Happy New Year

I know I’m jumping the gun a bit, but let’s face it, we celebrate the New Year when the clock ticks over, and then nurse hangovers on the actual holiday. I’m glad to see 2014 go, and am optimistic that 2015 is going to be pretty good.

No champagne for us tonight. I don’t really like champaign. Back in November I made a Belgian Wit and a German Hefeweizen. Both have been in secondary for a few weeks, so today I kegged the brew and force carbonated it. It’s chilling and settling now.

I’m only mildly satisfied with both. The hefeweizen lacks body, and is too watery. I probably should have fermented it at a higher temperature. I also had problem with yeast viability pitching. I’ll have to make some more attempts at this style. The Wit is better, but I think I’d prefer a more citrusy profile. The bitter citrus rinds they sell in the home-brew shop aren’t quite up to making the right flavor, I think.

History Buffs and Family Stories

Yesterday afternoon, my best friend from college met Sebastian and I at the DAR library since she knows she’s DAR-eligible, but doesn’t really know much about that family history. It was handy that she brought in the insignia from various family members so I could easily look up their numbers, and it was amazing to see the men who she can call 6th great grandfathers. Two of them were part of the Lexington Alarm.

Yup, my best friend from college actually descends from two different men who were part of those shots heard round the world. As Sebastian put it, she can actually say she’s from a family that used firearms to defend their guns and ammunition from being seized by the government. It’s really quite amazing the risks they were taking at the time.

In her family, the son of one man married the daughter of the other, and I don’t find that surprising at all. One of the first tips I see in researching Revolutionary War patriots is to look for more of them in the in-laws. In my research, it’s very common to find that families actually engaged in supporting the cause tended to see their kids marry. I guess when you take such a radical position on something, your family tends to find other families who are just as passionate.

Yesterday, I found notes on a distant cousin’s application that showed one of my ancestors served under his future father-in-law. I’m not sure if the marriage was before or after the shared military service yet. I also found through these notes that a woman I believe to be my 5th great grandmother is considered a patriot in her own service because she defended her house during a British attack over their attempts to get the ammunition that was being stored there.

I know that genealogy of someone else’s family isn’t high on the reading list, but it really does remind me of something Sebastian said a while ago. At some point, a personal family history is your country’s history.

Merry Christmas

Sorry for being offline the past couple of days, but doing the family thing this week so posting will be a bit light. To all who celebrate, Merry Christmas to you and your family, wherever you are. But wherever you are, I’m sure you’d probably rather be in Hawaii, so Merry Christmas the Bing Crosby way:

30 Years Ago Today

goetzBernhard Goetz shot four muggers on the New York City Subway, and got the country talking. He was acquitted on all charges, except for carrying a firearm without a license, for which he was sentenced to a year in prison, of which he only served eight months. Newspapers everywhere called his act of self-defense vigilantism. In fact, he was called the “subway vigilante” by the media.

This incident is regarded as being a prime contributor to the concealed carry movement that would begin to sweep the nation starting with Florida passing the Jack Hagler Self-Defense Act in 1987.

Teach your children well

From the Washington Post (of all places), comes this piece on the normalization of the surveillance state via a childrens’ book.

(My wife and I are both in agreement on this; we won’t have the little informer in our house).


Incidentally, I find it interesting that you apparently have to break an ingrained more against “tattling” or “telling.” There is something very low-level in our makeup (either social, culturalm or genetic) that works against providing negative information to an authority (be it parental or outside the family unit).

Does an Anti-Gun PSA Show Video Evidence of Lawbreaking?

Lots of folks are picking up on this PSA video that will likely encourage children to break the law, stealing their parents guns in order to turn them into their teacher:

[UPDATE: Looks like the video was made private. Essentially pulled from public. I won’t criticize the move. It is the responsible thing to do. This never should have been made in the first place.]

I think it’s important not to miss a possible bigger issue here. At the end it says it was filmed in cooperation with North Oakland Community Charter School. Did they have the kid in possession of a real firearm in a real school in California? If so, how is the kid not liable under California Penal Code Section 626-626.11 “Carry Allowed on School Property With Permit/License.” There’s no filming exception, nor is there a good intentions exception, and that kid looks too young to have a license. Though, I suppose they can probably hope to get the David Gregory treatment. Wouldn’t the adults in this video also be guilty of furnishing the minor with a firearm and encouraging him to break the law? That’s a crime.

Anyone who knows California gun law well, and maybe knows some juvenile law, want to run a list of things the kid and adults could be charged with if this was a real gun in a real school? Why aren’t authorities investigating? Feel free to include federal violations as well, including the Federal Gun Free School Zones Act.

Passing on the Gun Culture

I guess this is one way to ensure that your descendants will know you were an active member of the pro-gun culture by carrying concealed all of the time. From FindAGrave, this is the inscription on the linked headstone:

Here lies Bill Burch, who never missed a day of church;
He loved his family, friends and fun,
And on his ankle was always a gun.

I noticed that it’s for a cemetery in Maryland and then realized that the partially concealed emblem must have been the representation of a police badge. Suddenly, that made sense given the location.

Still, you have to give the guy and his family some credit for highlighting role of lawful concealed carry in Bill’s life. Also, they provide the full name at the top of the stone, along with a nickname and full dates. Bill’s 3rd and 4th great grandkids will love them for it.

He Hunts, He Fishes, He Doesn’t Like Modern Sporting Rifles

I admit that I had to do a double take when I saw the Facebook image and news flash across my screen that NSSF has invited Bill Engvall to be the new headliner at SHOT this year. I mean, they bill him as a target-shooting hunter, what would possibly be bad about that?

Well, except Engvall is on the record promoting the idea that no civilian should be allowed to own an AK-47. He also said in that video that he’ll compromise with people calling for an outright repeal of the Second Amendment and ban guns that shoot too many rounds that would ruin meat while hunting.

When fans challenged him on Twitter at the time, he dismissed the concerns of his “redneck” fans: “My Twitter account blew up. All these country fans of mine, and redneck fans were like, ‘Are you a Communist? You can’t take away our guns!'” I even remember challenging him on the issue at the time, and he stood by his statements that civilians shouldn’t be allowed to own them. I was rather shocked that he was responding at all, but he did.

I find it interesting that Engvall is now more than happy to run and deposit the check issued by a group that gets their donations from companies that make and sell the very guns he wants to ban.

I get that Jay Leno’s cancellation put NSSF in a bad spot, but it seems there had to have been better options. To the best of my knowledge, other than mocking his fans who disagreed with him a few months after the incident, I’ve never heard Engvall try to make the situation right by educating himself on the issue. Even Jim Zumbo made the effort after his anti-“modern sporting rifle” remarks.

Nebraska and Oklahoma Sue Colorado Over Legal Weed

Nebraska and Oklahoma, in a shocking level of disrespect for the concepts of federalism, are suing the State of Colorado over legal weed. This case would be heard at the Supreme Court, since in cases of suits by one state against another, the Supreme Court has Original Jurisdiction. You might be thinking this is an off topic post, but it’s not. If Nebraska and Oklahoma were to prevail on their claim, it would open the door to states like New York and New Jersey to sue neighboring or nearby states for their gun laws. The suit against Colorado rests on the notion that Colorado’s marijuana law creates an “interstate nuisance.” That sounds an awful lot like the kinds of suits PLCAA was meant to eliminate, but PLCAA doesn’t apply to suits between states.

The people behind the lawsuits by these two states should really think about the consequences of what they are doing. Do they believe in federalism, or not?

Civil Rights Victory in the Sixth Circuit

The case of Tyler v. Hillsdale, from Michigan, filed in federal court challenging the prohibition on individuals with who have been involuntarily committed or adjudicated mentally defective, as applied to the plaintiffs circumstances. There’s a reason that Dave Hardy is calling this a major case, because I believe this could result in Congress having to restoring funding (denied since 1992) the relief from disabilities program, since the Circuit Court ruled that his rights could not hinge on whether or not a state has implemented its own relief from disabilities program as enacted through the NICS Improvement Amendment Act of 2007.

Note that this is an as applied challenge to the prohibition, not a facial challenge, meaning it’s still presumptively constitutional to prohibit individual with a mental health commitment or adjudication from obtaining firearms. Mr. Tyler, the plaintiff in this case, had a very brief mental health crisis after a messy divorce, and has been fine for years since. The Circuit Court ruled that a lifetime prohibition was a violation of his rights under the Second Amendment.

Robb's Sad PandaViolence Policy Center was originally the driving force behind the FOPA restoration of rights provision getting defunded by Congress back in 1992. Sugarmann managed to accomplish this by pointing out cases where felons had their rights restored, then went on to commit heinous crimes. He’s been trying a similar tactic with his “Concealed Carry Killers” campaign. So this ruling will undoubtedly make Josh Sugarmann a very sad panda.

h/t to Robb Allen for the icon.