Richard Bowman and Ari Armstrong Exchange Views on Dean, Compromise
November 8, 1999
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999 06:18:32 -0400
I feel that I need to wade into the fray here and relate my opinion.
First, your zeal is appreciated. Your attack on one of our best allies and friends is not.
If you were to spend years trying to defend our second amendment just to have someone come out of the woodwork and call you a traitor would you appreciate it? I doubt it.
For the last twelve years or so, we and our supporters like Doug Dean have been subject to the propaganda from HCI and other organizations. They use the same tactics of Hitler by telling a big lie and then telling it long and loud enough that fiction is becoming reality in the minds of the general public.
With Webb in calling for the NRA to cancel the convention some how we became responsible for Columbine since we defend our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I don't think that they would have called for the American Automobile Association to cancel their convention even though there are 48,000 lives lost on our highways every year. With the help of the media, we are being protrayed as evil and a menace to society.
What does the public focus on? What the media tells them to - that's what! There is a Columbine High School every day on our highways and the Damn media says nothing.
Forget logic and reason. IF YOU TELL A LIE LONG ENOUGH IT BECOMES THE TRUTH. This is what HCI, Clinton and the Comicrats (left wing of the Democratic Party) have been spewing for the last eight years. Look what they did to Newt and the lies they told about cuts in social security. Hell, the President lied before the public and the courts about Monica. These clowns have no honor and will smear anyone who gets in their way. Forget that it cost them the 1994 federal election - they don't care. They want the hearts and minds of what they refer to as mindless masses and don't care if it takes two years, ten years or fifty years. They don't want big victories. They will take a small battle here and a small battle there.
It is vitally important to keep the State Legislature in pro-civil-rights hands and, like it or not, the Comicrats are going to use Columbine as an excuse to further restrict our civil right to self protection.
Because the press usually sides with the Comicrates, we, and our representatives, are usually painted as irrational right-wing wackos. To assure the general public that we are thoughtful and rational it may become necessary to shield your true beliefs and offer up a public position which would be appealing to the sheep among us. As an example, I was at a high school the other day giving a talk to a class when the teacher asked, "do you think it is ok for people to purchase handguns without training?" I wanted to say, "Damn right and it's none of your Damn business to dictate what kind of training." What I did say was, "Of course I want everyone to have training and that is one of the major functions of the NRA and I strongly encourage everyone to take some kind of training, but I don't think that we should have mandatory training. Voting is a sacred honor in our country and we don't have mandatory training on the issues before we are allowed to vote."
You ask, "do you favor allowing the government to take the ability of 18-21 year old citizens away?" My answer, and probably that of many in our civil rights movement, is no. BUT have you ever played chess? As much as you hate to, you have to give up a few men to win the game. The same applies in war. Some lives will be lost to win the war. Therefore, if I have to vote to give up the right of citizens in the 18-21 group to purchase firearms so that I can get a "Concealed Carry" and "Preemption" bills I will. Besides, it's already against the federal law - so what?
We can fight tooth and nail as the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners would have us do and have the same results as the last secession of the legislature which is absolutely NOTHING. If RMGO had stayed out of the picture we would have had Concealed Carry sail through the legislature and would have a Preemption bill to protect us from being harassed by Denver before the terrorism at Columbine. Instead, they wanted a politically impossible "Vermont Style" bill without training. NO WAY IN HELL would the people of Colorado accept that and RMGO knew It. All they want is to have issues to keep them in business so that they can keep asking for donations. One of the reasons that RMGO doesn't like Dean is because he gets things done!
As for 18-21 year olds, we can come back later on and pull the same crap that the Comicrats do even if it is disgusting. The Comicrats contiue to wait in the wings to push their laws to take away our civil rights. They have been wanting background checks at gun-shows (which I believe would be a violation of the 10th amendment if passed by the federales) and the three day waiting period for a long time. Then Columbine happened and guess what occured. You guessed it!! Even before the bodies had a chance to cool the cry went up to divest our society of it's civil right to self protection. We can wait and do the same thing ourselves. There will be another murder or rape in Boulder of a coed and then we can scream for allowing people to purchase the means to defend themselves.
Do not attack Doug Dean until you take some time to do some research to find out the facts and what is behind the newspaper story.
Rep Dean has my support and if he wanted to become Govenor of Colorado, I would support his efforts.
He stands by us when others run for cover.
When we need help in the legislature, it is Dean who helps us.
When we need advise, it is Dean who advises us.
When we need votes, it is Dean who gets them for us.
So lay off the attacks on Doug Dean!
Next time you want to go on the attack, go after those who want to take our civil rights away, namely the Comicrats, and be specific as to who you are attacking. Bob Hagadorn and Lois Tochtrop though Democrates are also allies and not to be bunched in with the Comicrates in their party. You need to find out who the players are and what they are doing behind the scenes before you go off half-cocked and wind up helping to take away our civil rights instead of recovering them.
If I were to make a mistake as I preceive that you have done, I would stuff my ego in a box and, like a man of honor, I would issue a public apology to Mr Dean.
It takes guts to admit to an error.
Pres Colorado State Shooting Association
Dear Mr. Bowman,
I appreciate your reasoned reply to my article about Doug Dean. You made a conscientious effort to come to terms with the substance of the issue and you employed logic and evidence to back your case. I deeply appreciate your honesty and your forthrightness. However, I disagree with your analysis of the controversy.
Let's start simply with your header, "Casualties from 'friendly fire.'" I disagree emphatically that Dean is a "casualty" or even a victim of my article. Rather, I challenged Dean to change his perspective before he passes a set of laws that help take away our freedoms. Thus, I was offering Dean constructive criticism. Please let me quote from you a paragraph I just sent another person, and please adopt it as my request of you as well. I wrote:
"I have a sincere request to make of you. If I *ever* advocate a policy or law inimical to liberty, I beg you to challenge me in *exactly* the same spirit in which I challenged Doug Dean. By doing so, you would be doing me the greatest favor of my life."
>First, your zeal is appreciated.
I appreciate your acknowledgment that my *motives* are honest ones, even though you disagree with what I wrote. Like you, I believe that the difference of opinion regarding Doug Dean's comments is an honest disagreement.
>If you were to spend years trying to defend our second amendment just to
The only person who has ever been called a "traitor" is me, by a member of CSSA, and no, I didn't appreciate it very much. But you seem to be claiming that I called Dean a traitor, which is simply not true. Rather, I explicitly wrote that Dean "deserves credit" for those times he has stood up for gun rights. I also wrote the article as a *warning*, not of something Dean has done, but of something he has said he's going to do. Hopefully, he'll change his mind in time! When Dean was threatened in the wake of Columbine, I defended him. I continue to regard Dean as an ally in freedom, even though he slipped on this occasion in my estimation. Constructive criticism is healthy, and again I hope you offer it to me when you feel the situation warrants.
I agree with you that the tactics of HCI and Webb are unjust. When Webb asked the NRA not to hold its convention, I attacked Webb in print and fully supported the NRA.
I strongly disagree with the political strategy you advocate. You write:
>Because the press usually sides with the Comicrates, we, and our
I think that "shielding our true beliefs" is what has led to the endless compromises so far of our gun rights. Rather than take the media's abuse, I believe we need to take on the media directly, challenge their unjustified attacks, explain to them rationally why we're right and why gun ownership is a moral issue, and prove through our deeds and words that we are not "wackos" but rather the only reasonable players on the field and the true defenders of human liberty, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights.
We have every ability to shape public opinion as well as the anti-gun lobby has done -- if we will only seize our opportunities to speak loudly for the truth! By backing down, mumbling our reasons, and granting our opponents the moral high-ground, we only assure the eventual demise of freedom.
However, it is possible to speak the truth in a way that connects with particular audiences. For instance, with the example you give:
>As an example, I was at a high
I think the analogy you gave is an excellent one. You didn't compromise your beliefs; you didn't say something you believe to be false. You didn't say, "Well, *some* training is fine, but ho-hum-mumble-grumble." Rather, you stated your principles in a way the kids could relate to. Good Show!
Another good analogy is the right of free speech. Ask the kids if they think they and their parents should receive GOVERNMENT-training before they can read the newspaper, use the internet, or publish their opinions. I think that makes the matter really clear.
>You ask, "do you favor allowing the government to take the ability of 18-21
SO WHAT? So what that Colorado politicians pass laws that violate the Colorado Constitution! But I suppose it's a fair enough question. Here's the "so what" -- by seconding UNCONSTITUTIONAL federal laws at the state level, we are implicitly granting federal legislators the moral authority they want and need to dictate even more restrictions to us. We are in effect saying, "Well, the Feds were right. Us dumb citizens at the State level are *so* greatful to the Feds for showing us the way. Thank you, Bill Clinton and ilk, for shining your infinite good wisdom upon us." I mean, that's basically the message, right? There are three other "so whats." First, we are granting that States' rights do not exist. "If the federal government wants to usurp States' rights, well, then just go ahead! We won't raise a fuss!" Second, by seconding the UNCONSTITUTIONAL Federal law, we're passing up the great opportunity to tell Federal lawmakers, acting far outside their Constitutional authority, to take their unjust laws and shove them. Why can't we at least try to pass a resolution similar to Kentucky's, only concerning the right to bear arms? Third, if we keep piling unjust laws on top of each other, we're *never* going to be able to untangle that mess and return to freedom. At least the task will be much more difficult. You see, I don't want to spend my life compromising away our liberties. Rather, I hope and believe that I can and will live in a free society, someday. All my efforts are directed toward that end.
But there's another point here. I disagree completely with your analogy to chess. Defending civil rights is not like playing chess *at all*. In chess, the goal is to keep *one* person alive, at the expense of all other persons. Well, that's a good analogy to a dictatorship. But to live in a free society, we must advocate the freedom of all individuals! As Martin Luther King put it, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." If we sacrifice the liberties of ANY class of lawful adults, the next sacrifice of liberty will be our own.
I would change the analogy along these lines: the onslaught of Statism is like a conflagration, a raging fire burning all human dignity and all human liberty in its path. This terrible conflagration burns at the expense of our civil rights. The more of our civil rights we VOLUNTARILY throw into the fire, the more horribly it will rage!
As far as concealed carry goes, I agree with you that any time we are able to take back *any* of our civil rights, we should do so. But do you see the difference in compromise here? It's ok to compromise -- ONLY if that means we can travel a foot closer to liberty rather than a mile closer. Of course, we should compromise to the best of our advantage, and never surrender the moral high-ground on the issue! What is NOT an acceptable compromise is to give away more of our civil rights voluntarily.
Finally, do you *really* believe that if we give the Democrats the 18-21 law, they'll back down on concealed carry? That strikes me as optimistic.
>Do not attack Doug Dean until you take some time to do some research to
To which "newspaper story" are you referring? If there are any facts relevant to the present issue of which I'm not aware, then by all means send them my way! But I don't think I'm missing anything essential: I criticized some of Doug Dean's specific comments, for reasons that strike me as sound.
Also, how good of a person Doug Dean is has no bearing upon the legitimacy of his recent statements. Look, the best people in the world can and do make mistakes. I can tell that you are a man of integrity and thoughtfulness, yet I would suppose that even you have made mistakes. God knows I have, and I try to be quick to acknowledge those errors and correct them. Again, I hope that Dean takes my article as constructive criticism, and again I hope my friends will offer me constructive criticism when I slip from the path of liberty.
>Next time you want to go on the attack, go after those who want to take our
I do criticize the opponents of civil rights with regularity. You encourage me to "do the research" about Doug Dean, but you haven't "done the research" concerning my general support of Dean or of my long-striving advocacy of liberty.
>If I were to make a mistake as I preceive that you have done, I would stuff
Yes, it takes guts to admit to an error. It also takes guts to STAND BY THE TRUTH, regardless of how many people pressure me, regardless of how many names I am called, regardless of the fact that some have tried to pressure my family and friends into "strongarming" me into submission.
I understand that you believe I made an error. I believe the exact opposite. Indeed, I believe the error would have been to allow Dean to pass an Unconstitutional, unjust law in the state of Colorado. I realize we have a difference of opinion, an honest one. My refusal to apologize to Doug Dean has nothing to do with being egotistical, and everything to do with standing by the truth as I see it. So you can question my conclusions -- please do so! -- but if you want to question my *motives*, my conscience is clear.