Boots & Sabers

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0820, 19 Aug 20

Profound societal shifts are underway

Here is my column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday.

Last week I took a mind to head to the pistol range for some practice. After a quick assessment of my current inventory of ammunition, it was clear that I had let it dwindle to the point of needing replenishment. I headed to the store to stock up only to find the shelves stripped bare. All told, I went to five stores that day for ammunition. One store had five boxes that had just arrived but would only sell two of them to me. The fifth store would sell me more, but it cost me almost twice the normal price. Clearly, something is going on.

Earlier this year, a friend approached me about advice on a weapon to carry concealed. A quick search of the internet will find very strong and contradictory opinions on this topic and I certainly have my own thoughts after carrying a weapon for the majority of my adult life. My friend had used a gun before but did not currently own one. However, with the civil unrest, defunding of law enforcement, and general anarchy roiling our nation, my friend thought it was time strengthen his defensive posture for himself and his family.

My friend is not alone. I also sat in a class for concealed carry holders this month and it was packed. One older lady in the class had taken her first handgun class the week prior. A middle- aged couple had long guns already, but had decided to get their licenses to carry concealed. According to the instructor, he has never been so busy as the past few months. The statistics about the incredible rise in gun ownership have been on display for months and much of it is being driven by people who are buying their first gun for the purpose of defending themselves. They have lost confidence in our government to maintain order.

2020 is proving to be a fulcrum year where events are shifting our society and culture in ways yet unknown. The swiftness with which our government stripped us of our rights in an overreaction to a public health concern at the same time that fascist mobs are given license to maraud by the very same government has shocked the sensibilities of many Americans and undermined some of the principles that have cemented our nation’s foundation since its inception. As our society shifts, it will be seen in what people do — not what they say. One thing they are doing is buying a lot of guns.

Another thing that many more people are doing is moving out of cities to more suburban and rural areas. This movement would be a reversal of recent migration patterns. The reasons are myriad. Coronavirus has made some people realize that urban living is a perfect environment for the spread of diseases at the same time that the widespread closures of cultural attractions has diminished the allure of city living. When one combines that with the increase in violence and crime that many cities are suffering, it is easy to see why a young family might choose to look elsewhere to raise their children.

Another enabler of city flight is the move to virtual work. Coronavirus shoved many workers from their offices into their homes. The shock of that movement is over, and many businesses are finding that remote workers are just as productive without the need of providing a large office complex or amenities. Furthermore, virtual workers reduce the potential liability and disruption of a disease outbreak. Right now, many businesses are having to shut down their offices if a single employee tests positive for COVID-19. That is not a risk with virtual employees.

Helpfully for the businesses, many workers found that they enjoyed, or could tolerate, working virtually even if they had not previously thought so. REI has already decided to abandon its eight acre office campus in Washington state in favor of smaller offices and a much larger remote workforce. In Wisconsin, Epic Systems faced an employee revolt when they attempted to force workers back to their desks in Epic’s massive office. Northwestern Mutual’s brand new office tower in downtown Milwaukee sits almost empty and may never reach capacity. The trend of large office campuses and towers is being supplanted by home offices and virtual backgrounds. This trend also makes it economical for knowledge workers to seek communities with a bit more elbow room and less crime.

Societal shifts take years to unfold. The decision to buy a gun can be done quickly, but moving one’s family to a new community may take months or years. As 2020 has shown us, our society can shift very quickly, but America in 2025 looks like it is going to be more suburban, more virtual, and abundantly armed.


0820, 19 August 2020


  1. Merlin

    If you’re not thrilled with the left leaning politics the fleeing urban dwellers have already brought to your sleepy little ‘burbs, you might want to rethink the benefits of that urban flight. They tend to bring that baggage with them.

  2. Mar

    Merlin, you are correct. In Arizona, we have been overrun by people fleeing Communist California in the past few years and many are bringing their moderate to liberal beliefs with them. There is a good possibility that Arizona might flip and Biden wins the state because of this.

  3. Mar

    Another night and the Democrats still refuse to condemn the violence and racism by Black Lives Don’t Matter and Antifa.
    How pathetic.

  4. Merlin

    What thug army? Wink, wink.

  5. Pat

    Anyone here donate money to the go fund me scam to build the wall?

  6. Le Roi du Nord

    I’m sure Bannon will get a pardon.

  7. Jason

    If he is found guilty in a trial then I hope not. If he does it will be just like past presidents actions.

  8. Mar

    If Bannon was railroaded like General Flynn, then he deserves a pardon.
    If he is guilty,have a nice time in prison.

  9. Pat

    No one wants to answer if anyone here donated money to the go fund me scam to build the wall?

  10. Jason

    Or maybe no one did?

  11. Le Roi du Nord


    I’ve asked several times in the past and you never answered; If flynn is so innocent, why did he plead guilty twice?

  12. Pat

    Or maybe they are afraid to answer for themselves.

  13. Jason

    Does it matter?

  14. Pat


  15. Jason

    Ok Pat.  Good to know it matters.

  16. dad29

    Reports I get are that the ammo shortage is terrible all over the country, and guns aren’t any better.  You’re not likely to obtain the gun you want–carry or no–and ammo?  Maybe next year.

  17. Owen

    This is most certainly true.

  18. Mar

    And Le Roi, I have answered you several times.
    But unlike you, I will answer again.
    Flynn pled guilty because he was broke and could no longer hire a lawyer.
    His lawyers were not that good as well and they didn’t dig deep enough, unlike his present attorneys.
    The government did not turn over all the evidence they had but were supposed to.
    Then the government threatened to after his son.
    He was facing minimal, if any jail time, so he just wanted it to end the case.

  19. dad29

    His lawyers were not that good as well and they didn’t dig deep enough,

    Or his lawyers were in on the scheme.  Covington Burling is deeper than termites in D.C. and Flynn was feared/despised by all the Establishment Players.

  20. Le Roi du Nord

    And mar, you are just as wrong now as you were before.

  21. Mar

    “And mar, you are just as wrong now as you were before”
    Show me where I am wrong, then Le Roi.

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