America Has An Asshole Problem.

As this wild year and even wilder week begins to come to a close, I finally felt compelled to write a bit about what has transpired. First off, I am proud to the core of my bones to be an American. I have served and defended this country in one capacity or another for the last 20 years, and will continue to do so as long as I am able. But let’s be honest…

America has an asshole problem.

Blame has swirled for the past week over Connecticut, mass shootings and probably the cause of pinkeye. But few if any choose to assign it where it lays most. In the hands and mind of the now deceased assailant. This is not to oversimplify, but if we held people responsible for their actions, prison sentences, incompetency hearings and intervention would have a greater level of import. But of course nothing is anybody’s fault anymore. Especially when you rob liquor stores since your daddy wouldn’t let you play soccer.

America, you see, has an asshole problem.

During the Watergate investigation of the early 70’s, Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee forced his reporters to independently corroborate every nugget of information they had (at times thrice) before he would run it. These days are gone. In the rush to be first in the news cycle, any network will run anything heard from anyone to sell airtime or an online banner. In the pre-OJ days, news was 90% info and 10% editorial. Now we are subjected to agenda-driven vitriol masquerading as news by the Matthews, the Hannitty’s, the Maddow’s, the O’Reilly’s et alia. Accuracy is not issue (even if you’re moderating a presidential debate). Somewhere it became OK for a reporter to shove a microphone in the face of a six-year-old minutes after a shooting. Of course there’s no shortage of sycophantic honey-boo-boo parents who allow (or even encourage) this to happen.

America, you see, has an asshole problem.

When you obsess over irrelevant details nobody gives a shit and you will never get your point across. If you argue the existence of the bible with an atheist by quoting scripture, trust me he will laugh in your face. So, for you “gun rights” folks, stop saying that an AR15 isn’t an “assault rifle.” It’s semantics and you sound stupid. To a non-gun owner, it’s black and looks the same. It was made by the same company, in the same factory, takes the same accessories, runs on the same ammo, and performs the same ballistically as it’s M4 brother. For you “anti-firearm” folks, if an assault is committed with a baseball bat, that makes it an “assault weapon.” Assault or military style weapons are efficient, effective killing tools. Good for taking lives. And if those lives happen to be criminals in the act of perpetrating violence against the law-abiding citizens of the US defending themselves or loved ones, I can’t imagine anyone being against it. To ask the question “why would anyone want or need a gun?” we can draw several conclusions: 1. You have never been a victim of crime, 2. Like an ostrich with it’s head in the sand you believe in the innate good nature of all people and an oversimplification of the hunter/victim relationship, 3. Like those who rely on the state for most, all or a growing number of necessities in life, you believe that someone else will intervene to save you… (Katrina anyone?)
And what of law enforcement? Ask a cop if he carries off duty. He’ll look at you and laugh… of course he does. Ask him if he keeps a weapon in the home. Of course he does. Why? Does he have no faith in his on-duty brothers to keep the peace and protect he and his family? The reality is that nobody has a greater grasp of the response time, capabilities and limitations of law enforcement, than cops themselves. So they carry.

During the Los Angeles riots post Rodney King verdict, Korean store owners kept looters and criminals bearing Molotov cocktails at bay from the roofs of their businesses while overwhelmed law enforcement were powerless to respond. Americans taking responsibility for their own safety and livelihood.
Stop talking about hunting, this is not a discussion regarding deer.

America, you see, has an asshole problem.

Firearms are not the problem. Canada is full of them. Switzerland has actual “assault rifles” in the home. The Clinton “assault weapons ban” had zero effect on crime. Montana doesn’t seem to suffer the same problems as the south side of Chicago. It appears as though despite our regional variance, as a whole…

America, you see, has an asshole problem.

The all or nothing approach to firearms from the pro-gun lobby is ludicrous. You have to show a log book to skydive, PADI card to fill your airtank, you have to take a test at the DMV but the notion that guns may be so easily bought and sold even with false answers to the impeachable questions is preposterous. Many guns rights groups have been their own worst enemies. If we want the right to keep and bear arms for protection, this is a right that any sane person would hope, they do not have to employ. Sizes, types, calibers should not be restricted or clamped down upon. Customers should be. We all know somebody that we think isn’t fit to drive a car. Why safety, training, awareness and certification is not mandatory for firearms I don’t know and I will never understand. We have taught civilians blocks in the laws of use of force countless times, and have yet to encounter a civilian who grasped these rules and regulations prior despite being a gun owner or concealed permit holder for years. If you argue against training and education, you’re not fighting for the second ammendment, you’re fighting for the right to be an unsafe, ignorant, liability.

America, you see, has an asshole problem.

irony 1 |ˈīrənē, ˈiərnē|
noun ( pl. ironies )
1. the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect
2. a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result [ with clause ]
3. the notion of a White House/administration implementing gun control measures after illegally moving weapons to Mexico that in turn led to the deaths of hundreds of Mexicans as well as a US Federal agent

America, you see, has an asshole problem.

We live in an “age of outrage.” Everybody is outraged about this or that, but seldom the real culprits, ergo killers slide by under the radar whether due to ignorance, apathy or the might of the lobby. McDonalds, cigarettes, diabetes, and cancer have got some real teeth. Guns? In America? Can’t even hope to compete. So where are the cries to ban donuts and Hawaiian Punch? Where’s the “outrage?”
The media (who we’ve already established is not to be believed or trusted) would have you believe that an active shooter lies around every corner. Yet they fail to mention that you are more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by an active shooter. And that America has more than twice as many deaths per year from alcohol alone than from ALL firearms deaths. Hmmm maybe some guy named Volstead ought to try banning alcohol?

America, you see, has an asshole problem.

Let’s talk bans and hypocrisy for a moment. The US Constitution was a document that afforded it’s citizens right. In other words, this is what you’re entitled to and nobody can take that away. The 18th amendment, “which stripped citizens of a freedom” passed for several reasons: first a new thing called income tax would pay the balance of what excise tax no longer would. Second, a small group of very noisy critics successfully defeated politicians in Ohio, creating an environment of fear amongst elected officials who acting under duress, yet remaining confident in the sluggish ineptitude of the federal and state governments alike, voted for a bill they opposed and were certain could never be passed in time (6 years). They were wrong (it took 13 months). We are all too familiar with the failure that was prohibition, and who were the most vocal critics to call for it’s repeal? Those who lobbied to enact it and even those who swore to enforce it. Amidst an environment of spiraling violence related to the illicit alcohol trade and massive unemployment of the Great Depression, the 21st amendment passed.

Why are those who call the loudest for a reworking or all out legalization of today’s illegal drugs calling for a ban of firearms?

Bans and regulation impede our personal freedoms, no way around it. On 9/11 planes were used to murder 3000 people. The reaction was not to ban air travel, but instead to inspect and regulate its passengers. Millions of them. Millions of law abiding non-threatening passengers. So now we take of our shoes and place laptops in the bin alone. I for one do not mind this small intrusion. I see the forest through the trees and endure the hassle and mind-numbing line with the hope that my safety will be enhanced as a result. For those who would ban guns and particularly don’t like the overzealous patdowns, imagine if you were told that you could no longer fly… period. I think the cries we would hear would include, “I didn’t do anything… I’m not a criminal… but I’m an American?!”

America, you see, has an asshole problem.

We are a nation of addicts living in denial and it is killing us. Your child isn’t an obnoxious shit who you’ve parented poorly. No. he’s suffering from BSHD and needs to be heavily medicated from hereafter. Your ankle pain isn’t from your morbid obesity. No. you have chronic fibromybullshit and these oxycodone will do the trick. Our medical professionals within our insurance regulated system are screwing us and it’s our own doing.
Years ago the mentally ill were institutionalized oftentimes under horrific inhumane conditions. While this isn’t the answer, the response was equally tragic… open up the doors and let them out as their civil liberties were being unjustly tamped down. Our streets became flooded with the ill in the form of a homeless explosion. Commitment is now viewed as taboo and become quite difficult. Benefitting who?

America, you see, has an asshole problem.

Alfred Nobel, the namesake of the Nobel Prize, invented Dynamite. This amazing contribution had many contradictory effects. It allowed for many marvels of construction and engineering, acts of violence and war and defense of freedom from tyranny. Simply put, to call dynamite “bad” is throwing out the baby with the bath water.
It is undeniable that firearms have been used for the purposes of crime, oppression and terror. The founding fathers knew this… and they also knew that the only defense against this was a weapon of equal or greater capability. Would the invasions of France, Poland, Holland, Tibet or Sierra Leone been different against an armed populace? Peace-oriented populist progressives may scoff at this notion in the macro sense but in the micro sense we could also simply ask, ‘if your home were to be invaded and you could choose between a cell phone, pepper spray or an AR15 what would you select?’ You don’t have to like it, just acknowledge it.

America, you see, has an asshole problem.

The clock is ticking and the next incident could happen tomorrow. We didn’t hesitate for one second post 9/11 to put armed men on aircraft. It only makes sense. The NRA has proposed this to cries and controversy. We have sprinklers, extinguishers and fire drills… and with great results. Not a single child has died from fire in US schools in the last 50 years. Is armed capability paranoia or preparedness? At least in the short term, if not this, then what?
Some feel that the only solution is gun based (more) and others feel that the only solution is gun based (none). The moment we hear a politician say “this is no time for politics” watch out because a heaping/helping of politics is about to ensue. Why?

America, you see, has an asshole problem.

I’ve heard a number of pundits citing the Australian weapons ban post-Tasmania as the answer to our woes. First, I have nothing but love and respect for our Australian brothers, some of America’s closest allies and supporters. However those I know, mostly professional soldiers and law enforcement officers laugh and scoff at the foolishness and ineffectiveness of it all. Not to mention, I’m a bit reticent to take advice regarding liberty and law from a nation that for 100 years (up until the 1970’s) forcibly took children from families and parents for their “own good.”

Perhaps Australia also has an asshole problem.

Fiercely limiting guns to those who have no business accessing them with brutal penalties is good policy, as is punishing burglars, robbers and rapists. This serves to safeguard the rights of the law abiding individual as well as their future personal safety and right to life, liberty, and property (other freedoms we are sworn to uphold and protect). We cannot deny that the amendment contains the language “well regulated.” Yes! Gun regulation and training as well as gun rights are NOT two mutually exclusive concepts.

I’ll catch hell for saying this, but what if the waiting period for a weapon was a year? I’d wait. Hell we waited 16 to drive, 18 to vote and 21 to drink (some did). What if the fee was $1000? I’d pay. This could fund initial and ongoing perpetual safety checks (If you’re worried about your name being on a “list” get over it… there’s this thing called the internet, where most people post way too much crap about themselves already). But wait, what about the low-income buyer? Would this be discriminatory? It always comes down to the dollars doesn’t it? We all know that amidst the horror of Connecticut or any of these tragedies the dollar signs always loom. Whether in the form of political contributions, action committees, or big business dollars are at play. The financial implications of shutting the down the airline industry (even for a few days) post 9/11 were enormous. Imagine in a recession style economy with high unemployment to ban products from a $31 billion industry that 99.9% of purchasers use in a responsible manner. Business owners should demand that the fed buy them out at high market value.

America, you see, has an asshole problem.

And finally, speaking of demands… What right would you die for? Have you ever thought about that? Speech? Religion? Assembly? Fair and speedy trial? Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Tea Party was born out of government distrust and a belief that trends were straying from the original ethos of the founding fathers. Do executive orders and fundamental threats to the constitution (not foreign, but domestic) help to assuage this belief or bolster it. There are some people out there who may not have a firm grasp how ugly (to include open revolt) things could get if liberty of the patriot is encroached upon too greatly by those with an asshole problem.

I love America dearly, but she truly needs to get her act together or we are (no pun intended) only seeing the opening shots in our slip into the abyss. Rome was not built in a day, nor did she die overnight.

Semper Fidelis,
Brian C. Hartman


Editor’s Note
Brian Hartman is the Chief Instructor/Curriculum Developer for Progressive F.O.R.C.E. Concepts and Progressive F.O.R.C.E. CrossFit, he specializes in the carbine, special operations tactics, both international and domestic executive protection operations as well as tactical fitness.

This entry was posted in Articles, Editorials and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Steve
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Great, Great article……if only everyone in America could read it

  2. Thomas Baynes
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Brian – outstanding article and extremely well written. Straight to he point that no politician or special interest group wants to hear as they are accustomed to “shifting” the responsibility and accountability they are sworn to uphold and protect, and would rather “sweep it uder the rug” and hope it goes away than commit to any real corrective action. I fully respect your views and ideas, and wish that others would come to see it with the clarity in which you have stated it.!! Excellent article Brian, absolutely excellent.!!

  3. mike
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Wow great writing. So many good points

  4. Clint Brown
    Posted January 2, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Best article I have read from either side of the argument. I am going to be sending this to my congressmen (both red and blue), There is no monopoly on ‘right’ – if there were problem would be solved by now.

  5. Bobby
    Posted January 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I need you to run for president. I have not heard common sense logic like this in years.

  6. Michael
    Posted January 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    You make several good points, but I take exception to a few.

    “We all know somebody that we think isn’t fit to drive a car. Why safety, training, awareness and certification is not mandatory for firearms I don’t know and I will never understand.”

    So, with this thought you believe that mandatory training, registration and licensing will help curb gun violence? Accidental firearm related deaths? In your first sentence you bring up an individual we’re all too familiar with – the person unfit to drive. Those same people were able to pass the state administered drivers test and get a license. I fail to see how mandatory licensing/testing would work for firearms where it has failed for vehicles.

    And next, onto year long waiting periods and $1000 fees. Would those help? I’m pretty sure they’re about as effective as the AWB of ’94 at curbing gun violence (which is to say, not at all effective). So why have them? To appease the pro gun-control lobby? To slap more regulations onto law abiding citizens that don’t do anything?

    Your suggestion that a national registry of firearms would be OK since there are lots of people that ignorantly post their details on the internet? I’d take great offense to that, and I take great strides to make sure certain information NEVER winds up online.

    Like I said, I like most of your points, but it seems like you’re pandering to both sides without really offering any solutions. Perhaps this was just a rant post, in which case, that’s fine, more power to you. But when you say you don’t mind small intrusions (because you see the forest among all the trees), while ending your article with “Rome…did not die overnight”, I think there’s a logical disconnect. Death by a thousand papercuts will be how our gun rights go.

  7. Dick
    Posted January 4, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Did you expect gun owners to read all that?
    mhhhhaaa haaa!!

  8. Clint Brown
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Good article on the psychotic medications that many of the perpetrators of mass shootings are taking
    Perhaps a first step at licensing would be if you are or have taken anti-psychotic medications you can’t own a weapon with a box style magazine. Certainly not a $1000 bill here.

  9. Bob
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    This gun owner did, and found it to be an excellent description of what is happening to this country.