Vanderboegh: Closed Hand - An Open Letter to the ATF's Jim Cavanaugh
25 June 2008
Special Agent in Charge James Cavanaugh
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Nashville Field Division
5300 Maryland Way, Suite 200
Brentwood, Tennessee 37027
via email: NashDiv@atf.gov
I know you get heartily sick of everybody busting your chops on 28 February and 19 April each year. Being a raid planner for that bloody fiasco in 1993 must be something you would rather forget. But here we are again, on the ragged end of another Bush administration, getting ready for another anti-gun Democrat to move into the White House. If you've been keeping track of my Internet scribbling (and if you don't one of your subordinates surely does), you know I'm often sounding the warning about "Waco Rules." You know, about how you gun cops can do anything we armed citizens can't or won't stop you from doing. Y'all never did get punished for your crimes in the '90s -- not the abortive, murderous Waco raid where you had to back up, humiliated, out of ammo, with your hands in the air; not your perjury in front of Congress about gunfire from helicopters; not your cowboy disregard for the 4th Amendment rights of citizens here in Alabama -- yes, you escaped serious scrutiny every time.
And you might be thinking just about now, like Prefect of Police Louis Reynault in "Casablanca," whether the incoming administration might not appreciate another demonstration of your "efficiency."
Along those lines, let me draw your attention to another pertinent anniversary which happens to fall today. It was a previous attempt by the United States government at "gun control." The Cheyenne and Lakota people call it, "The Battle of the Greasy Grass." It is more popularly know as the Battle of the Little Big Horn and was fought on 25 and 26 June, 1876:
As you probably remember, General Custer and 270-odd of his men did not survive the experience. Indeed, his raid plan was just about as botched as yours was on 28 February 1993.
Unfortunately for him and his men, he was dealing with native American warriors, the finest light cavalry in the world - not bizarre Christian sect members whose first reaction when you assaulted them was to call 9-1-1. The result was a few hundred markers like this which still dot the eastern Montana prairie:
"U.S. Soldier, 7th Cavalry, Fell Here, June 25, 1876."
Recently, other markers such as this one have been placed nearby:
"Closed Hand, a Cheyenne warrior, fell here on June 25, 1876, while defending the Cheyenne way of life."
You should understand that many of us gun owners today feel the same way as the Cheyenne and Lakota did about the predatory federal government in 1876 -- especially after the Olofson case proved to all of us who were paying attention that Waco Rules still govern the ATF. You can and will do anything we can't or won't stop you from doing. The rule of law -- the faint hope for the justice of a fair trial -- is no longer likely for the gun owners your agency selects as targets.
Olofson proves that.
History is never predictive, but it is always instructive. So I offer this memory of a previous attempt at "gun control" as a cautionary tale. Remember, if you will, the Cheyenne warrior Closed Hand, whose mortal remains lie on one of the hills above the Greasy Grass, surrounded by many more anonymous markers which read simply, "U.S. Soldier."
It would be a mistake to think that we, the armed citizenry of the United States in the 21st Century, would defend our way of life any less vigorously than the Lakota and Cheyenne of the 19th Century. On a practical note, I might also point out that there are many more of us and we are far better armed and equipped than the best Cheyenne brave.
I mention this just in case somebody in your department feels as froggy as you did on 27 February 1993. We have absorbed the lessons of history, including recent history, and I don't think you'll get a second chance at backing away with your hands in the air.
After all, Christian mercy didn't do the Davidians a lick of good in the end, did it?
And if the justice system works like it did for poor Olofson, then it really is Waco Rules, right?
The Law of Unintended Consequences sure does bite.
And remember Little Big Horn.
One of future King Barack the First's unruly subjects,
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126