Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Do So-Called "Large-Capacity Magazine" Bans Actually Do Anything?

A common demand from the anti-gun crowd following any "mass shooting" event is to ban so-called "large-capacity magazines". The idea is that if mass-murderers have to stop "spray firing" their "semi-automatic bullet hoses" and reload more frequently, fewer people will be killed.

But does it actually help anything?

Criminologist Gary Kleck says no.

As it turns out, the killers who commit these heinous murders fire, to put it bluntly, take their time. Their rate of fire is slow enough that reloading is a trivial exercise — one that certainly doesn't require Jerry-Miculek-level skills.

Even so, in areas where standard-capacity magazines are already banned, it's equally trivial for the killer(s) to carry several limited-capacity magazines, or even multiple firearms.

Kleck's methodology was interesting; he narrowed his research to "mass shooting" events with more than six victims (in contrast, the "standard" anti-gun definition is only four victims). He did this to attempt to rule out most if not all shootings using standard six-shot revolvers, and thus to truly focus on the use of magazine-fed firearms.

The results speak for themselves. From the linked article:
Even with this restrictive definition of a mass shooting, Kleck found that large capacity magazines – defined as holding over 10 rounds – were used in only 21 of the 88 incidents (24%). So, in 76% of the incidents, a large-capacity magazine ban would have made no difference in any event.

Kleck then goes on to analyze further the 21 incidents in which a large-capacity magazine was used. In every case, the shooters carried either multiple guns or multiple magazines. Therefore, even without a large-capacity magazine, the shooters could easily switch guns or magazines.
So I can now expect the antis to act like grown-ups, apologize, and stop trying to enact bans that are scientifically shown to be ineffective. I will (continue to) be disappointed, but I can expect it.

And I am also looking forward to reading Kleck's full paper (which spans 60+ pages) when it's released.

Stay safe.

[Hat tip: A bunch of people; this one's been getting around.]

Thursday, November 19, 2015

National Ammo Day - A True Patriotic Holiday!

National Ammo Day!!!

Michael Bane believes that every American Citizen should have an AR-15, ten standard capacity magazines, and one thousand rounds. You need to Future Proof your rights.

Get On It!  NOW!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Thoughts on the Paris Attack - and America

        Our thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Paris. Mass violence came again to a foreign country, despite the claims of our feckless President. Friday evening, France suffered a horrendous blow at the hands of Islamic terrorists. In a coordinated attack at six separate sites, ISIS terrorists armed with automatic AK-47s, grenades and suicide belts attacked diners, rock concert goers, soccer fans, and other innocents. 129 are dead, including at least one American, with some 350 wounded, 90 of those in serious condition. Paris is on lockdown, and France’s military is once again guarding their borders. One of the terrorist was a Frenchman already known as an ISIS sympathizer, another held a Syrian passport, and two were recently welcomed to France as Syrian refugees.     
   
         There are many lessons to be learned by those wanting to. Europe’s leaders ignored the warnings of what the unrestrained immigration by the largely young, male Arab refugees would bring. The leaders choose to follow their one-worlder ideologies, to the obvious detriment and danger to their own citizens and country. Likewise, Obama continues in his plans to bring an ever increasing amount of the same invaders into the United States. France’s borders were open - allowing the same attacks that America’s deliberately wide-open borders invite. Most telling to us: the French citizens were completely defenseless before the merciless killers. They had no way to defend their lives from the killers their own government sent among them.


         This is just one of the reasons we fight so hard to keep our Second Amendment Rights. We fight to allow The People to defend their lives and way of life, even when their government will not. Even when the President claims Climate Change as the greatest threat to our future. It should be obvious that Radical Islam is the real threat: ISIS is now bragging “The American Blood Is Best, and We Will Taste It Soon.”  The People will need their arms as this new way of foreign and domestic terror comes to their towns, stadiums and theaters. However, ISIS should be warned; historically, our enemies have found that American blood leaves a very, very bitter aftertaste.

CF: French citizens are largely unarmed. However, there is an active contingent of SASS International competitors in France. I expect they are ready to play Cowboys and Terrorists. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

On Failed Solutions and "Scapegoat[ing] the Mentally Ill"

So Oregon's resident anti-gun personality, "Baldr Odinson", recently attended "A Town Hall Forum on Gun Violence in Eugene" (warning: link goes to his anti-gun site).

This article does not rise to the level deserving of a full fisking, but there are a few points that stand out and need to be hammered down commented upon.

First off is this:
I was impressed with the solutions that people suggested, such as smart gun technologies, suicide prevention strategies, mandatory proficiency training for gun owners, and mandatory safe storage of guns, among other suggestions.
"Baldr" must be easily impressed. There is nothing new here. There is nothing that hasn't been tried, measured, and found wanting (by both sides) here.

I'm not going to re-hash the problems with all these "suggestions"; that's been thoroughly done elsewhere. However, I will reiterate that every one of these hinges on whether violent criminals will suddenly start obeying laws. That's not going to happen, so all these will only serve to harass peaceable citizens; indeed, it's all such laws can do.

Second was this:
See below for [CeaseFire Oregon President] Penny Okamoto's response regarding mental illness, and how the NRA and other pro-gun supporters scapegoat the mentally ill [link removed, underline emphasis added]
What do you mean, "how the NRA and other pro-gun supporters scapegoat the mentally ill"? Setting aside how transferring a gun to someone adjudicated mentally defective has been illegal since 1968 (you do recall that some Gun Control Act or other was enacted around then, right?), are you not hearing the NRA itself advocating better mental health reporting and treatment services, along with keeping guns away from such individuals? Heck, even PBS talked about the NRA supporting such measures!

Are you not hearing people on your side saying the NRA just wants to arm every criminal and lunatic?

Which is it, "Baldr"? Is the NRA "scapegoat[ing] the mentally ill", or advocating arming them with no questions asked? You can't have it both ways.

Stay safe.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Interesting Legal Case Out of Pennsylvania

Amish man challenging photo ID requirement to purchase a firearm.


As reported by Legal Insurrection:
As Obama stumps for gun control in Chicago, an interesting case has been filed in an effort to protect both religious liberty and the Second Amendment. An Amish man from Pennsylvania attempted to purchase a gun via legal channels and was denied because he did not have a photo id [sic], and he did not have that photo id [sic] because of his religious beliefs.

The Amish in Lancaster Country believe that a photograph of themselves is the equivalent of a disallowed “graven image” and thus refuse to allow themselves to be photographed. This is a religious exemption/exception that has been readily acknowledged and accepted by state and local government who have issued photoless ids [sic] and drivers’ licenses to Amish people.
[links omitted]
It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, and what other areas of religious freedom — Obamacare religious exemptions, non-participation in same-sex "marriage" ceremonies, personal prayer in public spaces, etc. — this will affect.

Especially since the state and local authorities have acknowledged their long-standing religious views and made appropriate concessions, like issuing photo-less IDs and drivers' licenses that are equally valid as their photo-including counterparts.

The federal law (specifically 18 U.S.C. § 922[t][1][c]), however, is quite clear: no FFL can transfer a firearm to anyone without a valid photo ID. Leave it to the federal government to make exercising a basic, fundamental right mutually exclusive to exercising other basic, fundamental rights.

Like I said: interesting.

Stay safe.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

On "This Generation's 'Duck And Cover'" — A Fisking

Oregon's resident anti-gunner, Baldr Odinson (a.k.a. Jason Kilgore), put up a post recently (OK, a couple weeks back — I've been remiss in checking on him) about school lockdown drills, School Lockdown Drills Are This Generation's 'Duck And Cover'" (warning: clicking through will take you to an anti-gun blog; the safety of your intelligence and sanity cannot be guaranteed). Like so many things over there, it's just begging for a good fisking.

As usual for fisks, "Baldr"'s words will be indented and italicized, and my responses will appear in normal, standard formatting. To be clear, unless otherwise stated, by "you" I'm referring to Baldr. Click through for the takedown.


Yesterday my 10 year old daughter had another Lockdown Drill at her school.
"Another" lockdown drill? Oh, the horror! Do you keep track of these things, and are you concerned they're happening too frequently?

At least the weather was nice.
An email announcement went out to us parents from the Principal, a few days before. From the email:
During our drill on Friday, an intercom announcement will inform staff and students that the drill will begin. Staff will then be asked to secure their classrooms. Teachers will lock classroom doors, close the blinds, move students away from the windows, turn out the lights, and ask students to remain quiet. The drill will last about three minutes, at which point another announcement will be made that the drill is over.
And when the time came during class, the teacher locked the door and turned off the lights, and the kids had to huddle in the corner, absolutely quiet and still while they imagined an armed madman walking the halls of their school.
The e-mail sounds like a pretty standard lockdown drill, and it's nice they let the parents know ahead of time. Of course, that defeats the purpose of a "drill", which should be unannounced.

But was imagining an armed madman wandering the school a mandatory part of the drill, too, or were the kids allowed to daydream about Oreos and video games instead?
The teacher explained to them that, if the windows above them were shot out, it would be a harmless shower of safety glass cubes that could not cut them. Then, he practiced walking quickly and orderly out the back door of the classroom, across the school grounds, and to a staging area in the neighborhood across the street.
Have you ever seen safety glass shatter? It breaks up into small glass cubes with very sharp edges. It can and often does cut skin — not deep enough to be dangerous, but saying it cannot cut skin just invites the kids to play with it, which is a bad idea.

Did the teacher practice walking the kids out the back and across the grounds, or did he abandon his charges and go by himself?
The last time my daughter's school had a lockdown drill, she was in an after-school activity with a mixed-age class of kids, mostly younger than her. Many of them were confused and started to cry, traumatized by the image in their mind of an armed lunatic coming toward their room.
As one of the older kids in the room, did your daughter try to calm the younger kids, or did she join in and/or increase the general hysteria? How have you trained her to respond to these things?

And again, was that mental image a mandatory part of the drill? Who is writing the procedures, and who's verifying that each student is doing their part?

Or is this just Baldr projecting his own mental images onto the kids?
This is the new normal in America. It is practiced in my daughter's school at least as many times a year as fire drills, and more even than earthquake drills. My 11 year old son had a drill in his school the week before.
Given Oregon's position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", you'd think earthquake drills would be pushed hardest. It sounds like your school district has its priorities reversed.

But if you don't practice any drills, the students won't know how to react in a bona fide emergency. That's what these "drills" are for, right?
But as traumatizing as this is, it is an increasingly-necessary precaution taken by schools.
Is it actually traumatizing the kids? Or are you traumatized by the thought of it, so you assume it's traumatizing the kids? (I'll touch on the necessity of drills in a sec.)
Since our federal politicians continue to do nothing at all to keep guns out of the hands of murderous madmen, schools are left to pick up the difference, preparing their staff and students to fight for their lives or hide in darkened corners, or to follow the NRA's suggestion, highly-opposed, to make an armed camp out of our children's learning environment (which hasn't turned out so well for some schools). [self-link omitted]
Wrong. Our federal politicians have refused to take actions that would discourage or disallow law-abiding people to exercise their rights, specifically because there is no causal link between those laws and keeping "murderous madmen" disarmed.

Schools are doing as their told by their school boards, who take their marching orders from state and federal Departments of Education. And really, it's a minor addition to include security lockdown drills with fire drills and earthquake drills and tsunami drills and tornado drills and hurricane drills and whatever other drills they might be doing based on local needs. It's all part of a comprehensive emergency plan, and another part of that plan is rehearsing each person's role. That's what the drills are for!

Or do you oppose having emergency plans, too?
Just this last week in the town of Springfield, Oregon, not far from where I live, Riverbend Elementary had to go into lockdown. Police had gotten a tip that a convicted felon, high on meth and suicidal, was armed with a gun and headed to his child's school. The school responded with the lockdown. Luckily, police intercepted the man. He was armed with three firearms in his car. [link in original]
That right there is a perfect example of a school responding appropriately to a potential safety threat. Good on them, and good on the police for finding and arresting him, and thank God nobody got hurt.

However, did anyone else notice how Baldr isn't even questioning how a suicidal, convicted felon was able to procure three firearms? Is that little detail not important? Or should they just disarm you and me?
Two days later, in Salem, Oregon, three schools went into lockdown for 45 minutes, including South Salem High, Howard Street Charter Middle School, and Bush Elementary schools, when there was a shooting in the streets nearby. One man was injured in the shooting. [link in original]
Another good example of schools responding appropriately. If there's a known, continuing safety threat in the surrounding neighborhood, it's reasonable to hold the students indoors until it's resolved.

No doubt, though, that the Bradys and Bloomberg's Demanding Moms will count this as a "school shooting".
A few days before that, two schools in Portland, Grant High School and nearby Beverly Cleary School, went on lockdown when two men were openly carrying semi-automatic assault rifles next to the schools. [link in original]
Open carry of any firearm (unless you've got the blessing of government) is illegal in Portland, so I'll request some additional context to this claim. I'll not get it from Baldr, but I have to ask.

Absent any other information, this is yet another reasonable response by the schools to a reported danger.

Sensing a pattern yet?
And, of course, we can't forget the Umpqua Community College shooting a couple weeks ago. [self-link omitted]
Of course not. Nobody wants for "forget" the UCC shooting, but some of us choose to learn from such tragedies rather than continue pursuing laws and policies that don't prevent them.
Remember the "Duck and Cover" movement of the 1950's and '60's? A whole generation of school children were asked to imagine a nuclear bomb hitting their little American towns and cities. They were told that, if there was a big flash or a little warning, they were to immediately take cover under their desks and wait for an all-clear signal. In their minds, they could imagine a nuclear bomb exploding and a massive fireball washing over their schools, burning them alive. Nowadays, it's not a specter of a giant bomb killing them, but a more personal, and realistic killer walking their halls. [link in original]
Not quite correct. The kids weren't asked to "imagine" a nuclear attack. They were asked to respond to the potential of a nuclear attack. They could imagine the bomb, or they could imagine Davy Crockett walking out of his Army camp to visit his family. (Seriously, why the continuous focus on what the children should be forced to imagine?)

Not that "duck and cover" would save any of them during an actual nuclear attack, but I'll use this as an opportunity to segue to another key topic: morale. "Ducking and covering" represents something to do. When you have something to do, you have something to focus on, and you have less worry and fear about what could happen. Focusing on action helps prevent the hysteria Baldr's daughter witnessed during her previous lockdown drills.

I don't expect Baldr to understand that part, but there it is.
It's happened 150 times since 2013! See an interactive map of them here. [link in original, but be forewarned; it goes to an Everytown site]
Oh, look! The infamous Everytown school shootings list! And in interactive map form! How helpful!

Except that it's crap. CNN found only 15 of the originally-reported 74 to be "school shootings" (that's about 20%, for the math-challenged), and Politifact rated Everytown's list "Mostly False". Mind you, neither of those outlets are particularly pro-gun by any measure. Those articles are from June 2014 (the 18th month since 2013 started), when the list was 74. Now, another 16 months later, and they've doubled the number. Looking at the rate of increase over the original, I have little faith — let alone evidence — that Baldr and/or Everytown are being any more honest in their numbers.
And school shootings are increasing.
Citation needed.

Oh, wait … no, it's not. And no, they're not.
The Trace did a study of lockdowns and found an astonishing 100 school lockdowns (not drills!) in just a two-week period. From the article:
[A]t least 100 lockdowns made the news during those two weeks. That’s an average of about 10 lockdowns due to a potential threat per school day. Of the 10 school days tracked, only one was incident-free."
And that's just the ones reported by media, that they could find with their searches. [link in original, but be forewarned; it goes to The Trace, Bloomberg's gun-control-advocacy-disguised-as-news site]
Note the implication in the context. We've moved from school shootings to reported school lockdowns, implying that the lockdowns were because of shootings or armed threats. Perusing the interactive map (Yay, another one!) at The Trace, many or most don't have anything to do with guns. A short list, going loosely West-to-East (copied directly; any grammatical or factual errors are in the original):
  • Redmond, WA - 10/8/2015: Ridgeview High School went into lockdown after a student threatened another student over text.
  • Forest Grove, OR - 10/2/2015: Forest Grove High School was placed on lockdown after students reported seeing another student with what they thought might be a gun. [emphasis added; No threat or weapon was found, and one student was charged with making a false report.]
  • Coos Bay, OR - 10/2/2015: Schools in Coos County were locked down because of a non-specific threat. [No weapons mentioned, threat found to be unsubstantiated.]
  • San Jose, CA - 10/7/2015: A suspect who escaped from a bail bondsman put a nearby middle school on lockdown. [Suspect was unarmed, and most of the students had already left for the day.]
  • Los Olivos, CA - 10/8/2015: An apparent murder-suicide triggered a lockdown at three Los Olivos schools. [Apparent domestic dispute. A gun was used, but it all happened within the home.]
  • Santa Fe Springs, CA - 10/5/2015: Three schools were placed on lockdown while officers searched for a man suspected of domestic violence. [No weapon mentioned, and he wasn't charged with any weapon-related crimes.]
  • El Cajon, CA - 10/5/2015: An El Cajon elementary school went into lockdown after a woman crashed into a police car and claimed she had a gun. [emphasis added; This sounds like an attempt at "suicide-by-cop" that happened to occur near a school.]
  • Newhall, CA - 10/1/2015: A Newhall elementary school went into lockdown as authorities investigated reports of a gun-toting teen. [No person with a gun found. The "dot" on the map has this one in Iowa for some reason. Layers and layers of editorial oversight.]
  • Reno, NV - 10/2/2015: Two south Reno schools went under lockdown as police searched for a suspect in the area. [Car burglary suspect; no weapon mentioned.]
  • Las Vegas, NV - 10/8/2015: A Las Vegas school went into lockdown while police searched for a suspect.
  • Meridian, ID - 10/8/2015: A direct threat against Meridian High School led to a locked of all schools in Bosque County. [The type of threat was not disclosed.]
  • Pocatello, ID - 10/7/2015: Pocatello Police Department and school district staff placed Highland High School under lockdown to address a potential threat. [Again, the type of threat was not disclosed.]
  • Peoria, AZ - 10/8/2015: An elementary school went on lockdown as police pursued a burglary suspect. [No weapon mentioned.]
  • El Paso, TX - 10/2/2015: Schools and offices in El Paso were locked down because of a suspected armed person. ["Suspected" armed person. Two people who initially claimed there was a "gunman" later told police they never saw a gun.]
  • Stafford, TX - 10/2/2015: Stafford schools went into lockdown because of reports of a suspicious person. ["Suspicious person"; no weapon reported.]
  • Denver, CO - 10/5/2015: The Denver Center for International Studies was placed on lockdown following a report of a student with a knife. [No gun, just a knife.]
  • Pueblo, CO - 10/7/2015: A Pueblo County High School went into lockdown after a student was seen walking down the hallway Wednesday in a gas mask and a trench coat. [No weapons found.]
  • LaMoure, ND - 10/6/2015: A school in LaMoure went into lockdown while police hunted a suspicious male. [No weapons reported; authorities said no imminent danger.]
  • Detroit Lakes, MN - 10/1/2015: A bomb scare put Detroit Lakes schools into lockdown. ["Suspicious device" scare; no other weapons reported.]
  • Minneapolis, MN - 10/7/2015: The Eden Prairie Police Department says a statement made by a student prompted a “soft lock down” of Central Middle School. [The AO of another famous anti-gun personality, "japete" (a.k.a. Joan Peterson). Statement found to be unsubstantiated, no credible threat, no criminal charges.]
  • Oklahoma City, OK - 10/8/2015: Deer Creek schools went into lockdown while police searched for a burglary suspect. [No weapon reported.]
  • Toshimingo, OK - 10/6/2015: The Tishomingo County School District issued a lockdown because of a non-specific threat. [Type of threat not disclosed; no weapons mentioned.]
  • Liberty, MO - 10/7/2015: A lockdown of all Union County schools was issued after a general threat. [Non-specific threat. Report mentions in passing bomb threats issued against other districts.]
I could go on, but I'm getting sidetracked. Heck, when I was a kid, I remember all the schools at my end of town being locked down due to a reported tattooed, neo-Nazi rapist (no, I'm not kidding) at a different school two miles away (the report turned out to be unsubstantiated). But needless to say, that's how many non-school-shooting lockdowns we have on the list — in total, 22 out of approximately 35 (over 60%, for the math-challenged), and most of the rest involve armed suspects but still aren't "school shootings" by any measure — and we haven't even crossed the Mississippi River!

It would seem that conflating "lockdown" with "school shooting" might be just a bit disingenuous, don't you think?

Moving on:
School systems are now making videos and programs to teach students and faculty how to respond in the event of an active shooter incident.
Good. Nothing wrong with an informative and educational video.
One video, from an Ohio school system, even suggests that the students attack the shooter if they come in the room. See it HERE. It teaches the ALICE program (which stands for "Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate"), which is being taught in a number of schools and colleges around the nation. The video, which is shown to students, shows a man with a handgun enter a classroom and the teen students attacking and swarming over the man, holding him down, all the while stating, "If it is necessary to counter the aggressor's attack, you may be able to distract and disrupt the aggressor's plan by putting him on the defensive and possibly even disarming him by swarming him into submission until police arrive." One student gets shot and goes down before the other students dogpile the shooter.

That's right,
they are recommending that child students attack the shooter if cornered.

It's not enough now that school kids have to worry about grades, homework, tests, relationships, sports, and all the usual things that kids have to think about. Now we are asking them to think about cold-blooded killers stalking their halls, and potentially having to fight them to the death!
[link and emphasis in original]
Again, nothing wrong with educating students on all their reasonable options in the face of an emergency. That "counter-attack" video was presented to high school students. Teenagers, some of whom will be legal adults, and plenty of whom will be athletes. To hear Baldr, you'd think they're advocating kindergartners swarm a violent, armed man, but personally I find no problem in offering the 300-pound defensive tackle a chance to … y'know … tackle someone, as a possible life-saving solution to a violent crime-in-progress.

And nobody is advocating they kill the attacker. Subduing him is good, too. Whatever it takes to stop the attack, and no more.
This has to end.
I agree; this fear-mongering article has gone on far too long.

Oh, you mean the drills, the lockdowns, and the culture of helpless fear you yourself contribute to have to end. Huh.
The answer isn't to arm every teacher, faculty, or even students, as the gun lobby has suggested, or to turn our schools into fortresses. The answer is to keep from arming the lunatics in the first place. And the only way to do that is to pass sensible gun laws, such as universal background checks (like the one enacted this year in Oregon)… [self-link omitted]
Are you referring to that universal background check law that went into effect BEFORE the Umpqua Community College shooting? Wasn't that law supposed to prevent events exactly like that from happening, by keeping guns out of the hands of people exactly like that scumbag?

Epic. Fail.
… better mental health reporting to the background check system…
Who gets to decide what's reportable, and on what basis or evidence? That's just ripe for abuse.
… child access prevention (CAP) laws to keep guns out of the hands of school kids… [self-link omitted; Baldr runs that site, too]
"CAP" laws are a euphemism for so-called "safe storage" laws, and the kind you're talking about — that mandate firearms be stored separate from ammunition, and either disassembled or trigger locked — were struck down in Heller v. D.C. in 2008.
… and a renewed ban on assault rifles and high-capacity ammo magazines.
Yes, because the last such ban did so much to reduce violent crime rates or school shootings, right?

Oh, wait. It didn't. Research For The Win!

Naysayers might point to this report (PDF warning) from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), but those authors clearly say the "assault weapon" ban had no clear effect on murder or violent crime ("assault weapons" being rarely used for crime to begin with), and could only suppose that a long-term ban on "large-capacity magazines" might have some effect, and supposed so with the understanding that the use of "large-capacity magazines" by criminals to fire more than 10 rounds without reloading is at best unknown.

So why are we pushing for a ban, again?
Perhaps, if we pass such laws, lockdown drills at our schools will become a nightmare of the past, like "Duck and Cover" became, and we will find a new trajectory for our schools and communities away from gun violence. [emphasis in original]
Or maybe, lockdowns will continue, because there are plenty of reasons to lock down a school other than "gun violence". Review my list above, pulled from Everytown's own map. Many of those security lockdowns — including my personal anecdote — had nothing at all to do with guns.
ADDENDUM (10/21/15): One pre-K school teacher from Washington state describes what it is like during a lockdown drill with her small students, trying to convey urgency without inciting fear or alarm, and the mental considerations that she has to endure as part of the process. From the article "Rehearsing for death: A pre-K teacher on the trouble with lockdown drills":
Instead of controlling guns and inconveniencing those who would use them, we are rounding up and silencing a generation of schoolchildren, and terrifying those who care for them. We are giving away precious time to teach and learn while we cower in fear.
[bold and badly-done link in original]
(BTW, Baldr: the author of that article in your addendum, Launa Hall, is from Arlington, VA, not Washington state. It says so right on top of the article. Schmuck.)

Done incorrectly, we could argue that lockdowns themselves "rehearse for death". Does anyone want to claim that Sandy Hook Elementary didn't try to lockdown as soon as shots were fired, but made the mistake of locking down with the killer inside?

With all due respect to that pre-K teacher, we're not talking about "controlling guns and inconveniencing those who would use them". We're talking about banning guns and making criminals out of those who would use them. That's the end game of "gun control".

Dear Ms. Hall: Maybe instead of "rounding up and silencing" your students, you could take an active role in protecting them. Maybe instead of "terrifying those who care for them", you could empower those who care for them to take decisive action (remember that morale thing?). Maybe instead of "giving away precious time to teach" by "cower[ing] in fear", you could be teaching them to remain calm and follow instructions in an emergency while projecting an image of a protector who keeps them safe.

Maybe, just maybe, you — as someone who calls herself a "teacher" — are approaching this the wrong way. Be a leader. Set an example. If you want them to grow to be strong, level-headed adults, you need to show them what a strong, level-headed adult looks like (hint: it's not always Batman or Superman, or even Officer Friendly). It starts with you. Be the person you want them to grow up to admire.

Dear Readers: As always, stay safe.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Quote of the Day — J. Kb (Oct. 21, 2015)

"J. Kb", in case any of our readers don't know, is a blogger who fairly recently started contributing to Miguel's site, GunFreeZone.net.

After telling a personal DGU story, he knocked one out of the park with this:
When some pearl-clutcher tells you, you don’t need something, and you will just hurt yourself with it and just leave your self reliance to the professionals. Go out and buy what they tell you not to have. Go out and buy two of them.
Boom.

Never let anyone who doesn't have any skin in your personal business dictate how you run it or what you need (or don't need) to run it.

Stay safe.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

ALERT: Oregon Gun Owner Action Required!

That didn't take long.

Barely two months after S.B. 941 (Oregon's shiny new "universal background check" law) went into effect, and two weeks after the mass killing at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, we have the anti-gun crowd's new demands for infringing our rights.

From Oregon Firearms Federation, we have a partial list (shamelessly copied from the alert, [with my thoughts in brackets]), including but not limited to:
  • Central registration of all firearm owners and their weapons, and coordination of this data with criminal, mental health, and domestic abuse records at both the state and federal level. [Holy S@#t, they're going after the big fish, here.]
  • Enactment of a 28-day waiting period on all firearm purchases. [Four weeks? Isn't that a bit excessive?]
  • Institution of a license requirement to possess or purchase a firearm, with obtainment of a license requiring a gun safety course, an evaluation of personal history and mental well-being, and a thorough background check. [So Oregon will require some hybrid of Illinois' FOID card and Washington, D.C.'s gun license?]
  • Requirement of a license to buy, sell, or transfer a firearm and ammunition, including through registered weapons dealers, private sales, individual transfers, and family transfers. [Knocking down all the exemptions in their already-extreme S.B. 941, I see, along with requiring another, separate license to transfer a firearm or to purchase ammunition.]
  • Require that weapons be stored unloaded, in a gun safe, with a trigger lock. Possession of these safeguards should be necessary to obtain a firearm license. [Weren't "firearms must be stored incapable of being fired" laws struck down in D.C. v. Heller?]
  • Render concealed carry illegal, and ban the open carry of a loaded firearm. [Weren't effective outright bans on carry struck down in multiple Ninth Circuit cases (of which Oregon is a part), including Peruta v. San Diego County?]
  • Restrict ownership of automatic weapons, semi-automatic weapons, and handguns to existing owners and require their storage at a licensed gun range. [There's currently no licensing scheme for "gun ranges". Are we going to set that up, or will this become a de facto ban? And again, weren't bans on whole classes if firearms also struck down in D.C. v. Heller?]
  • Ban any clip or magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds. [You knew this was coming, right? At least they're now recognizing a distinction between "clip" and "magazine".]
These proposals, if passed, would represent a severe blow not only to gun ownership in Oregon, but to home- and self-defense.

Most, if not all, of these demands are blatantly unconstitutional, but I doubt our Legislature (with a Democratic super-majority) or unelected anti-gun Governor will care much. They'll see "new gun laws" and jump at the chance of passing them.

I hate to beg, but please, please, please hit up OFF's mailing form (at the bottom of same link) and strongly consider donating to the cause of fighting these outrageous proposals, none of which — separately or together — would have prevented the UCC murders.

It's time to act.

Stay safe.

Proud to be Hillary's Enemy

In the Democrat debate, Hillary presented her Enemies List. Quite a number of enemies.

Enemy Number 1 was the NRA. 

NRA Proud.

Quote of the Day — Taylor Armerding (Oct. 11, 2015)

Taylor Armerding
From his article at EagleTribune.com, "'Safety' rhetoric a thin disguise for anti-gun agenda" [emphasis mine]:
[President Obama] regularly mocks as paranoid those who suggest he wants to take their guns away. He claims nothing he would do would remove guns from those who want them to “hunt and protect their families.” Yet, he cited Great Britain and Australia as examples of what the United States ought to do to curb gun violence.

What Great Britain and Australia did was conduct a mass confiscation of guns. It is not paranoia to think the president wants to do what he says he wants to do.
Never let them get away with telling you nobody wants to take your guns.

Stay safe.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Quote of the Day — Tam (Oct. 12, 2015)

Commentary on a CNN article about air-dropping small arms and supplies to Syrian rebels:
I have to ask, wouldn't it be quicker to just hand the weapons to ISIS rather than to the people who will surrender them to ISIS at the first sign of danger?
Zing! The Mistress of Snark strikes again!

Stay safe.

Monday, October 12, 2015

OCC and Obama's Real Plan For Guns

         We'd like to extend our sincere condolences to the family, friends and community of the nine victims off the Umpqua Community College tragedy. Trapped by madness and religious hatred and bigotry, the students and staff of UCC paid a fierce price in what the school administration had declared as a gun-free zone. Not even the school’s single security guard was allowed a firearm to preserve the fantasy of an unarmed oasis.  

         Obama didn’t wait for the bleeding to stop before he rushed before his cameras. In twelve minutes of rambling petulance, he expressed his frustrations with his six years of gun-control failures. Referring to himself 28 times, much more than twice a minute, he personalized the gun-control debate, holding it as a personal affront that his desires had not been granted. He trotted out the usual non-sensical “common sense” demands, backed by discredited studies, half-truths and outright lies. And he pledged to politicize the tragedy even further and push the usual gun banner’s dreams - NONE of which would have prevented the murders.

USA Today
         Obama targeted a unnamed, sinister, shadowy organization that was wholly responsible for frustrating his whims. His willing minions in the media were quick to take up the boogeyman fallacy. More than a few people who should have known better responded and demanded it should be labeled as a terrorist organization. No mention was made of the millions of people that actually make up, support and guide the NRA.


         It’s hard to believe this latest divisive distraction from his collapsing presidency will go anywhere legislatively. The Congress is in relatively friendly hands, even if Boehner and McConnell roll over once more for old times sake. The danger is in Obama’s lawless and unConstitutional executive actions.  The one phone and pen action that has been floated will do absolutely nothing to affect violent crime, other than possibly criminalizing some wives for selling their late husband’s firearm collection.

         What the Obama tantrum did is identify his desired end state for the gun “problem.”  He favors the British and Australian models of gun control. Have no doubt those models mean draconian bans on nearly every firearm in private hands, door to door confiscation, mass destruction, and the centralization of all arms and power in the hands of the government. This, Mr President, we will resist.  

         It’s going to be a long, difficult wait until the Twentieth of January, 2017.  

Friday, October 9, 2015

Quote of the Day — Derek Hunter (Oct. 8, 2015)

From his Townhall.com piece, "Words Matter, Or At Least They Used To (And Need To Again)":
Word choice may not seem like much, but it matters. Subtle manipulation is still manipulation. […] Marriage used to have an unambiguous meaning, as did racist. Not anymore.
He makes a lot of sense, and based on this, henceforth I will not be using the word "shooter" to reference any scumbag seeking postmortem fame with the deaths of others. These individuals will instead be referred to properly as "killers", "murderers", or other appropriate terms, and the modifier "mass" will be added as circumstances warrant.

This being a gun blog, it's likely that most of our readers can rightfully be described as "shooters", and I do not desire to conflate our good readers with the murderous scum of the earth. Let the "Progressives" fall over themselves doing that; I'll have no part in it.

Stay safe.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

BREAKING: Shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon

First, a reminder to all readers: initial reports are often light on facts, so everything must be taken with a grain of salt.

It appears about 10 people have been killed in this tragedy, and about 20 more injured. No definite status on the shooter yet; as of this writing, USA Today is saying "The shooter was reported to be dead, according to police," while NBCNews is saying the shooter is "down", and CNN says he's in custody and it's unclear if he's injured.

Pray for the victims and their families.

Then, gear up for the anti-gun legislature to "Do Something!!!" I really hate to put a call for action so soon after a tragedy, but you just know the gun-haters aren't going to wait, so we can't either. It's the unfortunate reality they created, but we live here, too.

I'll attempt to update this post as new, corroborated information comes in.

Hug your families. And stay safe.

[UPDATE 1: 10/1 2:40 PM] It's been confirmed that the shooter, an as-yet-unnamed 20-year-old male, was shot and killed in a shoot-out with law enforcement. The current estimated toll is 13 dead, 20+ wounded. No information yet on the identity of the shooter, the weapon(s) used, where he obtained them, or his affiliation with the school or students therein.

If it's true he was 20 years old, then he's ineligible for a concealed handgun license (CHL); we can discount the possibility that he was carrying the firearm(s) lawfully. It's still possible the firearm(s) was/were purchased legally, but it's too early to know for sure.

The links provided above are continually updating as new information is reported. Simply refreshing those sites will get everything currently available.

Edited to add: particularly chilling, from the USA Today link above (emphasis added):
[18-year-old UCC student Kortney] Moore said she saw her teacher get shot in the head, apparently after the gunman came into the classroom. At that point, Moore told the newspaper, the shooter ordered everyone to get on the ground. The shooter then asked people to stand up and state their religion and then started firing, Moore said.
This may be a clue as to the motive, or it may mean nothing. Too soon to tell. [/UPDATE]

[UPDATE 2: 10/5 9:30 AM] I've been remiss in updating; family matters take precedence, but all's well on the home front.

The shooter's identity has been released, and I'll write it exactly once, and only in the interest of reporting news. After this, we'll be following the Douglas County Sheriff's example so as not to "glorify" his heinous actions. He's been identified as Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26 years old, originally from Torrance, California.

Reportedly (keep refreshing the links above), he has struggled with mental health issues, had an obsession with guns, and described himself as "conservative" and "Not religious, but spiritual" on a dating site. That should be plenty of ammunition for the antis to run with the "gun-loving right-wing extremist" meme for quite a while, despite the fact that he targeted Christians. We'll see how that plays out.

And now that the anti-gun politicians have come out of the woodwork to (rightfully) condemn his actions and (wrongfully) call for more gun laws, it's time to gear up for the political battle. Especially when Obama actually comes out and says mass shootings are something we should politicize. Those killed haven't yet been put to rest, and those injured are still recovering, and he's already calling for action. Despicable, but also why we can't rest or hold back.

Finally, for a bit of inspiration, I heard this over the weekend. You'll recall that the shooter demanded everyone stand up and declare their faith before he opened fire. The bravest person in America — possibly the world — was in that room that day. It was the second person to stand up and say, "I'm a Christian," after the first person was executed for doing just that.

That's something. [/UPDATE]

[UPDATE 3: 10/5 2:55 PM] Via Mike Vanderboegh, we learn that all of the shooter's guns — some sources say 13 total, some say 14 — were purchased legally, with background checks.

I for one am glad to see Senate Bill 941 (that gave us "universal background checks") is doing its job at "keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them", and preventing mass shootings. [/sarcasm] [/UPDATE]

Fisking CeaseFire Oregon's New "Gun Law Survey"

Oregon's resident anti-gunner, "Baldr Odinson" (a.k.a. Jason Kilgore), has been busy posting on his "New Trajectory" site lately.

On Friday (Sept. 25) he linked to a CeaseFire-Oregon-promoted survey of Oregon's gun laws. I won't link to his article, but here's the survey: How Well Do You Know Oregon's Gun Laws?

It's a short, 10-question survey that's in dire need of a good fisking, so here goes (correct answers will be underlined).

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Five Little Monkeys — A Parable

We've all heard the children's song, Five Little Monkeys, right?
Five little monkeys, jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said,
"No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"
And repeat with four monkeys, then three, etc.

USCCA's Beth Alcazar offers an interesting "gun control" parable in her article, Five Little Monkeys … and Why Their Beds Are Not Banned.

She makes a good point. The doctor's approach is not to engage a "bed control" group to pass "common-sense" legislation to ban beds — y'know, "For the Monkeys Children!!" and "If it saves just one bumped head life!!" — but to discipline the monkeys and keep them from jumping on the furniture.

Heck, the 5½-year-old gets it, it's so simple!

Stay safe.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Dangerous Advice From the Today Show - The Stupid is Strong With NBC

In our discussions on defensive gun use, much of our conclusions are based on the broad range of advice from leading self-defense thinkers, authors and instructors. They’re people with literally centuries of cumulative experience; Mas Ayoob, Kathy Jackson, Michael Bane, Andrew Branca, etc. We try to stay well within the  opinions of people who know the best.

Jeff Rossen
(nbc.com)
NBC’s Today Show apparently felt none of these obligations to their viewers. In a September 8th scare piece on home invasions, contributor Jeff Rossen spoke with William Zeins, a retired NYPD detective and hostage negotiator. How his 22 years as a negotiator made him an expert on home invasions was never explained. Zeins has almost no Google or web presence, nor any books or articles we could find. He does, however, have a bullet-proof hair-spray pompadour.  

            Zeins’ advice runs counter to much of the accepted advice for home invasions. Among other things, Zeins wants the victims to treat the invaders like royalty, sleep with bedroom doors open, run throughout the house gathering the family, and keep a can of wasp spray by the bed. There was no mention of training, awareness, on hardening the perimeter of the house, dealing with strangers at the door, hunkering down in defensible spaces, nor any any active defense with firearms or any other weapons; with the exception of the long-discredited wasp spray.
zeins.JPG
Williams Zeins
Ex-Hostage Negotiator - Current Fool
(abcnews.go.com)

           If you're concerned with the growing threat of home invasion, get some professional training. Certainly don’t listen to the mainstream media; they don’t know what they’re babbling about -- and most likely, they don’t care. In our opinion, the Today Show has put their viewers at significant risk with their dangerous advice. 

Bad show, NBC. 

Bad show.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Teaching Our Kids What Sticks Are For

Found this article at Patheos.com. It's been making the rounds, so I don't remember who to credit for the hat tip.

"Boys with sticks", by Simcha Fisher.

My favorite exerpt:
Boys who are never allowed to be wild are boys who never learn how to control that wildness. Boys who are not allowed to whack and be whacked with sticks never learn what fighting is like. What’s so bad about that? Well, they may end up hitting someone weak, with no idea how much it hurts to be hit. Or they may end up standing by while the strong go after the weak – and have no idea that it’s their job to put a stop to it.

Either way, the weak suffer. The whole world suffers.
Read the whole thing, right down to the (also quotable) last paragraph.

Stay safe.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ferguson Commision Report


“Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Read the entire thoroughly stupid thing here: Ferguson Commission Report

 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering…

I was in college.

A local college, so I wasn't living in a dormitory. Fall term hadn't started yet, so I was still winding down from the summer break.

It was early morning, and I awoke to somewhat of a ruckus in the room down the hall. Got out of bed, went to see the commotion, and saw everyone fixedly watching the TV. In the shaky, slightly blurry video feed, I saw a city skyline, one I had seen portrayed in hundreds of movie scenes. I recognized it, but had never given it more than a passing thought before.

That would change. This time, one of the towers was on fire, smoke pouring through a massive hole in the side.

Then I heard the description of events given by the reporter. Someone, they were saying, had crashed a small airplane into the side of the building.

At that moment, we didn't know if it was some suicidal maniac, a disgruntled or incompetent pilot, or a tragic accident. But I went numb at the thought that this might not be an accident; that someone — anyone — could do this to other people.

And then I saw a second plane — the video was clear enough to identify it as a large jetliner — cross the video feed, disappear behind the smoking tower, only to erupt in a massive fireball coming out the side of the second tower — directly toward the camera.

I went numb all over again; the hole in the second tower was the same size as one in the first. It was no "small plane" that hit the first tower. I thought of all those people — business-types heading to meetings and conferences, families on vacation, all the hundreds of men, women, and children on board the planes and thousands more in the buildings — what their final moments must have been like, and all the lives, hopes, and dreams lost in an instant.

We knew, then, that this was no accident. Nor was it as simple as a suicide or disgruntled employee.

This was deliberate. We were under attack.

We all watched, transfixed, as first one tower collapsed, and then the other.

In the following weeks, we would learn more about what happened, about the terrorist hijackers, about the two other flights — one which hit the Pentagon, and the other, Flight 93, which crashed in an empty field in Pennsylvania. We would hear about the fearless NY firefighters who entered the buildings to rescue survivors; the last act of bravery many of them would ever perform. We would see images of the aftermath; some horrifying, some inspiring, every one unforgettable.

We would hear hopeful commenters say that the passengers of Flight 93 must have fought back and given up their own lives to prevent their plane being used on another building.

We found hope in that possibility, and those hopes were raised higher when it was confirmed that that's exactly what happened. The phrase, "Let's roll!", has become an American icon.

We saw terror, horror, cowardice, hate, and violence. We found courage, integrity, honor, hope, and resolve.

We were given villains, and we found heroes.

The smoke has cleared, but we will never forget.

(image links to source)
Stay safe.
------------
Disclaimer: This article represents how I personally remember the events of September 11, 2001. Memory is not foolproof, and therefore I cannot guarantee 100% historical accuracy. YMMV.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Two Journalists Killed On-Air - Who's Really to Blame?

      Two Roanoke, Virginia TV journalists were killed on-air by a deeply disturbed former coworker. The killer then posted his own video of the shooting to Twitter and Facebook and faxed a 23 page rant to ABC News before killing himself several hours later.  Per our longstanding principles, we will not broadcast the killer’s name, nor sensationalize his so-called reasons. We do express our sincere condolences to the friends and families of the victims of this senseless attack.  

       It was only an hour or so later, with the killer still at large, when politicians and activists started elbowing their way onto the airwaves and social media. Candidates Clinton and O'Malley were quick to focus on the gun, as was the White House. Without even a significant fraction of the facts, they recited the usual half-truths, spin and nonsensical “common-sense” demands. Of course, Bloomberg’s minions were not far behind. Many remarked on how extraordinarily quick the anti-gun response was. Universally, the gun was the thing demonized.  

       However, it’s the media's chattering class that are very likely the real reason for this tragedy. This attack was the direct spawn of the media’s obsessive fascination with mass killings and the killers. The attack was designed from the start to get the attention the killer longed for. He wanted to ensure a stage for his beliefs, his perceived wrongs and himself. The killer brought his own body camera, stalked the news team, waited until they were on-air, then delayed his attack until the perfect moment when the news camera returned to the reporter. It is the stuff of cold, calculated madness -- and showmanship. The killer - and the media - got what they wanted.  

       Now, the pro-rights community must once again defend itself and it’s Constitutional Rights. It’s again time to stand up, to refute the lies and half-truths, and to actively support those that support them.  The law-abiding, the rational, the sane, will be facing a flood of the usual, emotion-driven, nonsensical attempts to limit their freedoms with a host of ultimately ineffective laws.  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Life Gets in the Way

SitRep:

Firebase Foxtrot has successfully exfiltrated from the enemy held territory of St Louis. A new, permanent forward base of operations has been established west of the rivers. The bridges have been mined; ready to be dropped in case the natives get restless.

Systems, such as security, nutrition, communications and coffee, are slowly coming back on line. However, Firebase Foxtrot is definitely in limp-mode. Entropy has been contained - and will hopefully be reduced in the coming hours, days and decades. In the meantime, our lives are divided into hundreds of cryptically labeled cardboard boxes.

Took time from the chaos to attend a Cardinals game. The seats were great - just back from first base. A Card hit a skying foul ball which landed 10 feet away to the sound of bruises. It emerged from the scrum rolling directly toward me and I was on it like Rosie O'Donnell snarfing up the last donut. It's my first foul ball after all the years of attending MLB. I take it that as an omen of Odin's approval of the changes.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Quote of the Day — Kurt Schlicter (July, 2015)

From a short article at IJReview:
American gun owners are beginning to respond with a fresh, powerful argument when facing anti-gun liberals. Here it is, in its entirety. Ready?

“Screw you.” That’s it. Except the first word isn’t “Screw.”
That's just the first two lines. There's plenty more, and it's a short article. RTWT.

Bottom line: there's no reasoning with a person whose ideological position is based on lies and deception. We can still argue the merits, but at some point our "audience" becomes the fence-sitting bystanders and not the person we're arguing against. Think "presidential debates"; they're on stage trying to sway undecided voters, not each other.

To the anti-gun person directly, Kurt's response is perfectly appropriate.

Stay safe.

[Hat tip: David Codrea at The War on Guns]

Monday, July 27, 2015

Suspected Serial Killer Gets Ultimate Reward from Potential Victim

Saw this on one of the local news broadcasts last night:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Police are investigating whether there are other victims of an Oregon man killed after he attacked a woman in West Virginia.

The attacker met the woman online on the website Backpage.com. Police say he beat and choked her on Saturday at a home in Charleston. She grabbed his handgun after he laid the weapon down and shot him once, killing him.
Huh. I guess nobody told her to "Just give them what they want and they'll let you go", or that "A gun will just be taken from you and used against you".

Moving on in the same story:
Police say investigators found several axes, a shovel, bleach, handcuffs, knives, a machete and other items in [**SUSPECT**]'s vehicle.
Well, now… It would seem that "just give them what they want" doesn't work out so well when "what they want" is to kill you and remove all evidence.

But, it gets better:
LAS VEGAS -- An Oregon man shot to death while he was attacking a woman last week is now being investigated for several murders in Nevada, according to a Huffington Post report.

Investigators are also working to find out whether he is linked to other unsolved crimes, including four recent murders and two disappearances in Chillicothe, Ohio.

[…]

In an interview exclusive to Huffington Post crime reporter David Lohr, a Charleston police lieutenant says [**SUSPECT**] could be connected to unsolved murders in the Las Vegas area, including those of three women who were found dismembered.
[links in original]
And the best part:
His killing has been ruled justifiable homicide.
In a perfect world, based on the information available, his killing would have been ruled a public service. But I suppose this will suffice.

Stay safe.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Quote of the Day — David Codrea (July 20, 2015)

Taking on NRA's refusal to address the danger that granting amnesty and voting rights to millions of illegal immigrants (who will overwhelmingly vote Democrat) poses to gun rights, based on their false insistence on "single-issue" opinions:
Hey, Titanic's job is to steam. If you want to avoid icebergs, board another ship.
Ouch! That smarts!

Stay safe.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Quote of the Day — Tim Larkin (April 6, 2015)

Tim Larkin, of Target Focus Training (TFT), gave a TEDx Talk in Grand Forks, ND, in February of this year (video published in April). In it, among other things, he said:
Violence is rarely the answer, but when it is … it is the only answer. [emphasis added]
Watch the full talk here*. It's 17 minutes, and well worth the time. Pay attention to the no-context "self-defense" situation presented, and note when he says that when asked, most non-criminals will place themselves in the role perceived as a "victim", while criminals will place themselves in the role that looks like it will prevail.

This is just one more data point supporting the idea that the hardest parts about effective self-defense are developing the mindset and overcoming the deeply-ingrained aversion to violence. Seeing violence as a tool — one that could be equally used for good or evil — is a vital part of that development.

Stay safe.

[via e-mail]

------------
* - Also, if you're a fan of TED Talks, you know that audience interaction often comes into play, but due to reported technical difficulties on this production (i.e. the audience-facing microphones failing) you hear almost no audience reactions. Rest assured, they are reacting, and it's still a good video.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Four Marines, One Sailor Shot to Death in Chattanooga, TN

By now you've probably heard, four U.S. Marines were shot to death at a military recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on the morning of Thursday, July 16.

Reports are still coming in, and some facts are still unclear at this time.

However, what is clear is that the gunman, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez — a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Kuwait — recently returned from spending seven months somewhere in the Middle East last year (the TV report this morning stated that he traveled "through" Jordan; the linked report says he traveled "to" Jordan but may have visited Yemen as well), and quickly both acquired a weapon and targeted U.S. military personnel at the recruiting office and at a Naval support and Marine reserve station several miles away, all of whom he knew would be unarmed.

How would he know that? Well, as luck would have it, courtesy of CNN we have some images of the front of the recruiting offices. I've taken the liberty of pointing out a few of the offices' "security" features:
Photo credit: John Bazemore, AP

Photo credit: Keith Wheatley

Apparently nobody mentioned to the suspect that guns are not allowed in the recruiting offices. Bullets probably aren't either, but it's amazing how easily copper-jacketed lead moving at ~1100 f.p.s. seems to shatter an "impregnable", rainbow-powered, "No Gun" force field. It's almost like a piece of paper (or as is more likely in this case, laminated plastic) isn't bulletproof, or something.

As for the Naval support and Marine reserve station … it's been well-known since Fort Hood in 2009 (that would be the first Fort Hood shooting; repeat act(s) to follow) that military bases on U.S. soil are "Gun Free Zones".

Reserve and recruiting duty — especially on U.S. soil — is supposed to be one of the safest jobs to pull in America's armed services. But when politically-correct policy turns our trained service members into sitting ducks, it all but guarantees attacks like this will happen.

The other "interesting" (I use the term loosely) point is that authorities are quick to say they're investigating this as an act of "domestic terrorism" and a "lone wolf attack" that may or may not have been "ISIS-inspired", but are loathe to use the I-word, "Islamic". As if those concepts are mutually exclusive.

[UPDATE:] From Katie Pavlich at Townhall, a new tidbit she describes as a "shocker" showed up in the Associated Press's Twitter feed: "Shocker", indeed. [/UPDATE]

[UPDATE 2:] Reports indicate that one Sailor wounded by the shooter has succumbed to his injuries. Our prayers are with the families of all the fallen:
  • GySgt. Thomas Sullivan, USMC
  • LCpl. Skip Wells, USMC
  • SSgt. David Wyatt, USMC
  • Sgt. Carson Holmquist, USMC
  • PO2 Randall Smith, USN
Godspeed, gentlemen. [/UPDATE 2]

In any case, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and friends, and with all U.S. military personnel at home or abroad. May God give them peace and rest, and keep them safe from harm.

And Lord, please give a divinely epic smack upside the head to the policy-makers of this country, and have them authorize our servicemen and servicewomen access to the tools to keep themselves and the rest of us safe from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Amen.

Stay safe.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Failed FBI NICS Background Check Allowed Charleston AME Church Killer To Buy Gun

FBI Director James B. Comey admitted that the FBI’s NICS system failed and allowed the Charleston Emanuel AME church murderer to buy his firearm over the counter. The breakdown resulted from several FBI and local law enforcement errors. They were failures in the human component as well as the design of the NICS database. Comey has ordered a 30-day review of procedures and processes that led to the failure.


          The killer’s admission to a felony drug crime should have been noted in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). That admission should have red-flagged the killer’s application. According to Comey, information had been incorrectly entered in into the FBI’s databases. In addition, South Carolina law enforcement agencies confused the situation or did not respond in a timely manner. “It’s not clear why that happened,” Comey said of the errors, “but it made a big difference.” As a result of the “highly improbable“ bureaucratic errors, the killer’s NICS check did not reject him, and he walked out of the gun store with a pistol.  


         The failure is worrisome, as the $100 million a year NICS failed to do what it was promised to do. There is a growing body of evidence that the NICS actually catches very few criminals, who of course normally get their weapons from uncontrolled back-alley purchases. In a prior year, only 11 criminals were successfully prosecuted through the NICS system. One hundred million a year could pay for a lot of cops on the street, doing a whole lot more to fight crime. Instead of giving the gun-control community pause, these shortfalls have only resulted in more strident calls for gun-control, including demands that every gun sale to go through the NICS system.
  
Celebrating 10 Years of
Ineffectiveness
         It's heartbreaking to realize that the nine AME parishioners relied in-part upon the false security of the NICS checks. They believed all the failed promises of the thousands of gun-control measures would keep them safe. Safe from the evil they very well knew existed.  At the cost of their lives.