Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Libertarian Gasbags Struggle With Reading Comprehension

A couple of days ago, as a matter of courtesy, I sent a couple of talk show hosts a copy of a post that I published in this Blog. The post criticized them (Ian and Mark of Free Talk Live ) for discouraging their listeners from bearing arms if they chose to visit Ed Brown. You can read the gasbag post here.
The following day, they spent nearly an hour of their show bashing me and doing their best to translate my true intent and meaning of the post. Sadly, they only succeeded at showing their lack of reading comprehension. Had they simply responded back to me privately, I would have been happy to clear up any misconceptions. Instead, they took the post as not only a personal attack, but also an attack on the Free State Project, and a wish that they would die.
So now I will spend a few minutes trying to undue some of the damage that they may have done to my reputation. Hopefully, they didn't willfully misrepresent my intentions.

Error 1
They label the broadcast - "Divisive Hit Piece on FTL / West vs. East"

I lived in the East for more than 1/2 of my adult life. Their is a distinct difference in the attitude in the East towards guns and those who participate in the gun culture. My post was not meant as a "divisive hit piece", it was simply an opinion of mine contrasting attitudes in the east to those in the west. That's what Blogs are; places to post one's opinion about things that interest them. I know many of the Free Staters and several people in New Hampshire. While they may be strong advocates for gun rights, they can't really control the opinion or attitude of the general public who may not be a part of the FSP or the LP. My point was that the attitude of the general public in the North Eastern US is very different from the general attitude of the people living in UT, AZ, WY, CO, MT, and NV.

Error 2
Ian: "It's clear that he has never been to NH or talked to anybody from NH."

Wrong. I have been to NH and I know several people from NH. During the middle stages of the FSF, I met several and liked them all very much.

Error 3
West/East bias. "It is absurd to think that people in the west love their guns more than people in NH..."

People in the above mentioned states shoot more than people in the east. This can be verified by gun sales, ammo sales, gun show records, hunting licenses, CCW permits, and personal observation.
While the gun laws in NH are better than most other eastern states, as a whole, gun laws are more onerous in the east than the above mentioned states.

Error 4
Ian: "...I just got here. It's been 5 months. I'm not ready to check out... it's not time for me to die in a hail of gunfire... my roommate is also very valuable in the FSP and I'd hate to see him buy it in this particular issue."

It appears that Ian is assuming that by not being armed, he is somehow safer than those who choose to keep and bear arms. That is an interesting assumption. I always feel safer when I have the means of self-defense. I also noticed that Randy Weaver's wife was killed in a "hail of gun fire" even though she was only armed with an infant in her arms. It seems to me that Ian's remarks are another example of the contrast between the perception of guns in the east vs guns in many western states.

Error 5
Ian: "Some People haven't gotten over the fact that the FSP membership...5000 members...NH won far and above over 2nd runner up... it has the best culture of liberty."

Ian took an opportunity to make a plug for the FSP. My piece was not sour grapes for the FSP voting for NH. Although there was quite a bit of controversy over the vote and whether there were actually 5000 member or a smaller number, if Ian will check the record, I had no problem with the vote. In fact, over a year before the vote, I suggested at the FSP meeting in MT that we have an eastern state and a western state. Although, coincidentally, Free Talk Live has also fallen victim to fraud. Check out the FTL Shrine and notice the Hall of Shame. It seems that not all those who enjoy liberty oriented radio are honest. So spouting that the vote "wasn't close" and that the membership overwhelmingly decided, is still a sore spot for some. So Ian is correct that some haven't gotten over the vote, but incorrect to allege that I am among that group.

Error 6
Ian: "This guy Fran is upset about us and the FSP in general"

I'm not sure upset is the correct word. Disappointed is more accurate. Regarding the FSP in general, I am not upset about the organization. In fact, I am very supportive about it and continue to refer people to them. I understand that the west is not for everyone.

Error 7
Freedom activists in the eastern states don't place the same emphasis shooting and the 2nd amendment: Ian again takes my statement as a personal attack on him, the FSP, and NH.

The fact is that I have lived in four states in the eastern US. The facts clearly show that gun owners rights in the eastern seaboard have declined at a much greater rate than in the states I listed earlier - UT, AZ, WY, CO, MT, and NV. For more clarification on gun restrictions, go to
Rather than accepting this rather common idea, Ian twisted my words and suggested that I was only speaking about the FSP. Again, a comprehension error on his part.

Error 8
Mark: "This is where it goes's sour grapes over where the FSP ended up."

Wrong. I am not talking about the FSP vote, I am imaging how a different culture might react to a similar problem in a different geographic area. I have lived in the east and in the west. Especially in Wyoming and Montana, there is a different culture; it is almost a "cowboy" culture. More respectful, more independent, and more rugged. They shoot, hunt, carry concealed weapons, and rely more on members of their community to handle problems than the government.

Error 9
Ian: "This guy has one version of defending freedom, and that's the only version that is acceptable to him."

The blog post was addressing Ian and Mark's discomfort about guns and their effort to discourage others to bear arms. The article didn't attempt to discuss any of the multitude of ideas that I have about how to defend freedom. Ian is way off base here. Just another example of someone reading one thing and interpreting it to mean something completely different.

Error 10
Mark: "No, Ian... he is asking you to lay down your die for freedom... to pick up your AK47, go to Plainfield, NH and sit out on that compound... Basically, he said you should go lay down your life because you're a libertarian talk show host and you advocate freedom, so you should go and die there with Ed Brown."
Ian: "Yeah, that's what he's saying."
Mark: "That's exactly what he's saying!"

Jesus, did these guys go to public school??? Is this really what they think they read? Nowhere in the post do I say that I wish ANYBODY should die. Nowhere do I say that I believe or want ANYBODY to lay down their life. And certainly, I don't believe that anyone should plan on dying with Ed Brown. I find it curious that both of these self-proclaimed 2nd amendment advocates and gun owners should equate advocating the means for self-defense with a death sentence. It seems that they both are convinced that anyone foolish enough to carry a gun near Ed Brown's property is "going to die". I think that is a little dramatic. But hey, if that is how the "gun culture" and "freedom culture" in NH perceives anyone who carries a gun, maybe it is a good thing that they are planning to have all the gun experts and 2nd amendment folks speak to the FSP. There is a world of difference between discouraging someone from bringing a gun to the home of an accused tax evader and sending someone to face a firing squad. I know I can be a little distrustful of government at times, but I certainly an not afraid of getting gunned down by a Sheriff because I choose to carry a gun. I'd call their behavior a border line phobia. (Ian, tell me again how it is absurd to say there is a stronger gun culture in the west. :-) )

Error 11
Ian: "I'm not ready to die in a hail of gunfire over Ed Brown."

Once again, Ian insinuates that if he carried a gun to the Brown residence, that he would be cut down in a hail of gunfire. Now who is being absurd? If the IRS is so dangerous, careless, and trigger happy, what makes Ian believe that he would be safe if he weren't carrying a gun? Does he think there is a magic bullet proof shield around people who don't carry guns???

Error 12
Ian read a section from my email adding emphasis where there was none and none was intended:

The fact that the talk show hosts seemed to be trying to dissuade others to bear arms to the Brown residents shows what cowards they really are and what a poor understanding they really have of the 2nd amendment. The 2nd amendment is the right that allows us the means to defend all the other rights. It is in place to insure our means to fight against a tyrannical government. Standing up against the decision by a kangaroo court with no jurisdiction over the unconstitutional IRS's faulty charges is EXACTLY what guns are for and what the 2nd amendment was created to protect.

Ian: "I agree completely...Just because I agree with the meaning of the 2nd amendment, doesn't mean I have to die".

Of course it doesn't; where did you read that I thought you should die? Ian needs to improve on his reading comprehension and stop believing that his listeners are hoping for his demise. C'mon Ian, have a little more self-esteem.

Mark: "A coward is someone who sees something as the right thing to do, and chooses not to do it."

Actually, here is the definition of coward:
–noun 1. a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.; a timid or easily intimidated person.
–adjective 2. lacking courage; very fearful or timid.
3. proceeding from or expressive of fear or timidity:

In my opinion, Mark and Ian appeared timid when they assumed that anyone who carried a gun to the Brown property would be killed. They appear overly intimidated about the prospect of someone getting shot simply because they opt to exercise their right to bear arms for self-defense. That is cowardly, and I stand by the statement. It wasn't enough for Ian to choose for himself... he was also fearful for ANYONE who might carry a gun that they would be "choosing to die with Ed Brown".

Error 13
Ian compares KT Ordinance - who was charged with manufacturing receivers so that someone could build their own, off the record firearm - with the Ed Brown standoff.

Now this isn't a reading comprehension problem, this is just Ian's desperate act to grab at straws. The IRS tax code is law. Ed Brown has studied the code and understands that the law is on his side. KT Ordinance is a class 3 manufacturer. They also have a book of codes to follow. They understand full well that every receiver must be registered with the ATF, also a division of the IRS. Although I disagree with it, it is the law. In Ed's case, the IRS may disagree with him, but as the law is written, Ed is in the right. I suspect that the folks at KT Ordinance are good people, they just acted outside the written law.

Error 14
Mark: "I don't know why we should wait. Why don't we just pick up guns and start shooting cops and bureaucratsats here in Keane."
Ian: "You know, Fran would be excited by that..."

Be careful boys. Both of those remarks were uncalled for and extremely irresponsible. I never advocated shooting anyone. I never advocated initiating violence. Your comments are slanderous and offensive.

Error 15
Ian read: "if this happened in Wyoming or Montana,...I would like to believe that most of the supporters would be skilled rifleman with battle rifles, side arms, and a willingness to stand side by side with their fellow statesman against unfair treatment by the government".
Mark: "That doesn't make any sense either." Then goes on to discuss the FSP vote.

C'mon guys... this has nothing to do with the FSP vote. The paragraph is contrasting the attitude of "moral support" with the attitude of "supporting with skilled, armed defenders" someone who is being unfairly tormented by a government acting outside the law. Think hard, I know you can see the difference if you try.

Despite Ian and Mark's challenge with comprehending 3rd grade level writing, I will continue to listen to their programming. It is unfortunate for everyone that they saw my post as a personal attack and tortured their entire listening audience for an hour with this one topic, but hopefully, no one will hold it against them. I believe that overall, they do an excellent job of presenting a libertarian perspective on current events and I believe that they are an important asset for NH, the FSP, and the entire libertarian community. I hope that their audience grows, and that their success will spawn other shows that imitate their format.
I am glad that the FSP is actively promoting the gun culture and hope that they will be successful at keeping new gun legislation to a minimum.
I appreciate them taking the time to read my entire post on the air. There are very few radio shows left who would give a critic that much attention. Considering they didn't give me the opportunity to speak for myself against their attacks, I remain hopeful that some listeners might put more emphasis on my words as written, rather than their failed attempt to interpret it into a "divisive hit piece".

If you enjoy talk radio and lively discussion, I encourage you to go to Free Talk Live or to iTunes and download their podcasts.

Related Posts -
Carrying Guns can be Dangerous
Libertarian gas bags in New Hampshire

Carrying Guns can be Dangerous

Regarding the comments I have received on the "gas bag" posting, I want to clarify a little.
First of all, if someone wishes to support Ed Brown by documenting the events, bringing MRE's, as a look out, or as an armed supporter, I am all for it and am sure that Ed will appreciate their support.
My post was not meant to call anyone a "wuss", but rather to call into question why a libertarian radio show would try to encourage citizens to show up for a standoff unarmed.
I don't advocate initiating violence, and it is clear that the Browns don't either. My opinion is that one should never willingly give up their right to self defense. I live in a relatively nice, low crime area of Utah, but I am always carrying a weapon for self defense. I have a difficult time imagining why someone would go to a place where the suspect that innocent people might be shot at without the means of defending themselves or others. As many concealed carry folks have learned, often the fact that you are willing to kill and have the means to kill is often enough to end a confrontation. I think that a "Waco" or "Ruby Ridge" type situation would have significantly different results if 500 people showed up with rifles and refused to allow the FBI to slaughter innocent people. It is amazing how well mannered people can be when they know that they aren't the only ones with guns.
If people showing their support believe that innocent people will be shot at, why would they NOT be prepared to shoot back. On the other hand, if they believe that the police and other government agents will not start shooting people, then why wouldn't they exercise their right to keep and bear arms?
The reason is because where ever government is involved, they want to be the only ones with guns. They feel safer when no one but them have guns. Why give them the upper hand? Why allow them to disarm you when you intend no one any harm? Why allow them to intimidate you and strip you of your rights without a fight? Hell, with all the video cameras there, why not use this opportunity to show the world that just because someone is armed, doesn't mean that they are unreasonable.
If NH is the "Live Free or Die" state, why aren't people willing to defend their right to a fair trial, and their right to peaceably bear arms, by carrying weapons? I know that there are a lot of good people in NH and a lot of good folks showing up to support the Browns; I just can't understand why they would willingly show up to slaughter without any way to protect themselves. I believe that it is fear of the unknown. The fact is that they don't know what the government will do, but they fear that the government will resort to slaughtering innocents. If that is their belief, why show up and if they are showing up, why not possess the means for resistance and maybe create a "Mexican stand off"?

Related Posts -
Libertarian Gasbags Struggle With Reading Comprehension
Libertarian gas bags in New Hampshire

Monday, January 22, 2007

Libertarian gas bags in New Hampshire

I have been following closely the case of Ed Brown, the New Hampshire man who has been charged as a tax evader for failing to pay income tax for the past 11 years. Based on the information I have gathered, the Browns are absolutely correct and the actions of the court and the IRS are extremely questionable. Ed Brown has essentially decided to stay on his property and not allow the IRS or the courts to jail him as a result of their kangaroo court proceedings.
For the most accurate and complete coverage of this situation, visit Quest for Fair Trial in Concord, NH.
I have also been listening to coverage of the case via MP3's, videos, and Podcasts. One Podcast in particular caused me to write this article. While listening to Ian and Mark over at Free Talk Live, I was again reminded of the monumental difference there is between folks in the east and folks in the west.
While I enjoy their program, recommend it to others, and do my best to listen to all the Free Talk Live podcasts, Ian said something during the 1/20/07 podcast that I found very disturbing. Ian (I believe) mentioned that he and his friends were planning to go visit Ed Brown, but that he would not be armed. He also mentioned how distressed he was to learn that his roommate was planning to bring a gun. He went on to say that Ed Brown's 'fellow militia members' were not at the Brown residence and that this was probably a good thing, because they might all show up carrying AK47s.

Free Talk Live appears to me to be one of the loudest voices of the Free State Project. Back when the FSP was in its early stages, I signed on my support but opted out of several states, including New Hampshire. The biggest reason behind my opt outs was that I didn't believe that those states offered a realistic environment for a "Free State". One of the reasons was that shooting and second amendment issues didn't appear to be an important aspect of the "freedom" activists in the eastern states.

After thinking about the Browns, the FSP, and Free Talk Live's broadcast, I couldn't help but imagine how different it might be if the Free State Project had selected Wyoming or Montana as the Free State. I also imagined what would happen if someone in MT or WYO were convicted of tax evasion and decided to make a stand against the government and extended an invitation to all to come and take a stand with him. I have a difficult time imagining a Free State Wyoming radio host who preached freedom and chided people for not defending their rights, expressing concern or worry that supporters would be bringing side arms or (God forbid) AK47s with them to support someone facing a potential “Ruby Ridge” type event.
The libertarians as a whole are big talkers, but as Rick Stanley found out first-hand, when it comes to action and standing beside those who are on the right side of our Rights, the Constitution, and Freedom, they are seldom by your side.
The fact that the talk show hosts seemed to be trying to dissuade others to bear arms to the Brown residents shows what cowards they really are and what a poor understanding they really have of the 2nd amendment. The 2nd amendment is the right that allows us the means to defend all the other rights. It is in place to insure our means to fight against a tyrannical government. Standing up against the decision by a kangaroo court with no jurisdiction over the unconstitutional IRA's faulty charges is EXACTLY what guns are for and what the 2nd amendment was created to protect.

When New Hampshire adopted General John Stark's quote, "Live Free or Die" as their state motto, didn't they expect someone to actually stand up to the tyrants?

I may never know how conditions might be different if the Browns lived in Wyoming or Montana, or if the FSP had chosen one of those states as the "Free State", but I would like to believe that most of the supporters would be skilled rifleman with battle rifles, side arms, and a willingness to stand side by side with their fellow statesman against unfair treatment by the government.

See these related posts -
Carrying Guns Can Be Dangerous
Libertarian Gasbags Struggle with Reading Comprehension