Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fiocchi .22WMR Ammunition Review

There are probably three people in the known universe that give a hoot about this, but since I am one of them, and it's my blog, here it is.  I talked about my Marlin bolt-action .22WMR a while back, and I have been looking for stuff to feed it, especially now that fall is here.  Ammunition is just ridiculous these days and .22 mag is no exception -- ten or eleven bucks for a box of fifty seems like a lot to me.  I ran across some reviews of Fiocchi ammo that sounded pretty positive.  Midway has the solid jacketed version for sale at $8.09 for fifty or $77.99 for case of 500 (prices subject to change, as we all know).    

Since I like living on the edge, I bought 500.  They arrived, along with some other items, quite promptly last week, and I managed to squeeze in a couple of test sessions a few days ago and yesterday.  I am impressed.

This low-priced ammunition is accurate in my Marlin.  I put three shots into an inch square at 100 yards from a sitting position.  The point of impact is a little above the POI of CCI hollowpoint 40-grains, so I'm guessing the 1900 fps might be just a shade understated, or the bullet shape could be a little more conducive to maintaining velocity.  Either way, the Fiocchis shoot and function well above expectations.

Though Fiocchi is headquartered in my area, I have no affiliation with them, nor do I have any relationship with Midway other than being a long-time customer.  These are great Missouri-based companies that I am very happy to promote and encourage.  Obviously I can't speak for all of Fiocchi's products, but I certainly will not hesitate to try this brand in other variations and calibers. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Why the Polls Could Be Surprisingly Wrong

I don't know who is going to prevail in the presidential race on 11/6, but I think a lot of pollsters will be surprised as well.  I think there are a couple of factors that will affect the outcome and that are skewing the numbers -- men, especially white males, and Independents.

First, I think males are more heavily committed to voting in this election than normal, so I think the pollsters are over-counting women as a percentage of likely voters.  I think we could well see the Michael Douglas "Falling Down" meme of "angry white men" come back strongly in this cycle.  I have never actually seen that movie.  The reason I recall it is because one of my younger colleagues went to see it.  He told me about it the next day and said that Douglas' character reminded him of me.   I think he meant that in a positive way.  We were good friends.

Another factor is party affiliation.  I believe that many Republicans -- myself included -- have become very disillusioned with the traditional, east-coast, establishment Republican Party.  We do not like big-government politicians whatever their party brand.  Many more of us than ever before have divorced ourselves from the GOP and now call ourselves Independents given that the Libertarian Party has been clueless about winning elections despite sentiment in their favor for forty years.

You may skip this brief tirade after 0 seconds:  We see too many people using social conservatism as a cover for more government intervention and an excuse to be fiscally irresponsible (yes, Governor Huckabee, I am looking at you).  We are sick of pointless interventions in foreign countries.  If somebody gives us trouble, by all means, go in and kill them.  Then get the hell out.  Stop wasting American lives and resources trying to fix nations that have been broken for centuries.  It's not our job.  Try closing the borders instead.  Thank you.  Now back to our regular BS.

What this means is that when you see Independents going overwhelmingly for Romney, you are really seeing conservatives, libertarians, classical liberals -- whatever you want to call us -- rallying, not for Romney but against Obama.

I suspect that party identification is very fluid and possibly misleading.  Are people, especially white males, abandoning both parties to self-label as Independents or are Independents mostly just disgruntled Republicans?  The answer to that question could be the key to the results a week from tomorrow.  I read a good example of what I'm thinking about this morning.  Last Friday, the internals of Rasmussen's national poll showed Romney winning Independents by a whopping 23 points.  Today, Romney is up only 8 points among Independents, giving him a slim 49-47 advantage over Obama.  That really makes no sense at all.  I have to conclude that the word "independent" may not mean what we think it means.  

Here's one thing I know.  Romney is going to carry Missouri easily.  St. Louis City and Jackson County will be the only points of blue on the Missouri map.  I think Romney even carries Boone County where the University of Missouri -- our sole out-state bastion of liberal lunacy -- is located.  Missourians can no longer vote a straight party ticket, so vote-splitting is the norm.  We will probably -- unfortunately -- retain our "conservative" Democrat governor.  However, I am going to go out on a limb and call the Senate race for Akin in a squeaker. 

Akin will not carry Boone County, but he will actually outperform Talent's 2006 numbers across the Ozarks region.  It was McCaskill cutting into Talent's support in the heart of Republican territory that made her the deciding vote for Obamacare in the Senate.  Talent was a lousy candidate, and Akin is possibly worse, but it is McCaskill's record she has to run against rather than Akin's mouth. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Difference Between Men and Obama

IBD:  The Benghazi Consulate Could Have Used Marines with Bayonets

Indeed, as the article points out there is a Marine guard contingent at Barbados, and, in fact, at most embassies around the world.  My late brother-in-law served as a Marine embassy guard in Iceland, which was a more sensitive situation than one might think back in that Cold War era. 

The two former SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who responded to the attack, manned a machine gun on the roof of the consulate annex, apparently for several hours.  They were killed by mortar fire, as IBD reports, six hours and twenty minutes after the attack began.  Apache helicopters and AC-130 gunships sat on the ground, idle yet within striking distance of the consulate.  A drone circled overhead as the attack continued, monitoring the desperate fight.  Woods and Doherty continued to man their positions and try to repel the jihadists even after they were wounded.  They, no doubt, hoped they could hold on long enough for help to arrive.  But no help was coming.

Again to IBD:
The question is: Why not?

Some suggest that sending nearby AC-130 gunships or Apaches would have been futile because in the chaos they couldn't have identified the attackers and might have hit innocents. A few well-timed machine gun bursts at nowhere in particular would have been sufficient to disperse the jihadists. We know there was no protest mob in the way and certainly we could have plucked those two heroic SEALs off the annex roof.
But to send help would have acknowledged it was a terrorist attack. It would have destroyed Team Obama's campaign mantra that Osama bin Laden was dead, al-Qaida was destroyed and the Arab Spring was in full bloom. Better to blame a filmmaker and his obscure video.
Not only would help have acknowledged a terrorist attack, it would have risked a "Blackhawk Down" situation.  Can you imagine the impact the shooting down of an Apache would have had on Obama's reelection bid?  No, Mr. "Gutsy Call" could not take that chance.  While it was "not optimal", the fact that better men like Woods and Doherty along with Sean Smith and Chris Stevens would lose their lives is a small price to pay to keep Obama in the White House.  In the minds of Jarret, Obama, Rice, Clinton, and the rest of the goon squad, the loss of four American lives was better than the loss of the narrative and the loss of the image of Obama as a warrior who had successfully defeated Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.  In their twisted thinking, those courageous men did not die in vain but for the greater good of protecting Obama's foreign policy "legacy" and insuring that he remains as president.  

There is not, I would guess, a single Apache pilot or crew or a single Marine in the region who would have hesitated for a heartbeat to rush to the aid of their brothers under attack that night.  Like Doherty and Woods the only "calculation" they would have made would have been the one to get them to the fight.  There was no strategic or tactical reason not to send help -- only a political one, motivated by cowardice.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Next Front in Gun Control is People Control

Instead of labeling certain weapons as being dangerous, it is much easier to label groups of people as "high-risk" and deny them their natural human rights

A new report by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examines policies and initiatives for reducing gun violence in the U.S. by reforming current gun policies. The report, a synthesis of prior research and analysis conducted by researchers with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, includes the following key findings:
  • Easy access to firearms with large-capacity magazines facilitates higher casualties in mass shootings.
  • "Right-to-carry" gun laws do not reduce violent crime.
  • Prohibiting high-risk groups from having guns–criminals, perpetrators of domestic violence, youths under age 21, substance abusers, and those with severe mental illnesses–and closing loopholes that enable them to have guns are integral and politically feasible steps to reduce gun violence.
"Mass shootings bring public attention to the exceptionally high rate of gun violence in the U.S., but policy discussions rarely focus on preventing the daily gun violence that results in an average of 30 lives lost every day," said Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and lead author of the report. "Addressing weaknesses in existing gun laws by expanding prohibitions for criminals, perpetrators of domestic violence, youth, and drug abusers, and closing the loopholes that allow prohibited persons to obtain guns can be effective strategies to reduce gun violence. It is important to note that making these changes to our gun laws would not disarm law-abiding adults."
Right-to-carry laws do reduce violent crime, and violent crime would be reduce further if we instituted "Constitutional" carry.  George Zimmerman reduced violent crime in Florida by plugging a violent, "unarmed" punk named Trayvon Martin who decided it would be cool to beat a citizen's head against a concrete sidewalk.  

Criminals -- yes, if someone is incarcerated, it would be a good idea to keep them away from firearms.  If someone has served his or her time, and it is deemed reasonable to release them back out on the street, how it is reasonable to restrict them from owning and possessing firearms?  If one is too dangerous to legally have a weapon, one should still be locked up away from society.  As an aside, since voting requirements are the purview of state governments, the states can determine if those convicted of felonies should be allowed to vote.  Not so, in my opinion, with the right to self-defense and the possession of arms.

Youth -- these dolts do know that the majority of "boys" fighting in Vietnam were under 21, right?  Do they also know people are allowed to drive 4000-pound guided missiles at 16 and influence international affairs with a vote at 18?  But firearms are too dangerous.  Give me a break.  I started shooting firearms -- under supervision -- before I started school.  I haven't killed anybody yet, and the same is true of millions of youthful shooters.

Substance abusers -- shades of Reefer Madness!!!!   You know the substances most likely to be associated with violence?  Alcohol and psychiatric drugs prescribed by medical doctors.  Schools shootings are very often linked to psychiatric medications.  As Lynyrd Skynyrd said, "If you like to drink that whiskey, you might even shoot yourself."  Alcohol and guns do not mix but both are legal, and we have already seen the ugly, unintended consequences of alcohol prohibition.  People have to be responsible and held accountable for their actions.  I'm sure meth is probably associated with violence as well, but, like many drugs, more in the distribution than in the use. 

The mentally ill -- especially the ones under the care of doctors who prescribe medications that divorce the users from reality. 

The report quotes the usual statistics that include situations of self-defense and police shootings.  If a human is killed by violent means there are three possible causes of death:  accidental, suicide, or homicide.  In other words, homicide is not the same as murder.  It is simply death at the hands of another person, but propaganda like the report above uses it as if it means the same thing. 

Just the other day there was a report of a twelve-year-old girl who saved herself from likely abduction with the use of a firearm.  I'm sure that the "doctor" of ScuDs and Miles Per Hour, Daniel Webster, would have much rather the little girl had been dragged out of her house, raped, strangled and left in ditch rather than risk another "homicide" of a pervert. 

These are not sensible restrictions.  Criminals will get guns because they have no respect for the law, just as people will drive drunk.  The shooter in Colorado could have killed as many or more people with a couple of Molotov cocktails.  Should we restrict segments of the population from possessing flammable materials?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

These Are Not the Droids You Are Looking For (UPDATED)

Via Yahoo and Reuters of all people:  The White House was told within two hours that organized terrorists were attacking the outpost in Benghazi.

The first email, timed at 4:05 p.m. Washington time - or 10:05 p.m. Benghazi time, 20-30 minutes after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission allegedly began - carried the subject line "U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack" and the notation "SBU", meaning "Sensitive But Unclassified."

The text said the State Department's regional security office had reported that the diplomatic mission in Benghazi was "under attack. Embassy in Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well."
Less than an hour later a second email said that the attack on the compound had ceased and that some kind of "response team", probably Libyan militia, were searching for missing personnel.  The third email came in at 6:07pm Washington time.  This said that a militant group, Ansar al-Sharia, had claimed responsibility for the attack.

As the article explains, initial information can be contradictory.  However, we have a kicker:

By the morning of September 12, the day after the Benghazi attack, Reuters reported that there were indications that members of both Ansar al-Sharia, a militia based in the Benghazi area, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African affiliate of al Qaeda's faltering central command, may have been involved in organizing the attacks.

So, in other words, when Obama gave his Rose Garden speech, he knew, or should have known, that al Qaeda and related groups were most likely involved and that the famous video that no one has seen had nothing to do with the attack.  Nevertheless, he blamed people "slandering" Islam and the false prophet, Mohammed, for instigating a "protest".

Only a complete dolt would not immediately put together the fact of an attack occurring on the eleventh anniversary of the 2001 attacks as being significant.  Here's what I -- an old hillbilly with no access to intelligence information at all -- said on September 14:

This is a widespread and rapidly spreading, well-orchestrated move to unify Muslims against America and Israel.  What we are witnessing is a coordinated attack by Al-Qaeda elements in Libya, in Sudan, in Yemen, in Tunisia, and in Egypt in collusion with the Muslim Brotherhood.  That this happened on a 9/11 anniversary sends a message across the Muslim world, and it should send a message to us.  It is an act of defiance and intimidation against the United States intended to humiliate us and galvanize a jihad in that region. 

Despite the fact that the nature of the attack was known and had been observed by drones, the Obama Administration continued to call it a protest, blaming a video and the First Amendment for days after four Americans were murdered by Islamic terrorists.  Obama's UN ambassador -- and, by the way, one of his closest advisers, Susan Rice, declared unequivocally on the Sunday shows that these were protests in response to a video.

Obama himself got up in front of the UN General Assembly and talked again about those who "slander the prophet".  I believe that was on September 25th -- two full weeks after the death of Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.  By that point, Obama did say that:  the White House has now deemed the attack on its consulate in Libya a "terrorist attack" and has not ruled out the possibility it was premeditated. Obama now says it "wasn't just a mob action."

Two weeks.  When they knew in two hours.

From that same article, here's the odious Hillary Clinton:

In a preview of Obama's speech, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appealed Monday for Muslims to show "dignity" as they protest the film denigrating the Prophet Muhammad.

"Dignity does not come from avenging insults," she said in a speech to her husband's Clinton Global Initiative.
See, still at that point, they were trying to keep the focus off the failed policies of sympathizing and supporting groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and encouraging radical elements of Islam.  These freaks can all go to hell.  They'll get a chance to discuss the issue with "the prophet" when they get there. 

These were our people.  We had an obligation to protect them.  Obama failed to take the threat seriously, just as he has failed to acknowledge that the traitorous assassinations of thirteen American soldiers at Fort Hood in 2009 was an act of terror.  It seems that the Administration does not like the T-word.


Check out Jim Hoft's piece on Gateway Pundit.

One AC-130 would have scattered the protesters terrorists like a coyote in a covey of quail.  But we couldn't do that.  It might look bad on the "Arab Spring" narrative. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Expediency and the NRA

There have been a number of anti-NRA articles floating around on the internet.  I understand where people are coming from with these.  I am generally a moderately libertarian person, but, when it comes to weapons, I am more extremely libertarian.  I don't care if my neighbor owns a fully functional tank or RPGs so long as everybody can have them.  Most people will choose not to mine their front lawns any more than most people will fence it off and fill it with sorely aggrieved pit bulls.  Generally speaking, murder, mayhem, and reckless endangerment can be prosecuted as crimes.  There is no need to outlaw inanimate objects.  If drones ever become self-aware and self-directing, they can be prosecuted, too.  This will never apply to a sawed-off shotgun or butterfly knife.

I am reminded of the story about the lady who was stopped by a policeman.  In the course of the stop, she informed the officer that she had three guns in her car.  "What are you afraid of?" he asked.

She replied, "Not a damn thing."  

(I mainly rely on my cadre of acutely trained attack-cats -- my dog is generally only interested in warning off the UPS truck.  The dog is always impressed with herself when Brown rolls off in a cloud of dust.  Her work is done.  In other words, she is like a lot of politicians -- but smarter.)     

You can dismiss the NRA as a self-perpetuating, perpetually threatened organization that survives mainly because of the very gun laws it, for the most part, opposes.  I tend to agree with that.  However, we do owe Wayne LaPierre gratitude for nailing the Clinton Administration years ago when he said on national television that if Clinton were really serious about gun crimes, he could enforce the laws already on the books. 

Yes, the NRA has endorsed a very questionable gun-rights supporter in Mitt Romney.  Yes, the NRA let their old buddy, Harry Reid, slide in 2010 by not endorsing his opponent.  Yes, the NRA, for decades, endorsed Democrats like Ike Skelton, the late Harold Volkmer, and John Dingell who could be counted on, generally, to stand up against incursions against the Second Amendment.  (The 1986 McClure-Volkmer Act known as the FOPA did address ATF abuses but was otherwise a mixed bag.)

The NRA will argue that their concern is the Second Amendment and that votes and stances on other issues have no impact on their mission.  In some cases that is true, but some of us see the Constitution and Bill of Rights as a whole.  Attacking the right to privacy and protection against unreasonable search and seizure is of a piece with the right to keep and bear arms.  The excessive expansion of police powers corrodes the rights of individuals to defend themselves and to be secure in their persons and their property.  It would be good if the NRA did more to recognize this reality -- in my opinion.

Nevertheless, the NRA has been true to this narrowly-defined mission, resulting in a broader base of support and a wider appeal.  You don't have to be a radical libertarian or paleo-conservative in order to support the NRA.  A lot of people with socialist leanings understand the value of supporting the Second Amendment.  A lot of social conservatives with otherwise statist leanings also recognize the Second Amendment's value.  I am in league with anyone will to stand up for the right to keep and bear arms, and so is the NRA.  Thus we come to the reality of political expediency.

Too many, especially among the "principled" conservatives and libertarians, think that electing a president is akin to electing a local church pastor.  I want my pastor to be a sold-out, dedicated, dogmatic, doctrinaire disciple of Jesus Christ, pure, plain, and simple.  That ain't gonna happen with the president.  The people in my church all generally agree with me or they would be going to that apostate church across the street.  The view of the American electorate encompasses a much broader spectrum of opinion.  The "right" ranges from people like me and Ron Paul who are for the least possible government to more moderate folks like George Bush and Mitt Romney.  John McCain and Lindsay Graham are Republicans.  Tell me this is not a Big Tent.  It's a freaking Circus Tent.  And the Democrat Party is just an Insane Clown Cluster (and "cluster", I remind you, is only half a word).

So, in a country like ours, which is the best there is, any time you are dealing with politics, you are inevitably choosing the lesser of evils.  Government is evil.  It will always be evil.  Until Jesus comes back and rules, we are stuck with a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and it is going to suck.  We will do the  best we can with the choices we have to work with.  Right now that comes down a picking the guy who may have met his wife at a New Christy Minstrels audition.

Personally, I think Romney is weak on the Second Amendment.  I don't know about Ryan.  Just because he is a hunter and from Wisconsin does not mean he is reliable -- but he's probably better than Romney.  With Obama and company, you have Fast and Furious -- an attempt to create support for more restrictions on firearms that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Mexican citizens and a couple of American agents.  Holder and Obama supported and enabled murder to undermine the Second Amendment.  Romney may be weak in support but Obama is strong in opposition.  The choice is actually pretty easy.

Full disclosure:  I bumped my NRA membership out five more years, and I was sorely tempted to go with a lifetime membership.  The NRA is pounding Obama in the swing states.  I recommend helping them out.  Lesser evil is better than greater evil.   

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Killing Dracula

[Morris] did not delay notwithstanding this, for as Jonathan, with desperate energy, attacked one end of the chest, attempting to prize off the lid with his great Kukri knife, he attacked the other frantically with his bowie. Under the efforts of both men the lid began to yield. The nails drew with a screeching sound, and the top of the box was thrown back.

By this time the gypsies, seeing themselves covered by the Winchesters, and at the mercy of Lord Godalming and Dr. Seward, had given in and made no further resistance. The sun was almost down on the mountain tops, and the shadows of the whole group fell upon the snow. I saw the Count lying within the box upon the earth, some of which the rude falling from the cart had scattered over him. He was deathly pale, just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horrible vindictive look which I knew so well.

As I looked, the eyes saw the sinking sun, and the look of hate in them turned to triumph.

But, on the instant, came the sweep and flash of Jonathan's great knife. I shrieked as I saw it shear through the throat. Whilst at the same moment Mr. Morris's bowie knife plunged into the heart.

It was like a miracle, but before our very eyes, and almost in the drawing of a breath, the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from our sight.

I shall be glad as long as I live that even in that moment of final dissolution, there was in the face a look of peace, such as I never could have imagined might have rested there.  Dracula, Bram Stoker (emphasis added)

Give Stoker his due.  The man knew his blades.  Forget wooden stakes and silver bullets, a khukri and a bowie will make short work of the undead.  Which is better?  I, of course, prefer both.

Still, a man can’t carry a full load of steel all the time, so if I am out and about in broad daylight, when the only threat is zombies, I have to decide which to best balance the handgun on my weapons’ belt.

The khukri pictured above is a cheap Chinese version, stamped out of soft steel.  I got it specifically for use as a general purpose, multi-purpose tool.  The thing about a khukri is not the steel, it’s the shape, being axe-like in, we might say, kinetic geometric.  When you need to take off a limb – wooden or otherwise, or take down a sprout, we agree with Arnold:  “Get to the choppah!”  I can quickly hack my way through a sumac or sassafras thicket, trim up a shooting lane for the deer stand, or split a rain-soaked chunk to get at the dry interior for a campfire.  A couple of days ago, I dug half a dozen hills of sweet potatoes with that khukri – something I would not do with the $100 custom version – unless it was necessary. 

Then, too, as we all know, in the hands of one of, for example, the Queen’s own Gurkhas, the khukri is a most formidable close-quarters weapon.  I have read somewhere that the Germans in World War I called the American Marines “Devil Dogs”.  They called the Gurkhas “Devils”.  The typical Gurkha khukri has less belly and thus a slimmer, more forward profile than my chunky utility blade.  They are still extraordinary choppers, but the traditional shape appears to add to the thrusting potential.  I can’t imagine a blade better designed for slashing attacks or for trapping techniques.    I have never seen a Gurkha in action with a khukri, but it is probably more of a pure power attack with not a lot of finesse.  Facing one would be something akin to trying to defending against a chainsaw, or maybe a lawnmower coming at you bottom-side first. 

The traditional khukri form allows an attacker to deliver a penetrating strike to an opponent’s vitals from an off-center position.  Picture two right-handed fighters facing one another squarely.  If the wielder of the khukri could move to his left as the adversaries close, he could side-arm the point of his blade toward the opponent’s torso.  The point would also be leading in an over-hand chop.

The advantage of the khukri in such a situation is that the wielder does not have to rely on foot work to make a thrust effective.  Watch a sword fight or fencing and you will see that, as with boxing, the swordsman strikes in extension off his back foot.  But swinging a khukri, a person does not have to be in a classic swordsman’s stance.  Like a tomahawk, the khukri is being driven primarily from the shoulder and elbow with some hip flex or heel raise.  The closest you can get to that with a straight knife blade is with a reverse grip, which limits time and range.

So far it sounds like the khukri wins out.  The bowie, however, can do one thing the khukri cannot – back cut.  The sharpened top of the bowie’s clip point is not there just to enhance penetration, though it does that admirably.  Notice that the top edge is concave.  It is the khukri’s shape in miniature and in reverse.  Sharpened correctly, the point of bowie is like a needle with razors attached.  Take a bowie in a hammer grip, thrust straight forward, rotate the hand so it is palm up, push to the outside and/or pull back.  Inside or underneath an opponent’s guard, the blade has ripped across if not penetrated and opened the vitals or the belly.  Against the guard, the blade has a chance to slice a defender’s arm, hand, thumb, snag the other weapon, etc.   The bowie is also excellent in an aggressive and classic slash/thrust sequence that can break through a guard or force the opponent to retreat. 

The pictured Ontario Marine Combat version is not as radically “bowie” as some.  It’s about as good as you get with a moderate seven-inch blade.  In my opinion, a longer, somewhat wider blade with a slightly deeper concavity of the secondary edge – as long as the tip stays a little above midline of the blade – is a better pure fighting configuration.  The Marine Combat is, though, a good and useful knife that I would not be unhappy with in self-defense situation.  In fact, it is and has been for around twenty years, the knife I often keep at hand when traveling.  When I was doing contract work in Kansas City back in the mid-90s, it was the only weapon I bothered to keep with me, leaving the firearms and other blades with my wife.  The Ontario rode between the seat and the console in the truck during the day and was next to my Bible in the apartment at night.  It’s a good knife and a lot more expensive to buy these days. 

In conclusion, as I said, I like both blade types.  For zombies, I prefer the khukri as a back up to my firearm, but for creatures you can’t see in a mirror, use the khukri for beheading and put the bowie through its heart. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Resistance is Futile

I mentioned that I watched the pilot for “Revolution”.  After a couple more episodes, I have given up entirely.  There does not seem to be much on television these days – the main reason I dropped my satellite service and get only the local broadcast channels.  When we travel and I am stuck in the same room with my wife (yes, he did say that), I end up watching really stupid and obviously fake programs like “American Hoggers” or whatever they call it.  My wife watches “Blue Bloods” now that “Monk” is seen only in syndication.  I sometimes watch that with her as Tom Selleck is one of the few American male actors left who doesn’t come off as an idiot, a thug, immensely annoying or metrosexual.  It’s OK.  I like the family-values part of “Blue Bloods”.  Other than that, it’s a pretty typical cop show. 

While we are on the subject, I do also have to acknowledge that the writers of “Revolution” throw in the occasional amusing homage or name-drop.  A couple of the main characters met a group of rebels.  The person they are with does not immediately introduce them so the male protagonist introduces himself and his niece by saying, “I’m Stu Redman.  This is Frannie.”  Later he suggests trying to tunnel their way out of a building the militia has surrounded, saying, “We’re going to ‘shawshank’ our way out of here.” Two Stephen King references in one episode almost won me back over.  There was possibly even a third reference – again to The Stand.  We are shown only the lower limbs of a mysterious and powerful intruder who carries off an older black woman from a house in the middle of a cornfield.  She manages to send out a message before she is taken identifying the intruder as “Randall”.  You may recall that King’s satanic villian was “Randall Flagg”.

I remember some writer saying that, to make money, the best course was to write for people who move their lips while reading.  Most television and most films are aimed at that same demographic – people with a minimal ability to comprehend, those with a short attention span, the easily distracted –

Something shiny went past my window. 

During discussions about gun control, proponents of taking firearms from individual citizens will often mock the idea of resistance against authority.  No civilian needs an assault rifle because it would be ineffective against a modern, first-world military power such as the United States.  The same argument will be used for handguns or hunting rifles depending on the nature of the discussion. 

It is true that, typically, soldiers use their rifles in suppressive fire, to hold an enemy force in position for heavier weapons.  Far more enemy combatants are killed in the “average” encounter by “called in” firepower than by direct rifle fire.  If the United States were to become a combat zone, the rebels would find themselves pursued and attacked by drones, their homes and farms and hideouts struck by smart bombs and missiles from aircraft or by supremely accurate fire from long-range weapons mounted on armored vehicles.  In such encounters, even a fully automatic rifle is little better than a water pistol. 

Despite my dismissal of “Revolution” as uninteresting in terms of entertainment, the show does make at least one positive contribution in that it suggests the disarming of individuals has an ulterior motive.  Denying a person the right to own a firearm makes that person easier to control.  Whether that is always the intent of government officials is beside the point.  It is always the result.  People with effective firearms are a threat to tyrants be those tyrants petty or grandiose, outlawed or endorsed and sanctioned by governments. 

Tyrants are not limited to dictators, emperors and kings.  Mayor Bloomberg of New York City is a tyrant.  The bureaucrats at the EPA are tyrants.  Eric Holder is a tyrant.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are tyrants.  The IRS is a tyrannical agency.  Many SWAT teams are operated by tyrannical police departments authorized and run by tyrannical municipal governments.  I am not advocating that we shoot any of those people, but it is clear why they do not like for their subjects to be armed.  Don’t get me started on the once-great nation of England where you cannot carry a knife on your person, and you are subject to prosecution if you defend yourself in any way from an attacker. 

The bad guys in “Revolution” allow bows, crossbows, and edged weapons for hunting and defense, but they will execute anyone who possesses even a blackpowder weapon.  The rebels acquire a Remington sniper rifle from bad guys via the use of an improvised blackpowder zipgun not that different from the famous single-shot .45 ACP Liberator pistols sent to France in World War II.  One of the rebels then uses the rifle to hold off a unit of the bad militia.  The commanding officer says to one of his men that this is the reason they have outlawed the possession of firearms.  It makes the citizens too hard to keep in line.

There is nothing new under the sun. 

Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.”  But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle, … So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them.  And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.  – 1 Samuel 13:19-23

Despots and oppressors have outlawed everything from crossbows to claymores,  BARs to Big Mamas in an attempt to dominate the populace.  This is not for the safety of the subjects but for the safety of the rulers and their minions.  A pistol can get you a rifle.  A rifle can get you a rocket launcher. 

Quite often those gun-grabbing naysayers are of the group who are bad at arithmetic and cannot seem to understand that the government does not have an unlimited amount of resources no matter how much money it prints.  Say that I have a thousand rounds of rifle ammunition worth $300 or $400.  If I expend all of that ammunition and take out only one or two of the oppressors, it is still a fairly cost effective process.  On the other hand, what does it cost to build and send up unmanned drones, to build and buy smart bombs, to take out a couple of rebels with an A-10 strike?  These things are all expensive and limited.  Forget there being a hundred million gun-owners in this country.  What if there is only one percent of the population – three million – or three percent – nine million, willing to fight and die?  How much does it cost to take that many people out?  We will also for the moment ignore the fact that those most likely to resist oppression are the more productive, skilled and intelligent among us, though that would be a huge detriment to the other side’s ability to long maintain its resource advantage. 

God knows that we do not ever want another civil war in this country.  We will endure a lot to avoid the possibility of bloodshed.  We understand all too well that the outcome of such a conflict is largely a lose-lose situation and not entirely unlikely to lead to more egregious oppression rather than restoration of freedom, regardless of the “winner”.  Nevertheless, resistance to tyranny is never futile, and we should never allow ourselves to be disarmed and turned into subjects.  The fact that oppressors would like to convince us that our weapons are useless is sufficient evidence to me that they are not.  Your handgun may not be much use against a tank, but it is still a deterrent to tyrants.  Let them sweat.