My club has a strict “no alcohol on premises” rule, and it’s against the rules to be intoxicated on club property. But I’ve been to other clubs that have a bar, and even one club that had a pretty decent restaurant on site too. The rule usually is if you come to have a drink, you get flagged and aren’t allowed to use the shooting parts of the facility. Most clubs I’ve ever been to, rules are taken quite seriously and the penalties for serious safety violations are generally ejection from the club.
Still, I feel for the victim. I’ve done more training than your average carrier, which really isn’t saying much, at all, because one thing more training teaches you is that you don’t have nearly enough! I won’t pretend I’m some kind of ninja who would have reacted any better. I am more conscientious about printing than I used to be, because some people know what to look for, and you can’t expect the sight of a carried gun is going to deter every criminal. Most of us get away with a lot of poor choices in self-defense because we live in quiet neighborhoods where, to be honest, you’re more likely to die from a poor diet and bad driving than lose life or limb to a criminal. But that neighborhood? I’d recommend starting with full size pistol and a good holster, and adapt everything else in your wardrobe (and plan) around that.
But I used to hike too, and I can tell you that not all hikers are good stewards of the land either. Same is true for mountain bikers, ATV operators, snow mobiles — you name it. What bothers me about the Times article is that it paints shooters as being some kind of unique jerks. You’ll find a healthy share of jerks in any recreational activity. The Times is simply working to advance the politically convenient narrative of the dim-witted, reckless, and brutish gun owner.
While it’s true that flamethrowers are unregulated, they don’t have a culture surrounding them like firearms do. Which means there’s no preemption law to protect manufacturers, sellers and buyers from the ravages of hysterical local politicians, who are often petty little Napoleons in their own right. Such is the Mayor of the town of Warren Michigan, who is moving to ban flamethrowers. Warren is where Ion Productions makes the XM42. You might think “well, he’ll just have to ban super soakers then too,” but I’m not certain that his proposed legislation doesn’t actually do that:
It describes a flamethrower as “any transportable device that can emit a burning stream of combustible or flammable liquid at a distance of more than two feet.” It doesn’t include open-flame cooking devices as defined by the International Fire Code, torches used for industrial purposes or smaller flame-producing devices, like cigar lighters. It also makes exceptions for any officers, employees or members of the Armed Forces, law enforcement, fire department or local, state or federal government workers on duty and acting within the scope of his or her employment.
I’m not sure how this doesn’t cover a super soaker, since it’s certainly can “emit a burning stream of combustible or flammable liquid at a distance of more than two feet” with a pretty minimal level of creativity. Let me also say how relieved I am that the Mayor decided to make an exception for Law Enforcement, because I guess we never know when we might have to burn people out of their homes, or hose down a rowdy crowd with some napalm — legitimately, and as a function of law, and for their own good, of course.
I like that a lot young people are embracing libertarian ideas and philosophy, but they are coming against the hard reality that most people aren’t libertarian in philosophy or thought, and aren’t going to agree that people can have dangerous things that they themselves don’t see any legitimate use for. I get taking on the man, but without the cultural underpinnings to support a particular freedom, attracting undue attention to it can result in that freedom ending for everyone. At the end of the day, what does it accomplish?
It’s an dilemma I don’t know how to resolve it. I think people should be allowed to have things that aren’t inherently dangerous to others, which a flamethrower is not. You have to do something stupid and/or evil with it in order for someone to get hurt, and the law would be more just to only punish the stupid and/or evil behavior than to ban the instrument that enabled it. Are there places where even using a flamethrower is stupid? I think that’s debatable. But again, that’s restricting use. If I want to take it out to a quarry and have a good old time setting piles of wood chips on fire, it ought to be my freedom to do so.
But most people don’t think this way. They aren’t willing to live in a society where there’s more risk in order to preserve someone’s “strange” idea of fun. These are people who live relatively conventional lives, and don’t exist much outside of convention. For the most part, they run the world. The reason we’ve been successful with guns is because we’ve abandoned the idea of defending firearms rights on the basis of recreation, which doesn’t appeal to anyone who doesn’t engage in the hobby or who lacks any curiosity about it. Instead, we embraced defending it on the basis of self-defense, which a lot more people can relate to. I worry that at the end of the day, preserving people’s right to have fun with flamethrowers, or their right to make guns at home, won’t prove compelling enough to ordinary people to stand against a tide of public hysteria if it were to come this way.
You know, it occurs to me I don’t have a “flamethrower” category. I guess I’ll have to file this under “civil liberties.”
Bloomberg’s anti-gun movement has been frustrated in many states, except Oregon has recently tilted in his favor. It should be no surprise, then, that Everytown outspend pro-gun rights groups 10 to 1 there too. The other side wants to talk about the well-funded “gun lobby,” but reality is that Bloomberg can outspend us election after election if he really wants to, and money talks. If we don’t match Bloomberg’s cash with real and sustained grassroots energy, he will end up being able to successfully buy legislation, as he succeeded doing in Oregon.
That’s a great pep talking video, except that he can do a hell of a lot of damage with his money. We have to match it with grassroots energy more than cash. NRA only has so much money it can spend in a state in an election year, and Bloomberg has been carefully targeting states he thinks his money can make the difference. The question is whether it makes sense to bite and throw everything at the states Bloomberg has targeted, or stick to making things better in states where we have a definitive grassroots advantage.
But money alone cannot explain the gun lobby’s success. Members of the NRA and allied groups bring an intensity, volume, asymmetry, and geographic reach of passion that is rare in American politics. Until that is matched on the other side, the gun lobby will continue to win.
This is essentially why Bloomberg struggles for success, despite being able to outspend us. If the Democrats were supportive of the Second Amendment, even if it was just lukewarm, I could probably find better things to do on election days when I’m dissatisfied with the Republican choices on other issues (which I usually am).
If you’re like me, you find nothing particularly new or interesting about vapid celebrities bloviating on gun control, it’s been a slow news cycle over the past week. In some ways, I hate to complain about that, because careful what you wish for. These days I’m reminded I was complaining a lot before the Sandy Hook gun control fight that things were getting pretty boring in the issue. Charles C.W. Cooke recently did an interview with Ann Coulter speaking about The Donald, including his vacillation on gun control topics over the years.
I’ve long argued that people can be educated, and that those who seek and hold political office will often gravitate towards or away from positions based solely on political expediency. That Trump once held a different opinion doesn’t bother me too much. But all things being equal, I’d rather have a candidate who’s been more solid on the issue over the years. Coulter is correct that Kasich once voted for an assault weapons ban, but has since come to Jesus. I don’t think Kasich has a prayer of winning the nomination.