Report on the Project Exile Kickoff

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

The Colorado Freedom

Report on the Project Exile Kickoff

by Mark Call , March 9, 2000

They call it "Project Exile."

It's worse than you think. In fact, it's possible that it is worse than you might even be willing to believe.

What is "Project Exile?" Is it a wonderful attempt by a beaten, wiser, NRA to compromise on the harsh but antiquated language of the Bill of Rights, and to recognize that gun control really DOES work -- it just has to be enforced more consistently, say at the point of a gun? Is it an acknowledgement that the "right" to keep and bear arms isn't a natural right at all, much less something "endowed by" our Creator? Or maybe it's something a little more insidious.

What Project Exile is, according to the Jim Brady - Wayne LaPierre et al press conference in Denver on Monday, March 6th, is an effort to win hearts and minds -- and undermine public support for gun ownership and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

More specifically, it is -- in Colorado in 2000 -- a $1 Million propaganda effort to "change the culture" with respect to the new Orwellian buzzwords-of-choice: "gun violence", and the scourge of "illegal guns". Note over the coming months how many times you are hammered with those catch phrases -- and that you will never hear the term "illegal gun" defined, or see any indication of how such a thing could exist at all if the Second Article of the Constitution had not been "exiled," much less infringed.

"Pack an illegal gun -- pack your bags for prison," goes the mantra. Implied, unstated, but literally almost palpable among the assembled zealots in the room, was the inevitable corollary: "Every gun an illegal gun." During the Q&A session, publisher Bob Glass pointedly asked NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre if he was aware that in Wellington Webb's Denver, most guns were already "illegal" under a number of local ordinances which were in opposition to the Constitutions of both Colorado and the United States. The question went unanswered, and Mr. Glass' attempts to get a response to the query were shouted down by the "unbiased" press.

There is no "new law" associated with this propaganda effort -- only a well-funded and very public effort to "enforce existing gun laws." Denver DA Bill Ritter and US Attorney Tom Strickland led the parade at Monday's PR blitz to talk about the priority they would now place on prosecuting these "illegal guns." Columbine celebrity-parent Tom Mauser, proclaimed proudly that Exile "...doesn't just punish a criminal _after_ the fact...(!)" [I leave the implications of that insight to the reader.]

LaPierre himself said it best during his speech, "You touch a gun in Colorado, and you're gonna have five years in a state or federal penitentiary." Whether it was a Freudian slip or not, it may have been the truest words spoken on that stage Monday, by expressing the groupthink intentions of the assembled mob. He explained to the press later that federal prosecutions of gun crimes were better than local ones, because there was "plenty of room" in the federal pens, and no parole. He sounded like quite a champion of federal gun laws, and utterly unconcerned about trivialities like the Bill of Rights.

As if to remove any doubt, LaPierre explained the program to the cameras as a plan to "...confront the bad people with guns, and get them off the street." It seemed that the press understood him.

Representative Tom Tancredo, elected as an alleged champion of the Second Amendment, but a clear convert to post-Columbine political expediency, said with respect to additional gun controls, "Show me a law...I'll support it."

Mr. Glass remarked later, "If I hadn't seen it all for myself, I wouldn't have believed it."

Notably absent from discussion was the name "Ismael Mena" or the term "illegal warrant" -- to remind those favoring more police-state tactics of the recent abuses of both the law and the court which resulted in an innocent Denver man being gunned down in his own home, after a bogus "no-knock" search warrant for a wrong address.

Present on that same stage was Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, who earlier had the shameless chutzpah to blame the death of Mena on, guess what? -- claiming that if he had not had the temerity to try to defend himself with a gun from invaders smashing down his door under color of law -- he'd be alive today!

Several questions from the lapdog press during that Q&A session convinced me that I didn't want to waste my own opportunity to expose this fascist farce by asking for more details on the "enforcement" regimen -- whether they intended to break into homes harboring "illegal guns" based on anonymous tips to the "hotline" during working hours, or the dead of night, for example.

By the time I was called on there was only a single question which had been burning in my consciousness ever since seeing the eerily-unsettling TV propaganda pieces almost everyone there was so enamored of: "I missed the phone number to 'turn-in-your-neighbor;' was it 1-800-GESTAPO or 1-800-POLICE-STATE ?"

What surprised me was the reaction: not so much as a stifled chuckle. In fact, there was a full five seconds of utter stunned silence, during which time the moderator turned his back on us, then simply pretended nothing had happened. It spoke volumes.

After the session was over, I lost track of how many times we were asked a variation of this ONE question: "[It obviously works SO well...] How could you POSSIBLY be against sending Bad People with guns to jail?" Anti-gun Denver talk-show host Peter Boyles' comment, when I responded that - among other lesser things - the laws were UNCONSTITUTIONAL, was typical. "Oh, puleease...," been there, done that, as if the Supreme Law of the Land was a non-issue. The hideous lessons of history show clearly otherwise.

Unfortunately, the ignorance of our Constitution and history demonstrated by almost all of the press exceeded even that of Boyles'. Likewise, their blind acceptance of the claims of Project Exile's "great results" stands in dramatic contrast to their tendency to utterly ignore volumes of evidence about the much more pronounced crime-reduction effects of concealed carry and firearms in the home -- from Vermont and Kinnesaw, Georgia, to the works of Professors John Lott and Gary Kleck.

I introduced myself to Wayne LaPierre after the meeting as an NRA Life Member, who was disgusted by this sell-out type of "legislative action," and would be at the protest of Project Exile that very afternoon. When I asked him if he ever understood what the meaning of the word "infringed" was, his answer was clear... he turned his back, pretended to ignore us, and walked away.

Bill Clinton couldn't have said it better.

The Colorado Freedom