Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Thursday, June 28, 2018

SCOTUS

I know Mike Lee is being promoted for the opening Supreme Court seat, but he's currently part of the (tiny) Republican majority in the Senate.  Should he be the successful nominee, his most likely replacement would be Mitt Romney.

Trey Gowdy, on the other hand, is a member of the House and is not running for reelection. He's a supporter of the Tea Party, and if you've watched any of the videos of him grilling department officials and others, he's pretty damned impressive. He's qualified, and I think he'd be an excellent choice.

What say you?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

So TV chef Anthony Bourdain recently committed suicide.  As to "why," there's very seldom any understandable reason.  I've seen a lot of Bourdain's work, as my wife loved his No Reservations and Parts Unknown shows, and I got sucked into them as well.  Then I ran across the YouTube series Raw Craft, which was about as commercial as Bourdain got.  That was fascinating to me.

The thing about him that appealed to me was that he was very open about what he thought, but was open to pretty much everything.  He listened.

Being an openly New York liberal, his basic beliefs conflicted with a large percentage of the U.S. population.  As an example, in an interview he was asked what he would serve President Trump and Kim Jong Un if given the opportunity.  His response:  "Poison."

Unsurprisingly, that offended a lot of people.

So for the first episode of his eleventh season of "Parts Unknown" he decided to forego the normal destinations like Uganda or Suriname and instead he went to someplace truly exotic and literally unknown:  West Virginia.  (Give that link a watch while it's still available.  It's not quite an hour long.)  From the show notes:
I guess for a long time I’ve been going to foreign locations like Iran, Liberia, Vietnam, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia where the culture and politics are very, very different than my own, and yet I try to go with an open mind and show some respect. And I like the idea of going to the heart of “Trump, God, and guns” country and looking at it in exactly the same way — with an open mind, as I’ve done elsewhere. It seemed only fair and only right.

I’ve gotta tell you, I was absolutely rocked back on my heels by, first of all, how beautiful it is, and how kind people were to me, and generous. I mean, in the same way that my preconceptions are upended so often around the world, I felt the same thing happening in West Virginia. In the stereotypical coal mining town in West Virginia — which is pretty much where we went, into the poorest area of West Virginia coal country — I was utterly moved and enchanted by the people and the place. And I like to think I came back from it with a more nuanced picture of what it means to be a coal miner, and why people voted for a sketchy businessman from New York who’s never changed a tire in his life.

You know, I went right at those things — guns, God, and Trump — and I was very moved by what I found there. I hope that people who watch the show will feel the same kind of empathy and respect, and will be able to walk in somebody else’s shoes, or imagine walking in somebody else’s shoes, for a few minutes in the same way that hopefully they do with one of my other shows.
Yesterday Rod Dreher posted a eulogy to Bourdain, A Tale of Two Tonys for The American Conservative. Give that a read as well.  Dreher concluded his piece with something I cannot say any better than he did:
If you didn’t follow Bourdain’s work, I hope you will now. We lost a great American last week.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Central AZ Blogshoot

On Saturday SUNDAY, June 3 a friend of mine who moved here from Australia wants to introduce anyone interested to his brother, who is the Membership and Branches Officer for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party, a pro-firearms political party Down Under. As I mentioned a few posts below, it will be at the Casa Grande public shooting range, just off I-8. Stephen Bowler will be available to answer questions about what actually happened in Australia after their buybacks and hand-ins, and everybody can bring their bangsticks and throw some lead downrange at the same time.

Unfortunately I won't be able to make this one.

Elzy Pearson Public Shooting Range: 2766 S Isom Rd, Casa Grande, AZ 85222

Opens at 8:00AM

Take I-8 West from I-10. Exit at Trekell Rd. Turn left. At Arica Rd. turn left again. At the end first intersection, turn Right on to Isom Rd. The public range will be the second range on the left. The first belongs to the police department and they don't play well with others.

Several of the ranges are covered and equipped with concrete shooting benches, but no chairs. Bring chairs, beverages, etc. The main range is 300 yards, and there are 100 and 50 yard pistol ranges. The range has portajohns, but I'd bring a roll of TP just in case. No glass targets, no tannerite, and no .50BMGs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

"...another round of organized violence and hands on learning...."

Over on the Book of Face, Mike Rowe gives another example of why he is The Man™. He cuts through the BS to the heart of the matter:
Off the Wall

Sharon Freeman‎ to Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe, I’m curious as to your opinion on the tragic death of the Boy Scouts of America?! I have several cousins that are Eagle Scouts, and I know that you are one also, so I feel you have somewhat of a vested interest in this matter. I didn’t have a problem with entire families going on Boy Scout camping trips, but to force them to become co-ed...I think that’s sad.

Hi Sharon

In 1974, I was a painfully shy twelve-year-old kid with an annoying stammer and a deep fear of trying anything new. I was also very awkward around girls. I dreamed of being near them, but in real life, their proximity made me sweaty and nauseous. So one evening, my father dragged me to the basement of Kenwood Presbyterian Church, where the boys of Troop 16 were in the midst of an organized brawl called British Bulldog. The rules were simple.

One kid stood alone in the middle of the room. On the far end, 25 boys waited for the scoutmaster to blow a whistle, at which point they’d bolt to the other end. During the charge, the kid in the middle would attempt to tackle somebody and lift him in the air long enough to yell, “1,2,3, British Bulldog!” That kid, if successfully lifted, would join the other kid in the middle of the room, and together, they’d go about the business of tackling and lifting other kids during each subsequent charge. In the end, the last one to be lifted was declared the winner – the British Bulldog.

I was immediately thrust into this pandemonium and hoisted into the air, despite my best efforts to remain grounded. Somewhere along the way I got a bloody nose. Others sustained busted lips, black eyes, and sprained fingers. Happily, the game was followed by a course in First Aid, taught by a local paramedic who showed us how to apply a tourniquet and administer CPR. It was awesome.

In the coming weeks, I learned how to tie a sheepshank, throw a boomerang, build a fire, and make a lean-to. I was given a Boy Scout Handbook, and told to memorize the Scout Law and The Scout Oath. I did, and a week later, after another round of organized violence and hands on learning, I was summoned to the stage in the basement. There, I stood by the flag, raised my right hand, and promised to “do my duty to God and my country, obey the Scout Law, help other people at all times, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

The Scout Oath was the first promise I ever made, and I tried my best to keep it. I also got busy earning Skill Awards and Merit Badges, a consistently frustrating pursuit that always seemed to highlight my chronic incompetence. The Scoutmaster, a retired Army Colonel named Mr. Huntington – often said, “I know you're uncomfortable, Mike. Might as well find a way to enjoy it.”

In Troop 16, merit badges reflected merit. There was a boxing ring, where differences were often settled, monthly camping trips, frequent visits to the shooting range, weekly fitness tests, poetry readings from memory, and many other activities tailor-made to pull every kid out of his particular comfort zone. It was often humbling, but never humiliating. Failure was simply viewed as the most common symptom of trying. Consequently, the more I tried, the more I failed. The more I failed, the more I succeeded. The more I succeeded, the more confident I became. My grades improved in school. My stammer vanished, as did my awkwardness around girls.

One year at summer camp, I was called upon to sing a song of my choice at the evening campfire. It was parent’s night, and several hundred people from multiple troops were on hand. None were expecting me to belt out a tune from Tom Lehrer called “Be Prepared,” but that’s precisely what I did. https://bit.ly/2wJWpjm

If you’re not familiar with this little gem, give it a listen. It is without question the most inappropriate song a Boy Scout could ever sing in public, but I thought it was hysterical, and packed with excellent advice. Afterward, Mr. Huntington offered a general apology to the parents in attendance, and gave me latrine duty for the duration of the encampment. Later though, he pulled me aside and said, “Mike, that was the funniest damn thing I’ve ever heard. Great job!”

Six years and two-dozen merit badges later, I was an Eagle Scout. Thirty-five years after that, I became a “Distinguished” Eagle Scout. I’m still not sure what I did to “distinguish” myself, but I accepted the award with gratitude, and I’ve tried ever since to give something back to the organization that gave me so much. Which brings us to what you've called “the tragic death" of The Boy Scouts, and the frightful prospects of “forced co-ed camping.”

According to their official statement, https://cnn.it/2HOv7gY, the Boy Scouts are welcoming girls because that’s what the overwhelming majority of parents want. From what I can tell, no one is being “forced” to do anything. Nothing in their statement talks about “co-ed” camping or even co-ed Troop Meetings.

As I read it, The Boy Scouts are launching a separate program that serves girls. Yes, The Girl Scouts are pissed, and the reason is clear - they don’t want the competition. https://theatln.tc/2l0pq4f. But respectfully, is that argument even remotely persuasive? Competition is good, even among organizations that have similar goals. Especially now, with 90 million kids in this country unaffiliated with any youth-based organization. So I’m not opposed to building a program within Scouting for girls. But I am very worried about the future of Scouting in general.

When I left the organization in 1979, there were 5 million active members. Today, there are 2.3 million. With the recent departure of the Mormon community, that number will soon drop to under two million. Clearly, something is wrong. The question is what? Is it the past sexual scandals? Is it the more recent admission of gay and transgender members? I would imagine those are factors. But a 60% decline? That seems very unlikely. Besides, the drop-off started long before all that. Likewise, girls have always been excluded from The Boy Scouts, so I’m skeptical that welcoming them now, will fix whatever’s broken.

In my opinion, this kind of attrition can only explained by an increasing lack of relevance, or, the perception of irrelevance. Unfortunately, in situations like this, there's no difference between perception and reality. And right now, there's a perception that The Boy Scouts have gone soft. That's the real tragedy, Sharon, because I can’t think of anything more needed in our country today, than a youth organization that offers kids the same experience I underwent in the basement of Kenwood Church. Why? Because our country’s current obsession with “safe spaces” is destroying character faster than the Boy Scouts of today can build it.

Obviously, we want our kids protected from the hazards of a dangerous world. And clearly, the world we live it is a dangerous place. But safety is not the purpose of our existence, and this whole idea that kids need to be protected from fear, distress, discomfort, and disappointment is far more dangerous to the future of our country than anything I ever encountered in Scouting. You can’t build character in a “safe space.” You can only build dependence and entitlement, and you don’t have to look very far to see the results. Pardon my rant, but the stakes are high.

Too many kids are graduating from high school with no sense of who they are. Too many kids are leaving college with no marketable skill. Too many kids have never pondered a code to live by, or considered the importance of anything beyond the pursuit of their own comfort. It’s easy to call these kids “snowflakes,” but where do you suppose they came from?

We are the clouds from which the snowflakes fell. We are the ones who gave them trophies just for showing up. We’re the ones who told them that their feelings were more important than their actions, and that their dreams would come true if they simply followed them. Now, we are confronted with millions of dissatisfied young adults with no tolerance for beliefs that conflict with their own, and no realistic understanding of how life actually works.

I know I’m generalizing. I know there are many hardworking, conscientious millennials out there. I employ several. But I also know the “safe space movement” is real, and I can think of no better way to push back than to expose more kids to the brand of Scouting that I was lucky enough to encounter four decades ago. If by some miracle the dynamic I experienced in Troop 16 were available to everyone today – if Scouting could somehow recapture that combination of risk and wonder and pride and personal accountability - I believe their ranks would swell with the sons and daughters of millions of anxious parents, desperate to expose their kids to a program that prepares them for the real world.

I worry about The Boy Scouts for the same reasons I worry about The Girl Scouts and The Future Farmers of America and Skills USA and The 4-H Club and every other group that tries to elevate virtues like hard work, delayed gratification, and personal responsibility. I worry, because those ideas are wildly out of fashion, and organizations that have traditionally celebrated them are under enormous pressure to “evolve.” And so they do. But to what end? A 60% drop in membership?

If the Boy Scouts want to attract a new generation of members, they'll need to stand for something more than inclusion. Because being inclusive doesn't make you relevant. If I were calling the shots, I'd take a stand against the safe space movement and everything it embodies. And I'd do it in the most public way possible. But of course, that might also require a level of risk completely inconsistent with current orthodoxy.

As we all know, in 1974, a chipped tooth or a black eye didn’t lead to lawsuit, and today, I’m pretty sure a boxing ring and a trip to the shooting range would make a lot of parents...uncomfortable. But that’s exactly the point. In a world that values safety above everything else, discomfort is never welcome. Neither is risk. And yet, discomfort and risk are precisely why my time in Scouting was so valuable, and why Troop 16 was the polar opposite of a safe space.

Anyway Sharon, that’s a very long way of saying that girls are not the enemy. The enemy is bad ideology, and the inability to effectively confront it. Do I favor co-ed Scouting? Hell no. I can’t think of a single good reason to put girls and boys in the same troop, the same tent, the same boxing ring, or the same game of British Bulldog. But I can think of many good reasons to include them in a unified effort to confront the siren song of “safe spaces.”

Someone has to challenge the insipid belief that safety is the most important part of living. Someone has to challenge the idea that feelings trump achievement. Someone has to challenge the idea that “crying closets” on campuses designed to console stressed out students who just can't handle their finals exams, (or the outcome of a presidential election,) will produce a responsible, productive adult.

It’s not enough to simply ignore bad ideas. The safe space movement needs to be confronted, and I’d love nothing more than to see Scouts of both genders lead the charge.

Mike

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Beware Scammers

So, somebody tried to run a scam on me today.

I received a phone call on my cell as I was leaving a job site, and while I normally check the incoming number, I don't do that while driving. I just hit the "hands-free" button and answered.  A young woman who sounded remarkably like my daughter does in hysterics (I've heard her in hysterics before) said she'd been in an accident, didn't know where she was and a guy "wouldn't let her go."

Said guy got on the phone and informed me that he had my daughter, and if I wanted her back alive, I was going to have to get him some money - all I could scrape up - and fast.

I informed him I was two hours out of Tucson in the freaking middle of nowhere. Took a while to convince him, but he finally instructed me that he wanted me to drive to the town of Superior and wire him some money from a check-cashing place there. I told him that I was on an AT&T cell phone, and that service out there sucked, and the call would probably be dropped before I got to Superior. He informed me that if the call dropped, my daughter would be dead. He did everything he could think of to keep me on the line.

Sure enough, the call dropped just outside of Superior. The phone number was Mexican (+52 country code). I called 911 as soon as cell service was restored. I checked and my daughter was at work, and so was my grandaughter.

Got my adrenaline dump for the month.

Beware scammers. This guy had done this before, and was very smooth. I wanted to rip his spleen out through his mouth.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

May Victims of Communism Day


Today is the tenth annual Victims of Communism Day, a day to remember the people murdered by their own governments in their quest to achieve a "worker's paradise" where everyone is equal, where "to each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities" is the beautiful dream lie.  R.J. Rummel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, has calculated that the total number of victims of Communism - that is, the domestic victims of their own governments - in the USSR, China, Vietnam, North Korea and Cambodia is 98.4 million people.  For all Communist governments during the 20th Century, he puts the estimate at approximately 110 million.  And this wasn't in warfare against other nations, this was what these governments did to their own people - "breaking eggs" for their utopian omelette that never gets made.

Six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, and another six million people the Nazis decided were "undesirable" went with them.  "Never again" is the motto of the modern Jew, and many others just as dedicated.  But "again and again and again" seems to be the rebuke of history.

The Communists are hardly alone in these crimes.  Rummel estimates that the total number of people murdered by their own governments during the 20th Century is on the close order of 262 million, but the single biggest chunk of that truly frightening number is directly due to one pernicious idea:  That we can make people better.

Why do I own guns?  For a number of reasons, but one of them is this:
And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?  --  Alexandr Solzhenitzyn, The Gulag Archipelago

--

The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed - where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once. -- Judge Alex Kozinski, dissenting, Silveira v. Lockyer, denial to re-hear en banc, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, 2003.
I intend to repeat this post each May 1 that I continue to run this blog. 

Several years ago, Sipsey Street Irregulars had a post to go along with this one.  STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

In 2013 Not Clausewitz also made a worthy addition.

Friday, March 30, 2018

More Quora Debate

I recently received an invitation to answer a question over at Quora because another contributor had used a previous answer of mine in his response.  Instead of answering the question, I directly engaged the other contributor.  The question was, "Is there a rigorous, logical and consistent way to define what firearm constitutes an 'assault weapon' and what doesn't?" The answer by Mr. Dave Consiglio that started all of this was:
This answer:

Kevin Baker's answer to Are the differences between assault weapons and sporting weapons merely cosmetic?

Perfectly illustrates the problem we currently have with a vague definition of assault rifles.

Is there a rigorous way to do this? Sure. There are dozens of rigorous ways to do this. How would I do it?

I'd define (and ban) any weapon that can fire more rapidly than the weapons available when the 2nd amendment was passed. If it was good enough for Madison and Jefferson, it should be good enough for us.

I've heard estimates between 2 and 5 rounds per minute for a musket of that era. Please feel free to correct me if that number is in error. But anything faster than that is an assault rifle in my book.

That takes all semiautomatic weapons off the table. Handguns are mostly out, too. What's left are single shot hunting rifles. Slow ones.
So I responded:
Each time I come across this answer, I find it amazing that the author thinks it’s original to them, and has never been proposed before.

Let me quote from one of my favorite legal dissents once again:

“Judges know very well how to read the Constitution broadly when they are sympathetic to the right being asserted. We have held, without much ado, that ‘speech, or...the press’ also means the Internet...and that ‘persons, houses, papers, and effects’ also means public telephone booths....When a particular right comports especially well with our notions of good social policy, we build magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases - or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text. But, as the panel amply demonstrates, when we're none too keen on a particular constitutional guarantee, we can be equally ingenious in burying language that is incontrovertibly there.

“It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us. As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it's using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences.”

If you apply your logic to the First Amendment respectfully, this is the only technology you are Constitutionally guaranteed:

The quill pen:


The hand-operated printing press:


The soap box in the public square:


And hiring a town crier:


After all, if they were good enough for Madison and Jefferson… Right?

Oh, and were you aware that individuals could purchase cannon back then? Even cannon-armed ships used a privateers to harass enemy shipping?

No licensing, no registration, no tax stamp.

Good enough for Madison and Jefferson, right?
He responded rather swiftly:
I’d be OK with legalizing period cannons. It would be inconsistent for me not to be OK with it, wouldn’t it? But black powder only, and you’ll have to use traditional packing and lighting methods. Also, police will be armed with the latest weapons because the 2nd amendment only applies to common citizens, not to the military or police forces.

I would also oppose licensing or registering cannons, muskets, and related devices. I would posit that ships would have to be registered, though, as flags and other insignia were required on ships in those days. Similarly, docking and transporting were regulated, even during the revolutionary war. Thus, privateers would face some small regulation.

Oh, and they’d have to be sailing vessels only. Of course. Wood and canvas.

As for the 1st amendment, I would gladly give up the internet in exchange for the more than 30,000 people dead each year in this country at the hands of modern firearms. The post office existed in those days, and we could return to writing letters. Since I allowed for modern guns with similar firing rates to muskets, I think it’s fair that modern pens are allowed, though quills would certainly be permitted. Similarly, electric presses that printed at a rate similar to those available in 1791 would be permitted.

It really was good enough for Madison and Jefferson…and it is still good enough for me. I knocked on doors this weekend, campaigning for a future congressperson who will begin the dismantling of the murderous modifications to our laws undertaken by the NRA. It is my hope that we will soon return to a time when ordinary people could not own weapons that could slaughter crowds of people in mere seconds.

And you should want that, too.
OK, it was ON.
Someone once observed that there can be no useful debate between two people with different first principles, except on those principles themselves.

Since that’s not what is happening here, I’d like to explain what I am doing: Mr. Consiglio represents one side of a rather intense debate in this country. I represent another. In keeping with Quora’s BNBR policy, I think Mr. Consiglio is an outstanding example of his side, and appreciate his participation in this forum, but I’m not here to change his mind. I’m here for those not committed to one side or another to witness two opposing views and decide for themselves which better reflects reality.

Let us begin:

“…I would gladly give up the internet in exchange for the more than 30,000 people dead each year in this country at the hands of modern firearms.”

Note his anthropomorphism of the firearm - “at the hands of modern firearms.” The guns are at fault. They are the active vector causing death. Yet a gun cannot load itself, aim itself, or pull its own trigger. That requires, well, actual hands - the hands of a human being.

And of those 30,000 annual deaths? Nearly 2/3rds of them are suicides. About as many more people commit suicide without firearms annually. Generally, when someone has decided to take their own life, they find a way to accomplish it. Yet we’re not seeing marches in D.C. to end suicide.

And the United States with all of its guns ranks about 48th for suicide behind such gun-controlled nations as Japan and Belgium.

The remaining 10,000 annual deaths? Overwhelmingly homicide, true. But the U.S. ranks around 100th worldwide for homicide rate. Nothing to be proud of, but 10,000 deaths isn’t nearly as scary a number as 30,000 is it?

Next: “Also, police will be armed with the latest weapons because the 2nd amendment only applies to common citizens, not to the military or police forces.”

Just for the sake of argument, let’s stipulate that we suffered (a wildly excessive) 30,000 firearm deaths annually since passage of the 1934 National Firearms Act. That’s been 84 years x 30,000 = 2,520,000 deaths in the United States at the hands of private citizens - either their own hands, or the hands of another.

During the 20th Century alone, governments caused the deaths of something on the order of 200,000,000 of their own citizens.

China: 76,000,000

USSR: 62,000,000

Germany: 21,000,000

Cambodia: 2,000,000 (over far less than 84 years)

Etc. etc. etc.

But Mr. Consiglio sees absolutely nothing wrong with ensuring that the agents of government have overwhelming superiority over the average citizen - for our own good, of course. After all, nothing like that could possibly happen here. Right? And after all, what are we mere citizens going to do against nuclear-armed bombers?

Ask the Vietnamese and the Afghans.

As a friend puts it, “Faith in government defies both history and reason.”

And, finally: “I knocked on doors this weekend, campaigning for a future congressperson who will begin the dismantling of the murderous modifications to our laws undertaken by the NRA.”

Thank you, Mr. Consiglio, for participating in our Representative Republic. But somehow I doubt you aware that those supposedly “murderous modifications of our laws undertaken by the NRA” have corresponded with a dramatic decline in gun crime specifically and violent crime overall?

Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware


What's Behind The Decline In Crime?

Pssst: Crime May Be Near an All-Time Low

The worst thing you can say about things like expanded “shall-issue” concealed carry laws, for example, is that they might not have contributed to these remarkable declines. Oh, and over the same period the number of firearms in private hands has skyrocketed, finally putting a stake in the heart of “more guns = more gun crime” mantra.

Too bad that only works on vampires.

P.S.: “It is my hope that we will soon return to a time when ordinary people could not own weapons that could slaughter crowds of people in mere seconds.”

We’ve never lived in a time like that. One black powder Napoleonic cannon loaded with grapeshot fills that bill. And I find it disturbing that you want such power to be only in the hands of the government.

ETA: I stumbled across this after writing this comment - An Assault Weapons Ban For the IRS (And Other Federal Regulatory Agencies)

Pullquote:

“In 1996, the Bureau of Justice Statistics officially counted 74,500 federal officers who had arrest and firearm authority. By 2008, the Bureau quantified over 120,000 such officers. Newly updated counts were supposed to publish by this July but the Bureau now admits that over 80% of federal agencies ignored or stonewalled responses to their latest survey. What are they trying to hide?

“Even though our organization at Home Page | Open the Books estimated the number of non-Department of Defense federal officers at 200,000+, the current number of non-military federal officers and security personnel could be much larger.”
I think Dave pulled a frontal lobe:
You make the usual compelling but incorrect arguments. People really are much more likely to kill themselves if they have a gun. And we are marching against suicide by marching for universal healthcare, which would help prevent it. And I don't care what the murder rate is in Cambodia - I'm talking about America and you change the subject. And a Napoleonic cannon weighed a ton and needed horses to move it but the Las Vegas shooter easily carried his arsenal into a hotel room and killed dozens. And the government could already vaporize you with a drone or a tank or a nuclear weapon regardless of your gun.

The list goes on and on.

The truth is that you like guns and so in your mind you should have a right to own them. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just wrong.

I would just remind you that slave owners really liked owning slaves and thus felt they should have a right to own them. All their arguments and statistics and logic were just rationalizations of what they wanted to be true. They started a war to defend their beliefs. We had to outnumbered them and then amend the Constitution to finally put an end to their dominance over national discourse.

We will do the same again. It will take time. We have time.
I've been pretty busy, so I let that sit and stew for a bit, then responded:
Sorry for the delay in responding, but I’ve been busy with work. Thanks again for continuing the discussion. Let’s begin:

“People really are much more likely to kill themselves if they have a gun.”

And you can point to which studies that prove this statistically? The study performed at the behest of the Clinton Administration by the National Academies of Science indicated that five-day waiting periods had only one statistically provable effect - it changed the method, but not the rate, of suicide in men over the age of 50. This has been the case for multiple studies conducted in multiple nations over multiple years. So in order to bolster your claim, I think we’d need multiple studies saying what you’re asserting. I haven’t seen them.

“And we are marching against suicide by marching for universal healthcare, which would help prevent it.”

Japan has universal health care. Their suicide rate far exceeds our own. Again, I think you’re making assertions that the facts don’t necessarily back up. And I don’t recall seeing a “Universal Health Care” march on Washington. Perhaps I missed that one.

“I don't care what the murder rate is in Cambodia - I'm talking about America and you change the subject.”

No, you deliberately dodged the subject - retail death at the hands of criminals, vs. wholesale death at the hands of government. You insisted that the government wasn’t affected by the Second Amendment and could have all the mass-murder-capable firearms it wanted while we mere peons should be limited to 3–5 rounds a minute, tops. You stated that you wanted our military and law-enforcement members to have that kind of firepower. I pointed out that - historically - mass murder by governments exceeds mass murder by individuals by a couple of orders of magnitude at a minimum.

And you responded with “I don't care what the murder rate is in Cambodia….”

The Khmer Rouge killed those 2,000,000 victims in a mere five years - from an overall population of 7.5 million - about the population of Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Then you said: “And a Napoleonic cannon weighed a ton and needed horses to move it but the Las Vegas shooter easily carried his arsenal into a hotel room and killed dozens.”

Yes, dozens. As opposed to millions. Or merely hundreds of thousands. Yet you’re OK with private citizens possessing Napoleonic cannon that they can move around with, say a truck.

Something tells me that your concern about the capability of mass-murder isn’t really what we’re discussing here.

“And the government could already vaporize you with a drone or a tank or a nuclear weapon regardless of your gun.”

Sure, if they want to declare all-out war on the citizenry. But they have to leave the drone shack, climb out of the tank or get out of the nuclear bomber some time. And the people they take orders from aren’t exactly invulnerable either.

“The truth is that you like guns and so in your mind you should have a right to own them.”

The truth is that I have a right to defend myself and my family, my neighbors, my state, and my nation. It just so happens that for an individual a firearm is pretty much the best tool for that defense. Denying me those tools while ensuring that others have them puts me at a severe disadvantage. The people who founded this nation understood that an armed populace was the last, best bastion against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and thus they wrote a guarantee into the founding legal document establishing our form of government ensuring that the government would not have the power to disarm the people wholesale.

Now we’re hearing calls to repeal the Second Amendment because - at last - The Other Side™ has acknowledged that prohibition. But they neglect one further bit of recognition: The Second Amendment protects a pre-existing right, stating that right “shall not be infringed.” Repealing the Second Amendment won’t overturn the right to keep and bear arms, it’ll just make confiscation “legal.”

Like slavery used to be. Remember, slaves weren’t allowed to possess arms, either.

He responded almost immediately. Sorry for his lack of formatting:
Sorry for the delay in responding, but I’ve been busy with work. Thanks again for continuing the discussion. Let’s begin:

. “People really are much more likely to kill themselves if they have a gun.”

. And you can point to which studies that prove this statistically? The study performed at the behest of the Clinton Administration by the National Academies of Science indicated that five-day waiting periods had only one statistically provable effect - it changed the method, but not the rate, of suicide in men over the age of 50. This has been the case for multiple studies conducted in multiple nations over multiple years. So in order to bolster your claim, I think we’d need multiple studies saying what you’re asserting. I haven’t seen them.

Guns and suicide: A fatal link

Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study | American Journal of Epidemiology | Oxford Academic

There are more. The Clinton study was about waiting periods. I'm talking about an absence of guns.

. “And we are marching against suicide by marching for universal healthcare, which would help prevent it.”

. Japan has universal health care. Their suicide rate far exceeds our own. Again, I think you’re making assertions that the facts don’t necessarily back up. And I don’t recall seeing a “Universal Health Care” march on Washington. Perhaps I missed that one.

That is correct. But their murder rate is far below ours. Also, many countries have universal health care and a lower homicide and suicide rate. The average for countries with universal health care is much lower on both counts.

. “I don't care what the murder rate is in Cambodia - I'm talking about America and you change the subject.”

. No, you deliberately dodged the subject - retail death at the hands of criminals, vs. wholesale death at the hands of government. You insisted that the government wasn’t affected by the Second Amendment and could have all the mass-murder-capable firearms it wanted while we mere peons should be limited to 3–5 rounds a minute, tops. You stated that you wanted our military and law-enforcement members to have that kind of firepower. I pointed out that - historically - mass murder by governments exceeds mass murder by individuals by a couple of orders of magnitude at a minimum.

Yes it does. So what? Our government doesn't engage in mass murder. We're talking about homicide and suicide.

. And you responded with “I don't care what the murder rate is in Cambodia….”

The Khmer Rouge killed those 2,000,000 victims in a mere five years - from an overall population of 7.5 million - about the population of Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Yes they did. Our government does not do that. Off topic.

. Then you said: “And a Napoleonic cannon weighed a ton and needed horses to move it but the Las Vegas shooter easily carried his arsenal into a hotel room and killed dozens.”

. Yes, dozens. As opposed to millions. Or merely hundreds of thousands. Yet you’re OK with private citizens possessing Napoleonic cannon that they can move around with, say a truck.

How could one man with one cannon kill millions? He'd have a hard time killing a few. Then, people would restrain him.

. Something tells me that your concern about the capability of mass-murder isn’t really what we’re discussing here.

You're the one who thinks everyone should have access to a portable cannon (aka AR-15)

. “And the government could already vaporize you with a drone or a tank or a nuclear weapon regardless of your gun.”

. Sure, if they want to declare all-out war on the citizenry. But they have to leave the drone shack, climb out of the tank or get out of the nuclear bomber some time. And the people they take orders from aren’t exactly invulnerable either.

Please. Drones are in the sky 24/7. Nukes haven't been dropped from bombers since the 50s. The president pushes a button and you die. Your gun is useless.

“The truth is that you like guns and so in your mind you should have a right to own them.”

The truth is that I have a right to defend myself and my family, my neighbors, my state, and my nation. It just so happens that for an individual a firearm is pretty much the best tool for that defense. Denying me those tools while ensuring that others have them puts me at a severe disadvantage. The people who founded this nation understood that an armed populace was the last, best bastion against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and thus they wrote a guarantee into the founding legal document establishing our form of government ensuring that the government would not have the power to disarm the people wholesale.

Now we’re hearing calls to repeal the Second Amendment because - at last - The Other Side™ has acknowledged that prohibition. But they neglect one further bit of recognition: The Second Amendment protects a pre-existing right, stating that right “shall not be infringed.” Repealing the Second Amendment won’t overturn the right to keep and bear arms, it’ll just make confiscation “legal.”

Pre-existing rights aren't a thing. When the 2nd is appealed you will have no right. The sooner the better.

Like slavery used to be. Remember, slaves weren’t allowed to possess arms, either.

Nope. And you can't possess a slave anymore. Soon it'll be slaves and guns.
Oy, this is really getting good, so I decided to tweak him again and see what else I could get him to say:
“The Clinton study was about waiting periods. I'm talking about an absence of guns.”

No, the Clinton study was about ‘gun violence,’ including suicide. The study overall said “We find no statistical evidence that gun control has any effect - positive or negative - on the rate of gun violence, but five-day waiting periods have this interesting statistical effect of changing the method of suicide for older males.” The study was Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review.

Your second link - “Guns and suicide: a fatal link” was a survey. It shows what in statistics is known as correlation, but not causation. The majority of vehicles owned in Wyoming are pickup trucks. This correlates with the suicide rate, but does not cause suicide. Connecticut and New York are both anti-gun states and their “Gun Ownership” numbers look approximately the same, but Connecticut has a much higher Suicide rate than New York. Massachusetts has the lowest “Gun Suicide” rate and is the most gun unfriendly state in the country, yet California and Illinois - also very gun-unfriendly states - have much higher rates of suicide by gun. Why? Strain all you wish, but you haven’t proven causation.

Your first link was from a 2004 study that - once again - correlated gun ownership with the risk of dying by gunshot. That being the case, why is the homicide rate in Washington D.C. where guns are very difficult to get legally so much higher than right across the river in Virginia where they’re practically unregulated? Correlation does not equal causation, either here or worldwide.

Next topic: Government. “Our government does not do that. Off topic.” Our government supported slavery for its first 100 years. Our government put Japanese-Americans in concentration camps and stole their property. There’s a lot of things our government hasn’t done - yet. But “It can’t happen here” is a mantra I fully expected.

“How could one man with one cannon kill millions?” One man can’t. But an army can. Which is why one man with an AR-15 rifle concerns me less than an entire police department equipped with the full-auto version.

“Pre-existing rights aren't a thing.” Tell that to your neighbors. See how they react.

Once again, thank you for being such a sterling example of type.
He popped back immediately with this:
You, as well. A perfect example of blind faith in the 2nd amendment in the face of incredible evidence to the contrary. The cult of gun is strong indeed.

And I am telling my neighbors, with my vote. My candidate supports strong gun control. So will the majority of the House of Representatives by this time next year.

In the end, your arguments won’t matter. Your vote won’t be enough. We are coming for your guns because your “right” to own one doesn’t trump our “right” to not be slaughtered by the members of your cult who keep demonstrating with crystal clarity that we should not allow citizens to own whatever gun they want.
I was sorely tempted to ask him - if there are no pre-existing rights, why is slavery wrong? And is lethal force in the avoidance of enslavement justified? But I'll leave that to others.

Oh, and Mr. Consiglio is a high-school teacher. Quelle suprise.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Anybody Interested in a Central/Southern AZ Blogshoot?

Got an Aussie friend whose brother will be in town late May, early June.  We're looking at June 3 at the Casa Grande public range for an informal gathering of the People of the Gun.

Anybody still read this blog and interested?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

I am REALLY Beginning to Appreciate This


Is Broward County a Smaller Version of Chicago?

There's been a lot of outrage toward Broward County, FL's Sheriff Scott Israel over his department's lack of response to the rampage shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. See also this.  I'd like to point out that the Broward County Sheriff's Department has a longer history that people should be aware of.

During the waning days of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban (that wasn't), then-Sheriff Ken Jenne invited CNN's John Zarella to demonstrate to him the difference between the then-legal semi-automatic weapons and those that had been banned by the 1994 AWB.  It was one of the earliest things I posted about here at TSM.

He had a deputy fire four rounds from a (legal) AK-clone into cinderblocks.

He then demonstrated that rifle rounds from that AK-47 clone would penetrate the "bulletproof" vests worn by law enforcement - vests that are rated, at best, to stop pistol rounds. Zarella was shocked. He was told that the rifle held only ten rounds, as per the law. He was not told that 30-round magazines were still legal and still fit in that rifle.

Then he ostensibly demonstrated a banned AK-clone. Thirty-round magazine, FULL-AUTO.

A transcript of the clip (video not available) is here.

The NRA responded to this episode of "fake news."

And Sheriff Jenne? Well, he suffered a rather spectacular fall from grace not long afterward.

Is Broward County a smaller version of Chicago?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Quote of the Day - Totalitarianism Edition

Inspired by a comment on my previous post, I went looking into Jean-Francois Revel and his book Last Exit to Utopia: The Survival of Socialism in a Post-Soviet Era. In a Wall Street Journal review of that book, I found this, the QotD:
The totalitarian phenomenon is not to be understood without making an allowance for the thesis that some important part of every society consists of people who actively want tyranny: either to exercise it themselves or — much more mysteriously — to submit to it. - Jean-Francois Revel
Calls for aggressive disarmament of the American public ring that alarm bell emphatically.

Discuss.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Other People's Content

As you may know, I frequent Quora.com. Recently someone asked the question:
What are the great ideas of progressivism distinct from liberalism?
This answer by Charles Tips is one of the best, most concise responses I've ever read, and I asked him if I could archive it here on my blog.

He said yes:
All of progressivism is distinct from liberalism. It rests on an idea I hesitate to call great, but which certainly has been workable. And that idea depends on a number of ancillary ideas and methods.

The modern reordering of politics


Monarchism enjoyed a long run of more than two millennia before being beset in short order by three new politics: Liberalism kicked in in the late 17th century. Bonapartism commenced in the early 19th century followed by Marxist socialism in the mid-19th century.

It was a rough time to be a monarch or aristocrat, institutions propped up only by myth (some are made of better stuff and are more beloved of God), militia (the finest knucklebreakers money can buy) and corruption (we give ourselves titles, offices and land; you can barely survive without paying us). If Napoleon wasn’t running roughshod over your turf exposing you as not so hearty as you claimed, Old Karl was filling your subjects ears with nonsense about class-free society.

But the real kicker was liberalism, which, with its economics of productivity, stood as a rival power center. When Richard Arkwright, a poor tailor’s son, died near the end of the 18th century worth half a million pounds from his inventiveness and enterprise, it sent shock waves through all of European society. The reverberation was especially strong in the courts of kings—scientists and tinkerers and commercial men now had an engine that could produce real wealth and offer useful employment to our subjects!

The gentry had laughed up their sleeves at the very notion of the United States of America—a class-free society… with no titles of nobility… with subjects made full citizens… and the leaders of government construed as public servants!!?? Preposterous! But it kept succeeding—not preposterous but prosperous.

Napoleon came and went, and his nephew was not the adroit he was. Socialism threatened wide-scale revolution then went quiet. But liberalism had bestowed commoners with the goose that lays golden eggs. What were thinking layabout sycophants to do? And then the United States threatened to split in two. Maybe liberalism was a dead end.

Monarchy rallied and soon King Wilhelm I charged Prince Otto von Bismarck to go out and get the many German principalities and duchies to submit to his rule. He needed an incentive, and the strongest appeal to the masses was socialism. He decided to explore and so had a famous series of private meetings with Ferdinand Lassalle, leader of an early social democratic party (that being the name communists had had to resort to in order to get around sedition laws).

Bismarck soon concluded, by God, this man is every bit the monarchist I am, just for the House of Lassalle rather than the House of Hohenzollern. I know how to work with such opportunists!

And so he stole Marx’s entire scheme and implemented it in the name of the King. He hired leading social democrats into his government, united all the German states under now-Kaiser Wilhelm I, created the paternalistic welfare state, and not long after made socialism illegal. As Bismarck explained:
My idea was to bribe the working classes, or shall I say, to win them over, to regard the state as a social institution existing for their sake and interested in their welfare.
The new myth: We Care. By swallowing socialism whole, he had lucked upon the means to protect privilege against liberalism. Item #2 in The Communist Manifesto had been a graduated income tax. Implement that and the political class then has a throttle on the personal wealth of the rising entrepreneurial class. All the goodies capitalism produces can be kept—the goose can keep laying the golden eggs; we just get our eggs off the top. And we need a lot of them because We Care.

Social democracy comes to America

The United States was birthed at the zenith of liberalism as the pinnacle of liberalism. Our Constitution guaranteed a society that was flat and free. Citizens were free to pursue their own self-interest because Adam Smith had shown that turns out to be good for everyone.

In order for an enterprising man to succeed, he has to create a win for his workers so that they willingly stay engaged in production. He has to create a win for his customers so that they keep buying his products. He typically must use the profits that eventually begin flowing in to shore up the business. It is only with a great deal of risk and fortitude that he himself can gain a win.

Modern free-enterprise economics had supplanted pre-modern non-productive economics, which was zero-sum (win-lose) and therefore produced no new wealth. In fact, the old non-productive economics was now referred to as corruption. Only, for those who were well-situated, it was so much less toil than productive economics. One could become wealthy not by getting in harness for the long haul but simply opportunistically by taking advantage of one’s status.

As word of the Bismarckian bombshell began arriving in the US, several things were going on.
  • Resentment, reaching well into the North over Reconstruction and the three amendments with the effect of making former slaves full citizens
  • Former slaves from the South and Swedish farm boys arriving from the Upper Midwest looking for factory and trade work
  • The steady arrival of “new immigrants” on the eastern seaboard—Jews from Eastern Europe and Catholics and Orthodox from Southern Europe
  • The rise of industrial might and industrial tycoons
  • A rising number of politicians unwilling to be content in the role of public servant
  • The widespread adoption in genteel families of Victorian morality
Progressivism, the movement to implement Bismarckian social democracy in the US soon dominated both parties. However, the movement faced a huge impediment in the Constitution, a document crafted as a bulwark against statism. Here are some of the methods employed by progressives over the years in service of their great idea.
  • Law schools at Harvard, Yale and other leading universities devoted themselves to a democratic reading of the Constitution—majority rules rather than the republican idea that no law is valid that impinges on the rights of anyone
  • Doubling down on democracy with new voting methods—ballot initiatives, recall elections, referenda, direct election of senators and so on
  • Adoption of the Prussian Volksschule, geared to indoctrination, as our public school model
  • Alliance with the Conservative Democrat faction in the South
  • Scientism—Spencer’s popularized version of Darwinian evolution becoming the basis for eugenics and white supremacy
  • Amending the Constitution (XVI) to permit a capitation tax (previously disallowed) on income
  • The rise of Keynesian economics, an economics conceived specifically to allow for political control of the economy
  • After progressive numbers were halved in the wake of Prohibition, an increasing reliance on Fabian deception
  • The rise of administrative law together with federal agencies having police units not publicly accountable
  • Approval of public-sector unions, which has seen a rise in public-sector compensation outpacing that of all productive sectors and with union dues going directly to the Democratic Party
  • Political Correctness—the use of Gramscian ideas to control thought, meaning and culture
  • The rise of the deep state and “weaponization” of public agencies
To be sure, there are many branches to these methods, and this list is far from exhaustive. But all such methods are in support of the great idea of progressivism. In a nutshell…


And so our wealthiest neighborhoods now surround our political capitols, especially Washington, DC, and our politicians no longer see themselves as lowly public servants: United States order of precedence.
Damn, Charles, that was beautiful. And frightening.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Jaguar!

Sorry, should have posted this earlier.

The Jag has arrived.  It came last Sunday.  Here it is on the transporter with 1700+ miles of road grime on it:


And here it is parked in the garage, clean and with about 60+ more miles on it than it had when it rolled off the trailer:


Just one more - this is Jaguar's "Celestial Black" under direct sunlight:


It's absolutely gorgeous.  Reminds me of Colt's Royal Blue finish.

And yes, it runs like a striped-ass ape.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

My Birthday is Coming Up in March....

(Hint, hint.)

Were I willing to become single again, I'd be signing on the dotted line for this.


Update:



UPDATE: She said "Yes."

Paperwork should arrive tomorrow for my signature(s). Then I just have to wait for the car to arrive from Illinois.

I think I'll be attending car shows as an exhibitor. This is one-of-255, and most of the 255 are convertibles.

Wow.  Just...wow.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

It's Gone

Remember my 3/4-life crisis when I sold my Mustang and bought an MG?

Almost a year later, I'm rid of the MG.  Took a pretty big loss on the deal, but my garage now has a hole in it, thank you jeebus.  The new owner seems pleased.  I'm pleased.  My wife is pleased.

Now I need to clean up the garage so she can park her car inside.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Still Doing Cleanup

Going through the archives trying to clean up broken links and other things in old posts.

Damn I posted a lot back when.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Quote of the Day, Civil War 2.0 Edition

From American Thinker, What Might Civil War be Like?:
Cities cannot feed themselves under any conditions, and what food could be grown on America’s resource-starved farms would be gobbled up by people nearer and dearer to the farmers. Leftists would have to both secure vast territories around their urban strongholds and relearn from scratch the generations-lost art of food production. Liberal enclaves stranded in the hinterland would simply be untenable. We, on the other hand, would be critically short of new Hollywood movies. Without a steady supply of the works of Meryl Streep and Matt Damon, millions of conservatives would instantly drop dead from boredom – that is, according to Meryl Streep.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Wow. Just Wow.

4K, 100,000 frames per second. Lightning like you've never seen it before. Go fullscreen.


Transient from Dustin Farrell (www.dfvc.com) on Vimeo.