Conclusion – Knowledge Seeker to Reluctant Activist
In September 2013, after signature gathering and electioneering campaigns lasting a few months, Colorado Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron were recalled from office in historic first-ever recall elections. The media tries to spin these recalls as being “just about gun control” and “GOP victories”. In fact, they are anything but.
John Morse was recalled by a margin of 343 votes (9,084 to 8,751) in a district where Democrat/Green/Unaffiliated voters outnumber Libertarian/Republican/American Constitution voters by 3 to 1. With total registered voters in that district of 84,391 the turnout in the election represents 21%. From these facts I draw the conclusion that most voters in the district weren’t motivated to keep him in office and it was anything but a GOP victory even though a Republican took the seat. I felt it was an appropriate political fate for a senator who bragged of ignoring his constituents and who said that “people who own guns are essentially a sickness on our soul.” As a former police chief, I would suspect that he is a gun owner himself, which makes him doubly a hypocrite.
On the same day, State Senator Angela Giron was recalled by a margin of 4,154 votes in a more
heavily Democratic district and a higher turnout election. With 35% of voters casting ballots, the voters in her district were clearly more motivated. I believe that Ms. Giron genuinely tried to listen to her constituents but in the end went with the far left tilt of her party. The disillusionment of her district was evidenced by the election results.
Michael Bloomberg and his fellow gun grabbers outspent the recall proponents including the NRA by 7 to 1. These recalls went against conventional wisdom and very determined opposition from powerful people. The fact that they succeeded the way they did is a testament to the grass roots efforts of the organizers and volunteers.
Colorado Springs and Pueblo are not close to where I live, so I did not help with those two recall campaigns, though I followed them closely through the news and social media.
As the Recall Hudak Too campaign got underway, I watched with great interest and one day decided to go help out as part of my learning process. When I learned that several Republican leaders would be meeting the Recall Hudak folks for breakfast at an Arvada restaurant, I decided to go meet them and volunteer for the day.
When I arrived, the restaurant was packed with supporters. I was barely able to get through to the room were the speakers were. While there, I met Sheriff Weaver, Senators Marble and Brophy, and Mike McAlpine, the leader of the recall campaign.
I spent that Saturday knocking on doors in a Westminster neighborhood. Because this was my first foray into political activism, I asked to be part of a team. As a result, I was with a group of about six people who were working in a nice middle class neighborhood. Once we got started, I was working with a guy named Tony. At the first house that the person answered the door, once we told him who we were he practically grabbed the petition from Tony’s hands. It was the same way at other houses I went to later in the day. Of course some people didn’t want to sign, but I did collect several signatures.
After about an hour in that neighborhood, we acquired some “stalkers”. These were Hudak supporters carrying signs that said such things as “Decline 2 Sign”, had pictures of Sandy Hook victims or “Recalls waste taxpayer money” and the like. As we went up to each door, one of the stalkers would walk up onto the property and stand behind us holding up one of their signs. I suspect more than one homeowner declined to answer once they looked outside and saw two strangers, one with a clipboard and one with a sign, standing outside their door. This was clearly an intimidation tactic.
At one house the homeowner, a woman, came out to ask what was going on. As our team leader politely answered the woman’s questions, the Hudak people started trying to tell her why she shouldn’t sign. The woman started asking them questions too, and they were quite strident in their answers. It was a marked contrast, with our person calmly and reasonably explaining why Evie Hudak should be recalled, and the scruffy Hudak supporters yelling why she shouldn’t. Finally, something they said angered the woman and she signed the petition. She expressed a desire to be able to protect her family and felt that Hudak didn’t support that.
I didn’t personally see or experience hostility from the stalkers. But I did hear and see news reports that the stalkers had actively threatened other signature gatherers. Our stalkers were creepy but not threatening.
Since we felt that the Hudak people were inhibiting our progress, we decided to split up and go to different neighborhoods. After Tony and I went to a different location we were able to work free from harassment.
By later in the afternoon, we had completed our canvass of the neighborhood. We returned to HQ and had our petitions notarized. I used this opportunity to visit with people and take a “selfie” outside.
I was prepared to go back later in the week to help some more, but on the following Friday Evie Hudak resigned her seat, a victim of her own hubris and irresponsibility.
During this time, I happened to see Emily Miller’s book Emily Gets Her Gun…But Obama Wants To Take Yours in a bookstore. I felt that her story of being a crime victim and making the decision to become a legal gun owner in Washington DC resonated with my story as I’ve told it through this series. It’s a good book and I’ve written a review of it. I’m happy that she is such an effective and visible Second Amendment warrior.
I decided to call my website and Facebook page “To Advance Freedom” because to me, the struggle is more than just about guns. The constitutional republic our Founders left us is at the greatest level of risk since the early 1860s. The size and scope of the federal government, the liberal/progressive belief in big government as the source of all things good in society and the breakdown of morality and civility all concern me a great deal. I believe that we are currently engaged in a battle for the very soul of America and what this country means. My intention is to continue being involved in Colorado politics as an activist while building my career as a freelance writer and hoping to find a voice at the national level as well.
“Molon Labe? What does that mean?” I asked the employee at the Centennial Gun Club in February 2013. I had noticed a stack of postcards on the counter that were for mailing to various Colorado politicians. The gun control debate was in full swing in the Colorado Capital, and I was attending and watching the committee hearings and floor debates. Gun control was also being debated in our nation’s capital, with President Obama promising to bring the full power of his office to bear, despite the fact he was largely silent on gun control during his re-election campaign and contrary to the 2012 platform of the Democratic Party.
When I got home, I looked up the phrase. ‘Molon Labe’ is a Greek saying that translates to English as “Come and Take”. It is famous as the response of King Leonidas I of Sparta to Xerxes the Great when confronted with a demand for the Spartans to lay down their arms and surrender. This phrase resonates with Second Amendment supporters and activists and is a rallying cry in support of gun rights in America today.
I echo the words of others before me and beside me: “Come and take them”. Molon Labe.
By Richard D. Turnquist
January 27, 2014
Link to my “Pro-2A Call to Activism“