Lying in hopes of winning

I recently received an email containing the following from “The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus” (emphasis in the original):

Over the last few years, the gun lobby has secretly tried to change state laws and force concealed weapons on college campuses in many states. We need your help, so that we can continue our successful fight against the gun lobby over the next few months.

The gun lobby has been secretive about trying to change state laws? How would this even be possible? State laws are changed by legislative actions which are far from secret.

The gun lobby has tried to force concealed weapons on college campuses? How would this even be possible? Has the gun lobby has been trying to ram vehicles through road blocks?

They have been successful? This is only true if they define success as not losing every single time. Our progress is not as fast as we would like but we have not experienced any loses. We have had some wins and many failures to score. But those failures to score are almost certain to be less and less likely. The specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms is very unlikely to be declared null and void on college campuses. All it will take is for one or two good court cases and hundreds if not thousands of colleges with repressive laws against gun ownership will have their rules struck down by court order.

Soon they will be irrelevant and out of a job. They are desperate and that explains their lies.

My advice to them is to change their names and go get another job.

Why change their names? Think of it this way; What are the job prospects of someone who used to be a high ranking Klan member?

Free batteries from Crimson Trace

This is kind of cool (via email from Tiffany Hopp, MarCom Manager, at Crimson Trace):

For Immediate Release;

May 31, 2012

Crimson Trace Extends Popular ‘Batteries For Life’ Program

(Wilsonville, OR) Crimson Trace, the Oregon-based manufacturer of the World’s only grip-activated laser sights today announced plans to extend its hugely popular ‘Batteries for Life’ scheme. CTC customers will receive free replacement batteries for the lifetime of their laser sights, in exchange for registering their products with the company’s customer service department.

“There are very few things in life that are truly free,” said Nate Hoke, Director of Customer service for Crimson Trace. “This is one of them. Just register online or via our 800 number and every year, we’ll send a fresh set of batteries for your Lasergrips® or Laserguard® product for as long as you own it.” Hoke reported that many customers were still using the original batteries in their sights after six or seven years. “While Crimson Trace products have the longest run times in the industry, laser sights are safety devices and as such, should have regular battery changes. We’re proud to be able to offer this program to our loyal customers – it’s one more way for us to show our appreciation to the people who have supported us over the years.”

All Crimson Trace products are proudly designed engineered and manufactured in the USA and fit the widest range or popular self-defense handguns, including Glock, Smith & Wesson, Kimber and Springfield.

For further information contact;

Iain Harrison
Media Relations Manager
CRIMSON TRACE CORPORATION
iainh@crimsontrace.com
1-800-442-2406 x1303

I use Crimson Trace lasers on some of the guns I teach beginners with. It think they make fine products.

The Communist Manifesto

Over the weekend I read The Communist Manifesto for the first time. I expected some sort of almost magical power to draw me into embracing the evil. I was surprised, disappointed, and finally I had a sinking feeling of emptiness as I thought about it more.


The book was like a synopsis of a poorly written alternate history novel. Assumptions critical to the reasoning which followed were unsupported and, at least to my present day perspective, either blatantly wrong or highly suspect. Even conceding the authors their assumptions without contest the conclusions reached with such confidence were as unstable as any house of cards.


And this is the book that convinced millions of people to murder hundreds of millions of others? Is this all that it takes to remove the thin veneer off of civilized behavior and enable the most evil empires human history as ever known? Self described intellectuals accept this book as a valid political philosophy? These “intellectuals” regard themselves as my betters? Wow!


The typical two year old child or even the family dog wouldn’t accept the conclusions unless they were forced into compliance. It’s no wonder the authors state, “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can only be attained by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.”


But in talking to Ry about the book I got a new perspective. He said that he first read it when he was about 12 years old and it was like the scales had been removed from his eyes and he saw everything clearly for the first time. Furthermore he said it is no wonder Communists killed off older people with any education or even if they wore glasses. It’s no wonder they attack capitalist societies through the school system. We were and are in a war most people don’t even realize exists (see also The Handbook of 5GW). Ry went on to claim that the book was aimed at the young and “the people with guns, the muscle” who would do the “heavy lifting” of “forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.” These would be people without the intellectual rigor to challenge the assumptions, reasoning, or conclusions.


Okay… I can buy into that hypothesis for now.


The obvious question then becomes why do the people who claim to be the intellectuals of our society so much more likely to advocate for Communism?


I know a professor who admits he is a Marxist. He once insisted our family should not be allowed to own the home we do because we “don’t need such a big house.” The “government should let someone with a bigger family use that house.” This professor told me the previous dozens or hundreds failed attempts at implementing a Communist utopia failed because, “The right people weren’t in charge. We just need to have the right people.” I explained that concentrated power of that sort attracts the “wrong” people who would always succeed in the acquisition and control of that power. He insisted that “we just need to get the right people in power.” I then sent him a copy of The Road to Serfdom. I don’t know if he even read it but I do know his attitude has not changed. He believes he is an intellectual superior in our society. He is a professor. He knows what is best for our society. Of course you know he voted for Obama. But I could have given you 20 chances and you would not have guessed that he is a professor in a school of business.


So one answer to the obvious question is we are at war and most people don’t even know it.


Another possible answer is something Sarah once asked me, “Have you ever noticed that liberals are not very bright?” I was a bit shocked. Someone else noticed? I am a bit sensitive about challenging the intellectual capacity of others because I know there are many things that I don’t know and seem to be beyond my capacity to understand (such as the mass appeal of The Communist Manifesto). But here was someone else, without an engineer’s mind, who noticed it too. As I pondered the book and Ry’s observations I realized that was another plausible answer to the obvious question.


The Communist Manifesto tells its readers that supporters of Communism are the intelligent people. They deserve, are destined to, and the good of all human kind depends on them, being in charge. That they “understand” the benefits of Communism to the bafflement of others is probably proof to them that they are the intellectual superiors of those that think Communism is, at best, prone to abuse.


In other words the second plausible answer to the obvious question is that those that advocate Communism are not very bright people who want to believe they are the brightest of all people. And that The Communist Manifesto tells them they are the brightest enables them to then claim themselves as intellectuals.


Regardless of the plausible answers I have no choice but to view Communism as a cancer which has metastasized beyond the point which surgery or chemotherapy can do little more than delay the death of the host. And it can all be traced back to one little book. I’ve written thousands of blog posts on freedom related topics and thousands of others far smarter than me have written hundreds of times more than me with hundreds of examples of Communism evil and failure. Yet we are losing to a couple of guys who have been dead for 120 years who wrote something that was little more than a synopsis of a poorly written alternate history novel.


Man, that sure does suck.

It’s a Matter of Context

I point out, to those who are befuddled by the Chinese criticizing America’s human rights record, that we are talking about one communist government criticizing another.


See?  It makes perfect sense.


“Human rights” you see, means the right to be controlled by an all-knowing and all-powerful government.


Better now?

Quote of the day—Harold Berman

A child says, “It’s my toy.” That’s property law. A child says, “You promised me.” That’s contract law. A child says, “He hit me first.” That’s criminal law. A child says, “Daddy said I could.” That’s constitutional law.

Harold Berman
[Via email from Rolf.

I have often thought of the property law angle. Animals even have a sense of what belongs to them. This has the potential to be used as an argument against Communism (as if more arguments were necessary).

But the extension to the others is enlightening and makes one ponder. Are these concepts universal? Or is there a strong environmental component that is injected by the time the child is able to speak? If these are universal then are there psychological or socials costs "paid" when the government (or even individuals in positions of parent/teacher/neighborhood-thug power) violates these universal laws? If they are not universal but are products of Western cultural then how do other cultures stack up in terms of happiness, longevity, productivity, and wealth?

Interesting stuff.—Joe]

Assumptions

I’ve been embarrassed frequently enough by making assumptions that I’m sometimes chastised for asking questions. It’s uncomfortable to be glared at as someone says, “I’m not even going to answer that question” but I prefer that to giving shooting advice to Lisa Munson (I knew the name but didn’t know what she looked like) just prior to her shooting an USPSA stage. She just smiled and thanked me. But when she shot it with a better score than I in about half the time I wanted to leave the range in embarrassment.

I’m reminded of this by the incident which occurred here. To the best of my knowledge the commenter is a nice guy and was trying to be helpful. But it was a lot like me giving shooting advice to Ms. Munson. We both made erroneous assumptions. We both assumed the woman was less of an expert than we are because we are men and it involved firearms. As we both learned this assumption can be drastically wrong.

Ms. Munson delivered her response to me in a way that was extremely gracious and I really appreciate that.

There were two lessons there. One is to not make assumptions. The other lesson is you can deliver a response graciously such that the person on the receiving end will be thankful (perhaps in private prays to their god(s)) rather than be resentful for being publically humiliated. Her two lessons are something that I will never forget and I hope others can learn from as well.

As an additional aid to help you remember this I would like to point out you can’t spell ‘assumption’ without an ‘ass’ and ‘u’.

Quote of the day—Tasso Rampante

Shockingly high rates of gun ownership and shockingly low rates of summary executions by totalitarian regimes.

Tasso Rampante
May 29, 2012
Comment to How do you say “Come and take them” in Mandarin?
[This was in regard to the Chinese complaining that the U.S. has "rampant gun ownership".

As Robb said, "This is a feature, my oriental friends, not a bug." But from the point of view of the Chinese government it would be a severe "bug" if summary executions (with the family being charged for the cartridge used) became more "challenging". After all, they have an obligation to "protect the people" by killing those that disrupt the collective and interrupt the narrative. But they are making progress: "The switch from gunshots to injections is a sign that China 'promotes human rights now.'"

To be fair it's not just the Chinese government. There are people in our country who advocate the harming of dissidents as well.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Richard Schiffman

The recent killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in a gated community in Florida has reignited the controversy over gun violence in America.

Whether the shooting was an act of self-defense, as Zimmerman’s lawyer claims, or murder plain and simple has been left to a jury to decide. But clearly it never would have happened if the possession of handguns were illegal, or severely restricted, as it is in Europe.

Richard Schiffman
Guns Now Kill More People Than Cars in 10 States
May 29, 2012
[There are two important things to note here.

  1. Schiffman has no respect for the Bill of Rights. He wants handguns, specifically protected the the Supreme Court in the Heller case, banned or severely restricted.
  2. He does not recognize self-defense as legitimate. In his world view the world would be a better place if Zimmerman had continued to get his head bashed in and possibly killed rather than use a gun to defend himself.

The only reasonable conclusion I can draw from this is that Schiffman should leave the U.S. and live some place where guns are banned and thugs bash in heads without fear of people defending themselves. If he has such severe problems with the Bill of Rights he does not belong here.—Joe]

Random thought of the day

If having your cell phone or other electronic device turned on could jeopardize the safety of an airplane then why allow electronic devices on the plane at all? Why couldn’t a group of suicide terrorists carry high powered electronic devices on airplanes and turn them on during critical portions of the flight and bring them down at will? Or even aim a directional beam at planes from the ground and bring them down?


One has to conclude that the prohibition against having your cell phone turned on is just more security theater.


Update: Some awesome stuff in the comments. I think I need to back down some on my claims above…

Quote of the day—Mikee

Prosecutors and police have an authority, not a right, to hold evidence. Citizens have rights. State agents have “authority” or delegated powers, based on the decisions of the citizenry. When the police and prosecutors overstep their authority, they are infringing on rights, not exercising them.

Mikee
May 26, 2012
Comment to Three years
[Mikee is absolutely correct. But that is not anywhere close to the way our opponents talk about our political system. They talk in terms of terms of people being allowed to have rights.

But what I find most interesting at the highest level at least some of them know the truth. From the Brady Center Legal Action Newsletter Spring 2012 (emphasis added):

The people of Colorado should have the right to protect their communities from the dangers of loaded guns on their streets and parks. The gun lobby wants to force guns onto the streets of Denver, and they don’t care how many lives it costs. Their position is so extreme that Colorado’s Attorney General, who has an A- rating from the NRA, is arguing side-by-side in court with us against the NRA and other members of the gun lobby.”

Jonathan Lowy, the Director of the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project who argued the case in court, stated, “States and cities have the authority to keep guns off the streets.

When talking to the public they speak of the collective people and governments having rights. When speaking to the courts where words have more carefully defined meanings and the opposition is going to point out their errors they correctly speak of government having authority.

They are not merely ignorant or careless with the truth. This is concrete evidence they are deliberately deceptive.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Jonathan E. Lowy

The work of the Legal Action Project — like all Brady’s work to prevent gun violence — is really a battle over two visions of America.

In our vision, a 17-year-old boy can buy Skittles and a soft drink at the local 7-11 and walk back home safely to watch a basketball game with his father. But in the NRA’s vision, the boy is stopped by a man on the street with a violent past and a loaded hidden handgun.

In the NRA’s vision, George Zimmerman kills Trayvon Martin.

Jonathan E. Lowy
Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence Legal Action Project Director
Spring 2012
Legal Action Newsletter Spring 2012 (if this link goes dead let me know because I saved a copy).
[Lowy is absolutely correct about there being two visions of America.

The Brady Center and Brady Campaign appear to have made the Martin/Zimmerman case the centerpiece of their legal and political campaigns. This is could be a goldmine for us. The media tried to help the left by falsifying data and the left, including the Brady’s, ran with the lie. The lie was exposed and as more and more evidence brought out it looks as if Zimmerman will come out as justified in using deadly force to defend himself.

By making the Martin/Zimmerman case their showcase of the evil NRA it is likely to be savagely shot down as part of the lie. They, to a certain extent, participated in the lie by using the photo of Martin as a 12 year-old rather than as a 17 year-old. Their only real out at this point in time is to back down and quietly drop the Martin/Zimmerman meme but I don’t think they strength of character to do that. They are too psychologically weak to admit their mistake and change direction.

We should use this to our advantage at every opportunity. The Brady vision of America is not, and should not be, supported by the people of our country. Help them wither up and blow away into the dustbin of history.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Jeff Knox

The old adage of never looking a gift horse in the mouth does not apply in civic matters – just ask the Trojans.

Jeff Knox
May 24, 2012
Scandal! Cities pay anti-gun lobbyists
[This is in regards to the Illegal Mayors Against Guns and the Joyce Foundation partially funding city “staff positions for professional lobbyists whose primary function is to drum up support for ant-gun legislation, ordinances and regulations.”

As Jeff points out in his article if this were the NRA getting pro-gun lobbyists on city staff the media and liberals would explode in fury. Bring this point up as needed to eliminate these questionable if not illegal use of tax money.

There are other ways to get the point across as well. What if they were lobbyists for other controversial political positions such as:

  • Pro-Life?
  • Pro-Choice?
  • The KKK?
  • Creationism?

Government is rightly limited to specific enumerated powers. For them to use taxpayer money to advocate the infringement of specific enumerated rights goes way beyond any power they should ever be allowed to have.—Joe]

Life’s little tradeoffs

30 Cal Gal sent me an email this morning with a picture of the Western Shooting Journal cover for June (supposedly on newsstands now):


WSJCover


The article was written by Shelley (thank you Shelley!).


I showed it to Ry and his response was, “I’m glad I got it in one shot!”


Yeah. Had it taken four or five shots (it’s happened to me) the teaser line would have been a little embarrassing. Of course at near contact distance with the flame front misses are less likely and having your hair burned could be embarrassing too. Life is full of tradeoffs.

Your bias is showing

Google news shows Fidel Castro’s niece endorsed President Obama (last Google entry shown on this page):

 CastroEndorsesObama

Yet when you go to that page the name “Obama” and that quote is not to be found.

Other sources include the quote, “I would vote for President Obama. I think he’s sincere and speaks from the heart.”

Apparently the AP removed that portion of the story. Perhaps because it is because it really shouldn’t be considered news. Communists endorsing communists is even less newsworthy than “dog bits man”.

Quote of the day—Ry Jones

I feel so small.


Ry Jones
May 24, 2012
[This was after viewing some of these pictures of fireballs (click for very high resolution versions):


rip_02_sml wall_o_fire_workers_sml pyro_b17_sml


Ry gets and deserves a lot of praise for his fireballs at Boomershoot (2007, 2011, 2012). But apparently he is experiencing some performance anxiety.


Today is his birthday so I'm going to take him out to lunch and try to cheer him up as we plan our tests (scheduled for June 9, 2012) for Boomershoot Fireball 2013.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Josh Sugarmann

Assault weapons are increasingly being perceived by legislators, police organizations, handgun restriction advocates, and the press as a public health threat. As these weapons come to be associated with drug traffickers, paramilitary extremists, and survivalists, their television and movie glamour is losing its lustre to a violent reality.

Because of this fact, assault weapons are quickly becoming the leading topic of America’s gun control debate and will most likely remain the leading gun control issue for the near future. Such a shift will not only damage America’s gun lobby, but strengthen the handgun restriction lobby.

Josh Sugarmann
1988
Conclusion to Assault Weapons and Accessories in America
[There are multiple things of interest in this 1988 prediction.

As an almost off the wall observation I find it curious Sugarmann uses the British spelling of "luster".

More on track is that Sugarmann, in some ways, was brilliant with this study. He correctly identified a political weakness and was instrumental in exploiting it. The 1994 Federal "Assault Weapon Ban" and as well as several previous and subsequent state and local bans can trace their roots to this study.

But Sugarmann failed in his prediction "America's gun lobby" would be damaged and that the handgun restriction lobby will benefit from the debate and restrictions on "Assault Weapons".

The NRA membership exploded to record levels with the political debates and actual passing of the Federal "Assault Weapon Ban". Today they are as strong or stronger than ever before and members of Congress have ranked the NRA as the most powerful lobbying organization in the country several years in a row.

Handgun Control Inc., now known the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, is specifically called out as having 180,000 dues paying members and an annual budget of $4,000,000. They changed to the more stealthy name in 2001 and as of 2010 only had about 28,000 people who had given donations or paid dues in the previous year. (Tamara has the appropriate words).

The National Coalition to Ban Handguns, now known as Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, is also called out. This organization changed their name just one year later, 'because the group felt that "assault rifles" as well as handguns, should be outlawed.' These days they are reduced to little more than sparing with gun bloggers on Twitter.

And of course we need to look at Sugarmann's own Violence Policy Center. Yesterday, which inspired this QOTD, Sebastian posted the answer--VPC: The Most Irrelevant Anti-Gun Group?—Joe]

Red Flags

I could go on and on and on and on about all the times I’ve been scammed in business.  When you’ve been in business for 35 years you accumulate a lot of stories of woe and intrigue.  One of the dumbest scammers was a couple of kids using a stolen credit card, who wanted us to deliver thousands of dollars worth of musical instruments, picked out over the phone sight unseen, each being the most expensive of the available choices, to a parking lot on a Sunday.  We just got as much information out of them as we could, called the cops, and found out that these kids had been busted multiple times in the past for check and credit card fraud.


Just the other day, we got an order for multiple units of the most expensive thing we have to offer.  First red flag.  Not enough to get all suspicious, but it makes you wonder just as little bit.  In the comments box, he/she/it says to hurry, but offers no reasons why.  Second red flag.  That may sound innocuous to you, but it’s extremely rare.  When we try to process the transaction, it comes up with a no-match on both the cvv number and the billing address.  Third red flag.  When I reply, asking for the correct cvv number and billing address he/she/it has no idea what I’m talking about and therefore can’t provide any info.  Fourth and fifth red flags.  That’s two more; one because a person spending a lot of money for something needed right away couldn’t get the numbers right, and two because someone is doing all this as his/her/its very first time making an on-line purchase (if you’ve done it before, you know the meaning and importance of a cvv number and a billing address).  If you don’t know what “cvv number” means I can maybe sort of forgive you because some sites refer to it as a “security code” but I can’t forgive you for being unable to use google for a few milliseconds to find out.


My long legacy of being scammed tells me this is a kid with a stolen card, or some other dirtbag loser/gangsta and that I shouldn’t engage in any more messing around.  It’s not any one or two red flags, but the accumulation of red flags that made me nix the deal.  I know full well that it is possible that this is an innocent, inexperienced buyer, but it’s too unlikely a scenario to gamble a lot of money.  Nor will I offer any explanation to this person, beyond “…our security department has rejected the order.  Please look elsewhere.  Sorry.”  Other red flags I won’t tell you about.


Those of you who aren’t in business do understand (don’t you? no, you probably don’t– no one learns about business unless they actually do it, because most people go through public education) that any time there is a problem with a credit card, it is I, the business owner, who always eats the shit on the deal.  No one else is responsible.  You may THINK that the credit card bank is letting your unauthorized charges go at their expense, but they’re charging the vendor (that’s me) whenever that happens (it’s called a “chargeback”) and then merchant services threaten to cut off, or jack up the price on, my merchant services.  The business owner is always at fault.

Private fireballs

One of the new things we are planning to offer for Boomershoot 2013 is an opportunity to shoot your own fireball from as “entertainingly close” as I feel comfortable with. Hint, this year Ry was pushing the envelope for my comfort zone.

There will be a very limited number of them, perhaps three to five, they will take place Friday evening, perhaps near dusk, and the price will be $500 each. And to a certain extent you will control the audience. There will always be range safety officers present but if you only want to allow your immediate family or have it be “all yours” you can do that. We will keep all other spectators at least a couple hundred yards away.

The question are: 1) Are there people interested in such an experience? 2) Is there some modification to the scenario such that it would be more attractive to you?

Quote of the day—John Longenecker

Loss of life due to heart attack was the primary motivator for the paramedic program worldwide. In primary training, heavy emphasis was given to emergency cardiac care. The Paramedics became the SWAT of emergency medical care. To aid EMS, there has been a worldwide drive to train millions in CPR to keep the patient alive until the arrival of Advanced Life Support.

The armed citizen is identical to this concept of humanity and compassion. In terms of human decency to one another in time of emergency, the armed citizen is its only equivalent. The idea of the Good Samaritan is much deeper than kindness and specific care, it is involvement as an expression of devotion to the nation by an unmistakable restatement of our values. When we care about medical emergency patients, why can’t we also care in time of criminal violence?

We can. In 49 states, we do.

John Longenecker
May 22, 2012
A Footnote in EMS History Discredits Gun Control Today
[Good job John!

I have nothing else to add.—Joe]