L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 73, May 22, 2000
Mothers Know Best?
Scott [Bieser] -
I just want to say, Thank you.
Yesterday, you took valuable time away from family, church and other personal and business activites to attend the the Los Angeles SAS-AIMM counter demonstration to the MMM.
With GREAT Americans like you on our side for PRO-Constitution advocacy, I am confident that America will re-claim the foundations that we are inherently endowed with.
We performed in an *AWESOME* way, yesterday. The MMM may have 4,000 to our 1,000 but we carried the flags! Not one flag was carried on their side; not one! And you certainly kept that 25 foot long banner up all day! Lots of hard work!
Until the next PRO-Constitution rally!
Bob Baird <email@example.com>
I never thought I'd see the day when a liberal-left Hollywood-type claimed to be a strict constructionist interpreter of the Bill of Rights, but activist actress Susan Sarandon claimed to be just that at the "Million" Mom March last Sunday. She said that she didn't have a problem with the Second Amendment, that even though it only applied to regulating militias, everybody ought to be allowed to have a musket, because that's all that was available when it was written in 1794. Technological advances in weaponry don't count, according to her; the Second Amendment only applies to the guns available at the time it was written.
This idea may have some merit! Applying her logic to the rest of the Bill of Rights, this means we can expect to see the restoration of the true ideals that made America great, and an elevation of the political dialogue to a higher plane, even if it means eliminating some of the conveniences that technology hath wrought.
I assume that Susan is willing to live by her ideals, so she'll be walking or riding a horse back to California (wait, she can't go there, it belonged to somebody else in 1794!). Well, ok, she can relocate to the East; there should be plenty of work in theater. People pay good money to see entertainers in person (Tut, tut, no TV or movies, Susan! Weren't around in 1794!). She should be sure to plan her schedule to be in the North in summer and the South in winter, so the lack of central heat and air conditioning won't be such a problem. But she'll probably have to limit her appearances at political rallies in order to save her voice (no sound projection systems--not in the First Amendment). Besides, who would listen to her political ideas? She can't vote!
But that's ok, because eschewing technology that wasn't covered by the Bill of Rights is noble. Far nobler than debasing oneself by involvement in movies about suicidal feminine misfits misusing guns and cars in nihilistic crime sprees. After all, something like that couldn't have had an effect on impressionable youth because it's not real, right? Just like the billions spent on advertising count for naught because we know that people don't believe what they see on TV. And under Susan's interpretation of the Bill of Rights, she wouldn't have been able to make that movie, and Woody Harrelson (another mental giant) wouldn't have made that Natural Born Killers movie that influenced Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine killers. Besides, this is all about protecting kids, isn't it? And if you eliminate the vehicles for the dissemination of the garbage that passes for entertainment today (no mention of TV or film media in the First Amendment), you eliminate the garbage and restore quality to entertainment. If people have to make an effort to go see a play rather than flip a switch, it has to be good to survive. Otherwise they might stay home and READ! Maybe there's something positive to this idea after all!
So I think I'll join Susan's crusade for a strict interpretation of the Bill of Rights. I'll trade in my semi-automatic and bolt-action guns for muskets and horse pistols--as soon as all the federal and state law enforcement agencies that didn't exist in 1794 are disbanded and turn in their modern weapons and the standing army is stood down. We don't need any of them, because as male citizens we're the militia, and we're committed to our own self-defense of our lives and property. (Speaking of property, Susan, you need to get home as fast as your husband's horse will carry you, because he's probably expecting dinner. And in 1794, YOU are HIS property. YOU have NO rights!) Yes, sir, I think ignoring all this post-1794 nonsense could eliminate a lot of our problems, make life simpler, and restore the political dialogue to the commerce of ideas, not the ideas of commerce.
Right on, Susan!
Coleman Weidenbusch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Well, considering the lack of publicity, aided and abetted by the fourth estate (LA Times put MMM on the front page and AIMM on page 26, Courier-Times didn't even mention SAS/AIMM) there was a pretty decent turn-out of roughly 300 folks on the AIMM side, compared to about 5000 on the gun-grabber's side. No celebrities for AIMM, while MMM had the LA County Sheriff and District Attorney.
There was a heavy police presence on site (FPS, LAPD, LAPD Meter Maids, LASD & CHP), including two and possibly three sniper teams on the roof of the Federal Building. Note that the field of fire from the roof included the AIMM demonstration but not MMM. An LA County Sheriff Deputy (Sergeant) attempted to explain away the snipers with a sob story about a bomb threat early that morning, which was met with general disbelief just short of calling him a liar to his face. While the local TV cameras were rolling, most of the police presence was concentrated on the AIMM side of Whilshire Boulevard, to give everyone the impression that the gun owners were the visible threat. The only incident worthy of note was the arrest of several MMM participants who attempted to cross the street in the middle of the block to try and give AIMM participants a hard time.
On the positive side, AIMM Los Angeles did a damn good job in getting visible signs made with short message heavy on impact. Among the most notable: a sandwich board with "Raped Women Aren't Armed" on one side and "Armed Women Aren't Raped" on the other; A large sign with "FINAL SCORE: Armed Women 97, Rapists 3"; "Rapists Love Gun Control" with a picture of President Blow-Job; and my personal favorite "Do You Trust Government That Much???" All signs were in very large type, with messages of 7 words or less usually, for greater visual impact. I'm sorry that the Kinko's in my local area refused to make the 6' yellow Star-of-David with "Gun Owner" in the middle I wanted to have for the event. One other interesting item of note: There were very few US flags on the MMM side while AIMM had quite a few. In fact, on the MMM side I saw exactly two, and one was hanging off the ass of a teenager. Someone also had an old USSR flag flying over on the MMM side.
Another note: MMM were allowed to have porta-johns and signs on sticks, while AIMM/SAS were not.
The reactions from traffic on the street was heavily in favor of AIMM, particularly from women and taxi drivers, though it also included several city engine companies (LAFD) and both city and private ambulance units. Support of AIMM ran about 4:1 in our favor from what I could see. We had several instances of passing traffic giving AIMM the bird, as well as 'finger guns' from both passing traffic and MMM participants (something that can get you suspended from school these days). CHP wasn't exactly pleased with us, either.
There were a few reporters and TV cameras on the AIMM side of the event, however I feel that was just so they could avoid the accusation of being on one side of the issue. I fully expect local reporting to consist of 3 minutes of MMM and ten seconds of "look at the gun-owning wackos, this is why we want gun control."
Sum total: On the street we were able to get out message out effectively, but that will likely not carry over to mass media locally.
ABC National News tonight actually showed both sides of the issue from Washington DC, which comes as a complete surprise. Maybe the threats of civil rights actions are getting through to those who will be facing those charges down the road...
NBC Channel 4 local news here in L.A. gave 2 minutes to the gun grabbers and 30 seconds to AIMM/SAS. CBS Channel 2 local news the MMM march in DC was the top story and they did the local story commentary from the Jewish Community Center in Grenada Hills for political purposes. Four and a half minutes for the gun grabbers, TWENTY SECONDS for AIMM/SAS. Fifteen seconds for a follow-up about the federal gun-purchase check computer coming up after two days 'suffering from a computer glitch' (yeah, right).
Frank Ney N4ZHG WV/EMT-B LPWV NRA(L) ProvNRA GOA CCRKBA JPFO <email@example.com>
On Sunday, May 14, my wife graciously allowed me to spend Mother's Day attending the Second Amendment Sisters/Armed Informed Mothers March in Los Angeles, rather than serving her breakfast in bed, doing the household chores, and other favors she so richly deserves. Of course, I made things up for her somewhat by taking the kids out of the house for five hours that afternoon, but that my better half also believes in RKBA and understands the depth of my feelings for the cause makes me appreciate her all the more.
There were actually two Moron Marches in Los Angeles. The organizers had split between the soccer moms who wanted the rally at the Federal Building in Westwood, an affluent area adjacent to the University of California at Los Angeles, and where anti war and pro hemp rallies are often staged; versus the "people of color" who wanted the march on Oliviera Street near downtown L.A., which is in a mostly Hispanic area. The Second Amendment Sisters staged their counter-rally against the Westwood group, although a handful of stalwarts also protested against the downtown event.
Interestingly, although the various law enforcement agencies went to great pains to keep the MMM group separated from the SAS group while rallying, they had both of us park in the same lot. As I entered the lot and paid my $2 to the attendent, she asked, "Are you with the Mothers or the Sisters?" I replied, "The Sisters," expecting to be directed to some segregated part of the lot. Instead she just handed me my parking stub and wished me a nice day. So I found myself emerging from the lot in the company of three Mothers. We didn't say anything to each other.
The Mothers were encamped on the expansive lawn between the Federal(ist) Building and Wilshire Boulevard, a major traffic artery. The Sisters were spread long the opposite side of Wilshire, our backs to the fence in front of the federally-owned (and guarded) Veterans Cemetary. In that regard it seemed highly appropriate that about one in five of the Sisters group carried American flags, although I preferred the Gadsden Flag carried by one particularly determined and wonderfully hard-core Sister. Early on some attempts were made to string signs and banners along the sturdy concrete-and-iron fence, but the federal cops quickly ordered those removed. I guess they were worried about their fence falling down under the weight of the banners.
Numerically, the Mothers had the Sisters beat six ways to Sunday. Best estimate of the Sisters was about 650 people, and my eyeball guesstimate of the Mothers was about four times that. I guess it helps to have corporate sponsorships providing entertainment and amenities for the kiddies, and to have the weight of the entire victim-disarmament lobby including the Los Angeles Times and White House backing you up. For our part, the crowd seemed to be dominated by "Freepers" (subscribers to the FreeRepublic.com e-zine/activist site for Constitutionalist-style conservatives) as well as quite a few NRA members. The local NRA Members' Councils were supportive, although the NRA organization was not involved. (I learned later that SAS had declined an offer by the NRA to pitch in, although the reasons for this are not clear and are being hotly debated in the e-mail lists.)
The only Libertarian Party presence I recognized were Gail Lightfoot, who is challenging Diane Feinstain for U.S. Senate, along with her husband Richard Venable and a few other associates, two Orange County activists and one Riverside County activist besides myself. There was one guy who identified himself as a Los Angeles LPer and former candidate for Congress, but his main activity was passing out information cards supporting his crusade against male circumcision.
But while the Mothers dominated with numbers, their stage and sound system, and their diaper-changing tents, our side definitely had the best signage. I must commend the SAS organizers for having produced a large number of VERY effective protest signs. These were about 2-1/2 x 4 feet in size, using bold letters and as few words as needed to get the message across. The one I picked up to carry said, "Armed to Protect My Children."
We knew the official news media would ignore us, so we focused on getting our message across to the people in the thousands of cars that passed by in both directions in the busy Boulevard. We spread ourselves one-deep along the sidewalk, so that every sign would be visible to passing cars (as well as the Moronic Mothers across the street), and we got quite a few favorable honks and hi-signs from the vehicular traffic.
One of the best signs was actually a 15-foot-long banner which read, in two-foot tall letters, "Gun Control Increases Violent Crime." This was one that was ordered removed from the cemetary fence. So three of us turned ourselves into banner posts, and now I was holding not only my 4-foot sign (via a cord looped around my neck, but the left end of the large banner, via another neck-cord attached to the banner. Reminded me of the days when I had to wear a necktie to work.)
Most of the signs carried by the other side were not readable from across the street. Most of the unreadable signs were about 11x17 inches, mass-printed in color. Danged if I know what they said. Some of the Mothers had hand-made signs which were readable, spouting the usual drivel. The most intelligent one was, "What kind of wild-west paradigm are you upholding, anyway?" Most of them were on the order of "Flowers good, Guns bad." I saw exactly three American flags in that crowd, one of them worn folded and hanging over a guy's backside.
I counted four different law enforcement agencies present: The Los Angeles Police, the L.A. County Sheriff's Office, the California Highway Patrol, and Federal Marshalls. The cops were very cordial towards us, and some of the deputy sheriffs were downright friendly. There were no arrests although I heard later of one incident in which some of the male "Mothers" started to advance menacingly across the street towards us, only to be quickly shoved back onto the sidewalk by the police.
My award for Titanium Steel Balls goes to a trio of young men (youngest seemed to be age 14), who each carried a yellow hand-made pro-gun sign, and STOOD WITH THE MOTHERS! I can only remember what one of the signs said: "Nazis support Gun Control." Since the signs were facing the street, the rest of the Mothers apparently never noticed they had free people in their midst. Or maybe most of these Mothers can't read.
After a line-up of local politicians and aggrieved murder victim survivors had completed their speechifying at the MMM sound stage, the whole lot of them lined up 6-abreast in the right lane of eastbound Wilshire and marched down the boulevard for about two blocks, crossed to our side of the street, and marched back in our direction. This was supposed to be a "March," after all. As they came back up to the curb near where we were still standing, the cops ordered them back to the other side of Wilshire, and dispersed from there. At that point the SAS group, myself included, began dispersing as well although a few dozen chose to remain with their signs.
For my troubles I got a nice little sunburn, an aching back from standing too long, and the immense satisfaction that I had stood up publicly for truth and justice. I also got my picture posted on Web by some Los Angeles freepers:
More photos of the march may be found at:
Scott Bieser HMSH
Good article but you neglect, as damn near everybody on this side of the issue does, the question of what are we supposed to do when Leviathon keeps on a rollin'? When and how are "patriots" going to stop the infringement of all of their civil rights? We all better start thinking about where our line in the sand is drawn because this society as a whole is changing for the worse and the momentum is gathering steam. Each and every round of "reasonable gun control" places free people evermore on the outside. Couple these activities with the other federal and state encroachments and you have what we have today--a tyranical state just beginning to consolidate it's power.
My point is that we (free persons) had better face the music and start thinking like the Free French partisans and adopt an "action based" perspective or we will most surely be wiped out as the irritating impediment we are percieved to be. OF COURSE, I'm not advocating breaking any laws--the laws are there for all good Germans, I mean Americans, to follow...
There are two choices:
1) America has reached the point of societal degenerative "critical mass," ergo, nothing is going to stop the de-evolution of this society and as free people we are truly lost
2) The American people are merely in need of a collective "dope slap" to which they will awaken and take back their freedom from their ever-growing government.
I hope this is not a false dichotomy. The Libertarians that I've been exposed to here in Colorado are not men of action and I would not care to have them sharing my foxhole. There are exceptions, but until we start thinking about some kind of action we are just rhetorically pounding sand.
Jack Chleva <JChleva@aol.com>
I just read the "LibBit" about the need to license parents in TLE #71. This is great! I find Dr. Westman's logic impeccable. Impeccable that is, once one accepts the licensing premise. Anyone who accepts the idea that one ought to need government permission for this or that activity will not be able to find an argument to refute Dr. Westman. If they've not seen the end of their road yet, this ought to drive them up the wall. And maybe, just maybe, some will check their premise. One hopes anyway.
Many thanks to you, Vin, El Neil, Victor, and all the rest, for writing TLE. It truly is a voice of sanity in the wilderness.
Ian MacEwan <IMacEwan@ets.org>
THANK YOU TLE for printing 'if guns were treated like cars...' in the new issue.
It's more than a little refreshing to read an article in your fine fine publication that has a little sense of humor to it, that I can share with my friends and family.
Congratulations also on the new weekly schedule!
Jeff Paulsen <firstname.lastname@example.org>