Mike Vanderboegh passed away in the wee hours of the morning today. Cancer finally did to him what the government, the gun prohibitionists, and the Southern Poverty Law Center could not do. It stopped him. Mike was 64.
I had occasion to meet Mike at a number of Gun Rights Policy Conferences and NRA Annual Meetings. Despite the impression he might have given by his angry prose, in our first meeting at the 2011 NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh I found him to be a loving father who was more interested in talking about the soccer prowess of his two daughters than he was about gun related stuff.
Mike should always be remembered for the role he (and David Codrea) played in exposing Operation Fast and Furious. It would have remained a virtually secret government operation aimed at increasing support for gun control without his efforts to get congressional investigators interested. He is owed an eternal debt of gratitude by the gun culture for this.
There is a long obituary and account of his life at the Kansas City Star. It called him a militia and "Patriot" leader in the headline. Even the despicable SPLC had a long account his life and death. The comments on the announcement there are as one might expect from those of their ilk. Nonetheless, it looks like Mike had the last word even there.
Yet the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights can never die “as long as there remain free men and women who believe in the Founders' vision,” Vanderboegh wrote.Sipsey Street Irregulars will not be going away. Mike's son Matthew has taken over running the website and has continued postings there. I do hope he will finish his father's manuscript of Absolved as it was a great story in the John Ross/Matt Bracken mold of anti-gun control fiction.
“This is the essence of the Three Percent,” he said, “that no matter how small our numbers are –– if we remain armed and determined –– we may yet preserve the flickering flame of liberty.”
The announcement of Mike's passing on Sipsey Street can be found here.