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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Quote of the Day - Geekwitha45 Edition

(A)ll I ever really wanted from my government was a vigorous defense of my natural rights in a package that was safe enough to mostly ignore, instead of the ringside seats at the horror show.
From a comment to yesterday's post about the documentary Media Malpractice.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Do You Subscribe to Netflix?

I strongly recommend the documentary Media Malpractice:  How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted.

Pretty damned fascinating dissection of the Church of the Media. (In the way maggot-riddled roadkill is fascinating.) But it's something you need to see.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Brilliant!

Remember this?


Well, Chris Muir has taken the meme and run with it:





Really, it's not an unreasonable question: If Obama actually was intent on the destruction of the Republic, how could you tell the difference?

My Wheelbarrow Full of Cash Finally Arrived!

No thanks to the NRA.  Reader Longhornjeff sent me one when he heard I was jealous of Robb's.

Quote of the Day - Government is Force Edition

Wake up and smell the reality: every time Officer Friendly deals with you in an official capacity, there's live ammo involved; just because it doesn't go "bang," that doesn't mean it isn't in use.  --  RobertaX, "Use Live Ammo"

Friday, February 25, 2011

"A Teacher that Can Be Replaced By a Machine, Should Be."

Thanks to an email from Robb Allen, I got to watch a fascinating TED talk that bolsters my position that the best way to fix our "education" system is to take off and nuke the entire site from orbit.

Please pay close attention to Dr. Sugata Mitra (who blogs here) and his experiments in education around the world.  As he says in this post:
My work with self organised learning by children shows that groups of children can learn to use computers and the Internet to answer almost any question. This happens everywhere and is independent of what language they speak, where they live and how rich or poor they are. All they need is free access and the liberty to work in unsupervised groups.
And here he shows that work:




As long as we don't pull the whole thing down around our ears in the next decade or so, there may be some small hope of making it to the Singularity.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ennui

–noun
a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom: The endless lecture produced an unbearable ennui.
I haz it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quote of the Day - Eric Hoffer Edition

Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America. -- Eric Hoffer, First Things, Last Things, (1971) pg. 71

Sorry, Sorry

I'm having a great time playing at a message board. Target-rich environments are such fun! But time consuming. (All that cut-n-paste!)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quote of the Day - Suckling on the State Teat Edition

The task of weaning various people and groups from the national nipple will not be easy. The sound of whines, bawls, screams and invective will fill the air as the agony of withdrawal pangs finds voice.

-- Linda Bowles, "The Weaning Process," Washington Times, December 20, 1994, p. A16
See:  Public Employee Unions, Wisconsin.

Found here, a source for many future QotDs.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Damned Little Linky, No Thinky

Content here at TSM has been admittedly thin of late.  Sorry.  I'm working on a piece that is long, involved, filled with links and graphs and quotes...


...and is thoroughly harshing my mellow.


It'll be a few days.

In the mean time, chew on this:  Gun laws, access and background checks must be re-examined

That's from the one remaining daily paper in this town. Yeah, they're revving up the "gun control" engines again.  By all means, read the comments.

Quote of the Day - Billy Beck Edition

I keep saying it: the basic conflict in American politics is individualism vs. collectivism in all its pretense forms and manifestation. I keep saying it because no arrangements of coalition electoral politics will address this fundamental schism: as the necessary economic implications become real, so-called 'democracy' becomes impotent to manage coalition demands, all while the force of 'law' becomes more arbitrary at coalition demand.

I've been saying it for at least fifteen years: "The pace of this thing is picking up."

I hate to keep saying it, because I know it's no fun to hear it and it just wears my narrow white ass out to keep-ass saying it, but the real problem under all this is fucking enormous

I really don't think it can be fixed before it really goes the way of the pear. We're really in it. In our lifetimes.


Billy Beck, Two-Four - What Really Happened

Saturday, February 19, 2011

GBR VI - Wanna Go?

Ok, the dates for the sixth annual Gun Blogger's Rendezvous have been set, Sept. 8-11, 2011.  The venue is again the Silver Legacy hotel and casino in Reno, Nevada. I've been to all five so far, and I don't plan to miss this one.

Last year's schedule of activities will give you some idea of what to expect if you've never attended one of these, but bear in mind that for most of us, the reason to attend is to get together in person with people we know and like on-line, and have long, uninterrupted face-to-face conversations about the things we care about and find interesting.  Oh, and we get to shoot a lot, too.  Not to mention, EAT a lot.

Plus, there's great swag to be had, provided by the heavy hitters in the firearms industry.  Last year Midway USA gave us pistol pouches and other neat stuff (cups, hats, shirts etc.), Brownell's donated another of their very nice top-of-the-line range bags, lots of AR-15 magazines and other stuff.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation bought us pizza dinner one night, and the NRA bought us breakfast one morning.  Glock gave away a certificate good for any standard handgun, and MKS supply gave away a 9mm Hi Point carbine.  Para-USA gave away a 35%-off discount certificate for one of their handguns.  Crimson Trace donated a certificate for one of their products, and there was much moreWe raised $5,088 for Soldier's Angels' Project Valour-IT.

This year is shaping up to be as good or better.  Our oldest attendee, Bea, who first attended GBR IV in the company of her grandson, came back last year because she had so much fun.  Her grandson couldn't make it, so she twisted her son's arm and made him bring her!  Bea shoots .22 and .45 Ruger revolvers (and anything else you put in her hands) and reloads for her .45 Blackhawk.  She and Ruger's representative Lori Petoske got along great, and Bea has convinced Lori to convince Ruger to donate a convertible Blackhawk for this year's Rendezvous.  You've got to read that story.

Year before last, I donated a Para GI Expert 1911.  (2009 was berry, berry good to me.  Until December.)  Last year, I donated a set of La Rue QD rings.  This year all I can donate is $400 worth of air travel to the Rendezvous.  If you want to come, but the air fare is going to be a problem, let me know.  I've got $400 worth of travel vouchers from United Airlines.  United makes actually using these vouchers as difficult as possible.  You have to book the flight over the telephone - no internet booking - and they charge a premium for doing it that way, but tickets purchased with the vouchers can be in anyone's name.  I just have to be the one picking them up at the United counter, since it's my name on the vouchers.

You have to be SURE you can make it.  Tickets purchased with these vouchers are not refundable or transferable (see what I mean about making it difficult to use them?)  If the tickets cost more than $400, I cannot pick up the difference.  If you can, great, but we'll have to figure out how to handle that.  Contact me at the email address on the left sidebar (<------ ) and tell me your story.  If I get more than one person interested in going, I'll review and compare your stories and your ticket prices and make a selection.  All decisions are final.  But the earlier we get the tickets booked, the less they should cost overall.  I'll wait until the end of March or so before making a decision (and there will be follow-on Rendezvous posts linking back to this one in the mean time).

You don't have to be a blogger to attend.  Readers are more than welcome.  I really hope to see the biggest turnout ever for a Rendezvous!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quote of the Day - Ayn Rand Edition

Every day, I feel more like an extra in Atlas Shrugged. - Tam, in Random Stuff
Preach it, Sister!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quote of the Day - Justice Louis Brandeis Edition

We shall have lost something vital and beyond price on the day when the state denies us the right to resort to force...
Louis D. Brandeis quoted by Alfred Lief in The Brandeis Guide to the Modern World (1941), p. 212
Found at The Volokh Conspiracy

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quote of the Day - The Scum Also Rises Edition

Every combination of two or more human beings has both a useful aspect and a political aspect. These tend to conflict with each other. As the political aspect becomes more and more influential, the organization ceases to be useful to its members and starts using them.

Why does this happen? Because the better an organization is at fulfilling its purpose, the more it attracts people who see the organization as an opportunity to advance themselves.

The ability to get ahead in an organization is simply another talent, like the ability to play chess, paint pictures, do coronary bypass operations or pick pockets. There are some people who are extraordinarily good at manipulating organizations to serve their own ends. The Russians, who have suffered under such people for centuries, have a name for them -- apparatchiks. It was an observer of apparatchiks who coined the maxim, "The scum rises to the top."

Empire of the Rising Scum, Robert Shea
Found in a link in a comment to a post at Roberta's that's quite good in its own right. That's just a taste. Read the whole thing.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quote of the Day II - Blindingly Obvious Edition

The elite live in a different country than the rest of Americans. It is not possible to understand the System and its actions without understanding this fact. The elite see its own ascendancy as just, and cannot understand the anger below. Yet the rules for success used by the elite are often very different from the rules observed by ordinary people. This leads the elite to believe that those below 'cannot be told' the real reason for decisions that are made. The question becomes what should the people be told, not what the facts are. The perplexity of the voter who tries first one party and then the other, winding up always with the same elite, shows how democracy has given way to rule by the System's managers. Shared knowledge leads to shared assumptions, which are even more crucial than  knowledge in making it possible for the elite managers to work together without  'conspiracy.' These invisible shared assumptions are the real Constitution, the real fundamental law, which guides the System.

Charles A. Reich, Opposing the System
I somehow doubt I share much in common with Mr. Reich from a socio-political standpoint, but our viewpoints certainly coincide on this position.

Quote of the Day - RobertaX

Government: It giveth what you already have and taketh away what you already enjoy. And gets even that wrong.
Amen.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Match Report - Bowling Pins

Today's match went very well, though turnout was down, I believe, because of Valentine's Day. We had ten shooters with 22 guns, and everybody brought (or borrowed) a .22! I never expected the rimfire class to be the most popular, but it is.

We ran the match in the now-standard three-abreast mode, requiring one of the three shooters to win twice before moving on to the next group. If I didn't have three shooters, we just went head-to-head with two. You have to lose two sets to be eliminated from competition.

At the end of the day, we had an undefeated champion of centerfire, Jim Burnett. He won Major with his Clark Custom pin gun, a 1911 in John Moses Browning's (pbuh) .45ACP, and Minor with a Beretta 92 chambered for the Europellet, going undefeated in seven matches over a total of seventeen tables, including two ties. Since he couldn't shoot against himself for the spot of overall centerfire champion, we just gave it to him anyway.

In .22 class we had a total of thirteen matches, and the finish was a doozy. After the first round, only two of us remained undefeated, Travis Higgins and myself. We lined up head-to-head, and I managed to eke out the win. At the end of the day, it was again me against Travis. To win the match, he would have to beat me on not two, but four tables.

He did.

But I had a lot of fun losing to him.

First round was downrange about 9:00AM, and we were packed up and leaving by about noon. Everybody had a good time. I'm looking forward to next month already!

Only 57%?

The forces of victim disarmament have managed to change the culture of Switzerland somewhat in the last several years, but not too much, yet. They did manage to get a referendum on the ballot to prohibit ex-military personnel (Switzerland has compulsory service for young males) from keeping their military-issue weapons at home. When mustering out, the Swiss government offers thir soldiers the opportunity to buy their issued weapons at rock-bottom prices. Since they act as the reserve, doing so makes tactical and strategic sense. The government used to issue them sealed spam=cans of ammunition for those weapons, but as I understand it, that was changed a while back. I'm not sure what the rules are now.

Anyway, the referendum was yesterday. It failed by 57% overall, 70% in some cantons.  This was the pertinent part, I thought:
For decades, Swiss militiamen kept their army-issued firearms stashed in closets or under beds at home. But support for keeping so many guns at home has eroded, with opposition led by women, doctors and police, who claim that the easy availability of arms facilitates domestic violence, suicides and homicides. They contested the need to keep guns at home given that Switzerland hasn't come under threat since World War II.

Opponents of the referendum argued that the initiative was tantamount to a vote of no confidence in the Swiss army. Each side used stark images to sway voters. The referendum's supporters used a teddy bear with blood dripping from a hole in its chest, brandishing the motto, "Protect your family."
I am reminded of that piece I linked yesterday:
First of all, they persuade people that some Damned Thing is immoral. Then they show that the free market allows or encourages that immoral thing. Then they can say, “well, we wish we didn’t have to do this, but I’m afraid we’re going to have to intervene in that part of the economy, to stop the Damned Thing, sorry”. This leaves the free marketeer floundering around having to try to justify the continuance of the Damned Thing in the name of some nebulous “liberty”. And then they say, “so your selfish desire for “liberty” means this Damned Thing must go on?” and you lose the argument in public, because most of the audience have been persuaded that there is a moral crisis that must be addressed, and you are a heartless asshole who just doesn’t care.
See? it's being done everywhere.

I was reminded of this, too, in response to "They contested the need to keep guns at home given that Switzerland hasn't come under threat since World War II.":
My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. 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.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Shall-Issue CCW Wave Began in Florida

...and they're still fighting the good fight.  Robb Allen emails:
As some of you may know, I am a board member for Florida Carry and we have been active in trying to get some new bills passed through here in the Sunshine state. You all comprise a wide group of readers, many of which may live here in God's Waiting Room who might not read my blog. SB 234 is the largest piece of pro gun legislation we've seen since Shall Issue was pushed 24 years ago.

We're beating back decades of anti-gun legislation and as more states are moving toward things like Shall Issue and Constitutional Carry, each win, regardless of state, helps the freedom of all.
Damned straight.

Do you live in Florida?  Drop by and read Robb's post on the carry reform bill now in committee, and swing by Florida Carry too.

Contact Info Change

I've changed ISPs.  If you've previously used my gunrights@comcast.net email address, or my other comcast address, they're no longer active.  The new address for blog-related stuff is thesmallestminority(at)gmail(dot)com. 

I Wish I'd Written That

Via Improved Clinch, please take a few minutes and read Moral Communism at Counting Cats in Zanzibar.  Excerpt:
If they try to communise the economy directly, there is an enormous body of “right wing” economic theory that can knock down their plans. So instead, they go for a two stage process. First of all, they persuade people that some Damned Thing is immoral. Then they show that the free market allows or encourages that immoral thing. Then they can say, “well, we wish we didn’t have to do this, but I’m afraid we’re going to have to intervene in that part of the economy, to stop the Damned Thing, sorry”. This leaves the free marketeer floundering around having to try to justify the continuance of the Damned Thing in the name of some nebulous “liberty”. And then they say, “so your selfish desire for “liberty” means this Damned Thing must go on?” and you lose the argument in public, because most of the audience have been persuaded that there is a moral crisis that must be addressed, and you are a heartless asshole who just doesn’t care.
RTWT.  Seriously.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ammo Recall Alert

I'm sure you've seen this elsewhere, but if not:
FEDERAL and AMERICAN EAGLE
45 AUTO PRODUCT SAFETY WARNING
Immediate Action Required


Certain lots of recently manufactured 45 Auto ammunition may contain an incorrect propellant charge. Use of product from these lots may result in firearm damage and possible serious injury.


DO NOT USE PRODUCT FROM THE FOLLOWING LOTS:


If you have in your possession any 45 Auto with the following brand names and part numbers, check to see if your ammunition package contains the above lots:
  • American Eagle®(AE45A, AE45N1, or AE45A250)
  • Champion™ (WM5233), GoldMedal®(GM45B)
  • Hi-Shok ®(45C, 45D)
  • Federal® Personal Defense ®(C45C, C45D)


Example below:



THIS WARNING APPLIES ONLY TO THE LOTS LISTED ABOVE.

If you possess ammunition from any of these lots, or have questions concerning this warning, please contact us at 1-800-831-0850 or 1-800-322-2342 and ask for Product Service. Federal will provide replacement product and will cover the cost of returning the affected product.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Dicta! It's Just Dicta!

Obiter dictum (noun, Latin):  An opinion voiced by a judge that has only incidental bearing on the case in question and is therefore not binding.
Where There's a William makes a fascinating legal connection between two points brought up here:  the finding that Obamacare is unconstitutional by United States District Court of Northern Florida the and the Seventh Circuit's 1982 decision in Bowers v. DeVito that I excerpted as Quote of the Day a couple of days ago.

Will's point is perfectly logical and rational, so of course it must be wrong!  I can see the Left screaming that the Bowers declaration that
The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties; it tells the state to let people alone
is merely dicta, and not binding on any court.

Or, as Nancy Pelosi put it, "Are you serious?  Are you serious?"

Edited to add:

No less a Constitutional scholar than our President, Barack Obama concurs with the court's interpretation of the Constitution in Bowers:

Longer excerpt available on YouTube.

Quote of the Day

Another one by Salim Mansur, via Glenn:
As Martin Walker, then the Moscow correspondent for the Guardian, reported in August 1992, Arbatov said to him: “We are going to do the worst thing we possibly can to America — we are going to take away their enemy.” Arbatov, you might recall, was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, responsible for keeping track of Soviet-American relations.


Arbatov — now looking back nearly twenty years later in deconstructing his words — seemed to possess a piercing understanding, as student of history, of the American scene, and how it could likely unfold over time in the post-Soviet and post-Communist era. His words to Walker were more insightful than any offered by just about all the left-leaning talking heads and commentators, in the U.S., Canada, and Europe put together. Arbatov understood, given his experience sitting in the privileged seat of the party in Moscow during the Brezhnev period, how the existence of Communist Russia checked the forces of the left in the West, keeping them from gaining influence and power. Now, as Arbatov reflected, since the Soviet Union as a military superpower had collapsed and the threat of Soviet Communism was discarded in the so-called dustbin of history, the spoiled children and beneficiaries of the West’s longest and strongest economic expansion and technological achievements, unparalleled in history, would set forth to do what the Soviet Union could not do — to advance the aim of Communism to wreck liberal capitalism from the inside.
RTWT

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Got Nothin'

Not precisely true.  There are several things I should be posting about, but I can't work up the enthusiasm to actually do it.  Sorry, but the free ice cream machine's busted.  Try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Want to See Some "High Capacity Magazines" in Use?

My monthly bowling pin match is coming up this Sunday at the Tucson Rifle Club. Same setup as last month, with three-abreast shooting positions, double-double-elimination, centerfire and .22 long-rifle classes (handgun only) with .38 Special being the smallest centerfire caliber acceptable. Most shooters seem to prefer "standard capacity" Wondernine pistols of some tactical tupperware persuasion or another. 

If you're new to the sport, a detailed description is available here.

Sign-up starts at 8:30AM, first rounds downrange about 9:00 or so. We should be done before noon. Bring plenty of ammo. Hollowpoint and flat-point works better than round-nose or FMJ at carrying pins off the tables.  Pretty much any .22 round works on the pin tops, if you can hit them.

See you Sunday!

Quote of the Day - Seventh Circuit Edition

In keeping with the post below:
There is a constitutional right not to be murdered by a state officer, for the state violates the Fourteenth Amendment when its officer, acting under color of state law, deprives a person of life without due process of law. Brazier v. Cherry, 293 F.2d 401, 404-05 (5th Cir. 1961). But there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen. It is monstrous if the state fails to protect its residents against such predators but it does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or, we suppose, any other provision of the Constitution. The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties; it tells the state to let people alone

Bowers v. DeVito (1982)
Found initially at Another Gun Blog, where Mike W. has some important things to say on the topic.

Gun Control Legislation

... what politicians do instead of Something.

So Democrat members of the Arizona legislature have introduced a bill, HB2711, to ban the possession of any
... magazine, drum, feed strip or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition but does not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.
The fifteen round magazines for my 1935-designed Browning HiPower? Verboten. The fifteen round magazines for my M1 Carbine? Nyet. The seventeen round magazines for my .38 Super Witness? Ditto. The twenty round magazines for my M25? A definite no-no. The twenty and thirty round magazines for my two AR-15's? (Oddly, I have no pictures of those...) Definitely too frightening for the congresscritters.

Here's a clue Representatives Farley, Chabin, Hale, Hobbs, Miranda R, Tovar, Wheeler, Ableser, Alston, Arredondo, Gonzales, Heinz, McCune Davis, Meyer, Miranda C, Saldate, Senators Aboud, Cajero Bedford, Lopez, and Gallardo:

You can't have mine. Aside from the fact that I have invested several hundred dollars in acquiring them, I am no threat to the general public and neither are they.

You. Can't. Have. Them.

I am a law-abiding citizen without so much as a moving violation on my record for the last fifteen years. I pay a LOT of taxes. And I vote.

And you want to make me a criminal because a nut-case went on a shooting spree.

Ask yourselves if that's something you really want to do.

Of course it isn't. It's political grandstanding. The Arizona legislature is majority Republican, and these people know there isn't a snowball's chance that this bill will get passed, but it does give them a holier-than-thou soapbox to stand atop and it tells people who ought to know better what their so-called "representatives" think of the peons who put them there.

We're winning, but we're not done by a long shot.  (No pun intended.)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Quote of the Day - History Doesn't Repeat Itself

...But It Does Rhyme Edition:
I am more convinced now ... that the West has gone over the tipping point in its terminal decline. That intelligent people, or people who claim to be intelligent, (I have in mind the talking heads in the U.S. media such as Chris Matthews or Fareed Zakaria) cannot make the difference between the sham of the Muslim Brotherhood talking about freedom and democracy and the generic thirst in man to be free. These are the people who have like the Bourbons learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They are glibly about to put the Lenins of our time into trains heading for Moscows of our time....

Salim Mansur as related by Claire Berlinski
(h/t: Instapundit)

RTWT.  There's still hope, but it's fading fast.  Billy Beck's Endarkenment comes ever nearer.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Renormalizing the Gun Culture

...or "Scaring the White People"?

I think I first ran across the "Scaring the White People" meme at Say Uncle, and again a bit later. I took up the theme myself.

As I see it, there are essentially three "gun cultures" in this nation: the criminal gun culture, the genteel gun culture, and the gonzo gun culture.

The criminal gun culture is self-explanatory. It exists everywhere, even (perhaps especially) where gun ownership by individuals is heavily restricted or forbidden. The genteel gun culture is the culture of what many of us term the Fudds, the people whose only interest in firearms is for hunting, for example,  or who only shoot sporting clays and see "no reason" for any type of firearm other than what they themselves own.  "Nobody needs" type X gun, as far as they're concerned.

The gonzo gun culture is the one that encompasses all other forms of shooting and collecting, from those of us who shoot IPSC and USPSA to those who spend literally thousands of dollars annually just feeding their Class III habit. We're the ones who shoot a lot, and like pretty much anything that goes "bang!"  True, there is some overlap between groups, but we still hear from the genteels from time to time.

Then there's the two groups who are not gunnies:  the ones who don't think about them, and the ones who are afraid of them.  And there are a lot more of those than there are of us.

For years the only attention that firearms really got in the media was either crime reports on the news, or the occasional hunting show. Perhaps Wide World of Sports would do a piece on pheasant hunting in Montana, or elk in Wyoming. (Robin Williams did a funny riff about "hunting the monarch butterfly with the .44 Magnum" in one of his routines years ago.)  With the explosion of cable and the need for more content, we got shows like Jim Zumbo Outdoors, but Jim was a member of the genteel gun culture, as evidenced by the Great Zumbo Incident of 2007.

We also got shows like American Shooter with Jim Scoutten, and now his Shooting USA, both arguably a much broader-based view of the shooting sports and recreational shooting in general. Still, Jim isn't what I'd call an avid supporter of the gonzo gun culture.

Now we have shows like the Outdoor Channel's Wednesday night lineup of Shooting Gallery (which recently did an entire show on Joe Huffman's Boomershoot event), Best Defense, the aforementioned Shooting USA, Sighting In, American Guardian, American Rifleman, Impossible Shots, and Cowboys. (Michael Bane is definitely a member of the gonzo gun culture!) Last year brought us History Channel's Top Shots, about to begin its second season. We've actually begun to see some relatively fair treatment in the print media. What there is is overwhelmed by the rest, but still, it's a sign that the times have been changing.

Well, maybe not the Times.

The renormalization of firearms in American culture is proceeding apace.

Tonight I watched my first episode of the Discovery Channel's Sons of Guns, another "reality" show, this time about a Class III II SOT (Special Occupational Taxpayer) manufacturer in Louisiana. I haven't seen that many short-barreled, suppressed, full-auto firearms in my life, and especially not on TV.

It must give Joan Peterson, Paul Helmke, Sarah Brady, Josh Sugarmann et al. nightmares.

And I can't help but wonder if it "frightens the white people." The show I saw did indicate, once, that you can't just walk into a gun shop, buy an NFA restricted weapon and walk out the door with it, but it gave that impression at least one other time. The show I watched involved the assembly of a full-auto Browning M2 "Ma Deuce" machinegun from a parts kit, including the milling of the sideplates to convert the kit from semi- to full-auto.

It never mentioned that only licensed manufacturers can do that legally.  No mention of the 1986 ban was made.  No mention of NFA registration was made.  Just buy a ($6,000) parts kit, and put it together!

It showed the owner's daughter making sales of multiple quantities of short-barreled suppressed "assault weapons" at "dealer pricing," without bothering to mention that those sales were going to other licensed dealers. It showed her selling two short-barreled folding-stock suppressed 10/22 rifles, and knocking $500 off the price in exchange for a guided bowfishing trip. No mention of an NFA delay on that one.

This show, I think, could be a treasure-trove of propaganda for The Other Side. After all, remember what the Violence Policy Center wrote in its effort to ban "assault weapons":
Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons.
(Bold emphasis mine.)  They've made it clear that lying to the public in order to frighten them into passing gun bans is perfectly acceptable, and we've seen that tactic used more than once.  It's been a staple of this blog and several others pointing out incidents where it's done.

My point is, we shouldn't be helping them.  Personally, I like the show, but I know what's being left out.  Joe and Jane Average haven't got a clue.

Discuss.  I'm interested in what you think.

UPDATE:  It's a topic of discussion at AR15.com.

Your Moment of Zen - Computer Art Edition

This one is another image created on computer:




Click for full size
 

This is part of Ferenc J. Haraszti's collection, with his permission. He's got some great stuff!

Friday, February 04, 2011

If the Bush Administration Did This, There'd be Rioting

Sedition (noun): incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government.

Karl Denninger of Market-Ticker.org ruminates on the Obama administration's reaction to the federal court decision finding Obamacare™©® unconstitutional. CBS reports:
The White House officials said that the ruling would not have an impact on implementation of the law, which is being phased in gradually. (The individual mandate, for example, does not begin until 2014.) They said that states cannot use the ruling as a basis to delay implementation in part because the ruling does not rest on "anything like a conventional Constitutional analysis."
Regardless of whether that's true or not, the fact remains that a decision has been handed down by a duly authorized court, and that ruling has force of law.

Denninger expounds:
So now we have a White House that has declared its intent to ignore a declaratory judgment.

The Administration has no right to do this.

Obama's White House has exactly two options:

*Comply with the ruling. This means that any and all activity authorized or mandated by the Statute cease now.

*File an appeal and ask for a stay pending its hearing. If said stay is granted, then the ruling is held pending consideration.

That's it.

Folks, this is clear.
And then he cites the relevant portion of the decision.

This is how "rule of law" works.  But we've seen from the Holder Justice Department, the Obama administration believes there's one rule for some groups, and different law for other groups.  We've seen from the Sebelius HHS department that there's one rule for most of us, and waivers for other groups.  This is just an extension of the same mentality:  "The law?  The law doesn't apply to us." 

Let me repeat the words of 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski from his dissent to the denial to re-hear the Silveria v. Lockyer case en banc:
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.
With each passing day that contingency seems less and less improbable.

Hat tip to Weird and Pissed Off for the pointer.  That's two in a row.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Quote of the Day - Education Edition

Americans have an instinctive understanding of the economic contradictions of collective farming on the Soviet or Maoist models. We understand why socialist enterprises such as Venezuela’s state-run petroleum companies are destined to failure. But we fail to recognize that many of our own systems — using central planning to implement the public provision of non-public goods — are organized along precisely the same lines. The outstanding local example of this is the American public-school system.

--

The aim of public education is, and has always been, to make members of the public more standardized and thus better suited for incorporation into The Plan. It is unsurprising that socialists have taken up the cause with verve.

Kevin D. Williamson, Socialism is Back, National Review Online
RTWT.  I think I need to add his book to my pile.

The Comprachicos

In 1970 Ayn Rand penned one of her signature essays, The Comprachicos, beginning it with her translation of an excerpt from Victor Hugo's 1869 The Man Who Laughs:
The comprachicos, or comprapequeños, were a strange and hideous nomadic association, famous in the seventeenth century, forgotten in the eighteenth, unknown today …

Comprachicos, as well as comprapequeños, is a compound Spanish word that means "child-buyers." The comprachicos traded in children. They bought them and sold them.

They did not steal them. The kidnapping of children is a different industry. And what did they make of these children?

Monsters.

Why monsters?

To laugh.

The people need laughter; so do the kings. Cities require side-show freaks or clowns; palaces require jesters …

To succeed in producing a freak, one must get hold of him early. A dwarf must be started when he is small …

Hence, an art. There were educators. They took a man and turned him into a miscarriage; they took a face and made a muzzle. They stunted growth; they mangled features. This artificial production of teratological cases had its own rules. It was a whole science. Imagine an inverted orthopedics. Where God had put a straight glance, this art put a squint. Where God had put harmony, they put deformity. Where God had put perfection, they brought back a botched attempt. And, in the eyes of connoisseurs, it is the botched that was perfect …

The practice of degrading man leads one to the practice of deforming him. Deformity
completes the task of political suppression …

The comprachicos had a talent, to disfigure, that made them valuable in politics. To disfigure is better than to kill. There was the iron mask, but that is an awkward means. One cannot populate Europe with iron masks; deformed mountebanks, however, run through the streets without appearing implausible; besides, an iron mask can be torn off, a mask of flesh cannot. To mask you forever by means of your own face, nothing can be more ingenious …

The comprachicos did not merely remove a child’s face, they removed his memory. At least, they removed as much of it as they could. The child was not aware of the mutilation he had suffered. This horrible surgery left traces on his face, not in his mind. He could remember at most that one day he had been seized by some men, then had fallen asleep, and later they had cured him. Cured him of what? He did not know. Of the burning by sulphur and the incisions by iron, he remembered nothing. During the operation, the comprachicos made the little patient unconscious by means of a stupefying powder that passed for magic and suppressed pain …

In China, since time immemorial, they have achieved refinement in a special art and industry: the molding of a living man. One takes a child two or three years old, one puts him into a porcelain vase, more or less grotesque in shape, without cover or bottom, so that the head and feet protrude. In the daytime, one keeps this vase standing upright; at night, one lays it down, so that the child can sleep. Thus the child expands without growing, slowly filling the contours of the vase with his compressed flesh and twisted bones. This bottled development continues for several years. At a certain point, it becomes irreparable. When one judges that this has occurred and that the monster is made, one breaks the vase, the child comes out, and one has a man in the shape of a pot.
I ran across a post at Dr. Sanity today, YA GOTTA DO WHAT YA GOTTA DO, where she expounds on the end-product of today's "postmodern educational system," concluding:
I think we are witnessing the consequences of having the best minds of several generations systematically hobbled and and mutilated by the gurus of political correctness and moral relativity. I think that the essential nihilism of the postmodernism intellectual craze is coming to full fruition and that the decline of leadership is just one obvious symptom. Even more insidius is a steep decline in the ability to think that is coupled with a real contempt for reason, truth and objective reality.

Joseph Stalin once pointed out that, "Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed."

Our children have been deliberately targeted for decades; they have been in the crosshairs of the dead-end philosophy that drives the postmodern progressivism of today's 'intellectual' elites. Sadly, those elites have scored a bullseye.

No, there are no psychological breakthroughs on the horizon for these reality-challenged minds, or for their mentors. There is only the mindless parroting of the dysfunctional ideology for which they have gladly sacrificed their souls.
I was immediately reminded of Rand's Comprachicos.

Please, read Dr. Sanity's post and all its related links, then read The Comprachicos. Rand called it all the way back in 1970. It had already been going on for decades (Rand blamed Kant), and she knew exactly what the outcome would be even then:
It is the educational establishment that has created this national disaster. It is philosophy that has created the educational establishment. The anti-rational philosophic trend of the past two hundred years has run its course and reached its climax. To oppose it will require a philosophical revolution or, rather, a rebirth of philosophy. Appeals to "home, church, mother and tradition" will not do; they never did. Ideas can be fought only by means of ideas. The educational establishment has to be fought—from bottom to top, from cause to consequences, from nursery schools to universities, from basic philosophy to campus riots, from without and from within.

This last is addressed to the many intelligent youths who are aware of the state of higher education and refuse to go to college or, having gone, drop out in revulsion. They are playing into the comprachicos' hands. If the better minds desert the universities, this country will reach a situation in which the incompetent and the second-rate will carry the official badge of the intellect and there will be no place for the first-rate and independent to function or even to hide. To preserve one's mind intact through a modern college education is a test of courage and endurance, but the battle is worth it and the stakes are the highest possible to man: the survival of reason. The time spent in college is not wasted, if one knows how to use the comprachicos against themselves: one learns in reverse—by subjecting their theories to the most rigorously critical examination and discovering what is false and why, what is true, what are the answers.

As to the drugged contingents of hippies and activists, I should like to address the following to those among them who may still be redeemable, as well as to those who may be tempted to join their hordes.

The modern comprachicos have an advantage over their ancient predecessors: when a victim was mutilated physically, he retained the capacity to discover who had done it. But when a victim is mutilated mentally, he clings to his own destroyers as his masters and his only protectors against the horror of the state which they have created; he remains as their tool and their play-thing—which is part of their racket.
It hadn't quite "reached its climax" in 1970, but she wasn't far off. It's taken another generation to really play out.

Edited to add this, via Instapundit on "Tiger Mothers" and their end product (regardless of their ethnicity), the crème de la crème of Ivy League university graduates:
But here’s the thing. And here the point has been made easier to make by the curious fact that Tiger Mom is a Yale Law School professor and as Professor Bainbridge has pointed out, it seems almost an epidemic among faculty parents in New Haven. My fear is that little tiger kittens are not being groomed to make things that you and I can buy if we feel like it. I’m afraid, call me paranoid if you like, that those little achievers will want to grow up to, well, rule. . . . Then I worry that all this fierce intelligence, all this ambition, all this work are going toward the building of world in which my children will be mere, well, what do you call the people who support those who so intelligently manage things from on top. Not to mention the unbelievably well educated 35 year old who will tell me someday I didn’t score well enough in some algorithm I can’t even understand to get my arteries bypassed or my prostate cancer treated. I want to live in a world, and I want my children to as well, where we are free individuals, and geniuses can sell us stuff if we want to buy it. When I suspect the little elites of tomorrow are just being made more formidable still, it excites not my admiration as much as my anxiety.

Tom Smith, The Right Coast - The last thing I have to say about Tiger Mothers I hope
Remember Stalin: "Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed."

It's no laughing matter.

The Pelt of My Wookie Suit is Not as Long or Luxuriant as

Tam's, but I'm in full agreement with Mostly Cajun on this one:



Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Have You SEEN the Price of Pork Bellies?

Dogbert gives investing advice:




Best I can do for you today.