Vincent Farnsworth 6:31 p.m., Dec. 4
"No matter if a dictatorship comes from the left or the right--it's still a dictatorship!"--Perry Deane Young.
I often get missives in the mail from groups wanting my cash, my time, or for me to join them (more often than not...all three!) Most of these pre-programed mail cluster-bombs comes from the reading material I subscribe to. If you subscribe to magazine "A," be prepared to get a blizzard of mail from "like-minded" groups that got your address through Direct Marketing.
Since I am a bit of a gun buff (and enjoy target shooting to blow off steam), I often subscribe to various magazines devoted to firearms. GUNS, Gun-Tests, American Handgunner...these magazines have a lot of great info about various firearms, both old and new. I also subscribe to the Dillon Press, since they have info about historic firearms (the rest of that rag is outright crud).
Of them all, I like Gun-Tests the best. I call them "The Consumer Reports of the Firearms Press," mainly because they accept no outside advertising; buy their "test weapons du jour" off the rack; and give you a good idea of what should be in your gun cabinet (and what deserves melting into slag).
However, there is a hidden hazard to subscribing to such magazines...the NRA comes a'calling! That's right, kids, the National Rifle Association uses Direct Marketing lists to find prospective members, then sends an invite for said "gun-bunny" to join up for $25/yr. The sad truth is that their "invite" is heavy on histrionics, light on true facts...and flavored for the "Neo-Con" crowd and farther right! They do imply that if you are a liberal, you should not join the NRA unless you change your political outlook.
Their vapid prose is so chock-full of Level Three paraniod psychosis as to make me wonder if Wayne LaPierre had been putting something in his morning coffee besides sugar-and-cream (benzadrine, anyone?). If I was running my beak with the same vapidity that Mr. LaPierre uses in his letters, I'd be put in five-point restraints, given a dose of Haldol in the hip, and left to sleep off my episode!
However, I do like their house magazine The American Rifleman. A lot of it, I can do without. However, I do like the articles on new weapons, classic firearms. and the like. "The Armed Citizen" is always good for a laugh. Not at the folks who had to defend themselves at gunpoint, mind--but at those toad tushes who often forget that "YOU LOOT--I SHOOT!" is a very real hazard indeed!
To be perectly blunt, joining up with the NRA is not a matter of political affiliation--nor should it ever be! You need not be a conservative to enjoy the shooting sports, nor to enjoy reading about the latest-and-greatest in firearms technology. After all, radio host Ed Schultz is not only a gun owner, but also a liberal whose show is on the Jones Radio Network (if you have satellite radio, you can catch JNR and Air America), which is run by Mother Jones Magazine (one of the most liberal-oriented political magazines in publication).
Whether you, my dear readers, should join-or-not is up to you. And to be perfectly blunt, groups like the NRA need to ditch the anti-liberal bias and realize that just as not all liberals desire to end private ownership of firearms, not all conservatives are too keen on allowing the public to keep their weapons. Be it from the left or the right, the first thing a dictatorship will do is take the guns out of the hands of all civilians. Both Stalin and Hitler did so when they took power...for they knew that if the common folks didn't like the dictator-in-question's style of rule--and the masses still had weapons? That dictator wasn't going to be around very long...and would get the same end Mussolini and his mistress did!
Firearms ownship is a subject that is best left to the individual. As long as you train with them, learn how to maintain them properly, and use them lawfully? Then you have nothing to be ashamed about. No matter what your ploitical persuasion is!