Friday, February 23, 2018

School Shootings - What do we do?

Yet another terrible tragedy on our hands here in the USA. Everyone's asking "How do we stop this?"

The usual culprits on both sides have ideas. On the left, you have the "Ban Assault Rifles" and "Gun Control Now!" crowd, on the right it's "Arm all the teachers!" and "Armed Security!!!"
I'm more inclined to say the the right is correct on this one, but it's gotta be more in depth than that. Forcing people to do anything they don't want to do is not conducive to positive changes in society. Forcing all the teachers (especially those who don't want to) to carry guns and get training goes against everything we hold dear about freedom.

Trump's calls to "ARM ALL TEACHERS" dismiss the feelings and abilities of a lot of teachers. Many teachers abhor the idea, and many teachers want to be able to. It's a double edged sword. On one hand, people with concealed carry permits tend to be more law abiding than cops, and there are no incidents where a civilian concealed carrying has shot an innocent person. Conversely, people that don't want to carry, don't feel comfortable doing so or are physically unable to should not be "required" to do so. Many on the right claim (correctly) that laws won't stop evil from happening, but those claims are not helping the discussion.
Raising the age to buy a firearm needlessly infringes on the rights of responsible young adults, many of whom have been safely using their parents firearms for years. I started shooting at the tender age of 6. I joined the military at 17, and was shooting automatic weapons by then.

This is not to say that Democrats are offering up excellent ideas either. It's well documented that banning "assault rifles" has no appreciable effect. In fact, several of the worst school shootings on record were not carried out with AR-15 or similar rifles:
1. Columbine (During Federal Assault Weapons Ban)
- Weapons used
a. TEC-DC9 - Blowback operated, Semi-auto pistol. Similar to the full-auto submachine gun, but semi.
b. Hi-Point 995 - Pistol-caliber semi-auto carbine. 10 roundmags. Essentially, a Hi-Point C9 with a stock and a long barrel.
c. Savage 67H - 12Gauge Pump shotgun. I have one, you have one, everyone has one.
d. Stevens 311D - 12Gauge Side by side double barrel.
e. Explosives
f. Knives
- Other characteristics
a. Multiple Shooters
b. coordinated, well planned
c. Guns acquired illegally as minors
d. Shotguns sawed off, illegal under the National Firearms Act
2. Virginia Tech
- Weapons used
a. Glock 19 - Semi-auto, 9mm pistol. Commonly used by police.
b. Walther P22 - Semi-auto, .22LR - Interesting about this weapon: Has a magazine disconnect safety, will not fire if no mag is present.
- Other characteristics
a. Shooter produced a manifesto and videos, sent to NBC prior to the shooting
b. guns acquired legally. Shooter was a legal permanent resident, and passed a background check in accordance with VA and US law.
AR15-style weapons have been the weapon of choice in recent times, but I think that's due to popular culture and the shock factor. These are popular rifles, called the most popular rifle in America, and are in common use due to their ease of use, modularity, and the 'cool' factor to a point, because they look similar to the military's M16/M4 select-fire rifles. On a personal note, a lot of veterans get these rifles because of our familiarity with the platform. They're also very useful for youth and disabled shooters, due to the minimal recoil and modularity.

Other popular gun control proposals include the ubiquitous call for universal background checks, magazine size limits, and preventing people on the no-fly list from buying guns. Lets look at each of these in turn:
1. Universal Background Checks: I really don't have a problem with the background check system as it stands. Many of the problems I have with how it's used, however, are arguments against expanding it. It is consistently failing due to bad data. We have a saying in the IT business: "Bad data in, bad data out". The system is not gonna be useful if people like Dylann Roof and Devin Patrick Kelley can still get firearms, passing their background checks despite being legally ineligible to own firearms.
2. Magazine size limits: This one is often introduced in conjuntion with an "assault weapons ban". Let me reference the VT and Columbine shootings above. They all had plenty of time for mag changes, and plenty of mags to do it. Hell, one of the Columbine shooters loaded his shotgun several times, for a total of 25 rounds out of a 4 round tube, meaning he stopped to reload it, one shell at a time, 6 times. His Hi-Point 995 with 10-round mags: He had 13 mags, and fired 96 rounds with that weapon. The utility of magazine limits is minimal.
3. No-Fly list: To be completely honest, this list shouldn't exist at all. There's no due process of law, it's impossible to fight if you get put on the list and shouldn't be on it, and we have no business restricting the rights of people without a trial.

So how do we stop school shootings?

I think it starts at the community level. People in general don't care about each other any more. Especially if you disagree politically. This most recent election season was the absolute worst I've ever seen it, but people are absoulte assholes to each other if you don't agree with each them. I lost count of how many times I've been called racist, homophobic, sexist, Nazi, or a number of others because I didn't vote for Hilary. On the other side, cause I criticized Trump's policies, I got called a cuck (lol), or a snowflake. I got called a libtard and a conversitard, and it's not just me.
The community division in this country is bullshit. On top of that, those that pay attention to things like the kids in their school and report it to the FBI and local authorities get ignored by the authorities. 

We need to destigmatize mental health care. Being afraid to lose rights because of asking for help is driving veterans to not report their issues to doctors. People that do ask for help are looked down upon as weak. This isn't helpful to anyone. People with mental health problems are more likely to be victims of violence than the general populace, as much as most perpetrators have some kind of mental illness. We can't go on just leaving these folks to themselves.

So these things can help prevent a tragedy, but how to we stop one in progress?
It starts with metal detectors. Yeah, I know, we don't want our schools to feel like prisons... but you walk through a metal detector to go see a concert. Go to the courthouse. Government buildings. And yet our children are so much more important, so why won't we do that? To back that up, armed security for the same reasons. There's been a meme going around for years about hiring Veterans home from war who can't find a job to guard our kids.
Allow lawful concealed carry. The "Gun Free Zones" act is a dismal failure, except at ensuring that the only person armed at that location is the one shooting innocent people. Allow teachers/parents/staff to carry guns at school if they are otherwise allowed to. Don't make it a requirement. MAYBE let school districts decide on reasonable training requirements for the teachers that want to. Allowing our schools to be a soft target with no recourse but to wait minutes for police to show up (and then not even go inside) is absolutely unacceptable. There's something we were taught in the Army: If you look like you mean business, you're less likely to get shot at. A little vigilance would go a long way, and if something happens, it could reduce or eliminate the body count.

Let's take action. Not action that infringes on rights, and not action that hurts other people, but actions that show our love for our children, and our love for each other.

We've been driven by hatred for too long.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The 2nd Amendment - a Second-Class Right?

Is the government required, by the 2nd Amendment, to allow us to carry a gun outside the home? The Constitution that provides the basic moral framework of our country says yes. In a 7-2 denial of certiorari, the US Supreme Court says no. 

Justice Thomas dissents, "For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantees of the Second Amendment might seem anti­quated and superfluous. But the Framers made a clear choice: They reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense. I do not think we should stand by idly while a State denies its citizens that right, particularly when their very lives may depend on it. I respectfully dissent."

With today's Supreme Court denial of cert in Peruta vs San Diego, Justice Thomas's dissent brings up a point many of us have been making for years. Liberal politicians, businesspeople, and anti-gun activists who have armed security actively work against the 2nd Amendment rights of the common people. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) said, regarding the NYPD selling bribing citizen’s concealed carry permits: “If it is difficult to get a concealed weapon permit, I’m glad to hear that”, while in the same interview, “I think we deserve, need to be protected down here.”

There is a stark difference between that and Thomas Massie’s response to the Virginia baseball shooting: "I don't want to extend a special privilege just to congressmen. I recognize that everyone has the right to defend themselves, and that's in the Constitution." There’s currently a bill to introduce nationwide Concealed Carry reciprocity in addition to Massie’s new bill for DC to accept all state’s Concealed Carry permits. Sadly, it’s not even just leftists that couldn’t give a shit about the common people. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), understandably concerned about his own security, called for reciprocity for Congress and staffers.

The 2nd Amendment wasn’t written for elites. It was written for the common people to not only defend themselves but also rise against the government should it be needed. The fact that 7 of our 9 Supreme Court justices don’t care that the rights of people in several states are being actively denied proves that it’s not about guns, it’s all about control. I’m reminded of anti-gun politician Leland Yee here. Yee was a Californian State Representative who, despite being publicly anti-gun, sold weapons to terrorists overseas. Or Congress exempting itself from Obamacare AND Trumpcare.

The Political Elite do not care about you, me, or Joe Schmoe down the street. They have private security. “What’s that? You can’t afford armed guards? Too bad. Guns for me, but not for thee.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Are we the Wild West again? National Concealed Carry Reciprocity and Blood in the Streets.

I harp on gun rights a lot (ad nauseum to some of you, I'm sure) but one thing to note is that while correlation is not causation, it's certainly hard to ignore the correlation between the massive decrease in gun crime over the last 25 years with the increase in carry rights nationwide. The image here shows the current right to carry, with Alabama and NH vying for the next Constitutional carry spot.
This shows the changes to Concealed Carry over time:

One thing to notice about this gif, while the opening image deals with Concealed AND Open Carry, this denotes whether the permits are May-Issue or Shall-Issue. Shall Issue states the as long as the requirements are met for you to possess the license to carry, you will be granted it. In contrast, states like California, New York and New Jersey can arbitrarily deny you a carry license.

This data on RTC correlates with the massive drop in the mid-nineties and even HuffPo can't deny that violence is at an all time low. One problem I have when talking to someone who champions "Common Sense Gun Laws" is that most of them plug their ears when I say "How about getting rid of Gun-Free Zones?" They assume I want more "blood in the streets" and "Are you kidding? More guns doesn't solve the problem!" That's not it at all. In fact, Law Enforcement Officers tend to agree that Right-to-carry helps them in their job more than it hinders.

What I suggest overall: Allow Concealed Carriers to carry in "Gun-Free Zones", which I've talked about before, and treat my license to carry like my driver's license, make it valid in all 50 states.

Liberal Gun Control hasn't worked. It's time to listen to the opposing opinion for once.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Goal of a Defensive Shooting

The goal in a defensive shooting is to stop the threat. Once the threat is stopped, you stop shooting. Sometimes, and ideally, that happens when you warn the person that broke into your home (because you want to do that) or simply drawing your gun on an attacker outside if your home.

If it doesn't, however, you fire to incapacitate your target. By incapacitate, it means to remove your opponents ability to fight back. In a gunfight, that usually means when they are dead or unconscious. If one surrenders prior to that point, you stop firing, but the basic rule of a gunfight is to shoot until your target is no longer a threat. If your target is on drugs, that will probably mean their death and a lot of bullets from you.

The major differences between defensive ammo, target practice, or hunting ammo, defense ammo is designed to impart as much damage per shot is possible without over-penetrating the target. The most efficient way to do that is with hollow-point bullets. When they enter the body, they mushroom out, causing more damage to the target, but slowing down significantly faster than full metal jacket ammo would.

You don't generally use defense rounds for hunting because you ideally want to damage the meat less, and have time in most cases for perfect shot placement to cripple major organ functionality in one shot. Interestingly enough, most defensive shootings or shootings in war are NOT one-shot kills. The human body is incredibly resilient, and if your attacker surrenders, modern medicine has an excellent chance of saving their life.

Hopefully, this will put you into the mind and logic of one of us American gun nuts

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Kaepernick and the National Anthem, a Vet's perspective

This post inspired by From a seat to a knee: How Colin Kaepernick and Nate Boyer are trying to effect change. If you haven't read it, please do so.

Nate Boyer is the man. If he's convinced by his chat with Kaepernick, then I'm encouraged.

Kap's protest filled me with rage in the disrespect for our military and country. Once I cooled off a bit, I could see reason. I still don't like how he did it. I don't agree with him for the most part.

What we DO need is to stop this division of us vs them. It's not cops vs blacks, left vs right. WE'RE ALL AMERICANS, GODDAMMIT. Fucking act like it. I'm guilty of being a dick too. Sometimes I mean to be. Sometimes I shouldn't be.

I think certain movements in this country need to focus on ACTUAL injustice instead of upholding criminals who died as heroes. That's my problem with that movement.

There ARE bad cops. There aren't as many of them as you say there are. But there are a few, and there are also some that have made mistakes. Know the difference.

There's ALSO cops whose lives have been ruined simply for defending themselves (Darren Wilson, for example). Unarmed doesn't mean not a threat.

John Crawford III is name name you ALL need to know, if you want to fight injustice... But I haven't heard one peep about him from certain organisations.

Refine your message and stop fucking rioting and looting. Pick your battles, and MAYBE you'll convince people that you actually want to do good, instead of pissing them off.

Work together, not against each other.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

On Regulation and the Second Amendment

Yet another post inspired on social media. The original question is:

"The language is pretty specific. The way I read it says that citizens can have firearms for the purpose of a regulated militia. What does that actually mean? If you've a license, does that automatically mean you're in a militia or required to be in one in the event of tyranny, or is it just a license so you can have guns? "Regulated militia" seems to be a key phrase, but I haven't heard anyone talk about it."

One thing to note about "regulated" in the 1700's, is it means "equipped, trained". Every military aged male at the time was expected to own and maintain his own guns and ammo for the purposes of common and self defense. The Militia Act of 1792 spells it out quite clearly. Regulated didn't refer to rules, it meant a state of readiness.

As the rights of people in this country have evolved, I would surmise that the law of common defense is everyone's responsibility, not just military aged males.

The reading of the Amendment is: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The first part is a predicate: "a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" is the REASON, not a limitation.

"The right of the people" is important here. Everywhere else in the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, The People refers to the individual.

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms" keep is own, bear is carry/use.

"Shall not be infringed" I think this part is pretty clear, but I'll explain.
DC vs Heller contends that this applies to the individual and arms that are "in common use". While I disagree with the "in common use" clause to a point, it does specifically protect semi-automatic rifles due to that clause. I disagree, as in the days following the revolution, most military equipment (cannons, ships, guns) was privately owned. The founders wanted to keep it that way, and generally opposed the creating and maintaining of a standing army.

While we have that standing army now, it is not omnipresent, and in the event of an invasion (however unlikely) The People would be required to take up arms and defend themselves and their neighbors. The other use is revolution against the government, and while no one (including my gun loving self) wants to see that, it's always possible if the government forgets who's actually in charge (The People).

This is a very important point, and one that's been lost in all the political rhetoric following mass shootings and unrest.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

On Open Carry, Businesses, and Prohibiting Weapons

There have been a lot of stores lately asking their customers to leave their guns at home. I really can’t blame them, especially when you get people carrying long guns at the low ready. Those of us who carry guns have gotten a lot of negative publicity lately with businesses, i.e. Starbucks, Target, Chipotle, etc.  Allow me to say that I do not condone what is being done in the picture. There is a right way to open carry a weapon and a wrong way.

Understand that in Texas, Open Carry of handguns is not allowed. In Texas, of all places.  I live in Washington, a blue state, yet open carry of handguns and long arms is allowed. Open Carry Texas is the organization trying to fix that particular problem. Up until the recent past, they've been getting hammered for completing their protest marches by eating lunch at Sonic, Chili’s, or going into Target. They've since backpedaled on this, as they realize it was doing more harm than good.
This negative attention has culminated in several businesses asking their customers to leave their guns at home.

Now, very few of these companies have outright banned guns. It’s mostly been paying lip service to the very vocal group “Moms Demand Action”, a Michael Bloomberg funded anti-gun organization famous for using emotional rather than factual arguments and banning anyone who disagrees with them from their page, refusing to actually debate and look into ways to reduce violence. For example, if you read Target’s statement, like most other businesses they stop short of banning weapons.
Those of us who carry guns are generally not violent people. We are fathers, husbands, wives and mothers. We all have family, and abhor crimes and the criminals who commit them.  I carry every day, either open or concealed depending on how I feel about it. Open Carry is far more comfortable, but sometimes being discreet has its place.

As a Concealed Pistol License holder, I have been vetted by the State of Washington and the FBI to have a clean background check, no history of mental health issues, no domestic violence, etc. What more can you, as a business owner, ask for in one of your customers? I go through a background check every time I purchase a new gun, even when I buy a gun online! Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just buy a gun anywhere.

The Bloomberg-bought-and-paid-for shills at Everytown and Moms Demand make their entire case on guns being scary and not wanting them around their children. Yet again, emotional argument, not factual. Even the guys at Open Carry Texas, while they were doing it wrong in MY opinion, never threatened anyone. I open carry a lot, and I have never *yet* had anyone call the police on me, or tell me to leave their store, or yell at me for “OMG HE’S CARRYING A GUN”.  We aren't scary. Guns are not scary. A gun is a tool, and only its user can determine what it does.

Here’s a question for you. Outside of movies, when have you EVER seen a criminal carrying a gun? Only when they are actively committing a crime with it? So then, why is there a problem when a regular joe open carries a properly slung rifle (even an EVIL BLACK RIFLE) or a properly holstered handgun? I do make the distinction of properly carried simply because carrying your rifle at the low ready IS threatening.  This is not Iraq. The ONLY time your weapon should be at any ready position is at the range. Now, I also believe carrying a rifle should be limited to certain occasions (say, a protest on the steps of the capital) but that’s just me. And that should be an option.

The other concern of businesses disallowing carry in their stores is the liability. What is going to happen in the off chance that someone DOES decide to commit a crime in those stores? If I get shot because I had to leave my gun in my car, what recourse do I have, now being defenseless when I could have at least had the chance to save myself or my family? You can bet there is a lawsuit waiting to happen. By telling me not to bring in my gun, you are opening yourself to guarantee my safety. (Stop laughing, I’m trying to make a point here.)

There’s an adage among concealed carriers, “Concealed is Concealed”. If you don’t know I have a gun, neither does the criminal attacking me. In WA and many other states, a “No Guns” sign does not carry the force of law. (note, this map is outdated) I can safely and legally ignore a “No Guns” sign. Hell, criminals do all the time. Your “No guns” sign does not protect anyone.

The odds of actually having to use my gun in anger are slim to none. That’s a good thing. I don’t want to shoot anyone. I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I might have to shoot someone.  But in that slim chance that I might ever be put into that situation, I carry one… for the same reason that I wear a seatbelt in a car, or a helmet on my bike. The odds are against legitimately needing my gun, but I don’t carry for the odds. I carry for the stakes… and if you don’t want me to carry in your store, I simply won’t go there, because I’d rather not be caught in a time where I need my gun and don’t have it.