Be the Indian, not the buffalo!

Matt Bracken has written a thoughtful, insightful essay about the coming anti-gun-control protests planned for Virginia later this month.  Let me say at once that I endorse what he has to say.  I think the potential for really serious trouble is very great;  and I think the new authorities in that state will exploit such trouble(s) for all they’re worth to further their anti-gun agenda.

Matt writes (bold, underlined text is my emphasis):

The more I ponder the mass demonstration being promoted by the Virginia Citizens Defense League for the annual Lobby Day at the Richmond Capitol, the more it looks like a disaster in the making. I wish it were otherwise, but I see many times more downside risk than possible upside benefit.

. . .

Even if nobody is seriously injured on January 20, some percentage of the Second Amendment crowd (or anti-gun trolls posing as such in order to discredit them) will show up wearing camouflage while waving long guns, Confederate battle flags, and, as in Charlottesville, even some Nazi swastika flags. No matter what the VCDL intends, this fringe element will become the national media image of the entire event. And trust me, these morons and bad actors will show up in Richmond. Believe it or not, there is actually a lunatic element that considers Charlottesville to have been a victory for the far right, “because now everybody knows we’re here to fight!” (The same could be said about Pickett’s Charge and Custer’s Last Stand. “Moral victories.” Yeah, right.)

. . .

Anybody who thinks that they are just going to be able to drive into downtown Richmond, park with no hassles, and then, afoot, swarm and overwhelm the Capitol grounds with angry pro-2A demonstrators is a fool. Law enforcement will be fully expecting trouble on a Charlottesville (or worse) level, and there will be a downtown Richmond LE presence on a presidential visit level.

On the other hand, anti-gun Virginia politicians and LE brass (often aspiring politicos) will not pass up the golden opportunity, delivered like a gift on a silver platter, to trash and ruin the statewide and national image of the Second Amendment movement. If Charlottesville is a guide, 2A supporters and Antifas will deliberately be herded together to instigate telegenic brawls—or worse—in order to discredit the constitutional gun rights movement.

. . .

For our side, downtown Richmond is the worst terrain possible for an angry showdown. Does anybody really think that there will be a positive political outcome when thousands of pro-gun folks take dozens of buses and hundreds of cars and trucks into downtown Richmond, to try to change the minds of the very politicians who already hate their deplorable stinking guts? That’s just foolish, in my humble opinion.

. . .

I’m sure that it feels fantastic to be a buffalo in the middle of a stampeding herd of your kin. A thousand tons of muscle, hooves and horns on the move, all thundering along together in a mighty gallop, shaking the very earth! Yes, that must feel very powerful. A thousand times more powerful than a few Indians waving blankets and setting small brush fires that you hardly notice from the middle of your galumphing herd.

Just make sure that you’re not being stampeded toward a cliff, by devious political operatives who are more clever and cold-hearted than you. Remember Charlottesville, and what happened at Twin Peaks. Please think long and hard about stampeding into Richmond for what might turn out to be the mother of all buffalo jumps.

Keep it smart, and keep it local. Be the Indian, not the buffalo.

There’s much more at the linkHighly recommended reading.

To look at this another way, remember the old adage among carpenters, tailors and others who rely on precise fit:  “Measure twice, cut once“.  That’s even more important when trying to pass (or overturn) legislation.  We need to tailor our actions to a precisely calculated end, and make sure that what we’re doing actually contributes to attaining that result.

We should also remember that in almost any situation, the Law of Unintended Consequences all too often wins.  That applies particularly when emotions are running high over a particular issue.  Too often, emotions trump reason, and knee-jerk reaction trumps logical, planned action.  That’s particularly true when two sides meet, and the reality of social friction undermines or overwhelms civilized behavior.  As Helmuth von Moltke put it, “No plan survives contact with the enemy”.  Knuckle-draggers on both sides of an issue like Second Amendment rights often seem to prefer getting physical, rather than talking or demonstrating.  Antifa and other activists will mix it up with “in-your-face” open-carry swaggerers, and the results are probably all too foreseeable.  Virginia is a very likely place for such scenarios to happen (again).

I entirely agree that unconstitutional measures need to be resisted with all our strength.  I entirely agree that attempts to take away our rights and freedoms, particularly those that pre-date the constitution and are merely recognized by it rather than conferred or authorized by it, must be rejected.  However, in the absence of civil war (which God forbid), there are constructive ways and means to achieve that.  Let’s use them all – and let’s avoid situations where they’re likely to be overtaken by events, and we know we’ll be left looking like the bad guys.  Why play into the enemy’s hands?



  1. Your title smacks of a tag line in "The Walking Dead" (which I happen to be binging at the moment.)

    You're either the butcher or the cattle…

    Of course, our world has not devolved to that point, so being smart is where it's at. Walking into a situation almost guaranteed to be a shit show doesn't seem smart.

  2. Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. Sun Tzu.

    It appears this affair in Virginia is the latter.

  3. I see a whole lotta Bloomberg behind all this, and not just his money, but organization and staff expertise designed to produce just the response that seems destined to happen. Note that if Bloomberg & Co. succeed in producing juicy video footage for the evening news we'll see lots more money-driven anti-gun political activity from him.

    There needs to be some sort of publicly expressed disdain from the citizens about what's happening, but I can't imagine that lots of buses full of angry people on the capitol steps is the best choice.

    Too late now, but if it had to be done in Richmond (and it didn't), dropping people off a couple miles outside of town and having them march, quietly and in good, orderly ranks, past the capitol building, to meet the buses a couple miles past the capitol, would convey the message that a whole lot of Virginians are very dissatisfied with things and offer much less opportunity for the opposition to take advantage.

    The battle won't be won by assembling, speechifying and back-slapping with one's buddies, but by determined and concerted political and economic action. Whatever comes out of Richmond that may disagree with Article I, Section 13 of the Virginia Constitution will certainly be headed to court forthwith, so that's where the battle will begin.

    With luck, things will be very orderly, with no shouting, threats or fist-shaking, and contacts will be shared that will lead to the necessary political action being taken.

  4. As the old saying goes, the enemy has a vote. Gun owners just showed this in the sanctuary movement, which the state government did not anticipate. But the VCDL is voluntarily turning the tables on itself and walking into a crowd of agents provocateurs with their media allies. This will not play out the way they expect.

  5. so if everyone in the VCDL and everyone going to Richmond would sign a recall ralph northam petition, and get a couple others to also sign…
    we could end this thing without all the violence.
    politicians fear the ballot box much more than they fear the ammo box

  6. The problem is if you don't protest, then the gun control folks can false flag all they want or claim no one cares. That's the problem with the bully pulpit and the ability to ignore facts and spin to your own disciples.

    Pro gun will be placed in a bad situation no matter what, and no investigation will be done to show how they were set up. This assumes of course that the small percentage of useful idiots on the pro gun side stay away.

  7. It seems fairly obvious that the Democrats in VA office have gotten the message sent by all the county 2nd Amendment Sanctuary votes. Any assembly at this point would be counterproductive. YOU'RE NOT CHANGING EVIL MINDS BY GLAD-HANDING AND SPEECHIFYING.

    The only assembly that will be effective will be when the public decides to show up with sufficient rope to hang the lot of them from the nearest light poles, AND PROCEEDS TO DO SO. Don't bother 'til then.

    Phase 2 would be to continue onward into DC and match up congresscritters to lightpoles there. I suspect that DC would be a ghosttown by the time the group arrives, though.

    In the meantime, continue pointing lawyers at the courts.

  8. There is no scenario where this event ends well for the right. None.

    The Left can do this stuff successfully because they own the media, the bureaucracy, and the academy. They are organized on a level that the Right can't successfully imitate yet, except perhaps, to a degree, with the pro-life movement.

    David Hines has written a great deal on the subject, all of it well worth reading. (He's @hradzka on Twitter, and you don't need a Twitter account to see his page. He has a link to one of his articles on the subject as his pinned tweet)

    The "amenable authorities" belong to, and are run by, the very people that these demonstrators are planning to demonstrate against! Fool's errand is a kind way of putting it.

  9. Silence is consent. If they don't march, then the pols will say they really don't mean what they say. If they do march, the Bloomberg/Soros agents provocateur will cause mischief on camera. (And they're likely to do that even if there is no march.)

    The Left are masters at "Heads I win, tails you lose."

  10. It needs to be acknowledged that, however much this conflict's outcome affects all of us, it is Virginia's conflict, and for Virginia alone to resolve.

  11. Just a decade ago the LGBTQ(add what ever letters you want) were a fringe element. They kept quiet. Then they changed tactics and became active, vocal, and much much more "in your face". The gains made are totally out of proportion to the the number of followers/practitioners in society. The 2A movement should follow suit and not be a 2A movement but adopt a concept as a freedom movement. This includes speech, property, living …. then start getting "in your face" for being quiet has produced only slight improvement as example conceal carry. Then the oppressor side attacked the trunk by outright banning certain items-hate speech, 'assault' weapons, pointy knives- alcohol. Once an item is banned then everything can be banned related to it because of association.

    Most logical people understand that tools in your opponents hand that equal your own prevent you from enforcing compliance to your side's beliefs. Trying to explain this to people who suffer from the psychological diagnosis of projection is a fools errand until you can make it intimately personal for them. Just demonstrating for 2A will not do this.

  12. It's estimated that compliance to NY's "SAFE" act, and Connecticut's laws is less than 10%. I don't see VA. doing any better…. The very attitude of the new Dem. majority is designed to make blood flow!

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