“Mike Vanderboegh, who ran the popular Sipsey Street Irregulars website and helped expose the ATF’s gunwalking program has passed away after a long fight with cancer at age 64.”–Guns.com
It seems fitting to stop and recognize Vanderboegh upon his passing (I also wrote of him in my book Stonewalled). If it weren’t for him, it’s entirely possible that the government’s scheme that put thousands of weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels would still be going on today. Vanderboegh and fellow blogger David Codrea were originally contacted by ATF insiders via CleanUpATF.org. The insiders were outraged by the secret government operation “Fast and Furious” that eventually resulted in an unknown number of deaths on both sides of the border including Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Terry was murdered by illegal immigrants armed with the government’s Fast and Furious guns.
At first, as a CBS News investigative reporter tipped off to the story but having trouble reaching the insiders directly, my producer and I turned to Vanderboegh and Codrea for help. I posted a notice on their forum asking ATF agents to contact me with information. More than a dozen did, including ATF Special Agent John Dodson, a hero who ultimately revealed the deadly scheme publicly in an interview with me.
In my early interactions with Vanderboegh, he was patient and rightly skeptical. To him, I was the liberal, know-nothing press. He had terse dealings with other reporters. (He told one national reporter to f-off when the reporter “asked for the names and phone numbers of all my sources so he could contact them”). I knew little of guns and gun laws, and was not working from a pro-gun rights position, as he was. I saw it as a story of government misdeeds and corruption. He came to see my point of view and thought there was value in helping out. He encouraged ATF agents to speak to me and provide information. Some of those relationships continue today. The story series I produced for CBS went on to receive both the Emmy Award and Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting.
For his participation, in an effort to try to discredit the story, the pro-Hillary Clinton group Media Matters conducted opposition research on Vanderboegh and peddled the Smear to me and other reporters. Some “reporters” printed it.
So today, a nod to Vanderboegh and a moment to recognize his role in stopping a deadly practice that the government first denied, then later acknowledged. The gunwalking is responsible for many deaths, the government still won’t disclose how many, but surely many other deaths were prevented by the story being exposed and the practice being stopped.
Below is the write-through from Guns.com
Mike Vanderboegh, who ran the popular Sipsey Street Irregulars website and helped expose the ATF’s gunwalking program has passed away after a long fight with cancer at age 64.
The Sipsey blog posted news of his passing Wednesday, saying, “Mike Vanderboegh, husband, father of three, and founder of the movement passed peacefully in his beloved Alabama home today.”
His son, a military veteran, took the reigns of the blog earlier this year as Vanderboegh concentrated on is final arraignments.
“Mike continued to give everything after so much had been taken away by the illness,” noted the site. “Through his struggle he became a symbol of what can be accomplished if we only have the indomitable will to make it happen. Through his words he was able to breathe life into the sails of a resurging Patriot movement. His work may be done, but for those that remain, it is just beginning.”
Project Gunwalker was first discovered by David Codrea and Vanderboegh in 2010 who made their findings available on CleanUpATF.org, which in turn led to assertions they were contacted by ATF insiders who corroborated claims of the effort to allow illegal firearm purchases to proceed in the interest of following the guns across the border.
Over the years, he was an ardent opponent of increased gun control measures and traveled the country giving electrifying speeches at protest events equating President Obama to King George III among other pronouncements.
In 2015, Guns.com spoke with Vanderboegh on the cusp of an event in Washington state which pledged non-compliance with the Evergreen State’s controversial new expanded background check mandate on private gun transfers and he was frank with his belief that non-compliance is a logical step to help defeat draconian gun laws.
“In each of the states – Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Colorado, Washington state and now Oregon these laws have been nullified by quiet campaigns of non-compliance. We have publicly defied them, resisted them, evaded them, smuggled in forbidden items and dared the politicians to do anything about it and to date they have not known whether to defecate or go blind,” Vanderboegh said. “We have declared that our God-given, natural, and inalienable rights to liberty and property are not subject to negotiation. The question is not why are we going to be in Yakima defying Bloomberg’s purchased tyranny. The question is, why are you not?”
Gun control groups and left leaning pubs were no fan of Vanderboegh, with Denver Westworld once naming him “Schmuck of the Week” for his plan to bring 30-rounds mags into Colorado after the great magazine ban and the Coaliton to Stop Gun Violence regularlyblasting him.
The Southern Poverty Law Center branded Vanderboegh an extremist whose “Sipsey blog was his ticket to notoriety, as well his unbridled soapbox to blast the Obama Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Bill Clinton or any supporter of tougher gun-control laws.”
Which is a description that many in the Second Amendment community would hold as a good day’s work.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League, among others, on Wednesday posted tributes to Vanderboegh.