I got up this morning, strapped on an LED headlamp so I could see, fired up the camp stove in the backyard, boiled a pot of water and made some delicious French Press coffee.
As I sat one the sofa of our darkened living room to read the paper, I realized just how lucky I was to only be without power.
I am so thankful I live in a free society, especially when danger looms and there’s a potential for the system to break down.
My wife and I along with our dog rode out Hurricane Irma in my newspaper’s old building, which is now occupied by SNN-TV. It’s a Category 3-rated structure. Irma hit us Sunday as a weak Category 1 storm.
The TV folks were gracious hosts. Our small contingent from the Herald-Tribune had power and internet access throughout the storm, so we could write, edit and put out the paper.
Fortunately, Irma had degraded before arrival.
Some wind shear and other meteorological phenomenon cut the ass off the hurricane, weakening the storm. This saved Sarasota, but the weather events occurred far too late to save the Florida Keys, Naples and communities throughout the Caribbean.
We were more than ready for whatever Irma brought, and for her aftermath, which can be the really worrisome part of a hurricane.
Hunger, thirst and oppressive heat can bring out the worst in some folks.
Right now there are media accounts coming out of the Caribbean island of St. Martin that are truly apocolyptic.
St. Martin, like almost every island in the Leeward Chain, bans private firearm ownership.
As a result, and right now, there are gangs of machete-wielding thugs kicking in doors on the northern, French side of the island, looking for foodstuffs and potable water.
The local populace has no means to defend themselves from this Lord-of-the-Flies-type assault.
We all know a disarmed populace is ripe for abuse by thugs and by a tyrannical government.
Irma showed us the latter too.
Just days prior to the hurricane’s arrival, U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp tried to use the storm to confiscate guns from residents, until the word got out about his shenanigans. NRA threatened to sue, and Mapp quickly backpedaled, saying his authorization to confiscate privately-owned firearms didn’t constitute authorization to confiscate privately-owned firearms. The National Guardsmen he empowered with his order were only going to buy guns, right?
To date, the VI National Guard have not seized anyone’s guns.
I’ve always viewed self-defense as something far beyond a right or privilege. It’s more primal than that, more basic than anything codified in a statute or document.
I give thanks every single day I live in a society that respects this — at least for now — and allows me to possess the tools best suited for self defense.
For me, Hurricane Irma and the chaos she left in her wake served as a strong reminder that I will do anything I can — whatever it takes — to stop any infringement upon my ability to defend myself and my family.
Irma may have taken my electricity, albeit temporarily, but she renewed and reinvigorated my efforts.