-- the common signature of the gun rights/liberty movement. The exclamation point stands for "shall not be infringed!"
Welcome to the Resistance.
-- Sam Cohen, March 2004
How to Order Stickers
In the spring of 1999, when I was involved in Massachusetts gun-rights politics, a number of us worked on developing pro-gun public messages. We started with signs for a gun rights rally on Boston Common, progressed to a billboard project, and discussed ideas for lawn signs.
We debated about which one slogan was "best"; there were dozens of excellent ones proposed, many in use elsewhere.
I suggested that we instead use a variety of signs, slogans, and messages, but attach a single symbol to all of them as a "common signature."
In a message I broadcast on the Internet in August of 1999, I proposed that we adopt the five characters "RKBA!" as that common signature of the gun rights community -- a unifying symbol like the clenched fist of the black power movement or the pink triangle of the gay liberation movement.
The four-letter acronym "RKBA" was already known to all of us; it of course stands for the Right (of the people) to Keep and Bear Arms, the phrase used in the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
The new idea was to add the exclamation point, so that "RKBA!" represents the entire main clause of the Second Amendment, with the further effect of emphasizing the predicate portion: "The Right of the people to Keep and Bear Arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED(!)."
The exclamation point also suggests action: "Join us! Do something! Dont give in! Learn, educate, speak out, resist!"
You dont need fancy graphics to display this common signature; its only four capital letters and an exclamation point. Add it to pro-gun signs at rallies. Write it on invoices and restaurant checks, on envelopes you mail and packages you send anywhere people will see it. The gun rights movement is spreading into the public consciousness, and this simple code serves both as a public reminder and as a symbol of solidarity to rally us in the freedom community.
The stickers were a separate idea. Richard Cashman related the story of a manufacturer that handed out thousands of small advertising stickers, Phil Clark suggested adding the image of the Liberty Bell, and Len Cumbow donated Web space to display artwork for comment. I designed the first versions of the RKBA!-Liberty Bell stickers in late August of 1999, and since then have distributed 40,000 of them all over the country.
Theyre round, two inches in diameter -- just right for applying to envelopes and elsewhere.
Now, where else can these stickers go? Where they'll be seen by the most people. Everywhere. Here are a few ideas: This Halloween, put a few (unpeeled -- that is, with the backing still on) in trick-or-treat sacks along with the candy. Lots of parents will see them, and some may even use them later. Stick up doctors' waiting rooms (on magazines that you donate), store fronts (with the store's permission, of course), as well as letters and packages of all kinds. And remember, high school and college students may be our most important "market."
[NOTICE: This communication is not a solicitation to break any laws. I wont ship stickers to anyone who I know will use them in an illegal manner.]
Now, over four years later, the second generation stickers, with an improved design, are available. If you would like some, see "How To Order Stickers."
Now... Some of us breathe more deeply with mention of the Sons of Liberty, and most of us stand just a little taller with thoughts of 1776. But the anti-freedom forces have made a lot of progress in this country -- so much so, in recent years, that times have changed; we've entered a "new reality" (thank you, Andy Barniskis) -- and a better model for us than the Concord Patriots may now be the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation.
When someone asks who's writing RKBA! everywhere, and wants to know who we are -- tell them we're The Resistance.
We're not the NRA (although most of us may be members); we're not any other group. We're not conservative Republicans. We're not the Christian religion, in any of its versions. We're not for or against abortion, legalization or suppression of drugs, or any other issue except individual liberty and the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
And because -- like the French Maquis of the early 1940s -- we're the voice of freedom in a country governed by tyranny, we're also the Underground. Yes, that's already happened; the Clinton-Gore-Reno mentality of government control still dominates much of American society (and most of the rest of the world), and it wont go away. Even now (2004), with a Bush-Cheney-Ashcroft administration, how many of us want to advertise our gun ownership?
"When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny." ~~ Thomas Jefferson
Welcome to the Resistance.
When I started the RKBA! idea 1999, there was some email discussion of how "militant" the freedom movement should be. A marvelous woman (a self-described "old lady," but a PhD professor of social sciences) wrote the following to me:
"As you know, I like the Vive La Résistance theme...but then I always preferred Winston Churchill to Neville Chamberlain. More recently, it seems that black civil rights proceeded when the reviled Black Panthers got going, and gay rights got off the ground led by a bunch of kick-ass drag queens in The Stonewall Riots. The women's movement even had S.C.U.M, and I won't offend sensibilities by telling you what that stood for <g>. Tough Israelis like Moshe Dayan and the Entebbe rescue made anti-Semitism and terrorism less a popular sport. And then look at the horrendous success of ACT-UP, the AIDS activist group (even though I wanted to shoot them the night they disrupted the San Francisco Opera opening in 198?)."
"Point is, I am not too sure that "nice makes right" is a winning philosophy. I have seen RKBA being whittled to nothing during the sixties/seventies/eighties/nineties while the NRA et al continued their best Neville Chamberlain impersonation. I suggest a poster campaign...say Suzanna Gratia Hupp holding her favorite self defense weapon with RKBA! and Vive La Résistance. I still like that theme. And ain't I a woman? Anybody ask Claire Wolf what she thinks, or Sarah Thompson?"
"It has always struck me that on any issue you really have one (unpopular) minority doing battle with another (ruling caste) minority, with the majority wafting towards whoever looks like the winners, but basically wanting to sit it out. Your job as a minority player is to rally and inspire your own troops, and neutralize the mob in the middle so they stay out. You will never win many over unless you look like a winner, or scare them half to death. Appeasers do not look like winners. RKBA! Vive La Résistance!"
One further thing: I've always maintained that the highest priority of the freedom movement is to reach out to women.
As a practical matter, women are over half the voters in this country. As a moral matter, women need Samuel Colt's "equalizers" more than anyone else. As an intellectual matter, it drives me nuts that so many women buy into anti-self-defense propaganda that essentially has them saying "rob me beat me rape me kill me, and then do the same to my children, because I could NEVER touch one of those horrible guns."
The collectivist, anti-freedom people have been shamelessly deceptive, preying on women's protective instincts to steer them into this kind of thinking. We HAVE TO reverse this process.
We can all do something, even on a small scale; everything helps. Support the very successful Second Amendment Sisters at www.2asisters.org, and the no-compromise Armed Females of America at http://www.armedfemalesofamerica.com . Make posters (or stickers!) like the ones below. (Contact me for the image files.) See, and support, the wonderful work of Citizens of America at http://www.CitizensOfAmerica.org , and of Oleg Volk at http://www.a-human-right.com .
Disclosure: Im a member of the Board of Advisors of KeepAndBearArms.com, THE Internet home of RKBA. I strongly prefer to ship stickers only to paid-up members of KABA. For more information, go to http://www.KeepAndBearArms.com , and click on the Members Login/Join tab.
How To Order Stickers
If you can send me a $10 donation to cover my costs, Ill ship you a package of 128 stickers, by first-class mail, in an ordinary Number 10 business envelope. (Thats the kind that measures 9-1/2" wide by 4-1/8" high; it will hold 32 strips of four stickers each.)
You supply the envelope, and address it to yourself. (If you want to make a further contribution, you can put stamps on the envelope; it will require first-class postage for three ounces, currently 83 cents.)
Along with the envelope and your $10 donation, please also enclose a slip of paper with your name and email address. Ill email you if I run out of stickers and have to order another print run (which involves a two-week delay); otherwise Ill mail your package within a few days.
(Note: If its later than June 2005, please email me first to make sure Im still doing this.)
Thank you for your support of this campaign. Lets restore liberty, one mind at a time. For the children.
-- Director since 4/01, Legislative Liaison, and Publications Co-editor, Gun Owners of New Hampshire (www.gonh.org)
-- Distinguished Life Member, Advisor, and New Hampshire spokesman, KeepAndBearArms.com
=== Justifying the right to keep and bear arms by statistics, on the basis of beneficial behavior by the many, is as dangerous as denying that right on the basis of criminal behavior by the few. You do not justify fundamental rights. RKBA! ===
=== There is no one more violent, more cowardly, nor more obscene, than those who would use the armed might of the state to deprive their fellow citizens, who have harmed no one, of their only effective means of self defense. To forbid self-defense is to deny the most basic of nature's rights, that of life itself. Gun control kills. Resist! RKBA! ===
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