Monday, January 30, 2012

The Application of Precedents (or, Be Careful What You Wish For)

Police action against demonstrations in the US is beginning to concern me greatly.

Forceful police action against the people we perceive to be enemies of the state has a long and glorious (sarcasm alert) history. The latest round of demonstrations, and the police reaction to it, sets a dangerous precedent. When the police grow accustomed to using riot gear and pepper spray to disperse a small crowd, and the public grows accustomed to seeing it, it is not a long stride to the point at which ALL public disturbances have a strong possibility of forceful dispersion, even peaceful ones. It may be the Occupy movement today, but what would happen if the next Tea Party movement, or Student movement, or Labor movement, or Religious movement were next. When we allow actions such as this, we allow precedent to be set; there is no guarantee that we will approve of the next place this precedent is applied.

The PATRIOT Act is a good example of this. A lot of people were strongly in favor of the PATRIOT Act when it was first introduced. It was advanced as a tool for the suppression of Al-Qaida type terrorist groups in the US. Sweeping powers were given to the FBI and the newly created DHS to find, identify, and prosecute people who were deemed terrorists. Today, of course, those agencies are under the administration of a different group than when it was first applied. DHS has issued sweeping statements regarding domestic terrorists, including attributes such as food stockpiling and pro-gun tendencies. This has spawned a backlash on the Right saying that this was not the original intent- too bad, you put it in place, so you can't complain now. The same group of people that was perfectly happy to let the Bush administration snoop into people's lives without warrants has misgivings about the Obama administration doing the same. On the flip side, groups that were extremely vocal regarding the Bush administration's military policies are content to let the Obama administration undertake similar policies. It is important to remember that when a person votes to allow certain powers and policies, the person put in charge will not always be there. Power is ceded to the position, not the person in it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Two Wolves

I don't link a whole lot. I do this so I can ramble on about things I think are important.

Sometimes, though, I have to send you elsewhere.

Here, then, is the story of the two wolves inside you.

I have no idea if this is a real Cherokee story, but its damn good nonetheless.

Tip of hat to Barron Barnett

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Year, New Look

I've changed some things up around here, to lighten the mood a bit. I'm still looking around for a background picture I want to use, but that's pretty immaterial with this template. Also swapping some fonts, sizes, etc. The orange lettering is from Ubuntu- I just switched to it, now I think everything should be orange.

I tend to post epic rants, which get a little text heavy, so I'm going to try to break those up a little, so they're an easier read. I can't help it, though, I got into this stuff when I found Kevin Baker at TSM. I studied at the √úberpost School of Blogging.

Anyhow, I've gotten over 1000 hits here (most of them are my own, so it wasn't that exciting) and I got my first follower! Thanks Pioneer Preppy! So someone seems to be perusing. Stats read from Facebook, so most of you are family. Anyhow, let me know what you think, and if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I am a Gunnie

There has been a great deal of outrage in the past few days, in the wake, as it were, of the one year mark of a terrible day in Tucson, AZ. Certain people, or groups of people, attempted to capitalize on the tragedy, suborning the day to push their personal views. A very disparate group of people took umbrage at their actions, and staged a counter protest, mostly on the internet, but in some cases in person, both privately and publicly.

The truth, as usual, is down a few more layers. The Brady Campaign staged a candlelight vigil to... well I'm not sure. Certainly to draw attention. Ostensibly to combat violence through legislation. Possibly to bid for a shred of legitimacy, as their movement seems to be faltering, based on record gun sales and the plethora of new shooters we have seen in the online gun community. That very same gun community responded with a counter vigil; many shooters posted pictures of the candles they hold against the dark. That is to say, photos and messages about fighting back.

There are people in the world that intend ill things happen to good people. There are two ways to combat this: 1) remove the ability to do harm and 2) make the situation untenable for them to continue. The Brady Campaign believes in the first. There is no level of stricture too extreme to endorse, if it 'saves a single life.' The problem is, it doesn't. Even were the law of the land to remove all private gun ownership, then all knife ownership, then all bat, ax, and stick ownership, they will not have removed the impulse to do harm. What they will have destroyed, however, is the ability to pursue the second option. To make the situation untenable is to fight back, to defend; to deny, in the moment, their ability to victimize.

A person who intends harm trains for the moment. They make themselves into a weapon, and avail themselves of the tools of their trade. If not a gun, they rely on a knife; if not a knife, they rely on a bat; lacking that, their own muscles. A person who would defend must train just as much, with the same tools. The best way, the safest way, is to carry the finest of them, the tool that requires the least strength. That tool is the great equalizer. The one tool, of those listed, that can enable a physically weaker woman to defeat a criminal in his prime. The gun.

I choose the gun. To defend myself, to defend my wife, to defend my family. I am a gunnie.

I am not alone. I am part of a community, a community based on shared respect. Its not just the gun that unites us. Its the worldview. The view that we are our own first responder. The view that if we can't rely on ourselves, how would anyone else be able to rely on us? I am a gunnie.

I am a carpenter. I am a husband. I am a son, a brother, an Uncle. I hope, one day, to be a Father. I am a gunnie.

We are accused of being ignorant, of being illiterate, of being fools and hillbillies. We are much more than that. We are engineers, scientists, geeks, nerds, professionals, tradesmen, librarians, soldiers, farmers, pilots, and performers. We are gunnies.

We are not always right, but we admit our shortcomings. Its easy to join us. We make it easy. We welcome new members to the community. Its fun. Its freedom. Its liberating in a way that cannot be defined. Come see. You may like it here. If you don't want to stay, that's fine too. If that's the case, just leave us alone.

Monday, January 9, 2012

As verbose as I feel...

I cannot match the passion in these words.

Go, read them, click around. Read the chronicle of her journey. People who are anti-gun assume that we live in fear. Even some who are ambivalent think we live in fear. They do not understand, and it frustrates us to try and describe it. She describes it, beautifully.


This began as a comment over at Small Holding, in a post about suburban reclamation, with an education sidenote. I decided, however, that this needed addressed.

Education, as dispensed from the public school system, has become not only a joke, but a dirty joke. Excepting a short stint in a private christian school, all of my primary education was completed in a small, rural public school. Most of my LEARNING however, came during time spent reading, or was imparted during work hours; to be frank, I learned things because I wanted to learn them. When I did not want to learn, there was no teaching me. Elementary school, I believe, should be mostly spent engendering a hunger for knowledge. Even so, I'd like to stress that, although its a poor craftsman that blames the tools, you cannot give positive results without appropriate tools.

This is where I'm going to go off the tracks a bit. I'm having a hard time discerning incompetence and apathy from enemy action. I'm serious here. Somehow, the role of instruction has been shifted outside the home, while at the same time, undercutting the ability to instruct of the persons to whom that responsibility is given. Teachers make do with some of the lowest salaries in the nation, yet we spend more money per student on education than ever. Where does the money go? And how is it possible to spend so much for such dismal results? Could this be a concerted effort to ruin our youth? And, if so, by whom?

I'm going to throw in a true story. My niece goes to the same rural grade school I, both my siblings, and my father attended. This was the first year they didn't teach history in the 3rd grade. Got that NO THIRD GRADE HISTORY. Why? They didn't pass the mandated tests, so the school is not qualified... the PUBLIC school. Their math books are photocopies in a ring binder. Why? They had to spend their entire budget on administering testing so they could be qualified to HAVE math classes, thus there was no remaining budget for TEACHING THE CLASS THEY WERE NOW QUALIFIED TO TEACH. All children left behind. Somehow, with no doubt (or is there?) the best of intentions, the weight of testing and texts has now consumed such a portion of the education budget that there is no time, energy or funding for educating.

My sister has resolved to treat her daughter's school as day care, and ensure her education by other methods. I tried to explain civil unrest to her, but she wasn't interested yet. One day, she will be...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I Never thought to see the Day

That THIS editorial was printed. This ran in the Oregonian online, written by Rich Lowry of the National Review. Granted, the NR is a VERY conservative source, but that's not where I found it. I found it in the op-ed page of the Oregonian, which is just a touch more conservative than Occupy Wall Street. Sure, its a syndicated column, but it made it in. When I first started getting into guns, you could not find this sort of op-ed in even the most conservative newspaper. NRA publications were the sole source for stories such as this. To see this opinion raised, not on a gun blog, but under the auspices of the local newspaper in a quintessentially liberal town, flat gives me the warm fuzzies.

I'm not going to get much into the story behind the story, but the end result is a young mother is alive, as is her 3 mo child, and an armed home invader died on the scene. The only better outcome is for it not to have happened at all, but that doesn't make the news. Also note, the young woman had armed intruders IN HER HOME, and her 911 call did nothing to stop them. Sure the police were on their way, but it took more than the 21 available minutes for them to arrive. Think about that for a second. 21 minutes is half an average tv program. 21 minutes is a nice hot shower. 21 minutes is 157.5 bullrides. Its long enough for a lot of things to happen, and when they do, you'd best be prepared. 21 minutes was the length of time it took for a scared girl, with a tiny child, to be found in that trailer in Oklahoma. Without that shotgun by her side, 22 minutes would have been a lifetime too long.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Gift from a great Lady

The blogger who operates 'A Girl and her Gun' is doing her part to bring parity to the fairer sex.

She is offering $300 towards a verifiable shooting class, if taken by a lady new shooter.

Its a fantastic and generous offer, from one whose own experience in shooting class has helped her immensely, on more than one front. She has been writing for just under a year, but weaves quite a dashing tale, with more than her fair share of wisdom, grace, and fortitude. Even if you are not interested throwing your hat in the ring, her story is well worth a read, so ho check it out!

tip o the hat to The Gun Blog Black list, which is in lieu of a blogroll at present, until I get it straightened out and update the blog.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On Hierarchy

I have been much involved in commenting on other's sites in the last months, and it is among those comments that I find the seeds of a new train of thought. Very often, among the discussion of Progressive and Conservative viewpoints, many innocent bits and bytes are sacrificed on the front lines of Right vs Left, of Constrained vs Unconstrained, of Nature vs Nurture. Here, I offer another explanation.

It has been my observation that there are many in world who put a higher than average faith in hierarchy. In comments at 'A girl and her Gun' and additionally at Barron Barnett's 'The Minuteman' I put forth the following.

As a group, those people who are most prone to becoming gun-nuts are a collection of individualists. We interact with each other as equals, offering each other mutual support, exchanged between equals. This is evident in exchanges such as the frequent Blogmeets, Blogshoots, and similar events. These are organized not as top-down events, but in a style most similar to a summit, of sorts, between like minds. In most public forums I have been involved with, additional weight is given to skill, or to experience, or to eloquence, but it is not given to titles nor rank. In many ways, we operate as sovereign entities, exchanging stories and experience among each other. In this way we create a society of egalitarianism and freedom. Because we thrive on personal freedom and responsibility, we are not particularly prone to subjecting others to our will. We thrive on our ability to control our own actions, therefore the idea of depriving others of that same control is anathema. We don't understand it, we resist it it when we see it, and we do not accept that such behavior would apply to us. In accepting the control of our own actions as a consequence of our very existence, we recuse ourselves of a place in a social hierarchy. External attempts to assign us a place in that hierarchy are viewed as attacks on our sovereignty, and well they should, for that is their essence.

In contrast, there is another dominant viewpoint that is diametrically opposed to ours. Historically dominant and self-supporting, a rigid hierarchy has shaped our fundamental existence for the majority of written history. No matter the figurehead, from Caesar to CEO, the mechanism is similar. A single entity, the head of the hierarchy, sits as supreme ruler. Beneath that ruler are multiple layers of bureaucracy, each more numerous, but with less individual power than the one before. There is a certain type of person that accepts the hierarchy as a given. Indeed, there are a great plenty of people that accept the existence of such a natural hierarchy, to the point that it becomes an invisible structure. It is much akin to the old saw of a fish that cannot see the ocean. These people have an observed tendency to measure their power by the level at which they operate. While they may not perceive the whole of the hierarchical structure, they can certainly ascertain the number of people in their charge, as it were, and are no doubt aware of how far they have to rise. When your position in the hierarchy is assured by the number of vassals at your command, it is hardly surprising that, in order to better one's position, it is most easily accomplished by subjugating others to your will. Indeed, were anyone to contest one's position by denying them the honor due to them, it may well be considered an attack on their position! Therefore, the actions of those persons not interested in gaming the hierarchy are a credible threat to their worldview.

In the light of this observation, it can be construed that we are in a class struggle between in-system and non-system ideals. We encourage others to think and act for themselves, which decreases the influence of in-system players. They strive to better their position, by arraying others as under their influence and applying social control over others, including ourselves, which decreases our own, non-system, numbers.

The biggest difference, as I see it, is that we value the individual, and they value the whole. We win, at present, because it is much nicer and more fulfilling to be an individual, and we have the means to show people that fact. Lets face it, there is no 'new vassal' grin as infectious as the 'New Shooter' grin!

Looks like I still need to vent...

In light of the new year, I have undertaken to cast a scant more light on these ramblings of mine. After all, what every argument has need of is another loud voice; however, I do feel that mine is a voice of some reason, else I would not be possessed of a reason to put if forth. If any curious callers have an interest in my furious digital scribblings, I would suggest to them to peruse my earlier works, as I feel they may well introduce them to my style and format. (note: some of the previous posts were written while supremely worse for drink. This happens, on occasion, and represents a departure from my normal style, if not completely from my normal state of mind.) Welcome all, to a world as seen through the eyes of a rambling, over-intellectual, under-educated, and offensively outspoken individualist.