The Window War By Mike Vanderboegh
Author's Note: The events related in this story
are true. It is set in the real town of Hobbs, New Mexico, although some names
have been changed to protect the guilty. It begins early in the morning, the
day after tomorrow.
"And he took his
staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put
them in a shepherd's bag which he had...and his sling was in his hand; and he
drew near to the Philistines."-- 1 Samuel 17:40.
have set dangerous precedents. We can rest assured that those pushing for gun
control have no intention of stopping short of total gun confiscation. At some
point, we who cherish liberty must summon the courage of our forefathers and tell
America's tyrants, 'Give me liberty, or give me death!' The longer we wait, the
greater the ultimate bloodshed." -- Walter E. Williams, Professor of
Economics, George Mason University.
Bob Stone stared at
the ceiling in the darkness, the popcorn surface barely discernible in the soft
glow of the porch light filtering through the bedroom curtains. He had come
home angry-- just about as angry as he'd ever been-- and he knew that sleep would
not come with his mind still clicking along at about ninety miles an hour.
Better to try to walk it off, he thought, since I can't shoot anybody over it.
At least not yet.
As he gently rose
from the bed, his wife stirred. He froze, and soon her breathing resumed its
regular pattern. No need to disturb her anymore than he already had tonight.
The meeting had been stormy and had run on into the late evening. Afterwards,
he and his friends had refought the arguments for almost an hour. And yet, when
he got home, his wife was waiting up (the kids had long ago been put to bed for
it was a school night). Amy was anxious to hear what had happened with the
Congressman. Bob told her in clipped, furious sentences and her anger rose to
meet his with the re-telling. A half-hour later they had turned in, but Bob was
too tired and angry to sleep. As Bob collected his pants and shirt from the
chair, the clock clicked over to 1:47.
Ten minutes later, he
was walking toward downtown in the New Mexico spring night. It was chilly, as
it usually is when the sun goes down in the desert, and he was wearing his work
jacket. Like most folks in Hobbs, Bob made his money working in the "oil
patch". Times had been pretty thin for a while, but now that the price of
oil was up thanks to OPEC, things were picking up in the oil and gas business
all over the Southwest. It wasn't anyone messing with his money that made Bob
Stone mad this night. It was someone messing with his God-given liberty.
They were being sold out. That was the long and short of it. Oh, the Congressman put on a long face, and swore it wasn't
any of HIS doing, but they were being sold out, no doubt about it. The
Republicans had come up with their own gun control bill, trying to protect
their left flank against Clinton-Gore in the upcoming Presidential race. From now on (and for the first time in
American history), law-abiding private citizens were going to have to ask the
federal government's permission to sell a firearm to another law-abiding
private citizen. Not even King George the Third had been so grasping. In
addition, there would be no more "high-capacity" rifle or pistol
magazines imported. ("High-capacity" meant greater than ten rounds.)
Domestic production had already been forbidden in the so-called "assault
weapons ban." George "Dubya", the Congressman said, insisted
upon it, and the Republican majority leaders in Congress were going to go
along. The latest shooting of children by other children (read: "gang
members") at the national Zoo in Washington, D.C. hadn't helped.
"But don't they realize that D.C. has the strictest gun
control laws in the country?" someone
behind Bob had shouted. "How will passing one more law help that?" It
wasn't about reality, the Congressman sighed, it was about perceptions. And he
didn't have to add that the antigun liberal media had the corner on
Bob had listened
quietly for over two hours. He'd had enough and now rose to his feet. "But WE put you Republican jerks in
power!" he half-shouted. "WE made you a majority party in '94
because you told us you'd try to roll back the Clinton gun-control agenda. Even
Clinton blamed the Brady and so-called "Assault Weapons Ban" laws for
the Democrat's loss in '94. It was gunowners who put you in power, and kept you
in power these past six years, and now you're selling us out! Why don't you
look up how much money Lea County gunowners gave you and your Republican
brothers over the past six years?"
opened his mouth to reply, but Bob cut him off in a low, determined tone:
"But I'll tell you one thing, Mr. Republican Congressman, you'll never get
another stinking dime out of me or my friends! We won't pay you for the
privilege of pissing on our backs and telling us it's raining!" The room
erupted into loud clapping and cheers.
Almost drowned out in
the din, the Congressman cried: "But it's not MY fault!".
"Whose is it
then?" three or four people shot back at him, almost in unison.
The Congressman had
the look of a deer in the headlights of an oncoming truck. He had come here
prepared to talk about Social Security, but nearly every question had been
about gun control. Reaching for an answer that wouldn't be a mistake in front
of this hostile crowd, he came up with: "The Columbine killers. Everything
changed after Columbine." Wrong answer.
The room erupted.
Someone threw an empty coffee cup that landed well short of the Congressman.
Bob was back up on his feet, shouting full-throat this time: "That's a
load of crap and you know it! When your Republican bosses in the House came to
you with this treason, did you tell them that passing it would violate your
oath to uphold the Constitution and that you would be forced to resign from
their party if they went ahead with it?!? Well, did you?!?"
The shouted question
cut through the air and the crowd quieted, wanting to hear the answer. The
Congressman was silent, looking down at the empty coffee cup on the floor.
Bob repeated the
challenge: "Well, did you?"
stirred from his appreciation of the trash on the floor to ask, "Did I
"I think you
heard me the first time, Congressman, but I'll repeat it so we can get an
answer: When the House Republican leadership told you they intended to pass
this treasonable bill, did you tell them that it would violate your oath to
'preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States' and that
you would be forced to resign from their party if they went ahead with
hesitated, then answered: "Well, uh, no. Look, if I resigned my seat every
time a vote didn't go my way..."
Bob cut him off:
"I didn't say 'resign your seat', Congressman. I said, 'resign the party'.
The people of this district sent you up there. You took an oath to uphold the
Constitution. Your party is about to assist in the destruction of one important
part of that Constitution. If you resign out of principle and become an
Independent, I feel sure that the people of this district will return to your
office when it comes time for re-election. So
let me re-phrase the question: When you go back to Washington, will you seek
out the House leadership and tell them that if they pass this bill, you intend
to resign their party and become an independent because you refuse to be a
party to treason?"
aide crossed over and, sheilding the microphone, whispered something in the
Congressman's ear. The Congressman nodded. The aide returned to the sidelines
as Hobbs police officers began to filter into the room from the side and rear
doors. The aide had summoned them on his portable phone the moment the coffee
cup was thrown.
leaned into the microphone, "Well, I'll have to think about it."
Bob wouldn't let it
go. "What's to think about?" he shot back. "Either you have
principles or you don't. If you don't, have the guts to say so now."
The Congressman shook
his head. "I said I'll have to think about it. What you're asking is
Bob countered. "Extreme?!?. Congressman, you ain't even close to seein'
'extreme' yet. Don't you realize that if you don't find the guts to stop these
treaonable SOBs in Congress, and that if the judiciary doesn't have the guts to
stop them in the courts, that someday soon gun-owners like the ones in this
room are going to have to stop them in the streets with rifles in our hands?
Congressman, you'd better pray you never see 'extreme', for if you do it'll
take more than all the cops in Hobbs to protect you from the widows and orphans
of the men who will die fighting to preserve the God-given liberty you didn't
have the guts to risk your precious political career for!"
The room erupted once
again, the cops moved to the front, and the Congressman departed out a side
door, almost as fast as it takes to tell. And now, four hours later, Bob was
They don't roll up the sidewalks at sundown in Hobbs, but
the streets were fairly deserted this time of night, or morning actually . Even the cops who usually patrolled every twenty minutes
or so in the business district Bob was walking through were busy on drunk and
disorderly patrol over on Del Paso or out on Bender Street (no pun intended).
The bars close in New Mexico at 2:00 A.M. by state law, so between 2 and 3 is
often the night shift patrolman's busiest time. As it turned out, that was a
good thing for Bob.
To be truthful about
it, Bob was still so mad he wasn't paying a whole lot of attention where he was
walking. Later, he would attribute his arrival at the scene of the crime to
either his subconscious mind or the hand of God. But all of sudden, without knowing
why, he stopped and looked up from his thoughts. And there, smack in front of
him, was 509 East Broadway. Now as
it happens, 509 East Broadway, Hobbs, New Mexico, is a modest, well-kept
building with sort-of old-fashioned windows flanking the entrance. It also happens to be the headquarters of
the Lea County Republican Party.
Now Bob Stone was a
church-going, law-abiding fellow. Oh, he'd done his share of tearing around
violating traffic laws when he was young and stupid, but never anything
serious. A Lea County boy born and bred, the only time he'd seen the inside of
the local jail was when he'd bailed out Manny, his buddy from the gas plant,
when Manny had been busted for driving drunk on Bender Street at 2:10 in the
morning. But as Bob Stone looked up at the sign proclaiming 509 East Broadway
as the Heaquarters of the Republican Party of Lea County, New Mexico, a snatch
of conversation from earlier in the evening (yesterday?) came back to him like
Bill Dodd, a hunting
buddy of Bob's, was a bit of a history buff. They had been standing around
after the meeting, trying to answer the question: "What do we do
"Well, ah don't
know about y'all," (Bill was originally from Alabama) "but when the Sons of Liberty wanted to make a point back durin'
the Revolution they'd get a bunch o' folks together and go pay the local Tories
a call. Usually they'd just bust their windows (Bill pronounced it
'winders') with rocks and tell 'em the
next time it'd go harder with 'em. The Tories usually got the message and
moved away or shut up about likin' the King. Glass bein' so expensive back then
and Tories bein' mostly rich folk, it seemed the natch-rel thing for the Sons
to do. An' it worked. Maybe we ought-ter do the same thing to these gun-control
They all had laughed,
and the conversation moved on, but Bill Dodd's words now came back to Bob loud
and clear. He looked at the windows, he looked at the sign, and he looked up
and down the street. Nobody. Nothing but the street lights going through their
paces for traffic that wasn't there. But what to use for a rock?
The streets of Hobbs,
New Mexico, are pretty well kept. On any other night, the plan that was forming
in Bob Stone's angry mind would have failed for lack of ammunition. But as it
so happened (and later Bob ascribed it to none other than divine intervention)
there at the curbside was a piece of broken concrete which had dropped off the
back of a demolition company's truck about ten o'clock the previous morning. Somebody, Bob decided, wants me to do this.
Bob Stone picked up
the chunk of concrete. Smooth on one side, it had been part of the parking lot
of an old greasy spoon south of town that had been demolished to make way for a
new BP super-station. He hefted the chunk. Yep, he decided, just about right.
Even so, Bob
hesitated. He wasn't a vandal by training or inclination, and if a car had come
by just then, even as angry as he was, he'd have given the whole thing up. But
in hesitating, another thought came to him: How would anyone know WHY he had thrown the stone through the
Republicans' window? If he intended to make a political statement, the rock
would have to be accompanied by a message lest the act be dismissed as ordinary
juvenile hi-jinks. His hands went to his jacket pockets, finding (and instantly
rejecting) his note pad. First of all, it had his company logo on each sheet
(now wouldn't that be bright?), and secondly, he had no way of attaching it to
the chunk of concrete. Tape and rubber bands were not items he routinely
carried. But when his right hand found the felt-tip marker he always carried in
his left breast pocket, he knew that the missile would be the message.
Moving a few steps to
take advantage of the street light, Bob rotated the chunk so its flat side was
up, and wrote across the top of the flat, "Second
Amend." (he ran out of room). So he wrote underneath the first line in
smaller letters: "Shall Not Be
Infringed." He re-capped the marker, and placed the pen back in his
His resolve had
returned. He was going to do it now, even if a car came by. Even if a cop came
by. He was going to send the Republicans
an old-fashioned Sons-of-Liberty message. He didn't even check again to see
if the street was clear, though it was. He positioned himself at what he judged
was the proper distance and heaved the concrete telegram as hard as he could. With what seemed to him to be an atomic
crash, the chunk sailed through the window easily. No alarm went off. Hobbs
wasn't that kind of town. But Bob Stone began to run away.
He ran west down East
Broadway, passing the Martin Boot Company, then crossing over to the other side
of the street. He kept on running-- laughing, scared, and immensely proud of
himself. He ran until he was winded, past where East Broadway turns into West
Broadway. A thought occurred to him then that it was probably a stupid thing to
be running down the streets of Hobbs at just past two in the morning. If
anybody did drive by they'd rightfully conclude he'd been up to no good. And he
didn't have the right shoes on to be able to convince a curious cop he'd been
So when he caught his
breath, he began to walk west on West Broadway at a normal pace. He passed
Desert Guns, his favorite local gunstore, owned by one Mark Stone (no relation,
unfortunately, for Bob wouldn't have minded a family discount). He wanted to put
as much distance between 509 East Broadway and himself before he made the wide
turn that would take him back east to home. So he continued a block or so past
the Western Motor Company, when he realized with a start that his night's work
was not yet done. For there in front of him was 604 West Broadway: The Democratic Party Headquarters of Lea County, New
It was true that the
Republicans had taken his money, his time, and his support only to sell him
out. Bob supposed that that was why he was so angered at the Republican
betrayal-- he expected more of them. You didn't expect your so-called friends
to stab you in the back. But the Republicans in truth were only half the
problem. It was the Clintonista
Democrats who had brought the country to this state. And while it was true
that Democrats could no more be blamed for stealing the rights, liberties and
tax money of their fellow citizens than rattlesnakes could be blamed for biting
(it was, after all, their declared mission in life), their windows deserved
breaking nonetheless. Indeed, Bob reflected with a silent laugh that although
he had killed many a rattlesnake in the desert around Hobbs he had not as yet
killed a Democrat, although Democrats were an infinitely a greater threat to
peace and the Republic. Well, there's a time and place for everything, Bob
decided. Tonight, he would merely break their windows.
And as he stood contemplating the windows at 604 West
Boadway, he noted to his satisfaction that they were nice big, expensive plate
glass windows. It would cost the Democrats much more to replace these than it
would the Republicans to fix their modest, old-fashioned window panes. This, Bob Stone thought, was more than fitting. But the
breaking need a bit more preparation. Bigger rocks, perhaps. No, not bigger
rocks, just more preparation. Bob fingered the automatic center punch in his
work jacket pocket. Yeah, he decided, just the right instrument of destruction
for these tempered-glass targets.
He went to the alley
behind the building foraging for ammunition and found two new bricks
pre-positioned there by what Bob Stone was now convinced was the hand of the
Almighty. It could not have been by accident, of that he was certain. Bob
pulled out his marker and wrote, lazy-dazy, winding the letters around the
holes in the brick: "Second
Amendment-- Shall Not Be Infringed."
now, he checked the street before sidling up to the windows. To each he gave
several preparatory hits with the automatic center punch. Spiderwebs of
fractured glass appeared on each window. Then, checking the empty street one
last time, he backed away from the windows and heaved the bricks one after the
other with all the speed his overage pitching arm could muster. If the
Republican window had sounded like an atomic bomb, these sounded like two
hydrogen bombs, and Bob gave into his fear just long enough to run across the
street. As the last shards of the
windows were still falling, giving way to gravity and dropping with lesser
explosions, Bob began to control his fear and slowed to a walk.
And so it was that he
walked casually all the way home. As he passed one of the cross streets he
noticed blue lights down toward East Broadway. He smiled, and walked just a bit
faster. His wife stirred slightly when he eased himself back into bed, but Bob
Stone had cured his angry insomnia and, happy now to be a criminal, he fell
instantly asleep. Sleeping, he would later say to himself, the sleep of the
It all might have
ended there had it not been for an editor
at the local paper, the Hobbs News-Sun, who along with his college
education had acquired a virulent liberal bias about things such as
gun-control. Determined to show-case the
"lawlessness" of gunowners, he assigned himself as the reporter
on the story and also wrote the first of several (he thought stinging)
editorials. The story was picked up by
the state Associated Press, and eventually made its way to USA Today and the
New York Times.
As if to prove that the Law of Unintended Consequences was
alive and well, it was when the story went national that strange things began
to happen. In Marion County,
Ohio, somebody who read the USA Today story decided that breaking the windows
of Democrats and Republicans was a pretty good idea. So did all his buddies at
the Whirlpool plant.
As a matter of fact, it was about a baker's-dozen Buckeyes
who first decoyed the cops, then smashed every window in both party
headquarters the next night. Some
were broken with nicely inscribed smooth stones that, like little David, they
had fished out of a stream. On each was written the entire text of the Second
Amendment to the Constitution. "A
well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the
right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Windows too high, small or inconvenient to reach with stones were finished off
with ball bearings fired from slingshots or baseball bats.
In lightning raids
two nights later, the same crew smashed the windows of both party's'
headquarters in three neighboring
counties. It was bipartisan vandalism, and more news stories were
generated. Fearing that the
rock-throwers would come to his house, the chairman of the Marion County
Republican Party resigned. When his Democrat counterpart did not, someone broke
the windows in his house, too. One of the more thoughtful vandals taped the
business card of a local glass company to his front door.
With "The Marion
Incident", window-breaking on behalf of the Constitution began to spread. In about four weeks, 194 local headquarters
of both parties were "ventilated" with rocks, bricks, concrete
blocks, shotputs, lead weights, tire irons, antique civil war cannon balls and
in the case of one Democratic party headquarters in Michigan, a twenty-pound
brass jackass of unknown origin. Attached to, or written upon, each was the
Second Amendment to the Constitution. Similiar missiles found glass targets at
the homes of no fewer than 56 politicians of both parties who had been
prominent supporters of gun-control.
Rewards were offered-- none was collected. Only in a few cases were the perpetrators caught, and most
of those were teenage sons of well-known gun owners. In one case in Texas, the
windows were broken publicly by a citizen who sought arrest for his civil disobedience.
In a jury trial, he was quickly acquitted.
War" became nightly fodder for the television talking heads. And with more
publicity came more broken windows. Commentators on the left condemned
"vigilante justice" and "lawlessness" and called for
political window-breaking to be classified as a "hate crime."
Commentators on the right spoke against lawlessness more softly, pointing out
that it was the Clintonistas who had made a business of flouting the rule of
law (most recently in the case of Elian Gonzalez), and that destroying windows
was probably a lesser crime than destroying the Constitution. And everyone
agreed with MSNBC's "Hardball" Chris Matthews, a life-long Democrat,
when he observed: "These are all gun-owners breaking the law. I suppose we
should be grateful they're using rocks."
The polls sent the
politicians mixed signals about how the public felt about The Window War. Initially overwhelmingly disapproving of
such vandalism, the numbers began to shift as the "War" went on, the issues
that had prompted the window-breaking became better known and nothing but
windows were being harmed. There was a natural sympathy streak in many
Americans for those who fought city hall.
Exactly one month
after Bob Stone broke his first window at 509 East Broadway, copy-cat incidents
were happening ten or twenty times a night with no end in sight. After two buckets, one containing rocks and
the other containing a mixture of tar and feathers, were delivered to the
Mississippi home of Senator Trent Lott, the Majority Leader decided, (with
the concurrence of "Dubya"), that the political price of Republican
gun-control had grown too high. It wasn't the implied threat that got to Lott
so much as the fact that the card which accompanied the buckets was signed by
some of his campaign contributors, one of whom was a distant relative. With the
help of several relieved Democrats, Lott killed the bill.
With the Window War
threatening to muddy up his campaign for President, Candidate "Dubya"
called Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America (it was widely recognized that the
"rockers" were not listening to the National Rifle Association, which
they regarded as a sell-out organization) and
quietly promised that if he was elected he would sign a bill that rolled back
all of the Clinton-era gun control laws if Pratt could just guarantee that no
more windows would be broken. Since the window-breakers weren't under his
control either, Pratt said he couldn't promise anything, but he would try.
Three days after
Senator Lott killed the bill, the last "shot" was fired in the Window
War by twenty members of a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in New York who snuck
up on the home of the Empire State's virulently anti-gun Attorney General while
he was away and peppered it with Revolutionary War musket balls fired from Gamo
"Wrist-Rocket" slingshots. Police responding to the alarm found a big
folding sign-board blocking the driveway. It read: "Sue this!"
Across the country,
the volunteer soldiers of The Window War read the papers, talked among
themselves, and decided to await further developments with a truce. The only
Americans who were sad to see the rocks stop flying were the owners of the
nation's glass companies.
The howling of
Clinton, Gore, Schumer, Feinstein and Company sounded like a banshee chorus but
it could not resurrect the bill. Nor could they make it an effective campaign
issue against Bush--he had condemned the vandalism in the strongest terms.
After George "Dubya" Bush was elected President, and the Republicans
retained control of the Congress, the tide of gun control receded. It wasn't
that Dubya and his GOP colleagues had "discovered" any principles,
they were simply smart enough to recognize that that particular political skunk
was best left in the bucket. The reminder that political decisions sometimes
have personal consequences acted like a tonic on Republicans and Democrats
The Window War was won, and to the astonishment of many gun
owners, no one had been killed. It had long been thought that bloodshed would
be required to make the liberals understand that God-given rights are not
compromisable. All it had taken was a few hundred rocks and other missiles and
one brass jackass.
Many men and women
would later claim to have been window-breakers, ten times as many as there
probably were. But back in Hobbs, no one ever knew who broke the first window
in the gun-control war, and that was just fine with Bob Stone. The only person
he ever told was his wife, Amy. Together, they decided to keep Bob's foray into
petty crime just between themselves. Neither of them was sure just how they
could explain their Daddy's night of window-breaking to the kids.
Author's Postscript: The story above is one possible future
for this country. There are others far worse. As J.R. Nyquist recently wrote of
the Elian Gonzalez federal kidnapping:
"Specific events, regardless of their actual importance
to history, sometimes capture the human imagination. In doing this, they become
rallying points for masses of people. They become pivotal to political careers.
Such events can bring about the collapse of governments or determine the
outcome of elections....Except for clueless and apathetic persons, America has
been split into two hostile ideological camps. One is the anti-communist or
anti-statist camp, which looks to traditional moral values, the Constitution, a
strong family unit and the free market. The other camp is socialist or
"progressive" in its outlook, globalist and environmentalist in its
There is no
reconciling the two futures these camps represent. One or the other will win in
the end. The war up to now has been waged in the political and social arena. The time is fast approaching when this
political and social "war" will spill over into armed conflict-- real
civil war. If it does, it will happen mostly because everyone thinks it
impossible. For sixty years, the liberals have used our respect for the law
against us. Each time they moved the line of law to further their agenda,
breaking off a bit of the Constitution, we, as law-abiding citizens have backed
up grumbling but complying. And why should they stop pushing us back from our
God-given liberties? We've never pushed back to stop them. We have been TOO law-abiding.
Remember one thing: Adolf Hitler was elected, and the Nazis
passed laws justifying every horrible act they later committed. In such a
country, law-breaking is not a crime but a virtue. Before we get too far down that road, perhaps a little
window-breaking is in order. Waiting too
late to oppose tyranny has always led to bloodshed. Let us avoid that if we
can. But history holds such windows of opportunity open only so long, and ours
is rapidly closing. Perhaps by breaking the window now, we can escape the
horrible alternative. And if in the unlikely event my modest story should become
fact, somewhere The Sons of Liberty will be smiling.