Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Americans are so enamoured of equality they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”     Alexis de Tocqueville

April 6, 2009

Good gun nuts. Bad gun nuts.

by Stephen Gordon

birferDavid Weigel (via Robert Stacy McCain) brings us some gun goodness with a fair amount of gun not-so-goodness in this photo spread at the Washington Examiner.  “I spent Saturday at the bi-annual Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot, right outside of Louisville, Ky. Gun enthusiasts of all stripes were there — from the National Rifle Association and sportsmen to militia members to white supremacists and Obama birthers,” wrote Weigel.

I used to attend some of these fire-em-up functions, which are fairly common in the deep south.  Shooting off a lot of ordinance is decidedly fun, good practice and about as American as apple pie.

I rarely attend these sorts of events these days, mostly because I’m tired of Nazis and the far-more-numerous other sort of white supremacists, militia members, folks who say you don’t have to pay taxes because the 16th Amendment wasn’t ratified, folks who think the moon landings were faked, some folks with poor hygiene standards, and now Obama Birfers.  And let’s not even get into Area 51 or the Freemasons. These days, I either go to a public range or sometimes pop off a few rounds with no more than a few family members at a family farm.

In his title, McCain credited Weigel with “Scaring liberals to death.”  He’s got a valid point, based on these comments, for example.  However, it’s the tie between normal firearms enthusiasts and extreme right wing kookery which disturbs me.  If a man is to known by the company he keeps, I’d rather not be associated with neo-Nazis and other political kooks.

When I was a small child, the most serious trouble I could have gotten into was to even think about walking in the near vicinity of any loaded weapon.  In my household (now, as well as then), ALL firearms are considered loaded at ALL times.  I don’t care if it’s broken down into twenty pieces for cleaning.  It’s obvious that I didn’t break this rule, as I’m still alive to write about it.

With gun ownership comes a great deal of responsibility.  The same holds true to politics.  If you want people to discredit whatever valid political message you have, start talking about Obama’s birth certificate or WTC 7 or a grassy knoll in Dallas.  You can be assured of having your message about bailouts or stimulus packages or pork and especially the Second Amendment disregarded, too.

Even if you don’t care about how people perceive you, think about your political allies.  It wasn’t that long ago that the media tried to tie Ron Paul to 9/11 conspiracy theories and groups like Stormfront.  If you are at a Tea Party event, bringing up the great Birfer debate to the media isn’t going to stop any bailouts. It will, however, give the left more ammo to discredit their opposition.  One does their political friends a grave disservice when they allow their personal feelings about unrelated issues color the topic of the moment.

One has every right in the world to hold and express whatever bizarre belief he or she desires.  However, unnecessarily associating others with these sorts of views is a bit socially irresponsible and often politically damaging.

Speaking of having a great time blowing up stuff, check out this totally awesome video footage combined with some not-so-awesome messaging:

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36 Comments

  1. I worked at gunshows with my father for about ten years, since I was about nine.

    I’m glad at least some bloggers can differentiate between the majority of people who attend such events and the minority of whack jobs who grab the headlines.

    Comment by A Texan — April 6, 2009 @ 11:30 pm
  2. We need something like that where I live…

    Comment by Justin Bowen — April 6, 2009 @ 11:47 pm
  3. The Birchers and the White supremacists and their fellow ‘Patriots’ are carrying a great deal of water for big government.

    Let’s be frank – that guy with his ‘Wake Up America’ sign above is going to scare a lot more people than he converts to his cause. And the more they associate themselves with threats of violence the larger the number of people they will scare into the government’s arms.

    Comment by tarran — April 7, 2009 @ 4:54 am
  4. Unfortunately, Ok City bombers and such types are drawn to guns, making it very easy to associate the two. And I’m sure they care not what political damage they do in that regard.

    Comment by tfr — April 7, 2009 @ 6:19 am
  5. no wonder i can’t you.

    Comment by oilnwater — April 7, 2009 @ 6:51 am
  6. +stand

    Comment by oilnwater — April 7, 2009 @ 6:51 am
  7. libs like Gordon can stay away from gunshows for all I care some of us love our country and will save it

    Comment by Jason — April 7, 2009 @ 8:19 am
  8. libs like Gordon can stay away from gunshows for all I care

    I’m curious what the “lib” stands for. Is it liberal, libertarian, Liberian, libertine…?

    If you mean the current definition of “liberal” (anti-gun, espousing a nanny state, etc.), I don’t see much evidence of that in this post or any others by Stephen I’ve read so far.

    Asking people to be aware of how they come across to observers in order to maximize the effectiveness of their message is not the same as criticizing the message itself.

    Comment by Akston — April 7, 2009 @ 11:18 am
  9. Perhaps I should try a different tack. If you were a salesman, do you think you would sell more products or services by bringing up your thoughts about WTC 7 to strangers?

    If you were a preacher, would you convert more people if you spent a lot of time spouting Nazi rhetoric?

    If you worked for a public relations firm, would it help you out to be known as a racist?

    Comment by Stephen Gordon — April 7, 2009 @ 11:34 am
  10. I’m sort of curious about what sort of “lib” I am accused of being, too.

    Comment by Stephen Gordon — April 7, 2009 @ 11:35 am
  11. The Liberty Papers, where every government response to any incident is swallowed hook, line, and sinker; where no conspiracies exist, and freedom of association with the wrong kind of people is disparaged.

    Comment by John Newman — April 7, 2009 @ 1:13 pm
  12. “freedom of association with the wrong kind” IS allowed. It’s just not recommended. What is it about knee jerkers that causes them to jump the tracks? John, please don’t go away but certainly get a little perspective. We need every freedom fighter we can get.

    Don’t like a message? Attack the messenger. It’s the Merican way.

    Comment by Norm — April 7, 2009 @ 1:40 pm
  13. Norm, thanks for setting me straight about attacking the messenger. It didn’t take this knee jerker long to figure out I was being attacked for jumping the tracks.

    Comment by John Newman — April 7, 2009 @ 4:51 pm
  14. John,

    If you got a good rebuttal, I’d love to hear it.

    Comment by Stephen Gordon — April 7, 2009 @ 5:30 pm
  15. Rebuttal to what? You don’t like white supremacists who don’t like blacks. What? Do you want to force them to like blacks? They don’t have a right to believe what they want to believe? You want the militia guys, the moon landing guys, the tax people to subscribe to your belief otherwise they are
    wackos with bad breath? Tell me, what is libertarian, what is Jeffersonian, what is a belief in self-government about letting people believe whatever to hell it is what they want to believe.

    Christians believe nonsense. Jefferson and Paine knew that but what did they promote and believe? Let anyone believe whatever they want.

    Like the nonsense Christians believe, you are no different with the nonsense you believe. Have at it, just don’t try to pass it off as liberty and freedom.

    Comment by John Newman — April 7, 2009 @ 7:05 pm
  16. John,

    Damned skippy I “don’t like white supremacists who don’t like blacks.”

    However, they have, as I stated in my post, the right to believe and express whatever belief they desire.

    My point is that there are consequences to when, where and how one expresses theses sorts of views.

    There is nothing non-libertarian about suggesting that messaging should/could be framed for the maximum possible outcome.

    Comment by Stephen Gordon — April 7, 2009 @ 7:16 pm
  17. Stephen wrote:
    There is nothing non-libertarian about suggesting that messaging should/could be framed for the maximum possible outcome.

    Really? Explain how belittling and besmirching these people and their beliefs (and hygiene) is framing a maximum possible outcome for liberty and freedom for all beliefs?

    Not surprisingly, nothing in your post hinted at even a scintilla of anything that wasn’t pure government propaganda.

    Comment by John Newman — April 7, 2009 @ 8:14 pm
  18. John,

    If you don’t understand how the fight for liberty will be hurt if it comes to be associated with white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and people who believe the moon landing was faxed……..

    Well, then I really don’t know what to say.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — April 8, 2009 @ 3:36 am
  19. faxed should be faked, obviously

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — April 8, 2009 @ 3:36 am
  20. Doug wrote:
    If you don’t understand how the fight for liberty will be hurt if it comes to be associated with white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and people who believe the moon landing was faxed……..

    Thanks Doug, for making my point again. You aren’t really interested in Liberty For All. Your spiel sounds like deja vu from the Clinton years and you seem to be channeling Janet Reno.
    Have a nice day.

    Comment by John Newman — April 8, 2009 @ 5:51 am
  21. New poster. I stumbled across this site by way of a link on a site Brad frequents called BoilerD.

    I’m glad I did. My two cents – just my opinion.

    Some views are so out in left field so to speak, it is difficult if not impossible to refrain from belittling them. That does not mean those holding them should not have the right to speak out and express themselves.

    For example – I consider myself a Christian, and attempt to practice that faith to the best of my ability. A person like poster John can belittle me by saying that people like me “believe in nonsense.” But I assume he would still defend my right to be, in his mind, a delusional idiot. (what intelligent and rational person would, after all, believe in fairy tales?).

    In turn, I believe that the most extreme basket case Bush Derangement Syndrome folks, who believed that 911 was an “inside job” – the Bush Administration, led by evil Rove and evil Chaney, somehow rigged the Towers to detonate so that they could orchestrate their war for oil — are delusional fairy tale believers. And I, in turn, have mocked them. But I still would defend their right to say what they want to say and believe whatever “nonsense” they want to believe in.

    The point I think Stephen is making, is that if I am, for example, an everyday American who happens to be against the War in Iraq – and I wish to organize an anti-war protest….my goals will be undermined if the Communist Party USA shows up in force at my side, waving their hammer and sickle (sp?) flags, wearing their Che t-shirts and chanting Death to Amerika, etc. I’d rather they not be there, because too large a percentage of people I am trying to reach, who are watching it on t.v., will get turned off by that.

    Same thing with issues like gun control or the tea party protests. If somebody wants to join a Neo-Nazi club and their whole reason for existing is to promote the estabishment of a “Ship them Back to Africa” movement….Fine. Whatever. But please don’t march with me and your signs if I go out to a Tea Party Protest.

    That…Isn’t…Going…To…Help.

    At a pro-gun rally, please don’t wave NRA banners alongside your white supremacy signs. I’m joining the NRA this month, having become a brand new “gun nut,” and the white supremacy views are not those of the NRA or its members.

    Comment by southernjames — April 8, 2009 @ 6:21 am
  22. Liberty For All is fine. Sanity and ability to process facts and reality from fantasy would be nice, too, especially if you expect those who can to trust you to decide or do anything important.

    Comment by tfr — April 8, 2009 @ 6:22 am
  23. Yes, I see what you mean. It would be entirely inappropriate for a slave owner to openly declare:
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Comment by John Newman — April 8, 2009 @ 6:42 am
  24. John, I believe that the fight for liberty for all, IS hurt if those with out in left field fringe views (KKK members, 911 Truthers, etc.), are “associated” with a particular cause.

    Because it is a tactic the Leftist anti-liberty totalitarians already use, constantly, to demonize their opponents.

    One example: Via a propaganda narrative, it became a given in too many peoples’ minds that Tim McVeigh was driven to his murders by Rush Limbaugh and his “hate speech” on the radio. So it stands to reason that people like him should be driven off the air. Right? Plant the idea in peoples’ heads. Associate and connect the word “hate” with “conservative talk radio.”

    Serfdom will arrive in stages, not overnight.

    The totalitarians want gun control. (actually gun elimination, eventually). So – they do their best to scare the average voter. How? By creating an image – a “narrative” which is an attempt to get people to ASSOCIATE pro-2nd Amendment gun owners of America with “extreme right wing” (aka “racists”), “militia” types, “domestic terrorists,” “Timothy McVeigh” mentality, etc. If you favor concealed carry, and oppose the banning of those “scary” rifles – articles in places like Newsweek or on CNN will characterize you as an “Angry White Man,” or a “Southern Redneck,” or you are simply perhaps, in the words of Dear Leader, a poor naive ignorant Schlep, pathetically “clinging” to your “guns and religion.” Your betters know better and know what’s best for you.

    I favor full freedom of association, freedom of speech, and the liberty for anybody to be as big a Nazi as he wants to be.

    But would or would you not agree that it does not HELP the pro-2nd Amendment,gun ownership advocacy if the media propaganda stereotypes are reinforced and validated by Swastika flag wavers becoming “associated” with them?

    Comment by southernjames — April 8, 2009 @ 6:52 am
  25. Although there ARE “Kooks” out there, I believe that they make up only 2-5% of the total of the “Bubba Club” to which I PROUDLY belong.
    If living in “Fly-over Country”(as the Political Elite like to refer it), then I consider myself in GOOD company. I didn’t see any of THEM go to Korea, Vietnam, or Iraq. In fact, they did all they could to keep from it!
    I never had the “Honor” of going to ANY of those campaigns,but, I would have! I blog & you read!

    Comment by Bill Mortlock — April 8, 2009 @ 2:31 pm
  26. IF you ARE a Constitutional Conservative, plz read my blog & tell me what YOU think.
    IF YOUR beliefs include that if it’s NOT enumerated…you CAN”T DO IT!! If YOU believe that “WE THE PEOPLE” control this country, plz read my blog. If YOU believe it’s time to STOP the Liberals(Communists),plz read my blog.
    http://www.sjrpillinois.wordpress.com

    Comment by Bill Mortlock — April 8, 2009 @ 2:39 pm
  27. If you REALLY read ANY blogs then sjrpillinois.wordpress.com might just be up your alley.

    Comment by Bill Mortlock — April 8, 2009 @ 2:50 pm
  28. I think some mistake nihilism for liberty.

    Comment by VRB — April 8, 2009 @ 7:56 pm
  29. Yes, Liberty for ALL means everyone. Except sheet wearers, swastika wearers, politically incorrect slogan t-shirt wearers, people who only have one tooth, bikers, anyone with tattoos or piercings, winos, crackheads and ho’s. Liberty for All means well groomed preppies and people who are dressed like they are ready for their own funeral.
    The nihilist denies the existence of the word, ALL.

    Comment by John Newman — April 9, 2009 @ 6:07 am
  30. John,

    I never stated that liberty doesn’t apply to everyone.

    My point is about how best to sell the message, not whether or not one has the right to do whatever they want, so long as they aren’t harming others in the process.

    Comment by Stephen Gordon — April 9, 2009 @ 6:59 am
  31. [...] Stephen Gordon: John, I never stated that liberty doesn’t apply to everyone. My point is about how best to sell… [...]

    Pingback by The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » The über-secret attempt by ACORN to tell Obama the names of people attending Tea Parties (and much more) — April 9, 2009 @ 7:51 am
  32. John,

    You are either dense, or you are incapable or unwilling to read English, or your are intentionally not addressing the points made in rebuttal to your proclamations. Which is it?

    For the final time, it has been stated REPEATEDLY that people like me DO believe in “liberty for everyone” including – yes, even you and your fellow “sheet wearers.”

    Explain to me HOW my not wanting you and your fellow sheet wearers to be alongside me at my anti-war rally, or at my anti-trillion dollar bail-out Tea Party protest, so that YOUR message of “white supremacy” does not dilute, pollute, or distract from MY anti-big government message – impairs upon your Liberty, one bit.

    Answer the question.

    I don’t want that band-wagon hopper Newt Gingrich at my Tea Party either. Because he represents Big Government, and I don’t want our movement to be associated with Country Club Rockefellar Beltway Republicans.

    So you know what this means, don’t you….yes..

    Quick John!! Hurry! You’d better write to Newt and warn him that we don’t believe in Liberty for him!!!

    Comment by southernjames — April 9, 2009 @ 12:15 pm
  33. Well southernjames, I’m pretty dense and ain’t the world’s best reader, but I got brains enough to know contradiction and hypocrisy when I see it as presented in your last response. I can translate it fairly clearly, I am all for Liberty for everyone, just not where I am.

    Comment by John Newman — April 9, 2009 @ 2:32 pm
  34. Late to this, but here’s my two cents.

    John: It’s not about liberty because you can be there, no one said you can’t. We just don’t want you there if you’re not going to respect our goals and leave your personal trip at the door. You can do it, we just don’t want you to. It’s about respect, not liberty.

    Comment by toaster — April 9, 2009 @ 7:40 pm
  35. Bingo Toaster.

    Yep, John you’ve finally got it. I’ll defend your right to play gangsta rap as loud as you want. LIBERTY for all, even including John! But I don’t want you playing it at 2 a.m., right outside my bedroom window.

    Sorry if that makes you feel like you’ve lost your Liberty and are therefore oppressed.

    I’ll defend your right to march with your fellow Neo-Nazis or whatever floats your boat. Liberty, baby!! Even for John! But am I out of bounds and apparently an oppressor and a “hypocrite” if I request that you do it on your own time, on your own street or public park, and get your own permit?

    Will I physically attack you, or try to get you arrested, or try to find some legal means to PREVENT you and your fellow goose-schteppers from gathering at our tea-party protest?

    Nope. I won’t. So….Liberty for all, even for John!! Satisfied?

    Am I allowed to exercise my OWN Liberty and hold up and sign with an arrow pointed at you saying “he doesn’t speak for me” at the tea party protest? Or, is your definition of “Liberty” such that we are all required to give dutiful and equal “respect” and honor ALL points of view – across the entire spectrum? And not marginalize or mock or ridicule or disrespect anyone – even the sheet wearers, 911 Truthers, etc.? That seems to be your argument. If so, a guy who clearly implies that Christians are delusional idiots who believe in fairy tales by saying they believe what HE has decreed to be “nonsense” shouldn’t be so quick to throw out the “hypocrisy” label.

    Comment by southernjames — April 10, 2009 @ 4:10 am
  36. [...] agreed with Weigel (specifically about the gun show to which he refers, even) about how bad the more extreme folks who tend to show at gun shows can make the movement [...]

    Pingback by The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » DHS Report: “…has likely spurred African Americans—as well as law-abiding Americans…” — April 14, 2009 @ 7:02 am

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