...and we can prove it! This in today's WSJ OpinionJournal from Arthur C. Brooks, author of the just-published book "Gross National Happiness:"
Who are all these gun owners? Are they the uneducated poor, left behind? It turns out they have the same level of formal education as nongun owners, on average. Furthermore, they earn 32% more per year than nonowners. Americans with guns are neither a small nor downtrodden group.Self-reliance? What a novel idea, especially on today, Patriots Day. I am reminded of a woman jogger I knew back in Florida, who one day went out and bought a big honking dog about the size of an old Volkswagen Beetle. She took this monster jogging with her every morning, and one day at lunch she said to me, "I finally know how it must feel to be a man...free from this nagging fear!" I told her a J-frame would have accomplished the same thing, been cheaper to feed and, as a bonus, cut down on the World Poop Accumulation.
Nor are they "bitter." In 2006, 36% of gun owners said they were "very happy," while 9% were "not too happy." Meanwhile, only 30% of people without guns were very happy, and 16% were not too happy.
In 1996, gun owners spent about 15% less of their time than nonowners feeling "outraged at something somebody had done." It's easy enough in certain precincts to caricature armed Americans as an angry and miserable fringe group. But it just isn't true. The data say that the people in the approximately 40 million American households with guns are generally happier than those people in households that don't have guns.
The gun-owning happiness gap exists on both sides of the political aisle. Gun-owning Republicans are more likely than nonowning Republicans to be very happy (46% to 37%). Democrats with guns are slightly likelier than Democrats without guns to be very happy as well (32% to 29%). Similarly, holding income constant, one still finds that gun owners are happiest.
Why are gun owners so happy? One plausible reason is a sense of self-reliance, in terms of self-defense or even in terms of the ability to hunt their own dinner.
And speaking of books, I've been off-and-on reading my friend John Taffin's "Gun Digest Book of the .44," which is, as always the case with Taffin books, thoroughly enjoyable. As I've said many times, the .44 Special/.44 Magnum are the most versatile cartridges on earth, suitable for everything from ground squirrels to velociraptors. The only problem with the book is that I see things I want really badly, and I'm trying to keep the custom gun urge under control.
Mostly now I'm refining guns I'm using. For example, the slide of the ParaUSA Carry 9 I've been "auditioning" as my next concealed carry gun, just went to Dave Biggars at XS Sights — you saw him recently on SHOOTING GALLERY — for his Big Dot Tritium/White Stripe Rear treatment. Great sight system for a carry gun and more accurate than you might think at distance. BTW, if you go to that Para link, you can see me shooting a Carry 9...a big thrill, to be sure...
I've still got to address the holster issue for the Carry 9. I've been carrying it around in whatever fits from the Giant Holster Box in the Basement, never the best option. I've got queries out to Hoffman, Lou Alessi, Blade-Tech and Ted Blocker.
I did have a WONDERFUL package come in this week...from my friend Ritch Rand, author of "The Cowboy Hat Book," at Rand's Custom Hats. As you guys know, I have this Big Jones for cowboy hats and boots...I look and look and look, but I never actually buy anything. This drives my Sweetie just plain bonkers (heck, it even drives some blog readers bonkers...I periodically get email to the effect of, "JUST BUY THE DAMN HAT AND/OR BOOTS, FOR GOD"S SAKE!"). Heck, I'm a cowboy shooter, so I even have an excuse. Ritch, who builds cowboy hats for the rich and famous, has been after me to upgrade in the hat department since he noted — rather tactfully, actually — that my off-the-rack cowboy hat, well, sucked.
So in a moment of weakness, I ordered not one, but TWO hats from Rand's, a Tom Horn style 10X beaver in charcoal gray (left), and a great looking Sporting Clays (can't shoot 'em worth a damn, but, hey, style counts!) in a natural cream color, below (in gray).
I got a twisted horsehair hand on the Tom Horn, sort of the classic, with a stampede strap. The Sporting Clays come withs a pheasant feather, which I think makes me look rather dashing...or stupid, depending on your frame of reference.
Anyhow, the superb quality of Ritch's hats just shines through...the difference between an off-the-rack hat, even a good off the rack hat like the Serratelli Broken Bow I got from Tonto Rim Trading years ago as part of a COWBOYS first season show, and a custom hat is amazing. I'm still 100% faux cowboy — ALL HAT; NO COWS — but definitely higher quality in the hat department. Thanks, Ritch!
And YES...I did the right thing and IMMEDIATELY ordered my Sweetie the Rand hat of her choice...A Quigley II in basic black...sigh...women are so conservative!
Darn! Now I've got to address that BOOT ISSUE...that should be good for about two more years of fretting!
BTW, as long as we're on fashion, there's a thread on DOWN RANGE suggesting that this jersey from Primalwear would be the ultimate bicycling togs for Yours Truly...I'm thinking they're right:
Doesn't go with the cowboy hats, though...well, maybe...