Enemies among us. Who are they? It is easier to say who they are not. 

They are not your friends or allies. They don't look different than you. They don't wear uniforms. They are not harmless but are armed and mean to do you harm. They don't take prisoners. They don't care about you. They are not interested in a 'fair fight'. If you don't give them what they want, they may kill you. They may kill you even if you do.

One thing they all have in common is the determination to make you do what they want. Give up your money. Hand over your possessions. Surrender yourself, and perhaps your loved ones, to their pleasures. Provide them with their brand of twisted entertainment. Suffer. Die. Their reasons are many, but their intent is the same. Conform to their demands or suffer the consequences.

Broad generalizations sweep these people into certain identifiable categories: criminals, psychologically ruined psychopaths, religious zealots, and political hardliners are a few of the more obvious ones. We know they are out there among us, but we have no way of recognizing them unless they commit a dangerous act. By then, it is often too late for the victims to take measures to protect themselves.

Mr. Two Time Loser with that meth monkey on his back needs more drugs. Drugs cost money. He walks into a neighborhood convenience store, pulls the pistol he stole from his last burglary and demands money from the clerk. He gets some, but not as much as he feels he is entitled to so he herds the clerk and the customers into the back room intending to take what money they have on them, but panics and begins shooting.

The situation is that only the criminal is armed. The police are unaware of what's going down, being involved with their regular duties, and perhaps dealing with other criminals who have committed various crimes. They can't be everywhere. You have to call them for help. What can the potential victims do?

They can do anything but act like lambs at the slaughter. Rush the shooter. Throw things. Act like a group of angry people who won't go quietly into that good night. The odds are that someone is going to be hurt. However, if no one does anything to stop the shooter, everyone is going to get hurt, or worse. There appears to be a kind of herd mentality in these incidents where a jerk with a gun can be instantly obeyed by a group of people who stand a very good chance of successfully opposing him. But, no one wants to fight back.

The situation changes if someone in the group is armed. By deciding to carry a gun that person has made the commitment to not stand idly by in fear if confronted by a deadly threat. Now, the criminal and the group are on an even keel. One of our potential victims pulls her legal pistol from her purse and opens fire on the bad guy. What happens?

In the vast majority of situations like this, the bad guy, or guys, run. They do not like to be shot at. They panic when their lives are in danger. They run. Even if they don't, in the rare cases when they chose to stand and fight, the potential victims are energized enough to either defend themselves or to flee and seek shelter.

Another scenario which today is becoming increasingly possible and is more deadly than the violent criminal encounter happens when the enemy is motivated not by money or personal animosity, but from an imperative to force his ideology on everyone else. During the last century these ideologues were motivated by political and national systems like Nazism and Communism. They were quite clear in their aims, declaring war on their enemies and wearing uniforms to openly identify themselves. But, that was old school. Today, the ideologues we have to worry most about are motivated by religion, don't wear uniforms and are quite willing to kill as many unbelievers as necessary to force their way of life and religious laws on the rest of the world.

America has been fortunate to have suffered only a few attacks from the religious extremists, but we can certainly expect more, along with the rest of the civilized world, as they push out among us and convert more of our gullible and disaffected citizens to their jihad.

I don't intend to get bogged down in the debate about whether Islam is a religion of peace or not. I think it is obvious that many of Islam's most fundamental adherents are the jihadists that inflict and promote violence in the name of Islam around the world. There is no need to rationalize about poverty or political issues, just listen to what they say about why they do what they do.

These people are the enemy, just as the meth addict with a gun is the enemy, or the home invader from across town, or the road-rage psycho who wants to kill you for driving too slowly is the enemy.

The only question one has to answer is what to personally do about this. There are a limited number of choices.

You can do nothing and just go on with your life as if there are no enemies about and plan for your future as if it was going to be a peaceful extension of your present.

You can keep your cell phone charged so you can dial 911 if the worst happens and you need help and protection from evil.

You can get in shape and take your pick of martial arts classes to increase your defensive capabilities.

You can be fatalistic and convince yourself that it will never happen to you, but only to someone else.

You can make sure your will is up to date. 

You can do all of these things and you can also arm your self and get the necessary training to better protect yourself and others should it come to that.

The anti-gun people will readily buy into many of those steps but the last one. And, for them, that is their choice. However, they do not get to prohibit me from legally owning and carrying a gun just because they don't chose to prepare meet the enemy. 

That is their choice. They don't get to chose for me.