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“Why are you giving me such a long explanation?” his wife asked after he spent several minutes explaining who he was meeting at Ultimate Defense, why he was meeting and what the meeting was about.

“Would you rather I say I was going to see a guy I met on the internet?” he responded.

This was one of the more amusing tidbits from an interesting meet-up between me and Taurus609, a commenter here on TTAG. Taurus609 had taken someone to task for supporting GOP candidates. These supposed conservatives had stood idly by and let our gun rights erode. I in turn took after what I perceived as a certain political nihilism. I felt guilty, learned he was a homeboy and asked if he’d like to go get a beer or something . . .

We settled on going shooting at a great range in St. Charles County. I needed to make sure a Springfield XD I sent back to the factory for soft-strike problems was working properly. Springfield had- and I quote – CLEANED OIL OUT OF STRIKER CHANNEL (this did resolve the issue).

Taurus609 was waiting when I showed up a few minutes late. We shook hands, introduced ourselves and went to shoot for a while. He has a clever trick of putting bright red spots on the back of the target, six or so, and using these as a point of aim. The little tip proved to be a great way to stretch a silhouette.

He’s a pretty good shot, and as is the custom, we took one another’s heaters for a spin. One firearm, a fine Taurus 609 replete with titanium slide, was very accurate in his own hand but like a hound dog would respond only to its master. I could not hit sh*t with it. No idea why, as I put in this group with Carmen, my Smith M&P Compact .40. [image]

After shooting, we took some time to talk about politics, which is effectively why we were even hanging out. I thought Taurus609 was a libertarian-type who was sick of both parties. Not all of my assumptions were correct.

Taurus609 is a self-described moderate. He does not vote party. Taurus609 heaped opprobrium upon Tea Party conservatives and our unwillingness to compromise. We spent some time discussing the hypocritical decisions of Glenn Beck aficionados with whom he is acquainted. He complained about religious conservatives wanting to push our morality off onto him. He criticized Fox News commentators like Sean Hannity.

He went on to compare conservative economic notions, less regulation, less government interference in health care – unfavorably to policies proscribed and enacted by Democrats. I do not recall in our conversation any criticism of Democrat positions, policies or proposals. He very well may, but among the big-ticket issues we discussed the rightward direction of the elements of the GOP (that were actually moving right) were the troublesome elements.

Taurus609 and I do not agree on most of these points, and by my reckoning he is a liberal, not a “moderate” which is, in my opinion a term meaning “I don’t want to be called a liberal”. Nevertheless, we do agree on the importance of the 2nd Amendment. He believes there ought to be a national concealed carry permit with requirements like those in Missouri. He believes that while there is a valid argument to be found in the “The 2nd Amendment is my carry permit” sentiment, this sort of “extreme” talk turns off moderates, dooming conservatives to electoral irrelevance.

I sent this posting to Taurus609 for his review. He was complimentary, and sent along this critique:

“…[Y]ou never mentioned anything about democratic ideals or what they had done to dismantle gun rights in the last decade or so, so believe me if we had talked about Democrats, you would have also heard an earful about them.”

And this:

“…[W]hen it comes to conservatives or should I say right-wing conservatives, your (and I don’t mean just you) stand is, if you’re not with me (on everything) then you’re against me. And that is the crux of the problem I was trying to relate. If it came off as just republican or tea party bashing, I’m sorry; it was not supposed to be that. If my feeling that you get more done with compromise makes me a liberal, then I guess it goes back to the old saying about, ‘it’s in the eyes of the beholder’ “

At the end of our visit, Taurus609 and I disagreed in the most agreeable terms. We met on common ground, found some philosophical parallels and agreed to part friends despite the gulf that remained. We disagree wildly about WHO is presenting the greatest threat the 2nd amendment in the political sphere and HOW to protect it. We do in fact agree on its importance.

Even with the objections noted, and other points made by Taurus609 in his response, I was not disabused of my view of his politics. Still, I look forward to shooting again, and shooting with him – Bullets and politics: what could possibly go wrong?

Politics has words like “campaign” because there is an inevitable conflict between two parties, even when they agree on the goal. For instance, if there were no conflict among gun owners, then the National Rifle Association would not have Gun Owners of America joining them on the field of battle.

Conflicts are resolved by victory or defeat. In any given election, at least 49% of the voters are going to be somewhat disappointed by the result. This is the world as it is. I think the stakes are higher, to be sure, than a Friday afternoon softball game. However, the reason we have a peaceful nation is that we know how to handle conflict and ground out the most destructive aspects of the will to win and the sting of loss. It is one of the greatest aspects of our national character to have such a grand body of gracious winners and graceful losers that sore-heads are so rare they are a source of entertainment.

Taurus609 is a good guy. He loves his family and loves his country. I am sure that if I needed his help, and it was within his reasonable power to help, I could count on it. A man like this need not be an enemy even as I work diligently to defeat each and every one of his preferred candidates. It is the simple things of community, a pleasant hour putting holes in targets or talking peacefully about controversial subjects that enrich life.

There is no reason on God’s green earth we cannot be friends.

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  1. Liberalism is a mental disorder. BTW, I am a recovering liberal (I voted for em’ all, McGovern, Carter (once, I voted against him the second time to punish Tip O’Neal), Mondale, Dukakis, twice for Clinton, my last vote for a Democrat). So, I know the illness, it’s a naive belief in the goodness of government. I finally realized that they only wanted my money, they didn’t give a hoot about the people on their plantation. Thank goodness, I recovered, but most don’t.

    • Mike, I would say, politics in general is a mental disorder. Since I have been legal to vote, I voted for Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Reagan, against Bush (41), Clinton, Clinton, Gore, Perry, and Obama. So with that track record, I guess I’m a recovering liberal and conservative, or naive to believe that they (politicians) are for the better good of the American people, silly me!
      So in my forty two years of following politics, and how they relate to society, the only real prosperous years (IMHO), were from 1994 to 2000. A democratic president who learned to legislate from the center, and a republican congress who worked together with that president, and maybe that’s what I thought might happen now.

      • the only real prosperous years (IMHO), were from 1994 to 2000

        That “prosperity” was a sham. Adelphia, Enron, Global Crossing, Tyco, WorldCom . . . shall I go on? These frauds made our economy look like it was humming along, but it wasn’t.

        We’ve been in an economic rut since the Arab oil embargoes. Before then, an American worker in a basic industry like auto and steel manufacturing could afford a decent home, a new car every few years, an education for the children and a spouse who didn’t need to work to make ends meet. Since then, what we’ve been seeing is a leveling of the world’s standard of living.

        Don’t be conned. It’s still great country, but it’s been badly mismanaged by the gangs of political pukes that run it. LIberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, those are just labels that mean nothing.

    • Reminds me when reagan was asked if he was part of the problem, (i dont remember what problem in particular) and he responded yes , because for many years he was a democrat. I will have to find the video.

  2. To be fair to Taurus 609, he vigorously denied being a liberal. Unfortunately as a writer I can only write what I comprehend. I freely admit that it is possible that Taurus 609 has a strong, rational political viewpoint that I simply do not get.

    That said, the article is ultimately my view that when the balloons are popped and the ballots are tallied, we are still neighbors and have to live with one another.

    • I don’t care if Taurus609 is a liberal as long as he’s not a gun grabber, which he isn’t. True liberals, conservatives, libertarians disagree more on means than ends. The gun grabbers just want to f^ck us over.

      • I used to agree with that, but I’ve come to believe that the ‘ends’ that each side envisions are much different, thus calls to ‘fundamentally transform’ the country. I always thought this was a pretty good country the way it was (mostly is). It’s probably too late anyway, the massive Federal government is probably unstoppable. Is it really that hard to see a future where ATF/FBI/Local LE no knock with SWAT teams to collect overdue parking tickets? The Feds are getting their noses into everything else.

  3. While “mental disorder” is an amusing rhetorical point, I think overused it both cheapens the idea of “mental disorder” and excuses us from engaging with the opponent in a rational fashion.

    I do not think Taurus609 is nuts. He has a life experience and from that flows his faith, assumptions and biases.

    By faith, I do not mean necessarily religious faith, either. Notions such as “government works for the public good” is as much a matter of faith as my faith in Providence.

    I do not agree with Taurus609 much beyond the 2nd Amendment and its importance, but he is not even remotely mentally ill and does not deserve to be dismissed as if he does.

    Not that this is what anyone was doing, I’m just saying.

    • Tim, never thought anything about someone calling or assuming I was mentally ill from our conversation or in the responses here. If there was any inkling during our shoot and talk that you thought I wasn’t quite there. I would imagine you would have got out the ZOMBIE rounds and put me down. Especially with that last group you did with the snub nose 38 at 21 ft! I still think you were hustling me to bet on our proficiency, but after that last group, the bets are off.

      • I could barely hit shit with the snub .38, it is the delightful Miss Carmen (M&P .40) that posted that lovely group.

        I think the Crimson Trace is out of alignment on Scarlet (that’s the name of S&W Airweight .38)

  4. I know several folks that are on the liberal side of politics yet we agree on the importance and necessity of the 2nd amendment. One is my cousin. He says he is left of our current president. He is a Southern boy and firmly believes in the 2nd Amendment and even covers shooting events as a photographer. Another is an Army civilian that I met while I was still Active Duty. About the only things we agree on politically are the need for a strong military and the 2nd Amendment. We do have some interesting discussions time to time and neither of us has changed the mind of the other on the issues we disagree on. That said, if either of us needed help and it was within the power of the other to do something we would.

    For the record, I consider myself a Constitutionalist with Libertarian leanings. At the local and state level I have an evenly mixed voting record. At the national level I’ve leaned Republican more often for House and Senate though I have voted Democrat a time or two. For President, I’ve yet to find a Democrat than I think I can trust.

  5. I would say that both parties are killing America as we know it. We need to get back to the less is more government and not the “lets outspend our GDP”. Also we need to kick the UN out of the US, get back to the constitution and worry less about how sharia law can be used in our courtroom.

  6. Sometimes, when I’ve been accused of overthinking politics, I believe that two political opponents can be nothing but enemies simply be nature of effect. In essence, democracy and politics are a matter not only of opinion, but of selfishness, i.e. “what can this politician do for me, screw the country’s well-being or other people’s well-being.” Not everyone feels or votes this way, and I will say that I think the left is far more guilty of this, but that’s neither here nor there.

    So, you two get together, have some disagreements, and part amiably. Fair enough, all well and good. But what happens when these opinions are put in a more severe context? What if the political stake was the proposed oppression or genocide of a certain group? What if the subject puts your family’s well-being or financial security at stake? And let’s face it…gun-grabbers indirectly want to put your lives at risk. Doesn’t that make them, in a word, enemies? Can you part amiably with someone and shrug his view off as “just an opinion” if he seeks your subjugation, death, or oppression?

    Political opinions are just threats that haven’t been enacted yet.

    • The way I heard it, Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. Democracy necessarily means multiple points of view, otherwise, why not one party rule (essentially a dictatorship). It’s the fallacy of both wanting the same end, but by different means, that I think is the issue here. In America today, I don’t think both sides see the same end at all.

      • But do we really have a two party system anymore? Or is it a conglomerate of corporations greasing both sides of the wheel to elect a puppet from either side of the isle? The problem we have today is that government should be “for the people” and what we have today is “for the Walmart” or “for the GE”. This is what people should be truly upset after. The rest is just reality TV for the little people to keep us entertained. Isn’t that what what our Emperor is for to entertain the mob?

        • If the government wasn’t into everything (subsidies, regulations) I doubt seriously many corporations would waste money on trying to influence it. Look at Microsoft, they had minimal contributions to politicians until the government launched an antitrust suit.

    • Trouble is, we can’t seem to elect enough at one time or over time who believe in the government we wish we had.

  7. First of all, to the author of this article, thank you.

    Second, it’s too bad that we’ve come to the place politically where such an article has to be written.

    • All of our traditions have to be transmitted from one generation to the next, all our values have to be demonstrated for the wee barbarians who come into the world mewling and ignorant.

      It is the way things are…

    • Actually Phil, I think this article was over due. While I thought that I would be raked over the coals, a good discussion has developed, and what’s wrong with that! I guess my problem is, is that I was brought up on Father Knows Best, and Leave it to Beaver, even though my own life was no where close to that. But the dream of growing up, getting a job (a good paying job) raising a family, and having a somewhat comfortable retirement, is gone or disappearing for most in our country. And this has been going on for the last four decades, under republican and democratic presidents, and congresses. So to say one side or the other has our backs or is doing what’s right for America, is a lie or at least a fallacy in my eyes.
      When I first responded to Tim in the Heller story, and got the ball rolling for the meet and shoot, that was what I was trying to express, that to say that one side would be our savour, is false. Both sides have used us, but I think that in reality the republicans have dropped the ball in our gun rights, when they had the power to do otherwise. And yes I know that liberals, and many democrats are anti-gun, but, and this is a big but, we know their agenda, it’s right out front, there’s no hiding it. But until the republicans show me and hopefully many others that they are on our side and will vote the correct way, I’m not giving them a pass!

  8. The word ‘Politics’ comes from the Latin ‘Poli’ meaning many and ‘tics’ meaning blood-suckers.

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