12 Steps to Restoring Courage and Freedom
Aaron Zelman and Claire Wolfe
"It can't be done."
"There's no use trying."
"You can't fight city hall."
"Nobody will listen."
"The media will shut us out."
"There's no point donating money to a hopeless cause."
Have you ever heard yourself making objections like these - especially when asked to take action in pro-gun or other pro-freedom causes? Then you might be suffering from Victim Addiction.
Victim Addiction isn't yet listed in the psychiatrists' Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The media haven't discovered it. Congress hasn't allocated millions of dollars to treat it - and probably never will. But Victim Addiction afflicts millions of otherwise bright, high-functioning people. And the harm it causes is almost incalculable. Victim Addicts are self-destructive. They say they want to stay alive. They claim they want to stay free. But instead, they act in a way that lets them enjoy the dubious "benefit" of remaining a helpless victim. They sit and complain while regulations devour freedom and Congress passes pre-genocide laws.
If Victim Addicts were only destroying themselves, we'd say it was their own business. But unfortunately, they're destroying freedom. Your freedom. My freedom. Our children's freedom. Victim Addicts morally collapse beneath the power of anti-freedom propaganda - exactly as our enemies wish them to. They spread their gloom and hopelessness to others. By refusing to act and discouraging others from acting, they shift an ever-increasing burden onto those few who care enough to try. That excess burden in turn can eventually cause even super-dedicated activists to burn out and give up. Those activists who manage to keep going become less effective without enough support.
In short, Victim Addicts play right into the hands of the Ashcroftians, the Schumerites, the Clintonistas, the Million Moms, the Violence Policy Center, and the Brady bunch. You bet Congress will never spend millions to cure this problem. Big Government is built on the victim mentality.
Citizen-disarmers love it when we think like victims. When we think like victims, we act like victims. When we act like victims, they can steamroll right over us and our paltry, under-supported little grassroots efforts.
And don't think they don't know it.
You might imagine that "their side" also suffers from the same sense of hopelessness at times. Maybe so. But Victim Addiction is much less of a problem to victim disarmers and other freedom haters. After all, the big government momentum is with them. The funding is on their side. Bureaucracies and brutal, power-craving agents are just waiting to be able to inflict more of the sort of rules and regulations victim disarmers advocate. Anti-gunners rely far less than we do on real grassroots effort. Funded by taxpayers, foundations, and wealthy men like Andrew McKelvey (of both Monster.com and the dishonestly named Americans for Gun Safety), they can have their way if we give in and yield to them.
Ironically, when that happens our Victim Addicts self-righteously whine: "See, I told you it was hopeless."
Time for the cure
As with every other form of self-destruction, the path out of Victim Addiction starts with taking personal responsibility.
If you think you might recognize victim thinking in yourself, then take a deep breath and take these steps to climb out of your personal Valley of Destruction:
Listen to your own words and gut-level responses when someone proposes an action for freedom.
If you discover that you're reacting with a big "NO" even before thinking the idea out, admit that you're acting as a Victim Addict.
Accept that only you can change your own way of acting.
The victim disarmers don't control you. You control you.
Make the decision that you will take intelligent action on behalf of staying alive and staying free.
Make a searching and fearless inventory of your own goals, abilities, and resources. Determine what you are best able to contribute to any cause, whether it be time, money, physical labor, management ability, or some other asset.
Realize that you can't do everything. One of the many reasons we become Victim Addicts is that we get overwhelmed with the sheer number of problems facing us and the sheer number of demands made upon us.
We say NO without thinking just because there are so many people and organizations begging us to say yes.
One key to kicking Victim Addiction is not to try to do everything, but to resolve to do some things.
When considering a request that you get involved in some pro-gun or other pro-freedom action ask yourself, "If this plan succeeded, how would the future of freedom benefit? How would my children benefit? Would the world be a better place to live in?"
When considering such a request, think seriously (no knee-jerks!) about what kind of an impact your actions could have. Even if you can't "win," you might still have a positive effect. Envision what that effect might be.
When considering a request for action, ask yourself how your personal assets (from Step 4) could help you make the activity a success.
If you honestly believe a plan is off-target, doesn't fit your skills, or has more risk than benefit, then say no with a good heart.
Some activities (like letter-writing campaigns to unheeding congressmen, or dangerous armed marches on Washington, D.C.) really might not be sound ideas.
If you believe a plan is worthwhile and you have assets you can contribute to it, then charge ahead - even if you still believe in your heart that it can't "win." Remember that history takes unexpected turns. What seems impossible today becomes tomorrow's reality. (Who would have predicted in 1988 that freedom seekers would tear down the Berlin Wall with their own hands in 1989? Who would have guessed in 1990 that the Soviet empire would cease to exist by 1991?)
Understand and accept that even the bravest people have doubts, and that even the best plans can fail. Freedom may be won in a series of small victories. In the strange march into the future, even defeats might help pave the way for later, more hopeful events.
Remember that at the end of your life, "winning" won't count as much as knowing that you, personally, as one courageous, active individual, did your best to protect rights and freedom.
Through everything, never forget that your right to keep yourself alive and free in the face of danger is absolute. A criminal - or a criminal government - can try to kill you. A tyrant can try to take your freedom. But even if the Second Amendment had never been written, or even if it were repealed tomorrow, you would still have the right to preserve your own life.
Victim disarmers may "win" in the court of public opinion, in the media, or in Congress. On the other hand, with enough grassroots power, we may triumph over them. No matter what happens in the outside world, we must never allow victim disarmers to win in our hearts. Despite any law, rule, regulation, executive order, presidential directive, or any amount of propaganda or media opposition, you have a right to stop anyone who comes to try to kill you. You have the right to stop anyone who comes to take your freedom.
In the long run, victim disarmers aim to take both our freedom and our tools for staying alive in a dangerous world. If we cling to Victim Addiction, we've already given our minds to our worst enemies.
If you suffer Victim Addiction, free yourself. You'll live with more gusto and integrity - and you might even change the world.
Aaron Zelman is one of the founders of the Jew for the Preservation of Firearms.