I am a huge fan of Mike Rowe, the host of Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Got To Do It.  I love his TED talk, it is 20 minutes of your life well spent.  I am a supporter of the MikeRoweWORKS Foundation and his advocacy for vocational and craftsmanship education.  Recently he did an episode of Somebody’s Got To Do It at Demolition Ranch, which was pretty cool.  But this post is not about that.

I have made reference to the pathetic opinion piece 27 Ways to Be a Modern Man from the NYT before.  Well Mike Rowe did a fisking of it that was, needless to say, beautiful.  There were two, inarguable points he made that stuck out at me:

A Man’s Man prefers his gas tank full, his weapon loaded, his pantry stocked, and his checkbook balanced.


A Man’s Man owns at least one firearm. He knows how to use it, clean it, and store it properly. He understands it’s importance, and sees it for what it is – a tool that can protect him and his family.

Mike Rowe gets it.

On the Book of Face, some NYT Modern Man took umbrage with Mr. Rowe’s assertions.

“I recently viewed a poster for the NRA on Facebook with your image with a statement I can only assume you made. “A man’s man owns a firearm.” Why you would say something so boldly sexist, and bigoted? Implying that a man who chooses NOT to own a weapon is what? Less than a man, a WOMAN, a neuter?

I am a U.S. ARMY VETERAN who has trained on various weapons, knows how to maintain, store and use multiple firearms. Now as a civilian, I CHOOSE NOT TO OWN A WEAPON. Can you clarify what you meant in that “man’s man” statement and explain what a man such a myself is, if not a man’s man?

E.K. Billie
Veteran, conscientious citizen, and a man who chooses not to own a firearm.”

I’m going to take a little diversion here.  There is something I need to get off my chest, an opinion, that is … controversial.  Perhaps to the point of heresy.  I am tired of the post 9/11/Iraq/Afghanistan veteran hero worship.  I will be the first to admit that my military service never got past ROTC and some National Guard Training.  I was never deployed.  I am not a veteran.  As a civilian, however, I was a part time instructor in math for airmen at Ellsworth.  I also did research for DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and worked with soldiers and airmen on these projects.

There are many people who enlisted because of a sense of duty or patriotism.  There are also a lot of people who enlisted because they were stuck in Podunk, USA or didn’t/couldn’t get into college and their lives were going no where and thought that a 4 year term of service and some job training would be the way to do something other than flip burgers for the rest of their life.  They saw the military as just another job, be it counting bombs in the arsenal or maintaining aircraft flight records or doing whatever.  Their 9 to 5 was done in a blouse that said ARMY or USAF instead of one with the Golden Arches on it.  These people may technically be veterans, but they are not heroes, and I really don’t give their opinions much value, especially when it is used as an appeal to authority to take away my gun rights.

I don’t know anything about Mr. E.K. Billie’s service record.  He could have been a bad ass door kicker.  But since he doesn’t mention that, there is an equally likely chance that “I am a U.S. ARMY VETERAN who has trained on various weapons, knows how to maintain, store and use multiple firearms” means that he spend 4 years at a base NOT in an active combat zone signing weapons in and out of the arsenal.  Either way, the implication that Mr. E.K. Billie asserts is that he is a manly man, He-man, alpha wolf, weapons expert who chooses to be disarmed as a civilian.  Then he busts out with the “Why you would say something so boldly sexist, and bigoted?” which really sounds a lot more like some SJW type whining than manly man, alpha wolf type behavior.  

Mike Rowe’s response to Mr. E.K. Billie was that that his (Rowe’s) comment was tongue in cheek.  No.  It wasn’t.  It was spot on.  Mr. E.K. Billie is the who doesn’t get it.  He supposedly had the intestinal fortitude to, presumably, stand armed at a wall to defend his nation, but can’t muster up the same resolve at home with his family.  That is not what a man’s man does.  A man’s man protects his own.

And no, Mr. E.K. Billie, not owning a gun doesn’t make you a woman.  There a are plenty. of. women who get it more than you do.  But if you wan’t a label to describe your position, I’ll give you one: emotional eunuch.

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By J. Kb

10 thoughts on “A man who gets it and one who doesn’t”
  1. Actually, I’ve gotten used to the idea that when someone presents the formulation “I’m a VETERAN, and therefore [left-wing cause]”… they’re probably not a veteran. There are exceptions (there’s at least two combat vets in political news right now who act like they consider Vlad Lenin to be one of the Founding Fathers) but in drive-by commenting, that’s what I’ve seen.

  2. Military Vets are like Police officers. They were certainly in a POSITION to be more experienced on the issue than the average bear….but it doesn’t mean it’s true.

    Yep Officer Friendly could have been in a half-dozen gun-fights, and been a target for retaliation of the street gang he has wreaked havoc on in uniform, so in plain clothes he’s Mr. Condition Orange CCW man.

    Or he could have spent his entire career writing traffic tickets and checking sloppy drunks into the grey-bar B&B.

    It’s even worse with the military. Let’s say he is a badass SF vet with a dozen confirmed kills and been in crazy gunfights.

    I’m a gun owner, I carry wherever I legally can, I own guns to protect my family, friends, and society at large (within reason…I ain’t no “Sheepdog”…but the fact that all these mass shootings happen in Gun Free Zones, just the fact that I strap on a gun DOES make society safer, even if I never even reach for the thing my entire life)

    I do not operate in a team. There are NEVER targets in my life. I can see somebody in full CRIPS garb obviously working to keep a Hi-Point from slipping down his pants. I have to wait until he DIRECTLY threatens me before I can engage.

    There are some times with the military the rules are worse than civilian defense, other times they’re better. Rarely are they similar.

    Also the guns I keep for the various tasks at hand are a balance of best tool for the job, and item that fits my budget, and what was at the shop while I was looking for an X gun.

    Military are trained and issued guns and equipment, and carry them whenever their commanding officer tells them to, and in the condition the commander tells them they should be.

    They can be heroes, I thank them for their service, but it doesn’t mean they have any relevant experience on the issue at hand.

    Also if you don’t want, or don’t feel comfortable with a gun, I don’t want you to have a gun. We’ve all seen the indifferent girlfriend on the range with the Boyfriend who owns the guns, but hasn’t put much thought into training or safety…it’s a disaster, and I’m comfortable with no pressuring more people with vague indifference of guns from having them.

    Still I do wonder why he makes such a big deal about CHOOSING NOT TO OWN A WEAPON, but never give any insight on why they would make that choice.

    Maybe he has a great reason, but I suspect he doesn’t, so I concur with his emotional castration.

  3. I’m a veteran too, so what. I spent my time in the Corps in positions that didn’t (for the most part) include getting shot at. Hell, I was a truck driver. We still trained because every Marine is a rifleman first. I wonder how this guy feels to be a beta male?

    I have no problem with the people in the military that support the warriors. We need them to keep out fighters supplied with the tools they need. Too bad some of the turn into REMF’s.

    1. I understand that there needs to be support roles in the military, not everybody is going to be a door kicker. That’s not my point.

      It is the “veteran trump card” that gets used that bothers me. Every once in a while you see on Fox News a story like “some HOA tells a VETERAN to take down his American flag.” Because that makes it like a million times more offensive than if the HOA just told Joe Schmoe Tax Payer to take down his flag.

      But it becomes really grating when the “Veteran Trump Card” is used on the issue of guns. The message is “there are only certain people who get to be ‘experts’ on the issue of guns and those are military and police and everybody else is just an ignorant amateur.” It is veteran status as an appeal to authority that irks me.

      If you drove a truck or filtered water or dug latrines in the army, you had a job to do that was a combat support role. But that doesn’t make you an “expert” on guns or the civil rights of gun ownership. I have the same dislike for when cops pull the same crap. OK, you walked a beat for 10 year. But how many times did you draw your gun and use it? How many times did you shoot it in qualification? By the standards of the NYPD, an officer with 10 years on the force has shot 50 rounds per qualification, two qualifications per year for 1,000 rounds total.

      I’ve burned up 1,000 rounds in an afternoon. Jerry Miculek can burn up 1,000 rounds over a lunch break.

      I’m not a veteran. I spend 40+ hours a week dealing with guns. It is my livelihood. But to the people who use the veteran appeal to authority, I am not an expert on guns just because I’m a civilian.

  4. Hey, the new hotness is progressivism is that they’ve now embraced the very old idea from third-wave feminism that the “gender binary” is a “social construct,” isn’t it?

    In which case, there is absolutely no reason a uterus-equipped person couldn’t be a “man’s man” and a testicle-equipped person couldn’t be a “timid little girly-girl.”

    Clearly, Mr. E.K. Billie is a transphobic bigot who needs to check his cis-privilege and heteronormative oppression.

  5. Mr. E.K. appears to be a product of the “everyone gets a participation trophy” generation.

    He participated, so, therefore, he must be “properly” recognized for that. Anything short of the level of recognition his ego feels is appropriate means that he was insulted. Therefore, he must lash out, demanding that he be properly included among the ranks he (and he alone) feels is appropriate.

    Mike Rowe should have replied differently, perhaps even reminding this self important individual that not everyone can be the quarterback, someone has to warm the bench sometimes. But, as a public figure, one that depends on his public image, he could not risk the potential backlash from providing a different response. Last thing he needs is Yahoo! running a front page article about how Mike Rowe hates the military.

  6. Being a real man has always meant that you have the willingness to protect,if you don’t then stay home and shut up and don’t put down the ones that do.They just might be the ones that save your sorry butt.I also respect the modern women that have stood up with the same willingness and respect of them selves to help fight against the wrong in this world.If he was a real military man he should know the importance of this,maybe he left more then his military career behind.I salute the real military person and the veterans.This is just another reason we should stand up and fight for our freedoms and rights we have as civilians.

  7. Sorry to disagree, but anyone who raised their right hand and took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and then completed their service honorably is a hero. Whether they were on SEAL Team 6 or changed tires in the motor pool, or shuffled papers at a desk, they did what their nation asked of them…something that 99% of their countrymen will never do. Military life is HARD, even in peacetime. No matter what the job, military life has demands and pressures that civilian life does not. Period. If you never lived it, you don’t understand it.

    My Veteran’s Day column on the topic at Black Man With A Gun is here: http://blackmanwithagun.com/the-hard-is-what-makes-it-great

  8. I am an Army veteran and with the skills I learned nearly 30 years ago at the Armor School in Fort Knox, Ky (C-1-81) I can buff that floor to a high shine!

    I can spot a cigarette butt on a lawn at 25 meters and remove it in just under an hour.

    I can wait faster than a speeding bullet.

    So unless we’re talking about outdated tank knowledge, buffing floors, cleaning shitters, doing police call or standing around waiting for someone to tell me what to do; my military experience means damn little.

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