Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sometimes I forget how much of a geek I am.

And leave it to Tam to furnish the latest illustration.  After losing considerable coffee over this, I thought I'd share it with a couple of gunnie friends.

Once Upon a Time...

...in a gun shop long ago and far away, there was a bunch of that Indian surplus .303 for sale. Tamara and A Gunsmith Who Shall Remain Nameless were standing behind the counter when a man came in and began looking over the merchandise.

The man saw the Indian ammunition and shook his head and said "You know, this stuff ain't even got gunpowder in it. It's all full of this stuff that looks like spaghetti. I took some apart with a genetic bullet puller." And then he left.

"He needed a genetic bullet puller," said Gunsmith Name Redacted To Protect The Innocent.

"Too late," said Tamara, "There was a kid in the car."

The End.

I wound up explaining the jokes and it was, of course, a whole lot less funny that way.  (On linking back, I now notice that Tam provides explanatory links, inline.)

Okay, I'm a geek.  And I admit, I'm torn between wistfulness that fewer and fewer people get the references, and a purely prurient wish that I could have been there to see that.  :-)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Really, I have come to hate the term 'hero'...

...but this, my friend, is what one looks like.


Cody Wilson rides again, doing what he does, which is work that needs to be done.  And my word, does he do it with style.

In the wake of the governor’s veto of the Ghost Gun ban, Wilson’s CNC mill could make untraceable guns all the more accessible. And as the video above shows, Wilson isn’t shying away from that face-off so much as directly confronting gun control advocates. He’s gone as far as applying for a trademark for the term “Ghost Gun,” a move that could limit how gun control advocates are legally able to use it.

“This wouldn’t be worth doing if Kevin de Leόn didn’t know about it,” Wilson says. “What excites me is giving this world to the politicians. Our strategy is to literalize and reify their nightmare, to give them the world they’re talking about.”

One just has to step aside, to make room for all The Awesome in that.  It's hard to imagine a more quintessentially American spirit than Wilson's, and long may he haunt the nightmares of anyone that presumes to rule over others.

So, yeah:  hero.  Brass balls and all.  Large as life and twice as natural.  If the term must be used, then by all means I'll use it where it's deserved.

The Zelman Partisans

I caught first wind of it from Kent McManigal on Facebook, and the realization of what was going to be behind the link hit me even before the mouse pointer got there. 


I'll echo Kent's thought:  may it succeed wildly.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Elevating victimhood above empowerment.

It appears that The Hive Mind continues to rediscover the "Man Trap", as it was first...introduced to me by David Codrea back in 2008.  And so I saw on Facebook, today:


The comment that went with it is just depressing:

I honestly think this is brilliant.

OMFG, how can one even begin to address that?  The failure to see reality in its proper context is nearly absolute.

Nonetheless, I try:

Only a society which elevates victimhood above empowerment could see anything but disaster in this sort of thinking. 

The only value such a device could possibly have is a puerile and hypothetical sense of revenge.  And it would seem to require some demonstrable effort to be more short-sighted in strategy.  Consider that it does absolutely nothing about the actual crime of rape:  by the time this device comes into play, the critical crime of domination has already been committed, and cannot be undone.  Or has all the effort to educate people that rape is not about penetration, but about domination, been nothing more than idle bluster?

And--this seems so self-evident that it feels ridiculous to say it out loud--what does anyone think actually happens when an attacker completes his crime of violent domination, and finds out that he has been (passively) disfigured by his victim, who is still right there in his very hands?  As David Codrea said about this thing back in 2008, "Well, this is going to get someone killed.  I wonder if they indemnify against a violent revenge reaction?"

It absolutely stuns me that any woman would choose this as a premeditated strategy against rape, over something--anything--that has even a shred of actual empowerment in it. 

We'll see, I guess.  Maybe I should just shut up and let those who wish it, to choose the life of prey for themselves.  I like to tell myself that I would do exactly that, but for the fact that these same people almost invariably presume to control my life too--precipitating at least some sort of response. But maybe I'm kidding myself about that.

UPDATE:  The following exchange, names replaced as a courtesy.

[J]:  Hm. I'm not sure, Kevin, that this device is not actually empowering. Obviously, one hopes that it would never need to serve its purpose. However, if a woman is attacked, I think this device may accomplish a couple of things: 1. Prevent skin to skin contact in the most vulnerable of places - a last defense or shield, if you will . If someone is attacking you, a shield - with spikes or whatever you've got - might feel like protective armor that helps a woman in her reaction and recovery process. He didn't 'get to me.' 2. If the rapist has to go to an emergency room to have this removed, he will be identified. There's no "I didn't do it." It's like a woman having handcuffs in your pants. Ha! That seems fairly empowering, too. 3. The description says nothing about this being 'disfiguring.' Painful, yes. I imagine the guy would be quickly 'immobilized' with pain and surprise and the woman would have an opportunity to get away while the guy is writhing. Again, ha! I can imagine it like a lizard shedding its tail when a predator grabs it. The predator is left holding the tail but the lizard gets away. In this case, the distressed rapist would be left with a "biting vagina" attached to him, while the woman runs away. Again, ha! This device sounds pretty empowering to me. In the last extreme moment of being dominated, a woman has one last tool to turn the tables and not only keep the man out of her, he also is wounded and marked with evidence of his crime.
[K] (not me):  desolee, living in a world where there is need for this kind of thing
[A]:  It doesn't surprise me at all that a woman would choose this as a premeditated strategy against rape, especially in a world where walking home, going to get water, doing anything puts her at risk of rape. It's shockingly common in South Africa. Shockingly. And men aren't preventing it....
[Me]:  Sorry [J], not having it. I don't accept that a woman should have to submit to the crime--the actual crimes of domination and battery and assault--before her last-ditch response becomes effective. Even if everything you say here were to work exactly as advertised, it STILL requires victimhood up front. This seems to me a terrible, horrible message to send to women.

Actual empowerment would instead involve being able to turn the attack off before it happens. Presuming an equivalence of scenario--that an attacker has managed to get through the same layers of alertness and shut off all the same avenues of escape--the skilled use of a defensive weapon is going to be a superior last-ditch strategy in every conceivable way. First and foremost, it makes possible the most desirable outcome of all--no completed attack, no bloodshed. An attacker suddenly confronted with a pistol, for example, is no longer in the driver's seat, and now has a choice to make. If the woman behind it is confident and resolute, most attackers call off the attack and run away like the opportunists they are--a result that is simply not going to happen with a passive instrument like the Rapex. On the flip-side, those few who do proceed against a weapon will not be turned aside by anything less than its effective use. And, while shots are never the desired outcome, they can be effective where absolutely nothing else would be.

One could examine the comparison further, but I think the point entire is made here. A woman's life and health is worth defending without having to submit to the assault first.
[Me][A], if you believe that one is not "at risk" everywhere, all the time, you are kidding yourself. The prudent recognize that "it" (whatever terrible thing "it" may be) can happen at any time, anywhere, in "good" places or in "bad" ones. Lament as much as you want that things are this way, but reality has never required our approval. In the end, all any of us can do is to learn to see "it" coming beforehand, and ultimately be prepared to meet "it" if we fail to avoid it first.

On the other hand, you're absolutely right that nobody is preventing forcible rape in any meaningful way in South Africa. Hell, offcialdom there simply dismisses the idea of armed self-defense entirely, taking the most effective option right out of the hands of the very people most in need of it.

Perhaps out of THAT absurdity comes the appeal of something like the Rapex. Still, I can't get past the appearance of misogynistic condescenscion in telling women that they can't use a means that just might prevent an attack entirely, but hey, if you're willing to submit first, here's a painful variation on marking paint...oh, and here's hoping your attacker isn't more the sodomy type.

My fervent hope is simply that, confronted with that reality, many women will simply go outside the law, treating it with all the same due respect that it treats their natural right of self-defense. (Fortunately, when things get bad enough, decent people often seem to do this very thing. It simply seems a shame that they should tolerate it for as long as they do.)
[A]:  Coupla thoughts: Yes, bad things can happen almost anywhere. Maybe absolutely anywhere. However, statistically, some places are riskier than others, and the reality of being a small woman (or a girl) is that one has to be very creative about how to protect oneself. That could include physical training in self-defense. Sure. But personally, I don't think that teaching jujitsu or martial arts/self-defense is as practical, nor any more empowering, than the Rapex device. I agree with Jen -- this is a pretty empowering item. Here in the USA, we market pepper spray, which is virtually useless, IMO.
[Me]:  Statistics would seem to matter less and less as the potential for harm goes up. When asked with a sneer, "Just how often do you think people get killed around here, anyway?" the classic rejoinder is "Same as anywhere. Just once." Sure, you try to stack the odds as best you understand them, but the more important consideration is that you realize you are never "safe", and you must be prepared mentally no matter what course you have chosen for yourself.

In general, people focus way too much on the tools and methods over the mindset, and not all methods are appropriate for all people, but it is absolutely true that the more people learn about what really happens in attacks, the more they tend to gravitate toward the skillful use of personal weapons as part of their personal security plan.

As to that: nearly thirty years of study into interpersonal attack and defense causes me to disagree totally about the efficacy, practicality, and empowerment of passive methods. Totally. It doesn't matter how many people with a political agenda try to say otherwise, and it doesn't matter how much anyone may wish it not to be so: successful self-determination is active, not passive. Piles and piles of case study are unambiguous on this. (So is the rest of the animal kingdom, at that.)

I'm not sure I could recommend a martial art like jiujitsu/karate/aikido as a primary plan, either. Aside entirely from the "every person is different and must make her own choice" consideration, every streetwise master of these arts I have come across, carries a pistol by preference. (Ignore that observation at your own risk.) It's something, of course, but without the right mindset it's vapor, just as a 45 caliber pistol without the right mindset is vapor.

All that aside, of course, each woman should have the unquestioned right to choose her methods for herself...and be responsible for their use. That so many are prohibited from freedom in this choice is the worst crime here.
[L]Kevin, I think you are missing the point. In your first comments you mention a woman having a gun for defense. That's not going to happen in the majority of cases. Likewise, women will not put that device up their vagina unless they predict being in the situation of needing it. But, at least they have it. I think the idea is brilliant - I just wonder if the description is for real. And the use of this is not "submitting to an assault" - women do not submit to an assault - they and other humans who are over powered are not submitting to assaults. Bullies on the school grounds do not prey on kids who submit. Those kids and the women who are victims are over powered - they do not submit.
[Me]:  Submission and consent are not the same thing, and I use the word "submit" quite deliberately here. I would be the last person to suggest that anyone somehow consents to an attack, but if you do not fight back against it effectively, you have rather by definition submitted to it.

And please don't mistake me here. My specific ire is against political systems that effectively require such submission by forcibly denying women available methods that actually have a chance of preventing the attack from proceeding in the first place, and that have a fighting chance of stopping the attack if it continues.

The pistol is one such method--proven, reliable, simple, and practical--and yet most political systems (absolutely including the RSA) would deny it to those who have greatest need. The Rapex, by comparison, absolutely cannot perform at the same level in a confrontation, physically or psychologically (even by definition), and somehow the powers that be don't seem to have a problem with that--yet. This edition of "what's wrong with this picture" would seem to be rather self-evident, but yet here we are.

You say "that's not going to happen in the majority of cases". Well hell, perhaps if women were not counseled from birth that they are incapable of using effective force to defend themselves at the moment of truth, maybe that would be different. It's still hard for me to believe that many women, themselves, not only believe that condescenscion (which is entirely BS, by the way) but even promote it to others.

And once again, this isn't to say that the gun is for everyone--only that any woman should be free to choose it without official or social harassment. And it's not a magic talisman, either. To be effective, the defensive pistol requires a commitment and a lifestyle change that not everyone is willing to make, but then it also provides a capacity that nothing else can match. (What surprises many who do make the commitment, is that it carries extra benefits they did not anticipate--chiefly, that the extra alertness and observation that comes from training to avoid trouble, usually results in seeing all sorts of wonderful things in the world they'd never known were there before.)

Personally, I think we should encourage the women of South Africa to look into the matter for themselves, without restriction and held responsible for their own outcomes just like any other free people, and just see what answers they come up with.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Corporations control government"

A draft-clearing post here.  This one has apparently been sitting around a while.

Seen on Facebook:

"The government doesn't own the media, corporations own the media. Corporations control government (and farmers and universities, and so on), not the other way around."

At best, this is a semantic argument. More accurately, it is a classic... manipulative sophistry. It is promulgated vigorously like a religious catechism, by the very entities that most benefit from the conflation. And otherwise intelligent people repeat it uncritically, feeding the problem by misdirecting their perfectly understandable anger at the wrong target.

Look, what is the definition of a corporation? It is an entity that is recognized by law (law which is created, interpreted and enforced by the same state), entitled to certain specific favors from the state. What most irritates most of us about powerful corporations is that they use their influence to curry additional favors from the state: to stifle their competition in a way that would not be possible in a free market, to give themselves competitive advantage through the gerrymandering of regulations, to protect themselves from their customers, etc.

The state could shut down any corporation it wanted to, tomorrow, because it is the state to which any corporation owes its existence and its continuing influence. Seems to me the alpha dog is pretty clear, on that basis--even if they are in collusion with each other.

Am I then defending the corporate part of this corporate mercantilist arrangement (that is:  fascism lite) that we have here? Oh HELL no. By aggressing against others, using the state as a hired thug, such corporate entities contribute to the evil and are just as culpable. But if one wants to "strike the root", one must recognize who wields the actual power to harm real people. Without a state, corporations would have no "legitimate" means of exerting their influence. The state, on the other hand, has declared itself the sole monopoly on "legitimate" coercion and aggression--even with respect to the mechanics of buying its influence!

The huge blind spot of most of those who rail on against corporations is that they almost invariably propose to solve the problem by handing over the (rest of the) reins to the single biggest, most corrupt and murderous "corporation" in the history of mankind--the state.

What on earth do they think is going to happen, with that dynamic going on?

Well hello there, David Hathaway.

Not quite by chance (but close) I just ran across one David Hathaway's writing at Lew Rockwell's site, and initial impressions are very encouraging. 

The first article I stumbled on was called "Once Upon a Time in OKC" and it begins:

This story is fiction. Once upon a time, there was an FBI Agent, Bob, and an ATF Agent, Sam, that didn’t know each other. They worked miles apart. But, they both were good little feds and they read their agencies’ marching orders and watched the controlled media to know who they should be targeting.

The FBI Agent, Bob, decided that he could get recognition by targeting militias and white supremacist groups. He didn’t know any, so he hired a guy off the street, Tommy, who in turn hired a paid unwitting flunky underling, to go with him to, um, Arkansas to the small town of Eloy City where people supposedly wanted to be left alone. It was slim pickings in that town until he met a guy, John, who also wanted to talk tough about blowing things up. This guy would be a great target. This guy talked as tough as Tommy did. Tommy could keep the federal gravy train coming his way and FBI Bob could write lots of fancy reports to get promotions.

The ATF Agent, Sam, decided that he could get recognition by targeting militias and white supremacist groups. He didn’t know any, so he hired a guy off the street, John, who in turn hired a paid unwitting flunky underling, to go with him to, um, Arkansas to the small town of Eloy City where people supposedly wanted to be left alone. It was slim pickings in that town until he met a guy, Tommy, who also wanted to talk tough about blowing things up. This guy would be a great target. This guy talked as tough as John did. John could keep the federal gravy train coming his way and ATF Sam could write lots of fancy reports to get promotions.

Of course, you know how this "fiction" story ends.  It sounds pretty convincing coming from a former DEA agent, too.

I was also much taken by his treatment of the "constitutional cop" problem, which begins thus:

There is a lot of chatter amongst conservative “2nd Amendment cops” and military folks about how they will not obey the orders when the grand pronouncement is made to take guns. It will be a cop sit out. What will really happen is quite different. Your Republican cop or military buddy will gladly and patriotically take your guns.

Gun grabs and grabs of anything else – children, money, real estate, raw milk – don’t come down the chain of command as such. There is not an edict that comes out saying:

Obama Executive Order 666:

All federal, state, and local law enforcement officers and all active duty military personnel are hereby ordered and required to seize firearms from all persons whose only crime is non-compliance with the firearms transfer provisions contained in the Children’s and Puppies’ Omnibus Health and Safety Act of 2014. Operation Patriot Crush will commence at midnight on June 1, 2014. All will be required to participate from that date forward and to actively engage in door-to-door gun seizure operations against fellow Americans. Constitutional objections by officers will not be recognized and are hereby deemed meritless.

What really happens is that good ol’ patriotic cops are told by their bosses to show up at the police department at o dark thirty for a briefing about the execution of a search warrant. This happens hundreds of times every day. These law enforcement agencies often have military personnel and resources dedicated to assist in their mission as well. No one ever objects. There is action afoot against n’er do wells. It is based on a hush-hush deep dark sinister undercover deal. It can’t be discussed because cooperators are “in deep” and it’s all “need to know.”

Indeed.

Okay, so I've got him bookmarked now, and will check out some more as time permits.  It would be  good to have another solid resource to link to.  


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Protection, without the racket.

Just in case you're tempted to believe that Will Grigg is all "cry the dystopia" with no recognition of workable alternatives, note here his recent report on the actions of one Dale Brown.  Brown may be deserving of some sort of brass balls bravery award for publicly offering a protection service in direct contrast to the protection racket that most of us have to deal with.

"How would things be different,” muses Dale Brown of the Detroit-based Threat Management Center, “if police officers were given financial rewards and commendations for resolving dangerous situations peacefully, rather than for using force in situations where it’s neither justified nor effective?”

Brown’s approach to public safety is “precisely the opposite of what police are trained and expected to do,” says the 44-year-old entrepreneur. The TMC eschews the “prosecutorial philosophy of applied violence” and the officer safety uber alles mindset that characterize government law enforcement agencies. This is because his very successful private security company has an entirely different mission – the protection of persons and property, rather than enforcing the will of the political class. Those contrasting approaches are displayed to great advantage in proto-dystopian Detroit.

All in all, a pretty impressive response to the problem.  Is it perfect?  Of course not, but we shouldn't make the same mistake we so often see and decry in the statists, demanding demonstrable utopian perfection even to consider a possible alternative, while tolerating and defending nearly any atrocity in the status quo.  Brown's idea doesn't have to be perfect, it simply has to be better--and really, that's not such a high bar to get over.  I might personally bristle at the idea of a "good person file", notwithstanding its (very clever) psychological utility as described in one of Brown's anecdotes, but then I must remind myself of the far more important consideration here:  the whole system is opt-in.  Voluntary.  You can walk away if you don't like it.  (No wonder it's got officialdom in such a tizzy.)

Hopefully Mr. Brown continues to have the success he's had so far.  And that more and more people notice.