A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, March 01, 2009

On Keeping On Keeping On

"The best way to address the firepower concern is therefore not to try to outlaw or license many millions of older and perfectly legitimate firearms (which would be a licensing effort of staggering proportions) but to prohibit the possession of high capacity magazines. By a simple, complete, and unequivocal ban on large capacity magazines, all the difficulty of defining "assault rifles" and "semi-automatic rifles" is eliminated. The large capacity magazine itself, separate or attached to the firearm, becomes the prohibited item. A single amendment to Federal firearms laws could prohibit their possession or sale and would effectively implement these objectives."
No doubt about it, the words which Bill Ruger penned in a letter to Congress in 1989 were the basis of the 1994 Assault Weapon's Ban. Fortunately, the actual possession or sale of magazines with a capacity greater than ten was not legislated away. In 1994, the manufacture of such magazines was prohibited in the United States. The result was ten long years of high magazine prices, coddling magazines, and gun marketing based on law making.

During an interview with Tom Brokaw, Bill Ruger elaborated. "No honest man needs more than 10 rounds in any gun," he said. "I never meant for simple civilians to have my 20 and 30 round magazines." The anger of gun owners was unleashed. In a time before the internet, in a move that would make Natalie Maines shiver, many gun owners boycotted Sturm Ruger, refusing to buy any gun made by the corporation. Some would spit on the ground and curse when Bill Ruger's name was mentioned. Even today, as the company moves past Bill Ruger's legacy, many gun owners still hold a grudge for what they deem a traitorous stand against them. Others look at Ruger's stand and see it as a sound business decision. In the political climate of 1994, the production of firearms for civilian purchase was in jeopardy. Some believe Ruger deflected the assault, not only allowing his company to continue to flourish, but ultimately to allow gun owners to continue to purchase new firearms that could accept grandfathered magazines.

Nobody can truly know what is in a man's heart except the man himself, but I knew what was in Bill Ruger's rimfire pistols. When many were refusing to buy, indeed, selling their personal Ruger firearms at a loss (as though crotchety old Uncle Bill cared) I continued to shoot Ruger firearms. The reason was simple. They were affordable, reliable, durable, and accurate. I did not have to agree with the owner of the company to continue to shoot the gun he designed. Hell, I don't agree with Mikhail Kalashnikov's politics either. Neither do a lot of people who own and shoot Kalashnikovs.

In 2001, Smith & Wesson agreed to safety standards and design changes proposed by the Clinton administration. Smith & Wesson, then owned by the British firm Tomkins PLC, also agreed to limits on the sale and distribution of their guns. Gun owners responded by selling off their S&W firearms, saturating a market, and driving down prices. As a result, Smith & Wesson was sold at a loss to Saf-T-Hammer Corporation. Afterwards, Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation publicly denounced the former agreement with the Clinton administration, and the company found itself back in the good graces of gun owners. Although the revolver line of Smith & Wesson would never again be the same, the company survived and went on to introduce their own versions of the 1911 and AR15.

During that time I discovered Smith & Wesson revolvers. Some might sneer, but I am quick to point out that owners can not sell their firearms to saturate a market and eventually cause the sale of a corporation if there is nobody to purchase those firearms. As a purchaser of used Smith & Wesson revolvers, I was facilitating the trade of the guns on the used market, and the Smith & Wesson owned by Tomkins PLC did not profit. Of course during that time, there were those who felt if you owned a Smith & Wesson handgun, you were at best ignorant, at worst in collusion with the enemy. I noticed that while gun owners wanted to show their anger at Smith & Wesson, they did not melt their revolvers down in a smelter of glowing orange gun metal and piss on the stinking hot glob to send acrid steam into their nostrils. They sold the revolvers for what they could get for them.

Today, many gun owners are angry. We have a Socialist gun grabber, actually two of them, in the White House. The author of the 1994 AWB is a heartbeat away from the presidency. Congress is full to the brim with politicians who face the same challenges that were faced in the beginning of the Clinton administration. They will likely fail, as did Bill Clinton, in establishing universal health care, peace in the middle east, respect for the United States abroad, and putting a unicorn that farts rainbows in every home. Obama ain't paying nobody's mortgage, and his cronies are going to start looking for legislation to show they did something, anything.

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.

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. Should that stop us from trying to advance and gain support for our beliefs? Obama was and is for socialized health care as well. Much more so than gun control. Socialized medicine will radically change my life, probably more than a new assault weapons ban. Socialized medicine will probably drive me into another career outside of nursing. I will never be a government employee again. Click to enlargeShould I let patients suffer ignored because of a stupid decision they made in the voting booth? A decision they had a right to make? I don't think so.

This is still the United States, and people have the right to make choices. Whether I believe those choices are intelligent, ignorant, or just woefully misinformed does not matter. I have a right to make my choices, and other people have a right to chose as well. This is the United States. It is not illegal to vote for a worthless inexperienced Socialist. It is a mistake, but it is not illegal. I see no reason why I should not take an Obama supporter to the range enjoy shooting with them. It's illegal to smoke crack, manufacture machineguns, market child pornography, and have consensual sexual relations with a girl under the age of eighteen. I do not willingly and knowingly go shooting with people engaged in those activities. We are talking about a choice in a presidential election. Exercising one's right to vote, no matter how ignorantly, will not be a no-go when it comes to me introducing novices to shooting.

One thing is certain. Gun owners will eventually have their second amendment rights whittled away to a pile of shavings and a splinter if we do not increase our numbers. With concealed carry legislation a growing force in America, and the second amendment being recognized as a fundamental right to self preservation, the cause for gun owners has become universal. It's not about hunting anymore. The second amendment is something that every person but the most profoundly puerile pacifist can appreciate. The key is to get people shooting. Remove the fear of guns. Remove the fear of acting in self defense. Help people understand that self defense is not just a right, it is an imperative. When one's life is threatened, self defense becomes life. As such, political threats to the right to effectively defend oneself are assaults not just on one's way of life, but on one's life itself.

It is readily apparent that more people voted for Obama than Sarah Palin. If we only take Palinites to the range, we will fail. The consequences of failure to preserve the right to effective self defense for ourselves is simply too great. We must increase our numbers, our awareness, and as a result, our political clout in the voting booth. To do that, we must bring Obama supporters into the fold. Whether they remain Obama supporters is inconsequential if they vote as gun owners. They will not vote as gun owners unless they shoot, and are educated as gun owners. The first step to getting a gun grabbing Obama supporter to vote as a gun owner is a trip to the range. I'm still willing to help them make that first step.

I will not allow what I do NOT do to define who I am. What I do not do is a reflection of who I am, not a definition. Who I am is defined by what I do, the action I take. I am a nurse with a gun. I will continue to teach anyone to shoot, regardless of race, gender, religious or political persuasion. I will teach them to shoot so that they may be better equipped to save their own life. What they chose to do with their life and the knowledge and skills I have given to them is their responsibility. Hopefully, along the way I will have planted the seeds in enough people that I will have done my part to preserve all of our rights to self determination.

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Anonymous Shrike said...

Xav, you and everyone else have the right to make choices on what to do with your money, not other people's money.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous WW Paul said...

I've read your article and tried to think of something I could add. I have nothing. I agree with you completely.

Thanks for your insightful and relevant blog.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Retired Rick said...

Well said. I am new to Concealed Carry and your web site. You have the ability to bring common sense to what is happening to Gun Rights and the 2nd Ammendment.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Andy said...

I love your blog. It is my absolute #1 favorite gun-related blog.
I am a gun-toting liberal. I voted for the big O, for a variety of reasons. For many of us, there are issues that supersede gun rights on the immediate horizon of our nation--though the prospects of my 2A rights grow more and more worrisome. Obama was never my first choice, and I would have considered McCain more seriously had he not flunked his campaign in many ways, including choosing Palin in a cheap marketing ploy.
I hope the comments below me don't devolve into a huge debate about why I am wrong--it's not productive. What I would like to see happen is exactly as you say, X. We need to educate those who fear guns, whether they be lefties or righties. I don't understand why gun conrol is a right vs. left issue. Gun control got its start, was BORNE INTO EXISTENCE, in an effort to keep the newly emancipated blacks from owning firearms--it made the white establishment nervous. Leaving other politics aside, we can work on making this a cross-over issue. It is usually ignorance and fear that keep people, whether republican or democrat or otherwise, from being willing to arm themselves and prepare themselves to defend the life and liberty of themselves and their families. If I could afford a good semi-automatic weapon, I would have one and train with it, because I hate the idea of my government being allowed to be better armed than it's people. I would think my leftist friends would feel the same way.
We've got a long ways to go with this--so when it comes to gun-rights we can leave the other fiscal- and social-issue wordfights at home and instead focus on reaching out and educating the hoplophobes.
I know plenty of conservatives who would holler to the boss if they knew I carry a gun. They aren't helping our cause much either.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Mulligan said...

Who I take to the range depends on my purpose. Am I introducing them to IDPA, hunting, RKBA, or just acclimating them to the loud noise? I know one person who bolts every time she sees a box of ammo, but we've gotten her to the range and last time curiosity got her out of the car to ask questions. Each newbie is a work in progress and often needs a tailored approach.

My ultimate goal is to get them to a place where they are having fun safely and then on their own become aware the .gov is working to curtail their fun. I do fun (and safety) at the range and then RKBA later over a burger & milkshake.

I've seen the light shine on 2 people so far and hope to see more.

Be a Volunteer

11:09 AM  
Blogger GeorgeH said...

You don't need buyers to saturate a market, quite the opposite. If there are no buyers a handful of sellers can and will saturate the market and send prices through the floor.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Camry said...


We must each do what we can. I teach as many people as I can, but I will no longer waste my time with committed Liberals. I make a distinction between those who voted for "One Big Ass Mistake, America" out of ignorance and those who actively seek to take away my rights, my money, my guns and my freedom because they believe the government should be in charge of as much as possible and seek the promise of security over freedom.

There is a veritable sea of people out there who are merely ignorant on the subject of guns, but are not actively opposed to them. These people are well worth my time because once they are presented with the facts and taken to the range, they overcome their fear of the unknown and typically experience an enlightenment that forever drives them away from the forces of statism.

Those who wish to destroy this country and turn it into a worker's paradise are deaf to facts. They are beyond my reach of persuasion. I could win every argument with them and still not convince them of a single thing. I would be wasting my time trying to get them to swap their Planned Parenthood and ACLU memberships for an NRA Life Membership. They need to experience a large traumatic event such as a violent criminal encounter to open their eyes to the need for self reliance and self defense. Once they do and are willing to learn, I will be there for them. Until then, they can rot in the filth that they have created.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Well said, Xavier. Well said.

12:14 PM  
Blogger alpineman said...


Excellent post, as always. As a former employee of a government-controlled healthcare program and a current nurse, I’m glad you stood up and said, “Socialized medicine will radically change my life, probably more than a new assault weapons ban. Socialized medicine will probably drive me into another career outside of nursing. I will never be a government employee again.” I wish other nurses would take the same stand. (Personally, I’m already looking forward to a lucrative third career in consulting… and I haven’t even taken RN boards yet…) However, you went on to say, “Should I let patients suffer ignored because of a stupid decision they made in the voting booth? A decision they had a right to make? I don't think so.”

I do think so. The only way people will see through the whole hopey-changey rhetoric is to allow them to suffer the consequences of the choices they’ve made. They voted for V.A.-style healthcare. Let them have it. As for me, I want no part of it.

Let me put it this way: As long as we keep bailing out banks, they’ll have no incentive to implement more sound lending practices. If we bail out people who buy into a mortgage for a home they have no hope of affording, they’ll have no incentive to make more responsible consumer choices. If we allow people to see healthcare as something to which they’re entitled, they’ll have no incentive to lose weight, stop smoking (cigarettes or crack) or to make responsible decisions about their own health.

That’s what I’ve learned to hate about nursing. I’m taught to be non-judgemental to the point that I become a de-facto enabler for obese, nicotine-sucking, drug-addicted drains on society. What passes for “education” in terms of what I’m supposed to teach my patients is so P.C. it’s a joke. Our patients need some tough love, and they need it yesterday.

Guns – and what guns teach us – are precisely what society needs. Guns inherently involve the ultimate consequences. Once you pull the trigger, you cannot call the bullet back. There’s no “oopsie” to it, no way to let the consequences of your actions slide. When a bullet leaves the barrel, something – or someone – is gonna get shot. As responsible gun owners, we stress the importance of those consequences to those we introduce to shooting. We teach the 4 rules. Why should we see our other responsibilities – as voting citizens or as healthcare providers – any differently? Our actions – whether with a gun or in the voting booth – have consequences. We do ourselves no favors by pretending those consequences can be – or should be – avoided. I’d certainly expect to be held accountable for what happens when the bullet leaves the barrel of my gun. Voters should be held accountable, too. If that means they suffer worse healthcare because of how they voted, so be it.


Alpineman, LPN

12:30 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

Right on! Just because I'm a gun owner doesn't mean I'm a Republican. I claim the right to be a member of the NRA and the ACLU!

1:09 PM  
Anonymous BB said...

Thank you, Xavier. We suffer from too many differences in this country. I will likewise promise to educate and escort to the range anyone genuinely interested, including those folks who may not have voted for Obama. Much appreciation for your wise words.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

I've been reading your blog for months. I'm not sure if I've ever commented, but as a gun-toting future nurse I find myself quoting you to people on nearly a daily basis.

I'm interested in more details regarding your thoughts about working as a nurse under a socialized-medicine system. Future post, maybe? It's something I sometimes think about as well.

1:53 PM  
Blogger tom said...

One of my best friends is a shooting buddy and ranking LEO who know drives desks rather a bit. We argued about it forever when he said he was going to vote for Obama, but he taught all of his kids to shoot and he's active in youth outdoors and shooting/firearms safety activities.

Maybe someday average Americans once again won't freak out when they see a middle school kid with a .22 walking to the woods looking for squirrels? Perhaps wishful thinking on my part but it's a dream.

I'm pushing forty and have UK friends my age that never even got to handle a firearm until they joined the services or police forces (or visited America).

As for Ruger and S&W, I question(ed) their motives but my Mk series .22s, No. 1s, and K frames are all on my "not for sale" list and never will be, most especially for nebulous political reasons. They were second hand when I bought them anyway.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"many gun owners boycotted Sturm Ruger, refusing to buy any gun made by the corporation"

Still am, and always will. Won't buy a Ruger new or used. Won't even fire or touch one. Not only because of the harm he did to our freedom, but because nobody likes a yellow-livered businessman bending over and playing the bitch to save a few bucks.

With what's coming, probably a moot point anyhow.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Brass said...

And, after Ruger's passing, look what happened: they copied the Kel-Tec P3AT, started selling 20 round mags, 16'' Mini-14 Carbines, and look at the new Mini-14 they're offering: Garand front leaf sights, flash suppressors, 16'' barrels, the works. A little late, but I'm happy to see them nonetheless. Now, if only they could slap on the bayo lug again: not for practicality, but just for fun and for old time's sake.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I voted for Obama.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Bill N. said...

I am sure my first response went through....if this is a duplicate please delete the duplicate.

Peoples' right to make choices extends only as far as they don't interfere with my rights. Under the US Constitution I have a right to bear arms despite what all the liberals would have you believe. Reading the Federalist Papers which were written as an argument on why the Constituion should be ratified shows the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was never to protect weapons for a "sporting purpose" but was to protect citizens from an abusive government. The anti-Federalist were opposed to the Constitution on the grounds that it gave to much power to the Federal Government. They were right.

Concerning Bill Ruger, we would have never had an American Revolution if the Founding Fathers had demonstrated as much backbone as Bill Ruger. They not only risked their businesses but their lives since the British would have hung most, if not all of them as traitors.

There is a saying something to the effect that an appeaser is one who hopes the wolf eats him last.

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Mr.Potato said...

I don't know what political affiliation I am and I don't care what others are. I sure have voted R and D and it all depended on the candidate. My voting is not defined only by the 2nd amendment. I was not fan od Dubuya but I did vote for and like his father. I did vote for Obama because he was a better candidate. So what am I. I refuse to care. I could be a gun toting liberal living a conservative life. ;-)

10:38 PM  
Blogger tom said...

2 years ago, a friend of mine that's a PH also with farms in northern South Africa had a bolt crack on the Mini-14 he often used to keep the pests down. God knows how many thousands of rounds it had through it as it was the first generation style innards and owned since new. Nice truck gun. Nothing fancy. Not replacable easily because of all the new RSA gun laws.

Side-Note: It takes about an act of god to get firearms parts legally into RSA, even things like bolts and trigger springs. He asked me if I could do anything for him when I got home.

When I got home I made some phone calls to Ruger, ended up speaking with one of their Vice-Presidents as the parts people didn't want t touch the hassle of shipping a part to RSA.

You can say what you want of Ruger, the people that shall never touch them again...That VP not only got the proper bolt to my friend through Guns and Bows of Cape Town, he sent the part, including carriage costs to him FREE for a smith acquaintance of mine to properly fit for him next time he was up North that way for a hunt.

See if you can get that kind of customer service from any other large American or European firearms manufacturer at their price point.

Any Ruger haters that have No.1 rifles in .375 or bigger or Red Label shotguns, just mail them to me and I'll take the stain off your hands of owning a horrid Ruger. Consider it my gift to your conscience.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Tonight I went in to repair the hip and back of a man who was in a motor vehicle accident. He had been drinking. His girlfriend did not make it.

Just because I repaired his body does not mean I condone his choices. Had I been at the scene of the accident I would not have driven on by simply because I don't agree with drinking and driving.

I ultimately participated in giving him a second chance, and he may as a result injure or kill me as a drunk driver in the future.

I did not fix him because I agree with his actions, or because I respect who he is. I fixed him because of who I am.

11:42 PM  
Blogger MauserMedic said...

Nicely stated.

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thumbs up dear...one gun toting nurse to another.

2:46 AM  
OpenID hsoiblog said...

Well said. Anything else is giving up the fight.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Bullet said...

This is a great post, last night I was just talking about this. Gun owners are being attacked from every angle, and the media is trying everything to make the gun owners look bad.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Peter Guy said...

I've been lurking for awhile, appreciating your rational approach to what is often an emotional subject. This essay mentions that, "It's not about hunting anymore," but I would like to suggest that it has *never* been about hunting. I'm younger, so I don't know all of the history behind that statement, but I remember that as I was growing up the common theme of the gun advocacy groups seemed to be hunting. They tried to rationalize gun ownership so that we could continue the fine American tradition of hunting meat for our table. At the time it didn't seem like the right platform on which to construct a compelling argument, although I couldn't have said why. Now I think I recognize it was a false pretense that was supposed to be more appealing to those who opposed gun ownership. I think it has backfired, however, by giving those who oppose gun ownership a more focused attack ("who really needs to hunt anymore?") and a wider audience (those who grew up watching "Bambi" :-) ). By giving up the high ground of Natural Rights and trying to frame the gun ownership debate around an activity, the gun advocacy groups gave up ground that they may never get back.


2:39 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Peter, you said it much more eloquently than I. It was never about hunting, it was all in the presentation by gun advocates.

4:26 PM  
Blogger JJR said...

I voted for an African American for president, but it wasn't Obama.

It was Cynthia McKinney. The Green Party platform was very terse on gun policy, simply stating it supports the GCA of 1968. Since even the GOP wasn't pushing to repeal the GCA of 1968, I considered this position in their plank fairly harmless.

Also know that many healthcare professionals have pretty reactionary attitudes to the way health care is financed if it's anything other than market-based, for-profit. Having actually worked in an insurance company before, in the belly of the beast, I respectfully disagree with you and my former employer on that topic.

But on gun rights, I'm with you 110%, to the hilt. I gladly contribute to the NRA, GOA, 2A Foundation, but also give money to the ACLU and the Sierra Club.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

"a unicorn that farts rainbows in every home."

I seriously laughed out loud at this comment. Good stuff as usual, Xavier.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Kevin T. Keith said...

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 dimsissively 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.

9:17 PM  

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