You know, I was glad to hear Jan Morgan from Arkansas. My second (and last) wife Rosey is from Arkansas and she told me very quickly when I met her thirty years ago that Arkansas girls don't divorce, they commit homocide, so I'm with her 'til I die, one way or the other.
I am here today to brief you on the national firearm rights movement -- on where we are and where we’re headed and the news is not good. What I am about to say is unpleasant and many of you will not like it. I don’t like it myself. The only thing I can tell you is that it is the unvarnished truth. If you feel better being spoon-fed horsecrap and wishful thinking, you should have invited someone else. Wayne LaPierre or Alan Gottlieb, maybe. I’ll try to wrap this up as fast as I can so that we might have time at the end for your questions. If not I'll try to hang around after the last speaker.
You may thank the Lord that you are Alabamians by birth and Southern by the grace of God. This accident of lineage and location has shielded your liberty, your property and your lives from a predatory state government. We have had the luxury here today of discussing how to move the cause of firearm rights forward in our state – if, that is, we can just get past the Boss Hoggs and Roscoe P. Coltranes of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association who are more concerned about preserving their petty powers and the gravy train of the permit system than they are about our God-given liberty and the constitutional oaths that they swore before the Almighty to uphold.
Count yourselves lucky. For the last two years I have been traveling behind enemy lines to states whose citizens are not so lucky. And “behind enemy lines” sounds like a comic exaggeration but believe me, it is not. In such states as CT, NY, MD, CO and, most recently, WA state, the authorities have passed a series of Intolerable acts banning and registering firearms and magazines and, yes, even registering their owners – for that is what permits and background checks are really all about. Why worry about registering firearms when you can register their owners? After all, it’s those potential trouble makers the government is really interested in controlling – not crime and not criminals, oh, no – they are interested in controlling you – us – ALL of us – In controlling us and stripping us of our means to resist their appetites for our liberty, our property and yes, our lives.
You know, Rudy Guiliani got in trouble the other day for daring to say that he didn’t believe Barack Obama loved his country. Now I don’t pretend to know what evils reside in the innermost being of Barack Obama. Only God knows that. But I will venture to defend the President on this point: I think Barack Obama loves his country – No, I really do. The problem is that HIS country and OUR country are two DIFFERENT countries. Oh, we share a common border and (mostly) a common language but we are divided along the lines of the answer to this eternal question – does the government serve the people, or do the people serve the government? In Barack Obama’s country the people exist to serve the government.
In our country, the government exists to serve the people – mostly by staying out of our way and leaving us the heck alone. This is how the Founders intended it. It is why they gave us a constitutional republic of limited powers securing the rule of law -- NOT the rule of man -- NOT the rule of A man -- no matter how many of his fellow citizens consider him a demi-god and blindly vote his tyranny into power.
We are two countries, ladies and gentlemen, and the sooner you recognize that fact the clearer everything else becomes. Barack Obama loves his country. We love our country. The only question is which vision – which country – which answer to that existential question is to prevail?
Do the people serve the government or does the government serve the people? What do you think?
And if we are honest enough to admit that we inhabit two different countries with two mutually exclusive world views, then let us be honest enough to call the people on the other side by their proper description in language that the Founders would understand–-- indeed, in their own words that they left us with so long ago.
When someone declares his appetite for your liberty and your property at the threat of naked government force against your very life – and takes steps to make that happen -- in contradiction to the Constitution and the rule of law which the Founders crafted -- then such people should be called what they plainly are – DOMESTIC ENEMIES OF THE CONSTITUTION. Let us be that honest, at least, for there is no other way to accurately describe them.
The people who pass these laws hateful to God-given, natural and inalienable rights know EXACTLY what they are about. They know what they want regardless of whatever soft lie of the moment they wrap their naked ambition in -- no matter what velvet glove they cover the iron fist of predatory government with -- What they want is power. Power over you and power over me. Power to tell the rest of us what to do, how to act and even what to think.
But standing in their way, as the Founders intended, is US -- the armed citizenry of the Republic of the United States. And so they have to set out disarm us -- to strip us of our weapons if they can, but in any case to persuade us that resistance is futile. For if we swallow that lie we will have lost the battle before it begins and the weapons we own mean nothing without the will to use them. So the first battleground of this war between the collectivists and ourselves is between our own ears – where lies attack the truth and fears can immobilize principle.
“We have the power,” they say. “We won an election, so we have the power. Do what we say, or else.” To which I would reply, “Or else what?” For the truth is that the rule of law protects THEM from US far more than it protects US from THEM and they should try to remember that when democracy turns to tyranny, the ARMED CITIZENRY STILL GETS TO VOTE!
They are learning this enduring truth -- these domestic enemies of the Constitution -- in states such as CT. They are being taught this lesson by a determined minority of their own citizens who have declared that will NOT comply with unconstitutional laws. They will not comply no matter what promise of state violence threatens them for their non-compliance.
How do I know this? Because these same people from CT & MA, NY, CO and WA state invited ME into their homes. They take me in, letting me spend the night, KNOWING that they will all be moved up on the list they're already on -- or that they will be placed on another list -- They do it KNOWING it may cost them everything AND THEY DO IT ANYWAY.
THEY WILL NOT COMPLY. And you know what? The proto-tyrants who issued their diktats don’t know whether to defecate or go blind. A good example of this is CT and after numerous trips up north behind those particular “enemy lines,” I am still amazed at these new practitioners of the art of armed civil disobedience. They are few, they are brave, they are magnificent in their defiance. Who knew that Yankees still had it in ‘em? But they do. The Founders would be proud.
You may recall that right after Sandy Hook, the state legislature up there passed a law mandating the registration of all semi-automatic rifles and even their magazines – and we’re talking hundreds of thousands of rifles and literally millions of magazines. The penalty for non-compliance was a Class D felony. And what happened?
Two years ago this April, in the aftermath of that law, I spoke at a huge rally on the steps of their state capitol and told those assembled that if the state wanted to make them criminals that they should embrace that fact and try to be the best, most successful criminals they could be. I urged them to “Defy, resist, evade and smuggle” in resistance to that law. As evidence of my seriousness of purpose, I announced to the crowd that I myself had smuggled in thirty-round AR-15 magazines in defiance of the ban. I dared the authorities to arrest me. Of course surrounded as I was by thousands of armed CT citizens, that probably wasn’t the smartest thing they could have done, so they didn’t.
But I had the luxury of flouting their law and then coming home to the great free state of Alabama. My audience didn’t. They were stuck behind enemy lines. And what happened?
The deadline for registration came and went and it was estimated that there was an EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT NON-COMPLIANCE RATE! EIGHTY- FIVE PERCENT. Perhaps as many as a hundred thousand CT firearm owners – perhaps more – simply refused to comply.
They said, like Leonidas at Thermoplyae and the Texans at Gonzales, “Come and take them.”
The state government blustered, made threats of gun raids and then did, exactly, nothing. Of course part of their calculation may have been that yours truly published a list of the legislators who had voted for this Intolerable Act on my blog --- along with their home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. And you know what? They didn’t react well to that. No, not one little bit. It seems -- and it’s a funny thing -- – but it seems that people who like to put people on lists don’t like to BE on lists themselves. Go figure. Of course they did open a criminal investigation on me for that and for my continuing smuggling activities in defiance of their law. However, late last year I went back to CT to attend a gun show and, frankly, to give them the chance to arrest me. And you know what happened? Exactly nothing. I’m probably going back there this coming April, marking the two years since the beginning of the armed civil disobedience movement in CT. So they will have another chance to arrest me.
But here’s the thing. Since the enactment of the law, the state government has been looking at one hundred thousand of its citizens over rifle barrels -- those of the state police and those of their previously law-abiding citizens -- and beyond empty promises to the firearm confiscation lobby and occasional growling, the “authorities” have not dared to enforce their diktat.
Has that stopped their appetite for their fellow citizens’ liberty and property? Oh, hell no. Here is a portion of the final report of the Sandy Hook Commission. It just came out last week. And what do they further demand? Why, the registration of ALL firearms, the banning of all so-called “assault weapons” and their magazines, the state screening of all firearm owners, and here’s my personal favorite on Page 59: “require that any shell casing for ammunition sold or possessed in CT have a serial number laser etched on it for tracing purposes.” I kid you not.
But of course, this begs the question: “If your state government is afraid to enforce the hateful laws you already have on the books, what is the point of passing more onerous laws?” The firearm owners of CT have already nullified these laws by armed civil disobedience. Is it the intention of this state commission to actually enforce even more onerous and unconstitutional laws to provoke a civil war? How many of our lives, and those of our families and other innocents, is it worth to these collectivists to enforce their appetites upon us? A thousand? A hundred thousand? A million? Six million? Ten? How many of us are they willing to see dead?
And the armed citizens of CT -- who are yet free and intend to remain so -- live with this question every day, wondering what the answer will be. Every day they go home, they have to wonder if their home has been invaded, their property confiscated while they were away. Every night they go to sleep, they have to wonder if tonight is the night that the state will send armed men -- paid by their own tax dollars -- to work the tyrant’s will upon them and their innocent families. So, like I said, consider yourselves lucky to be living in Alabama. These questions need not trouble your sleep, but they should. They should because what happens in CT, or in any other state now “behind enemy lines,” will not STAY in CT. It will, in a short time, come here, to visit you.
For if the state of CT should decide to go to war with its own citizens, then the “authorities” will find out quickly what was like for Custer at Little Big Horn. And they will have but one alternative: to call upon the federal government to send its militarized police and indeed, the military itself, to come help them attack their own people. And then?
This is not entirely unexplored territory. Back in the 90s when I was in Constitutional militia movement, the FBI in the aftermath of the OKC bombing and with the Freemen standoff happening in Montana, became extremely solicitous of the intentions of those of us who had sworn there would be no more free Wacos. In the middle of this, the FBI Special agent in Charge of the Albuquerque NM field office met with a good friend of mine, Bob Wright of Lea County NM. Bob was a militia leader of national reputation and commanded the 1st Brigade, New Mexico Militia. After some preliminary fencing, the SAC got down to the question he needed to know the answer to: “Bob, if this Montana thing turns out badly like Waco, would you really take your unit up there to fight us?”
Now, we had no love for the Freemen. In our eyes they were petty criminals who had victimized their neighbors. But we also determined -- we had sworn to ourselves and to our God -- that the federal government would enjoy no more free Wacos. We viewed the Freemen as proper subjects of state police enforcement and for us the FBI poised to carry out another Waco was intolerable. So when the FBI SAC asked Bob if he would take his unit to Montana if things “went south,” Bob looked him in the eye and said, “Why would I want to do that? There’s plenty of you Federal sonsabitches around here.”
Now this was an aspect to the situation that the FBI man had apparently not previously considered, and witnesses report that his eyes grew wide and his jaw dropped a bit. In the end, we didn’t have to find out. Just like at the Bundy Ranch this past April we didn’t have to find out, although that was much more of a close run thing. But the Bundy situation bore all the hallmarks of Waco --– federal militarized police abuse, the demonization and isolation of the intended target -- and that is why it got the response from an aroused armed citizenry that it did. Those of us who went out to Bunkerville NV didn’t necessarily believe that Bundy was right. But we knew that whatever his conflict with the federal government, it didn’t excuse another Waco. That we got another Freemen result and not a Waco result, however, was, as I know from being there, mere chance. For we are, as I said, two countries. And that question has yet to be answered. But just like Bundy Ranch, a shooting war in CT, or Co, or NY, or Washington state, would not be a local affair. It would start a bloody civil war in the entire nation and that civil war would, in short order, come to visit us all here.
These are not pleasant thoughts. They are the reality that has been growing in this country for some time, although it has hardly been reported by the so-called “mainstream media.” But then the Fast and Furious scandal, which I had the humbling duty and honor to break the story with the help of my friends back in December 2010 was largely ignored by the media as well. That didn’t mean it wasn’t the truth.
And the truth is that civil war is possible precisely because the possibility of such a conflict is not being reported -- precisely because people -- especially people on the other side -- do not think it is possible because, well, this is America in the 21st Century and things like that can’t happen anymore, can they? I assure you that they can. To believe otherwise is to whistle past the graveyard of our own history. I am currently reading a remarkable book, An Empire on the edge: How Britain Came to Fight America by the English historian Nick Bunker. Bunker points out that while Lexington and Concord came as a surprise to many, there were a small number of both American colonists and Britons who foresaw the possibility and would not shrink from it. Nathaniel Greene, later one of Washington’s best generals, wrote as early as July 1774: “Soon very soon expect to hear the thirsty earth drinking in the blood of American sons. This was a full nine months before Captain Parker’s demonstration of armed civil disobedience on Lexington Green led to the “shot heard ‘round the world.” Commenting on Nathaniel Greene’s prediction, Bunker writes:
In the eighteenth century, treason could take many forms, with the sword or with the pen. Long before . . . general (Gates) arrived in Boston, and even with the war a year away, we find young patriots in America already committing lines to paper that might have sent them to the gallows if any british spy had read them.
You know, I am reliably informed that Eric Holder’s Justice Department has had a sedition investigation going on me since before I broke the Fast and Furious scandal story. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has called me an “insurrectionist” and the Southern Poverty Law Center -- a misnamed and misbegotten bunch of liars for money if there ever was one -- has long had me on their list of dangerous folks. I have even been the subject of an 18 and a half minute rant by Rachel Madcow on MSNBC and Bill Clinton, that paragon of moral virtue, has denounced the Three Percent movement that I founded in a speech on national television. Well, as my friend Kurt Hofmann, says, “It is better to be despised by the despicable than admired by the admirable.”
But the fact of the matter is that this cold war I describe between the federal government and its citizens has been going on for 20 years now, and I am proud to say that I have been on the enemies lists of the last THREE White Houses, irrespective of party. I am at least an equal opportunity gadfly. But despite the name calling by the other side, I am not seeking an “insurrection” nor soliciting civil war but I am trying to prevent one. The men and women behind enemy lines who, now that every other means of defending their essential liberties have failed, and have turned to armed civil disobedience are trying to prevent one as well. Only by convincing the other side of the seriousness of our purpose and the credibility of our deterrence will we avoid one.
Again, these are dark and bloody thoughts but they are not new for some of us. Back in January 2009, I had been working on the David Olofson case and other ATF scandals when one day, in my post office box, I received an anonymous envelope. It was postmarked from somewhere in Oklahoma. It said this in handwritten block letters:
I have read you on the internet and believe in what your doing. One day the ATF will come to count coup on you & take your head. I promise to take One hundred heads for yours.
There was a small, delicate ink drawing on the bottom of the sheet, showing what appeared to be a coup stick crossed with a tomahawk and over-arched with eagle feathers. 0317/8541, for the uninitiated, are the current and former MOS numbers for a Marine Scout/Sniper.
One hundred heads. I sat in the car, reading and rereading this piece of paper, touched and frankly shaken by its simple sincerity. I had no doubt the man meant what he said. It is a token of the power of the written word to evoke such a response. I also had no doubt that a Marine scout/sniper had the skills to take a hundred heads if, God forbid, this should come to guns. I shared this with a friend at the time and he had only this blunt comment: "A hundred heads properly targeted could finish this thing." Indeed.
Now I did with this what I always do, I wrote about it on my blog, Sipsey Street Irregulars, and it became somewhat of a dark running joke, albeit a deadly serious one and it picked up a life of its own. One reader embraced the idea and crafted a teeshirt reading “100 Heads Life and Casualty Company,” with a little mound of skulls in the center. And then, stranger still, I would go places, speeches, rallies, gunshows, even the NRA convention, and people would come up to me, shake my hand and say, “One hundred heads, sir,” and then walk away. It wasn’t a discussion they were seeking, it was a declaration of intent. It wasn’t approval they were looking for, it was just, well, a valediction. For the honoree this is quite a two-edged sword for the action promised, you may recall, is predicated upon his own – MY own – demise. Yet it is somehow strangely comforting that my life has been insured these past six years by the entirely voluntary and absolutely free of charge One Hundred Heads Life and Casualty Company. Who knows, maybe it is one reason I’m still alive. We have since, by popular demand, begun selling “One Hundred Heads Life Insurance” ball caps in order to raise money for the armed civil disobedience campaign. Some of them are on sale over at my table here, along with these "Fight Tyranny, Shoot Back" hats -- IF you are looking for headgear that comes with a free personal FBI file at no extra charge. But I offer this story -- which like all the best stories has the advantage of being true -- as evidence that some of us, like Nathaniel Greene and his contemporaries of the Founders’ generation, have been thinking about this sort of thing for a while. If a civil war breaks out in CT, or in Washington state, tomorrow, we at least will not be surprised. Horrified, saddened, like everyone else. But not surprised.
I mention Washington state because that is where the latest front of armed civil disobedience has been opened. Back in November, you may recall, Michael Bloomberg and some other millionaires bought themselves a mandatory background check law by referendum, called I-594. Now, the so-called mainstream gun rights organizations had only themselves to blame for this fiasco because they couldn't restrain their petty jealousies and refused to work together lest the other group get the credit for the win -- and I’m talking here about the NRA and Alan Gottlieb’s bunch. The only thing was, they lost. Immediately there sprung up an “I Will Not Comply” organization that held a rally on the 13th of December to not only protest the new law, but to break it, and dare the state authorities to do anything about it. They were initially granted then denied a permit. They said, “fine, we don’ need no steenking permits. We’re still going to have our rally.” “Well arrest you,” the state police threatened. They told the state police, “hey, do what you gotta do. We’ll do what we gotta do. Your move.”
I was honored to be invited to speak in front of a group that I estimated at 2,000 folks (the WSP said it was more like 1800, but that still made it one of the largest firearm rights demonstrations ever held in the state). We gathered, armed, we broke the law and . . . nothing happened. We were even congratulated by the state police for the professional manner with which we carried out the protest. Last month, I went back to Olympia to help with another armed civil disobedience action after the state legislature banned firearms from the galleries. Again they threatened to arrest us. Again we said, “Fine, do what you gotta do.” And what did they do? They locked the gallery doors on us. In a word, they wimped out. So we trooped, about a hundred of us who gathered on a day of awful weather, through the state house, served our list of grievances by taping them to the gallery and governor’s office doors and then marched over to the governor’s mansion where we startled a gate guard by presenting the same petition and then, having knelt in prayer, adjourned.
Now in the process of all this law-breaking, the Washington activists presented me with this. All firearms being female, meet Mrs. Bloomberg. I call her Charlotte when nobody’s listening. She is named for Michael Bloomberg’s mother. It seemed only fitting that if I was breaking Bloomberg’s law that I give at least a tip of the boonie hat to the nanny state fascist who motivated me to do so. It is my intention to tote Charlotte around to every other armed civil disobedience event and speaking engagement that I attend from now on. And the next one in Washington state ought to be a doozy.
You see, the armed civil disobedience resisters out there are hosting an arms expo late in June -- a background check free gun show --– and they are again daring the authorities to do anything about it. I’ll be there, toting Mrs. Bloomberg, and daring right along with them.
Armed civil disobedience has a long, honorable history in America. From Captain Parker to the Battle of Athens TN in 1946 to the Deacons for Defense and Justice during the civil rights movement to the Bundy Ranch standoff, Americans have been opposing government-sanctioned violence by putting their own bodies on the line with determination in their hearts and firearms in their hands.
This is no surprise to black Americans who, like Condoleeza Rice’s father stood armed guard over Martin Luther King while that advocate of Gandhian non-violence slept, made safe from Klan violence and Sheriff Bull Connor’s Klan-member deputies by their .38 revolvers and .45 automatics. Throughout our history Americans have been a practical people and when the regular means of sustaining our rights and our liberties have failed, we have always turned to our own resources.
Is it dangerous? You bet. Is it desirable? No way. But it is sometimes required. You live in a free state. But there are people in this country who do not. There are people who, thanks to the domestic enemies of the Constitution in their states, now live behind enemy lines. You may disagree with them. You may condemn them. They may make you nervous. They may make the authorities nervous. Heck, they make me nervous. But they are meant to. As Jefferson observed, where the people fear the government there is tyranny. Where the government fears the people, there is liberty.
But remember, whatever you think of them, these armed civil disobedience activists, you sleep safe at night, safe from the arbitrary exercise of government violence. They do not. But however you react to them, they are there, they are not going away, and the conflict that their oppressive state governments force on them will likely come to your door anyway -- if it happens, accidentally or intentionally, it will come to all of our doors. This is the new reality, the new paradigm. This is the state of our two countries, the one that Barack Obama loves and the one that we love. And they will tell you, they will say to anyone including Barack Obama if he asks, that if you don’t like it you’d better ease up out of their faces, get your hands out of their pockets, off their property and liberty as the Founders intended before something goes wrong. “Be careful what you wish for,” they will quote the old Chinese adage, “because you may get it.”
As for me, I am honored to stand beside them, these brave men and women behind enemy lines. I am honored and I am humbled but I will stand with them until God, according to his own plan, calls me home.
And remember folks -- Fight tyranny, shoot back.