Speech and Guns: A Reply

by Jim Ray

In Speech and Guns, you say, "It would be an honest answer to say that the deaths of Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi are 'acceptable losses' in a world in which guns serve to protect our freedoms. Few are willing to say this." I am not sure what the point of saying it is. One could say a similar thing (though with many more victims than King & Gandhi) about cars. Few would. I even say the same thing about the Florida coral snake.

I even risk my life to catch them, so I can move these beautiful but dangerous snakes from places frequented by humans. Killing them would be much safer, but I like them being there. Life is not a risk-free proposition, and if coral snakes were extinct life would be a bit less fun. Besides, coral snakes are a lot less dangerous to me than "public servants" with guns. It's a wonder to me that, despite the recent anti-gun hysteria, there are *more* federal officers than ever wearing guns. It gets silly -- I mean, Ag. inspectors looking at poultry need to wear a gun, but guns are a problem if I like to go target shooting occasionally???

The truth is, guns aren't just for killing people, and it seems -- unfortunately -- that those in power have more respect for an armed populace. Examples abound, so I'll spare you. My problem with this is that you conflate gun ownership with violence, and that you don't distinguish what is the INITIATION of violence. Your statement:

I am still waiting to learn the exact circumstances under which, for example, they [RKBA advocates] consider it is proper to shoot a federal officer.

in view of the Spectacle's printing of Mr. Lee's fine piece on Horiuchi, is interesting. Still waiting???

Well, ask the jury in the Weaver case. Or, ask the one in the Waco case; but while you're at it, ask them how they feel about judges LYING to them about their common law rights to nullify bad law if that's necessary for justice. Ask them if they would have provided unfair verdicts if they had known the truth about government's unfair plans for the victims of government violence who managed to avoid getting shot or burned. I am still waiting to hear the exact circumstances under which a church has the right to defend itself from attack by thugs who shoot first, and who only call for a cease- fire after they run out of ammo from a gungrabber, so we're even, I guess.

Guns didn't cause Waco & Ruby Ridge, gun LAWS did, and the control freaks who want to grab all guns seem to want much more interference in my life than just guns, they want worship from me & all citizen-units. Seeing one of those slimes like Charles Schumer lie in the videotape, "Waco: The Rules Of Engagement" is worth the price of admission for some of us. Do you honestly think that he'd not censor such stuff if he could? His gun control plans would certainly make a lot more of his people-control plans possible...

Having witnessed, with you, the fall of our Fight- Censorship community, I am reluctant to go here, but when you say: "Are you obligated to wait until you're shot at, or is a pre-emptive strike ever acceptable? If the latter is true, you've just said that violence is an appropriate response to speech, if that speech is about violence." I don't think you're being honest UNLESS you apply the same to Israel in 1967. I happen to think that Israel's response in 1967 was not to speech, but to preparation for war. I happen to think that there is war against citizens happening now, and getting worse and worse. The government even CALLS it a war (though they claim it's on [some] drugs rather than on people or the Bill of Rights). Let's repeat, this is WAR, not merely preparation for war. I have NOT gone out and shot up the local DEA building, even after they invaded an AIDS patient's house for the "crime" of using medical pot and talking about it.

I wonder just how peaceable I must be, for people like you to admit that I -- and most gun owners -- are peaceable people. How much provocation would be enough to get me shooting? Well, obviously, if I'm willing to ignore murder and attempted murder (see above) it'll take a lot more than raising the tax on tea, but I refuse to rule out someday using the blood of tyrants to water the tree of liberty, OK? The exact point at which there'll be enough provocation for another civil war is not something I want to speculate on. That so many lefties are obsessed with what this exact "shooting point" is says perhaps more about them than they'd like. I work every day to forestall this revolution, and I'd encourage them to help me by leaving peaceful people alone, for a change.

I hold myself to no higher or lower standards than a government. Governments, either here or in the middle east, are not holy. Like me, they can be right and wrong, though (to paraphrase Voltaire) it's a hell of a lot less dangerous for you to be right when _I'm_ wrong. For a well-written (and occasionally censored) novel about the preemptive use of force in America, see Unintended Consequences by John Ross -- in which a lot fewer fictional people died than real ones on TWA flight 800. Hannah Arendt seems to think that a murder committed by me is different than a mass one committed by a mob of people, acting in concert, who have the respect of holding an office. I disagree.

David Koresh and Randy Weaver and Donald Scott and M.O.V.E. and (the list could go on, but you get the point) probably didn't think that cooperation with the people [who happened to be trying to kill them] was "the fundamental building block of government and of freedom of speech." Were Ms Arendt subject to the same treatment as the dead people above, I'd guess her corpse would be much more interested in who INITIATES violence, and much less concerned with buzzwords like "cooperation." You may say that RKBA advocates "conceive the world as based solely on violence," but that does not make it true. If I refuse to cooperate in my planned slaughter (I am a member of JPFO, see www.jpfo.org) that's tough.

When I ran for State House in 1992, I said: "The people will again respect the government when the government again respects the will of the people."

I was right then, and I am still right today. (I lost the election, though I was the most efficient politician in the campaign, in terms of dollars spent per vote gotten, in spite of Florida's unfair ballot laws.) Politicians have squandered respect the government once had just as they've squandered your grandkids' fiscal heritages and constitutional rights. I don't trust them with a monopoly on the means to shoot back.