I’m typing this column in our barnyard. Five feet away is a calf nursing from his mother. A dozen other cows are lying around, chewing their cud or snacking from the feedboxes. Nearby, chickens are pecking at some kitchen scraps. The June temperatures are warm.

For us, our rural farm is a pleasant and peaceful place to be. But remote as we are, vigilance is still necessary.

Last fall, a similarly peaceful interlude was marred by a neighbor’s phone call. Apparently, an armed and dangerous fugitive was on the loose within 2 miles of us. For five days, until the police found him, every waking hour was spent with my revolver (a sweet little Rossi .38) strapped on. My husband also was armed.

Our neighbor’s call reminded us the world can be a dangerous place. We enjoy the peaceful moments, the joys of home, the fruits of our labors … but there’s always someone out there willing and able to shatter the tranquility and steal our peace of mind.

Of course, this was horrifically brought to national attention on June 12 with the brutal massacre at a nightclub in Orlando. As details emerged from the carnage, the story got uglier and more complicated, with levels involving the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and even the State Department. Whatever my thoughts about the homosexual lifestyle, the fact remains that the people in the nightclub were minding their own business when their world came crashing down.

Hard on the heels of this tragedy came other horrible stories. One I found particularly disturbing is that Iran is trying to convert people in South and Central America to Islam. The thought of violent newly converted jihadists pouring over our open southern border should be enough to give even the most ardent diversity-driven liberals pause.

Dear God, is there nowhere on this beautiful planet where those of us who long for peace can find it?

Most of us just want to live quiet unassuming lives, minding our own business, working at our jobs, raising our children. We don’t want to be pawns in the hands of power-mad politicians or violent jihadists (these two groups often have the same effect). We – just – want – to – be – left – alone.

I remember last Independence Day we were invited by some friends to attend a fireworks display at a venue half an hour’s drive away. We’ve attended these before, and they’re impressive and awe-inspiring. But it also means we’re packed cheek-by-jowl with thousands of other people. Recently, security has increased to the point where entering the venue takes a long time. We declined the invitation.

Mass gatherings are increasingly becoming studies in crowd control since they’re obvious targets for terrorism. Now, instead of enjoying an evening with your friends at a concert or sporting event, you are stripped of any possible means of defense (forget concealed carry!), your face and person is photographed and run through facial recognition software, and your safety is turned over to those in authority. It doesn’t always work, as the nightclub massacre most recently demonstrated.

Look at some of the “inside” photos of, say, a Superbowl game. High above the stadium is a special box with snipers, armed with weapons that would look at home on the Death Star from “Star Wars.” (Click this link to see what I mean.) These weapons have scopes so powerful the snipers can see individual faces from a half mile away. These men can, literally, shoot any single person in that entire stadium in case of trouble.

I dunno, does that make you feel warm, fuzzy and protected when you attend a ball game? If it does, kudos. Personally, it creeps me out.

Of course no one is allowed into a stadium to begin with until they’ve been virtually strip-searched: pat-downs, metal detectors, facial-recognition software and full-body scans. All to watch a football game, for heaven’s sake. A quintessential all-America pastime.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand the need for these security measures. I just don’t like putting myself in a position where I’m deprived of my own brand of personal security and must depend on others to protect me. That’s why I avoid mass gatherings whenever possible.

More and more, my husband and I are inclined to stay home. Occasionally, we face danger on our private property (as our neighbor’s alert will attest), but statistically speaking there are far more threats in the outside world – which is why my cross-state concealed carry permit is so valuable. I never leave home without “it.”

A statement attributed to St. Augustine goes as follows: “The rich man is anxious with fears, pining with discontent, burning with covetousness, never secure, always uneasy, panting from the perpetual strife of his enemies, adding to his patrimony indeed by these miseries to an immense degree, and by these additions also heaping up most bitter cares. But that other man of moderate wealth is contented with a small and compact estate, most dear to his own family, enjoying the sweetest peace with his kindred neighbors and friends, in piety religious, benignant in mind, healthy in body, in life frugal, in manners chaste, in conscience secure. I know not whether anyone can be such a fool, that he dare hesitate which to prefer.”

We are not rich, so we prefer to enjoy the peaceful existence of those of “moderate wealth.” But it is the greedy, covetous people, or the violent jihad-loving people, or the power-mad political people, who make the rest of us peace-loving types miserable, enslaved, or dead.

Whatever excuses are used to justify extreme security measures – biometrics, microchipping, cashless society, facial recognition software, warrantless communication monitoring and a zillion other examples – the end result is one thing: control. Government control of ordinary peaceful citizens who just want to go about their ordinary lives without risks and threats.

The horror in Orlando swiftly shifted away from blaming the perpetrator’s obvious agenda to blaming pieces of inert metal collectively called “firearms.” But people aren’t stupid. Firearm sales instantly skyrocketed, as they’ve done each and every time politicians bleat for more gun control. (There’s that bothersome word again: control.)

Until the day comes when I’m “controlled” into submission, I prefer to restrict my activities whenever possible to places where my little “friend” is welcome.

In other words, don’t leave home without “it” – or it could be the last thing you ever do.

Media wishing to interview Patrice Lewis, please contact [email protected].

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