The Letters of Rathburn, Bond, and Dietrick, With Replies

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The Letters of Rathburn, Bond, and Dietrick, With Replies

Delivered-To: fixup-ari@oneimage.com@fixme
From: "Aimee Rathburn"
To: "Ari Armstrong"
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 21:36:17 -0600
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Ari, did you post that bile about Doug Dean on our cssalist? Call me, we HAVE to talk about this.

Aimee Rathburn, CSSA Executive Director, 720-283-1376


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Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 20:55:47 -0700
To: "Aimee Rathburn"
From: ari@oneimage.com (Ari Armstrong)
Subject: Re:

>Ari, did you post that bile about Doug Dean on our cssalist?

First, it's not "bile," as "bile" is defined as "a bitter, alkaline, yellow or greenish liquid, secreted by the liver," while the item to which you efer is an essay on politics. And no, I did not post it on the cssalist. If you disagree with the content of the essay, fine, but let's hear some arguments rather than just name-calling. If you believe Dean has the Constitutional authority to deny 18-21 year olds their rights to purchase firearms, then go ahead and say so, and say why you think so. I'd be happy to publish your reply along with the original essay.

>Call me, we HAVE to talk about this.

I will be happy to converse with you by phone or e-mail concerning the matter.

-Ari Armstrong


Delivered-To: fixup-ari@oneimage.com@fixme
From: "Aimee Rathburn"
To: "Ari Armstrong"
Subject: Re:
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 08:18:23 -0600
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Ari, the only name I called you is Ari, which is your name. I don't have your phone number, which is why I gave you mine. Please call me or email me your phone number so we can talk. You are incredibly misguided about Doug Dean and I really want to talk to you about him before you publish any more bile.

Aimee


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Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 10:26:54 -0700
To: "Aimee Rathburn"
From: ari@oneimage.com (Ari Armstrong)
Subject: Re:

Dear Ms. Rathburn,

I'm disappointed that you won't defend Dean's comments on the record. If you agree with him, why don't you just *say* so? Again, you calling my piece "bile" is no substitute for making rational arguments in criticism of it. I'm open to alternative points of view. Also, I would have you note that, in the original piece, I wrote that Dean "deserves credit" for those times he has defended gun rights.

So again I ask you: do you believe Colorado politicians have the Constitutional authority to deny adults 18-21 years old their right to purchase handguns? Second, do you believe background checks at gunshows can be expanded in a way consistent with civil rights? Dean implied "yes" to the former and "maybe" to the later: do you agree with him, or don't you?

I'm eager to engage in rational debate over the matter. I will either publish your reasoned reply to my piece, or I will publish this letter so that Coloradans know I made a sincere effort to seek your guidance but that you refused to offer it.

Sincerely,

Ari Armstrong


Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 22:14:33 -0600
From: Jon Bond
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To: Ari Armstrong
CC: CSSA
Subject: Identifying the enemy......

Mr. Armstrong:

My name is Jon Bond. I am the Director of Clubs & Ranges for CSSA, a successful business entrepreneur, an Endowment Life Member of the NRA, Life Member of CSSA, Honorary Life Member and Member of the Board of Directors of the Ben Lomond Gun Club, gun collector, hunter, patriot, husband of 36 years, father of two well adjusted and highly successful children, grandfather of two and hard core avid supporter of the 2nd Amendment and the Constitution of the United States of America. I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all foe, foreign or domestic, with my life if necessary. I take that oath very, very seriously.

While age in your eyes is undoubtedly not an asset, I have no choice but to believe that my years give me wisdom - the kind of wisdom which allows me to engage my brain before my mouth. You would do well to stop concluding and start thinking.

There are two sides to this issue and you had better pick one before the participants pick it for you. Obviously, you are no friend to the anti-gun side.

That means that your best friends are on the pro-gun side. If you attack them, if you engage them, then you are in effect giving aid and comfort to the enemy - and that's not very cool - in fact some would call it treason.

In my opinion, you need to identify who your enemy is.

JTB


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Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 22:51:20 -0700
To: Jon Bond
From: ari@oneimage.com (Ari Armstrong)
Subject: Re: Identifying the enemy......

Dear Mr. Bond,

Oh, give me a break. I've never said Doug Dean is "the enemy;" I've only criticized some of his recent comments. (In fact, I also explicitly stated that Dean "deserves credit" for those times he has stood up for gun rights.) And you know what? His recent comments *deserved* criticism! Your self-righteous and condescending attitude doesn't impress me. Stop being so melodramatic.

You imply my criticism of Doug Dean is "treasonous" (which is just silly), but truly I would be betraying my principles if I allowed our friend Doug Dean to compromise liberty to those who would curtail our freedoms. Dean's comments deserved criticism, and I hope that if I ever contemplate compromising my principles someone will offer me constructive criticism as well. If we can't engage in reasoned debate, then what kind of beings are we?

Missing from your comments is *any* reasonable argument against what I actually wrote. If you disagree with the substance of my essay, then by all means *explain* why! Your ad hominem attacks just don't cut it. Do *you* think Dean has the Constitutional authority to deny adults 18-21 years old their rights to buy handguns? Please explain your reasoning, whatever your stand.

Thank you for writing. I would *love* to read your *substantive* critique of my recent essay. Please write one and send it my way!

Sincerely,

Ari Armstrong


From: Deke44@aol.com
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 08:36:15 EDT
Subject: attack on Doug Dean
To: ari@oneimage.com, cssalist@onelist.com
CC: JonCaldara@aol.com, DAVID@i2i.org, MBRADFIE@ix.netcom.com,
jpartridge@nrahq.org
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Ari:

I applaud your inthusiasm on the Second Amendment. I'm appalled that you have chosen to attack one of the gun community's strongest supporters at the state house. I can only conclude that you have been given severely bad advice, and, by the tone of your article, I can probably deduce from whom you received the advice.

I don't know who the flaming idiot was that placed your article on our listserve. I can only suggest he go somewhere else to play.

It is obvious, from this article, that you haven't a clue what actually goes on at the Capitol. Your callow inexperience shows markedly in this regard. I practically live at the Capitol during the session, and, therefore, have an extremely good insight into who is responsible for what goes on down there. Yet, although I know full well who our enemies really are, I never engage in personal attacks, even on our enemies, much less our friends!

Politics is the art of the possible. Doug Dean is the master of the possible. Because of his pro-Second-Amendment stands, he, his home, and his family have endured threats. Yet he continues to be one of our staunchest supporters. Even were he the enemy, which I will assure you he is not, is it truly wise to completely alienate the House Majority Leader? Would you go spit in the Speaker's morning coffee? You could do so, of course, then pat yourself on the back for being such a staunch defender of your position. By the same token, of course, you will assure yourself that no issue that you want passed by the Legislature will ever see the light of day.

The power of the individual aside, you launched an attack from a position of total ignorance. You don't have a clue just what all Doug Dean has strived to do for the gun community of this state. You haven't sat in on the countless meetings, committee hearings, House debates, etc. so that you would understand what is actually going on. Instead, you pick out a couple of statements out of context and utilize them to attempt to demonize one of our best friends.

Politics don't work the way you seem to think they should. For that matter, they don't work the way I think they should. If all our friends at the Legislature simply stood up on their hind legs and said "the Second Amendment forever and no restrictions" they 1) would get laughed out of the hearings, 2) would be totally unsuccessful in getting ANY of the bills we would like to see passed into law, and 3) would not be there the next legislature. However, our enemies certainly would be, and I'll assure you you wouldn't like the bills that passed, then.

You really owe Representative Dean a public apology in the same venue in which you slandered him. I'm sure your gigantic ego will prevent you from making this apology, so I'm going to make it for you. You have totally unjustly maligned him. I would suggest that, in future, you consult those who know what the hell is going on before you launch into personal diatribes.

You work with David Kopel, for crying out loud. Mr. Kopel is one of the most knowledgeable individuals in this state about the legislature. I'm certain you did not consult with him before writing this diatribe.

You have challenged Aimee Rathburn to an e-mail debate. I will assure you, this is NOT the venue. Persons other than pro-gunners read the pro-gun e-mail trees, and there are things that would have to be brought out in such a public debate that would reveal strategy, and I refuse to give aid and comfort to the enemy, as Mr. Bond said. If you want your debate, I feel her offer to conduct that at the Independence Institute in the presence of Mr. Caldara and Mr. Kopel would be the ideal venue. We know nothing to help the anti-gunners would escape from there.

In conclusion, we have plenty of enemies at the state house. It's bad enough to get them fighting mad. To alienate our friends is to cut our own throats. Please refrain from personal attacks of this nature in future. If you feel absolutely compelled to do so, please do so away from our association and our listserve. We are trying to forward a pro-gun agenda, not guarantee its demise.

Bill Dietrick

Legislative Director


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Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 09:39:17 -0700
To: Deke44@aol.com
From: ari@oneimage.com (Ari Armstrong)
Subject: Re: attack on Doug Dean

Dear Mr. Dietrick,

Your suggestiong that I wrote my article criticizing some of Doug Dean's recent comments on the "advice" of others, besides being false, is offensive and simply uncalled for. But let's stop playing games. You're saying Dudley Brown of RMGO encouraged my to write the article. That's simply untrue. Look, I'm not in *anybody's* pocket. I write what I believe to be the truth. If that happens to put me in Dudley Brown's camp sometimes, then so be it. I have also criticized Dudley Brown when I've disagreed with him.

To date, you're the third person who has expressed disapproval of the article. You're also the third person who has *totally failed* to even attempt to address the substantive points I raised in that article. Do you believe that Doug Dean has the Constitutional authority to deny adults ages 18-21 years old the right to purchase handguns? I believe he doesn't, and I stated my reasons for that conclusion. Further, I do not believe background checks can be expanded in a way consistent with civil rights, yet Dean said that perhaps they can be. Do you agree with Dean, or don't you? Let's stop making this about personalities, and start making it about principle.

You write, "It is obvious, from this article, that you haven't a clue what actually goes on at the Capitol. Your callow inexperience shows markedly in this regard." On the contrary, I think that I do have a pretty good clue. Republicans grant Democrats the moral high-ground on the gun issue and slowly compromise away our right to bear arms. That seems to be the trend.

You write, "[A]lthough I know full well who our enemies really are, I never engage in personal attacks, even on our enemies, much less our friends!" Did you actually *read* my article? If you did, you'll know it contained *substantive* arguments against Dean's specific comments. Of course, I held Dean accountable for his comments. This is not a *personal* attack, but rather a reasoned criticism of a specific set of proposals.

You ask, "[I]s it truly wise to completely alienate the House Majority Leader?... [Y]ou will assure yourself that no issue that you want passed by the Legislature will ever see the light of day." I think that you're wrong about Doug Dean's character. I don't think that he would be so vindictive as to kill pro-freedom legislation simply because of a personality clash. I don't think he's egotistical. But you're question is curious; it presumes that legislation is all about personality and subjective taste. I disagree with your presumption completely. I believe that law can and should be about objective standards of human freedom. Yet again I urge, let's stop making this about personalities, and start making it about principle.

However, if others kill pro-freedom legislation that I might support, simply because they don't like me personally, then that is a flaw of their character, not mine. My integrity, at least, remains intact.

You state, "You don't have a clue just what all Doug Dean has strived to do for the gun community of this state." First, I do realize what Doug Dean has done. Most of it has been good, some of it has been questionable. But are we going to let Doug Dean get away with passing Unconstitutional laws, simply because he's a great guy? To me, the *standard* is a consistent advocacy of liberty. Dean deserves praise for those times he has supported freedom (which I explicitly wrote in the essay, which you seem to forget), but he deserves criticism for those times when he strays from the path of freedom.

I hope that, should I contemplate compromising my principles, you and others will be so good as to offer me constructive criticism as well.

You write, "[Y]ou pick out a couple of statements out of context and utilize them to attempt to demonize one of our best friends." First, I did not attempt to "demonize" Doug Dean. Rather, I criticized some of his particular comments. Second, I did not quote Dean "out of context." Are you implying that he didn't mean what he said?

You are correct, however, when you write, "Politics don't work the way you seem to think they should." What an understatement! I believe our politicians are duty-bound to preserve liberty, which is too often the precise opposite of what they do.

You write that if politicians actually took their oaths seriously to safeguard the Second Amendment, they would get "laughed at," they would lose their legislative battles, and they would lose their elections. I disagree on every count. Rather, wishy-washy support of the civil right of gun ownership only grants the enemies of freedom the moral high-ground. It alienates principled voters, who turn to third parties or stop voting all together. And the only ones laughing now and for the past 60 years are the ememies of freedom, because they're winning. If Republicans started stating clearly and loudly why gun ownership is important to public safety and to individual rights, they would win converts, regain their rightful place on the moral high-ground, and begin to control the debate.

You claim that I owe Dean a public apology. No, I don't. I made a good-faith effort to evaluate Dean's proposals on their merits. You, on the other hand, have made *no* effort to come to terms with the substance of my article. I encourage you to do so.

You say I should discuss Dean in the same "venue" in which I discussed him previously. What venue are you talking about? I posted the article at The Colorado Freedom Report, which I own, and I sent copies to a few other individuals, who then apparently forwarded the article to others. In fact, I plan to continue this discussion at The Colorado Freedom Report. I will include these comments there in a subsequent article.

But you seem to be confused about the origin of the article. You write, "You work with David Kopel, for crying out loud." This is false, and I'm not sure where you got this idea. David Kopel works for the Independence Institute, while I am self-employed. Sure, occassionally the Institute publishes my (less controversial) articles. But the article about Dean was not written under the auspices of any other organization, so again I refuse to involve any other organization in the matter.

You state frankly that you refuse to debate the matter publicly. You say that by doing so you would be giving the anti-gun crowd too much information. I say hog-wash. This is a matter ripe for public debate, and if no member of CSSA will debate me publicly on the matter, then I will make that too a public issue. The public deserves to know if Dean plans to compromise some of our freedoms, and it deserves to know if CSSA intends to support Dean in that endeavor. If you disagree with my interpretation of the facts, then the public also deserves to know your perspective. And I am more than happy to accomodate your point of view, right along with the original article. That's called intellectual honesty. Your inclination to keep everything hush-hush and behind closed doors is, to my mind, silly and counter-productive.

You write, "Please refrain from personal attacks of this nature in future. If you feel absolutely compelled to do so, please do so away from our association and our listserve." However, I did not post the article on your listserve. (I didn't even know you *had* a listserve.) If one of your members did so, that's hardly my concern. And again, I did not write the article as a personal attack on Doug Dean. I have said and will say publicly that Dean is a great guy, and often a defender of freedom. On this occassion, he has, in my estimation, slipped. If you disagree with my estimation, then *state your reasons*.

Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of empty personal attacks on me. I don't mind heated discussion, so long as there's some light shining on the issues. I would encourage you to address the *issues* in your future correspondence.

Thank you for writing. I look forward to reading your subsequent, reasoned analysis of my *ideas*.

Sincerely,

Ari Armstrong

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com