April 04, 2013

An Indulgence

Gun owners (and those generally in favor of our gun culture) have tried for decades (millenniums if you take the general concept of owning weapons, not just guns per se) to use facts to persuade folks to not punish us or impose upon our way of life. That's generally an effective way to convince folks that are convincable that owning a weapon, such as a gun, is a Right. That the same tactic doesn't seem to work on our enemies leads us to think they're incapable of logic. In some instances I'm positive this is true, but there's another reason why facts being on our side really doesn't matter.

If you've read the novelization of Revenge of the Sith you'll perhaps recall Yoda's big fight with Palpatine. In the midst of it Yoda realizes that the Jedi have trained for over 1,000 years to fight the Sith from 1,000 years ago. This training was absolutely useless to combat the Sith of today, and a new way of fighting was needed.

The folks who want to ban firearms today (I mean the ones behind the effort, not the useful idiots at candlelight vigils) are the same as the ones who banned swords in Feudal Japan, and presumably are the same ones who wanted to ban spears - except for tribe approved hunters - at the dawn of the Neolithic.

But the Yoda problem is similar to ours; we're misdirected in our approach. Facts don't matter to these people because our goals are not the same as theirs.

We can talk til we're blue in the face about how weapons ownership is a good thing, that it enables people to be safer and that it actually hurts a person's ability to be safe when weapons possession is restricted. We do this because they claim "public safety" as their motivation, and we fall for it. We counter and argue against their proclamations using reason and facts and all too often statistics.

They do not care. You can present the case that a person is safer is he/she possesses a firearm, or that a person is much less safe if he/she does not possess a firearm, and it doesn't gain any intellectual traction. None. Nada. Zip. They ignore it in a way that puzzles us, so we try again. And again. And again. With the same results.

What they want isn't safety; it's control. We all talk about that and on some level we know it's true, but we don't adapt our tactics to reflect that. While amongst ourselves we find our arguments (or most of them at least ) irrefutable, the enemy keeps on pushing like we didn't say a word.

We hold rallies. We flood inboxes with emails. We swamp switchboards with phone calls. We bomb comments sections of social media. We tweet. We do all the things that make sense to us to convince these folks to leave us the hell alone. We lobby. Far too often we even compromise and appease.

We are not without victories. Some of us even proclaim that we're winning (or at least that the NRA is winning). But 100 years ago I could have carried a pistol, openly or concealed as I walked through Times Square (then Longacre Square) without violating any laws. 81 years ago I could have bought a Thompson submachine gun without any federal paperwork and not been in danger of arrest. Many states had laws prohibiting concealed carry (which were aimed to prevent minorities from defending themselves) but instead of doing away with those laws we've expanded and liberalized them - the upshot being one still needs to beg permission and pay a fee (in some cases a substantial one) for permission to exercise a Right. Four states do not require a permit to carry concealed, after roughly 144 years of such prohibit9ons or permit systems being widespread.

We have won battles here and there, and some of them have been significant. But almost all of them have been qualified, if not situationally then in the broader context of things. That's because our fighting has been misdirected. It has been misdirected because our enemy has been misconstrued.

To give an example, pro gun owners fought very hard to keep Colorado from enacting new gun control laws. One of the things we've brought up is the economic impact on the state. Hunters have started to boycott us, competitions have been cancelled and relocated to more gun friendly venues, TV shows have stopped production in Colorado, and many businesses have moved or are in the process of moving. A lot of mountain towns are worried because of the loss of tourism income that a hunting boycott would entail.

But the folks who support these laws see those things as a feature, not a bug. They don't want gun owners coming here, or staying here. The economic loss seems trivial to them, because it is trivial to them. It's not that they don't understand economics (though I'd argue that most of them don't), it's that fiscal vibrancy is not their main goal; it's control.

They want to control the culture around them; to shape it, craft it, make sure it's in line with their way of thinking. Gun owners typically aren't compatible with their social views. If a few million or billion dollars is the price, then they regard it as cheap. Oh, I'm sure they don't realize the depth of the economic impact it'll have, but even if they did it would not matter to them.

How do you fight something like that? Graphs, charts, projections, simple arithmetic - they all support our side of the argument. But it's useless. It's not that they can't grasp the concept (though in some cases they can't), it's that they don't want to grasp the concept. They're completely uninterested. It's similar to trying to decide with someone else where to go for lunch when they're only concerned with what color case they should get with their Iphone.

So what to do? That's a particularly good question.

I say we cut off negotiations. They aren't getting us anywhere in the grand scheme of things. If my assessment is correct (and I have enough ego to think that it is) then we don't really gain much by talking things over. Even having the discussion is a point in their favor, as it gives them legitimacy. We seldom, if ever, have walked away from the negotiating table with anything beneficial. So we stop.

We oppose them in every meaningful way. We stop doing business with them if at all possible, and we stop working with them on other areas. In other words, we cut them off. We go Galt. If they want a world without gun owners and the benefits our culture brings, then let's grant their wish.

In some places the battle seems lost. New York comes to mind, as does California. In others, like Colorado, there's still a fight that could be made. In still others, like Montana, we have some level of appreciation.

What to do is an individual decision, but I'd suggest leaving places where the fight is for the most part over, and trying to migrate to places where we already have a good foothold. I'm torn on the states in between; it'd be nice to gain some ground, but that involves some risk that I wouldn't ask others to take on my behalf.

In Connecticut and New York, from what I understand the republicans sided with the democrats in passing gun owner control legislation. If you stay there then un-elect them. Replacing them with democrats is probably not a good decision, so try to primary them or vote libertarian in the general election. Say whatever you want about the libertarians as a party, but generally they do not vote for gun owner control laws. If enough republicans lose their seat by margin of libertarian, maybe they'll shape up. Maybe not.

In Colorado the republicans held firm, with (so far) only 1 republican voting for any gun owner control law (and that was just one who voted for one law). In similar situations I'd urge the republicans to take their ball and go home. I mean not voting on anything except a repeal of the gun owner control laws until these laws are repealed. Not even on bills that the republicans favor. The democrats have enough votes to pass whatever they want anyway, so let them own the session without any help. I'll try to make a separate post dealing with that notion.

In states where gun owners have some legislative respect, use it. Push for laws not only liberalizing what conditions exist on possessing weapons, but enact strict laws punishing government agents who impose upon the Right to arms. Put some teeth into those protections.

Cops. Gun owners dislike talking about law enforcement officers because many are pro LEO. That's understandable. But it's not the legislator who enforces an anti gun owner law. A senator from your state will not lock you up and steal your guns because you handed your daughters friend a .22 rifle at the range without background checking her first. So stop being pro LEO where the LEO's impose upon your Rights. Make a big noise about not donating to any police centered charity, and ostracize any cops in any department that enforces such laws. If you own a business make sure they (and the press) know that cops who enforce gun owner control laws are not welcome at your place. If you sell LEO products, stop doing business with departments that will use those products to lock up gun owners for mere possession. If you know any cops working for a department with a policy of enforcing unconstitutional laws against gun owners, ask them to resign and seek work elsewhere. If they don't, then de-friend them.

Collaborators. If any pro-gun owner organization speaks appeasement, or compromise, call them to task, even if it's the NRA or GOA or SAF or folks who have been prominently on our side. Don't be persuaded by assurances that they're just seeking to make a bad bill better because it'll pass anyway. Let it pass at its worst. But don't give an inch, or allow others to cede ground on your behalf. This is not a checkers game, nor a chess game, this is a war. Giving ground is not a valid option and we must fight tooth and nail on everything. If we lose a battle then we lose a battle, but there should be no attempt at working with the enemy, not even to slow our own destruction. We fight or we perish. we don't need anyone that will undermine our efforts because they know what's best for us, on either side.

Stop being law abiding gun owners. I've always hated that phrase and even more so now. Stop obeying laws that impose upon your Rights. Do it discreetly where wise, and publicly where you're aware of the risks. Again this is another thing I intend to post about on its own if I can get around to it, but don't confuse the rule of law with having to submit to unconstitutional and immoral dictates. Be disobedient, and proud of it.

In short, the other side wants to control us. They want to extinguish us, not so much physically (though they'll settle for that if they have to) but culturally. They want us to assimilate or disappear. I don't think we should even entertain the argument enough to debate it in any way. We should just start saying no, to whatever we can, in any way we can.

They want to live in a world absent the gun culture, so we should indulge them as best we can monetarily and socially. But physically no. We should be visible; reminders that they cannot control us. If they really want this culture war they've been fighting we should make it clear that we're not fighting on their terms any longer. No more Marquess of Queensberry rules. If they want to remove us, to extinguish our culture, our way of life and all the good it produces, they'll have to lay their hands on us.

Not the most desirable strategy, but I do not see any other; we have to adopt new methods or we'll lose in the long run. If anyone has any other suggestions by all means speak type up, but barring ideas to the contrary I'm thinking the above is the best way to start from here.

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