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

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Now I'm P.O.'d at the L.A. Times

According to Hugh Hewitt, they've dropped the only good thing about the entire damned paper, Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist (and obviously right-leaning) Michael Ramirez.
The best laugh of the day comes via a letter from 24 Democratic Congressman bemoaning the paper's cancellation of Bob Scheer's ravings. Dennis Kucinich posted it at the Huffington Post. Before you think, "Good for the Times for dumping the crazy," ask yourself if there has ever been a columnist for the paper whose column --if cancelled-- would elicit a protest from two dozen conservative members of Congress? There is of course no such columnist, and never has been. In fact, there isn't a single high profile center-right writer identified with the Times in any capacity other than syndicated columnists. But the Times cheerfully indulged Scheer all these years, and then in a vain attempt to cover its quality control firing of the around-the-bend Scheer, tossed the only conservative on Spring Street, cartoonist Michael Ramirez, over board at the same time.
I've posted a number of Ramirez's pieces here in the past. Here are some of his more recent works:











Not only is he scathingly accurate, he's also a damned good artist (unlike, oh, say Ted Rall?)

I am certain that Mr. Ramirez will have no problem finding another paper to work for. This just represents another nail in the coffin of the L.A. Times. Instapundit commented earlier today on the Times and wartime propaganda. Since Ramirez has been almost uniformly supportive of the war and the troops and dismissive of the Democrat naysayers, I'm in Bill Hobbs's court. The L.A. Times understands war propaganda very well. And is on the other side. It just fired Bob Scheer in an effort to keep its bias from being too blatant. (Too little, too late!)

Edited to add this one I just found:

The only thing I'd change is it ought to be Murtha asking the question.

South Park Pundit Hits a Bullseye...

...with his most recent post, Freaks and Geeks, on the topic of how to not put off new shooters. And Josh is right on target. Money quote (from my perspective):
The conclusion that I came to is that image matters to the liberals and gun grabbers. It isn't the content - it's the image. Hence the AWB "Scary Looking Weapons Ban" that sunset last year. Hence the .50 ban in CA. Hence half of the "feel good" legislation these idiots keep trying to shove down our necks. And they do it because they're scared of that which they don't know and that which they see as the norm.
From an earlier piece of mine, Fear, The Philosophy and Politics Thereof I quoted cultural anthropologist Abigale Kohn, author of the book Shooters: Myths and Realities of America's Gun Cultures.
Our initial attempt to meet local militia members took us to a shooting range in the Bay Area, where we assumed local militia meetings would be held. We went on a Tuesday night, fully expecting the range to be seething with radical political activity. Why else would people congregate at a shooting range, if not to meet other like-minded, potentially dangerous right-wing gun nuts?
That's what they expect. And I said in that piece:
It's important to understand this: We call ourselves "gun nuts" - embracing the label thrust upon us by the ignorant, anti-gun bigots - but many of them really believe it. We're "potentially dangerous" because we like guns.

I think that's something most gun owners don't really grasp. I know it initially took me a while to get my mind around the idea.
Josh also said in his piece:
I guess what I'm asking is for everyone to be the buffer for new shooters. Introduce them to the world the right way and don't let the "crazy" be their first influence. Don't let some of the kooks get to them first.
Exactly right.

I noted, a few posts down, that even the DemocraticUnderground.com now has a forum for gun-related posts, and apparently a small but growing contingent of gun owners. A few posts later, in one relating a surprisingly pro-gun New York Times piece, I commented that this combination made me "wonder if there's not some subtle, conscious or subconscious effort ongoing to ensure that the Left arms up in time for the coming conflict." Commenter TomWright, however, was more sanguine:
Kevin, I have no problem with the DU or anyone else arming up. It forces personal responsibility on those that do, which may move them the tiniest bit away from the left, educates them on firearms, and can only help RKBA.
And he's right - because ignorance promotes fear. Exposure, as Abigale Kohn, Slate columnist and NPR contributor Emily Yoffe, and even more recently blogger Redmemory1 have discovered, destroys that fear.

On top of that, owning a firearm tends to make already responsible citizens remarkably aware of a whole new world of responsibilities. I've quoted this letter before, but here's a perfect place to put it again. It's a piece written to Kim du Toit's old site (link's broken), but I have it archived. Written by "Refugee," it goes like this:
I've seen the light, and I'm here to testify.

To those of you who grew up with guns, I expect that what I'm about to say will seem painfully obvious. But I came to class late, and what I learned there is still fresh and vibrant.

I thought, all my life, that I couldn't own a gun safely, that no one could, really. Guns were dangerous and icky. Even after I realized that the Second Amendment was not quite the shriveled, antiquated appendix I'd been taught, for a couple of years or so I still wobbled around with the training-wheel comfort of believing that while not all gun owners were necessarily gap-toothed red-necked fascist militia whackos, I myself ought not to own firearms. I was too clumsy and careless, and guns were still dangerous and icky.

Just before 9/11 I woke up to how quickly my liberty was eroding, and in a fit of anger and defiance started saving for a handgun while training with rentals. (Thanks to Harry at Texas Shooters Range here in Houston.) When I actually bought one (to the horror and confusion of my friends and family), having it around the house, carrying it in my car, talking about it, showing it off, and of course shooting and maintaining it, taught me what I could not learn from books, magazines, classes, or even Usenet:

It taught me that freedom takes practice.

I thought I'd practiced. I'm as full of opinions as the next guy, and not shy about passing 'em out to anyone who'll listen. I read banned books and underground comics. I've walked the picket lines and hung out with undesirables. A preacher's kid, I pointedly don't practice a religion. I've done stuff that Wasn't Allowed.

But when I got a gun, I discovered it had all been safe, padded, wading-pool-with-floaties dabbling. After near on to fifty years, I finally started to grow up. If my Grands are any clue, I've still got twenty or thirty years to work on it, and get to be something like mature by the time I go senile.

It's not just that rights are useless if they are not exercised, not even that rights must be used or be lost. It's that exercising your rights, constantly, is what instructs you in how to be worthy of them.

Being armed goes far beyond simple self-protection against thugs or even tyrants -- it's an unequivocal and unmatched lesson that you are politically and morally sovereign; that you, and not the state, are responsible for your life and your fate. This absolute personal sovereignty is the founding stone of the Republic. "A well-regulated militia" (where the militia is "the whole people") isn't just "necessary to the security of a free state" because it provides a backup to (and defense against) the police and the army. More importantly, keeping and bearing arms trains sovereign citizens in the art of freedom, and accustoms us to our authority and duty.

As Eric S. Raymond wrote:
"To believe one is incompetent to bear arms is, therefore, to live in corroding and almost always needless fear of the self -- in fact, to affirm oneself a moral coward. A state further from 'the dignity of a free man' would be rather hard to imagine. It is as a way of exorcising this demon, of reclaiming for ourselves the dignity and courage and ethical self-confidence of free (wo)men that the bearing of personal arms, is, ultimately, most important."
It isn't true for all gun owners, but the fact remains that taking responsibility for your own protection tends to make one understand the limits of the State, and the duties of the citizen. And, as TomWright said, new shooters - no matter their political leanings - can only help.

There are the Freaks out there who are off-putting. One of the reasons I don't enjoy shooting in the desert is the yahoos that are often shooting nearby, but they are the minority in the ranks of gun owners. Many of us are willing to introduce newbies to shooting. Publicola maintains a list of volunteer instructors, and I'm on it. I have an invitation posted at the top of the left column of this blog:
If you have never shot a firearm, regardless of your position on the right to arms, and if you live near or visit the Tucson, AZ metropolitan area, I invite you to go shooting for a day. I will provide the arms, ammunition, targets, safety equipment, range fees and instruction.

All you have to do is show up.
I've not been as successful at attracting interested shooters as I'd like, but at least I'm trying. The residents of the UK have, for all intents and purposes, lost their right to arms because there were not enough among them familiar with firearms to counter public opinion. While the number of guns in circulation here continues to increase, the number of gun owners has been in decline for a long time. If we do not want to follow the British lead, then we need more people who are familiar with and not afraid of guns and gun owners. That means we need more shooters.

So let's take Josh's advice.

Edited to add: Stickwick Stapers has a new post up which is remarkably coincidental. Excerpt:
I like to tell Canadians that I am surrounded by armed and dangerous people in Texas -- my neighbors -- and that's a good thing. But Canadians just don't get it. They inevitably associate guns with bad guys, and I kind of understand, because, unless they've grown up in the far north or Alberta, none of them has grown up in anything resembling a self-reliant culture. I'd always been a 2A supporter when I lived in Canada, but the reality of the gun-culture was a little scary when I first moved to the States. My first couple of times to the range, I wasn't 100% sure that the guy next to me wasn't some kind of maniac. It was weird trusting a complete stranger with the power of life and death over me -- and that's the root of Canada's problem with guns.
Not just Canada's. RTWT.

Edited again to add this piece over at Boots & Sabers from yesterday. Excerpt:
It was disconcerting to know that wherever we went in Texas, any one there could be carrying a gun—the bank, the hospital, the mall, our church, virtually everywhere we went except for bars and the movie theater could be full of gun-toting nutjobs.

Then during a trip back home, I had an epiphany. Any one or more of the people at Fox River Mall in Appleton, Wisconsin, could be a gun-toting nutjob, too, and if one of those nutjobs went off, we were all sitting ducks. It took having the right to protect myself to miss it when it was gone. It is that moment that changed the way I felt about concealed carry. It’s that day that I realized that even though I may choose not to carry a weapon, someone else who is trained, licensed, and ready may be able to protect me from a gun-toting nutjob who might break the law and shoot or threaten to shoot an innocent person.

That is when I stopped rolling my eyes when Owen put his handgun on his belt. That is when I asked him to take me out and teach me to shoot a handgun. That is when my view of Texas changed. The people with CCLs aren’t the gun-toting nutjobs, it’s the criminals without CCLs who are the trigger-happy loonies.
Again, RTWT. It's a meme!

And Owen? Link to your wife's blog in the piece, would you?

Updated AGAIN, 12/1, 9:25PM: South Park Pundit has a new post up by the new gun owner in question, Examining "Gun Nuts". More of the same meme, but recommended reading. Excerpt:
So after dealing with these notions half a dozen people had, what can I conclude? One, people are stupid when it comes to guns and gun owners, and that just compounds the fear they have. I mean - I own something capable of killing another person. My car. Golf clubs. Bat. Frying pan, maybe. But everyone owns those things and sees them everyday. They aren't exposed to guns all the time, so they fear them, and because they fear, they hate.
Ayup. And the only thing that can overcome that fear is familiarity.

So take a newbie shooting this weekend.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Remodel Update.

I started back to work on Monday. We're almost finished painting. I plopped down an obscene amount for the kitchen countertops this afternoon. The carpet & tile place called tonight and the walk-through is scheduled for Friday; installation begins Monday.

I. Am. Sick. And. Tired. Of. It. All.

Blogging will probably be light this week. There's a thousand-and-one details we've got to complete before tile installation starts.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I Don't Do This Often,.

Hardly ever, in fact, but I received an email this evening from Spc. Phil Van Treuren, proprietor of the blog Camp Katrina:
I am a soldier in the Army National Guard and recently returned from deployment in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. We have created a blog, www.campkatrina.typepad.com, which shares stories and pictures from soldiers who served in operation Vigilant Relief, as well as highlighting the other great humanitarian efforts of the US military. I was wondering if we could exchange links on our sites. Our blog has been getting some media interest recently and I thought it might benefit us both. I want to let the public know about the great humanitarian work our military is doing.

Thanks,

Spc. Phil Van Treuren
Ohio Army National Guard
JAG Corps
So I went, and I looked, and it's worth the link. There are an assortment of contributors to the site, from a female Muslim to a weekly post from the Left side of the 'sphere, and there are aggregation posts linking to items of interest, plus some opinion pieces by the proprietor himself, like this one. So go have a look around.

MORE on the Futility of Prohibition.

This time via Curmudgeonly & Skeptical.

Who needs to build a firearm? Build one of these,

and use it to take a firearm. That was, after all, the concept behind the Liberator pistol. An airgun firing a ball-bearing, or even a marble at 400 fps will do a number on someone's head at close range.

Crude, yes. But cheap, easy to assemble, and effective.

New Blogger.

(Found via Blognomicon.)

Words written by Redmemory1 is very new. Per the blogger profile the author is a 35 year-old female who has some pretty serious issues. As Alan noted:
This blog was begun on Nov 5, and the six posts so far have covered sexual abuse, drug addiction, and overcoming the fear of firearms.
Pretty powerful stuff in pretty short posts. From the "fear of firearms" post, Bang:
On October 15, a friend came to the house and began the exposure for me. Pieces of guns, bullets all placed slowly one at a time in front of me. Honestly, this was more difficult than when the gun was pieced together. I still don't know why. It could be because it was my first exposure to a handgun ever, even if it was in pieces, and I was very afraid.

The next day I felt strong, almost buoyed by the previous evening's survival and lack of vomit at the sight of the weapons. I slept without dreams that night and felt positive that going to the range would only help more in that area.
RTWT. All the posts so far, not just that one. And leave some words of encouragement.

And if anybody flames her, remember: There's a special corner in Hell reserved just for you.

Stop HR 1415!.

I'm with Rivrdog on this one. Go read.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

"I'm So Ronery, I'm So Ronery, So Ronery, and Sadry Arone."

Hat tip to Raven at AR15.com who found this Sweetness & Light posting on Mother Sheehan's (*ahem*) sparsely attended book signing outside of Crawford.

What, none of her entourage can afford a copy of her book even for a photo-op? And what a photo-op!





I'm sure the DUers and Kossacks will be screaming about how the "Right-wing media machine" is propagandizing blah, blah, blah... Frankly I'm amazed the AP pictures hit the internet via Yahoo.

Now will she go away?

UPDATE: Steven Den Beste, in a comment, links to this rather harsh editorial, Cindy Sheehan: Is Anybody Else Sick Of This Broad? Worth the read.

Another Pointer from TFS Magnum.

And I just moved Deb's blog up to my Daily Reads list - long overdue. This one will require you to run Internet Exploder if you want to watch the videos, but it's worth it.

Memphis television station WREG is running a multipart series called "Get Your Gun" - a tutorial on getting a concealed-carry permit, selecting a handgun, storing it securely, and so on. There are three video links at the moment, and the only glaring error I saw was the assertion that "revolvers carry only five rounds." Well, small concealable ones. But you can get a revolver that carries five, six, seven, or even eight rounds. Nine, if you want a .22.

The reason for this series?
Because of the nature of what I do for a living, I come across some pretty dangerous circumstances and people. In 14 years as a television reporter -- 8 as an investigative reporter -- I have received a few threats. Some are the cowardly, anonymous kind -- the kind you get in e-mails or letters. Others are right on the street, in store parking lots or in crowded restaurants. My family and I have dealt with harassment and stalkers, but luckily, nothing has ever come of it.

My experiences inspired me to produce the series we're airing
TONIGHT ON NEWS CHANNEL 3 AT 5, 6 & 10. We call it "Get Your Gun" because we wanted to reach those of you who are considering for the first time -- like me -- to arm yourself. Through our production of this series, I have developed an enormous respect for firearms, the experts who use them and our Second Amendment right as Americans to bear them. I am convinced that if more of us had a healthy respect for guns; if more of us as citizens knew HOW to use them, WHEN to use them, WHERE to secure them; and if more law-abiding citizens properly CARRIED the appropriate handgun, crime would not be as much of a problem. After all, most of the thugs out there don't have a clue about how to really harness the power of that gun they just stole, and they certainly don't understand the conviction of someone who is prepared to kill in order to protect himself or his family.

Remember, this is not a series about gun expertise or tactics. This is a series for first-timers like me who are learning and making choices about firearm ownership. I will add the streaming video of each of these stories after they air in their respective shows. Those clips will appear below. Please watch, and I welcome your feedback at
andy.wise@wreg.com.
I intend to send Mr. Wise some feedback.

Mouth. Hangs. Agape.

Via Deb at TFS Magnum comes a link to this New York Times story that just shocked the hell out of me.
Now, Accounting Can Get Its Gun
By VINCENT M. MALLOZZI

HIGHLAND LAKES, N.J. - This past summer, members of a Manhattan law firm went on a field trip to Danbury, Conn., where they spent an entire day at a range without swinging bats or golf clubs. The members of Kobre & Kim LLP were there not to hit and hack, but to lock and load, and to experience the thrill of firing pistols, rifles and even submachine guns.

"We do very aggressive litigation and trial work," said Michael Kim, a partner in the firm. "So we prefer an activity that dovetails nicely with that aggressive culture, and hitting a little white ball on the greens doesn't do much for us."

In the last few years, a growing number of professionals like Mr. Kim are abandoning traditional company outings like softball, golf or fishing, choosing instead to escape the pressures of their busy workdays by blowing off steam - and rounds of ammunition - at shooting ranges that give corporate retreats some of the atmosphere of military attacks.

"We offer a thrilling experience denied a lot of New Yorkers who have never fired a gun," said Andrew Massimilian, 42. He owns Manhattan Shooting Excursions, which takes individuals and corporate groups on shooting parties at seven ranges scattered around New York State, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey. The excursions are held outside New York City because almost all of the firearms in Mr. Massimilian's vast arsenal are illegal to possess in the five boroughs.
I imagine that most of them are illegal to possess in New Jersey, as well.
Chip Brian, president of Comtex News Network Inc., a distributor of financial news in Manhattan, has found that firing a few friendly rounds is an effective approach to bonding and networking. "At the end of the day, it's all about getting to know your clients better," he said, "and a shooting trip is one of the most unique ways to do that."

"There's a huge difference in taking clients out to dinner, with nice music playing in the background, as opposed to taking them to a sporting event, which is much more exciting," Mr. Brian said. "A shooting trip takes that to the next level - it really makes a lasting impression."

Russ Savage, a Manhattan lawyer who took a shooting holiday earlier this year, said that some of the men and women who have pulled the trigger on the increasingly popular excursion, especially those in the world of high finance, may have done so to gain "a feeling of empowerment."

"For major corporate executives whose job it is to lead, this is a much more powerful way for them to maintain a sense of aura than by simply taking their people on a company picnic," Mr. Savage said. "It's an exhibition of strength and power."
What, no penis reference?
On a recent Saturday afternoon, Mr. Massimilian staged one of those exhibitions in a thickly wooded area at Highland Lakes in Sussex County, N.J., where a small army that included doctors, lawyers and Wall Street types, all wearing padded earmuffs and protective glasses, waited on his command to fire their guns into paper targets set 50 yards away in front of a mountainside.

When the signal was given, 17 men and women began blasting away at the targets, filling the cool air with the scent of gunpowder and the kind of echoing booms that can keep a deer up all night.

"Everyone goes golfing or to a Yankees game, but this is a much more exciting way to bring people together," said Anthony Belluzzi, a 31-year-old institutional sales trader for Knight Capital Markets in Jersey City. "It's great for people like me who sit in offices all day, under fluorescent lights, staring at computer screens."

Are field trips that involve packing heat instead of sandwiches detrimental to society?
You knew this was coming, didn't you?
"They might not be the best thing for a society that is already way too aggressive," Dr. Kenneth Porter, a Manhattan psychiatrist, said. "When you look at what is in the media, and what kids growing up are exposed to, something like this could have a negative effect on the overall mental health of the population.
Uh-huh.
"However," Dr. Porter continued, "shooting can be viewed as a legitimate sport and can be seen as a constructive outlet to express aggression, so it cuts both ways."
What?
Seconds later, Dr. Porter, sitting at a picnic table at the Highland Lakes site with his fiancée and her son, picked up a long-range rifle and began firing at a wooden bull's-eye, shell casings flying behind him as he squeezed off round after round, his body recoiling slightly after every blast.

"Before today, I thought something like this was unequivocally harmful," he said. "But now I've learned otherwise."
Mouth. Hangs. Agape.
Mr. Massimilian, whose grandfather once owned a firearms manufacturing company in Germany, holds an M.B.A. from Columbia. He worked for 20 years in the corporate world, with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Vornado Realty Trust, before establishing his shooting excursion business two years ago.

He said the fees for his excursions range from $150 to $600 a participant, depending on the firearms used and the level of personal instruction offered. His most expensive guns include the Springfield Armory M1-A Super Match long-range rifle; the Armalite AR50, a bolt-action, 50-caliber, long-range target rifle; the Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun; and the Heckler & Koch Elite, a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Some customers, like Mr. Belluzzi, the trader, chose guns with special nostalgic or sentimental value, such as the M1 Garand, a G.I. infantry rifle used during World War II, which he had fired most of the afternoon.

"Both of my grandfathers served in the war and used the exact same weapon," he said. "I thought it would be cool to see what it felt like."

Mr. Massimilian blames Hollywood for the negative images attached to shooting.

"Hollywood marginalizes us by showing three types of shooters: criminals, policemen and soldiers," he said. "They never show the doctor, the banker or the father-and-son teams who just want to go out for a friendly shoot."
A point I've made a time or two myself.
Or the aggressive lawyer, like Mr. Kim, who is targeting a return date.

"We're going back to shoot again," he said. "And we'll probably make it an annual event."
Now, given the stated NYT position on guns and gun control, I'm tempted to wonder at an article like this, or this earlier piece on the relaxation of gun laws in the wake of high-profile shootings. Perhaps I'm just being paranoid, but in conjunction with the fact that the moonbats of the Democratic Underground now have a complete forum in which to debate firearms topics, and my last dystopic post, I'm forced to wonder if there's not some subtle, conscious or subconscious effort ongoing to ensure that the Left arms up in time for the coming conflict.
"Before today, I thought something like this was unequivocally harmful," he said. "But now I've learned otherwise."
I hate to say it, but it appears to me the only thing that makes any sense.

Friday, November 25, 2005

March of the Lemmings

Or: Anarchy Approaches

That's the way things appear to be going. It has been an ongoing and growing theme at this site that the social situation in the U.S. is bad and getting worse, and it's time to revisit it. Nor is this my take only. I've quoted the Rev. Donald Sensing before. Here is a bit more of Rev. Sensing, for context:
A friend of mine emigrated here from Romania after Ceaucescu's regime fell. He told me the other day that Americans are over-regulated. Think about that; a man coming from a communist country believes that Americans are over-regulated. It chills.

A long time ago Steven Den Beste observed in an essay, "The job of bureaucrats is to regulate, and left to themselves, they will regulate everything they can." Celebrated author Robert Heinlein wrote, "In any advanced society, 'civil servant' is a euphemism for 'civil master.'" Both quotes are not exact, but they're pretty close. And they're both exactly right. Big government is itself apolitical. It cares not whose party is in power. It simply continues to grow. Its nourishment is that the people’s money. Its excrement is more and more regulations and laws. Like the Terminator, "that’s what it does, that’s all it does."

--

I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.
I've quoted the Geek with a .45:
We, who studied the shape and form of the machines of freedom and oppression, have looked around us, and are utterly dumbfounded by what we see.

We see first that the machinery of freedom and Liberty is badly broken. Parts that are supposed to govern and limit each other no longer do so with any reliability.

We examine the creaking and groaning structure, and note that critical timbers have been moved from one place to another, that some parts are entirely missing, and others are no longer recognizable under the wadded layers of spit and duct tape. Other, entirely new subsystems, foreign to the original design, have been added on, bolted at awkward angles.

--

We know the tools and mechanisms of oppression when we see them. We've studied them in depth, and their existence on our shores, in our times, offends us deeply. We can see the stirrings of malevolence, and we take stock of the damage they've caused over so much time.

Others pass by without a second look, with no alarm or hue and cry, as if they are blind, as if they don't understand what they see before their very eyes. We want to shake them, to grasp their heads and turn their faces, shouting, "LOOK! Do you see what this thing is? Do you see how it might be put to use? Do you know what can happen if this thing becomes fully assembled and activated?"

Some, to be certain, see these things, and perceive the danger. Many of these, their minds and judgments clouded, act as if they had appeared new and pristine, and proceed to lay all of the blame, 100% of it, at the feet of the current administration, judges and legislators, not stopping to think that such malignity does not appear de-novo, and all at once.

It is human, after all, to assign blame for such things as the evidence of ill intention and malign design, and sometimes it is just to do so. We remind ourselves though, that it isn't always the case, and that evil can also emerge unbidden from the sum of vectors, rather than the charting of a course.

Such sickness as this grows over time, years and decades. It accretes in lightless corners and in broad daylight in places where self-deception, man's oldest enemy carries the day.

Alone, and in small groups, we sit in the shade and think, to find clarity. Some of the forms we see are plain as day, and others are ambiguous. We know that it is human nature to see patterns in the stars, to connect the dots. Often, the patterns we see are real, and sometimes, they are just constellations. We pause and check each bit of history, one at a time. We know that we cannot afford to be wrong.

The original machine designers warned us of this. They knew that the temptation would always be there, and they sternly warned us that assembling such machines, even with the best of intention was to court a cascading disaster.
And again:
To the people of my parent's generation, World War II was a reality that they had lived through, and not a bunch of black and white movies starring John Wayne.

Books upon books were written on the subject, to help them digest and understand just how it was that something of that magnitude could actually happen, how it was that an entire European society could go insane and do what it did. (As for the Japanese society, it was insane to begin with, and thus more easily understood)

Yes, as politically incorrect as it is, I stand by what I just said:

"Entire Societies Can and Have Gone Stark Raving Batshit Fucking Insane."

For some, it was brief and temporary, and for others, it was more or less a permanent state of affairs.

You can quote your moral relativism and chide me for my white male euro/christo/judeo centrism, but I will never, ever, ever, ever accept that it's perfectly OK for a society to commit genocide, mass rape, enslave and/or execute conquered military and civilian people, as a matter of that society's normal operating procedure. That is the very definition of a high end insane society.

--

(T)here is a hidden exodus that you won’t read about in the papers:

“People are moving away from certain states: not because they've got a job offer, not because they want to be closer to family, but because the state they are living in doesn't measure up to the level of freedom they believe is appropriate for Americans. We are internal refugees.”

The fact that things have gone so far south in some places that people actually feel compelled to move the fuck out should frighten the almighty piss out of you.

Ten or fifteen years ago, I would’ve dismissed that notion, that people were relocating themselves for freedom within America as the wild rantings of a fringe lunatic, but today, I’m looking for a real estate agent.

It is a symptom of a deep schism in the American scene, one that has been building bit by bit for at least fifty, and probably more like seventy years, and whose effects are now visibly bubbling to the surface.

Just open your eyes and take a long look around you.
And he found that real estate agent, and moved out of New Jersey to Pennsylvania, where it's better - but only by comparison.

Back before the election last year I wrote several posts on the possibility of another civil war. A three-way discussion, with much commentary, sprang up between here, Who Tends the Fires and Freedomsight. Ironbear at Who Tends the Fires wrote:
I have read a great deal of history. And I have read a great deal of past political debate and discourse. Like (Billy) Beck, the last time I recall that we were this irrevocably divided between major factions was in the 1850's and 1860's - and we actually went to war within ourselves over it.

The divide is once again that stark, and that bleak. It's not "1968 all over again", it's 1858.

Unlike the first one, the dividing lines don't cut across states. Like the first one, the dividing lines are drawn across views of the ownership of men.... of wether we are owned by ourselves or by The State.

It would be a mistake to paint the conflict exclusively in terms of "cultural war", or Democrats vs Republicans, or even Left vs Right. Neither Democrats/Leftists or Republicans shy away from statism... the arguments there are merely over degree of statism, uses to which statism will be put - and over who'll hold the reins. It's the thought that they may not be left in a position to hold the reins that drives the Democrat-Left stark raving.

--

This is a conflict of ideologies...

The heart of the conflict is between those to whom personal liberty is important, and those to whom liberty is not only inconsequential, but to whom personal liberty is a deadly threat.

At the moment, that contingent is embodied most virulently by the "American" Left. This is the movement that still sees the enslavement and "re-education" of hundreds of thousands in South Vietnam, and the bones of millions used as fertilizer in Cambodia as a victory. This is the movement that sees suicide bombers as Minute Men, and sees the removal of a brutal murder and rape machine from power as totalitarianism. This is the movement that sees legitimately losing an election as the imposition of a police state. This is the movement that believes in seizing private property as "common good". That celebrates Che Guevara as a hero. The movement who's highest representatives talk blithely about taking away your money and limiting your access to your own homestead for your own good. The movement of disarmament.

The movement of the boot across the throat.

Think about it. When was the last time that you were able to engage in anything that resembled a discussion with someone of the Leftist persuasion? Were able to have an argument that was based on the premise that one of you was wrong, rather than being painted as Evil just because you disagreed?

The Left has painted itself into a rhetorical and logical corner, and unfortunately, they have no logic that might act as a paint thinner. It's not possible for them to compromise with those that they've managed to conflate with the most venal of malevolence, with those whom they're convinced disagree not because of different opinions but because of stupidity and evil, with those who's core values are diametrically opposed to what the Left has embraced. There can be no real discourse, no real discussion. There's no common ground. There can be no reconciliation there - the Left has nothing to offer that any adherent of freedom wants. The only way they can achieve their venue is from a position of political ascendency where it can be imposed by force or inveigled by guile.

And all adherents of freedom have far too many decades of historical precedent demonstrating exactly where that Leftward road leads - to the ovens of Dachau.
Fourteen months on, things are - if anything - worse.

Take, for example, this recent Watcher's Council winning post by psychologist Dr. Pat Santy, Let's Discuss Bush Derangement Syndrome Again. Excerpt:
The psychology of some of the Bush Haters is pretty cut and dried. They hate Bush because he stands between them and the implementation of their collectivist "utopian" vision. I have no time to waste on them, except to note that their intentions are deliberately and decidedly malevolent toward this country. They want it to fail at anything and everything it does and they openly cheer for the barbarians at the gate.

They are indistinguishable from the barbarians we are actively fighting, with the only difference being that they have different ideas about which group of thugs will be in charge of the "utopia". They prefer themselves--a more secularly-oriented set of thugs--to rule.

But what about the average person on the street who has, or has come to have a visceral hatred of President Bush? Perhaps they simply didn't vote for him in 2000, believing the media propaganda or caricature of his intellect and capabilities; or perhaps they simply didn't like him because he was from the opposition party, or a Texan. or any other number of normal reasons.

It seems to me that the Democrats and the Left have used their continuous propaganda well, but there is a also a strong personal psychological factor involved in being able to convince normally sane people that the source of all evil in the world is George W. Bush.

After 9/11, in many cases, even a mild dislike of "W" rapidly morphed into the ferocious Bush hatred we are now all familiar with. The opposition to a conservative Republican; and reasonable disagreement with his policies became a swooning hysteria; and an unmitigated, deranged hatred with all the accompanying paranoid delusions.
Fran Poretto's recent post is along pretty much the same lines, though what Dr. Santy attributes to insanity, Fran attributes to malice:
The dominant voices on the left side of the American political spectrum:
Politics of our sort cannot function anywhere near the necessary efficiency under conditions where one side holds itself to a high standard of truth and accountability, while the other recognizes no moral constraints and refuses to grant its opponents the presumption of sincerity.
Your Curmudgeon used to be amused at this sort of thing. After that, he was perplexed. Today, he's rather alarmed. He fancies he sees a prospect of mass political disintegration -- the withdrawal of all allegiance to the country, its laws, and its electoral system by millions of people -- that could cripple the Republic, at a time when it needs to draw together as never before.
One of Fran's commenters notes:
There was a time when no one advocated a harder line against the Marxist hard left than American liberals, but since the passing of that generation from the scene we are now left, pardon the pun, with people whose politics were formed in the New Left politics of the sixties, a politics that drank deep from the poisoned well of Marxism-Leninism. They are people who have succeeded in taking the commanding heights in the media, the universities, and many of the professions.

--

From their point of view, now that they have their best and brightest in positions of power in this society they should be leading the country into a bright new future. The problem they have is that since their heyday forty years ago, the population of this country has grown increasingly conservative and want no part of their redistributionist fantasies, the Cold War ended, showing the world that Marxism does not work and that trying to implement it anywhere usually causes human suffering on an enormous scale. The essential psychological problem for the left is that they believe that they are the Elect, the Chosen to whom power and deference is owed by the masses they mean to uplift whether those masses want uplifting, and those same masses reject their benificence by electing Bushitler and his merry men. Frankly, I think the screeches we keep hearing from these folks are the shrieks of people suffering psychic hernias, the wails of people born to command being told by their intellectual inferiors, no, thanks, pal, I dont want any.
The commenter, Akaky Bashmachkin, has described what Thomas Sowell has vividly illustrated as "The Anointed," and Dr. Santy and Fran Poretto have described what Eric Hoffer illustrated as "The True Believer" - in 1996 and 1951 respectively.

Mark Alger of Baby TrollBlog weighs in:
Akakay's observations are spot-on. But they fall short (if at all) in one regard: they seem -- stress that "seem," as the oversight may be mine -- to treat the takeover of certain centers of cultural and intellectual life in the West by hard-core Marxists, their tools, and fellow travelers, as a natural phenomenon which -- like Topsy -- "just growed."

Not so.

--

The sequence of events leading to today's state of the culture was deliberate, planned -- if not conspiratorially, then in collusion -- by individuals as diverse as Samuel Gompers, John Dewey, Margaret Sanger, and V.I. Lenin.

That this is the case ought to be chilling to any freedom-loving individual.
And concludes:
I submit that civility in political discourse is no longer possible -- at least not with the present core of the Democratic Party.

--

Until and unless patriotic Democrats can wrest control of the party back from the former '60s student "activists" and Soviet tools and agitprops, there is no dealing with it. Its leadership cannot be trusted. Their agenda is utterly alien to American ideals and values. Deny it as they will, the truth of it is plain. The Limbaugh Interrogative says it all: if they are not Americas staunch enemies, how exactly would their words and deeds differ if they were?

No. (And I hate with a passion to say this.) It is to be war. To the ashes. There can be no alternative but victory -- both abroad as well as at home.
And war, as von Clausewitz so accurately put it, is merely a continuation of politics by other means.

Nor is it only the Right who sees things in terms of absolutes and irreconcilable differences. Take, for example, this post at the Democratic Underground, which I will excerpt only part of:
I think much like Mike Malloy, my Boiling Point with Republicans in general, or anyone who still supports this administration has been reached.

After Jean Schmidt's comments in the House, and the absolutely criminal Bill that was passed last night, which rapes the people AND the land to such extremes that anyone who still calls this a Free Country or a Democracy is a fool, and deserves nothing but The Lash, after the debasement and debauchery that has been displayed these past couple of months, I have simply had enough.

I am through trying to reason with these people, these sub-humans that run this country, and those that support their policies.

I'm through with holding out hope that somehow we can all co-exist and put our country back together.

This is WAR. I have no compassion, no understanding, no quarter, no parlay, no sympathy, and no use for ANY of these people.

This is the darkest time of our history, and though we have not yet seen the full effects of what has been done, we are in serious danger of losing everything. If it isn't too late already.

I am sick and tired of being told to take the High Road, to be passive, reasonable, to be above them, to be dignified. I'm tired of be told we have to watch what we say and do so that we don't get painted in a negative light, and turn others off to our cause.

FUCK THAT.

Enough is Enough.

We have finally reached a point where even 10% support for these people is sheer insanity.

People in this country need to wake up to some very simple, easy to understand facts about what they are facing.

You are up against an adversary that DOES NOT CARE. It has not one shred of humanity. Human life means NOTHING to these people. Morality, Right and Wrong, Reason, Logic, mean NOTHING. The majority of the American people, which means 95% of you, the well-being and interests of said people means NOTHING to these people.

You are dealing with something that functions on a purely primal level, where the only things that matter are very, very simple.

Power. Money. Greed. Control. And the Sustenance, expansion, and accumulation of those four ideas AT ANY COST. It does not matter. No matter what must be done. Murder, Thievery, Deception, Fraud, Rape, Pillaging, WHAT EVER IT TAKES. It is a very simple Tunnel-Vision concept. Anything that falls outside of this concept is simply ignored, discarded or destroyed.

If you need something to help you understand what you're up against, here are some Film References that Might help you.

Gordon Gecko's character in Wall Street.

The scene in Terminator where John Connor implores to Sarah Connor

"Listen! And understand! That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with! It can't be reasoned with! It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever", until you are dead!" Or when he is being interrogated by The Police: "You still don't get it, do you? He'll find her. That's what he does. That's all he does! You can't stop him! He'll wade through you, reach down her throat, and pull her fucking heart out!"
I find it interesting that "TheWatcher" uses The Terminator reference as does the Rev. Sensing, but I find the context even more interesting. Rev. Sensing attributes the machine-like malevolence to government, and "TheWatcher" only to Republicans. Continuing:
Or perhaps the Scene in Die Hard when Bonnie Be Delia[sic] confronts Alan Rickman: "All of this. Everything you've done. After all your posturing, all your speeches, you're nothing but a common thief."

Perhaps the scene in Independence Day at Area 51 when Bill Pullman asks the Aliens what they want us to do, and he gets a simple one word response.....

"Die."

These people do not deal with anything on a human level, because they are befret[sic] of humanity. They could care less about human life, the environment around them, or any concept regarding morals or principles. They simply stay on message with their agenda, March in lock step with whatever advances it. They are Soulless Monsters with no concept or care for consequences of their actions.

They simply want to steal, plunder and pillage ANYTHING that is not nailed down. It's very simple.

And I don't know which is worse, the thugs carrying this out, or the MORANS[sic] who support them.

The feeble-minded, willfully ignorant, racist, bigoted, homo-phobic, fake, fundamentalist, robotic, culture-less vacuous soldiers who Goose Step In Perfect Unison into whatever Hell has been prepared for the world, by these monsters.

I can no longer peacefully co-exist with these people. They are accessories. They are co-conspirators, willful or ignorant, misguided or fearful, it matters not. They are ALL Guilty. I cannot have these people around me. I cannot have them in my personal space. I do not have children, but if I did I would not accept them being around my children.

They are filthy, degenerate, and LOST. And I no longer find their very existence acceptable. They are aiding in the destruction of this country, and as individuals they have absolutely NOTHING to contribute to the progression of the human species. NOTHING. I deeply hesitate to use the word "Useless Eaters", because of the negative connotations behind it, but I no longer care.

We are being MURDERED. This is GENOCIDE. It may be slow enough, and calculated enough to make the declaration of it as such absurd, but the intent is CLEAR. The PURPOSE is clear. THAT is what is being DONE.

When are people going to learn these people DO NOT CARE ABOUT ANYTHING. THEY STAND FOR NOTHING. THEY BELIEVE IN NOTHING.

They are merely parasites who want to STEAL EVERYTHING for THEMSELVES, and leave the rest of us for DEAD.

We do not matter to them. We are garbage. We are disposable. We are nothing more than a MEANS TO AN END to ADVANCE AN AGENDA. We have no other purpose than to be used for whatever ridiculous fantasy they want to unleash upon the Planet. These people probably can't even achieve AROUSAL, unless they are killing, destroying, looting , or stealing SOMETHING.

Someone needs to say it. Ultimately, we MAY NOT be able to deal with them in a peaceful, reasonable manner. They are not going to give up what they have gained legally and peacefully.

Those who think they will need to ask themselves one simple question.

WHY WOULD THEY?

They have gotten away with so much, and they will do ANYTHING to keep the status quo. They will do WHATEVER IT TAKES. If they have to Kill, they will Kill, and they have done so. If they have to Steal, they will Steal, and they have done so. And on, and on, and on.

And NOTHING has stopped them.

What is to stop them? WHO is to stop them?

Me? YOU?

Nancy Pelosi?

Russ Feingold?

Al Gore?

WHAT OR WHO IS TO STOP THEM?

And I ask this, because so far, NO ONE or NOTHING HAS.

NOTHING.

They don't even bother to TRY to be inconspicuous anymore. Now, every day they simply rub everyone's nose in it. They LIE, They STEAL, They KILL, They PLUNDER, They PILLAGE, and they smile for the Camera and basically tell everyone "What The Fuck Are YOU Going To Do About It, CITIZEN?"

These are the most sub-human, vacant, dead-eyed, soulless creatures that have EVER walked the Earth.

Even with their Poll Numbers at all-time lows, with Federal Indictments handed down, with more on the way and Fitz sharpening his Axe, with Almost 70% of the country sour on what is going on, even with the Wheels Coming Off, these fucking ASSHOLES trudge forward.

And they are NOT going to STOP.

Because it's What THEY DO.

It's ALL THEY DO.

For those that read this and think it is a Doom And Gloom Post, I ask you to refrain from the notion.

You see, I have simply reached my Boiling Point.

I have Had enough. I am FED UP. I cannot TAKE ANYMORE OF THIS.
It goes on in this vein for quite a while before concluding:
I know most here, including me, think the most desirable conclusion to this sad tale is to bring these people DOWN, and make them ACCOUNTABLE
for the THINGS THEY HAVE DONE.

Convict Them. Jail Them. Make Them PAY as High A Price as Necessary.

But do it Legally And Peacefully.

But as the days go by, I am beginning to wonder if we will be able to find the answer to the simple question concerning that which must be done.

"HOW?"

Because they have all but taken away ANY remedy we may have to stop them. Legislative. Judaical[sic]. Executive. They have STOLEN all the options, and if we attempt to bring Justice, they simply ignore it or spin it away. We DO have Fitz, and he has given us all a glimmer of hope that we CAN restore some order, but still we cannot ignore what these people are capable of.

Does ANYONE REALLY THINK they are going to give up what they have gained LEGALLY and PEACEFULLY?

REALLY?

HONESTLY?

I don't think they will. Not for a minute.

WHY WOULD THEY?

I am an American, Born and Raised, but I am NOT a citizen of BUSH'S America. I want nothing to do with the country these people have created.

And for those who support them, Let's get Something Nice And Sparkling CLEAR:

Stay The Fuck Away From Me. Stay OUT of my personal space. I want NOTHING from you. I want NOTHING to do with you. I want NOTHING to do with your "vision" of what the world should be.

What DO I want from you?

Honestly?

I will freely admit there are days, and they are becoming more than not, that the Alien at Area 51 in Independence Day and I share quite a common ground on the answer to that question.

And I am NOT apologizing for it.

In the words of the Late, Great Bill Hicks, about the most conciliatory thing I can say for those people at this point is simply this:

Kill Yourself.

Seriously.

LET. MY. COUNTRY. GO.
I am reminded of a classic exchange in the talk.politics.guns usegroup where some commenter asked "Why don't all of you gun-nuts go off and start your own country?" to which some wit responded, "We did. Who let you in?"

Let my country go, indeed.

Now, I have to ask: When the author, an obvious victim of Bush Derangement Syndrome, emphatically exclaims: "We are being MURDERED. This is GENOCIDE. It may be slow enough, and calculated enough to make the declaration of it as such absurd, but the intent is CLEAR. The PURPOSE is clear. THAT is what is being DONE," and "I can no longer peacefully co-exist with these people. They are accessories. They are co-conspirators, willful or ignorant, misguided or fearful, it matters not. They are ALL Guilty. I cannot have these people around me. I cannot have them in my personal space. I do not have children, but if I did I would not accept them being around my children," does this rhetoric correspond to a conclusion of: "Convict Them. Jail Them. Make Them PAY as High A Price as Necessary. But do it Legally And Peacefully"? Especially when he notes explicitly: Does ANYONE REALLY THINK they are going to give up what they have gained LEGALLY and PEACEFULLY?

He later adds:
Is there no limit to the atrocity, the depravity, the utter depths to which this country will have to endure before we are set free from these people.
Like, say, the ovens of Dachau?

As of this writing there are 273 responses to that post. I was unwilling to read them all, but I saw no comments that disagreed with the author.

Back in September, 2004 I wrote:
So, here's my prediction: When Bush wins the election with enough margin to prevent cheating on the part of the Dems, there are going to be riots. There will also be domestic terrorism by the moonbats.

The "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" has no place to go? They've been stirred up past the point of no return. They're going to go completely nuts.
A little later in the month I'd altered my thinking a bit. I still expected riots after the election, and I'll admit I was wrong about that, but only (I think) in the timing. I think they're still coming. But what I concluded at that time was this:
The divide is certainly real. It is wide and deep and growing. It has passed the point, I think, of reversal. The last time the nation was this divided, we did go to war - an actual, by-god uniforms-and-artillery shooting war.

But this time we won't. It won't be that simple. The problem isn't that we're divided, it's that there's not two sides UNITED.

--

The divide now is philosophical, too, but not as easily demarcated. It isn't slavery vs. abolition, it's "Left" vs. "Right." It's Libertarian vs. Conservative. Green vs. Democrat. Socialists vs. Capitalists. Anarchists vs. Government. Christians vs. Humanists. Jihadists vs. Infidels. Atheists vs. Christianity. Gun-grabbers vs. Gun-nuts. The perpetually disinterested vs. everyone else.

Grab any six random people off the street - chances are they'll have strongly held (and largely unsupported) opinions on a variety of topics, and those opinions will stray all over the philosophical boundaries of the merely Left and Right. It's not a binary division, it's an n-dimensional space of varying density.

The divide is largely geographical, but again not conveniently so. It's primarily Rural vs. Urban. The "Red State/Blue State" division is more of a reflection of how heavily urbanized any particular state is rather than a real state division. Remember the Red/Blue county map?

That's my impression of the sides, and we're not going to put on uniforms and engage in combat over our ideals. Not gonna happen.

Why no civil war? Because the Left won't be able to organize themselves to, and without that the Right won't drop its internal schisms enough to be motivated to. I stick by my argument that there will be riots (small) and guerilla activity (smaller) but there won't be organized warfare.
And I still think I'm right, but the scale will be bigger.

We're going to have the Balkans right in our own back yards, Somalia writ large, and the Anarchists are going to get to try out their non-system. We're headed for stark, raving, batshit fucking insane; mass political disintegration, because the heart of the conflict is between those to whom personal liberty is important, and those to whom liberty is not only inconsequential, but to whom personal liberty is a deadly threat.

I've read that during the Revolutionary War about a third of the population was in favor of independence, about a third was Loyalist, and about a third didn't care. The same ratios held for the Civil War. This time, I'm not sure that there are that many of us who hold the idea of personal liberty as essential, much less important. Decades of public school instruction has seen to that. (Thanks, John Dewey!) We've spent decades voting for the lesser of evils - choosing wedgies over outright castration, as it were. What else was our choice? But the wheel keeps on turning, and, as the Geek noted, our deep schism has been building for decades, the Statists against the Individualists.

I had a discussion with a family member recently on the topic of politics. This family member has a relatively mild case of Bush Derangement Syndrome, but believes that I can be "reached" because - I suppose - I'm family. I tried to explain that I haven't swallowed the GOP Kool-aid, that I don't agree with everything the administration has done and is doing (in fact, my support is pretty much only for the GWoT, and I believe that's being handled poorly from at least a P.R. standpoint). I tried to explain that it isn't that I hate the Democrats, the poor, the needy, it's that I oppose the idea of government as the solution to all problems. That what the Left advocates is the disproven, disastrous path of socialism.

The one consistent thing I've noted through the months that I've studied and considered this subject is that those on my side of the aisle see government as the enemy, the implacable Terminator machine that grows continuously, eating liberty and excreting laws and regulations until we all choke in it. The other side(s) sees only the other party as the enemy - as "Jane Galt" put it so eloquently, "The party in power is smug and arrogant; The party out of power is insane." And that insanity is spreading to society as a whole. Billy Beck, in the essay linked to by Ironbear, and in several comments here in the past has advocated passive civil disobedience as a solution:
Rational people yearn for liberty. This passionate recognition of their own nature cannot be denied or suppressed. Every human being has a "threshold of outrage" beyond which a transgressor proceeds at peril of response. At this point in our history, individuals are responding ever more frequently. The only question to me concerns the nature of the response.

There is no question over the rampant destruction which must be manifest in widespread armed confrontation. All rational people will agree on this point. Most will agree that is should be avoided.

Does this mean that those who passionately hunger for liberty must resign themselves to endless pedantic debate over definitions and principles, without satisfactory resolution?

I think not.

I see a course lying between your two alternatives. That course is massive, passive, civil disobedience.

I am convinced that sufficient numbers of rational individuals could focus the essential dispute of our times by simply, and peacefully, rejecting the claims of government.

Stop paying taxes of every kind. Stop voting. Burn drivers' licenses, social security cards, marriage licenses, business licenses, and every other document which attaches the sanction of government to one's own private affairs. Cease, immediately, the obedience to every article of posited law which our "representatives" scribble across our days and years. Conduct one's affairs according to the right, regardless of the "law".

I am fully aware of the implications of such a course.

I am, right now, a "criminal" by the definition of the federal government. I await my arrest. I have brought harm to no person, but I have acted in perfect disregard of certain federal "laws" which presume to dictate the disposal of my productive efforts. They are wrong, and I will not submit my conduct to their error.

However, I will not resist with arms against prosecution. In my view, such a course would commit the future to complete hopelessness. The reason is that my individual resistance would be perfectly futile against the massed force of the government. The destruction of my life which would result, would also leave not the slightest possibility that the future might see a day when my liberty will again be upheld as a proper object of "public policy"...and not its subject.

There is no way for me to know what the intervening days, months or years might bring, or the hardships to be endured. However, should that day of liberty ever actually dawn, I would walk out into its light shining on a world ready for me to exploit to productive ends, without the heavy task of reconstructing something long gone in the winds of war. I would simply take the place which I had left behind, and go back to my normal work.

In considering the option of armed resistance, I value my own course for its possibility of recovering a social fabric which, otherwise, will certainly be destroyed. It is my own, freely chosen, course. I would point out that it has nothing to do with "martyrdom", or any other notion of "sacrifice", for I do not recognize the concept of "sacrifice". I choose from a rationally valid hierarchy of values, and the foremost of them is my integrity. The concept of right bears me through the challenge.

I would only suggest that others consider the same challenge. Whether they do, and choose to act similarly, will have no real bearing on my own choice...with one important caveat:

"The more, the merrier."

This tongue-in-cheek reference addresses the impact of massive disobedience. It is an easy matter for the state to dispose of a single life. It is quite another to effectively dispose of millions. I can easily go down in the dark. To take millions of others down would require an effort of state that must move in the clear light of day, while the world...and all other Americans...watch.
The Germans did. The Poles helped. The Russians, Chinese, Cambodians all slaughtered millions. The world watched. When societies go batshit insane, civil disobedience doesn't get you much but dead, maybe a bit slower. Civil disobedience would have been a good solution if the populace had been educated in that philosophy for the last 100 years. Of course, if the populace had been educated in that philosophy for the last 100 years, we wouldn't need it, because we'd have a population of rational people instead of what is apparently a majority of irrational ones.

Perhaps human beings are like lemmings. Periodically we just have to massively reduce our populations, either through disease, war, or self-immolation.

Happy holidays.
Ah Well,.It Was an Honor Just to be Nominated

The Politburo Diktat's "Greatest Blog Post Ever" contest is concluded. Those Without Swords Can Still Die Upon Them came in seventh. Can't say I particularly disagree with the winner, nor several of the runners-up, though I'd have A) liked to come in a little higher in the rankings, and B) can't believe that Steven den Beste's Strategic Overview didn't even make the cut.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!.

Day 14 of the remodel, and I'm taking it off. Here's hoping you and yours have a safe and happy holiday.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Ammo Day Wal*Mart Tally.

Per Dusty_C at AR15.com
.223 = 25,850
.45 = 12,950
.40 = 7,750
9mm = 34,980
.38 = 2500
.357 = 1300 (That last 300 rounds is mine!)
7.62 = 760
.22 = 14,150
12ga= 1500
.44 = 490
.243 = 20
.410 = 75
.308 = 120
.32 = 50
unk=640
total rounds 103,135
Hopefully that made a blip in a computer printout somewhere.

Reprinted with Permission of the Author.

Dr. Peter Friedman is a professor of mechanical engineering at UMass Dartmouth who lives in South Dartmouth. He wrote an op-ed that was published online at the SouthCoastToday.com web site and on Page A16 of The Standard-Times on November 17, 2005. I wrote and asked him for his permission to reprint the piece in its entirety, and got his approval. (Hat tip, Jeff at Alphecca)
Gun control is not the answer to crime

The headline on his Web site reads, "Kennedy urges House to not weaken D.C. gun safety law."
In the statement that follows, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy asserts, "The House amendment would repeal the D.C. government's long-standing ban on firearms and would be a disastrous blow to gun safety in the district. For almost three decades, D.C.'s ban on handguns and assault weapons has helped reduce the risk of deadly handgun violence."

Could Sen. Kennedy actually believe that Washington's ban on firearms has been effective? Perhaps he could prove his sincerity by giving his bodyguards and servants the night off and taking a stroll alone around a few of Washington's low-income neighborhoods one night.

Sen. Kennedy's headline avoids the real purpose of the current law. It is not "gun safety"; it is to completely disarm the public. In fact, the D.C. law makes it almost impossible for anyone to legally obtain a firearm, and makes it illegal to use a gun for self-defense by mandating that all guns be kept in inoperable condition.

The result of the D.C. gun ban is a different reality than Sen. Kennedy's world. According to FBI crime statistics, before the ban in 1976, Washington's murder rate was declining. In the 15 years that followed the ban, Washington's murder rate climbed 200 percent, while the national rate climbed only 12 percent.

Washington, D.C., is now consistently one of the most dangerous cities in the country. In 2002, it overtook Detroit and claimed the title as the murder capital of the United States. During that year, it defied national trends of decreasing murder rates to post a 13 percent increase.
What Sen. Kennedy either fails to understand or intentionally ignores is that criminals will not stop carrying guns just because it is illegal. What the gun ban would do is make the law- abiding easy targets by preventing them from having the means to defend themselves.

For most gun owners, possessing a gun is like owning an insurance policy. You hope that you never need it, but if you do, it is a nice thing to have.

But gun ownership has another and more important impact: Statistical studies have shown that increasing citizens' rights to use firearms for self-defense reduces crime because criminals fear armed victims.

Because criminals do not know who is armed, non-gun owners also benefit. It is precisely for this reason that home invasions are rare in the United States; on the other hand, they have become common in Great Britain since that country passed its near-total gun ban.
In Washington, D.C., because residents are denied their right to self-defense, the criminals know that they have the streets to themselves.

If you are in favor of the D.C. gun ban, perhaps it is because you believe that the citizens can rely on their overworked Police Department to protect them. A series of court rulings, however, held that the police have no obligation to provide protection. In Warren v. District of Columbia, three women who were held captive for 14 hours and repeatedly beaten, raped and sodomized, sued the city after it failed to respond to their emergency calls.

D.C. Superior Court ruled, "A government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen."
The net result is that the law-abiding residents of Washington are not allowed to defend themselves, and cannot rely on the police to protect, defend or rescue them, either. They are left at the mercy of Washington's rampant criminal element. Instead of being a national showplace, Washington is a national disgrace!

The total gun ban that remains in D.C. also is in stark contrast to the right to carry laws that have swept across the nation. While gun control advocates predicted that increasing the self-defense rights of gun owners would turn the United States into the OK Corral, the opposite is true.

Solid and comprehensive statistical evidence from examination of crime trends in every county in the country has proven that states that have liberalized the right to self-defense have had a reduction in crime when compared to states that have not.

Because an entourage of bodyguards and police constantly surrounds him, Sen. Kennedy might not care that ordinary citizens of Washington would like to be safe in their homes.

I disagree with the senator, and feel that everybody -- not just the rich and powerful --has the right to protection from crime. It is time to restore the right to self-defense to the oppressed people of Washington, D.C. Perhaps then they will see their worst-in-the-nation murder rate turn around.
EXCELLENT piece, Dr. Friedman.

More on the Futility of Prohibition.

Via The War on Guns comes this little news snippet:
Prison search uncovers homemade weapons

November 19, 2005, 3:04 PM EST

FORT ANN, N.Y. -- A search that was launched after a bullet was discovered in a jail's metal shop uncovered more than a dozen homemade weapons, officials said.

Linda Foglia, spokeswoman for the state Department of Correctional Services, said 13 weapons were found hidden in common areas and two weapons were found inside cells at the maximum-security Great Meadow Correctional Facility.

Wilson Chapman, chief union sector steward at the prison, said a metal pipe resembling a gun barrel was also found. The discovery raised concerns that someone was trying to assemble a device to fire the .22-caliber round found Nov. 10, he said.

The investigation of how the bullet got in the prison continued this week.
So, even in a jail, the inmates are able to build home-made firearms. I suppose since they can't keep drugs out, it should be no surprise that they can't stop gun manufacturing either.

Status Update, 11/21/05.

Well, the remodel/repainting progresses. The kitchen and two bedrooms are painted, the kitchen cabinets are about 75% installed (there were some install problems) and the installers will be back today... sometime. The island won't fit as planned, but I've rearranged the components and it will work out OK. I've got to do some surgery to the cabinet the cooktop will be installed over. Oh fun.

We had a bee swarm in the front yard on Sunday. $150 worth of dead bees is not that big a pile, let me tell you.

And I am sick of having my house screwed up.

Tile and carpet installation begins Dec. 5.

Please. Shoot me now.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Another Kaboom!.

Via AR15.com I found another case of a kaboomed revolver, this time a Colt Anaconda .44 Magnum. From the story:
I once again load up the revolver and step to the line. First shot was a bullseye, as was typical for this rig. Second shot - KABOOM. I felt an unbelievable recoil and was pelted all over my face, chest and arms by fragments of metal and glass. An incredible pressure wave stunned me as if I were punched in the head. I shook it off and looked around. The scope was on the floor. The gun was still in my hand, but didn't look as it did mere seconds ago. A friend rushed over and with clear presence of mind, checked me for injuries. Whew. I emerge without so much as a scratch. Miraculous, considering what just happened. The shooting stall contained the flying shrapnel. Approved safety glasses, without a doubt, saved my vision. Long sleeves, a cap and good ear protection also prevented certain injury. I hate to say it, but dumb luck played a part as well.
The verdict? Most probably an error during reloading - a double-charge of Titegroup; 18.0 grains instead of 9.0 grains. 10.0 is listed as a max charge.

IF YOU HANDLOAD YOU MUST PAY ATTENTION AT ALL TIMES, OR THIS MIGHT HAPPEN TO YOU!

OUCH!

Ammo Day Update:.

At approximately 2:20PM MT (3:20 CT) I went to my nearest Wal*Mart and purchased 300 rounds of Remington 125gr .357 Magnum ammunition. They had Winchester, but it was the WinClean stuff (and only 200 rounds of it). The WinClean has a muzzle blast from my wife's 3" Model 60 that you'd have to see to believe. So I cleaned 'em out of Remington in that caliber & weight. The clerk's "All of it?" was worth it. The shelves were fairly well stocked in other calibers, however. 7.62x39, .40 S&W, .223 Remington, .380, 9mm. We needed more representation, obviously. And, though I searched, I was unable to find a DVD copy of Red Dawn - more's the pity.

Next year I shall endeavor to purchase more ammo, but the remodel has me fairly strapped at the moment. What's worse, every day this week has been beautiful; calm & clear. And I can't go to the range!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Granny Deserves Self Defense.

She certainly does. That's the title of an excellent Townhall.com Cam Edwards piece. Highly recommended.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Remodel Update: We Have Cabinets!.

Delivered as promised, this morning at 08:40. Lots and lots and lots of boxes. Installation is scheduled for tomorrow. Measurement for countertops is next Wednesday. A sheet of 3/4" marine-grade plywood is in my immediate future, I can see. I'm not going without any kind of kitchen sink for another four to six weeks.

In the mean time, prep and painting on the rest of the interior continues.

Painting isn't so bad. Prepping for paint sucks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

When Animals Attack.

Just another reason I don't hunt. (Via American Drumslinger. This and other funny, sick, NSFW and WTF? stuff available there.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'm HONORED!.

Holy excrement, Batman, one of my posts is in a list of candidates for "Greatest Blog Post Ever" over at The Politburo Diktat, and the company it's keeping is some fine stuff indeed.

I don't know how Those Without Swords Can Still Die Upon Them got nominated, but I'm gratified that it made that fine list. (Edited to add: Now I know, I read the comments. Thanks, Publicola. That's high praise indeed.) I hold no hope of winning (the selection immediately above it is Steven Den Beste's Strategic Overview for example, and he-who-shall-not-be-named's Pussification of the Western Male is above that), but it really is an honor to be nominated (batting my extended eyelashes at the judges, and smiling my Vaselined Tooth smile...)

UPDATE, 11/17: [Sally Field]You like me! You really like me![/Sally Field] (Either that, or my six hundred hits a day come from twelve readers who have no lives of their own.) The field has been narrowed to ten nominees, and Those Without Swords is currently in second place behind LGF's TANG memo by only two votes. Charles' post is more important (but mine is better written!) Anyway, I'm stunned.

AmmoDay Update:.

Standard Mischief and I have had a short email discussion over the upcoming Wal*Mart group ammo buy. Initially, he wasn't too sanguine about it, given the fact that Louisiana Wal*Marts stopped selling firearms temporarily after hurricane Katrina rolled through. I think I've convinced him that it's a good idea.

Give it a read.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Please. Make it Stop.

Day #4 of the kitchen portion of the remodel of Casa Minority. All the cabinets (save one, that I'm still using) have been removed from the kitchen. The 12"x12" pressure-sensitive adhesive tiles (26 years old like everything else in the house) are removed from the kitchen floor. Spackle has been applied at strategic places where the drywall mud had detached from the metal corner flashing. Actually, I stripped damned near all of it off and redid it. The electrician comes tomorrow to run new circuits for the wall oven, cook top, microwave range hood, and center island. The plumber comes Tuesday to replace the hot and cold water valves and put in one to feed the icemaker on the new refrigerator. The cabinets show Thurdsay. Installation is supposed to start Friday. Three to four weeks more for countertops. Tile & carpet the first full week of December.

Painting starts tomorrow. My wife and I will be doing the painting. I have two gallons of primer (for the ceilings where I had the popcorn crap removed) and eleven gallons of paint in not two, not three, but four different colors.

I don't go back to "work" until 11/28.

By then, I'm going to need a vacation.