Reading through threads here, you will frequently come across cheesy combat metaphors when the topic of the Gun Rights struggle comes up. "Winning the battle," "lines in the sand," "closing ranks," etc.
I usually dismiss these as mere platitude, but I got to thinking about how accurately that frames our mindset (I don't really think it does since most of us don't hate the enemy as inhuman the way opposing sides frequently do in combat), and more importantly, our tactics.
Many of the same issues confronting generals and strategists are present for all struggles or tasks requiring lots of people. Deploying and securing resources, identifying supporting and opposing sides' weaknesses and strengths, and forming a high-level goal or endgame for the effort. It seems like it should stand to reason some non-specific high level tactics should at least have some applicability for activism. Specifically, how do vastly outnumbered and undersupplied groups managed to establish widespread support in their area of operations, and resist much more powerful external forces? That scenario seems especially applicable to places on the East and West coast where utter defeat seems all but certain after continual uncontested losses.
It made me wonder if there is perhaps some way to use insurgent/guerilla style tactics in the promotion of our cause to better resist outside influence from large cities and out of state ex-mayors ;). I'm not a tactician, I have only a vague understanding of these concepts, but things like demonstrating pro-actively in places where the anti's aren't expending their resources, and moving on when they do strike so our efforts aren't drowned when confronted head-on by theirs. For instance, putting out PSAs in neighborhoods that may not be the friendliest toward us, but are fairly neutral and have out-sized influence over neighboring hostile boroughs. Then moving onto the next when the better-funded and connected gun control groups begin their salvo, it's greater size rendered moot by the fact that it goes uncontested (at least until they get bored and chase the next rabbit). For instance, the CO recalls definitely had the full attention of the anti's for a while, but unfortunately, it seems like our side was fully invested as well, to the exclusion of thinking about where to strike heavily next. Even worse, the only reason the recall was occurring was because gun-owners were having to react after the fact to a major defeat in that state, so our victory was something of 1.5 steps back, 1 step forward.
It seems like we're too often putting out fires instead of setting them; seeing a NY times poll and jumping in to sway it instead of conducting it, donating money only after a restrictive bill is proposed (or worse, passed), and rising to meet outside influence in expensive highly-publicized political races that leave everyone involved spiritually and financially drained.
It'd be nice to compete strongly in all these areas, but the facts are that some regions are so hostile or under-representative of gun owners, that their efforts can easily be washed away like tears in the rain (;)). In those cases, it seems like it is by far more important to be efficient rather than lastingly effective (if that makes any sense). If the local MAIG chapter is kept busy addressing NRA/etc. protests, campaigns, and events popping up all around them, they would have a harder time directing their efforts externally to surrounding regions. Their ability to effectively strategize against us is impaired only so long as we keep them on the defensive, and that means making the first move, one after another.
"The pinnacle of activist strategy approaches the formless; so long as it is formless, I can concentrate my efforts while the establishment is fragmented. Lacking clear form, the most traitorous Fudd cannot discern it nor the Ambitious Mayor make plans against it" --Sun Tzu, The Art of Gun Control in America
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January 28, 2014, 02:14 AM
It is an interesting idea. Since you started with the military analogy, I'll just add one word. Logistics; perhaps the most crucial element of military strategy. You are talking about a coordinated effort and that requires a coordinator (or coordinating organization if done on a national level) to manage resources and personnel to achieve a concentration of forces with a timely dispersal for later concentration elsewhere. It obviously can be done. You just need competent leadership and really dedicated followers.
January 28, 2014, 09:10 AM
I think sometimes that all pro gun legislation does this. It puts the antis on defense, instead of spending resources ramming through restrictive gun control.
Are you a supporter of the NRA, SAF, JPFO, ect......? I ask because they do what you're looking at. You need to get active.
January 28, 2014, 10:03 AM
Barnbwt I understand where you are coming from. The reality is we need a coalition. A lot of folks just join the NRA and that is certainly better than nothing but we are up against powerful interest groups who use gun control for their own agendas or seek to exploit it to further their own agendas.
The NRA does not have the resources that Bloomberg does, much less George Sorrows. It has the feet and hands of its members though, and most importantly its voting influence. But we need more.
I want to focus on California. That's my current goal. I'm a Floridian and have only been to California on layovers to Hawaii and Australia. I have no connection to California but it is the figurative Mecca of gun control, not to mention progressive movements. If we could make changes happen there, or just wreak havoc upsetting the status quo (causing them to take their eyes off of control some), then we have won a victory.
That's part of what my post http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=742061 is all about. Setting something up that is in part self-sustaining and a very real threat. Sometimes the most desperate fights make for the greatest victories (and the greatest publicity).
Gun rights are fairly secure in Florida. We can't take our eyes off the ball completely but we have the expendable resources to contribute to other "fronts". And we should.
Also, I like the idea of fighting dirty. Maybe it goes back to how I was the little kid till I hit sixteen (when I got hardcore into weightlifting) always getting picked on by bigger kids and only winning fights when I got into family jewels cruelty, biting, and mauling. Fighting dirty works. And the NRA and its ilk can't fight dirty. It has to stay clean and honorable, beyond reproach.
That's why I want to organize a group that wreaks havoc in a way (legally) that the NRA can't. Expand the map you might say. Take it somewhere the antis were never expecting it, or even thought it was possible.
January 28, 2014, 11:32 AM
Some good thoughts. I wonder if maybe these are some discussions to be had on our grassroots levels (state/city). To push more on our end and even the states that are fighting big fights, to not let that stop us from going on the offense in other ways. Having an open carry (if legal) trash pick up day to get people used to seeing guns or some friends spending a Saturday handing out flyers are simple fun things that could be happening on a wide scale basis. Of course that's little stuff but just throwing it out there.
January 28, 2014, 11:43 AM
Call the group "The Meteor Underground"
You don't need a meteorologist to know which way the wind blows. :evil:
January 28, 2014, 10:22 PM
"You are talking about a coordinated effort and that requires a coordinator (or coordinating organization if done on a national level)"
A "Coordinating Committee," one might say :D
"I want to focus on California. That's my current goal"
From a view as lofty as a MacArthur, I have to agree to that. California is a monstrous ogre to confront, but the North East is a Leviathan, Behemoth, and Ziz all rolled into one. The biggest of big baddies. It makes much more sense to go after a fortress that is much more isolated, surrounded as CA is by states that hate its influence, not to mention the majority of counties within the state actively resisting the urban political seats as best they can. That sounds much like occupied France, which contained a lot of valuable and important German resources and forces, but was on much shakier ground than other fronts due to widespread internal unrest and distance of support lines.
"The reality is we need a coalition."
Exactly. A common strategy allows us to amplify our lesser efforts against those greater. What I don't think we need to do is act as a coalition (bear with me, here). While it is very valiant, I don't think our best effect is had head-to-head against the opposition (except for election times, where our simultaneous efforts are kinda unavoidable), but rather when we can pop up unannounced and get a word in edgewise before the suppressive forces catch on. Not very "brave" or stalwart, but it stretches out resources while still delivering the message uncontested, if only for a short while. These little pin-pricks will be addressed rather than ignored, for the simple reason of pride; that dissent will be tolerated least of all in the most solid districts. Again, the goal isn't lasting accomplishments (those are impossible if the odds are stacked enough against you), but rather misdirection, so their overall initiative is rendered ineffective and vulnerable at the national or eventually state level.
As far as forging a coalition, there are forces working for and against us here, as well as treacherous shortcuts. We all want gun rights. Or do we? I have yet to see a prominent, official "endgame" proposal from a group like the NRA explaining exactly what we'd like to achieve at the end of the day. I suspect it is because lots of gunowners have different expectations of "gun rights," and it is easier to work towards a nebulous platitude (gun rights) than specific goals that may fragment the coalition. Adding to that wrinkle, is the fact that many/most of our number don't put gun issues at the top of their stack. They may be most passionate about various social issues, political issues, or economic issues, while simultaneously being important allies to the gun rights camp. We don't want to alienate them by rejecting their other causes, but to embrace them means we discard others with opposing beliefs, even though the remaining allies will be doubly loyal and invested. A few hardcore zealots or numerous fair-weather friends?
I applaud the NRA for not giving into distractions of non-gun issues quite as badly as other groups (GOA being a prime example), which are off-putting to the people we hope to swell our ranks with. It's hard enough getting all the "racist old rednecks" who supposedly (:rolleyes:) populate the NRA to agree on anything, mix in larger groups of people from diverse backgrounds with even more conflicted views on other issues and you rapidly can't please anybody, ever. What I think the NRA, and all gun groups need to do, is work harder to making it plain to all involved that they do not care about non-gun issues, and furthermore, will not tolerate members trying to poison the well by bringing them up. Don't like pot? Deal with it, our gun rights are at stake. Same goes for gays, abortion, income inequality, and The Bible. Most of our internet forums operate on this principle, and seem to do a very good job nearly always at keeping these 'inefficient' tendencies in check. If we can take this approach with advocacy more strongly we will be more effective. By that, I mean we need to be lobbying local Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, and whatever else chapters to focus more and more gun rights to the exclusion of other goals. As we all know, gun rights are a it of a litmus test; winning their passage can easily be argued to bring about changes those sympathetic groups desire, without our endorsing all or any of their non-gun views. If gun-rights advocates make peace with that double-edged sword, we can readily find supporters in every location across the country.
"Fighting dirty works. And the NRA and its ilk can't fight dirty. It has to stay clean and honorable, beyond reproach."
I've honestly never quite understood this, simply because the NRA is vilified at large anyway. I guess the pure-hearted congress critters being lobbied would be offended if the NRA were legitimately a bit underhanded? :scrutiny: In any case, this is politics, and you can really only fight so dirty before you get busted for illegal activity (which is a bit easier for our side these days, remember?) I don't think we need to fight dirty; simply smarter than they do. Trick them into dumping huge sums of money and wasting their celebritys' time on strategically meaningless battles, while keeping the pressure on the real ones with the NRA (the Allied Invasion to the various Resistance movements)
"That's why I want to organize a group that wreaks havoc in a way (legally) that the NRA can't." You mean like a Project Mayhem? :D As corny as it sounds, that's kind of what I had pictured (to a lessened extent, of course). Coordinated flyer/leaflet postings, phone trees, impromptu stage-events or flash protests giving out T-shirts or sodas while preaching the message to onlookers, (intelligently crafted) recorded police stings of legal activity --all those annoying things that frequently complain about from "professional protestors." I still think applying low-intensity pressure in a thoughtful manner at PTA meetings over a ten year span would be far more effective and lasting in the long run, but that kind of discipline may be asking too much from a widespread group of few individuals.
"I think sometimes that all pro gun legislation does this. It puts the antis on defense, instead of spending resources ramming through restrictive gun control."
I'm not so sure. Legislation is one of those things that usually isn't even tried before the outcome is somewhat clear (ignoring "hail mary" bills with only the writer supporting them). Pro gun laws tend to only be a threat in friendly territory, and gun restriction laws the constant norm in hostile lands draw our immediate attention. If the recalls in CO taught me anything, it is that the anti's are very protective of their own, and that a threat to even the most vulnerable of their number is taken seriously by the others. The entire gun-grab movement nationally seemed to go all in for the CO recall, like I've never seen them do before on anything but gun-control legislation pushes. Recalls are something (especially in CA the way their system is set up, IIRC) that minority groups can actually compete fairly effectively on, compared with whipping an entire seated congressional body hailing from safe districts into abandoning their photogenic proposals.
I think what would be the most effective way to implement the "bob and weave" strategy would be relatively small and autonomous groups with decent enough leaders/members that they could be trusted not to squander outside resources. Such a group could rapidly adapt its efforts to best meet the conditions on the ground locally, and would have highly motivated members that could sustain operations more or less without guidance; all the while remaining disciplined enough to not damage the face of the movement by embarrassing the backers and relative groups (insert nearly any prominent "conservative" or "liberal" political movement faux-pas here; this is what we have to avoid).
February 25, 2014, 08:10 PM
I have no idea what strategies could be used to effect a lessening of restrictions on the Second Amendment. And judging by the shape that the country is in at present, I seriously doubt that there is sufficient time to enact the appropriate legislation before a) the economy collapses to the point where martial law is imposed, b) global world war erupts, making any and all peacetime regulations and laws superfluous, c) the union of the United States breaks up into two or more warring regions, or d) a totalitarian regime (maybe the present one) foolishly tries to confiscate them, and starts a civil war.
Given the lack of time and unlikelihood of a favorable legislative solution, I believe that the only prudent thing to do is to make certain that no paper trail exists of background checks, registration forms, concealed carry permits, etc. ,
If you don't already have a paper trail, don't make one. If you do, don't make a bigger one. I'm just sayin'.
February 25, 2014, 10:27 PM
For starters are very aggressive background check and ongoing surveillance of open source data (print media, public speeches, comments at public board meetings) to look for improper/illegal/just plain stupid behavior by members of MAIG. Many of these guys have taken themselves out of the fight by getting indicted and thrown out of office already. In many cities they are completely unable to perform the basic tasks of running their city governments, never mind reaching out across state lines into other people's business.
February 25, 2014, 11:30 PM
Former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill said all politics are local. It's so true.
Work at your local level. Programs at the 4-H, Scout levels, getting schools to add trap and skeet clubs. Get to know who if any of your local elected officials, their staff, employees are gun owners. Form small groups/shooting clubs and have scheduled events ever so often. If there are any elected leaders who don't shoot invite them to the range. We can get the most impact and lasting change by working with one person at a time. Its hard work but it works.
February 26, 2014, 11:30 AM
We need a cause cele'bre for folks to rally behind. Before Peruta came down I figured campaigning against Sheriffs in California would be a good one. Now not so much.
If we are too formless then we risk having no appreciable or observable effect. If we are too focused we risk alienating others who wish to join in. So then I figure we need chapters, social groups if you will. Being a shooter at times can be isolating, even in Florida with very lax gun ownership rules. Chapters would create social interaction between gun owners and non-gun owners. From there though it becomes an issue over where and how to meet. Could air gun shoots be a friendly way of folks to meet at one's property and shooting at backstops while some folks grill up burgers and hot dogs. Could large open ranges being rented out for the events. etc. etc. etc..
Then you move it to political activism where folks share research on various politicians Pro or anti RKBA background. From there you also work in federal politicians as well. Of course you put a website at the heart of it so folks can plan meetups and events. You also add bits for hunting as well, and competitive shooting also.
You let folks contribute articles to the website and you maybe leave it out there for interpretation that folks should click on a sponsor a couple times a month to drive Payer Per Click revenue to the group for activism funding.
That to me would be the simple part of it. I've talked about having a Trust at the center of it with beneficiaries contributing three dollars a month for pursuit of a long lasting activist group as well as campaign and litigation funding as well. I'm still working out the odds and ends on my bit and won't be ready till at least September but I think more and more that's the route we have to go. Also the group could arrange for group buys of ammo, that seems to be big deal for some folks.
February 26, 2014, 12:04 PM
Coalition? Let's call it Gun Owners of America or the GOA. Oh, wait? they already exist. They are smaller but less prone to compromise than the NRA. And then there's the SAF; which is responsible for many of the court battles we've won recently. How about we just support what we've got?
March 24, 2014, 09:10 AM
If the local MAIG chapter is kept busy addressing NRA/etc. protests, campaigns, and events popping up all around them, they would have a harder time directing their efforts externally to surrounding regions. Their ability to effectively strategize against us is impaired only so long as we keep them on the defensive, and that means making the first move, one after another.
Hence, Operation American Spring 16 MAY 14, it is definitely a first move to put D.C. on high alert.
March 26, 2014, 02:53 PM
Yes, OAS coming soon to a capital near you...
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