You Might Be Surprised, But I Agree

Robb makes an argument against my open carry post from earlier by transposing it into a different context:

Maybe Sebastian should take down his blog. I am not in any way, shape or form advocating free speech being illegal. I think it should be legal in all 50 states. I’m just saying if Sebastian does it, he shouldn’t pretend like he’s doing something great for the Second Amendment, because I don’t think he is.

I actually think that would be a perfectly valid opinion, and I agree that operating a blog is not a particularly stellar contribution to the cause of the Second Amendment. I would rank it somewhere north of donating a nice chunk of money to a local pro-gun campaign, even for blogs that have a good bit of reach. I think the big political blogs like Instapundit, the legal blogs like Volokh, and long time activists like Dave Hardy have done more within the blogosphere to advance the Second Amendment than I ever will. I would never presume Snowflakes in Hell is a great contribution to the movement, because I don’t think it is. I’m actually more proud of some of the things we’ve been able to do locally than anything I may or may not have contributed on here.

That’s why a year and a half ago I decided that I wasn’t happy with just running a blog as my contribution, and started getting more involved volunteering with NRA, inserting our issue into state and local politics, and getting more involved in the local shooting culture. Now that Bitter is up here too, she’s also helping out by taking over EVC duties for the neighboring Congressional district. It’s not a major contribution, certainly not even close to on par with guys like Dave Hardy, Dave Kopel, Clayton Cramer, Alan Gura, Harlon Carter, nor any of the other people I consider heros of the movement. But I consider that work more important than what I’m doing on this blog.

The plan we formulated with PAFOA to go after the Bloomberg Mayors was just reported here, most of the actual work in formulating a plan to try to convince Mayors to leave, and to get people to complain happened behind the scenes. It attracted some notice in the media, but not much. But I’m proud that at least one Mayor felt the need to respond publicly in the media. I was also happy to give information and ideas to folks I know at NRA to help them with their efforts. Overall, a very minor contribution, but still something.

But probably the best non-internet activism feedback I’ve gotten is from local pro-gun candidates who appreciate seeing someone working to support them in return for their support on this issue. We’re a long way from reversing the slide of this area into the other camp, but we’ve been noticed at least, and a few weeks ago managed to help elevate a pro-gun state rep to the state Senate, and been thanked for our efforts.

This is not aggressive, in your face activism, but I do think it makes a difference, and is the type of activism I try to make a case for. I give the open carry guys a lot of credit for showing up in Scranton and getting the City Council to think a little, but that had nothing to do with open carry, and everything to do with showing up. As I said, that puts them ahead of 98% of gun owners, and they deserve credit for that. But I think there would have been a better outcome if they had just gone concealed at the meeting. I can’t and don’t expect to force anyone to cover up, I’m just asking people to think about how they might make their activism more effective. I’d like to think it’s a subject I know a little about, at least.

24 thoughts on “You Might Be Surprised, But I Agree”

  1. Ah, the obligatory “aw shucks, I’m just a guy with a blog” post.

    I guess I need to remind you, once again, of the annual blog rankings. So long as your blog appears in the top 10, whether it’s visits or whatever, you are not “just a guy with a blog”.

    Seriously, I couldn’t care less what your opinion is on just about any topic or issue, but so long as people visit here, I have to concern myself with what you write, lest casual visitors start to think that what you hold dear actually reflects what’s going on in the 2A community.

    Does kinda shed a new light on your treatment of Mike Vanderboegh and the 3pers, though.

  2. But really, that’s all I am. If you look at my traffic compared to that of, say, Instapundit, or even Volokh, it’s not that incredible. Glenn saying something bad about open carry, for instance, would have a much greater effect than anything I could say. Dave Kopel, who has been rather cautious about embracing open carry activism, reaches a lot more people through Volokh than I do here, and he has a much greater level of stature than do I.

    So I appreciate the fact that you think I’m important, but I don’t think I’m as important as you’re making me out to be. At the end of the day, I am just a guy with a B list blog.

  3. Sebastien;

    I think you are listening too much to the people who oppose any sort of carry: i.e. CBS, NBC, CNN, etc.

    If your opponents can get you to agree to a reasonable sounding concession that restricts your rights, then the next restriction doesn’t sound as bad. Don’t make the mistake of trying to be reasonable with people who want to disarm you.

    When you concede an entire form of carry as “Just not appropriate,” your opponents will take that concession and give you NOTHING in return – not good will, not reasonable doubt, not concealed carry shall-issue permits, nothing. Not only that, but they will use your concession to browbeat others, to paint them as extremists, because “Well, Sebastien doesn’t think so, and HE’s pro-gun.”

    We are never going to get a fair shake from the socialist media, so doing anything to accommodate them is a waste of time.

    to borrow a quote: “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” – Barry Goldwater


  4. No one has any proof of their options on this issue either way. Each outcome is plausible. I’ve said before, the only way you can gauge for real what the public attitude is would be to focus group open carry, which to the best of my knowledge no one can do.

  5. I don’t see that Sebastian’s fame and influence is the determining factor. Shouldn’t he continue to “calls ’em likes he sees ’em?” What are some of you suggesting that he conceal his opinion or downplay it for the good of the movement? Is that the kind of intellectual honesty you guys go in for?

    Be careful, this internecine warfare between you pro-gun guys could be the death of ya.

  6. mikeb opines …

    What are some of you suggesting that he conceal his opinion or downplay it for the good of the movement?

    That’s not what we’re doing at all, mike. What we don’t like is that Sebastian contends that our preferred method of carry (as soon as it offends someone) becomes a liability to the ’cause’, and that we should carry as he approves.

    Well I am the ’cause’, too. As Joe pointed out so eloquently above, there will never be a time when what we do (no matter what that is) doesn’t offend someone, and I believe that it’s pretty crappy to have to order my personal life so as not to offend the easily-offended.

    Kevin has a quote on his page that goes (in small part) ”
    Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle.” I may not agree with everything you or Sebastian do, but as long as it doesn’t impact me, then a liberal society must allow it.

    But when Sebastian calls for me to carry a certain way above all others ……. I must take issue.

    And regarding the ‘internecine warfare’, you’ll forgive me if I don’t follow the advice of someone who doesn’t have my interests at heart.

  7. If you want to open carry for your own personal reasons, I have no issue. I just don’t think it’s a contribution to the public debate on guns, and probably detracts from it. I can’t control what individual people decide to do. What I am doing is making a case for what I think is productive activism.

    In short, if you want to open carry, knock yourself out. But I don’t think it does anything to help the movement, or to convince people to accept guns. Any more than my standing outside of a Wal-Mart with chains and leather would further the cause of sexual freedom.

  8. I appreciate Sebastian’s opinion on this. I am conflicted on the efficacy of open carry protests. They may or may not hurt, but I don’t see them as the most effective way to win hearts and minds.

    And we need to win hearts. We have all the stats and logic to win minds, but they trot out little Timmy’s corpse after he found daddy’s loaded .38 in the nightstand. We can’t trot out little Timmy’s non-corpose after daddy shot the home invaders.

    But that is the message we need to emphasize. Perhaps the best example of the difference a gun makes involves two calls to 9-1-1 last year. One made in IN where a woman had an order of protection and a handgun and the other made in IL where she just had the order. Both are recorded on 9-1-1, the lady in IN shooting her attacker and the one in IL dying.

  9. Mike,

    I think you’ll find disagreement–even extremely strong disagreement–is allowed in this community.

  10. I don’t see that Sebastian’s fame and influence is the determining factor.

    Influence maybe, but lets not get crazy here. If you can walk down the street and not get bothered by people, you don’t have fame.

  11. Sebastian: “I don’t think it [open carry] does anything to help the movement, or to convince people to accept guns. Any more than my standing outside of a Wal-Mart with chains and leather would further the cause of sexual freedom.”

    But think of the blog traffic once the photos were posted!

    I don’t think you’re a bad guy, it’s just that we do not agree about open carry. I’m okay with that.

    It bothers me that bottom-feeders want to mine that disagreement, but we all know better than to allow debate to become so acrimonious as to enable that, right, friends?

  12. I think open carry is good. But if you are going to open carry dress nice and be the nicest person ever. The sheeple need to see more guns on nice people. Don’t dress like a thug.

  13. Sebastian, I wouldn’t describe it as defensive, but it was about Roberta’s “bottom feeders” remark which I thought was directed at me.

    “It bothers me that bottom-feeders want to mine that disagreement, but we all know better than to allow debate to become so acrimonious as to enable that, right, friends?”

    I thought she was taking my “internecine warfare” joke seriously. So, far from defensive, I was having a bit of a laugh at her.

  14. I don’t view it as internecine warfare, for the record. As long as everyone is in agreement that open carry ought to be legal, and everyone agrees to defend open carry’s legality, we’re still really standing together on the things that matter. You don’t get real internecine warfare until you start advocating using force rather than persuasion to silence or subvert another group of activists.

    And yes, despite what I think about open carry, if a bill were floated in Harrisburg to ban the practice, I would fight it just as I would any other gun control bill, and would be standing with the open carry folks in opposing it. As long as where together when it counts, that’s all that really matters.

  15. Why do you want to laugh at people, Mike? Isn’t that impolite of you? –Or at least dismissive?

    Is the whole gun thing some kind of joke to you? Sitting happy in Italy, lobbing potshots at sitiuations you only read about, just an idle pastime?

    Impressive. Yes, indeedy.

  16. I read ‘Snowflakes’, and consider the opinions expressed herein. Sometimes I agree with those opinions, sometimes I don’t. I’m a big, grown-up boy, I live in a free (well, mostly) country, and I make up my own mind how to act.
    It is well that MikeB expresses his opinions, but I submit that they are the opinions of one who has found American ideals wanting, and has left our fair country. His editorial bomb-lobbing should be taken for what it’s worth—which, to me, is nothing.

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