Skip to comments.Most Gun Owners Disgust Me! [No, this is NOT anti-gun rhetoric!]
Posted on 05/10/2003 7:24:26 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Most Gun Owners Disgust Me!
"Typical gun guy: Full of ideas, full of criticisms, full of crap!"
By Nicki Fellenzer
For the first time since I began an active role in the Second Amendment rights movement, Im disappointed with many of my fellow gun owners and thoroughly disgusted with a number of others.
In the past few weeks we have seen the untimely demise of two crucial partners in the fight to restore our Constitutional rights. TWO in the past month! Sarah Thompson, the Executive Director of the Utah Gun Owners Alliance (UTGOA) called it quits last month. And just last week Citizens of America a national no-compromise gun rights campaign announced it was ceasing operations.
Most gun owners in this country will shrug their shoulders and say, So what? Ive never heard of them anyway. Most gun owners will go about their daily business, secure in the knowledge that their NRA membership is current and their rights are secure, because the NRA is out there fighting for them. Most gun owners dont feel the loss of these two vital colleagues in the fight to protect their rights. At least not yet.
But I can guarantee you one thing: If we, as gun owners and Second Amendment rights activists, do not change the immediate course of our current path, those of you who shrug off these two devastating losses will soon feel the oppressive grip of tyranny on your shoulders.
Because the loss of UTGOA and Citizens of America has a much deeper significance than just the ceasing of operations of two gun groups. Their loss is directly linked to the unwillingness of gun owners in this country to get involved, to volunteer their time, to open their wallets, to vote, to stand up for their cause and to make any significant sacrifice in the fight to protect the Second Amendment. To quote Sarah Thompson,
when we've asked for people to attend committee hearings, even just one per session, most of the time no one has shown up. When we've asked for volunteers to help with gun shows, political conventions, and other events, we've gotten only a couple of volunteers at best. Most discouraging, Sarah continues, UTGOA supporters have been almost entirely unwilling to get involved in electing pro-gun candidates, which is the single most important key to success.
· Last year KeepAndBearArms.com ran a poll asking gun owners if they would contribute money to fund a Second Amendment Supreme Court lawsuit that would once and for all settle the question of individual vs. collective right to keep and bear arms. Poll results indicate that 1,800 people answered the question. Those 1800 respondents replied they would donate a combined minimum amount of more than $133,000. Since KeepAndBearArms announced that Silveira vs. Lockyear is headed to the Supreme Court, maybe $25,000 in donations has trickled in.
· Overwhelmingly, the gun rights community regularly votes for Republican candidates, despite the fact that Republicans are just as responsible for the erosion of our rights as Democrats are. Its a reflex. Its tradition. Republicans are generally viewed as more pro-Second than Democrats, but even so Gun Owners of America, a no-compromise national gun group that rates your legislators every year on how they vote to support your Second Amendment rights, has given an "A" rating to only three senators in the 108th session. Sixteen senators have received a B or B- on the GOA report card. The rest warranted miserable C and below ratings when it comes to defending your rights. And yet, there are 51 Republicans in the Senate currently, which means 32 Republicans who vote against your freedoms, against personal responsibility and against you. How many of these oath-breaking losers got your vote in the last election?
· On April 3, 2003 PAX, a stridently anti-freedom group, raised a half a million dollars in one night to support its odious cause. IN ONE NIGHT! Those involved included Steven J. Heyer (President & COO of Coca-Cola), Michael D. Drexler (CEO of Optimedia), actor Richard Belzer (Law & Order), Paul Shaffer (The David Letterman Show) comedian Mario Cantone (Sex and the City) and Joy Behar (The View). A single live auction raised $70,000 that night to help the effort to enslave you to gun control.
· Citizens of America couldnt get 10 percent of you to contribute $10 per year.
They actually thought they could pull off $10 from 10% of the 75Mil gun owners?
I'm on line every day reading something shooting related. Mostly in the various forums I belong to. And I never heard of them.
Never heard of them until right now.
It's a free market, and the market has decided to kick one out. As far as I'm concerned that's a good thing.
It is NEVER a good thing when another organization dedicated to fighting for your rights closes its doors. It means theres one less group out there to counter lies, misinformation and outright subversive behavior that threatens your freedoms every day. It means there is one less group out there fighting for you. And the more pro-freedom activists give up the fight, the easier it will be for the anti-freedom leeches to suck away your freedoms.
Just think about that next time you sit down at your computer and read news that yet another anti-rights bill has passed with barely a whisper of protest from gun owners.
Think about Sarah Thompson, Brian Puckett and so many others who have fought for so long for you and your rights with a bare minimum of support and hardly any publicity.
Think about UTGOA and Citizens of America who have toiled endlessly to preserve your freedoms, without fanfare, with little if no publicity and no credit.
And then remember the National Rifle Association, which has many times supported unconstitutional legislation to limit your Second Amendment rights and claimed credit for victories other, less well-known groups have worked hard to achieve.
And finally, go ahead. Email me. Tell me how Im wrong about gun owners. Tell me how you, personally, and your friends have done so much to support the fight for freedom. Tell me how its not your fault that were losing the most effective fighters in our cause to apathy, stinginess and ignorance. Tell me Im pious, clueless, holier-than-thou and preachy.
I spend no less than 30 hours per week working to preserve your freedoms, despite the fact that I have a family, a full-time office job, and Im a student working on my degree. I write this column for free, when I generally get $600 for one article of this length. I have donated my April salary from my part-time job to the Silveira case, even though we live paycheck to paycheck in this house. Im not bragging. Im simply telling you my level of commitment, so you dont think I dont practice what I preach.
So please I urge you to contact me. I urge you to curse me, yell at me, contradict me and tell me Im full of it. The facts speak for themselves. If you want to change those facts, get off your ass and do something about it.
Nicki is a US Army veteran, who spent nearly four years in Frankfurt, Germany on active duty at the American Forces Network. She is a former radio DJ and news anchor and a Featured Writer and Newslinks Director for Keepandbeararms.com. She is also a contributing editor to the National Rifle Association's newest monthly magazine, Women's Outlook and writes occasionally for the Libertarian Party. She resides in Virginia with her family. We are also proud to have Nicki as regular contributor to Armed Females of America.
Copyright © 2003 by Armed Females of America. All rights reserved. Permission to redistribute
Their loss is directly linked to the unwillingness of gun owners in this country to get involved, to volunteer their time, to open their wallets, to vote, to stand up for their cause and to make any significant sacrifice in the fight to protect the Second Amendment.It could mean that, I suppose. It could also mean that these two groups were ineffective or incompetent.
I hope this doesn't turn into a "gun" thread, because it's more important than that. What this guy is screaming about is true for every kind of activism on the planet. Ask anyone who has tried to start a Free Republic chapter, and you will hear the same noises. There are always four or five people who show up every time and bust their butts, and that's kinda where it stays for most efforts. If you're lucky, a new one shows up about the time one of the others burns out.
I don't think anything can be done about that; it seems to be real life.
Once in a blue moon, one of these things somehow acquires escape velocity, and becomes the NRA or Americans for Tax Reform. But that is so rare that we should value these things when they happen.
Free Republic is such a thing. It has achieved escape velocity. It never seems like that during a fundraiser, but in fact we usually hit the number, the site goes on, and even gets bigger. And it is continually spinning off little activist cells like Second Amendment Sisters, FairPress.org, chapters all around the country, etc. Maybe one day some of them will hit escape velocity as well. We can hope.
But it is really tough to make one of these go. That so many fail should not surprise us.
I see by your home page, all you can do is talk.And type too, apparently. Learn to infer from known facts. It's a transferable skill.
You, basically, dismissed everything she wrote, without knowing anything about either group.Yes I did. Simpler, saner hypotheses suggest themselves for why these two small, completely insignificant groups failed. Blaming the entire population of gun owners is as risible as it is indefensible.
Is Keep And Bear Arms.com and Gun News Daily, also completely insignificant groups?Only to the degree that significance is reducible to effectiveness.
Gee did'nt I just get this in the mail last week?Yeah. Me too. These people have taken whining to a whole new level.
She's not a guy, but Nick, you are dead right. Always the same people show up whether it's for some activity for the kids, or some social group. My regimental association has almost 400 members in the local chapter, of whom the same 15 to 25 show up at the monthly meetings (there is often some living legend of a speaker, too). NOBODY wants to run for the chapter offices.
Local EAA chapter (experimental aircraft ass'n) is the same way. Same six guys volunteer for everything. EVERY chapter is like that, from what I hear.
It's just the way it is. You know the story of The Little Red Hen... "who will help me bake the cake?"
Criminal Number 18F
You forgot the phone calls also .. it's gotten to the point I have turned off the ringer and just let the answering machine pick up all my calls
I was president of one such group which lasted two years. Despite pending legislation at the time to ban many semi-auto firearms, I found that the concerned few (about 50 of some 15000+ local gunowners) were the ones who owned and really loved these firearms. Everyone else seemed to feel that it wasn't their gun at peril or (conveniently) bought into the rhetoric that 'you don't need an AK-47 to go deer hunting.'
We are foolish to think we are not fractionated into target shooters, plinkers, hunters (of many sorts), handgunners, shotgunners, and folks who like black powder only, as well as a plethora of other splinterings. 'I don't have one of those, they're not after my shotgun.' was heard an amazing number of times. We are even more foolish if we, for an instant, think that our opponents will fail to fully exploit our non-monolithic nature.
Perhaps it is only a convenient excuse to not be involved, but such excuses may, ultimately be the end of firearms rights.
Odd, too, how many who ballyhoo about 'cold dead fingers' won't ante up a little cold cash to help keep things from ever reaching that point.
That said, you have to get your message out. You have to put a little fun in the program, it can't sell nowadays if it is all fight, fight, fight. People tire all too readily of gloom, doom, or just conflict (sad but true), and need to let their hair down a bit. Otherwise, you are limited to the scant few who thrive on conflict, and that is not always a good thing.
Beyond that you have to feel as if you are making a difference, and while our situation was good locally, our people in Washington listened to deep pocketed national interests and turned a deaf ear on our concerns, knowing full well that the farm vote, Social Security, and Medicare would pork them into office, no matter what we said or did.--Rural area, aging demographic.
While it (the organization)gave us a venue to track legislation, the same can be done now by die-hards on the internet. The rest who can quote sports statistics ad infinitum, claim they can't keep track of politics (too complicated). The simple reality is that you can't argue these people in, can't force them to help, and so, it is ultimately up to them. The worst mistake I saw was an editorialist who ranted at the nonmembers, while preaching to the choir. Turned off people on both sides of the line.
Whatever the excuses, ours is a society which is being increasingly programmed to let "the experts" take over and tend to every facet of our lives. If that isn't fertile ground for socialism, I don't know what is.
Yes, to an extent. However, most people find it more convenient to give money than to give time. And most groups should recognize this. Yes, optimally, wouldn't everyone love to get both? However, managing volunteers for long term growth can get very difficult and time-consuming. Given the opinionated folks who populate gun groups, I think it makes it even harder.
If you're lucky, a new one shows up about the time one of the others burns out.
True - I've heard that your average volunteer lasts about 2 years. And then there are the die-hards among us.
And it is continually spinning off little activist cells like Second Amendment Sisters, FairPress.org, chapters all around the country, etc. Maybe one day some of them will hit escape velocity as well. We can hope. And it is continually spinning off little activist cells like Second Amendment Sisters, FairPress.org, chapters all around the country, etc. Maybe one day some of them will hit escape velocity as well. We can hope.
The next time a little activist cell ends up on a TV show such as John Walsh (jerk) or has a documentary focused on them (as the Guns and Mothers PBS special is) within weeks of each other, let me know. I think SAS has gone beyond being an activist cell. True, our profile doesn't seem to be that high here at FR, but I know that I barely have the time to post over here anymore. And, having a strong precence here requires being around a lot.
While I don't think we have hit escape velocity yet, I believe we will eventually.
I think maintaining an organization needs to be run VERY much like a business, not only in reaching solvency but reaching new members, and so forth. Take 'product' differentiation and target markets, for example. SAS offers a very single-minded and new approach of focusing on the angle of self defense being a basic human right. Yes, the NRA does this to an extent, but it is WAY down on their list. (Some national volunteers attending the NRA convention this year can attest).
Our market is the undecided middle comprised of people who agree with our arguments, but don't know it yet. The choir is very important - don't get me wrong, but using the 'cold dead hands' approach will alienate many new people.
SAS is soft on the delivery, but hard on the stance. That alone sets us apart from others.
People tire all too readily of gloom, doom, or just conflict (sad but true), and need to let their hair down a bit.
100% agree! But it's hard to change the approach of your leading volunteer-warriors. And not only are people tired of it, but they also DO NOT like to be lectured about not doing enough. That certainly won't make them want to do anything to help a given organization. I think the best approach is a tiered approach of activism, eg here is something you can do if you can spare 5 minutes; and if you can spare an hour...; and so forth.
Which is exactly the OPPOSITE of what the gun-grabbers do, so I think it's a losing strategy.
When you see their documents saying that such and such is endorsed by these 100 groups, it makes it look more impressive. Their ideas seem to have a variety of people from all segments of society agreeing with them (remember the band-wagon approach?).
I'm not saying that you should be in every gun group you can, but I think you should certainly be in more than one. Heck - I could create 2 more groups with VERY different angles within a heart-beat. And eventually, I will, once I can cut down my time with SAS. I'm not necessarily making a plug for SAS, but I do believe that haviong more groups out there is better.
But the constant fundraising mail gets old. I know they have to replace members and try to grow but it's a bit much.
True, but money is needed for practically everything - ads, letterhead, envelopes, newsletters, and so forth. We made a decision early on to limit our targeted fundraising letters for SAS to only once or twice a year. Yes, we could make more money if we did it like the other groups, but our board is too much like you - we get tired of the letters we receive.
I admit to a bit of a bias here, as I am very involved in Second Amendment Sisters, being one of the co-founder of that organization. We were formed when we saw that the (not nearly a) million moms decided to descend on Washington, as though they spoke for all women. They surely didn't speak for us, and we have found that they didn't speak for a lot of other women, either.
I think that SAS appeals to women because it lets us speak out as women. It is not a male-dominated group, therefore women can't be intimidated by the sort of guy who views us as somehow not as important in this fight for our rights--and there are those kinds of men out there, though thankfully not in the majority.
Second Amendment Sisters is a one-issue organization: Self Defense is a Basic Human Right. That's it--nothing more, nothing less. Of course, if our basic right to gun ownership is taken away, then we are all doomed, so we must constantly fight on the front of saving the Second Amendment.
Many women have historically been intimidated by guns--they have been ingrained with the view that guns are dangerous, manly objects, and therefore, they are afraid of guns. We are here to point out that everyone--especially women-- is responsible for their own self defense. We try to get women to see that they can be empowered to take care of themselves during a life-threatening episode with a criminal. Therefore, it is our focus to teach women as much as we can about self defense.
I have read the rant posted above several times, and have many disagreements with it. In the first place, the fact that it is a rant disturbs me. I don't think we will get anywhere with trying to badger people into doing things. I think it is more effective to try to persuade people to see the issues, and once they do, they will naturally want to do what they can to help further the cause.
SAS started right her on FreeRepublic, and it was freepers who did so much to help us get started. We will always be grateful to Jim Robinson and the freepers who joined us at the beginning, and continue to join us today. Without freepers, there would never have been a Second Amendment Sisters, and I hope you will be gratified to know that SAS contiues to grow by leaps and bounds.
We try very hard not to be stident and demanding, but rather to bring people into the fight as we convince them that it's a fight worth fighting. When you can convince a woman that by learning safe gun practives, and training and practicing shooting, she can level the playing field against a person (usually male) who has criminal intent to her or her children, then you have a person who will join you and become a Second Amendment crusader.
As many of you know, SAS is now recognized on the national scene. While the appearance of our spokesperson on the John Walsh Show was a bit of an ambush by him and his producers, it has led to lots of positive publicity for us. Of course, we were well known before then, or we would never have been asked to be on the show. Please remember, by the way, to check your local PBS schedule for a program called Moms and Guns this coming week, when once again, SAS will be featured. Surprisingly for PBS, this appears to be an almost balanced program.
Some of the things brought out in the article posted above, I can relate to. It IS a constant worry to find and keep good volunteers, and to raise enough money to keep the wolf away from the door, but it can be done. (By the way, that last statement can be considered as a big HINT-LOL! We do need more working volunteers, and we do have a constant need for money!) We are planning another national rally in May of 2004, so watch for further announcements about it, and if at all possible, plan to join us in DC for the rally. Wouldn't it be great to outnumber the other group this time?
The thing is that if this is truly a worthwhile fight, there will always be people who will feel deeply about it, and some of those people will become workers in the crusade, without badgering, or being put down.
So, all of you like-minded Americans, LET"S ROLL!
The road to He!! is paved with good intentions. HOWEVER, good intentions will not change the world. You must have support. The good thing is - quality will overcome quantity on occasion. The Columbia Infinite FReep group has a core of 4 to 7 FReepers vs 15 to 30 leftist, anti government, anti war idiots but we make our facts known. (yes, I would love to see some of our apathetic FReepers show up to help but I'm not waiting on my duff for them to show). I think several people who have posted on this thread are right - don't expect others to fight your battles, do something!
And I'm one of them. Could it be that these organizations were completely incomptent? I'm betting on it.
That said, many 'traditional' gun groups were the domain of the male, (although this is changing), and old intimidations die hard, (especially when that l'il gal outshoots all the guys--my wife, I know I'll keep her!!). Times are changing, thankfully.
The people I have a hard time understanding are the ones who have given up all hope of reversing the trend, who won't get involved, but claim they will be ready to pick up arms and fight for their rights if it reaches that point. All well and good, but why not avoid that level of conflict with peaceful means? Maybe they simply do not comprehend that if things reach that level, we all lose, no matter who wins.
In many ways our group 'died a natural death', as the perception of 1: being able to make meaningful headway against the mid Clinton antigun blitz was lost. Anyone who had even read the Constitution was being branded as a sicko wacko potential baby killer by the media, and the big three networks were all the TV besides cable (which was just as bad) that these people were exposed to--at least until Rush. It seemed that any time someone spoke up for Second Amendment Rights, another school shooting, Port Arthur in Tasmania, Dunsblane Scotland, Stockton California, Columbine, etc. were blasted over the airwaves. Businessmen in a small community shrank from being vocal for fear that they would be ill percieved and lose their means of making a living. Oddly enough many of the 'we'll fight if it comes to that' crowd was in these ranks. 2: The perception of being able to unseat entrenched Dems in Federal Elections was lost (although successive candidates have been progressively closer to the mark), and 3: the perceived need on a state/local basis was simply not there (the state/local government here is pretty firearms friendly).
What many do not realize is that the numbers game is important in Washington. If everyone tears the card off the NRA mailing and sends it in, that goes on the wall chart as 1 group. If a hundred smaller groups mail in letters, then 100 groups have spoken one way or another on the issue and while the opposition/support may not seem monolithic, the diversity which can be represented there will give the impression that this issue covers a larger voting base.
Cover the biggies with diverse factions: Senior Citizens, Women, Minorities--ethnic and religious, etc. If the perception is present that the wrong stance on an issue will cost votes from all sectors of the voting base, the elected representative is more likely to listen. Neatly handwritten letters, postmarked within the district, are the most likely to be read.
I have seen microphone time in public forums go to only one spokesperson per group, so it helps to have more groups at some levels.
Probably nothing here you don't allready know, I guess I'm doing another postmortem of sorts, but local groups in relatively small areas have a hard time reaching that escape velocity. I believe that activities concerning the RKBA are probably better recieved as a secondary activity of a group with another primary focus, be it target shooting, hunting, or whatever, at least in local venues with limited potential for growth. On a national basis, and even some large cities, the focus can be primarily on the RKBA, simply because of the larger potential membership base.
Give us another chance and we'll sure take you up on your offer to help out.