After Donald Trump’s smashing electoral victory earlier this week, a familiar liberal phenomenon was given new life: the “I-don’t-feel-safe” meme.
Many people were moved to feel “unsafe” as Trump claimed the presidency over Hillary Clinton. One woman, an immigrant from the United Kingdom, said: “I don’t feel safe here anymore.” At Northwestern University, according to the school’s newspaper, “Muslim students feel unsafe.” One high school student in Seattle said, “We feel unsafe with our futures.” At Upworthy, a self-identified “queer black woman” explained “how you can help [her] feel safe in Trump’s America.”
Now, on the one hand, this is all sort of silly. “Feeling unsafe” has become a time-honored tradition in modern America, all the more so under Trump. Indeed, earlier this year at Emory University it only took the word “Trump” written in chalk for students to feel “unsafe.” But this is all kind of goofy. There is no real indication—yet, anyway—that “Trump’s America” will be a less-safe country for anyone.
On the other hand, it’s somewhat understandable: Trump has courted racists throughout his brief political career, he has been inexcusably rude and depraved towards women both now and in the past, and he has invigorated a small but vocal faction of “alt-right” bigot maniacs. So we can sympathize with people who think a Trump presidency might be at least theoretically dangerous for certain demographics.
With that in mind, here is a suggestion for anyone who feels newly “unsafe” in the United States of America: buy some guns and train yourself well how to use them.
Seriously—do it. There are few better ways to protect yourself against violence, terrorism, and oppression than firearms. Ida B. Wells knew it, as did Frederick Douglass—two Americans who had more than enough reason to feel “unsafe” throughout their lives.
It’s an Acquired Skill
The good news is that, in America, your gun rights have never been more widespread and more accessible. Barring some states that make it difficult to buy a gun, it is easy enough to acquire a good firearm for your own personal protection.
Of course, you should absolutely learn how to use a gun before arming yourself with one. But there’s good news there, too: you can find a gun safety course just about everywhere. The National Rifle Association—the nation’s oldest civil rights group and an absolutely dogged defender of your right to keep and bear arms—has countless resources to help you find a safety course near you.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself well with the basics of gun safety, you should buy a gun. If you’re unsure of which gun you want to buy, you can check out the innumerable gun ranges around the country. Most of these ranges will let you rent the weapon of your choice and test it out as much as you want. The staff at these ranges will usually be happy to give you tips on how to improve your accuracy and your basic firearm handling skills.
Next, Get a Concealed-Carry License
Once you’ve become proficient at handling firearms (and you’ve committed yourself to a good training regimen to keep your skills sharp), you can apply for a concealed-carry license. Thanks to the relentless efforts of state-level Republican Party officials, it has never been easier to get your concealed-carry permit: every state has a concealed-carry law on the books, and the vast majority of them are “shall-issue,” meaning the state cannot prohibit you from acquiring your license unless you are forbidden by law from having one.
Many historically persecuted minority groups have found gun ownership to be a wonderful way to provide for their security. In the wake of the Orlando terrorist attacks this year, gay Americans began heavily patronizing gun stores. If certain groups or demographics feel “unsafe” in the United States now that Trump will be president in January, they are free (and encouraged) to follow the lead of their LGBTQ fellow citizens.
One of the reasons America is great is that, even now, we recognize that the citizen is sovereign, and that he or she retains certain inalienable rights that government has no authority to take away. One of those rights is self-defense—and any American who is genuinely concerned about his or her safety can avail himself or herself of that right very easily.
This is a troubling time for America. But we are still the greatest country on earth. And we should not neglect the Second Amendment, a constitutional provision that, for more than two centuries, has helped keep it that way.