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Protecting Profits, Not People

So the news that Regal Cinemas is instituting bag searches at their theaters has been making the rounds.

Honestly, I didn’t even think to blog it when I first read about it because I presumed that everyone knows the real reason – and that it has nothing to do with public safety. It turns out that Sebastian suggested not everyone realizes the extent to which it has absolutely nothing to do with guns.

See, Regal, like every movie theater chain I’ve heard of, bans food and drinks not purchased at their concession stands.

Outside Food or Drink:
No outside food or drink is permitted in the theatre.

As this Time article notes, the theaters see about 85% of every dollar spent at the concession as pure profit. The money isn’t made at the ticket counter, but at the concession stand.

How bad is it? Search on the terms Regal Cinema and candy, and the first page includes Yelp reviews talking about how to sneak candy into the theater to save big bucks over Regal’s inflated prices. I could buy an entire pound of Twizzlers at Wegmans today for less than what Regal discounts a regular size candy to on Mondays for members of their rewards club.

Theater owners know that people sneak food and drinks in so that they don’t have to stop at the concession stand. I have no doubt that they have talked about ways that they could catch these people and toss their outside food for years, but only now feel like they have enough “cover” to do so in the name of public safety. It’s not about catching anything that’s a threat to the safety of patrons, but about catching those people who want to save a buck and forcing them to feed Regal’s profits.

I have little doubt that if you could spend a week watching which bags they choose to search, they will universally be targeted on those who don’t walk up with anything from the concession stand and those who appear poor (as though they might want to save a several dollars). It won’t be some creepy dude who buys a soda while carrying a suspiciously shaped bag.

Art in Motion

The right screenshot of this video could be made into a poster that I would hang in an office. The detail in that smoke movement is incredible.

In unrelated news, I found out that the nicest and best dentist I’ve ever been to is a gun guy who is also an NRA life member today. I learned this because I bought a set of NRA checks. Not paying for everything with plastic can have unexpected benefits!

Why Are Anti-Gunners So Violent?

It seems that a White House staffer, a special assistant to President Obama, was arrested for grabbing her boyfriend’s gun and shooting at him just because he wouldn’t give her access to his cellphones after she went ballistic accusing him of cheating.

It was not an accidental shooting, as she warned him that she would do it if he didn’t give in to her demands for full access to his electronic devices. She reportedly said, “You taught me how to use this. Don’t think I won’t use it.” Lovely.

The White House is refusing to comment on the woman who apparently believes that shooting at people is a reasonable response to not giving in when she steals their devices. However, the news article notes her earlier positions which would seem to put her in the anti-gun advocacy world:

[Barvetta] Singletary came to the White House a year ago from her job as deputy chief of staff and policy director to Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the third-ranking Democratic in the House.

As policy director for Rep. James Clyburn, she was likely part of the team that helped to secure his solid F rating from NRA.

Gun Clubs & The Press

Last week, I ventured out to West Virginia for a funeral and managed to stop by a couple of libraries between family gatherings to do a little bit of genealogy research for Sebastian. Needless to say, these aren’t the kinds of circumstances where I planned to think about the gun culture and media outreach.

While scanning microfilm for an obituary I knew existed somewhere, I found this article in the community news section of the March 18, 1899 edition of the St. Mary’s Oracle.

Gun Club Publicity 1899

Now, you might not really care about the winners of the clay bird shoot at the Mountain State Gun Club 116 years ago, but the local press did care because they were all locals. The same applies today.

Sometimes we focus on the national or statewide political fights while we ignore one of the best angles we can use in the media – the fact that people in our clubs are great representatives for our cause simply because neighbors, friends, and family know them and know that they won’t hurt people with their guns. Even better, the club members don’t have to talk to the press or do anything other than show up for activities they already enjoy.

The NBC national news won’t care about your club’s rifle shooters that managed to sweep the regional competition, but the local paper will care about it if you include names and towns. There’s one thing that will still move hard copies of newspapers, and that is mostly the fact that they will cover local stories with local people who have friends and family willing to read about them.

A volunteer with another group noted that regardless of what we might consider the news-worthiness of a story, if she includes the names and towns of the volunteers involved, it almost always gets picked up by more of the smaller community publications. Yes, they are even read by others, as I learned when congratulated for being elected to an office of the unrelated group by a Friends of the NRA volunteer. There’s no reason that we can’t do the same thing.

So I would say that if you’re part of a gun club, or even if you run a commercial gun range that hosts competitions, why not have a community/public relations type role that will put out a simple press release talking about who wins? If you include a picture of the winners, then the paper will be far more likely to run the news. It’s a great community outreach tool that we have been far too willing to ignore.

Responsible Firearms Use & Drones

I meant to blog about this the other day, but I have to admit that I’m still a little floored by the news out of California about a guy who shot down the drone that his neighbor was playing around with in the area.

The drone was never over the shooter’s property according to GPS and mapping data. The drone wasn’t equipped with any kind of camera or anything that would give just cause to worries of an electronic peeping Tom situation.

But I think the most troubling aspect came out of that initial story on Ars Technica. This is from the drone owner’s very polite email to the shooter:

This is the third time discharge from your firearms has hit our house and property. The first incident left a bullet hole in the door by our garage. The second incident occurred last Thanksgiving when birdshot from your skeet shooting activities rained into our backyard. The third, of course, being what we’re currently discussing.

I’m obviously a big fan of pretty much any lawful recreational firearms use. However, I can say that if I discovered bullet holes near my door, had shot raining down in my backyard, and then had one of Sebastian’s remote helicopters shot out of the sky over my property, I would not be nearly so polite in addressing your unsafe and irresponsible firearms use.

Unfortunately, the attitude and disrespect from the shooter only makes this case so much worse. The fact is that he was in the wrong to shoot down the remote device that wasn’t over his property. He seemingly has a history of unsafe shooting at his neighbor’s house. Refusing to pay, even after being ordered to by a court, isn’t the way to go. In fact, if I was the judge and had any avenue to do so, I would have also ordered a required NRA safety course for the guy in addition to the money owed the victim. Instead, the shooter is argumentative and is now the cause of stories on recreational shooter bad behavior that have run nationwide and even abroad. Congratulations for working so hard to make gun owners look so bad!

Another Day, Another Search Warrant

In most states, such headlines aren’t often about search warrants issued against your own Attorney General. In Pennsylvania, it’s the new normal after Mike Bloomberg bought us a new Attorney General who has seemingly decided that laws on leaking confidential materials to the press don’t apply to her.

Of course, I also have to thank the good voters who backed her because their loyalty to Penn State without taking into account her position on gun rights or even whether she would be competent.

DC Concealed Carry Dealt a Blow

It looks like the May 18 decision that ended Washington DC’s “good reason” provision to approving concealed carry licenses is now on hold.

The U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday evening stayed a ruling that had overturned a key provision of the District’s concealed carry law, giving city officials a legal reprieve and opportunity to prepare an appeal arguing that the law is constitutional.

That means anyone rushing out to apply will now have to fit the criteria in place as of early May.

Marcus Brown Withdrawn

The nomination for the Police State, I mean State Police, Commissioner has been recalled as of this morning. It looks like it’s a good news/bad news scenario.

Marcus Brown will continue as Acting Commissioner, giving him the ability to continue to abuse his power violating the rights of Pennsylvanians to criticize him and his decision relating to his office. Brown has a history of publicly backing Martin O’Malley’s extreme gun control proposals. The agency he ran in Maryland was accused of targeting gun owners to find any reason to pull them over and search them. The bad news is that he is free to continue these practices (those documented on video and alleged) here in Pennsylvania for the moment.

The good news is that the Pennsylvania Senate has to formally accept the recall, and they have indicated they will not unless Gov. Tom Wolf agrees to nominate someone else. That would get Brown out of the office, and may we’d be lucky enough that he’ll leave Pennsylvania. The flip side of that coin is that anyone nominated by Wolf is unlikely to be friendly to Second Amendment rights.

UPDATE: And that didn’t go well for Wolf… The Senate moved forward with a vote regardless of the recall request and voted Marcus Brown down. That’s good news for those of us who have a little respect for the rule of law.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know what the process is now that Brown has officially been turned down by the Senate. I would hope it means he’s hauled out of his office as Acting Commissioner right now, but I realize that’s a bit of hopeful thinking.

Modern Day Philly Militia

Once upon a time, Sebastian compared the historical concept of a militia to something like that of a modern volunteer fire department. I thought that was a pretty good analogy at the time, but since then I’ve learned that Philadelphia actually has a private military organization. The First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry is a purely volunteer, privately organized cavalry troop that has been called into federal military service as needed since 1774.

Our opponents in the gun control movement have often derided the idea of “private militias,” even though they played a significant role in the founding of this country. The history page of the First Troop notes that even though they had been operating in defense of  Philadelphia alongside the Continental Army, it wasn’t until 1811 that “a law was passed authorizing a regimental organization of the cavalry.” They weren’t even incorporated under state law until 1863.

Today First Troop requires prospective members to also be currently serving in the National Guard, but reading the troop’s history page is an interesting look back at volunteers who felt a duty to country and community. As our founders understood it, the concept of a privately organized citizen militia was not about “insurrection,” as our opponents claim, but about service.

Bloomberg’s Favorite, AG Kathleen Kane, Keeps Finding Legal Trouble

It seems that Mike Bloomberg’s gun control cash can’t buy PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s way out of more legal drama.

Kane is being sued by a former agent from her office because he says she fabricated a story about him, claiming that he says his sting was only targeting black people. He claims that he never said that, and he says it seriously harmed his reputation as an investigator. He even took a polygraph test that he says he passed.

In fact, the story highlights that Kane claims she had a sworn statement by the agent’s boss that the agent suing her did say it. The problem is that there was no sworn statement. There was an unsworn statement (aka no legal accountability if they prove the boss lied) written more than a year after the supposed racial comment. To top that off, it was only written after Kane made her public claim. In other words, Kane made the claim that the agent with 20 years on the job made a statement. Then, four days after she issued the public attack, the agent’s boss magically writes up a statement fitting the narrative Kane told the media.

This woman is not just incompetent, she belongs in jail. It seems a grand jury agrees with me on the issue of criminal charges in another matter. Even the outlets that endorsed her think it’s time for her to get out of the office. Of course, I’m surprised she hasn’t put a fat target on the media since she already hinted she would sue them for reporting on her many ethical problems.

Remember folks, this woman won partly due to the huge financial investment made by Mike Bloomberg specifically because her views on gun control. She has repeatedly screwed with our reciprocity agreements, and she started lobbying against federal pro-gun bills before she even took office. But, hey, all those voters in the traditionally Republican parts of Pennsylvania felt like a vote for her was a vote for Penn State. No, it was a vote for corruption and abuse that not even the Philadelphia media can tolerate.

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