Suffice to say, I owe Kim a mountain of gratitude for all he's done to turn this country back into a Nation of Riflemen. His was one of the first blogs I started reading on a daily basis back when I first discovered these things called blogs.
Where to begin...
I had lived most of my adult life, up until that time, as a happy-go-lucky, sign-waving, Bill Clinton cheerleader and registered Democrat in Massachusetts. Yes, I actually carried a sign at Bill Clinton's big Quincy Market rally back in '92. And, yes, much like the ones being carried by today's Obamapostles, my sign had "CHANGE" written in big letters (posterboard and Sharpies, courtesy of the Big Dig office supply room).
The peak of my naivety (which coincidentally occurred at the same time as my peak alcohol consumption) was the fall of 1988, when I had my Dukakis/Bentsen sign tacked up proudly on the wall of my dorm room.
But, even as recently as June of 2001, on a trip to Washington DC, I was thinking how cool it would be if we had bumped into Ted Kennedy and got the chance to shake his hand (though, I'd still like a face-to-face with the Senator, but not for hand-shaking purposes).
Then, a few months later, a bunch of assholes decided to commandeer some passenger jets and use them to murder 3,000 innocent people - men, women, and children - on American soil.
Now, having been through the Big Dig's mandated sensitivity and awareness "training" programs, I had already built up a pretty respectable level of disdain for the wave of political correctness that was spreading across our country at the time.
But to watch the cold-blooded murder of thousands (once every two minutes on TV) and then to hear those on the left tell me that "we had it coming" was too much.
These people are insane.
It was then that I really became aware of just how valuable talk radio and the internet were (and still are) for getting all the facts and information pertaining to the events of the day, when compared to the pre-packaged, left-leaning network news programs.
The second-biggest change in my whole outlook on life, which took place at that time, was my waking up to the reality that my government cannot be depended upon to keep me safe. No politician or government employee of any stripe could possibly guarantee my personal safety and well-being.
That responsibility was mine, and mine alone.
I refer to that awakening as the "second-biggest" change in my outlook on life, because shortly thereafter, I became the father to the most precious and beautiful little girls in the world.
I never truly appreciated the frailty of human life until the moment I watched my girls being whisked away from the delivery room up to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Boston, where they would spend the next seven weeks of their lives with limited parental contact, living in the dark and being fed through a small tube.
When the day finally came to bring them home, it hit me like a ton of diapers.
For the past seven weeks, these kids have had round-the-clock care from highly trained medical professionals in one of the best hospitals around.
I was now responsible for more than just my own life. I had the lives and dreams of two beautiful girls in the palm of my hand (quite literally).
Thus continued my journey from "It's For the Children!TM" to "No, really, it is for the children". Anyone who's been blessed with the mantle of parenthood will need no further explanation on the differences between the two.
So, where was I?
Oh, yeah, Kim's upcoming retirement. Right.
It would be impossible to pinpoint the exact moment in time that I decided to become both a gun owner and a gun rights activist and blogger, but this post, Part 1 of Kim's The Gun Thing series of posts was likely involved to an immeasurably large degree.
I'll quote just this one paragraph that really hit home for me, but if you haven't read the whole thing, please do so. All the posts in that series should be required reading for anyone graduating high school in this country (yeah, that'll happen).
This defense of "self" extends to family. Every man I know would cheerfully put themselves in harm’s way to protect their children. It is the most basic male instinct, after sex. And of course this drives authority figures and the societal nannies crazy. "Leave that to the police," they implore, "Don’t get involved." Bullshit. Where I and my family are concerned, safety is first and foremost my own responsibility, and I will not abrogate that responsibility to others. A pox on those who would make me do otherwise.
In short, to say Kim and his writing have been somewhat influential in my life would be a gross understatement. Mere words cannot quantify how thankful I am that I stumbled upon his little corner of the blogosphere all those years ago.
"...one person at a time."
Mission accomplished, Kim.
You know you have a friend in New Hampshire, should you find yourself in need of a bed and a bite to eat (or just some gratuitous gunplay).