For some time now I’ve been saying that NJ politics is little more than political theatre. Like two wolves and sheep voting on what to have for dinner, the Democrats and the Republicans in the legislature argue back and forth with great energy over who will get to eat the taxpayers, but in the end the differences between them are all for show. That seems especially true if you're one of the taxpayers, who all know precisely what our future is going to hold. And we therefore find it hard to get too worked up about the specifics of the debate. The politicians all write pretend legislation about phony issues, and solve made up problems, with fake sincerity, all with the taxpayer’s money.
For instance, in the debate about gun control, our legislature has proven a long time ago that they are not only are unwilling to allow the peasants their legal right to defend themselves, but that they are prepared to make themselves a national laughingstock to prevent it. And that self-sacrificing level of determination is clearly still in place today. A new Senate Bill is current under review in the legislature which would make it illegal in NJ for “anything that can be reasonably mistaken for a gun” to be sold to a minor. I want to make this perfectly clear, the NJ State legislature, in the alleged claim that it is a public safety issue, is about to vote on a bill that will make toy guns illegal for kids.
I think I’m pretty good at making fun of political stupidity, and lord knows there is enough of it hereabouts, but with this one I honestly don’t know where to start. When I hear it my brain just goes into a sort of comedy overload. Let me try saying it again…Our politicians in NJ are so terrified of an armed populace that they are going to take away our children’s plastic toy guns. … Nope …I just can’t top that. They are seriously going to make it illegal to sell every 5 for a dollar Chinese water pistol to high school kids, and call it a matter of public safety. What a proud moment for the people of New Jersey.
That one may even top their 1999 effort to legislate science fiction into the self-defense debate. That’s when the state senate approved a bill that would require that all new guns sold in the state include computer chips that make them inoperable by anyone other than the authorized user, as soon as someone invents a technology that works that way. It’s my understanding that they are also considering a bill to require a safety class and a state permit for the purchase of a time machine, and are considering a change to the state constitution to allow for the implementation of a “Department of Perpetual Motion.”
The degree of silliness in this battle makes me throw up my hands a little, but there is another issue operating here regarding the way you win a broader debate. The national lobby for second amendment rights tends to concentrate its efforts where they think they can win, and that keeps them in places other than New Jersey. It makes sense to fight that way because it allows you to build broad based momentum, and to demoralize your opponents through victory after small victory. It also lets the NRA and it’s allies make the best and most effective use of their staffing and capital resources. Those are all good things, and I support them heartily.
I’m a firm believer in hitting them where they are weakest, and where you are strongest, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore your own weak spots forever. For decades, NJ has been the ground that the national gun-rights lobby has been willing to write off as a loss in the broader fight to re-establish and secure American’s second amendment rights. They seem to feel that the people here have some sort of impairment, which puts them at odds with the idea of individual liberty. Given some of the arguments I’ve heard, they may have a point.
But that doesn’t change the fact that NJ is the state, which has become the proving ground for the legislative idiocy so proudly offered by the enemies of freedom that the NRA argues against. As examples, the federal “Clinton Assault weapons ban” was modeled after still in effect bans in NJ and California. New Jersey was also the proving ground for the limits on high capacity magazines, not to mention the two monumentally ridiculous legislative efforts I mentioned above. It’s the state where those who would deny us our rights push forward their hopes and dreams, and we are suffering accordingly.
I’m not saying that the NRA – ILA should drop what they’re doing and run to Trenton, but those of us who are behind the lines trying to fight the good fight could use a little help now and then. The local defenses could use a little shoring up, just to prevent the worst kind of legislative abuse. Relying on the people of New Jersey to reject such legislation is largely ineffective because our legislators care so little what we think about the issues. And it just seems to me that in an environment where the sale and purchase of votes is such an open secret, the NRA should be able to do pretty well when it comes to getting their money’s worth.
In the meantime however, we last few who are here and remember what freedom was will keep doing what we can to make it a little harder for the opposition. For instance, I’ve been talking to Oleg Volk about getting some of his work put onto a billboard. I’ve got someone working on the details and getting full accounting of the costs to put a slightly modified version of this on a billboard near the high traffic area around Newark airport.
Because of our proximity to New York, that’s the kind of thing that will most certainly attract national news, and would begin to reshape the debate around gun rights. I think it will make it clearer that the lines here are not between Democrat and Republican, but between law abiding responsible citizens, and the government staffers who believe that individual Americans are too stupid to manage their own affairs. It will be hitting them at their strong point geographically, but at their weakest point morally. And I think it would be worth the time, effort, and money.
Naturally I’d be very interested in hearing what others think about this. If you would rather not comment on something like this publicly (believe me… I know how you feel…) feel free to email your comments to radiofreenj at yahoo.com. The costs look to be pretty substantial, so there will likely come a day when I’m looking to solicit donations as well, but since we haven’t cleared the legal hurdles, that time has certainly not arrived yet.