25 March 2010 Hey, want to have some fun with gun owners?
“Stev, i trust you on this stuff, and it scares the hell out of me.
What do you make of the 2nd amendment rallies this weekend? One w/o
weapons on the Mall, one WITH weapons at a national park in Virginia?
Can't they all just go duck hunting or something?”
Dwight, the march is slotted for 19 Apr, as far as I can tell. Looks like a "grass roots" analog to the tea party bus trips. At first glance, I don’t see any way I could support the this. But read on!
I don't belong to any of the gun groups so I don't normally get solicited for things like this. I think this is another GOP/ Tea Party/ Faux effort to make the admin aware of how many gun owners there are. The various gun clubs and militias that might show up are of different make-ups. There are gun clubs that consist of local folks who have joined in to buy property in order to build a safe and secure shooting range for target shooters and for wing shooters. These people are generally hunters although some may be competition shooters. In my experience they are not the rabid gun nuts. There are also still “militias,” groups of men with a few women who firmly believe that they are somehow going to be responsible for the armed defense of their states and the “real America.” Most of them attend some sort of meeting with emphasis on marksmanship and perhaps a bit of infantry drill provided by members who have served in uniform. They tend to be “states rights” 10th Amendment, believers who picture their selves as the last line of defense against the hordes of federal troops and agents who will somehow descend upon them and force a communist government upon them, simultaneously taking their guns.
There exists a sub populace of gun fanciers who really enjoy shooting and want one of everything they can afford. They can fall into any sub-group of gun owners. My neighbor is a Libertarian, a 2nd Amendment adherent to the point where it controls his voting patterns. He owns many guns, hunts, shoots combat simulation contests, and teaches basic gun safety for the NRA. He is moderately worried about gun control but is a law-abiding gun owner. He shoots air guns as often as cartridge guns, hunts with bow and arrow, and I would trust him with my life and Gloria’s. I’m not worried about him going berserk – it’s not in his make-up.
Also in the mix are the fringe gun nuts, the neo-Nazis, Christian Identity groups. Find here those who are beyond the Pale, Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh, and as yet unknown domestic terrorists. Here are the people who want machine guns, grenades, RPG’s and anything that might destroy people in large numbers.
After looking at a few of the forums that discuss the event there is some apprehension among gun owners about descending on D.C. with firearms as the local concealed and open carry laws will apply. The parent rally organization has published guidelines claiming it will be the sole responsibility of attendees to comply with local laws in D.C. and as they travel. The rally organizers want numbers but not responsibility.
Others gun owners apparently see this as a “fuck you" gesture to the Democrats and to the Obama Admin. For some of them there is a constant gnawing fear that they will somehow open the door to find ATF agents at the door with orders to seize their weapons. The chatter on these forums is centered around a “that’ll show them who we are and how many of us there are” attitude. There seems to be an assumption that by showing up with weapons they will terrorize the Democrats and energize the GOP so that no one will dare think of firearms legislation that might weaken the scope of the 2nd Amendment as interpreted by the more extreme gun fanciers and fanatics.
I've never subscribed to that fear as I've never subscribed to the thought that I might someday need a fully automatic rifle, machine gun, anti-tank rocket. I target shoot, hunt, and live in an area where rabid animals are possible intruders, where bears are known to rummage through trash cans, and where feral dogs and cats place my indoor dog at risk. Like farm and ranch owners, I have firearms as tools. I no longer participate in historic re-enactment events and thus, have no reproduction muzzle-loading guns.
Your question about hunting instead of rallying is only valid for some of them. Water fowl and game bird hunting is normally an autumn event. There is an exception for spring turkey hunts. (I watched wild turkeys mating in our back yard this morning). Deer and other big game animals are hunted in fall as well, after mating season. So hunting is really not a valid option. Target shooting, trap and skeet shooting only interest some shooters. As with music, there is no one gun fits all among shooters.
Personally, I can’t see the need for such a rally on the national mall. Nor can I see the need for one in VA. I don’t like crowds, I don’t like mobs, and I don’t like armed mobs. I would imagine that record numbers of police will be on duty that day and that there will be at least some MP units and Infantry units on call at need – National Guard units, that is; the logical descendants of the states’ militias described in the 2nd Amendment.
The one point I thought of immediately that I did not find in the forums I skimmed was this. If all these folks show up with their weapons and cluster up in a controlled area, they can easily be surrounded by troops and/or cops and disarmed on the spot. It’s rather like walking into an X-shaped ambush. If you do, you are well and truly fucked. There is no exit. If I were a gun owner, worried about gun control legislation, D.C. on 19 April 2010 is the last place I would be. Can we say “Agents provocateur,” boys and girls?
This alone makes me think that the purpose of this rally is to sell things to people who attend, to raise money for some lobbyist groups, and to establish another group of people willing to become cannon fodder for the theocrats and power brokers who are currently making money from the Tea Party mobs. All the sponsors on the website want money from attendees and from those who can be milked without offering anything but a membership card and an E-newsletter. None of them have anything to offer gun owners in terms of actually protecting gun ownership. They are the type of sponsors that set my teeth on edge, far more opportunistic and likely to spread lies and rumors than they are to deal with the 2nd amendment honestly.
This could turn out to be a real money maker for those who can scare others into contributing. “They’re coming for your guns any day now, men! Just like we said he would before the election.” Scary words if you are a marginally employed or unemployed white male watching the world change around you; seeing the nation’s complexion and accent change; seeing a black male in the White House; and not hearing the drum beats for war that mask the sound of the middle class’s jobs, homes, and money vanishing.
Despite the propaganda put out by the NRA, and other organizations, I truly believe the public sentiment is largely against gun ownership now. I would suspect that Glenn and I are the only gun owners now in this list. The urban populations see the aftermath of thugs and thieves using illegal guns. Few urban dwellers hunt any more, although many still punch paper. The use of firearms as tools and for feeding families is diminishing in this nation. We can blame PETA and other such agencies for that but we also must acknowledge changes in cultural behavior. (Fishing is going the same direction in many locations) However, I still support both long gun and hand gun ownership. Both Gloria and I are permitted to carry concealed side arms in TN and those states which grant reciprocity. We live a long way from the nearest law enforcement office or fish and wildlife office. Self defense is a valid concern in our neck of the woods. Any hypocrisy on my part is acknowledged and duly noted as part of the package.
I would expect that turn out for these rallies would be any greater in number than the Tea Party march on D.C. I could be wrong, but I’m hoping a mild degree of paranoia will keep many people from taking part.
Keep me posted on this as you run across it, and thanks for providing the central thought for my blog entry today.