The holiday season is upon us, reminding us that 2019 is almost done. This leaves us wondering, “What comes next?” Standby, it’s the “Roaring 20’s.” Up to now this phrase referred to the 1920’s - in France, the 20’s were called the "annees folles,” or “crazy years.” The 20’s were a time of great social, cultural and economic change across the world, especially in the United States. However, I think this next decade – the 2020’s – may give last century’s 20’s a run for the title of “crazy.”
The end of World War I and the 1920’s were the beginning of great change. American came out of the war with “super-power” status, a major player on the world stage. Women gained the right to vote. Technical advancements and new production methods created an explosion of consumer goods. People could afford luxury items like automobiles and had disposable income to spend on entertainment like radios, the movies and travelling. Americans were uniting in new, modern ways.
And yet, the country was more divided than it had ever been. The Volstead Act made it illegal to sell anything containing more than 0.5% alcohol. America’s need for “illegal” alcohol created the modern gangster and large criminal enterprises – think Al Capone. This crime wave, which included the infamous Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929, established “motive” for the National Firearms Act of 1934. The new “law” greatly restricted our Second Amendment rights.
The Teapot Dome Scandal in the 1920’s revealed horrible political corruption. The “Scopes Monkey Trial” and communist “Red Scare” were signs of a larger cultural battle. The nation was consumed with an “us vs. them” mentality, city-dwellers pitted against small-town/rural people and “Old fashion” vs. the “Future.” Across the nation events like the Tulsa Race Massacre - one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history – were fueled by fear, hate and “fake” news. Hitler's “Mein Kampf” was published in 1925, and we all know where that ended up. And in 1929 the stock market crashed. The 1920’s created the “dirty thirties” and set the stage for the next World War.
So, why am I writing about this in a “tactics” column? Strategies and tactics for guaranteeing individual safety and our rights as a whole in the coming “20’s” will be more critical than ever. In the next decade violence on a personal level will likely increase, along with the assault on America’s principles, from enemies both domestic and foreign. We must focus on guaranteeing freedom for the future, and can’t afford to be lulled into a sense of false security. Ignore the bread and circus; concentrate on what’s truly important.
Democracies don’t usually have longevity – about two-hundred years. Times of abundance lead to complacency and indifference, which produce dependence. Eventually you get to helplessness and dictatorship. However, America and her people are still exceptional, and it’s not too late to show the world this “experiment” can work. Just remember, security is always a personal matter. No government can provide “safety.” It’s up to you to protect you and yours. Make sure you’re prepared.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, which is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, AR-15 Skills and Drills, has a regular column in American Handgunner and makes some cool knives and custom revolvers. Visit Shootrite’s Facebook page for other details.