Lessons Learned

Some background; local cops have been out for me and my family. Not in a big way, just looking to take advantage of opportunities. Both of my kids have had run-ins with the law. Some serious and some very, very, laughably trivial. I was once the victim of selective enforcement regarding dogs being off-leash ($100 dollar ticket) on or the day after the local cops were subpoenaed to appear in court as witnesses on one of those trivial cases, they’ve threatened to have the dog destroyed, and recently one of the cops was seen prowling in my yard, and was not forthcoming as to why when I called him on the phone afterward. One of the former cops from the same department had been “hitting on” my under-age daughter and her under-age friend. That’s 2.

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Carrots versus Sticks?

[The following was written by Brian Keith and posted here for the first time.—Joe]

Carrots Vs Sticks?
Or, why other gun rights activists make you so angry and what you can do about it

I spoke at the December 13th I Will Not Comply rally. As the first speaker, I encouraged thousands of armed citizens to shout “I Own Guns!”

At the January 15th rally, I was behind the scenes. I helped organize the I Will Not Comply people for some of the photos that were taken, and went with them through the Capitol to smooth feathers.

In both cases I was surrounded by people whose idea of the good life is roughly similar:

All peaceful adults should be allowed to defend themselves as they see fit.

(I say “allowed” because I am discussing our vision of the future and the specific reality we want to see happen. “Allowed” refers to the choices of the government and not to the nature of our unalienable rights.)

And yet, quite a few people at the Dec 13 rally are angry at the people at the Jan 15 rally. Many boycotted Jan 15.

And the reverse is true as well. Plenty of people didn’t go to Dec 13 for reasons ranging from the organizer not getting a permit to the planned civil disobedience to a disregard for Washington’s organized gun groups.

I met some good people Dec 13. And I met some good people Jan 15. And we all share the same stated goal.

So why are some of us at each others’ throats?


We see this same theme throughout history. A political minority wants more acknowledgment of their rights. Some people want to work within the current political system, while others take a more hard line approach.

I call these groups the Carrots and the Sticks.

The Carrot says “I’ll work with you on your terms, follow your rules, and in exchange you’ll give me more political power.”

The Stick says “Your rules exist to keep me powerless. I will break them and I dare you to try to stop me.”

(When I say rules, I speak of the political process as it is. Mentioning that the US Constitution or the Washington State constitution guarantee the right to keep and bear arms does us no good. It is true that they do, but what of it? We do not actually get to practice that right. So I speak of what actually is, now, and not what ought to be.)

Carrots usually achieve victory when they have Sticks backing them up. Alex Haley, Malcolm X’s biographer, referred to this in regards to Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK had some power through nonviolence. But the organization Malcolm X gave much of his life to had the numbers of trained men ready to do damage to earn freedom. And that bolstered MLK’s cause. The powers that be would much rather deal with Carrot than Sticks.

This is not to say that the Carrots like the Sticks that help them win. Simply to say that, in the absence of Sticks, the Carrots have little back up plan.

One Carrot that did win without Stick support is Gandhi. But he also said he would choose violence over cowardice if those were the only two options. Perhaps if his team had more guns they would have also pursued a Stick strategy.

In the American Revolution, many people tried the Carrot strategy for many years. Read the Declaration of Independence and you can see the transition of those men from Carrots to Sticks.


We have Carrots and Sticks in the gun rights movement.

Alan Gottlieb is the quintessential Carrot. I’ve never read him advocating breaking the law. In a conversation with him on Jan 15, I asked him why he wasn’t trying to stop background checks. I acknowledged that he had done more than any other individual in my lifetime to further the cause of freedom. So why was he compromising on background checks?

To paraphrase, he responded that politics is the art of the possible, and that repealing 594 was not politically possible at this time.

Fight political battles you can win. That’s the Carrot point of view.

Mike Vanderboegh is the quintessential Stick. He advocates breaking the law. He smuggles illegal magazines in to states that have banned them.

His tagline is “When freedom turns to tyranny, the armed citizen still gets to vote.”


Carrots get mad at Sticks when the Sticks make noise and rock the boat. The Carrot needs the boat steady, so he believes, so that he can get more political power.

Sticks get mad at Carrots when they compromise and value popularity or wealth over freedom. Sticks want freedom now, because compromise is what got us in this mess!


The Dec 13 rally was the biggest armed civil disobedience rally in the history of our country. The thousands who attended effectively nullified the Transfer prohibition of 594. When confronted with thousands of people not following the law, the State Patrol decided not to enforce the law, and many other law enforcement agencies have followed suit. Sticks: 1.

But a law enforcement organization choosing to not enforce a law at an event is not the same thing as protecting people at other times and in other places from that law. Matt Shea introduced a bill to repeal 594. And many other Carrots are on the move- from Gottlieb’s court case to get some parts of 594 thrown out to a law enforcement group’s attempt to make having your Concealed Pistol License count as your background check. None of these efforts have born fruit yet, but they are the only way we can continue to experience the freedom we claimed on Dec 13. Carrots: 1.

Gottlieb & the Carrots may have been able to get an injunction for the Transfer prohibition of 594. But Gavin Seim & the Sticks demonstrated that the law is unenforceable in a way no politician can ignore, and they did it fast. We are more free for their efforts.

Gavin and Mike could, in theory, introduce legislation repealing 594. But it’s Representative Matt Shea who actually did that, and it is he and his non-offensive demeanor that people can rally around. Few politicians can rally to the cause of a man who talks on the radio about how everyone should own tanks. When Matt Shea & the Carrots win with this bill, we will be more free for their efforts.


I titled this essay Carrots Vs Sticks? because I don’t think we have to be as angry at each other as we are.

Carrots: The Sticks are the only way we’ll ever get more free. It is only the threat of armed resistance that has stopped law enforcement in California, Connecticut, New York, and now perhaps Washington from enforcing clear laws banning guns and magazines. Sticks may embarrass you, but their principled stance is what buys you political capital as well as fundraising money. By all means keep trying to talk your way out of bad laws. It might work now, and it is almost always talking it out that eventually secures a state of liberty for the people. Stop badmouthing the people who have the guts to live free and demonstrate to the nation what freedom looks like. Remember, there were ten times as many people at the I Will Not Comply rally as at the Let’s Use The Political Process rally. Respect the courage of those who demand their rights.

Sticks: Don’t hate the Carrots for being politicians. It’s really rare for the people as a whole to get more free simply as a result of violating unjust laws. Rosa Parks didn’t write any laws. Nor did Malcolm X. They just resisted. Stay principled yourself, and by all means call out corruption when you see it. Stay professional in your demeanor as you commit felonies and make people uncomfortable. Be unfailingly kind and polite. Keep on doing what you know is right. And respect those who work in different ways to achieve freedom. (And wear suits and professional clothing when possible. I know you are more comfortable in your Carhartts- so am I. But you are the front lines of liberty. Dress like it.)


So what happens now?

Sticks will get angry at me for defending Carrots. And Carrots will get angry at me for defending Sticks.

And both will get angry at each other for being irresponsible short-sighted jerks.

And Bloomberg, Gates, and the rest of the anti-freedom crowd will grab the popcorn and laugh themselves silly.

Because every ounce of energy we direct at denigrating a fellow gun rights activist is energy we’re not directing at winning.

Carrots and Sticks have different tactics for winning.

If you really want freedom, take a page from the other guy’s book.

Are you a Carrot who puts your energy in to the political process?

Awesome- now go to the next rally at the Capitol with your long gun and demand to be heard. It’s February 7th at 10am. Don’t think the I Will Not Comply people are reasonable? Great- go and talk with them. Convince them of your point of view. https://www.facebook.com/events/1547594748829848

Are you a Stick who puts your energy in to demanding your rights in a public way?

Great- now go call your Legislator and schedule a meeting with them to talk about Matt Shea’s bill to repeal 594. It’s House Bill 1245. Find your legislator at http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/


We need Carrots and Sticks working together full throttle to win back our rights. We all want the same thing. Let’s go get it.

Gun safe expansion tools

Sometimes I wish I could just expand the size of my gun safe a little bit. It seems like there should be room in it for another gun or the magazines but it just doesn’t seem to work out. And I don’t want to buy another safe. I’m cramped enough for floor space as it is.

A few days ago I was asked if I would link to web site for gun storage solutions. After looking at the site a bit I decided they had some good products and agreed.

The Rifle Rods and Mag Mounts look particularly interesting to me.

You can’t really expand the gun safe in a practical manner but you can get more stuff into it if you organize it better.

C.S. Lewis on Mere Liberty and the Evils of Statism

I have never been a big fan of C.S. Lewis in general. When I received the following email I very nearly responded back with a negative response:

Dear Joe,

Could I interest you in please posting a notice on your blog of the following new YouTube video from the C.S. Lewis Society of California of my keynote talk at the first annual conference of Christians for Liberty, that was held at St. Edwards University in San Antonio, TX, August 2, 2014?

Thank you for your kind consideration!

Best regards,

David J. Theroux
Founder and President
The Independent Institute
100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 632-1366 Phone
(510) 568-6040 Fax

I decided that I should at least watch a minute or two of video before rejecting it.

This quote at about 2:25 in the video made me decide to post it:

Could one start a Stagnation Party—which at General Elections would boast that during its term of office no event of the least importance had taken place?

C.S. Lewis

Naïve, stupid, crazy, or malicious

Some people “want to make it harder for bad guys to get guns”. Okay. I understand the sentiment. I can even understand that some people are more “practical” than principled.

People with far different principles than I have long made a “principled” case that economic central planning is better than a free market. Such a system “will make everyone more equal.” But that “principled” approach is easily defeated by pointing out the practical results of those experiments. Tens of millions murdered by their own governments and shortages of even essential products.

We have the principled approach of an inalienable right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment. What data do they have which contradicts this? Why can’t they understand it’s a fool’s mission to keep guns away from the bad guys?

This is from a UK paper article titled How did the Paris terrorists get hold of their weapons?:

In 2010, police in Belgium stated: “Counter to what you may have heard, it’s not easy to get hold of a Kalashnikov.” To prove them wrong, a reporter for Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure managed to do so in less than six hours.

The evidence is overwhelming that black markets supply any product which is both technically possible and people have the money for. The price might be higher and the quality may be lower. But where there are buyers there will soon be sellers.

The examples are all around us as well as in history. Think of prohibition. Think of recreational drugs. As I have said before, “The average high school dropout can get all the recreational drugs they want within an hour anytime of the day, any day of the week. So just how effective you think a background check would be in reducing the abuse of recreational drugs?”

The people that insist that background checks, bans, restrictions on ammunition sales, and “gun free zones” cannot be right in the head. They have to be willfully naïve, incredible stupid, have mental issues, or they are malicious.

When you are dealing with people like this there is no value in compromising. There is no value in “agreeing to disagree”. There is no value in “respecting their opinion.” These people need to be defeated. They need to be put in their place. They need to be made an example of. They need to be made politically irrelevant. They need to be prosecuted. They are prejudiced bigots. They need to be swept into the dustbin of history. The should be despised as a 21st Century version of the KKK because this is what they are.


I came across a great new word today at ESR’s blog. “Kafkatrapping

The term Kafkatrapping is based on the story “The Trial” by Kafka. (whole story here)

The definition: a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.”

There are several variants of it explicitly discussed and described in the blog post. Well worth reading. We run into it a lot from the left, and among anti-rights activists generally.

Quote of the day—Severine Lee‏@SeverineLee

Six killed in Philadelphia shooting rampage- you need better laws! Ban guns! http://abc.net.au/news/5969666

Severine Lee‏ @SeverineLee
Tweeted on December 15, 2014
[Don’t ever let anyone get away with telling you no one wants to take your guns.—Joe]

Today is The One Day…

…we are told, by someone (?) to celebrate the life’s work of one Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – gun owner, second amendment supporter and NRA member.

OK, but if I approve of his message and his efforts, then surely every day is MLK Day, no? Just as, if you’re a Christian every day is Christmas.

Anyway; I wonder what MLK Jr. would say today, more than 50 years later, of race relations and the moral state of Americans. I don’t recall him having said;

“I have a dream…of a day when a little black child and a little white child will sit down together, and the little black child will accuse the little white child of exercising “White Privilege” and blaming him for his problems. I have a dream of a time when over ninety percent of all black people will sell their votes to the political party of the KKK in exchange for largess, indoctrination into the authoritarian system, lies and broken promises. I have a dream of a time when black people are corralled into dysfunctional, government-union-controlled schools, discouraged from using the schools of their choice, and taught hopelessness and anger instead of hope and love, and I have a dream today, People, of a time when government will have replaced the father in the majority of black families…”

No, I don’t recall him saying any of that, but that is apparently what some people are celebrating today, while calling for more of the same.

Quote of the day—roastbeeftacohat

Bushmaster has been marketing the AR15 as a penis enhancer for years.

Comment to TIL there’s an equivalent to Godwin’s Law for gun ownership debates called Markley’s Law: As an online discussion of gun owners’ rights grows longer, the probability of an ad hominem attack involving penis size approaches 1
[It’s another Markley’s Law Monday!

To be fair, in context it’s difficult to say if he was being sarcastic or serious. I searched through hundreds of his comments on reddit and couldn’t find anything that supported the sarcasm hypothesis. There were some hints that the serious hypothesis were valid but nothing definitive.—Joe]

USPSA match results

The last USPSA match I shot was in October of 2012. That’s two and a quarter years ago. Yesterday I shot in another one with a different group of people.

Two years ago I came second out of eight in my division. This time I came in fourth out of 10. I was fairly pleased with that result. But the main thing I was hoping to do was come in ahead of my son-in-law, John Vlieger. But I was a long way from accomplishing that result. Even if I had not had messed up one stage badly I still would have not beat him:

MCTS USPSA January 2015
Match Results – Limited
Place Name USPSA Class Division PF Lady Mil Law For Match Pts Match %
1 Vlieger, John A79695 B Ltd MAJOR N N N N 580.4732 100.000 %
2 McIngvale, Trip FY62076 M Ltd MAJOR N N N N 559.8666 96.450 %
3 Sturdivant, Peter TY80329 A Ltd MAJOR N N N N 514.8913 88.702 %
4 Huffman, Joe TY29386 B Ltd MAJOR N N N N 363.6948 62.655 %
5 Fox, Todd   U Ltd MINOR N N N N 360.9411 62.180 %
6 Sturdivant, Charlie TY80586 C Ltd MAJOR N N N N 348.6704 60.067 %
7 Standley, Robert A49729 B Ltd MAJOR N N N N 344.5438 59.356 %
8 Mecklenburg, John   U Ltd MINOR N N N N 286.2143 49.307 %
9 Maloney, Edward   U Ltd MINOR N N N N 206.3510 35.549 %
10 Fata, Paul   U Ltd MAJOR N N N N 165.8097 28.565 %

Oh well. It’s just more incentive to get out and practice more.

Quote of the day—user1089750

What a festival of disturbing, unbalanced, one-issue low IQ retards.

January 15, 2015
to Hundreds at Capitol protest new gun-purchase background checks
[This in regards to the I-594 rally in Olympia. This is what they think of you.

I would like to suggest they just keep on thinking that. Delusions are often functional right up to the point where reality obliterates them.—Joe]

Quote of the day—betterway006

Frankly I don’t really care what the bill says.  If it all impedes the manufacturing, sales, ownership, transfer, etc. of guns I’m in favor.

January 15, 2015
Comment to Hundreds at Capitol protest new gun-purchase background checks
[The “bill” being commented on was initiative I-594 in Washington State.

I’ll do my best to make sure this is used as evidence against them at their trial.

Don’t ever let someone get away with telling you that no one wants to take your guns.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Yung Basedgod @BitchmobBoi

Ban all the guns cause they killing people
Ban all the weapons cause they killing people
Ban all the guns cause they made from evil

Yung Basedgod‏ @BitchmobBoi
Tweeted on December 24, 2014
[Don’t ever let anyone get away with telling you no one wants to take your guns.—Joe]

594: Rally For Your Rights

Sean Flynn and I woke up at an obscene hour this morning and drove to Olympia Washington for the rally to oppose I-594. As you might imagine from the number of QOTDs he has provided and the numerous posts that mention him it was a pleasure to have him as a companion for the drive.

At the rally last month I didn’t talk to anyone and only recognized Mike Vanderboegh (his thoughts on today’s rally are here). This time I saw and talked to a number of people including Barron and Janelle, Gay Cynic, Dave Workman (I didn’t really talk to him, just nodded “Hi!”, his thoughts on the rally are here), Anette Wachter and Charles, Alan Gottlieb, Brian Keith, and numerous other people I recognized.

I believe my speech went okay. Joel Connelly from the Seattle PI made mention of me in his blog post about the rally. He said I was “from a group called Boomershoot” which doesn’t really make any sense, but did correctly note I quoted Any Rand from Atlas Shrugged and The Virtue of Selfishness. I suspect he intended that to mean that I could be dismissed without further thought because in a couple sentences he said, “About the day’s only reflective remark came from State Rep. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, a Democratic legislator who actively opposed I-594”.

Brian Keith told me my speech got a bigger response than all the speeches prior which was my impression as well. I’m nearly certain there was only one speech after mine that got a bigger response from the crowd.

The text of my speech is “below the fold”. If you are a regular reader of my blog there isn’t any new material here.

Me giving my speech. Photo by Sean.

Barron and Janelle

Some of the LGBT contingent.

Some of the I will not comply contingent.

It’s instructive to see the selection of photographs the Daily Herald (Everett, Washington) posted of the rally. It’s all guns and images that reinforce the stereotypes the anti-gun people want to believe are true. They didn’t include any pictures of ordinary people standing around listening and applauding like what I saw:


After the rally I visited the offices of my representatives then attended a luncheon with other activists and some lawmakers.

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Quote of the day—Matthew Foss


Matthew Foss
From here.
[I don’t know the date or which of the many Matthew Foss’s in the world wrote this. I don’t know if it was a parody or sincere. If you find out let me know so I can update this post.

Assuming it was sincere…

Just so you know what they think of you and what they want done to you.

Don’t ever let anyone get away with telling you no one wants to take your guns.—Joe]