I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment, a well-trained sportsman, and a responsible weapons owner. But, like millions of Americans, I’ve been moved by what I’ve seen take place at American schools. As a law-abiding, red-blooded American, I’m not willing to give up all my rights because of a few bad apples, but seeing the recent carnage has made me realize that maybe we need to draw some kind of a line. Maybe it’s time for me to make a sacrifice. If nothing else, at least the world will have one less weapon that, in the wrong hands, could potentially be used to inflict harm on innocent people.
That’s why I’m giving up my F-22 Raptor Fighter Jet.
This wasn’t an easy decision to make. The F-22 has been an integral part of my life since I first realized that the top-notch avionics and superior performance of this stealthy fighter offered me exactly the maneuverability and flexibility I need to defend my property and protect my family. I’ve slept well knowing that I had the air superiority to defend my household against just about any intruder. And, contrary to stereotypes, I almost never have to fire one of the F-22’s missiles in anger. Often, the conflict resolves itself the second I start her up.
But this isn’t just about me and the sport I love sharing with my kids (you may not care if your daughter can’t hit the broadside of a barn with her weapon, but I do, and mine has done so countless times). It’s not just about the calm that’s been brought to my community (for example, my neighbor hasn’t complained about my dog barking a single time since he first saw me pulling the F-22 into my driveway). And it’s not just about the way my wife looks at me like I’m someone she can depend on (she used to complain that I made mountains out of molehills, but since I bought the Raptor, she’s seen me do the opposite on numerous occasions).
Yes, giving up my F-22 Raptor Fighter Jet will be a sacrifice. And the emotional loss will be pronounced, especially that first time I go out to my backyard hangar and see my F-117 Nighthawk, my F-16 Falcon, my MIG-29, the two M18 Hellcat tanks, my swarm of armed drones, and the dozen camouflaged AI-fortified robot mercenaries I managed to order before the Silk Road shut down … but I won’t see the fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft that’s become my favorite. I know when I see the spot where the F-22 was parked, the memories will come flooding in… me sitting in the glass cockpit in front of the all-digital flight instruments acting out scenes from Dunkirk for my kids (they’re not allowed to see rated-R movies). That time when the twins missed the bus but I was still able to get them to school in plenty of time (they pretended to be embarrassed when the sonic boom went off, “Oh dad…”). The way we preceded each of Bobby’s Little League games with a flyover (in retrospect, we should have warned the other teams, but Go Padres!).
Yes, it’s hard to accept that, when it comes to the F-22, all I’ll have left are these memories. But every American has to do his part, and I’m doing mine by laying down this weapon. I know the NRA might not like it. And some of the guys in my mountain militia group will see my decision as the beginning of a slippery slope: Today, I’m handing over my F-22. Tomorrow, maybe it’s my ship to shore Tomahawk missiles or my refurbished Mother of all Bombs Bunker Buster. But that’s not what this is about. It’s about me giving up this one weapon, and it’s worth it if it can save a single life (or in the case of my F-22, a hundred or so lives per missile).
And don’t worry about Bobby’s Little League team. They’re gonna get such a kick out of the nuclear sub ride, they won’t even remember the old F-22.