Jumped. The. Shark.

I know I’ve been hitting the politics pretty hard and heavy recently. Let’s take a break from some of that, shall we? Teen Bot pointed me to this YouTube video, and I must say that it did induce some laughing out loud in a very literal sense. So, please do check it out. There are more than a couple of familiar faces in this little production. I hope it brings a smile to your face as well.

Srsly. I wish life could be more light hearted and silly.

On Three Conditions…

I would be in support of legislative ‘talks’ concerning new regulations on guns if the following three conditions were met:

1 – Get rid of the ignorant and the misleading. All of those involved in the talks should only be the well-versed and honest in the realities of guns. Anyone that talks about a gun’s ‘clip’ or ‘handle’ is automatically out. Anyone who calls an AR a ‘high-powered rifle’ is excluded from the discussion. Any display of ignorance of the way guns work or the way gun owners work shouldn’t be given power over the subject. Skip the demonization of the inanimate objects and give honest and well-supported arguments why such regulations should be in place, based on numbers and facts rather than emotional appeals. Anyone who cites ‘think of the children’ without further context gets kicked out.

2 – The hypocrites are out of the game. Anyone involved in any legislation at all should be willing to live under the laws that they propose and/or vote in favor of in the spirit of actual representation, as was one of the founding principles of our country. This goes doubly so for gun legislation. Feinstein and Schumer, in favor of banning handguns for you and I and yet carrying handguns to protect themselves, clearly don’t think highly of the rest of us and should not be in a position to write the laws that we are subject to without having to live under the same restrictions. Any of the other congressmen who live behind armed guards should be willing to legally protect our individual rights to self protection or should be willing to give up their special treatment. Each of us has at least as much right to personal safety as any of them. It’s pretty easy to restrict another’s rights when it won’t affect you.

3 – Consider repealing standing gun restrictions. If our right to own certain types of guns is on the table – if our very property and means of self-defense is to be on the table, so must be any and all existing gun regulations. If the threat at one radical extreme of the conversation is the abolition of whatever you consider to be an ‘assault weapon’, including my semi-auto rifle and my .22-cal pistols with threaded barrels, then the other radical extreme is to repeal the Hughes Amendment, NFA and GCA and return us to the freedom of buying a new gun at Sears or out of the back of a magazine (the paper kind, not the ammo feeding kind), even the fully-automatic varieties and so called ‘destructive devices’. If you want to discuss making it harder for me to legally obtain, keep, and transport my guns; the conversation should include the possibility of me being able to go armed into court houses, Post Offices, schools, and other government buildings legally carrying the gun of my choice, with or without an issued permit.

It is ludicrous to expect logical legislation from those who don’t know the facts. If you don’t know anything about guns, how can you effectively contribute to the conversation? If ‘representatives’ base their arguments on demonstrably false misinformation, whether deliberately or by ignorance, how can they add value to the debate? If you don’t think people should have guns, you don’t get to have guns. This country is based on the philosophy that all men are created equal. It is wrong and contrary to the spirit of our country for you to sign into law that a common person cannot possess God-given right to an effective means of defense from behind your armed detail and your own, personal gun. Therefore, put your money where your mouth is. Too many people claim to want us to be reasonable and compromise without being genuine in their attitudes. I think we can all agree that compromise is a two-way talk. Don’t expect us to cheerfully come to the table when it is so unfairly weighted. Too many people calling for gun control are claiming that we don’t have any gun restrictions in the country, despite tens of thousands of restrictive laws codified in the books of our nation. Acknowledge that those exist, and enter into the debate whether or not they should. If you don’t like these conditions, we should not have the talk at all. If you want to talk about compromise badly enough, you will be willing to meet these terms.

Cake and Futility

A couple days ago, I summarized the escalation of gun control since the 1930s. A couple years ago, LawDog did the same in his cake analogy. Briefly quoted,

I’m left holding crumbs of what was once a large and satisfying cake, and you’re standing there with most of MY CAKE, making anime eyes and whining about being “reasonable”, and wondering “why we won’t compromise”.

I’m done with being reasonable, and I’m done with compromise. Nothing about gun control in this country has ever been “reasonable” nor a genuine “compromise”

This is seriously worth reading in its entirety. If you are a supporter of gun control and you wonder why we don’t want to hear any of your spewings, this would be a darned good example of why. As Breda was recently quoted as saying:

Have you ever tried to reason with a child in the middle of a full-blown, red in the face, snot coming out of their nose, gasping for air crying fit?

Yeah, well welcome to the national conversation on gun control.

And, that is exactly how it feels. When I say that gun control advocates are either the followers (the ignorant) or the leaders (the evil), it is because those in power go all hypocritical ‘do as I say and not as I do’ as in this example where Senator Trotter was arrested for having a handgun in his carry-on bag, despite supporting restrictions on firearms. And, if you seek to have us give up our rights and property, you might consider being polite about it. Don’t treat us like we don’t care about the victims. If you would listen, you would know that we not only care about the victims, we feel like you are cheapening the lives of the victims by so readily capitalizing on their ill fates.

The laws have gotten more and more restrictive on guns in gun free zones and to no good outcome. In many places, to simply take a gun into a school violates multiple layers of laws. In Oklahoma, where I reside, if you are going to go into a school building, you must:

1 – unload your gun and make it safe.
2 – secure the gun and ammunition separately in the car
3 – park off campus

There are places where this is not possible because of local geography. In rural districts, there may or may not be anywhere off school grounds where a car can be parked, legally or not. This is but one example of the onerous restrictions we law abiding citizens must bend to in our attempt to keep bad people from shooting up the place. But, what if we didn’t have to? Over four years ago (when I had something on the order of 1.8 regular readers), I wrote my ten people in a room analogy, which I reposted yesterday. The fact of the matter is that guns don’t wrongfully kill in the hands of good and responsible people, and laws don’t keep guns out of the hands of the bad and irresponsible.

Standing on similar philosophy, some schools have deliberately put more guns in their halls. It’s working in Israel after all! Similar legislation is in the works in Oklahoma. Perhaps instead of trying the same, tired, old thing over and over again, and passing further restrictive legislation to make carrying in prohibited places even more illegal, we ought to try a method with a better track record, and allow law-abiding citizens to legally carry guns into our halls of education? Many states restrict guns from shopping malls and churches. Oklahoma is one of the states that does not. Check and see how many of these mass murders have occurred in such places in this state. This is a precedence and should at least be part of the conversation.

I wish to God she had had an M4

Me too. Or a shotgun. Or better yet, a good pistol in a retention holster on her belt. But she didn’t. Because of gun control. As the story goes, the principal lunged toward the gunner. Who knows what she thought she could accomplish? It was a losing fight. I have to imagine that she counted herself dead already and knew that she had to do something instead of nothing. Do you think she might have preferred to have a weapon to defend herself and her school with beyond harsh words and a suicidal lunge toward death? Do you think the parents of the slain children might wish that there had been anything else to give them more of a chance? Good guys with guns save lives. Make sure there are no good guys have guns and tragedy is inevitable.

Besides that, why are you picking on guns anyway? A couple years ago, I wrote an entry in which I provide documented examples of violent slayings that were committed around the world without the use of a gun. Guns are NOT the issue here people. Guns are the convenient scape goat when we need to be focusing more on making our society better able to defend against evil doers.

Ten People In A Room

Several years ago, when I had very few regular readers, I wrote the following post concerning gun control versus gun freedom. It seems particularly applicable today:

To both my readers,

As usual, I’m preaching to the choir on this one. I hope you enjoy anyway.

Imagine that you are in a room with nine other people. Of the ten people including you, nine of them are nice people. These nine are well-balanced, caring individuals that want to get along and be peaceful with each other. The tenth one is a sociopath. Number ten wants nothing more than to hurt others and generally be a jerk.

Let’s imagine that there are no weapons allowed in the room. Of course, nine of you will comply and not have weapons. The tenth doesn’t care what the rules are, and brings a gun in with the full knowledge that there are nine sitting ducks. It is possible that between nine of you, you could eventually overpower the tenth, albeit through some calculated bloodshed and collateral loss.

Now imagine if you will that weapons are welcome in this room – encouraged in fact. When our sociopath is in this room with nine other people who are well-armed, well-trained and well-practiced. Sure, he can bring a weapon in as well, but he has cause for concern in actually acting on his evil impulses. If he should choose to act on dark intentions, the other nine would be ready to quickly restore the peace.

If it should come to a firefight, nine responsible people would:
1) treat his or her weapon as if it were always loaded.
2) keep the weapon pointed away from each other.
3) keep his or her finger off the trigger until the perpetrator was in the sights.
4) not take the shot unless it was a clear one.

The fact of the matter is that people don’t refrain from violence because it is illegal, or for fear of the repercussions. Good people refrain from violence because it is not right. Bad people don’t refrain from violence because they don’t care what is right or not.

Instead of a room of ten, let’s put this scenario into the statistical scope of reality. According to the FBI, in the year 2007, there were an estimated 466.9 violent crimes per 100,000 people. This amounts to you being one person in a room of 214 people, of which one is an asshole. Keep in mind that this is a number on ALL violent crimes, not just gun-related violent crimes. That one person in 214 could be prone to pushing an old lady down the stairs, raping your sister, or any one of a number of atrocities including shooting another human being in cold-blood. Would you feel more or less comfortable if the other 213 were well-trained, well-practiced and well-armed?

This is why a well-armed society is a polite society. Not because everyone needs to have the threat of death hovering over their head – just the bad guys. Anyone who would consider gaining the training and practice, and arming themselves will get my encouragement and support.

Please stay safe out there, and maintain communication with your representatives.

It Won’t Work Anyway!

Yesterday I wrote quite the epic rant detailing the major stepping stones of gun control over the last three quarters of a century. Especially over the last few days, a lot of antis have tried to paint me, and those like me, as callous, unfeeling monsters for not wanting to cave to their baseless demands to give up my property to accommodate their irrational fears. In fact, @Brad_M on Twitter debated me for quite some time that stricter gun control was the way to go. Before he blocked me, he linked me to two graphs.

According to nationmaster.com, The United States has a lot of guns. No surprise, I know. This graph indicates that there are nearly nine guns for every ten individuals in the country, according to total population, which is about a third more density than the second place holder. I don’t know how the website slants, but I’ve found time and time again, that even with the most biased of sources, when you can get down to comparing apples to apples, the numbers always reflect that the presence of guns does not increase crime, so I decided to play along and prove him wrong with his source. The second graph he linked from the same website shows total firearm murders per country, and indicates that we’re in fourth place, topped only by South Africa, Colombia, and Thailand. He laughably tried to explain to me that it was indicative of our incredibly high murder rate due to our higher incidence of guns.

I tried to help him understand that his presentation was highly slanted, and that if we were comparing rates of murders among countries versus density of gun ownership, that we should compare his first graph against murders per capita, regardless of method, in which we simply don’t make the first thirty-seven slots. People fail to realize that the United States of America is a LARGE country. We have a population of over three hundred million people on over nine million square kilometers of land. That makes our country a shade smaller than the combined continent of Europe by land mass, or nearly half the size of the European continent by population. Since we have a population five times larger than Great Britain, in order for the relative crime rate to be dead even, we would have to have five times as much total crime.

Additionally, if we understand that crime may happen with different tools when guns aren’t available, we find that we live in a very safe country by comparison. Despite the fact that for the last five years, gun sales have been constantly increasing, states are issuing more gun permits than they ever have before, our national violent crime rates continue to drop. It doesn’t really matter how you look at it; as long as you do so proportionately, the numbers will show that gun control doesn’t work.

When you have exhausted the debate and categorically displayed that their argument is not valid, they’ll start making stuff up, or stating that your argument is a lost cause anyway, or any number of immature diversions from logical, intelligent discussion. And, they’ll continue to push to have you separated from your property. Those at the top do it to subjugate you. Those at the bottom are idealists that don’t know any better. As I keep on saying, they are either evil or ignorant. One way or another, we can’t let them win, no matter the angle they take. This country is the last bastion of freedom and our guns are the last guarantee of that freedom. I would be willing to contribute to a collection to ship them to Europe, where they would certainly be happier. However, there’s no other place for us to flee to. Therefore, we simply can’t afford to let them make this place like the rest of the world.

Not in 2013.

Let me start this by saying that it’s been particularly painful to do the research for this entry and run across pics of the victims of the recent school massacre. How many gifts under trees will never be opened? How many parents promised their child activities for after school that they will never be able to deliver? “I wish I’d hugged him once more, a little tighter and a little longer.” “I shouldn’t have been so picky about her finishing her vegetables at dinner last night.” “We really should have taken that vacation last year instead of picking up those extra hours at work.” “Why were my last words to him ‘you’re going to be late’ and not ‘I love you’?”* I can’t even imagine. I thank God for the safety of my family and ask Him to bring comfort to the survivors of this horrible event. When this happened, I had no intention of jumping into the fray with the politics and the debates over rights. However, it is clear that the enemies of freedom know no rest and will exploit these deaths no matter what we do. Therefore, we cannot remain silent. We must be vigilant and firm, and put the blame where it belongs – on the perpetrator and his depravity, not his upbringing, not his mental condition, and not the tools used. Evil exists and it cannot be contained, explained, justified, or prevented.

The Obama administration has been hedging toward a gun ban since they took the White House four years ago, and it’s been no well-kept secret that he has a problem with handguns and at least some long guns. In 1934, those that would limit our liberty pushed through the National Firearms Act, appealing to people’s emotions, based on the violence enacted by gangsters and prohibition-era bootleggers. In the modern day, the War on Drugs is the equivalent of alcohol prohibition, and the Mexican drug cartels are the booze gangs in our world. The incorrectly called ‘assault weapons’ today are in effect the same whipping boy that the ‘gang guns’ were then. Just as they were able to enact such massive limits then, someone connected to the current administration thought that if they could prove that the drug cartels were being armed by the United States gun market, they could pass sweeping legislation, using the politics of the ’30s as a model. Since that wasn’t true, they had to make it true. And then Fast and Furious blew up in their faces.** Since manufacturing their own straw man didn’t work, they had to wait for the right crisis to happen on its own. The 1934 NFA was not the first law to limit firearms in our country, it was just the biggest and most far-reaching to date. In 1934, automatic guns a.k.a. ‘assault weapons’, silencers, and short-barrelled rifles and shotguns, were demonized and prohibited from private ownership without an expensive tax and an arduous process of paperwork. Riding on the same momentum, they were able to pass the Federal Firearms Act in 1938, which required gun dealers to hold a government-issued license, and permanently closed the ‘gun show loophole’ that the antis still complain about seventy-five years later.

Since the gun control advocates can’t make a case based on facts***, they ram legislation through on emotional appeals and knee-jerk reactions. This is what they did when they passed their second large piece of legislation, the Gun Control Act of 1968, appealing to people’s sense of hurt and loss from the tragic assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy. You see, when people are upset enough, you don’t have to use facts to convince them to take action. The 1968 GCA extended the 1938 ban to grenades and bombs, and replaced the regulations laid out by 1938 FFA with far more strict regulations. There were even murmurs following the shooting of Senator Giffords in 2011, but it didn’t stick. My guess is that the administration, already on thin ice because of a poorly performing economy, didn’t want to risk losing reelection because of a controversial if not unpopular gun ban.

Remember what I wrote above about F&F under the current administration? The anti-gun crowd will never hesitate to act shady and underhanded to get what they want. In 1986, Senator William J. Hughes slipped an amendment into the Firearm Owners Protection Act which prohibited new automatic or select fire guns to go to private ownership by import or manufacture. The FOPA genuinely did set out to protect gun owners from overreaching legislation, and yet it severely limited full-autos, not immediately, but it did set the beginning of the end. Today, a law-abiding citizen can go through the proper channels and legally obtain a new short-barreled rifle or shotgun, a silencer, and several other highly-restricted items, but not a new ‘machine gun’. If a private citizen wants a fully-automatic gun, the shopping list consists of the finite number of guns that were already registered to private use in 1986, and these guns are all over twenty-six years old. Those that have been lost, stolen, broken beyond repair, or mis-registered and thus seized by the ATF are out of the game and no longer available to private ownership. Therefore, these guns are incredibly expensive, rare, and essentially a rich man’s toy. Of all legally-owned automatic guns, there have only been a couple incidents where one was used in a criminal murder, one of which perpetrated by a police officer.

There have been many smaller gun regulations passed since this time, most notably the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. WARNING – the link goes to a liberal, anti-gun website. Again, because of a rash of mass shootings, people were scared and anti-gun legislators were able to slip in this beast of a law, with the stipulation that it would expire after ten years, at which point, it could be reevaluated for renewal. As it turned out, the AWB didn’t have any redeeming effect on crime or violence and was allowed to sunset in 2004. This bill criminalized magazines that held more than ten rounds and rifles with certain aesthetic features. This is what politicians refer to when they call for a ‘new’ or ‘reinstated’ assault weapons ban. The rumor mill says that military-pattern semi-automatic rifles would be out, as would magazines that hold in excess of ten rounds.

As I’ve mentioned(***), I will come back and post numbers and comparisons that show that none of these laws have done any good, but have only put more of a burden on law-abiding citizens. Stranger cites that there are well over 20,000 gun control laws currently in effect in the United States. Both he and Linoge have a lot of good documentation proving that gun control does not work. There are a lot of people doing a good job collating this data, but these two come to mind now.

Any measure of gun control is not about public safety. Period. There are two types of gun control advocates – those who aren’t aware of this fact and those who do know this fact. That is to say that among gun control advocates, you have the ignorant and the wicked. I asserted this on twitter over the weekend and had quite a bit of blowback because of it. They are rallying the troops. This is it, folks. The issue at hand is not whether the Sandy Hook shooting was horrible or not. And the issue is not guns, and what is or is not permitted by our current laws, and yet that’s what they are trying to make it abo

Newtown, CT

The details are still coming out on this horrible event. It looks as though the perpetrator had a murderous beef with his parents and let that spill over to innocent children. I believe there’s a special place in hell. My thoughts and prayers are with the survivors, and with the victims for that matter. I wish that something could have been done to avert this tragedy.

The bodies had not cooled to room temperature before the antis started sounding the call for gun control legislation. Although I’m largely preaching to the choir, I resent that very much. Firstly, the predictable blood-dancing is sickening. Additionally, I am of a group of innocent people that they would seek to punish for these crimes by deprivation of property.

It is human nature to want to do something about it. They make certain places ‘gun free’ in an attempt at making them safe. These ‘gun free’ locations are where the shootings happen. So, they want to do something about it and get rid of all the guns. My guns haven’t killed anyone – certainly not since I’ve owned them anyway. Besides, making guns illegal won’t make them go away.

Should we arm teachers? I think so. Should I be able to wear my gun any place I feel like it? Again, yes. Mass shootings never happen at gun shops. I am not in the minority of legal gun owners who can shoot straighter than a NYC cop, and practice more self-restraint than the typical YouTube portrayal of police behavior. And yet, the police are trusted to take their gun everywhere we are not. This is still one of the safest countries in the world, and certainly safer than any number of countries with outright gun bans. These are interesting times we live in. God help us all.

Conversation with LawDog

I found myself in LawDog’s backyard, chatting with him about work and life and everything. It was a beautiful afternoon and I was probably on my second whiskey of the evening.

“You know what I’d really like to find?” I mused.

“What’s that?” LawDog asked.

“Strike anywhere matches,” I said, “I haven’t been able to find any of those things in years!”

LawDog took his turn to muse, “They can’t make them anymore.”

“Really?” I asked, “Where’d you hear that?”

“Well, I just imagine,” he posited, “with as litigious as our society is anymore, it’s probably too much of a liability.

“Oh,” I answered, “Good point. I’ve looked on the internet and at the grocery store and even in the camping sections at sporting goods stores. I don’t think they even exist anymore.”

LawDog nodded in understanding.

“Oh and,” I added, “I’m still going to tell the internet that your air conditioning came from the Dharma Initiative.”

And, why am I telling you this now? It’s because over the weekend, Jennifer and I wandered into a Westlake Hardware store for some supplies, and I found these babies:

I’m excited! I’m going to start so many fires with these!

…but, um… in a good way.

And at that, I miss my friends. :(