Thought Crimes

Rivrdog has a post up concerning the brouhaha over Jason of Fish or Man‘s arrest, and he addresses something important:

There are many fertile subjects here: The need for clarity in the gun laws, the need for education of the gendarmes in the gun laws, the need of the police to be professionally detached, and not make “asshole arrests”, but above all, there is a need to be calm and deliberative in the face of such pressure. On both sides.

None of this is the reason I wrote this post, however. Mrs. DuToit was obviously horrified as to the way her comments section was being used to promote extreme and violent ideas, so she gutted the post and deleted all the comments.

Mrs. DuToit doesn’t write much about guns, but her husband, Kim DuToit, is the most prolific and widely-read gun blogger around. He is a mega-blogger. The DuToits are now worried about their position and their wide readership being interpreted to mean, to those who feel threatened about such things (read: the BATFE and all the lefty government hacks who worry about guns for a living), that she and Kim might become targets for some government action or other.

So might I, since I have stated in this blog before that I believe that the root of Gun Fearing is nothing less than the leftist fear that if they succeed in their desire for a left-wing dictatorship, there are enough guns around that will be used against them to prevent their seizing the government, or successfully revolting against the seized government after it happens. There is historical basis for this view, and there is historical evidence to show that it was this type of thinking that led the Forefathers to put the Second Amendment in place.

I have stated, as has Kim, that a time may come when all good people who support the Constitution as written and presently interpreted might have to defend said document with our guns and our lives.

This opinion puts us on a list.

He then goes on to make a list of recommendations for gun-bloggers to follow, with this caveat:

Blogging is a hobby, right? Gun blogging is just a subset of a hobby, right? No sane person pushes their hobby so hard it threatens their life and liberty.

On the surface, he’s correct. But what he’s saying is “Don’t get caught committing a thought crime.”

I found Rivrdog’s post through Rob Smith of Gut Rumbles. Rob understands. He wrote:

I love my country, but I FEAR my government. Yeah, I “beard the lion” frequently on this blog, but I fully understand the risks I take when I do it. I may be hauled off to jail some fine day for something I WROTE, right here in the land of the First Amendment. We fought a Revolution over that idea, but the government our founders fought and died for can and WILL do that to you today.

I understand Rivrdog’s concern, because I know that he’s not a wing-nut, black-helicopter-seeing, conspiracy-minded flake. He’s the kind of person I would like for a neighbor.

So, I have to ask a simple question: isn’t it tragic that he even thought to write that post in this “land of the free and home of the brave?” Isn’t it ALSO tragic that I read the post and felt compelled to write about it myself? Does that fact say something terrible about Rivrdog, me or the du Toit’s?

Or does it say something about government?

Jason wrote in a comment at Connie’s now redacted post,

I am at wits end. The loaded gun charge will likely be dropped on Thursday, it relies on what an officer claims my spouse said. Something which cannot be used in court anyway. So that leaves me with a cop claiming reckless driving and a prosecutor that will likely add a felony charge of threatening a peace officer, (from what I listened to while being held). After all this I will still need to go back to Ellensburg and clear my name from this “gun violation” they have waiting for me there. I only hope to be able to make that stand without being branded a felon.

I refuse to believe that these are the conditions we are fighting the war on terrorism to keep. If so, the war has lost my support.

All I have to say to Jason is, if you weren’t aware of the level to which we have fallen, you haven’t been paying attention. I thought you understood that the fight was to get back what we’ve lost.

When I started The Smallest Minority I was quite aware I’d probably end up on a list somewhere. I’ve kept the tone civil and polite (for the most part), and followed that list of recommendations Rivrdog put up (for the most part), but I’ve certainly committed a number of “thought crimes” by posting on those stories of government excess that I have seen, such as this one that John Ray recently found:

Gun collector visited by Waterbury police

Friday, December 10, 2004

By Ben Conery

WATERBURY — It never dawned on William Bechard that the two old Smith & Wesson revolvers he found for sale earlier this year in the Bargain News would get him arrested.

The classified advertisement newspaper led Bechard, 52, to a man in Hartford who was selling a .32-caliber revolver and a .38-caliber revolver. Bechard, of Waterbury, is an avid gun collector and trader who owns nearly 100 rifles and handguns, nearly all of them more than 50 years old.

Bechard said he bought the two revolvers in April for about $300.

The man Bechard bought the guns from called about a week later and said Bechard needed to contact the State Police to transfer the guns’ registrations. Bechard recalled Thursday night that he called the State Police to do so, but it didn’t have a record of the two guns.

Guns made before the late 1890s are considered antiques and don’t have to be registered. Believing the guns were antiques, Bechard said he didn’t give the matter a second thought until Thursday morning. Two State Police detectives knocked on his door Thursday around 7:30 a.m., Bechard said. They were there to arrest him for illegal transfer of a handgun.

“I said, ‘I’m a law-abiding citizen,'” Bechard said. “They said, ‘Well, now you’re not.'”

Bechard faces two counts of illegal transfer of a firearm, a felony, and up to 10 years in prison if convicted of both charges.

Bechard has a passion for old weapons. In his house, a room no more than three paces wide — protected by two dead bolts and pepper spray rigged to trip wire — contains an arsenal of history. He has a rifle used in the Civil War and an ivory-handled Colt.45 Peacemaker, the same model used by famed outlaw Jesse James.

Read the whole thing. Mr. Bechard has fallen victim to Ayn Rand’s dark and accurate vision. The government has made so many laws that he has violated one that brought him to the attention of the Powers That Be, who respond to his cry of “I’m a law-abiding citizen!” with “Well, now you’re not.”

Time to cash in on the guilt.

If he’s lucky, he’ll be offered a plea that will keep him out of jail, but will forever strip him of his right to arms. His entire collection, painstakingly built up over decades, will be taken. He will never legally be able to handle a firearm again. But the law that is supposed to keep guns out of the hands of felons will, again, serve only to punish an otherwise law-abiding person who merely made an error.

Last Monday I posted a piece from where a contributor there related the story of taking his son to a birthday party at the local pizza and video game parlor and shocking the socks off a gun-fearing wussy. In my comments, that same contributor posted this follow-on from another poster:

That reminds when my 8 year old daughter was at a gunshow with me and we were staffing a “gun rights” booth. The discussion was HOT and heavy with a large group of people around…….I caught only a piece of the discussion that my daughter was having with the LEO…….the LEO said “What if the President gives the order for the Police to take all the guns?”… 8 year old told the LEO “Don’t come to my house! We’ll shoot you and bury you in the backyard!”

The LEO just stopped with this look on his face………….and then he walked away.

That family is probably on a list. They’ve committed a thought crime.

Rob Smith says “I FEAR my government.” Connie du Toit fears being the target of some government action. Rivrdog recommends not making such a target of oneself.

Thomas Paine is credited with the quotation:

When people fear the government, there is tyranny. When government fears the people, there is liberty.

It’s pretty apparent where we stand now. Blindingly apparent now to Jason and to William Bechard, long apparent to Rob Smith, the du Toits, me, Rivrdog and many others.

Blogging is a hobby, yes, and gunblogging is a subset of that hobby, but most of us do it for more than just the enjoyment a hobby brings. We do it to remind our government that, while fearful, we’re not cowed. We do it to remind them that we understand what our rights are and what they’re supposed to be, and that we resent the distance between those two points. And we do it to remind them that we are not powerless.

One of the first posts I put up on this blog was Why DO I Own a Gun?, and I made the point plain from the start:

The last reason I own a gun is probably the most controversial. It’s the one that gets gun owners branded as “nuts”, “kooks”, and various other derogatory terms.

I own a gun in order to keep my government in check.

That is the primary reason the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution. The men who wrote it created a whole new form of government, one untried before in history. They did this in the full knowledge that governments are run by human beings, and that some human beings lust for power. They understood that, even with all the checks and balances engineered into the Constitution, with time and patience and even with good intent, the system they set up could fail and tyranny could again rise up. They understood that if the force of arms could be restricted to only the government, that the consent of the governed would become unimportant to those in charge.

So I own a gun. Just as a reminder those in charge that they’d better mean it when they swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. The Declaration of Independence says it best:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.

It would be tough to throw off such a government starting with only small arms, but it’s been done. It would be impossible without them.

Bill Whittle wrote in Freedom:

In the Warsaw Ghetto, in Solzhenitsyn’s Gulags, in countless other miserable terrifying pits of murder, some people woke up to the idea that resistance is NOT futile. Which is why that old saw, which in my terribly, tragically misspent liberal youth I used to sneer at as the mark of a real idiot – “they can have my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers” – suddenly makes a new kind of sense to me.

That is not the statement of someone who doesn’t want to give up a snowmobile or a Beemer. That is a statement that draws a line in the sand for the government, or any other oppressor, to plainly see. You want to take this freedom away from me? COME AND GET IT.

That’s it, precisely.

Armed citizens, committing thought crimes in public, should act as a check on those officials who seek to overstep their powers. (I’m willing to bet that Sherrif’s deputy will now think twice if he’s ever actually given an order to confiscate weapons wholesale.) Granted, many of our freedoms have slid down the slippery slope over the past two centuries, but bear in mind that ours is the longest-lived Republic republic still in existence, too. An armed citizenry may or may not factor in to that, but I know which side of that argument I’m on.

So, like Rob and (I’m certain) like Kim du Toit, and the Geek and many others, we’ll continue to commit thought crimes and stay on those lists. We will do it in the (possibly forlorn) hope of keeping the Powers That Be attentive to the fact that they can only push so hard before another Marvin Heemeyer or Steven Bixby or someone like them has had enough, and only so much harder before what is now a tiny trickle might become a flood, because there are a number of people in this country who read this advice, and nod their heads in silent agreement:

Lesson No. 1: If a bureaucrat, or a soldier sent by a bureaucrat, comes to knock down your door and take you someplace you don’t want to go because of who you are or what you think– kill him. If you can, kill the politician who sent them. You will likely die anyway, and you will be saving someone else the same fate. For it is a universal truth that the intended victims always far outnumber the tyrant’s executioners. Any nation which practices this lesson will quickly run out of executioners and tyrants, or they will run out of it.

Lesson No. 2: If a bureaucrat, or a soldier sent by a bureaucrat, comes to knock down your door and confiscate your firearms– kill him. The disarmament of law-abiding citizens is the required precursor to genocide.

Lesson No. 3: If a bureaucrat tells you that he must know if you have a firearm so he can put your name on a list for the common good, or wants to issue you an identity card so that you may be more easily identified– tell him to go to hell. Registration of people and firearms is the required precursor to the tyranny which permits genocide. Bureaucrats cannot send soldiers to doors that aren’t on their list.

Lesson No. 4: Believe actions, not words. Tyrants are consummate liars. Just because a tyrant is “democratically elected” doesn’t mean that he believes in democracy. Reference Adolf Hitler, 1932. And just because a would-be tyrant mouths words of reverence to law and justice, or takes a solemn oath to uphold a constitution, doesn’t mean he believes such concepts apply to him. Reference Bill Clinton, among others. The language of the lie is just another tool of killers. A sign saying “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes You Free) posted above an execution camp gate doesn’t mean that anybody gets out of there alive, and a room labeled “Showers” doesn’t necessarily make you clean. Bill Clinton notwithstanding, the meaning of “is” is plain when such perverted language gets you killed. While all tyrants are liars, it is true that not all political liars are would-be tyrants– but they bear close watching. And keep your rifle handy.

Oops! I think I just committed another thought crime. Put another tick-mark next to my name.

UPDATE, 12/22: Kim du Toit informs me that Rivrdog misconstrued the reason behind the redaction, and has a post up explaining what they did and why. Connie has one, too. Excellent, as usual. Makes sense to me. I had not read the original post prior to writing Thought Crimes, so I took Rivrdog’s explanation at face value. Having met Kim & Connie, I ought to have known better, but hindsight is always 20/20.

I have just one comment on Kim’s explanatory post. There are supposed to be four boxes on which liberty stands: the soap box (which includes the mailbox), the jury box (which has been essentially stripped from us since the practice of jury nullification has been destroyed), the ballot box, and the cartridge box.

The box I use here is, of course, the soap box.

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