If this past week has shown me anything, it is the dictum of it being better to be despised by the despicable than admired by the admirable actually may be false. Well, perhaps at least it should come with a caveat that being admired by the admirable is an awesome thing to behold. The outpouring of support from those that knew Mike and those that he affected has been overwhelming to say the very least. I was unable to fly in for the funeral but I understand that there was a good many III% folks that showed up. This is quite astonishing given the very short notice of the event. Ken Lane over at Knuckledraggin gives us a short synopsis of the event.
Online and around the blogopheres support has continued to pour in. Some from unlikely sources.
The Kansas City Star reporter, Judy Thomas, had contacted Mike months ago, (if memory serves it was around April), to produce a news story of his life and publish it upon his death. This article was vetted and sanctioned by Mike, warts and all. I was initially incredulous to the adding of SPLC semi-pro B.S. artist Mark Pitcavage as a source, but in a certain point of view it was appropriate if you want to look at Mike's life in the full spectrum. The Old Man was good with it, so I am good with it.
David Codrea was, quite appropriately, the first blog to publish the notification of Mike's death: Freedom Movement Loses Important Voice with Passing of Mike Vanderboegh
In the article, David outlines some of Mikes accomplishments and his career in the Patriot Movement. As a very close friend and associate, he was able to interact with Mike in a way that I could not.
Mr. Codrea observed:
"It’s also true he could at times be impulsive in his response to perceived injustices. There are more affronts to liberty and wrongs to right than any of us could hope to even hear about, let alone do anything about. When one came across Mike’s transom, he was on it like a pit bull, even if already overburdened – and that tendency was something he would not ease up on until the weakness of the flesh stripped him of any choice – and even then he would do what he could to defy."Another longtime friend, Herschel Smith from the Captains Blog had a very poignant and touching viewpoint in "Remembering Mike Vanderboegh"
"I’ve heard it said that such-and-such a man had “redeeming qualities.” Hogwash. Men don’t have redeeming qualities. Men are themselves redeemed, or they are lost. The God-man Christ Jesus saves men or they perish without Christ but with all of the punishments due to them, and all men are under judgment."
"That’s the sweet thing about Mike. He knew this, and he believed it. Mike didn’t do a single thing to redeem himself, but he trusted Christ and the vicarious atonement for his very life. That means that it was a life well-lived. Everything else is wasted."
"But if man cannot redeem himself, that doesn’t mean he cannot redeem what’s around him by taking dominion of the world for God’s glory. Mike did exactly that, and today he is in heaven with his Lord. I don’t believe in the phrase “rest in peace” (and Isaiah 57:2 isn’t discussing ethereal floating of one’s spirit for eternity). I also don’t believe that man’s body cools to ambient temperature and that’s the end. Mike didn’t believe that either."III% news aggregation point, and another longtime friend, WRSA, had some excellent comments. Thank you all for that incredible grassroots tribute.
On Facebook, I could not appropriately begin to describe the level of support the family has received from that community. I am humbled that Mike's message of the III percent and teachings had been so pervasive. What an honor it is to continue to push the reach of the message further than it ever has been before. I am very proud that the social media referrals have effectively eclipsed and even doubled my Google site referrals. It is only through the high engagement of the supporters there that this has been possible.
Sharyl Attkisson, fellow conspirator of the Fast and Furious scandal, had this to say in her post "Fast and Furious blogger Vanderboegh passes away"
"In my early interactions with Vanderboegh, he was patient and rightly skeptical. To him, I was the liberal, know-nothing press. He had terse dealings with other reporters. (He told one national reporter to f-off when the reporter “asked for the names and phone numbers of all my sources so he could contact them”). I knew little of guns and gun laws, and was not working from a pro-gun rights position, as he was. I saw it as a story of government misdeeds and corruption. He came to see my point of view and thought there was value in helping out. He encouraged ATF agents to speak to me and provide information. Some of those relationships continue today."
"So today, a nod to Vanderboegh and a moment to recognize his role in stopping a deadly practice that the government first denied, then later acknowledged. The gunwalking is responsible for many deaths, the government still won’t disclose how many, but surely many other deaths were prevented by the story being exposed and the practice being stopped."
Another tribute that came quite unexpectedly was that of Sebastian, NRA apologist, at the Pagunblog (formerly of "Snowflakes in Hell"). From a cursory internet search, the last public discussion was in 2015 in a Sipsey post defending Texas Open Carry.
His article, simply titled "Mike Vanderboegh Dies" was as magnanimous as it was simple.
"I had come to appreciate that regardless of whatever disagreements I may have had with Mike Vanderboegh strategically, he was quite a powerful public speaker and organizer (organizing gun owners is herding cats on a good day), in the way I could never hope to match. His work with David Codrea to break open Fast and Furious turned out to be top notch citizen journalism, despite a lot of initial skepticism. It was fine enough work that others in the media lined up to take credit and cash in."
"I will always think of him any time I put on my big Russian hat to go shovel the driveway."Much to my surprise and delight, the best and most well known of the Mike Vanderboegh tribute articles came from his long time sparring partners, the Southern Poverty Law Center. There is something to be said for having your enemies write your eulogy.
It starts out with a dramatic, salacious, bold sub-headline:
"Michael Brian Vanderboegh, who rose from the 1990s militia ranks to become the angry, vocal co-founder of the extremist, pro-gun III Percent movement, using an Internet blog to promote his antigovernment views, has died."
I am positively bumfuzzled as to whom this other co-founder person or persons could be. I am also left wondering after their candidate loses the election, how quickly they will go from "you must support your president and government" back to demanding that "dissent is patriotic". They are nothing if not dependable in their hypocrisy.
On a whole, the article is filled with a laundry list of striking back at the empire. One of which is an amusing anecdote of when he sent a plastic skull to self-proclaimed "militia expert" Mark Potok. If I was told about this, perhaps I had forgotten it, but it did illustrate the creative lengths that the Old Man went to consistently jab at his enemies. He was a master at riding straight up to the line and going an inch over to see what they would do. Every time he did, they did nothing but howl loudly from their keyboards. A lesson could be learned here.
I found it curious that Kerodin did get an honorable mention of a couple of lines. For all of the chest pounding and the division that was made between those two, if Kerodin is ever mentioned at all in future, it will always be as a minor footnote to the much better man.
Several other "left" leaning articles seemed to parrot the SPLC language at least in part.
ABC, Yahoo, and AL.com, quite the lazy journalists, simply played the good parrot and re-posted the SPLC article. Boring, but the AL.com comments are pretty good. ABC got his age wrong but gets points for at least spelling the name right. You have to just see the silver lining with some people.
Idavox (whatever that is) said quite simply Mike Vanderboegh, Rot in Hell!. Oh my. Dread indeed. Mike would be proud for that indictment. Despised by the despicable and such.
As for me? I find that where I thought I had reached acceptance, I am struggling a bit now that the man is gone and his funeral complete. After such a long illness that took him down below 75 pounds and robbed him of even the ability to speak, I can see that it was a mercy. He needed to transition and the family needed to move on. I still find it difficult that I cannot pick up the phone, as I did so infrequently, and talk for a bit.
While I cannot lift up the phone, my father left me with an incredible network of experts and allies that, combined, has been everything and more that I could need. Other than this blog, that has been the best thing that I could have been heir to. I am incredibly grateful that he thought that I was capable to take the mantle of this blog on and help grow the movement that he fought so hard to create. I will continue to endeavor to let neither you nor he down.
The life of the dead is placed in the memories of the living. - Cicero
Edit: I was not familiar with the piece that was run in the American Thinker until I started looking at the blog stats. For some reason that was not coming up the Google queries. The tribute is a very honest look at the man and well worth the look.