December 28, 2013

Don't Accept Collect Calls

During the occupation of Poland by the Nazi's, a doctrine referred to as "collective responsibility" was employed. It was simple really; if a person helped out a Jew that person and that person's immediate family were shot. If a German was killed a couple of hundred Poles were killed in retaliation.

You're likely familiar with the system itself as it's carried out in schools, the military, some occupations and detention facilities. It's just that if little Jimmy was caught chewing gum in the hall, he wasn't killed, but his entire class had recess cancelled for that day.

This can be effective, as it lends to a group doing the dirty work of whatever authoritarian is in charge by trying to keep everyone else in line. It can also bomb horribly and generate the opposite effect from that which was desired.

Gun owners know all too well the downside of this little bit of intellectual pysch-ops; when there's a mass shooting, folks try to take away our guns, even though we weren't anywhere near said shooting site and hadn't shot anyone at all, ever. So it's slightly irritating that gun owners themselves fall for this particular line of bullshit as often as they do.

Open carry is the most common vehicle to open up on someone like it was recess in the 5th grade all over again. Folks condemned, and harshly I might add, other folks who carried weapons openly into Starbucks. When Starbucks issued their wimpified request that no gun owners carry guns in their establishments lest someone's mellow gets harshed, gun owners jumped right in with taunts that'd have made your average 6th grader think "how immature".

"See why we can't have nice things" was a common refrain, in substance if not in form, as if it sprung from the mind of a semi-competent but lazy kindergarten teacher and landed on the tongue of some gun owner whose sensibilities were offended somehow. Derision was heaped upon folks for exercising their Rights in a non-comittee-endorsed kinda way, with the blame of a company that wasn't comfy with gun owners projected unto a sub-population of gun owners.

One mouthy little jack-ass went so far as to declare he'd call the cops on anyone he saw carrying openly, despite being a gun owner his self.

It continues now; gun owners still pile on other gun owners for openly carrying, or for even mentioning that the [insert unconstitutional gun law here] should be repealed. "That's not a serious argument", "it's not politically possible right now", "we'll scare the white people", etc.

But the next mass murder committed with a firearm, most of those same folks will cry "unfair!" and point out they were sitting at home at the time of the murders when people start talking about taking away their guns, or adding even more restrictions on their permits.

I'm calling bullshit on the lot of them.

My actions don't have an effect on any other gun owner, unless collective responsibility is a just and moral system. If it is, we're all hosed, cause the worst common denominator (i.e. pick a mass murderer - any of 'em) will be pointed to to justify whatever punishment the authority figure in question decides we should have.

We cannot pick and choose - either we're all responsible for each others actions, and thus deserving of the punishment for each others actions, or we're simply responsible for our own damn selves.

As you might guess, I don't subscribe to collective responsibility as a valid social arrangement. In fact I'd go so far as to say it's a form of sabotage by the enemy that's been very effective.

"But we have to police our own - it's necessary!"

Bovine non-celibate excrement.

If you see someone doing something unsafe, that puts others body or life at imminent risk, speak up. See someone covering folks with the muzzle of a piece as they check out the import stamps then by all means call them on it. See a guy fingering a trigger while the gun ain't supposed to be fired, give him the Gun Safety 101 lecture. But if you see someone carrying in a non-fashionable manner or with a rig that's not on the approved tacticooler-than-thou list, grab a doughnut. Or a peace of pecan pie. Anything to occupy your mouth, mind and that unrighteous indignation you feel when someone isn't following The Plan as laid down by whatever gun guru you think is smarter than you.

If you have a disagreement with the way someone is going about exercising their Right then talk with them about it. Quietly. Be willing to accept that they may not see your logic. Try to find out what their goal is and if you can meaningfully help them achieve it, cool. If not, mind your own damn bid'niz. As long as that person isn't advocating for more restrictions, or maintaining current prior restraint based restrictions, then you has met the enemy and the enemy ain't him.

That guy carrying the floppy holstered High-Point while wearing shorts, a T-shirt and those flip flops (and this far after Labor Day!) is not your enemy. The asshole in the bureaucracy that thinks he can hammer down a more restrictive regulation; that legislator who wants to ban X item or items; that wannabe shaman-in-a-robe who says "what Right?" as he's about to defer to the plenary power of government again; the executive who thinks that he/she should control who is armed; or that rising thug from the goon squad with the shiny badge who feels like you deserve the perp walk for disrespecting his authority while having 1 more round in the mag than Daddy Gov says you can - they're the enemy. If you want to fight someone, fight them!"

Wanna get all primary school on someone? Try the ones who are actively seeking to disparage your Rights and usurp power for themselves, not the poor guy that can't afford a Milt Sparks or a semi-custom Kimber or a carry permit but still thinks that carrying should be a Right, not a privilege.

I swanny.

We ain't all in this together. We're just not. Some of you are fine with carry permits. Some of you are cool with magazine capacity restrictions. Some are cool with "assault weapons" bans. Some of you think the NFA is a good idea because no one "needs" machine guns anyway. And you know what I'd do if they took the guns I have away and then came after yours?

I'd defend you if I could.

This ain't no Kumbayah moment and I won't stand still for no group hug. It's simple fact; if I could secure my Rights and the Rights of those I care for, I'd leave everyone else hanging in the wind. But it doesn't work like that. Oh sure, I could go to work for the Feds (if I could get rid of these damned scruples and sense of pride) but that wouldn't do anything for the people I care about. Ultimately it wouldn't do that much for me. So I have to defend y'all' Rights, for myself. Even those of you I don't like, or disagree with. I have to do what I can to make sure you can carry and have access to what you want otherwise there's no way I can carry or have access to what I want.

There again, this isn't a thing that the collective gets to decide. Just like if 99% of y'all went out and murdered someone tomorrow, it shouldn't be cause to take away my guns, if some foul minded little jerk murders someone, it shouldn't be justification for taking away all of our guns.

You can get that right? You understand it? You grok it? It makes sense to you?

Then stop doing their dirty work for them. Stop trying to "correct" gun owners you don't agree with on some matter that isn't directly and immediately related to safety.

Further examples:

You see a guy that has a hogleg shoved into his belt and it's precariously hangin' on, strike up as polite and helpful a conversation you can about holsters. A guy carries in a non-rigid holster, walk up to him and say, "I'm a gun owner too, Nice to meet ya" and leave it the hell at that.

"But it was the open carriers in California that got what limited open carry options they had taken away!"

Nope. It was a legislature that was so used to acting beyond the scope of its legitimate power that one more encroachment didn't make them bat an eye. A better argument could be made that it was the fault of gun owners that didn't shoot, tar and feather, defenestrate or otherwise bodily remove from office the first group of legislators that began disparaging Rights that are responsible. But even that I wouldn't see as an excuse to deride anyone over.

In the 90's the Fudds, along with the NRA, abandoned us on the "assault weapons" ban. Oh and we were none too happy with them, but we still stood up for them when we could. That's what we have to do here.

We, that means you as well as myself, have to point out that if someone is exercising a Right and there's no direct safety problem with the way they do it, then they shouldn't get static for it.

I don't like Glocks. An unsupported chamber with a polygonal rifled barrel fed with relatively high pressure cartridges is not my idea of least risky method of hurling rocks. Plus they're as aesthetically pleasing as DiFi. I don't like AR-15's. Direct gas impingement coupled with a too-weak-for-my-tastes cartridge means whatever I use a carbine for I can likely find a better option.

A young lady I know, in Cali of all places, got her first handgun a few months back. It's a Glock 22, in .40 S&W. I didn't make fun of her for her choice. I didn't deride her cause her selection wasn't as cool as I could have recommended for her. I was happy, cause A: behind the lines another person just joined the Gun Culture and B: a lady I think is pretty cool now has the ability to protect herself when she's at home. I suggested she not use reloads or really hot rounds (+P, +P+, etc...) and pointed her out some .40 S&W ammo I thought did well considering her situation (she's more worried about mountain lions, but most loads for those work fine on peoples). I even had a chat with her about Cali legal AR's (after my Garand evangelism was unsuccessful of course) and helped her look around to do some comparison shopping. (I felt dirty though. Very dirty. Had to use bleach in my shower..)

Now as strongly opinionated as I am (which is only because I'm correct), if I can keep my trap shut and simply appreciate that someone is exercising a Right, even though I disagree with the manner, then y'all should be able to smile and think of something nice to say or enjoy a nice steaming cup of tending-yo'-own-biz flavored chai when you see someone who is openly carrying.

Cause, no matter how strategic you think you're being, no matter how you tell yourself you're "playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers" every time you deride someone that is carrying openly you're working for the enemy.

What you're doing is reinforcing, however so unintentionally, the idea that we, as a group are responsible for all of each others actions. That means we can be punished, as a group, for the actions of a few, or one.

I'll tell ya right now, i won't have any of that. I won't take responsibility for your actions anymore than I'd expect y'all to take responsibility for mine.

I disagree with individuals, and more often than not, I disagree with ideas, not people. If you think "Shall Issue" is the apex of the "right" to carry, then we gonna have some lively discussion, and you'll be wrong the entire damn time. I'll tell ya quite plainly that just because you wish to cede your Right, that gives you no legitimacy to offer to give my Right up too. But if the ever present "they" manage to take away my guns and then threaten to take away yours, I'd stick up for ya. Oh there'd be "I-told-ya-so's" and a few choices phrases that'd make you wonder how homo sapiens your ancestry really was, but I'd still defend ya.

Because if I derided your Rights, I'd undermine my own. And if I gave you grief about the way you exercised your Rights, then how the hell could I expect any support from you? Worse yet, how much fodder had I just given our mutual enemy?

"But other civil Rights movement had a cohesive, well structured strategy"

Not really. Don't believe everything those history books in government schools told ya. A few things happened just because of happenstance. A few things happened because of clever orchestration of events beyond their control. A lot of it was because of radicals who wouldn't sit at the back of the bus til their "collective" figured out a program and had time to circulate a memo.

Scaring whitey. I really don't' give a damn. Whitey can be scared of his own shadow if he wants. Odds are he ain't gonna vote for the things I want whether I stay in the closet de la gun or not. His fear isn't any sort of justification for stomping on my Rights. Whether I carry a gun openly or have a cookie shaped like Idaho after a bite, my Rights aren't subject to his or anyone else's approval. And there is a school of thought that says scaring whitey can work if done right. But that's beyond the scope of this rant.

Gay folks. A lot of people I saw commenting kept bringing up how obnoxious a segment of the gay population was, with their "in your face" tactics. Guess what? Gay folks can get married in a bunch of places today. Like it or hate it, the more outspoken, radical and I'm sure non-committee approved segments helped, not hindered that.

Black folks. They aren't sitting at the front, middle or back of the rhetorical bus as they choose (and space is available) because a Reverend with communist sympathies had a dream. They're equals when it comes to government services cause a radical Muslim with bad eyesight said "by whatever means necessary" and Watts burned down. Aforementioned Rev used that to his advantage, pointed out the other guy and said "see what'll happen if you don't talk with us?" and went on to elevate a group to at least equal status in a society that had formerly looked down upon them.

No, the guys carrying openly, even brazenly, aren't hurting you or your Rights. If they act like jerks or dress like fashion rejects from a Romanian whorehouse it hurts you not one whittle. If someone in government uses them as an excuse to try to take away your Rights, it's the person in government's fault, not the poor schlep that you helped pick out for them to use as an example.

So to break this all down for ya, "collective responsibility" is a tool the enemy uses, and a particularly nasty one. Don't do their work for them. If someone objects, claiming we need a focused strategy to be politically/socially effective, remind them that we aren't a collective. We have differing goals and differing ways of going about things and as long as no one is doing anything physically unsafe, to set their control freak tendencies to neutral for a while.

We do have differing goals, but we all have the same Rights. They're being attacked. Not by folks who carry in a manner unapproved by the guru of politics, tactics or fashion sense, but by folks who only want to see government agents carrying weapons.

Sure, you may think a bayonet on a 10/22 is ridiculous, but remember that snarky little tidbit that had your pals cracking up on facebook will show up at a committee hearing to prove gun owner support for bayonet bans.

Don't fall for the "collective responsibility" trap. Try to be friggin' supportive if possible if someone is safely exercising a Right. and save the "I'm in 5th grade and I ain't got no home training" routine for the folks that deserve it - the ones actively trying to take away your Rights (even if you don't want 'em right this minute - one day you may change your mind).

Posted by Publicola at December 28, 2013 01:47 PM | TrackBack

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