Auto-de-fe of the Spanish Inquisition, 1475.
First, the New Mexico Incident.
As a Christian, I find these folks' tactics to be short-sighted, if saving souls is what they are about. I like the comment that handing out bottled water to the folks in line and quiet testimony would have been a much better avenue. This is not to say that the cops didn't screw up. They did, big time. But the thing about Christians is that we must hold ourselves to a higher standard if we wish to be respected AS CHRISTIANS. Now, if this were a Threeper piece of street theater calculated to get a rise out of the "authorities," it would have been perfect. But it wasn't. Thus, although it was tactically flawless, from a Christian point of view it was strategically misguided and self-defeating.
There are many examples today of such behavior on the part of folks who espouse Christianity. Another, more egregious example was the guy I heard today on Birmingham call-in show while I was out paying bills and collecting military surplus. The fellow is a pastor in Florida (he shall remain nameless as far as I'm concerned) who has announced that on the next anniversary of 11 September, he and his congregation are going to be publicly burning Korans. I tried to call into this show while he was on, but failed to get in. What I would have told him was this:
a. Christians should not be in the business of book burning. It summons ghosts of the Inquisition and the auto-de-fe, and reinforces the fear of religious tyranny. Burning books is not engaging in the battle of ideas, nor is it a profession of faith.
b. Instead of burning Korans, the church should rather be quietly distributing Holy Bibles, of the anonymous cover kind so that the folks you are trying to reach can read God's word without exciting retribution in their community.
c. This pastor is writing Al Quaeda propaganda checks that will be cashed in somebody else's blood, namely the blood of Marines or soldiers like my son. Every little "Crusader" slight to the Moslem faith is amplified a million times by the jihadi media who inflame the Arab street and use it for recruitment purposes. This is not to say that we shouldn't stand forthrightly both as Americans and Christians for what we believe, but we should do it intelligently. And if this guy is really trying to make a faith statement of this, let him have the courage of his convictions and go to Dearborn, Michigan or downtown Riyadh and do it himself in broad daylight.
d. The fact that this pastor is at the same time trying to sell his latest book is highly suggestive that this is a publicity stunt, pure and simple.
All of which is why I refuse to publicize the moke here on Sipsey Street.
I love the smell of a really junky military surplus store. What is wrong with me?
Now, as to the deals I got today on military surplus. There were several reasons I wrote this post, none of them had anything to do with bragging or highlighting, as one e-mailer alleges, my "Arab trader skills."
First, I have a couple of advantages over the average thrift and surplus store scrounger. I have been doing it for about 20 years now and have been all over God's creation, in and out of dumpsters, little hole-in-the-wall neighborhood second-hand shops, etc. In the process, my face (and the recognition of my steady business in the acquiring of military gear) gets to be familiar to the folks who run the stores. Thus, when they get something they think I might be interested in, they but it back for me. The same goes for the regular vendors at gun shows.
In the case of surplus and gun stores, I have over the years sent a lot of other militia folks' business their way, so I end up getting what amounts to a "militia discount." Like every other business, they try to take care of their repeat customers. Also, you can teach them things about the goods they handle and broaden their knowledge base. Shopkeepers of all varieties usually appreciate that, and reciprocate in kind. In addition, my notoriety has brought me discounts and even outright gifts of material over the years from like-minded business people, and I in turn pass those on to the needier folks I run into -- newbies, mostly.
My experience has also taught me the stocking cycle and rhythm of thrift stores, so I usually know what days are best to go and at what time of the day they put out the new stuff in a given department.
I mention these things because ALL of them can be done by ANYONE, including all of you. I ain't that special, I'm just determined and consistent. Every now and then I'll find something that is not militia-related but which I can sell or trade for stuff that is.
In terms of the thrift and surplus stores around here I probably do have an advantage over many folks, because Alabama is such a military friendly state, and has so many of its citizens who have been in the military, that more militia stuff pops up for sale around here than anywhere else except perhaps towns with military bases like Clarksville, TN or Columbus, GA (Fort Campbell and Fort Benning, respectively).
My principal reason for publicizing my finds is to motivate those of you who are short equipment and funds to emulate my success. Again, this is not rocket science. ANYBODY can do it.
So please understand. I'm not bragging. I'm just trying to get y'all to go forth and do likewise.