Whether in the woods or at the gun store,
don't be ruled by your fears.
It's amazing what fear can do to a person, or people, or to a society or even a given group of persons. The problem is, there are many special-interest groups out there that try to control you and me using fear.
There is a tried-and-true saying that I learned many years ago in the field of marketing a product. It says that if you tell someone something over and over and over, no matter how ludicrous or ridiculous it may be, they will come to believe it.
That also applies to the concept of instilling fear in someone: If you put the idea of fear into them and keep reinforcing it time and again, they will come to believe and accept what you say is to be feared.
As you know by now, I work in a gun store. Many hikers come in looking for a handgun to buy for the reason that they have been told that they should be afraid of bears and they need a gun to protect themselves. Most have never owned a gun of any sort before.
While bear attack might be a possibility in a remote instance, it is not a given when out in the woods. The exception might be a mama bear in the spring that has youngsters, but even then the possibility of attack is quite low. I know firsthand because I'm out in the woods virtually every spring for days on end hunting turkeys, and while I have come quite close to bears, none has attacked me.
I well remember the first bear that I ever came upon; it was springtime in Pennsylvania and I was on a bike. I came into a clearing on a two-track and there stood a large bear not 30 yards away. It had its back to me and was standing tall on its hind legs and feeding on a bush.
I stood there for several minutes both thrilled and scared to death at his presence, when it turned and saw me for the first time. I'll never forget the look on its face: Its eyes got big as saucers, then it turned and ran straight away like a huge bowling ball knocking over anything in its path!
Since then I've had many close encounters with Br'er Bruin and for the most part, their reaction is always the same: run, run, run!
I say for the most part, because there was one exception. A somewhat smaller bear of around 200 pounds was turning over rocks looking for dinner when I came upon him at a very close range of 30 yards or so.
We both stared at each other, and I'll never forget those small, hard, beady eyes as they peered back at me. He didn't move for what seemed like an eternity. After a while, he finally just turned and ignored me, going back to turning rocks over. But I still remember those eyes seeming to say, "I'm not in the least bit afraid of you!"
I do carry a gun on my person because of that bear and other isolated incidences — not out of fear but out of being prepared for anything.
People who think they need a gun for "bear medicine" out of fear, because someone else told them that's the case, need first to learn gun safety and know-how and develop confidence in their ability to use a firearm in a panic situation. For the most part, I think these novices would be better served with a can of powerful, bear-strength pepper spray!
Fear is beginning to be seen in another way in our society and it began to surface in late February: The guns and ammo distributors are predicting that guns and ammunition and reloading components for ammo will soon be in short supply and will stay that way for the coming year or more.
The reason? Both men and woman gun buyers are afraid of Obama being re-elected! They have begun to panic-buy guns and ammo. Already we at the store are having trouble buying certain semi-automatic rifles and almost any kind of a handgun. There is already a shortage. (That's not to say that many of these buyers have much confidence in a moderate Romney not doing the same to them if he were to be elected.)
I am not saying their fears are justified in thinking that Obama will do something; I am saying that their perspective is that he will do something. That is what panic buying is all about. They cannot base their attitude on recent history, because Obama hasn't done much in the way of gun control. But they fear that as a lame-duck president he will use executive powers to bring about gun control. Certain politicians and news stations and lobbyist groups have promoted and instilled that fear into the public, because they know that fear controls the masses!
Of course, they aren't the only ones doing this. On the other side of the aisle are news stations and politicians and special-interest groups promoting the idea that if all the citizens are armed, then there will be mass violence and killings of the innocent.
FBI statistics clearly show that is not the case, that just the opposite is true, but people have been fed the propaganda so long that it is believed, too. Fear controls!
As an aside, I just watched a new reality show and I was incredulous. It is about the growing movement by the public to build underground bunkers for fear that a cataclysm is soon coming. These folks are stocking them full with food and water for three to six months. Many of these bunkers are as big as my house and have all the furnishings. Why? Because many believe that we as a country are on the verge of anarchy.
And while there may be a whole lot of truth in this theory, what good will being afraid do? Six months later, when these "bunkerers" emerge, will anything be any better? I seriously doubt it.
I hearken back to 1999. Remember when the fearmongers were telling us that the world economy would collapse in 2000? I bought into it, too. People were panic-buying then, storing up food, water and generators. Hmmmm, I wonder what happened to all of those things? I wonder who it was that started all of that fearmongering?
I do prepare for the unexpected, especially in the outdoors. I have drawn my gun more than once for protection, but I don't believe the boogie man/critter is around every bush. I refuse to allow fear to rule me; if I did, I wouldn't go anywhere or do much of anything.
A fearful "what-if" attitude is surely not a good quality for a person to have. That will only keep you indoors and hiding under the bed.
As for myself, I prefer to follow the adage given in the Good Book in Matthew, chapter 6, where Christ admonishes us to not worry about tomorrow, but to trust God to supply and care for me. You may scoff at me if you like, but I will put all of my eggs in that one basket. After all, the Almighty has done a pretty good job of it for these 67 years!
And if a rogue critter does happen my way? Well, I'll probably just, as a last resort, pull my old hogleg and give him some lead medicine to cure his errant ways!
Keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may The Forever God bless you, too!