Monday, January 31, 2011

Project Gunwalker: progress?

It's no secret that I don't think we'll get what we want by appealing to the same crowd that manufactured the problem in the first place...but despite that I seriously do hope there is something to these:



It is not a stretch to say that these are the product of the work of two tireless activists, and the whistleblower sources that have trusted them with (at least) their careers.  I cannot say enough positive about David Codrea for his reportage and activism, and about Mike Vanderboegh for inspiring and fostering the attitude and environment for the whistleblowers to believe in.

This is not trivial stuff, and David and Mike (to say nothing of the whistleblowers) risk much in sticking their necks out.  Powerful--or at least heavily-armed, highly belligerent and almost wholly unaccountable--interests really wish this would go away.  Interests that don't exactly have a history of handling such flashlight work well.

As of this writing, mainstream media is nowhere to be found.  If ever they truly were interested in being a check on state power, they long ago gave up the role willingly, and now serve as lapdogs rather than watchdogs.  This is unsurprising to many of us (including, I suspect, David and MBV) but these events may yet serve a useful purpose to illustrate How Things Are Now, to those still unconvinced.  Frustrating as it may be, that will be a good thing;  the sooner people are aware that they're truly on their own, the sooner they will start making their own arrangements--and that is the only chance we have at actually defanging this beast without firing shots.

I guess we'll see how serious Grassley is.  If he is actually worth the air he consumes, he'll understand why I don't have much faith.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Channelling Voltaire...

Once again:  you just cannot make this shit up, because nobody would believe you.

Via Radley Balko:
He said: ‘As the figurine’s SA80 rifle was pulled from the box, the security search officer contacted her supervisor. The moulded SA80 could not pass.

‘My wife asked for a “reality check”, explaining how this offending piece of sculptured moulding is a 9 inch painted model with a moulded and painted rifle that is part of the figure.

‘The supervisor was confident within the surety of the regulations and said a “firearm” is a firearm and cannot pass.

And it was Voltaire, hundreds of years ago now, who said
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

With apologies to Pete at WRSADo you understand yet?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coming soon...

Sorry, one of those entendres is really bad.  Still:
Undercover police officers routinely adopted a tactic of "promiscuity" with the blessing of senior commanders, according to a former agent who worked in a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police for four years.

The former undercover policeman claims that sexual relationships with activists were sanctioned for both men and women officers infiltrating anarchist, leftwing and environmental groups.

Sex was a tool to help officers blend in, the officer claimed, and was widely used as a technique to glean intelligence. His comments contradict claims last week from the Association of Chief Police Officers that operatives were absolutely forbidden to sleep with activists.
And how about this zinger?
"Everybody knew it was a very promiscuous lifestyle," said the former officer, who first revealed his life as an undercover agent to the Observer last year. "You cannot not be promiscuous in those groups. Otherwise you'll stand out straightaway."
See, they had to screw 'em in order to protect 'em.  You can't make this shit up!

Let me guess, it'll be primae noctis* next?

*Yes, I'm aware that the historical concept of primae noctis may be more fiction than fact, but would anybody really be surprised?  Anyone?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Snake oil on a soap box. Again.

I am reminded that tomorrow is the State Of The Union Lie To The Country address.

Oh joy.  Another in the endless series of sanctimonious lectures on how solving our problems consists of doing lots, lots more of what caused them in the first place.

No no, don't tell me, let me guess:  we need more government, and everything will be fine.  Yeah, so it's produced nothing but predictable misery, pointless division and unaccountable thuggery everywhere it's been tried--what's your point, ya heretic?  This time we've got it figured out--see, swell guys are in charge now, unlike any that we've seen before.  This time for sure!

Hip-wader up, ladies and gentlemen, and get ready to watch snake oil sold from a soap box.  Again.  (It must be January, or something.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Heads up.

We're still in Condition Yellow, right?  But in Yellow you pay attention to what's going on around you.

This from Vanderboegh at Sipsey Street:
Scuttlebutt is there's gonna be a big ATF enforcement/operations story dropped Monday or Tuesday, to try and divert attention away from what's been increasing interest in the murder of the Border Patrol agent and other issues of embarrassment to ATF.

This is not about ATF's announcement that there will be an announcement about the importation of shotguns (see: Good thing I have my 2 Saiga 12s and a bunch of drum magazines. Like what's the difference between a 12 gauge Streetsweeper with an 18" barrel designed to be fired from the shoulder (classified by ATF as a Destructive Device), and a 12 gauge Saiga with an 18" barrel designed to be fired from the shoulder and equipped with a 20-round drum magazine (classified by ATF as a Title I firearm)? Answer: The Saiga holds 8 more rounds than the Streetsweeper.

The story on Monday or Tuesday is going to be about a lotta bad guys getting arrested by ATF, to try and uplift ATF's image.

Then, Mike follows with this:
When I wrote the post below -- "Yogi Berra was right. Rumor of a big, bad ATF bust early next week." -- around midnight last night, I was acutely aware of the slippery ground upon which this shadow war for the truth of Operation Gunwalker and the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry is being fought.

Rumors can be -- and often are -- floated like dye in the sewer, just to see where it goes to close down leaks. Given the high stakes of the games being played behind the scenes by the White House and their Justice Department minions desperate to stop the truth from coming out, this is certainly a concern. But when a rumor -- any rumor -- comes from multiple sources, sources which have always been right in the past, sources who do not know each other, it is less likely to be disinformation dye and more likely to be the real turd.

But I must say that sewer dye was on my mind when I wrote the "rumor" announcement. Were this just about intelligence gathering and protecting sources -- even multiple sources -- the prudent thing to do would have been to stay silent, watch and wait. But it is not. Nor is this rumor about something trivial, like the length of ATF attorney James P. "Little Jim" Vann's penis. It is not even something merely scandalous like whether ATF "subject of interest" Ramsey A, Bear, in pursuit of whom the ATF wasted millions, was real (he wasn't). This is about something that can get a whole lot of people killed very quickly -- ATF agents and innocents as well. This is about something that, handled with all the skill that ATF has shown in the past when under pressure, could inadvertently start another American civil war.

What if the rumor is true and this brilliant plan turns into a botched shit storm like the incredibly misnamed "Trojan Horse" (the initial raid plan for Waco) and people get killed? No more free Wacos, remember? I've got a moral responsibility to try to prevent that.
Seriously:  read 'em both.  None of this may come to pass, but what it is not is trivial.

Whether anyone knows about it or cares to admit it is unimportant.  Every American is fortunate to have Vanderboegh on this task--even those who hate his guts for what he is doing.  (I myself have a few significant points of disagreement with MBV, but I do not for a minute doubt his sincerity and his desire to prevent bloodshed here.  Unlike most of us, Mike (and certainly his sources, as he himself readily attests) risks much with his agitations, especially these "Project Gunwalker" ones, and it is simply facile to claim that he is secretly jonesing for a conflict.)

Eyes.  Ears.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Well how about that...

I was going over to CeaseFire Oregon's blog to post my "Attempt #3", not having seen anything show up since Attempt #2, when I noticed that Attempt #1 now actually is there. Dated and sorted with the original date and time.

Which makes it neatly invisible to anyone monitoring the end of the comment stream.

Was that deliberate?  Who knows.  I simply know that as of this writing there is no explication for that single comment, among 23, having that behavior. I'd been looking, over the last few days, and things were hovering at 22 comments for the thread, with the latest one posted 1/18 in the morning.  Then, tonight, suddenly there were 23 comments total...and I found my original one date-sorted back up in the list.  It is now here.

Now, I guess, we wait a little more and see what happens next.  Attempt #1, at least, is now there, and reproduced faithfully.  I'm certainly not expecting answers to the questions, because there are none that are morally defensible, but the catechism regurgitators now have something a little different to ply their trade against, and that's what I was hoping for.

Subsequent posts (just consider this latest one) do not instill much confidence.  Anyone who takes Carolyn McCarthy seriously--actually learns something about what she purports to do unto her constituents, and yet still considers it as a morally viable option--simply forfeits any chance at a rational conversation. 

A brace of winners from Butler Shaffer

...which is nothing at all unusual.  Shaffer's online collection The Wizards of Ozymandias remains one of the titanic works for me, and his archive at Lew Rockwell often reads like he's still going on the same theme.

In "When Will They Figure It Out?", in discussing the fallout of the recent Tucson shooting, we get this money quote:
Those who, like this gunman, resort to violence in response to whatever grievances they hold, have reduced themselves to self-destructive acts of utter desperation. I have always rejected the use of violence – whether against the state or other individuals – not so much because of what it would do to them, but what it would do to me. I oppose political systems because I believe that a free, productive, and peaceful society can arise only through the voluntary acts of cooperative individuals; that efforts to impose order by violent means will always work to the destruction of society, as is now occurring. Were I to sanction violence as a solution to the problems our thinking has created, would be to admit that I have been wrong in my assumptions. As I have told a few people who work within political systems, "if I thought that violence could be used to accomplish my ends, I’d join you guys!"

And just a few days later, in "In Defense of Clear Thinking", he's got more:
Another example of the disordered thinking produced by the failure to develop causal explanations of events began occurring right after the recent shootings in Tucson. How easily have people fallen for the statist lines that these killings were "caused" by private gun ownership, talk radio, the Internet, hostile rhetoric, or some mushy sense of a "failure to get along." I am surprised that the statists have not tried to exploit the shootings as another symptom of global warming! The comments made by politicians, government officials, and media flaks, have all acknowledged the presence of an atmosphere of anger in America, but none have addressed the cause of such widespread resentment.

The voices of institutionalism – whose function it is to constantly remind us that "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds" – will reject notions that the forces of the status quo have any causal connection to the violence and other aggression that surrounds us. When, during the 2008 Republican presidential "debates," Ron Paul introduced the idea of "blowback" as an explanation for the terrorism of 9/11, Rudy Giuliani revealed himself as intellectually unfit for any government office by expressing shock and resentment at Paul’s analysis. What Paul was explicating, of course, was the "frustration-aggression" hypothesis: if X attacks Y, Y may choose to retaliate by attacking X. Children on the playground understand this basic fact, even if former New York City mayors do not. Those with even a rudimentary understanding of physics will recognize the proposition as Newton’s "third law of motion."

As usual, worth the read-in-full.

Rest in peace, Aaron Zelman

We miss you already.

Over the last few weeks I have read stirring messages from Claire Wolfe, Wendy McElroy, L. Neil Smith, Massad Ayoob, and from lots of others who were influenced by him, and now that I see the tribute posted officially at JPFO's root URL, it seemed right to note it here.
Aaron validated something in our hearts: Yes, he would remind you, it is permissible to crave personal freedom and liberty. Yes, it is permissible to stand up for righteousness and truth. Yes, it is quite alright to be unashamed and proud to be an American, and fervently hope this nation will return to the best of its roots.
For anyone reading this who does not know who Aaron Zelman is:  please, fix that.  He was one of the more important human beings of our time.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Attempt #2 for acknowledgement at CeaseFire Oregon...

As of this posting, no sign of this at CeaseFire Oregon's blog.  Other posts have continued to appear in the interim, including multiple responses to posts that appeared after my own, so I posted my own response again just now, including the following preamble:
Attempt #2: repeat test. I posted the following on Saturday at 11pm Alaska time, and have not yet seen it pass moderation, while other posts have since appeared. There is nothing in here which is either impolite (impolitic, perhaps, but not impolite), nor profane, nor threatening. For the moment, I am going to presume that the omission is not deliberate. Perhaps you are still working through the links.
Years of experience tell me that this is neither a simple omission nor a technical problem, as the pattern is so well-established as to be a cliche among cliches, but I will not risk drawing that conclusion in this case without the confirmation of further attempts.

I guess we'll see.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I guess we'll see...

...if this comment remains where I submitted it.  Via Arctic Patriot, I found this article, and posted the following to this followup post.  My skepticim that it may not remain, is because of this tidbit on the destination blog:

CeaseFire Oregon, eh?  Set expectations to low, check hip-waders, and see.  Smart money is on either talking-point vitriol (which is a Brady Bunch staple) or marginalization-through-avoidance (which is really their smartest play here).

Anyway, here's what I said.

Greetings. I happened across this thread somewhat by chance, and apparently missed the first call for input.

Please do forgive me if I do not expect much of consequence to come from this, but here goes anyway.

Two articles I published a couple of summers ago articulate the basic way of looking at the topic:

Victim disarmers still sellin' the snake oil

'Living like that'

The most significant points, therein, are these:

- The core issue is not statistical, but moral, and does not lend itself to shades of gray. See here for a well-articulated description of how liberty is either for everybody, or it is for nobody. I am uninterested in statistics; no amount of numerical support is going to suddenly make it okay to enforce the will of a mob upon even a single individual who has not harmed anyone.

- Anyone who is interested or swayed by statistics must acknowledge the most significant statistic of all, which is: the state is responsible for far more murder, violence, theft, corruption, and generalized aggression than its peasants--by orders of magnitude. In the twentieth century alone, governments murdered more of their own citizens than were accounted for in all of the military wars of the same period. This number is at least in the tens of millions, and some counts place it in the hundreds of millions. To wit: You wanna save "just one life"? I'll start taking you seriously when you disarm the government, completely. Until then, ya sound like a buffoon.

- And finally, there is the question of history and precedent. Put simply: what, exactly, is it that any new law is going to accomplish, that the thousands of laws that came before it have failed to accomplish? "Gun control" fails to live up to its claims, every time, and those who continue to beat the drum despite this are operating on more the basis of a religious faith than any rational handle on history.

Some of us would actually like to try something, you know, different, such as removing the state's claim of a monopoly on force. We tried giving 'em everything. All they did was murder some people and prevent others from defending themselves.

In closing, this more recent article gets right at the point of the "divide" between those who want liberty and those who find a way to rationalize mob rule:

From the 'Wish I'd Said That' files

There you go: for your consideration. Again, I don't expect much to come from it; I've encountered the self-proclaimed open-minded for my entire adult life, and the strongest lesson I've learned from that is that people who go to the trouble to make the claim that they are "reasonable", or "open-minded", or "willing to compromise", or any number of other telltale phrases...usually are not at all.

That's okay. I'm not "reasonable" about this either. "Gun control" is a moral claim on the lives of people who have hurt no one, including me. Nobody should be surprised if its victims treat that claim accordingly.

...aaand, I guess we'll see.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Regarding Joe Zamudio

So I've now seen a few clips of Joe Zamudio, interviewed in re his actions at the recent Tucson shooting.  (For those of you who may not be following along, the executive summary is:  Zamudio assisted in the restraint of Loughner after others initially accosted Loughner during a reload.  His celebrity status is heightened because he was carrying a concealed pistol at the time, and was prepared to use it, but did not because it was not necessary by the time he arrived on scene.)

Three source videos here.  The first:

The second:

The third:

Okay. So, thoughts:

Is Joe Zamudio what I would call a great spokesman for liberty?  No.  His two biggest misses are 1) that he suggests that he did not think at all, which is both demonstrably false and also very bad messaging;  and 2) that he says that in the US "we are allowed" to own weapons, which is also demonstrably false (note that this post is not about the fractal multiplicity of ways in which it is demonstrably false) and also devastatingly defeatist from a messaging point of view.

Now...that said, let's give the guy a break.  He's young (24) and probably inexperienced in the nuance of libertarian messaging.  (He may not know much about liberty at all, for all we know.  That was not a requirement for what he did.)  His performance, though, at the scene (presuming the veracity of his testimony) was exemplary, and very instructive on many levels.  His case is an excellent demonstration of the following:
  • Mundanes (that is, normal human beings unafflicted with the impunity of badge or title) can handle themselves under pressure, despite all the hysteria from the Brady Bunch that would insist that a young male, familiar with guns, without camera polish, unsupervised, ... (seriously, one could go on), walking around strapped,  can only result in carnage.  This is a useful observation, if academic.  (Rights are not revocable due to ungraceful exercise...only privileges.)
  • Official "protection" failed, both before the event (clearly did not prevent it), and during the event (the fight was stopped by Mundanes, not by official protectors).  
  • Individual, spontaneous response did stop the fight.  Zamudio's statement that he would have shot Loughner if he had to, while conjectural, certainly suggests that further capacity to bring the attack to a close was immediately available, and functionally equivalent to what any "official" response would have been.  That is:  no cop could have performed better than Joe Zamudio*.  He, there, at that time, performed the action that we all would expect a cop to perform, but without the badge and tax-funded salary.
Strictly from a tactics and technical point of view:
  • It sounds as though Zamudio had achieved a grip on his holstered pistol, but did not in fact draw it.  This, taken by itself, is excellent:  had he needed to present and shoot, he had already completed the most awkward and time-consuming part of the stroke, and further was in the best possible weapon retention position if someone had tried to disarm him.  Finally, he may not yet have assessed the situation visually (this is not clear from the statements I've read) and if that is true, he gets safety points for not drawing before he identifies his target.  (Cops, by contrast, seem to wave pistols all over the place before a threat is solidly identified.)
  • In contrast, it sounds (again, not entirely technically clear) as if he disengaged his pistol's safety while it remained in the holster.  This is bad form and unnecessarily dangerous, and I hope someone tells him that.  (From the "grip" step of the draw stroke, where he seemed to be as in the previous bullet point, you cannot present and fire your off-safe pistol any faster than you can present and fire your on-safe pistol.  Anyone who doesn't believe this is invited to demonstrate their wisdom to the satisfaction of professional instructors such as Massad Ayoob, Clint Smith, John Farnam, etc.)
  • The impression I get is that once Zamudio assessed the situation visually, he concluded that he did not need to fire his weapon, and it remained secure in his holster as he moved to assist the very first responders.  If that is true--and presuming he re-engaged the pistol's safety--excellent.  He did make a point in one of the video clips, of stating that the situation, as he found it, did not require the increased risk to bystanders of his pistol being out.  That's clear-headed problem solving there.
Again, emergent detail may change this assessment, but for now, he seems to have done very well.  (We'll see how effectively he can be either savaged or marginalized by the disarmament freaks' usual strategies.  That bunch must be simply aneurysmic at Zamudio's very existence, which they seem to believe to be physically impossible.)

With any luck, Joe Zamudio will remain reasonably humble about all this, and will eventually learn the two things that will make the biggest difference for all of us:
  1. You did think, Joe, and that is precisely why things turned out as well as they did.  You may not have waxed philosophical about the motivations of the attacker, or considered the political ramifications of your being an armed citizen on scene (which may well be what you meant when you said that), but you did think--and quite clearly.  There was threat identification, threat assessment, consideration of safety, and spontaneous adaptation to the event as it existed when you arrived. 
  2. Respectfully, Joe:  it is not true that in the US we are "allowed" to own or carry weapons.  Such language implies that this could somehow be disallowed, but that would imply a privilege, not a right.  You can own and carry weapons in defense of yourself and other non-aggressors not because the United States somehow "grants" you that privilege, but because it is your right as a living being.
And now, back to the blood-dancing, which continues with jaw-dropping impunity.  Normal people, on the other hand, will do as they ever do:  observe, analyze, learn, and adapt.

And maintain Condition Yellow.

UPDATE:  Saw this from Radley Balko, and it may be that Zamudio was carrying in a jacket pocket.   What does that change?  Not much, really.  Substitute "pocket" for "holster", above, and perhaps add that a holster would have been a better choice for several reasons.  By this account, it also appears that he accosted one of the initial responders, who had just taken Loughner's gun and who Joe may have initially thought might be the gunman.  This would put Zamudio's decision-making and actions in an even better light, since it is very easy to focus on the gun instead of the actual threat (and OMG but cops do that all the time, provable in innocent corpses), but (clearly) he took this new input, validated it, and acted accordingly and with restraint.

* Or, for that matter, no cop could have performed better than those who Zamudio assisted, either.  For all the talk about Zamudio, in a strict sense, he arrived after the fight was already over...and recognized that, and adjusted his own performance.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Grigg weighs in on the blood dance.

And as usual, it's a must-read.
Shorn of the sophistries that provide it with a moral disguise, pared down to its essentials, political government is the systematic use of exactly the same kind of criminal violence employed by Loughner, only on a much grander scale. This was illustrated the day before Loughner's murderous rampage, when agents of the government ruling us used a remote-controlled drone operated from the safety of an office building in Nevada to murder six people in Pakistan's North Waziristan region.

Americans were not admonished to observe a moment of chastened silence in memory of the victims of that exercise in criminal violence. This is, in part, because observances of that kind would quickly become tedious: Since 2008, Pakistan -- a country with which the government ruling us is not formally at war -- has endured at least 250 drone attacks, in which roughly 1,400 people have been killed.

And he's only getting warmed up, there.

It's hard to explain Grigg to a new reader, so dense are his metaphors.  This may be nothing more than the economy of so much experience telling the same story as it happens over, and over, and over again (otra vez!), but it is certainly nothing less, either.

And I find it interesting that he chose to conclude with the "OKC moment" possibility.  I don't think I'd bet against it...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Encouraging vignette.

I make no claim about the veracity of the story, although I do tend to hold TLE above most in this regard.  For the sake of the following, I'll simply presume it is true or substantially true.

Check this out.  Human beings coming to the aid of another human being, spontaneously, independently, and outside "the law".  It's inspiring.  Better:  it's impossible, according to Ye Oulde Statist Playbook, which invariably holds that free-acting individual human beings are simply incapable of performing as they do here.

You want you some hope?  Read the whole story.  That's your neighbors doing that--the very same neighbors that the political machine assures you are probably dealing meth/running guns/using incandescent lightbulbs/eating children/[fill in the stinkin' blank].

I love that.

And, keep your eyes open.  Retribution is likely.  (Master does not like being upstaged or embarrassed.)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Oh, gawd.

This stinks, and stinks big.  I heard about it from

The information flying around is bad enough to remind me of the scene in Top Secret! in which German Baddie #1 makes his phone connection and asks:  "What is the condition of Sergeant Krueger?"  (listens on phone) "Hm, I see...Very well, let me know if there is any change in his condition."  (hangs up, turns to Baddie #2 beside him)  "He's dead."

Posturing, reading through the above links, has already begun, and of course it'll get worse with all the bloody flags to wave about.  (The Brady Bunch are, after all, professionals at this.)

The big question is, of course:  is this a Reichstag event, or just another inevitable outcome of systematically removing every peaceable means of redress?  Truth is, we don't know yet--we've got to watch more circus before we can be sure.  Oh freakin' joy.

Since the "obvious" target was one of the Anointed Class, retribution (against each and every one of us Mundanes) is assured.  Whacking one of The Elected simply demands a response, and after all, we can't let a crisis go to waste, now can we?  Rahm?  Rahm?

And, wouldn't you know it, the ATF is lately on the rocks with scandal, and really could use some better press... gosh, it's so totally freaky how often that seems to happen--both the scandal, and the "rescuing event"--to the same agency.

I'm sure the Federal Gun Cops would be only too happy to intervene here, if there should be some sort of, you know, Federalizing connection discovered within the next few days.  After all, they do rather specialize in information that doesn't really make sense...