No apology needed

A few moments ago I received email from the Iranian who first asked me to try to help the dissidents fourteen month ago. I reproduce his email and my response in its entirety, except that I omit information that might identify him.

> Dear Eric ,
>
> On behalf of most Iranian people , I’m “so sorry” that you feel like this :(
>
> Your actions are and will be so valuable to us and we appreciate your
> attempts from the bottom of our hearts .
>
> If I knew that you will face with such a barbarian threat, I’d never
> emailed to you about what happened in Iran last year :(
>
> I’m very very sorry for what’s happened to you …
> God bless you Eric , and take care …
>
> Sincerely Yours ,

No apology needed. Nothing I have experienced is even comparable to
the risks and suffering Iranians endure daily in their struggle to be
free of the mullahocracy.

I am grateful to have even have had the chance to try to help. The small risk
to my life was more than justified by the potential to strike a blow at an
odious tyranny.

In thinking about the risks, and deciding I could accept then, and doing
so, I acted on my most fundamental values. I walk a little taller and feel
a little happier today – more fulfilled, more myself – because I passed
that test.

That test was a gift. Thank you.

UPDATE: For the blog, I have a bit more to add:

I do not want to be thought of as heroic for risking my life in the defense of liberty. Instead, I want this to be understood as the ordinary duty of every American.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy said this: “Today we need a nation of minutemen; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.”

JFK was not proposing anything novel. Rather, he was reminding Americans of their roots as libertarian revolutionaries, as the people who said a resounding “NO!” to tyranny and backed that up with their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

This is what being an American means. And it’s why, though I grew up on three different continents and forgot two languages before I was thirteen, I am and always have been American down to the bone.

28 thoughts on “No apology needed

  1. A terrifying question, for those who understand it: are you living your values? Yet, is there a better feeling than when the answer is, “yes”?

  2. Freedom is not won by those of timid hearts.

    Thank you Eric, for walking the walk.

  3. Please note, in case it is not already clear from my previous writings about similar issues…

    I do not want to be thought of as heroic for “walking the walk”. Instead, I want this to be understood as the ordinary duty of every American.

    In 1961, President John F. Kennedy said this: “Today we need a nation of minutemen; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.”

    JFK was not proposing anything novel. Rather, he was reminding Americans of their roots as libertarian revolutionaries, as the people who said a resounding “NO!” to tyranny and backed that up with their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

    This is what being an American means. And it’s why, though I grew up on three different continents and forgot two languages before I was thirteen, I am and always have been American down to the bone.

    Hm…I think this deserves to be in the post.

  4. So When and how did you receive the said threat? Can you reproduce it or leave a link to? How could you tell that it was a REAL threat and not a trollish act ? How did the FBI react?

    ESR says: I’ve explained this multiple times, and am not going to do it again here. Do your own homework.

  5. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy said this: “Today we need a nation of minutemen; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.”

    Does anyone else find it sad how far the Democrat party has gotten away from this ideal? Or the Republicans for that matter. Neither of the two major parties seem to care about freedom anymore. ESR, we are AMERICANS, down to the bone as you say. That isn’t in question. What is in question is if America, the idea, even exists anymore.

    s

  6. >What is in question is if America, the idea, even exists anymore.

    It made me. While I live, it does too.

    (Not that I think I’m the only carrier of the memes; that’s just a sort of existence proof.)

  7. >ESR says: I’ve explained this multiple times, and am not going to do it again here. Do your own homework.

    LOL, Don’t be silly. The nearest thing to a “threat” you’ve received was a stupid comment from a troll. I saw the link in Wikipedia. That was almost certainly a spam message. I think you make a mountain outta this molehill just to gain status among your peers. Since a lotta people say you are an inferior incompetent hacker, you wanna still sound like a “figure” who is somewhat important or efficient. Otherwise it’s totally obvious that you are of literally no importance to Iranian government and did literally nothing for the protestant crowd. What did you do? How many people actually got benefit outta that Nedanet project? None of the Iranians whom I know have even heard the name. Let alone that you jumped to the scene and declared yourself as the head of Nedanet and had to retract the claim later, oh that’s something I don’t wanna delve into right now.

    But the question still remains: How could you say that the threat was real and not from a random troll? I never saw you explain it anywhere. You just said you have reported it to the FBI. People get a bunch of these stupid messages everyday. Even I get a bunch of them each year, but I don’t make such a big deal out of it. Let’s see your logic…

  8. >jumped to the scene and declared yourself as the head of Nedanet and had to retract the claim later

    No, I never represented myself as the head of the project. What makes this accusation particularly ironic is that I was actually pressed to take that role by several people in the group, and the actual lead indicated he’d hand the reins to me if I wanted them. I refused the nomination.

    I refused for the specific reason that I wanted public perception of the project to be about the project’s goals, not about my participation in it. I was OK with being the public contact person, but not with being perceived as the leader.

  9. Eric, it’s not hero worship, it’s appreciation. “Walking the walk” is something that very few people do anymore, and I’m grateful that when an opportunity presented itself for you to make a difference (regardless of how significant) you took it.

    It’s not about you, it’s about my appreciation for what you’ve done, and the fact that I was taught to express that appreciation (something else that very few people seem to do now days). You’re welcome to ignore it, but it makes you a bit of an ass to demean it as “hero worship”.

  10. >You’re welcome to ignore it, but it makes you a bit of an ass to demean it as “hero worship”.

    Sorry. What I wrote was more of a pre-emptive strike against that tendency than directly aimed at your comment. I may be oversensitive on this score; I’ve had to deal with a lot of hero worship in the past and I’m not really comfortable with it.

  11. You’ve surprised me several times with you ability to take the hottest flames of criticism without a ruffled feather, but you really don’t take compliments well :^).

    It’s cool.

  12. America seems to be becoming increasingly self-absorbed. I’m taking a class on ethics and the professor told us about how most of the people he knows, many for a long time, reacted to the Gulf oil spill the same way: “I’m glad I don’t live down there!” or “At least we get our seafood from the west coast!” Meh. Soon the consequences will become clearer, and the shift will probably cycle back.

  13. Weber:

    I’m willing to be that most of the professors acquaintances work in and around academia or related to someone who does (this is not a slight. When I was working IT on the left coast most of the people I knew were either High Tech workers of some kind, or married to one). Heck, even now most of my “friends” are either in Tech, Military/Defense or related.

    Mz. Pledge:

    It has been stated that the FBI was contacted, and had more than one conversation with Our Host about this. The presumption is they considered enough to waste more than no time on.

    Eric was in nowhere near the risk that our soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and random contractors face every day in Iraq, Somolia and other parts of Africa and Afghanistan. But that doesn’t mean there was no risk.

    Look what happened to Theo Van Gogh. And the cartoon coward.

    Muslims have a long history of acting on their own initiative to suppress dissent. It would be interesting to know more about the case at some point, but I can see releasing details may compromise operation security.

  14. “LOL, Don’t be silly. The nearest thing to a “threat” you’ve received was a stupid comment from a troll. I saw the link in Wikipedia. That was almost certainly a spam message.”

    Uh huh….if Gloria Pledge saw it, so did many others…including many weak-minded dolts that think that *they* will get some glory if they carry it out. Even if the original threat was pure bullturd, putting it out on the net will make it real. I’m glad esr is taking precautions.

    In another post I mentioned Wild Bill Hickok’s murder. He was killed, not by a skilled assassin, but by the village idiot who had a fixation on gunfighter stories. Iran has plenty of idiots with a fixation on martyrdom.

  15. >It has been stated that the FBI was contacted, and had more than one conversation with Our Host about this. The presumption is they considered enough to waste more than no time on.

    To be scrupulously fair about this, I will note that I got the distinct impression the FBI might not have taken the threat seriously enough to send an agent to have a face-to-face with me in my kitchen were it not for the fact that (as he put it) they were “desperate” for on-the-ground intelligence from Iran.

    I had to disappoint him about that, because I was avoiding learning anything about our contacts in-country. He did, however, tell me some things that allowed me to refine my threat model – including the very important fact that the Iranians have never run pro teams in the U.S. The way he put it was interesting – he said “Not even the Israelis can do that.”

  16. >Iran has plenty of idiots with a fixation on martyrdom.

    That’s not really a problem; they’re on the other side of the planet from me. No, the ones to worry about are radicalized Muslims in the U.S. But I’m going to shut up now, we’re getting near sensitive aspects of my threat modeling.

  17. It is rather sad that most of the people who idolize Kennedy are left-wingers who forget that he was a cold war hawk, who was murdered by a commie nutcase.

  18. “Not even the Israelis can do that.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Granted, I don’t have anything to go on other than having read a few news storys and their reputation, but I would be willing to bet that if there was someone here in America and the Israelis thought that his/her death is key to the protection of Israel, they would figure out how to do it. However, I do think it would have to be a VERY serious threat before they would try it.

    On the topic of Israel, I have been surprised at how the current administration seems to have been reversing America’s support for Israel (or at least it seems so to me). I have also been surprised by how little attention this is getting from the (few) Jews that I know, many of whom are still pretty rabid Obama supporters. Unfortuneately, it’s not something I can come right out and ask because they would probably feel like it’s an attack on them rather than just my curiosity. They really flipped out a few years ago when I asked why a Jew, who remembers the Holocaust, would EVER be anti-gun. Man, I never got a satisfactory answer to that one either.

    s

  19. >They really flipped out a few years ago when I asked why a Jew, who remembers the Holocaust, would EVER be anti-gun. Man, I never got a satisfactory answer to that one either.

    And you never will, either. It’s a kind of childish denial, like putting your hands over your eyes so the monsters can’t see you. Insane and self-demeaning in an adult, but all too common.

  20. >And you never will, either. It’s a kind of childish denial, like putting your hands over your eyes so the monsters can’t see you. Insane and self-demeaning in an adult, but all too common.

    As a non-Jewish student of Krav Maga I do know from the Imi Sde-Or (Imrich Lichtenfeld as was, creator of the system) book, “HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF AGAINST ARMED ASSAULT”, that the ethical and moral considerations guiding the use of potentially (and frequently enough, explicitly) deadly force are based on the precepts governing such conduct as expressed within the jewish religion, so the mental quirk noted by Stuart the Viking and esr isn’t a specifically “jewish thing” per se. My personal (and tentative) opinion is that too many people seem to think religious association somehow equates to Israeli nationalism and that all religions express a considerable degree of socialist/fascist dogma (which is rather the cart before the horse), and that jewish culture is in many ways unselfconciously stereotypical in behavior (as opposed to deliberate affectation or concious embodyment of percieved expectations).

  21. >They really flipped out a few years ago when I asked why a Jew, who remembers the Holocaust, would EVER be anti-gun. Man, I never got a satisfactory answer to that one either.

    >And you never will, either. It’s a kind of childish denial, like putting your hands over your eyes so the monsters can’t see you. Insane and self-demeaning in an adult, but all too common.

    No it isn’t. There’s a long history of Jewish communities being physically attacked, with some instances of armed resistance (Strasbourg, Warsaw). In all cases, armed resistance failed. If the vast majority of the people are against you, fighting back leaves little behind but a good story. (I’m all for glorifying the
    Warsaw uprising, but it made little difference in the end.) I think that most anti-gun Jews simply don’t want to give the goyim more weapons with which to threaten them. Those that really support Israel do so because they want to have a country where *they* are the majority.

    BTW, I am Jewish.

  22. >In all cases, armed resistance failed.

    Interesting notion of “failure”. I say that if you’re confronted by overwhelming force and you know, or reasonably believe, that the attackers’ goal is to Final Solution your asses, the only way you can “fail” is by submitting to it rather than killing every stormtrooper you can. Make it cost something!

    And “simply don’t want to give the goyim more weapons with which to threaten them”? Bizarre fantasy thinking. If you’re a minority is tiny as the Jews, your ability to keep weapons out of the hands of plausible threats is pretty much nonexistent. It is relevant here that Nazi Germany had very strict, confiscatory firearms laws. Those were no help on Kristallnacht; armed Jews would have been.

    Rationalize it how you will, JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership) has it right; anti-gun Jews are insane.

  23. >Rationalize it how you will, JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership) has it right; anti-gun Jews are insane.

    Generalizes: the insanity of being opposed to civilian firearms ownership rises in direct proportion to your ethnic group’s potential need for a power equalizer against others who form a larger subset of the national population. The deme that wants to suppress civilian firearms is the one that (implicitly) calculates it can swarm others with improvised contact weapons. The Jews are an extreme case of the former.

  24. I once had an educated man with a doctorate in engineering argue with me that it was impossible for one man to kill another with his bare hands. This was in response to my statement that if you took all weapons away, a skilled person could still kill you with their bare hands.

    It really is a baffling denial of reality.

    Fire arms allow a 90 lb Jewish grandma to deal effectively with a 250lb skin head moron.

    this is a bad thing?

    OY VEY!!

    sincerely,

    armed Goy

  25. Oy vey is meer….hey – you asked about how they think. I told you. It’s a tiny minority, but they vote, and contribute to political campaigns. In another thread I tried and tried to point out that the next step for gun rights advocacy is POLITICAL. Shouting, “You’re nuts!” at people who disagree with you is not the way to get their votes.

    On the side…the Jewish people have survived because they spread out all over the world. When they were wiped out in one place, they were making babies in many others. This is not the survival strategy of the wolf; it is the survival strategy of the rabbit. You don’t care for it, but it certainly works.

  26. @ LS

    I’ve tried using reason and logic before, to no effect. Actually, the best thing I have found is to simply take the skeptic shooting and give them instruction on how to properly use a firearm. I focus a lot on safety, responsibility and marksmanship.

    Most of the time they have never held a gun, never even thought a firearm could be used for anything other than mindless killing. Once they understand that there is actually quite a bit of skill involved in attaining proficiency, and stop believing all the Hollywood hype, they typically start to come around. Some time in the ring with a big sparing partner can also help them come to their senses.

    There is not really any reason for political action where I live because the majority already believe in self defense. The big friction in the US is between the vast rural hinterland and the few urban centers of power. The worlds and thus worldviews are so different, that I’m not sure there is a political answer outside of regional sovereignty.

    Regarding rabbits….where did I say I did not approve? I just prefer armed trained rabbits….it keeps the wolves under control. ;-)

  27. TMR says:
    “I’ve tried using reason and logic before, to no effect. Actually, the best thing I have found is to simply take the skeptic shooting and give them instruction on how to properly use a firearm. I focus a lot on safety, responsibility and marksmanship.”

    Yes! Yes! YES!!!
    Now *there’s* an answer to the political problem. (*One* answer – we need more.) I know because it worked for *me*.

    I grew up in Brooklyn, NY – a completely urban environment. During the late ’50s, I was a Boy Scout and got a chance to participate in the Boy Scout Marksmanship Program. They gave us three training sessions and then we could use the range facility in the basement of a National Guard Armory, with adults carefully supervising us at every step.

    The program was actually larger than that; the Scouts were just one of several youth groups participating in it. It was run by a wonderful married couple named Prebble, with help from the NRA and the DCM. I’m not an active shooter now, but I’ll always be grateful for what I learned from them.

    ….and, of course, now I grind my teeth when I read in our local paper that some woman at a school board meeting demanded that they eliminate the rifle team because “it promotes violence”.

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