Frightening the White People

There is an interesting discussion going on in the comments to a post at Snowflakes in Hell on a letter to the editor written by Mike Vanderboegh. Mr. Vanderboegh is a strident voice for the right to arms, an extremist’s extremist. He is, as I described him in my own comment at Snowflakes, the Malcolm X of the gun-rights movement.

He’s the guy who wants to, as SayUncle puts it so wincingly, “frighten the white people.”

Mr. Vanderboegh is currently writing a book, one that makes John Ross’s Unintended Consequences look like a trip to Disneyland. It’s entitled Absolved, and it’s being published, chapter by chapter, on various gun blogs. David Codrea, a member of the Black Rifle Panthers himself, has a link to all the chapters posted so far. You might find it an interesting read. Mr. Vanderboegh is a pretty good writer.

The general consensus of the 66 (so far) comments at Sebastian’s is that actually telling people that gun owners are willing to kill over the right to arms is counterproductive in the struggle to convince a majority that having a right to arms is a good thing. Of course there are those who think Mr. Vanderboegh is off his rocker, or that anyone who doesn’t agree wholeheartedly with him is a traitor, but generally the middle-of-the-road position is “he’s right, but we shouldn’t say things like that out loud.” Most believe that we’re turning back the tide of gun control, and that the Heller decision illustrates this emphatically, so tossing verbal hand-grenades is more than a little counterproductive. Others argue that incidents like the David Olofson prosecution and conviction prove that the government is still coming after us, and they’ll keep doing it retail until they figure out how to do it wholesale.

I’d like to point out that Mr. Vanderboegh is not the only person out there who has stated, seriously, that lethal force against government officials isn’t off the list of possible responses. In fact, in January of 2007 SayUncle (in all seriousness) and Tamara (you never can really tell) made it plain that that was a position they both took.

Mr. Vanderboegh wrote in his letter to the editor:

There are some of us “cold dead hands” types, perhaps 3 percent of gun owners, who would kill anyone who tried to further restrict our God-given liberty. Don’t extrapolate from your own cowardice and assume that just because you would do anything the government told you to do that we would.

SayUncle wrote:

What makes me a gun nut?

Not the number of guns I own. For someone who yammers on so much about guns, I probably own considerably less than the average reader here. I own the following: Ruger 10/22, a Walther P22, Kel-Tec 380, an AR in 9mm, Glock 30, an AR in 5.56. I think that’s it. Six firearms. I have a lot on my to buy list but they always get pushed back due to other priorities or whatever. And here lately, I’ve actually sold a couple of firearms. One, because I didn’t care for it and one because I was offered too much to turn it down.

It’s not that I like how they work mechanically or tinkering. I do that with other stuff and I’m not nuts about that. I like to do woodworking but I am not a woodworking nut. And I don’t blog about woodworking.

It’s not hunting. I don’t hunt.

It’s not the zen of target shooting. I zen playing cards, golf, and other activities as well.

So, what is it? I thought about it long and hard. And it’s this simple truth:

If you fuck with me bad enough, I’ll kill your ass.

Simple. Not elegant. But that truth is what scares the shit out of others and it’s that truth that makes people look at you like you’re crazy. It won’t be a NRA slogan any time soon. But it’s what you’re asserting when you claim to be a gun nut, whether you like it or not.

SayUncle is one of Mr. Vanderboegh’s “3 percent.” So am I. But SayUncle made his statement on a blog, a site read mostly by others who share, largely, the same beliefs. Mr. Vanderboegh made his statement in a newspaper, where people who don’t think the way we do are in the majority.

I’m ambivalent on the topic, myself. I think those who really need to understand that some of us are willing to kill already do. That’s why they go after people like David Olofson – to frighten the rest of us. I think that the 97% of the gun owning population that isn’t on the same wavelength as Mr. Vanderboegh and SayUncle and myself needs to be reminded from time to time that the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting and target shooting and gun collecting. There’s a reason they enumerated an individual right to arms, and it had to do with watering the Tree of Liberty, if necessary.

Where Mr. Vanderboegh and I differ is on when (or whether) that watering needs to be done. I suspect that SayUncle and I are in more agreement that Mr. Vanderboegh and I would be. As I said in my own comment at Snowflakes in Hell:

There’s a group of people, and as far as I can tell it’s growing, that not only believes that we’re headed for violent revolution, they want it.

And what scares me is, sometimes I think they’re right.

Your thoughts?

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