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I Read The News Today, Oh Boy


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By L. Neil Smith, Senior Editorial Consultant. February 2nd 2014. (

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. © JPFO. Inc 2014

It says here that Civitas Media, a North Carolina chain of more than 100 papers and other publications, recently communicated in an internal memo obtained by the Buckeye Firearms Association -- and shared with the world by -- its intention to compile, state-by-state, a list of individuals licensed to carry concealed weapons.

Before this goes a paragraph further, allow me to state my own opinion that the only reason any publisher, editor, or reporter would do this is because they hate, loathe, and despise gun ownership and gun owners, and would like to see them harassed, injured, robbed, or dead.

It's a Hitlerian tactic, if you think about it, fomenting a sort of slow-motion Kristalnacht against individuals with an audacity, a tenacity, and a lack of respect for authority that impels them to actually (gasp!) exercise their legal rights. (Politicians like Diane Feinstein, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Bill Clinton complain about this all the time, and say that they should take back some of the rights the Founding Fathers "gave" us.) An earlier, similar assault by a New York bird-cage liner on the privacy and safety of concealed carry license-holders displayed their locations on Google maps.

Allow me to remind you, as well, that I advise people against getting a concealed carry permit. From the 1950s, we fought against owner-licensing for decades, exactly as we fought against weapons registration, and for precisely the same reasons. If the badguys know you carry a gun, they can probably figure out that you have a gun to confiscate.

Moreover, any document issued by an agency of government is a matter of public record, and quite rightly so in a republic. It's worth noting that I've also said that anyone who begs for government permission to exercise a fundamental, unalienable, individual, civil, Constitutional, and human right, is not a free man, but a collared dog.

A much better concealed carry policy is "Don't ask, don't tell."

But once again, I have digressed.

Civitas Media's latest bonnet-bee, to compile a list of America's licensed gun-toters, is not only monumentally stupid and loathesomely unethical, it's also downright suicidal. Newspapers in America (and practically everywhere else, for that matter) are dying. They will soon be as dead as stone tablets, cuneiform on clay, or papyrus scrolls.

Part of their problem is the advance of technology; Drudge and Breitbart and Fox can get breaking news before the eyes of the world while newspaper reporters and editors are still listening to it on the radio. It's nobody's fault. There's just no way to collect, write, edit, print, and distribute news at the speed of which the Internet is capable. It's the news written by those it's happening to, as it happens.

Another problem is economic, and that is definitely somebody's fault. Thanks to government policies -- the minimum wage, for example -- that the majority of big-time neswpapers have long advocated, it is next to impossible to publish and distribute the news, on paper, and deliver it to your doorstep at a reasonable, profit-making price. This is exactly the same problem that's plaguing American manufacturing in general.

For the media, it's a chicken that's come home to roost.

There are also certain failures of common sense of which American newspapers are guilty. The very first thing most people turn to, when they pick up a paper, is the comics, which have been dwindling in size and number for decades. Fix this, they'll get half their circulation back.

Last, but very far from least, is the matter of editorial policy. We are now in our third or fourth generation of "embedded" statist writers, indoctrinated at journalism schools run by closet or outright Marxists. Their almost psychopathic disconnection from objective reality has caused them to be dead wrong -- and against the great bulk of their rapidly-dwindling readership -- on nearly every issue that counts.

Fed up with being lied to, with seeing my rights under continuous attack and my property threatened, I haven't subscribed to a daily paper for three decades, nor even picked one up and opened it for ten years. I'm guessing that's pretty much what the rest of America has done.

However we now seem to have reached some kind of tipping-point, as the current parlance would have it, a moment when certain balances are suddenly shifting. Newspapers (like network radio and television) were in their glory days when readers and audiences couldn't talk back, communication was strictly a one-way, top-down proposition, letters to the editor were limited to 400 words, and if you didn't like the way that the man and his gang of scribblers did their job, you could lump it.

Spinning in their graves, John Peter Zenger, Benjamin Franklin, and Henry Louis Mencken, who believed that newspapers ought to be something other than a rubberstamp for politicians could have been wired up to provide enough electricity to run a couple of small cities.

But everything, for good or evil, comes to an end, including the reign of the Old Media. Times have changed. Understandably irritated by Civitas Media's scheme, members of the "gun culture" successfully communicated their collective disapproval, and now the publisher is in retreat, to the point of denying that such a plan was ever remotely considered.

Meanwhile, deep in the heart of Texas, another paradigm shift has occurred. Wendy Davis, a not unattractive Democratic state senator with delusions of governorhood, is currently in deep political trouble for having followed in the footsteps of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, by "enhancing" her resume. As a direct consequence, she is now reaching out -- not to Republicans, nor to conservatives, but to gun owners, of all people, to whom she has never before been particularly friendly.

It doesn't look like it's going to work for Wendy, who kind of reminds me of Tonya Harding for some reason. Apparently she has a marital history almost as nasty as Newt Gingrich, and an anti-gun record as a city council creature in Fort Worth. She has offered to introduce pro-gun bills in the Texas legislature that have already been passed. Even the sleepwalkers in the NRA have given her a solid F-rating.

But the point is, she saw it as a viable escape-hatch and she gave it a try (which makes her better, in her way, than Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who achieved national office from Texas on a pro-gun platform that she betrayed inside the Beltway the first chance she got.

That, plus the ignominious defeat of Civitas Media could never have happened, I think, before the two-and-a-half recall elections of anti-gun legislators here in Colorado. It still remains to undo the grave damage that they did, but a new day may be dawning following a very long, cold night, and it sure feels like the sun is shining on us.

But the key to victory, as always, is to keep the pressure up relentlessly. We can't afford to slow down or get tired. Newspapers are a dying institution. The next time they threaten to compile lists of gun owners or do us some kind of other mischief, let's finish them off.

I know how, but that's a subject for another essay.

Meanwhile, I think I'll go get a recording of the Deguello, the "cut-throat song" -- no quarter, no mercy -- that the Mexican army played for the defenders at the Alamo, and use it as a ring-tone on my phone.

Author and lecturer L. Neil Smith is Senior Editorial Consultant for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. A fifty-year veteran of the libertarian movement, he is the Author of 33 books including The Probability Broach, Ceres, Sweeter Than Wine, And Down With Power: libertarian Policy In A Time Of Crisis. He is also the Publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise, now in its 17th year online.

Visit the Neil Smith archive on JPFO.

© Copyright Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership 2014.

Original material on JPFO is copyright, and so it cannot be used or plagiarized as the work of another. JPFO does however encourage article reproduction and sharing, providing full attribution is given and a link back to the original page on JPFO is included.

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