Yesterday, April 19th, the pro-gun folks came from around the country to gather in Washington DC and some--with the guns--rallied across the river in Virginia.
Personally I thought that this was great. Power to the people, especially the polite, normal, sane and law-abiding armed people...you know--the ones who don't commit crimes or pose a threat to society. This demographic is also known as: "the vast majority of gun owners".
In short, these are the good people, and this was a great opportunity to get our message out and show the mewling hoplophobes that we're not the demons that Sarah Brady and many Democrats say that we are.
But then the organizers of the rallies had to go any put up two speakers that basically laid claim to being everything that the gun-banners say we are: paranoid and potentially dangerous people just waiting to go shoot someone.
First, they put up Mike Vanderboegh, a militia leader from Alabama best known for telling his followers to go out and throw rocks through the windows of legislators who voted for Obamacare.
Now I oppose Obamacare with every fiber of my being, but thug action isn't how America is supposed to work. Vanderboegh was rightfully condemned by many true conservatives and patriots for this un-American act, but still, the organizers of this rally thought that he'd be a good spokesman for our cause for some reason. And like the lout that he apparently is, he got up on the stage and basically promised to shoot any law enforcement officer who who tries to bring him into a court for not buying an insurance policy as mandated by Obamacare.
"If I know I'm not going to get a fair trial in federal court ... I at least have the right to an unfair gunfight," Vanderboegh said.
Seriously? Guy, you need to shut the fuck up. You don't speak for me or, I suspect, for most other sane, rational gun owners. It used to be that we'd hear the self-professed "warriors" of the militia boasting about how they'll kill police and soldiers when the big gun round-up starts, but now we've got one claiming that he'll kill over the possibility of a fine for not buying health insurance. What next? Declaring jihad because the neighbor kid walks across your lawn?
Mike Vanderboegh does not speak for me. He's a punk and his presence at that rally was a stain on all of the truly great and good who came out, people like Suzanna Gratia Hupp, a woman who truly was victimized by armed criminals while forced by law to remain defenseless. Who would even consider putting a tool like Vanderboegh up on a dais with a true fighter and hero like her?
And it got worse. At the DC rally, someone decided that the keynote speaker should by Larry Pratt, the charlatan who runs Gun Owners of America and spends most of that group's money fighting against the NRA and any state gun-rights organization that tries to achieve progress for gun owners by legislative means. Let me say that I know Larry Pratt, having dealt with him more than once in my professional life, and he, like Vanderboegh, is just a loudmouth who deliberately stirs up controversy because he's figured out that scared or angry gun owners will give him more money than happy ones will. And for Pratt, it's always been about the money. You see, his group, Gun Owners of America, isn't run by a real board of elected members like the NRA is--it's run by him, his family, and a few cronies, and the money that the group takes in basically goes into their own bank accounts instead of the fight for your freedoms or mine. In short, Larry Pratt is a parasite who leeches onto our cause for his own profit and sucks off resources that should have been used for our real fight. And yesterday, it was vintage Pratt as he exclaimed: "We're in a war. The other side knows they are at war, because they started it," said Larry Pratt, president of the Gun Owners of America. "They are coming for our freedom, for our money, for our kids, for our property. They are coming for everything because they are a bunch of socialists."
In other words, just riling people up. No plan, no credibility--just demagoguery, no doubt followed by the circulation of pre-printed envelopes so that the good but naive people in attendance could send him more of their cash.
I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it: Larry Pratt does not speak for me. I would not cross the street to piss on him if he was on fire.
Honestly, while it's great to have these gatherings, the goal should be to show non-gun folks that we're as mainstream and regular as they are and not the evil people that we're portrayed at. To do this, we need to put up speakers who are mainstream and normal, not flaming ranters threatening war. By putting the likes of Vanderboegh and Pratt out front at the visible public face of the movement, the organizers of these rallies just confirmed that we're every bit as kooky, dangerous and untrustworthy as they've been saying that we are.
Maybe next time, you'll try to get someone like Tom Selleck, Oliver North, John Lott, Massad Ayoob, or Congressional Representatives Don Young and Barbara Cubin--you know...normal people who know how to speak articulately and present a decent image, not gooberish whack jobs who glory in being able to issue threats in our name. These people are not us and we don't need their baggage as we struggle to reclaim our rights.
Stories on the rallies:
New Orleans Times Picayune