Don’t Let Em Get You Down Dustin

I came across this post today, that looks like it got picked up on by the anti-NRA types.   There are a lot of angry, pissed off folks out there on Al Gore’s internets that will tell you the NRA has sold us out, and will be happy to go on a litany of grievances going nearly all the way back to 1871.

I’ve never claimed the organization is perfect, but they are what we have to deal with.  I’m glad to have you aboard.  A lot of folks make some good points that we’re tired of compromising away our gun rights, and I’m tired of it too, to be honest.  But the only way we’re going to stop compromising is to organize, mobilize, and win.  As much as I agree with GOA and JPFO’s goals, they don’t have a winning strategy, and aren’t going to move the ball forward.  They also lack the members and political influence.  I have no issue with folks joining the smaller groups, but I think everyone should be in the NRA.  If they do something that pisses you off, tell them about it!  Vote in the elections for board members who’s ideas are most in line with your own.  In short, participate.  Don’t just be angry.   Welcome aboard Dustin, it’s good to have you.

12 thoughts on “Don’t Let Em Get You Down Dustin”

  1. Thanks for your support Sebastian. I agree 100% – it’s not possible for all 4 million members to agree on anything, but we do have the option to vote for board members who we most agree with, or we could even run to join the board ourselves. Then you would have 100% agreement with at least 1 board member all of the time. :)

  2. Spent some time today looking at your blog. I like it so much that I’ve added it to my gun blogs link list. Keep up the great work! :)

  3. Speaking of the NRA, if you get First Freedom, Cal has a great article about how the “community activist groups” in LA are providing guns to street gangs. I emailed him and said he ought to publish it online, and he said he thought he would sometime.

  4. In the interests of unity on the gun issue, why don’t you come my way instead of asking me to treat with an organization that has betrayed me.

    What if four million people who now are in the NRA joined GOA, SAF, or JPFO? Wouldn’t that give them clout? Aren’t their goals your goals?

    If you don’t come my way and I don’t come your way we won’t have unity. If you approve of the goals and actions of a group but castigate them for not being large enough, then suggest they join your org. which doesn’t often support you, just who is responsible for the lack of unity?

    One side to an argument or debate cannot be disagreeable alone.

    I once belonged to the NRA. As I have said before, I can be betrayed by people who will do it for free. I feel no compulsion to pay the NRA for such treatment. If you truly want to see them come around and fight for you, leave them and tell them why and join another group or groups who don’t write gun control bills and then lobby for them.

    It isn’t JPFO’s fault you haven’t joined them. Nor is it the fault of the other organizations you haven’t joined. So when you bemoan their lack of numerical strength and hold that forth as THE reason to join the NRA, remember your contribution to the mismatch.

    I know you are a believer, but I have years of experience on you in life and I can spot a con job from a mile and a half. Wayne isn’t on your side.

  5. Straightarrow – Actually I never invited anyone to leave GOA, SAF, JPFO, or any other gun rights group in order to join the NRA. I simply have invited everyone to consider joining the NRA. It certainly would not need to be exclusive of other groups. In fact, I am a current member of GOA , SAF, AZCDL, & the NRA. I also plan to look into JPFO – you never know I may end up joining them some day as well. Currently I don’t plan to renew my membership in GOA when it comes up, and I’ll send GOA an email letting them know why. But that is my right just as it is yours to decide not to join or renew with the NRA. I don’t have anything against those who wish to be members of GOA, I just personally don’t like some of the things they’ve done this year (basically spreading what I feel to be mis-information & all out lies about current legislation, based on my own investigation of the proposed changes). Like I’ve said though, join the groups that align with you best, all I ask is that all gun owners get involved in the gun rights movement & stand up to protect our right to bear arms.

    To any who wish to take my guns – come on over & I’ll give them to you, bullets first. :)

  6. In the interests of unity on the gun issue, why don’t you come my way instead of asking me to treat with an organization that has betrayed me.

    That’s a fair question. When I speak of unity I don’t mean everyone has to agree with me. One of the tactics I don’t appreciate from the JPFO and GOA is to divide the pro-gun movement by flinging pooh at NRA.

    That’s counterproductive. I have no beef with GOA’s goals, I just don’t like their tactics. If we spend all our time fighting each other, we will lose. When I speak of unity, I mean that pro-gun groups need to stop attacking each other, and work on attacking the real enemy. I’d tell NRA the same thing if they went and attacked GOA. In fact, at the GBR, I told them it would be a bad idea for NRA to become aggressive toward other pro-gun groups.

    The problem with GOA and a lot of their supporters, is they believe NRA is the real enemy. I can’t help it if people think that. But even absent GOA’s tactics, I still wouldn’t join, because I also don’t think they have a realistic strategy for achieving their goals.

  7. I guess it all depends on the meaning of the word “attack”.

    If NRA gives a candidate an undeserved A rating and we complain, is that an attack?

    If NRA represents project exile as reducing violent crime in Richmond and Philadelphia, and we not only challenge the constitutionality of enforcing federal gun laws but point out how crime has NOT been reduced, is that an attack?

    If Wayne says no one should be armed at schools but “only ones” and we take him to task, is that an attack?

    All these betrayals deserve to be attacked, you know.

    You admit you have some differences with NRA, but you always seem to leave it at a generality. People are royally POd at NRA management, and this approach will not heal the rift–if that is your intent. NRA acts above addressing it directly–they’ll restrict their feelers to friendlies like you at the GBR.

    I just wrote and then deleted a couple paragraphs of specific experiences I have had over the years because that is not the point. NRA is in trouble with a lot of gun owners, as evidenced by the thread at KABA, and you can either blame them for being unreasonable or put NRA’s image problem where it properly belongs–with “The Winning Team.” After all–who’s responsible for YOUR reputation?

    And just fyi, the hard line actually has a great chance –that is, it IS a “realistic strategy” of political influence. As most elections are won by a narrow margin of victory–a couple percentage points–we have the power to withhold victory from any who betray us. What a club, if we would only use it–consistently. We could actually compel politicians in all close races to educate their constituencies and champion RKBA, as opposed to feeding us the same old placating lies they have no intention of keeping because they’re banking on us being desperate. Of course it means being willing to toss an election or two until the point is made and self-preservation sinks in. Contrast this with the Lee Atwater “who else they gonna vote for?” contempt approach. If you continually accept being screwed, why would you expect respect, or anything other than continued betrayal and exploitation? I bring this up because NRA–through functionaries like Sandy Froman–is already making noises about Giuliani if he ends up being the GOP nominee.

    Straightarrow has a great point about life experience, Sebastian. I’m sure you can offer up all kinds of rebuttals to what I’ve just written, and I actually expect that. But that won’t get you one step closer to healing this schism. And my bet is, in 10 to 20 years or so, with the right set of hard knocks and reality adjustments, you’ll find yourself a lot closer to his point of view than you are now. Not a knock, mind you–just an observation from my experience that people with the perceptions and capabilities you seem to possess tend to grow in that direction.

  8. If NRA gives a candidate an undeserved A rating and we complain, is that an attack?

    No. I think that’s a legitimate complaint. I’ve never been able to get a good answer for why Bill Brown got an A rating. It’s a reasonable question to ask. But ratings are political tools as much as means to inform voters. And A rating in California might not be the same as it is in Texas. I won’t deny they screw up in ratings for some candidates.

    If NRA represents project exile as reducing violent crime in Richmond and Philadelphia, and we not only challenge the constitutionality of enforcing federal gun laws but point out how crime has NOT been reduced, is that an attack?

    I had a lot of discomfort with Project Exile, because the potential for abuses, but it did a lot to implant the idea among voters that we had plenty of gun laws on the books, but they weren’t being enforced. Support for new gun laws appears to have waned a good bit. Is project exile responsible for that? I don’t know. Maybe it was a mistake. I’m honestly conflicted on it, because I don’t support a lot of the gun laws they were promoting enforcing, but if it helped get the population out of a gun controlling mood, I can’t say it was worthless.

    If Wayne says no one should be armed at schools but “only ones” and we take him to task, is that an attack?

    Guns and schools is a losing issue right now. It’s very easily spun by the media and the gun controllers as advocating passing out guns to teachers. I think it pushes out too far ahead of the general public’s comfort zone. I think primary and secondary schools needs to be off the table right now. I hope this woman out in Oregon wins, but I understand why NRA would want to distance themselves from it. I think carry on universities is winnable, but even that’s a major uphill battle.

    You admit you have some differences with NRA, but you always seem to leave it at a generality.

    I can be more specific. They screwed the pooch on handling the Joaquin Jackson deal. Trying to scuttle Parker was stupid. I understand why some had concern with taken this before The Court, but the way they went about dealing with the Parker issue, by trying to scuttle it with a competing court case was stupid. I know I[‘ve defended this point of view, because I understand it, but I don’t really agree with the anti-Parker folks. They too often fail to give credit to hard work done by state and local groups in getting laws passed. I’ve seen more than a few press releases that target general right wing issues, that have not much to do with gun rights, which turns a lot of left wing gun rights folks off. There are more issues, but these are what I can think off right now.

    I’m not sure I have any good ideas on how to heal the schism, David. I’m not entirely sure it’s not fundamental. I think you are more about rallying the base, and I want to make the tent bigger. I think there has to be a balance there, and I won’t pretend to know the answer. Maybe you’re right that in 10 or 20 years, I’ll feel differently. We’ll see.

  9. I always find it ridiculous when people pull the, “I’m older than you and when you reach my age/experience level you’ll see exactly what I’m saying and agree with me” defense. This is an incredibly weak point to make in any sort of debate. If your arguments aren’t convincing someone on their own, trying to pull rank to reinforce your points doesn’t strengthen your case. It weakens it by making it look like your points can’t stand on their own and your only defense is an unrelated “I know more than you do!” If your arguments fail at convincing, back handed condescension cloaked in disclaimers isn’t going to do the trick either, so just stick to the facts.

  10. David, you make a very valid point. I also expect that in a few years Sebastian will find himself closer to our position than he now is to his. That is exactly the reason I hang around here. I find Sebastian to be an intelligent, honest, principled man. I would rather have him for a friend, even while believing him wrong, than someone whose motives I couldn’t trust.

    I will, of course, be dead by the time all this hoped for revelation comes to pass, but he will remember where he heard it, and quite possibly be able to shorten the learning curve. I really like this guy, and I know you do, because both of us appreciate the honest, even if they still suffer naivete.

    As for Jym; there are some things you only learn well from experience. That process is not really a function of age. The only purpose age serves in the equation is to give you more opportunities for experience. And if you are too arrogant to learn from the experience of others, you are doomed to be as stupid as those who didn’t survive that experience.

    You are certainly welcome to do so. But I hope you don’t. Are you really not going to avail yourself of the benefits of the wheel because old people, long dead, beat you to it?

  11. Jym, I believe I articulated all of my arguments without pulling age–I brought that up as a final observation, and in relation to Straightarrow, because even though I’m 55 and he’s older, I learn from him all the time–because he has had life experiences that a person of my generation typically has not. And in this case, my differences with NRA management are the result of experiences I have had with them over many years.

    Mark Twain wrote “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.”

    If you think your mindset today is going to remain locked in 20 years from now, all I can say is, if it does, you’ll have led a wasted life. If you’re intent on resisting the benefit of experience from someone who has been down a path before you, all I can say is that is very foolish and immature.

    I have no idea how old you are, and I stipulate there is no shortage of old fools. My experience with Straightarrow is that he is not one of them and has much wisdom we can learn from–if we choose to not be reflexively rigid and unreceptive.

    And it works both ways–I learn from younger people who have experienced things I have not all the time.

  12. Thanks David for the nice words, as to learning from younger people, it has become an imperative that we do so if we are not to be empty husks unable to function.

    A lot of things they can teach us old guys didn’t even exist when we weren’t old. With that experience they have had, that we most often have not, comes wisdom also. We would be foolish to not avail ourselves of it just because we are older.

    I will try to shorten this story, but it applies. I was working on a nuclear powerhouse just outside Mineral, Va., we were down in the bottom of containment installing pipe and piping supports. There were two fitters there who couldn’t figure out what elevation a certain line was supposed to be on. They must have had every bluepring in the damn plant down there. The line they were looking at had a notation of “inv. el. ###ft. ##in.”

    There was a young apprentice there who finally told them that notation meant invert elevation was at ###ft. ##in. above the base elevation. I don’t remember now if the base was sea level or a benchmark taken from sea level as a starting point. In pipefitting the invert is the inside bottom of the pipe. The young apprentice was exactly correct. However, the two older fitters ignored him three or four times and finally told him to quit pestering them. They finally had the whole damn area covered in blue prints, interfering with everybody else’s work and decided the notation meant an “invisible elevation” and it didn’t show anywhere. I have no idea what they thought the numbers in feet and inches meant nor do I know how they thought they were going to set the piping supports without knowing the proper elevation.

    After all this, the kid came over to me and asked “What’s the matter with those guys? I told them what it meant and they won’t listen.”

    I told him a cold hard fact of life, ” They haven’t got a clue what the Hell they are doing, but they are damn sure you’re too young to know anything they don’t.”

    That is foolishment to a high degree, but young and old practice it if they are not bright enough to learn from anyone who actually knows, or at least to give the respect due experience, no matter the age of the experienced.

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