I lost a friend the other day. Not a flesh and blood friend but a whole internet community. I joined a writer’s forum when I decided to start writing again. This was a neat little community composed of members from all over the world. I made several flesh and blood friends there who I’m sure will be reading this, so I better say “Hi” to at least Penny, Link, and Jon before going any further. Right off the bat I had some problems with the moderation policy but chose to voluntarily censor myself in order to be part of the community. It was private property and I understood (and respected) exactly what that meant. I thought everything was going smoothly until I posted a picture of a couple of firearms I own. This picture was in a thread specifically for the purpose of off topic (non-writer related) pictures. It was deleted and one of the moderators posted a tirade (In thirty point red characters) about how “heavy weaponry” was inappropriate. I went and reread the contract I agreed to (the rules) and couldn’t find anything that could possibly backup that statement. I decided I needed to explain myself, since I was getting the feeling that he and possibly others had an incorrect view of who I was. I also wanted to get to the root of the rabid anti-gun sentiment. So I made the following “blog” post there:
I very rarely explain myself, so anyone reading this should feel very privileged. I feel if someone makes false assumptions they will eventually get what they deserve. However, since I felt so at ease here maybe I didn’t explain my position as fully as I should have before voicing some of my more radical views (or “offensive” pictures.)….
….I believe every single person on the face of this planet has the same rights. More specifically I believe any person can do whatever they want as long as those actions don’t interfere with anyone else’s ability to do the same. Because of this I argue with religious fundamentalists (Christian/Jewish/Muslim) about their church’s policies of religious persecution against other religions. I argue with liberals about their belief they can deprive people of methods of self-defense (gun laws.) I argue with conservatives about their belief they can tell others what they can ingest (drug laws.) I argue with both liberals and conservatives about the theft of other’s labors (taxes.) I argue with conservatives about this country’s neo-imperialism (the war in Iraq). I argue with liberals about property rights (environmental laws.) I argue with conservatives about civil rights (The 1984esque Big Bother surveillance state.)I argue with liberals about “affirmative action”. I argue with conservatives about their opinions about homosexuals. I argue with anyone who thinks zoning/planning is not a violation of property rights. I argue with everyone about immigration laws (there shouldn’t be any.) However, in this case I’m not arguing for any actions on the recent event but feel I have a right to explain myself.
I don’t believe anybody can deprive another person of any of their Rights. My writing and posts will almost always reflect this. If this poses an insurmountable problem for members here I will stop sharing my work and opinions.
I know I followed the rules for the picture thread in “The Lounge” that ****** had posted just a few pages prior to my post e.g. It was a picture that I had taken. Even though it didn’t violate the board rules by being pornographic, racist, spam, illegal (I legally own all the items*that were in the picture) etc. I apologize for missing the rule stating nothing could be considered scary by anyone at anytime for any reason. In my defense I hadn’t expected to find such a rule in a forum that should encourage creativity, and that must be why I missed it.
*The pictured items in question were firearms. These tools of equalization should not be feared by anyone. The smallest one pictured my wife carries everyday and because of that I never worry about her being raped or murdered just because someone is physically stronger than her. The middle sized one is a MBR (Main Battle Rifle) this is a semi-auto version of the current U.S. military infantryman’s weapon. I have used that weapon to kill only once; when a bear that had killed several of my baby goats attacked one of our nannies in her goat house. The largest weapon is a .50BMG it is the largest firearm most Americans can legally own. I say most because ownership is illegal in some states like California and New York, but here in Montana it is commonly owned. (Even larger weapons can be legally owned in this country if an individual pays a fifty dollar tax.) That weapon is capable of easily killing beyond 1000 yards (1 Kilometer.) However it has never be shot at anything besides lifeless targets. I love guns. I love the thrill of shooting them. I love the beauty of the craftsmanship that is required to make them, but most of all I love the freedom they guarantee. A fact that should be better known is that all genocides in history were preceded by government imposed firearm restrictions. Millions of Russians Stalin murdered (including a fair number of writers), the Cambodians (also including a large number of writers) that were sent to “The Killing Fields”, and the Jews in Warsaw in 1943 all should have taken firearm ownership more seriously. If they had they would have had a better chance of not being murdered.
The following are some thoughts on this topic by the founders of my country:
Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
—Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).
Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.
—Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually…I ask, who are the militia? They consist of now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day. If that paper on the table gets no alteration, the militia of the future day may not consist of all classes, high and low, and rich and poor…
Because of this post I was able to engage the two moderators in a discussion about what happened. They claimed it (the picture) violated the rules because it wasn’t writer related. I then asked one of them how a picture of his dog he had just posted in that same thread was “writer related” and he backtracked and said the picture was “offensive”. I argued quite successfully (I believe) against this point. I was successful if measured by the fact they stopped debating it. I took the high road and didn’t even need to point out that that same thread had pictures a member had taken of herself half-naked, bound in handcuffs and gagged, (which incidentally I liked even more than my gun picture.)
I thought that was the end of it, and was quite proud of being able to dispel some common misconceptions about firearm ownership. However, the next day three members that a friend of mine would classify as “Euro-pussies” except for the surprising “Aussie-pussy” posted emotional based arguments about how guns are “vulgar barbaric killing machines”. I tried to get these members to put aside emotions and try some logical debate but to no avail. I doubt they even looked at the excellent JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership) genocide and gun laws correlation chart I linked:
I eventual got them to, if not reevaluate their positions, to at least shut up with the following post:
“So you three would support a blanket ban of all Israeli and Swiss members here since they must be barbaric killers because they are required by their laws to own and know how to use firearms.”
The next day when I logged in I found out I had been banned with no type of explanation. They also Memory Holed almost all of my substantial posts. The exceptions to the purge were every single short story I had shared there. I suspect they kept these to lend a sense of credibility to the board. Oh well, good bye. Sometimes it takes a little while to discover someone you thought was your friend really isn’t.
Thankfully I still have, if not my oldest, my dearest internet forum. Ironically enough I suspect the percentage of members who have been published there is higher than at the writer’s forum I was banned from. It’s a place where all the rules can be summed up in ten words; nothing illegal, no spam, and no disclosure of other’s personal information. Only once were moderator actions used there (for a death threat) and even that was debated by all the board’s members including the member who made the threat. It’s the kind of place where an original member of the CPC (Certain Persons Cabal) like me can feel free and write whatever I want without worry of censorship. Sometimes posts are not made in the best place, or a thread might be “jacked” way beyond recognition, or a booby picture might be posted but I can live with that. Like Benjamin Franklin said:
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Since I believe in all forms of freedom including the freedom of expression, I welcome anyone who disagrees with any of this post to share their opinions as a comment. I do not moderate and I promise any comments will not be edited as long as they comply with the very loose rules of my favorite forum; nothing illegal, no spam, and no disclosure of other’s personal information.
The “horribly offensive, vulgar, barbaric, killing machines” picture:
See the malicious twinkle in the eyepiece of the scope? Can’t you just sense them plotting to murder babies as they sit there?