Category Archives: Inspiration

UPDATED: ‘Respek,’ Sheila Stokes-Begley

The column “A new Jewish pro-gun group: The Zelman Partisans,” by The Gun Writer, Lee Williams of the Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, FL), is a real coup for TZP. As Ali G., aka Sacha Baron Cohen, would have said: “Respek,” Sheila Stokes-Begley.

As someone who is hardly new to liberty (I began writing a weekly newspaper column in 1998, in Canada), but who takes her cues about Aaron’s legacy from individuals who were closely associated with him, forgive me for asking: If The Zelman Partisans is open to any and all—and I like the idea of inclusiveness in this cause—what makes us Jewish? I’m agnostic on the matter, if curious on just how we stay true to the advertized motto of “Jews. Guns. No compromise. No surrender.”

Again, kol hakavod, Sheila.

(Here is our Alexa ranking.)

UPDATE: Very well, Vladka Peltel (see comments below). My own writing and identity are inescapably informed by my Jewishness. I liked that JPFO had a rabbi on call who also reasoned powerfully—even brilliantly, and certainly biblically “against pacifism, and in defense of a ‘righteous killing.’ Rabbi Bendory also demonstrated a command of Hebrew grammar as well as impressive deductive, analytical thinking.” It would be hard to find another American rabbi in his league, and we should avoid recruiting a second-rate mind such as the two clowns mentioned in “American Rabbis For Israel First.”

In any case, you are all more Jewish than most Jews I know. This chat was most illuminating. Thanks.

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A Video to Make You Tear Up

It’s Tuesday morning, and I ran across this video that I felt I needed to share with you. There’s not much left to say that Aaron Weiss didn’t say in this flawless 3-minute speech.

It’s eloquent and true. Those of us who volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces know why we did so – and it’s not for that generous $1800 per month you receive as a PFC.

I graduated Johns Hopkins with a degree in International Relations, and there was little doubt in my mind about what I wanted to do. I gave it some thought for a few months, but in the end I joined the Army.

I joined, because I understood what it’s like to live in a tyrannical state where rights matter about as little as human beings do.

I joined, because I wanted to defend the freedoms and opportunities this nation afforded me – freedoms the former USSR, Nazi Germany, and every other statist hellhole has destroyed.

I joined, because when I came to this country as a kid, I realized that I had opportunities here to live, achieve, and succeed that I would have never had as a Jew in the USSR.

And I was grateful. I was grateful enough to put on that uniform and swear an oath to defend our Constitution and those freedoms with my blood and my life.

Regardless of who resides in that White House at 20220, that oath and that promise remains the same. Politicians come and go. We may agree with them, nor not. But our oath and our promise remains: should any enemy threaten our country, our Constitution, or our people we will be there.

The young man in this video understands this. He served to protect those rights we hold dear. He continues to do so on a local level as a law enforcement officer. And he let those statist swine in New York know that he – as a veteran and law enforcement officer – will actively oppose their efforts to destroy everything he swore to protect…

…and do so by hypocritically using the deaths of children at Newtown to do it.

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That Certain Jewish Je Ne Sais Quoi

On his bio, Y.B. ben Avraham claims he cannot write:

“Among Mr. ben Avraham’s panoply of noteworthy skills, writing is, sadly, not included.”

Self-deprecation is refreshing in the Age of the Ego and the Idiot. However, Avraham’s style reminds me of two Yiddish writers whom I studied in Hebrew, of course (I hope Israeli kids still study these remarkable, quintessentially Jewish writers): Sholem Aleichem and Yitskhok Peretz. This is a very good thing indeed. But don’t let what I’ve said go to your head. <grin> And don’t become too aware, or else you’ll lose the gift some older Jews still have.

Myron Pauli, a contributor to Barely A Blog, also has that certain Jewish je ne sais quoi. The younger generation of writers, Jewish and gentile, is like dessicated dust by comparison. Or dry good, which is how Irishman Oscar Wilde referred to American books.

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Beatifying Aaron — while ‘disappearing’ him

Yes, David old friend. “Some will no doubt object to this.”

Word came out earlier this week (to those not previously in the know) that JPFO founder Aaron Zelman received a postumous “Bill of Rights Award” at Alan Gottlieb’s 2014 Gun Rights Policy Conference.

Now, the GRPC is a big deal and surely few people on this planet deserve a Bill of Rights award more than Aaron (my friend, co-author, and tireless crusader for ALL the Bill of Rights).

But as fellow TZP blogger Sheila Stokes-Begley wrote in an email: “Coming from SAF, is this a little like Obama congratulating someone for being an excellent constitutional scholar? They may well be an excellent constitutional scholar, the problem lies in knowing the compliment came from a man who wouldn’t know a constitutional scholar from a cartoonist.”

As you may know, TZP was created in response (and in protest) to the Gottlieb/SAF buyout of JPFO. Short version of the story: Aaron Zelman was a man who never compromised on any issue of principle and Gottlieb never met a compromise he didn’t like.

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In the post linked above, David Codrea notes that he was “… invited to an evening working meeting/closed-door advisory session supplemental to the GRPC, and heard no evidence that there were plans to bastardize the mission, and plenty of plans to make the organization viable without involving compromises.”

Though I surely wish I could have been a fly on the wall at that meeting, I don’t doubt David’s description at all. David is a hero of gun rights and a man of great integrity. When he and the very sweet Kurt Hofmann decided to stay on with the new JPFO when Nicki, Sheila, Brad, Ilana, and I left, I wished them well.

But I admit I laughed when I read David’s description of that meeting. Because of course Gottlieb and Co. are not going to have a meeting in which they rub their hands together like cartoon villains and cackle “Bwaahahaaaa!” while they eeeeevilly plot to turn JPFO from a no-compromise outfit into some watered-down imitation of itself.

That’s not the way it works. In the world of corporations and politics, inconvenient predecessors are gotten rid of and policies and views are mutated … politely. Just as SAF is doing.

First they pull the cagey (though rather painfully obvious) PR stunt of “honoring” Aaron to show that they’re really not such bad guys after all. But that’s a cheap, meaningless gesture. It fools only those who haven’t been watching closely. Then they’re going to make some improvements to sadly neglected portions of JPFO’s infrastructure (oh, that creaky old website!). They may come out with a few new projects. They’ll almost certainly use Gottlieb/Merrill’s huge fundraising operation to bring in a lot more money. At first things will look GOOD! GOOD! GOOD! By golly, look what wonders SAF is doing to save the legacy of Aaron Zelman and preserve gun rights!

Then slowly, over a period of years, they’ll turn JPFO into …

… into what, it’s hard to say. Will it just be some bland, almost-forgotten thing? That’s what KeepAndBearArms.com became after Gottlieb bought it. One of the most lively, popular gunsites on the ‘Net is now a backwater.

Or will JPFO live and appear to thrive while subtly toning down its positions?

At this point, nobody can say. I can only say that it’s simply not within Gottlieb’s character to perpetuate Aaron’s character.

Very likely the first real test will be how the new JPFO responds the next time Gottlieb pushes for universal background checks. Don’t ever forget that Gottlieb called Manchin-Toomey a “win” and a “godsend.” Although he eventually removed his support from that particular bill, he still advocates universal background checks. He was still pumping hard for them at this year’s GRPC.

And this was after buying JPFO, folks. This was during the same weekend as that meeting to pretend that JPFO will be allowed to live “without compromises.”

So tell me this: Next time Gottlieb pushes his UBC agenda, what will JPFO’s staff and writers do? Go along quietly? Keep their mouths shut? Actually agree with Gottlieb?

Or will they — as they would do if JPFO remained its real self — shout to the rooftops that UBCs are wrong, dangerous, anti-rights, a front door to registration, and a backdoor to confiscation? Will JPFO’s spokespeople bravely inform the world that Gottlieb is selling us all out?

And if JPFO writers and staff actually did have the courage and fortitude to speak up and oppose their boss, what will SAF and Gottlieb do then? Will Gottlieb applaud and say, “Isn’t it great? See, I really meant it when I said I wanted JPFO to remain hardcore and uncompromising?”

Or will he purge the purists (or let them quit in protest and replace them with more compliant types) and continue what was always inevitable — making JPFO over in his own image?

Time will decide. Maybe — could be — Gottlieb will give up his advocacy of universal government control of firearm sales and avoid that potential conflict. But he and some of his shadier minions can wave awards over Aaron’s grave every day of the week and it wouldn’t change a thing. “Honoring” dead people is one of the tidier ways of turning them into powerless pictures on a wall, names on a plaque, hallowed (and ignored) institutions — and therefore shoving their real, inconvenient views out of the conversation.

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* Shady minions do not include David, Kurt, or webmaster Chris, who are all great people worthy of high regard.

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The future of the Second Amendment

I’ve written about Shyanne Roberts before. She’s a terrific kid and a champion shooter. I consider her the future of gun rights in America and what every child interested in shooting should look to as an example.

I’ve spoken to Shyanne on the phone. We spent nearly an hour talking about her sport, her future, and her dreams. She’s a sweetheart. She has a wide range of interests that includes things that every normal 10-year-old likes, such as music and cooking, and some that are considered unusual in the culture of fear and apprehension that seems to have permeated our once proud society.

In a world where shrieking shrews and power-hungry politicians try to disarm the populace and turn it into a herd of compliant sheep, Shy Roberts wants to be an inspiration.

“Kids and guns don’t always mean bad things happen.”

In a world where kids are taught to be afraid of tools of defense, and to rely on others for their own safety, Shyanne Roberts is a breath of fresh air.

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