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fourthcorner
04-21-2005, 10:14 AM
Long time, no see folks (for those of you who have met me here months ago). I am posting the letter I wrote to the NRA, because I am afraid that the organization has started to slide away from single-issue advocacy on behalf of gun rights. This is of great concern to me and may well be of great concern to some of you. So here goes:

April 21, 2005

To Wayne LaPierre:

I have been a gun-rights advocate for over fifteen years, and for over fifteen years—despite the frowns and cajoles of many of my friends--I have been sending the NRA my annual membership dues with the understanding that this is a single-issue lobby fighting for my rights under the Second Amendment. As a certified handgun instructor, I have provided many of my skeptical friends with their first experiences of handling and shooting a firearm, and I have managed to convince dozens of these urban, liberal, San Francisco Bay Area denizens to take a second look at the Second Amendment and its purpose and utility for the United States. How’s that for advocacy?
I cannot tell you how shocked and disappointed I was to learn that the NRA used this year’s Houston convention not as an opportunity to strengthen solidarity around this single issue of “keep and bear” but, instead, stooped to vitriolic mud-slinging on behalf of the political right in the partisan culture war. By hiring an emcee, Charlie Daniels, who opened the convention with left-bashing invective such as “silly...unrealistic...cadre of save-the-whales and kill-the-babies pantywaists”, your organization has managed to UNDO fifteen years of my gentle persuasion that the NRA truly is a single-issue group worth considering despite all the local rhetoric against it. By opening the door to extraneous and controversial issues such as environmentalism and abortion, the NRA is alienating a significant minority of liberals and moderates who quietly believe in gun rights. I would urge you not to do that. I would urge you, instead, to start making the culture of your organization a little more comfortable for the rest of us.
Last I checked, the NRA did not advertise itself as a fraternity, a church, or a group of apologists for the republican party. My understanding is that it is supposed to be a single-issue activist organization that welcomes gun-owners and gun-rights supporters from ALL walks of life no matter WHAT their views on other issues may be. Sadly, I would have walked out of that convention in Houston, and I know I am not alone among gun-owners. Here I am fighting your fight on some of the toughest turf in the country when it comes to hostility towards gun ownership, and guess what? It was ME your emcee was calling a “pantywaist” in easy-on-guns Houston. How brave. How mature.
It is my sincere hope that the NRA will, in the future, consider making itself more attractive to ALL OF US who would support your organization on the single issue of firearms rights. I understand that the culture of the organization is conservative, but my line of tolerance has now been crossed and I am urging you to enact some change in this area. My membership renewal, in fact, will DEPEND upon such change.

bwiese
04-21-2005, 11:09 AM
Hi Julie...

The NRA is generally politically smart - it tries to build relations with both Democrat and Republican politicians whenever possible. It does also offer some appeal to 'mainstream America' even if generally voting Democrat, and tries to bring gun issues to these folks' uppermost consideration (as opposed to voting what their union mind-control folks tell them to...)

It generally tries, as overall policy, to not demonize Democrat politicians and voters and go after gungrabber personalities instead. For example, Harry Reid and Howard Dean both got NRA A ratings for their progun voting history.

The NRA membership - as opposed to the organization - will have a certain degree of tilt to its politics. It's only rational, for example, that most people who believe in fundamental freedoms - including gun rights - don't want to be taxed to death or punished for attainment. And conventions, after all, are for the "converted" to feel good, celebrate, etc.

But don't expect vegetarians to thrive or be happy around a barbecue convention. It's not the purpose.

The lefty people you speak of trying to bring in the fold may indeed support gun rights of some flavor. However, they more than likely are not single-issue or near-single-issue voters, which makes their support lukewarm at best and of relatively little utility. These are the people that will still nod with approval whenever Barbara Boxer speaks.

A yearly convention - for any organization - is designed to maintain solidarity, and is less for garnering new members than stopping old ones from fading away. It's far easier to raise money from your existing base than to get it from new sources, too.

But some of this is about money, too. The NRA is only effective at all because it can RAISE money, MANAGE money, and use MONEY as a political WEAPON. By fundraising standards, I'd bet the demographics of the folks you speak of include the often underemployed and/or those with low-paying "civic" jobs and with minimal marketable skills to get higher-paying jobs despite maybe having lots of fancy degrees (something like the proverbial Art History Ph.D that has to drive a taxicab).

These people will NEVER be the folks that mail in an extra $500 to the NRA on a whim, join as life members, or write the NRA into their life insurance policies or wills.

The NRA will raise more money, repeatedly, from having Charlie Daniels talk than any cluster of slightly pro-gun social welfare workers could ever donate over their lifetimes.

Additionally, your speaking of 'environmentalism' cuts both ways to the general NRA membership. Everyone's in favor of not dumping chemicals down the river, etc. but when access to more & more land is cut off for hunting or outdoor activities that's an attack on 2/3 of the NRA membership. They see 'environmentalists' doing this - and/or raising the prices on gasoline, etc. (And look at the attacks on 4-wheelers out in the desert.) People wearing Birkenstocks just don't have much credibility in the real world, and these 'environmentalists' are seen for what they are: a fringe element.

Bill Wiese
San Jose

fourthcorner
04-21-2005, 12:05 PM
Hi Bill,

You raise many good points (and you're an excellent writer...which makes this almost fun). I will agree with you that the NRA does a good job at rating politicians in a non-partisan manner and that any political organization must try to maximize its financial muscle--even at the risk of alienating "fringe" members.

You made a number of assertions, however, that are simply incorrect: You say "it's only rational that people who believe in fundamental freedoms" will agree with most other issues on the conservative agenda. As a 3rd year law student currently studying constitutional law, I can assure you that there is VERY LITTLE agreement on what constitutes a "fundamental freedom". Many people, for example, consider the right to an abortion to be a "fundamental freedom". I would assert that the only "fundamental freedom" you (and the NRA for that matter) ought to take for granted as a shared ethos of the membership is the freedom to keep and bear arms.

Regarding your assertion that an NRA convention such as the one in Houston should only serve the as a back-slapping feel-good party for the already-entrenched, I could not disagree more. The media attended this event and had a field day making the gun lobby look like a bunch of good-ole-boys with an agenda and culture that would cause even moderate conservatives to bristle. The NRA could easily reward its membership--BBQ and all--in a way that "feels good" to the meat and potatoes people without going SO FAR to alienate everyone else. There is a lot of middle ground there that the NRA could have taken without trampling on public relations.

Finally, the consituency I address in my letter--the urban liberals and moderates who I have invited to shoot and "converted" to the pro-gun side--are hardly "fringe" people who will never be able or willing to write a $500 check to the NRA. They are, in fact, about to become lawyers.

P.S. You should see the Mendocino ladies in Birkenstocks kick butt at the IDPA shoots up in Fort Bragg!

bwiese
04-21-2005, 12:37 PM
Julie,

I'll have to keep insisting that the prime goal of most organizations like NRA, Red Cross, Greenpeace, etc. is to keep the $$$ coming in the door.

I doubt Greenpeace would, for example, make parley with folks like me who are rabidly pro-nuclear power. They'd lose $$ from their 'base'.

Marketeers, too, know that it's much easier to sell products to an existing customer base and costs 10X more to reach a new customer: once he's had even moderately favorable contact with your firm he's more (and more cheaply) reachable, approachable, etc.

I guess my bottom line is - why waste time on special catering to this segment of people, of only 5% who might share elements of progun beliefs, and who would likely never vote for a progun person because their other issues are always a priority? If they come, be polite and nice. But Charlie Daniels was "speaking to his audience" (which would include me even though I listen to classical music http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

NRA conventions are big moneymakers for NRA. People go there for cameraderie with like-minded folks. I - and many others - feel far more kinship with suits & ties or jeans & boots crowd than the veggie-Birkenstock crowd. (And anyone wanting to wear shoes THAT ugly certainly could not have good taste in guns!!)

[BTW, as an aside, not all lawyers make money. A significant fraction in CA make quite a bit less than $80K, which ain't too much in a metro area with loans to pay back. In fact, CA is overlawyered.]


Bill Wiese
San Jose

fourthcorner
04-21-2005, 1:22 PM
Thank you, Bill, for your "bottom line"--which I interpret as a combination of a marketing and a cultural argument.

A marketing analogy might be more appropriate as a "bottom line" if the NRA were merely trying to sell a product...and if the consequences of not selling to the untested customer base were simply "less profit". Unfortunately, we are NOT merely talking about finding cost-effective ways to sell a product. We are talking about politics and about law, and the cost of losing the legal right to keep and bear arms is not measurable in dollars. With so much more at stake than mere marketing, it is critical for the NRA to risk a little cultural discomfort in an effort to grab people who actually consider each political issue on its own terms--rather than just seating themselves in the MOST comfortable, MOST "cost-effective" armchair in the house. Is there a balance to be struck? Yes, for sure. Even gun-toting radical lefties will probably continue to hate the culture of the NRA. But that balance was NOT struck when Charlie Daniels spoke out of his "arse" in Houston. Those words would be insulting to a large chunk of people who consider themselves politically moderate--a significant minority of whom also happen to hunt or value self-defense as an option.

All that being said, I agree with you 100% that Birkenstocks are the world's ugliest footwear. I happen to eat meat (although I prefer it to be free-range) and support game hunting as the most humane method on earth of getting it. I can honestly say that I enjoy and keep company with people of both the conservative and liberal ilk, and I personally do not give a rip if a person voted for Bush or Kerry (or, for that matter, how they prefer to dress or what sort of music they listen to) as long as they have intelligence, a sense of humor, and integrity within whatever belief system they do hold. My friends come in Birkenstocks and in cowboy boots, and I find that the best time is had when delegates from BOTH camps are sharing BBQ. But I won't be sharing space with Charlie Daniels anytime soon.
--Julie

bwiese
04-21-2005, 3:01 PM
Hi Julie,

After this I'll just let this close, and merely say that successful political/fundraising organizations like NRA do NOT really worry about the perceptions of any 'outsiders'.

This was discussed on some kind of political roundtable TV show a few years ago, when various chatterboxes were quibbling about Charlton Heston becoming NRA's leader. One young journalist naively commented that NRA should 'reach out' to others, 'moderate' its position, etc. Right then a more experienced commentator - was it Chris Matthews? - revealed he understood the process, and said Heston's #1 job was to keep the base 'pumped up' and money coming in the door, and that the NRA was really not different from other issue organizations - other than its overall success. A bit of bombast, with a "cold dead fingers" statement and upraised rifle helps do this quite well.

The opinions of outsiders are quite moot, since generally we gunnies vote "guns first", while other folks - even if antigun - generally consider firearms way down the list on voting priorities (often 6th-8th on list of priorities). So even if NRA scares off the blissninnies with a bit of noisy flair (remember the "jackbooted thugs" quote?) it will not compromise any elections. In areas predominantly Democrat, the antigun stance comes as part of politician's baggage - esp if he's getting funds from bigshots in party (DiFi, Schumer, etc. all pass out/share funds to/with politicians of smaller political scale...)

Whether the NRA gets an extra person here or there to vote progun is probably relatively moot - esp in areas where any progun vote is diluted beyond recognition (SF Bay Area). SF is, unfortunately, not a 'swing area'. But in areas where a politician wavers and a race may be competetive (i.e, not CA or NY or MA), NRA can kick its base into action and generate calls & postcards that may make a politician thinking about voting 'badly' actually have second thoughts...

Even if NRA can't necessarily deliver votes in a certain area, it sometimes can supply opponents with dollars which must be opposed, burning politician's and party's money.

Now, from my personal standpoint, even if someone is a shooter/gunnie, some of his politics DO make a difference to me, and are about as important as gun issue(s). If he's for higher taxes for any of a variety of things, he's in effect saying that he wants to steal some of my time. I'm pretty busy now, so my spare time is quite precious: that person is, in effect, thus saying he wants to shorten the free portion of my life. Without too much of a stretch, this could be considered "fractional murder".


Bill Wiese
San Jose

fourthcorner
04-21-2005, 7:54 PM
Hi again Bill,

No problem here with holding up a rifle and saying "cold dead fingers". That speaks precisely to the issue that NRA members care most about. You'd get a cheer out of me, too, at that moment. Charlie Daniels, as I've already pointed out ad nauseum, went far beyond the gun issue in his cheerleading. My point is EXACTLY that lifting a rife and saying "cold dead fingers" WILL DO THE CAMARADERIE JOB WELL ENOUGH.

Regarding your unwillingness to share space at a BBQ with people who disagree with you on OTHER issues, let me say this: When I become a prosecuting attorney, what is what I plan to do after passing the bar, I will be making decisions about what "stealing" and "murder" are according to law. I highly doubt that anyone who claims to value "fundamental freedoms" would like to see the day that "fractional murder" (i.e. disagreement about tax policy) is taken seriously as a crime. I am not "stealing" from you. I am not writing the tax laws. I am merely voting. Welcome to democracy.

There are all sorts of clubs, fraternities, and support groups where one can go to "feel good" by virtue of being surrounded by people who agree with us on most of our views. The NRA, however, is for people who agree on ONE view--the right to keep and bear arms. It's strength lies not in its acting as a "feel-good" fraternity or men's club but as a single issue organization.

The truth is that exit polls taken during the 1982 defeat of Prop 15 (the handgun ban initiative) showed that 66% of CA self-classified conservatives voted against the ban (no surprise there). However, 64% of self-classified liberals ALSO voted AGAINST the ban. You scoff at "5%" of liberals not being worth the NRA's efforts to cultivate as members. The reality is that a MUCH higher percentage of liberals support gun rights at various levels. However, even taking your "5%" statistic as a hypothesis, an increase in the NRA's membership by 5% means 50,000 new members. Do the math. This should be enough money to keep a hand over Charlie Daniels' mouth and limit him to what he's better at.

Most sincerely,
Julie

04-22-2005, 12:14 AM
Originally posted by bwiese:
After this I'll just let this close, and merely say that <span class="ev_code_RED">successful political/fundraising organizations like NRA do NOT really worry about the perceptions of any 'outsiders'.</span>

(snip)

The opinions of outsiders are quite moot, since generally we gunnies vote "guns first", while other folks - even if antigun - generally consider firearms way down the list on voting priorities (often 6th-8th on list of priorities). <span class="ev_code_RED">So even if NRA scares off the blissninnies with a bit of noisy flair (remember the "jackbooted thugs" quote?) it will not compromise any elections.</span>


Bah!

Please...
So when Wayne LaPierre apologized for those comments made in the now infamous, "jack-booted thugs" fundraising letter, he wasn't being image-conscious in regards to the NRA?
Yeah right...

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here, Bill, as perhaps you forgot that part of the story, but if ever there was an example proving exactly the opposite of your initial premise on this post, the "jack-booted thugs" comment is it.

04-22-2005, 12:28 AM
Originally posted by Julie:

I will agree with you that the NRA does a good job at rating politicians in a non-partisan manner and that any political organization must try to maximize its financial muscle--even at the risk of alienating "fringe" members.

I disagree with that first part. If anything, that is one of the NRA's biggest failings; the consistent endorsement of lukewarm candidates being pumped up as saviours, to near demigod status and continuously dubbed as "defenders of the 2nd Amendment".
Look no further than Bush Jr. for this. Look at how in spite of what I consider his rabidly anti-gun comments about renewing the Federal AWB, the NRA devoted all sorts of time and attention to campaign for the man and sell him to members as being that "defender of liberty".
The gun-owner Bush apologists may have bought it, but I certainly didn't.
If ever there was an example of the NRA's overwhelming fondness for prioritization of Republican candidates over their real purported issue (gun rights), then this was it.

Don't get me wrong, Julie, I like your letter as it speaks the truth. It especially speaks the truth that the NRA just can't figure out that alienating the fence-sitters by use of their Charlie Daniels tactics is just plain stupid.

fourthcorner
04-22-2005, 12:29 AM
Thank you Basura.

04-22-2005, 12:34 AM
http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

...and you reminded me that I need to renew my membership that expired in February too.

Thanks Julie.

http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Spotted Owl
04-22-2005, 9:12 AM
Why has NRA membership been so low compared to the number of gun owners (4 million members out of 80 million gun owners)?

Is it apathy, unwillingness to associate with an organization consistently demonized by the media, or something else entirely?

I imagine that an NRA with 20 or 40 million members would be something that no politician could ignore.

fourthcorner
04-22-2005, 9:28 AM
thank you spotted owl

soopafly
04-22-2005, 10:01 AM
Thanks Basura. For a while, I thought I was the only one who remembers Bush saying he would sign an extension on the federal AWB if it passed congress. What he should be doing is getting Cali to fall in line with the rest of the country with regards to 2nd amendment rights.

bwiese
04-22-2005, 10:07 AM
Spotted Owl...

SpottedOwl wrote:
Why has NRA membership been so low compared to the number of gun owners (4 million out of 80 million gun owners)?

Is it apathy, unwillingness to associate with an organization consistently demonized by the media, or something else entirely?

General apathy, too cheap to spend $30+/yr, along with the "I don't wanna be on someone's list, they'll know I have guns" types.

Then there's the 'duck hunters' who see their activities as "outdoors" instead of "gun sports", and don't see their gunrights threatened - "it's just a shotgun".


BasuraBlanca wrote:
So when Wayne LaPierre apologized for those comments made in the now infamous, "jack-booted thugs" fundraising letter, he wasn't being image-conscious in regards to the NRA?
Yeah right...

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here, Bill, as perhaps you forgot that part of the story, but if ever there was an example proving exactly the opposite of your initial premise on this post, the "jack-booted thugs" comment is it.

Yes, I forgot about the apology - and now that I recall it, in my mind this was a BIG mistake for WLP - though I do think it was a panicked response because the President himself was involved, and continuing that level dialogue with Bush I (as opposed to other lesser public figures - media, actors, Congressmen, etc.) might have actually been counterproductive. Or, it could have been nicely and rationally duplicitous: raising money w/letter, then publicly distancing himself from a position that was "miswritten", etc.

They ARE jackbooted thugs. They're low-IQ. (BATF consistently gets rejects from other Fed LE organizations, and BATF guys, on average, have lower combined scores from FLETC (Fed Law Enforcement Training Center) school in Georgia. So, you have the dumbest (BATF) of the dumb (bureaucrats) with a lust for power. No wonder bad things happen.

Also, remember this was pre-Clinton, pre-AWB. I think NRA had a bit less fight in them then, and didn't as balls-to-the-wall as they are now. I think if WLP made that comment now, he wouldn't back down.

And do remember this: Bush I lost!! The Perot factor sucked quite a few gunowners into that camp - I wonder if Bush I hadn't appeared as antigun if he wouldn't have narrowed his 39mil vs Clinton's 44mil somewhat - that difference is about the size of the NRA membership.

BasuraBlanca wrote:
If anything, that is one of the NRA's biggest failings; the consistent endorsement of lukewarm candidates being pumped up as saviours, to near demigod status and continuously dubbed as "defenders of the 2nd Amendment". Look no further than Bush Jr. for this. Look at how in spite of what I consider his rabidly anti-gun comments about renewing the Federal AWB, the NRA devoted all sorts of time and attention to campaign for the man and sell him to members as being that "defender of liberty".

It depends on how tight the overall situation is. There is always the danger of someone way worse falling into place, and I'm sure their electoral people look at that.

With current progun balance (not by party) in Senate/House, I think finer details on "how" progun a legislator is can now emerge. NRA has raised the bar; it's made further Fed gun control somewhat of a nonstarter, and now can start demanding better ideological purity.

I'm sure Bush Jr. (via Karl Rove) _knew_ how important AWB renewal was to gun owners. Given closely contested election he didn't wanna lose some "security soccer moms". The end result is what counted: "Gee, if they send me a bill I'll sign it" - knowing it would never happen with Congress/Senate composition.

The NRA showed it was willing to kill its own children too: when AW renewal stuff was included in an earlier gun lawsuit preemption bill, the whole bill was stifled.


Bill Wiese
San Jose

fourthcorner
04-22-2005, 10:22 AM
And do remember this: Bush I lost!! The Perot factor sucked quite a few gunowners into that camp

The Perot camp--now THAT'S where the low-IQ people went! But EVEN THEY are welcome at my bar-be-cue as long as they are safe with guns. http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

bwiese
04-22-2005, 10:25 AM
Hi Julie...

Julie wrote:
Charlie Daniels, as I've already pointed out ad nauseum, went far beyond the gun issue in his cheerleading. My point is EXACTLY that lifting a rife and saying "cold dead fingers" WILL DO THE CAMARADERIE JOB WELL ENOUGH.


Again, marketing. The people going to NRA conventions generally are of that ilk. You're not gonna draw crowds at an NRA convention with either Garrick Ohlsson or hip-hop.

When I become a prosecuting attorney, what is what I plan to do after passing the bar, I will be making decisions about what "stealing" and "murder" are according to law. I highly doubt that anyone who claims to value "fundamental freedoms" would like to see the day that "fractional murder" (i.e. disagreement about tax policy) is taken seriously as a crime. I am not "stealing" from you. I am not writing the tax laws. I am merely voting. Welcome to democracy.

Pure democracy is often mob rule. We formed a REPUBLIC to keep democracy IN CHECK. The idea that someone can vote to take something out of my pocket - which represents my time - is horrifying.

I would hope that someday people that vote for tax increases have their names/addresses published. Won't happen, but a pretty thought. I want them to feel intimidated.

BTW, why do you want to work for the government?
It's likely you won't be just putting only the real 'bad guys' in jail but will have to do morally compromising work (jailing drug possessors, gun law violators, etc.)

If I'm ever so far down I have to take a gov't job (other than military, which I'm too old/outta shape for), I hope somebody puts a bullet in me.

What REALLY scares me is that when I somehow get into a gathering of folks often 60+% have gov't jobs. Sometimes I've sat down at a restaurant and all the people around (judging from conversations) are gov't/civic types and I'm the only private sector dude around.


The truth is that exit polls taken during the 1982 defeat of Prop 15 (the handgun ban initiative) showed that 66% of CA self-classified conservatives voted against the ban (no surprise there). However, 64% of self-classified liberals ALSO voted AGAINST the ban. You scoff at "5%" of liberals not being worth the NRA's efforts to cultivate as members.

Yes, because even if they voted that way I doubt they would join NRA in noticeable amounts, and supplying $$ more than their membership fees, to affect fundraising.
The cost of fundraising out of this pool - at possible loss out of other segment - probably is not worth it.

Now, countermanding my (and Charlie's ;-) ) sentiments above, I believe Repubs in CA - to have any chance of election here - must keep quiet about abortion. The polity here is just too screwed up, and the babykillers have won. It'll take another Eric Rudolph to try to solve that.

In CA if they do this the middle ground might slip back to Repubs and get some progun politicians back in.

Bill Wiese
San Jose

ivanimal
04-22-2005, 12:06 PM
I will still side with and be a member of the NRA even if one of their leaders or selected spokesmen says something I disagree with. The group as a whole if for our rights and there arent many of those left. Think of the greater good and not your ego and we will all be stronger.


P.S. Hi Julie its nice to see you posting again.

fourthcorner
04-22-2005, 2:47 PM
ivanimal, before I get down and dirty with bweise, let me say "hello" and also respond to your comment by saying that there does come a point when invective becomes so insulting that sending a membership check feels like giving over your lunch to the schoolyard bully. I have a lot of tolerance for differences...but "pantywaists" and "babykillers" are fighting words--MEANT to tell me that I am not welcome with liberal beliefs. It's no longer just an irritating cultural difference--it's a fight...a fight that has no business being picked by a single-issue organization whose membership AGREES about guns. What's next...swastikas?

bweise:

After this I'll just let this close... (hard to stay away, huh)

I notice you're having a hard time responding without name-calling...which is why it makes sense that you're siding with the good ole boys--not that it makes for smart policy for all the reasons I've enumerated above. You might notice that I have, for the sake of the civility I believe in, refrained from invoking the equally hyperbolic invective the liberals use to describe the conservatives (i.e. you haven't heard me calling you an inbred white-hooded sociopath with badly tailored pants). And the reason you haven't heard this from me is because I don't believe it--I don't believe that EITHER SIDE's name-calling is either appropriate or accurate.

It is apparently quite important to you to draw lines in the sand and make sure that "never the twain shall meet". You have reduced yourself, now, to insulting me for--of all things--wanting to be a criminal prosecutor! This is a criticism not even worth taking seriously.

It is quite clear that, no matter what I say, you will find a way to make sure--because you know that I disagree with you on fundamental policy issues--that I do not feel welcome in your company. Your words betray a rather remarkable intolerance for dissent. A person who sincerely believes that people who VOTE differently ought to be "intimidated" (!) is hardly what democracy can afford. What you sorely need is a men's club--where you can be sure that you remain well-insulated from social and political disagreement. The NRA, however, is not and should never be merely a men's club, and I will hang on to this argument (along with my gun and my vote) until they are ripped from my cold dead fingers.
--julie

bwiese
04-22-2005, 3:54 PM
Hi Julie,

Relax. I'm sure you're a great person, maybe with even a few nice guns! I just want you to think of the consequences of your actions. And I don't think I called you names - I just don't want your job http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

No, I'm not an inbred white-blooded sociopath. I just share some a few of their opinions. The rednecks kick me out for liking classical music and shined shoes, and the 'cultured' seem to dislike my ilk for gun ownwership. So I'm used to abuse from all sides http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Oh, one other comment: you can have democracy without freedom. I'm not terribly interested in the former unless it guarantees the latter. Our founders seem to have thought of this by creating a republic - "if we can keep it". The ability to vote yourself funds out of others' pockets is mere fine-grained tyrrany instead of the tyrrany of a despot.

Back to a Charlie Daniels voiceover of Brahms http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Shoot straight...

Bill W.
San Jose

rkt88edmo
04-22-2005, 5:42 PM
Politicing takes money and nothing opens up wallets like blood boiling grandstanding hyperbole.

Slinging mud and calling names is definitely not an approach I'm very happy with, but I'd say it takes place within every organization except for those which pride themselves on cerebral fairmindedness. Clearly, Charlie Daniels is a celebrity who is part of the show for the color and passion he provides. It would be nice if it weren't necessary, but it is.

I like the environment and would like to persuade the USGov not to drill in ANWAR, but Carl Pope and a number of local Bay Area Sierra nuts have persuaded me that I don't want to belong to their club. How many people are members of both the NRA and Sierra Club? While I'm sure both camps would like to have as broad a coalition as possible with as many members as possible, you simply can't please everyone. People will choose whichever side and issue they feel most strongly about and go there (or go nowhere!). As usual, for most talking monkeys it will be their EMOTIONS not their INTELLECTS which will help them make that decision. http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

If the 4 million and 80 million numbers are correct, then the NRA probably isn't doing to badly. These days getting 5% of any group to join an advocacy organization isn't too shabby.

&lt;-NRA & GOA Life

fourthcorner
04-22-2005, 6:36 PM
I am a member of the NRA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Quick killing for food is fine by me; slow killing by cruelty is not. And I'm VERY big on cerebral fairmindedness. So there. http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

04-24-2005, 2:32 PM
Originally posted by soopafly:
Thanks Basura. For a while, I thought I was the only one who remembers Bush saying he would sign an extension on the federal AWB if it passed congress.

Yeah and don't think that a lame duck President would have any reason NOT to sign a new and approved AWB if it hit his desk. I wouldn't put anything past Bush Jr. Nothing.

What he should be doing is getting Cali to fall in line with the rest of the country with regards to 2nd amendment rights.

Hmmm... actually, I disagree with the notion that Bush should push (force) California into enacting more moderate forms of gun control. As much as I'd like the ends, the means don't justify it by any stretch of the imagination - especially in regards to the constitution.
We've had enough Federal interference this year with the Feds p*ssing on State's rights with the Schiavo case. Let's not encourage anymore. It is bad precedent.

If we're to beat our State's own unconstitutional gun laws, let's do it with respect to the Constitution. It's all right there for the taking, IMO. There should be no question of that.

04-24-2005, 2:47 PM
Originally posted by bwiese:

Yes, I forgot about the apology - and now that I recall it, in my mind this was a BIG mistake for WLP

On that, I agree. The media took the phrase (not even a phrase) completely out of context from the multi-page letter - a letter detailing, IIRC, all sorts of abuse by Federal LE, regarding no-knock drug raids, and various BATF abuses.
LaPierre's comment was justified when it was viewed as a whole in response to those stories.
A real fighter would've come out swinging against the media for blowing the whole thing out of proportion, but the NRA simply backed down.

Also, remember this was pre-Clinton, pre-AWB. I think NRA had a bit less fight in them then, and didn't as balls-to-the-wall as they are now. I think if WLP made that comment now, he wouldn't back down.

Actually, this was post-Waco IIRC, and was largely in response to that. I have my copy of the letter somewhere; finding it is another story.
http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

And do remember this: Bush I lost!! The Perot factor sucked quite a few gunowners into that camp - I wonder if Bush I hadn't appeared as antigun if he wouldn't have narrowed his 39mil vs Clinton's 44mil somewhat - that difference is about the size of the NRA membership.

The focus was different at the time. Klinton was proof positive that someoone can go straight to the top on simple charisma, IMO.
It's water under the bridge at this point. The way I see it, good riddance to both Bush Sr. and Klinton. I don't wanna even think about them anymore.

It depends on how tight the overall situation is. There is always the danger of someone way worse falling into place, and I'm sure their electoral people look at that.

I understand that position, but I reject the notion of "lesser of evils" voting as a viable option. I won't hash it out with you, Bill. We've "been there, done that", quite a few times.

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With current progun balance (not by party) in Senate/House, I think finer details on "how" progun a legislator is can now emerge. NRA has raised the bar; it's made further Fed gun control somewhat of a nonstarter, and now can start demanding better ideological purity.

WIthout the distraction of a massive worldwide war, and the prospects that it will liekly never end, this, IMO, would be very different.
The focus is just not on guns currently.

I'm sure Bush Jr. (via Karl Rove) _knew_ how important AWB renewal was to gun owners. Given closely contested election he didn't wanna lose some "security soccer moms". The end result is what counted: "Gee, if they send me a bill I'll sign it" - knowing it would never happen with Congress/Senate composition.

Which is why I actually wished it would've made it to his desk. It would forced the issue for Bush - "You're either with us, or against us".
Further, it's a shabby excuse to say he was betting that it wouldn't come down to this and simply making a political chess maneuver. I don't take my rights lightly. Neither should he, yet he did by doing this.

The NRA showed it was willing to kill its own children too: when AW renewal stuff was included in an earlier gun lawsuit preemption bill, the whole bill was stifled.

Smartly too.
There are still folks reeling over FOPA, ya' know.

04-24-2005, 2:58 PM
Originally posted by bwiese:
Now, countermanding my (and Charlie's ;-) ) sentiments above, I believe Repubs in CA - to have any chance of election here - must keep quiet about abortion. The polity here is just too screwed up, and the babykillers have won.

I agree.
Like immigration, the abortion issue can be a political killer (no pun intended).

It'll take another Eric Rudolph to try to solve that.

Ouch. Let's not hope for such things, Bill.

In CA if they do this the middle ground might slip back to Repubs and get some progun politicians back in.

The two terms ("Repubs." and "progun"), IMO aren't automatically synonymous though. In fact, the RINOs like to hide this fact as much as possible and bet that the ignorant duck hunters will never notice.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, anyone?
'Nuff said...

fourthcorner
04-24-2005, 3:02 PM
I understand that position, but I reject the notion of "lesser of evils" voting as a viable option. I won't hash it out with you, Bill. We've "been there, done that", quite a few times.

Oh good god, basura...you mean he does this all the time?!?!

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04-24-2005, 3:22 PM
Originally posted by Julie:

You might notice that I have, for the sake of the civility I believe in, refrained from invoking the equally hyperbolic invective the liberals use to describe the conservatives <span class="ev_code_RED">(i.e. you haven't heard me calling you an inbred white-hooded sociopath with badly tailored pants).</span>

LOL.
And they do say this. Often too.

And the reason you haven't heard this from me is because I don't believe it--I don't believe that EITHER SIDE's name-calling is either appropriate or accurate.

It is apparently quite important to you to draw lines in the sand and make sure that "never the twain shall meet". You have reduced yourself, now, to insulting me for--of all things--wanting to be a criminal prosecutor! This is a criticism not even worth taking seriously.

It is quite clear that, no matter what I say, you will find a way to make sure--because you know that I disagree with you on fundamental policy issues--that I do not feel welcome in your company. Your words betray a rather remarkable intolerance for dissent. A person who sincerely believes that people who VOTE differently ought to be "intimidated" (!) is hardly what democracy can afford. <span class="ev_code_RED">What you sorely need is a men's club--where you can be sure that you remain well-insulated from social and political disagreement.</span>

This is the huddled-yes-man (person) syndrome. It's unhealthy for anyone, but I don't think Bill is an active participant in such things. His mind is still open from what I've seen.

The NRA, however, is not and should never be merely a men's club, and I will hang on to this argument (along with my gun and my vote) until they are ripped from my cold dead fingers.
--julie

I've said this here before:
Women are our best allies in this political issue and thus the more that latch on to the gun hobby, the gun "issue" and the politics driving it, the better.
They are absolutley key in providing a needed balance and legitimacy in regards to gun rights - like for example: shifting the "soccer mom" vote - which is crucial, IMO.

Besides that, "dollar for dollar", ten angry women are worth one-hundred angry men anytime.

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04-24-2005, 3:27 PM
Originally posted by bwiese:

No, I'm not an inbred <span class="ev_code_RED">white-blooded</span> sociopath. I just share some a few of their opinions.

Actually, the charge was, "white-hooded, and I sincerely hope that you reject all the sentiments of those that wear such things in cowardice.

fourthcorner
04-24-2005, 3:48 PM
LMAO, Basura.

If for nothing else, I must thank Bill for firing me up enough to draft what I humbly believe will go down as the best insult of 2005:

"inbred white-hooded sociopath with badly tailored pants"

THAT was fun. http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

fourthcorner
04-24-2005, 3:57 PM
LOL, Basura. I caught this mistake, but I figured I'd said enough to Bill that day. http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

bwiese
04-24-2005, 5:05 PM
Hey, now - my pants are nicely tailored, freshly dry-cleaned and pressed.

Call me what you want, just don't accuse me of sartorial inelegance ;-)

Bill W.
(Redneck who shops at Nordie's http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif)

04-25-2005, 5:08 PM
More food for thought and why it's unwise to smear Liberals and/or paint them with the broad brush of "anti-gun" sometimes:

Richard Bushnell, hardly a neo-con or even Republican, created the awesome (IMO) website Bowling for the Truth (http://bowlingfortruth.com) (scroll down to the second section) which exposed some of the biggest deceptions of Michael Moore's BFC fictional opinion piece about the so-called "culture of fear" and an outright bash on guns, gun owners and the hobby itself.

Richard, from his own admission in his FAQ (http://bowlingfortruth.com/main/faq.htm) {search: guns}, indicates that he is not a "gun nut" and further reading shows that he leans more left than right, yet his site, along with others took Moore to task for propagating outright lies in his "documentary film".

Again, I must concur with Julie. It's better to have friends than enemies, yet the NRA (with Charlie Daniels hosting) and many gun owners in general still don't "get" that IMO.

fourthcorner
04-25-2005, 5:27 PM
you're cool with me, basura! gun people with tofu burgers and gun people with t-bones are both welcome at MY shoot 'n 'ques. and i'm even (god forbid) capable of befriending people who disagree with me even on my beloved gun issue. i'm SOOOOO done with this neanderthal need humans have to "take sides" and see everything in terms of "us v. them". you'd think football season (or kindergarten) would take care of that, but it doesnt. here's a toast to relativism, complexity and independent thinking. http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif