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Dispatches from gun country: ‘Rights are like muscles: you lose them if you don’t exercise them.’

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Ryan Dean photographed in West Paris, Maine sporting his Bushmaster Carbon 15 M4 Generation 2 with bipod, Mag Well grip, Tac Light, 4×32 sniper scope. His sidearm is a Para Ordnance GI 45 1911. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Ryan Dean exercises his constitutional rights as much and as often as possible. He drives his 2000 Jeep Cherokee that he custom camo painted himself with rattle cans and pizza boxes from which he cut stencils.

Growing up in a small Maine town, guns were ever present, at home and abroad. A community and family filled with shooters, sportsmen and hunters it was the norm and I never thought twice seeing rifles and shotguns in trucks or over the shoulder of someone walking the road. And it certainly never raised suspicion seeing a group of armed men outside any local store.

As a boy I was always fascinated with guns. I was curious of their power and purpose. I started shooting as many American youth – with BB guns and .22’s. All of my thanks needs to be given to my father for teaching me everything I needed to know and more, especially to respect firearms and their potential lethality. They are tools, not toys.

I always knew my rights and now exercise them daily but I never knew the real importance of my rights and protecting those rights until I became a parent. Much like my father did for my brother and I, I will pass on my knowledge, passion, views and beliefs to my daughters, defending The Second Amendment and educating everyone I can along the way. I firmly believe that the number one killer of our so-called inalienable rights is lack of education.

We have a massive society of people that let their rights be eroded from beneath them because they don’t know any better. They think, ‘Well the government says so, so it’s got to be OK.’

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG!!!!! In essence what The Second Amendment means to me is the ultimate path to freedom, an ideal held in high regard by our forefathers that we must not let slip away. Your rights are like muscles: you lose them if you don’t exercise them.

Read more perspectives on America’s gun culture in Ben Philippi’s book “We The People.”



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8 Comments

  1. Looks, I have a couple well tricked out 9mm semi-automatics and nobody is trying to take them away from me. I’m a great shot and I know my way around all kinds of firearms and ordinance. Honestly, this guy looks like a total loser w/some serious social integration issues. Why doesn’t he just join the Marines? Spoiler alert – we are not actually at war and any private citizen wandering around in full camo & armor like this needs his head examined. I doubt he could arm wrestle me let alone fight a terrorist. Anyway, he’s more likely to die in a car accident. This is just over the top for my liking and I am pro 2A, so don’t even go there. I just have a hard time with juveniles & Boy Scout dress ups queens like this who think CONTRIBUTING something to our society means being GI Joe for their peace-loving’ neighbors. ’nuff said,

    1. Well Paul I did not see anywhere in the story that he walks around dressed as he is in the picture, all it states is that he “Exercises his 2A rights as often as possible”. He was most likely sked to dress up for the photo and gear up to look the part of most all of us 2A folks do during hunting and other gun related activities like target practice, shooting competitions etc. Wearing camo does not make you a nut case, so please do not judge folks by what they wear or what they drive. It is people like you who are so arrogant and self aggrandizing or self important that make it difficult to get gun owners and gun rights accepted by the ANTI- GUN nuts. If we are to keep our rights and be respected by all, we need to respect each other and all who follow the rules and are responsible gun owners or we are destined to crumble if they actually try to take away our rights! So try and keep your childish and immaturity in check, grown ups don’t call people who like to wear camo “Boy Scout dress up queens”

  2. Mister Malloy, You say you are a strong supporter of the 2 amendment. What about the 1st amendment? You may need to look it up and read it. I Thank You for your opinion. Thanks. The old lineman

  3. I wear camo, usually not head to toe, and/or a field jacket. So since I don’t wear a single lettered embroidered clothing line does that make me less in your eyes too. I am a Vet and what I wear is my business as much as what firearms I choose to own. I refuse to waste my money on what popular culture says I need to wear to be popular, especially when I can spend less on my whole ensemble then what alot of people spend on a pair of designer jeans.

  4. I personally don’t believe it’s anyone’s business what guns I own or how I use them or wear them!
    I don’t believe in flaunting weapons just to make a point, unless needed to thwart criminal activity!
    The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution is very explicit and the founders have defined those explicit words in detail in the Federalist Papers!
    The Right to KEEP (have, hold, posses) and BEAR (carry, posses, hold) ARMS (guns, knives, swords, weapons) SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!
    What more needs to be said!

  5. I agree 100% with this man’s mindset-but, personally I don’t flaunt my assets unless needed. I believe it is better to skate under the radar and always be ready at a moments notice to defend our Country, Constitution, family and home. I have my gear and “Go bag” or “Bug out bag” ready for a QUICK response if needed. Our rights and training are both at a “Use it, or lose it!” status all the time. I too, have a 4×4 Jeep ready at a moments notice if needed for tactical use and emergency response. “IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE READY AND PREPARED TO USE YOUR GEAR AND NOT NEED IT, THAN IT IS TO BE UNPREPARED, NOT READY, AND NEED IT!”
    GO BLESS THE UNITED STATES……MOLON LABE!

  6. I totally agree with Patriot Vet. It is the the duty of anyone who ever took the Oath to defend the Constitution, to be prepared. I took that oath twice. I don’t have any pictures of myself dressed up for combat, however, why should that bother anyone who does?

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