Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My stone on the marker. The passing of a principled, wise and stubborn American. I was proud to know him and work with him.

"If every German Jew and anti-Nazi had possessed a Mauser rifle, twenty rounds and the will to use it, Adolf Hitler would be a footnote to the history of the Weimar Republic." -- Aaron Zelman, 1995.

Forwarded by Mama Liberty comes this sad news from Claire Wolfe, referencing this obituary:

Zelman, Aaron S. December 21, 2010, age 64 years, of Erin, WI. Beloved husband of Nancy Zelman (nee Soderlund). Dear father of Erik and Jeremy Zelman. Further survived by other relatives and friends. Funeral services 11:00 AM Friday, December 24, 2010 at Beth El Ner Tamid Synagogue, 2909 W. Mequon Rd., Mequon. Memorials to JPFO, P.O. Box 270143, Hartford, WI 53027 or Beth El Ner Tamid Synagogue are appreciated.

Claire says, in part:

Aaron and I worked together for seven years. I admired him and even though he could be crazy-making at times, he had one of the most creative minds I’ve ever encountered and he was unfailingly a gentleman and a gentle-spoken man. He created a unique niche in the gun-rights movement and I hope JPFO can continue without him.

Aaron was born with Marfan Syndrome, which can cause a host of related problems, some potentially fatal. I don’t know what he died from, but between that and his Type-A, hard-driving nature, it’s not surprising, though it’s shocking and tragic, that he died so young. Rather, I tell myself it shouldn’t be surprising. Yet Aaron was such a powerful personality, it’s hard to think of him being extinguished.

I worked with Aaron on firearms rights issues long-distance for fifteen years, and I'm stricken because he was one of those fixtures that you come to count on, thinking they'll always be around.

David Codrea speaks for me as well:

I had the great privilege of working with Aaron over the past several years, including corresponding and speaking on the telephone, and was pleased to do what I could to help promote the great and innovative work of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

We have lost a giant. The sadness I feel is gripping.

Goodbye, my friend. What an honor it was to know you. I am so grateful for the work you did on behalf of freedom, and for the legacy you leave behind.

May we be worthy of it.

You know, in has been a tradition for thousands of years that visitors to the grave of a Jewish man or woman would place stones on their grave markers, which originally were themselves just heaps of stones. It began, it is said, as a sign of kindness and respect to the deceased and his or her family. In a time before technology, one might hear of the death of a friend many weeks or even months after the funeral. Yet even after a tombstone was erected, one could participate in the "mitzvah" by adding your own stone to the grave. It is a token of respect and of commitment.

By placing your own stone on the mound, you showed not only that you respected the deceased, but you demonstrated that we the living are never finished building the monument to the life's work of the great soul who has passed on.

One day, I will place my own stone on Aaron Zelman's marker.

He was truly a great soul, and one hell of a fighter for American liberty. I shall miss him terribly.



Taylor H said...

This IS sad. That quote about the Jews and Mauser rifles is one of my favorites. I hope someone will at least try to fill his shoes.

Defender said...

A loss to lovers of liberty everywhere. His writing stood out. It engaged the mind, heart, soul, gut and adrenal glands. It made you want to do great things.

j3maccabee said...

God have mercy - what an incredible loss!!!! I feel like I've been gut-punched. This man was one of a very small handful who, to me, embodied the fire and spirit of righteous resistance; a warrior who would not stand down, not retreat, not flinch when the enemy brought its heaviest armaments - physical and spiritual - against him.
May we honor him by doubling our commitment to the cause. And on a more mundane level, may all who admired him, make a special memorial offering in his name to the JPFO ?

God's peace be upon you, Aaron Zelman. And God comfort the family and friends.

Anonymous said...

I worked with Aaron on firearms rights issues long-distance for fifteen years--MVB

By coincidence, I met Aaron Zelman fifteen years ago at Gunstock '96, in Washington, D.C., during the dark days of the Clinton AWB. He and I had a long chat about gun control and national politics.

He argued that we face a renewed threat from corporate fascism and our enemy's tactics
largely reflect those of the National Socialists.

Nothing I have seen since gives me any reason to question his verdict.

Many libertarian/anarchists see religion and freedom as being mutually exclusive, but Aaron Zelman was able to fully integrate Judaism with the US Bill of Rights.

He will be missed. We need more men like him.


Len Savage said...

We shall all miss him Mike.

He was a good friend, I shall never forget him or his efforts that were tireless in the fight for freedom.

He lived. He didn't just muddle through life. He lived.

MamaLiberty said...

While I never met him in person, I counted Aaron as one of my friends for many years and just talked to him on the phone a few months ago.

It is always a shock to lose one of the "good ones." I hope that our response will be to honor him in our lives, and do our part to carry on his great work.

Rest in peace, my brother.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mike. I think I'm still a member of JPFO. I believe all of us who call ourselves Christians must by definition also be Jews. After all, he whose name we have taken was the firstborn of all creation and the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law.

You all are quite right. I never met Aaron, but he will be missed.

WarriorClass said...

I am very sad.


Dedicated_Dad said...


Ican easily think of. ... oh... 536 people who Id say are still wasting oxygen that cockroaches would put to better use....


rexxhead said...

"Sad" doesn't begin to cover this. This is a catastrophe.

Anonymous said...

I joined JPFO over 10 years ago. I am shocked at this loss. It was the "Talking to America" podcast that made by by my first cheapo MP3 player. I so hope JPFO can and will continue. "No Guns for Jews" and "No Guns for Negros" were compelling movies, hitting home with the true message of the evils of Gun Control. I read the state Vs the Prople and Zelman and Wolf did and outstanding job. He will be missed.
Miami, FL

Anonymous said...

When you go Mike, take an extra stone (small one) for me. I can't get there right now. He once honored me with his trust. His passing is a great loss which I hope will not create a vacuum of leadership and the demise of a great organization. May God bless Aaron Zelman's soul and all his family, and may he be replaced by a worthy successor so that the work may continue as Aaron would wish.

Joel said...

We have lost a helluva man. Even friends who occasionally wanted to strangle him never claimed they didn't love and honor him.

RIP, Aaron. We're far poorer for your loss, because there are few like you.

Anonymous said...

The loss of a very outspoken & courageous man. Contributing a stone of remembrance seems fitting indeed.

The stone of remembrance:
1 Samuel 7:10–12
And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Beth-car.Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it * Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.

Anonymous said...

The passing of any human is, indeed, tragic. Especially those that are truly loved and have made a difference in this world. That you would choose to venerate him by "borrowing" a stock photo image is rather banal. That you would not take the time to actually look at the photo and recognize that it is displayed upside down is even more salt in the wound.

And FWIW, you might have explained why there are rocks placed on the headstone in the image. It is traditional for those who visit Jewish cemeteries to place stones or rocks on the markers of the graves that they visit. It is a small token of significance to the departed's family and friends that there are others who have been there to pay their respects. And then, upon leaving, it is also traditional to wash one's hands.