The Night I Had Dinner With Harlan Ellison

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Most writers are blessed with wonderful delusions of grandeur and consequently, we think everything we write is better than most of our peers. However, even the most arrogant of writers still have one or two idols. The men and women we admire for their craft. The ones we look up to. The ones we have to admit are better than us and we wish we could one day get a glimpse of the plateau upon which their writing resides. For me, those idols are Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison.

For Harlan Ellison, that idolized writer was Cornell Woolrich.

Harlan Ellison once wrote a story about the night he met Cornell Woolrich.

Now, I have a confession to make – I never heard of Cornell Woolrich until I read the story Harlan wrote about meeting him. That made me feel a little ashamed – to know nothing about the idol of my idol. I need to go read some stories by Cornell Woolrich.

Harlan should be a lot more famous too.

People who love to read and who are into fantasy and science fiction and comic books have all heard of Harlan Ellison. Unfortunately, no one else has. After I met the man I began to excitedly tell people, “I met Harlan Ellison! He invited me to dinner with him!”

Only one of my friends congratulated me and said, “You did what!? That’s amazing! How did you meet him? You’re so lucky!”

Everyone else said, “Who?”

When you’re misanthropic to begin with, it doesn’t bode well for your love of humanity when no one has heard of one of the few people you admire.

Look, if you don’t know who Harlan is, do yourself a favor and go watch some of his videos. Then, pick up a copy of “The Essential Ellison” and read it.

So, how did I meet Harlan? The story goes like this…

In the Fall of 2013, I started a blog called “InkShard” as a way to try to promote myself as a writer and sell some books. Among the videos I was creating, I decided to do some book reviews of other authors.

One of the first books I reviewed was a huge 1500 page book of short stories from Harlan Ellison called “The Essential Ellison.”

After posting my review, I decided to promote it on a message forum on Harlan’s official website. I didn’t think much of it. I figured maybe some of his fans might check out my video and that would be the end of it.

Well, as it turns out, Harlan himself read my review and he loved it. The next day, he posted a reply asking me for a printed copy.

What!?

Let me again emphasize how important Harlan is to me. Growing up, I had two authors I admired. Ray Bradbury. Harlan Ellison. These men were gods. I read their books. I watched their interviews. I saw their movies. I was obsessed with their TV shows. Most of my predominant influences in storytelling all revolved around projects these two men created. Bradbury and Ellison had a command of language I could only dream of attaining. Their vocabulary, their poignant verisimilitude, far exceeded anything I ever accomplished. My most brilliant writing was a mere kindergarten story next to their majestic verse.

So, when Harlan responded personally to me, asking for a copy of my review, I nearly fell out of my chair. This was like being an aspiring astronaut and having Neil Armstrong say he wanted a copy of a book report you did on him.

The part that freaked me out the most was that he asked me to call him.

Call him!? On the telephone? Speak to him?

Funny thing was, Harlan didn’t give me his number. He just challenged me to find it. Said I was a smart guy and I’d figure it out.

He was right. I found it. But I didn’t call right away.

Let me reiterate, I’m an arrogant bastard. No one impresses me. No one makes me starstruck. I’ve worked on movies with big celebrities and been friends with TV stars. I don’t give a damn about that stuff. But as a writer, meeting someone who has contributed to inspiring my greatest passion, that was astonishing. You have to understand, even if I had a chance to meet the most famous of authors like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, I wouldn’t care. As much as I love Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling simply hasn’t influenced me like Harlan has. I felt like I was 14 years old, calling a girl for the first time. Okay. Calm down. Relax. Play it cool. Don’t get all weird and fanboy on him. Just be normal. Casual. Act like you call Harlan all the time. Yeah. No big deal. Your idol wants to hear from you. That happens everyday. Right. Okay. Just chill out and don’t act bizarre. Keep it brief. Professional.

When I finally mustered the courage to cal, he didn’t answer. His wife Susan answered and took a message for me.

Later that afternoon, my phone rang. 5:20pm. January 14, 2014. The name on my caller ID said, “Harlan Ellison”.

Holy. Crap.

When I answered the phone, he didn’t even say hello.

“Muss-Barnes. So what’s the story there? Were you married? What’s the deal?”

Honestly, it was a relief. By not even saying hello, all my nervousness went right out the window. Before I could stop to think, he had already pulled me into a conversation. I explained that my parents were not married and “Muss” was my mother’s name and “Barnes” was my father’s name. All through gradeschool and highschool, I was “Eric Muss” and I never liked the sound of that.

Harlan agreed. “Oh. Yeah. Not so good.”

So, I decided to add my father’s name and turn it into “Muss-Barnes” which Harlan agreed makes me sound like royalty.

Next thing I knew, Harlan was inviting me to his next book signing. I was stunned.

Harlan asked, “Do you know where Blastoff Comics is at?”

“Yeah! I’m literally 2 blocks away. I can walk there! It’s right at the end of my street.”

Needless to say, I was over the moon, as my grandmother used to say. A mere 4 days later, I arrived at Blastoff Comics where Harlan took one look at me and said, Eric!” And shook my hand as if we had been friends for decades. I met a girl named Harley who worked at the shop and I won a contest they were having to name all graphic novels, books, and awards won by Harlan.

I even have video proof of the day, published by Blastoff Comics.

As the day dragged on, I was getting ready to leave. I actually had to get down to Orange County to go to the Girl’s Combi Contest at Vans Skatepark. For those who don’t know, I’m a lifelong skateboarder and a longtime supporter of women’s skateboarding. I’m proud to say that I know and skate with many of the girls who show up for the contest. Some of the greatest female skaters in the world. Girls like Julz Lynn and Sarah Thompson and Allysha Berdago and Lizzie Armanto. The Combi Contest is the single largest female skateboarding competition in the world and you have to be invited to attend. I couldn’t miss the contest.

Then, Harlan announced they were going out to dinner that evening, and I was welcome to accompany them.

I nearly passed out.

My favorite author just invited me out to dinner?

Guess I was going to miss the Combi Contest that year.

Later I would learn I’m not the only writer Harlan has done this kind of thing for. There are dozens of accounts of Harlan opening his home to people and treating writers with immense hospitality. Harlan has a reputation for his anger and vitriol but there is one simple thing that most people fail to understand: Only people who are filled with immense love and kindness can become so angry. Those who truly love their fellow man are the ones who become so exasperated with the stupidity of humanity. You see it in people like George Carlin and Harlan Ellison and if you look really closely, you see it in me too. People like Harlan are rife with rage because the glorious potential of what mankind could become is too often tainted by what humans choose to be. That is why a man like Harlan is such a warm and kind and giving soul to the good guys. Those in whom he recognizes a kinship. When he sees that you get it, that endears you to him. When you prove to be a mindless jackass, he has no patience for you.

That night was truly living a dream. Have you ever seen an interview with a beloved celebrity and they tell a tale of an entourage of people having dinner and as a fan, you just desperately wished you could be there? Celebrities seem to do that all the time. They go out to dinner and there are 20 people at the table and the night is filled with vibrant conversations and hilarious tales that can never be repeated.

That was me. After living in Hollywood for over a decade, I finally got to experience that kind of evening for the first time. I was finally in an entourage. Being surrounded by that kind of camaraderie and vitality is an experience that makes me insanely jealous of celebrities. I don’t care about mansions and fancy parties or expensive cars. Those things don’t remotely impress me. But an intimate dinner where intriguing people really interact and connect with one another, that is something I wish I could live once a week. Unfortunately, it looks like it will prove to be once-in-a-lifetime.

As I said earlier, Harlan made it very clear to me that night, there were yarns spun around that breaking of bread which I was not to repeat. Harlan made me look him dead in the eye and vow I would honor that request. Harlan and I are old school Cleveland boys. Midwest values. Downhome sensibility. We both understand that honorable men don’t need written contracts or even handshakes. You look someone square in the eye and make a promise and that’s enough. Word is bond. Therefore, regrettably, I can not tell you some of the more hilarious tales he told. I can say this – Harlan has lived one hell of an amazing life. No matter how big of an adventure your life may be, chances are good that Harlan has you beat.

Midway through our evening, there was a moment when Harlan explained why he invited me out to dinner. Again, I won’t repeat the whole story leading up to that moment, because I swore to not repeat the tales told at that table. But I will say that at one point, Harlan told me I was there, breaking bread with him, because I had earned it.

Great authors are not great because they have an incredible command of language. Great writers are great because they understand how to distill the essence of the human condition into simple terms and articulate universal truths with an eloquence the rest of us can never quite vocalize. One can not attain that kind of insight into the human spirit unless one as an innate gift of reading the human heart. I don’t know if Harlan could read my heart and see my need for acceptance, or if he simply knew all struggling writers yearn for that validation. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that his tiny act of kindness, his brief words of encouragement, meant everything to me. He never complimented my writing. He never said I was any good. What he said was far better. He said I understood his writing and that I had earned my place at his table. Few feelings on earth are better than being valued and acknowledged by those you admire. For the first time in my life, I felt like maybe I’m not crashing the party of life. Maybe someone invited me. Maybe I’m supposed to be here. Maybe somebody actually wanted me to show up.

I have attained so many dreams in my life. I have published numerous novels. I became a hang glider pilot. I moved to California. I worked for years at Walt Disney Studios. I’ve had a tragic lovelife, worthy of a Shakespeare play. That could have turned out better, but it was certainly interesting. I’m even building a small home on a vast amount of land, just like I always dreamed. But the one dream I never accomplished, the oldest dream of all, was to make a living as writer.

You know, I never feel like I’ve accomplished much of anything in my life. I’ve never really yearned for validation from the world. I have long since accepted that I am someone who will never be appreciated for anything I achieve. So when one of the only people I idolize actually praised my efforts, it meant the world to me.

As we left the restaurant that night, and everyone was walking back to their cars, Harlan put his arm around my shoulder and asked if he was what I expected him to be. I told him I never thought he would be any different, because I always had faith that he was truly being himself. That night just proved I was right.

He told me he’d invite me over his house sometime and I was over the moon at such an invitation. I couldn’t believe it. Really? My favorite author was going to have me over his house? I would be a guest at the Lost Aztec Temple of Mars? I couldn’t wait. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

That wasn’t the only night I met Harlan. I have seen him twice since then – once at a science fiction convention and another at a Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society meeting where he was a guest speaker. In fact, on that night, he signed a copy of my novel The Page of Wands, which I dedicated to him, and I donated it to the LASFS library. He also flipped my novel open to a random page and read a sentence out loud. I’ll never forget which sentence it was. Page 247.

“Madame Fabulous glared and telekinetically lifted Ellen Daniels and her cameraman off of the ground and stuffed them back into their newsvan amidst much screaming, flailing, and protesting.”

You know how terrifying it is for your favorite author to read part of your novel out loud to a room filled with 200 science fiction fans? I was mortified. But Harlan remarked that it was a “pretty good” sentence and he seemed pleased with it, although he noted the word “back” was redundant. Didn’t need it. Crap. He was right.

Harlan never did invite me over the house. I knew that would never happen after I saw him the second time and he admitted to a fan that he lies a lot. The moment he said that, I knew the invitation would never come.

I’m disappointed that I will never see the Lost Aztec Temple of Mars, but I can’t complain. Harlan owes me nothing. He already showed me far more kindness and courtesy than I ever dared to expect. Besides, I’ve dated plenty of girls in my life who said they loved me, then walked away. Harlan lying about having me visit the house is not a big deal. The lies of women are a lot more painful.

Speaking of heartbreaking ladies, I once deeply loved a girl who hated my InkShard blog. Still love her, actually. She called InkShard a waste of time and said I came across as arrogant and negative. Told me I was full of myself and I’d sell a lot more books and get a lot more dates if I was more humble.

I didn’t create InkShard to sell books. And I sure as hell didn’t create it to get dates. I made InkShard to share my opinions on writing. To explore the beauty of language. To offer angry rants on unfair aspects of creativity that all artists can feel a kinship with. I fully expect some people will think I’m a lame jackass and others will think I’m a right swell fella. I don’t have time nor the inclination to worry about which percentage of my audience will be the greater of the two. Whether I inspire endearment or estrangement, I can’t control how people will react.

The truth of the matter is, I don’t care if my blog and my videos never win me a single reader or it scares away all potential girlfriends. Because all thanks to InkShard I already got to meet my idol. Harlan Ellison. The only living writer I truly admire. That girl who said InkShard was a waste of time was so wrong. InkShard allowed me to achieve a dream I never imagined would come true and therefore, of all the projects I have created in my life, InkShard is one of the greatest successes I have ever known.

Thank you so much, Harlan. From a fellow Cleveland kid to another, I thank you with all my heart. Even if we never meet again, I will forever be grateful for the kindness you have shown me when we did. Bless you, good sir. I know you’re an atheist, so I can’t say God bless, but I do wish you blessings by the grace of whatever decency and love exists in the world.

Why “tolerance” is a terrible thing?

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The early 21st century was a fascinating era in history to be a writer. Language is always evolving and changing but something very bizarre began to happen in Western culture during this time period. In the late 20th century, the term “politically correct” came into fashion. The definition of this term basically means “censoring one’s own language due to a fear of offending minuscule percentages of the population who misguidedly believe they possess the authority to dictate which words, figures of speech, or slang others are permitted to speak.”

All writers are fascinated with the etymology of words. One of the terrible words often used by those who try to enforce “politically correct” language is the word “tolerance”. Politically correct people think tolerance is a good thing. They speak of it as though it should be encouraged. The context in which the word is used is typically in regard to controversial sociological conflicts. Opposing views on gender or sexuality or religion or heritage are often commanded they need to be met with tolerance.

I’ve always hated the word “tolerance”. You will too, once I explain why. Tolerance is horrible.

By definition, tolerance means “to allow something that is bad or unpleasant to exist, happen, or be done”. Being tolerant means something bothers you, but you’re going to keep your mouth shut and endure it. You will tolerate it. Your roommate keeps leaving the cap off the toothpaste or dirty dishes in the sink. Instead of asking them to stop, and confronting the issue, you’ll allow it to continue. You won’t say anything. You’ll tolerate having to clean up after them. What kind of sissifed way to live is that? Tolerance means ignoring your own ideology, even if others are going against your values. There is nothing noble or good about “tolerating” things you disagree with. By it’s definition, tolerance is kind of sleazy, because it means betraying yourself and lying to others.

Tolerance is awful. If you and your friends have a disagreement, do you want them to sympathize with your viewpoint or do you want them to tolerate it? Tolerance is placating passive-aggressive bullshit. Unfortunately our culture has long been devolving into a passive-aggressive society. Everyone is Prozac-ed and Ritalin-ed and Percocet-ed and Vicodin-ed into conformist zombies. Hey man, everybody join the dopehead party. Just be tolerant.

Tolerance is complacency at it’s worst. Tolerance is saying, “I don’t like what you’re doing and I will never find it acceptable, but I’m just going to keep that to myself and I won’t tell you I disapprove of your actions.”

Tolerance is not good. Tolerance does not lead to peace and harmony. Tolerance is phony. Tolerance is a mask. Wearing a fake smile when you are gritting your teeth inside. Tolerate it. Tolerance is simply suppressing the anger, ignoring the pain, pushing your feelings aside and sucking it up. When someone encourages you to practice tolerance, what they are really telling you is, “We don’t care if you disagree. Keep your mouth shut.”

From time to time you may certainly encounter people who are so monumentally ignorant and vapid they won’t be able to debate your grievances with any semblance of reason or maturity. When someone perceives themselves to be Einstein but actually possesses the intelligence of a flatworm, don’t waste your breath trying to argue with them. Some of those people will likely comment on this video, and watch, I won’t respond to them. Unfortunately, when we encounter people who are so uneducated and inarticulate that deductive reasoning is beyond their capacity, we must concede to tolerate them. But, ideally, concordance is always preferable to tolerance.

People mistakenly think tolerance will lead to some sort of Utopian society where everybody gets along. This is a lie. In truth, tolerance leads to a society of repressed emotions. A world where rage and hatred exist just as much as always, only nobody ever talks about it. Nobody ever admits it. Because instead of rationally discussing things out in the open and learning to empathize with others, we have closed all the dialogs and buried that which we find offensive. A tolerant society is nothing but a timebomb waiting to unleash decades of suppressed animosity.

Tolerance is a nightmare and those who encourage it seek to undermine and destroy the camaraderie of mankind.

If people truly want to build genuine rapport between their fellow human beings they need to develop empathy. Understanding. Even compassion. Kinship will only exist when we begin nurturing a culture where people are sincerely accepting of others beliefs, not merely tolerating them.

Empathy is a hug. Tolerance is folded arms.

Since this time in our society has so many people preaching about tolerance, I just wanted to offer you a slightly different perspective to think about. Maybe we should be striving to care about each other instead of tolerating each other. Maybe tolerance is a disgusting idea. Maybe people should stop being tolerant. Maybe people should learn to speak their minds again. Maybe people should stop being afraid to disagree with each other. Maybe it’s okay to not like everybody or be accepting of everything. Maybe it’s okay for people to not like you. Maybe disagreeing with the way other people live doesn’t make you a bad person. Maybe you should be allowed to think other people are wrong. Maybe you don’t have to tolerate anybody. Maybe disapproving of people doesn’t mean you hate them. Maybe those who plead to be tolerated never need to be.

Keep & Bear Arms in California Constitution

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As all true Americans are aware, the Bill of Rights is not a list of rights that were granted to citizens by the government. In truth, the Bill of Rights is a list of commands We the People have ordered upon our government, warning them, if they try to infringe upon these rights, We the People shall overthrow their seats of power and institute a new government, as outlined in the Declaration of Independence. It bears repeating that all human beings are born with eternal and intrinsic liberties which can never be revoked by anyone under any circumstances.

As treasonous courts and corrupt lawmakers in California institute more and more unethical edicts that disregard and violate the United States Constitution which judges have sworn to uphold (while noble citizens are forced to become outlaws just to enforce their rights) it has been said that there is no protection of the right to keep and bear arms in the convoluted and sesquipedalian California State Constitution… Like that? That was a good word, wasn’t it? You’re going to have to look that one up, I know. Grab a dictionary. Sesquipedalian.

However, to say the right to keep and bears arms is not reinforced in the California Constitution is simply not true. The original 1849 Constitution of the State of California clearly does reinforce the Federal Constitution regarding our inviolable right to keep and bear arms. In fact, it does so three times in the very first sentence.

“All men are by nature free and independent and have certain inalienable rights among those of which are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.”

Let’s look at those three firearms phrases more carefully:
“defending life and liberty…”
“protecting property…”
“obtaining safety…”

Being written in 1849, what do you suppose those phrases were intended to mean? How would any man defend life and liberty in 1849? Harsh words? A stern glare? Or a shotgun blast? And what about protecting property? They weren’t talking about building a fence around your yard or sticking a scarecrow in the cornfields. Protecting property in 1849 was done with a sidearm, just like today. And when you were living in the Old West, back when the California Constitution was drafted, how do you think people “obtained safety” on the frontier? They weren’t making 911 calls to the sheriff. They were grabbing their Colt Peacemaker or Henry Rifle.

Acknowledging the right to keep and bear arms is most definitely present in the California Constitution. No courts or judges need to consecrate this fact, nor do any of them possess the authority to refute it. You just need to understand the plain English it was written in and the historical context in which it was composed and suddenly the implication of firearms becomes unequivocally clear. The current phrasing is very similar:

“All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.”

In the 21st century, California lawmakers are among the most unethical and evil in the union. You may think “evil” is a harsh condemnation but, undermining your fundamental human right to defend yourself and your family can only be construed as unadulterated evil. Keep in mind, San Francisco Democratic Senator Leland Yee was one of the most outspoken California politicians against firearms and in March of 2014 he was arrested on charges related to public corruption and gun trafficking; specifically, buying automatic weapons and shoulder-launched missiles from an Islamic terrorist group located in the southern Philippines and attempting to sell those weapons to an undercover FBI agent. He plead guilty to the charges in 2015 and was sentenced to prison in 2016.

He’s not even an American! Leland Yee was born in communist China! How did this traitor become a Senator!?

Incidentally, the second draft of the California Constitution, written in 1880, specifically indicated that Chinamen were not allowed to hold political office in California. Guess the founders of California might have known communist Chinese traitors would show up and start to ruin our country.

The original Article 19 of the California Constitution said:
No Chinese shall be employed on any State, county, municipal, or other public work, except in punishment for crime. The presence of foreigners ineligible to become citizens of the United States is declared to be dangerous to the well-being of the State, and the legislature shall discourage their immigration by all the means within its power.

Terrorist sympathizers and collaborators are the type of vile and inhuman monsters who are the lawmakers of California. Loathsome, perfidious filth eradicating our liberty and freedom. Unjust laws must never be enforced, respected or obeyed. Especially when they are authored by foreign invaders; enemies of our country and our highest ideals, weaseling into political office, toiling to eliminate our human right to defend our nation, while secretly engaging in illegal gun trafficking with our enemies.

Other treasonous politicians want to hold gun manufacturers responsible when a person is killed with a firearm. That is an insane idea. We don’t hold knife manufacturers responsible when someone is stabbed. We don’t hold breweries responsible when someone is killed by a drunk driver. We don’t hold auto manufacturers responsible when someone smashes their car onto a sidewalk and plows over a dozen people. We don’t hold pillow makers responsible when a crazed husband smothers his wife. It doesn’t matter if a victim is killed with a lead pipe in the billiard room or a candlestick in the library, there isn’t one single tool used to commit murder where the public is stupid enough to blame the tool for the crime. Unless it’s a firearm. Then, people become completely ignorant and unreasonable. Blaming the gun is delusional. Just as it would be ludicrous to prosecute a knife manufacturer over the death of a stabbing victim, there is not one single shred of reason or logic in holding gun manufacturers responsible for someone being shot.

As patriots, you and I are obligated to uphold our most fundamental laws, and by extension, disobey all edicts which infringe upon them. Time and again, we have pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands. As president Abraham Lincoln said:
“Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of ’76 did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children’s liberty.”

With that in mind, I compel my fellow Americans to defy injustice, defend our rights against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and never obey anyone who attempts to undermine our freedom. Remember no officer or judge of any court in the land has any power or authority to enact or enforce laws which ignore our Constitution, and the moment they attempt to do so, they are committing treason, for which the penalty has never changed.

California is not a friendly State for a patriot. California is the heart of the Beast, filled with countless subversive politicians who hate our freedom. Never let any court or their cronies claim the state Constitution doesn’t include the right to keep and bear firearms. The first sentence undeniably reiterates that right three times over.

As a novelist, these issues are of vital importance to me, because I respect and admire the noble men and women who founded this great nation and as I cherish the poignant eloquence of beautifully crafted verse, I see it as my mission to reiterate the meaning of the freedoms they promised. I am boundlessly grateful for the liberty I have been afforded in my life due to our founders vision and sacrifice. The longer I live, the more I come to realize that in recompense for my lifetime of freedom, I am obligated to speak out in support of their righteous ideals and publicly condemn those who would seek to destroy them. Having reaped the benefits of individual sovereignty my entire life, it is my duty to maintain those rights for myself and for future generations of my fellow Americans in whatever manner Fate deems me to heed. For now, words are my weapons and I must endeavor to use them for attacks of grace and finesse.

In closing, I leave you with this thought boys and girls; the United States of America was not founded by submissive and law-abiding citizens. America was forged by gunslinging rebels and outlaws. Brave men and women who fought against the dictatorship of the English crown. People who were willing to kill and die for what they believed in. A country born from a lofty quintessential definition of freedom and self-governance that no other country in the history of the world has ever even attempted to achieve or define with the equivalent audacity and eloquence our Founders did. Preserving that freedom is what it meant to be an American patriot in 1776 and what it still means today. The American Revolution has never ended. Our struggle to maintain our sovereignty is a torch all citizens must bear forever. We may have defeated the Redcoats, but new combatants spring up in their place all the time. Not only are the enemies at the gate, but they are inside our walls. The wolves aren’t at the door. They’re in our livingrooms. They’re circling the crib. To maintain the centuries of autonomy that We the People have enjoyed, every true citizen of this great nation must continue to be willing to don the mantle of bandit and desperado, prepared to defend the Bill of Rights from all enemies foreign and domestic, and to eradicate tyranny in any form.

So remember, my compatriots, the Second Amendment and even the California state Constitution legally reiterates an inalienable human right that you are free to keep and bear firearms wherever and whenever you please. As Tony Stark once said, “That’s how America does it. And it’s worked out pretty well so far.”