Saturday, February 24, 2007

Another Fuddite Steps Up to His Petard...

...and, as Josh so eloquently put it, says, "Please, martyr me next."
(emphasis mine -- ed.)

The speed with which Zumbomania spread, the number of comments it drew, and the rabid nature of same were a revelation. Overnight, this thing became as big as Janet Jackson’s clothing failure or—dare I say it?—Britney Spears’ shaved head. Jim Zumbo is now as employable as the Unabomber, and Sarah Brady will no doubt adopt his comments to her own gun-control purposes.

For the last several days I’ve been visiting all manner of blogs and chatrooms, which has reminded me of when I used to deliver used clothing to the local mental hospital. I’ve tried to make some sense of it all, but because the waters are still full of blood and body parts continue to rain from the sky, I haven’t come up with any Great Truths. Lacking that, here are some Lesser Truths.

What Jim said was ill-considered. He’s entitled to his beliefs, but when a writer of his stature comes out against black guns, it sure as hell does not help our cause.

Even so, Jim made an immediate apology. He did not equivocate, or qualify, or make excuses. He acted like a gentleman and said he was wrong, and he was sorry. Apparently this is not enough anymore. We now live in the era of one strike and you're out.

For 40 years, Jim has been a spokesman and ambassador of good will for hunting. Through his tireless efforts as a teacher and lecturer on hunting and hunting skills, he has done more for the sport than any 250 of the yahoos who called for his blood.

Jim has paid dearly for what he said. He has lost his blog and his association with Remington. Cabela’s has suspended its sponsorship of his TV show; and Outdoor Life has accepted his offer to sever ties. To all the chatroom heroes who made him unemployable, I have a word of warning: You’ve been swinging a two-edged sword. A United States in which someone can be ruined for voicing an unpopular opinion is a dangerous place. Today it was Jim’s turn. Tomorrow it may be yours.

If Sarah Brady is smart—and she is very smart—she will comb through the same blogs and chatrooms I’ve been reading, excerpt some of the most vicious and foul-mouthed entries, print them up, and distribute them to Congress. Then it will be interesting to see how the men and women who wrote that stuff enjoy seeing their efforts being put to use by every anti-gunner in America.
How nice. Zumbo called the black rifle owners terrorists, and now David Petzal's likening those who rightfully called for his sacking to mental patients. To be fair, he's not characterizing all those who disagree with Zumbo as such, but I've said it before and I'll say it again -- when you propose to limit people's rights, for whatever reason, for good or bad that's basically the kind of reaction you get. The persecution of the American gun owner didn't start yesterday; it's been a low-level but sustained campaign over the last several decades, since at least 1934. First they clamped down on full-auto, then they threw a tangled web of federal regulation down on the gun business as a whole, then they tangled it more with background checks and waiting periods, then came that odious ban on semi-autos, and all the while none of that, none of that has accomplished the goal the gun-haters claim they want -- crime reduction. (We all know what they want away from the cameras & microphones, though...)
It seems to me that we're screwed either way as far as the antis' reactions are concerned, though. My money says Sarah Brady would be using our reaction against us no matter what it was. If we were silent, she'd say we pretty much agree that the black rifles have no legitimate sporting purpose (or she and her evil minions will at least try to spin it that way).
Some will say that the negative reaction could have been a little more mild, but I don't agree. This was basically one of our own selling us out. He can claim ignorance all he wants, but I said this in earlier comments and I'll say it now:

I'm sure hunters are a fine lot, and I don't begrudge them their sport, but I do fully expect them to know that owning any firearm is in and of itself a political statement and that we're all in this together -- especially after more than 40 years of being involved in an industry of which firearms have been such a big part. There was no excuse whatsoever for what Jim Zumbo said. Not one. "Fine and great things which Mr. Zumbo and his sponsors and publishers have brought to the hunting fraternity" be damned.
And that's where this comment comes in: "A United States in which someone can be ruined for voicing an unpopular opinion is a dangerous place. Today it was Jim’s turn. Tomorrow it may be yours."
An unpopular opinion. Zumbo basically called millions of black rifle owners terrorists, and Petzal boils that down to an "unpopular opinion." But it's bigger than that, even. One more time, no gun is safe, even the All-American deer rifle that sits in the gun rack. And whoever hasn't figured that out is just, flatly, willfully blind, and has no business being within ten miles of any business involving firearms. We can only hope that Michael Bane is right when he says "for the first time in years, hunters and shooters are on the same page." There's no excuse by now for us not being. There never has been. We should have been hanging together all along.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Zumbo's Favor to Gunnies and the Industry, and Other Observations

Via AlanDP comes this, from The Shooting Wire. Read it all, and you might want to do it today, for as Alan says, they probably don't archive past articles....

...we might find that we owe Jim Zumbo.

We don't owe him our loyalty, our support, or our forgiveness, but we owe him for motivating us to tell the industry they'd better start paying attention to the silent majority.

Even if you call us "shooters" or "paper punchers" or "plinkers" or whatever, there are many more of us than there are hunters. And we're neither terrorists nor fools.

When I made the decision to begin The Shooting Wire, some outdoor writers questioned why I would start a "shooting" wire instead of a "hunting" wire.

Today, they know why.

The in the firearms industry, is not in hunting rifles. It is in those "terrorist" black guns (in a growing variety of calibers, further reflecting the platform's many useful applications) and the military-style handguns that accompany them. Ditto ammo and accessories. There are many, many manufacturers in the "black rifle" space - and more of them are coming.

So what have we learned, I asked Doug Painter of the National Shooting Sports Foundation?

"The important perspective from our side of the street," Painter said, "is that whether you hunt or shoot in competition or for sport with a primitive muzzleloader or the latest high-tech rifle, what links us is more important that what divides us. We may shoot cowboy, skeet, practical or whatever, but our common belief has to be the Second Amendment - everything else is just a matter of style."

He also had a sobering reminder.

"The flip side," he said, "is to remember our opponents have all of us in their crosshairs."

And he's right. Long after the Jim Zumbo controversy is over (it will probably never be forgotten - or forgiven), we will still face the ongoing assaults on our Second Amendment rights.

Now that we've discovered our voice - we must continue to apply it to our opponents.

--Jim Shepherd

Here's hoping he's right about the discovery of our common voice and thread. They are indeed after all of us, and after some 42 years of writing, Zumbo should have figured that out by now. The writing was on the wall long ago, with NFA '34 and GCA '68, and if Zumbo didn't see that, he had absolutely no business being in any kind of industry having anything to do with firearms. It's bad enough there are still people out there who think their hunting guns are safe from the insidious spin the antis use to demonize private firearm ownership, but for someone in his position to spout such malevolent rhetoric is absolutely inexcusable. He deserves exactly what he's getting.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Good Idea

Yes, friends, Lady Tam has the right idea...

I may have mentioned that I buy a box of .22LR ammunition pretty much every day.

I think that today I'll be buying some Remington.
I can't do it till later in the week, but one o' them big ole 250-round value packs of .45acp is in my immediate future. Remington deserves to be rewarded; they stepped up in a big way for gun owners today.
And as Fits reports, it looks like Mr. Zumbo might just lose yet another sponsorship:
While we fully support Mr. Zumbo’s First Amendment right of free speech, we believe his opinions on this matter are counter to those shared by Cabela’s and many of our customers. Cabela’s Legal Department is currently reviewing contractual obligations and commitments regarding our sponsorship of the Jim Zumbo Outdoors television show.

No doubt it's been a hell of a Monday for Mr. Zumbo. It'll be interesting to see how long he stays in the Outdoor Life stable. Anybody wanna put a wager? By the end of the week, maybe even next?

Monday Morning Levity

Via SayUncle & NK, comes this...funny stuff!

Zumbo Goes Down: Assorted Thoughts

Looks like Jim Zumbo has already taken at least one huge hit, on a holiday weekend, no less!
David Codrea requested & received confirmation that Remington Arms was terminating its business relationship with Zumbo due to his outrageous remarks, notwithstanding the pathetic attempt to cover his tail after the firestorm of criticism his remarks generated. He has more business relationships as well, all of which are arguably in an equal amount of danger.
It just goes to show, you better watch what you say -- especially when you have such a bully pulpit as Zumbo did. Some would no doubt cast the urged boycotts as an infringement on Zumbo's free speech rights, but to me that shows quite a short-sighted perspective, because the fact is Zumbo did more or less the same thing Charlie Meyers did -- and Zumbo works for an outlet that is largely dependent on our continued right to keep and bear arms for any and all legal purposes! You can't separate the hunters from the shooters, no matter how much the traditionalists like Zumbo would like to think you could, because once again the fact is that the antis ultimately want ALL our guns -- not just the defensive sidearms & homeland defense ("assault") rifles.
I don't know how many more hunters recognize that this fine sunny morning, but I do know that what's happened here is quite a testament to the power of the shooting community. To an extent once upon a time it was a bit harder to mobilize in a timely manner when it came to situations like this, but with the practically instantaneous nature of the Internet, our power has been magnified perhaps immeasurably -- as evidenced, once again, by the fact that the wheels were already turning before this morning at Remington.
A proud moment for us, indeed -- and if we'd direct that power towards Congress as we did this hidebound hunting scribe, all sorts of good things could happen. Something to ponder...

UPDATE: Via Tam, we have this e-mail from Tommy Millner, the CEO of Remington Arms, to the site administrator of GlockTalk:

You may feel free to advise your people of the following.

Remington is shocked and dissappointed by the comments of Jim zumbo which have been widely circulated on the web. These comments do not reflect either my own feelings or those of my company!

Accordingly we are severing all business ties with Mr zumbo and any of his companies effective immediately and will make a formal release tomorrow to this effect.

We appreciate the passionate support of our right to bear arm arms by all in the shooting sports.


Tommy millner
Heh. Cobra in the sleeping bag, indeed. ;-)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Well, That Didn't Take Long...But Oh, the Damage Is Done

Looks like The Fuddite of the Year, Jim Zumbo, recognized the hornet's nest he stepped in and is now backtracking...

I was hunting coyotes, and after the hunt was over and being beat up by 60 mph winds all day, I was discussing hunting with one of the young guides. I was tired and exhausted, and I should have gone to bed early. When the guide told me that there was a "huge" following of hunters who use AR 15's and similar weapons to hunt prairies dogs, I was amazed. At that point I wrote the blog, and never thought it through.

Maybe not, and he might well be sorry, but it seems to me like he was saying he was sorry for speaking his mind on something he knew nothing about, as opposed to insulting and alienating millions of black rifle owners with his commentary -- which is only furthered by his whine about being insulted himself and his half-hearted attempt to establish his pro-liberty bona fides:

I never intended to be devisive, and I certainly believe in United we Stand, Divided we Fall. I've been an NRA member for 40 years, have attended 8 national NRA conventions in the last 10 years, and I'm an advisory board member for the United States Sportsmen's Alliance which actively fights anti-hunters and animal rights groups for hunter's rights.

What really bothers me are some of the unpatriotic comments leveled at me. I fly the flag 365 days a year in my front yard. Last year, through an essay contest, I hosted a soldier wounded in Iraq to a free hunt in Botswana. This year, through another essay contest, I'm taking two more soldiers on a free moose and elk hunt.

As some others have said, what does it matter what he did yesterday if he stabs other gun owners in the back today, as he did? He might well fly that flag, but he seems to be perfectly content to take a big, steaming crap on what it stands for, which speaks a hell of a lot louder than any kind of symbolic gesture. More hollow words follow:

Believe it or not, I'm your best friend if you're a hunter or shooter, though it might not seem that way. I simply screwed up.

Not hardly. A best friend wouldn't throw you under the bus in a short-sighted attempt to protect his own interests, which is what Zumbo did. I agree completely with Xavier:

You have shown unequivocally who you are. You cannot drop enough names, attend enough conferences or pay enough dues to the NRA to change your words. These were your words. They were spoken when you thought you were unopposed, and you thought your Elmer Fudd readership would fawn over your elder gun writer wisdom. Wake up Zumbo! It's a new world! The internet ain't a damned gun rag!

When you said "I'll go so far as to call them 'terrorist' rifles", you called every American serviceman a terrorist. Now I don't care if you fly a thousand flags in your yard, paint your whole damned house red, white and blue, and take the entire 82nd Airborne to a free hunt in Botswana, you cannot change that. Those are your words, and they reflect your thoughts and character.

Abso-freakin-lutely. This clown has potentially set the movement to regain our rights back for years, if not decades. And he should be canned. Pronto.

(More thoughts from Michael Bane, Kevin Baker, and Yosemite Sam.)

Fuddite Alert

Via THR and a few other places, we have yet another camo-clad anti-gunner -- Jim Zumbo, who apparently is the hunting editor for Outdoor Life magazine spouting off the same old anti-anything-but-hunting crap:

The guides on our hunt tell me that the use of AR and AK rifles have a rapidly growing following among hunters, especially prairie dog hunters. I had no clue. Only once in my life have I ever seen anyone using one of these firearms.

I call them "assault" rifles, which may upset some people. Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity. I'll go so far as to call them "terrorist" rifles. They tell me that some companies are producing assault rifles that are "tackdrivers."

Sorry, folks, in my humble opinion, these things have no place in hunting. We don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them, which is an obvious concern. I've always been comfortable with the statement that hunters don't use assault rifles. We've always been proud of our "sporting firearms."

I wouldn't call him a traditionalist. I'd call him an enemy of freedom.

...hunters don't use assault rifles.

How about sniper rifles? Do they use those? Mr. Zumbo might not want to call them that, but I guaran-damn-tee you, that's exactly what those who would ban, confiscate and/or otherwise restrict the use of AKs and ARs are going to cast his precious deer rifle as before they come after them. No doubt the hacks at the Brady Center & the VPC are reading this and thinking, "that whole divide-and-conquer strategy of ours is working like a charm..."
I absolutely do not think any free person deserves to be disarmed -- but there are fleeting moments, such as when I read missives like this from the hook-and-bullet writers, when I think that if the people were disarmed who thought like this character does, that they'd be getting exactly what they deserved for throwing all the other gunnies under the anti-freedom bus. It's encouraging to see so many of the commenters to the piece upbraiding him for his craven, hidebound perspective, but I shudder to think of how many hunters agree with him. It'll be interesting to see how many subscriptions and sponsors Outdoor Life loses for it, though -- not to mention the potential losses that at this point I'd say will be taken by various companies Zumbo's affilliated with, such as Polaris & Remington, and others.
As I said at JR's place, I was looking through Zumbo's Outdoor Life blog, and it seems this particular post has generated more feedback from readers than any of his other recent blog posts -- almost 1,400 reader comments as of 11:01 am East Texas time, with at least 100 of those in the last 30 minutes alone. The second-most-commented on post from Zumbo got 45 comments. If this is any indication, the shite has definitely hit the fan here.

Comment count as I check in...

Sunday, 2-17-07, 12:00 pm East Texas time: 1,552
Sunday, 2-17-07, 1:01 pm East Texas time: 1,748 -- and with that, for right now I'm gonna go enjoy the beautiful, sunny Texas day!
Sunday, 2-17-07, 7:50 pm East Texas time: 2,816

(More commentary from Xavier, David Codrea, Kim du Toit, the Layabout Sailor, the GeekWithA.45, AlanDP, Kevin Baker, JR, Fits , 45superman , Civis Proeliator, Joe Lemire @ Cold Fury The Freeholder, Dave Markowitz, LawDog , Michael Bane, SayUncle, Shooter , Porta's Cat & Tam; more links to come as I find them)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

In Defense of the "Gun Lobby"

Cruising The High Road the other day, I found this statement attributed to New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy on her introduction of the renewal of the Federal Ban On Scary-Looking Weapons (emphasis mine -- ed):

In Philadelphia, a gunman opened fire on his colleagues using an AK-47 assault rifle he legally purchased....
...The unfortunate situation in Philadelphia could have been avoided if Congress stood up to the gun lobby in 2004.

It seems we hear rantings about the eeevil "gun lobby" all the time from anti-gun politicians at pretty much every level of government. The antis rant about the "gun lobby" almost like certain anti-Semitic figures and organizations rant on about how they think the Jews supposedly run the world through various organizations like the media, the banks or what-have-you. And Lord knows it's gotten quite long in the tooth. I've thought about this now and then, and the more I think about it, the more angry I get as a gun owner.
Why? Because I AM the "gun lobby." I buy as many guns as I can, I am a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association and unequivocally support the right of all Americans to bear arms (from the smallest to the largest, from single-shot boltie to full-auto) in defense of themselves and this great nation. And the same could be said for anyone who reads the above and nods his or her head in agreement. The antis act like we're some massively funded organization that lurks mysteriously in the shadows when really, that applies a lot more to the antis than it does the so-called "gun lobby".
Who is The Evil Gun Lobby? It's (in all likelihood) you, me, and everybody else who owns, buys, and shoots guns on a regular basis and votes for those who would not abrogate our natural right of self-defense. We are not a bunch of Mafioso types who throw cash or goodies to those who would further our interests and send those who wouldn't to sleep with the fishes.
Who is the Evil Gun Lobby composed of? It's composed of all the hard-working, tax-paying, moral, upstanding, armed citizens who just want to be left the hell alone to our own devices to protect our familes and our society in good times and bad, as opposed to leaving it up to certain governmental organizations who, the courts have ruled on numerous occasions, have no obligation to protect us as individuals (which, I would argue, drastically undermines the concept of collective (societal) protection, but that's another post entirely).
I can only speak for myself, but I'm tired of being demonized by leftist asshats like Carolyn McCarthy, Teddy Kennedy and Chuck Schumer. A pox on all their houses. It's been said the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and that is true, but it irks me immensely that certain politicians can get away with so vehemently demonizing us...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

She Almost Got It...

Every Sunday, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell's column runs in the Beaumont Enterprise. She seems pretty reasonable and evenhanded, but she really missed the target in her most recent column...

First they asked the 17-year-old rider his name. Next they asked about his high school. Then the three teenagers jumped him on a crowded CTA Red Line train in the heart of afternoon rush hour, causing injuries serious enough for him to be taken away by an ambulance.

But apparently, no one pushed the emergency button to alert the conductor of the assault.


the mother of the 17-year-old beating victim, is afraid her son's case will fall through the cracks.

"We thought his nose and jawbone were broken, but he doesn't have any broken bones. His face is swollen and his eye is closed shut and there is a lot of bruising. I haven't been able to send him back to school," she said.

Whether the police find her son's attackers, the incident has sparked a fire within Trussell.

"I've called Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) to make a report, and I called Ald. Dorothy Tillman (3rd) since the school my son was coming from is in her ward," Trussell said. "And I just got off the phone talking to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's office."

I asked, "What do you expect these people to do?" <

"We should feel secure," she said. "We should feel that we are not at risk when we ride the train. There is no sort of security. The driver is the only person on the train. That is ridiculous. He doesn't see anything. He doesn't hear anything," Trussell said. "When we step on a train, there should at least be a warning: 'Enter at your own risk.' "

*snip* what point do we begin to fight back?

The decent, law-abiding people in the black community outnumber the thugs, but the same thugs are allowed to victimize the community over and over.

Maybe it would help if we got off the cell phones, unplugged the iPods, took our noses out of the books and paid attention to what is going on. Police should have been at 47th Street waiting for the train to pull in.

CTA did what it could. It gave riders an emergency cal button.

Riders had better learn how to use it.

Given Mitchell's earlier admissions that the police can't be everywhere at once, and that the Chicago police are not going to put the case on the front burner, I'd argue that was not the best solution. What the riders should be doing is calling their legislators and raising hell about the fact that they're being denied the most basic right, that of self-defense. Maybe if those thugs had known they might be facing lethal force if they started beating up on innocent people, then maybe they'd give their plans a second or third thought, and as Dr. Gary Kleck's studies showed, many times the threat of lethal force is just as good as the lethal force itself. (Can you see something like that happening on one of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit trains?) And it didn't even have to be a gun that people use to fight the thugs off with...could be a pencil, a knife, anything sharp...or heavy, for that matter. Granted, situational awareness will go a long way, but as has been proven in Britain, when you deny people the means, and basically the right, of self-defense, they more or less turn into cowering sheep, and this was on display on that Chicago subway train. And until the Illinois people rise up and assert that they are indeed citizens and not subjects, until they get reacquainted with the combat mindset and defending themselves (and their fellow citizens), this sort of thing will continue to happen.

Any Port In A Storm...

From the Boston Globe :

The music-business insiders who gave the Dixie Chicks five Grammy Awards Sunday night -- including three for their song "Not Ready to Make Nice" -- aren't the same people who shunned the Texas trio four years back. But the Chicks' resurgence, coupled with other rumblings of discontent within the world of country music, shows how much the nation's mood has shifted since March 2003.

I have to wonder, just how these folks would define "resurgence." The Chicks' album sales did indeed fall off after Natalie's remark, although they did remain respectable, and their airplay on country radio pretty much ceased to exist. The latest album has gone platinum, which is nothing to turn up one's nose at, but compared to the pace at which the Chicks' last studio album, Home, flew off the shelves in the 7 months after it was released, that's pretty anemic. I would say the Globe (or the Glob, as Bruce and others have called it) is really reaching here. Only in the insulated world of the Northeastern establishment media would the opinions of a bunch of music industry executives -- whose world is arguably as insulated -- represent the opinions of the American people as a whole. No big surprise, I guess, considering this is the same newspaper that employs a columnist who compares global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers, but rather vexing nonetheless. More reaching follows:
Meanwhile, (Trace) Adkins, who describes himself as a conservative, recently told the San Bernardino Sun that Republicans deserved to lose last fall's midterm elections.
This is probably news to those Northeastern elitists too, but there are a hell of a lot of conservatives who feel the same way. I hope we don't have to find out how much more dissatisfied the Republican base is going to be if Giuliani is the candidate in 2008. God only knows how they'd spin that.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Leopard Can't Change His Spots

You know, I really don't think this horse is gonna be dead till Rudy Giuliani's candidacy is...

Rudy Giuliani addressed a potentially troublesome issue with conservative voters, saying his policies as mayor to get handguns off the street helped reduce crime in New York.

"I used gun control as mayor," he said at a news conference Saturday during a swing through California. But "I understand the Second Amendment. I understand the right to bear arms."

He said what he did as mayor would have no effect on hunting.

Really now, I could give a damn about hunting...
In all seriousness, I'd love to get back into hunting. I haven't done it in ages, and I know very well that it sharpens valuable skills and teaches all sorts of valuable lessons. And Lord knows I love any kind of game prepared any kind of way. But there's not much argument in my mind that the surest sign that a politician is going to go after the people's guns, or at least look the other way when others go after them at the lower levels of government, is when said politician trots out the whole "not gonna take yer deer rifle" bit. The GOP had nigh well better wake up to the truth of the matter. No matter what Rudy says about our natural right to arms -- and "I used gun control...(but) I understand the Second Amendment" is a contradiction if ever I heard one -- he understands the Second Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms about as well as the average toddler understands nuclear physics. What I for one would love to see is one of those front-runners get up there and defend things like shall-issue CCW laws (or, better yet, Vermont & Alaska-style open carry), civilian full-auto possession, potmetal poodle-poppers (aka "Saturday Night Specials"), ARs, AKs and .50BMGs. That would, I think, be a hell of a much better sign of understanding what the Second Amendment protects, as opposed to muttering platitudes about deer hunting. Sadly, figuratively speaking, that would take balls of solid steel, and that criterion has weeded out all but a precious few when one gets to national-level politics.
Jim Kenefick over at Right Thoughts had this to say, though:
Yes, he’s flawed on gun control, but he’s also learning how guns and gun politics work on a national stage as opposed to the second most liberal state in the union.

He also said this over at Right Thinking:

Rudy is already changing his tune from the hard-line gun control stance he used to have. The NRA is hard at work teaching him why NYC gun policy doesn’t fly in the rest of the country. he’s already moderated his views - the more he’s exposed to good, honest gun owners without being inundated - and responsible for as mayor - the worst parts of gun culture the more he learns how we feel and the more he understands us.

No offense to Jim, but I think that's a crock. I honestly don't think the NRA is going to teach Rudy Giuliani a damn thing. I applaud them for at least trying, but I think it's also an indisputable fact that Giuliani believes in more gun control -- prohibition, even -- just as ardently as the Bradys, the Violence Policy Center, IANSA and all the rest of the national and international gun prohibitionists. Evidence of this lies in his feeble attempt to cover his arse with the hunting remark, and his record as mayor, even going so far as to file one of those frivolous suits against firearm manufacturers in 2000 (press release here, video here).
And there's another reason I think the NRA is wasting its time. The lessons of gun control as a political failure have already been taught, at least twice -- in the 1994 midterms, and in the 2000 presidential election, when Southern Democrat Al Gore failed to carry a single Southern state due in part to his radically anti-gun views. One would think people like him and Bill Clinton (who, of course, started out as governor of another Southern state) would have known or figured out the gun control bird wouldn't fly outside the coasts and the major metro areas, yet still they pushed ahead with their nefarious agendas. (And Gore did so after the Dems took their '94 thumping!) I shudder to think of what Clinton could have gotten passed in the way of gun control if he'd had a Democratic Congress for any more of his term.
If Rudy had not believed in gun control, he wouldn't have pursued it as he did while he was mayor of New York City. He does, though, and I for one don't have any doubt that he'd advocate it just as ferociously as he did in the Big Apple. This latest story is nothing but a display of Giuliani just being a pandering politician. May enough figure that out before it's too late.

Friday, February 09, 2007

More Double-talk from the Antis

Via Firehand and David Hardy comes this excellent rebuttal from Dr. Stephen Halbrook to what has to be the most asinine tactic I've seen yet from academia:

A revisionist view now has been boldly asserted that Hitler was
friendly to perhaps the most dangerous freedom in the Bill of
Rights. The Fordham Law Review recently published a provocative
Second Amendment Symposium issue which included three
articles suggesting that Nazi Germany had liberal policies toward
firearm owners and that the National Rifle Association (NRA)
promotes a myth of Nazi repression of firearms owners as part of
a cultural war.
One of the aforementioned articles' authors, a Bernard E. Harcourt, apparently tried to say that the Nazi regime was more pro-gun than the Weimar Republic, "as evidenced by the overall relaxation of the laws regulating the acquisition, transfer and carrying of firearms
reflected in the 1938 Nazi gun laws." As Dr. Halbrook points out, the Nazis were "pro-gun" for everyone they agreed with and everyone who was helping to carry out their evil agenda, but of course they were anti-gun for "Jews, political opponents, and any and every person who might not march lock step with the National Socialist program." (Not to cause the invocation of Godwin's Law here, but it would seem to me upon reading all this, that one could use the same lines of reasoning to say that people like Dianne Feinstein, Richard Daley and Rosie O'Donnell were pro-gun as well. Sure they are, if you define pro-gun as favoring armed self-defense for yourself but leaving everyone else up the creek.) Some choice passages:

Recognition of a right such as this anywhere in the world in any historical epoch must acknowledge that "the people" must mean the peaceable populace at large without regard to race, religion, or creed. However, Professor Harcourt embraces American neo-Nazi William L. Pierce, who asserts, "German firearms legislation under Hitler, far from banning private ownership, actually facilitated the keeping and bearing of arms by German citizens . . . ." Harcourt asks, “How is it, you may ask, that I . . . would end up agreeing with a white supremacist leader of the National Alliance and National Vanguard?" Harcourt further concluded that "the Nazis were relatively more pro-gun than the predecessor Weimar Republic . . . ." If the Second Amendment’s "right of the people to keep and bear Arms" is the postulate, the above reference to the "German citizen," or more accurately under the Third Reich, the incredibly shrinking "German citizen," has little bearing on the meaning of "the people" at large.
A regime that would disarm and murder an entire segment of the population hardly could be said to support, if the language of the Second Amendment can be
applied, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms." Indeed,
that is the very kind of regime this right is meant to provide the
means to resist.
Professor Harcourt’s suggestion that the Nazis supported
Second Amendment-type values assumes as insignificant that the
Nazis disarmed, intimidated, threw into concentration camps, or
exterminated all of "the people" they identified as inferior by
reason of race or religion, or as otherwise untrustworthy by
reason of politics or any other reason whatsoever. Other than
that, Professor Harcourt surmises, Hitler was a disciple of a
liberal arms policy.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Another Small Victory

Via David Codrea, SayUncle, David Hardy and just about every other gun blogger comes this happy news:

The federal government will not file criminal charges against any of the 15 out-of-state gun dealers accused by Mayor Bloomberg in a federal lawsuit of selling guns illegally, the Daily News has learned.

In a stern rebuke to the city's high-profile crusade against illegal guns, the feds warned the Bloomberg administration that it could face "potential legal liabilities" if it continues to conduct sting operations that fall within the jurisdiction of federal agents.

Mr. Codrea, being the brilliant snarkmeister he is -- and David, if you're reading this I mean that in only the most complimentary way! -- says, "Looks like the Feds don't want the Iotians muscling in on their territory. What were we just saying about gangland turf wars?"
At first I didn't quite agree with his somewhat negative take on Bloomberg's rebuke from the federales, but on second thought I understand and do indeed agree. From what I remember about Bloomberg's crusade, he was sending his henchmen into certain gun shops with instructions basically to coerce the dealers into making straw sales, which more or less constitutes entrapment; in fact, again, from what I remember, some of this entrapment was actually caught on tape. Michael Bloomberg and his hired thugs should be thrown in jail and made an example of how not to go about one's business as a public official, but I'm betting they won't be, which will only illustrate Mr. Codrea's contention that the federales are just ticked off that Bloomie's intruding on their turf. I like to think of Bloomie's rebuke as a small victory, but even so it's probably just going to be symbolic more than anything else, and that's a damn shame.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Circling the Party Wagons

Via Fits at Shooting the Messenger, we have this, from the New York Post's John Podhoretz:

Past "liberal" GOP candidates and would-be candidates have sought the nomination by taking strong stands counter to the views of the party's conservative base - like Elizabeth Dole opposing handguns in 2000. Those candidates, that is, were engaging in battle against the social conservatives. They were fighting a culture war within the GOP, trying to rally the party's more socially liberal elements - women and suburbanites in particular - to defeat the hard-line element.

Podhoretz was trying to draw a contrast between Giuliani and these past lefty GOP candidates, but it should be noted that he put "liberal" in quotes, and he calls people like me the "hard-line element." (And to think the New York Post is more or less touted as the Big Apple's conservative paper!) Call it nitpicky, but to me that says a lot about how Mr. Podhoretz and his ilk view a lot of conservatives. I guess living in a place like New York really warps one's views, but for someone who sees himself as a member of a party and/or a subscriber to a political philosophy that supposedly calls for limited government and more personal freedom, this is absolutely inexcusable. (Incidentally, it should also be noted -- yet again -- that the Democrats have lost more than a few votes in the last 13 years' elections due to their positions on the gun issues. Bill Clinton himself said the Ban on Scary-Looking Weapons was a large part of the reason his party took the beating it did in the 1994 midterms, and more than a few have said that Al Gore lost the Southern states largely because of his stance on "gun control.") I'd love to see the GOP retain the presidency in 2008, but what good is having a Republican in the White House if he or she is going to implement an agenda contrary to the above principles?
And Podhoretz doesn't think this fight for the soul of the GOP is still being waged? His column is prima facie evidence that it indeed is, and it likely will be escalated as we go into the 2008 election season. At least it better be. I'd hate to think we lovers of liberty would just roll over. I could be wrong here, but I'm betting Bob Owens over at Confederate Yankee speaks for a lot of people with these observations:
A lot of folks seem thrilled that Guiliani's throwing his hat in the ring, but I'm not one of them. His 9/11 leadership was extraordinary (compare his inspired performance to Ray Nagin's quivering collapse after Hurricane Katrina for juxtaposition), but his personal failures and his overtly liberal positions on a whole raft of issues leave me cold.

The only thing that Rudy brings to the table over our current President is his ability to articulately explain why he won't enforce or borders while increasing the bloat of the federal government.

Factor in his pro-gun control views, and Guiliani's a Republican candidate not worth having... one of many.

And this question from a commenter desperately needs to be asked, early and often:
"Do you get the feeling the choice for Republican nominee is being made by the media, the pundits and the political class, everybody but the majority of the people themselves?"
My answer? Absolutely. The power in this country has basically gone from the masses to the mass media and the political class (and really, when you get to the Boston-New York-Washington level, those two get to be more and more one and the same), as they inherently have the power to shape public opinion and this power has only grown as the media has, albeit only to the extent the American people believe what they read. No matter to what extent that is, though, it's profoundly discouraging, because people like Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul are going to get the short shrift. They're either not going to get any coverage, or they're going to be painted as some sort of whackjob (John Hawkins, call your office). I try to retain some optimism, but every now and then I just can't help but think that things are going to get a hell of a lot worse before they get any better.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Giuliani Is Not Our Friend -- 2-6-07 Edition

Via David Hardy and Captain's Quarters comes this little snippet from Hannity & Colmes in which Sean Hannity interviews Rudy Giuliani:

HANNITY: You inherited the gun laws in New York.

GIULIANI: Yeah. And I used them to help bring down homicide. We reduced homicide I think by 65, 70%. And some of it was by taking guns out of the streets of New York City. So if you are talking about a city like New York, a densely populated area like New York, I think it's appropriate. You might have different laws other places and maybe a lot of this gets resolved based on different states, different communities, making decisions. We do have a federal system of government in which you have the ability to accomplish that.

HANNITY: So you would support the state's rights to choose on specific gun laws?

GIUILANI: Yeah. A place like New York that is densely populated or maybe a place that is experiencing a serious crime problem like a few cities are now. Thank goodness not New York but some other cities. Maybe you have one solution there and in other place more rural, more suburban, other issues you have a different set of rule.

HANNITY: Generally speaking do you think it's acceptable if citizens have the right to carry a handgun?

GIULIANI: It's part of the constitution. People have the right to bear arms. Then restrictions have to be reasonable and sensible. You can't just remove that right. You got to regulate consistent with the second amendment.

From this exchange, it would seem that Giuliani is a proponent of federalism and at least a small bit of decentralization in that he says gun laws should be left up to the states.
However, that's about as much credit as I am willing to give him; because the fact of the matter is that in his city, and in Washington and Chicago to name but two other locales, the right of the people to keep and bear arms is and has been being blatantly infringed upon, either by:
1. Outright bans on possession of certain types of arms, and laws stating the arms you CAN possess have to be disassembled & locked up, thereby effectively preventing legal self-defense with those arms; or
2. Licensing requirements so stringent that regular people like you and me just might as well not even bother, because those requirements are enforced by government agencies staffed with people who are, for all practical intents & purposes, dead-set against private citizens owning arms for their defense.
Federalism is great, but by no means should it be used to justify in any way infringements on people's rights, as it is here. Granted, the difference between the rural & urban environment is different, but only to the extent that there's more crime and general mischief in the urban environment. And not even that justifies any kind of ban, or licensing as Giuliani would advocate, because the crime problem goes a lot deeper than the availability of weapons. I find it infuriating that those root causes -- for example, the forsaking of values such as respect for human life, an honest day's work for an honest day's pay, personal responsibility & accountability, and remorse for the wrong one does -- are never talked about. No, it's always about the eeevil guns...
Going hand-in-hand with this, of course, is the fact that Giuliani was the first mayor of a major American city to file suit against the gun manufacturers in what seems to me, in hindsight, to be a blatant attempt to cover up for the fact that the gun control he and too many others espouse turned out to be a dismal failure -- surprise! -- in his city and pretty much everywhere else. I have yet to see him being called out on that particular blot on his record.
As far as "regulat(ing) consistent with the Second Amendment," once again I do not think the Second Amendment means what Mr. Giuliani thinks it means. Not that that's any big surprise, of course, but I find it quite offensive to hear people like Giuliani and Mitt Romney professing support for the 2A and the RKBA when even a cursory glimpse of their records shows the exact opposite. I'm not stupid, and neither are the rest of my fellow gun owners. (I might make an exception for some of the Fuddites, but then again anyone who thinks hunting is the only legitimate reason to own a gun is worse than stupid in my book. They're just flat evil.) Giuliani's pandering notwithstanding, he's still not someone I would ever vote for, and I know I am not alone.
UPDATE: It seems I was wrong about Giuliani being the first big-city mayor in American to file suit against the firearms makers. According to this press release from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the suits were first filed in the late 1990s, but Giuliani was the only Republican mayor to do so.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Few Words on Molly Ivins

As everyone who keeps up with politics in general and Texas politics in particular knows, Texas leftist icon Molly Ivins died Sunday at the age of 62 from breast cancer. I remember reading her columns in my hometown paper once upon a time, and looking back on it, she always seemed to come off to me as Maureen Dowd from Houston. Which, to my mind, is something not to aspire to being. Anyway, being the self-professed gun nut that I am, I wondered exactly what she thought of firearms. I wasn't going to say anything here at first, but thanks to E.J. Dionne's excerpt of it in his Washington Post column reprinted in the Houston Chronicle, I found this column. I'm sure most of us won't find it surprising:

Guns. Everywhere Guns.

Let me start this discussion by pointing out that I am not antigun. I'm proknife. Consider the merits of the knife.

In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We'd turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don't ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.

As a civil libertarian, I, of course, support the Second Amendment. And I believe it means exactly what it says:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Fourteen-year-old boys are not part of a well-regulated militia. Members of wacky religious cults are not part of a well-regulated militia. Permitting unregulated citizens to have guns is destroying the security of this free state.

I am intrigued by the arguments of those who claim to follow the judicial doctrine of original intent. How do they know it was the dearest wish of Thomas Jefferson's heart that teenage drug dealers should cruise the cities of this nation perforating their fellow citizens with assault rifles? Channeling?

There is more hooey spread about the Second Amendment. It says quite clearly that guns are for those who form part of a well-regulated militia, that is, the armed forces, including the National Guard. The reasons for keeping them away from everyone else get clearer by the day.

In truth, there is no rational argument for guns in this society. This is no longer a frontier nation in which people hunt their own food. It is a crowded, overwhelmingly urban country in which letting people have access to guns is a continuing disaster. Those who want guns—whether for target shooting, hunting, or potting rattlesnakes (get a hoe)—should be subject to the same restrictions placed on gun owners in England, a nation in which liberty has survived nicely without an armed populace.
For years I used to enjoy taunting my gun-nut friends about their psychosexual hang-ups—always in a spirit of good cheer, you understand.

I do think gun nuts have a power hang-up. I don't know what is missing in their psyches that they need to feel they have the power to kill. But no sane society would allow this to continue.

Ban the damn things. Ban them all.

You want protection? Get a dog.

Virtually all the anti-gun stereotypes and tired arguments promoted by the leftists and their ilk for the last 40-plus years -- the National Guard lie, "power hang-ups," "psychosexual hang-ups," you name it. (And I certainly beg to differ with the thought that Lady Liberty has "survived nicely" in merry olde England.) Molly Ivins applied this mean-spirited, foul, ignorant invective to pretty much any topic she wrote about. I keep thinking about how Jonah Goldberg described Maureen Dowd's columns in the wake of the 2004 presidential election:
...her op-ed page real estate hits your desk like a bucket of vomit with some Body Shop potpourri sprinkled across the surface.

I'd say that pretty much described Molly Ivins' scribblings to a tee. She was just another link in the long chain of people who have proved that education doesn't necessarily lead to intelligence or enlightenment, and how hateful, ignorant and mean-spirited you can get away with being when you couch your rhetoric in faux down-home "humor." I hate that she died the way she did, and I don't want to sound cruel and uncaring, but I shed no tears for her passing either.
More here...