Despite the media’s insistence that the Colorado recalls were the first skirmish in a new proxy war between the National Rifle Association and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, the simple truth is that Tuesday’s stunning elections were prompted and won by forces on the ground. At the Stargazers Theatre last night, I sat with those forces as a famous victory unfolded. Speaking after Senator Morse conceded, the recall’s founder, Tim Knight, told the crowd that “you must own your freedom in order to protect and pass it on to your children.” He has spent the last few months doing just that.
Guns are a notoriously touchy subject in America — a supercharged third rail, if you will. But so too is the notion of accountability. The country was founded, after all, by men with guns grumbling about the nature of their political representation. It was in this proud tradition that the disgruntled banded together in Colorado to try to recall two sitting state senators who had not just voted to pass new restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, but had steadfastly refused to listen to the opposition. The new gun laws, locals in both Colorado Springs and Pueblo told me repeatedly, were “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Their more fundamental message: “Listen to me, goddamnit!”