Virtue-Stomping

Dick’s Sporting Goods has earned the ire of 2nd Amendment human rights activists, over and over.

In 2013, they publicly announced they were out of the “assault weapon” business after the Newtown shooting (where a deranged boy killed his mother to get her AR15).

They apparently slowly retrenched, because they publicly did it again after the Parkland shooting.

Nothing like conviction.

But now, they want to take it to the next level…

…of virtue-signaling stupidity:

After announcing policies that most gun owners saw as alienating, Dick’s Sporting Goods said it will go one step further and destroy its remaining inventory of firearms dubbed “assault weapons.”

A spokeswoman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the remaining inventory at the retailer’s Field & Streams stores will be destroyed and then recycled.

“We are in the process of destroying all firearms and accessories that are no longer for sale as a result of our February 28th policy change,” she said. “We are destroying the firearms in accordance with federal guidelines and regulations.”

I’m sure the shareholders will be thrilled.

Irreconcilable

There are times I wonder if this isn’t the right answer.

UPDATE:  Clearly, I wrote this before looking at the map.  While the article makes sense, clearly the author thinks all northerners look alike.  The idea of the Dakotas, Montana and Idaho siding with New England is as risible as Rebecca Otto’s candidacy.

My two cents?   It’s not just two nations (Dems aren’t the only ones fighting the last war).  Short of dividing up by counties (which would be much more politically accurate), I could see several options:

  • Two nations .- with the West Coat, New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Chicago existing as an archipelago of liunacy
  • Three nations – a Japan and China-aligned West Coast, a New England/Mid-Atlantic nation that’d join the EU, and the rest of the country.
  • Four nations:  the above, with the former confederacy (less Texas, perhaps) forming a socially-conservative nation and the remainder a libertarian-conservative agricultural and petroleum based nation.

But again, it’s all hypothetical.

Or is it?

Unserious

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails

This congressman is correct that the second amendment exists so the people can resist a tyrant. Whether trump is such a tyrant is not the point, he’s correct about the purpose of the amendment.
So why’s he a gun control advocate? What, the people will rise up and take back the country with their .38 revolvers?
If he really meant the resist tyranny comment, then he ought to be pushing to repeal the 1934 machine gun ban. Let ordinary citizens equip themselves with the same weapons as the military and let’s see how arrogant the deep state bureaucrats are.
Hey, don’t the Swiss have something like that? Everybody serves, everybody takes their service weapon home when they muster out.
Somebody ought to call him on it. Big signs: “How can we resist Tyrant Trump if you take our guns?” at every rally from now until he loses in November.
Joe Doakes

The Democrats aren’t any more serious about “Resisting Tyranny” (after they get a majority) than they are about equality.

Putting Their Money Where Their Ink Was

The mainstream media is, if not predictable on Second Amendment issues, at least prone falling into patterns.  The usual ones are:

  • Broad-based ignorance of – and at worst, incuriosity about – the actual facts of gun related issues, beyond the chanting points provided by the anti-gun groups that dominate the “thinking” in most reporters’ social circles.  It’s not malicious, it’s just uninformed, or lazy, or sometimes entitled.
  • Occasional bursts of good solid reporting  – like Pat Kessler’s excellent piece on Channel 4 last week pointing out what this blog has been telling you for a couple years now; while Minnesota has a very high per capita rate of carry permittees (almost triple the rate estimated when the Legislature passed the law), our crime rate is among the lowest in the country.
  • Inevitably, the overwrought editorial or op-ed demanding a repeal of the Second Amendment.

That latter usually comes from the “elite” level of the media – the NYTimes, the WaPo and the like.

So it was with a chuckle I read about an episode from the Civil War, when “journalists” had to be made of sterner, more realistic stuff.

It was right after the draft – and its  onerous exemption provisions, allowing the wealthy to pay for substitutes – was instituted.  Mobs began rioting – and one of their targets was the New York Times.

At the time, the Times was a Republican paper, and supported Lincoln, abolition and the war.  The rest of New York City, then as now, was Democrat – and was also fairly squarely against abolition, since much of New York’s economy was based around cigars and textiles – which depended on cheap tobacco and cotton, which depended on slavery (which is why I relish the times when smug little liberal moppets try to rip on “slave states’, knowing that NYC prospered more from slavery than anyplace else).

But I digress.

The rioters descended on midtown Manhattan.  And there, the publishers of the NYTimes were waiting:

The riot quickly spread through adjoining parts of the city, with rioters attacking leaders of the Republican Party and their property, as well as “such symbols of privilege and power as police stations, arsenals, and the homes and shops of the wealthy,” Gilje wrote. The offices of abolitionist New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley were attacked twice. The New York Times was defended by its staff, who wielded several Gatling guns borrowed from the Army. Manning one of the Gatling guns was millionaire speculator Leonard Walter Jerome, Winston Churchill’s maternal grandfather and a major investor in the paper.

The paper’s publisher issued rifles to the staff – there was apparently a cache of firearms in the Times offices – and an armed skirmish line of reporters, printers and other staffers were all that stood in the way of the mob burning and looting the Gray Lady…

…and, in the end, deterred that attack.

So – the news media used the Second Amendment to protect the First Amendment.

Huh.

Imminent Domain

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is in the lobby of the AMC Arden Hills, waiting to see “Godzilla Vs. Ayn Rand”.  Stainding coincidentally in front of BERG are several members of the Minnesota 5th Congressional District LIbertarian Party;  Stephanie Marie ANNAN, Community organizer,Garth MULLER, the Vice Chair for Ideological Purity, Carpal POX,  the deputy chair,Victor VON SCLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE, Vice Chair for Education, and Anarchy GOATEEMONGER, inreach director.    The group is talking; BERG is reluctantly overhearing the conversation. 

GOATEEMONGER:  Today in class, my kid told the teacher “Taxation is theft!”.

(General hooting and backslapping ensues).

ANNAN:  You are such a good dad!

MULLER:  Next he’ll be telling them to Vote Harder!

(More backslapping).

GOATEEMONGER:  Right!  And you won’t believe this; the teacher asked him who was going to build the roads!

(Generalized guffawing ensues)

SCHLIEFFENGERG-MOLTKE:  Hah!  Roads!

BERG:  So Mr. Goateemonger – what did your kid answer?

ANNAN:   Here!  Have some more government!~

(More hooting and back-slapping)

MULLER:  Hey, look!  Only government can wipe my butt!

(Broad har-di-harring)

BERG:  Er…so did your kid answer?

POX:  I read an article the other day that says fusion-powered hovercars are right around the corner.  It’s going to be a non-issue any day now.

(Vigorous head-nodding ensues).

SCHLIEFFENGERG-MOLTKE (affecting a constipated sounding voice):  Vote harder!  Vote harder!

(The laughter is becoming brweathless)

BERG:  So – did the kid ever…y’know…answer?

ANNAN: Roads!

(IMore guffawing follows)

BERG  Nothing?

(And SCENE)

Baited, Switched

A long time ago, in a beautiful but cold place far far away, a communist dictator built a colosseum.  Being committed to the populist flim-flam most totalitarians use to get help in seizing power, he named it “The People’s Stadium” – although “the people” only got to use it with the permission of the dictator’s cronies.

And the dictator built a train – “The Peoples’ Train” – to bring people from the miserable, decaying, crime-sodden cities to The People’s Stadium.

The dictator and his cronies planned a massive rally to celebrate their power and perspicacity; the entire world’s media would be there to see the dictator’s work.

And the dictator worried: while he put on a slick facade for the foreign press, some of the locals were unruly, and parts o the city were falling apart.

So the dictator took steps to make sure The People wouldn’t screw up The People’s  Event at the People’s Stadium before the eyes of the world.  First, he barred The Hoi Polloi from the Peoples’ Train, to make sure they’d never encounter foreign visitors.

And then, to take no chances, he deployed his Army in the People’s City, to make sure the locals stayed in line.

Minneapolis officials are calling on Gov. Mark Dayton to mobilize the state National Guard for the Super Bowl, amid questions about whether the city’s police force has enough officers to effectively patrol neighborhoods and handle other demands.

Even with dozens of departments across the state pledging to send officers to help with security, Mayor Betsy Hodges and mayor-elect Jacob Frey wrote in a letter on Tuesday that the city’s police “cannot by themselves meet of all the safety and security needs of the 10 days of Super Bowl LII while maintaining public-safety operations for the entire city.”

When I wrote my book Trulbert:  A Comic Novella ab out the End of the World as We Know It, I wrote the scene in which a thinly disguised Roger Goodell-type NFL commissioner exacted concessions out of Minneapolis’ dictator, Myron Ilktost, to be as over the top as I could imagine; a complete NFL takeover of all civic resources, free transportation, prostitutes, whatever the NFL wanted.  And when I went back and edited and re-wrote, I massaged it to make it even more over-the-top.   I was satisfied that real life could never imitate my fiction.

Kudos, Roger Gooddell and Mark Dayton.  You’ve proven me wrong.

In Which The LA Times Goes Long On Freedom

I can not be the only one to have noted the jarring irony of the LA Times’ piece, almost two weeks ago, warning against gutting freedom over ugly, but rare, outrages – can I?

The gruesome terror attack that left eight people dead on a New York City bicycle path Tuesday afternoon spotlighted a troubling reality: Society cannot safeguard itself against every dangerous eventuality.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of people who will pretend that it can — and who will tell you they know how to do it. Already, those who oppose immigration are making hay out of the fact that the attack’s perpetrator entered the country seven years ago through what’s known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. And President Trump pushed the discussion further into dangerous ground Wednesday when he seemed to urge that safeguards in the legal system be undercut in the name of swift vengeance. “We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now,” Trump said.

The president’s insistence that the justice system in this country is a “joke” and a “laughingstock” built on political correctness is worrisome, given his authoritarian tendencies. The idea that constitutional protections should be gutted because Trump is upset is both legally and morally absurd.

That’s when the weapon is a car.

I’m wondering if there isn’t something about leftism that makes it impossible for people to detect logical inconsistency or irony.

Well-Regulated

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The case for mandating gun ownership.   Why serving in the militia should be compulsory.
As a general rule, I react negatively to the suggestion that I should be required to do anything for the federal government.  But the point about civic virtue is important.  In a world where people think bacon comes from a store and cops shouldn’t be so mean when they arrest murderers, a little time spent patrolling the streets of your own town might open some eyes.
Joe Doakes

Until 1972, the Swiss directly tied serving in the militia to the right to vote.  There are times the idea resonates…

Progress

Utah cop who became internet-famous for dragging a nurse, kicking and screaming, from a hospital after she did precisely the job she was supposed to do, and was told to do by her chain of management, is now an ex-cop:

The officer, Detective Jeff Payne, was seen on film dragging a crying nurse out of the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City after she prevented law enforcement from taking blood from an unconscious patient.

The nurse, Alex Wubbels, told officers they needed a warrant, the patient’s consent or for police to arrest the patient in order to draw blood.

Payne told Wubbels he would “leave with blood in vials or body in tow” before placing her in handcuffs and dragging her out of the hospital.

So there’s the take-away:  if government oversteps its just authority and oppresses the living crap out of you, all you need is an epic tsunami of social-media revulsion to maybe, eventually, get some justice.

Feeling better?

People Addict People

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

There is a crisis.  People who are prescribed drugs containing opioids can become addicted to them.

There is a problem.  People who receive medical treatment have privacy rights.  We don’t know who’s doing the prescribing, who’s doctor-shopping, who’s obtaining prescriptions only to sell them.

There are proposed solutions, but they’re mostly paperwork regulations that have no more effect on real-world issues than putting up a Drug Free Zone sign on a schoolhouse door.  More warning labels won’t help: people take the medicine doctors prescribe because we trust doctors.  Restricting prescriptions won’t solve the end problem: no doctor prescribes heroin and people who self-medicate their personal problems with drugs will obtain them illegally, as they always have.  Adding a new federal registry of sensitive information on individuals – does the word “Equifax” ring any bells?

“Opioid” is simply the new word for “narcotic” which has been a staple in the War on Drugs since Coke took cocaine out of its soft-drink 100 years ago.  The problem isn’t the tool, the problem is the tool user.

Joe Doakes

As with any plan, philosophy, worldview or kind of government – the problem is people.

Have Some More Disease

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Governor’s law enforcement committee asks the age-old question: Who watches the watchers?

The call for a special prosecutor sends up red flags for me.  Removing police prosecutions from local control adds a layer of insulation shields the special prosecutor from local oversight.  We already have a system of locally elected County Attorneys that has withstood the test of time.  Hennepin and Ramsey counties are politically deep blue so anybody elected County Attorney basically will be elected by Democrats, the party of the people, defenders of the downtrodden.  If local prosecutors are racist, it’s because the Democrats who elected them are racist in which case your problem is not with the local prosecutors, it’s with the DFL party and its voters.  Appoint more apparatchiks won’t change the racist attitudes of the appointers.

Joe Doakes

But it will add another office full of bureaucrats with AFSCME and MAPE memberships donating dues to the DFL.

If the DFL could find a way to sell the pelts of police abuse victims for political donations, they’d do it.

Big Words

A friend of the blog writes:

Citizen Trump can criticize NFL players all he wants. But, I am a little upset that he is using his Presidential podium to suggest speech is a reason to be fired. (Leave that to the private employers and private customers to decide). But, as this is Trump, I am sure the issue is not the NFL. It seems there is the most hype when something else is going on. Our “wonderful” media, however, chooses to focus on hype rather than news, and Trump understands this more than most.

Then, I read this in the MinnPost.

And, it reminded me that this writer is on to something. When the government begins to threaten our Constitutional rights, it is important to stand up for those rights, no matter how out of place one feels. There may be public harassment, but that’s part of standing up for your rights. Gun owners have been doing it for years at open carry events.

Trump is playing to his audience – and it’s not a good thing in this case.

“The Government Is Not Coming For Your Guns”

Unless they want to.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp signed an emergency order allowing the seizure of private guns, ammunition, explosives and property the National Guard may need to respond to Hurricane Irma.
Do You Think This Emergency Order Is Unconstitutional?
Mapp signed the order Monday in preparation for Hurricane Irma. The order allows the Adjutant General of the Virgin Islands to seize private property they believe necessary to protect the islands, subject to approval by the territory’s Justice Department.

I’m feeling pretty good about supporting the 2015 bill that bars the Minnesota state government from doing any such thing.

Want To Make A Nation Of Fundamentally Law-Abiding, Pro-Police People Trust Cops Less Than Journalists Or Used Car Dealers?

To:  Salt Lake City PD
From:  Mitch Berg, Irascible Peasant
Re:  Officer Himmler

Dear SLCPD,

If this piece of walking garbage with a badge…:

…is still working for the SLCPD, you are flirting with forfeiting any legitimacy as a “law enforcement” organization.

And don’t respond with “do you think you could do his job?”   I, the law-abiding citizen, hire him to do a job, and part of the job is not violating the civil rights of my fellow citizens!

This is not a feudal kingdom, and police aren’t knights to whom citizens must bow and scrape like peasants.  Some cops seem to have a hard time with that.   It’s gotta stop.

Nice Try, Snowflake

A guy named Richard Lindsay, a professed Christian writing on “Patheos” – a “progressive” Christian megablog – “renounces” his right to keep and bear arms:

I hereby renounce my right to bear arms.I will not keep guns in my house, in my car, or on my person. I will not rely on guns for self-protection. I do not believe owning a gun is a fundamental human right like freedom of speech or freedom of religion. I do not believe owning a gun is the responsibility of a citizen in a democracy. I am capable of functioning in society without resorting to the threat or use of lethal force.

Isn’t that special?

Sorry, Rich.  Your rights are endowed to you by your creator.  You can choose not to exercise them.  You can even choose not to value them, or fight to allow government to illegitimately strip them away from us if you’d like.

But you can’t “renounce” your actual human rights any more than you can renounce the species you were born as.  You can tell everyone you want that you’re a dog; you can even lobby to have the law classify you, and all humans, as dogs if you’d like.  It doesn’t make you a dog.

You’re a human.  With a miserably subservient view of human rights.

I’m a Christian too – rather militantly so, actually – and there are few things in this world that nauseate me more than “Christian” gun control activists.

Unclear On The Concept

If “Freedom of Speech” were about protecting things everyone agrees about, there’d be no need for a law.

For those in any doubt, here’s my point of view on Free Speech vis a vis the thugs and cretins (and the Nazis and White Supremacists that they attack):

  1. If the “Nazis” are out demonstrating, I’ll join you in demonstrating (peacefully) against them. 
  2. If you want to shut down the Nazis right to express their noxious ideas, exempting their (or anybody’s) *civil speech* from the First Amendment , I’ll be protesting against you – exactly as civilly as you do it.
  3. If the “Nazis” make a tangible threat of real violence against anyone, I’ll join you on the barricades. 
  4. If you threaten violence against them? I’ll be behind my own barricade, watching you beat the snot out of each other, hoping you both get hurt really bad, glad to be rid of you both.

And if you say “I support free speech, but…” and spell out exceptions for people who aren’t actively inciting real violence (as opposed to displaying charged symbols), then you don’t support free speech.  Go away.

Dhim And Dhimmer

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is pumping gas at the corner Superamerica when Polly LITTELL – proprietor of the Facebook page “Makeng Minnessota GRAET AGEN” page, pulls up to the next pump. 

LITTELL:  Merg!

BERG:  Oh, hey, Pollly.  (Eyes the meter on the pump, shakes the handle in a futile effort to get it to pump faster).

LITTELL:  So a MUSLIN cop, Mohammed NOOR, murdered a white woman in South MInneapolis!   It’s terrorism!

BERG:  Er, OK – why do you say that?

LITTELL:  Because it’s in the Koran that THEY are supposed TO attack us when THEY CAN.

BERG:  OK, Polly.  So it was terrorism.

LITTELL:  Yes.  Just like they are told to do IN THE Koran.

BERG:  So this “act of terrorism” involved shooting one woman.  Not his partner.  Not every other bystander, and every cop that responded.  And then, surrendering and apparently following the standard post-shooting process that a non-Muslim, non-terrorist cop would follow.

LITTELL:   Why do you hate America?

BERG:  Naturally

(And SCENE)

Fizz

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Independence Day, the national anthem, patriotism: fireworks are a national symbol.

Except in Minnesota where the governor believes Minnesotans are so much stupider than our neighbors in South Dakota and Wisconsin, we cannot be trusted to read and follow simple instructions: “Lay on ground.  Light fuse.  Get away.”

I suppose Wednesday, I’ll be reading news accounts about all the blind and fingerless Cheeseheads swamping the refugee camps in Stillwater after they accidentally burned down their own houses with bottle rockets.  At least they had fun doing it.  Me, I’m looking forward to lighting those little black ‘snake’ pellets to watch them writhe.  Whoopee,

Joe Doakes

To be fair, they just legalized Sunday liquor sales.  They probably figure too much freedom (also booze) will be too intoxicating.

The Sum Of All Fears

“What about our lives? Who protects us from the people who are supposed to protect us?”

The question is from Tonya Jameson, a black kid who was held at gunpoint by an off-duty cop when he was changing a license plate on a car that he’d bought from the cop’s mother in law.

And he asks a very legitimate question:   why should we, the citizens, have to de-escalate our police?

Jameson expresses polite disagreement with the police chief, who explained to him why the officer’s actions were, inevitably, found to be perfectly lawful:

Chief Rausch said that when investigating complaints, it is essential to understand an officer’s mindset to determine the facts. A mindset is not a fact.

Here are the facts that Janish appeared to focus on – the unmarked cab, a black person, the duffel bag and the license plate.

Then here are other facts that he ignored – he knew his mother-in-law was selling the car, it was broad daylight, and I knew her first name, but not her last name. I offered to show him the keys, registration and bill of sale signed by his mother-in-law.

Those are the actual facts. Officer Janish’s mindset was the scenario he created in his head. His fears weren’t facts.

The law cuts a very wide swathe of tolerance for cops’ “mindsets”.   Technically, so does all “use of force” law.

But part of cops’ “Mindsets” these days is constant exposure to the idea that violent death awaits around every corner; that every stop could be their last; that their first, last or next contact with the public could end up like this:

Sobering – and dangerous.

If we’re to the point that we The People need to deal with cops more carefully than we do criminals, we’ve got a big problem, here.

We Tried It The Easy Way

I posted this link last week – Glenn Reynolds in USAToday on how David Brooks and establishment-y pundits like him led to Donald Trump.

This passage caught my attention; the Tea Party preceded  Trump by a good 6-7 years.  We were civil, orderly, and we left the world a much better place than we found it, even in little ways, as shown in this story from a San Francisco counterprotest:

In San Francisco, too, tea party protesters met pro-Obama activists and picked up their trash. “John,” author of The City Square blog wrote: “As Obama supporters moved along in the line to get into the fundraiser, they left behind an impressive amount of trash … Tea Partiers shouted ‘pick up your garbage’ and ‘this is San Francisco, what about recycling?’ There was no response. They chanted ‘Obama leaves a mess.’ Still no response. Eventually, a tea partier (wearing the black cowboy hat) crosses over and starts to pick up the trash on his own. Other tea partiers join him. Another manages to find a trash bag. Soon the trash is being collected.”

It’s true. I was there.  It was an amazing outpouring of motivation, passion, and equanimity.

But it was spontaneous and from the right, so it had to be destroyed.  And between the media and the establishment GOP, it was.

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So when you shut down peoples’ peaceful, reasonable assembly for redress of grievances, what do you expect is going to happen?

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Before It Was Cool – Redux

Kevin Williamson:

Americans can be — and often are — everything our critics say we are: impulsive, vulgar, oafish, clumsy, greedy, vain, belligerent, sanctimonious, hypocritical. But we are something else: a catalyst.

We’ve had 241 years of hit-and-miss government, but imagine going back to 1776 with a prophecy that one day, in the not-too-distant future, the English, French, Germans, Spanish, and Italians — to say nothing of the Israelis and the Japanese and the Indians — would form a restive and sometimes turbulent but enduring alliance against tyranny and oppression, and that this alliance would be loosely and imperfectly organized around something like the ideals ratified on July 4, 1776.

We have our political, economic, and religious disagreements with our friends and allies, but everywhere in the world where people fight against tyranny, we hear an echo of 1776. Everywhere in the world where people risk everything they have to tell the king, führer, caudillo, secretary general of the central committee, dear leader, ayatollah, or president for life to kiss their asses, we see something of ourselves. When things get bad enough, we join in, and have spent untold blood and treasure in the pursuit of other people’s liberty. Why? What’s in it for us? It is in our nature. We aren’t our politics. We aren’t our government or our president or even our Constitution, which is subject to revision from time to time. We are the people who decided that rather than just change kings, we’d do away with kings altogether under the radical theological premise that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, irrespective of the king’s good opinion.

Read the whole thing when you get a moment.