Las Vegas: No Conspiracy

Until now a broken wrist has kept me from giving my opinion on the Las Vegas shooting. I’ve also kept my distance from the subject at least in large part because I believe that the agencies involved needed some time to sort through the facts.

Consider, if you will, what it might be like to be working on a calculus problem – something that requires a lot of thought and focus – and have a two-year-old interrupt you every five seconds with inane questions. If you can envision that, then you can envision exactly what the Las Vegas police have been going through since the day of shooting. The media has been all over this. While they have been doing their job, they have also been contributing to the confusion.

Every network tries to get an exclusive, and then share that exclusive with the public irrespective of whether it may actually be true or conflict with what the Las Vegas police have discovered. And of course what is perceived as a lack of transparency is more likely just complexity at work. Sort of like trying to pick up 10,000 Skittles on a basketball court and sort them by color while 3rd graders play kickball around you. The Las Vegas PD has been doing just that kind of job. Doing countless interviews, collecting countless bits of data and crime scene material, and evaluating video shot from about 300 different angles.

You probably also seen where many of the people who had their phones confiscated by the police and FBI received their phones back and they’re without the videos. Someone is trying to spin this into a conspiracy. It is not a conspiracy, it’s simply an attempt to keep stupid people from sharing senselessly stupid graphic evidence foolishly or in a way that ultimately harms the outcome of the investigation. Investigations require careful calm scientific and procedurally correct methods. They can’t be rushed. But when they are they also can be screwed up. Take for example the infamous Olympic bombing. One of the reasons Mr. Rudolf got away with it for so long was that a security guard was erroneously blamed for it and had a long road back trying to reclaim his reputation. The fog of war often causes police to focus on any solution and not always the right one.

On Townhall.com Steve Sheldon takes a very cerebral approach to the subject, suggesting conspiracy theorists ask each other 8 tough questions. Most are spot on, but #8 leaves me certain that Steve needs an education in firearms. He asks:

  1. Why is it necessary that the shooter have military or law enforcement experience to do what he did?

Steve seems to think that semiautomatic firearms require very little training. That has certainly not been my experience. In the army we were taught the basics of the M-16 (the forerunner of the AR 15), over the course of about two weeks. We learned how to take it apart and put it back together. We learn how to clean. Only then did we learn how to operate it. And that instruction was done with one or two bullets at a time. On the range we were never allowed to fire the weapon on full auto. Although our weapons would operate on full auto, we were told that we be court-martialed if we made that mistake. Later, in training in the Republic of Korea, I did get to fire the M-16 in full automatic mode. I will simply say that is a great deal different than trying to fire the weapon on semiautomatic. The very same recoil that fuels the automatic weapon, also causes the weapon to rise off target. That’s why we were taught to fire three or four around bursts, not simply hold down the trigger.

The idea that someone could go out into the desert and in three or four months learn how to control an AR 15 on full automatic is simply ridiculous. Fully automatic fire reduces accuracy. The only thing it is good for is spray and pray. In other words if you are not a good shot, and you have lots of targets, then you can hit lots of targets in lots of places, but you can never be assured of lethality. Had Paddock known fully what he was doing, he would have fired only on semi-auto, and used a sight to improve his accuracy. But lethality was not his goal: terror was.

Then there is the issue of magazines, magazine changes, and the ability to continue to fire, large numbers of rounds. To date no one in the Las Vegas police department or the FBI have announced how many rounds were fired by Mr. Paddock. We simply do not know. It could be 200, it could be 500, it could be more, but we don’t know. Assuming that he had 30 round magazines, and assuming that he taped them together top to bottom, he would have had 60 rounds available that he could have fired in probably less than a minute given magazine changes. He would have fired 30 rounds, the bolt would have kicked open, he would’ve had to hit the magazine release, pull out the empty magazine, slam in the new magazine, and again hit the bolt release. All of this takes time. When a person is first learning to use a rifle it sometimes takes 30 seconds to master this. With training you can get this time down to a matter of seconds. Listening to the audio of the shooting, magazine changes were done with exceptional speed. This would indicate either a great deal of training or a great deal of practice or both.

There is a reason why Paddock had so many firearms in his room. He realized that even well-maintained semi automatic weapons jam, and stop firing. Nothing has yet been released on the status of firearms found, but it is reasonable to assume that several of them stopped working during the massacre. This is reasonable because firing the weapon so quickly would have caused extreme heat in the barrel, and likely would have produced jamming. Only an individual who was familiar with the unique characteristics of semi automatic weapons would understand the necessity to keep more than one semi automatic rifle in the room if you were going to fire on what was essentially full automatic. You’d need several weapons.

You’d also need to have numerous magazines preloaded. You need to have them taped together so as to make it easy to change them quickly. You would need to have a way to move from firearm to firearm when one or more of them became inoperative. For a guy who was not known to be a “gun guy“ it seems obvious that he had some kind of training. Where that training took place, who did it, and how much practice he had before the event we may never know. But it simply is not possible for him to have watched YouTube videos, gone into the desert, and figured this all out on his own. I realized the guy was smart, and a CPA, but that’s not the kind of background that prepares you to be a mass murderer.  I believe he did have training, but I also believe it wasn’t competent training, and that there is no tie to the government of the USA.

For the record, if there is a conspiracy, and if there is a cover-up, it is designed to protect property interests in Las Vegas. It is being done at the request of the casinos. It is being done so as to get this out of the news as quickly as possible, so that the gamblers come back as quickly as possible. Someone once observed that you should never attribute to malevolence that which is more properly attributed to incompetence.  Or, in this case, greed.

I do not wish to assert that the Las Vegas PD is in incompetent. But neither are they distinguishing themselves in this investigation. That does not mean there is a conspiracy. But I believe that if there are problems here, they relate almost exclusively to trying to conduct a major investigation inside the media fishbowl. The truth will eventually come out. When it does we may find a motive, and we may not. But one thing is sure: the evil that was Mr. Paddock is no longer with us.

 

 

Liberalism’s Centerpiece

To listen to the news you would think that San Francisco is a liberal paradise.  Those AntiFa assholes certainly love it out here.

But for us normal folk, it is not a paradise of any kind. The last few days I have been in San Francisco, and it has devolved into the city of broken dreams. Homeless people are all over the place, many demanding that you give them money to eat. Notice I did not say “asking nicely” I said, “demanding.” They will follow you until you give them the Klingon stare of death and use that Bane voice from Batman to say “No!”

I have no problem with homeless people who are mentally unsound and unable to make their way in normal life. But most of these people are bums by profession. They roam the streets and they stalk the tourists in the trendy areas by doing gross things to attact attention and get money. They will pull half-eaten ice cream sundaes out of the trash cans and start eating someone else’s dessert not so much because they’re hungry (they’re the best-fed overweight bums I’ve seen) but rather, so they can con you into giving them money.

Liberals tell us that if we just do enough with government, we can make everyone’s life better. But the fact is, the only lives that get improved are the suits administering the programs; the rest of us just give up larger and larger portions of our income.

The final straw for me tonight was going to the Walgreens and buying two bottles of Diet Coke. “Do you want a bag?” — no, moron, I want to carry these cold drinks in my hands for half a mile… what do you think? Well, a bag out here costs you a dime. That’s right, California has seen fit to insist on you recycling or contributing to recycling by requiring you to pay for your bags. Doubtless this goes into some fund to save Orca the Killer Whale or something. But it’s the nanny state writ large.

Worst of all, in the People’s Republic of California, you cannot be armed without buying off some police official in order to get your permit, and they do not recognize any other state’s permits. In essence, they penalize the law abiding citizen and traveler, making them easy marks for the criminal class in California, all without delivering a crime-free state, while at the same time rewarding the criminality of illegal aliens. It’s like California is a criminal’s dream: the citizens are disarmed, and can’t fight back.

Several years ago I was offered a job out here. I toyed with the idea.

I am so glad I did not take it.

An Open Letter to Paul “No Wall” Ryan

Congressman Ryan:

As the Speaker of the House you hold immense power. That power is granted to you by the voters. Those voters ensured a conservative Supreme Court, and sought to obtain from Congress a border wall to protect them, tax reform to generate prosperity, a repeal of Obamacare to eliminate federal interference in the healthcare marketplace, and national concealed carry reciprocity to ensure their personal safety in a world dominated by crime and violence.

You have failed in your quest to repeal Obamacare.  You seem much more interested in protecting a bunch of illegal aliens that will never vote for you than in enacting tax reform, and in your wisdom – a term that must be used only the in the loosest form – you have said that not only will the voters not get their wall, but that they won’t get conceal and carry reciprocity because the time “isn’t right.” In spite of more than 80 co-sponsors, you’ve determined now is not the time. So the voters have one question: Do you want to keep your job?

It may come as some surprise to someone in the public service sector, but out here in the real world (where people work 8 to 12 hours for a days pay) we employees are required (it’s not a suggestion, we’re not “encouraged,” we are required) to follow the dictates of our boss. If the construction foreman tells the carpenter to cut a four foot board, a four foot, two inch board doesn’t work. It’s the kind of thing that gets employees – even ones who honestly think that they know better about how long the board should be – fired from their jobs.

Mr. Speaker, we have one boss: the president.  You sir, are not doing what the boss wants.  It is time to quit cutting the wrong sized boards!

I realize that you have been in Congress so long you now believe (1) rules that apply to others do not apply to you; and (2) all you have to do is continue to con Wisconsin voters and you get to keep your job. This is not true.

There is a growing movement in this country to replace you with someone who will do the will of the Commander in Chief and who will work arm-in-arm with the administration to do the actual will of the people who elected you. Right now I will be contributing as much as I can to your primary challenger, and, if you succeed in conning the Republican electorate, to any Democrat who opposes you.  The voters will not tolerate their agenda being ignored;  you need to be fired!

Even should you manage to use all those corporate donations from deep-pockets companies to continue to bamboozle Wisconsin voters, I have instructed my representative to vote for anyone who opposes you for Speaker. I will continue to remind my representative frequently that you need to be replaced, and that his continued service is contingent on you not having the Speaker’s gavel next term.

I realize you think you’re the smartest guy in the room. And, in some limited respects, you may be. But guile and charisma only carry you so far. When the voters are angry that they are not getting what they were promised (remember how you said you would repeal and replace Obamacare and then blew that?) they tend to vote against the people who are screwing them.  Right now, Mr. Speaker, that’s you!

Fortunately, for you, there is still time to avoid this outcome. You could still have a reasonably successful term as Speaker if you cooperate with the administration and if you pass the bills we need passed: border wall, Obamacare repeal, tax reform, and concealed carry reciprocity.  Stop currying favor with Democrats and start doing what you were elected to do!

You badly underestimated the anger of the electorate in 2016. You may not like the President, but you owe him the duty of cooperation in his agenda because it is the people’s agenda. And if you do not discharge that duty, we will discharge you.

So, please, for your sake, and more importantly, for the country’s sake, do your damned job Mr. Speaker. Do your damned job!

Educate, Don’t Legislate

 

Today someone on Quora asked what the difference was between a 9 mm bullet and a 22 mm bullet. Okay, you all understand, this is someone who wants to know the difference between a 9 mm and a .22 caliber bullet, but they don’t know how to ask the question.  Yes, its a stunning display of ignorance, but they don’t teach this stuff in school any more.

If you haven’t looked at Quora, you’ll be amazed by the alarmingly insipid comments and the questions that betray a total ignorance of firearms. I try to dedicate an hour a week to answering some of these questions, and correcting the bad answers others give. And just like there are bad questions, there are bad answers.  But some of the answers on Quora are things of beauty.  In fact, I wish I had copied some to my “what to tell an idiot” file, because some of them are that good.  But I try to get on and answer as often as I can. I do this for a reason.

The main reason I do this is because it is far better to educate than advocate. If you can educate the public about firearms, you can get them to understand that they are no more dangerous than any other tool in the garage (in other words, harmless if used properly, dangerous if used dangerously). When you tell someone like the questioner above that gun control doesn’t work, and especially if he can find a metric to English conversion on the internet, he thinks there are people out there shooting bullets the size of your thumb on a regular basis.

If you ask the general public, what they know about guns they’ve learned on TV. What do we know about TV? We know it is rarely if ever accurate. We see Dirty Harry firing his .44 magnum one-handed with amazing accuracy. We see hoodlums holding their guns sideways (and not putting out their eyes with spent casings). We see silencers that make guns go “pfft!” We do not see reality.

Adding to this bad information about guns, there is bad information about gunshots. People shot in the chest with a .38 do not walk out of the hospital the next day with their arm in a sling. Instead they spend the next two weeks spitting up blood and trailing around a chest tube drainage device, all the while receiving pain killers because every breath is a fresh reminder they were shot. People either live or die after a gun shot wound. But you never see them in rehab. You never see them in the ICU on a ventilator. You never see them 40 pounds lighter when they finally come out of the hospital. You never see them cower every time there’s a loud noise.

We know Hollywood hates us. We know that this is purposeful disinformation that they spread. We also know that the media plays a huge role in convincing the general public what they should be very afraid of.

So it only makes sense that our job should be to teach. If you educate, you don’t have to worry about the government legislating your rights out of existence. It is never too late to start the battle to teach people about firearms. Explain why you carry. Explain why you spend at least one day a month at the range. Explain why you work hard to be able to continue to carry in confidence.

If you do this, you make it much more likely that when you’re advocating for our causes, your friends and neighbors who do not own guns (and who don’t want to) will think “Fred is a very responsible gun owner who taught me a lot. If he thinks this is a good law, it must be a good law.”

Educate, so we don’t have to Legislate.

Your Dream is my Nightmare

John McCain: @POTUS’s decision on #DACA is wrong approach at a time when both sides need to compromise on #immigration reform mccain.senate.gov/public/index.c…

AJ: Regardless of what President Trump says or does, #DACA recipients still have rights

Harry Shrum Jr. Cruelty on display and hidden agendas from this administration. I stand with you #DACA Dreamers. Your voice is louder now, more than ever.

Allan Marshall: 100% #Dreamers have NO criminal record. 91% have jobs. Find me a single Trump rally where that’s the case.

Anthony: #EnoughIsEnough ending #DACA is plain out Racism! DEFEND DACA or pay the price of your job in 2018 @SenDeanHeller @SenWhitehouse

 

These are just a sampling of things people have said on Twitter in the last 24 hours about the fact that DACA is ending. These tweets evidence a number of terrible misunderstandings about law and politics

McCain is Wrong…. Again!

First, the idea that what is needed is compromise is a ridiculous notion. Compromise is something that happens when people want to achieve a goal that is shared, but the method of achieving the goal is up for discussion. It’s a win win strategy that says “you get something, and I get something.” The idea being we can get a border wall if we let these “dreamers” stay. McCain’s brain cancer has started to muddle his thinking, that much is clear.

DACA folks have due process rights only

The idea that DACA people still have rights is correct as far as it goes. They have the right to due process. But they have no right to stay in the country because DACA was never constitutional, a fact that even Obama admitted to Univision before he engaged in his pen-and-a-phone approach to dictatorial rule making.

Congress is Cruel, Trump is Kind

But the idea that ending DACA is cruelty, and that the cruelty has Trump’s name on it, is just plain stupid. First, Trump did not come up with DACA. Second, he did not ever say he wanted to keep it. His promise was to get rid of the lawbreakers and get them the hell out of the country. Something he’s clearly doing.  But more importantly, he is not throwing them out today, he’s putting them and Congress on notice.  Fix this mess Obama created, and that  you ignored and let fester, or I will let the Courts fix it for you.

Criminality Abounds!

The idea that 100% of dreamers have no criminal record is not only wrong, it’s woefully, painfully, embarrassingly wrong. DACA participants have knowingly engaged in criminal activity and been caught. For example, look here, here, here, here, and here for reports of people in the DACA program who have not only engaged in criminality, but engaged in rampant criminality.

Congress Couldn’t Fix a Flat

The idea that Congress is going to save DACA is similarly stupid. Congress could not agree on health care, and it’s unlikely to agree on taxation. In point of fact, Congress is not likely to agree on much of anything in the six months Trump has given them. In fact, what will likely happen is that they won’t even get serious about it until 5 and a half months have passed, and then they’ll ask for more time. And you can count on comprehensive immigration reform being something that can’t even get out of a committee, let alone get voted on.

You see, while the Democrats and their pet projects, the 800,000 people they assume are in the bag for their votes in 2020 are all sure that Congress should do this, there are a lot of people who are subject to the will of the voters, and the voters are making it painfully clear to all of them that they don’t want immigration reform. They want immigration enforcement. They want illegals out. They want the border protected, and they want the crime that goes with illegal aliens out of this country.

I will personally work against and contribute to the primary campaign against any Republican that votes to keep Dreamers here.

Republicans need to understand they’re voting to cut their own throats. These people are unlikely to vote Republican, and more importantly, they are very likely to try to back door every one of their shirt-tail relatives including the lousy bastards who brought them here in the first place.  It will never end.  We need a permanent solution that ensures our border security.  A big bold, beautiful wall!

So, ending DACA was the right call.

Now stand back and watch the fireworks. Congress will once again display that it is completely non-functional, and it will be up to the voters in 2018 to fix it.

End DACA Now!

Imagine this…

In every state there are laws against theft. Theft is usually described as the taking of the property of another. Similarly there are laws in every state specifying that employees shall be paid a minimum wage for relatively unskilled work. Employees who feel underpaid are free to leave.

Now, let’s suppose that a group of McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway, and Pizza Hut workers get together and they decide that since the companies won’t support a $15 minimum wage, that they are simply going to supplement their wages out of the till. So every night at the close of business they take $100 or more to “compensate” for what they consider “stolen labor.” They are caught on videotape in the act. The thefts amount to more than $500, so they’re felonies. The police take all this to the prosecutor in the belief that he’ll take it to a grand jury.

But the prosecutor says “I know we have laws against theft, but I worked at McDonalds in high school, and I’m sympathetic to these kids. I’m not going to prosecute them.”

What do you suppose would happen with that local prosecutor? If he was in any state other than California, Washington, Oregon, New York or Illinois, my guess is he’d be thrown out of office in a recall election. Laws exist to protect everyone. If employees can steal from Ronnie’s place, they can steal from the Orthodontist, the Ace Hardware Store, and the movie theater too. Lawlessness would abound.

The DACA Debacle

So, let’s see if I get this right.

We have laws that say if you want to immigrate here and work here, you have to come here through our immigration process, wait your turn, learn our ways, support our constitution, and keep your nose clean. Break any of the rules, you go back where you came from.

We have senators and congressman from both parties who say “well, I know we enacted those laws, but they’re so mean, let’s just not enforce them.” Note, they don’t say “let’s change them,” they say that we should not enforce them. So our former president, Barack Obama, did just that. He said he would institute this ridiculous “dreamer” program and just not enforce the law of the land.  Not only that, he’d grant them work visas.  Why?  So they would vote Democratic.

But, there is a problem with that.

The problem is found in Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution which, among other things provides that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed…” In other words, once a law is on the books, the Constitution requires the president to “faithfully execute” that law. Faithful execution means you execute the law as it is written and interpreted, not on the basis of your individual whims.

But but but…what about discretion?

Now, there is such a thing as prosecutorial discretion. An executive officer can choose which battle he fights. In certain select cases he may forego prosecution of a criminal offender if the law and public policy favor a different approach. Many state prosecutors use this power to do “diversion agreements.” Prosecutors use this where a person like a school teacher who may have driven impaired. The teacher is well respected, everyone knows children can drive you to drink, and the teacher has sought professional help. If prosecuted, she would lose her job if she was convicted. Prosecutorial discretion in a particular case can be a good thing (although it often winds up being a sweetheart deal for the rich and powerful in many jurisdictions). But not for a class of wrongdoers.

Everyone makes the assertion that coming here illegally is a “civil infraction” as opposed to true criminality. The fact is, it doesn’t make any difference. If you do not belong here, we have a right to make you leave.

The Threat versus Reality

The Governor of New York has made the ridiculous statement that if President Trump does not stay with the DACA program, he’ll sue.  Perhaps he doesn’t read the papers. A whole bunch of red state governors beat him to it; they already have sued to overturn DACA. This is the argument the red state governors make:

  • Congress passed a law
  • Presidents must faithfully execute the law
  • Not sending illegal aliens packing is not faithfully executing the laws; therefore
  • We demand that the president kick the illegals out.

Here is the argument the governor of New York will make:

  • Dreamers came here with their parents.
  • They had to obey their parents.
  • They did not have any choice.
  • They are as American as apple pie and baseball.
  • It would be so mean to send them back
  • Make the president do what I want to or I’m going to cry!

Now, when the left-wing lawyer-zealots get done, there will be a lot of “due process” and “liberty interests” and “detrimental reliance” all woven in there, but the argument will still be that the governor of one state can insist that the federal government not enforce laws validly on the books because “the children” (all of whom are roughly 25) didn’t come here on their own.  Oh, and let’s not forget that the end game is to lock in 800,000 additional Democratic voters.

Who cares why they are here?  That is not relevant.  They only relevant question is “are they here legally?”

They are not here legally. They have no right to be here. They have no right to work here. To obtain those rights, they must return to their country of origin and go about it the right way.  I don’t care if they were six months old when they left, and if their younger brother is a citizen by birth.  Doesn’t matter.  An American in their country of origin would have no right to remain there unlawfully and work unlawfully. Why do we have to accommodate people who are not here lawfully?

True Story

I knew a family that came here from a country south of equator.  We’ll call them the Smiths so as not to give away their ethnicity.  The Smiths had three kids, all born in that far away country.  The oldest, we’ll call him Ab, was a stand up guy.  Did very well in high school, graduated, and went out west to pursue a life in a state that is very fond of illegal aliens.  Ab has never been in trouble with the law.

Ab had a sister, we’ll call her Belle.  Belle distinguished herself, became an entrepreneur, and has made a life for herself, albeit outside the ambit of legal immigration.  Whether she pays taxes or not, I do not know.  I just know she is a good person.

The third Smith child got involved early on with drugs.  He involved himself in petty theft initially, nothing that would go outside of municipal court.  He had a number of driving offenses because he could not get a license (he was not a citizen).  Finally, his interest in drugs eclipsed even his commitment to his family, and after a felony arrest he arranged to have his sister post bail and then skipped on the bail, leaving his sister holding the bag.  I never heard what happened to the third Smith child.  I assume he is still actively engaged in criminality, or rotting in a prison cell somewhere.  It doesn’t matter.  It illustrates my point.  Even if some of the “dreamers” are good people, all of them are not.  And none of them have the right to be here.

Ending DACA is Right

The answer to President Obama’s breach of the constitution is a simple one for the Supreme Court. The courts will simply say “DACA is the textbook example of the president not faithfully executing the laws of the land.”  The red state governors will will.  Everyone will laugh quietly at New York.

And the rest of us normals will say “thank God for Justice Gorsuch.”

 

Gender Identity…not

Freedom and Personal Pronouns

Recently I saw a desk sign that said “my personal pronouns are ‘she’ and ‘her.’” When I asked the woman why in the world she would feel compelled to state what was readily obvious, she said that a supervisor had insisted on these signs in order to ensure that a person with gender dysphoria was not “disrespected.”  Stop shaking your head, this is real.

In this country, within certain limits, you can feel free to express yourself openly on almost any subject (unless you’re a conservative, and then you’re just a nazi). If you want to paint your body green and stand in the public square and tell people you identify as an evergreen, as fir as I can tell that’s permitted. You can’t be obsence, you can’t put public safety at risk, but within the borders of those boundaries public discourse is pretty open.  It means we have to tolerate certain unwelcome ideas, but by and large its a good deal for everyone.

So, while I think it’s just fine that a person who is confused about what’s in their shorts has every right to use personal pronounds like xe, xer, xim, and the like, and for people of Hispanic heritage to refer to themselves as Latinx (or Latiny, or Latinz), the really great thing about freedom is that I don’t have to care.  I don’t have to call you by your preferred label: I’d rather call you by your name.

The Buy In

Essentially what the left wants normal people like you and me to do is buy into their craziness. They want you to care about their personal mental disease that says that even though they have an “innie” and were named Kate at birth, they can by force of will grow an “outie” and call themselves Jake.  If they can normalize their sickness, then they can demand special rights.  People often think that gender determines hiring decisions.  Rarely is that the case.  It’s more likely you didn’t get hired because you have pieces of metal sticking out of your face that make it look like you were standing in front of the jewelry counter when it exploded, and ink up and down your arms making you look like a a scratch-pad for a tattoo artist.  Yep.  That could be the reason!

Gays & Lesbians Are Not Gender-Confused

Now, let me step back a moment and suggest that there are people who, whether it is a matter of personal preference or a predisposition from birth, like having sex with the person of the same gender. In an older, darker time, we referred to these folks as “queer” and that was indeed a hateful term. I know of no one who actually uses that term commonly today. What turned the tables for the gay community in gaining acceptance and the right to marry a person of the same gender was the dignified and lawful approach they took to gaining the rights they sought to achieve. One of my doctors is gay. I have a pair of friends who live on the coast who are gay. I could call any of these guys and say I had a problem, and help would be on the way in an instant, because irrespective of whom they choose to have sex with, they are great people. The same goes for a former sister-in-law who is lesbian. She’s a terrific person, and a great nurse. Her whole life is about helping people. They don’t worry about personal pronouns, they instead worry about personal relationships. I am not suggesting any animus in any way toward people who honestly and openly declare that this is their lifestyle. I say more power to them.  And, I think the Supreme Court got the marriage issue absolutely right.

Look in Your Shorts, Dude

But, honestly, I can’t understand the whole idea of gender identity. To me it’s pretty simple. You look down in your underwear and if you’re carrying a load out front that swings when you walk, it’s pretty clear your gender identity is “male.” The idea that you could choose to be anything else, is like water believing it could choose to be air. If you believe this is possible, let me suggest you don’t stick your head in a bucket of water and try taking a breath.

Moreover, if you believe that you should in some way attempt to self-mutilate your genetalia to “become” a woman (and here I’m thinking of Wheaties-boy Jenner) then pay attention: no matter how much you want it, you are still going to be a man. You may have certain organs carved into different shapes by charlatans masquerading as physicians, but at the end of the day you’re still a guy. Likewise, if you have a piece of rubber transplanted to where your vagina used to be, your slipadictomy surgery doesn’t make you a man, it just means you’ll bounce if you fall forward.

But, hey, if that’s your thing, freedom means you can do it. You can do it here. You can’t do it in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Malaysia and in certain parts of the Philippines because in those places you’d take a long fall off a tall building. But here in America you can do it.

You Can’t Make Me..

Here’s what you can’t do. You can’t make me care. You cannot force me to respect your craziness because craziness is not something I respect. You can’t make me endorse your craziness; hell, I don’t even endorse my own craziness! You can’t demand under pain of imprisonment that I use your preferred pronoun. You see, while you have every right to claim to be Xerxes from planet Gombo and insist on the pronoun “Uytr,” I have every right to think you’re a nutcase who needs to get his meds refilled. You cannot legislate morality, and you cannot criminalize “misgendering” a person because about half the time fools dress in a way to make it unclear what they are (because let’s face it, they don’t know themselves or so they say).  Back when judges used to enforce the constitution  and the rule of law instead of sticking up for liberal ideas, the First Amendment protected my ability to choose what to call you.

So, when someone tells me their preferred pronoun is Xe, my response is going to be I don’t care what you prefer, I will call you what you are: crazy.

Now, that’s fairly simple, isn’t it?

Tactical Armour Designs

 

I am going to do something that sounds really strange. I am going to give a shout out to a company I have never done business with.

I recently acquired, through Armslist, a KelTec PMR-30. A full review will appear after I go to the range. But the guy who was selling it had purchased a holster for it, and since it was specific to the firearm, he handed me the holster. Inside I found a letter from the guy who manufactured the holster specific to the firearm. His name is Shane Snavely and his company is Tactical Armour Designs.

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Shane is a service-connected disabled veteran, meaning, of course, he has paid a price in blood for his patriotism and gets up every morning reminded of this fact. Instead of sitting on the corner and whining about how badly life has treated him (and if he gets care at the VA, you know he’s been badly treated), Mr. Snavely instead bought guns. Lots of guns. 180 guns at last count according to his letter.

Can’t you just hear the leftists: “no one needs that many guns!” Well, actually they do if they are going to make custom holsters to fit specific models of handguns. Because Shane molds Kydex to the exact size and shape of the gun you purchase the holster for, and it fits like a glove.

If you’re familiar with some of the other “custom” holster houses like Wright Leather Works (an excellent company and an excellent product) then you know that you can actually get holsters custom made for your firearm that are literally a work of art in leather. Of course, you’ll pay a price roughly approximating an original drawing by Van Gogh, also. Not to say that for the person who goes this route, the value isn’t there, because I am sure that it is. If you can afford it, you should own whatever you like. That’s freedom!

But Shane doesn’t think you’re loaded with dough. Shane probably has bills to pay. He probably has mouths to feed. He probably understands that you do too. I say this because this custom-made holster for the PMR was only $39.95. The well-designed holster can be worn inside or outside the waistband, has a sturdy clip, and excellent retention (which is important because the PMR is so light).   He explains that he uses very tight tolerances for his holsters so they fit like a glove. I can confirm this.

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Now, I did not buy this holster. I got it free when I bought the firearm. But I am going to be purchasing a holster from Shane as soon as I figure out which of my firearms I want to indulge. Normally I carry a Glock 19 every day, but I may see about getting one of these for my Glock 26 or 27.

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There are a lot of people out there who are passionate about their firearms and their right to conceal and carry. That does not mean that manufacturers should be able to gouge you for a product you need. That’s why competition is such a great thing. A guy like Shane can compete with the big boys, and it’s obvious that he’s making a quality product at a fair price.

I support people like that.  And, by the way, he collects military and police insignia and patches.  If you have a patch from your local law enforcement agency, consider sending it to Shane.  I never met the guy, but reading the letter, I think he and I would get along just fine.

I hope you will too!

 

Tactical Armour Designs is found at: http://www.tacticalarmourdesigns.com

It Took Courage

 

It is a sad fact in this world that if you do your job well, and you do it the way it was intended, you are going to make someone mad. My job, as a lawyer, means I advocate for one side or the other, plaintiff or defense. In my questions, in my filings, in my arguments before a court, I am going to make someone mad. Usually it’s the other side (not the other lawyer) because they don’t think they should be held accountable for their words and deeds. But sometimes it’s the judge. Sometimes the judge gets upset that I take a particular approach. Usually in that situation, I get a rebuke from the bench. What usually does not happen is that the bench decides to take sides against me and my client. I have never, in 24 years, argued in front of a court where the judge was an active participant against me.

That does not mean, however, that it does not happen.

Judges are human. Humans have failings like pride and arrogance and a lust for power. If you deny that you have any of these failings, you’re denying your essential humanity. Because we all do. It is our reason and our morality that keeps these in check, and keep judges on the right side of the judicial ethics rules.

There is a category of judge, however, and you find these on both the right and the left, who believe that policy is more important than a particular case, and that their view of policy is the only “right” view of policy. Whether that policy is gun control, abortion, or immigration, policy-making judges do exactly what they are not supposed to do. Instead of being mindful of the Marbury v. Madison statement that it is the province of the courts to “say what the law is,” instead, these courts say what the law should be. A good example of this came out of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently in a decision that essentially expanded the plain text of the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation. When judges go beyond the plain text of the statute to put their own impressive spin on what the law is, they are abdicating their judicial office (which is an unelected office) and stepping into the role of the Legislative Branch. And, again, make no mistake that this happens on both the left and the right.

The reason the courts of appeal and the supreme courts exist is that judges make mistakes. No one expects a judge to be perfect. But the judges in the Arpaio case, both the judge who issued the injunction and the judge who tried the case, were far from perfect.

First, the injunction Arpaio was supposed to have violated was unclear. The Border Patrol had instructed deputies to bring illegal immigrants to their checkpoint. The deputies honored that request. The order did not cover that scenario. Injunctions must be clear to be enforced. A judge can order you to pay $100, but he can’t order you to pay “what you owe” because it’s vague and subject to interpretation. Here the order was unconstitutionally vague.

The second problem is found in Rule 42. Rule 42 says that a person on trial for criminal contempt is entitled to a jury trial. The government argued where the sentence is six months or less, the entitlement doesn’t exist. But Rule 42 provides for the trial by jury, and no jury was provided. This alone is a violation of the Sixth Amendment.  The criminal contempt charged was lodged in the manner that it was specifically to prevent the sheriff from getting a jury.  This is an abomination, especially so where the trial requires the discretion of a jury in interpreting a judicial order. No judge ever thinks their order is vague, because they see the order through the eyes of a lawyer, not the eyes of a normal person.  Even if, strictly speaking, a jury trial was not “required,” no harm could have resulted from a  jury trial.  The failure to grant one should disqualify Judge Bolton from any appellate position in the future.  This because discretion is the soul of judicial action, and the judge abused hers here.

In a word, the sheriff did not get a fair trial. He got the pre-ordained result the Court intended. In other words, it was a witch hunt, orchestrated by a federal judge, who got a wedgie because the sheriff was doing what the Border Patrol could not do by itself: enforce immigration law.

The conviction was for a federal misdemeanor and involved a potential sentence of only six months. Some might say this isn’t the kind of thing the federal pardon power is intended to cure. And they would be wrong. The power of the pardon is there to take away the stain of a wrongful conviction. There is just as much stain from a misdemeanor as there is from any other conviction, and in the Sheriff’s case it dishonored fifty years of good and honorable service to the United States.

There has been a lot of finger pointing to pardons and commutations issued by Obama for left-wing terrorists and the treasonous viper Bradley Manning. Sure, those pardons were wrong, but the media celebrated them rather than condemning them. But here is what’s interesting about Trump and the Sheriff.

First, Obama issued pardons at the end of his term, when he could not suffer any kind of political damage from the pardons he issued. In other words, pardons issued on the way out the door of the Oval Office. Obama had no risk, other than the risk to his already diminished historical standing as the first black president, and the worst Democratic one in 150 years.

Trump stood up, much like President Bush did, and pardoned the Sheriff close in time to the conviction (Bush commuted Scooter Libby’s sentence, but wouldn’t give him a pardon because he hated Cheney).   But both men owned the acts and took the political fallout from the acts. They didn’t slink out the door.

This is essentially the difference between true courage, and convenient favor peddling. It took courage to pardon Arpaio because everyone was telling him not to issue the pardon. It took no courage to commute Bradley Manning’s sentence, because Obama can’t suffer any fallout from it.

I want a president with the courage to do what he sees as the right thing. I understand there are those who disagree that it was the right thing, and I am happy for them to express that opinion and be accountable for it. Voters have a funny way of reminding politicians that they are there to do the will of the people. When the time comes, and the time will come, those who opposed President Trump early in this administration will pay a penalty at the ballot box.

N8 Squared Tactical Customer Service

Several months ago I reviewed the Ambassador holster from N8 Squared Tactical.  As I discussed in that review, the holster uses plastic clips to hold the holster in place.  I was generally positive about the holster, and it remains the most comfortable holster I own.

I have also used both plastic and metal clips on my Aliengear Holsters, and there are positives and negatives to both.  The metal clips are great for retention early.  That is, when you first get the holster, the clips will hold it on there tightly.  The problem comes in when you have worn the holster for a year and the clips are now loose.  You can bend them back into position, but the effect of that is temporary.  Before long you’ve gotten a sprung clip with metal fatigue and you’ll worry about whether the clip will hold when you need it.

Plastic clips, of course, are prone to fracture and that too can be a problem.  So I was a bit skeptical of the N8 Squared product because of these plastic clips.  However, in daily wear over the course of 6 months I can honestly say that the clips have performed well.  They’ve held the holster and they’ve never let go.

My wife cannot identify the midline of our garage, and as a result, the room left for me to get in her car when we go somewhere is tiny.  Add to this the fact that she moves the front seat up into the glove box (and she drives a Mini-Cooper just like me) and the job of getting into the car is like trying to push 10 pounds a concrete through a paper soda straw.  When I attempted it several weeks ago I heard a “pop” and when I got out of the car I found my holster dropping well below my waistband.  The clip had broken due to the stress of me trying to get into the car.

I would like to point out that this is not a clip failure.  This is a holster-wearer failure.  I should have told my wife to back out, fixed the seat, and gotten in the car.  But I did not.  I was in a hurry (it was Wednesday and so it was meatloaf day at Kitchen 3810).  The clip broke, but not because it was defective, but because I put way more stress on it than I should have.

I had talked to the N8 Squared folks at the NRAAM and they said the holster had a lifetime guarantee and if anything broke to let them know.  So I sent them this picture.

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I demonstrated the broken clip by image, and before the day was out the clip was on its way to me via USPS.  When it arrived I replaced it in about 30 seconds.  I handled everything by email.  The customer service folks were a delight to deal with!

Even really great products sometimes fail.  The measure of a company is not whether its products never fail, but what happens after they do.  N8 Squared honored its warranty, and did exactly what they said they’d do.  You really can’t ask for more than that.

N8 Squared Tactical is a company that stands behind their work.  Find them here!