Rumor Mill

To: Betsy Hodges, mayor, Minneapolis.

From: Mitch Berg, ornery peasant

Re: Rumors

Mayor Hodges,

Over the weekend, the rumor mill announced that you had told a gathering somewhere in Minneapolis you were planning on holding a “gun buyback”.

Please, please please please please please, oh please, please please please please please, I beg of you; go ahead with it.

You simply have to. I beg of you, with all my heart.

That is all.

UPDATE:  Rumor mill says it’ll be held August 27 at thePillsbury United Communities, or somewhere in that vicinity.

A Good Guy With A Gun

26 year old Antione Cooper walked into a Waffle House in DeSoto, Texas with an AK47, robbing several patrons:

And then…:

A handgun-licensed customer, whose wife was on her way to meet him at the restaurant, followed Cooper to the parking lot, fearing for his wife’s safety, according to DeSoto police.

Police said the customer called to Cooper once they were outside. Cooper pointed the AK-47 in the customer’s direction, prompting the customer to shoot Cooper several times, according to police in the southern Dallas suburb.

The citizen was not arrested – as befits someone who’d seem to any rational person to be a hero.

My Challenge To The Reverend Bence

Lately, the left has been making the following fairly fantastic claim:

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I’ve heard this a few times – and it gave me one of my customarily-brilliant ideas.

I challenge the Reverend Nancy Nord Bence, Joan Peterson, and any other leaders of “Everytown”, “Moms Want Action” and “Protect” MN to meet me in North Minneapolis or Dayton’s Bluff…

(you may have to Google them, since you don’t seem to have any of your gun violence protests in either place)

…and play what I call “The Meme Scavenger Hunt”.

The goal is this:  They’ll drop us in the neighborhood.  My mission:  find a book.  Your mission:  find a gun.  First one to find the book or gun wins; loser buys dinner for the winner.

Any action on that challenge?

Lie First, Lie Always: Our Loathsome Fellow Citizens

“The tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”.
— Often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, possibly apocryphally.

Deterrence:  America is the result of a revolution – not an ideological or market revolution, but a military revolt against what the colonists (or at least the ones who ended up winning) considered a hostile occupying power.

Whether or not the Second Amendment was specifically intended to allow Americans to rebel against a future tyranny is the subject of any number of debates by both the informed and the less-so; in the seminal Yale Law Review article “The Embarassing Second Amendment”, Sanford Levinson notes that in Professor T. Cooley’s ” T. Cooley, The General Principles of Constitutional Law in The United States of America 298 (3d ed. 1898), that the thinking among scholars in the nineteenth century was “Should the contingency ever arise when it would be necessary for the people to make use of the arms in their hands for the protection of constitutional liberty, the proceeding, so far from being revolutionary, would be in strict accord with popular right and duty.”

The notion that The People have a right to rebel against a government that becomes unjust and tyrannical is instituted in a number of state constitutions:  New Hampshire, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina and most notably Texas all consider the right to rebel important enough to bake into the foundation of their state government.

Beyond that?  The constitutions of Germany, Greece, and the Czech and Slovak Republics – all of whom have experience with real live tyranny within living memory – all recognize a human right to fight against tyranny.

And if that’s not enough for you?  That noted favorite of conservatives, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares:

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by rule of law.

Which is an oblique way of recognizing the justice of armed uprising against tyrants.

So it’s not like the idea that free people have the right to remain free, even if they have to convince their idiot government to stay that way, is a product of the American lunatic fringe.

Of course, rebellion against a civil government is a daunting task, not for the faint of heart.  And it’s certainly not to be undertaken trivially.   To paraphrase the computer in War Games, the only way to “win” a rebellion is to never really have to fight it with force of arms.

Fortunately, our founding fathers were smart enough to enact a little poison pill to deter tyranny.

The Second Amendment.

The idea, and ideal, being that a government that knew a lapse into tyranny could be answered by an armed, motivated people, was built into the Constitution, not a battle plan for future citizens, but as a deterrent to anyone with bright ideas of squashing the rest of the freedoms granted us all by our creator.

And so far it – the deterrent – has worked.

Useless Idiots:  The National Rifle Association, since its rise as a political organization forty years ago, has embraced the idea that the Second Amendment deters tyranny.

And key to any deterrent is the certain knowledge among those to be deterred that the threat is not idle.   If you buy a pit bull to guard your house, but advertise that he’s always muzzled, meaning his bark will be all the dog has going for him?  His value as a deterrent is limited.

So the NRA – like most gun-owning, politically-active Americans – is not slavering away for an armed revolt.  War is, as Sherman said, hell.  It hurts people and breaks things.

Long story short:  deterrence.  Not war.

Someone needs to tell it to the precious snowflake who wrote this excrescent bit of bile for the HuffPo:

 The gun lobby has long preached armed insurrectionism as a panacea for those facing oppression.

The “writer” – one Ladd Everett, director of some fragrant non-profit -states this repeatedly as settled fact.   The conflates “deterrence” with “wishing for violence”.  It’s dishonest…

…but it’s the gun control movement we’re talking about here; “dishonesty” is “dog licks dog”.

When Micah Xavier Johnson opened fire on Dallas law enforcement officers during a Black Lives Matter protest on Thursday night, killing five and injuring seven others, he was fighting what he perceived as government oppression with a method that has long been advocated by the National Rifle Association and gun lobby: force of arms.

Let me see if I can get this straight:

  • When a “Black Lives Matter” protest chants “Pigs like bacon, fry ’em in a pan”, theatrically threatening death to cops,  it’s the organic rhetorical uprising of the black community.
  • But when one of them actually does it, it’s the NRA’s fault?

It doesn’t really add up.

The NRA has long disseminated propaganda telling African-Americans that gun control is “racist” and that they must prepare for war with their own government in order to truly be free. For example, current NRA board member (and past president) David Keene has claimed that “the initial wave of [gun control] was instituted after the Civil War to deny blacks the ability to defend themselves.”

Keene claimed it – because it’s true.  After the Civil War, Klan-dominated southern governments tried to bar black freedmen from having guns; they were shooting up too many Klan attacks.  It helped lead to the “Equal Protection” clause of the 14th Amendment.

In 2013, NRA favorite Glenn Beck was the featured speaker at their annual meeting, where he told those in attendance that “universal access to firearms is indistinguishable from Emancipation.”

And while I’m not a huge Beck fan, he was right.  The ability to protect one’s self, property, family, community and democracy is one of the things that distinguishes a citizen – one who actively participates in governing himself and his society – from a subject, a serf, a fyrd, a slave.

If one is not armed, one’s freedom exists only through the beneficence of those who are.

In Dallas, the NRA’s prescription for oppressed minorities was fully realized. According to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, at least 20 people showed up to the rally on July 7 openly carrying rifles and wearing “protective gear,” making a not so-subtle threat of violence against a government which they believe has overstepped its bounds in terms of policing.

So let’s get this straight; when a group of protesters chants “Pigs are like bacon; fry ’em in a pan!” to indicate to the police that they’re angry enough with police abuse to threaten death, it’s the apogee of free speech.  When one of those same (?) people shows up showing that he has the means, as a free citizen, to make it stick, suddenly it’s wrong?

So “freedom” only matters when it has no consequences?

Micah Xavier Johnson then made good on that threat, destroying at least six families in the process.

Well, no.  The open-carriers threatened nobody.  They exercised their constitutional and legal rights.  Micah Jackson violated the rights of others – of a whole city – in the most profound way possible, by doing something none of the other shooters did.

Of course, getting the distintion would imply that Ladd Everett “gets” civil rights.

He doesn’t.  He is a propaganda mouthpiece.

How do I know?  This next bit is the tell:

Let’s keep in mind that there is nothing principled about the NRA’s call for black Americans to arm themselves. For them, it is entirely about profit motive. They understand that fear sells guns, and they have intimate financial ties to the gun industry. Their priority is to push product.

The whole “NRA is about profit” line showcases the gun controllers’ logical vacuity.    Americans have been armed well enough to deter tyranny since our founding.  Americans have had a (legtimate) disdain for tyranny since before even that.    That is the status quo, among Americans who actually think about the nature of government and man (who are fairly common between the Hudson and the Sierra Madre, though vanishingly rare outside those borders).

The “fear” – that the status quo will be changed – which drives the current astronomical gun sales and three-shift gun production is entirely a product of the left’s eliminationist hysteria about guns.

So you will likely continue to see insurrectionist appeals and transparent efforts to market firearms to urban youth like the NRA’s “Noir” show.

Aaaaand the racism.

The NRA makes no more “insurrectionist appeal” than do six state and four national Constitutions, and the United Nations.

It’s the people for whom Ladd Everett is a useful idiot that are prone to the violence.

Memories And Memory Holes

Do you remember when the left and mainstream media tried to tie Sarah Palin to Jared Loughner’s spree killing in Tuscon, which wounded Gabby Gifford (and killed a bunch of people the media don’t care about) because she’d completely innocently used “crosshairs” on a map?

Of course you do.

Do you remember when Al Sharpton told people to kill cops in as many words?

Speaking of memory holes:  it’s been five days since the slaughter in Dallas.  By this point in most recent mass-killings, we has a lot of detail about the killers; Holmes, Mateen, Loughner, Lanza, Harris and Klebold, Cho, even Hassan.   And we’d had detailed dissections of the firearms they’d used – because those were the real enemies, natch.

And yet a cursory examination shows very little interest, it seems, in Micah Jackson’s past, and very little scrutiny about his SKS rifle.

We don’t know the details, and that means you or me.  But if someone wanted to bet me $100 that the silence was because Jackson was a known “progressive” activist, and the SKS was an utterly unmodified, thoroughly plain-jane rifle, I wouldn’t take the bet.

Keep Those Lines Blurry

I’m going to share a little secret, just between the two of us; I always get nervous, during gun control debates, when the topic turns to the technicalities of different types of guns.

Don’t get me wrong; illiteracy about guns is one of the things that gun controllers exploit to ram down their factually-vacant, emotion-laden “points”.  When the vast majority of people, and even some shooters, don’t know the difference between an “assault rifle” (an intermediate-caliber (less powerful cartridge than a rifle!) selective-fire long arm) and an “assault weapon” (a set of fluid cosmetic characteristics that have nothing to do with lethality), it’s impossible to have a literate debate.

Which, to gun controllers, is a feature, not a bug.

But this reared its head in an illuminating way in the Dallas shooting.

Exactly as predicted by Berg’s Eighteenth Law of Media Latency, the media got everything wrong about the Dallas shootings for the first 24-48 hours.  It was not a group of men “triangulating” their prey – it was one guy, Micah Jackson.

And he was not shooting the official boogeyman (also: only gun most media people can name, other than “Glock”), the AR15.

There are many configurations of AR15.

He was in fact shooting an “SKS” – a World War II-vintage Russian design.

It’s as rugged as any other Russian design; it’s bone simple to maintain; it’s just about the least-expensive military-grade rifle available on the legal market in America (still widely available for under $350; a few years ago, they were around $100 apiece).  It’s become an incredibly popular hunting firearm.

And, since “big magazines” are the boogeyman-du-jour, it holds ten rounds, in a non-detachable magazine, in its unmodified form.

Some gun-rights supporters jumped on this, to note that this, in and of itself, invalidates the “assault weapons” debate entirely.

It does – but not in the way the pro-gunners think it does.

Because while the SKS isn’t a modern, utterly modular design that can be rebuilt in a nearly infinite variety of permutations like the AR, it is the basis for some ingenuity.  There are parts on the aftermarket to turn an SKS into a poor man’s AK47:

This, too, is an SKS – with aftermarket adjustable stock, replacement magazine well that uses AK47 magazines, and an aftermarket forearm with an accessory rail holding the foregrip and bipod, this “tacti-cool” SKS is not one degree behind the fashion curve.

Now, while parts of the media are announcing that Jackson used an SKS (after frantically learning how to spell it), not a single outlet (as this is written) has shown a picture of the murder weapon.

Maybe they don’t have it.

And maybe they do, but it resembles the first SKS – a humble, unadorned, vaguely antique-looking rifle that looks like an awkwardly-designed hunting rifle.

My point:  like the AR, almost any rifle can be modified into an almost-unrecognizable form.

There are, as we’ve seen above, SKSes that metamorphose from awkward, boxy antiques to menacing-looking Hollywood specials.

And there are AR15s that are modified to look and function little differently than Grandpa’s hunting rifle:

Wood furniture, ten round magazine. That’s not threatening, is it?

Even better example:  the Lee Enfield Mark1 “SMLE” was the standard rifle of the British army from the early 1900s to the late 1950s.

An “SMLE” Enfield that served in both World Wars, and quite possibly well beyond. It looks like a hunting rifle, because these days it is.

It looks like a hunting rifle – and indeed it was, and is, used as one in vast numbers in the US (although the ammunition is hideously expensive; $2 a around.  Ask me how I know).

Early in World War 2, when the British Army had left most of its equipment in France, there wasn’t enough production capacity to build enough machine guns to equip the Australian and New Zealand armies.   An Australian officer invented a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption based on an Enfield that turned it into a light machine gun:

Yep – it’s a Lee Enfield rifle, with a bunch of home-made parts bolted on, turning it into a machine gun.

The real point being, cosmetic and even technical definitions of firearms are virtually meaningless in the long run; even under Nazi occupation, machinists built fully-automatic submachine guns in machine shops for the various resistance movements (the “NRA” of their day, in the various Nazi-occupied countries).

One of these two was built in Enfield, England. One was built in a machine shop somewhere in occupied Poland. Take a moment and guess which is which.

No, cosmetics, and even abstruse technical terminology, has absolutely nothing on the motivation and, sometimes, ingenuity, of the person doing the shooting.   Some, like the Polish guerrillas and the Australian Army, use those motivations and ingenuity for good (or “as good as we can get”, anyway).

Micah Jackson’s technology was more or less irrelevant; he could have committed precisely the same mayhem with any number of common hunting rifles.  Maybe more.

As We Wait, And Wait…

…for the wave of “right wing violence” that, we are assured, will be much worse than Al Quada and ISIS and is just around the corner, honest, we see the left’s propensity to thuggery is alive and well:

An adjunct professor at Southern State Community College (SSCC) in Ohio is under investigation for threatening to shoot up the NRA.

“Look, there’s only one solution. A bunch of us anti-gun types are going to have to arm ourselves, storm the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, VA, and make sure there are no survivors,” James Pearce wrote in a Facebook post on June 13. “This action might also require coordinated hits at remote sites, like Washington lobbyists. Then and only then will we see some legislative action on assault weapons. Have a nice day.”

By all means, “professor ” Pearce, go for it.  

A Whole New Flavor Of “Democracy”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Some RINOs are talking about joining Democrats to base gun control on a secret Enemies List.

 The proposal is contrary to the fundamental philosophy underpinning American government.

 The Founders told us in the Declaration that Rights come from God, not from Government.

The Founders explained in the Federalist papers that the Constitution was written to protect our Rights from the Government.

 The Founders added the Fifth Amendment specifically to emphasize that before Government took away any Rights from anybody, it gave Due Process consisting of, at a minimum, notice of the proposed action, a meaningful opportunity to oppose the action before it occurs, and a neutral decider.

The Founders would have been flabbergasted at the notion that the Government could take away a citizen’s Constitutionally protected rights, in secret, without evidence, just so long as the Government allowed that citizen to beg for relief after-the-fact.  But that’s the scheme these RINOs are considering.

 Well, why not?  We already have pre-judgment forfeiture, where the Government can seize your money.  We already have IRS agents willing to delay your political fundraising until after the election.  We already have Customs agents willing to seize your imported rosewood at the behest of a competitor guitar manufacturer. 

 Why not let the President write up an Enemies List and everyone on that list loses the right to travel, to vote, to own a firearm, to have a bank account or credit card, to hold a job . . . why not make them complete un-persons with no rights at all?

 What could possibly go wrong?

 Joe Doakes

Other than “the whole notion of self-government?”

The Terrible Hours

You’re in a room.

Between you and the exit – any exit – is someone who is busily killing people.  So you’re not going anywhere.  Probably not, anyway.

You’re in the midst of a spree killing – sometimes called a rampage killing.  You’re surrounded by crowds of people, as someone – one person, most likely – is carrying out some deluded or diabolical plan to kill…

…well, lots of people.  Maybe you’re in a gay bar, and the killer’s faith hates gays.  Maybe you’re in a synogogue, and the killer hates Jews.  Maybe you’re in a classroom, and the killer hates classrooms?  Or you’re in a church basement, and the killer hates you, whether you be Episcopal or Black or Unitarian.  Maybe it’s just because you’re a westerner, and they’re there to make a point, and inflict terror upon the rest of us westerners.   Or maybe they’re just doing the bidding of the voices in their head.

Either way, here you are.  When you woke up this morning, you didn’t expect to be involved in a spree killing.  Only one person in the room did.

You’re not him.

But there’s no getting around it.  And barring some miracle, there’s no getting away from it;  There are two exits from the space you’re in – but the shooter can see both, and has been mowing down anyone trying to get to the exits for quite some time.  Once, he stopped to reload, and someone rushed him with the only weapon he had available, his bare hands and shoed feet; perhaps he didn’t realize one can reload with a round in the chamber; that bit of resistance, valiant as it was, ended with a body on the floor.

Seeing someone shot down trying to attack the attacker took the fight out of the rest of the people in the room with you.

You may be dimly aware that the room you’re in is a “gun free zone” – an irony that causes not a single laugh.   You’re probably not aware; you may be like most Americans, and have never considered making carrying a firearm part of your lifestyle.  You might have even been one of that tiny, dim little fraction of the population that thought those signs made you safer.

But here you are.


The first transcripts of the 911 traffic in and around the Pulse night club have been released.

These are preliminary transcripts – but if they’re even remotely accurate, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to reach a couple of inescapable conclusions.   And it’s not from the mainstream media, so it’s got that going for it.

I’ve included the entire list of transcripts below the jump.

In the opening moments of the massacre, Omar Matteen engaged the cop who was providing off-duty security.  The cop and Matteen exchanged fire; neither was hit, and Matteen retreated into the club, where the massacre continued.

It took six minutes for five or six officers to show up; they broke out a patio window and, armed with “patrol rifles” (it’s a marketing term for “pretty much the same gun Matteen had”, for police departments and city councils that don’t want to have to explain to their dimmer constituents why they’re buying “assault rifles”), entered the building.

And took cover, as the shots continued.

I’m not going to monday-morning-quarterback the cops.  I’d damn sure take cover if someone was in a room, shooting.

Standards and Practices:  At the Columbine massacre, the Jefferson County (CO) SWAT team, nervous about reports of bombs in the building, held up outside the high school for four hours before entering.  By this time, all the victims, and the two killers, were stone cold dead.

This caused some significant outcry at the time; why had the citizens of Jefferson County spent all that money lavishly outfitting a SWAT team to not one degree behind the current SOCOM fashion curve, only to have them turn out no more useful to saving lives than the Jefferson County VFW Drum and Bugle Corps?

And to their credit, law enforcement did some studying.  They found a couple of things about spree/rampage killers:

  • They tend to exist in a fantasy world.  In this fantasy, killing will make them…something. Important.  Martyrs.  Popular.  Something.
  • The planning for the attack tends to be extremely elaborate (by the planner’s standards, anyway).
  • That many rampage killers – not all, but most – carry out their final “mission” in a sort of reverie; this is the culmination of their entire fantasy life.
  • Breaking that reverie – by upsetting the plan, interfering with the fantasy, and “getting inside their decision loop” – is essential in thwarting an attack once it’s underway.
  • The best way to do this – or at least the best way available when prevention has ailed, andonce the shooting starts – is to shoot at the shooter.  And preferably hit him.  But any resistance will do, really.  Because…
  • …once the shooter meets resistance, their reverie usually breaks, and their long-fantasized plans go awry, they usually – not always, but usually – panic; they break off the attack, they give up or, frequently, they kill themselves.  Sometimes it doesn’t work – Matteen kept shooting after he met resistance (I’ll speculate that his terrorist motivations may be part of the reason for this).  Sometimes it works amazingly well; Nick Meli had only to point his gun at Jason Roberts (he checked fire out of worry that he’d hit a bystander), causing Roberts to withdraw into a nearby store and kill himself, still carrying hundreds of unspent rounds.   More according to the theory – Jeanne Assam shot and wounded Matthew Murray inside New Life Christian Center, after he’d already killed two (and two more at an earlier crime scene); Murray withdrew and ended his worthless life.
  • Because of this observation, the convention wisdom among law enforcement became to “get in there and engage active shooters”; rather than wait for SWAT teams and bomb squads to assemble and stage and come up with a plan, individual officers, armed with whatever was in their cars or on their persons – “patrol rifles”, shotguns, handguns – should move toward the shooting, and try to put some lead in and around the shooter.  To seize the initiative, to take control of the narrative.
  • While cops don’t say this in public, of course, it doesn’t really matter if the person putting that fire into and around the shooter has a badge or not; incoming bullets all sound the same. This blog has compiled a sizeable list of mass shooters thwarted by civilians with guns – currently 16 and counting.  From Nick Meli to Dr. Lee Silverman, the list of regular schnooks who’ve thwarted mass shooters is much, much longer than the media and the ignorant (pardon the redundancy) are willing to comprehend, much less admit.

Apparently, though, someone from Orlando didn’t get the memo.  Or, more likely – I’m guessing, here – the SWAT team, in a situation of immense stress and confusion, held off doing anything drastic while they figured out what to do.

When Seconds Count…:  As Bob Owens at Bearing Arms notes, around the point in the transcript where Mateen is reloading his magazines.  I’ll add emphasis:

The terrorist has been killing at will, unimpeded, for 20 minutes, longer than any mass shooting in recent American history [except possibly Columbine – Ed.] (in 1966 Charles Whitman, the University of Texas bell tower sniper was still active 20 minutes into his rampage, but civilians and police were actively firing on his position).  Virginia Tech was over in 12 minutes. Sandy Hook took five.

This terrorist was charging magazines, as the OPD waited and victims bled out on the dance floor and in bathrooms.

He had time to reload (as in “put more bullets in his magazines” – perhaps twice.

“High capacity magazines” were clearly irrelevant to this situation, by the way.  As they were at Virginia Tech, where the shooter used mundane handguns with regular (12-15 round) magazines.

Victims are bleeding out, no longer responding to the dispatchers they called to save their lives.  Other callers, including a nurse who is among the wounded, are warning that victims are losing too much blood.

No one is coming.

No one is coming. 

It isn’t until 38 minutes into the terrorist attack that the now-reloaded shooter calls Orlando PD and announces that he is a Islamic terrorist aligned with the Islamic State.

At this point, a competently trained SWAT command, having learned from the Russian experience at Beslan that terrorists call to “negotiate” only to stall for time and improve their positions to kill more people, should have recognized that the best option for a shooter in a confined space with hostages is to throw in flash-bang grenades and storm in while he was disoriented to take him down.

And yet they didn’t.

Why?  We don’t know, yet.  Maybe we never will.

At the end of the day, a cop wants to go home safe.

Who can blame ’em?

Defense:  Well, I’m no monday-morning quarterback.  If I’m a patrol cop, armed with a rifle I’ve rarely trained on, in a thin kevlar vest that might turn a pistol bullet or shotgun pellet but not a rifle round, going into a dark room full of screaming people, floors slick with blood, and the deafening sound of rifle fire in a confined space booming all around?  I might well take cover, and stay there.  Maybe hiding behind the brick I’d crap.

And the Supreme Court has ruled as much, saying that while it’s police’s job to try to protect you, they’re not really liable if they don’t.

On the other hand: the taxpayers of Orlando, like those of every major city, have spent years and millions outfitting police SWAT teams with all sorts of high-test body armor, flash-bang grenades and other right-with-the-SOCOM-fashion curve hostage rescue goodies, and the exquisitely expensive training that goes with with it (or so one hopes that’s where the money went).

Why did the Orlando SWAT team wait until 5:02AM – three hours after the first 911 call – to breach the wall and go into the club?  Why did it take fifteen more minutes to kill Mateen?    We don’t know.

How many died in those three hours?    Go through the transcript (below he jump), and count the number of people whom callers report expiring to blood loss as they huddled in piles on the dance floor, or to cell phone contacts quietly dropping off the line, leaving nothing but the sounds of gunshots and screaming in the background, as victims slowly bled out.

Go ahead.  Do it.

It sounds like an awful place.  Who can blame the SWAT team for being careful?


You.

You, huddled on the floor and playing dead in the room full of frantic people and a growing toll of wounded, maimed and dead bodies, can blame them.   As the hours tick by, as the blood on the floor gets sticky and dry, as the gunman reloads, kills another handful of people, reloads again and again.

It’s you who won’t be going home.

Could it have been different?   If one other person in the room with you had had the means to react in a meaningful, e.g. life-threatening, way?

Maybe.  There are no guarantees, least of all when bullets are flying.    Who knows – maybe they got hit before they had a chance to draw.  Maybe they’d draw, but get shot first.

Or maybe they’d trade fire with the killer, and lose – but un-nerve the killer, allowing at least a  few people to escape.

Or maybe, just maybe, the citizen with the gun would catch a few lucky breaks; the killer doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head, after all.  A couple of shots to the back while the killer was looking the other way, and suddenly it’s camera crews and yellow tape.

But as the hours drag on, it’s pretty clear – the only help that’s coming is from outside.

Sometime.  Maybe.  Hopefully before you join the dead.


NOTE:  While I intend my comment section as a discussion, and tolerate dissent and cognitive dissonance better than most, be advised; comments I deem stupid will not be deleted; they will be mutilated for my pleasure.  

The judgment of “stupidity” is all mine; it doesn’t mean “disagreement”; just stupidity.  I know it when I see it.

There will be no other warnings.

Continue reading

A Good Gal With A Gun

Woman kills intruder.

Officials said the 33-year-old woman had returned home with her kids — aged 5 and 10 — when she encountered the man and opened fire.

Police officers and medical personnel arriving at the home in Portland, Oregon, early Sunday found the 59-year-old man who had been shot dead.

The mom is cooperating with the investigation and was not arrested, authorities said.

Perhaps she should have told the guy to wait for the police, and left the house ’til they arrived.

Rights

I’m not going to talk politics, here. I’m going to talk morality and ethics.

First: as a general rule, it’s considered immoral to make someone accountable and responsible for something, but to withhold the rights needed to carry that responsibility out. It’d be wrong to say “raise this kid!” without giving someone the rights to, y’know, raise the kid.

Right?

Second: If someone said to you “I have the right not to be hit by a tornado”, you’d think they were nuts – right? Your rights don’t affect nature – do they?

Likewise, if someone said “I have a right not to get hurt while driving”, you’d likely respond “there is no “right” to be exempt from bad luck, equipment failure, or even human negligence – your own, or someone else’s”.

No – in both cases, you have the *responsibilty* to protect yourself, and especially your family, from these dangers that nature, technology and human nature throw at you. You listen to the sirens and haul the kids down to the basement; you check your tires, you make sure your kids are belted in, and yourself to boot; you watch for drivers who seem impaired or reckless, and drive defensively. You have the *right* to take action to meet your responsibility to *avoid* having human nature, mechanical nature, or Mother Nature harm you and yours.

So in this past week and a half, since the atrocity in Orlando, a lot of people have been arguing about the Second Amendment. One line I’ve heard a lot is “your Second Amendment right doesn’t trump my right not to get shot!”, usually from people who think they’re making a show-stopper point.

They’re half right; the Second Amendment trumps nothing. Literally. Because there *is* no “right not to get shot”. There is only a responsibility to try to deter, deflect or end threats to your community, to you, and your family.

Like Mother Nature, human nature is full of ugly surprises and perversions; people who want to take what’s not theirs (criminals), people who think that violence is a means to a political end (terrorists), some who think killing is their ticket to immortality (rampage killers) and, every so often, someone who thinks their will to power is more important than your life, liberty and happiness; none of them have the “right” to do any of it, but that doesn’t prevent them from doing it anyway.

Do you have a “right” not to be affected by the worst human nature has to offer? In an abstract sense, maybe – but discussions of “rights” with criminals, terrorists, madmen and tyrants are about as useful as discussions with tornados and flat tires.

You don’t have a “right” not to be affected by perversions of human nature, any more than you have a right not to be affected by tornados, earthquakes or blowouts. But you do have that responsibility.

To meet that responsibility, you have rights; the right to take actions that protect everyone; you don’t need a permit to check your tires, to take your kids to the basement when the sirens go off [1]…

…and the *right* to defend you and yours from the worst of human nature with a firearm (among many, many other options – from speech, peer pressure and dogs, to locked doors and motion lights, through restraining orders, police calls and the like). The Second Amendment doesn’t grant this right; our creator did, just like our rights to speak, worship, publish, and so on. To try to suppress that right – the right to uphold that responsibility to protect ones self, community and family – is as immoral as giving people any other responsibility without rights.

There is no more “right not to get shot” than there is a “right to shoot people” [2].

——

OK, I lied. There’s some politics in here too.

Some people who should know better have been given to stroking their chins and intoning “y’know, the 2nd Amendment exists and is a right – but we’ve rolled back other rights, like the right to own slaves”.

Sure – we’ve changed the Constitution. The 13th Amendment abolished the “right” to own other humans – an institution that was morally repugnant BECAUSE it stripped away the other human’s rights. Basic principle, here: one person’s rights can not infringe other peoples’ rights.

But abolishing the Second Amendment – or more likely, trying to ban a class of firearms – has less in common with the 13th Amendment than the 18th, which banned alcohol. Like Prohibition, the gun grabbers believe that if they just regulate what people can get their hands on, they can repeal human nature itself!

Prohibition made everything that it was trying to help, even worse, and had unintended consequences that were far worse than the original problem (all-time high crime rates, ballooning government spending, contempt for the law).

Naturally, this’ll be different.

Anyway – you don’t, ever, get more freedom by taking other peoples’ freedom away.

[1] although don’t give the Saint Paul DFL any ideas

[2] other than in self-defense, naturally

Common Sense Alt Media

Many of you reading this blog are amateur journalists; we met back when everyone was a exercising their First Amendment rights with blogs and the like.

Now, writing online – blogs, tumblr, Facebook, whatever – is fine. And audio podcasts are OK.

But nobody really needs video. It’s just too much.

I’ve worked as a real reporter; I’ve had actual training with real video. And if you don’t believe me, believe many, many professional journalists, who’ll tell you – regular people just don’t need video.

It’s common sense.

Scenarios

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is working on the potato boxes in his backyard.    Avery LIBRELLE walks through the back gate into BERG’s back yard.

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!  The case of workplace violence in Orlando proves that it’s time for America to get serious about guns.

BERG:    We did.  Or at least parts of the country did; the parts that ratcheted up the penalties for gun crimes, and seriously prosecuted straw buyers, saw a marked decrease in gun crimes.   Of course, that wasn’t “sexy” enough for the Democrat-run governments of most major cities – so while the rest of the nation’s crime rate plummets, in major Democrat-run cities it’s rising…

LIBRELLE:  I’m already bored.   The Orlando workplace violence episode proves that guns are no defense.

BERG:   It showed that a cop working security was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that Mateen, unlike most mass shooters, didn’t fold up when he ran into resistance.   As might befit someone who was carrying out a terror attack, as opposed to someone just seeking immortality as a spree killer.  That’s just a theory…

LIBRELLE:  …I’m still bored.

BERG:  Well, bore yourself with this; had a any person in that club had a legal, permitted firearm, they could have stopped the shooting.

LIBRELLE:  Can you guarantee that?

BERG:   There are no guarantees in life.  But I’d like to talk you through three hypothetical scenarios.

LIBRELLE:  Don’t make me bored!

BERG:   What’s with the boredo…oh, never mind .

Scenario 1:  You’re out at a bar.  Someone starts shooting.   People around you are getting hit left and right.

Suddenly, a schlub nearby sees an opportunity while the shooter is shooting the other way; they draw their legal handgun, and they kill the attacker.

LIBRELLE:  That’s unrealistic.

BERG:  Why?

LIBRELLE:  The attacker would shoot them first.    They’d sense they were about to be attacked, and turn and kill them.  Which would just make it worse for everyone else in the club.

BERG:  What, you think mass shooters are superman ninja warriors or something?

LIBRELLE:  Doesn’t matter.  That never happens.

BERG:   By my count, it’s happened at least sixteen times in recent years.

But that  brings us to the second scenario.  Let’s say a citizen draws, and misses, or doesn’t kill the shooter, and the shooter kills the citizen.  That’d be tragic – but it’d throw the shooter’s plan off, and give people time to escape in the confusion, and probably safe at least a few lives.

LIBRELLE:  You’re dreaming.

BERG:   Well, it’s happened.  But it probably beats the third scenario.

LIBRELLE:  Which is?

BERG:  (Very, very quietly, with an air of fervent, quiet concentration).  You’re at a bar.  (LIBRELLE listens intently; BERG continues, quietly).  Shooting rings out.  People are dying left and right.  But the bar is a gun-free zone, and everyone in the bar followed the law tonight.  So there’s exactly one armed person in the joint – the mass shooter, motivated by hate, or desire for immortality, or on a terror mission.  And the shooter keeps on going, blasting away, killing defenseless person after defenseless person (BERG grows quieter, leaning toward LIBRELLE, who leans closer as well), killing everyone around you until…

(BERG stops)

LIBRELLE:  Until wha…

BERG:  (At a whisper) he lifts his gun, and (BERG yells at the top of his lungs) BOOM!  RIGHT AFTER YOU PROJECTILE CRAP YOURSELF WITH FEAR, HE BLOWS YOUR F****NG HEAD INTO A MILLION F****NG PIECES ALL OVER THE WALL!

LIBRELLE:  (Leaps backward eyes, wide  with fear, transfixed, hyperventilating).

BERG:  Your choice.

LIBRELLE:  (Quickly shuffles out of BERG’s back yard).

BERG:  Seriously, Avery.  It is your choice.

(And SCENE).

One For Your Mental Library

I commend this article – Why I “Need” An AR15″, from the left-leaning “Medium”, by apparently left-leaning writer Jon Stokes – to all of you who have an interest in the Second Amendment, pro or con.

Those of you who oppose the Second Amendment – or even just “assault weapons” – should read it to unlearn some of the complete fabulism that a sloppy and incurious (at best) media has brought to the subject.

Those of you who support the Second Amendment can fill in your intellectual war chest with some new arguments; as, indeed, I did.

For that matter, the disclaimer at the beginning is pure gold:

some 5 million Americans have decided that they do, in fact, “need” an AR-15. Are all of these people bloodthirsty savages? Delusional survivalists? Military fetishists? Insecure men with tiny… hands?

If you’re prepared to answer ‘yes’ to all of the above and consider the case closed, then please move on and don’t read anymore. This article isn’t my attempt to justify anything to you — it’s not a defense of what’s in my gun safe or of the AR-15 itself. If, for you, my AR-15 ownership is prima facie evidence of my mental instability, sexual inadequacy, lack of a conscience, or what-have-you, then I honestly don’t care what you think about this issue. You can go back to broadcasting your own moral superiority on social media, and I can go back to tuning you out until your rage therapy session is over.

(Nota bene: While my comment section is intended to be a vibrant, diverse conversation reflecting many points of view, comments I deem to reflect the point of view in the second-to-last sentence – AKA “stupid” comments – will be deleted without fanfare.  Disagree with me all you want.  Do it stupidly in almost every other post on this blog, past, present or future.   But not here.   That is all).

Worth a read.

War Is Declared, And Battle Come Down

After a showy but shallow “filibuster”, the Democrats in the Senate moved a bill that would have allowed the government to strip your gun rights (among others) without due process or any means of knowing one was on the list, much less how to get off it.

The orcs of the gun grabber movement put out their calls to their minions.

The Real Americans of the Second Amendment called the good guys to turn out, via phone and email.

The good guys won.  For now.

We Real Americans have made a lot of progress in the past 30 years.  And for all that, we are one SCOTUS decision, one bad election, away from returning to the hell of the seventies.

Lie First, Lie Always: Audio Carnage

Andrew Rothman of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance was apparently on WCCO yesterday.  “Protect” MN put out an email blast for its badly-informed chanting point bots to call in – which I doubt worked especially well.

StraightOuttaFacts

I was extraordinarily busy over the weekend, so I didn’t get a chance to listen.

But “Protect” MN’s email blasts are always low entertainment (emphasis added):

Dear Heinrich

Mr. Rothman is one of the most vorciferous

advocates for the gun lobby in our state.

And Nancy Nord Bence is one of the most vociferously bad spellers in Minnesota public life.

He makes his living teaching Permit to Carry classes and representing the most extreme views of the NRA at the Capital

No.  No, he does not.  He earns his living in a day job like the rest of us.

This is the level of accuracy one expects from “Protect” MN.

I may just listen to the podcast for the carnage.

Darn Those White Conservative Christians

Orlando murderer Omar Mateen – a man who seems to have mixed sexual confusion and extreme millenarian Islam on his way to becoming the worst mass-shooter in US history – was giving off warning signs even in childhood:

At age 14, he said he could shoot an AK-47 and mimicked an airplane flying into the World Trade Center. At 26, he bragged to courthouse co-workers of terrorist ties. Weeks ago, at 29, Mateen sought to buy heavy-duty body armor and bulk ammunition.

Many of his violent outbursts aped or celebrated Islamic terrorism and he repeatedly claimed connections to known terrorists, including the Boston Marathon bombers. He cheered the 9/11 attacks on the day they happened and once threatened to shoot partygoers at a barbecue when pork, which is forbidden to Muslims, touched his hamburger.

Bear in mind that Mateen passed not one, but eight background checks:

So let’s walk through this from the beginning:

  1. Mateen spends his entire life as a vocal terror sympathizer.  He also meets all the right people – has contact with other known terror figures, the whole nine yards.
  2. The feds investigate him at least twice.  Maybe they found nothing.  Maybe political pressure led then to foreshorten their inquiry; maybe to avert accusations of “profiling” they took their resources to investigate NASCAR drivers in Alabama.  We don’t know, and probably never will.
  3. Mateen passes eight of the background checks that are the “common sense regulation” that the orcs of Big Gun Control want to subject the law-abiding citizen to – which is further evidence that they don’t care about crime, but do want to register gun owners.
  4. Mateen – who was either in the midst of a struggle over sexuality, or was adopting a “gay” cover to case gay bars for his attacks – becomes enough of a regular figure in Orlando gay bars to not arouse notice.
  5. For their part, the State of Florida made all bars “gun free zones”; every victim at “Pulse” was, by law, disarmed.     While gun owners in many states – the states where “gun free zones” are treated as trespassing rather than misdemeanors or worse – routinely ignore “gun free zone” signs, nobody at “Pulse” apparently did.

Oh, yeah.  It just must be the fault of Christian NRA members.

Top Secret Letter To Jabba The Congresswoman

To: Rep. Liz Krueger (D-NY)
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Your Plan

Rep. Krueger

Sssssh.  This is just between you and me.

Rep. Liz Krueger (D-NY)

Rep. Liz Krueger (D-NY)

Last week in Congress, you suggested people “infiltrate the NRA”.

Brilliant plan.  I found the double-dog secret gateway that leads into the inner sanctum.  Here it is.  Please make sure you share this only with trusted agents of the Big Plan.

Remember – we’ve always been at war with the NRA

That is all.

The Accidental Activist

As I’ve noted here before, I wasn’t always a Second Amendment activist. I grew up in a pretty gun-controlly family, actually; dad’s a union Democrat, mom was a sort-of-repressed hippie.
 
I didn’t grow up around guns – which took some doing, in rural North Dakota. Mom didn’t allow toy guns in the house. I didn’t shoot a gun until the summer after I got out of high school. I remember feeling programmed contempt for the NRA even into my early twenties.
 
But there were a couple of things that changed that.
 
One of them happened when I was in 9th grade. I stumbled on a copy of “The Black Book” – the B’nai B’rith’s compendium of Nazi crimes against European Jews. And even though I was a 14 year old bobblehead, I realized that “It’s a lot easier to herd unarmed people into cattle cars”. I didn’t jump immediately to “therefore let us be armed”, but is slowly crept up on me.
 
As did the further realization that society’s veneer of order is perilously brittle; the Great NY Blackout, the LA Riots, Katrina, Hurricane Sandy – all showed that while our civil society is fairly resilient, it’s not weatherproof – and that the only thing that kept the Korean merchants of South Central LA from getting cleaned out as thoroughly as the shopkeepers of New Orleans and the Rockaways was a line of determined men with the means to defend order themselves, after the police high-tailed it outta there. George Orwell once wrote “We sleep soundly at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf” – and while heaven forbid it happens, and for most God willing it never will, nobody can know the time or place when the regular schnook in his Barcalounger will be called upon to be that rough man seeing to his own family’s safety.
 
It got personal in 1988: I had a breakin in my house. I woke up on a sweltering July night to the sound of a couple of people downstairs. There was no way out of the house that didn’t go past the burglars. There was no phone upstairs. But I did have a gun -a little .22 rifle. I padded over to the top of the stairs (the burglars didn’t run away at the sound of the creaking floor) and racked a round. I saw two pairs of Adidas running out the door. I was a believer.
 
And I also realized: just as I didn’t know at 8PM that at midnight I’d be aiming a rifle down my stairs, neither did the merchants of Koreatown or the residents of the Ninth Ward know they’d be facing complete anarchy the day before they were up to their necks in it; nor did Hitler’s future victims realize in 1932 what awaited them in 1942. Nobody can read the future; one can merely prepare for it. Or not. That’s your choice.
 
It didn’t start to coalesce into a philosophy, though, until I read this piece, probably 20 years ago; “A Nation of Cowards“, by Jeff Snyder.
 
And it started me thinking: the “gun safety” debate wasn’t, and isn’t, about facts, or hardware, or even anyone’s safety; it’s about two radically different points of view about how the individual and society interact.
 
And vis a vis Snyder, it’s best summed up by a subtle rhetorical difference between the sides; one that you see every time you listen to “gun safety” advocates talking at the Capitol. One side believes there’s a “right not to get shot”; the other knows there’s a *responsibility* to protect one’s self, family and community.
 
Is there a “right not to get shot?” Sure, why not? But like the right to speak, publish, assemble, worship, privacy and a fair trial, it’s worthless if you don’t actively use, and protect, it.
 
Do you farm your right to free speech and the press out to the media? (Some certainly do). Do you assume the ACLU will guard your right to privacy? (Some do!). Do you assume that the police will protect your “right not to get shot?” Some, most definitely, do.
 
Do you assume your abstract “right not to be robbed, raped or assaulted” is ironclad just…because? Or your “right not to be looted?” “Your right not to have your social or ethnic group jammed into cattle cars to oblivion?”
 
Seems excessively optimistic to me.