Why Gun Rallies Are Pointless

It’s spring, and that means it’s time for rally season. That’s when all the gun rallies get going for the year. In any given state, you can bet there will be at least two rallies at the state capitol, maybe another one in the (next) largest town,  and maybe one more event before winter.

They’re almost all the same; they have the same formula, the same stuff, the same attendees.  The same speakers stand at the podium and say the same things–lofty things about rights and Founders, and defiant things about all the ways that the tyrannical law du jour will be defied. What changes? Nothing.

Before you attempt to burn me at the stake, let me show you. Here’s an invite from an upcoming rally in a flyover state. I’ll take it section by section.

Each year in the spring, Second Amendment advocates gather in the State Capitol Rotunda to “rally” the gun-rights grassroots base and lobby the legislature on gun-rights issues and pending legislation. Rally Day also offers an excellent opportunity for gun owners and pro-gun legislators to get better acquainted and forge stronger alliances.

What does the word “rally” mean?

  • To call together for a common purpose; assemble.
  • To reassemble and restore to order.
  • To rouse or revive from inactivity or decline.

So what do we know from the above paragraph?

  • This rally happens every spring. That means it is expected, it is routine. That is the kiss of death. Ineffective, boring, pointless.
  • Every time they have this rally, they do the same thing. In fact, this event is so routine, it’s even called Rally Day.
  • They claim that it’s an “excellent opportunity for gun owners and pro-gun legislators to get better acquainted and forge stronger alliances.”  That’s PR-speak for schmooze.

Here’s the question of the day: why do the gun owners not already know the pro-gun legislators? Do you, as a gun owner,  need to be friends with your legislator? Do you need to share a meal with them and chitchat about gun-grabbers?

I say no, you don’t. I would argue that you need to get across to them that if they do not vote correctly, they will be removed.  You need to make them understand that if they do not do their job, you will ensure they don’t get another chance in that chair.

Rally folks might counter with, “well, that’s how you get the point across, you gotta make connections and network, and show the legislators that you mean business.” My next question is, how well has that worked out for you? I mean, considering you need to have the same event every single year and all.

The answer to my question is found in the very next paragraph.

Recent Rally Days have seen pretty dismal attendance. Given the current political climate relative to gun laws, it is absolutely critical that we have a strong turnout this year. We must fill the rotunda like we did when we were fighting for Concealed Cary and the Castle Doctrine. We are under attack and can no longer afford to be complacent!

Well, that’s awkward. Not only does no one show up to the Annual Gun Owner Feel-Good Picnic, but someone can’t spell concealed carry.

They’re right about one thing–gun owners are under attack and “can no longer afford to be complacent.” At least they admit that they have been. The problem is what their idea of “non-complacency” looks like.

Recent anti-gun marches and protests have drawn large crowds urging lawmakers to pass legislation restricting your Second Amendment rights. We must have a large turnout to counter those efforts to strip us of the hard-fought gains we have made in recent years. The anti-gun folks are well organized and well-funded. We must counteract their efforts by the grassroots action of individual gun owners.

This literally translates to “If we get bigger crowds at rallies, we will beat the anti-gunners.” Read it carefully; that’s what they’re saying.  “The anti-gunners have more money and better organization so we need you to show up to our rally and donate more money.”

If you can (take a day of vacation if necessary – it’s that important!), please join us. You could even take your kids out of school for the day and let them have a great firsthand civics lesson they will never get in school. Bring your shooting buddy who wouldn’t ordinarily come out for such an event. Bottom line, we must all dig deep and give of our time to show up and stand up for our Second Amendment rights!

I have a better idea. Instead of going to yet another rally to tell your legislators that you Really Mean It This Time And You Want To Keep Your Gun Rights, just like you did last year, and the year before, do something different. Do something unexpected.

Spend that Saturday milling out an 80% lower. Reading a book on a topic you need to learn. Spend the gas money on parts for your lower. Spend the money you were going to use on a new rally t-shirt and go get more ammo.  Go get Basics of Resistance and pick any of the ideas from the several lists the book has.

Do something…anything…besides the same things you’ve been doing. Because what the rally crowd is doing isn’t working anymore.

JWR Recommends Basics of Resistance

James Wesley, Rawles of Survivalblog and a long list of highly popular books posted a recommendation for Basics of Resistance this morning.

I predict that this book will be in Amazon’s Top 20, even before its release day. Get a copy! Better yet, also order an extra paperback so that you’ll have one to lend out.

Now that’s pretty awesome.

If It’s Not Your Info, Shut Up

Claire Wolfe and I talk in the new book about the need for privacy, and the most basic of concepts when it comes to handling information–called “need to know.” It’s pretty simple; if the person you’re about to tell doesn’t need to know, don’t tell them.  There are plenty of things that even our close friends or family don’t know, and that’s perfectly fine.

We also discuss figuring out what your personal critical information is. It’s different for every person; while one person might decide that even identifying himself as a gun owner is going to be part of his critical information, someone else might be a gunsmith, firearms dealer, or instructor, so it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that THAT guy owns weapons. Now, what he owns, how many, and where in the house they are–that’s critical information for him.

The big point here is only you can decide what your critical information is–no one else.

We make this point because there’s an even more important point that goes with it: If it is not your information, it’s not your decision as to whether it’s critical or not–so shut up.

You might think this is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. It happens far too often that the same people who believe we should all have freedom and privacy, somehow believe that it’s no big deal if they spill information about other people that they have no right to pass along.

We talk about a life-or-death situation in the book where someone gave up information on someone else without a second thought, putting them in danger. Just today I saw information showing that Person A gave away the location of Person B’s home to a third party who was a complete stranger–someone, in fact, who is known to be a disruptive, possibly even mentally unstable person.

Here’s the core of the problem: we have ‘trusted friends,’ and we 1) forget that they also have trusted friends, and

Do you want your doctor telling others that you have a certain medical condition? Do you want your banker to tell people how much money is in your account? Of course not, because while they may be privy to the information, it is not theirs to use or even speak of, outside of the context in which they need to know it.

The same thing is true in resistance. Do you want your private sale gun connection telling someone over a grill and a beer that they sold you some rifles? Maybe your next-door neighbor mentioning to their co-workers that they live next door to “one of those prepper folks that has lots of food and stuff.” Do you want your message contact telling a casual acquaintance what you drive? (Trick question–your contacts shouldn’t know what you drive anyway. They don’t need to.)

You see, that’s another facet of “need to know.” Just because you need to know a piece of information for a specific purpose doesn’t give you carte blanche to use that information in other contexts and situations. For instance, perhaps you were told about a safe house because you needed to know about it as part of your resistance work. Later, when you’re at your son’s soccer game being Regular Parent(tm) and someone mentions living on Rose Street, it would be asinine for you to reply casually, “Oh, I know some folks who live on that street; you know that green house on the corner?”

Here’s the bottom line:

  • If it’s your information, and you’re willing to accept the consequences or effects of blabbing it, great.  That’s your choice.
  • If it’s not your information, however, then you aren’t the one making the decision as to whether it’s critical information. You don’t have to bear the consequences of that information getting into the wrong hands.

Shut up about it.

Basics of Resistance is available now on paperback, or you can pre-order the Kindle version.