t actually want to use them, as a general rule. We’re prepared to use them. We’re willing to use them. We often train to use them. But do we want to use them? Not so much.

The thing is, when lives are on the line, someone has to act, or innocent people die. That’s something no one should want to deal with. Knowing you could have done something but didn’t for whatever reason creates a stain on the soul, something you will never escape no matter what. For some people, that means being ready to act no matter what.

But when you have someone who is a pastor, a volunteer firefighter, and a medic, what you see is someone who has made much of their life about acting. Their whole life seems to revolve around the greater good, about making the world just a bit safer for other people. About making that world safer for other people.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the reality of the American gun owner.

Then again, so are a lot of other examples that are very different. Yet the one thing that tends to unite us is our willingness to help other people.

While anti-gunners love to mock concealed carriers as wannabes looking for a fight, they don’t understand what they’re mocking. They don’t understand how many of us, on some level, have thought about how we might die in such a confrontation. We’ve thought about how that might hurt our families and our friends. We’ve wondered if it would be painful or if we would go quickly.

We’re not deluding ourselves here. We’re simply prepared to put our lives on the line for others, often people we don’t even know, just because it’s the right thing to do.

You want to mock that? Go right ahead. It’ll say more about your character than ours.