A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A Letter from a Reader

I am ambivalent about the gun-rights issue. I have limited experience with guns, but have gradually become more responsive to the "right of self-defense" argument that many concealed-carry advocates espouse. On other aspects of gun issues I have differing opinions. In general, I have been becoming somewhat more supportive of broader gun rights than I had been previously.

In other words, I'm just the sort of person the gun lobby needs to recruit, to bolster its influence and broaden its support: people who accept a basic right of gun ownership and are willing to be persuaded as to the specific details of its implementation. The "shoot-'em-all-let-God-sort-'em-out" contingent has been exhausted - they're all already on your side. The implacable haters of guns will not be convinced. It's the ones who are not extremist in either direction, but want to see rational policies grounded on a reasonable basis, who make up the shifting balance between the pro- and anti- camps. Note one other thing: they're mostly liberals. (Figures say about 40% of US homes have guns present; by party, that breaks down to 55% among Republicans, and only 32% among Democrats. The "market" for gun ownership among Republicans is largely saturated; there is almost twice as much room for growth among Democrats, and it goes without saying that much of that 32% is concentrated among "blue dog/Dixiecrat" types.) If you want to increase gun ownership, it will have to mostly be among liberals. The conservatives already have guns.

But (aside from the fact that I live in New York City!), for me and I would guess many like me, there is one major stumbling block to my becoming a gun owner, and that is: gun owners.

Joining the gun community means not merely perceiving a certain value in gun ownership, adopting the necessary mindset and discipline, and exercising responsibility in the use of firearms - it means joining the community of other gun owners, who, I am learning, are such a big part of the training, information-gathering, buying and selling, and upkeep that gun ownership requires. For liberals considering the place of guns in their own lives, that basically means joining a community that seems to spend 60% of its time talking about guns, and 40% spewing the same cranky, ill-informed, belligerent trashtalk you hear constantly from Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage.

Now, being a liberal pretty much requires inuring yourself to an unending barrage of ignorant conservative outrage. I see little on gun blogs that I don't see on other conservative sites, and it is not much crazier. But that kind of talk is usually confined to explicitly conservative contexts, in other places. When you come to gun blogs to learn about . . . guns, there is no reason why you have to already believe that Medicare is fascism, that Obama is not really president, that opposing the invasion of Iraq is treason, that taxation is theft, that torture is OK when we do it to others but not OK when they do it to us, that simply having a government is some sort of controversial proposition, or any of the other nonsense that invariably pops up in any discussion of firearms. But it's assumed both that that kind of thinking is relevant, and that everyone interested in the main subject - guns - will not only be interested in, but share one particular, and invariably hot-headed and cranky, perspective on it. A subject (gun ownership) that, it would seem, ought to be relevant to, and accessible by, anybody at all, has become the province of one part of the political spectrum, which has somehow chosen to equate that subject with far-right political crankery for no obvious reason. (It's obvious why, historically, conservatives have become more pro-gun than liberals; it's not obvious why the atmosphere of the gun community has become almost indistinguishable from right-wing talk radio.)

Why do I need that? I've lived my whole life without guns. Even granting that a gun can make you safer, almost everyone who does not have one will turn out to be OK. But deciding to enter into gun ownership requires deciding to enter a political arena that I was not interested in, and is bizarrely, often savagely, hostile to me.

I might be willing to think about changing my stance on that guns, but the fact that the same people who think I should do so also think that Obama is an "Obamanation", constantly spell "California" with a "K", (apparently) sincerely refer to any government program they don't like as "socialism", constantly characterize any gun-safety regulations including trigger locks or waiting periods or background checks or virtually anything else as "gun grabbing", devote entire blogs to collecting stories of homeowners shooting burglars as if they honestly believed that "anecdote" was the same as "data", and assume that courting liberals into gun ownership means "getting a gun grabbing Obama supporter to vote as a gun owner". It doesn't help that the gun community is constantly whipping up boycotts, secondary boycotts, blacklists, and organized harassment against its own most supportive members - people who actually make or promote guns - because they express the wrong opinions, make the wrong business decisions, or support the wrong political candidates (grudges that in some case go on for decades and are transferred to other companies when the "offending" one changes hands). Yeah - I want to be part of that community, because they're so welcoming, tolerant, and easy-going.

It is not only uncomfortable to contemplate joining a community so consistently hostile and extremist, but also it makes it hard to rely on that community's opinions or information for responsible education about guns - given that their perceptions of virtually everything else are so distorted and ideological. And if I were interested in learning about firearms for any less-compelling purpose - simply for shooting or hunting as a hobby - I would have even less incentive to brave the storm of angry yahooism that seems to spew out of the gun community toward liberals on any grounds or for any reason, however irrelevant.

I have enjoyed this blog very much, in part because it's fascinating and informative, but in part also because it seemed mostly free of the kind of hostile blather and wild rhetoric that so many other gun blogs wallow in. But now this:

"Today, many gun owners are angry. We have a Socialist gun grabber, actually two of them, in the White House."

Oh, for God's sake, knock it off. It doesn't matter whether you agree with their policies. Nobody in the Obama administration is a socialist, and nobody grabbed your guns. You just sound like a kook when you talk like this.

"putting a unicorn that farts rainbows in every home."

That's intelligent, and mature. I want to hear lots more of your views on politics while I'm learning to shoot.

Or maybe not . . .

"his cronies are going to start looking for legislation to show they did something, anything."

Oh, good. A conspiracy theory. Keep it up!

"A year ago, there was an unofficial online initiative among gun owners to introduce new people to shooting. After the last presidential election, some gun owners have found that the people they took to the range voted for Hope and Change rather than Stability and Tranquility. Now they are angry, refusing to take any Omaba Obama supporter to the range."

"Omaba Obama"? I honestly can't tell if that's a typo, or just one more right-wing slur I haven't heard yet. You know, if readers actually can't tell your ridiculous invective from a typing error, maybe it's not as clever as you think.

But as for encouraging liberals to shoot: as I said, that's exactly what you need to do. So how do you go about it? Well:

"Taking liberals to the range and discovering they voted for Obama is like taking a crackhead to rehab and finding out they scored another rock on the way out. It hurts. You begin to wonder what is the point of participating in a futile activity."

Grow up.

Did you really think that learning about guns automatically implies voting against Obama? Or that being an Obama voter is the same thing as being anti-gun, even if you're pro-gun? That having someone you took shooting then vote for Obama is a personal insult to you? You really thought they were going to adopt your politics and change their political allegiance, respecting every issue on the table in a supremely critical election, because you let them shoot your gun?

At least do your new recruits the courtesy of recognizing that they have their own values and priorities, that they're not stupid, and that you can't just dimsmissively wave away their beliefs and decisions as "a mistake" by a crack addict. They may come to you for information about guns, but they won't come to you for political opinions, or to have you set their priorities for them. And for you to insist it is "a mistake" for them not to do so only gives them another thing they have to decide whether or not to put up with, in entering into your community regarding the entirely different thing they're interested in.

What "hurts" is that you're one of the sane and reasonable gun bloggers. But we see how shallow a well that is.

socialized health care . . . gun control. Socialized medicine . . . Socialized medicine . . . I will never be a government employee again. . . .
. . . worthless inexperienced Socialist

And . . . it's never too late for some more uninformed kookism. Obama has not proposed anything like a socialized healthcare system. If he did, you would become a government employee, but he didn't, and you won't - so that's two things you're getting yourself worked up over for no reason. But ranting about it obsessively is great - it takes "wrong" all the way up to the level of "nuts". And now tell me what you think about gun policy . . . I'm all ears.

They way you grudgingly worked in a ranking of "Obama supporters" just above child molesters, pornographers, and crackheads was equally enlightening. Yep - I want to join your club, and imbibe of your wisdom. Can't imagine why I didn't let you tell me who to vote for when I had the chance.

I don't get it. You realize you need to welcome liberals into the gun community. But you hate them, take it personally when they don't adopt your politics as their own, call them crazy names and rant about non-existent secret policies in a way that makes you sound like a militia whacko (while some of you - meaning the gun community in general - are in fact militia whackos), assume that simply because they learn about guns they will then put guns absolutely above every other possible interest in their lives and become one-issue "gun voters", and state explicitly that all of this is just obvious and undebatably the way it is about liberals and guns. You seem to have no expectation at all that people who share your interest in guns could disagree with you about other things, have a different perspective on the likely outcome for gun rights of various voting options, or choose to vote, and assign their other political priorities, on the basis of all their concerns and not just guns alone and absolutely. You seem to believe that the process of a liberal becoming a gun-rights supporter is actually the process of them becoming a conservative (and a crazy one at that).

This is grossly, grossly, counterproductive. It's counterproductive for all the obvious reasons - you need me on your side for gun rights, but I need guns a lot less than I need to not listen to this crap for the rest of my life. In addition, though, it's also simply illogical. The angry and divisive rhetoric you constantly, constantly hear on gun sites is not just stupid and wrong, but in many ways it makes your opponents' case for them. If you really believe that becoming a gun-rights supporter has to mean becoming a conservative crank and ranting about "Obamanation", "libtards", and "gun grabbers" - that if you really support gun rights, by definition you're not a liberal, or can't stay one - then there are certainly an overwhelming number of liberals who will agree with you, or will come to agree with you after they hear the way you talk. But they're not going to become angry conservative gun owners; they're going to stay liberal non-gun-owners who have proof positive - provided by you - that the gun community is isolationist, intolerant, and kooky. If you really believe that being a gun owner requires putting guns as the first and last item on your list of political priorities, and voting only on that issue no matter what else is at stake that you're concerned about, then the only people you can recruit as gun owners will be people for whom . . . guns are their first and only priority, which includes just about exactly nobody who is currently a committed liberal who is moderate or ambivalent about gun issues.

The ball is in your court. It always has been, even under pro-gun administrations. Gun owners are in the minority, and the rural gun culture is losing ground - literally - to urbanization. So you either deal with reality or fade away - your choice. It would help to recognize that (a) not everybody who might be pro-gun will share all your other opinions, and (b) they will share none of your opinions that basically consist of factually misinformed hostility to anybody who's not like you. You should also recognize that the pro-gun community is changing, and will inevitably change further if it actually does succeed in recruiting new members: I know you already recognize that the community is not always welcoming to women - you've got to recognize there are lots of others for whom the environment is much worse. When you do succeed in diversifying, all those new women, minorities, liberals, urbanites, non-veterans, and all the rest whom you desperately need are going to want to be treated with dignity and have their issues and concerns dealt with. They may join you if you don't drive them away. They're not going to become like you in the most basic respects.

If you can't handle that, just keep on the way you have been - it's working great. If you want more support, more acceptance, and a broader-based self-defense community, you have got to make that possible.

You need people like me. I've never felt the need for you and it's never been a problem; as I slowly begin to question changing that opinion, I look to you for guidance as to what lies in store down that new path. And I see what I see.

Kevin T. Keith

Sufficient Scruples


Thanks for writing. Apparently you misread or misunderstood the blog piece you posted this comment to. I am not advocating that gun owners cease to take liberals, and Obama voters in particular shooting. I am not advocating that gun owners try to change anybody's political stance. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Other gun owners and gun bloggers, however, are advocating that. My blog post was a stand against that way of thinking. Perhaps it was so poorly written that you could not comprehend it, but it was not written for you sir. It was written for those very gun owners and gun bloggers who have chosen to never again take a person shooting unless they vote in a particular manner.

You see Kevin, I have a simple philosophy. I'm not working on a PhD in philosophy, so it might be incredibly simple by your standards, so bear with me. I talk to a person about shooting. I take the person shooting. They enjoy it. While shooting we talk about how a gun can be an equalizer for self defense. They decide to purchase a gun. I help them chose an appropriate gun, and continue to shoot with them, at their pace. They become a gun owner, and they begin to see guns not as a threat, but as a tool that may assist them with self preservation. They may or may not vote as a gun owner. I don't care. They will likely vote for self preservation. I did not help a person by introducing them to gun ownership. I helped them by giving them the means to save their life if necessary.

I consider how the right to carry a handgun concealed has swept through this country. The power to change laws to allow concealed carry is a valid indicator of where gun owners are in regard to numbers and political influence. We have the numbers to effect change. We lack the cohesiveness. Rather than focus on hunting or Olympic sporting events, we need to focus on the guy working the night shift at the Quick Stop, the cab driver working the dark shift, the bank teller stopping off on the way home to get a gallon of milk. These are the people who carry. If they do not, then they may become advocates of concealed carry if they see it as a possibility. I have yet to meet a strong advocate of concealed carry who does not carry, or who is not planning on obtaining a CCW license. I think it's safe to say that most people who have a concealed carry license own a gun. They reached gun ownership by first going shooting and deciding to buy a gun for themselves. Most were not born into gun ownership.

I find it funny when people who have never met me, who do not know me, project themselves onto who they think I am. You may not realize that I have lived under repressive regimes. You may not realize that I tended to vote Democrat for a long time. You might think I am "rural" because I list myself as being from North Louisiana. You might not understand that I have lived in Yokohama, Roppongi, Hong Kong, Sydney, and other metropolitan areas that have more progressive culture in a city block than all of New York City and Los Angeles combined. How do I know? Well sir, I've lived in Queens too. You may not realize that my first degree was not in nursing, but in philosophy, art history, painting and printmaking. You may not realize that I once considered Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg to be my mentors. You see Kevin, you do not know me, although you may think you do.

Some people read "Nurse with a Gun" and they think "Oh, redneck nurse." They usually click the mouse the other way and move on. Others might think "Oh, a nurse with a mind of their own." These are the people I hope will stay, because they are thinking for themselves.

And getting on to that socialized medicine thing....... Don't try to talk to me about socialized medicine. Call it what you want, it is not Medicare as Medicare was intended. Government controlled medicine is what I take my stand against, and with the influence of Medicare itself on health care, it is evident. Control can take many forms, but the best way of controlling any enterprise is by controlling the money that fuels it.

Physicians and nurses are independent practitioners. We should not be influenced in our care of patients by our payor sources. We certainly should not be influenced by the federal government telling us how and where we will practice. I, myself, and quite a few physicians I know personally will leave the profession if that day comes. It is a very real threat to us. Most of the physicians plan to retire at that point, a few plan to go into politics. One has already bought a cattle ranch and plans to go into the beef business. I plan to go to law school. You may ask how I know these things. I did not read about it in medical publications or the Wall Street Journal. I work across from these physicians each and every day, and we discuss these issues over patients. Health care will be a Hell of long lines, poor care and incompetent administrators with physicians leaving in droves. Do not think they can't, and do not think they won't. They are intelligent men and women, and they have other options.

Imagine how you would feel threatened if a president were elected who would only fund college for those who thought in a certain way. Imagine how you would feel if a president was elected who proposed telling you how you would think and teach students. If you did not subscribe to that way of thinking, then you would have no opportunity to hold a job as a professor, or whatever it is a philosopher does. That is what is happening incrementally in medicine and nursing. I know physicians who have left medicine already because of the oppressive hand of government, payor sources, and regulation. These were good doctors. They did not get into medicine to make a buck. They got into medicine to help people. One traveled widely with Doctors Without Borders. He now enjoys his life as a businessman, but he wonders about the continued impact he could have had for others if he had been allowed to help people unencumbered by breauracracy.

Further, don't talk down to me about working with crackheads until you work with crackheads. Don't talk to me about the futility of trying to save someone who will not save themselves. Nurses do these things. I do it day, in day out. I did it ten years ago, last year, last week, yesterday, today, and I will do it again tomorrow. I will try to save the drunk who is bleeding to death from esophogeal varicies created by liver damage, knowing that as soon as he leaves the hospital he will stop at the liquor store. I will pin the bones of a cocaine addict back together, knowing that as soon as they are discharged, they will snort some more coke in their car and drive home. I see children brought in black and blue and broken, knowing that it was their parent that beat them. I try to save these children, and they die in my hands. When I encounter a patient lying about pain, I will treat them appropriately, with dignity and respect, even though I know they came into the ER seeking demerol, just like they did last week, and the week before. I have gone into homes of the elderly knowing the only reason Junior keeps Grandma at home is so he can control her social security check. I have tried to extricate victims from inhumane living conditions only to discover they were admitted for a 72 hour observation and then discharged to live in filth and squalor again. I have seen through my nursing career what the influence of a payor source and heartless administrators does to health care. This is my reality. I did not read about it from a distance or see it on the television. I live it each time I drive to work. Don't try to tell me about nursing or medicine, and I will not write about Rene' Descartes or Albert Camus, OK?

So with that, I will simply tell you, as you have chosen to condescendingly tell me, grow up. You might not see it now, but on many points we agree. There is one point on which we apparently do not. You believe I need you. I do not need you Kevin. If you chose to contribute your life savings to the Brady Campaign and never touch a loathsome gun, I will simply take someone else to the range. You, however, need gun owners. It is gun owners who preserve your way of life in the United States, who stand between you and an oppressive dictatorship, and who give you the opportunity to live in relative freedom. Without gun ownership guaranteed by the second amendment, there is nothing standing between you and totalitarianism.

Oh, and by the way, Omaba was a mispelling. I thought it was funny, a bit of serendipity, and chose to strike it out rather than re-write it. I thought the piece needed a bit of levity. Sorry about sending you on a wild goose chase trying to find some other vague reference of slander to President Obama.



Blogger Cargosquid said...

While Kevin apparently reads many gun blogs, as he seems to have much of the phrasing down, it appears that he still refuses to see the deeper issues causing the anger in the 2nd Amendment supporters. While he did have some good points about attracting "ambivalent" people to guns, he seems to disregard the gunnies' purposes, feelings, and ideals, and the fact that blogs are not the best place to find un-opinionated people. He can find information about guns in many places, even in NYC.

Your reply was outstanding. I will continue to hit this blog daily.

Keep up the good work. Oh, and as a nurse, wow. That is some tough work. Keep up that good work too. You are a better man than I.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Riley said...

Xaview...first time I've been to your blog. That was awesome

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Brian in California said...

Great Sheeba, but I love this blog!

Totally off topic alert: Ahh, Roppongi. Not my favorite part of Tokyo but I love that city and reading that name literally brought images, sounds and smells alive in my mind.

Thank you for the opportunity to read your posts.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Paul-Michael Bauer said...

Kevin flipantly bashes stereotypical gun owners and yet demands them to move over and make room for a broader audience.

I have a feeling Kevin's idea of "rational" gun policies aren't anything of which I want a part. Freedom shouldn't need moderating to enhance appeal.

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin has it wrong, the gun owner's do not need him and in fact have the numbers way past the true liberals.

If he thinks Barry is not a Socialist/Marxist and will not try to disarm law abiding Americans, he needs to put that funny smelling cigarette down and do a little researching of Barry's and his peoples background for the truth.

He's blind to the real liberal agenda but has some real funny stereo types for gun owners and conservatives.

He might be a card carrying member of the Vast Leftwing Conspiracy and would be the last person this rural backwoods suburban redneck N.R.A. Life Member ex Military militia member would train to use a firearm.

Signed a Bitter Clinger!

12:41 AM  
Anonymous OrangeNeckInNY said...

Well, what's wrong with calling Obama what he is - a Socialist? He has a problem with us calling him a socialist, yet he has no problems when they caricatured Pres. Bush as a dumb monkey with big ears? That's no hypocrisy?

And I, too, have read in news that doctors and nurses have threatened to leave their professions if healthcare becomes socialized. I'm been bitching about the fact that the insurance companies control everything in your life, for years! The home that you live in has to be up to "code." Who's code are we living up to when you get these hurricane resistant windows that can't be busted into by the fire dept. when your house is on fire?? As for healthcare, I can't believe I can't have a procedure done unless it's approved by the insurance company. And they won't pay for anything that I think would help me get better.

You hit it right on the nose when you said that the way to control something is to control the source of the money. Ain't that the truth?

And by they way, I lived in NYC for 28 years and I used to be an anti-gun liberal myself. I became a conservative (while retaining some liberal views on some things) after 9/11/2001 happened. I realized that there are people out there who want to do us (me) harm. In June 2005, the Supreme ruled that the police have no Constitutional duty to protect me as an individual, so who's responsibility is it then?

I've been on both sides of the argument and I can honestly tell you that I enjoy my guns and my freedoms more than the "perceived" safety of a gun-free society as NYC is. NYC is a perfect example of outlawing guns so that only outlaws will have guns.

Obama, Biden and Pelosi are gun-grabbers. Obama is a socialist. I know socialism when I see it. I'm not originally from this country and I can tell you what socialism looks like and he is it.

I'm sorry that Kevin needs convincing to protect all that makes America great, esp. the one Right that is able to do so.

Obama is spending our money, our children's money and our children's children's money, on a socialist program right now that is doomed to fail. He's pissed away future generations' security with one fell swoop of his pen. He wants to add another $4 trillion dollars next year on more socialist programs. Who is going to pay for it? With Obama, it's like he's opened the floodgates and the floodwaters are raging towards us. God help us all.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Kevin T. Keith said...


Thanks for putting my comment up as a blog post. I'm flattered by your interest and response.

Apparently you misread or misunderstood the blog piece you posted this comment to. I am not advocating that gun owners cease to take liberals, and Obama voters in particular shooting. I am not advocating that gun owners try to change anybody's political stance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Other gun owners and gun bloggers, however, are advocating that. My blog post was a stand against that way of thinking.

I understood that. My point was that even you - who is, by my experience and in your own description, one of the more welcoming members of the gun-blog community - can't seem to accept that people whose political opinions differ from yours are equally eligible as citizens or gun owners. You say you still take liberals shooting, as some of your confederates do not, but you also describe it as "futile", and express, in your own words, anger, hurt, and confusion that they don't vote for the same candidates you do. You explicitly compare them to crackheads and child molesters. And that is the language of the open-minded and inclusive part of the gun community!

Every one of the hostile quotes in my piece was from your own words (the other was one of your commenters). You're more accepting than many other gun bloggers - but you're still hostile, critical, and overbearing toward people who don't share your politics or priorities. Which means that the most congenial part of the gun community is not very congenial - the rest is worse.

Now, I could argue that that is simply unfair and offensive - and I would if I were talking to a liberal. But my point to you was simply that that kind of thing drives away the people who form by far the largest group of potential new shooters, and so treating them abusively is likely to be counterproductive to your cause. Your response was merely to explain why you think guns are useful. But I told you I was already receptive to that message - and so will most people be, at least somewhat, who are interested in starting to learn to shoot. You also imply that you don't need liberal gun recruits because there has been a wave of liberalization of CCW laws. That may be true but I doubt it. (Democrats outnumber Republicans by a decent margin, and the number of non-gun-owning Democrats hugely outweighs the number of non-gun-owning Republicans. You have limited growth potential among the dittohead contingent.) More importantly, it implies that you just don't care whether you are offending potential liberal recruits as long as you can get enough political clout among others, which pretty much proves my previous point.

As to your work or experiences, I make no assumptions. I was not stereotyping you - I responded directly to the things you actually said. I do note that they parallel the even worse rhetoric on other gun blogs, but I think that's a safely accurate claim. My response to your post was prompted by the fact that I did think of you as a thoughtful and considerate person. Hearing about your travels and experiences makes you sound like an even more interesting person, but the language and attitudes you expressed on your previous post considerably undermine your presentation as thoughtful or considerate - which was what dismayed me about it. At any rate, it does not matter who you are - the question is whether the kinds of behavior and attitudes displayed across the gun community, and even by you, are going to entice and welcome the people whom, it seems obvious to me, you need to recruit.

The answer to that seems to me - speaking as one of those people - to unquestionably be "No". If you think otherwise, by all means, keep it up. See where that gets you. (But at least be honest enough to recognize that hostility to the gun community does not come out of nowhere.)

You continue with a long rant about healthcare - proving again that you can't seem to separate gun issues from other political questions. (At least you didn't insist this time that shooting guns should make people agree with you.) As to my own training and specialization, it's actually in medical ethics. I won't tell you about nursing if you won't tell me about healthcare policy.

More importantly, though, none of that has to come up in the context of gun training or self-defense, if you're willing to accept people different from you into your community. And by "accept", I mean recognize that you can share an interest in guns with them without expecting, let alone demanding, that they share your politics, and you can make yourself willing to offer training and guidance to people on an equal basis, without thinking that gives you some kind of expectation that they will set their political priorities identically with yours. If not, well, again, they will see what it means to be a part of the "gun community", and make their decision whether or not to join it, accordingly.

As for promoting self-defense as a way of helping people, I accept and respect that. But it's not compatible with an attitude that the people you're helping are crack addicts, coke snorters, child beaters, or all the other lovely comparisons that you keep on posting again and again, just because they exercised their right to vote for the candidate of their choice. You're not doing CPR on a DUI accident victim when you let somebody shoot your .22, and it doesn't give you the right to make condescending sneers about them. If you keep it up, they'll notice - and factor that into their decisions about guns also.

1:11 AM  
Blogger Kevin T. Keith said...

Barry is [. . .] a Socialist/Marxist . . . try to disarm law abiding Americans . . . put that funny smelling cigarette down . . . blind to the real liberal agenda . . . card carrying member of the Vast Leftwing Conspiracy . . . the last person this rural backwoods suburban redneck N.R.A. Life Member ex Military militia member would train to use a firearm.

Signed a Bitter Clinger!

OK! Thanks for dispelling those stereotypes! I can see I was wrong about you . . .

1:15 AM  
Blogger Jerry The Geek said...

Kevin has ... and makes ... several valid points. His view is different from mine (and probably yours) but that makes his input even more valuable.

We need more opposite viewpoints, if only to measure our convictions against our image. We are nearly incestuous in that our opinions are so firmly entrenched that we rarely seek other opinions, except perhaps to deny them.

He's right in that the majority of people who enjoy the ownership and use of firearms are conservative, and that they (we) are outspoken about their politics to the point of boredom.

The reason is that we have seen our culture change so rapidly in the past 20 years that we're suffering from culture shock. The best we can do is cry "But that's not right! They can't DO that to us!"

Well, they can ... if we let them. So we're always on-stage, we're always campaigning for our rights, and from the outside that can easily be perceived as mania.

I use to be a democrat, until the beginning of the Clinton era. Bill's arbitrary and high-handed attacks on our culture (Assault Weapons Band, Hillary-care, etc.) drove me away out of sheer enlightened self-interest.

In the same way, those who wish to nurse on the Federal teat are just as defensive about their political viewpoints. (I'm not charging Keith with opportunism; that's only one reason to support Big Government.)

Still, we need to LISTEN to liberals more. Most of them are good people, who sincerely believe that it's possible to find a 'middle ground' compromise.

When the Liberals begin negotiating for a compromise by giving as much as they ask conservatives to give, then it may be possible for an honest dialogue to be established. Until then, Conservatives may be said to be "Twice bitten".

1:28 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...


I do not have "confederates." I do not consider it futile to take people shooting. I consider it futile to take them shooting and expect a trip to the range to change how they vote. I am not angry, hurt or confused by this. Others may be, but I am not.

I have not compared any group of people to child molesters or crackheads. I have compared the unrealistic expectations and the resulting disappointments when other people fail to follow a lead that a friend provides. I have used my experience in working to help people and save people, when they do not want to change the basis of their problem, to try to explain the feelings of frustration many gun owners and gun bloggers are feeling because the people they took shooting voted for Barak Obama.

This is not a liberal/conservative issue, nor is it a Democrat/Republican issue. Too many people want to place gun ownership into a category. The truth is, gun ownership and the need for self preservation is universal. Does that sound familiar? Oh Ok, I'll quote myself. "the second amendment being recognized as a fundamental right to self preservation, the cause for gun owners has become universal."

The people I take to the range understand what I am saying, as do most people who have commented. Apparently you need to read and comprehend prior to posting comments. You are arriving at false conclusions that seem to be stemming from some prejudices you have.

2:03 AM  
Blogger "Tarak" said...


2:07 AM  
Anonymous Mr.Potato said...

Oh boy. This is getting to the point where I glaze over the paragraphs.

3:31 AM  
Blogger Scott said...


First of all, thanks for your fantastic blog. I must admit that I am a bit concerned about your future plans. Law school? Really? As a law student myself, I hope you don't take that choice too lightly! Law school will warp your mind like no other experience...

In any case, I must echo much of what you've said. I too have spent my fair share of time overseas, primarily in Latin America (Argentina, Chile, Peru) with some time in Europe (several months in France and a bit of gallivanting). Nothing quite as fancy as yourself, but I've been around and I speak Spanish and French with a professional level of fluency. Prior to living in the slums of Buenos Aires as a missionary (I lived primarily in La Matanza - LaFerrere, mostly - and spent some time on the outskirts of Merlo) I had a worldview perhaps slightly to the right of Dennis Kucinich. I spouted and wailed, twisted and whined. But after a few weeks of seeing true, terrible, grinding poverty - and precisely what kept so many in that wretched state - I had a rapid conversion to a more conservative line of thinking. Living through the December 2001 riots in Argentina further cemented this. Incidentally, after seeing the effects of socialized medicine and the death of a fellow missionary to its ridiculous foibles, I am strongly opposed to socialized medicine as well.

After additional travel and a political science degree, I no longer know where to categorize myself. It is enough to say that after spending four years attempting to categorize people and groups into political pigeon holes, I have no idea where to put myself. Libertarian-ish, perhaps? A classical liberal? Generally Republican? Centrist? The ever-elusive "moderate"? I don't really know. I tend to split my votes among the DNC, GOP and a third party or two per election - what does that say?

Now, turning more specifically to Mr. Keith's bloviations:

As to my own training and specialization, it's actually in medical ethics. I won't tell you about nursing if you won't tell me about healthcare policy.

Ah, training! Specialization! But precious little experience. He claims to have taught courses on ethics in his FAQ, and then attempts to use his "training" in philosophy and ethics to silence an actual healthcare practitioner on policy. Verily, we must not allow the bottom-dwellers to dare insert themselves into a question of policy. Oh, the calamity a member of the unclean would wreak upon the ivory tower were they allowed to come through the doors and dare to tell a member of the academy - whose mind has been left pure and untouched by actual hands-on practice - what he would knows about healthcare policy from first-hand experience! The horror! The horror! Someone is SULLYING THE ACADEMY! Quick, we must polish the ivory tower! Polish polish polish! Silence the outsider who deals with the commoners! Silence him! He knows nothing of "policy"!

Not to mention the hilarity of a person who has not yet finished the professional degree he needs to truly begin his career - and, in fact, by his own admission has taken several years longer than he expected to do so - telling a bona fide professional with more than a decade of real life, first-hand experience in a field whose ethics he hopes to specialize in and mold but could never practice himself - to "grow up". Now that's funny.

I was this snarky - snarkier, even - before law school. There is no need for lawyer jokes at this point, but if you have a good one, please share.

Aside from Mr. Keith's obvious demonstrably willful - and, in fact, preferred - detachment from the real world, what we have is not a serious argument that one would expect from a person who is supposedly trained in the art of logic and persuasion. Instead, we have a stream of vague accusations and argument by hyperbole created by cherry-picking for hyperbole in an opponent's arguments. (Oh, and please, no "ah, but you used hyperbole, too!," responses. I didn't open the door to that line of argument, and turnabout is fair play. And an author who writes lines like "The manifold horrors of the Bush years are finally behind us, and President Obama is already taking steps to end their ravages and wipe away the stains they have left upon the United States," hardly has grounds to whine about others who write in exaggerated language. I won't even get into your "lean left" blog.) But to what end? What logical conclusion is he attempting to reach? What evidence does he provide that gun culture is predominantly a "rural" phenomena, or that as people enter the lesser urban centers and become suburbanites that they give up their firearms (speaking as a suburban gun owner surrounded by suburban gun owners, I'm particularly curious on this point)? In fact what evidence has he presented at all?

None, so far as I can tell. He provides no evidence for his assertions, and there is no true purpose to his writing. He doesn't really demonstrate any reason why others should support him or meet him in the middle. In fact, his entire message can be summed up in one brief sentence: "I kind of like you, but you offend me and you need to change so I will like you better, you ignorant troglodyte." This message is punctuated with personal insults ("kookism", "crazy", references to the idea that Xavier is a conspiracy theorist, etc.) which are all conveniently forgotten when demanding the other side cease to be "counterproductive" and obliterated entirely from memory in huffing responses that return barb for barb. Taking it as a serious attempt to extend an olive branch or an honest move towards "understanding" is impossible.

Mr. Keith, I hate to be the one to break the news, but you will occasionally find that many people who hold vaguely similar sentiments to yours will disappoint you. Sometimes they will make the wrong arguments, use false evidence, or deliver their point so inarticulately as to make you cringe. As a supporter of the Constitutional right to bear arms with a legal education, believe me, I know. (And if you must have this explained to you in academic terms, I would recommend a reading of former Chicago Law professor Cass Sunstein's many articles on Incompletely Theorized Agreements. And don't worry about Sunstein - he wasn't involved in the "manifold horrors" of the Bush administration. He is serving under Obama at this time.)

Allow me to explain a few basic points of law that you may have missed in civics to you, Mr. Keith. Gun ownership, along with freedom of speech and a right to counsel, is an individual right protected explicitly in the Constitution (District of Columbia v. Heller). In order to overturn this right and truly place those who supposedly need you at risk of losing their human rights, anti-gun advocates would be required to amend the constitution by gaining a 2/3 majority in each house and the approval of 3/4 of the states in the union (I have left out the possibility of 2/3 of the states calling a constitutional convention simply because it has never happened before). How likely is this? First, look at the DNC-controlled Senate's recent 62-36 in favor of granting greater access to guns in D.C. and undoing many of the absurd regulations that the district put up following the Heller ruling (S.AMDT.575 to S.160). Second, look at a map of the United States and argue persuasively that 3/4 of the states on that map would agree to an amendment that would nullify the second amendment. Add Speaker Pelosi's recent comments regarding any attempt to revive the Assault Weapons Ban and perhaps you'll come to realize that you lack support even in your own party.

You and your support are simply not necessary, Mr. Keith. Neither I nor any other gun rights supporter need dance to your tune to placate you because you prefer to base your political ideologies on public relations concerns and ad hominem attacks against opponents rather than rationally and independently weighing issues and deciding on your own beliefs. Do you honestly believe in a right to self defense and are you willing to defend the rights found in the constitution to that effect? If so, then one would expect you to have a positive view of private firearm ownership in spite of many others who support that right making you feel embarrassed. If not, then you simply don't, and no amount of making it "cool" and "accessible" to you will really matter in the long run when fads change.

Personally, Mr. Keith, I don't really care what you think I or other gun rights supporters should do to make your decision more palatable. You bring nothing to the table that I need or want and ask for far too much change from me and my (very loosely-connected) associates. It's all sticks, no carrots. If you actually wanted to be taken seriously on this topic, you would have approached it differently. Instead, you chose to make yourself the center of attention and all but demanded that people cater to you and make you feel good for your political choice (in fact, act like those choices had no consequences, and that voting for a candidate who has publicly supported numerous draconian anti-gun rights measures is just as viable and wise a choice for a person who is pro-second amendment as voting for a candidate who supports gun rights). Well, with all due respect Mr. Kevin T. Keith, (still not a) Ph.D., I simply don't care that much. And let's be honest, it's not like you'll make a great activist for the other side. You can't even finish a doctorate degree or find time to blog with any frequency. I won't lie awake at night, forever regretting that Xavier did not sufficiently woo you over by sticking his finger up his nose and saying, "well, gosh, I guess this (still not a) Ph.D. was right after all!"

The last thing the world needs, Mr. Keith, is another sniveling, childish Ph.D. (or, in this case, eternal Ph.D. candidate) who demands that his absurd needs and wants be acknowledged. You're just not that important, and I see no reason to care about you, let alone a reason why I should "need" you.

4:37 AM  
Blogger The B Man Blog said...

Xavier, I have been reading your blog for quite a while and I'm always impressed with your honesty, humanity, and clear writing style. This post only emphasizes the point that so-called liberals just can't see the simple truth that gun rights are about our most basic human right, freedom. Freedom crosses all lines of diversity in our country and can, and should be embraced by us all. Keep up the good work you are doing. Your blog is the best I've read.

5:38 AM  
Anonymous Suhan the liberal said...

Tell it like it IS Scott!

5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's the ones who are not extremist in either direction, but want to see rational policies grounded on a reasonable basis, who make up the shifting balance between the pro- and anti- camps."

That's where he lost me. He doesn't understand that an inalienable right is just that. Inalienable. What is "rational' to one person is "infringement" to another. What is considered "rational" gets changed a new president, a new Congressman, or a new Supreme Court Judge.

It could be considered rational to make gun owners take a yearly test, fill out more forms, be inspected in their home to see if they are compliant with gun security, pay large fees for ammo, required to take a yearly psyche eval to see if they are mentally well-adjusted, limit the number of firearms they can own, because they only really need one for self-defense, right?, etc., etc,. all in the name of being "rational"

"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." "Justice too long delayed is justice denied."

6:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to ask this NYC lib why it's OK for liberals to spew garbage out of their mouths, while it's not OK for conservatives to do the same? What ever happened to free speech, listening to an idea, adopting what makes sense, and discarding what doesn't?

I don't much like liberals, but I give due consideration to everything that they have to say. I expect the same from them.

6:15 AM  
Blogger Travis Lee said...

Kevin, As strange as it may seem to a liberal narcissist, I am not interested in converting you, recruiting you or convincing you of anything.
"You might be willing to change your stance on guns"? Oh really? Now I have just been losing sleep for weeks about how I need to change to become acceptable to you.

I am not fully familiar with the laws in NYC, but it seems that you would have to obtain an owner's license, a permit to puchase, and when you actually obtain a gun, registration. You would have to do the same for a shotgun or rifle, too. Even without getting near a carry license, it is my understanding that it would take months and a good amount of money before you can legally own a firearm. Please Kevin, do not use your bigotry against "conservatives" be your excuse preventing you from becoming a gun owner. When you get all your lincensing, and fingerprinting, and get through all that, to buy a firearm which is not banned, or holds too many rounds, I want you to be fully aware that it was so-called liberals who imposed such restrictions upon you, and then you can tell me whether you consider the laws oppressive. More than that, I want you to tell all your liberal friends that you are now a gun owner, you will find what hostile really is.

I was never "recruited" into the gun community, I bought a gun, and then I discovered what my "liberal" friends and family thought of "people like me".

Guns are not my primary interest, but all my adult life, there has always been a push by certain political groups to regulate and abuse my firearms rights. These same groups also seem to be dedicated to raising my taxes every year, and pushing me around, in other ways. And I also notice that they almost always go by the labels of Democrat, "Liberal", and "Progressive". (not always, of course)

I do not obsess over firearms, but there is not a well funded cadre of political interests dedicated to nullifying my right to worship, or my right to a jury trial.... then again, if the gun banners succeed in banning my rifles and my pistols, and ENFORCING it, I really do wonder what is next on their agenda.

6:35 AM  
Anonymous Homer said...

I think Scott's comment covers it all. Kevin Keith's position is Standard Liberal: "My way is better so do it my way."

Mr Keith, I would suggest that if you find some blogs not to your liking, stop reading them and find other blogs.

And, if you want a gun but don't like the gun owners you have met, feel free to purchase a gun and learn how to use it properly and safely and associate with other gun owners. Or, associate with no gun owners at all.

That's called "freedom of choice." You should give it a try sometime.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin's comments are a perfect example of the typical liberal argument. They always start off with a compliment or pointing out all the things we agree on. They make it seem like we could all just get along if it weren't for this one simple little thing that we disagree on. We could solve this simple little thing if we could just....think like Kevin. In fact, we could have Kevin on OUR side if we just change! It's always a problem with us that is hurting...us!

Unfortunately it's never that simple. There's ALWAYS a but. Compromise is ALWAYS changing our beliefs to agree with theirs. I have doubts about his honesty when it comes to gun control. I think he's just another member of the Brady Bunch using a worn out liberal tactic.

Kevin, when it comes to the second amendment there is no compromise. You are either with us or against us, no matter what our political beliefs. If we all stopped calling Obama a socialist tomorrow, it wouldn't change the way you feel about guns and you know it.

8:04 AM  
Blogger daddymax said...

Taming the trigger, cruising the pawn shops, and constitutional constructs are the reasons that keep me coming back for my daily dose.

What Kevin is really asking is why the gun lobby cannot exist without any additional political encumbrance. The argument that has been offer to Kevin, but he may fail to grasp is that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is the protective shield of all of our rights.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Xavier, you can click over to Kevin's webpage and quickly discover that he's a dyed-in-the-wool liberal culture warrior, so persuading him of anything is a waste of your time.

He's a bit more sophisticated and erudite than most lefty trolls, but he's still basically a troll. Don't waste time feeding him.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Hank says said...

I really don't have much to add, but have to take further exception to the comment:

Did you really think that learning about guns automatically implies voting against Obama?

I do not think that. I have taught many "new style" liberals to shoot. Most often after they have been victim to a rape or attempted rape. This has included several (gay and straight) men. This was when I lived "back east" and Clinton was in the white house. I didn't expect these people to change their politics. I wanted to empower them to stand up for themselves and ensure that they could do that safely. I didn't push politics at all (at least not on purpose). I would take them to a private range, and some of the folks there would let their (anti Clinton, anit Hillary-Care) opinions be known. We typically avoided such conversations.

That said, several of these people did drift to the right politically. I don't know if this was due to the initial events that drove them to my class, or due to the learning experience. I like to think it was not due to learning about guns per say, but learning about life, and how long it takes for the cops to get there (if you're even able to call). About how poorly the strict gun laws worked, and how effectively they disarmed these victims.

Learning about guns shouldn't make someone oppose Obama, but learning (e.g. "thinking" as opposed to "feeling") tends to make people oppose Obama's policies, as evidenced to date.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Gerry from Valpo said...

"one major stumbling block to my becoming a gun owner, and that is: gun owners"

What utter rubbish that is.

Could one say "One major stumbling block to becoming an automobile owner is: automobile drivers" without looking equally as foolish?

Reading this over morning coffee made my day. It seems to me that K2 has no interest in owning and using a gun. He simply dropped a big, fat, juicy worm in the conservative side of the pond and the fish are biting.

If K2 wanted to own a gun he would own one period, not spew his brand of socialism to a sensible gun blogger desiring to be accepted.

Your response was more than adequate. Thanks for publishing it. K2 will be back, trolls can't help themselves.

9:02 AM  
Blogger alath said...

Kevin is right that gun owners tend to rant on the internet. These rants often bundle together political issues that are not necessarily related to gun ownership. They are also often disrespectful of people with opposing viewpoints.

I am astounded, though, that Kevin seems to think this problem is limited to gun owners and conservatives. A quick visit to Democratic Underground or the comments on Slate or Salon will instantly evaporate the myth of liberal tolerance, rationality, and politeness that Kevin seems so ardently to believe in.

I'm sorry that Kevin is so traumatized by conservatives saying impolite things about him. I can't believe he lives in this society and thinks that conservatives are somehow exempt from the same treatment from liberals.

It is certainly true that we would all be better at winning people to our respective causes and viewpoints if we were a little more polite and a little less prone to forging all our beliefs into one immutable, intolerant mass.

Not too long ago, I was informed at a professional conference that if I support improved access to prenatal care, I must necessarily support taxpayer-funded elective abortions at all gestational ages. That's a great way to get me on board with your prenatal care initiative: link it to a hotly divisive and tangentially related social issue!

I've also been told that I'm a Fundie and a Rethuglican. Being religious, I am of course primitive, misogynistic, and irrational. I especially appreciate being informed by liberals that my brother, who serves in the military and about whom I worry, is part of a scheme to murder innocent civilians in order to provide oil for the Chimp-in-Chief (a most respectful term for our previous President; in a different league altogether from referring to Obama as a socialist).

Finally, as a front-line health care worker myself, I am very much interested in Xavier's opinions on health policy. Kevin is right that he (Kevin) shouldn't comment on nursing, because he wouldn't know what he was talking about. The same is not true of Xavier: he lives with the real-life consequences of health policy on a daily basis. He's just as qualified to comment on health policy as a medical ethicist. Perhaps more so, if we are interested in the practical effects of policy.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous ditto said...

Excellent response. How often do you get to say "what he said"?

Kevin on the other hand seems to think he should be just handed the keys to the city of gun ownership. All of these opinionated folks had to dig down and learn what they needed to know about their passion. What makes him think that he should be spared the retoric of a group that maintains the rights of all gun owners?
I find his opinion to be typical of many libs. I don't want to hear any other views but mine. Same tactics that were applied by Obama org regarding others 1st ammendment rights during the presidential race.
And then being long winded at that. Yikes!

9:28 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Oh, I was not going to, but here goes...

I am quite weary of those telling me what I need. I am not real sure about many of the points that Kevin brings up, but then, I have been conservative (and not far-right neither) all of my life.

So many times, when one speaks from a strange-to-me platform, I have to read it a few times in order to better understand what has been said. Having read this a few times, it seems to repeat itself unnecessarily. And, the commentary about rural losing to the metropolitan... that was an unnecessary shot. I would ask... how many groceries come from the city? But, I digress.

So, in my own convoluted way, I arrive at this... While I would like for more tolerant and even-keeled people to enjoy shooting, I have no real need for others to join me in my beliefs. The basic difference here is need and want.

Last thoughts... in a way, I enjoyed the snarkiness of the reader's letter. It was, although unnecessarily lengthy, fairly well-written. And, I too, did not miss the "confederates" comment. Keep up the good work sir, not many would have even posted the reader for further comment.

And Kevin, keep on keeping on, we need you as much as you need us... assuming there even exists a you and an us.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous SeaDog said...

For me, it boils down to the fact that if you support, defend and promote the second amendment, then you support, defend, and promote ALL of the Constitution.
Kevin only wants to support the ones he likes.
Also, gun grabbers want to take something away, while gun supporters don't. Everybody gets to have rights.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Tom Stone said...

I consider myself a Liberal.If you want to know my position on most issues,read "pure Goldwater".Bush is called a "Conservative",but he socialized our financial system,claimed to be a "Unitary Executive" who did not have to obey the Law of the Land,suspended Habeas Corpus and gutted what remained of the Constitution.The Amicus brief in Heller was special.Obama ain't much,but at least it looks like we will have stem cell research and a little more openness as well as a cessation of claims to despotic power,at least for a while.Whooptedoo.When it costs $750 Million to get elected President the liklihood of getting a leader who is not bought and paid for is nil.I will continue to encourage every responsible adult I know to own firearms regardless of their political views or gender preference.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

My response to your post was prompted by the fact that I did think of you as a thoughtful and considerate person. Hearing about your travels and experiences makes you sound like an even more interesting person, but the language and attitudes you expressed on your previous post considerably undermine your presentation as thoughtful or considerate - which was what dismayed me about it.

Xavier disagrees with your political viewpoint, so he's suddenly not "thoughtful and considerate"? That's an ad hominem argument, Mr. Keith, and not very thoughtful or considerate.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous aczarnowski said...

The 2nd Amendment is a recognition of the individual as valuable. This is fundamentally incompatible with, my understanding of, the US liberal ideology which is to control the individual for the greater good. Gun blogs and the gun community are hostile to liberals (and their most easily recognized version, vocal Democrats) because we instinctively recognize the incompatibility even if we can't cohesively communicate it.

Because of this basic incompatibility, liberals in our midst are shunned. And because the incompatibility is so profound, so foundational, the barriers to entry into our midst are placed very high and much of the rhetoric verges on religious territory.

Keith is correct, the aggressive liberal labeling and high barriers do limit our ability to bring people from the gray middle into the gun fold. It's unfortunate that the gun (the symbol) has to take the brunt of the rhetoric over the fundamental belief incompatibilities (the politics), but I don't see any practical way to separate them either. If you are a liberal, guns will be abhorrent to you. If you are a gunnie, liberals will be abhorrent to you.

Taking the people to the range is the only way I know to discover which side the coin they fall on, and I'll continue to use it as a litmus test.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, what is missed by those espousing half an interest -- whatever the reason is for such -- given the track history of the left wing liberal, half an interest would leave the others with nothing.
This topic isn't a type of redistribution of wealth.

FDR used the technique greatly to lump like minded people together, and play to the majority, continually cutting out the smaller factions, re-lumping, until he could maneuver them all in his interests for they could never agree among themselves but found they could agree with him on certain important issues.
Someone else used such technique in Germany with even more dramatic effect.

So it is with gun rights.
Start with something small that the majority doesn't seem to think is much of an issue and continue to whittle away.
How many of us today know how to raise our own food?
Such isn't a part of today's living.
Same with -- of what good are guns in today's United States question by and large.
Not necessary for 'survival' or even for protection the majority of the the time for the majority of people.
Yet, for those touting abortion, I don't see them practicing abstinence.I wonder how many even practice safe sex?
Yet, because they don't want guns in the world, I should practice gun abstinence.

And as Cargosquid noted -- BLOGS are not the best of places to get all the info.
Same goes for Liberal Blogs - which I do review and find many arguments/observations as ill conceived and half baked as any in those conservative gun nut-blogs spelling California with a K.

If someone wants to go to the range, I don't first ask them their opinion on gun rights, or if they think Obama is the best thing for our country's future. Even if I did, it wouldn't keep me from going to the range with them.
I do ask them if they're serious and if they've not been shooting much previously, that should they in fact find they enjoy shooting that we go out again because I don't get out as much as I should. Further, I find that by reviewing the safety rules with them, it helps me as well.
They don't have to become hunters, CCW holders, know the makes and models and blue book values. They don't even have to eventually own a gun, but I would like them, at some point, to learn how to at least field strip and clean the ones we shoot.
They do have to be serious about safety, to work on making the rules a part of their nature during every encounter with guns.
If they have questions, those can be discussed after we've gone through the ammo.

The problem is, we don't want to make things difficult, but most of us can't agree on the simplicity.

Since the lifting of the ban, has life in the states gone to heck in a hand basket because of ARs with 30 round magazines?

And, to use an argument of some who are using the LEGALIZE IT argument to cut down on drug crime -- due to the Obama scare run on guns and ammo, I've concerns because of people not being as serious as they should be.

Keith, you want to shoot, do so.
I won't even ask if you inhaled.

10:33 AM  
OpenID cortillaen said...

Hoo-boy, not enough hours in a day to address everything here, so I'll try to stick to only a few points:

"I have limited experience with guns, but have gradually become more responsive to the "right of self-defense" argument..." This is naught but a cop out. I can't tell you how often I see scathing criticism of [insert conservative person/group/ideal here] prefaced by some variation of "I used to be extreme, but I moved to the middle" BS. It's a dishonest ploy with the intent to paint your targets as extremists by claiming the middle ground (regardless of veracity). As for your particular variety of the tactic, either you believe people have a right to self defense, or you do not. There is no middle ground there to be had.

"The "shoot-'em-all-let-God-sort-'em-out" contingent has been exhausted..." I'm not hardly sure how to deal with this level of disingenuity... Okay, first, describing the "gun community" (heh) like that is, frankly, idiotic. More on this particular kind of dishonesty in a minute. Second, if you truly believe that the NRA has tapped the majority of gun-lovers for its political moves, you're sadly mistaken. The number of people who have and use firearms vastly outmatches those who are NRA members. (Before you start whining about "I never said anything about the NRA!", I'm gonna beat you to the punch: Your whole post is on the topic of "the gun lobby", which is, for all intents and purposes, the NRA, needing to recruit lefties.) There is a massive amount of clout lying untapped in gun owners simply because most of them tend to dislike getting worked up over things enough to make themselves heard. Keep that in mind.

"It's the ones who are not extremist in either direction, but want to see rational policies grounded on a reasonable basis, who make up the shifting balance between the pro- and anti- camps." "Look at me! I'm in the middle, so you, who disagree with me, must be extremists!" Don't give it up easily, do you? Anyway, your "rational policies" bit was worth a laugh. There are very few people interested in reason, and you aren't one of them. Were you to have a spate of honesty, you might admit that the deciding factor is emotion for most people in the undecided limbo. Gun "control" advocates have never, and will never, appeal(ed) to reason. Go read anything by the Brady Campaign or any other anti-gun group. It's all about making the uninformed feel like these policies make them safer and making them feel like pro-gun people want guns flowing into the hands of criminals. It is a purely emotional ploy. The pro-gun lobby tries to fight back with numbers and facts about how gun restrictions simply increase the armed-criminal:armed-law-abider ratio, giving criminals a decided advantage. Unfortunately, the anti side just has to throw out feeling-based lies as fast as they can, while the pro side has little time to do anything except issue corrections. Even then, most people act on emotion rather than logic, so the pro side is at a disadvantage. To whit, the group you claim to be a part of doesn't really exist. What exists is a vacillating bunch of people who will side with whoever makes them feel safer today. Unfortunately, the anti crowd has the decided advantage in this area since the majority of the national media ignores incidents where armed citizens save lives while trumpeting any event of guns being used to kill (ignoring the fact that the vast majority of guns used in crimes were illegally obtained to begin with).

"Figures say about 40% of US homes have guns present; by party, that breaks down to 55% among Republicans, and only 32% among Democrats. The "market" for gun ownership among Republicans is largely saturated;" You are thinking, right? Okay, so why would you suggest that 45% of Republicans (I'll just accept the numbers for the time being, though sourcing them wouldn't hurt you any), the group more likely to be in favor of gun rights, is a less fertile market than the 68% of Democrats that come with leftward anti-gun views pre-installed? Seems kind of like a "Leave that group you have a chance of convincing for this somewhat larger group you have no chance with" argument. To take your word for it, most of the southern Democrats, the ones inclined to accept gun rights, are already taken.

"If you want to increase gun ownership, it will have to mostly be among liberals. The conservatives already have guns." Tsk, tsk. I'll say it again: Gun owners vastly outnumber gun-ownership advocates. Most owners just aren't interested in fighting over it so long as the laws don't reach their collections. I wonder how many people realize they really are dealing with a sleeping tiger situation... Regardless, do you honestly believe that many liberal gun owners are going to side with the NRA on much of anything? Judging by human nature, I suspect most would rather spite their ideological opponents and give up their guns rather than work together for a common cause.

"a community that seems to spend 60% of its time talking about guns, and 40% spewing the same cranky, ill-informed, belligerent trashtalk you hear constantly from Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage." Almost time... I'll be back for this.

"You realize you need to welcome liberals into the gun community." No, we don't. We want to familiarize some liberals with guns because familiarity is the only way to pierce the veil of ignorance surrounding the subject for most of them. We'd be just fine if they would simply leave us alone, but that is clearly never going to happen, so educating the ignorant is the only option left. If you learn anything, learn this: The pro-gun side did not start this conflict.

"you hate them, take it personally when they don't adopt your politics as their own, call them crazy names and rant about non-existent secret policies in a way that makes you sound like a militia whacko" Interestingly, that could just as easily be applied to people like you with a few minor changes. You seem to hold a great deal of hostility towards conservatives, take it personally when they do not kowtow to your politics, and call them names (getting there). I'm not sure if you rant about non-existent secret policies, but more than a few on your side do ("Truthers", anyone?). On the other hand, the policies in question from our side happen to be manifesting. Ever heard of the AWB? Obama wants to bring it back. Read carefully: "As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons." The return of the ill-defined and ineffective (at reducing crime) AWB is just one of the "gun-related changes" Obama wants. Speculation on the rest of them certainly seems in order.

Before I get to my fun, allow me to educate you a little. Of course, by saying so, I may have insured that you'll ignore what comes next. Nonetheless, you seem bewildered by the connection between self-defense advocacy and conservatism, so I'll do my best to enlighten you. It's actually rather simple. Self-defense is a basic human right, a right that demands individual responsibility. In general, the liberal view is that people are too irresponsible, so government must look after them. Therein lies the conflict: Personal responsibility on the right, government control on the left. People who fall on one side or the other will tend to do so because of personal convictions on the underlying issue, and these same convictions will tend to shape other views in the same manner. Hence, conservatives tend to be self-defense advocates because the underlying concept is the same for both. You may be tempted to declare yourself proof to the contrary, but I would challenge you to lay out why you claim to support self-defense, and how you apply the same principles to other issues. You may have some cognitive dissonance to work through.

At long last, I'm through being serious for today. Now I'm just going to poke fun at your hypocrisy. After all your whining about hostility, crankiness, and insults, I took a minute to collect all the same, but from you:
The "shoot-'em-all-let-God-sort-'em-out" contingent
...spewing the same cranky, ill-informed, belligerent trashtalk you hear constantly from Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage.
...an unending barrage of ignorant conservative outrage.
I see little on gun blogs that I don't see on other conservative sites, and it is not much crazier.
...there is no reason why you have to already believe that Medicare is fascism, that Obama is not really president, that opposing the invasion of Iraq is treason, that taxation is theft, that torture is OK when we do it to others but not OK when they do it to us, that simply having a government is some sort of controversial proposition, or any of the other nonsense that invariably pops up in any discussion of firearms.
...invariably hot-headed and cranky, perspective...
...far-right political crankery...
...a political arena that I was not interested in, and is bizarrely, often savagely, hostile to me.
...the same people who think I should do so also think that Obama is an "Obamanation", constantly spell "California" with a "K", (apparently) sincerely refer to any government program they don't like as "socialism", constantly characterize any gun-safety regulations including trigger locks or waiting periods or background checks or virtually anything else as "gun grabbing", devote entire blogs to collecting stories of homeowners shooting burglars as if they honestly believed that "anecdote" was the same as "data"...
...a community so consistently hostile and extremist...
...their perceptions of virtually everything else are so distorted and ideological.
...the storm of angry yahooism that seems to spew out of the gun community...
...the kind of hostile blather and wild rhetoric that so many other gun blogs wallow in...
You just sound like a kook when you talk like this.
What "hurts" is that you're one of the sane and reasonable gun bloggers. But we see how shallow a well that is.
...it's never too late for some more uninformed kookism.
But ranting about it obsessively is great - it takes "wrong" all the way up to the level of "nuts".
becoming a gun-rights supporter is actually the process of them becoming a conservative (and a crazy one at that).
I need guns a lot less than I need to not listen to this crap for the rest of my life. In addition, though, it's also simply illogical. The angry and divisive rhetoric you constantly, constantly hear on gun sites is not just stupid and wrong, but in many ways it makes your opponents' case for them. If you really believe that becoming a gun-rights supporter has to mean becoming a conservative crank and ranting about "Obamanation", "libtards", and "gun grabbers"
...they're not going to become angry conservative gun owners; they're going to stay liberal non-gun-owners who have proof positive - provided by you - that the gun community is isolationist, intolerant, and kooky.
...they will share none of your opinions that basically consist of factually misinformed hostility to anybody who's not like you.

I know, I know, you'll claim we started it, and you're just reciprocating. Isn't that the same as the mentality you condemn in your imagined scenario of us believing "that torture is OK when we do it to others but not OK when they do it to us", the mentality of "I can do it, but I'll complain when they do it"? Maybe your screed would have been more helpful if you hadn't displayed the same tendencies you claim we have and should dispense with.

10:34 AM  
Blogger MaddMedic said...

Whoa. Some great reads here. Great comments. As a "paramedic/ems educator with a gun", it amazes me how those whom are clueless about health care, intend to dictate how health care should work. I have worked with a number of ER MDs from Canada, both rural and Metro. When I ask them why they practice in the States the response "Socialized Health Care does not work. You care for the dollar, not the patient and having some political hack or appointee tell you how to treat patients? Does not work to well, especially when the patient dies do to lack of timely treatment or proper care!"
Check this blog daily and always enjoy what I read.

10:36 AM  
Blogger stbaguley said...

Hear! Hear! and Thanks again Xavier.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

Some good points from Kevin (it's always good to hear opposing views) and great replies from Xavier and Scott, among others. Thanks for a fascinating read.

I took the liberty of posting a link to this blog entry on Georgia Packing:


12:09 PM  
Blogger Sutton said...

I'm a liberal.

I support the right to self-defense.

I also support the rest of the Bill of Rights.

One political party seems only to notice the 2nd Amendment (while working actively to circumvent the others, making them adherents of the version of government I most expect to need to defend myself against); another political party at least pays lip service to defending the rest of the BOR, and -- I am convinced -- as a whole, learned its lesson about things like the AWB back when it cost them Congress the first time around. I don't think that means that every Democrat has now forgotten about gun control, but it's why I'm pretty sure that, as a group, they are not going to allow each other to go too far in that direction -- I have a feeling they like being in power and want to stay there, and enough of them can see that going too far toward new gun control laws is a way to end that. That's why my political sympathies lie where they do. Yes, it's complicated, as with most human beings.

I enjoy reading this blog, and find Xavier a trustworthy guide to gun topics and someone worth listening to on politics -- I always prefer to hear "the other side," why would I want to spend too much time discussing/listening to people I agree with? -- though he has yet to convince me to change parties.

I think Kevin makes some very good points about the cultural divide between MOST current gun-rights supporters and the largest block of people who are potential gun-rights supporters, but I can also see why his letter got Xavier's hackles up, though honestly I think both took offense from words of the other person without that offense really being intended. It's a testament to Xavier that readers of his blog did not respond uniformly negatively to Kevin. I hope any further discussion continues to be of the high caliber I have come to expect here.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Crucis said...

Xavier, I don't agree with your philosophy, but I appreciate your views and applaud your independence and consistency.

I had a recent e-mail from a reader as well. Unlike Kevin, the writer spewed hate for me, my family, my friends, ad nauseum. I'm glad your writer was more polite.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Sutton said...

Although let me be clear:

If Kevin is dissuaded from preparing to exercise his right to self defense by his perception of what gun-rights supporters are like, he can't be too committed.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Crucis said...

Kevin, is it still a stereotype when it's the truth? You dismiss stereotypes while acting as one.

You have more ignorance than just in firearms.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Isaac PC said...

I love this blog. Keep it up, Xavier! I'm sorry, Kevin, but you suffer from the same disease that far too many liberals suffer from, a sense that the world must revolve around you and your ideas. I guess that's why Air America went down like the Titanic.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Shwiggie said...

Following an attack on a family member a couple years ago, I became a gun guy. I've never had anything against possession or CC or anything, but I'd been blissfully ignorant of the real world and the dangers it poses. But, while we arm to protect ourselves and our loved ones from thugs and crooks who hold no regard for our lives, we also have to be on guard for those who hold no regard for our right to protect them.

I've come to realize that the second amendment is not only the guaranteed right to self-preservation in the sense of the individual, but also to the collective. It is, in fact, the core American right...the one that guarantees all others. Notice where the Declaration of Independence talks of the Creator's endowment of human rights. Government is instituted to preserve those rights, but what is to be done if said government violates them? Well, we vote, of course, and change leadership. But what if that option is taken away?

The second amendment is the ultimate means by which the governed overcome any government oppressive of these rights. This sounds like a exercise in kookery, but we see its applicability in the American Revolution. What if, before starting its oppression of their rights, Great Britain had confiscated the weapons of the patriots that were needed for survival and protection? One might say that modern issues (say, semiautomatic rifles and handguns) make it inapplicable, but there's no real difference.

Am I advocating armed rebellion? Of course not. But the second amendment is the legal and practical cornerstone upon which our other rights stand, and infringement of that right cracks the foundation and destabilizes the others to such a degree that government becomes not a means of promoting happiness but the end of it.

What I do recommend is that we be active in defending that right through advocacy and exercising it. Just talk to people and go shooting. Get people to care about their rights, because, even if they don't like guns, maybe they'll see the need to protect the right to own them without infringement or repercussion.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Kevin T. Keith said...


Leaving aside the bulk of your weird, but, characteristically hostile, rant, I did manage to stumble across one relevant point:

Do you honestly believe in a right to self defense and are you willing to defend the rights found in the constitution to that effect? If so, then one would expect you to have a positive view of private firearm ownership in spite of many others who support that right making you feel embarrassed.

That's exactly what I said. But I also said that there are other rights and interests that are of importance, and deciding how to incorporate guns into your life requires balancing them along with those others. And for those who are on the point of making that decision - who have not already made it, but are considering the relevant issues - the unremitting hostility and right-wing prejudices of the gun community play a powerful role in determining what it means to joint that community.

I don't feel embarrassed by right-wingers, though I often feel embarrassed for them. What the bulk of the gun community offers to moderates and liberals is not embarrassment, but overt and often bizarrely extreme hostility. There is this self-satisfied attitude that every opinion they hold, on the 2nd Amendment, crime and the justice system, politics in general, the role of economics or religion or government in America, and anything else they care to spout off about, is not merely right, and not even merely unquestionably right, but so far beyond discussion that anyone who holds any contrary opinion is not just wrong but a traitor, a fascist or a communist (often both!), anti-American, and anti-gun, even if they support gun rights as a general proposition. God forbid anyone should be among the 53% of voters who preferred Obama - all of whom, apparently, are socialists, gun-grabbers, and traitors (and none of whom, apparently, are allowed to feel that gun rights are just one of many issues facing the country).

The gun community is filled with unchallengeable opinions - which would just be amusing, except that they are made manifest in constant, vicious abuse of anyone who does not share them, not to mention the incessant boycotts, blacklists, and harassment campaigns you direct at each other. And that considerably changes the calculation of what it's worth to someone to invest in self-defense by these means.

Among the many unchallengeable gun-rights shibboleths is that guns are the only viable means of self-defense. They're not: they're one means that comes with its own set of positives and negatives. And to the extent that the gun community makes itself one of the negatives for people considering joining that community, it will keep some of them from doing so.

Do you honestly believe in a right to self defense and are you willing to defend the rights found in the constitution to that effect?

Sure. But I'm not willing to constantly defend myself against others, nominally on the same side, who feel free to heap abuse on me for having differing opinions about completely different issues, or slightly divergent opinions about gun issues. Weighing the minor statistical likelihood that having a gun is going to save my life against the virtual certainty that becoming part of the gun-owning community is going to sentence me to listening to nasty ad hominem like yours every day, as well as exposing myself to the militia and "SHTF" ravers, raises the question whether doing so is actually a net benefit to me, in terms of personal equanimity or even physical security.

"Supporting the right of self-defense" does not mean supporting one particular position on gun regulations (and certainly not the "no regulations at all ever" position). There are many defensible positions on gun rights and gun regulation; how tight I think those regulations need to be, or how loose they can reasonably be, depends in large part on how mature and responsible the gun community appears to be. The statistics on accidents or violence by lawful gun owners are in fact fairly encouraging, which is one thing that moved me to start changing my opinions on guns; sadly, however, actually encountering gun owners (on the Web, at least) erases that perception. In the end, I wind up thinking that many gun owners can only be trusted with guns because it's simply absurd to think they actually believe the things they say, or act in real life the way they talk on the Net. But the more you reinforce the atmosphere and mores that the community currently seems to insist on, the more I believe you really are as hostile and extremist as you sound. The more you try to recruit from the broader non-gun community, the more people are going to see the same things, and wonder about them.

You . . . ask for far too much change from me and my (very loosely-connected) associates.

That you treat people decently and respect their right to hold their own opinions? That you stop declaring that everyone should adopt all your other political opinions as a factor in also adopting the opinion you advocate about guns? That you stop calling the people you are trying to recruit "fascists", "libtards", "gun-grabbers", "Obamaniacs", and all the other nonsense that piles up on the gun blogs, and insisting that, even if you condescend to let them into your club, they're still both wrong and actually somehow criminal in holding perfectly ordinary political opinions and voting preferences? If you insist that that is too much to ask of you, I'm willing to believe you. You've certainly offered convincing proof.

But even if the consideration of simple decency has no hold on you, you might at least consider your own political self-interest - as my post originally suggested - in determining who you alienate, and to what purpose.

In regard of which:

You and your support are simply not necessary, Mr. Keith. Neither I nor any other gun rights supporter need dance to your tune . . . I don't really care what you think I or other gun rights supporters should do to make your decision more palatable. You're just not that important, and I see no reason to care about you, let alone a reason why I should "need" you.

OK. Message received.

And you may be right about all that. Or you may not be. But if you make it a point of principle to treat everyone who's not like you as an enemy, and go out of your way to abuse and insult them even when it gains you nothing, they'll remember. The ones who could be persuaded to join you won't, because you've told them not to. The ones who might have been ambivalent or neutral will turn against you because you've told them you are their enemy. At this point it's an open question whether you can alienate the large majority of the population and still gain your political goals (CCW laws are spreading, but the liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republican, and gun-owner/non-owner numbers are all against you, and in some cases trending worse). If it turns out not to be the case, you may find out too late that you have burned your bridges there.

Well, I've made my main point clear, I think. I'll leave this to you all to decide what course seems best to you. Feel free to continue to be as insulting, dismissive, defensive, and rejectionist as you like. I'll be over here watching. And I won't be alone.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Keet said...

Xavier -

I've been reading your blog for some time. I couldn't comment exactly where I stand politically, liberal or conservative (I support whomever fights for what I believe in, whichever "side" they're on - we'll ignore the fact that I hate having the last few administrations be a choice of the lesser of two evils). I agree with a lot of what you said, but I also agree with much of what Keith said. I've met a mess of gun owners living in Alaska all of my 33 years, from the most liberal to the most conservative. From CEOs to people living off the land. Hell, I think everyone's familiar with the state's Mrs. Palin.

Thankfully, this state seems to have it's own mentality concerning guns. The state was largely built using those guns for sustenance and survival, more than self defense. Hunting animals of the 4-legged variety takes precedence over protecting ourselves from the 2-legged variety. It just seems to be a different mentality in general up here.

But we are far from being isolated from that political world. I am currently not a gun owner, but have been doing research about it as I want to become one (hence my presence at your blog). My own experience has led me to a large group of gun owners that are, for my tastes, entirely too political about the whole thing. But preaching to those of us who are in Keith's position about your political views in association to gun ownership is, as he stated, a rather large turnoff and a good way to prevent supporters.

I want a gun for a few reasons. The largest is because I want to be proficient with a firearm and be able to protect myself and my daughter. Beyond this, I truly enjoy shooting. I love the focus it takes, I love how nothing exists but those moments of concentration. Clearly this is not an activity that can be taken lightly or half-assed. I don't want the baggage that seems to come with gun ownership. The political baggage.

Don't get me wrong. I know enough people that can separate gun ownership from their personal views that I could purchase a firearm, learn how to use it properly, and enjoy my time shooting it with those people. That's probably the the biggest reason I'm willing to make that purchase and feel comfortable approaching those friends that shoot regularly. Currently, my best teachers have been ex-military and ex-competition shooters that taught me to shoot because they enjoy shooting and want to share the experience, not because they want another hat in their political ring.

Beyond this, I also believe we need those "overly"-political gun nuts to wave that flag so I DO have the right to own that gun. It would be naive to assume I have the right to own a gun just because the government says it's a ok. No, it's from continued pressure in the political world that keeps those rights in place. I just feel I'm smart enough to make a conscious choice to choose who I spend my time with. I can choose to spend my time with those political advocates, or I can choose to spend my time with people that shoot because they love to shoot. I can choose to read gun sites and blogs that are informative and focus on self-preservation or I can choose to visit blogs that bury useful information between paragraphs about political dribble.

The right crowd exists for whatever gun owner you wish to become. If the only crowd Keith can find is those politically vocal gun owners, I don't believe he's looking enough. And if his letter was just to make a point that there are too many of those gun owners out there, then I don't believe he chose the right forum to voice that opinion. Those political gun owners don't need people like me, or Keith. I don't necessarily care about the politics associated with gun ownership. But I understand their value and place and think we do need them as well.

Otherwise I don't know that I'd be able to purchase a gun and go shoot for fun, or purchase a gun to ensure I can keep my daughter and I safe.

Probably not saying what I'm trying to say very well, but I'm hoping the gist of it gets through.

Love your blog.


1:27 PM  
Anonymous TCK said...

I like how he arrogantly vilifies opponents of 'safe storage' (at least I assume that's what the trigger lock comment was referring to) and waiting periods as "paranoid extremists," despite the fact that such measures were put in place for the sole purpose of reducing gun ownership by making it more difficult and inconvenient, and have been repeatedly shown to have no positive effect whatsoever on reducing crime.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous gglockster said...

Xavier, first thumbs up on your blog. Shame on gun owners that don't vote their beliefs. To me these hypocrites are worse than supports of the Brady Campaign. Shame on elitist gun owners too superior to lend a hand. I cringe at unsafe gun handling and the "Mall Ninja" crowd, but realize I need to find a way to accept them into our big tent as safe responsible voting gun owners. I feel that the more people actually understand firearms the less rhetorical combat takes place and the more people can enjoy living.

To your point about health care. I just don't understand health care anymore. Thirty years ago our family doctor still made the occasional house call and our whole community considered him a saint. Today as a society, I feel we spend more time filling out health insurance forms than caring about our health. I don't think socialized medicine is the answer.

Keep writing your blog

2:09 PM  
Blogger John S said...

I will agree with Mr. Kieth in some parts. As a very active participant in a couple of gun boards, it's sometimes quite clear to me that some writers probably should take a deep breath and let their blood pressure come down.

OTOH, given the anti-gun public records of prominent members of the current administration, including the President, hearing the Attorney General call for a new 'assault weapon' law cannot be dismissed as inconsequential.

It may be true that it should be possible to discuss guns without the partisan politics -- but it isn't the guns that intrude into the politics, its the politics intruding on the guns.

The Brady folks give California their highest rating. And yet in this session, the California Legislature has introduced four 'bad' bills, including two that were rejected last session, and six more that are just 'place holders' for later revision. We'd really like to write our legislators about our budget problems; we'd like them to take care of those. But their persistent efforts to make gun ownership in California more of a burden - more complicated, more expensive, and adding increasingly piddly crimes - are going to occupy us as citizens and them as legislators in fights that could have been avoided.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

It does me no good at all to reach out to liberals, and even convert them into gun owners, if they will turn around and vote against my rights and theirs.

If you say you believe in individual liberties, yet vote for the guy who has made a career, short though it is, of speaking against them, you're no ally at all.

As a friend of mine is wont to say, "Or, you could save your breath for cooling your soup."

2:47 PM  
Blogger The Freeholder said...

Great Bleeding Ghu! Why are you people wasting so much time and effort on this guy? If you cut through all the clutter, he's simply another Intertubz troll--much better spoken than any other I've encountered, but a troll nonetheless.

You're not going to convince him of anything. Save it for someone you actually have a chance with.

3:31 PM  
Blogger tom said...

Life made me a conservative, I was born into the gun culture but if people want to climb Ivory Towers, my dad's a MD Phd with a Masters in Public Health and Mom is a RN/MSN. Dad carries a Dan Wesson to work and mom won't touch a gun. He's a pathologist and well aware of what both bullets and blades do to people.

I went to music college before econ college and gunsmithing college after econ college. I like the trades and have tended to work in them and have been self employed in them most of my life. Lived a lot of places big and small, urban and not. These formed who I am as an occasional gunblogger (not a "confederate" of Xavier as I respect his opinions mostly, not sure what he thinks of mine, and we often have different tastes and preferences as far as firearms).

If I take the time to write a mostly firearms oriented web page I find it well within my rights to include whatever political commentary suits me. I don't get paid to write it and I don't have advertising on it, nor does it benefit me in anyway as a self-employed person. I keep business separate. If you don't like it don't read it, if you like some parts, read the parts you like.

If you want to go to the range and learn to shoot I'll break out the 10/22, a Mk II, likely a S&W or Colt, a 1911, battle rifle, whatever might be appropriate for where you are and what you want to learn. I will not shoot except to demonstrate things as it isn't range play time for Tom, I'm trying to teach something. At the end of the instruction we'll chat a bit about shooting, you will go home, I will go home and scrub my guns at no charge to you. At no point will I pin you to the ground and try to force feed you a copy of "The Road to Serfdom" and I shan't discuss politics or religion with you unless YOU bring them up.

Don't paint us all with such a broad brush and maybe some of us wouldn't occasionally do the same with people who's politics we are inclined to dislike.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand where people get the idea that they shouldn't have to hear opinions with which they disagree. If you're looking for gun information, read what you see, absorb the gun-related info, and ignore the rest. That's what I do when I have to hang around places that are filled with libs.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hester said...

Some people read "Nurse with a Gun" and they think "Oh, redneck nurse." They usually click the mouse the other way and move on.

That's what made me stick around! ;)

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Blackdogs said...

Sorry Xav, but Kevin has some very strong points. I have been a gun owner and defender of "the right to bear arms" my whole life. I have taken new shooters, liberals and conservatives alike, shooting.

Never have I shown disdain for their political views! One of my big turnoffs in life involves the person who feels the need to "slam" another due to politics. Many at my gun club feel differently, alienating those whose politics lean a different direction. They rail on against our new President; and all liberals, while our country lies in ruin from the past regime(I am a registered Republication...if that matters).

I have always enjoyed your blog, and have learned many things. I was somewhat shocked by the verbage used in the blog of question...but hey, it's your blog!

My rambling point is that we DO have to accept people with other viewpoints into the "club", despite what they believe is best for the world. And yes, the conservative party has become a group of narrow minded individuals, who cannot accept that others can actually think for themselves. A 90 year old friend who is a Navy Vet shocked me when he voted for Obama, his quote was "what the Conservatives have become is what I fought against in WWII".

We need to make peace with all who gun, and wish to learn!!!!

p.s. I did notice that Sarah Palin did not get ripped for having her finger on the trigger in that photo.....can't have it both ways man.

5:11 PM  
Blogger marx said...

Personally, I'm not angered by or hostile to people whose viewpoints differ from mine; I'm angry and hostile towards people who try to impose those viewpoints on me.

5:54 PM  
Blogger marx said...

Personally, I'm not angered by or hostile to people whose viewpoints differ from mine; I'm angry and hostile towards people who try to impose those viewpoints on me.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! What a discussion!

So, is gun ownership and everything it implies compatible with a liberal worldview?

I don't think so.

Gun ownership = self reliance, personal sovereignty

Liberal = statist, collectivist

It just seems philosophically inconsistent to be a "liberal gun owner".

Thanks for your blog, Xavier. I've learned tons about Smith and Wessons, and 1911s.

Best regards,

6:45 PM  
Blogger tom said...


If a person chooses to publish a blog related to guns and it's their effort involved, if they wish to mention their politics or avoid mention of politics should be their call. They are the ones putting in the effort.

Read the useful gun articles and skip over the parts that offend your politics if that suits you or go read something else. When dealing with people of different politics at a gun range, training courses, or other places related to the firearms industry/hobby/hunting crowd I have NEVER seen anybody try to force their politics on anyone else.

Conservative Gun Owners aren't going to bang on your door and try and force feed you information. Take what you like of firearms related writings and their related authors and leave the rest.

Problem solved. Simple.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Andy said...

Kevin was a bit riled. But I agree with him. Really, sometimes you people (referring to the majority of the posters above me) make it hard for us liberal gun-owners.
Whether Kevin was right or wrong, you see the way you conservative gun-rights advocates are perceived. You can argue that the perception is wrong. The fact is, that IS the perception among the lft, and you aren't going to win more of us over to your side as long as we have that perception. Personally, I am a very liberal person who believes strongly in our second amendment rights. But almost all of my friends and acquaintances do not feel the same way. They are turned off by the conservative rhetoric. This includes my girlfriend.
So make your arguments about guns. We're never going to swallow the whole pill of conservatism. But some of us are willing to be educated about the realities of the second amendment.
I already feel out of place at my local range when I pull up with my liberal bumper stickers. Help make us feel like we are also welcome to enjoy our 2A rights while maintaining a friendly difference of political opinion in other arenas.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put, Sutton, I feel the same way.


7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is all Breda's fault...


7:41 PM  
Anonymous Sans Authoritas said...

I've been reading Xavier's blog for a while now. I've usually been impressed with his above-average independent thought, even when I outright disagree with him, as others have said. I can see that the man is a decent human being, and is a seeker of truth.

I can also definitely agree with many of Kevin's points (as I'm sure Xavier does) regarding the belligerence of many gun-owners. Kevin is absolutely right in saying that insults will do nothing to bring liberals over. Likewise, the tired liberal slogans, including "You carry a gun because you're compensating for something," "This isn't the wild west," "You just can't wait to shoot someone," will never win any gun owners over. The same goes for anything: religion, a popular movement, musical tastes, etc.

Ultimately, the question of the restrictions against human beings peacably carrying firearms boils down to the idea that some people have the right to do violence to people who are doing no harm to anyone else. That goes for drugs, it goes for homosexual behavior, it goes for alcohol abuse. (Please note that I do not advocate any of the latter three.)

Using violence, even if done through "democratic" means, to force other people to do your will is bound to infuriate people.

It is good to be united as human beings, no doubt. We should always strive to find common ground and work together. But to be united outside of the truth is never wise, and never worth it.

I am an anarchist, (meaning, I firmly believe that no one has the right to initiate aggression against any other man) and I frequently disagree with both "conservatives" and "liberals."

I am under no illusion that human society with our fallen human nature will ever be perfect. Similarly, it would be excellent if everyone followed the Golden Rule. But a world without the initiation of violence, like adherence to the Golden Rule, is an ideal that we must strive for, no matter how improbable it may be.

I hope we can all agree, "conservative," "liberal," or anarchist, on the basic fact that insults have no place in arguments in civil society.

Yes, there are always people, "conservatives" and "liberals alike," willing to shove their political views down your throat, literally at gunpoint. Insulting them will not ameliorate the situation. If we stick to attacking arguments, we'll always be much better off.

-Sans Authoritas

7:44 PM  
Blogger tom said...

Andy said:
I already feel out of place at my local range when I pull up with my liberal bumper stickers.

Quick tip from a gunnie:

T-Shirts and Bumper Stickers as a form of political statement are perfectly legitimate forms of expression, but they will cause people to make assumptions about you. They may also incur you traffic stops and harassment. If you aren't going to a political rally, why the need to go around dressed for one?

I live in Texas and was born in MT, so long hair and earings mean nothing to me but I will make subconscious assumptions about people that are walking anti-gun banners on some level in my view of politics.

On the gunnie side of the fence, you can't expect people at gun ranges not to wear NRA and GOA caps and such, nor do I think you would.

Wearing your heart on your sleeve unless you are in uniform is often not a good idea.

Get a Springfield Armory or GLOCK bumper sticker, or three, put them over your political statements, and people won't give you a second look at the range.

Life is easier if you avoid conflict and derision rather than invite it. Like it or not, it's an imperfect world. First impression is very often the ONLY impression a person will make of you if they see you as possible enemy.

Meet some people at whatever range it is, become friends perhaps, then maybe discuss politics and religion if you feel the need. Don't go throwing it on the table when you walk in the door.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great reply. That's why I read this blog. I'm at a university and have a carry permit. But I won't even talk to most of my colleagues about guns, second amendment or concealed carry because they insist on painting me as a crazy right-wing wacko. I see guys like Kevin everyday.


8:22 PM  
Anonymous ChiefMinion said...

Mr. Keith,

"one major stumbling block to my becoming a gun owner, and that is: gun owners"

Um, a firearm in not a club key. It is not a badge that you wear or show off. Setting aside my conviction that you are a lefty troll, I must confess I don't want you in the gun community.

The notion that whether or not you own a gun has anything to do with the other gun owners leads me to believe that you aren't going to be a responsible gun owner. I'm no happier about the idea of sharing the range with you than you are with the notion that I may be present and, heaven forbid, make a comment that "offends" you.

8:31 PM  
Blogger alath said...

OK, Let me get this straight:

Kevin says the problem with gun rights advocates is that they are too ideological, too insulting of people on the left, and too rude and nasty to make common ground or common understanding.

So he comes over here spouting rude nasty ideological insults.

I'm left with one of two possible conclusions:
1) He really is trying to be constructive, but he simply can't contain his hostility. In other words, he's a jerk, trying to be nice, but failing.
2) He's a troll. He's a jerk being a jerk because he likes being a jerk.

After the first post I couldn't be sure. Now I'm pretty sure it's 2).

9:21 PM  
Blogger kbarrett said...

Keven: Don't buy a gun.

It will make it easier for us conservatives to hang you from a lamp post after the revolution.

The last thing we want is to have some hippie student shoot at us when we try to lynch him.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Louis said...

I'm currently trying to finish my PhD (in the Humanities) and I hold a NYC handgun permit. So does my wife. It wasn't that hard to get: a bunch of documents, a few hundred bucks, and a 2-3 month wait. Too much for something the Bill of Rights guarantees, yes. But not impossible.

We each speak several languages, and have spent significant portions of our lives in Europe and Asia. (My wife spent the first 21 years of hers in China.)

We hold Democrats and Republicans in equal disdain. We've learned never to trust politicians, period. So yeah, I guess I'm bitter and cranky. It seems difficult not to be when you're slaving away in the lower recesses of academia, teaching a lot and trying to finish some b.s. rhetorical exercise on a salary that barely allows you to live. (How you remain so optimistic as an Adjunct escapes me, Kevin.)

I think Xavier touched on something essential in his response about how Kevin did not know him. Kevin, how many New York City gun-owners do you know? How often have you visited a target range in the city? The internet has many advantages, but I often think it does more to divide people from one another, isolating them in front of their computers where they can spew forth their most extreme views.

When you actually sit down and talk to someone, you'll be surprised how much you have in common, even if it seems that you come from different worlds. Xavier usually exhibits that kind of understanding in his blog. That's just one of the reasons I enjoy it.

9:42 PM  
Blogger TheBronze said...

I LOVE how Kevin Keith and Andy are so turned off by "conservative rhetoric", but apparently their "liberal rhetoric" is perfectly acceptable.

The irony is just delicious!

Kevin and Andy, I could care less whether you are put off by my (and others) "conservative rhetoric". I don't need you, nor want you in the circles that I travel in. You can complain from now until the cows come home, about how loony or unhinged we (gun owners) are. I couldn't really care less.

For people like you two, it's always "Do as I say, not as I do".

I don't need it.

As Samuel Adams said "...We seek neither your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

Good evening.

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't feel embarrassed by right-wingers, though I often feel embarrassed for them. What the bulk of the gun community offers to moderates and liberals is not embarrassment, but overt and often bizarrely extreme hostility."

Kev: You're drawing sweeping generalizations about an entire population based on a subsample of vocal minority. I am a big supporter of the second amendment, yet I spend most of my time around liberals, support gay rights / gay marriage, and believing in extending basic human rights to everyone including transgendered people and arabs / Muslims. I also believe that abortion is murder, that private property rights are absolutely sacrosanct, and that government is mostly incompetent and inefficient.

In short, I can't be pigeonholed into any particular category. That's why your comments about the politics of gun owners aren't necessarily accurate.

I'm guessing that most gun owners don't pontificate on blogs. As a result, you're not seeing evidence of gun owners who might be members of a sexual minority, who might believe doing public service work, or want to save the environment.

If you take the time, you'll discover that gun owners are Americans. They come from all walks of life, hold all kinds of political opinions, and support all kinds of causes. Like the previous post said, listen to what everyone has to say. Evaluate, and adopt what makes sense for you. Discard the rest until the next time you're asked to consider the idea. Then repeat the process. Otherwise, you're going to miss "a whole lot of good stuff".

BTW, when are you going to move out of NYC, and get yourself a gun? A hint: buying guns is even better than buying techy electronics or a new car.

4:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to post another thought.

In some ways, I like liberals. When the Republicans owned the house and senate, I reliably listened to NPR on the radio. I liked the fact that NPR created a college classroom environment where people discussed literature, music, history and current events. I didn't much like the liberal political discussions (because I lean more toward the libertarian / republican side on so many issues), but I didn't let this dissuade me from listening.

What I can't stand though is the assumption that any person has the right to impart their beliefs on me on account of their political position. If liberals want to try to convince me that my beliefs are wrong, I encourage them to do so. This kind of discussion forces me to question my opinions to insure that they continue to make sense as I acquire additional insight and experience with this thing called life. I draw the line when they try to force me to change. I don't want to be told what kind of car to drive, where I should live, with whom I should associate, what I should eat or drink, or what I should do for a living. My idea of nirvana is a world where a right-wing, bible-thumping Southern Baptist can peacefully co-exist next to a Birkenstock-wearing, punk rocker who works to save the whales.

4:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin is an insufferable a--. He thinks gun owners "need" people like him, but first we must change our primitive views to accomidate him. Notice that he never questions the truth or sanity of his own mindless rants. Nor does he notice the vile hatred of and assault on all traditional American values by those on his side. No, we are simply wrong, evil, vile, ignorant savages who need to mend our ways and STFU so not to offend him. I am not willing to do that. People like Kevin have ruined America and attack everything that made it great. Why is Kevin suddenly interested in learning about guns? Probably to use them against the misanthropes who oppose his way of thinking. Teaching people like Kevin to shoot is like teaching terrorists how to fly airliners.

5:28 AM  
Blogger Gale said...

Thanks for your reasoned response to Kevin's post.

I'm a new gun owner/shooter, and I also have been reading many blogs in hopes of uncovering knowledge. I've found that here, as well as on other sites, and really appreciate it. But the commentary I find also has made me think, and reevaluate some long-held beliefs of mine, and that is always useful.

And thanks for the insights into your life,as well. I am a pharmacy technician, and I see daily some of the same situations you describe. The insurance companies prescribe more than the doctors do for our patients, by limiting what can be afforded. We see the same folks you do, lying about pain, filling scripts from 3 doctors at 3 different pharmacies. Denied what they see as their "entitled" benefits, young women that could work come in the following week with new RX's for prenatal vitamins, since pregnancies get them back on the welfare dole. But my pharmacists, and the rest of us,
hang in there to give the best treatment we can give, and tilt at the windmills of the system to wring the benefits out for those that truly need them.

Thanks for all you share with the world.


6:36 AM  
Anonymous Photoman said...


Kevin said it best himself, "The implacable haters of guns will not be convinced."

I'm not impressed with his attempt to convince the reader of his "neutral" position.


8:20 AM  
Anonymous Johnin MA said...

"Nobody in the Obama administration is a socialist"

He says YOU need to grow up?

9:02 AM  
Blogger Hyunchback said...

I feel that "Kevin" and his ilk are not sincere.

They come in and say "what will YOU do to win ME over".

I never found any of that going to any gun range. Ever.

Naturally other guys were curious as to what I had. They were curious how I would do with it. And they gave me space to sink or swim on my own talents.

If I asked their advice they gave it, good or bad.

Not one of them demanded that I follow him politically. Not one of them told me "caliber X or you are a wimp". Conversely they didn't try to tax me into paying for the indiscretions of others. They didn't steal from my wallet the support for global warming or condoms for fifth graders.

The people I meet at gun ranges are real. Real a**holes. Real hunters. Real collecter/shooters. Real enthusiasts. Real computer programers. Real lawyers. Real painters and carpenters. Real retired police and corrections officers. Real Americans, all.

I've been to environments like a Montessori School event. The kind of place where those Real Americans at the gun range wouldn't be. I've met the pretentious. The ambitious. The phony and fake. The wannabe and the never was.

I've met plenty of Kevins. I don't need Kevins. I don't want Kevins.

I need Real Americans, warts and all. My nation needs them.

No one needs Kevins. Not even Kevin.

He needs us.

9:16 AM  
OpenID cortillaen said...

First off, kbarrett. You're either an idiot who should not be handling anything remotely dangerous or a liberal trying to paint gun owners as such. Either way, we don't need your sort of comments here.

Tom, my issue with bumper stickers and sloganized T-shirts is much the same as yours. People need to realize that bumper stickers will never be read as just an offhand comment or afterthought. When you have very limited space to make some statement about yourself (yes, stickers are always about the driver/owner of the vehicle), the unconscious assumption on the part of readers is that whatever statements you display are the few things that are the most defining parts of your character. Hence, that snarky little comment you find so amusing is going to be taken as representative of your character as a confrontational jerk with very charged opinions.
T-shirts are the same way, except even worse because they transmit a single message (again, less space = stronger convictions to the reader) and do it in a personal setting.
I simply see no reason to even have bumper stickers. I have no desire to brag to the uncaring world about anything, and none of my opinions can be condensed into a short blurb without becoming distorted and/or easily misinterpreted.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note the underlying theme through out -- taken from Kevin's posting above:
"or how loose they can reasonably be, depends in large part on how mature and responsible the gun community appears to be"

Who determines that?
for you are apparently not lumping yourself among such, are you?

Mr Keith, draw that line in the sand and it's arbitrary unless from the hand of the divine.

Seems you have the answers for any want to shoot for whatever reason labeling themselves liberal, then by all means, lead them over to the promised land.

Let the nut cakes learn in this 'conversion' of the liberal masses.
For, maybe it is your suit of liberal is a bit too tight?

See, it won't be "reason" that determines these arguments even With an impartial arbitrator -- the gun nuts spelling California with a K have learned to distrust the liberally free spelling capitialism with a K...

So please -
Either Don't Ask Don't Tell;
Or get down to the brass tacks of what you find as honorable disarmament, for that's your true intent, isn't it?

As noted above, if you want to shoot, shoot....
too much thinking about it will cause your aim to fail initially.

11:20 AM  
Blogger the pawnbroker said...

your correspondent proves once again, like the empty political vessel he so admires, blithe verbosity and irrelevant literacy are no replacement for practical logic, reason, and conviction.


12:14 PM  
Anonymous Darrell said...

Oooh, typical libtard with a superiority complex. He's so, so...evolved! LOLOL

6:29 PM  
Blogger Don Gwinn said...

The correct response to Kevin is simple:

6:42 PM  
Blogger Cargosquid said...

Just read some of Kevin's writings over at his blog. Forget this guy. He's a troll. He's as moderate as Nancy Pelosi....

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a nurse even longer than Xavier has, and could not agree more in regards to the socialized medicine. When we actually arrive there, you can add me to the list of people who will be either retiring or moving into another career.

Over the years, decisions are made more and more by other parties and less and less by patients and their providers, and the ultimate "other party" is the government, through the agencies of Medicare and Medicaid. Where they lead, the insurance companies follow.

Another nurse with a gun

12:28 AM  
Blogger tom said...


I have a SOF Combat Weapons Convention t-shirt from the mid 90s that shows Janet Reno with a strap-on sodomizing American gun owners. I might wear it around the house or ranch when friends are about but I wouldn't even wear it to a public gun range or even a self service gasoline pump, even if most people who know me and are my friends might giggle and I live in a rural part of Texas that is strongly RKBA. I'd change shirts before I left a zone of "confederates". It's easier.

2:44 AM  
Anonymous Max said...

Liberals are always the same. If you disagree with them you are stupid, ill informed, a bigot, a homophobe, insane, evil, etc.
Everytime I try to have a reasoned, respectful discourse with someone of the liberal persuasion I am assailed with angry retoric. Perhaps we are now too far apart in our beliefs to be able to coexist, if so, that bodes ill for the continued existence of our nation. All that I ask is that my Constitutional rights not be trampled upon and that I be allowed to live my life with the minium of interference and control by others. I wish that liberals could understand and respect my wishes and stop trying to force others to bend to their will whether it be guns, smoking, trans fat or what ever else that they find to be offensive to their sensibilities. Kevin, I propose that you and yours concentrate on your own foibles and leave the rest of us alone.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Jarubla said...


Thank you for the interesting read. I will continue to exercise my second amendment rights, and continue the moderate manner by which I exercise them.

Thank you for your blog, I will continue to read.


10:41 PM  
Anonymous micko77 said...

Xavier, thank you for so eloquently responding to Kevin. I,too, was a liberal until I grew up, then became a gunowner as part of assuming grownup responsibilities, among them preserving my life and the lives of my fellow human beings, whether as a gun owner or a nurse.

2:48 AM  
Anonymous Hyman Roth said...

Liberals constantly tell us that it is wrong to insult people and make judgments, while they insult people who disagree with them and pass judgment on them (with straw-man arguments, no less!).

Those who carry legally understand the legal/social environment we are in. Even a justified use of force will subject the shooter to criminal & civil legal jeopardy, media bias, and might affect relations with his/her coworkers & neighbors.

How many of us will decline to put our necks into that noose to stop a crime that is being perpetrated against someone we know is a gun-owner-hating liberal?

Remember that old saying about "conservatives" being "liberals who got mugged"? Maybe we should just leave Kevin and his ilk to their own devices. With the rise of crime in his hometown, it shouldn't be too long before some tragedy turns him into Bernard Goetz.

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent ... the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." --Justice Louis Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States, United States supreme Court, 1928

8:06 AM  
Blogger Assrot said...

Very well said Xavier. The way you replied to this commenter is one of the major reasons I faithfully read this blog.

Keep up the good work bud.


3:20 PM  
Anonymous Sara said...

I'm also a nurse with a gun. In fact, a nurse with a new (used, really) 22, and co-workers I'm planning to take to the range to try shooting for the first time. I think Kevin's statement is pretty rude and self-serving. You don't owe him an apolitical post; you owe him nothing. I will agree that many political moderates are turned off by the automatic association of other political topics (taxes, abortion, etc.) with gun ownership, and I've found your blog to be a pleasantly different. I'll keep reading!
I'm curious though... You disagree with the current president's views on provision of healthcare. Do you think that the current system should be kept in place? What would you see as a viable alternative to retain current practicioners?

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abortion? A "political" topic?

9:08 PM  
Blogger es said...

Dear Kevin,

My emotional reaction:
This guy has never been raped...

My rational reaction:
Kevin, I am a shooter, I own weapons, I have my own opinions on the world, art, NYC, the historical contexts that inform our culture, and am academically as well as personally informed on the matters to which you allude in your letter. I have introduced many people, mostly women, to shooting in NYC, where I have lived almost all of my life. I am not going to get into it on Xavier Thoughts but I will invite you to talk face-to-face at my gun show, a work-in-progress this Wednesday night at a gallery in Chelsea. The flyer is here: http://www.asianwomengivingcircle.org/news.htm

Many shooters are coming to support me and to talk with anyone who has concerns about what they see or believe or wonder about guns. You may not have this opportunity again for the very thing that you claim to ask for in your letter: recognition on your turf. The question now is whether you will be present. The ball is in your court.



10:09 AM  
Blogger Kevin T. Keith said...

Well, I said above that I had done contributing to the thread because I thought I had made myself clear (not understood, obviously, in a number of cases, but at least clear). But this is just priceless:

"Thirteen-year-old Lane Dunkley just wanted to go hunting with his grandfather. What he got was a lecture on politics. Dunkley and his father, Daniel Reddy, who live in Tulsa, went to Broken Arrow on Tuesday night for a hunter safety course normally required to get an Oklahoma hunting license. . . . [W]hen father and son arrived at the lesson, the volunteer instructor, Kell Wolf, asked if any of the students voted for President Barack Obama. Reddy, a transplanted Californian — and former Marine — raised his hand. According to Reddy and others in the room, Wolf called Obama 'the next thing to the Antichrist' and ordered Reddy and Dunkley from the room. When Reddy refused, Wolf said he would not teach 'liberals' and would cancel the course if Reddy didn't leave. So Reddy and Dunkley left, as did a few others."

You know, you can keep this up as much as you like. I'm certain it's going to be counterproductive - apparently some of you disagree. But it's really hard to argue that this sort of thing (or at least the attitudes that drove this behavior) isn't common.

However, it's at least not universal. Somebody was willing to stand up and do right:

"[W]hen [Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation] received a call Wednesday morning — from someone other than the Reddys — he said he had no choice. 'I
got the call at 8:30, and by 9 o'clock (Wolf) was no longer a volunteer for us.' . . . Lane Dunkley said the situation made him angry. 'This was a big deal for me because my grandpa doesn't have a lot of time to hunt anymore,' he said. 'I rarely get to hang out with my grandfather. I thought I would never be able to get my license.' Stacy Reddy, Daniel Reddy's wife and Lane Dunkley's mother, said the family was surprised by how quickly the wildlife department acted. 'Lance Meek called and apologized up and down and wanted to know what they could do to make it right,' she said. 'The only thing we really wanted was for my son to be able to take the hunter safety course, and there wasn't another one in the Tulsa area with an opening for the rest of 2009.' So Meek arranged for a private class. 'They called and said they'd meet us any time, anywhere,' said Daniel Reddy. 'Their response has been exemplary. It has really restored my faith in government.'"

Of course, he was just coddling that socialist traitor Obamaniac libtard Kaliforniac pro-gun ex-Marine trained and responsible gun owner from a 3-generation hunting family, and his pinko 13-year-old son. You know where that leads.

(Re-reading the comment thread, it occurs to me that I may need to emphasize: that part was ironic. The ranting wingnut, however, was obviously not. And the apologetic and welcoming program director was not, either, but he wouldn't be part of this story if there hadn't been a problem in the first place. It's up to you which face of your community you want the world to see.)

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Hyman Roth said...

You might as well quit now, Kevin. We know you are a troll.

For every blowhard gun enthusiast you point to (and this one was punished for his actions, unlike a liberal who behaves badly), I can offer a counterpoint of ignorance from your side of the political spectrum.

For example:


Or anti-gun writer Carl Rowan, who used an illegal handgun to shoot a little boy who went swimming in his pool without permission.

Or the horde of morons who see no contradiction in holding anti-global warming rallies in the middle of a snowstorm.

Interesting "reality-based community" you have there, Kevin.

The difference between our community and yours is that you facilitate and encourage name-calling and rude behavior against your perceived political opponents, and will not discipline your fellow travelers when they behave badly.

Clean up your own house before lecturing us.

7:00 PM  
Blogger geordie said...

I am certainly a liberal, and an immigrant, though not yet a citizen. Most of my friends are liberals. I live in Alameda, right down the bay from where you left the navy and where one of my liberal friends was an admiral's assistant. Most of my friends are also gun owners and shooters, most people I know either are shooters, have shot guns before or at least think they should be able to own them. The problem is that the Capitalists and Democrats have chosen gun rights as a fighting ground and so we can't favor universal health care without being taken to be against gun ownership. I think I have 18, I'm starting to lose count. But I do believe that folks like the huge former marine who asked me to help him understand his benefits letter in the Jack in the Box this morning shouldn't be the only ones getting a minimal level of free care. Homeless but still neat and tidy. Most people are really middle of the road. Liberal. Permissive. That extends to being allowed self defense too. So I'll vote Democrat and pay my NRA membership. Funny old world.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

I have basically come to the conclusion that conservatives are liberals that grew up and decided to face life on their own terms instead of continuing to need a parental figure (Uncle Sugar) to watch over them at all times and to wipe their asses and kiss their bobos.

A, perhaps even THE, fundamental part of that precept is the recognition that first and foremost, you are ultimately responsible for how you live your life and what happens to it.

self-reliance begets self defense. A part of that self defense means defending your property from those who would take it from you, and that would include about 99.9% of politicians, but especially those who believe that it is their duty to take treasure from me and give it to someone who has not personally worked for it. Or who believes it is the right of some unelected government flunky with a GED to make decisions about how my doctor may treat me without allowing myself or my doctor any recourse to appeal. Especially since the government is not picking up the tab for the treatment to begin with in most cases. At least when an insurancew company says no, you can sue. Good luck doing that with the US Government.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

In NYC it's tough to have this work, but to show the OTHER gun grabbers how much MY GUN does for them, I propose we ask them to post a sign reading "There are NO GUNS here" in their front yards. That way the crooks can cut through the BS and hit them directly. "Progressive" homeowners don't want to do that? Why not? Somehow the rest of society needs to learn that the only thing between them and the abyss (figuratively speaking) is one of us with training and ability and a handgun. Given the current climate, I'm not sure they'll learn.

5:42 PM  

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