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Gun Blogging Notes

There’s been a couple of things I wanted to mention to my fellow gun bloggers (no, not you, I mean the other guy). And here’s the first one. Seems every time a gun blogger gets a hit from some alphabet agency with the .gov, they run out and take a screen capture of it, post it on Al Gore’s Internets, and lament as to what the big bad federal government is doing reading their website. Then they conclude, generally, one of two things that 1) ZOMFG! They’re investigating me; or 2) ZOMFG! I pay their salaries and how dare they be surfing Al Gore’s Internets on my dime.

I’m here to ask you all to knock that shit off.

A few caveats: 1) I’m probably the only gun blogger who has actually had the ATF come to his house because of shit he said on the internet. And 2) I’m guilty of it too. I’ve done it before.

But then a funny thing happened. Readers emailed me. Turns out, there’s quite a few friendlies out there who work for the .gov and, guess what, they like guns too. So, when they’re kicking it back on their lunch hour/coffee break and reading about gun rights or have googled up some really cool new gun gizmo/gun case that you posted about on your site, don’t lose your shit! Instead, drink a nice cool glass of Control Your Shit juice. And think. These people are probably on our side and just happen to work for the DOJ, US Court System, Air Force Academy, Treasury Dept., and other domains that end in .gov (and all you other regular readers out their whose alphabet agency I didn’t name – you know who you are). I have tons of those hit my site every day. A good portion are from bookmarks. And some of them are even regular commenters here at the blog. And, no, I won’t say who. So, don’t scare them off or make them feel unwelcome. You’re not going to keep them on our side that way.

And one other thing: if they’re investigating you, they’re not doing it from a computer that advertises that it’s coming from The US Department of Justice. I know that for a fact. Take it for what it’s worth.

29 Responses to “Gun Blogging Notes”

  1. Gregory Morris Says:

    I couldn’t agree more! I get tons of hits from dotGovs, and even more from dotMils, and I’m not gonna run around screaming about it because I’m sure 99.99999% of those are friendlies! In fact, most of my dotGov hits are regular readers. Hell, I’ve hit gun blogs from other-than-dotNet/dotCom domains.

    The only time I would find posting their info as appropriate is if they are at the ATF and they hit your site via a google search to the effect of “what is a gun violation I can make up to arrest SayUncle”.

  2. retro Says:

    Great post. As an employee of one of the aforementioned agencies, I was “run off and banned” from the Free State Wyoming forums. They thought I was a spy for Big Brother, or something.

    When I told them it was just a job for me and I’m not going to quit because I’m just 2 years from retiring, they called me a leech and a drain on society.

    Morons.

  3. SayUncle Says:

    Greg, the last one is a bit different. And I think David at WarOnGuns actually had a similar google re:”what is a gun violation I can make up to arrest David”.

  4. JoeMerchant24 Says:

    So…. should I not worry about the three black Suburbans and the black van sitting outside the house?

    What about seeing myself whenever I turn to channel 89.1?

    In all seriousness, some of my most loyal readers and commenters are from .gov addys.

  5. Matt Says:

    Hmm, I do it on occasion more from the “Hey, that’s interesting!” standpoint. I personally find it amusing to get a hit from the NSA and joke about it. The screen caps and list of places visiting was pretty neutral in my book. I find it interesting I get a lot of hits from Navy related locations.

    As to the Federal Courts, I follow the penguin policy from Madagascar and “Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.”. Doesn’t bother me. I already know they have a dossier on me anyway.

    Didn’t know I was stirring the pot, Unc. I do it for fun, not out of any sense of being investigated for nefarious purposes. And I certainly don’t take the attitude of “It’s my tax dollars, they should be working!”. How hypocritical! I do the vast majority of my commenting and blog posting from work on quiet moments.

  6. Murdoc Says:

    Good post. Over a Murdoc Online I was a bit creeped at first when I started seeing pentagon.mil, centcom.mil, doj.gov, and cia.gov viewers. But I doubt that the CIA uses methods that show up in SiteMeter to gather info on trouble cases…

    I’ve got no doubt that at least some of them are surfing for OPSEC violations and whatnot, but if the big cheese was after anyone you wouldn’t be seeing anything to tip you off.

    I was once contacted about some statistics on a weapons system that I had published. They asked (not told) me to remove them for security reasons and I told them I had found them in a story on the Arizona Republic newspaper website. They knew that I wasn’t the leaker but were trying to remove all references from the web. I removed them from my site and wished them good luck with their effort to unscramble the egg.

  7. Breda Says:

    My blog isn’t nearly interesting enough to warrant any big bad government watchers so I threw out my tin foil hat ages ago.

    & “Control Your Shit juice”? In our house, we call it Pepto-Bismol.

  8. Dan Says:

    Guilty as charged. Just remember, most of the libertarians I know work for the government. Once you realize what’s happened you have too big a stake in retirement. But who’s in a better position for the required epiphany? Knowing intellectual arguements against the war on drugs isn’t the same as seeing the results. The same holds true for most social or workplace programs.

    Taking someone to a County Council meeting may have more emotional impact than taking them for an afternoon at the gun range. It did for me.

  9. Sailorcurt Says:

    Hey man, quit crushing my buzz.

    Pretty much what Matt said.

    I have no illusions as to the relative importance of I or my inane scribblings in the grand scheme of things so if I can gain a little illusory self-importance from imagining J. Edgar and Eliot Ness wreathed in cigar smoke in a dank, private office in a secret government location poring over my “file”…what’s the harm?

    I may not be an Important Person but I play one on the internet.

    Besides, sometimes we all need a little post fodder.

  10. Sailorcurt Says:

    Oh, and thanks for the link earlier. If even ten percent of your readers click over to my blog you triple my site traffic for the day.

    That’s almost as good for the ego as imagining armies of Special Agents combing through my junk folder looking for incriminating bytes.

  11. Billy Beck Says:

    “I have no illusions as to the relative importance of I or my inane scribblings in the grand scheme of things…”

    I thought so, too, for a long time, until Craig Livingstone popped into the Whitewater group.

    Let me distill the thing this way: just because you can see them doesn’t mean they’re not looking at you.

  12. Phelps Says:

    I know that Joe Huffman does it a lot, but he also acknowledges when he does it that they are likely to be friendlies, and posts them in a “interesting that this is what is on the radar” type of thing, not a “ZOMG HERE THEY COME” type of thing.

    Of course, he had actual hostiles at PNNL, too, so they were fair game.

  13. Ahab Says:

    Looking at Google analytics, at least 20% of my regular, non-referred hits are from .gov/.mil addresses.

  14. kaveman Says:

    For Uncle’s eyes only!!!

    The black bird flies at midnight, I REPEAT, the black bird flies at midnight.

  15. # 9 Says:

    Amen. Well said.

  16. Chris Byrne Says:

    No ATF visits here, but I have had the FBI show up.

  17. DJMoore Says:

    May I continue to assert that BATFX firearms agents cannot report for their shifts without violating their oath to uphold the Constitution?

    Because I don’t care how much they personally like firearms, as long as they work for the folks who want to take ’em away from the rest of us, they need to be shunned.

    Even so, I don’t assume that a .GOV hit is unfriendly, and I adore getting .MILs. Not that I get many of either.

  18. existingthing Says:

    Only time I did #2, was when someone from the treasury department came to my site on an unrelated search for bowling ball thumb hole sizes. Do we allow a little tax-payer funded surfing when it’s on our common hobby, but not when we don’t share it?

  19. Jay G. Says:

    Scariest one I got was from Harvard Business School.

    Thought my brother-in-law found the place. I’d have to start telling Mrs. G. about my new gun purchases…

  20. GeorgeH Says:

    You are right, as far as employees of most government agencies goes.

    But, no honest ethical person could work for the ATFE.

    A hit from ATFE is as frightening and as morally repugnant as a hit from a registered sex offender.

  21. Sigivald Says:

    George: What, no honest ethical person could collect cigarette taxes and inspect distilleries? Those are, given the nature of both industries, actually related to interstate trade and thus under the Federal Government’s rightful regulatory eye, and there’s no moral reason, either from constitutional theory or natural law, that suggests it’s inherently wrong or dishonest to do either.

    At least DJMoore had the sense to restrict his opprobium to firearms officers – and I still think he’s wrong about it being a violation of oath to simply show up for work.

  22. asking Says:

    Gun blogs are treasure troves of information and opinion on the 2nd amendment. If you’re getting hits from the military academies, that’s a good thing. They’re educating the next generation of military officers on the meaning and value of the Constitution.

  23. countertop Says:

    Aint that the truth, Jay G.

    My cousin let the cat out of the bag at Christmas, and now my wife checks in every now and then to keep me honest on the new gun front.

    crap.

  24. djmoore Says:

    @Sigivald:
    OK, that was a bit of hyperbole there. I’ll grant a pass to the F agents who show up for work, drink coffee, surf the web, and do nothing else; or who track firearms involved in robberies, rapes, and murders–real crimes, that is.

    And I welcome those who read Second Amendment sites and thereby come to repudiate their role in eviscerating it.

    How many do you really think that is?

    The rest show up for work to do nothing but infringe the 2nd.

  25. Gregg Says:

    Sigivald,
    BATF no longer deals with Alcohol taxes, that’s now the TTB. Yeah, I’m a beer geek.

  26. dagamore Says:

    waving my fins like in madagascar.

    This is not a .mill address
    This is not my coffee break
    I am not here

    Smile and wave boys, smile and wave.

  27. David Codrea Says:

    I’ve had black and whites show up at my door over an internet post, Uncle, and the police then refuse to disclose any info because I was “under investigation.” That was a few years back.

    This latest involves a US Marshal telling Ryan H to specifically pass a warning along to me–along with that pesky word “arrest”–and I get continual DoJ hits relevant to the subject matter I’ve been reporting on–including the one you alluded to. As we’ve seen BATFU file papers in court to try and stifle exposure of their activities–in direct contravention of established law and administration policy–there is one other inference that’s not all that unreasonable to draw: Visits are not masked because they want it known they’re watching. There is such a thing as a chill factor.

    Funny thing about their “openess”–when I approach them directly, they clam back up into closed mode again

  28. Kristopher Says:

    This meme came from a NYC blogger.

    When conservatives in NYC can get their fellow New yorkers to stop sending anti-gun bigots to DC, I’ll consider taking tactical political advice from a NYC conservative.

  29. Xrlq Says:

    Kristopher, that has got to be the most retarded argument I’ve heard since … oh, at least lunch anyway. Seriously, can anyone come up with some strategy to persuade New Yorkers to stop being anti-gun themselves and/or sending anti-gunners to DC? If so, let’s hear the strategy, whether it comes from someone inside or outside NYC. If not, I take it you won’t consider taking tactical political advice from anyone?