The Kinder Gap: Say You Want a Revolution?

  1. The City of God
  2. The Kinder Gap
  3. Cybercash

“I started reading the newsgroups out here a few months ago after a couple of years hiatus. The changes in what people say, or what people are willing to say are profoundly disturbing. When people used to talk about revolution it was mostly members of the posing Left, college revolutionaries, and the occasional wild-eyed Know Nothing. Now I see people with a stake in the system talking seriously about violent resistance against the duly elected government. People a lot closer to the center on both sides seem to be truly in fear of an oppressive police state.”--Todd Ellner, alt.society.civil-liberty

“Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He’d better have a bodyguard.”--Senator Jesse Helms, speaking for his constituents in North Carolina.

No one on talk.politics.guns argues for “sporting purposes”. The more vocal members of the gun politics group are nearly as revolutionary as the people who wrote the second amendment. “The current panic in buying guns is not driven by fear of crime, but rather fear of our own government”. (?)

This talk of revolution is not limited to gun politics: you’ll see it in groups as diverse as talk.politics.misc, alt.politics.civil-liberties, talk.politics.drugs, alt.society.civil-liberties, and alt.motherjones. You’ll see it from businessmen, housewives, and students; from Blacks and Jews and Koreans and Whites. Revolt is an equal opportunity employer.

When the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms pulled their surprise raid on the Branch Davidians, the outspoken majority on the net was outraged that the Federal government would call an armed assault on a religious group who were minding their own business in the middle of nowhere. But if truth be known--and it’s hard for the truth not to be known on the net, facts have a way of coming forth--the Bureau has very few proponents on the information highway. They’ve managed to alienate everyone they have any contact with. The free speech folks are outraged that reading a publicly available magazine was part of the reason for the assault. (!) The religious freedom proponents believe that the Davidians were chosen because they aren’t a mainstream religious group.

The second amendment folks? Well, so far, no one has shown that the Davidians had any illegal arms. In the trial, the government didn’t even bother to try: rather than attempt to convict the Davidians on the original charges, they made up some new ones. (!)

The fourth amendment folks believe that no-knock, armed raids are, without question, unreasonable. In the last few years, the BATF has managed to rile up everyone from beer drinkers and microbrewers to model rocket enthusiasts. Gun owners are merely the point for the attack. In a call for government efficiency a few years back some congressmen proposed that the BATF be merged with the FBI, but the FBI wouldn’t take ‘em, citing their inferior training. Critics on both the right and the left have called them jack-booted gestapo, (!) and their antics have resulted in such strange bedfellows as the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union crying for investigations.

There are now entire Internet sites set up to spread information about BATF abuses of power, from their stand-off with Randy Weaver (!) to their strange raids on people such as Janice Hart and John Lawmaster, in which they have a knack for terrorizing innocent people and being more of a danger to the communities they “protect” than the dangerous criminals they see under every bush.

But the BATF are not the only reason that talk on the net is breaking over into revolution. When talk of the second amendment (!) comes up, sporting purposes never even make the agenda. The founding fathers were quite clear about what the second was supposed to stand for: “The great object is that every man be armed”. (?)

The goal was an armed citizenry that could keep the government in check. Thomas Jefferson went so far to say, after Shays’ Rebellion, that the rebels should be dealt with leniently, so as not to discourage rebellion in the future. (?) He wrote that “the spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.” (?)

Thomas Jefferson would have been well at home on the infobahn. He believed that the only good government is a scared government, and I doubt anything scares the government more than the anarchical freedom of the Internet. The only thing saving the government right now is that most Internet access ramps don’t fall under the jurisdiction of libraries. Librarians know how to stand tall when faced with government snooping; all that most system administrators know how to do is compile free computer programs, play global Star Trek, and bow to authority.

Some of the books you’ll find on the net amidst the cookbooks, card games, and Koran translations include guides to building bombs, guides to phreaking, (!) and guides to caching firearms. The bomb guides and phreaking guides are not a problem, placed there by children, who, ten years down the road, will be bankers and business owners, embarrassed that they ever thought of such a thing. The guides to caching firearms, however, are written by people who are already bankers and business owners. They’re worried that their own government is going to try and abridge their natural right to self-defense. They’re worried about social security falling apart, rising police power in the suburbs as well as the ghettos, and nationalized police forces taking power out of the community and into Washington DC. They’re willing to take the risk that their name will be taken down by some “three-letter agency” in order to help the rest of the net prepare for what they see as a possibly dismal future.

Not everyone who talks about revolution talks about violent revolution. On talk.politics.drugs, a large number of people are working for the overthrow of the remnants of prohibition. During the ‘progressive’ era in the early part of this century, many drugs were made illegal, from opium to coca to alcohol, and later marijuana. We managed to recognize the link between prohibition and violence, between prohibition and drugs becoming more dangerous. It became very clear that prohibiting alcohol only made the alcohol trade a killing trade, and turned beers into bathtub gin.

But when the twenties ended, we only fixed the problem with respect to alcohol and left prohibition in place for opium and coca. Some of the folks on talk.politics.drugs believe we can do for drug smugglers what we did for bootleggers: drive them out of business by re-legalizing illegal drugs.

For many, revolution is simply reform. Minorities who want firearms don’t necessarily want a revolution; they want to be able to protect themselves against racist violence. There’s an entire organization of Jews who fight gun control because they believe it leads to genocide. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership even sells T-shirts with a picture of Adolf Hitler holding his hand out in the Nazi salute, and the slogan “all in favor of gun control, raise your right hand.”

Jews aren’t the only revolutionaries on the net. There are not a few gays who pack and let you know the reason why.

CUAV (Communities United Against Violence... a local NPO serving victims of hate crimes/domestic violence) reported that there have been 87 hate crimes this year alone in San Francisco. If SEVEN of those had been prevented through ‘peace through superior firepower’ how many of the OTHER eighty would have occurred?

When a lesbian commune came under fire in a small town south of the Mason-Dixon, I heard nothing about it until I heard about it on the net. Attacked by local homophobes with guns, the community had been unable to get any help from the authorities, until they started packing heat too, at which point the local government was overjoyed to step in and ‘protect’ them from the homophobes. It may have crossed the minds of the more cynical that the police were really there to protect the gay bashers from themselves--and from the consequences of their actions if they decided to take on an armed lesbian commune.

Those gay-bashers, like the Ku Klux Klan before them, have begun to understand the need for gun control. Without it, their victims might actually defend themselves instead of relying on a police force that doesn’t give a flying fuck about a bunch of homos.

The Internet was designed to help researchers across the vast American wasteland maintain communications. It has been a great boon for the American militia movement. ‘Militias’ are groups of individuals who prepare for civil emergencies by training with firearms, much like there are radio operators who prepare for civil emergencies by training with radio communications, and burglars who prepare for civil emergencies by looting your home. The infobahn allows local militias across the country to trade information about how to set up: how to contact and deal with local authorities, and how to organize their membership.

NBC has decided that this is some grand paramilitary movement setting up to overthrow the United States Government. (?) And they’re right. There ain’t no doubt about it. That’s what the founding fathers meant for the militias to do: keep the state and federal governments scared of the people. The founders shared talk.politics.guns member Christopher Morton’s view that “Government needs to be humiliated on a regular basis.” (!)

The Internet, and the way the Internet encourages activism, is going to be as much a tool for that as the rifle ever was. If politicians want to make their presence known on the infobahn, they’ll have to actually be responsive to their constituents. They won’t be able to simply dump a press release and go out for a round of golf.

From: *PA* <hal>
Newsgroups: talk.politics.guns
Subject: Re: NBC smears militia movement
Date: 1 Dec 1994 23:35:59 GMT

[k--ar--s] at [] writes: >NBC Nightly News tonight (11/30) featured the usual smear job
>on the citizens’ militia movement, implying association with
>racist militant groups, and particularly targeting the use
>of computer networks as an organizing and communications tool.

Absolutely. The government is now feeling a little leery about the “Information Superhighway”.

Maybe soon we will see the typical anti-Second Amendment mentality take over the liberal’s favorite:

Remember this?

“The founding fathers never envisioned the people of America being able to own ‘assault weapons’ They maybe meant for people to own muskets... I don’t even know about that... I mean, it does say militia”

Now imagine this:

“The founding fathers never envisioned the people of American being able to use a communication device as extensive and immediate (not to mention in some cases, anonymous) as the Internet. They maybe meant for people to own printing presses... I don’t even know about that... I mean, we do have newspapers... and isn’t that what they really intended?”

Be on the look out for “We need to have some restrictions on the Internet”... It’s coming to a country near you...

As always, there are those who think that NBC’s interest in this matter is less than objective: the Internet is more than just a competitor, it’s the future, and it’s currently a future that doesn’t include mere broadcasting: broadcasting is by definition a one way communication.

Hal’s worries weren’t exactly prophetic. Representative Gerald B. Solomon, R-NY, had already expressed exactly that view two months earlier:

DATE October 6, 1994
PAGE E2111

Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, it was recently brought to my attention that drug legalization advocates are using the electronic information superhighway to organize the legalization movement and share information on drug use. The information superhighway was certainly not created to propagate such misinformation and the criminal activity associated with it.

This use was brought to my attention by drug legalization opponents who use the information superhighway everyday in their vocations. Apparently, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws recently entered remarks which I personally made in opposition to drug legalization on this House floor as an example of `rabid, right-wing prohibitionist propaganda.’

I fear for the kind of message the children growing up in the 1990’s are receiving. Pro-drug use and legalization messages on the information superhighway through Internet are wrong.

I was appalled to learn that this information even includes such things as tips on growing marijuana and ways to evade law enforcement. As more and more Americans jump onto this latest technological advancement, more and more citizens will have access to this ill-advised information.

As Congress reviews this very important technology during the 104th Congress, the use of this service by pro-drug organizations and individuals for the propagation of this ilk must be addressed. As a nation founded on the freedoms of speech and press, the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must not be trampled by the disease of illegal drugs. (?)

The response on the net? “Who the hell is the moron that put this guy in office.” But neither the Representative nor the voter who put him are that much of a moron. The idea that “a nation founded on the freedoms of speech and press” could use those very ideals to justify trampling such freedoms is as old as the anti-sedition laws following Washington’s presidency. And the idea that “citizens” are too stupid to discern “ill-advised information” without the help of noble censors has been around for as long as there have been politicians who want to rule rather than serve.

There have been at least two vandalizations of federal web sites. The treasury and the air force have both been hit, their home pages transformed into political satire and tirades. “One of the people involved in the actual break-in was only 15” according to the man claiming responsibility. (?)

What can rebels do on the net? The same thing everyone else does: pass information. Part of it is going on right now. In the discussion titled “Revolution and Talk of Fear on the Internet”, potential rebels discuss the optimum size of individual rebel ‘cells’--whether four people or eight to ten people is best, for example, or even thirty to two hundred.

If a revolution is to be fought and won, it cannot be won with standing armies of the traditional unit size favored by professional soldiers. That’s *their* game. If you play *their* game, by *their* rules, *they* will win, because that is the type of war that they are prepared to fight.

A winning revolutionary strategy circumvents the military entirely and makes the best use possible of the reluctance of US soldiers to fire on US citizens. The best way to keep a US soldier from firing upon you is not to shoot at him/her. US soldiers, in the aftermath of Mai Lai, have been heavily conditioned against shooting “civilians”. Revolutionaries are therefore best served by looking as much like “civilians” as possible.

A revolution will be effective only if fought *not* against the US military, but instead against the US government. In the first American Revolution,

Many, if not most, of the people involved in this discussion will have nothing to do with any revolution that may or may not show up in the future. But they can take part in the discussion and perhaps even have an influence on what happens. So that’s number one: armchair rebels on the infobahn can theorize the best way to succeed at revolution. But they can also bring together those who are willing to carry the rifles. Those who are now holding down normal jobs because they believe that no one else is willing to help them. The revolutionaries are there. They just believe they’re all alone.

Subject: Re: Fed level RKBA
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 1996 14:41:14 -0400
From: [n--l] at [] (Neil Dickey)

I had long nursed the suspicion that if the government were not reined in that it would eventually provoke an armed insurrection in the American People. I offered this suggestion to a variety of people during the course of a vacation I took one year, and found that the responses ranged from a thoughtful nod of the head to enthusiastic agreement. These people were from all walks of life. That’s when I really began to worry.

Succeeding at revolution is only part of the battle, and not a very important part at that. Before anyone can succeed, the revolution has to actually start. Where government tyranny is the spark of revolution, the winds whistling down Internet Mountain can fan that spark to a conflagration. When a government paramilitary organization such as the BATF fucks up, it’s news on the net, and the outrage and discussion spreads to the furthest electronic corner of the nation. That’s number two: the infobahn exposes injustices for all potential rebels to see.

In any rebellion or civil war, one of the biggest goals of the attackers is to take over the media outlets. Likewise, the defenders dare not lose control of the television, radio, and newspaper services. Yesterday, this was easy. How many television and radio stations exist in your town? How many newspaper offices? In Hesperia there were none. Our nearest neighbor had one radio station and one newspaper. Tomorrow it won’t matter how many television stations there are. What matters will be the number of on-ramps to the information highway. Every home will be a media outlet. Number three is a wildcard. The government can’t keep control of the media, nor will the rebels be able to take over all of the media. But each will have access to it at all times. Number three ensures that the fight for media control will be as much a fight of words as a fight of guns and tanks, and the battle will spill into every living room.

Unless you put the revolution in your kill file, of course.

Committees of Correspondence

More deadly than all this are the modern equivalents of Samuel Adams’ and John Hancock’s Committees of Correspondence, trading tips on how to break into politics the hard way: legally.

NOBAN, for example, is a coalition of various net-aware organizations. While the members come from a wide variety of views, NOBAN has one goal, the repeal of the Black Rifle and Magazine Ban of 1994. NOBAN has a pretty high opinion of itself, having just come out of the DeFoleyate campaign that unseated the Democrat (and anti-freedom) Speaker of the House. NOBAN courts libertarians, democrats, republicans alike: as long as they support repealing the 1994 ban on certain rifles:

On Fri, Mar 31, 1995 at 8:38 AM CST, Don Silberger <silbergd> wrote:

This is just a brief note to tell you that, in my opinion, the Libertarian Party is missing an absolutely marvellous opportunity. You have heard, perhaps, of the NOBAN coalition? It is the reassembled pieces of DF8 (DeFoleyate) which unseated the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, the sole goal of DF8 and after which that PAC dissolved itself. The sole goal of NOBAN is to overturn the weapons provisions of the so-called Omnibus Crime Bill which was passed last Fall, and which was probably the greatest single force to bring down the Democratic House. (?)

And those of us who drive bicycles also correspond occasionally on the need for self-defense.

From [4--6] at [] Thu Mar 23 08:32:42 PST 1995
From: [4--6] at [] (Robert A. Ball)
Newsgroups: rec.bicycles.misc
Subject: Re: Carrying a Gun while riding
Date: 22 Mar 1995 05:37:08 GMT

Mr. Nice Guy ([r--nd--s] at []) wrote:
: You are correct. A gun mounted on a mountain bike would soon get
: too muddy to use. The proper way to carry your gun on a mountain
: bike is in a fanny pack holster.

The military has been at least somewhat successful by strategically wrapping a weapon in a plastic bag and duct tape; being careful to permit easy and quick use. While a duct-taped garbage bag item might look odd on your favorite mountain bike, people will only ridicule you for it...once.

Robert Ball, EMT-P and not quite a FNG cyclist
[4--6] at []

Fuck the Law

The net has no monopoly on rebellious thoughts. That’s the realm of the young and starry-eyed, on the net or off.

“I’m beginning to think that initiatives are the wrong way to go”, said a young man, a new NORML recruit who believes that marijuana saved his life from cancer chemotherapy. “We have to ignore the laws. If they’re stupid laws, it’s stupid for us to acknowledge them. I’ve got a pot plant this high right next to my welcome mat. If that doesn’t say fuck you, I don’t know what does. When I was fifteen I could hardly even walk on my own. My biggest goal was to pee without help. Now they want to arrest me for growing a plant?! The only medicine that ever helped me? Fuck them.”

The same night, Diane Anshell, the local NORML point person, announced that NORML has changed it’s ‘R’, from reform to repeal. It turns out that this was merely discussed and not approved, but the thought is a good one. If the bastion of Uncle Tomism in the modern age can go on the offensive, why are the rest of us still taking shit from the men in black & blue? When sick people have to break the law for comfort, how can it not create disrespect for law? As one AIDS patient, who smokes marijuana to relieve his suffering, said, “I’m dying. Fuck the law.” (?)

And not even the men in blue are immune to thoughts of revolution:

From: [k d w] at [] (Ken Whitehead)
Newsgroups: talk.politics.guns
Subject: Re: “CopKillerTeflonBullets”, Redux (Was: !ATTENTION LIMBICILES
Date: 11 Apr 1995 12:18:40 GMT

someone who wishes to remain anonymous writes:
>If you want to punch through a bullet resistant vest, you use a rifle, such
>as .223. Or shoot in the face.

It happens that one of the ranges that I frequent has a lot of cops that go there to shoot (Stonewall, Cleveland suburban area). Not so long ago I went over there to shoot and just happened to be checking in at the same time as a couple of LEO’s that I am acquainted with. We made a little casual conversation then went inside to the range and they set up at stalls several lanes down from me. As I was getting ready to shoot, I was aware that they had become interested in something, so I went over to take a look.

They were taking down a black silhouette target from a previous shooter. The target was riddled with holes, in a fairly tight pattern. The torso of the target was clean; all the shots were in the head.

“Somebody’s been doing BATF drills,” remarked one of the cops. The other cop laughed.

I guess I found that odd. It sure didn’t sound like they liked BATF. I figured there would be a “brother LEO” attitude, but maybe not.

I can tell you this: my copy of William Powell’s The Anarchist Cookbook has a Universal Product Code stamped on it.

When I use the term revolution, I do not use it in the same context or with the same meaning of Che Guevara, or Lenin, or anyone else. I see “the revolution” as a humanistic change, which may or may not incorporate violence. It must be a revitalization of the American system to take us back to the real moral and political principles adopted in 1776. Maybe I am not a revolutionary, but then it’s all terminology, and more intolerance has sprung out of semantic misunderstandings than any other cause. (?)

In other words, the Internet will be the center of any revolution tomorrow.

  1. Lew Glendenning, “Subject: Re: Revolution, fear, and evolution of talk on the Internet”, talk.politics.guns .
  2. Part of the reasoning for the warrant was that the Davidians subscribed to “Shotgun News”. The BATF claimed it was a “clandestine” magzine. One assumes they don’t read the newspaper, as it’s a widely read, perfectly legal firearms magazine, available at your local newsstand.
  3. At the moment, the government seems to have lost the trial but won the war: the Davidians were found not guilty, but many are still in jail, years later.
  4. Democrat Representative John Dingell and NRA spokesperson Wayne LaPierre, at separate times.
  5. They had help from federal marshalls in botching the raid, and from the FBI in botching the resulting standoff.
  6. A well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
  7. Patrick Henry, from the Virginia Convention ratifying the Constitution; quoted in the Report of the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, 97th congress, Gov. Doc 88-618 O, 1982.
  8. Letter to Edward Carrington, January 16, 1787; quoted in Paul L. Ford (ed.) The Works of Thomas Jefferson (NY, 1904-5), Vol. V, pp. 254-56
  9. Letter to Abigail Adams, February 22, 1787; ibid.
  10. Phreaking is a form of computer hacking taking place within the telephone system, involving stealing phone time or services.
  11. Nightly News, November 30, 1994, reported on talk.politics.guns.
  12. “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”--Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Dec. 20, 1787, quoted from Papers of Jefferson edited by Boyd et al.
  13. From the House of Representatives Gopher . Look in Legislative Resources and Congressional Record for the 103rd 2nd session. You might also complain about the U.S. Code item while you’re there if it still isn’t working.
  14. New York Times, December 31, 1996, p. A9.
  15. From the NOBAN mailing list digest, V95 #38.
  16. Tracy Cone, San Jose Mercury News, “Reefer Madness”, quoting Martin Simmons. May 14, 1995.
  17. William Powell, The Anarchist Cookbook, Chapter Four: Explosives and Booby Traps, p. 112.
  1. The City of God
  2. The Kinder Gap
  3. Cybercash