A Commentary on Will Hayden’s Life Sentence: A good workbench is far better than sex

Every day I have a little place on my property where I can go at the end of the day and shoot my .45 Vaquero.  I wish every person in the world could have that wonderful feeling of standing at a very nice work bench surrounded by lots of unique tools and sip on an ice-cold water with the smell of gun smoke fresh from a good score on an automated reaction timer that I use to practice Cowboy Fast Draw.  I think it’s one of the most satisfying things you can do as a human being for so many reasons.  And I know many people in the gun industry that understand what I just said exactly within the shooting sports professions.  Guns are a mix of precision machining, ballistic science, and a practice which is rooted in psychological freedom from a societal tendency to strive for personal freedom for which the individual ownership of firearms most spectacularly embodies.  So it is baffling to me why someone like a Will Hayden would even think about doing what he did as a serial rapist to young girls over a long period of time.  Yesterday the founder of Red Jacket Firearms and star of the Discovery Channel’s Son’s of Guns television show about gunsmithing in southern Louisiana, was sentenced to life in prison for what he did, and it’s just a terribly sad situation.

I loved the Son’s of Guns show and I thought the people in it were just fabulous.  Looking back on it there was always something I didn’t quite trust in Hayden, but I loved Joe and though Flem among others who were incredibly talented people who were in the business for the right reasons.  That last season I turned to my wife and told her that something was really wrong because after all the success Red Jacket had with their television show, there was no way that Hayden should have been hemorrhaging that much cash where he struggled to pay for his machining lathes and a new facility.  His kids Stephanie and Chris were acting strange too attempting to start their own business under the Red Jacket umbrella and it just didn’t make sense—because they all had a good thing going.  Now we know that there were things going on regarding this problem of raping young girls that Hayden was engaged in and now that the case is concluded it has left me and many millions of others scratching our heads.

I’m currently the same age now that Hayden was in the best seasons of that show and I just can’t imagine any situation where a man in his late forties would even want to engage in sex with a 13-year-old girl.  It just doesn’t make any psychological sense.  I mean biologically the impulse to those kinds of things shouldn’t even be there.  As a man you have so many young ladies in your life who depend on you, daughters, employees, members of an audience who see you as a celebrity—to rape a young girl or even to think of her in a sexual way is just pathetic, and irresponsible. So I’m happy he’s going to do such hard time for the rest of his life.  I’m a big fan of ruthless sentencing and I don’t care if we have entire states full of inmates in our prison system.  I loved Jeff Sessions’s announcement yesterday reversing the policies of Eric Holder.  If there are bad guys out there doing bad things, let’s get them locked up and figure out a way for them to pay for their food and shelter aside from tax payer burdens—but they shouldn’t be free.  And for what Hayden did, he should be locked up.  You just can’t ruin the lives of young ladies and expect to live a free life—just like a criminal cannot take anything from us individually at our homes or within the private sanctity of our cars without being shot dead in defense.  All these issues fall under the umbrella of personal respect and being a great gunsmith, Will Hayden should have known better.

Little girls look to older men to protect them.  When a 3 to 10-year-old girl sits in the lap of a grandpa, or even a father they need that reassurance that they are within the protection of a powerful male and it will establish in her a lifelong trust that she actually needs to live a full and happy, healthy life.  So no man should ever do anything to jeopardize that trust.  A sexual thought should never even enter into your mind and if it means it harms your sexual life with a wife or otherwise because you have turned off those desires—then so be it.  There are many better things in life to think about besides sex.  It can be a fun thing to do, but it’s a pretty primitive and messy act that is overrated in my opinion—if your mind is conducting itself properly on other activities. In Hayden’s case, he had this beautiful gun shop with all the great tools of the trade and he was being paid to do what he loves.  He was on television and was very successful meaning he could then buy more guns to play with and everything should have been perfect. So in light of all that, what he did was reprehensible and goes far beyond the crimes of our legal system—he violated much more than that, he broke the trust of young women including his older daughter Stephanie and that is the worst of it.  Losing the trust of young women and giving them the burden of shame to carry throughout their lives is one of the worst crimes a man can do toward any emerging women.

Then there are the political consequences.  Already there are those communist insurgents within American culture who look for anything to wear away the gun centered lifestyles that the best of us have in the freest country on earth.  Will Hayden just fit the stereotype of the target they present, a powerful middle-aged white guy from the south who loves guns and abusing women just put the Discovery Channel in a public relations nightmare and he hurt the gun industry in incomprehensible ways.  I mean how could he of even thought it was worth all this damage to have some primitive sexual encounter with an unwilling victim who was only a child?  You have tool boxes filled with some of the greatest tools in the world and gun oil filling the smell of your office with leather holsters always lying around—why?  It’s just irrevocably stupid.

Most of the people I know in the gun professions, at shooting ranges, within the NRA and elsewhere are like Joe and Flem from that Son’s of Guns show—they are guys who are fascinated by great machining with intensely tight mechanical tolerances and the science of ballistics which is really what most young boys love about toy guns, and eventually real guns.  It’s not in the ability to shoot someone dead like the political left likes to portray—it’s in the working of tools, the smell of gun oils and the power of science in your hand that makes the gun industry one of the most important industries on planet earth.  Speaking for myself, my work bench on a rainy Friday night with the garage door open and bullets all over the place while listening to a recap of the Rush Limbaugh show sitting on my bench stool working with a couple of pin punches from my gunsmith tool box is about as good as anything ever gets in life.  I really can’t think of anything that I have ever done that gave me a better feeling.  When you’re young and biologically your body is looking to plant seeds in some woman for the primitive act of procreation—I can see being distracted by sex.  I’ve been married for almost 30 years to an attractive woman.  We’ve traveled the world and done things together that most people dream of in their wildest fantasies.  But I’m telling you dear reader that at nearly 50 years old, working on guns at a nice bench on a Friday night next to a talk radio broadcast sipping on a chilled drink is one of the best things you can do.  Will Hayden had really everything a man could dream of.  And he blew it spectacularly and made an ass of himself that brought great harm to the women in his life.  So I’m glad he’s serving hard time for the rest of his life.  He deserves worse.  Under no circumstance should a man ever trade the workbench for sex—especially for a girl a generation younger even if it’s legal and inviting.  It’s just not something any older man should ever do—for the sake of humanity.

Rich Hoffman

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