A Relationship of Firsts

15 Nov
November 15, 2017

First the big news. I am no longer single. It’s kind of a long distance thing because we’re both busy adults, and we live on opposite ends of the county. Which means a lot of texting while seeing each other on weekends and dinner during the week.

But it is a relationship of firsts for the both of us.

For her, I’m the first person she’s known who was an open atheist. For me, she’s the first significant other who is uncomfortable around guns. So, we’re both doing the careful dance of what to say and do around each other in regards to those topics.

So, this Christmas season is going to prove to be very interesting.

Erin Needs Some Help

11 Oct
October 11, 2017

Erin Palette, who has tirelessly raised funds for people in need, is in need herself. She was mauled by a dog and is in need of help with the substantial medical bills.

If you have something to spare, would you mind kicking it over here?

https://www.gofundme.com/vv43jt-erins-medical-fund

One thing I love about the gunnie community is their generosity.

Metal Tuesday- Iced Earth – Anthem

10 Oct
October 10, 2017

I’m using the tried and true selection methodology of whatever song has been running constantly in my head for the past week or so.

Hills To Die On

07 Oct
October 7, 2017

One of the reasons that Black Lives Matter wasn’t more widely accepted was the “martyrs” it chose to lift up. It’s hard for the mainstream populace to get behind the idea of there being too many police shootings with little or no investigation when the examples are often thugs doing things that justified being shot. These are not the hills to die on.

Right now, the gun community is looking at another fight because a man decided to murder as many people as he could and chose to use guns as his weapon of choice. More to the point, the question of the day revolves around the possible ban of bump stocks, a novelty item that increases the rate of fire of a semi-auto rifle. At the same time, there’s the SHARE act and national reciprocity that is essentially shelved because Republican Congress critters are trying to please people who hate them anyway. (I swear the leadership has some sort of Stockholm Syndrome).

My Wookiee-suited libertarian side is screaming that we should tell those proposing a ban “Fuck you and while we’re at it, let’s roll back every other stupid gun law!” I also realize that what I believe is outside what most people are comfortable with. And most people are uncomfortable with the idea of full autos in the hands of anyone but the military and police. This is not the hill we want to die on.

I think we would get further acting magnanimous by offering up bump stocks for passage of national reciprocity or SHARE. Both if we can get it. Is it ideal? Fuck no. But I’d rather die on the hill of states treating CCWs like drivers licenses or taking suppressors off the NFA list than I would of defending the bump stock.

Initial Thoughts on Vegas

04 Oct
October 4, 2017

I generally wait at least twenty-four to forty-eight hours after a tragedy like the mass murder in Las Vegas before commenting. The early information is usually wrong or incomplete. So here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order.

  1. My sympathies go to the victims and their families. I can’t even comprehend how their lives will change because of this night.
  2. It appalls but does not surprise that this became political in nothing flat. It’s almost as if the chattering classes are salivating over the bodies for a chance to push their agenda.
  3. It also appalls but does not surprise me that conspiracy theories have sprung up faster than black mold, but with the same toxicity.
  4. No, a good guy with a gun would not have likely stopped this or shortened it. The shooter was raining down rounds from a perch three hundred feet up and five hundred feet away. Unless you had the rifle you took top honors at Camp Perry and could somehow locate the target amidst the carnage and horror, I really don’t want to hear about it.
  5. What would’ve helped? Probably more people with first aid training and first aid packs with tourniquets and hemostatic bandages.
  6. In the midst of such horror, there are always beacons of light. People shepherding and pulling others to safety, others tending to the wounded, and some who are ballsy enough to just stand up and flick off the bastard.
  7. No, this doesn’t make the case for gun control. This was a person bent on killing as many people as possible. Even if the antis managed to somehow magically disappear all 300 to 600 million guns in the country, a person bent on mass murder will still find a way. Last year, a terrorist used a truck in Nice and killed more people. Twenty years ago, a terrorist used legally acquired materials to build a bomb that killed almost three times as many.
  8. As of this writing, I don’t know if we’ll ever learn the motive. That won’t stop everyone from telling you what his motive was.
  9. No, we don’t need to “do something.” The only people who have to do something are those who have to tend to the wounded, bury the dead, or investigate the crime. If you want to do something, make sure you tell your friends and family you love them. And maybe learn first aid.

Metal Tuesday- Iron Saviour – Heavy Metal Hero

03 Oct
October 3, 2017

Iron Saviour (or Savior) is unusual in the power metal genre because instead of fantasy, the band uses science fiction for its themes.

Free Speech vs First Amendment Rights

01 Oct
October 1, 2017

This post has its genesis in the recent kerfuffle over football peoples kneeling during the national anthem to protest the perceived epidemic of blacks being killed by police. I’m not going to address the players’ complaints or Trump’s narcissistic need to inject himself into the fray. Discussing this is difficult because it doesn’t just hit hot buttons all over the spectrum – it slams into those hot buttons like a SWAT team doing a drug raid.

TL;DR – Although there are some touches on the First Amendment since the president felt the need to fling himself in with his normal wild abandon or dignity or common sense, the main issues are the people politicization / tribalism of everything and a degrading of free speech in our culture.

I’ve seen too many commentators equate the First Amendment and free speech. Although they’re linked, it’s similar to the link between the Second Amendment and the right to self defense. The Amendments are there to restrain the government from putting laws in place that would prevent people from exercising the underlying rights. Until this last week, this was not a First Amendment issue because the government wasn’t trying to stop the players. Of course, then Trump stormed in – either because he’s unable to have a national story not be about him or because he’s redirecting the media’s almost Pavlovian response to anything he does away from other stories. Before the gentle readers try to remind me that the government is not sending its agents to stop the players, I would like to remind them the incredible reach of the government. This is especially true for the NFL, since they are dependent on their current exemption from anti-trust laws (that’s a whole other rant). When the head of that monstrous apparatus decides to weigh in, there can be a chilling effect. An indirect rather than direct governmental infringement on speech. Overall, as of this writing, the First Amendment application remains the lesser of the issues. This is still more a cultural issue.

There was an old Soviet saying of “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state.” Over the past few decades, this describes the growing divide in America. Except instead of the state, it’s nothing outside the tribe. Yes, I know the dangers of over-generalizing, but it does seem most of the population is being drawn into two tribes whose members share a general worldview and values. Over the last ten years, the tribes are becoming less rivals and more enemies. I’m not the first person to make that observation, and I don’t think we’re on the brink of a second civil war.

One of the fall outs of this hyper-tribalism is a chilling of free speech, particularly in every day interactions. For example, one of the attacks leveled at the players is that it is inappropriate for them to protest at their job. Why?

Is it because our culture has conditioned us that we don’t discuss politics in the workplace so as not to alienate customers or fellow workers? I know that’s one of the reasons I don’t discuss politics with my coworkers. I can easily see how in this day of weaponized speech, a firm would try to protect itself with a blanket culture of no speech on controversial topics.

Unfortunately, I don’t see sanity breaking out among the chattering class that define the cultural battles between the tribes. I can only hope that we do so on the day to day level – and for that I’m optimistic.

Don’t Waive The Jones Act, Repeal It

28 Sep
September 28, 2017

As stated in this Reason article, waiving the Jones Act is good, but it really needs to be repealed.

http://reason.com/blog/2017/09/28/trump-waives-jones-act-for-puerto-rico-f

For those who don’t want to click the link:

“The Jones Act requires any ship traveling from port to port in the United States and its territories be built, owned, and crewed by Americans. Foreign ships can dock once in a U.S. port and cannot bounce from port to port delivering (or picking up) goods.”

The Jones Act (actually the Maritime Marine Act of 1920) drives up the prices of everything coming into places like Puerto Rico, as well as reducing the availability of goods. It’s an obsolete relic of protectionism.

EDIT: Sens. McCain and Lee are proposing a repeal for Puerto Rico. Again, why not scrap the damn thing?

Violent Crime Up, But That’s Not A Reason to Panic

26 Sep
September 26, 2017

Reason has an article on the release of the new Uniform Crime Reports from the FBI.

http://reason.com/blog/2017/09/25/violent-crime-rose-again-in-2016-for-sec

My favorites parts from this:

“Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts, pointed out that only five years since 1971 have had lower violent crime rates than 2016. In 2005 and 2006, the U.S. also experienced a similar two-year rise in violent crime. “There were dire warnings from police, only to have crime then continue to drop,” Gelb said.”

And

“John Pfaff, a professor at Fordham University Law School, cautioned that crime is a complex, geographically concentrated phenomena, and that it can’t simply be attributed to how many people are or aren’t being sent to prison.

He noted that Chicago, which has been experiencing an unprecedented spike in murders over the past several years, was responsible for about 20 percent of the national net increase in homicides. However, half of Chicago’s rise in murders were confined to five neighborhoods with 9 percent of the city’s population. “So in other words,” Pfaff said, “five neighborhoods in Chicago explain 10 percent of the national increase in homicide rates.””

Contrary to world stereotypes, America is still mostly peaceful – even while being having a heavily armed populace. Moreover, almost all of the violence is found in cities, particularly impoverished neighborhoods.

There aren’t any easy answers to helping those neighborhoods. Most likely, the solutions will require a multitude of approaches that will anger both of the major camps.

Metal Tuesday- Kiske & Sommerville – Run With A Dream

26 Sep
September 26, 2017

This week’s comes from an album composed as a compliment to the old MMO “City of Heroes.” Man, I miss that game.