Sunday, October 18, 2009

Now that I have Sauron's attention . . .

"Vanderboegh," he said to me, taking the Lord's name in vain, "you stupid sonofabitch, you just stuck your finger in Sauron's eye. You think he's not going to react?"

My friend was a bit concerned about my latest letter to Eric Holder.

"You think this is some sort of f---ing game?"

No, I told him, I did not think it was a game.

"They still play by 'Waco Rules,' you said it yourself."

Yes, I told him, I knew that.

Anyway, there was more ranting and raving and arm flailing, all motivated by his own touching personal concern for me. In the end, especially after I explained the context using some facts about current events on the larger battlefield he didn't know and his own metaphor from Lord of the Rings, he finally understood the necessity of it. He still didn't like it.

But it struck me that now might be a good time to repeat an oldie but a goodie. Since I don't have to spend time away from Absolved writing it, and it wouldn't be bad to remind SSI readers (and Sauron's minions) about certain historical truths, here it is. From 4 May 2007, it was a guest editorial on my good friend David Codrea's War on Guns blog.

He commented at the time:

[Foreword: Here's another gem from Mike Vanderboegh that I am privileged to present on this site. The Romanian example holds particular meaning for me.]

The link:

"Resistance is Futile": Waco Rules vs. Romanian Rules

by Mike Vanderboegh

"What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them." --Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787

"We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile." -- Star Trek: First Contact
"Resistance is Futile"

You know, the most dangerous thing about liberals in today's America is that they are always taking policy decisions based upon three fallacies:

a. Woeful ignorance of the subject at hand,

b. Extrapolation of their own cowardice onto their opponents, i.e. expecting their opponents to react the way they do, and

c. Willful refusal to grasp that the Law of Unintended Consequences applies both to their world view and to the schemes that they use to enforce that world view upon the rest of us.

They are, in a phrase, without a clue. This is not so dangerous when they are out of power. However, as they now control both houses of Congress and have a better than even chance of controlling the White House in 2009, this has the potential to get a lot of people killed by 2010. An illustrative case in point is David Prather's recent column in the Huntsville (AL) Times, entitled "In a Shoot-out, the Feds Always Win.". Mr. Prather, it seems, has second-guessed the Founders of our tattered Republic and come up with his own idea of the futility of the armed citizenry to secure their own liberty. He writes with scorn of the belief that the Second Amendment means exactly and precisely what it says:

"This argument says that keeping firearms is necessary to ensure that the public can resist government oppression should such arise. In other words, unless you can shoot back at the feds, you can't be free. That's a nice, John Wayne-type view of the world. But it's wrong. It's not just debatably wrong. It's factually wrong. And the reason it is wrong is this: The government has and will always have more firepower than you, you and your neighbors, you and your like-minded friends or you and anybody you can conscript to your way of thinking. You simply can't arm yourself adequately against a government that is rotten and needs to be overturned. Your best defense is the ballot box, not a pillbox.. . . . You can't beat 'em. You'd be foolish to try. So let's take that argument off the table. I don't presume to say that by doing so we will be able to reach a consensus or a compromise or whatever about how we should or shouldn't control firearms in modern society. I'm just saying that shooting it out with the government is like the exhibition team versus the Harlem Globetrotters as far as who is going to win. Only a lot more bloody." -- David Prather, "In a shoot-out, the feds always win", Huntsville Times, May 2, 2007

I am reminded here of the famous Dorothy Parker line, "You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think." Now Mr. Prather, who has risen to the lofty position in life of Associate Editorial Page Editor of the Huntsville Times asserts that we gunnies inhabit a "John Wayne-type view of the world (that's). . .factually wrong." As the quote from the principal Founder above clearly shows, it is in fact a "Thomas Jefferson-type" view of the world. Mr. Prather believes the ballot box is a better defense against tyranny than the cartridge box. Oddly enough I agree, as long as the tyrants are willing to play by the election laws. But what happens when they don't? In his novel Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein offered an answer:

"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Nations and peoples who forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."

Indeed, the Founders were only able to secure their right to the ballot box by taking up their cartridge boxes and muskets and standing against the army of the most powerful empire in the world at the time and fighting it to a standstill. What has fundamentally changed about the universe since then? Communication is faster, weapons are more powerful, but as we see in Iraq, a determined armed minority can be impossibly overmatched and still cause a good deal of trouble.

"Waco Rules"

Now I have spent a lot of time since the early days of the Clinton Administration considering the Founders' concepts of the deterrence of tyranny by the armed citizenry from the perspectives of philosophy, history, strategy and tactics. The catalyst for all this reflection was, of course, the twin menaces of the increasing Clintonista proscriptions of firearms rights (Brady and the Assault Weapons Ban) and the massacre of the Branch Davidians at Waco. The subsequent failure of the Republican congress and the courts to do anything substantive about either threat-- legislative tyranny or rogue bureaucracy-- led many of us to conclude that we had now entered a time when we could only count on ourselves to maintain our liberties.

The Law of Unintended Consequences decreed that there would be two unexpected results of this Clintonista constitutional misbehavior. The first was the importation and sale within a few months of several millions of semi-auto rifles (principally SKS and AK-variants) into the U.S. This was in anticipation of, and defiance of, the so-called "Assault Weapons Ban." Indeed, this was more rifles of these types than had been sold in the previous TWENTY YEARS. And it was in a political climate where it was fully expected that the next law would call for the confiscation of such weapons. Why, then, did this massive arming take place? Were we buying these rifles merely to turn them over later? When the Clintonistas realized that we were not buying these rifles to turn them in, but to turn ON THEM if they became even more threatening to our liberties, it gave them considerable pause. I am told the analysts in the bowels of the J. Edgar Hoover building were particularly impressed.

The second unexpected result of Clintonista misbehavior, although of lesser import than the millions of rifles, was the rise of the constitutional militia movement. As London Telegraph senior reporter Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote:

"The Clinton era . . spawned an armed militia movement involving tens of thousands of people. The last time anything like this occurred was in the 1850's with the emergence of the southern gun clubs. It is easy to dismiss the militia as right-wing nuts: it is much harder to read the complex sociology of civic revolt. . . No official has ever lost a day's pay for precipitating the incineration of 80 people, most of them women and children, in the worst abuse of power since Wounded Knee a century ago. Instead of shame and accountability, the Clinton administration accused the victims of setting fire to themselves and their children, a posthumous smear that does not bear serious scrutiny. It then compounded the injustice by pushing for a malicious prosecution of the survivors. Nothing does more to sap the life of a democracy than the abuse of power." Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton

You see, what impressed us gunnies the most was the fact that under what we came to know as "Waco Rules", Catch 22 was in full swing. It was as if the Clintonistas were shouting, "We can do anything you can't stop us from doing." The constitutional militia movement, despised by the administration, caricatured by the media (and professional liars for money like Morris Dees of the Southern "Poverty" Law Center), and unjustly vilified after the Oklahoma City bombing, began to explore the question of just what could be done to stop such unconstitutional conduct on the part of the government. We realized that another way to express Catch 22 is to say, "You can do only what we let you get away with."

I think the FBI realized our power before we really understood it's full implications. For one thing, we had them surrounded. At its zenith, the militia movement had perhaps as many as 300,000 active participants, but we were backed up, you see, by the undeniable fact of those millions of rifles. Of the 85 million gun owners at the time, how many would join the militias if another Waco happened? That was the question. Both sides eventually came to the realization that in any case, it was enough. As Clausewitz observed, "In military affairs, quantity has a quality all its own."

And the first thing we noticed was that the FBI became very much more solicitous of our sensibilities and sought at every turn to avoid a flashpoint. During each little potential Waco-- the Republic of Texas, the Montana Freemen, etc-- the FBI would seek out local militia leaders and ask their advice, seeking their opinions with what sounded like real concern.

The best answer that I recall to one of these FBI queries came from Bob Wright, commander of the 1st Brigade, New Mexico Militia. When asked if he and his friends would actually go to the scene of a future Waco in another state to assist the potential victims, Bob replied, "Why would I want to do that? There's plenty of you federal SOBs around here." This was a perspective the Fibbie had not considered before, and it showed on his face.

So we got through the rest of the Clinton Administration by waging a low-intensity cold war, the history of which has yet to (and may never) be written. The principal point was this: there were no more Wacos. Although they never renounced Waco Rules, they did not again implement them.

The Three Fallacies

Which brings us to today and our armchair theorist of contemporary domestic military operations, David Prather. Let us examine his thesis: "the feds always win" by referring to the three fallacies listed above. First, let us test his woeful ignorance of the subject at hand. In fact, you CAN beat the feds in a shoot-out as was demonstrated by the Branch Davidians in the initial raid of 28 February. Four ATF agents died in this monstrous misuse of government power and far more would have, but for the fact that the Davidians, having repelled the ATF raiders from entering their home, allowed them to leave after the men in black exhausted their ammunition. In effect, the ATF asked the Davidians if they could go home and reload their guns and the Davidians, being nice guys, agreed.

Had Vo Nyugen Giap been running what the Feds later claimed was an "ambush", none of the ATFs would have left that property alive. Indeed, had the Davidians understood the full implications of Waco Rules as they were being worked out for the first time, they would have put up a far tougher fight on both 28 February and 19 April and likely could have stopped the armored vehicles in their tracks.

So, when Prather says "the feds always win", he's probably thinking of Waco, but then so are we. In his ignorance, he does not realize that others observed Waco and the exercise of Waco Rules with a keener military eye, took notes, studied and learned.

Secondly, Prather is extrapolating onto others his own cowardice and unfamiliarity with weapons. He knows HE could not resist a predatory police raid, so he assumes that others could not as well. Should there come another dark time when the feds think they can resort to Waco Rules once more, both they and Prather will discover that such assumptions are deadly mistakes.

Thirdly, The Law of Unintended Consequences is still issuing forth unplanned dividends from the Clinton misbehavior of the 90s. Remember those millions of rifles? They didn't go anywhere. They haven't disappeared.

Romanian Rules

So we have the rifles and we have one other thing: Romanian Rules.

On 16 December 1989, riots in the Romanian city of Timisoara ignited a nationwide revolt which spread to the capital Bucharest. Parts of the army joined the revolutionaries, and on 25 December, after 45 years of communist tyranny, dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elene received a Christmas present from the Romanian people when they were summarily executed. Said one Romanian radio announcer, "The anti-Christ died. Oh, what wonderful news."

Ceausescu had ruled the Romanians with an iron hand, using his dreaded secret police to pick his opponents off one by one for imprisonment or execution-- until the day came when the people learned their lesson and met the secret police and the army face to face. Thousands were killed in the fighting, many because they lacked the weapons to do the job. But we're Americans. We observed the Romanian Rules and learned. We realized too that we're much better armed than the poor Romanians.

So what makes Prather think that Americans who may wish to resist our own government if it spins out of control again, will sit idly in their little houses allowing themselves to picked off one by one? In his ignorance and arrogance, Prather has committed the ultimate sin of military planners throughout the centuries: he is presuming that the straw-man opponent he has created in his own mind will sit still and wait to be beaten on his (or Hillary Clinton's) own terms. He is presuming that his opponent won't react, won't be agile, and won't be thinking.

Prather makes much of modern day weaponry that only the government may possess. But you know, artillery and nuclear bombs are of limited utility to a government when the battlefield is its own cities, towns, transportation hubs and commercial centers. Then it becomes like Iraq, only far worse. It becomes a rat hunt where the rats outnumber you, and often, at the point of decision, beat you in the one thing that is most fundamental in an up-close infantry fight: rapid and deadly accurate rifle fire. Shouting Borg-like that "resistance is futile" may scare the faint-hearted, the weak-minded and certain children under the age of ten. It does NOT scare us.

And that is what invalidates Prather's fantasy scenario: we've had almost 15 years to study Waco Rules now. Fifteen years of studying how to best direct the resources of the armed citizenry against the next predatory administration grown too big for its constitutional britches. Fifteen years of considering the lessons of Christmas, 1989. After the cold war with the Clintonistas, we gunnies began to understand the finer points of credible deterrence. Now, having completed a long and challenging curriculum, we certainly understand what Jefferson meant by "pardon and pacify them." It would be wiser if Mr. Prather and his historically foolish liberal friends did not seek to give us a final examination in this subject of study, for the results are NOT academic. Just ask Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. Of course, you'll have to go to Hell to do that.

Mike Vanderboegh


Anonymous said...

Your little private armies are not constitutional militias as the US Constitution took away the militias from the states and gave them to the federal government to arm, and pay and create Articles of War for their governance. Nor are you a state militia because your private gang is not authorized by the governor or legislature of any state.

So if you want to huff and puff and call yourself a 'Constitutional militia' when in fact all you did was huff and puff back in the 90s and today, then fine. You accuse others of believing their own lies, but you are just as bad or worse.

tjbbpgobIII said...

I know it's coming 'round again too. As sure as we're sitting here pecking on these keys, the snot nosed kids in the big .gov house, will come around or elsewhere with his volunteers and other shit head federales and get their asses handed to them on a platter.

Johnnyreb™ said...

Great article Mike, I especially like the observations that should by obvious to the casual reader who may think that we can't beat missiles and Nuke's. Had to laugh out loud tho' at the first comment by 'Anonymous' ... I never realized that "We The People", had been taken, and then given back to ourselves.


Anonymous said...


If that's the case, then the feds need to pass ASAP the "Mr. & Mrs. America, Turn Them All In" bill.

Since they haven't, obviously they take Mike and the attitudes written down in Unintended Consequences" very seriously.

Uncle Lar said...

Prather retired not long ago. He was a good and kind man, but also a butt headed liberal of the worst sort, unwilling to consider any point of view that conflicted with his wishful thinking of a reality that supported his leftist agenda. We crossed horns a good many times while he was active at the Times.
On one occasion he wrote an article chastising the elderly for being critical of the escalation to yearly property assessments, calling them foolish for opposing the government putting money in their pockets. I had to point out that unless they were willing to sell the house, giving up the home they had intended to live out their lives in, all the rising values did was rob them of income with a higher property tax bill. He responded with a weasely editorial that conceded the point but still managed to call us selfish old so and sos.
As for anonymous #1, dude, you're forgetting that the first US militias were nothing more than anti government rabble also. IMHO one of the fundamental precepts that makes us different from the rest of the world is the underlying belief that if things do get really bad we can always just rise up and throw the bastards out. At a terrible price of course, but the capability and the will are still always there. So we don't need no stinkin badges buddy. Our rights are authorized by The Almighty and what we hold here in our fists.

jjet said...

Had an interesting experience this morning when I logged on to your site.

As I dragged my mouse across the Eye of Sauron, my screen changed to a series of black and white vertical lines.

Control+Alt+Delete had no effect on the computer and the hard drive light was on continually.

I finally had to do a forced power down.

Everything had been working normally during my previous hour or so of surfing.

I guess you may HAVE gotten his attention, Mike.

Someone or some agency crushed the BroJon website which has never completely recovered. No matter what one thinks about the author and his views of the world, it is unsettling, at best, to see a concerted attack on him.

Shields up!

jjet said...

Anonymous-- yet another victim of the American public school system.

He needs to read the USC which specifies who the "militia" is.


Robert Fowler said...

Under tile 10 of the U.S. Code, the malitia is every able bodied male between 17 and 45 and certain females of the naval services. We the people are the Malitia. No matter what Anonymous thinks.

Happy D said...

They make two mistakes on this issue that I would like to point out.
1. We are not limited to just the stuff we buy at Gunz is us. And I don't mean the stuff we could liberate from the Feds.
2. The most interesting thing about the most powerful weapons is how dangerous they are not. What and more importantly why things survive them is an area of study that is most enlightining.

Libs are impressed with technology to a level others just aren't. I postulate it is because they do not understand how this stuff actually works. They as a group have very little understanding of science and technology.

Anon#1 Where do you get this stuff? A very cursory search of the militia laws via the internet would shot your argument down. The Militia Act of 1903 (32 Stat. 775), also known as the Dick Act is a good place to start.

III more then them said...

"So if you want to huff and puff and call yourself a 'Constitutional militia' when in fact all you did was huff and puff back in the 90s and today, then fine. You accuse others of believing their own lies, but you are just as bad or worse."

So, by redefining the substance of the truth, he supposes that he will NOT be subject to the facts. Facts are stubborn things, gentlemen, and they don't alter their substance at the whims of anyone's desires - even ours. It is best that we hold to the facts as we best determine them to be, and let other groups stand or fall under the weight thereof.

"Your little private armies are not constitutional militias...." That sounds very much like the deluded musings of a Tory keyboard commando. So, he supposes that his interpretation is correct. We argue that our is. Alongside him are various alphabet agencies. Alongside us are the writings and spirits of the FOUNDERS.

I'll bet the farm, MY farm, and all I own of the Founders. And when I die, (of whatever cuase), I'll shake their hands in heaven.
But I will never see the other side again, as their residences in Hell will stuffed to the rafters, and in need of EXPANSION.

Dakota said...

Hey anonymous ..... we get our right to exist from the Lord in Heaven and the Constitution. We are not subject to the whims of those that want to change it by Supreme Court, Congress, or the stupidity to tyrants or sheep.

Like it or not we are here to stay and we will not go quietly. We will stand like those that stood before us and trusted us to maintain this great Republic. We may have let things slide longer than we should have, but I am glad you feel that way. Boy are you going to get a hell of a surprise.

SteveA said...

Not to mention the fact that a large number of us in the gun culture have been extensively trained by the armed forces in various improvised implements of destruction.

Anonymous said...

Even those without military experience often have finely-honed skills. How many "libs" do you know who can hit a green walnut at ~200 yards with an ~$80 rifle (and ~$0.20 round) - or at 500+ with a typical scoped deer rifle?

Now consider that the same man can - without much struggle - drop a running buck at similar distances, after tracking and sneaking in on him ON HIS OWN TURF?

Then ask yourself how many of our military men - every one of whom took an oath to defend our Constitution "AGAINST ALL ENEMIES foreign or DOMESTIC" - will be willing to kill his neighbor for resisting when our Government finally goes too far?! Some will - and some of THOSE will be shot in the back by the patriots in their midst.

As to "huff(ing) and puff(ing)" - honestly **I PRAY DAILY THAT YOU ARE RIGHT.** I pray that our would-be masters wake up before it's too late! I pray that "huffing and puffing" does the job, so nobody's house needs to be blown in.

As to the rest, I have a simple question: If one McVeigh - who murdered ~160 people - is grounds for banning militias in the US, then shouldn't a dozen or more tyrants (who collectively murdered more like 160 MILLION) be ample grounds for banning socialism?

We're not just students of marksmanship and woodcraft, we're also students of HISTORY - ours and others' - and we know that no free society has ever survived confiscation of guns, and no dictator has ever risen to true, omnipotent power without ordering same.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Somehow The Left has managed to convince itself that THEIR socialist utopia will be the one that actually meets the ideal - that THEIRS is the one which won't fail like every other one in the history of the planet.

Who is insane? Who is wanting to do the same thing that's been done many times and expecting a different result?

Lastly, we - like our Founders - are willing to pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to defend what little is left of the greatest society in the history of the planet. Like Patrick Henry we'd rather die on our feet than live on our knees.

The difference between us is that we're perfectly willing to let you live your life any way you please - so long as you don't try to force it upon us. If you don't want to buy a gun (or, for that matter, health insurance) we figure that's your business. You on the other hand figure that because YOU don't want a gun then NOBODY should be allowed to have them, or that because you DO want health insurance EVERYONE should be forced to have it. Then there's the little triviality about wanting someone else to PAY for it, but ... That's a topic for another day...

This is the bottom line - the prayer that I pray daily. Think long and hard on its words - as they show you quite clearly what we want, and how to prevent the uprising you fear:

Oh Lord, I would live my life in freedom, peace and happiness, enjoying the simple pleasures of hearth and home. I would die an old, old man in my own bed
(preferably of sexual overexertion.)

But if that is not to be, Lord, if monsters such as this should find their way to my little corner of the world on my watch, then help me to sweep those bastards from the ramparts, because doing that is good, and right, and just.

And if in this I should fall, let me be found atop a pile of brass,
behind the wall I made of their corpses.

This is it.

God Help Us - and God Save Our Republic!


Mike III said...

Sad how you, Anonymous, must post while hiding.

You are a coward, and know little about yourself, but you speak as if you know us.

"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy,for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.If you know neither the enemy nor
yourself, you will succumb in every battle.


You do not know us, but we know who we are, and we know you for what you are.

Mike III

PaulB said...

I keep wondering at people who talk as if Waco was a government win. At the cost of 80 people in a single event, government has become illegitimate in the eyes of hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

As to "liberals", I wish you guys would get off this "liberals vs conservatives" kick, a conflict that serves only the ruling class. It matters not at all how "liberal" a person is. What matters is whether or not he wants to impose on you (something that some conservatives are equally capable of). "Liberal" at base means "live and let live" and that is how many who call themselves liberals still look at things. That is, they DON'T wish to impose on you. Why alienate such people? The real conflict is between statists and freedom-lovers.

If we have our civil war, and we win, and a conservative comes to power and the first thing he wants to do is impose on me, I'll still be in the Resistance.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous, you seem to forget some of us in these Constitutional Militias were trained by that military and know the equipment forwards and backwards. We know it's weaknesses and strengths. We also know how to stop it in it's tracks.
We are trained combat vets, with some of the same weapons the Feds have. We also know how to get, or make what is needed to stop the Feds weapons. We also will out number the Feds.
We are III%ers and there are a number of us in the military and police forces, as well as being members in our local gun clubs.

Anonymous said...

Heinlein was wrong. Short of extinction, violence does not settle issues; violence only kills current actors. If violence settled issues, then Western civilization would have had continuous peace and liberty ever since the Magna Carta was "settled" by violence. Similarly, the first totalitarianism that succeeded would have been ever-lasting.