A Most Curious Vice


I get to play Army and then claim it’s actually work.
Mine is a pretty sweet hustle.

Pride is the alpha sin. It is what got Satan expelled from heaven. It is what pushed Adam and Eve out of the garden. All three aspired to be like God. Everything else — covetousness, gluttony, murder, and the rest — they all spawn from pride.

It is such a privilege to do what I do. I do love it so. I am ever amazed that I get to write for gun magazines. It is literally a dream come true for me.

As a result, I love hearing from you guys. Most of the feedback is positive, but that is to be expected. After all, if folks wrote in complaining about how bad I sucked all the time, I’d expect to be fired in short order. However, sometimes your commentary is not quite so glowing. I got one of those yesterday.

A reader objected to my inclusion of pictures of myself in sundry uniforms in support of my historical pieces. The specific charge was that of pridefulness. The actual verbiage was, “Please, please, enough of Dr. Dabbs, MD’s planet-sized ego.” The implication was that I include so many photos of myself because I like seeing them in print. I felt that warranted a bit of explanation.

What’s With All of the Uniforms, Anyway?

I honestly don’t think it’s pride. However, I freely admit that this is likely something a prideful person might say. Were I to make a critical assessment, I would more accurately propose rank childishness.

I get to make-believe and then tell the IRS it’s actually work. I like to think the inclusion of the period uniforms and gear sort of sets me apart from my peers. I always felt that this added flavor to what might otherwise be dry historical pieces.

My buddy Mark at World War Supply is honestly at fault. Mark is a friend and fellow paratrooper from way back. His website is a veritable toy store of reasonably priced reproduction military gear. It’s like the Army surplus stores of my youth but with better stuff, a broader selection, and a handier commercial interface. We share a meal each year at the SHOT show. Mark and his delightful family are such cool people.

As to why you’re stuck staring at my ugly mug, I live half an hour outside of town. Nobody else in my world is so bored as to want to trek out to my place on my schedule to don suffocating woolen clothes for a 105-degree photoshoot in Mississippi. That would be stupid. That’s why I am the guy who does most of it.

The first time my wife shot pictures of me in my Waffen SS uniform, she rightfully opined that any political aspirations I might ever have harbored were now forever gone. Like all thinking folk, I have no use for Nazis. I maintain my SS mufti like a theatrical prop, not a political statement. However, there is simply no way to convince a modern digital audience of such nuances. Alas, there goes my key to the Oval Office (Does it even have locks?).

Words Have Power

The term pride has been curiously co-opted by the gender fluidity movement. I find that fascinating. We are certainly encouraged to take pride in our families, our children, and our country. It was no doubt this wholesome connotation that first drove the adoption of the term. However, to the Biblical purist, pride is universally bad. From a moral perspective, pride is not fundamentally dissimilar from wrath, envy, or sloth. It certainly isn’t something to be cultivated, encouraged, or promoted.

We are all of us susceptible to pride. Pride is an engine that drives the human animal to some seriously rarefied spaces. In 2022, the cosmetics industry accounted for some $49 billion in the U.S. Pride also sells guys a great many protein shakes and gym memberships. Though some fight these temptations more effectively than others, no one is immune.

Behold a peek behind the curtain. More often than not the “tactical”


So, I have been credibly accused of pridefulness, and I just crafted a column out of it. I will admit that the exercise in introspection was a healthy one for me. I suppose I am indeed prideful, but I assuage my conscience by rationalizing that we all are, to one degree or another. Like any other temptation, the goal is simply to resist it at every opportunity.

Let there be truth between us; I don’t plan on changing much. You’ll still be stuck looking at me for as long as FMG Publications will have me, and you choose to do so. You can take the boys out of second grade, but you’ll never take the second grade out of the boys. Mine is actually a pretty sweet hustle.