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 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
         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. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

New Jersey is at it Again

Hiz 'oner

Chris Christie’s New Jersey is at it again: bringing the full weight of the state against an innocent CCW carrier.  This case is far too similar to the travesty endured by Shaneen Allen.
The Fletcher Family
          Brian Fletcher mobilized his crew to repair storm related cell phone tower damage in Trenton, New Jersey. He left his North Carolina home less than an hour after an emergency plea from New Jersey. Once in Jersey, he was approached by a police officer. Fletcher handed over his ID and as any good North Carolina citizen would, he informed the officer that he had his CCW in his vehicle.

         Ignoring Fletcher’s critical disaster relief role, his NC CCW permit and his absolute lack of any criminal intent, the cop arrested and charged Fletcher with carrying a firearm - a Class 2 Felony in the Garbage State. It seems if a New Jersey cop approaches, you should only give him your name, rank and serial number, as you are deep in enemy territory.

         Fletcher is now home in North Carolina, free on a $25,000 dollar bond. A law-abiding man, he faces five years in prison and the ruin of his life for a "crime" without intent nor victim. His lawyer is trying for the pre-trial intervention program and hoping for a pardon. 

         We wish NJ governor Christie would shake off his usual food coma and do the right thing. We hope he immediately frees an innocent man, rather than waiting for the right time in his presidential campaign.
        And big guy, start to fix your damn state’s insane gun laws NOW, or you can choke on your overfed political ambitions.  

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Quote of the Day — Lynne Russell (July 6, 2015)

Lynne Russell (right) and husband Chuck de Caro.
[source: Mediaite]
Former CNN anchor Lynne Russell, as quoted at Mediaite:
If you don't want to carry, please don't. Then, shut the f—k up about it. Make your own decisions.
Background at the link.

I have nothing else to add.

Stay safe.

[Hat tip: Ilana Mercer, writing at The Zelman Partisans, updating her original coverage of this story here.]

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Quote of the Day — Frederick Douglass (April 1865)

Frederick Douglass
A lot of wisdom in this:
Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, “What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us!
I'd say this could apply equally to any group targeted by government legislation:
  • What shall we do with the Jews?
  • What shall we do with the Irish?
  • What shall we do with the LGBTQQ crowd?
  • What shall we do with the conservative Christians?
  • What shall we do with the gun owners?
Sound familiar?

Stay safe.

[Hat tip: Thomas Sowell, writing at Townhall, who also notes that Frederick Douglas "saw the dangers from well-meaning whites" as far back as the 1860s. Little has changed since then.]

Monday, July 6, 2015

More Thoughts on National Reciprocity

This time, nothing at all to do with the SCOTUS decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

We took the family on an interstate road trip over the weekend. There were long drives, some sightseeing, spending time with extended family we hadn't seen in several years, and — of course — fireworks. Good times.

And yes, there is some truth to this:

During the drive back, though, I noticed something, and had a bit of an epiphany.

What I noticed was that, while hurtling along an interstate highway in California, we were surrounded by other vehicles feet or yards away, traveling at similar velocities (~70 mph) negotiating curves in the road, changing lanes, passing, allowing others to pass, and so forth. Being a holiday weekend, there were a healthy number of license plates from states other than California. I saw other Oregon plates, Washington plates, Colorado plates, a couple from Georgia, Florida, and New Jersey (long drives, those), and a few from the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.

Yeah, kinda like that.
Yet, we all took the curves and traffic in stride — with very nearly the precision of a school of fish or a flock of birds moving in sync, and with no communication amongst each other besides the occasional flashing lights known colloquially as "turn signals" — and managed to not hit each other.

The phrase "poetry in motion" came to mind. That might be an exaggeration, but it was still somewhat amazing to observe once I noticed it.

We take it for granted, but it happens every day with shockingly few mishaps given the number of drivers and vehicles on the road at any given time. We don't suddenly become unsafe drivers when we cross an arbitrary line on a map.

That was the observation. Here's the epiphany:

The driving laws among the 50 states (and D.C.) are mostly the same. There are some minor variances — the speed limits on highways, emission requirements on vehicles, the fines and penalties for specific violations, etc. — but for the most part, the act of driving doesn't change when you cross state lines.

Additionally, although we all come from different states, and each state has different training and testing requirements for those who wish to earn their license to operate a motor vehicle on public roads, that license is good in all 50 states (and D.C.) in the Union.

So why is national reciprocity for carrying a concealed firearm such an issue?

Same reciprocity map from last week.
(source: USA Carry)
We hear from the anti-rights crowd how national reciprocity can't work because the laws and training requirements for CCW licenses are different in all 50 states, so there's no consistency, and that lack of consistency could cause problems.

Horse$#!+, I say.

I mean, sure, the gun laws vary a bit — some are "shall issue" while others are "may issue", New Jersey bans hollow point ammunition, several states require magazines that carry 10 or fewer rounds (and New York demands you only put seven rounds in those magazines), and some states require that a concealed firearm remain concealed — but then again, the driving laws of each state/province vary, too. Some states require emissions checks and some set their highway speed limits differently (Oregon's 65 vs. California's 70 vs. Idaho's 75). Some prohibit drivers from using cell phones without hands-free devices, some only prohibit sending text messages while behind the wheel, and others have no rules on the use of cell phones. Yet most days we (as a nation) manage to travel from point A to point B without getting speeding tickets or causing 50-car pile-ups on interstate highways.

And statistically, we have just as many cars in the country as guns, but guns cause far fewer fatalities — accidental or not — than cars. Repeat after me: The tool is not the problem. Misuse of the tool is.

[UPDATED TO ADD:] U.S. Concealed Carry Association published this article addressing events world-wide wherein people used motor vehicles as weapons, with the specific intent to harm or kill as many people as possible. Yet, nobody is questioning whether we should be allowed to own or operate cars, and nobody is protesting Ford or General Motors for manufacturing such "dangerous weapons". [/UPDATE]

The bottom line is this: If we can be trusted to responsibly operate a two-ton, 300-horsepower, mechanically-complex (have you looked under the hood of a modern car lately!?), seven-passenger moving death machine across state lines, it's safe to assume that carrying an operable defensive concealed firearm across state lines will be no big deal.

Write your Congressional representatives. Tell them to support and/or co-sponsor the various concealed carry reciprocity bills currently introduced in Congress. Remind them that the "sky is falling", "road-rage-turned-deadly", "blood in the streets" predictions of the anti-rights crowd over expanding gun rights have never come true, and that if we can be trusted to responsibly drive a motor vehicle safely nationwide with all the varying driving laws, then surely we can be trusted to safely carry a concealed, holstered firearm in any state in the Union.

Stay safe.

Political Correctness Kills A Woman

Killed by Paroled Illegal Alien With Multiple Felonies, Multiple Deportations -- And a Free Pass 

Gun Crime - Or Government Crime?
Kathryn Steinle
         Kathryn Steinle, 32, was shot to death at a popular San Francisco tourist spot, a victim of political correctness as surely as if the elites themselves pulled the trigger. 

         The man being charged with her murder is a thug, a drug addict, an illegal alien deported five times, a criminal with seven felony convictions, four involving narcotics, and on parole for yet another crime. Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, 45, aka: Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate and Juan Jose Dominguez de la Parra, is a despicable man. Yet, he was allowed to travel the border and this country seemingly at will, avoid further deportation courtesy of the Obama administration, and go largely unpunished for his crimes. Then on the first day of July, a man who should have been behind bars or a thousand miles away, took a gun he wasn’t allowed to have as a felon, in a city that disarms its law-abiding, and went to a tourist attraction looking for someone to kill. Without a word, from behind, he shot a random stranger through the heart.  

Sanchez’ latest outrage started back in March, when he was turned over to San Francisco police on an
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez
outstanding drug warrant by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE officials issued a detainer at that time, requesting notification prior to his release so arrangements could be made to take custody. Except, ICE knew that SF had declared itself a “sanctuary city” and that the request would not be honored. ICE effectively, cynically washed their hands of him. Sanchez was also in violation of his ongoing Texas parole. His legal status, his prior convictions, his parole violations didn’t matter: SF freed him to prey on an unsuspecting populace.  

          A few months later, Katy Steinle, a beautiful, vibrant young woman lay dying in a pool of her own blood, begging her distraught father to help her.  

        There can be no better - or worse - reason for why we fight for our Second Amendment Rights. No greater proof of why we must be our own first responders. We Are On Our Own. We must stay strong and capable of defending ourselves. We cannot afford to do otherwise. Not when our own government favors criminals over the law abiding. Not when feel-good sentiments trump reason and justice. Not when our government seeks to remove our most effective means of self-defense against the evil they nurture.  


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Birthday America!

Have a Safe and Insane Independence Day!

      Please take a moment to reflect on the meaning of today's holiday. And maybe teach some of the little ones of the hopes and dreams of a better, freer life embedded in the fabric of that bold declaration 239 years ago. 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Thursday, July 2, 2015

On the New National Reciprocity Arguments …

Current Supreme Court of the United States
(source: Wikipedia)
There's been some conjecture around the gunnie Interwebs about the SCOTUS decision in Obergefell v. Hodges paving the way to getting nationwide, 50-state-plus-DC recognition of concealed carry licenses. Bob Owens talks about it here, Miguel here, and Massad Ayoob himself polls his readers about it here.

The arguments make sense. You could take the verbiage in the majority opinion and replace any text referring to "marriage license" with equivalent text for "concealed carry license", and it would read the same. Case in point (from Bob Owens' article):

(b) The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex. […]
(1) The fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs.
It's no mental stretch to change that text to refer to carrying a defensive firearm in all States. In fact, it's trivially easy to make that edit.

However, you can virtually guarantee the usual suspects among the States won't see it that way, and very likely neither will the courts. Getting a national reciprocity via the Fourteenth Amendment ruling is still going to be an uphill battle, if it's ever allowed to happen. The Supreme Court receives hundreds or thousands of petitions every year, and has every authority to refuse to hear a particular case, and they're not required to give any reason for such a refusal.

Current reciprocity on an Oregon resident concealed
handgun license. Blue states are fine, red are not.
(source: USA Carry)

In short, all they have to do to maintain the patchwork of carry and reciprocity laws is … nothing.

And when it comes to carry and reciprocity, they've been doing just that for a very long time. It's patently ridiculous to assume — given the legal talents of attorney Alan Gura, the legal teams at the Second Amendment Foundation and the NRA, plus all the various state-level groups — that this avenue hasn't been considered or that petitions haven't been written or submitted to SCOTUS.

Of course they have! But the Court has not accepted any cases. I don't mean to be pessimistic, but I don't believe that will change any time soon.

I don't mean to be even more pessimistic, but if the Court does decide to hear a case pushing carry reciprocity under the Fourteenth Amendment, I believe they will decide the "public safety" concern over firearms carried by private citizens in public spaces is enough to merit upholding the patchwork. "Intermediate scrutiny" (which is also a relatively recent fabrication of the Court), and all that.

It won't be the right decision, but it will be "official". It will be "settled law". Justice Scalia's dissent will become the stuff of legend, but his voice will be in the minority and thus will have no bearing.

And the Supreme Court will have finally affirmed its complete irrelevance and illegitimacy by creating a "right" that isn't addressed anywhere in the Constitution — which under the Tenth Amendment means it must be "reserved to the States respectively, or to the people" — and then turning around and trampling an enumerated Right that is directly protected by that same Constitution when a violation of the enumerated Right is challenged using the same arguments.

Which is why I believe national carry reciprocity must be pushed legislatively. If the bill dies in Congress, we've lost nothing, but we've made the anti-rights crowd expend energy fighting it, and we've put Congress-critters on record supporting or opposing our fundamental rights. We can always try again next year.

If we take a chance before the Supreme Court and lose, we'll have lost for at least our lifetimes.

And that's my two cents on the matter. Please feel free to weigh in in the comments; I'd like to hear your opinions, too.

Have a happy Independence Day! And stay safe.