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"BOHICA!"screamed the e-mail alert. "Bend over, here it comes again!"
It was a familiar story. Politicians were about to pull yet another colossal act of betrayal, about to break yet another compromise with gun owners, about to put thousands more citizens at risk of prison for obscure technical violations of law.
BOHICA has become a way of life for people who care about the Bill of Rights, especially the Second Amendment.
So what did the group sending the urgent e-mail alert beg everybody to do? "Call your representative!" -- again -- "Write the governor!" -- again -- "Tell your friends to call their representatives!" --again.
Let’s be realistic: Do we honestly believe an arrogant group of known liars and oathbreakers is suddenly going to morph into Patrick Henry just because they receive yet another batch of desperate, angry pleas from people who’ve been on the losing side of every gun-law battle since the National Firearms Act was passed in 1934?
"BOHICA," indeed! If you keep bending over like that, they’ll keep doing "it" again.
So why do so many of us keep on bending over -- making the same predictable responses to political chicanery -- long after we’ve seen that our desperate, hopeful actions don’t win us freedom? We do it because we’ve been conned. It’s that simple. We’ve been buffaloed into believing that "politics as usual" is our only option. We’ve even been told that being political puppets is our "responsibility" as citizens.
It’s not. There are more effective things we can do. But first, look at the devastation caused by this political con we’ve been suckered into.
Throwing away your money, your efforts, freedom, and your future
How many billions of dollars have freedom groups spent financing political campaigns, lobbying, or struggling to change laws through legislative letter-writing blitzes*? How many checks have firearms manufacturers written to how many lawyers and lobbyists? How many hundreds or thousands of your own hard-earned dollars have you poured into politics? How many thousands of hours have you simply thrown away writing begging letters to politicians, standing at rallies, voting, campaigning, sending faxes, and making calls to "representatives" whose bored office staffers don’t even bother to pass along your messages and whose bosses wouldn’t listen if they did?
How many times have you helped send some guy to Washington or Albany or Sacramento thinking, "There, now he’ll take care of us" -- only to have him come back a month later telling you, "You just don’t understand how things are done on Capitol Hill" – as if he were representing the government, not you?
We rally ’round Party R, alarmed by the terrible things Party D wants to do to our Second Amendment rights. Party R marches into office, banners of "reform" flying high. In the name of "compromise," Party R then does exactly what Party D threatened to do – and comes back looking for more contributions and votes! "Think how much worse it would have hurt if Party D had done it to you!" they say. BOHICA!
And how many times have you felt sick as the public applauded the latest law or regulation against freedom -- because peoples’ hearts belong to the other side, and their minds are uneducated about the real issues behind the feel-good language of "safety," "preventing crime," and "reasonable measures" to "protect children"?
Yes, you may have had an occasional, temporary victory, particularly at the local or state level. (Even a card sharp knows he sometimes needs to let the marks win to keep them hoping.) But in the end, every one of your political dollars, every one of your countless political hours, has not only been wasted, but has actually helped your opponents beat you in a rigged game.
The illusion that you’re doing something to protect freedom has kept you occupied like a sucker trying to spot the shell with the pea under it while fast- talking politicians and remote bureaucrats carried out long-term anti-freedom plans that your eye couldn’t follow.
Fighting to lose your gun rights
Second Amendment fighters: What have you gained by relying on politicians?
Despite short-term compromise "victories," the bottom line is that you’ve put up with a steady erosion of rights that hasn’t stopped since you father’s, grandfather’s, or maybe even great- grandfather’s day.
And now we rejoice because, with the Clinton regime gone, we believe politicians are going to be a LITTLE LESS QUICK about taking the next round of our rights. We get excited when we learn that Attorney General John Ashcroft says the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own firearms -- so excited that we overlook the fine print, where he says next that Congress has the right to enact "gun control" laws "for compelling state interests."
What exactly does "compelling state interests" mean? Who defines it? Who’ll enforce it -- and how brutally?
What kind of mentality have we developed, that we get excited over something like that? Have we adopted the numbed mindset of the carnival mark who walks away feeling victorious because he won some cheap piece of junk not worth one-tenth the money he invested in the crooked game?
Have we come to expect to lose our freedoms? Have we come to believe there’s no realistic alternative? Good news: There is an alternative -- and a powerful one. But first, we’ve got to get over this BOHICA thinking and the BOHICA, "politics as usual" actions it leads to.
The key to understanding what’s going on
Long ago, and for a very short time in America, what your teachers told you was true. You could change things by voting and campaigning and writing letters to your representatives -- because they actually were your representatives.
An informed citizenry and a legislature made up of ordinary fellow citizens could protect rights -- for a while. But that system was doomed to exactly the fate it has met. A professional class of politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, and lobbyists took over, and citizens (increasingly uninformed or dis-informed) were left out in the cold. While the professional class still pays lip service to "democracy," their fundamental relationship to us is to 1) get money out of us, 2) make us dependent on them, and 3) keep us pacified enough that we don’t pick up pitchforks and tear their little con castle down.
Now, when a teacher, politician, U.N. worker, bureaucrat, or some other government supporter preaches about your "responsibility" to vote and otherwise "work within the system" she’s basically conning you. She’s either ignorant of reality or trying desperately to prevent you from exercising the "pitchfork option." She’s like the carnival pitchman whose patter and flamboyant gestures are designed to keep you from noticing what’s going on behind the curtain.
A few fundamental facts to keep in mind:
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that those posturing politicians you’re begging to aren’t even the ones in charge anymore. As Mark Bateman put it so well in a letter to Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership:
We defeat them in the ballot box. We defeat them in the legislature. We defeat them in the courts. However, here is where they CAN AND ARE WINNING: the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy has for quite some time been the NEW lawmakers in our land and the ability of the BATF to simply make a ruling that turns YOU into a FELON for possession of what was once legal is creating law without representation. This is BANNING (through economics) and REGISTRATION by bureaucratic ruling!
All the voting, rallying, and political letter writing in the world won’t reach this class of professional bureaucrats and enforcers. They’re not elected by you. They’re not answerable to you. They don’t care about you and your pathetic little claims of "rights," and "justice."
Reality has changed. And if you don’t change with it, your rights will soon perish.
Changing the culture
"But if we don’t keep doing this," the freedom fighters cry, "things will get worse!"
Well, duh, things are getting worse ANYWAY.
In the ghettos of Europe, the "wise" men of the Jewish councils advised their communities to play by the Nazis’ rules – to go along to get along. "If we don’t," they warned, "things will get worse." People were loaded into cattle cars. People were taken into the woods and shot. People were enslaved, imprisoned, gassed, and flung naked into mass graves – and still the "wise" men counseled cooperation because otherwise, "things will get worse."
How much worse do things have to get before some people realize you can’t win at a rigged political game? Stop cooperating in the con! If the mark won’t play, the con artist can’t win.
You don’t even have to take the risks the young ghetto fighters eventually took. Your solution may be as simple as talking with your next-door neighbor. But it requires thinking far outside the political box. The solution is a grassroots reawakening. A rebirth of a Bill of Rights culture in America.
That’s is a major change, to be sure. Accomplishing it will take hard work and time - but no more time than you’re currently wasting on politics. Grassroots change is doable because, instead of trying vainly to influence unreachable men and women far away, it involves influencing the people around us -- family members, co-workers, neighbors, fellow students, children, fellow activists -- people we can reach.
Do something really dangerous, something that will truly scare our would-be rulers into taking us seriously -- encourage people to think and give them the tools to help them do it.
Bob LeFevre, the great, unconventional educator (on whom Robert Heinlein based his memorable character Bernardo de la Paz in the novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress), once told an audience that, if he could push a button and instantly impose freedom he wouldn’t do it, because unless people had a change of heart, they would quickly turn around and create a new (and perhaps even worse) system of oppression.
Once we have a Bill of Rights culture, including a strong, healthy appreciation and understanding of the Second Amendment, the government will follow. (If it fails to follow, it will fall.) Even the bureaucracy, unalterable as it seems now, will be dismantled once people no longer want, and are no longer willing to pay for, what it represents. On the other hand, if we don’t attain a freedom- oriented culture at the most basic, grassroots level, then all the politics in the world won’t save us.
What you can do
Let’s be up front. This section includes an unabashed pitch for you to use JPFO literature. We’re also going to ask you to help us finance a TV documentary "Innocents Betrayed," based on the new book Death by ‘Gun control’ by Aaron Zelman and Richard W. Stevens.
But don’t tune out. Even if you decide never to buy a single booklet from JPFO, the main thing you need to do to effect a grassroots culture change is the same.
You need to convey the value of the Bill of Rights, very simply and clearly, to people who’ve been "hypnotized and Jenningized" by television, who expect instant gratification, and who’ve been soothed into believing that government’s purpose is to be a father and mother to them.
This kind of simple -- but factual and verifiable - pro-Bill of Rights message is what we at JPFO specialize in.
Our Gran’pa Jack series of illustrated booklets gets across messages like these:
Learn more about these invaluable booklets - you can visit the descriptions page describing them all with, options to purchase (note, deep discounts for bulk orders), or also - visit a newer page with an informative video presentation.
Using the character of wise Gran’pa Jack and his ever-questioning family members, these booklets convey a ton of specific legal, historic, factual information while being as easy to read as comic books. They’re perfect for teaching people who’ve never thought about the issues, but they also contain enough solid information to help persuade an educated opponent. (Even an experienced freedom fighter will find new intellectual ammo in them.)
Use them almost anywhere with anybody. Put them on a counter at a gun store. Hand them out at a school presentation. Distribute them at an information booth. Give them to your children or neighbors. (Just the other day we got a call from a National Guardsman stationed at a major airport. He asked us to send 50 assorted copies for him to share with people in his unit. Realizing how little some of the others knew about freedom, he thought of Gran’pa Jack as the simplest way to educate them. We wouldn’t be surprised if, after being passed around among the Guardsmen, many of these Gran’pa Jacks ended up in the hands of "security" screeners, airline passengers, and air crew members -- some of whom especially need to learn about the Bill of Rights.)
There are nearly one million Gran’pa Jack booklet already in circulation. Imagine the impact if there were 50 million ... 100 million. As the late Sen. Everett Dirksen said, "When I feel the heat, I see the light." Let’s enlighten everybody.
Now JPFO is working on the top-quality, one-hour TV documentary, "Innocents Betrayed." Louis James of the Henry Hazlitt Foundation said this documentary, "… might well be the stake in the heart of victim disarmament that destroys the ‘Gun control’ myth and helps restore the fundamental human right of self-defense in America, and beyond."
TV may be the best medium for reaching our fellow Americans. Unfortunately it remains the most expensive. This historical opportunity is going to cost $170,000. So we’re asking everyone to make a one-time, tax-deductable donation of $29 or more between now and June 2002. A $75 donation gets you a free, autographed copy of the new book, Death by "Gun Control." For a donation of $100 or more, you’ll get Death by "Gun Control" ($16.95 value, postpaid) and the new book, The State vs. the People ($19.95 value), which shows how America is sliding toward a police state. Donate more and you’ll get both books and a copy of the film. (This information was current at time of writing - it is left in for completeness' sake, although it has to be said, donations are always much appreciated and welcome.)
If you don’t want to buy Gran’pa Jack booklets or donate to the documentary, that’s your decision, of course. But please go out and do something that gets the Bill of Rights message across in ways as simple, dramatic, friendly, and clear as Gran’pa Jack does it. You can start by distributing this article far and wide. E-mail it to your friends, link to it on the Web, print copies and hand them out to people who need to get the message.
Anything you do to create a freedom culture will be worth doing. But take a look at what JPFO has to offer. There’s a huge job ahead for everyone who wants to fight effectively for freedom. We’ve already done a lot of groundwork to give your efforts a more powerful impact.
Open the eyes of people who’ve been conned. Make this generation the LAST of the BOHICANS.
* References to the uselessness of letter writing apply only to letters sent privately to politicians. JPFO endorses writing letters to the editor, which can be an effective means of educating people. We have occasionally published templates for such letters on our Web site. Open letters to politicians may also be useful to whatever extent they are widely circulated and read by the public.
If you want to understand the ultimate progression of "gun control," read Death by "Gun Control": The Human Cost of Victim Disarmament by Aaron Zelman and Richard W. Stevens. It begins with "reasonable measures" to control the unruly; it ends in the death of a thousand cuts – and millions of disarmed citizens. Visit the Death By Gun Control Page), to learn more, as well as seeing the JPFO Genocide Chart.