Hello Friends and Knights of the Liberty Round Table,
For those of you who've been pining about missing the conclave, you can get a virtual "fix of freedom" by reading the conclave report. The conclave was better than ever in some ways, and of course we had the usual challenges, but it was a clear success and lots of fun, even in the CO heat and dryness. Also in this issue: progress on the essay contest project -- and it isn't too late for you to chip in your ideas!
LRT CONCLAVE 2002 REPORT
This year's Liberty Round Table conclave wasn't given an official name, parting from the tradition of at least two years' duration, and in retrospect your correspondent isn't sure what would be a fitting name for it ... Perhaps over the course of preparing this report some ideas will come forth.
What with the disappointments from last year's conclave, many individuals were motivated to avoid repeating them. This led to arguably the most planned conclave to date. Not that it was organized, of course ... but efforts were made to set up cooking and cleaning areas, and to provide adequate trash facilities. Also, the expectation of catered meals was cleared from prospective attendees' minds. From this observer's perspective, those efforts were amply rewarded. Folks brought their own (or made private arrangements), took care of their own, and as is the case when these things happen, everyone was much happier.
Automotive challenges kept some folks, including Don Lobo, Sunni, and crew, from arriving early to scout out the location and complete advance setup, but it turned out to be a rehearsal of Much Ado about Nothing. When we arrived, individuals were busily tending to their own affairs or happily greeting arrivals. The welcoming sound of gunfire punctuated the congenial conversation -- the sure sign of an LRT conclave in progress.
Our private property arrangements had included securing all owners' and neighbors' assurances that our 2nd amendment activities would not be a problem. Our gracious hosts went above and beyond to ensure that folks understood this meant lots of gunfire. Sadly, some individuals changed their minds, and LRT's second favorite activity was rather curtailed in the latter days of the conclave ... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Southwestern Colorado was every bit as beautiful as your reporter remembered from other travels through the area -- but very dry. Lots of bone-dry wood and brush, an ominous reminder of the failed policies of the Forest Service and greenies, lay in abundance over all the property. Evidence of a former burn -- from 1999, we were informed -- was plentiful, and served as a stern reminder of the need to be mindful about all potential sources of fire. Open fires and fireworks were strictly forbidden; we took the extra precaution of requesting that smokers in the party indulge the habit along the drive, where sparks were less likely to present a hazard.
The first evening was spent catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. One notable newcomer was an individual who heard of us through the essay contest. The individual proved every bit as pro-freedom as the essay sent to us indicated, and is a friendly, mature, knowledgeable person to boot. Getting to know "our newest LRTer" proved to be one of the highlights of the Fireless Conclave (a possible name? Hmmmm ... ). The lack of a campfire inhibited smore-making but not conversation, as many seemed to pick up threads exactly where they were left from last year's gathering.
The next day was down to conclave business ... firearms business, of course. Our insider gun guru presented his rifle course to a good group of participants, who toughed out the arid conditions and learned a lot. The first indication of potential problems came soon after the lunch break, when a local gendarme came by to see "what all the noise was." Apparently a nervous Nellie called in a report of firecrackers being set off; when the official was informed -- and heard firsthand the rifle reports -- that we weren't violating the firecracker prohibition, he bade us good day and left. Nice, we thought ... but it was not to last. Later, a neighbor came by, concerned about our field of fire. After taking the gentleman to the range and demonstrating our safety precautions, he seemed satisfied, and left. At this point, our thinking had shifted slightly, to "Whew!" ... but this again was not to last. An all-too-brief rain blew up late that afternoon, causing a flurry of protective actions; that and the aforementioned neighbor's visit inhibited night fire exercises.
The next day dawned overcast and cooler, a welcome change for those participating in the handgun course. During the morning part of the course, more calls were logged by the local constabulary, more dispatches were sent out, with yet more reassurances that we were not violating any rules. This not being enough to suit some of the nervous locals, who apparently forgot their agreement or don't care about such frivolities as honoring one's word, an individual claiming to speak for the local homeowners' group asserted that all firearms discharges had been prohibited. Rumors had also begun circulating that we were a drunken group shooting machine guns (oh, didn't some of us wish for such weapons!). Markers to our camp site were removed ... vehicles were observed repeatedly driving by and observing our activities ... calls to various busybody agencies continued.
After permission to camp on adjoining land was reneged, causing a move involving the entire camp site, the absentee property owner decreed that his tenants -- our hosts, who'd gone to such lengths to inform everyone of our activities and secure permissions -- were to be evicted from their home. This put everyone into a state of moral indignation, with little outlet for the frustration we all felt. A group photo later in the week, with nearly everyone appropriately attired, helped some, but as any gunfire was met with more phone calls and drive by surveillance, that activity soon trickled to nothing.
However, this didn't happen before several youngsters got a good taste of firearms handling, including several participants in the courses, and one of the youngest conclave attendees -- a 4-year-old lad -- shooting his very first firearm, a .22 auto pistol. His fierce concentration as he was taught -- and made to repeat -- the basic firearms safety rules was both amusing and very encouraging. The pride of accomplishment that lit his face after his shots (generously helped by an experienced shooter) will not soon be forgotten by your correspondent. (Mayhaps the conclave should be known as the Youth Conclave of '02 ... ) That evening, despite the pall from being treated so shabbily in the West, our little group enjoyed a presentation by a chap who markets body armor (see http://www.bulletproofme.com/ for information). The conversation was lively, with much give and take and lots of great information being presented.
July 4 was reserved for the celebration dinner and "stirring speeches" by Sunni Maravillosa and Don Lobo Tiggre. Having an electronic babysitter at hand for the Snolfs, Sunni was able to deliver a talk on choosing appropriate weapons for the fight for freedom. (Look for it to appear on the LRT web site soon.) Lobo's comments were of a similar vein, encouraging individuals to take principled, leveraged action to counter Leviathan's widely-groping tentacles in the post-911, security-above-all mentality. The discussion following the speechifying was highly stimulating, and lasted well into the night -- until a Snolf woke, protesting all the noise, and reminded the grownups that tomorrow would provide more opportunities for discussion.
The next day was a "down" day, with nothing specific scheduled; as a result, some folks did their own things, including touring some of the local scenery. Another rain -- a more substantial one this time -- turned the afternoon decidedly chilly, causing those in camp to scurry for a jacket or to caress a hot cup of coffee. Ward's famous (or infamous, depending on your food-heat tolerance) chili was just the thing to help warm the night, and he delivered in fine fashion, as always. Homemade ice cream for dessert helped soothe tongues, and seemed to please grownups and children alike. Again the conversation turned to 911 and beyond ... not all depressing, but very thought-provoking.
It was heartening to see the newcomers at this conclave not only "fitting in," but being included as if they, too, were old friends from the firesides of years past. That is a strong statement as to the value the Liberty Round Table has -- if nothing else, as a group that is truly tolerant of individual liberty and diversity. Young, old(er), Christian, atheist, men, women (but not nearly enough of the latter -- the plague of nearly all pro-freedom groups, it would seem), gay, straight -- those things just didn't matter, as individuals talked about the one thing that we all value and which drew us all to Colorado: FREEDOM.
That evening was also the evening of goodbyes, as several of our band would be heading off early the next morn. The aforementioned ceremonial picture was taken, in large part to share with the property owner who'd become cowed by ninnies who seemingly expect the west to be like the eastern suburbs they left. Those who weren't heading out also began to decamp, trying to beat the heat likely to greet them the next day.
Sure enough, Saturday did dawn clear and warm, and the temperatures rapidly climbed as sol ascended. With all but a few people leaving, most of the camp was a flurry of activity, getting things sorted, packed, and arranged in vehicles. Still, conversation bobbed along at a brisk pace as folks worked. A couple of snafus prevented some departures from happening as early as desired, but they presented opportunities for those present to discover that most of the area was not buying the hype about us and our shooting activities. A quick lunch of hot dogs and leftovers devoured, a last squeeze of dear friends, and we were away, back to our respective destinations and the duties awaiting us.
More so than previous years, this conclave seemed rather too short. Was that because of the comparative lack of shooting time? Or the presence of so many old friends, plus interesting new ones to talk to? Or was it because several youngsters really seemed to be getting into what the conclave and LRT is all about, and it was painful to see that end?
Perhaps this was the conclave of renewal -- renewal of commitment to freedom despite the challenges, of faith in young people to resist Bush and Co.'s "USNAZI" proposals and edicts, of hope that the Liberty Round Table will find a course of action through the 911 mess and beyond. As is the case every year, all participants were glad to have attended, and hopeful to make it back again in the future.
Oh, and the homemade flourless chocolate cakes (much-discussed on the LRT-discuss list) for the celebration dinner were a big hit. If you missed them or are having withdrawal symptoms, maybe you can cajole Sunni into baking one for you. ;-)
Thanks, everyone, for another splendid conclave. Suggestions, recommendations, comments on next year's affair are welcome, on either the project (see http://www.free-market.net/features/lists/#lrt-list to sign up) or the LRT-discuss (go to http://www.vader.com/ for information and signup instructions) list.
ESSAY CONTEST PROJECT PROGRESS
Good to my word, upon recovering (somewhat) from the conclave and discussing ideas with some key essay contest supporters, we've reopened the conversation regarding the essay contest. Fortunately, it's looking very positive for the contest to continue.
I say that because the primary focus of our conversation, on both the project and general discussion lists, has been not whether it should continue, but how. Just about everything is up for discussion, but one person's suggestion of offering a gun as the top prize has generated most attention. It's looking quite possible that will happen.
Below are the 5 questions I've asked friends and Knights on our email lists to answer regarding the essay contest. I'd appreciate your feedback, too; your responses will be kept anonymous and private. Summaries will be presented and discussed on the lists, and will be posted in the next LRT Update.
If you want to add your voice to the ongoing flow of conversation, please consider joining one of the discussion lists (URLs given above). We want the contest to continue and improve, and the only way to accomplish this is to make it something people are again excited about and willing to support. Thanks!
PLEASE CUT AND PASTE THIS SECTION TO RETURN TO ME PRIVATELY, AT SUNNI@FREE-MARKET.NET:
1. Are you interested in seeing the LRT Essay Contest continue?
2. Why or why not? (please write in your comments)
3. What would get you excited about participating in the essay contest
project? (please select all that apply)
4. In what ways would you be willing to support the contest in the
future? (Please check all that apply, but only if you are serious about
following through. We won't hold you to these responses, but if the
contest is going to succeed, we need to have an accurate idea of the
resources available to the project.)
5. If you have other comments, questions, or suggestions, please include them here.
ADD YOUR NEWS TO THE LRT UPDATE
Would you like to see more freedom-oriented tips in the LRT Updates? Do you have news or ideas you'd like to share with our friends and Knights? We welcome your input! Please send all items (with a URL if available) to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't promise to use all items, but I will consider each one. Remember, too, that these updates get posted on the _Doing Freedom!_ web site (http://www.doingfreedom.com/), so their reach extends beyond the immediate readership of the LRT Updates.
Keep Doing Freedom,
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