I don’t think anyone decides “Hey, when I grow up, I’m going to be a felon.” At age 6, I wanted to be an astronaut. But I went wrong somewhere. Can’t pin it on my upbringing: sure, we moved around a lot, since my father was a career NCO in the Air Force. But I stayed out of trouble and only have three months experience with drugs, back one summer almost 30 years ago. After high school, I spent eight years in the Coast Guard. In the years since, I completed college. I became a member of a Union. Married, with 3 adult children. Own my own home, and worked my way up from a two-week temporary to department supervisor with my last employer, where I worked for 13 years.
So where did I go off the rails? Sadly, in the Coast Guard, which is where I was first exposed to the pernicious influences that would conspire to ruin my life: Firearms. Yes, the real evil. I’d never handled them before, and to my amazement, they were not the magical thundersticks of doom that legend (and Hollywood) made them out to be. Firing a shotgun didn’t knock me off my feet, nor did emptying the magazine of a .45 semi-automatic pistol stagger me backwards. Turns out weapons were tools, with rules for safe operation just like you’d have with a power saw. Follow the rules, use them correctly, and no one gets hurt.
Then there was my attitude. I started out with good intentions. I thought, ‘What can it hurt to think the Constitution means what it says?’ Obviously, that sentiment is the product of a disordered mind. It was my unbalanced mental state that led me to my current life of crime.
In my ego and arrogance, I decided (blushing at my megalomania as I write this now) that the Second Amendment meant that my right to own firearms must not be infringed.
And so began my downfall. Because in the Great State of California, exercising my Second Amendment Rights makes me a criminal. I don’t want to shock anyone, but having a gun magazine with a capacity of more than ten b—–s makes me what I am. A Criminal, a felon, a law-breaker, someone who should be shunned by all decent society.
It’s not all gloom in the Golden State. While I wrestle with my fall from grace, I’m encouraged to note what Governor Brown and the Democrats who run the State House are doing to free some of my fellow criminals from the unfair shackles society has placed upon them. How, one may ask. With a sweep of his pen, Jerry Brown told illegal aliens in California, “Now you can get a driver’s license.” What a magnanimanous gesture. He threw open his metaphoric arms to these criminals (who have broken both Federal and State laws to be here among us), and said, “Your law-breaking is forgiven, as long as you don’t possess a magazine for your Glock with more than a nine b—-t capacity.”
The first step to getting well is admitting you need help, and, thus, my declaration of guilt. I mean, yeah, I’ve never actually been in jail or prison. I pay my taxes and have a mortgage; none of my kids have ever come to the attention of law enforcement and two of them are in college at this moment. But according to the State of California, I’m a dangerous felon who needs to be put away…while my taxes help pay for driver’s licenses for people who broke the law to get to the Golden State.
I am heartily ashamed that I’ve let down my family, my friends, and especially my beneficent State Government by my descent into such egregious law-breaking behavior. If my confession helps just one person, then it will be worth it. Like my fellow law-breakers, the illegal aliens, I, too, look forward to the day I will no longer be a criminal. Hey, maybe I could get an illegal alien who is also a lawyer to help me with my appeal.
(originally published in The Brenner Brief, October 18, 2013)
Copyright 2013 by Roy M. Griffis