I'm not new to Internet message boards. I've been an avid participant for quite a few years, and while I do get a bit overzealous on occasion, I'm generally easy to get along with. My normal MO is to lurk for a few days, get a feel for the participants and then dive in head first. Sometimes I hit the bottom with a loud "THUNK!" but for the most part, I fit right in.
Not so with Primedia's G&A forum. Publicola didn't direct me to that nest of fascists, nor did I go there with any preconceived notion about what to expect. I was directed there by Angel Shamaya of KeepAndBearArms.com as a point of interest. Apparently the moderator of that forum Dan Johnson had taken it upon himself to attack Mr. Shamaya, hurl wild accusations and impugn Mr. Shamaya's honesty and integrity. Mr. Shamaya is a well-spoken, intelligent man, who had no problem refuting every one of the moderator's accusations. I chose to stay out of the debate and simply watch him in action...
...Until the childish name-calling and ad hominem attacks began.
I will admit, I wasn't timid about letting these people know that I was appalled at their behavior. I compared the ad hominem insults hurled by one poster to an angry simian hurling excrement. In other words, I wasn't sugar and honey, OK?
But just as I thought I was beginning to settle in and make a few posts, the attacks started pouring in. When I questioned the NRA's wisdom in endorsing a local Republican over a GOA-endorsed Democrat, I was accused of having an anti-NRA "agenda." My words were twisted. I was accused of being a shill, a liar, a traitor to Second Amendment rights, and in a bout of delusional frenzy, one poster actually intimated a sexual relationship between me and Mr. Shamaya by calling me Monica and Mr. Shamaya Bill Clinton.
Instead of getting involved in a urination contest, I opted to leave. I don't take kindly to people whose idea of rational debate is sticking their fingers in their ears when their opponent speaks and yelling, "YOU ARE WRONG! YOU ARE A MORON! YOU ARE WRONG! YOU ARE A MORON!" at the top of their lungs. It's not my idea of "fun," and quite frankly, I have better things to do than waste my verbal skills on semi-literate hacks, who have trouble understanding simple sentences and words with more than two syllables.
I did, however, watch from the sidelines for a while, just to see what happens next. And that experience is what led me to describe this particular forum as a "nest of fascists."
It began with the moderator publishing a loaded, biased poll for the members of the board. This charming little thread was entitled: KeepandBearArms.com....friend or foe?
It featured such intellectual gems as, "I feel honest criticism is healthy, a tirade of mis-quotes, misrepresentations, half-truths, and twisted logic aimed at any organization or individual engaged in the fight for the Second Amendment is counter-productive to our cause." and...
"...can we afford to have our forum monopolized by hate mongers and doomsayers who have yet to accomplish anything in the fight..."
The thread attracted the usual slew of miscreants, half wits and semi-literates, who literally turned it into a bash-fest, with few facts and a lot of accusations. It reminded me of a gang of hyenas encircling its prey. Mr. Shamaya was once again forced to defend attacks against his character, his integrity and his organization on several threads. He defended himself quite civilly, with facts, not insults, using information from his website. He was promptly accused of trying to promote his organization and siphon money from decent, unsuspecting NRA supporters. His post was deleted. He reposted it with the intention of defending himself against attacks, and was once again deleted and banned.
In the next few days, anyone who stood up for Mr. Shamaya was promptly slapped down. If they continued, they were banned. And then, this morning, I read the following:
If you look around this forum you will notice some locked threads and a number of banned messages. We have had a flood of outside agitators come our way in recent days and I'm not going to tolerate them. I have also banned gunny. He has persistently criticized and undermined this forum for what...two years now..maybe more. I decided it was time to put him out of his misery and give him more time to tend to his own forum and stop worrying about this one.
That's about the gist of it. As always, I'll respond to direct questions from members whose opinion and motives I trust, but I'm not going to continue to argue with fools and agitators.
Anyone who appeared to be a voice of dissent against the sacred NRA cow was promptly banned. Anyone who disagreed with Herr Johnson's actions was deemed to be an "agitator" and promptly silenced. Anyone exhibiting even the slightest tendency to criticize either the way things are run or the NRA was banned.
No dissenting view is tolerated.
Anyone exhibiting a tendency to question the NRA establishment was silenced.
Anyone tolerant enough to stick around and debate facts on their merits was insulted, attacked and smeared.
Some left willingly, but others were forced out
Now, do you understand why I call them fascist?
It's sad to see how blind, uninformed and completely indoctrinated some people are. There exists a plethora of documentation confirming the NRA's less than stellar record when it comes to the gun rights of Americans. And yet, some would rather vilify, defame and attempt to destroy the voices of dissent - those voices who have the courage to call 'em as they see 'em. It's much easier for them to exist in their little sheltered world, sending their money to the largest gun rights organization in the country and sit back satisfied that they have done their part in defending our Second Amendment rights.
But the largest doesn't always mean the best. And while this little fascist club sits around patting one another on the back, hootin' and hollerin' about the virtues of the NRA, there are smaller gun rights organizations working their rear ends off for their rights and exposing compromises for the sake of political expediency by their sacred cow. For that, they are called "traitors to the Second Amendment."
Now, let me ask you this: Who is the real traitor? Is it the organization that consistently panders for money from its members to the tune of 6 times per month and uses their money to compromise away their rights, while the donors look the other way, or the group that exposes such practices?