InfoShok: American Intifada

  1. Alpha, Beta, Gamma
  2. InfoShok
  3. Another Lost Soul on the Information Highway

As I write this, it seems that revolution has returned to the United States after a 120-year hiatus. My first reaction on hearing of the explosion at the Oklahoma office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, was Serves ‘em right. Live by fire, die by fire. Sorrow for the innocent lives lost came second.

That’s a new one for this bleeding heart liberal, but I wasn’t alone. Especially not on the net.

I can guarantee you this much: the next time I’m in a federal building whose demise I’d cheer, I’m going to keep a close eye out for rental cars. In one fell swoop, fertilizer and motor oil killed more people than all the assault weapons in America ever have, more than were killed by all the handgun and rifle wielders that day.

That’s a pretty heavy load of fertilizer.

President Clinton has been ragging on and on that talk radio is “fanning the flames of hate” and causing distrust of government. Talk radio has done no such thing. All it has done is let people who already distrust government--most of us--realize just how widespread this distrust is. Talk radio lets the people who listen to it realize they aren’t alone.

Talk radio is nothing compared to the effects of the Internet. Remember? People who think they’re alone suddenly discover a peer group on the net. Discussion of how federal officials are in it solely for power is one of the biggest topics on the net. Talk radio has a big problem--if you want to listen to it and realize you’re not alone, you have to work your schedule around their schedule. On the net, you go on-line whenever is convenient for you. The Internet blows talk radio out of the building when it comes to “fanning the flames”.

It’s called “freedom of association”. It’s in the constitution, all you have to do is look.

Ham Radio and the Net

Governments have always known how dangerous it can get when the people start talking politics. In the past, they’ve had enough warning to do something about it.

“Ham Radio” has been around since the turn of the century. It is officially known as Amateur Radio. The “Amateur” comes from when the word amateur meant not commercial. These guys (and, unlike the net, the ham radio world is still a “guy” domain) are anything but amateur; they can talk phase-loop flux capacitor with the best of ‘em.

The pioneers of ham radio had enough interference from sunspots and electrical storms, they didn’t need any from the government. But they got it anyway. One of the biggest thrills for them was “DX”--the Morse code abbreviation for talking with other radio operators in other countries.

The governments of the world took notice of this real quick. Amateur Radio didn’t sneak through an “Academic Research” phase like the Internet. Right from the start it was for jawing with other people. And because of this, right from the start it’s been under government control. The governments of the world got together and drew up a list of what you could not talk about on ham radio, and politics was at the top of the list. (!)

Now, I doubt that the political discussion that the United States meant to hamper was quite the same as the political discussion feared by, say, Kaiser Germany, or, later, Soviet Russia. When they said “no politics”, they meant “no planning a fucking revolution, peons.”

Today, the “no politics” rule means that hams don’t talk about current events. I doubt it would stand up in court in the United States, but it hasn’t, as far as I know, ever been tested, because hams don’t have time to talk politics. They’re too busy talking phase loops and flux capacitors. Amateur Radio requires technical proficiency, and radio operators are required to pass a test covering a wide range of radio and electronic theory before they can be “licensed” to operate a radio. (!) If you’ve ever been on “CB” on a busy day, you know why those technical tests are required. CB is unregulated ham radio, and CB radios are limited to a maximum of .5% of the power that ham radios are limited to, and there still isn’t a whole lot you can do when four hundred people sit on the same channel, or sunspots open channel 2 from Michigan to Texas.

The net requires nothing more than typing skills, and we don’t even test for that. By tomorrow, even typing won’t be necessary.

Language barriers? “And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” (Genesis 11:6)

For fifty bucks you can get an add-on to Netscape Navigator that will translate between French, English, Spanish, and German. If you want to discuss bomb-building techniques with the French; marksmanship with the Germans; or marijuana with the Spaniards, you have only to click your mouse. The net will be a tower of babel, but it will be a babel of beliefs and desires. Language will not be a barrier to violence or love. (Web Translator)

Thugs and Nazis and the NRA

After the Oklahoma bombing, ex-President George Bush noticed that an NRA fundraising letter from a few months previous claimed that there are “jack-booted Nazi thugs” among federal agents, most notably the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. President Bush lost the support of firearms owners after supporting firearms bans, and lost his presidency in no small part because of this. So he used this as an excuse to resign from the NRA.In fact, some on the right wing wanted to impeach then-President Bush after his personal gun ban. So his resignation didn’t exactly come as a surprise.

Back in the real world, President Clinton tried to use this to generate hatred for the NRA. On the Internet, the President’s actions backfired. The discussion generated was centered around whether or not there really are jack-booted thugs in the BATF.

From: [j r cosby] at [] (Julie Cochrane)
Newsgroups: talk.politics.guns
Subject: Re: Bush resigns NRA to protest La Pierre
Date: 15 May 1995 18:43:18 -0400

[m s tiler] at [] (Michael Stiler) writes:
>[newsm k r] at [] (Newsmkr) writes:
>>The NRA’s comments were overstated, plain and simple. A lot of NRA members
>>are not going to forget this damn fool who is dragging the organization
>>down into the political gutters. Wayne needs to take a hike and the sooner
>>the better. Keep guns legal. Absolutely. Keep Wayne’s big publicity
>>seeking mouth in the NRA. Absolutely not.

>For *my* money, Wayne LaPierre can stay in his position in the NRA for
>as LONG AS HE LIKES! He has my unswerving support! I didn’t even become
>a LifeMember of the NRA, *AND* a militia member UNTIL Bush and Clinton
>started playing games with *MY* rights. > >To George Bush, Ta Ta For Now; > >To Bill Clinton, “NEXT!”

I agree. There are probably a lot of FBI agents who are fine, upstanding, honest law enforcement officers.

There are probably some ATF agents who are also honest cops.

However, findings back in the 80’s by Congress that 75% of ATF investigations were directed at otherwise law-abiding American citizens with neither criminal knowledge or intent disturb me.

These findings especially disturb me in light of recent abuses and mishandled situations in which the BATF has been involved.

Wayne LaPierre has my support.

Agents who don’t want to be called thugs shouldn’t act like thugs, nor tolerate those who do.

What LaPierre said was no more than the unfortunate truth about a shameful situation that needs to be remedied.

What I would say to honest ATF agents is that if you know about abuses, it’s time to stand up and be honorable, to come forward about those abuses, and to resign in protest of them if necessary.

You cannot save that agency from the thugs by tolerating their thuggery.



Julie Cochrane

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of any militia organization. In the 50’s I would have said “communist”. *Sigh*

The NRA claimed that the letter in question ended up being one of their best fundraisers yet. The controversy over George Bush’s resignation sustained the letter’s success, at least on the Internet:

From: [l--r--n] at [] (Lynette Warren)
Newsgroups: talk.politics.misc,talk.politics.guns,alt.politics.clinton
Subject: Re: Bush resigns NRA to protest La Pierre
Date: 11 May 1995 07:33:21 GMT

William R. Discipio Jr ([d--ci--o] at []) wrote:
: Yeah! La Pierre. I just signed up two more people with NRA memberships
: because we finally have a leader that won’t lick the boots of those that
: kick him.

OK, Bill. Since you started it, I’ll match you and raise. I’m sending the NRA two new members AND a check for not licking George’s jack boots.

3,400,002 and counting.


Two Ordinary Members in Hand are Better than one Big Bush Bird.

This is why the Internet is a foci for revolution: it’s just a bunch of people talking. They’ll talk about what they want to talk about, regardless of what political and media leaders want them to talk about.

  1. Somewhere else on the list is “no music”. They claim that this was meant to keep free radio from becoming a competitor to commercial radio. But it could have been a safety regulation. Ham radio operators are the predecessor to the computer geek. Have you ever heard a geek try to sing?
  2. The FCC continues to require most hams to learn Morse code.
  1. Alpha, Beta, Gamma
  2. InfoShok
  3. Another Lost Soul on the Information Highway