Day by Day

Monday, December 15, 2008

Infighting

Kevin Baker put up a post that has brought out the worst of the pro-gun camp. It got so bad that one person was banned.

The "Three Percenters" referenced by Mr. Baker haven't exactly made a good showing. One thing that really chaps my hide is how many of them have insulted Kim du Toit, but I'll get to that in a moment.

When Patrick Henry made his "Give me liberty, or give me death" speech, he was already known as a firebrand. In fact, he was known to be outspoken well before the Revolutionary War. Consider him to be the historical equivalent to the modern-day Three Percenters, those gunnies who are just as outspoken about their freedoms as Patrick Henry was in his day.

Patrick Henry set a spark to tinder, to use a metaphorical phrase. He was the blazing torch thrust into a pile of hay. But in order to have that hay set alight, someone had to pile it up first.

In order for spark to be set to tinder, someone has to gather the tinder and pile it together for it to burn.

Here's where the Three Percenters seem to miss their mark. The blogger who got banned, one Billy Beck, was vitriolic to the extreme, and not just to the anti-freedom, pro-Obama crowd. He was vitriolic to the people who are on his side, but who disagreed about the rubrics of the argument. It's like two people arguing about how to scramble eggs - one person wants to use a fork, one wants to use a whisk, and the person who advocates for using the fork starts screaming at the person who wants to use the whisk. At some point, the person who wants to use the whisk is going to say "You know what? Fuck it. I'll pass on the eggs." and walk away.

You cannot alienate your allies, unless you want to stand all by your lonesome when the enemy starts charging.

But perhaps the most important part is this: as bad as it is to alienate your allies, it's just as bad if not worse to alienate the people who you want to win to your side. Which is why the vitriol against Kim du Toit pisses me off quite a bit.

So the Three Percenters are pro-gun, pro-freedom, fine, yes, we got it. They are the firebrands, ready to set the tinder on fire. Gotcha, no problem with that. But just who the hell do they think is setting that tinder up?

Kim du Toit is responsible for getting thousands of people into shooting, some after a long absence, but most for the very first time. His essays have been used to convince recalcitrant spouses and significant others to try shooting, or to overcome the resistance to buying a gun. And the people that he influenced have in turn gone on to influence others, bringing even more people into the shooting camp. That's thousands of people who before didn't give a damn about guns, or were opposed to personal gun ownership, who have now been brought over to the pro-gun, pro-freedom side.

I don't know how many people Billy Beck has brought over to the pro-freedom side of the argument. But based on his internet writing style, I'd have to say "Not many". I could be wrong. He could be as sweet as a lamb in person. But people who savage their possible allies online probably don't change their attitude much offline. Beck would probably say some not-so-nice things to me just for challenging him on his attitude. Fine. THAT'S MY WHOLE POINT. Let's say that the Three Percenter's worst nightmare comes true, and the military is marching around trying to take people's guns. Just who the hell does he want knocking at his door? Some guy who's looking at him as the enemy, or someone like me? Because I've thought this over quite a bit given who the Media just elected as President. What happens if I get the order to confiscate guns?

I'm looking at two possibilities - the first is to tell my commander that the order is unconstitutional. But that would get me relieved rather quickly, and possibly tossed in Ft. Leavenworth, where I can't do a damn bit of good to anyone.

The second, which is what I'm leaning towards, is to walk into a house and not see a damn thing, even if they have an entire arsenal laid out on the livingroom floor. "Guns? No guns here, Sir. Next!" And make sure that my troops underneath me do the same damn thing. Can one man make a difference? Yes, especially if he has a platoon following his lead.

I'm the guy Billy Beck wants on his side, not arguing with him. I'm his ally, not his enemy. But if he's going to prosecute me for not agreeing with him on every little detail, then chances are he's not going to want me standing side by side with him either.

More to the point, if I'm going to be outcast by the Three Percenter crowd for not going along with every little damn thing they demand, then just what's going to happen to the people who can be swayed to our side but aren't there yet? Sometimes to win an argument, you need gentle nudges to get the other side to see what you're saying.

Now I'm not talking about the hard-core Lefties. As far as I'm concerned, they're a lost cause. We might be able to convert one or two here or there, but the Left as a whole has been indoctrinated to the point that they can no longer recognize what is up and what is down, and will in fact spend their entire day trying to tell you that up is in fact down, black is in fact white, and there is no absolute truth. I don't care about converting them, I care about shoving them aside and trying to make sure they can't do any more damage to my country. But there is still a huge swath in the middle who hasn't made up their minds yet. Hell, there's plenty of those folks who haven't even seen the argument from our side yet. It's not that they're anti-freedom, it's that we haven't had a chance to convince them. Lumping them in with the Left and lambasting them is NOT the way to win them to our side!

I know that someone who's nom de cyber is "Ragin' Dave" is probably the last guy you would expect to argue for moderation. Look, there's a need for H.E. rounds in this war. But you had damn well make sure those rounds aren't aimed at your own troops, otherwise you won't have anyone to fight with you against the enemy. You do not shoot at the folks who are recruiting people to your side. And to force this already-tortured analogy even further, you do NOT shoot at the people in the middle who are holding rifles and wondering which side to shoot at.

We needed Patrick Henry. We also needed Thomas Jefferson, and Samuel Adams. We need the firebrands, and we need the less abrasive recruiters. We need those people who are a driving force, but we also need those people who can convince the fence-sitters to hop down on our side.

We cannot win against the anti-freedom forces in ones and twos. And we need a hell of a lot more than three percent of the population if it comes to a shooting war. If it comes down to flying bullets, I'm going to have to choose not just where to make my stand, but who to make it with. Are my cohorts the people who say "Sure, we quibble on the details, but we're together on the big items", or the people who say "AGREE WITH EVERYTHING I SAY OR GO FUCK OFF AND DIE!".

I know where I'll make my stand. The question that remains is who I'll make my stand with. I'm hoping those three percent will break out of their shell and see that we're on their side.

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