The recent midterm elections angered a lot of people. In states like Washington, voter initiatives passed that severely curtail the Second Amendment. Over and over, one or two cities in a state dictate the laws and culture for the rest of the state, even if 95% or more of that state is diametrically opposed to what the city residents want. What makes the constant squeezing of firearm rights in Washington even more infuriating is that there’s a large contingent of active firearm rights activists. Every year there’s another rally (or three), every year they write their elected representatives and “fight.” Their members are constantly sharing “information” (usually in the form of links and memes) on social media, and coordinating for various activities meant to “raise awareness” or “get the word out.” In other words, there’s not a lack of action.

There’s just one problem. None of it is working.  In April of this year, I penned an article titled “Why Gun Rallies are Pointless,” and it was not well-received by the gun rights crowd. Why would a former gun activist suddenly argue against the very thing they used to help organize? The answer is simple: at this stage of the game, they don’t further the cause, and may even harm it. Optics, unfortunately, are a critical part of the action; I can tell you from experience that it only takes one idiot to ruin them — and there is always at least one. What’s more, when your optics are poor, not only will you not recruit public support for your cause (which you need), but you’ll actually degrade the public support you have.

Now that WA has passed yet another ridiculously unconstitutional gun law, the residents in that state (and California, and Maryland, etc.) have some choices to make.

  • Should they keep sending money to the NRA, or to the Second Amendment Foundation?
  • Should they be putting time and money into organizing and attending rallies?
  • Should they be putting time and effort into “educating the public” about constitutional rights and firearms?
  • Should they continue to organize events in which they’re talking to or contacting their elected officials?
  • Is there something better they could be doing with their time, money, and efforts?

Let’s break it down. The NRA and SAF, by default, will go out of business if they win their fight. Every 2A setback is actually a boon to organizations like them, for it results in yet another fundraising opportunity. What happens if they achieve their stated goals? They 1) lose their massive funding (and salaries), and 2) lose their public face. Who would need organizations that “fight for the Second Amendment” if there wasn’t a constant pressure to change, ignore, or even get rid of it? In short, orgs like the NRA and SAF need the conflict — and they need to keep losing the war while winning just enough small battles to give you the impression they’re getting things done. You, however, don’t need to fund it.

When it comes to gun rallies, I’ve already explained why that’s a bad idea. Nothing changes.

Should you be educating the public? Well, that depends on how you go about doing that. Are you bringing your rifle into your local diner at low carry and “educating” people by scaring them to death? Slinging a loaded, chambered rifle across your back and marching into Starbucks to make a point? There are ways to educate the public, but the goal of that education isn’t just knowledge, it’s support. You need the public to support you, if you’re going to interface with them on that level at all. If you’re scaring them, they aren’t going to support you. In fact, they’re going to keep pushing for stupid laws that make you a criminal. Save your time.

Should you contact your elected officials through letter writing campaigns and/or visits to their office? Maybe the better question to ask is how has that worked out so far? Every year in WA there’s a gun rally in which people go in and talk to their elected representative. Every year this event happens, and yet every year each rep votes exactly how they were probably going to without the rally. But, everyone involved can feel like they did their part…while nothing changes. Do you think your elected officials aren’t aware of the constitutional right to bear arms? They do not care. It’s that simple. You could stand outside their office every day for a year, and they would not care. Save your money, save your time, save the target you’re putting on your face. There are better uses for all of those things.

Is there something else you could be doing with your money and time? Absolutely. In fact, here’s a list of things you could be buying or doing instead of paying for gas to yet another rally, sitting on the internet complaining and sharing memes, or engaging in yet another pointless exercise:

  • An 80% lower.
  • Parts for that lower, including replacements for if/when the originals break.
  • Maintenance supplies for the firearms and knives you already have.
  • Hard copies of books on preparedness and various skills you don’t have yet.
  • Communications gear (which you don’t need much of, and can get for a pretty good price.)
  • Medical supplies, including IV supplies, antibiotics and/or any prescription medications you need or are dependent on.
  • Training so that you know how to actually use all of the gear and supplies you have.
  • Food that can be stored.
  • Parts for your vehicle that may break down or need replacement.
  • Firewood.
  • Hand tools and woodworking supplies.
  • Magnesium and iron oxide.
  • Encrypted USB sticks for your personal data.
  • Stuff to hold a neighborhood BBQ and get to know/network with your neighbors.
  • Pool chlorine, bleach, vinegar, and other sanitation supplies.
  • Supplies to print, bind, or otherwise organize the resources and information you find on the internet and want to keep for later.
  • A small flock of chickens or other livestock that can make you sustainable in at least one area (even if it’s just not having to buy eggs anymore).
  • Seeds for vegetables and medical herbs — enough heirloom varieties to be able to plant again even if you have a bad crop and can’t harvest seeds one year.

You could be doing any of the following:

  • Reading every single good book on skills, mindset, or tactics you can get your hands on.
  • Studying the various groups and factions on the Left at a level far deeper than your standard “Left is bad” memes.
  • Practicing your newfound skills.
  • Talking to your family and friends and trying to get them on board.
  • Teaching your spouse and kids the skills you’re learning.
  • Keeping track of the players in your local area, as well as any leverage points, capability, etc.
  • Taking a “Citizen Academy” course with your local sheriff’s office to not only meet and establish rapport with local law enforcement but also understand THEIR capabilities and mindset in your local area; adjust your plans based on what you learn (good or bad).
  • Volunteering in your community.
  • Learn how to do extreme couponing to maximize your food and supply purchases.
  • Joining your local volunteer fire department and taking advantage of the full array of training, access, and networking opportunities available.
  • Sharing your knowledge and skills with folks in your area so they can learn it too.
  • Setting up avenues of barter among neighbors and contacts.
  • Set up allies/associates networks that you can use to get/do things you need.
  • Getting yourself in better physical shape.
  • Run for (very) local office: school board, town/city council, etc.
  • Work towards partial sustainability to free up more cash — learn how to make soap (and even the lye for the soap), mend clothes, knit/crochet, and think of other things you can make or re-purpose instead of always buying from the store.

The possibilities are endless, limited only by your own needs and creativity. Every one of the things above will take some effort, time, and money; they will also, however, will help you and your situation more than going to another rally or writing another form letter to your elected officials. You’ll definitely accomplish more than the NRA or SAF has. If you’re thinking, “but I don’t have time for all of this,” then perhaps you should start paring down nonessential activities. Maybe instead of being PART of the system, you could try living outside of it as much as possible, and simply spending your time and money getting you and your family, neighborhood, and immediate community prepared for whatever comes.

Time is short. Spend wisely, learn much, and practice often.

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