Not Every Tactic Works All the Time

After the Colorado recall success, I got the impression that some gun owners online thought that pro-Second Amendment forces could tackle any anti-gun effort anywhere. As any reader of this blog knows, we’re fans of political reality, so cheering on a recall effort should be done only after careful consideration.

There was a minor recall attempt in Exeter, RI that went badly for gun owners there, and now the leaders feel vindicated.

This is just one more reminder that it’s absolutely vital that activist gun owners get involved in their local communities so that they can factor in feelings on the ground about lawmakers and consider all of the details that may make a difference between victory and defeat that might embolden anti-gun forces.

We were both pretty cautious about the latest Colorado recall effort, but then a state resident pointed out important factors (like the length of her term and district makeup) that made the case for recall. And, even though the Democratic replacement is still anti-gun, we won that since it still sent a political message that just like your healthcare plan, you can’t keep your seat.

While being tuned into the gun debate around the country is handy to see what other people do to successfully promote the Second Amendment, it’s more important to be involved locally so that you remind your own lawmakers that you are watching their votes before there’s a need to recall them.

8 thoughts on “Not Every Tactic Works All the Time”

  1. You are SO correct. Immediately after the success of the Colorado recall votes, there were calls on for recall of California state legislators. These would have no chance of succeeding.

    1. Our movement needs a tactical strategist… I’d nominate Sebastian and Bitter as co-leaders. ;)

  2. I caught a lot of what (blush) Rachel Maddow had to say about this example, as I was clicking around the old TV dial last night. “Guns” and “recall” caught my ear, so I stopped to listen.

    As Maddow explained it (surprisingly?) it was very arguable whether this issue was really about guns, per se. It was about who would perform the background checks that were already in place. Apparently the town council didn’t want to do it, and sought to hand it off to the state police. (?) As the story was spun by Maddow, from that some gun rights activists tried to make it a gun rights issue.

    I’m saying this in the context of, is that true? I did not pursue the story further today, since the failed recall was a done deal.

    But now let me say that if that is at all how people perceived the issue — be it true or not — I am not surprised that the recall failed. If the gun rights advocates were successfully cast as making a mountain out of a mostly non-existent molehill, it means they failed in communicating their issue properly. Perhaps they picked the wrong battle. “All dressed up with no place to go” is a perennial problem of activist management.

    1. I just want to add to my above, that every battle that fails to achieve its state goal is not necessarily a failure. Proving was are prepared to make a big fight out of anything marginally related to guns, has tactical value of its own.

      I’m seldom long on optimism, but in this example, if there are some pols saying, “This battle verged on being suicidal on the part of gun owners; WTF were they thinking? But they undertook it anyway!”, it could have payoffs in the future that will be invisible, but real.

      1. There’s a story about a modern First World army conducting counterinsurgency ops in the jungle after WWII. A general and one of his subordinates were standing by the airfield, when a helo came back with a spear stuck in it.

        “Sir, how can we lose, when facing people who attack armed helicopters with spears?” [chuckle]

        “Son, how can we win, against men brave enough to attack armed helicopters with spears?!?”

  3. Don’t pick a fight you can’t win. Now I am confused as what did it matter if the town did the background check or the state A.G. did as long as you get the gun.

    1. “Don’t pick a fight you can’t win.”

      That is always arguable, IMO, based on my reflections above.

      A basic premise of guerrilla warfare is to keep your much more powerful enemy constantly off balance; he must always be prepared for what you might do, and expend resources just to remain on guard against your unpredictability. You want to be the one to pick your own battles, but in a war with a more powerful enemy, those won’t always be battles you can win.

      It may not be the best analogy, but I just thought of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo early in WWII. What it accomplished militarily was essentially nothing, and in those terms was a loss because it came at the expense of unacceptable losses. But it is generally held as having incalculable value in terms of demoralizing the Japanese and penetrating their myth of invincibility.

      There also is value in exercising your troops now and then. I don’t know a thing about the gun rights advocates’ organization in this case, but chances are they came out of it with a better handle on their own capabilities, a better idea of who has leadership qualities and for what tasks, etc. And if they found they really weren’t up to doing the task well, that too is valuable knowledge, balanced against “We’ll Show’em! bravado.

      None of this it to defend this particular enterprise. It is just to reflect that every battle that doesn’t find you marching into the enemy capital isn’t necessarily a loss. And every apparent win isn’t necessarily a win, either, as in “The flies have conquered the flypaper.”

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