I’m having a hard time understanding why members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia think I shouldn’t have posted MikeB302000’s polemic. Perhaps they reckon I should heed Margaret Thatcher’s warning that democracies mustn’t give terrorists “the oxygen of publicity.” MikeB is many things, but a terrorist is not one of them. And there is no belief so strong that it doesn’t bear scrutiny. In fact, our Second Amendment rights must be challenged, so that we understand their true meaning and importance. If those of us who value our gun rights aren’t willing to question our beliefs, why should we expect our opponents to do the same? If we are not willing to leave our comfort zone and avoid echo chambers of assent, why should we expect our opponents to do the same? And yet . . .

I stand accused of pimping for MikeB. And profiteering. “Trolling” my own website for traffic. While I’m old enough to fully appreciate the plausible reliability of my critics’ suspicions, I reject the charges in their entirety.

I make my editorial choices based on a simple criteria: does this post bring us closer to the truth about guns? That’s how I’ve been running the site for the last year. I’ve been operating it that way when TTAG had as much traffic in one month as we do [now] in one hour (true story). I will continue to do so should TTAG sink back down to that level or rise to new heights.

TTAG is what it is. We tell the truth about guns. Sometimes that means that I let others tell their version of the truth so that we can better understand ours. In other words, while I disagree with MikeB’s stance on gun control, I will defend to the death [of this website] his right to say it. And mine to publish it.

When I started TTAG, I was determined to create a safe place for all sides of the gun control debate to meet and exchange ideas. I believe that MikeB’s presence here furthers that goal. Until and unless it doesn’t. If he violates that spirit of open-mindedness and descends into flaming, he’ll earn a spot on our banned list, right next to his pal JadeGold. The same requirement for civility holds true for ANY member of our community.

All that said, it’s not ALL gun control debate hereabouts. I’m making sure that we have plenty of reviews and general fun stuff. And I know that this is your website. Not mine. Without your patronage it wouldn’t exist. So what say you? Leave gun grabbers like MikeB out in the cold or set ’em up so you can knock ’em down?

52 Responses to Question of the Day: Should TTAG Give “Air Time” To MikeB?

  1. Personally, if I want to argue gun rights I will make my way to the Huffhuffhuffington Post. There’s lots of other places to argue with liberals. Just one man’s opinion.

  2. Publish.

    Not because he is right but a) its your publication and you can do as you please; b) he has a right to his opinion and he should be able to try to convince people of the legitimacy of his position.

    I’m willing to listen but I start from the view that the gun grabbers all start with arguments for “reasonable” regulations and its clear where they want to come out. Personally I believe from what I’ve seen of his argument thus far (admittedly not a lot) that it is the top of a slippery slope that gives places too much trust and belief in the honorable intentions of the gun grabbers.

  3. I agree that you should publish different viewpoints. The reason why this is my favorite gun related blog is that it has different viewpoints, and that most of the articles are very level headed, without getting caught up in the “Obama is going to send ATF agents to your house and take all your guns!” hysteria that most gun websites get into. If you only publish one sided articles, this website may as well be a subsidiary of Fox News.

  4. If he wants to post comments here, I have no objection as long as he allows you reciprocal rights on his blah … oops, I mean, on his blog. Where’s that damn editing function?

  5. Robert,

    First there is a major difference between discussing the issues and posting MikeB302000’s advice to gun owners.

    You opted to give, unchallenged, a self confessed anti-gun blogger space on your blog.
    Your blog, your business but why?
    Why not rebut one of his many posts. Why not challenge each point that he made yourself.

    Why not only give space to someone who’s goal is to pimp his blog but also in the process is out to take away our rights.

    Mikeb says:

    My entire blog has evolved into an anti-gun blog.

    http://mikeb302000.blogspot.com/

    Posted March 23, 2010
    http://www.squidoo.com/schoolshooterrecipe

    There are plenty of people out there challenging our beliefs. Heck you could have (and have) done so yourself.
    You chose not to do that. You chose to give a voice to a person who is either a liar or a criminal.

    To sum up, I did Parris Island Marine Corp training when I was 17, in the summer of 1970. I didn’t have to go to Viet Nam, thank goodness. After the military I owned guns both legally and illegally over a period of about 15 years. I was never passionate about them back then and over the last couple of decades have become strongly anti-gun, especially since I started writing this blog.

    Nope, you did nothing. So the question because why?

    Is it because you want to generate controversy and hits for your blog?

    No one is arguing his right to say it and your right to publish it.

    What we are arguing is why you would chose to air one of his many, many, many screeds.

    • To stimulate debate. To see how the other side thinks. To prove that we are open-minded. To provide grist for the AI’s mill. Because he writes well. To meet my daily posting quota. To encourage the disloyal opposition to stop by. To demonstrate my love of the First Amendment. For the sheer bloody hell of it. To annoy you? No. You I love, ya big lug. Now tell me what you’re afraid of.

      • Robert,

        I see that you are stooping to the same tactics Mikeb302000 uses.
        Asking me what I’m afraid of?
        Pretty pitiful tactic.

        You chose to run his comments without editorial or response.
        Have you read his blog? If so, then you know how he thinks.

        Have you read his comment at other blogs? If so, then you know how he thinks.

        To stimulate debate — Oh, like there isn’t enough of that going around in the blogosphere.

        Sorry if I find your reasons a little shallow.

        To encourage the disloyal opposition to stop by.

        Hmm, perhaps the real reason has been given. Pimping your blog by generating controversy.

      • I agree wholeheartedly with all of the above reasons, with the exception of “Because he writes well.” If the man’s very life hinged upon his ability to (just once) construct an argument by:
        1). Making a statement
        2.) Providing credible, scientific evidence to support said statement
        3.) Expounding upon the logical implications of said statement using either inductive or deductive reasoning
        I suspect he would die an ignominious death.

  6. While I disagree with MikeB’s stance on gun control, I will defend to the death of this website his right to say it.

    Precisely what makes TTAG great. What separates the men from the boys is the ability to acknowledge that someone else may have a different point of view.

    It may be just different, or it may be plain wrong, but hiding the unpopular or disagreeable does nothing to diminish it. Rather, it gives it power. I don’t dig skinheads, and I doubt I will convert any in a debate. But, when you just ignore them, their ideas go unchallenged.

    If we have history and science on our side, what is wrong with debating someone who has (afaik) been oppositional but civil?

  7. Profiteering? C’mon people, this is TTAG not OPEC. I must have missed a lot of what went on this morning because I don’t even see how you could jump from attacking MikeB’s stance to attacking how Farago runs his website.
    If we are always frothing at the mouth and ready to go for the jugular of anyone who espouses a different point of view, then no one is going to listen. Radicalization on an extreme level tends to alienate the people who consider themselves “on the fence”. Granted we don’t really care if anti 2 Amendment folks don’t listen, but we should care if the people in the middle are listening. We want them to come to our side and support our cause and if we come off as a-holes that isn’t going to happen; especially if we’re seen brutally attacking each other simply because we disagree.

  8. As a matter of principle, I think it’s fine. Frankly, I find the argument put forth by MikeB so far from compelling that I have a hard time getting worked up about this at all. We should not be intimidated by opposing arguments whatsoever — very few of them will be strong enough to give us pause, and those that do are worth considering. Obviously, I don’t come here primarily to hear the “other side’s” point of view, but I will trust your editorial discretion to present opposing viewpoints worthy of discussion until I have reason not to.

  9. I say allow him to voice his opinion as long as we can keep it civil and educational. He seems to know more about the technicalities of guns than many of his fellow anti-gunners, which makes intelligent discourse on this subject much easier.

  10. Set ’em up! Cloistered thinkers tend to laziness and navel-gazing. Being challenged and picking apart faulty arguments is good mental exercise.

    • At the very least it would be good to rebut his arguments. But debating MikeB can’t be done because MikeB refuses to do it. The reason he claims we are “unreasonable” and promotes the “gunloon” terminology is so that he can dismiss any pro-gun argument without a proper response.

  11. I echo John’s and Randy’s sentiments, and most of Mr Farago’s as well.

    TTAG is one of the few gun-related blogs that my fellow moderate friends go to just because it shows different viewpoints from time to time, and also generally deals with the hard truths. Perhaps the most convincing argument TTAG has to some of my more liberal friends is the general civility and non-extremism of most of the posts. It sets a standard of conduct and dispells the stereotype about gun owners that seems prevalent among more politcally liberal types.

  12. One thing I like about it is the hints about how his side will attempt to redefine “common sense” next. I think his claim that he is not interested in either banning standard capacity mags or gun free zones is both disingenuous and funny. Hopefully he is not trying reverse psychology.

  13. I for one like to be challenged. While I’m unlikely to get involved in a protracted debate on the internet, it like to hear the opposition’s point of view and use it to crystalize my own. As you said, without any scrutiny and an occasional challenge, how do we know if we still feel the way we think we feel.

    In truth, all it does it make me a firmer believer in my own views, but now I know they hold up to the argumentns of the opposition and aren’t merely rote repetition.

  14. Not tolerating an obvious and self-avowed troll is not equivalent to constructing “echo chambers”, and there is a marked difference between “debate” and “giving a grandstand to someone sworn to undermine you”.

    *shrug* It is your blog and you can run it as you see fit, but if I wanted to read the self-serving pretentions of gun controllers, I already knew where to find them.

  15. It’s up to you. Personally there is the right of free speech and as such one should be allowed to speak. Hope and open mindedness. Censorship denies both sides of their do.

  16. I say post him. I can easily filter him out, if I’m not in a mood to read it. Or, I’ll rise up to whatever challenge he has.

  17. Why the hell not? This should be an open forum to those with cogent opposing views. Does the other side afford us the same courtesy? Not that often. But why sink to their low standards?

    We need to be confident and vigilant enough in the rightness of our convictions to take on all comers from the other side. Yes, it’s good to have RF apply a literacy standard here (no need to give the spittle-sprayers a forum) but MikeB certainly doesn’t fall into that category. Bring ’em on.

  18. You are free to publish what you like. We are free to read what we want, even if we have to go somewhere else to do it.

    Frankly, MikeB has yet to construct an argument (conjecture, backed by a study or logic) that actually makes sense. Anything labeled “common sense” is usually neither and usually wrong.

  19. I don’t believe for a second that you’re “trolling” because I’m confident that your reputation and integrity means a great deal to you. Now if MikeB were to give you equal time on his blog, then I say you should give him the same courtesy. I’m not to fond of “gun grabbers” and I really don’t care what they have to say. I know that I can’t change their gun hating opinions and they most certainly won’t ever change my support for gun rights. I also believe that you should challenge his posts because some of them are down right silly. He has a right to his opinion , just as I have the right to think it’s silly (he must sometimes feel the same way about my opinions and that’s fine). I love this site because it’s interesting and informative. I’ve had a few lil problems with flaming the gun haters in the past (and you warned me nicely to cool it, which I did) but sometimes the stupid S**T they say just pisses me off. I know that I shouldn’t let them get my goat because it just makes them happy to know that they got to me. So now I have a kinder gentler side that will respond with reason (hopefully) even if I truely don’t agree with their posts. Keep up the great work RF and this site will continue grow.

  20. If there was any “truth” in MikeB8675309’s rantings, I would endorse giving him a voice here at TheTruthAboutGuns.

    But there isn’t, so I don’t.

    We have well-meaning, polite people like Dan Baum to carry the leftist’s message here to us. We don’t need to subject ourselves to a liar’s temper tantrums.

  21. If we don’t actually read what the other side has to say, we run the very real danger of devolving into a series of Strawman arguments: making assumptions about what they’d say (assumptions that are inherently flawed) and knocking them down, just because its easy, and makes us feel good about what we have to say here. If it so be that mikeb’s argument is flawed, feel free to point it out to him, but let him be the one to make it.

  22. MikieB is banned from several other gun blogs because someplace, somewhere, Mr. B302000 claimed that during the ’70s, after getting out of the service, he owned several firearms legally and illegally. So they have branded him an outlaw and banished him from their respective kingdoms. Frankly, that is a weak and convenient excuse for getting rid of someone who might challenge them to think for themselves.

    • William,

      Frankly Sir you don’t know what you are talking about.

      That isn’t why Mikeb302000 is banned from most blogs. I know of only one blog — ncguns.blogspot.com — that has banned MikeB302000 because of his illegal acts.

      He has trolled comments repeatedly at many blogs, including my own. In fact he isn’t banned at my blog. All I ask is that he talks about his ownership of firearms in such details as he as asked about ours.

      He has chosen not to do that. — His choice.

      He also refuses to comment at many blogs that deletes the links back to his blog. Now We aren’t changing names or obscuring his identity, just making it slightly more difficult for people to go directly to his blog.

      He doesn’t like this and doesn’t comment on most blogs that does this. How is that banning him?

      As far as the others that have banned him, it is because of his rudeness, his hypocrisy and behavior — in the present. Not the past that is the issue.

      • That isn’t why Mikeb302000 is banned from most blogs. I know of only one blog — ncguns.blogspot.com — that has banned MikeB302000 because of his illegal acts.

        I didn’t want to point any fingers…

        • William,

          One blog is quite different from what you said. You made it appear as if it wasn’t his trollish behavior that lead him to being banned by those blogs.

          Now, does the one blog who banned him for that admitted crime have the right to ban him or not?

    • Frankly, that is a weak and convenient excuse for getting rid of someone who might challenge them to think for themselves.

      Frankly, that is a weak and convenient strawman for you to erect when MikeB302000 is the only person to be banned at the vast majority, if not all, of those weblogs you are obliquely referencing – if they were so very concerned about “think[ing] for themselves”, the ongoing and occasionally vociferous discussions that take place in their comment sections amongst people with different opinions and mindsets would not actually transpire.

  23. Intelligent and well meaning people disagree over the important issue of gun rights/control. If the pro-gun folks who want MikeB and his ilk run off this site get their way, they’ll be no better than the myopic inbred hillbillies the left claims they are.

    And without a fair airing of all sides of this debate, TTAG become a much less interesting blog.

    • William,

      Seeing how I’m one of the people taking Robert to task, I’ll respond.

      At no point did I say that I wanted him run off the blog. Far from it.

      I was addressing Robert giving Mikeb302000 his own top post with no response, no rebuttal, no debate in the post.

      MikeB302000 has his own blog, comments on many other blogs, and here.

      Is not letting MikeB302000 comment giving both sides a fair airing?

      • I know Mr. B302000 is active on his own site as well as other sites. But wouldn’t you rather the ad-clicking traffic come to TTAG rather than go to them? Frankly, I don’t know of any “liberal” blogs or news sites that aren’t brazenly hostile to “conservatives” foolish enough to try to question the house line of thought.

        During his tenure at The Truth About Cars, Farago perfected a no-flaming blog model that he has –successfully, in my opinion – brought to the gun world. (Believe me; car fanatics are far less civilized than gun proponents or opponents.) This model tends to drive off the tr0lls and attract people who are really interested in thinking deeply about these issues and exchanging ideas with others, including those who believe differently.

        A diversity of thought is essential to this ecosystem. Otherwise, TTAG becomes just another gun-porn site. And those are a dime a dozen.

        • “A diversity of thought is essential to this ecosystem. Otherwise, TTAG becomes just another gun-porn site. And those are a dime a dozen.”

          Well said WCM. This is one of the best points I’ve seen arise from this discussion.

  24. (Sorry I’m late.)
    I’ve been reading this site for most of a year. I’m a new shooter (once) and not (yet) an owner. Previously ambivalent, I became pro-gun after becoming aware of threats to the 2nd Amendment during the ’08 elections. I’ve read a lot about guns and gun rights (and control) during the last couple of years. I follow TTAG every day and I do appreciate the comments following the articles. I also appreciate you posting mikeb302000’s comments. Being somewhat studious but lazy, I rarely venture to “the other side’s” ground, so it’s helpful to have them come visit. Once I attain an opinion, I stick with it; it’s good to be reminded that there are others.
    Thanks for a helpful site.

  25. Publish him!! I don’t really like him as far as his comments on here and I feel his arguments and statistics are very lopsided and biased but I do believe in our first amendment rights!
    @MikeyBnumbers.. Are you still hiding overseas or back in the States??? Why are you concerned about us here if you are in Guidoville hiding out?? Come back, be a man and post about something that directly affects you!!!
    Not something that has no bearing on your life over on the other side of the big pond.

  26. NO! Do not give any publicity to this moron. Don’t even mention him. Also ignore Yeager, the morons that were shooting at a target with somebody standing next to it, etc. Give airtime to the guys that give guns a good name and show them for what they are – a fun sport. Just a couple of examples are Hikock45 and 22 Plinkster.

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