This is a bit of a wander…bear with me. I’m trying to articulate a whole bunch of deep emotions. I have to explain 20 years of thought process and maturation.
So, to begin. One of the bloggers I read, Matthew from Straight Forward in a Crooked World, posted a story about a client that he took on in a particularly tough situation. A little girl had been kidnapped. The family was grasping at straws. They wanted him to help look for the girl. As it happened, all was for naught. The little girl was already dead. Her body was found later that day. They have the mutant that murdered her in custody. Justice would be feeding him slowly into a meat grinder, but I’m sure he will get something.
I admit that when I read the first few sentences, I suspected that this was the case. One of the things that lead to my decision to carry was the realization that evil is real, and that it walks among us. Matthew knows this…his blog deals with it in an honest, straightforward, if unsettling way. Good. It should be unsettling. Sometimes you need to be shaken from your misconceptions.
To evil. The driver that got me into firearms was the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. I was I was in college at the time. It offended me at a visceral level. I can’t say way. I generally react…badly…to being told I can’t do something. When I found out that the law didn’t really ban anything, but was just about cosmetics, it triggered every anti-government sentiment I have ever had. So I rebelled. When I moved out of my parent’s house, I bought a shotgun (A Mossberg 500) and an AR (a Bushmaster stripped lower that I built up, and a completed Bushmaster upper) put them under the bed, and called it a day.
Hang on, we are getting to evil. So, I was a happy young man, newly married, living in New York. I decided that I needed to get a pistol. Now, in New York, you can’t touch a pistol unless you have a pistol permit. You can’t get a pistol permit unless you own a pistol. So, you buy the pistol, then you apply, then 6 months or so later, if you are lucky, the county will issue your pistol permit. By a quirk of NY law, there is no such thing as a carry permit in NY. A permit to own is a permit to carry. However, the permits are issued by the county judge. The judge is allowed to “restrict” the permit in any way they want to. In upstate counties, the are typically “unrestricted.” In downstate counties…not so much. I was issued a “target” permit. I could carry my gun to and from a range, and have it in my place of residence.September 11, 2001. I was a young man, working in New York City, for a computer company selling to Wall Street. I spent most of my time between our Midtown offices and Wall Street. I was supposed to be in Windows on the World (the restaurant on the top of the World Trade Center) on 9/11. We got low customer response and ended up cancelling the event. I ended up being in Midtown for the main event, and fled from NYC with everyone else.
9/11 was the event that made me realize that evil existed. I “knew” that beforehand. I had read Mas Ayoob’s “The Truth About Self Protection” which is currently out of print, but I can summarize it for you. There are bad people out there. Really bad. No, really, really bad. They see you as food. Don’t be food. I heard the story of Todd Beamer, like most of us. I thought about what it would be like to call my wife and tell her I was going to die, and that there was nothing I could do about that, but that I was going to die on my feet. That really affected me. I can’t help it on a plane, but to be honest, what are the odds that I am going to be on a hijacked plane? But, what are the odds that some mutant is going to try to mug me my wallet? I can’t be defenseless. I decided we needed to get out of New York. We moved to North Carolina, which is much more gun friendly, much less stabby.
Things just got worse when we had my daughter. Don’t get me wrong…I worship the ground she works on. I get up every day and think…”What can I do today to make sure she grows up healthy and happy and self-confident and successful?” And I realized that I had a responsibility not just to myself, but to her. She deserves her own safety, but she deserves to grow up with a daddy. That means I can’t let some mutant kill me.
Long story short. I got my carry permit, as did my wife. I take this seriously. I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on instruction, most of which I have chronicled on this blog. I became a pistol instructor. The key takeaway: I’ve spent time and money to be proficient as a concealed carry holder. I see that as our duty, if we are going to carry sidearms.
Here is where is comes together. Kathy Jackson, whom I have been reading for 15 plus years since she was a mod on “The High Road”, blogged a post about Practicing for Pregnancy. And it really resonated with me, especially in with the background of the abduction of Hailey Owen. Because in the news reporting, an unfortunate detail leaked out. Hailey’s neighbors saw the abduction, tried to intervene, and failed.
So, put yourself in their situation. You are in your front yard, minding your own business. You see a young girl walking up the street. A pickup truck slows, and opens the door. You hear the driver ask for directions, and when the girl approaches, the driver pulls her into the truck. She is screaming for help. The door slams. And my question is simple. What do you do?
Do you shoot the tires? The driver? What if you hit the girl? Do you do nothing? Call for help?
I know what I would done. I have a plan in place. If I want to, I am 100% confident that my bullets will hit whatever I need them to. Can you say that? If not, what are you doing to fix that?
Filed under: Economics, Freedom, Friends and relations, Newbie Info
Borepatch has a post up on the destruction of the middle class. I’m not even going to quote it here, because pulling quotes out would not do it justice, and you should really RTWT. Go do that. I’ll wait.
So, I’m not saying he’s wrong. But I struggle with the idea that there is anything we can do to stop it.
I would argue a few things. First, there is no such thing as an American corporation. There are corporations that are headquartered in America. There are corporations whose investors are mostly in America. But there is no such think as an American corporation. If Google could make more money tomorrow by closing up shop here, and moving their Mountain View campus to Singapore, they would do it.
A business must constantly innovate or die. If GE and Siemens are both selling light bulbs, but Siemens can do it more cheaply because they have access to third world labor, then GE has two choices: lower their cost of production, or exit the light bulb market. And that’s a good thing. Everyone gets more light bulbs at a cheaper price.
Would preventing the free trade agreements have kept manufacturing jobs here? Or would the companies have just gone out of business? I don’t know the answer…but I think it is a possibility worth considering.
Borepatch and I are both employed in high-tech fields. The skills that I sold when I graduated college for an enormous premium are not valuable in the market today. The skills that I sell today at an enormous premium did not exist at the beginning of the Obama administration. In 10 years, my current skillset will be useless and I will have to find another one. I can continue to innovate, or I can die (economically speaking, of course).
Manufacturing jobs in the US used to be offered at an artificial premium. Now, they have reverted to (global) market price. Is that a good thing? No, not if you were making a living in manufacturing. Yes, if you are consuming the goods they are producing.
One could argue that the “modern” equivalent of manufacturing jobs (relatively easily accessible, semi-skilled labor that pays well and has upward mobility) don’t exist in the modern economy. But I remember reading an article (wish I had the link) about coal mines looking for workers in West Virginia. They were looking for unskilled workers. All you needed to be able to do was show up every day, do your work, and pee clean. Starting salary was in the $40k range. After 6 months they would train you on machine operation. Then you made in the $80k range. Granted, coal mining is not pleasant work. I sure wouldn’t want to do it…that’s part of the reason I spend a bunch of time keeping my tech skills fresh. But it seemed to have a pretty low bar to entry. Even technology, which pays very well, has a pretty low bar to entry. What does it take to get started on a certification? And the job demand is high, and as you have pointed out, only going to grow.
The reality is that each and every one of us is competition for scare resources in this world. There have always been winners and losers. The good news is that all in all, it has worked out pretty well in the main. The average American has a standard of living that would have been the envy of the wealthiest American even 100 years ago.
The key to making sure that greed works for us and not against us is to keep the barriers to entry for new firms as low as possible. That way, every corporation that earns an “unfair” profit will have two or three firms nipping at their heels to do it faster, better, cheaper. That is where the bureaucrats have done enormous damage. Because big corporations have big money, they can buy politicians to write laws to favor them.
One side would argue, “We need to get the money out of politics.” Um…yeah…good luck with that. Think of it this way: Passing a law that says you can only donate X number of dollars to a candidate is essentially a price ceiling on the cost of a politician’s vote. The market reacts to the efforts to “get the money out of politics” the way they do in every other price ceiling. Because the market value of a vote is above the permitted price, we end up with shortages and a black market. Corporations and other monied interests have access to that black market, you do not.
The solution is not to “get the money out of politics” but to make the vote of a politician less valuable. And we do that by taking away their power. If there isn’t much a politician can do for you, then there isn’t much incentive to buy one. And the market price goes down.
Bottom line, if it is a choice between trusting greed and trusting altruism, out me down for greed every time.
More often than we’d like, we pull ammo off the delivery truck from a manufacturer and we find blemishes or damage to the packaging itself. Often, it’s nothing major. Maybe the corner of the box was torn or the logo of the ammunition maker was scraped so it’s just not as pretty as what you’d expect.
The rounds are good, the cases are undamaged, and the rounds will function properly but nobody wants to get a banged up box of ammo when they’re paying full price. So, we’re generally forced to scrap the ammo. Our guys take it out of the box, toss the rounds into a barrel, and pile up in the corner calling it “waste”.
We don’t have a ton of it, but it’s been collecting in our warehouse for years and it could be making somebody’s guns really happy. These rounds need a home.
See the link for more details. The prices look really good. It goes on sale Friday at Midnight
Really tired this morning. I stayed up to watch the recall in Colorado. Way to go, guys. Hopefully the message has been sent: If you ignore your constituents and ally yourself with nanny state fascists (I’m looking at you, Bloomberg) then your butt gets sent home.
Sean does a masterful job of welcoming Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly. He asks a pretty simple question: if you are interested in dialog with gun owners, then why are you hiding from the gun owners?
Thanks to all the GRNC guys who made it to the protest.
I’ve just been busy. I have been the technical lead on a deal that will be the largest my company has done by at least an order of magnitude. It has been challenging and interesting. Unfortunately, it has also meant weekly trips to Mordor-on-the-Hudson, also known as New York City.
I’m back…regular posting should resume. (Or at least as regular as it ever was.)
Sean tells a story of a class he recently tried to take. I say “tried to take” because he had to leave part way through because of the instructors’ unsafe behavior. Go read the whole thing.
Sean (and his brother) did the right thing. They told the instructor that he was doing something unsafe, and when the instructor refused to stop, he left the class. First of all, big congratulations to him for doing the right thing. It’s had to stand up in a room full of people and say “Hey, you are doing something wrong!” and yet, that’s exactly what needs to happen.
If you hang around gun guys for a while, you will at some point see a strange ritual. Someone will take out a pistol, and check to see if it is unloaded. They will hand it to the next person, who will check to see if it is unloaded, and so on down the line. No one takes it for granted that the ammo fairies haven’t snuck a round in while no one was watching. Why? Because we are building habits.
When I became an pistol instructor, we went through elaborate practice to make sure that when we handled firearms, we didn’t muzzle anyone. It’s not that easy. It requires attention to what you are doing. You have to think about where your safe zones were, and soft of pre-plan your movements in advance. Oh, and by the way, these were blue guns. Inert pieces of plastic. Why did we worry about inert pieces of plastic? Because we were forming habits, and we were learning how to teach. And because safety is that important.
As a teacher, you communicate to your students not just by your content, but by your attitude, your body language, and your entire demeanor. So, what did the students from that class learn? They learned that we have “rules” that don’t mean anything. They learned that if you see a safety violation you shouldn’t say anything, because the instructor will ignore it at best and make fun of you at worst.
I will close with a personal admission. I’ve muzzled someone before. In fact, I did it in front of Sean. We were putting sight black on our sights, and I pointed my (unloaded) gun in the wrong direction. A quick, stupid error from training too long on ranges where no one was downrange. I had built bad habits. The person involved just said “Hey man!” and looked at me. I was embarrassed, said “Oh my God, sorry!” I holstered my gun, felt my face burn, and made sure I didn’t make that mistake again. If he had asked me to leave, I would not have complained. I was wrong.
If you make a mistake, admit it, and learn from it. If you see a safety problem, speak up. And if you are at the range, or a class, or a match and someone is being unsafe, be strong enough to leave.
Two key takeaways from this incident. First, when the forces of darkeness try to tell you that you don’t need to have a firearm for self defense, or that no one needs standard capacity magazines, be sure to reference the “crazy terrorist bomber running through the countryside” exception.
Second…the news media has degenerated to the point that it is no longer a benefit to the Republic. Their reporting throughout this entire incident has been positively terrible. The latest gem from ABC news:
A senior Justice Department official told ABC News that federal law enforcement officials are invoking the public safety exception to the Miranda rights, so that Tsarnaev will be questioned immediately without having Miranda rights issued to him.
First, folks, rights are not “issued.” Rights are what we have as citizens of the United States. That same news outlet, ABC news, is also reporting that Tsarnaev is a naturalized citizen. So therefore, Tsarnaev is entitled to the same rights as any other US citizen.
Second…”Mirandizing” a citizen doesn’t do anything other then inform the suspect what his right ALREADY ARE under the law. Whether or not Tsarnaev is informed of the fact, he has the absolute right to shut his mouth and say absolutely nothing. The “public safety” exception doesn’t compel Tsarnaev to do anything at all. The only thing that the “public safety” exception allows officers to do is ask him questions of a public safety nature (“Where are the bombs?”) without reading his rights, waiting for an attorney, etc. Should the police learn anything of an incriminating nature (“We made two more and they are over there.”), the State can then use that information at trial. Inasmuch as the suspect is at last report unconscious and unresponsive, I can’t see how this is relevant at this point.
If there is one thing I have learned in the post 9/11 world…when someone tells you that you have an emergency and that we have to suspend Constitutional protections right now…that is the precise time that we need to put on the brakes. That, and most of my fellow citizens don’t know much about the constitution or their rights.
Man, what a week. I spent most of it on business travel, and so didn’t really have any time to blog. So, some quick hits in lieu of content:
- Gun control goes down in the Senate. Kay Hagan sells out NC gun owners. Guess now we know what she thinks “reasonable restrictions” are. We won’t forget, Kay. I hope one of the things you got to talk about on that boat was your retirement options.
- Barry throws a temper tantrum. Politico runs articles on what a drag it is to be president when you can’t dictate. Boo hoo.
- Bomb goes off in Boston. Media beclowns themselves with their “reporting.” Same stuff, different day.
- It amazes me how quickly people are wiling to give up their rights. On Tuesday, I heard an earnest conversation on the news about whether or not we would have to mirandize a “terrorist.” News flash: terrorists on domestic soil are criminals, and we treat them as such.
- This morning, I read that the police have killed one suspect and are chasing another. They are searching door to door in Watertown. As a test, I asked the kid: “Honey, what would you do if the police came and wanted to search the house?” Without missing a beat she said: “I’d ask if they had a warrant.” That’s my good girl!
…or “Major Kudos to a Fellow Gunnie”
I’ve known Sean Sorrentino from NC Gun Blog for a few years now. This most recent report from behind enemy lines does not surprise me.
Sean has consistently been on the front lines here in NC. He does the unglamorous, boring, and absolutely necessary work. His simply showing up, on a week night, to provide a counterweight to the MAIG vigil, a point of view that otherwise would not have gotten out. On GRNC rally day, Sean spent most of the morning teaching other people how to lobby. He presents a thoughtful, intelligent, reasonable perspective on gun rights.
Kudos, brother. I’m glad you are on our side.