Dom Raso is clear that he doesn't speak for the special forces community. Still, the former Navy SEAL who was fighting for his country up until just a couple of months ago says his friends in the service all agree: The recent push for gun control "doesn't make any sense."
"Everybody that I know is definitely on board with what I’m saying and feels the same way about the misguidance the media’s pushing and the agendas the politicians are trying to use to pass laws that don’t make any sense," he told TheBlaze at the 2013 NRA convention.
Raso is one of the newest NRA News contributors, and while he doesn't speak for the special operations community or the NRA, the soft-spoken warrior who's starting a business teaching families how to be situationally aware still has a lot to say.
“I actually went to the NRA and said, ‘how can I help?’" Raso said of his new role. "I reached out to them and said, ‘Look, this is getting ridiculous. And I want to figure out a way to help.’”
The "ridiculousness," he said, comes down to misinformation.
“What we see is just an erosion of leadership in this country. And the thing that’s driving a lot of this misinformation, these misconceptions. This misguidance, is coming from the leadership. And we really lack that person or people to follow. Everyone is kind of lost – they don’t’ know what they think. They’re living in an uncertain world."
That evaluation came with a sense of genuine concern and simple confidence. And you can bet that when he talks, he's not waxing poetic. He's comes across honest. For example, he admitted that the transition to civilian life -- and to that of a media personality -- isn't something that comes from a desire to be out front.
Consider: He just got a Facebook account -- and didn't even know what Twitter really was two months ago.
“I’ve just got out of living my life in secrecy for the last 12 years,” he said. “I’m not going out there waving a flag saying ‘here I am.’"
So how does he combat the misinformation he sees? The answer may seem simple: education. But coming from someone who has experienced the world in ways many can barely imagine, it seems to take on a little more weight.
“What I urge everyone to do is educate themselves. Education is the key," Raso said. And he has trust in the American people that they can handle such education.
"America is a logical civilization and our culture has always been, ‘let’s figure this out and let’s be the best at it.’ So what we’re not doing right now is taking the steps to be logical about this and educate ourselves with people that do have experience.”
He used some rhetorical questions to make his point:
What about all the good things that [guns] do? I mean, an AR-15 or a weapon of law enforcement’s choice – what about the crime that doesn’t happen every day because those things are sitting in the cars right next to them? And you can see them. They are a presence that deters crime from happening. That is real, but you won’t ever hear anything about that. It doesn’t make any sense to write a story about a gun that didn’t do anything.
And people who are anti-gun have a hard time taking that in. They can’t see how more guns will reduce crime. But it’s simple: If I have a gun on my hip and you walk into a story to rob it, you’re going to think twice.
He added later: “America’s better than just pushing a bunch of laws that just don’t make sense, especially when they’re not going to affect anything that would have happened in any of these mass shootings.”
The past and the future
Unlike fellow NRA News contributor Natalie Foster, Raso's introduction to firearms was a little more traditional. He had a father who took him hunting from a young age. That eventually gave way to him joining the Navy and SEALs, where guns and gear are as necessary as skin.
Still, while he was taught about guns at a young age from his dad, he sees children of this generation being fed misinformation.
“Absolutely it exists," he said when asked if he thinks young people are being taught to fear firearms. "Especially the way the movies portray them, that guns are an evil thing. And that’s the way the media is making it out to be right now.”
And that, he said, is why being armed with the correct information is so important.
“My thing is, educate yourself. … Especially if you’re talking about taking people’s rights away.”
From a former Navy SEAL, it's a simple -- yet likely powerful -- command.
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