Sunday, December 30, 2012

This seemed worth documenting.

An interesting account, certainly, framed by an event that many of us remember quite vividly.  It's fairly well-told, and other than the slightly creepy vibe one gets off the glaringly military buddy figure (the "heroic Israeli tank commander"), there is much that is instructive in there.

So, the author now understands that "it" can come to him at any time.  He also seems to have made a few connections regarding the State's relationship to "its" people, and just might understand that maintaining the means of resistance is something worth ignoring "the law" over.

Excellent.  The more people that understand that, the better.

And once a people are sufficiently "armed" to fend off the core protection-racket function of the State...they just might be ready to ask what they really need from the State at all.

Friday, December 28, 2012

...a seducer's lie.

Well hello there, Lawrence Hunter.  You caught me quite by surprise there, writing for Forbes and all, but I'll not let the source get in the way of the content:  this is just freaking outstanding:

Politicians who insist on despoiling the Constitution just a little bit for some greater good (gun control for “collective security”) are like a blackguard who lies to an innocent that she can yield to his advances, retain her virtue and risk getting only just a little bit pregnant—a seducer’s lie.

There is no amount of "wish I'd said that" that is sufficient to praise that image.  Like the battered wife analogy describing Liberty's relationship to the State, it works on every level you care to pursue.

The whole article is excellent;  a highly usable resource that can reach people who need to be reached.  Again, I'd not have expected Forbes for this much principle over pragmatism, but if minds are going to change, it's got to start somewhere, and I'm happy to call it out where I see it.

Deep tip of the hat to Vanderboegh for this one.  May Hunter's article successfully prepare many new people for the work of MBV, Codrea, Grigg...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ruger's Gunsite Scout Rifle.

Weee, a gear post!

We were in Soldotna today and I took an opportunity to stop in at a preferred gunshop (the few available locally are already all on my shit-list and I just don't bother any more) to ask how business is, over the last week with all the Sandy Hook-related blood dancing and comitant panic buying.  (This dealer seems typical for what I've seen in Alaska, with about 30-40% of rifle stock being Evil Black Rifles, as a norm...and not a one was visible today.  "Yup, every one of 'em gone in a couple of days.") looking at what was available, what should catch my eye but a copy of Ruger's Gunsite Scout Rifle, which I had not met before in person.  That problem is now remedied...

...and I, for one, am quite impressed.

The fella behind the counter was affable and nice enough, but he had no clue whatsoever about this gun.  He started to spin me a line about how he thought this model was created as a response to fears about semiauto bans (see, it's got this rail...) and I politely stopped him before he could make a proper fool of himself.  I didn't even bother going into the history, after he went blank-stare on the mere mention of Jeff Cooper (sigh), but just told him that the concept was meticulously designed, well before even the first "assault weapon" hysteria, and left it at that.  After a quick scan of everything I asked if I could try the trigger;  he said sure, and so I did a mount-press-snap-press-snap sequence* at full speed.  It wasn't really that fast--I'm hardly exceptional--but he was suddenly wide-eyed at a display he pretty clearly had never seen before, and I think he started listening to me more after that.  :-)

Anyway, here's what I would consider wrong with the rifle, at least from a design standpoint.  First and foremost, there is no middle sling stud for a proper Ching Sling mount.   I would wager considerable coin that Col. Cooper would have been forceful on this point;  he often stated that he would rather have a Ching Sling on his rifle than a telescopic sight.  And nobody that I have met personally, who has worked with the Ching Sling for the duration of a serious rifle class, tolerates anything less on a serious rifle.  I can only conjecture that the doctrine at Gunsite, now, is not what it used to be, and this parameter was thus not specified to Ruger as a requirement.  Fortunately, adding a third stud in the traditional manner, or something more elegant perhaps attached to the existing forward action screw, should prove to be a minor custom upgrade, well worth the effort.

The rest of the problems are minor.  The 10-round magazine seems bulky, given that it is a single-stack design.  The magazine release seems just a bit clumsy, but habituation may make that problem go away completely.  The stock, of course, is too long, even with all the spacers removed, but most riflemen (sigh) continue to insist on stocks that are "perfectly fitted" while in a warm gunshop with no bulky clothing on, and standing in the single shooting position most tolerant of a too-long stock.  (Try that same stock, prone, looped up, with a parka on, and get back to me on that whole "perfect fit" BS.)  And again, a too-long stock is a simple problem to fix.

But hell, even as picky as I am about rifles (and I readily admit, I am), that's about all I can think of that's wrong.  Okay, the Ruger doesn't have the Steyr Scout's really ingenious integral bipod, magazine cutoff system, nor secondary magazine well in the butt, and since I didn't have a scale I don't know if it properly "makes weight" (as long as we're dishing, the Steyr doesn't technically quite "make weight" either), but seriously, those are minor points, and the Ruger does actually have some design advantages over the Steyr.  The Ruger does use true controlled-round feed and inertial ejection as specified by the Scout Conference, whereas the Steyr, as excellent as it is, uses a Sako style extractor for push-feed, and a plunger ejector.  The reserve sights on the Steyr are quite serviceable, but the ones on the Ruger will be superior when the scope comes off.  The Ruger's flash-hider is not strictly necessary, but it seems well-done and to the extent it works, may prove an advantage in low light.  And the Ruger's magazines, if a little bulkier than perhaps they need be, do promise to lay flat and may tolerate field abuse better than the Steyr's, over time.

This rifle is nice.  The trigger is far better than I expected, reasonably light and quite crisp.  You'll hit out to the limits of your capability with it.  The action was typical M77, with the ergonomic and positive three-position safety (I love my Steyr, but I confess I prefer the M77's safety lever, even moreso than the Winchester M70 three-position lever that it was inspired by), and even new-in-box I didn't notice any tendency for bolt binding;  after a good break-in it should be as good as anyone shooting it for clean, smooth reliability.  And the M77's bolt handle is properly uncheckered, for working at maximum speed.

The detachable metal box magazine is nice, and apparently they come in 5-round (not quite flush-fit) and 10-round (almost but not quite too long for a good low prone position) varieties.  I gather they're not based on existing designs, which is almost annoying (I'd have loved it if I could share M14 magazines with a Scout rifle) but for a true Scout rifle, it's probably not that big a deal.  The release mechanism seems like a slightly trimmer variation of the M14, but may take a specific technique that I've not trained with yet to make it 100% foolproof.  I'd have to see it in action to comment further.

The ghost-ring sights are superb.  The rear aperture could be a bit larger with no loss in precision and probably a measurable improvement in speed, but it looks well-thought out otherwise, and both front and rear seem well-protected.  I'd love to see a tritium insert for the front post, but that's a personal wish.

Street price was under $800, which given the feature-set and core design, is simply outstanding.  You could easily add a Scout Scope with QD rings, a Ching Sling with third stud, and at least a sixpack of magazines (I'd get half 5s and half 10s), and you'd still come in under $1500 for a "true Scout" that would be right at home next to a Steyr.  Okay, maybe the barrel won't be the exquisite precision tube that seems to come on most Steyrs, but it will be plenty accurate enough to take advantage of the design.

I know that you can build a Scout-type rifle for less than this, but I don't think you could build a better rifle for that price, all-up, period.  And with this rifle design, if you know what you're doing, you can hold your own with any semi-auto out there, plus retain the ability to hit precisely...way out there.  As Col. Cooper would have put it, if a skilled rifleman can't solve his immediate problem with six rounds from a Scout rifle, he has a problem that cannot be solved with any rifle, and really needs to move to a new position right freakin' now.

If anyone asks me what one rifle (s)he should buy, to handle anything a rifle might be called upon to do...I can think of only one reason I would not recommend this one, hands down.

It has nothing to do with the rifle itelf, which seems just superb.

In the end, I'd just much rather give my money to Ronnie Barrett, than to Bill Ruger.   :-)

* For anyone reading this who can't quite visualize what I'm talking about, this is about the proper technique for running a bolt-action rifle, wherein the rifle does not come off the shoulder between shots.  What I was doing here was a snap-shot, immediate reload, and an instant second shot with another immediate reload.  From low ready (buttstock on belt), the rifle is mounted to the shoulder for the snap-shot (the safety comes off as the rifle is mounted), in which the shot comes between 1-2 seconds after the signal, and then without moving the head or the left hand at all, the right hand runs the bolt forcefully, ejecting the fired case and reloading the chamber with a fresh cartridge, and returns to the trigger for the immediate second shot.  With good technique that second shot can break well within two seconds of the first one, depending on how precise the second shot needs to be.  A good bolt rifleman will always reload his chamber instantly after breaking a shot;  he will be his own "auto-loader" and his next shot will be ready as soon as his eyes have re-acquired the sights after recoil.

Dave Anderson illustrates the bolt technique pretty well:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Well now.

This being the only reference to this story that I've seen, it's always possible that it's not true, but then again, it would hardly be surprising if there's been a lot of willful ignoring of a story that just happens to fly in the face of multiple blood-dancer memes at the same time.  (They're awful busy right about now, see...)

And so here is a report that the Clackamas mall shooter was actually confronted by an armed citizen, who may very well have prevented any further bloodshed by his mere presence.

"He was working on his rifle," said Meli. "He kept pulling the charging handle and hitting the side."

The break in gunfire allowed Meli to pull out his own gun, but he never took his eyes off the shooter.

"As I was going down to pull, I saw someone in the back of the Charlotte move, and I knew if I fired and missed, I could hit them," he said.

Meli took cover inside a nearby store. He never pulled the trigger. He stands by that decision.

"I'm not beating myself up cause I didn't shoot him," said Meli. "I know after he saw me, I think the last shot he fired was the one he used on himself."

Well now that is interesting, isn't it?  Again, presuming the veracity of the locally-reported story, here we have an armed citizen that responded admirably, electing not to shoot based on Rule 4 (and 2, for that matter) and the immediate analysis that the shooter was not an immediate threat while trying to clear his malfunction.  That would be an outstanding performance, under stress.

The wording of the story does not make it perfectly clear, and Meli's statement was probably intended to be "the next shot he fired" rather than "the last shot he fired" (which would be forensically useless given "...was the one he used on himself"), but it certainly seems, as Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker notes, that it was Meli's display of capacity that ended the fight:

Indeed the shooter did shoot himself next, despite having multiple additional unarmed people available near him to continue his rampage, along with additional cartridges, once he unjammed the gun.


He saw the man who, despite a sign claiming that there were no guns in the mall, was in fact armed and able to return fire. The assailant's illusion of a free-fire zone where all the people he wanted to shoot were free from the risk of returning fire had been dispelled; had he elected to shoot another unarmed and helpless individual the odds are good that he would have exposed himself to being shot as he would have had to move in a fashion that would have given the CCW holder a clear shot at him.

As such he elected to take his own life since he knew, at that point, that he no longer had the ability to continue to murder people without reprisal.

Well stated.  Sure, it's conjecture, since the attacker is not around to tell us for sure, but the fact remains that no further victims were claimed after the display of resistance. 

And we should highlight that one.  The display of resistance.  Meli did not need to fire, and he did not.  He was a thinking, adaptive individual, reacting under fire in a manner that the Brady Bunch would have you believe is impossible.  And yet here we are.  (Care to wager how many rounds would have flown if it were one or more cops in Meli's position?)

Hopefully this story is true, and others pick up on it.  If so, it's a powerful and instructive anecdote attending an otherwise horrible event.

If not:  it bloody well should be.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This is how pogroms begin.

So I learn that Discovery Channel has cancelled its hit program "American Guns".

A Discovery rep told FOX411 that “American Guns” – which is out of production and not currently broadcasting new episodes – has been canceled and will not return for a third season. This comes as something of a surprise given its growing popularity. The show had a 50 percent ratings increase for its second season premiere, and one of its stars, Renee Wyatt, recently said she would “definitely” be interested in returning for season three. The rep, however, would not link the show’s cancelation to the Connecticut school massacre.

Of course not.  It must have nothing at all to do with the "intense scrutiny" that has "flood[ed] the show's Facebook page calling for its cancellation"...including such logically persuasive tidbits as:

“I know you all have to make money but would Discovery Channel PLEASE consider ceasing to broadcast the show in the U.K.? Sadly your program makes buying/owning guns seem fun, glamorous, even normal,” wrote one. Another tweeted, “Dear Discovery Channel: it’s not appropriate showing the program American Guns now!” Another weighed in: “With Discovery shows like 'Sons of Guns', 'American Guns', 'Ted Nugent's Gun Country' etc it's not surprising how guns r seen as acceptable.”

It seems the critics may have been heard.

Oh, ya think?

Look, I can understand Discovery's disinclination to coming right out and saying so;  I have no doubt that the pressure against them is quite real (both from the above mass of PSH brainiacs and doubtless a variety of state/corporate pressure we may never see), but they'd just be stupid to openly admit it--lucky for them they're at the point in the business cycle when they can plausibly cancel ("not renew") for undisclosed reasons.

Ferchrissakes, just look at the above.  These are not ideas that can be reasoned with, because they do not admit any reality other than their own.  It matters not if an alternate reality is perfectly peaceable;  if it is not something of which they approve, it is to be actively destroyed by whatever means possible--by shouting it down on one end, and of course by forcing it with law on the other.  The simple market expedient of not watching just isn't...aggressive enough.

Sadly your program makes buying/owning guns seem fun, glamorous, even normal.

To this mindset, the alternate, peaceable reality of tens of millions of others must be actively unmade, rather than left to exist on its own as something that some people simply find weird.

This is how pogroms begin, isn't it?

This example is just one among several at the current moment, and I've no doubt that the feeding frenzy among the victim-disarmament crowd will produce more.  But it's a bit personal to me because I happen to know the Wyatts.  I've only seen one episode of the show myself, but it does appear to have its share of public appeal.

Rich Wyatt is one of the very few left who still teaches Jeff Cooper rifle and pistol technique.  I have "gone to class" for both rifle and pistol with him, and several of my personal guns have come from the Gunsmoke smithy.  Although there is a great distance between us politically--he is far more bound up in the traditional game than I am--we agree on much of substance, especially in the practical matter of protecting one's own skin.

If you ever get a chance to train with Rich or his crew, take it.  Ignore any politics that may differ from yours, and learn from him.  You will not be disappointed.

Thanks, Wendy McElroy...

...for noticing.

Monday, December 17, 2012

And speaking of crocodile tears...

...if you haven't already, go check out Grigg and Silber on the topic. 

Grigg gets right down to it in that beautiful matter-of-fact language that is so refreshing in this plasticene time.  He opens:

“They had their entire lives ahead of them -- birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” intoned the murderer of 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki as he began the liturgy of official mourning for the victims of the Newtown massacre.

Every time children die in an outbreak of violence, “I react not as a president, but as anybody else would as a parent,” continued the head of a regime that will not explain to Nasser al-Awlaki why his son Anwar and grandson Abdulrahman – both of the U.S. citizens – were murdered by presidential decree.

“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years,” insisted the official who has presided over dozens of lethal drone attacks in Pakistan and other countries with whom the U.S. is not formally at war.

Tears welled up in Obama’s eyes as he pronounced the familiar, facile phrases of selective sympathy. After ordering that U.S. flags be flown at half-mast for a week, Obama said that he and his wife would hug their children a little closer tonight as he empathizes with the parents whose children were murdered in Newtown.

It’s doubtful that he was moved to similar thoughts of vicarious bereavement as he contemplated the parents in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan who have been left childless because of his actions. 

Silber goes much further into the psychology.  Even the hardcore may have trouble agreeing fully with everything he says, but all of it is worth consideration.

Now I want to draw your attention to several other issues that will never be mentioned during the current exercise in national mourning. I again emphasize that I exclude from this analysis those persons and families directly affected by these events. My concern here is the national immersion in this story. This enthusiasm, and there is no other word to describe it, for demonstrating how deeply one is affected, how vast is one's grief, how completely shattered everyone is by these deaths -- everyone, that is, who is supposedly "decent" and "caring," and who is grief-stricken and shattered by these deaths but not by many thousands of other deaths -- is a symptom of a culture that is profoundly disturbed.

In wrapping up, he brings back the brimstone:

And while there are references now and then in news stories to Newtown being a "wealthy" or "affluent" town, I haven't seen much highlighting of some easily available facts about Newtown: 95% of those who live in Newtown are white, and the estimated median household family income is around $120,000. This is one very small, enormously privileged fraction of America; it certainly is not representative of America in any general sense in the smallest degree.

And that makes it the perfect tragedy for the Age of Obama, and the perfect opportunity for Weeping Obama to make his appearance. Never mind those whom Obama orders to be murdered; don't give a thought to the children abused, humiliated and tormented in ways that will scar them for the rest of their lives; ignore the families destroyed by Obama's zealous pursuit of the monstrous War on Drugs. None of those victims are people like us, they're not human beings who actually matter. Who gives a damn what happens to them? These are among the hideous effects of the unrelentingly cruel and brutal reality America entered when it elected its first black president, a man who perfectly embodies the white authoritarian-corporatist-militarist State, and who ran as a white man. You elected -- and reelected -- a white man who is also a vicious killer. What did you expect?

I'm with these guys.  Crocodile tears don't much impress me.

Sick of the faux piety and crocodile tears.

These were the kindest things I could think of to say on Facebook, in light of an increasing stream of sanctimonious bullshit regarding the oh so obvious conclusion that the proper response to the Sandy Hook disaster is to do more of what made it inevitable it in the first place.  (There is a whole lot I did not post.)

In rereading for documenting here, I notice that I made several uncharacteristic writing errors, which is probably just due to being nearly debilitated by simple fury.  (Such are painful to look at, but I haven't edited them here.)  I don't know whether such an observation is a bona fide that I've still got my humanity intact, or proof that I need to work on maintaining a clearer head in the face of an exasperating stupidity that is in no way original or new.  Hopefully, both.

Anyway, the first thing I managed was this:

As the well-oiled machine gears up to capitalize yet again on an event of the most wrenching sort of horror, most will once again miss the most important takeaway of all: law, and the cultural conditioning that it promotes, has failed--again--to protect the innocent. I've already heard (and of course will continue to hear) much regurgitated boilerplate about more law, more enforcement, more of a ll the sort of things that have already been tried hundreds and thousands of times before. The sort of things that were already in place in Connecticut, and--QED--failed to protect the innocent, again.

This machine is horribly effective, and we'll probably get new "law" out of it, while failing to do anything constructive. Again.

To achieve a different result, we'd have to do something...different. 

Today, I felt compelled to vent the following:

Americans are (somewhat justly) ridiculed the world over for not thinking through the problem they are so outwardly sure they know how to cure. And so it is hardly surprising to see so many otherwise intelligent people tripping over themselves to line up in support of the ridiculous idea of applying even more of what didn't work this time, in the nearly religious faith that it simply must work next time, because...well, because their hearts are sick, and they want it to be that way.

What this is, is infuriating. And it has nothing to do with some ridiculous prurience of some people hanging on to a hobby, either: the sickness is in our THINKING. Thinking that the proper response to a disaster in which one law-breaker has his murderous way with a whole clutch of law-abiders, flying in the face of multiple simultaneous laws, is to apply...more law. WTF?

Look: is the goal to protect innocent life? If it is--if in fact it really is more important to you than anything else--then it is more important than the rule of law. And you need to recognize that if your first reaction to such a disaster is "bad man shouldn't have", that you fail the test. It doesn't matter that "bad man shouldn't have". Bad man DID have. What are you going to do about it then, here, right now?

This is not a question most people are willing contemplate. But the truth does not require your consent. On the other hand, "the law" is an ever-available absolution fantasy.

You can line up to pass more law all you want. The result, like all that came before it, will fail, and more will die because they put their faith in your legal promise of protection.

You want to know what breaks my heart? THAT DOES.

"These are the times that try men's souls."  Roger that, brother.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Hat tip to Mike Vanderboegh for this one.

Human powered pumps that look like they might really do the job when other conveniences fail, and useful supporting articles for context and details.

This one highlighted at Resilient Communities:

And via link-chasing, these covered at Resilient Design Institute:

Note the positioning right on the well cap.  Backup, indeed!

Bookmarks acquired, reading list updated.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Yo, Bob...

So I see you went all Dudley Do-Right on us yesterday, and made your point about as clearly as anyone could expect.

Duly noted;  roger that.

My request is simply this:  Bob, show us the courage of your convictions and be the first guy through my door.  Yourself.  None of this hire-a-goon-squad-to-do-the-dirty-work-for-you shit;  there's no noble embiggenment in that, and you're all about the noble embiggenment of the morally superior being, aren't you?

You want to disarm me, you bring it yourself.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Any questions?

The old joke goes something like this:

Only government would show up at your door unsolicited, break both your legs, cut down the hardwood tree in your front yard, give it to a buddy to make into crutches, sell them back to you at profit, and then say, "But for me, you couldn't even walk!"

You can, of course, rather easily add extra credit clauses such as:
  • send you a bill for the cleanup of the scrap wood and sawdust;
  • fine you for felling a tree without a permit;
and the like.  Take your pick;  this is what is known as low-hanging fruit.

Well, "we" do seem to "progress" onward, don't we?  Today's installment, updated, might go like this:

Only government would go to the trouble of actually trying to kill you (with a "less-than-lethal option" for extra irony points) in order to demonstrate that they can not only save your life, but (cue the "Amen" cadence) bring you back from death.

Hey, you laugh.  Sez here that some badged thugs used that super-trendy, we-swear-it's-not-harmful...compliance tool, that Grigg accurately calls a portable electrocution device...upon yet another nonviolent, retreating victim, under what can only with supreme charity be described as questionable circumstances.  Oddly, when confronted with three high-voltage jolts from Officer Operator* McFriendly's Super Spiffy Sparky Stick, the woman went into cardiac arrest and had to be revived.  Hey, at least they did bother to revive her, rather than stuffing her in the backseat of a squad car and letting her expire...she should be thankful!

And of course the results are perfectly predictable.  By all appearances the victim hadn't harmed anyone, no drugs or booze nor anything else that would have even warranted a "traffic stop" in the first place...nothing except being scared by armed enforcers and inelegantly attempting to assert her privacy.  Over on the side of Team Thug, electrocuting a retreating victim is (yet again) officially held to be fully "within department policy", and they'll say no more because it might interfere with their ongoing effort to further prosecute the victim.  They've got a job to do, after all.

Any questions?

* Somehow, that vile and disgusting term (which so many of the militarization apologists seem to like), suggesting so strongly an automaton in preference to a thinking human being, seems perfectly appropriate here.  SOBs want that term?  Well, they've earned it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A more satisfying day.

Actually got a chance to do something constructive today;  took a bunch of brass that's been in storage for a serious long time and fired up the case tumbler.  This brass was given to me by some folks right before we left Colorado and I'll always take brass.  :-)

Ran three loads today (one more and that segment should be done) and I'm pumped to say that I've got well over a thousand pieces of .45ACP that passed visual inspection.  (Shit ain't cheap, so this makes me happy!)  Also in that group were lesser quantities of .40S&W, 9x19, and .38 Special, a couple hundred .223, and maybe fifty-odd .308.

It's long past time for me to dust off the reloading gear that's been in storage, calibrate it up, and start cranking out some workhorse loads.  Clean brass always puts me in the mood for that, so I'm hopeful to get some momentum up.

Here's to a constructive week.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Is angst. You purge.

Beginning to breathe again.  Please forgive me for needing a little stew time after at least one hundred twenty million people found some reason--whatever it was--to agree that we should keep on pointing guns at everyone (including themselves, if they're even dimly honest about it), and not do anything, you know, different.

Well, shit, it certainly wasn't unexpected...just horribly, ridiculously insane.  But I did know that going in, so it's time to move past it.

Point one:  at least a hundred eighty million people did not vote to bind us all in the same chains as last time.

I'll start with that.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Irony meter: pegged.

So, an observation about yesterday's exercise in public masturbation.

"We" elected a war criminal, by any definition that matters.  It's on record*.  He sent lawyers to argue, openly, that it is his full and unquestionable right to (to paraphrase Arthur Silber) murder anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any reason (or for no reason at all)--and to do so entirely in secret.  And he has done so, repeatedly.  (He also sent lawyers to claim the right to indefinitely detain anyone, anywhere, at any time, etc...but with the right to just whack someone, does detention really matter?)  From all that I can tell, almost nobody seems to care about this, or even acknowledge or know about it.  Even most of the (for lack of a better word) "liberty sphere" seems more agog about the possibility of the detaining than about the actuality of the killing.

Now, consider that the electoral block that got this man elected--either directly via their v*tes, or indirectly because of their pimping and salesmanship.  By their own account, these are people who are "awake", "aware", and otherwise fully in command of their world and how to make it a better place with "correct" politics.  (They'll tell you this.)  They are also the self-appointed standard-bearers for peace in our time, and the irreplaceable bulwark against the total destruction of society by imperious warmongers and tramplers of civil liberties.

Ahem.  (Ping!)

When this block got Obama elected the first time,  the key to his success was entirely his claim to be nothing like his predecessor.  Cries of "war criminal!" were used constantly to attack the truly awful incumbent, and by association his own opponent, chosen by the incumbent's rival intramural gang to continue the horrors.  And, of course, it worked. may have noticed that, since Election Day 2008, the term "war crime" has been completely missing in action.  This is well past "curious", since (again to quote Silber, emphasis in original):

Every blogger and writer who is conscious and even fractionally honest now acknowledges that Obama has doubled down on every single policy of Bush's that the progressives had condemned so loudly and for so long. Moreover, Obama has gone beyond Bush's profoundly awful record in certain critical respects. And never, ever forget that Obama and his administration claim the "right" to murder anyone in the world, wherever he or she may be, for whatever reason they choose -- or for no reason at all.

Again, this is all on record.  (Say what you want about the demonically vile Dubya, but at least he had enough of an understanding of basic humanity to try and hide his worst crimes.  This administration argues and defends the same and worse, openly.)

And yesterday, the Defenders Of All That Is Good, the "awake and aware" crowd who Care About You, the ones who most loudly declare "only through your action can you make a difference", protected us from a potential war re-electing a proven one.  (For any of those Enlightened Beings who don't understand:  it's just like the re-election of Bush in '04, with the intrasquad teams reversed.)

Oh, I've no doubt that Romney would have made a most enthusiastic war criminal and trampler of individual liberty.  (Those are the only campaign promises that you really can count on.)  But here's "lesser of evils" in the starkest possible relief:  over sixty million people v*ted to elect a known war criminal.  (And almost sixty million more people v*ted for his functional twin with a different team mascot.  That's at least 120 million v*tes endorsing the embrace of war crimes.  Wow!  Do you have any doubt that the Establishment got this message loud and clear?)

Because, you know, if we don't act now! to prevent it, we could get someone really awful to wield Absolute Power on our behalf.

If anyone needs more than this to conclude that politics causes otherwise normal people to completely lose their fucking minds, brother, ain't nothing I can do to help you.

And so now, whether or not "we" deserve what we're going to get, we most certainly will get what we asked for.

* If any of this is new to you, you really should look it up.  I'd lay it out here, again, but I suspect that the reality is that if you need me to lay it out for you, you'd write off anything I had to say anyway.  Look it up for yourself.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pick who owns you.

Thanks, Joel.  Grins are needed today.

On this sacrosanct National Masturbation Day...

...I offer only the reprises of what has been said before, since not one single thing of consequence is going to be any different about this year's result.

As before, millions will--voluntarily--legitimize the very system that enslaves them by participating in its perpetuation...and then preen sanctimoniously about, in what must be the afterglow of what George Carlin likened to public masturbation.  (Either click that link to start at the right spot over at YT, or start the below embedded segment and scroll to 2:48):

Miss ya, George.

For myself, I'll simply say, before the polls open:  Congratulations, America, you just elected the Establishment.  Again.

You can now go back to acting surprised at how bad things have become.  How uncivil.  How warlike.  How anti-humanitarian.  "Gosh, wherever did all this ugliness come from?"  And before long you will have fresh, new cause to be shocked, shocked that the people you just put into Current Occupancy aren't really what they told you they would be after all, and you can act surprised about that too.

That article points to the one I wrote specifically to be a reference, How to Vote on Election Day.  Which (s'prise!) needs not a single word changed for this year's episode of The House Wins!  The House Wins!  Snippets therefrom:

...Then, you do the Absolution Shuffle: free your mind from further worry. You have Done What You Can Do. It's in The System's hands now. If things go south from here, you can always absolve yourself further by proving you voted for The Other Guy. You have now validated your License To Bitch.
...For days on end after voting, affix various physical and virtual "pieces of flair" to yourself, sanctimoniously offering to the world that "I voted". Well, good on you. You have discharged the duty you learned about in Civics class, and proven that you know how to take orders and follow the rules. You have played your part in deciding who gets to play with the guns of the state for the next term, without raising any serious challenge to the legitimacy of the very Establishment you are voting to "fix". (Oh, it's fixed, all right: did you not choose from among the Establishment-approved candidates in the Establishment-approved election constructed, monitored and interpreted by Establishment appointees?) Yes, you're a Cool Kid now. Come get your cookie.
...Always interpret any insinuation that you, the voter, may have been deceived within or by the political enterprise itself, as prima facie evidence of simple provocateuring by The Other Team. No other explanation is acceptable. This just reinforces the evidence that your continued participation in the game is more important than ever before. After all, you've got skin in the game now, and have a reputation to protect.

Most of all, hold your head up high. You're better than they are. You've done your part. Now go tell everyone about it.

I suppose I did write a bit more recently in the same vein, and may as well point to that as well:

I'll be staying home, thanks.  And no matter what "official sources" may tell you, it ain't due to some dismissive fifty-cent term like "apathy".  After more than twenty years of defending all the sophistries just like I was trained to do, I simply ran out of excuses, and realized that politics is not the solution to the problem.  Politics IS the problem.

What I really hope people go to and absorb, though, is Arthur Silber's latest brimstone on the subject.  He's recently been a writing madman, and has contributed some real stunners, which for that man is saying something.

If you vote for Obama or Romney, that is certainly your right -- although you will forever forfeit the right to speak of "rights" at all. If a human being can be murdered for any reason, or for no reason at all, merely on the arbitrary order of someone who claims the power to issue such orders, she has no rights at all. You thus sanction the destruction of all rights, of all human beings -- including yours. The victim may be Mrs. Hamilton, or Joanna -- or you.

If you vote for Obama or Romney, do so proudly. I want you to say: "I vote for Obama/Romney proudly. I am proud to be a knowing accomplice to their murders, including the murders of innocent human beings." Say that, and those of us who refuse to surrender our souls will know where you stand.

This is not a complicated issue. It is stunningly straightforward. Those who seek to complicate and confuse it do so because they will not identify the meaning of their support, either to themselves or to anyone else. When they wish still to be regarded as "civilized," murderers and their accomplices will engage in endless irrelevant arguments and invent complexities where none exist. Don't let them get away with it. They are knowing accomplices to murder. Make them say it.

Yesterday he published this excellent treatise on contributing to the legitimacy of a broken system by participation, and on the fallacy of the lesser of evils.  It's blistering:

To return to what may now seem comparatively mundane, the question of voting for national office, even if only for a third-party candidate: It is not simply that one grants legitimacy to the overall system by doing so, although that is true and horrifyingly bad in itself. Perhaps more important is this: all advocates of third-party voting acknowledge its futility. Their candidate is not going to win. They know that.

But let's identify the further meaning of such a vote. They also know that either Obama or Romney will win. That is: a man who enthusiastically embraces the State's murder program -- a program that systematically, regularly, routinely murders innocent human beings, anywhere in the world, for any reason the State chooses -- and who similarly embraces the surveillance and police State, together with endless death campaigns abroad as well as a growing system of oppression and brutalization at home -- will win the presidency. By participating in the election at all, you grant legitimacy to the process that will make one of these two men president. You thereby grant legitimacy to the system itself, to the State, and to all those actions you know with absolute certainty the State will take in the future.

That is what your vote means, even if you vote for a third-party candidate. Perhaps you can do that, and still continue to live together with yourself.

I cannot -- and I will not.

Silber is a national treasure, delightfully enigmatic and directly caustic in a way that we desperately need more of.

Well, that's enough for the record this time.  We'll see, I guess, which of the two proffered monsters we'll have to deal with for the next four years;  there's obviously not a nickel's worth of difference in any way that matters between them, but I must say that Mitthead makes for a much more elegant nom d'ridicule than anything I've seen for BHO, so maybe that would be fun.  (Hey now, it's a difference, and you have to take what you can get!)

Gawd, here we go again.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Perhaps I am not a proper prepper.

Thought I should document this.  Another Facebook stream.

It started with the following post, from a pretty reliably thoughtful friend:

I just voted. I've never walked out of an election facility feeling so unhappy. Regardless of who wins, on January 21, 2013, I will still be doing my art and be committed to my causes. The country WON'T go to Hell in a hand basket, and life will go on.

The relevant comment stream follows.  (Note that this is not the complete comment stream;  a few other comments stood outside the following exchange, and I left them out.)

[D]:  Despite your hopeful vote, the country is in a runaway hand-basket headed straight to Hell.

[Me]:  Although it will sound flip for me to say it, I'm actually quite serious: why do it if it only makes you unhappy? Maybe that inner voice of yours is telling you something you should listen to.

Why not consider full-scale heresy? You can offend everyone equally, and at least stop contributing to legitimizing the problem. (That latter is really what most helps me sleep at night.)

[K]:  The two I like have no chance. I dislike the two of whom one will win. I vote because it is my duty as a citizen.

I was very upset when I signed something stating among many things that I have never been convicted of a felony-- why do they lose their chance to vote even after they serve their time?

[D]:  Kevin: Like your post. It IS way past time to whine..get busy! Dig the most sustainable, comfortable hole you can and crawl in.

[Me][D], just to be clear: I've no intention of holing up. I see the answer as engaging with people, not retracting. That can be done quite effectively without supporting the state, and I do it everywhere I can.

[D]:   Kevin: Check back with me on that when the currency collapses and the supermarket shelves are empty, if you've prepared for that.

[Me][D]: respectfully, I think your rejoinder makes my case for me. While it seems prudent enough to maintain an emergency stockpile of certain things, a simple reliance on stockpiled hermitage seems a short-term plan at best. When (fiat) currency does crash and common supplies do dry up (which seems likely, although none of us knows when), stored supplies will only get you so far, and in a really disastrous scenario, those will have to be defended against looters, who (believe it!) will quickly figure out who has what. Not a good time to be isolated and alone.

Stockpiling is easy, but in and of itself it's as much an absolution fantasy as the political system most people are stockpiling against in the first place. And it's so...maudlin. I'd rather not dwell on building a world that I'd consider a hell to live in; instead, I like to focus on building the world I actually want.

So, I'm spending my efforts now cultivating personal, symbiotic relationships with my neighbors, so that we know how to support each other in simple trade for basic necessities: skills, supplies, resources. I know who to go to for (sustainable) food, for basic building resources and skills, for networking and for communication. These people in turn are learning what I can provide them as well. (It's society as most of us think it should be, direct, rather than society as proxied out to abstract "others".) I consider expanding this network, at every possible turn, to be a much more sustainable strategy against long-term economic or social collapse, than trying to go it all alone.

Is it likely that such "voluntaryists" may have to defend against looters, either of the freelance or badged variety? Sure, I've got no illusions about that--including the illusion that I'd be able to significantly better my chances by going it alone and trying to vanish. If I can help build a voluntary society instead, I'll have help if the need comes to defend it--and even better, I'll--we'll--have the available card of offering a sustainable alternative to those who would otherwise resort to simple force. It seems pretty clear that not everyone would take the deal, but hell, if TS really does hit TF, nobody's going to be able to escape the necessity of repelling some boarders. (In that regard, I stand ready to do what I must.)

The other thing I like about this strategy is this: it works now, too. Truly voluntary society may be unwelcome within political systems (ALL political systems), which invariably attempt to control or destroy it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't or can't work, either above or below the table. I'm learning more and more how to back away, peacefully, and shift my reliance onto people and skills that not only may survive a catastrophic scenario, but may even thrive in its aftermath. And if the scenario is less than catastrophic, or if I'm completely wrong and we can vibe along indefinitely as we are--well, I'm still happy to be living this way, as directly and free of politics as I can manage. It works--I've never been more connected with my neighbors as I am now, and it's always improving.

If the point of all this "life" stuff is to live free, after all, I want to make the most of it, starting now. Being ready for the worst doesn't have to mean paranoia, privation and isolation.  :-)

[Me]:  For anyone who is interested in the "preparation" topic, there's a pretty good sequence going on right now over at Claire's place. (For anyone who doesn't know Claire: please remedy that. She is one of the more important voices of our time.)

The most recent installment as of this writing is here.

[Me]:  Aand, I found my old "Welcome back Claire" article on Examiner, for those who might need it.

I found [K]s initial posting and later comment about not being a 'felon' (which is of course increasingly absurd as a measure of decency, with the average among us committing three felonies a day without even being aware of it) to be most interesting.  In those observations there are available seeds for further awareness, and the phrasing and tone indicate that the observations may have already passed that point at which they can be willed back into ignorance. 

A simple matter of time, then.  Here's hoping that happens, enough.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Arthur Silber: man on fire.

After another health-driven hiatus, Arthur Silber is on another of his "write-like-a-madman" binges, and there are some humdingers in there.  I'd like to say a few more specific things about them, but may not get the time to do so.

Still...this just went into the Facebook stream:

"If you vote for Obama or Romney, that is certainly your right -- although you will forever forfeit the right to speak of "rights" at all. If a human being can be murdered for any reason, or for no reason at all, merely on the arbitrary order of someone who claims the power to issue such orders, she has no rights at all. You thus sanction the destruction of all rights, of all human beings -- including yours. The victim may be Mrs. Hamilton, or Joanna -- or you.

If you vote for Obama or Romney, do so proudly. I want you to say: "I vote for Obama/Romney proudly. I am proud to be a knowing accomplice to their murders, including the murders of innocent human beings." Say that, and those of us who refuse to surrender our souls will know where you stand.

This is not a complicated issue. It is stunningly straightforward. Those who seek to complicate and confuse it do so because they will not identify the meaning of their support, either to themselves or to anyone else. When they wish still to be regarded as "civilized," murderers and their accomplices will engage in endless irrelevant arguments and invent complexities where none exist. Don't let them get away with it. They are knowing accomplices to murder. Make them say it."


Arthur Silber is once again a man on fire. This is just one of a recent flurry of posts that should not just be read, but really grappled with, before befouling oneself with the stank of a voting booth.

I've wrestled with how to arrive at the "Don't let them get away with it...Make them say it" observation, and have never been happy with where I've wound up.  Silber, unsurprisingly, nails it here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pellets on steel, through snow.

Snuck another opportunity to have not-quite-four-year-old Sabre call snapshot targets for me out on the porch this weekend.  The snow and cold arrived here with a wham! and suddenly there was a good 8" on the ground;  the little chicken spinner I've been using got covered with snow and fell-over grass until you could barely see the frame it hangs from.  So, I had a unique opportunity to try and hit a small target through foliage--not a bad thing to test yourself on from time to time.

The extra bonus was that she wanted to learn more, and in addition to calling, she actually loaded for me.  She figured out all by herself which way the pellet goes into the breech, and did a fine job.  For grins, I also tried the old instructor's trigger trick, but backwards:  after watching me a few times, I'd have her wait for me to settle into a position and then press the trigger for me.  She delighted in pressing, feeling the gun recoil (yes, spring-piston air rifles do have perceptible recoil--it's from the piston, not the pellet), and then hearing the ping! sound of her hit.  She'd quickly bore of this if we did it a lot, but the novelty value was there and she enjoyed it, so I'll call it a win.

Also brought out the Scout, just to do some dry fire on the same targets.  Sabre asked "are you going to load that one too, Daddy?" and I had some fun with the response.  I put a 7.5 grain .177" pellet on the railing, and said "you know what this sounds like, and it's not loud at all."  Then I popped a round out of the Scout's spare magazine,  and put it next to the tiny pellet.  "That, however, is really loud...way too loud for the neighborhood, and way too loud for our ears without earmuffs."  Her eyes got suitably big, and she nodded.  We agreed I'd just do dry-fire with "the gray one".

And that was interesting in and of itself.  Even without the feedback of the hits pinging on the spinners, she seemed quite fascinated just watching me mount, press, and snap the bolt on the "real" rifle.  She'd call her preferred target ("Chicken!" or "Sheep!") and I'd dry-hit that one, snap the bolt, hit the second one, run the bolt again, and then on-safe and go to Standard Ready.  Great practice for me, especially right after running the pellet gun...and just priceless to be doing "serious" work with my little girl.

I may have to take her up to the counter the next time we're in Soldotna (don't get me started about gunshops in Homer;  I'll do business with people that obviously want my business, thanks) and see just how far she has to go to fit the Chipmunk / Crickett stock honorably...

And now I can't wait to try out an Airsoft 1911.    :-)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Greenwald on the puppet show.

The hardest part about quoting Glenn Greenwald is picking the money quote:  at some point, you actually have to decide on just one.

Best to just RTWT, but here you go anyway.  I'll just use the cheap expedient of his closing statement, which is like a big old tonic triad ending a song:

"To understand the US political process, one can just look to how these sham debates are organized and how they function. This is the same process that repeats itself endlessly in virtually every other political realm."

Indeed--and I'm not sure anyone could demonstrate that more authoritatively, to a larger audience, than Greenwald.  To anyone who thinks they got value out of last night's puppet show:  please, read this and check it out for yourself.

The joke is on you.  It's always on you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"It's just time to learn how."

A brilliant observation by commenter LarryA, over at Claire's place. 

Money quote:

This year new-women-shooter classes are sold out, I haven’t had a CHL or Hunter Education class less than 50% female, and the most common reason has been, “I don’t know. It’s just time to learn how.”

He goes on to offer "[t]he NON-threatening explanation" that maybe gunnie things have just become acceptable enough to drive that sort of rationale.

LarryA is being more polite than I am.  I'm a strong believer in sixth senses, and although Leviathan has done its level best to breed, train and condition it out of us, I say betting money's on these gals just recognizing a skill they may well need, in a near-enough term future to demand preparing now.  The tone and context of that phrasing reminds me of several similar things I've seen in pregnant women, where, at a level that simply must be instinctual, the woman suddenly (and inexplicably) takes up a new skill that she then puts to excellent use some time after the child is born (or sometimes even during the delivery), as though she got a psychic message telling her exactly what she would need to do at some unspecified later time.  The sheer prescience is eerie to watch, when it happens.  (I also happen to think it's one of the most amazing and beautiful things I've ever seen.)

There's another aspect to the observation, as well.  In a recent conversation with Cathy's mother (of whom I am dearly fond), she offered the following observation about a variety of political initiatives (I'm phrasing from memory here):

Sometimes, even though so many people say so many things about something, you just know--you know--it's wrong, but don't know how to say how it is you know that.  And so I'd rather say nothing.

Amen.  The answer that these women give to LarryA is almost certainly more reliable and openly honest than that which they'd give on a government questionnaire asking demanding to know why they want to learn how to shoot. But...we'd be foolish to presume that was their entire story, too.  (I presume LarryA would agree with me on that, just to be clear.  :-)

And that's okay.  I'm happy to leave people to their own reasons.  Whatever those reasons may be, their clearing the biggest hurdle, the one that keeps them from being there, is past them, and the door is open both to competency and to the mental transformations that accompany it.

Much good can come from that.

Not posted on Facebook.

It must be election season again.  The onanistic frenzy of the "do your part" brigade is ratcheting up a notch, infesting otherwise intelligent young people with the provably ridiculous fiction that the only way to get results is to (engage nasal whine) work within the system.  This, of course, serves the Establishment the incalculably useful purpose of invigorating the pre-indentured noobs to perpetuate their own position of servitude, not only by merely re-legitimizing the system which enslaves them, but actually causing them to go out and pimp for it.  (Damn, it's hard to believe I ever fell for it myself, now, but of course I did, and apparently the same shit still sells.)

And so, on Facebook, I was recently treated to the following:

Hey all you young Americans:  I will no longer listen to you complain about this countries government unless you tell the government what you want and vote.

Gag.  My first thought, sarcastically, was, "well, at least I'm not 'young' anymore, so perhaps I get a pass."

The following is what I did not post on Facebook, in response.  In the end, I just didn't feel like picking on a person who I know to be bright enough to figure this out independently, given enough time and a little attention.

Apologies in advance, [E].  I seem to have a thing with sacred cows.

You said:
   "...unless you tell the government what you want and vote."
And what, precisely, has this ever accomplished?  Seems to me "we" have been "throwing the bums out" since approximately 1796.  The problem is not now, and has never been, who occupies the offices, nor has it been the technical configuration of the dipswitches of regulation.  If there was any chance whatever of that strategy working, it would have worked generations ago, and we'd be reaping the benefits now.

The problem has always been that "we" have gradually conferred ("ceded" is really the better word) absolute power into the state--meaning that no atrocity that we can now observe can possibly come as a surprise--and in what must be the mother of all absolution fantasies, "we" continue to this day not only to expect redress from the very source that produces the problem (!), but also to hold up as heretics any who would intentionally suggest that the answer may lie in (gasp) removing the enforced monopolies that allow the protection racket to "perform"...just exactly as all protection rackets do.

No, see, that's insane.  The right answer is just to make sure the One Ring winds up in the hands of the "real" Frodo.*  (So were we all taught in school, and so are we all reminded whenever the Establishment deigns to address its lessers.)  To borrow from Pynchon, that quite effectively gets people talking about the wrong questions, so that difficult answers can remain safely--at the risk of serially mixing metaphors now--"behind the curtain".

That is:  as long as we all keep bickering about seat assignments, team colors and the implementation minutiae of who should be controlled in what way, and continue to come vote it all into legitimacy for yet another term, the Establishment will remain healthy and undisturbed.  (Once monopoly has been established, only legitimacy is necessary to maintain it, and voting is the basic unit of legitimacy.)

The morning of this year's election, I'll re-post what I finally got around to writing in 2010.  (I suppose I could wait for the election results to come in, but hell, it won't matter.)

(Yeah, I'm a real killjoy on election day.  I share the late George Carlin's attitude that it should probably be called National Public Masturbation Day.  It's not that I like being a 'mudge and alienating otherwise pleasant people, but I'd prefer that, than try to further rationalize a system which, as Lysander Spooner observed over a hundred and fifty years ago during Reconstruction, either is wholly incapable of preventing the horrible things that we tolerate, or is in fact precisely the reason that those horrible things exist.)

I'll be staying home, thanks.  And no matter what "official sources" may tell you, it ain't due to some dismissive fifty-cent term like "apathy".  After more than twenty years of defending all the sophistries just like I was trained to do, I simply ran out of excuses, and realized that politics is not the solution to the problem.  Politics IS the problem.

Disagree at your pleasure, of course.  Most "enlightened" folks do, and perhaps the saving grace of my kind of heresy is that principled non-participation mathematically inflates the value of those who do vote.  That is:  I should be much easier to write off than those who simply want "the other guy", or "no" instead of "yes", etc.  (And a special thanks in advance to anyone who reads this and thinks, "man, what a dumbass...doesn't want to participate and yet will still have to submit to the system's laws..."  Doing so demonstrates once again how the system really works, and validates for me just precisely the reason I avoid politics wherever I possibly can.)

For what it's worth, my goal here is not converts.  (It would be pretty ironic, if not outright hypocritical, of me to offer the above thoughts, to anyone for whom they may be new thoughts, and expect you to "take my word for it"--would it not?)  In fact I wouldn't trust anyone who simply nodded along, without any independent investigation, anyway.  I would simply propose a thought experiment for anyone who feels they must continue to vote, for whatever reason.  It's a simple experiment, one question only:
   What if the joke is really on you?
Think about that, non-trivially, for one to two weeks.  Observe the world with this in mind.  And then do with your own answer what you will.

* And we might do well to remember that even Frodo failed at the moment of truth--it was the sheer luck of Gollum's clumsy greed that finally did the job that needed doing.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The three-year-old match director.

Today after lunch, to give Cathy a few minutes before handing the girls over and going back to work, I went out on the porch with the new Bronco air rifle*, figuring that it might amuse Dee and that Sabre (whose initial reaction last week was that it was somehow loud and therefore scary) would go around to the other side of the house to play on her own.

Not at all.

Dee amused herself with sidewalk chalk, and Sabre took a keen interest in what Daddy was doing.  (I suspect that today, she actually listened and figured out that it's not loud at all.)   The clanks and pings of the pellets against the little steel swingers made her grin, and ditto when I pointed out that she could watch the little orange chicken and ram move when they were hit.   Shortly it even became a game:   I'd break the action, load a pellet, close the action, rest the buttstock on my belt in the ready position, and look over at Sabre, who would then call out "chicken!" or "sheep!" on her preference when she was ready.  I'd acquire the selected target visually, mount (hitting the safety on the way), and fire the snapshot. She learned the difference in sound between a miss (a thwap into the mud) and a hit, and learned that I sometimes have to slow down to make sure I get the hit.

Among "happy Dad" moments, this one is right up there with the bestest. Having her call the target like that is actually quite fantastic practice for me, but the making-it-fun-for-her part is priceless. I cannot reasonably expect that she'll take the interest I have, and will do my best never to push beyond simple, safe competency...

...but I'm savoring this. :-)

* Another point of praise for a gun I like more with every shot:  I cannot imagine a better piece to have had in hand when this opportunity arose.  It is perfect for this role:  both in its attributes (great trigger, excellent sights, ergonomic safety, fully ambidextrous, and easy to run), and also in its concept.  I was able to focus wholly and completely not on running the gun, but on engaging my audience and adapting as necessary.  For anyone who is a teacher at heart, this is gold!  A deep tip of the hat to Tom Gaylord (amusingly aka "B.B. Pelletier" on his really excellent blog), who designed and brought it from idea to reality--and also who educated me on so much background before I even went to purchase.  Anyone who knows me personally can tell you that design is deeply meaningful to me, and this is a designed rifle.  I'd recommend it to anyone, and everyone.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mounting: Bronco v. Marlin

Just to document:  Yesterday, I brought the Marlin (45/70) out on the porch along with the new Bronco, just to see how it compared when mounting at speed.  You may recall that on a right-hand mount, the Bronco seems to have a noticeably high comb, causing me to have to crush my cheek down or hold my head much farther back toward the buttplate.  (Oddly, no such problem seems to attend a left-hand mount, which gives a perfect sight picture with no effort at all.)  I was curious to see if I'd have the same problem on the Marlin, which I haven't worked with in a while.

Nope.  The levergun's ghost-ring sights land just where I remembered, with a very comfortable cheek weld whether I go perfectly erect or take a more aggressive mount for managing recoil.  Of interest, it was also obvious that the length of pull on the Bronco is longer than the shortened Marlin stock;  I do like my LOPs at between 12 and 12.5", despite conventional wisdom, and I've had cause to be happy about that when in the field, shooting prone, with a thick jacket on.  :-)    I just have to think more consciously about mounting the Bronco, with the right hand at least.  I'm certainly getting better at that, but it struck me as odd.  I'll not rule out some stock work to shorten the LOP and maybe increase the drop at the comb just a little bit. We'll see.

And boy, I do love my Marlin.  Dry snaps reminded me of just how...unbelievably magnificent the trigger is on this piece.  Part of it was just the lucky coincidence of a really good M1895 trigger to begin with, part of it was the ministrations of the 'smith at Gunsmoke in Denver, and part of it was the truly amazing NP3 finish from Robar, but still...daaang.  Lever guns simply do not have triggers like this, but there it is anyway.

Anyway:  duly noted on the sight alignment during mounts.

I should get the chrony out before long and see how consistent the Bronco is.  Wee!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

'Wish I'd said that' just doesn't cover it.

Brilliance over at Joel's place, where he relates a message from a friend.  It's not enough just to say "I wish I'd said that".  I've been trying to figure out how to articulate the thought behind this for a good while now, but have never managed it.

Here's how you say it:

For every American killed in the 9/11 attacks, over 1,000 Muslims have been maimed, driven from their homes, and/or driven from their land, their jobs, and their families. The infrastructure of a modern secular society was systematically destroyed, creating a vacuum that was all too easily filled by people skilled in exploiting and harnessing the powers of hatred and righteous anger.

The notion that a crude put-up job like the video could cause violence while decades of murder, rape, and mayhem would not is beyond stupid, beyond pathetic. It is evil. It reflects acceptance of “them” as sub-human, incapable of responding as any and every one of us would respond in similar circumstances. It is the mindset of a slave owner.

When democracies succeed in de-humanizing their enemies, ghastly atrocities always follow. Every time. I will not countenance this evil mindset any longer, and I am rapidly approaching the stage where I will refuse to associate with anyone who indulges in this animalistic barbarism.

This is important.  I lived way too many years of my life without really understanding this, getting caught up in all the right carefully-solicited rage-fests.

I should have seen it sooner.  Had I not for years recognized the demonization of gunnies around the world, in every possible venue and using every possible tool of misdirection?  Or noted the frequency of false-flag operations of "hate groups" which would have vanished naturally long ago except for official infiltration to prop them up?  Had I not long wondered why I never seemed to run into the hateful, dangerous archetypes that were so carefully paraded in front of me on the news as though they were lurking around every corner in the country?  Had I not noted the total absurdity of criminalizing something on one end and subsidizing it on the other, like tobacco for just one example?  Had I not long noticed that the very business of prosecuting the War on (Some) Drugs seemed to serve as a better raison d'etre for that war than any of the marketed goals that it so spectacularly fails to achieve?

Michael Crichton famously called this the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, and I was victim to it for far too long.

The principle is the same no matter what.

More on 'why airguns?'

(Thanks to MamaLiberty, for inspiring these comments in the last post.  After writing them, it seemed appropriate that they be in a separate main post.)

Sometimes necessity really is the source of invention. I think I may have waited so long with airguns simply because finding the time to shoot the "real" ones was never a problem before now (kids, different environment, etc.) really was a classic epiphany moment when I first thought, "why not?"

Cost is certainly a plus point for airguns.  As of this writing, a tin of 500 (.177) pellets--and quality ones, at that--goes for well under $10; where I'm at even .22 rimfire brick ammo is at least $20 per 500; if you want good stuff it approaches $10 per 100. Centerfires, of course, start almost an order of magnitude above even that, and continue.

Noise is another selling point. Not everyone lives in a place where it's realistic to take two steps out your front door and start hitting steel with a firearm, but airguns give me lots of options.

And I'm intending to try out Airsoft as a "serious" training aid, as well. This breakbarrel springer pellet rifle will be excellent for marksmanship fundamentals, and some basic gunhandling skills (this type of action is so much handier than the tedious multi-pump varieties), but if I'm understanding things correctly, Airsoft can get you authentically there, if you're careful when shopping.

If you can keep your gorge down when watching*, consider this video review of a 1911-clone Airsoft gun. For the whole review, look here:

To go directly to the shooting part where you can see the piece in action, either scroll to about 4:26 or click here to watch it on YouTube. Note that the magazine and pistol should fit any standard leather, and between the low relative cost of Airsoft BBs and the several different gas-charging options available, this may well become a great "everyday" solution between dry-fire and live-fire exercises. I could get up and running with a piece that is functionally identical to the one I carry most of the time, with two or three magazines, gas and a supply of pellets, for under $300...and feeding it thereafter should be cheap. Some (but not all) of the Airsoft guns do appear to be just like the real thing, with the gas not only powering the pellet, but also cycling the action.

And the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that there is an important middle ground between dry-fire and live-fire, that this idea should cover well. For example: training in your own house with live fire is certainly going to be messy, and dry-fire is limiting because you can't realistically engage multiple targets. But the Airsoft option would allow you to do that, either without or even with the plastic BBs, if you have suitable backstops. Others will point out the actual force-on-force options that Airsoft makes possible as well, to train in tactics beyond the square range. It's intriguing.

Thus far, I believe I've found such an Airsoft trainer for both the 1911 pistol and the M14 rifle (other possibles like boltguns, leverguns, revolvers and the Kahr auto haven't been as fully vetted yet), and when I get around to each I'll be sure to post findings here.

* Explanation for that carefully considered statement is at the bottom of this post.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Now that's how you do lunch.

That's what a lunch should be like.  A quick bite, followed by probably 50 pellets off the porch, at paper and a small steel spinner.  (Range is probably a little over the airgun-standard 10m.)

Today's lessons:  this rifle is completely ambidextrous, and I'm fascinated that I don't have to work on my cheek weld for the left-side at all, even while I continue to fight the right side.  Left-hand mounts are consistent and natural, and the hits follow..."weak-side" me woulda beat the snot out of "strong-side" me today, in a formal competition.  Groups were tighter and more on point of aim--in fact the only thing limiting me on the left side is the need to close the non-dominant eye.

On the right side, IF my mount is good, I can keep both eyes completely open and hit quickly, but I have a strong tendency to crawl the comb and have to fine-tune the mount when I do, slowing things down considerably.  As I work with this a little more I'll do some dry-fire with the Marlin in parallel (which also employs ghost-ring sights) and maybe something will suggest itself.

The Bronco's trigger is excellent.  It is so good it is clear to me that I need to raise my game in order to better appreciate it.  Very well then, will do!  And the operation of the "auto-engaging safety" is clean and positive too.  These are two items that are very important to a training and practice regimen, and those are some of the reasons I went with the Bronco in the first place.  Gratifying!

With a dedicated airgun spinner of a little higher visual contrast, this "off-the-porch" thing is going to be really, really nice for daily practice throughout the year.  The porch provides both rain protection and vertical post options for practicing the tree rest.

I've started thinking about an effective way to carry this piece on walks (breakbarrels are challenging on traditional slings and are probably even worse for Ching Slings), and am intrigued at the back-scabbard option here:

Beyond that, I'm envisioning a few accoutrements like the "pellet pen" which may prove its weight in gold on really cold days, and figuring out what the right backpack or fannypack combination might be.

We'll see.  For the nonce, I'll start with lunch tomorrow.  :-)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The airgun adventure begins.

I am now the simply giddy owner of a spankin' new Air Venturi Bronco air rifle.

This came about as the end choice of a couple of months of self-study, much of that at the simply splendid Pyramyd Air website.  (Pyramyd Air was not the first airgun resource I came across, but it so quickly overtook everything else that there was no question of where my business would go.  These are folks I am happy to go back to for all things airgun.

The package came early, and the boy in me was absolutely powerless to resist trying it out right away. After just the first ten pellets, I am so happy I made the choice I did. This rifle is pretty clearly going to be everything that its designer and promoter says it is.

I have much to learn about airgun-fu, and intend to, but within a simple ten-shot string I have now learned how to compensate for the high comb in mounting, figured out how to manage the trigger and safety designs, and in general have now seen first-hand how to run a breakbarrel springer.  Squee!

At the fourth or fifth round I dispensed with the rear-sight aperture insert, creating a true ghost-ring arrangement, and will be much happier with that. I may yet experiment with it some more, but my eyes like a sight picture that does not obscure the target. The first three pellets (offhand, at about 10m, onto a shoe box with no fixed aiming point), which had felt cleaning wads in front of them, went into about an inch, which tickled me greatly. The next seven grouped a little higher and tighter, and it will be interesting to see how things improve with a little familiarity and some attention to a deliberate bull. (I make no claim to outstanding marksmanship;  this piece should be capable of far greater things than my skills can reveal.) And with this rifle, the safety is ergonomic enough that snapshot work will be excellent practice for "real" rifles.

Next up:  more getting to know this trigger and sights, position shooting, learning the "artillery hold" that all the serious airgunners talk about, and some time with both a bull and a chronograph.

Since I can only learn it the first time once, I intend to enjoy it with complete abandon. This rifle is going to make that really, really fun.

Here goes!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hey, I got it...let's force everyone to vaccinate and we'll make [x] go away forever!

UPDATED, the morning after.  See below for what may does appear to be plenty of egg on ol' Kevin's face.


More "I just threw up a little in my mouth" from Facebook.

I got irritated--you can see it in my response--and would not at all be surprised if either my comment or the whole thread gets "Yezhov-ed" out of [A]'s feed.  After all, once you're past the pesky moral problem of using the guns of the state to force a solution on everyone, you've already accepted the legitimacy of boxcars, so what's a little literary redaction among superior beings?

The original post, from [A]:

Here's why we (in Northern CA) are at the epicenter of a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic: 79% of the children at one of the [private] schools here in [xxx] are not vaccinated. Mamma mia.

Comment stream:

R:  SMH. I guess these parents -- who, I'm sure, got all of THEIR shots when they were kids -- have never known anyone who died from a "childhood" disease.

J:  Oh Good Gravy! Tagging on [R] -- or scarred from chicken pox, infertile from mumps, developmentally delayed from measles or rubella; or heck, had to miss their own birthday party from any of those illnesses (I'm not bitter) (not to make light of a very serious subject). We've lost the understanding of public health and the common good. There are children who cannot receive vaccines for good cause, but it many ways it just seems like a fad, like gluten-free, etc. (Yes, I know gluten can be an issue -- my sneaky Auntie who taught me to cheat at cards was diagnosed with Celiac's in the late 60's -- should have tried eating gluten-free back then before Whole Foods, etc came to San Antonio. Changed the whole family's meals.)

A:  We take for granted the public health programs and policies that keep us ALL healthier. I actually did a customized vaccination schedule for [As kid], but we got all the vaccinations, and we decided in close conversation with his doctor. Given where we lived (high density, highly transient and well-traveled population in [xxx], lots of travelers with direct and active contact with Asia and Africa and other developing parts of the world....) and our lifestyle (public transportation, frequent flights to [xx] and Europe), we NEEDED to get polio and pertussis and several others early on. In my experience, most parents aren't thoughtful or scientific about the decision -- either they just vaccinate when the CDC/pediatrician recommends without thinking, or they reject the medical establishment without thinking.

R:  I'm betting a lot of this comes from the vaccination-autism scare, but I think that's been pretty well debunked. (There are more cases of autism spectrum disorders now because, like ADD/ADHD, they are better-diagnosed. I taught kids early in my career who, I now realize, were Aspies, but back then, we just thought they were hard to deal with.) This pertussis outbreak, for example, is no joke. While a teenager might survive it (like my student who missed a month of classes), an infant or an elderly person might not. And don't get me started on meningitis. One of my favorite students was perfectly fine on Friday afternoon and dead on Sunday night. If we have the ability to prevent these things, I can't understand not taking advantage.

A:   The vaccination-autism myth is still alive and well, though.

Me:  Because forcing everyone into a common "solution" is just fine when your intentions are noble, right?  The fact that many of the to-be-forced may have harmed no one and WILL harm no one seems to matter nothing to superior beings who can see the glorious, eugenic future with such greater clarity than their lessers. 

When it comes to forcing everyone to be straight, using "law" and the power of the state to accomplish the goal, I hear these great and noble tirades about the inviolability of "choice".  Ditto the right of a woman to the sovereign sancity of her own body.  But simply change the parameters of the sentence to something "noble", like forcing children and their families into medical decisions that may or may not be in their best interests, "for their own good and that of others", and suddenly the exact same fascism is just bloody FINE?

I've yet to get an intelligible, much less persuasive, defense of the pluperfectly absurd concept that there is any sort of moral authority in attempting to force onto everyone a single solution for anything. 

And Jesus Freakin' Christ:  even for those who are persuaded by pragmatism--that ridiculous notion that once a certain statistical "tipping point" is reached, that it suddenly justifies doing something that would be considered unconscionably immoral if done in isolation--does anybody actually believe that a population of literally hundreds of millions can be in any way effectively brought to 100% compliance on ANYTHING?  It doesn't matter how draconian the enforcement is--hell, consult a host of 20th century eugenics atrocities for some recent "field data" on that concept--it isn't going to work because it can't possibly work.  (And even if by some cosmic fluke it did work, worldwide:  people do understand, right, that Mother Nature can effortlessly toss in a spontaneous mutation or other variation that could render the whole effort meaningless?  Or what if "settled science" has one of those little "oopsie" moments that happen so regularly throughout the history of mankind, wherein years later we find out that what we thought was iron-clad, really isn't?)

The biggest "myth" here is the myth of CONTROL.  

We'll see what happens.  Maybe I should just shut down Facebook, because this shit just starts to get to ya after a while, Nock or no Nock.


FIRST UPDATEIn which I may have made multiple critical errors of assumption.  Wouldn't that figure. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't, but if I'm to have a chance at respectability, I've gotta report it all.

The comment stream most certainly does continue:

R: Any given person's sexuality has no bearing on my life. Any given woman's deciding to have an abortion has no bearing on my life. Refusing to vaccinate yourself or your child CAN have a bearing on my life and my children's lives and my grandchildren's and my students' lives. My kids and students don't have smallpox scars on their arms because the disease was eradicated by vaccination in the US before they were born. My son doesn't have the chickenpox scars that my daughter has because the vaccine was available for him, and he is not sterile because the mumps vaccine was available for him. I didn't have to worry about either of them being blinded by measles, nor did I have to worry about them being crippled by polio and spending the rest of their lives in an iron lung, as a friend's father did. They have not died within 48 hours of contracting meningitis (a horrible, torturous death, BTW, while your body dies limb by limb -- I saw this firsthand). Knowing that I had been vaccinated against rubella gave me some hope that they wouldn't be born with birth defects.

Vaccination against deadly diseases and eugenics are totally different subjects. I don't understand what you find "unconscionably immoral" about protecting children from diseases that can maim or kill them. Life is a crapshoot, for sure, but if there is something to do to improve the odds, then I'm in. There are enough things that come out of the blue to make me willing to prevent those that I can.

There is no vaccine against stillbirth, or I wouldn't have had to bury a baby. There is no vaccine against pediatric cancer, or I wouldn't have attended too many funerals for little kids or have spent the past six years supporting my grandson through every available treatment for neuroblastoma. But when a vaccine exists, you can be damned sure that any child I know will get it.

This is 2012, not 1312.

Me: You have either managed to miss my point entirely, or you are willfully ignoring it in the service of your personal willingness to force a choice you happen to believe in upon everyone else, whether they do or not. Yes, you make it quite clear that "any child I know will get it," whether or not that child or the kid's parents may in fact want it. Roger that.

You speak in sophistries that paint an idyllic picture of an opt-in utopia in which everyone sees the glorious wisdom of the Establishment's choice, and makes the superior decision to follow it as you would, while glossing over or ignoring the patent absurdity of a "solution"* which, to have any hope of "succeeding", "requires" that every child (family) make the same "choice", in that you do not accept the notion of someone simply opting OUT for a reason that you or your political designate(s) find unacceptable. Like: maybe they just disagree with you.

     "...if there is something to do to improve the odds, then I'm in."

Good on you. But it's not the relative health value of a vaccine in a voluntary system that is offensive here, it's the force: that unsaid part of your statement after "I'm in" that continues with "...and I'll do whatever I can to use the political system to make sure that you're in too, even if you'd rather be out". You probably would not find it hard to conjure up a different topic in which the above words, quoted to you by someone else, would infuriate you, and it should not surprise you that others may react the same way here. Removing the peaceable choices of others does seem to have that effect on people, who have responded through all human history (even before 1312) by finding workable ways around the problem.

Look: I argued above both that the force is both immoral on its face, and that as a strategy it is inevitably incapable of accomplishing the stated goal through both sheer mathematical probability and the marvelously contrarian human tendency to push back when ordered around. You simply responded with anecdotes about risk, and tried to minimize the common thread between fascistic sexual regulation and fascistic health regulation by offering the "pre-crime" argument of "CAN have a bearing on my life" as though that is a valid discriminant that can legitimize one flavor of fascism while denying another. Do advocates of fascistic sexual regulation not themselves argue that them queers CAN have a bearing on their lives?

Can't have it both ways. Either forcing people is wrong, or "we" recognize the legal legitimacy of every atrocity committed in the name of The Common Good.

* One might observe that the very concept we're talking about here, universal vaccination, does not even have as its primary objective the health of children at all, but rather the "eradication" of a disease, and those are not even remotely the same goals. Any given vaccination, itself, may have benefits that outweigh its costs, and most of the folks I know evaluate each one on its own merits, with a "default position" in the case of a tie that suits their individual sense of risk.

A: I'm on my phone so I can't type fluently, but I will add some thoughts anyway. 19 states currently have opt-out provisions. Personally, I think that that's appropriate; if I lived in a state where not vaccinating was a crime, I'd probably be advocating for an opt-out provision. That said, a lot (too many) parents opt out without making an informed choice and without weighing scientific evidence about risks and benefits. I say this because every year i show parents how to sign the personal beliefs waiver and I ask them "how did you decide?". I'm genuinely curious. And the answers I get ought to be embarrassing.

In my case, I'm not trained to evaluate the statistical data that we have. (I can usually spot an UNreliable study with poor controls and few data points.). But I know this about myself. Fortunately, my son's dad has two degrees (from high achieving, real universities) in just that (quantitative science and statistics) - seriously, the conversations he and Dr. Stafford had were lively -and- way beyond me. But i am good at getting to the central issue and asking good questions. So together, I know that we made a sound decision for us.

I believe that while we cannot force people to be smart, informed, intentional - that's the ideal. And every time someone tried to quote 25 year old soundly discredited "research" (opinion, hypothesis) to me - vaccines cause autism - I want to pull my hair out. Because I can't force them to make a different choice, but I do believe that their decision is selfish and short-sighted. I do judge that. I do believe that we are stronger together and we have a shared, mutual responsibility to a common experience. If I felt otherwise, I'd go homestead off the grid in the boonies somewhere. I respect their right to make different choices than I do, AND I don't respect it when people don't get real facts and inform themselves. Period.

(Also, I believe that there are scientific facts.)

Ok. Next: I disagree that the reason vaccines exist is to eradicate disease. I believe that vaccines were and are developed to help individual people. I have friends who are pharmaceutical abd genetics research scientists, and I know for a fact they are motivated by helping individual people. I'm glad that smallpox isn't a threat any more. My mother had polio and I worry that she'll have the weird relapse thing that happens to so many survivors when they get older. I am glad that I can give my son a better chance at NOT getting measles and whopping cough and mumps. I'm glad that -even if it's not perfect - he is less likely to spread one of those diseases to a child whose parents didn't vaccinate. I sleep better at night because I really do feel interconnected and I don't believe my son is actually more precious that your daughters or the children I work with. So I do what I can to keep all of them safer.

R:  What??? Way to read your own agenda into what I said! Sophistry? Doing what I can to keep a child from dying from a preventable disease hardly involves fallacious reasoning. And at no point did I say or intimate that ". . . I'll do whatever I can to use the political system to make sure that you're in too, even if you'd rather be out". That's YOUR bias speaking. I was referring to my own children, my students, and my family. Please feel free to go drink a bubonic plague mai-tai if you want. I couldn't care less. Just do me a favor and stay away from anyone I know. Thanks.

[A]. I'm sorry. I was just trying to respond to your OP about pertussis and the importance of doing what we can to prevent disease.

A: It's ok, [R]. Kevin's a big boy, tho I think a little more out of sorts today - eh, Kev? Vaccinating really riles people up - and I confront it every year at this time because of the health department statistics we have to keep. At my best, I find it fascinating to consider why people vax or don't vax. At other times, I'm just so disappointed by the lack of basic analysis and decision-making effort. If someone really gets good info, in my experience, they generally decide to do a partial and/or delayed vax schedule. Most people really don't want their kids to be vulnerable. And I have met one or two families who acknowledged the real risks/benefits and still chose not to vax. I believe both were strongly (!) anarchist minded and reflexively rejected any rules. I can say I respected them more than the parents who read bad scare stories on the Internet and say things like, "I don't want to talk to my pediatrician about this because I know what he'll say."

A:  My fingers hurt!!!!! Wah!!!!!

R:  And that's all fine, [A]. But watching a strapping 18-year-old die, as gangrene set in limb by limb, because of a meningitis infection that could have been prevented by a vacciine is something I will never forget. I'm not making a political statement. I'm simply saying that any children on whom I have an influence will get the best that modern medicine has to offer.

A:  I understand. I advocate for whooping cough vaccines here in NorCal. Neither of us can actually force anyone to vaccinate. But we can put all our persuasive efforts out and hope to sway some.

Me:  On one hand: yeah, I'm overwrought over a slew of completely unrelated items. If any of that crept into my responses despite my effort to suppress it, I do apologize, categorically. As I've said before, my failings are many and well-understood, and I do not expect others to pay for them.

It's also true that the chorus of those who would use the power of the state to foist all kinds of social engineering upon others, across the spectrum, with no sort of opt-out provisions and increasingly...enthusiastic enforcement strategies, has lately been DEAFENING, with this oncoming farce that we call an election. After enough years of being polite in the face of an endless stream of busybodies who all know *just* how I should be running my life (and you yours, which actually bothers me more), the tendency to react in a "Secondhand Lions" fashion might be considered more a valuable survival skill than mere prurient lashback.

[R], I cannot know what you were thinking, but if you really would resist the temptation to vote to legitimize compulsory vaccination and even education, then I do owe you a personal apology, and will deliver it. If that's true, then your reaction to my initial posting seems a very strange way to articulate it; even on re-reading I see little difference between your fervor for personal persuasion (hinging heavily on the "your refusal can hurt my kids" comment) and the approach, semantics and implicit condescension of people who I have seen make calls to "child services" for just such disagreements--calls which can ruin and even take lives. Yours would be the very first such example of that style I have ever seen that was NOT an unabashed endorsement for enforced universal vaccination...but hell, if that is the case, the last thing I'd want to do is chase away someone who is willing to forego the violence of the vote in favor of actual interpersonal persuasion.

It's been a while since I've thoroughly put my foot in my mouth over an inaccurate assumption, and maybe that's what's happened here. I stand by everything I said, regarding those who would support enforced universal vaccination--but if it turns out I was really speaking to nobody actually participating in this conversation, well, I've just once again proven how I can alienate everyone at the party with just a few words.

Me: "I'm simply saying that any children on whom I have an influence will get the best that modern medicine has to offer."

No doubts as to your sincerity there. In my case, it seems that the more I learn about 'modern medicine', the less I trust it. And so that tends to be my option of last resort, despite the fact that we may share the same goal of a healthy kid.

Me: [A]: of course there are "scientific facts". At one point, one of them was that the earth is flat. All any of us can do is make our choices after becoming as fully informed as possible, with the best information available at the time.

I don't believe, either, that the original purpose of vaccinations was for eradication. But the concept of enforced universal vaccination (inherently and thoroughly a state concept) does seem to be precisely for the purpose of "eradicating" one or more diseases, and I distinctly remember being taught in school, and lectured by officials ever since, that the only way eradication works is if everyone is forced to vaccinate.

A (to me, privately):  Hey there - based on your other post today (earlier) it Kinda sounds like you're having a tough time this week. Thanks for the denouement.

I didn't think [R] was advocating for mandatory vax but honestly I was making the assumption that nobody would expect it to be mandatory mandatory. I'm surprised CPS would consider not vaccinating an actionable call - but stranger things have happened I'm sure.

Living in CA, I didn't immediately think about the possibility of parents being truly forced to vax. My main deal w it is that it should be informed and intentional - and it's often just ignorant. And my 2ndary deal is that which vax are important for each family depends largely on where and how you live. Again, for me all about accurate information and thoughtful decision making.

Me (back to [A], privately):  Entirely agreed. One of the things that I really do like about Alaska is that most medical professionals share that view, and essentially expect it in their patients. The state employees, however, have a distinctly different view, and most of the people I know simply don't speak honestly to the "public health" people because of it.

Both our kids thus far have been spared several vaccinations that are officially required for public school, but which every medical professional we've asked about it agrees make no sense in Alaska.

A few others, we've weighed the pros and cons and did the vax with confidence. And hell, there's clearly a lot of wiggle room in there: I certainly got a full set, just as I got fed foods that we deliberately try to keep away from S and C, and of course we both grew up in a time when the way-back of a station wagon was simply a play-yard on wheels...

A (back to whole audience): It does stand to reason that eradicating a disease happens if you get enough vaccination. I wonder if it really has to be 100% or if there's a recognition that perfect is impossible but with very high % you can eliminate the disease?

I do think that eradicating smallpox is a good thing. (but technically they kept some of it in labs). And I really do think it would be good to eliminate polio if we could.

But -in my way less impassioned than you way- I wouldn't put that goal (eradicating polio) over individual choice in the matter. I'd put more effort into persuasion.

Me (back to whole audience):  Well, I'm sure that the official definition of "eradication" manages to shift in direct proportion to the actual performance of official efforts to achieve it with law and policy, but...I'd argue that Mother Nature is forever only one mutation away from nullifying all the efforts, even at a purely theoretical 100% performance rate. (When the day finally comes that "the world's corn supply" is wiped out by just such a variation, maybe more people will remember why diversity is not only healthy but essential to our continued survival. On the positive side, that event will illustrate the wisdom of the emerging segment of individual growers not dependent upon the Master Strain, and maybe more folks will start to look locally for what they need.)

And there we are at the end of the night.  A reminder to me that despite all the banal and otherwise infuriating things I see from [A] on Facebook (the worst of which has been the cult-of-personality hero-worship of the whole "First Family"), there is a real human being in there and I can still get caught by rushes to judgment, especially in the details.

It's what I get, for speaking up during what should be a silent period.


SECOND UPDATE:  Well, by appearances at least as justifiable as that which prompted my initial assumption, yep, I seem to have mounted a rollicking attack against the wrong target.

Further comments:

R:  Kevin, no harm, no foul. But consider yourself to have met someone who would not vote to require universal vaccination. I'm a teacher, not a storm trooper, and I try to lead by example, not oppression. :)

Me[R], thank you for your graciousness here. Given the nature of my faulty assumption and the ferocity with which I pursued it, that graciousness is a choice you did not have to make, and it says something about you that you chose to anyway.

So that everyone here can hear: I am sorry for rushing to judgment regarding your intentions. No matter how valid my frustration may be with the audience I was actually trying to speak to, it is still wrong of me to throw peaceable others into the mix by nothing more than, effectively, apparent association. I'd have a healthy dose of self-hypocrisy to contend with, if I tried to justify that. I won't.

I hope you appreciate the irony as much as I do, of actually being happy to be wrong in this way. Such a revelation is ultimately a help to me, even if I now have to wrestle with another potential risk of becoming what I behold. ("Eternal vigilance" is not just an empty platitude, is it?) Metaphysically, I probably needed this lesson, and I'll be damned if I'll let it go by without learning something from it.

My sincere apologies. If I re-look at everything that you've said in a different light, it seems we may be pretty close in our approach, even if the details may be vastly different. There is something comforting in there, about how different paths can wind up in the same place, and the more I fully embrace the non-aggression principle, the more there seems to be to celebrate about those different paths.

Now: cogitation and reflection, apparently even more needed than I thought. Again, thank you for your grace.

And now, to STFU for a while. Yes, I realize that I may yet have some significant differences with [R] in adjacent realms, but for the nonce at least I've "priced myself right out of the ethical market", and I'll just let it go.