We Have A Lot Of Ground To Make Up.

We Have A Lot Of Ground To Make Up.

Speaking of the culture war against guns (and I have been speaking about that a lot recently), these are just some of the gun-centric shows have come and gone from basic cable since I starting writing this blog.

Lock and Load
Top Shot
Sons Of Guns
Guns And Gear
American Guns
Mail Call (NSFW, because Gunny)
Hot Shots
3 Gun Nation
Guntucky

Now, there are very good (legal) reasons why at least two of those shows are off the air, and two more relied on the sparkling personality of R. Lee Ermey for their success, but right now, there are exactly ZERO gun-related shows on basic cable. Yes, there are the great shows about guns and how they’re used on places like the Outdoor Channel, Sportsmans Channel and The Pursuit Channel, but those shows are not growing the culture because the audience for those programs is an audience that is already interested in the outdoor life.

We need more outreach programs that show up on channels which don’t rely on hunting programs for the majority of their content. Something like a gunsmith version of “Forged In Fire” is an obvious idea, but that’s just an opening bid. We need more. Let’s get back to the 2010 numbers, and soon.

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Are The Fearful Themselves.

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Are The Fearful Themselves.

Your Monday morning dosage of clue, served to you hot and fresh with a side of wake the @$%! up and take someone to the range.

If a tool’s only utility is grounded in fear, it allows for one dimensional stereotypes of its owner. Those opposed to your beliefs will label you, contain you, which will anger you while also leaving you vulnerable to manipulation. Although this is unfair, it happens regardless.

Stereotypes of gun owners and gun culture in America couldn’t be further from the truth. Yet, the only time the nation as a whole interacts with gun owners is following the tragedy of a mass shooting. With emotions already high and fingers being pointed, responsible gun owners are pigeon holed into false identities that they then feel forced to defend.

When we act like the scary quasi-fascists and use violent phrases to defend our gun rights, people tend to think we’re scary, violent quasi-fascists.

Duh.

Moreover, talking like crazy, violent quasi-fascists goes against the very idea of being a gun owner. Inside the armed self-defense world, we preach de-escalation, calming words and verbal judo as a way to get out of potentially violent encounters. But, when we are confronted with emotionally-charged words of violence from those who want to negate the idea of armed self defense, we immediately go to the “MOLON LABE!” card and escalate the rhetoric.

Remember what happened in your concealed carry class? Remember all the questions you and your fellow students had about “Well, what if the bad guy is doing X? Can I shoot him then?”. What was the response to 99% of your questions about the escalation of force? Yep, that’s right, it was “Don’t shoot them, it’s a bad idea.”

We know that when we decide to carry a gun on our person, we must, MUST give up our “right” to be angry, because if we escalate the situation, it may go very badly for us. Note that in doing so, though, we are not giving our right to self-defense, we are merely using something other than 124 grain hollow points to accomplish that task. Just as we would only draw a weapon when it’s apparent it’s the only way to survive, we should draw a line in the sand and say “MOLON LABE!” only when, as Massad Ayoob puts it, it is in the gravest extreme.

Have we reach that point yet? I can’t answer that question for you, that is a personal decision. However, just as the answer to 99% of the “Can I shoot him now?” questions in your CCW class were “No,” I think the answer to 99% of the opportunities to escalate the rhetoric, our answer should be “No” as well.

We have other options. We know we need “tools in the toolbox” to defend our lives, so we need more options to defend our rights than just angry words. We need a full-court press to re-take our culture, and that means if we need to smile and take someone shooting, we smile and take someone shooting. If that means we join the NRA, we join the NRA. If that means there’s a TV show out there that treats civilian gun ownership with respect rather than showing it as the source of all evil, we BY GOLLY make that show the #1 show on the network.

I’m the NRA, and I not only vote, but I watch movies and TV shows as well.

Why R. Lee Ermey Matters.

Why R. Lee Ermey Matters.

I don’t think gun owners fully understand the debt we owe to R. Lee Ermey. With “Mail Call” and a host of other shows, he talked about guns as fun, while being funny.

We need more people like him today who are engaged in the culture and are having FUN while shooting a gun. No matter how much it might make you feel good, yelling at the gun control crowd and threatening Democrats are not fun actions. Gunny Ermey spoke up on politics and paid a price for his words, but he was known mostly for being a tremendous advocate for the military, firearms and an honorable way of life, and he had FUN while doing so.

Rest easy, Gunny. We’ll do our best to pick up the task you left behind.

If You’re Not Growing, You’re Shrinking.

If You’re Not Growing, You’re Shrinking.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;

Epistle of St. James, Chapter 2, Verses 14-22, NIV

Attention, Gun Culture 2.0. If we want to survive and thrive, we need to grow, and that means taking new gun owners to the range. Nothing else is going to work. Not rallies, not donating to the NRA, none of that means ANYTHING if we are not adding people to our cause.

Gun Culture 1.0 is dying because they didn’t spend the time to create entry points beyond “Take your kids hunting,” and the concealed carry / competition community is going to die out as well if we are not constantly bringing new people out to the range.

In a few months, we’ve gone from counting votes in the Senate trying to get CCW reciprocity passed nationwide to fighting for our Second Amendment lives. We’re losing the culture war, and if we think that relying on the same pro-gun messengers and messaging of the past is suddenly somehow going to turn things around for us, we are delusional, and deserve to lose.

Go to a rally. Make yourself feel good about your Second Amendment rights. Then go out share that good news with others.

Otherwise your good feelings don’t mean a damned thing.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says they believe in the 2nd Amendment but does not take someone to the range? Can that belief save their guns? If a brother or sister wants to defend their family, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay safe,” without helping them learn to shoot, what good is that? So also belief in the 2nd Amendment by itself, if it does not include others, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have the 2nd Amendment and I go shoot.” Show me your faith in the right to keep and bear arms apart from going to the range, and I will show you my faith by taking someone shooting. You believe that there is a right to self-defense; you do well. Even the Shannon Watts believes that — and shudders! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith in the right to keep and bear arms apart by itself is useless? Didn’t Jeff Cooper start up Gunsite to train more people as well create The Modern Technique Of The Pistol? You see that faith in the 2nd Amendment was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; *


* I may be spending a few weeks in Purgatory for that last bit, but it’s ok, I like Colorado!

The Smoking Gun.

The Smoking Gun.

The problem with using the anti-smoking model against gun owners is that the societal benefits of smoking are pretty much zero, but the societal benefits of legal gun ownership are pretty easy to find.

Whenever a honest citizen defends their life with a firearm, there’s a benefit to society. Whenever an armed policeman shows up and saves the lives of high school students, it’s a benefit to society. Whenever an NRA instructor with an AR-15 stops someone from shooting up a church, it’s a benefit to society. When a hunter harvests game and helps out with balancing the environment, it’s a benefit to society.

We are civilization and we’re winning. Let’s fight for more civilization, in a polite and civilized way.

Schwerpunkt Is Playing At My House.

Schwerpunkt is Playing At My House.

I’ll show the ropes kid, show you the ropes.

We need allies. So who should we reach out to? Everybody. Reach out to anyone even remotely related to guns and personal freedom. Vapers and Harley owners. Martial arts studios. Civic groups. Localvores who dig the idea of harvesting free-range, grass-fed, antibiotic-free meat.

Which is best? All of the above, and more. We need to press the home attack on our rights on all fronts, and then, when we find a tactic that works, we beat it like a rented mule.

This is basic von Clauswitz: You attack the entire front, and when you find a weakness, you turn it into the schwerpunkt and make the entire battle about that one spot. What tactic is going to win the war on guns? We don’t don’t know yet. What’s guaranteed NOT to win, though, is not fighting at all.

Where Is Your 2nd Amendment God Now?

Where Is Your 2nd Amendment God Now?

I come down on the “pro life” side of the abortion issue*. I realize that is a shocking revelation to you all, knowing that a) I lean conservative and b) I’ve been pretty open about my faith here. However, I hope you’ll overcome your surprise and bear with me here for a sec.. this isn’t going to be a post on the merits/problems of abortion, it’s a post on how the two sides talk (or rather, don’t talk) to each other.

One thing that annoys me is how we Christians prepare ourselves to talk about this issue: We load up on Bible verses which defend our point of view and then are shocked, SHOCKED that they’re not a persuasive argument in the debate with people on the other side of this issue from us who don’t believe in God. Bible verses supporting the pro-life side work GREAT with us evangelicals, but they’re not that useful when debating abortion with an atheist.

Similarly, we gun owners can say “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!!” and wrap ourselves around the Constitution, but if we’re debating gun rights with someone who thinks the Constitution is an outdated, antiquated document that has little to no importance to today’s world, those arguments are pretty much useless.

We need to develop good arguments for gun ownership that are based on the principles of the Second Amendment, but don’t quote it directly. People are scared, and they’re scared of what guns can do in the wrong hands. This is a very real and very healthy fear… heck, I have that same fear. Rather than relying on some politician to pass a law that will make the scary things go away (good luck with that…), I chose to do something about it by doing what it takes to not be a victim of violence.

Everyone wants to FEEL safe, the question is, what are you willing to do in order to BE safe? Not someone else’s doing, not a legislator, not gun owners, not the NRA… you. You are, and always will be, your own first responder.

Deal with it.


* Don’t even bother arguing abortion in the comments: I’ll delete your comment right away, because that’s how I roll.

What Would Billy Graham Shoot?

What Would Billy Graham Shoot?

As threatened yesterday, I have a few thoughts on this rather provocative article from Bitter Sebastian over at Snowflakes In Hell PA Gun Blog.

I spent some time overseas as a missionary, and even though Christians are given a direct commandment to “go into all the world and preach the gospel”, very few of us get off our @sses and do something about it.

Is it tough being a grassroots organizer for the NRA? Yep. It’s tough being a missionary, too. Very few people who serve in the field see ANY fruits from their labor, but yet we still go.

Why? Because while there’s a very slim chance we’ll see any success if we go to the mission field, there is a 100% chance we will have no success if we DON’T go.

There’s a step that’s missing there: Getting the grassroots to write their local congresscritter is good, but taking someone shooting is better, because that is how we win. To the best of my knowledge, the NRA has never put out any materials on how to get your friends and neighbors out the range, and that has to change. We need more than just advocates for political action, we need advocates for everything about the shooting sports, from hunting to plinking to whatever. Getting more people into shooting will, by its very nature, get more people into political advocacy for guns.

Where do “Come to Jesus” moments happen? In church. Where do anti-guns find out how much fun it is to shoot? On the range. The NRA (and the NSSF too) need to do a better job encouraging their members to go shooting with a friend, because once people go shooting and find out that guns are fun, we win.

Simple as that.

Allies And Morals.

Allies and Morals.

Two interesting articles popped up on my radar over the weekend, both of which demand more than just a cursory link. First is the look at the full-spectrum tactics of the anti-gun left, over at Ace of Spaces.

The way spectrum of allies analysis works is: you categorize people and groups by where they stand in relation to you and your target on whatever issue you’re working on

Active opponents are against you, and fighting you.
Passive opponents are against you, but they’re not fighting you.
Neutrals are neither against or for you.
Passive allies are with you, but they’re not fighting for you.
Active allies are with you and are fighting for you.

The point of spectrum of allies analysis is figuring out who you can move one notch. Who can you move toward you? Who can you move away from your enemy? And how do you make sure you don’t push people away from you?

Active allies: engage them.
Passive allies: make them active.
Neutrals: inform or educate them to make them passive allies.
Passive opponents: make them move to neutral by worrying their position may cost them — BUT CAREFULLY, so they don’t become active opponents.

Quite frankly, gun owners suck at this sort of thing. We’re pretty good at identifying allies and opponents in the political arena, but our attempts to do this in the culture war is limited to Colion Noir and a concert at the NRA Convention and that’s about it.

This has to change. We need to learn how to win a culture war, not  just win an election

Secondly is this article by a self-confessed left wing gun nut (courtesy of David Yamane), which lays out the difference between gun owners and the gun control crowd clearer than anyone else I’ve seen before.

“Folks in the anti-gun camp tend to believe, with Martin Luther King Jr., that, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice’. The other camp sees history as cyclical, with no real long-term trajectory. We take it as self-evident that there is nothing new under the sun; human nature doesn’t change; and humans keep re-learning the same painful lessons as species. Ultimately, then, the private ownership of weapons of war is an issue that pits each side against its own hopes for the future. The anti-gun crowd finds itself arguing for the unassailable tactical superiority of the present neoliberal order, and the pro-gun crowd finds itself making the awful case that horrific deaths in the present are necessary to prevent a dystopian future that it fervently hopes will never come to pass.”

I have two sons. I want them to live a world that’s better than the one I lived in, but I also want them to live confident, secure lives. The neoliberal blue state model is collapsing, and one thing that always happens when cultures are in transition is that law and order breaks down, and people need to defend what’s near and dear to them by themselves, rather than wait for the .gov’s cavalry to arrive. It happened to the farmers in Gaul when Rome collapsed, it happened to the farmers in Bulgaria when the Holy Roman Empire collapsed, and it will happen here very soon as we find alternatives to our current progressive taxation/entitlement system of government.

And make no mistake: Progressivism is on it’s way out. But just because an animal is mortally wounded doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous.

So, We’re Back On Defense Again

So, We’re Back On Defense Again

Or are we? Some curated tweets from last week’s CNN show trial town hall about the Parkland murders. What was supposed to be a rally for gun control might turn out to motivate gun owners like very few things have before…

I would note that Guy Benson is a terrific advocate for conservative causes, but he is NOT a gun guy, and his response is something I am seeing again and again from folks on the right who are not into guns.

That clip of the audience cheering for a semi auto ban will motivate gun owners like nothing we’ve seen since 1994. If the NRA doesn’t use it in every ad they run in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and maybe Pennsylvania, they deserve to lose. We are talking SEMIAUTOS here, not “assault weapons” or scary AR-15’s. Things like the 10/22’s you use to plink cans and the Remington 1100 you use to blast geese from the sky would be covered by this ban.

Think that’ll motivate hunters to get out and vote?

And just how are we used to have a “conversation about guns” with someone who makes stuff up as they go along? It’d be like having a “conversation about football” with someone who insists on calling the ball a puck and swears that football is played in a rink.

Once you not only otherize your political opponents but also claim everything they do or say is actually violence, of COURSE you have to respond with actual violence. What choice do you have but to use violence against “violence”?

We are witnessing what happens when an entire generation (or more) has grown up with a Disneyland state of mind, and now they’re throwing the mother of all hissy fits.

And finally this, from the inestimable Frank J. Fleming.