L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 134, August 13, 2001
Call to Action!
Who Are We Trying to Educate?
by Carl Bussjaeger
Special to TLE
I've been attempting to discuss an activism issue with a friend, and having zip luck. Every time I start to get to my point, something else of immediate concern arises, and she has to stop listening. Hmm...
In the Soviet Socialist Republic of Northern Illinois, the State has struck again. Wheaton, IL police recently busted a bicyclist, one John Horstman, who had a Firearm Owner ID, in a city park for 'carrying a concealed weapon'. In compliance with state law (to my understanding), the gentleman in question had an unloaded firearm in a fanny pack, with the magazine for the gun stowed separately. Nonetheless, he's busted.
Claiming that the poor guy was a suspected 'flasher' who had been reported in the park (he doesn't match the flasher's description, of course), the cops searched him, took him to the station and stripped searched him, and finally cavity searched the guy. Perhaps you aren't familiar with cavity searches. In fact, it's better if you aren't.
It amounts to rape.
On top of this violation, bail was set at a quarter of a million FRNs.
It may help you to understand this bizarre situation to know that the DuPage County State's attorney is on record as stating that he will prosecute any instance of firearm carry, whether licensed or not.
Now that you have the background, let's approach the point of contention between myself and my friend. Some well-meaning folks are planning a protest in Wheaton on August 20, 2001 to support the victim of the State. My friend tells me that the intent of this protest is to 'educate' people about the realities of firearms ownership so that they'll stop passing new laws and enforcing existing laws. Apparently the target of this education is the majority of Americans who are not firearms owners and who don't understand the philosophy(ies) behind ownership.
And I think a protest is a good idea, but with a different target in our sights.
Personally, I don't think there will be any truly significant improvements in the ongoing demonization and mainstream persecution of firearms owners until said owner get their shit together and start acting together. If we did that, 80-plus million people who be a bloc difficult for most politicians to ignore.
My friend believes that it's useless to try getting those gun owners together because they all own guns for different reasons, usually(?) not political or philosophical in nature. She wants to educate the 200 million Americans who don't own guns.
I think you begin to see our little disagreement.
She's half right: Gun owners are not a cohesive political bloc; no one has ever rallied them around a single banner, and never will.
But those hundreds of millions of non-owners are even less cohesive, damnit. Which group is going to be easier to educate? And which is going to be most useful?
The CDC claims that there are over 80 million gun owners with more than 240 million guns in America. Cool. I suspect the number is 'way low, but I'll accept it for purposes of this discussion.
These fine folks do own guns for different reasons. For some, the items are merely nonfunctional family heirlooms. For others, basic self-defense. Many people enjoying (or depend upon) hunting. Several of my friends like to collect arms. Everyone's reasons are different. A few even make a show of being embarrassed by their guns. But every single gun owner has one thing in common with the rest, regardless of party affiliation, race, creed, age, planetary origin, whatever.
Every gun owner believes that at least he or she as an individual can have that gun.
That's more than 80 million people with one common belief. Impressive when you think about it.
Now let's look at that other 200 million people; the ones who supposedly don't own guns. According to polls by government agencies, victim disarmament groups, and State-sponsored propaganda services (No? Look at the DEA anti-drug message fiasco, and then consider what 'incorporation' means legally.)... Well, generally these polls claim that 60-70% of these Americans want some degree of gun control.
To me, this sounds like we have two diametrically opposed groups. Instead of rallying those aligned with us, but wandering in different directions, my friend wants to reach out and teach the ones who'd rather see a woman raped and strangled to death with her own panty-hose in an alley than to to see her armed and able to defend herself. A fine, idealistic goal, and one that must happen; but not terribly useful in anything but the very long run. We have to survive long enough to reach our philosophical opponents.
My friend wants the protest in support of John Horstman to be a nonconfrontational teaching/outreach experience for the folks who oppose peaceful firearms ownership.
She's half right again. We need a pro-Horstman protest. To show Horstman that he isn't alone. And to teach our opponents. But the lesson needs to differ slightly from what she has in mind; the opponents we need to reach are pro-rapist psychopaths like the DuPage County Attorney. He needs to learn that he can't trample our rights and set us up to be murdered by the criminals from whom he's supposed to be protecting us. The sheeple who've been programmed to think gun control is anything but a method of providing safe working conditions for criminals need to learn that we aren't going to give up. And gun owners need to learn that it's high time that we stop pretending that we don't have one essential thing in common- the right to self defense, and that we can start working together. But nonconfrontational?
Nope; that's how we got into this current mess. We didn't get 'in your face' when junior Hitlers passed legislation outlawing us. We were 'nice'. We 'compromised'.
We gave up.
Why should I be 'nonconfrontational' with cheap shysters - who can't even hack it in the free market - who have demonstrated a wish to get me killed? No, I am not advocating the initiation of violence. But I see no need to be nice to thugs who want me dead and my friends raped.
I know of a specific County Attorney who needs to learn - via a lawsuit filed against him by name personally - that he can't break the law to hurt firearms owners. Unfortunately, it seems that isn't going to happen this time. Apparently Horstman can't find a lawyer who will take the job of filing a suit. No, not a one so far.
So much for the big-talking Second Amendment lawyers. So much for the NRA (as if we expected them to help). So much for a single Illinois attorney who owns a gun.
I know of too-damned-many gun owners who need to learn that if "we do not stand together, we shall surely all hang separately." We can't run and hide, and bury our heads in the sand anymore. There's nowhere to run, and you have to file a dig notice three days in advance to dig a hole.
I know of a national population of drones that needs to learn the practical lesson, if the philosophical aspects are still beyond their ken, that 80+ million of us are tired of the bullshit.
Yes, long term education of the politically less-than-savvy TV-drones in why infringement of individual rights is a bad thing is important, essential. But in the mean time, we need to teach them the practical lesson of what; to keep their effing hands off of us. These are two different educational goals which must begin and run concurrently. If we fail to address the second because we exhausted all of our resources on the first, then that first lesson, why, will be found only in the history books, as a quaint obsolete notion that no good citizen would ever harbor in the shallow depths of his mind.
Because we won't have survived to hold onto the ideas ourselves. There'll be no one left to believe and to teach the ideas to anyone else.