Random Thoughts About Speaking at The New Yorker Festival

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On Saturday night, The New Yorker Festival invited its speakers to the Old Town Bar (above). It was not a pleasant experience. At one point, New Yorker writer Ariel Levy asked me how many guns I owned. “About forty,” I replied. “So you’re preparing for the apocalypse,” she snarked. “I’m not preparing for it, but I’m ready if it happens,” I replied. I offered her my Texas Firearms Festival business card and invited her to next weekend’s event.

“That would be hell on earth for me,” she pronounced, her voice laden with disgust.

“You don’t know that,” I said. “That was a nasty, aggressive remark,” I added.

“America has too many guns,” she said, backpedaling slightly.

“That was nasty and aggressive,” I repeated.

“I was just being flip,” Ms. Levy said unapologetically.

“No you weren’t,” I insisted. “You were being nasty and aggressive.”

A crowd of her fellow intellectuals swept into the bar, ending our conversation — although the word “conversation” is a bit generous for what had just transpired. Or any of my other firearms-related interchanges in that alcohol-fueled Union Square enclave. One encounter ended with me being unceremoniously disinvited from a table of self-described lipstick lesbians.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The lesbian thing, I mean. The bum’s rush, though, was infuriating. The quorum of celebrants had asked me “what’s the truth about guns?” The alpha didn’t like my answer — they’re protected by the Second Amendment, they’re fun, and the firearms business is going great guns. And that was that.

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The actual panel discussion — Armed Citizens: The Fight Over Guns In America — began with moderator and New Yorker scribe Evan Osnos asking the audience to raise their hands if they supported stricter gun control. A forest of hands confirmed that I wasn’t in Texas anymore. Later, I asked the audience to raise their hands if they had a carry or gun permit. One hand went up: fellow speaker Jonathan Mossberg’s wife.

I don’t remember much of the [unrecorded] “debate.” Suffice it to say, I deconstructed the same old gun control tropes: the militia clause obviates individual gun rights, nobody needs an AK-47, defensive gun uses are “as rare as Elvis sightings,” New York City is gun-free and safe, average folks are unqualified to carry, firearms should be regulated like cars, etc.

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In the last case, the audience literally groaned when I informed a questioner that driving isn’t a constitutionally protected right. At which point Mr. Osnos remarked that I wasn’t going to win over the room with that remark. That elicited a round of smug, self-righteous laughter from the crowd. As is the way of New York intellectuals generally, and the souls gathered to have their civilian disarmament preconceptions validated, specifically.

My appearance on The New Yorker Festival panel was never destined to be a successful hearts and minds gun rights campaign. And it wasn’t. The audience’s hearts were closed — except to the pathos aimed at a bereaved panelist whose son was shot and killed by gang bangers. As for the audience’s beliefs, as they say, you can’t reason someone out of something they weren’t reasoned into.

I agreed to travel to NYC to defend gun rights for three reasons. First, it was a free trip to The Big Apple. Second, someone’s got to do it. Third, I wanted to journey into the heart of disarmament darkness. I’m always interested to see and hear those who would remove our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

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What I learned is this: gun rights remain the wedge issue between those who cherish and defend individual liberty and those who believe the government must protect its citizens from themselves.

There is little to nothing you can do once a statist has drunk deeply from the cup of tyranny. Save, perhaps, taking them to the gun range. Which is where I’m headed now, to reconnect with the tool that protects me from people like those who paid me to entertain them.

comments

  1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    Robert, you’re right, somebody has to do it, might as well be someone who can do it well.

    1. avatar Henry Bowman says:

      “There is little to nothing you can do once a statist has drunk deeply from the cup of tyranny. Save, perhaps, taking them to the gun range. ”

      This is why we need school vouchers/choice. Stop them from poisoning the minds of kids.

      1. avatar mirgc says:

        Education and positive exposure is a big key.

        1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          The truth about guns is that guns fire projectiles. What you do with that is entirely up to you.

  2. avatar bobmcd says:

    Are you going to the range that Travis Bickle went to?

  3. avatar Swarf says:

    Good for you for going even though I am positive you knew precisely what kind of bullshit you were in for.

    Despite my sometime issues with this site’s editorial stance, I think you, Robert, are a good embassador for the gun community because you speak all the languages and know all the vocabulary words.

    And frankly, although you wouldn’t dare let on here, I think you are capable of seeing shades of grey.

    1. avatar Matt in TX says:

      I disagree, “Shall not be infringed.”, is pretty black and white.

      1. avatar BLAMMO says:

        It’s nothing that can’t be overcome by emotion.

    2. avatar Joel (in Texas) says:

      Robert you are also a good ambassador. 😉

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        Oh god. How did I let that slip by?

        isnt an embassador the guy who slaps the bull with a fish before the dude with the red cape comes out?

  4. avatar Bob R says:

    A common thread among leftists is that they are so sure of the superiority of their political views that they feel that it is justified to initiate force (aggression) against anyone that disagrees with them.

    While this force will not be the first option they use, certainly shutting down or shutting up anyone who disagrees with them very often is.

    1. avatar Pg2 says:

      Exactly, like statists that would willingly force medical procedures on the public by ‘strapping them to tables’ at gunpoint.

      1. avatar Bob R says:

        Yes, anti-gunners love guns, they just want someone else to do the shooting for them!

    2. avatar FedUp says:

      One wishes Melissa Click were an aberration, instead of the norm. And if you want good grades in journalism school, you have to act like her.

    3. avatar Cliff H says:

      Here’s an idea, if the Progs are so sure of their political stance:

      Manhattan is an island. Install checkpoints at all entrances to the island with metal detectors and inspections and turn the whole damn place into a “Gun Free Zone”. Confiscate any firearms discovered on the island and punish severely crimes committed with firearms. After a time, limit the NYPD on the island to 6-shot revolvers in .38 Special.

      If the Progs are right Manhattan should become a safe and peaceful Utopia with skyrocketing property values and Progs clamoring to move there.

      Right.

      1. avatar anonymoose says:

        That could work, but do you think Kurt Russell would rescue President Hillary from there, or would the rest of the country just sit back and laugh as the inhabitants eat her alive on live TV?

        1. avatar I1ULUZ says:

          They would have to pull Huma out of the way before they could, never mind, you were not talking about that kind of eating her. My bad.

      2. avatar DetroitMan says:

        I agree with you right up until the “arm the police with 6 shot revolvers” part. Arm them with batons, or whatever weapon is legal to own for the peasantry living in Manhattan. Otherwise we’re back to “Progressives love guns as long as somebody else is wielding them.” Let them see what it is like to live truly gun free.

      3. avatar LarryinTX says:

        They do not need any halfway measures, they are already absolutely certain that they are both correct and ever so much wiser than hicks like you. Therefore, they wish to do exactly as you said, but for the entire USA, not just Manhattan.

    4. avatar BDub says:

      “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” ― C.S. Lewis

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Reading C.S. Lewis. You set the bar pretty high for comprehension.

        1. avatar DO says:

          Only for progressives. That quote is fairly clear.

  5. avatar William says:

    Better you than me guy, better you than me.

    1. avatar Klaus says:

      I’m with you. You lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

  6. avatar Nine says:

    Mob mentality at its finest, they jump in and stick together like hyenas.

    Idiots that can’t think for themselves and just go with everyone else.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      ‘Idiots that can’t think for themselves and just go with everyone else.’

      That should probably be the official definition of ‘intellectual’ in Webster’s Dictionary.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      It sounds like they did not even notice that you were pointing out that only one person in the room had the slightest idea what he was talking about. For such a collection of supposed brilliance, they sound pretty dim.

      I hope you left them with the impression that we’re working on rural electrification before we try for running water. I’d really prefer they stay where they are.

  7. avatar Brian says:

    What cracks me up is that number of firearms is the – ahem trigger – for ridicule and branding as a lunatic. How many do they think we’re capable of using at one time?

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      I think four is about the max… (quad .50)

      1. avatar BDub says:

        Great truck-gun! http://tinyurl.com/zhdo8cv ,hehe.

      2. avatar Skeptical_Realist says:

        “Maybe it was one guy, with six guns…”

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          RF, thank you so very much for NOT inviting me to come along. Even an all expense paid trip could never make-up for even an hour in that place that I could never get back. Better you than me. Thanks again for making the sacrifice. You da man !!

    2. avatar waffensammler98 says:

      The same is true with ammunition. It boggles their minds that any gun owners besides themselves would have more than 200 rounds of ammo for all calibers total at home. When I hear “He had 50,000 rifle rounds in his basement!” In reference to some shooter. My go to response is “Sir/m’am, if the perpetrator in question has the ability to carry that much on their person and still be a threat, you’d have a lot more to worry about, ’cause they aren’t human.

  8. avatar mk10108 says:

    “I wanted to journey into the heart of disarmament darkness”…unarmed, a braver man than I, even though there’s not an real alpha male in all of New York City. I suspect the best they can do is agree with anti gunners in the hopes of copulation.

    1. avatar Joel (in Texas) says:

      I think Robert said “alpha”. Not “alpha male”. I would bet the alpha of a group of lipstick lesbians may not have been male.

    2. avatar Gordon in MO says:

      There are alpha males in NYC. Unfortunately they are probably all gang bangers and in the international drug enterprise.

  9. avatar former water walker says:

    So you didn’t catch a break for being a member of the Tribe? THAT is effed up. I don’t bother with the pseudo- intellectual cabal. Like arguing religion with a Muslim or an atheist-you often need a personal revelation “come to JESUS” moment. Like getting robbed at gunpoint or raped…

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      “come to JESUS” moment. Like getting robbed at gunpoint or raped…

      I should think a rational person at that point would not necessarily “come to Jesus”. More likely it should be “God, why hast thou foresaken me?”

      1. avatar ThomasR says:

        Well, as a once agnostic, I had already come to Jesus through a gentler process; but the other come to Jesus/reality moment that showed me everything I’d been taught to believe about the universe as a libertarian/progressive was a complete and utter lie, a delusion and an insane and complete disconnect from reality; was after a guy tried to mug me by faking having a gun in his hoody pocket. I’ve been carrying a gun for the last 16 years, since.

        So, yeah. As a recovered agnostic progressive; my come to Jesus/reality moments have been more like “I was blind, and now I can see” than, “Oh, G-d, why hast thou forsaken me?”

    2. avatar DrewR55 says:

      These days I get the impression that anti-semitisim is as in vogue as believing in “common sense” gun regulations. Given how popular the anti-Israel divestment and boycotting movement has become in the Ivy League schools I am pretty sure the audience in New York would have held his heritage against him.

      1. avatar Tommy Hobbes says:

        Farago , You’ve been in the belly of the lockstep conformist Progressive beast. How many have been mugged by reality? BTW, the outer boroughs of Bronx, Staten Island , Brooklyn and Queens have working class populations who’d like less firearms prohibition. Count on that. As to the chic, smug nasties who lynched you, rest assured they live in a make believe world of arrogant elitism, totally out of touch with the anxieties , fears, and hopes of ordinary people.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Spot on!

          As I have said many times lately, Progressives’ brains operate on altruism, fantasy, and emotion.

        2. avatar Rooster says:

          “The outer boroughs of Bronx, Staten Island , Brooklyn and Queens have working class populations who’d like less firearms prohibition.”
          I was surprised how true this was once I decided to come ‘out of the closet’ on guns. I also notice that many of the pretentious prog ‘intellectuals’ seem to be transplants from other parts of the country.

      2. avatar anonymoose says:

        Even though a great number of the people shaming Israel are part or wholly ethnically Jewish. The problem with the idea of a “Jewish race” and referring to Jews as a people is that many if not most self-proclaimed “Jews” are apostate, antitheists, and/or sexual deviants. These people cash in on their “Jew” card when it suits them (when they are on the defensive), and then cash in on their “white” card when that suits them (such as when they are pretending to be a repentant white cishet sh!tlord ready to lead all of us other white cishet sh!tlords off a cliff).

        1. avatar Chris T from KY says:

          +1

        2. avatar Tommy Hobbes says:

          @ Aonymoose: What, pray tell , is the “Jew card.?” And whisky Tango Foxtrot, what are you really trying to say about Jewish folk?

      3. avatar Tommy Hobbes no says:

        Drew55,. An astute comment. The Left can be hideously intolerant.

  10. avatar Bob R says:

    Studies have shown that pretty much the only way to change someone’s mind about a belief is to appeal to them in an emotional manner. Facts, reason, logic and evidence are basically useless.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Studies have also shown that many studies are based on flawed premises or otherwise flawed in their methodology.

      Logic and reason (the scientific method) are what has gotten us to the advanced technological society we currently (sometimes) enjoy.

      1. avatar Pg2 says:

        Sounds great on paper Cliff, if only it were true.

      2. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

        When ancient philosophers were codifying the rules of formal logic, others were perfecting rhetoric with the battle cry “screw logic; we are trying to win elections.”

  11. avatar Rob Campbell says:

    You should bring me next time…I lived in New York my whole life until I was 28 years old and thought the way they do until I moved to Texas and learned that an armed society is a much more polite society.

    Now I’m the proud owner of around 30 guns and enjoy shooting leisurely on my free time.

    1. avatar Tom says:

      That is my observation about many NY residents who move to Florida. Ditto many of the retired NYC first responders. They go out and buy a few guns

    2. avatar Number 6 says:

      Same here, even left for a better state at the same age – PA.

  12. avatar Gary Ramey says:

    Bravo for going.
    Who knows, maybe one was listening and has been edged them closer to normalcy.

    I wonder if she has more than one purse.
    Preparing for a Lotto win??

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      “If it saves one life…”

    2. avatar BLoving says:

      Oh God, no!!!
      My pet peeve!!!
      Can’t. ..control…the rage!
      GRRRRAAAGH!!! HULK SMASH!!!
      IT… IS… NOR-MAL-ITY!!!
      pant…wheeze. ..(phew)
      I’m, I’m okay… I’ll be alright. Returning to normality shortly…

  13. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    The real term for those folks is pseudo intellectual. The vast majority of the folks at that meeting do not have the intellectual capacity to handle the concept of freedom and why the Second Amendment is the bulwark that enforces the rest of the Bill of Rights. They are statists and as a result they are incapable of trusting the individual.

  14. avatar Alex says:

    I really wish this had been recorded. Or at least transcribed.

  15. avatar doesky2 says:

    How the hell is it possible NOT to have a recording of this event?

    Am I remembering correctly that this seems to happen often with Robert in these scenarios?

    WTF is up with that?

    1. avatar ahil925 says:

      So I’m not the only one that’s been thinking that?

      Is New York one of those states that both parties have to consent to being recorded? IIRC Texas and many others are single party consent states.

    2. avatar Mack Bolan says:

      Do those questions really need answering? I would think it would be fairly obvious at this point.

    3. avatar Swarf says:

      Somebody recorded it. More than one somebody, undoubtedly.

      Just no one official, perhaps.

  16. avatar Nanashi says:

    As rare as Elvis sightings?

    How many people look at Elvis’s picture or see an impersonator a day?

  17. avatar Ovidio Gentiloni says:

    Well, you’ve been brave. And polite. Too bad it will be wasted on them.

  18. avatar Justsomeguy says:

    “New York City is gun-free and safe” I haven’t seen this argument come up much, but I have had some thoughts on thw mater. I’m curious as to how you handled the issue/

  19. avatar Larry says:

    Well our oldest is moving there this Sat. She has her NYS carry permit ( not valid in NYC) and her 870 will stay in my safe as well, she’ll use it when she comes back to deer hunt.

    Got a job at NY Presbyterian hospital.

    At least it’s one more behind enemy lines……

  20. avatar Geoff PR says:

    According to Ms. Levy’s Wiki page “she was briefly employed by Planned Parenthood, but claims that she was fired because she is “an extremely poor typist.”[6] She was hired by New York magazine shortly thereafter.”

    *Fired* by Planned Parenthood for incompetence. All you need to know about her…

  21. avatar E.S says:

    That’s a lot of firearm magazines being sold if that’s NY must be in the fantasy section.

  22. avatar Joe R. says:

    Any of them well-to-do enough to travel outside of the piss ant little patch of real estate called the N. East?

    They’ve never been to OK.

    Someday, they might not be allowed to.

  23. avatar BLAMMO says:

    “America has too many guns,” she said, …

    For what?

    1. avatar Tommy Hobbes says:

      Too many guns? Never. As my late gunsmith said, one can ***never*** have too many guns.

  24. avatar Canon says:

    Nothing more closed minded and bigoted to new ideas than a bunch of enlightened New Yorkers. Good for you for trying and welcome to my world.

  25. avatar strych9 says:

    While I applaud the effort, it’s in vain.

    The simple fact is that NYC and other portions of the Coasts are bubbles. The people who live there only interact with like minded people so it’s an echo-chamber. Anyone else remember Chris Wallace being surprised that OC was legal in Ohio? He’s not even anti-gun but he lives and works in DC where there are no legally OCed guns other than those of the police so he’s not used to seeing it and it hasn’t crossed his mind that other places might do things differently.

    These folks will tell you they understand the world because they travel but they’ve only been to places like Paris, Berlin, London, Cannes or Marseille and interacted with other people who live in the same basic bubble. They all still agree with each other so it’s still an echo-chamber it’s just in a different language.

    You won’t find too many of these people who’ve traveled extensively in Africa or South/Central America. They assume those places are the same as Le Paris. However, standing there looking at the Eiffel Tower is a tad bit different from wandering the streets of Johannesburg, Harare or Montevideo. They don’t get that though because they’ve never actually experienced it. As “worldly” as they think they are they’ve only been to nice places filled with nice people who all agree guns are bad. As such they’ve never actually been outside that NYC bubble.

    1. avatar Anon in CT says:

      I bet these people comfort themselves with the fact that Robert and all his guns are way down in Texas.

      Little do they know, or think, about all the firearms enthusiasts in the NY suburbs. Yes, we’re a small percentage of the population, but in absolute terms there are quite a few of us. And we have NYC surrounded.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        The issue is that I don’t think they care.

        What they don’t see can’t hurt them type of thing. My dad’s side of the family is from New Jersey. I’ll be honest, outside my family I’ve never met a single person from NY or NJ that wasn’t a total d-bag. They’re all elitist assholes who think they know better than everyone else and should be in charge.

        Now clearly that doesn’t apply to everyone in NJ or NY, I haven’t met them all, but I’ve never met someone from NYC or Long Island that I’d care to meet again.

    2. avatar Keystone says:

      Well stated. Though those European bastions of “enlightenment” will stop being an echo chamber real soon. The change is already well underway.

  26. avatar kenneth says:

    “little to nothing you can do once a statist has drunk deeply from the cup of tyranny.”
    That is the crux of the matter. Once someone has willing accepted the poison, their minds are no longer their own. Their opinions are now those of whatever TV channel they watch, whether it be msnbc or cnn.
    They cannot conceive of the idea that perhaps television is not real, even as they purchase infomertial crap that they know they will never use and don’t want. All in a forlorn attempt to be accepted by the ones around them, who will turn a second face against them every time they turn their back. They are to be pitied for their blind servitude, not hated.
    This is why the thoughts about rewording the message of liberty in the ‘proper’ way, as advocated by so many of the POFG, is doomed to perpetual failure. No reason or logic can penetrate their closed minds. Only a rape, a mugging, or perhaps, a trip to the range can change that. It must be a personal, and emotional, experience for them to wake up to how badly they have been lied to and used.

  27. avatar Random_Commenter says:

    I wondered how many people in the room either served in a law enforcement capacity or in the military. I’m betting nobody.

    Probably most people in the room may not yet have to lived through some serious, real life altering event such as a perceived lethal threat, or their tune would have changed by now. The “smart” ones, anyway.

  28. avatar AndyinMA says:

    I hate how they assume ownership of multiple firearms equals “nut job.” They completely disregard the consumer or collector nature of many individuals. I would have dozens of cars if I could. I wonder if any of them collect anything?

    That earlier point about them being pseudo intellectuals is right on. Can’t even begin to understand another point of view.

    1. avatar Random_Commenter says:

      If cars cost the average amount of gun [$350-$2000] minus the “exotics” and expensive accessories, I would have 20 of ’em about now.

      I will admit that while I don’t have a “gun” addiction, I do have an ammunition addiction that I don’t plan on entering rehab or seeking treatment for.

  29. avatar D-Fens says:

    How many milliseconds elapsed before you were called a racist?

  30. avatar BTD says:

    Too bad you didn’t let us know in advance. I would’ve loved to have bought you a drink and maybe even attended the session Although we are in the minority, 2A folks in New York in the tri-state area do exist.

  31. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Well, that’ a whole lifetime you can’t get back.

  32. avatar AnhydrousWater says:

    Wish I knew, I could have come there to meet you unless it was a closed event. I live in Staten Island.

  33. avatar Swobard says:

    1) I assume you were ‘tolerated’ as sort of a specimen to be examined and potentially understood.

    2) I appreciate the boldness required to willingly step into that environment.

    3) I’m confident you did an outstanding job of presenting a viewpoint that was anathema to most in attendance.

    4) Thank you!

  34. avatar Seizure doc says:

    Given the complete inability of people of this ideology to be persuaded of anything, what is the point ? More to the point, what will we do when they assume control and enforce their will on us ? It is painfully clear that they do not value our opinions, ignore our facts, and are unable to even respect us as people.

  35. avatar MarkPA says:

    The target needs to be the inequality of gun-rights in blue precincts. Progressives can not abide inequality of any sort.
    So, what is it that explains why only a very few thousand very rich or influential citizens get NYC carry permits? Is it the old adage: The law equally forbids the rich and poor alike to bribe the NYPD for a gun permit. The going rate appears to be about $16,000.

    1. avatar Stuki Moi says:

      Progressives CLAIM to not abide inequality. Like everything else they claim, it’s of course exactly the opposite of reality,

      The entire progressive canon, is about special privilege and more equals. Credentialism; some can own guns, others can’t; some can prescribe and sell drugs, others go to jail for same. Some can print money out of thin air, others again go to jail. Some can go bankrupt, others get bailouts. Some gets to take kids away from their parents, others will again get jailed for same. Some are allowed to steal others’ stuff at gun point by calling it taxes, yet if I try the same stunt, I, again, go to jail. And so on and so on.

      And always and everywhere, it’s the same group of people who are allowed to get away with the above. A cadre of more equals. Who also get to decide what drivel to “teach” other people’s children in publicly funded indoctrination institutions. Again paid for, at gunpoint, by “those others” who don’t get to decide such things. Best thing that can happen to any progressive dystopian hellhole, is it being transformed into absolutely anything other than a progressive dystopian hellhole. As in absolutely anything else, without any conceivable exception whatsoever.

  36. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    Thanks for representing. I have one request – Gird thyself for NEXT year. Since you probably weren’t what they were expecting, maybe you’ll get a repeat invitation.

    It may have been unpleasant, but you had a positive influence – whether you realize it or not. Just not being a window-liking moron probably shocked them.

    Did you invite the rest of them to the range?

  37. avatar Chavez813 says:

    Could they make a single argument based if facts and not feels?

  38. avatar c4v3man says:

    I went to NYC for a cruise and spent the Saturday before the cruise walking around New York City, walking parts of Broadway, Central Park, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, etc. To be honest, I was a little surprised at how relatively safe I felt. Granted, I was walking the cleaner, tourist focused areas and not the slums, however I can see how someone could grow up feeling that other than getting “roughed up” a few times in your life, a gun isn’t really necessary. On top of that, being surrounded by so many people packed in such a small area makes one question the safety of discharging a firearm in self-defense anyways. Where I live and typically travel, people are much more dispersed so there’s more “free space” where a stray bullet could pass without problems. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be sure of every shot, realizing that a lawyer’s attached to every bullet you shoot regardless of what it hits, however it does make you wonder.

    That being said, it’s hard to take New York City very seriously considering it’s illegal to own a pocketknife even in one’s own home due to “gravity knife” laws. I got a few chuckles out of that, and would love to ask the same room of pseudo-intellectuals whether they agree with the knife bans considering their effectiveness in self-defense in close quarters. My guess is that it’s no so much the concept of guns that offends New Yorker’s, it’s the concept of self-defense itself that never occurs to them in the first place.

    1. avatar Anon in CT says:

      The thing is, most of Manhattan is literally smothered with NYPD. Cops actually are seconds away. That can only be achieved via massive population density and a great deal of wealth to spend on policing. And also just pricing out poor people.

      But what works, mostly, on a few square miles on an island cannot be a template for a massive country of 320 million people.

  39. avatar DaveR says:

    ‘“So you’re preparing for the apocalypse,” she snarked. “I’m not preparing for it, but I’m ready if it happens,” I replied.’

    Ya kinda validated a stereotype with that answer. Probably should have simply said that you’re a collector, it’s a hobby, and having 40 guns does not mean that you feel “a need” for 40 guns. Stamp collectors sure aren’t expected to send any more mail.

    ‘In the last case, the audience literally groaned when I pointed out that driving isn’t a constitutionally protected right. At which point Mr. Osnos remarked that I wasn’t going to win over the room with that remark. That elicited a round of smug, self-righteous laughter …’

    Do you maybe miss a joke? Doubt most in the room drove, many probably priding themselves on not knowing how to drive…they were probably laughing because you assumed they would cherish the “right” that most of them wanted no part of in the forst place.

    Kind of wondering if you went to change any minds or to simply reinforce caricatures on of both sides?

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Yeah, that’s a good point. A H.S. friend from long ago had been living in NYC for decades the last time I saw her, she and her husband maintained their drivers’ licenses but hadn’t owned a car in over 20 years. Every few years they’d rent a car for a month and take a driving trip to visit family. I can imagine that in a room with no drivers, such a statement would kinda fall flat.

  40. avatar Kyle in CT says:

    Robert:

    With all due respect, I do not understand your insistence on arguing from a Constitutional starting point. These are people who truly believe in the DNC platform which is: “We will appoint judges who …. (amongst other things) see the Constitution as a blueprint for progress.” That means that these are people who do not see, or choose not to see, the underlying reasoning behind the Constitution and why the Bill of Rights spells out the rights that it does. You are making an argument that has no chance of success. Admittedly, these are people who wouldn’t know intellectual honesty if someone taped it to a bass and slapped them with it. However, there is a very simple argument that can be made that DOES have a chance of success with a person who wants to maintain at least a veneer of objectivity.

    To begin, we have to ask a question: Forget the Constitution for a moment, forget all laws. Do you, as a human being, have the right to preserve your own existence? This is not a question with grey areas. You either have the right to try to preserve your own life, or you don’t. You can’t sort of defend yourself. So ask whoever you’re talking to, do you have this right or not? Anybody who answers in the negative, just stop the conversation right there, because there’s no point. In that case you are talking to people who have a value system that is so far from normal there is no point in discussing anything further. However, if you can get people to agree that humans have this right, there is some hope. Humans as a species rely entirely upon tools. We need clothing, we need shelter, we need food. None of this is possible without tools. No human society can survive purely with what we’re born with. We can’t get enough food, we can’t protect ourselves from the elements, we can’t do anything without the use of some sort of tool. In this way we are unique in the animal kingdom. Take away tools, and we can’t function. Given this fact, if you take away a tool you inherently take away the ability to perform an action. Guns are a tool. Yes, they are a weapon, but a weapon is just like everything else we use; a tool to accomplish a task. If you take away guns, you have to face the inescapable fact that you are also taking away the ability to effectively defend yourself. Yes, there are other tools that you can use to accomplish the same task, but none of them are anywhere near as effective a tool as a firearm. Firearms are also an equalizing tool; a weaker individual can overcome a stronger opponent, a fact which is generally not true of any other tool that could be used. Take away firearms and you implicitly are placing more value or the lives of physically stronger individuals than those who are weaker. Does a small woman have less of a right to exist than a large man? Does an old man have less of a right to life than a young one? Are the lives of the disabled less valuable than the lives of those who are not? These are questions that we have already answered as a society: No. All lives are valuable, period. On a fundamental level, attempting to remove firearms from society is attempting to rethink the values upon which our society is based. If you are willing to honestly take the stance that some pigs are more equal than others, then by all means, enjoy your Orwellian future. But if you are not, then recognize that your insistence that guns are the source of evil in our society and that their removal would solve the violence problem is completely inconsistent with biological reality and our basic values as human beings. If you believe that life is precious, that you as an individual have the right to exist, then you have to come to terms with the fact that guns are the tool through which we as human beings safeguard this right.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Not bad; not bad at all. A logical explanation that carries with it an emotional element. Something that can be useful when talking to Feelz. This reasoning can be projected to protection of live children, as well.

  41. avatar C.S. says:

    They don’t need guns because they think there’s someone there to protect them (with guns). And they don’t believe guns in their hands would protect them either — I certainly don’t. End of story. Glad you safely got out Mordor.

  42. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    “What I learned is this: gun rights remain the wedge issue between those who cherish and defend individual liberty and those who believe the government must protect its citizens from themselves.

    There is little to nothing you can do once a statist has drunk deeply from the cup of tyranny.”

    Actually, you can use the statist-ness as a wedge. Some of the anti- this, or federal program- that don’t see themselves as statists. They think they are local. Of the people. Enabling variety & indulging individual preferences.

    “You know, some people see being armed as a religious duty.”

    “Whacky, apocalyptic Christians, those prepper-people! Nut jobs.”

    “I had Sikhs in mind, actually. “

  43. avatar ATTAGReader says:

    Like many others who comment, I left NY many years ago and found that the rest of the country was a far better place than the flyover zone the New Yorker portrays it to be. The most basic difference that I found outside of NY (and I suspect other similar large cities) was that people looked at you, talked to you, smiled at you, treated you as a person — even though you were a complete stranger, and they knew you were a complete stranger. In contrast the NY stereotype behavior was real — people on trains and buses buried in newspapers, with earphones in their ears, staring into space, all long before smartphones, all in utter fear of eye contact with another. You were taught from childhood to never look at anyone lest he or she take offense and attack you. It is this, rather than fear of guns per se, that drives the anti-gun sentiment in the big cities. The possibility of a gun makes the fear of the attack stronger, and since you were taught to never look up, the idea of carrying a gun and having the situational awareness to NOT need to use it are foreign thoughts. I have come to conclude that behind the smug facade, the old big city fear of everyone still lives large in NY, perhaps larger since 9/11, no matter what act they put on.

  44. avatar Tyler says:

    Good on you for showing up, at least. Credit is due.

    It makes me sad to think that political tribalism here in the US has reached the point where folks wear their unwillingness to be civil to each other as a badge of honor. Everyone wants to make points with THEIR tribe, even if they forget that no one’s looking…and they’re genuinely shocked when they realize that, yep, the way they’re behaving IS nasty. And aggressive.

    If we literally cannot and will not listen to each other–and that goes both ways–civil society is doomed. Political discourse is doomed. As are, worst of all, the rights we so passionately defend. Fact is, none of us want to live in country where everyone agrees: it would be a mindless, conformist nightmare. Nor would we want to live in a country where no one listens to anyone who doesn’t already share their opinion.

    P.S.: (As you mentioned, I imagine the range is the best place to convert anyone.) 🙂

    1. avatar DaveR says:

      “Fact is, none of us want to live in country where everyone agrees: it would be a mindless, conformist nightmare. ”

      Seriously?! Agreement equals failure? Do you disagree about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Glad the Founding Fathers were more open minded than most TTAG-commentators.

      1. avatar Tyler says:

        “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”
        –Thomas Jefferson to William Hamilton, April 22, 18001 🙂

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Yet Jefferson feuded viciously with with his one-time friend John Adams for years after the founding.

    2. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Nice precises. As it happens, this nation has been at civil war with itself since the founding; elitists, monarchists, populists, and a host of other unalterable opinions on the role of class and governance. One is either a Jeffersonian, or a Hamiltonian. One believes thoroughly that people can manage their own affairs best, or one believes only the “betters” should wield power to prevent the people from self-ruination. We have not been listening to each other, ever. The land disputes between 1860 and 1865 made live those unalterable stances. The differences were pushed back in the box, but they were never reconciled.

      1. avatar Tyler says:

        No arguing with that. Truth.

  45. avatar neiowa says:

    I’d bet a brick of .22 that the dimwit Ariel spent the weekend ragging about Trumps nasty words.

    By the dimwit New York broad:
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/03/ali-wongs-radical-raunch

    A “free” trip to NYC and a $1 and you have one buck? This is not remotely “taking one for the team”.

  46. avatar Kmeisner says:

    Ariel Levy’s a babe!

  47. avatar LJM says:

    Robert, I’m stealing this:

    There is little to nothing you can do once a statist has drunk deeply from the cup of tyranny.

  48. avatar Darth Mikey says:

    I honor your suffering through this for us, Robert. You have a stronger stomach than I. Let me give you my opening for situations like this: “It’s become my understanding that there are fundamentally two types of humans on this planet: the type that expect to be protected–whether it’s by government, God, police, laws, signs on doors or whatever–and the type that expect to have to protect themselves. So before we continue, which type of human are you?”

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I like that. Seems like it would get things off to a good start!

  49. avatar W says:

    “No you weren’t,” I insisted. “You were being nasty and aggressive.”

    This is the point. Why do Manhattanites insist upon forcing their cultural preferences on people 1000 or 2000 miles distant? Why are they such “imperialists” (a term that they may understand from their liberal arts days)? Do they even understand their actions as such?

    They may whine endlessly (yes, it is not spelled “whinge,” not here anyway) about Bush’s democracy promotion. Yet they have promotions of their own that they champion. They have their annoying campaigns even as they gripe about the advocacy of others (Christians, etc).

  50. avatar gs650g says:

    I find it best to avoid these types of ambush situations where minds are made up and I’m on the menu.
    I’m not afraid to defend my ideas I just don’t like to waste my time.

  51. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    Robert
    Next time try dropping a name like Tammy Bruce, my favorite lesbian, who is a big 2A supporter.
    You did not bring up the JPFO? Perhaps the pro gun gay angle would be more receptive with this crowd.

    A woman ask me about my “keep calm and carry guns ” T shirt while I was standing in line at Sams Club. I told her many people who do comment agree with the statement. Some white people call this black gun owner brother and want to shake my hand.
    I explained to the woman she could rent guns at a local range to see if she liked guns.
    I told her I had rented a machine gun for my daughter, at her request, to shoot for the first time. We had a great time together.

  52. avatar Joe R. says:

    “you can’t reason someone out of something they weren’t reasoned into.”

    Definitely borrowing this.

  53. avatar Mikey Ravioli says:

    Welcome to NY. We are ranked 50th in terms of 2A issues. I don’t think you guys in other parts of the country realize how bad it is here. This is a daily occurrence when the NYC Unarmed Intelligentsia gets together.

    Hell I can’t even put a Boyd’s thumb hole stock on my 10/22 here because it would then qualify as an assault weapon.

  54. avatar Ted says:

    “There is little to nothing you can do once a statist has drunk deeply from the cup of tyranny. Save, perhaps, taking them to the gun range.”

    Is that possible in NYC given their gun permit laws? Could someone without a permit legally touch a borrowed or rental gun at a NYC range? Seems that when statists get into power they want to make sure no one is exposed to other ideas. Kind of like the idea behind these, “background check” initiatives which make it very difficult to legally introduce someone new to shooting.

    1. avatar Mikey Ravioli says:

      In short – no. You cannot even touch a handgun without a permit.
      As far as NYC ranges goes – I believe there is one left.

      So with little to no ranges and no ability to handle even a rental or borrowed handgun without a permit and the fact that they rarely if ever give permits its no wonder the attitudes are what they are in NYC.

  55. The author neglected to exploit this rare opportunity to “school” his audience. The fact is a staged “armed robbery” of bar patrons ie. NYC’s Liberal Media elites and/or “sexual assaults” upon the female attendees by a few “bad guys” wielding knives or just a sidewalk “stick-up” of those outside the doors might have had an impact enlightening some as to the folly of their ways, ideology and cause.

  56. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    Like I said before , my dad had mentioned a 1950’s scifi story that sounds more simlar to the likes of today……
    ———————————————————————
    “The Marching Morons” is a science fiction story by American writer Cyril M. Kornbluth, originally published in Galaxy in April 1951. It was included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two after being voted one of the best novellas up to 1965.

    The story is set hundreds of years in the future: the date is 7-B-936. John Barlow, a man from the past put into suspended animation by a freak accident involving a dental drill and anesthesia, is revived in this future. The world seems mad to Barlow until Tinny-Peete explains the Problem of Population: due to a combination of intelligent people not having children and excessive breeding by less intelligent people (see Fertility and intelligence), the world is full of morons, with the exception of an elite few who work slavishly to keep order. Barlow, who was a shrewd real estate con man in his day, has a solution to sell to the elite, in exchange for being made World Dictator.

  57. avatar Fred Frendly says:

    The leftists beloved all encompassing State banned cocaine, and those leftist Democrat Death Cult clowns still have plenty. That is the ultimate refutation to their gun control pipe dreams. “America has too much cocaine.”

  58. avatar John Dennis says:

    In the mid 80s. Long before I became conscious of the firearms rights issue. I’ve always felt an aversion to NYC, which my college friends spent every weekend in to party. Now I realize and understand why.

  59. avatar James Whittington says:

    Sadly, they are eventually going to win. Generation by generation of kids is shooting less and be propagandized more and more. My kids will own my guns, my grandkids might someday own my guns, but in 85 years when my great grandchildren are coming of age US gun laws and attitudes will probably resemble Australia a lot more than Texas.

    1. avatar Justsomeguy says:

      BS! Make sure your kids have guns of their own just as soon as they’re old enough to have them. When the grand kids are born, give your kids guns to hold for them. If you’re lucky enough to see the great grand kids be born by them some as well. With inheritance you’ve covered 4 generations easily and maybe 150 or more years.

      If every time there’s a major push to control/ban guns, you buy a gun or some magazines or maybe a little ammo to put away, they’ll never be able to get them all.

  60. avatar johnny108 says:

    After you left NY, did you delouse?

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