'Why I Hate Gunnies'
by Scott Graves
Editor's note: The following article is reprinted with permission of Scott Graves and The Libertarian Enterprise. It first appeared in Issue 177 of the TLE, June 10, 2002. TLE is available on the internet at http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/index.html. To subscribe to TLE's e-mail list, send an e-mail to EditorTLE@triad.rr.com with the text "SUBSCRIBE TLE" in the Subject line of the message. Scott Graves is an activist with the Libertarian Party of El Paso County. I enjoyed his article, but I think libertarians ought to continue to reach out to every group. -- Ari Armstrong
Update: L. Neil Smith responds at www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe178-20020617-05.html. Smith argues libertarians need to keep trying to persuade "gunnies," writing, "My old friend Scott Graves... couldn't be more wrong if he were a member in good standing of the Bush Administration. His complaint, based on 12 years in the freedom movement, boils down to an inability on his part to persuade rugged individualists to agree with him about everything."
Another Update: Graves, Smith, and Joe Johnson continue the debate at http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe179-20020624-01.html.
WHY I HATE GUNNIES
There are topics I despise more than the Second Amendment, however I canít think of them at this time. Now before you go all ballistic over thinking I am liberal or some such nonsense let me explain.
I have been a Libertarian for going on 12 years now, and in that time I have parroted the "The Second Amendment guarantees the other nine" line in front of every group I have spoken. I have owned quite a few guns, although today my collection is mainly replicas of black powder weapons, and have spent time in the firearm social circuit. So don't start thinkin' I am one of those left wing libertarians out there.
However in my time with the party I have worked many gun show outreach booths. Standing there administering the ice breaking "Worlds Smallest Political Quiz" and passing out flyers. I have talked with more "gunnies" than I ever care to and have tried to defend our stands on every other liberty issue from drugs to immigration to these people who "agree with us on 90% of the issues, but..."
I am sick of it. Sick and tired of talking to gun owners who want to be able to keep and bear tac-nukes but don't want their neighbor to smoke dope, speak Spanish, be from a country where the skin tone is too dark, have roads paid for with tolls, get rid of income tax, get rid of sales tax, repeal laws on consensual sex, eliminate the draft or any other issue we stand for. In short I am sick of dealing with right wing stateists as much as I am sick of left wing stateists. In fact I am sicker of the right wing stateists since they try to sound like they support individual liberty. At least the lefties are honest about their desire to see tyranny in our lifetime.
Let me tell you a story about the most obnoxious right wing tyrant who came by our booth a gun show or two back, I think he may have been more vocal about it but I think his position is pretty standard for the typical gun owner. This fellow came by the booth and talked about how he had read all the writings of the Founding Fathers(tm) and how Lincoln and FDR were the worst presidents ever, and how we shouldn't be involving ourselves in foreign problems and how we needed to work together to protect individual liberty. Guy sounds good so far, right? A candidate for an activist to go and get people to vote for us, maybe even a candidate for office somewhere.
Then he drops the bombshell. He says "I agree with you guys on 90% of what you say but we can't legalize drugs." So we asked him why. He gave us quotes a Drug Czar would be proud of and then told us how we should fight the "War on Drugs". He wants to line up ten armored divisions (mind you we don't _have_ ten armored divisions in our military, but this is his fantasy so who cares) on the Mexican border and roll south to Tierra del Fuego and kill anyone who is involved in the drug trade.
Now aside from initiation of force issues, and right to work issues, what about foreign policy issues? What about the military adventures warned about by Jefferson? How can this guy even think he agrees with us 10% much less 90%. The guy is a big government stateist from the right side, but he wants to own any type of gun he can, since he's got a Second Amendment to back him up. Them stinky hippies aint got that so its ok to have not only the current drug war, but a new and improved drug war that makes our war on terror look like a weekend paint ball game.
Now you may say he is just one guy and not indicative of the whole of gun owners. I would say he is indicative of 75% of gun owners. This based upon anecdotal evidence from sitting my tush at gun shows talking to these right wing wackos and being told we need to put barbed wire at the borders and shoot to kill any damned wet back who comes here to steal our jobs, go kill everyone who touches a drug that ain't licensed by the government, etcetera etcetera.
So I am sick of gunnies and sick of this worship of the Second Amendment. I am sick of playing to these right-wingers who want a massive intrusive government attacking anything the bible (in their translation) says is icky. I am sick of our party, a party of principle, pandering to these wanna-be tyrants in any way.
A friend of mine said once "Gunnies have a party, its called the Republican Party" and he is right. So what if the Republicans sell them out every turn, they support them for one simple reason. They are just as hypocritical as the gunnies. They do not demand an ethical center to their philosophy. They can at the same time want unlimited freedom on firearms and total limitation on chemical freedom. They can want both economic freedoms for their businesses, while demanding those who hire immigrants be subjected to rectal exams to insure every piece of paper is perfect.
These gunnies are not potential allies as many think, they are not people whom we can convert to our cause if just one more stupid gun law is passed, they are not ever going to come our way. The reason is simple; they want big government to beat up those who are icky in their sight. That is all. Unless they can get over their love of big government enforcing moral codes on people, they are a lost cause.
Now take a different group, the druggies. What kind of response do we get from them? Overwhelmingly positive. At a rally recently run by our Gubernatorial candidate here in Colorado we got hundreds to show up and over 100 new people registered to vote Libertarian. Yes you read that right, over 100 new Libertarian voters from a 6-hour event directed toward the drug culture.
Also they don't give a damn about guns, but they aren't going to let that stand in the way of the liberty they want. Overwhelmingly they didn't give a hoot if we wanted to deregulate tac-nuke ownership. They understand the linkage of liberties far better than the gunnies ever could and simply need to be told we exist. A whole lot easier than arguing details with some wacko at a gun show.
So, if we want to see Libertarians elected in our lifetimes, it is time we accept that the gun owners have been mined as much as is possible. It is time we turn around and embrace the drug culture in this country. So put down your American Rifleman and pick up High Times. Go to the places where the druggies hang out and speak to them. Just don't forget to take a lighter with you, sulfur hits are a drag.