Monday, December 31, 2012

Why take this one?

I may be letting sarcasm take a strong tone in the last few posts, but I take pride in not operating at the lowest common denominator. People arguing for increased gun control, however, do seem to gravitate towards insults, hysteria, and jokes about relative size of genitalia; their concerns regarding how I feel about my genitalia are simultaneously unfounded (since I don't reference it, ever, they have no evidence regarding either the dimensions thereof nor my personal outlook on those dimensions) and very very creepy. "Lets all keep our parts to ourselves, said the high priest to the actress" (Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time).
Anyone who defaults to arguments more suited to a 9 year old is not having a debate, so its difficult to say we really have a widespread national 'Debate' going on.
Cries for a 'Conversation' about gun control seem to be popping up as well. We HAVE been having a comversation- control advocates have been telling us we should give them all up, and we have been telling them 'NO!' Just because one is dissatisfied with the outcome does not mean one can dismiss the comversation as non-existent.
Cries for 'Compromise' have gone up- a word to which there is more than one meaning. When we look at the compromises offered, it seems more that are asking us to do so in the manner of a compromised bridge structure, or having compromised one's morals. What we want are more freedoms, what they want are less- yet we are expected to compromise, and get slightly less. And, for what in return? Isnt that how compromise works? Pardon, but us giving up what we want and they getting what they want isn't compromise on my part. Its concession to a tantrum.
In closing, I offer a solution. In myriad ways, those working to institute changes in our country that are in opposition to the founding principles of our government greatly enjoy pointing outside our borders, to other nations they feel are more 'enlightened'. By all reports, there are many nations which approach their ideal, but only one which really approaches ours.
I encourage them, "Go forth! Your ties to this country must be tentative at least, so what constrains you here? Are there not enough places in the world to suit your needs that you must destroy mine? Go! If England suits you with their national health service and weapons laws, move to England! Australia? How wonderfully exotic, amd gun-free enough to suit your needs, I wager. Swedish Socialism? Chinese Communism? Argentina, Brazil, France? Go! We will not keep you here, nor miss your absence. But I have nowhere left- you have hounded my people throughout history, and we have no nation left to flee to, so here we make our stand. Get thee gone, and we may even help you pack."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Having it both ways

I have noticed a very disturbing tendency in many discussions around guns and the people arguing both for and against them- inconsistency. The same people who are vocal about restrictive gun laws are equally vocal about civil restrictions on people's personal lives. This internal disconnect makes me question their true dedication to either cause. One day, any given group may be strident about the injustices levvied on the populace by the FBI, then turn around the next and tell us, with a straight face, that I should trust exclusively in the police to protect me from harm. Others will look me in the eye and say that we have our god-given rights as Americans, then categorically dismiss huge swaths of the population for trying to obtain those same rights. State issued ID cards for voting are somehow racist, but government should screen us before allowing us near a firearm. Freedom of speech is sacrosanct, but censorship of dissent is a worthy cause.

You can't have it both ways. Either we are a free people, capable of making our own decisions, or we are serfs, servants who need cared for. You don't get to pick and choose which cause de jure warrants your internal belief system- all that indicates is that you are not possessed of one.

People on the right, you need to look at your views on freedom and decide whether we deserve ours, or if we should be gathered up and sent back to the lands of our ancestors. People on the left, you need to look at your views on the government and decide if its a benevolent force, saving us from ourselves or a juggernaut which needs to be kept in check by personal liberties. This mix and match shit has to go.

I don't have room in my life for hypocrisy.

Look at your beliefs, and find the inconsistencies. Look at the actions and beliefs of your politicians, of your associates, and find the inconsistencies. Challenge those inconsistencies, root them out, and then maybe we can have a meaningful discussion.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More like Europe

I keep hearing sounds from news sources, web sites, etc that sound an awful lot like 'Why can't the US be more like Europe?'

It seems to me that the reason the US speaks English is because it was founded by people that CAME from England because they had more going for them in an empty (comparatively- we won't get into the Native American situation here) wasteland than they did in England. We then fought TWO wars to make it damn assured that we WERENT England. Over the next hundred years, we took in cast-offs from EVERY OTHER European nation who had it way better here than in the Old Country, then fought a short war with Spain, who had screwed the pooch on their OWN colony effort, built ourselves into a world superpower in order to pull the Allies collective asses out of TWO wars, at great loss of life, stared down the threat of mutually assured destruction, and built a legal and social system that has been the envy of the world, and remained a world leader in the art of going to war to protect the citizenry of other countries all over the globe, even though the end threat to our personal homeland never materialized, except through sporadic terrorist action.

I suppose if we really want to be more like Europe, we should ignore any and all external threats, drive out our citizenry, then wait to get embroiled in a hopelessly destructive war with little chance to survive, and see who wants to pull us out.

Or was that not the same Europe you were talking about?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hubris of Gun Control

I've read, here and there, some commentary to the effect of 'Military style weapons do not need to be owned by civilians because nobody has invaded us for x many years, so they never will.'

This, more than any immediate tyranny of our own government, is wind we should be tacking against. While it is certainly of great concern to a free people that their government not fail or, in the extreme, attack them, we still maintain at least a functioning government. Until such time as the ballot box no longer functions, we still can avail ourselves of it. On the other hand, our nation is still beset by powerful enemies; the arrogance that we are untouchable by an enemy is a hubris that can cost us not only our rights, but our very nation.

Disarmament has historically led to few worthwhile outcomes. In Russia, Germany, and Cambodia, the atrocities were domestic, perpetrated by a government against its own people. In England, France, and Belgium, the post-war drawdown of military strength left them ill prepared to resist invasion. In the UK and Australia, civilian disarmament has, perhaps, led to a smaller proportion of gun crime, but increases in general violent crime negate much of that. In the process, further reforms have led to the unfortunate instance of severe prosecution for honorable self-defense. The current state of Central Africa is such that the only weapons are in the hands of marauders and warlords, with large portions of the population in refugee camps that are regularly attacked by outside forces. To believe, in our arrogance, that it would have an entirely different effect here than in any other corner of the globe borders on the absurd.

The notion that we require no civilian strength due to our military prowess and recent history is to ignore the vast majority of military experience, as well as to refuse the lessons inherent in every other nation's heritage. No nation in history has been entirely immune to military invasion. I see no driving reason that this is suddenly invalid. As regards military experience, one has only to discuss ground troop operations with any veteran of our most recent wars to know that one of the most serious threats to their safety is an armed civilian populace. This was made painfully apparent in Southeast Asia, during the wars in Korea and Vietnam, and has continued to bear out in actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. To dismiss this experience is to act without regard for the threats to our military forces and an abject failure to apply the lessons learned by our military to our national security.

The sheer arrogance of believing so strongly in our own moral authority is staggering. In the face of such enemies as we currently face, it would be a great error to open ourselves to this threat. Even a strong man can be felled by a lesser in a fight, if he lets his guard down. Our civilian ownership of firearms is a part of that guard. It would surpass arrogance, and move firmly into the realm of abject foolishness, for us to lay aside that safeguard.

Some ideas for mental health reform

Since I've been very vocal recently about the need for reform in the mental health field, I think its time to float some ideas.

First, I think we need to work on identification of illness. Privacy, especially in health care, is an absolute necessity, but I believe that, in order for reform to happen, we need the ability to cross check between law enforcement and medical professionals. As an idea, we could create a framework by which medical records could be flagged for violent mental illness tendencies and cross-referenced with criminal records. This would also allow law enforcement access to a violent history. I'm thinking we use a double blind system, where doctors and cops could see the flags, but access to the actual records would be by court order only. This maintains the confidential nature of the medical records. If we based the criteria on flag-counting, we can minimize false positives, as well as minimizing systemic abuse (as in cops or shrinks flagging records without cause). After a certain number of flags are marked, a review board would be able to recommend to the court whether or not to unseal the records.

Next, we need to revamp access to durable care. It has been noted that the largest treatment centers for mental illness are actually contained inside the prison system. This indicates to me that there is little to no support system for treatment until after a criminal conviction.

*A cautionary note- previously, mental health care was the purview of institutions that were little more than dumping grounds for people that were too hard to deal with. The nature of their illness and the level of apathy involved transformed many of them into nightmares, where even basic care was denied. Upon committal, patients would remain, without treatment (except for experimental therapy such as lobotomy or electro-shock) until they died. Conditions were often abhorrent.*

We need to establish reliable long-term treatment centers specifically to treat mental illness. They need to be staffed with professionals and should offer rehabilitation services, such as skill training and employment services. I am picturing something akin to drug and alcohol rehab centers with a heavy mixture of group home settings and work release. Aside- manufacturing and skilled artisan jobs would be a good fit here. Both would provide for compensation, job skills, and pride of self, while not requiring a lot of public contact and allowing for easy pickup and dropoff of patients.

Third- any and all flags, judgements, and records need to have an expiration date. This is CRITICAL because it will help ease the stigma of diagnosis. We have every reason to believe that there are people that would otherwise have sought help if it were not for the permanent nature of the diagnosis. If any and all diagnosese are inactive for a period of, say, 5 years, they would be sealed and rendered inactive unless additional flags are noted.

So that's my start. It won't entirely fix the problem, but its a framework to address the shortcomings of our current system. Please, leave comments regarding amendments. Lets get moving on this.

Monday, December 17, 2012

To all Gun Owners, Especially those who are not Politically Active

I've put more posts up here in the last week than in several months prior to that. I deeply wish that I had a better reason for doing so.

We, as gunnies, are under attack for the actions of madmen. Our ways and beliefs are going to be decried as 'enabling'. We are going to be told that these actions are due to OUR guns, OUR rights, OUR beliefs, despite the fact that this could not be further from the case. We are going to be told that we are few, and alone, and our rights should be sacrificed on the altar of political belief. Do not believe them.

Do not let them hound you into silence. People are going to be throwing around terms like 'Gun Lobby' and 'Evil NRA'. Don't let them get away with it. They want us to feel like we are alone in the woods, and we are surrounded. THAT IS NOT THE CASE. There are millions of us, in thousands of towns. We are in all 50 states, DC, and other countries. Remind them. When you see your neighbor believing the lies told about us, remind them that the gun lobby is YOU. Remind them that they are not removing the rights of some faceless, nebulous gun-owner. They are robbing the rights of their neighbors, their friends, their family. Be the face of the American Gun Owner. Remind yourselves and each other that we are not alone in this fight.

Our political opponenta will try to paint you with the blood of these children- remember that this action is not on your hands. They will try to paint you as uncaring monsters- show them they are wrong, show your neighbors and friends that those people are wrong about you. These are people that are willing to lie, to cheat, to use vitriol and bile against us. Rise above that. Expose their lies, brush aside their vitriol and stand proud. Show people the quality of your nature ans your beliefs, and the nastiness will hold no meaning.

Above all, do not fall silent. To retreat is to cede the arguement, and they that lie, and cheat, and defile your character while dabbling in the blood of the innocent and the grief of those left behind, will win the day. Don't sit back, and allow your rights, your reputation, and your culture to be sullied like this.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Commentary on school security from an Army officer

Go read it. It makes good sense.

Another Tip o the Hat to Sebastian, who is blogging enough for several these days.

Regarding mental illness

A post from a heartbroken mother of a different kind...

I drew a comment on one of my previous posts about this, and it certainly is a current failing of our healthcare system. We need to find a way to SAFELY AND HUMANELY manage these illnesses. I've seen footage from mental hospitals in years past, and it is unconscionable. People, and make no mistake, they ARE people no matter that they have a debilitating illness, should be treates better than that. But to cut people loose that represent a clear danger to themselves and others does service to neither us nor them.

So whats the answer? I don't know. But its something that needs AN answer, before we lose too much and still haven't fixed it.

Tip o the Hat to Sebastian at SNBQ.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Info! Armed citizen in Clackamas!

Now we have this new information!

I must comment, well done on all fronts, Mr Meli. Busy now, will comment more soon.

Tip o the cap to Sebastian @SNBQ

New External Pressure

From the AP, international pressure for us to surrender our rights.

Mostly from places where people already have, to little avail, or places that don't like us much anyhow.

Contact your Congresspeople. NOW. We took our day, now we have to wade back into the political arena. Let them know this will not stand.

Friday, December 14, 2012

From the Clackamas County Sheriff

This letter was posted today regarding the Portland Mall shooting.

I find it respectful and thoughtful, and it helps remind me that there are people out there whose job is to help; and they take it seriously.

A lot of people did a lot of things right that day. A lot of people stepped up to help others get clear, took steps to reduce exposure to the shooter, and stepped in to cover things against the worst case. In looking at the response, I think they would have been prepared had the event been even more catastrophic. Thankfully, it was not, though that is of little solace to grieving families.

Well done, First Responders.

On the ownership of Military Style weapons

One thing has often struck me regarding the private ownership of military style weapons, and their relationship to the 2nd Amendment. While many have commented on the use of firearms as a doomsday provision against domestic tyranny, we forget, sometimes, that they are also a hedge against foreign invasion.

In this time, and current global climate, I would not be the first to admit that the United States is the pre-eminant military power, in terms of technology and influence. We field a combined Army, Navy, including the Marine Corp, and Air Force made up entirely of volunteer servicemen, with the ability to project our military influence into any corner of the globe. Technological advances allow us to wage war or defend our sovereignty in minutes, rather than weeks. We have not seen a foreign military attack the Continental US for 200 years. I do not doubt that this has led, at least in part, to the belief that such a thing is not possible, nor ever will be.

That belief is wrong.

Part of the reason that we maintain the ability to project strength abroad is due to the fact that a foreign invasion would be unlikely to succeed. We are able to deploy our military internationally because we do not require the bulk of it to remain at home. And why is that? Domestic gun ownership. The United States has more civilians under arms, and willing to defend her, than most other countries have soldiers in their standing armies. In addition, many of those armies are made up of conscripts and/or mandatory enlistment. Because we have such domestic strength, we can focus our efforts outside of the country, to intercept threats at a greater distance, and offer greater aid to our allies.

That ability is under threat. While our enemies multiply and grow in strength, our country is flagging. Safety and security have dulled our natural watchfulness. That very watchfulness saw us through the most destructive land wars in modern history. The very specter of our domestic strength turned away the fiercest enemies our nation ever faced, without firing a single shot. If we turn away from that now, if we sacrifice our own strength to appease the baseless fears of others, we stand to lose more than we ever were threatened with during WWII.

During that war, we saw our allies beaten and bloodied by a foe they once thought vanquished. Britain, in particular, felt so newly secure that they destroyed massive amounts of military equipment, safe in the knowledge that such war could never come again. When it did, we put our manufacturing might to work building not only our own weapons, but theirs as well. The United States were the source of firepower for no less than three major players in the war. If we sacrifice that ability, and the security of a well armed nation, I do not see an ally that will be willing or able to fill the supply if war revisits our shores.

THAT is the well regulated militia. A militia consisting of anyone willing, able, and supplied to defend our nation.

Enemy Action?

With only a matter of days separating shootings here in Portland and now in Conneticut, and a scant few months from the Denver attack, I am beginning to lose my faith in coincidence. Whats the saying? Once is an accident, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action?

I'm beginning to believe this is enemy action. The hard part is, I cant identify an enemy at this point. As a nation, and a culture, we have plenty of enemies- some, even, with the wherewithal to exert covert pressure on us. I am not willing to lay these actions at the feet of political opponents- even at their most misguided, this is beyond the pale. At the same time, I KNOW that there are groups more than willing to lay these deaths at OUR feet.

Occam's Razor be damned, there has got to be some common tie here. There is too much coincidence- assaults carried out by seemingly innocuous young men, all using similar methods and weapons, in such a short period of time. I fear we have found the domestic equivalent of suicide bombers in the middle east.

This is all too disturbing for words. Somewhere, there is a hand at work, and we are being played.

Stay cautious, people. We need to get to the root of this, or it WILL break us as a nation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Update to Mall shooting

It appears the firearm in question (an AR 15) was stolen. Will update again when I find appropriatr information. Commentary to follow later.

Color me surprised

Within 18 hours of the Portland Mall shooting, drafts of capacity limiting legislation are introduced. I suspect they keep these handy, to introduce at the first moment. I will be contacting my representative immediately, as should anyone that reads this, who resides in Oregon. Lets nip this in the bud.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So this is happening...

I almost want to post without comment, but can't. This happened here, in my town; incidently, the place we moved to to get away from Phoenix, where crine in our area was on the rise. Shit.

Please, I'm sharing this for the sake of information. Commentary will come later. At this time, please offer up only support for families and victims. If you are in the area, it may be time to get involved politically, but at this time, I will refrain.

Stay safe out there.


Official report is two victims killed, one wounded is in serious but stable condition. Killer is dead of apparent self inflicted gunshot wound.