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I Prefer a Straight Fight to All This Sneaking Around

From Esquire Magazine:

So now I’m angry. Now I’m finished trying to reason with you. So now I, a guy who was ambivalent about guns just a few years ago, want to take your guns away. All of them. I want to take them all and melt them down and shape them into a giant sphere and then push it at you so you have to run away from it like Indiana Jones for the rest of your lives. I want Ted Nugent to roam the halls of his gunless house, sighing wearily until he dies. I want to end this thing once and for all, so that all of you who have prioritized the sale of guns over the lives of children have to sit quietly and think about what you’ve done. God help me, I want to take all of your guns out of your hands, by myself, right now.

Well, what are you waiting for skippy?

Down the Memory Hole?

It was looking like the school shooting in Texas had all the hallmarks of going down the memory hole. I have a policy of not mentioning the killer’s name, but I’m just going to say, if you plan to shoot your way to the top of the news cycle and become a household name, don’t have some Greek name that no one can spell or pronounce, unless you live in Greece. If that kid planned to become a household name, he failed out of the gate with that name. Also, Royal Wedding the next day.

The killer used a shotgun and revolver, not an evil AR-15. Of course, USA Today notes that the killer used “less lethal” firearms, even going so far as, without a hint of irony, noting that “less lethal” weapons were used at Virginia Tech to kill 32 people. We got some narratives to preserve here!

In truth, against unarmored individuals, there’s hardly anything more deadly than a 12 gauge shotgun. Well, maybe a 10 gauge shotgun. I believe our opponents aren’t going to go whole hog on this one, for a couple of reasons:

  • As I mentioned, the news cycle isn’t good for them. You have a lot of things competing for headlines.
  • The weapons used don’t fit the narrative. Their use reinforces our point that the firearms few want to ban are still quite deadly. We keep saying, banning AR-15s won’t stop mass shootings. This shows that’s true. Even if you banned all semi-automatic firearms, you’ll still have school shootings, as this kid shows.
  • People’s emotional batteries haven’t had a chance to recharge after Parkland. You can’t keep people jacked up to 11 all the time. Social media has definitely made that easier, but most people who are soft allies don’t have the energy to keep it up all the time.
  • Didn’t happen in a swing state.

Glenn Reynolds asks, “After Texas school shooting, how can we inoculate ourselves against the next one?

But the school shootings are just a warning. In his novel Rainbows End, science fiction writer Vernor Vinge writes about “research trends that could ultimately put world-killer weapons into the hands of anyone having a bad hair day.”

That novel is set in 2025, and we’re already not so far from the scenario of someone cooking up a nasty plague in his or her garage. We need to think about what causes people to behave in violent and destructive ways, and how to fix it, while there’s still time.

Read the whole thing.

Speaking of not going whole hog, I’m also seeing evidence that the gun control movement is trying to hook David “Camera” Hogg off the stage and replace him with a more affable Parkland Kid. I’m sure Everytown and the Hollywood people who were managing Hogg probably realized what a liability that kid was almost from the moment they pulled the trigger and realized there was no recalling that particular bullet. I would not have wanted their jobs. You want kids that are comfortable in the spotlight, but not ones that serve up megalomania, with a healthy dose of Hitlerjunge imagery on the side. But you have play the cards you’re dealt, and while they had to play Hogg, we have Ted Nugent. So I suppose it’s even.

Here We Go Again

Get ready for more scolding fingers pointed in our direction. Early reports are more often than not wrong, so I’m not going to report any facts at this point, since they will change.

I’ve been busy as hell, but I’ll do my best to cover the backlash. No doubt there will be a lot of bullshit flying, and people trying to get us to take the blame.

PA Primary Results

The big news going around is that four open socialists won in the Dem primaries, bragging that Pennsylvania is turning the right kind of red. For people who think “this makes them easy to beat,” two of those socialists have already won, because they face no challenger. Those are very safe Dem seats. Also, socialism is not a bad word anymore. I don’t care that most young people don’t know what socialism is when they mention they support it; they didn’t grow up with it being a bad word. Venezuela can happen here. It’s nothing to take lightly. Eventually, I believe the loons will be firmly in charge of both parties. That’s just the way things are going. But which side’s loons are closer to the mainstream?

Those of you who live in my district, the 8th 1st Congressional District, no doubt know that Dean Malik was trounced by Brian “I Love Assault Weapons Bans” Fitzpatrick. This isn’t surprising. Malik ran an awful campaign. Fitzpatrick’s last minute ads on Facebook touting his conservative bonafides were so awful as to be laughable, but only if you’re paying attention, which most people aren’t.

Malik ran on a “Real Republican” and “Real Conservative” message. Guess what the new voters Trump has bought into the coalition don’t give a crap about? Malik never really made the case for why it was better to replace Fitzpatrick with himself. He ran on a more conservative than thou platform rather than building a case against Fitzpatrick with voters. If he did, I never noticed it. The only TV ad for Malik I saw was vague and generally awful. While I’ll grant that “Real Republican” is at least not so awful as “The Time is Now” as a campaign message, it’s not a deal sealing message.

I am a Gen Xer, but I consume information more like millennials do. I don’t have cable, and don’t watch TV. I am really only reachable these days via social media, e-mail, and streaming video ads. I saw a ton of ads for Scott Wagner. I knew who he was early. Neither Malik nor Mango (seriously, if your last name is Mango, you don’t have a future in politics) reached me with anything, and the stuff I sought out wasn’t compelling. Facebook ads are dirt cheap and very effective. I hate Facebook, but there’s no excuse, other than cluelessness, for not using it heavily. This is not even about reaching young voters: young voters use different social media. Facebook is for reaching core political demographics of middle aged and older voters.

That said, if I’m Brian Fitzpatrick, I’m not feeling too good that 1/3rd of my base hates me enough to vote me out for a candidate that ran a ho-hum campaign. I am feeling good that the Dem establishment candidate got beaten from the left. But the redistricting isn’t going to help Fitz any. Neither is the fact that neither myself nor a lot of other gun voters will ever vote for him again. Once you endorse gun bans, what difference is there between you an the Democrat? Wallace is a nut, but do I hate the nut enough to vote for the worm?

I get this is not a solidly conservative district, and any candidate is going to have to be left of the base, but my problem with the Fitzpatricks is that they’ve never played that game well. They play the game like they don’t really understand their base. Any candidate standing more center than their base is going to do a few things here and there to disappoint, but the Fitzpatricks are constant disappointment. I say this as someone who volunteered for Mike Fitzpatrick’s campaign to oust Patrick Murphy. As it is now, I would have been better off with Murphy, who at least supported National Reciprocity! The Fitzpatricks have made clear they don’t give a shit about gun owners, so I no longer give a shit about them. I’m done with the Fitzpatricks.

Punching Back Twice as Hard

The NRA has filed suit against Cuomo and the head of New York’s Department of Financial Services, Maria Vullo. I was hoping NRA was working on this, because the lawsuit practically writes itself. The 33 page complaint can be found here. The suit is not just against Cuomo and Vullo in their official capacity, but also against them as individuals. This means Cuomo and Vullo will be personally on the hook for part of NRA’s losses, and NRA is claiming that it “… has suffered tens of millions of dollars in damages based on Defendants’ conduct …”

Defendants’ unlawful exhortations to New York insurance companies, banks, and financial institutions that they, among other things, “manag[e] their risks, including reputational risks, that may arise from their dealings with the NRA . . ., as well as continued assessment of compliance with their own codes of social responsibility[,]” as well as “review any relationships they have with the NRA[,]” and “take prompt actions to managing these risks and promote public health and safety[,]” constitute a concerted effort to deprive the NRA of its freedom of speech by threatening with government prosecution services critical to the survival of the NRA and its ability to disseminate its message. Defendants’ actions constitute an “implied threat[ ] to employ coercive state power” against entities doing business with the NRA, and they are reasonably interpreted as such.

There’s several things claimed in this complaint that are important. One is that even if DFS was correct in fining Lockton and Chubb, it was wholly inappropriate and beyond the scope of their lawful authority to demand that both companies cease doing business at all with NRA, even outside of New York, even for programs which are compliant with New York Law. When I first read that, my thought was “That’s pretty much slam dunk a First Amendment violation.”

Secondly, NRA argues that the fine was meant as retaliation for NRA’s exercise of its First Amendment rights, because other organizations similarly situated to NRA are apparently violating New York’s claimed regulation and have not faced prosecution. NRA claims Lockton and Chubb were singled out specifically for NRA’s views which Cuomo and Vullo find abhorrent.

Federal judges will still be federal judges, and gun rights and NRA are not popular among that set, especially in New York City. But this is a First Amendment case, and the precedent is much more clear that Cuomo and Vullo are violating NRA’s rights, and as a consequence, our rights as members. I do hope if and when this hits discovery, if other conspirators are found, they are added to the suit.

They wanted to make an example out of us. Now we can turn this around and make an example of them.

Seen on the Internets: Red Flag Laws and Due Process

From Sean on Facebook, who I’m hoping doesn’t mind the link since it’s a public post:

Stop making the Due Process argument. No one cares about that but us, and we’re already convinced. Insist that your representatives add a line to these laws in committee. Add words to the effect that if a judge finds a person to be dangerous to himself or others that he be taken directly to the mental ward for a 72 hour evaluation. If he’s safe enough to release, he doesn’t lose his guns. If he’s too dangerous to release, then he gets committed. Anyone who wants to prevent violence by unstable, dangerous people wouldn’t leave unstable, dangerous people on the street where they can still cause mayhem.

Sadly, I think this is correct. We lost on this issue because due process was basically our only argument. Only civil libertarians give a shit about due process, and there aren’t a lot of civil libertarians left these days. Neither the populist right nor today’s progressives give a crap about that argument, because both lean more toward the authoritarian side of the political compass.

Sean suggests countering a left-authoritarian argument with a right-authoritarian argument. I believe that would be effective in today’s climate, even if I don’t personally like it. NRA has certainly never hesitated to channel the law-and-order instinct of right-authoritarians to counter left-authoritarians.

I wouldn’t mind a political realignment that would pit left authoritarians (progressives) and right authoritarians (alt-right/populists) against left-libertarians (modern liberals) and right libertarians (small ‘l’ libertarians), but I don’t get the impression that many people believe the struggle is along those lines, and I’ve given some thought as to why. I’d certainly be up for that struggle, because my ‘side’ would be a lot clearer. I’d have more passion for that struggle.

In truth, I believe there are more authoritarians than libertarians, so that coalition doesn’t happen because the libertarian side of that struggle gets crushed. I think that’s why Sean is right.

NRA Election Participation

Once again, I’ve got the data on member participation in NRA elections. Unlike attendance, these stats aren’t record breaking – not the lowest, not the highest. Just about average.

In terms of total votes cast, 5.67% of eligible voters who received ballots returned them. That’s on par with previous years, as you can see in the chart. The lowest vote participation I’ve ever documented in 2006 was 5.12%, and the highest was the 2016 regular board election at 7.76%.

Of course, there’s also the context to consider of how many ballots went out. As we add more voting members to NRA’s member roster, it becomes harder for any one board member to reach individual voters who may feel inspired to vote after meeting with them or learning more about them. This is the record number of ballots mailed based on my data – 199,245 more than last year. That means more life members and members who have stuck with the organization for at least 5 consecutive years.

Of course, these charts just look at ballots returned. Of the ballots mailed back, 3.98% were invalid for a variety of reasons. This is up a bit from the last few years, but down substantially from 2013. Unfortunately, they stopped separating out my favorite invalid statistic – ballots from previous years. Who has these and remembers to send them in during the exact voting period the next year?? Last year, it was 24 people.

At first glance, I thought that people may be voting for fewer than 25 candidates, as the top vote getter this year (Ronnie Barrett) was only on 71.7% of valid ballots. That’s the lowest percentage I’ve recorded. The previous low was 2015 at 76.52%, so the same cycle of candidates. Most of the other lows I’ve recorded have also been during this same cycle of 3 year terms, so I think it’s just the lack of a really huge celebrity that spreads out votes more. (That’s not a bad thing!)

For the “last winner,” the lowest vote getter to still get a seat on the board, there were some interesting observations. The last winner was on just over half of the ballots – 54.46%. That’s not the lowest percentage I’ve seen, but the 2nd lowest and definitely close. What is more interesting is that those who did not win seats were much farther behind the pack than I’ve ever documented before. In my years of data, the top person who still lost is usually just under 1,000 votes away from the person above. This year, that gap was huge at a difference of more than 3,000 votes. So those who didn’t make it on the board this year were much farther behind as a group than they have been in at least a decade.

Gun Owners Must Carry Liability Insurance

And if you actually offer that insurance, we’ll make it illegal and fine the companies offering it. Is there anyone out there who is still seriously going to argue that prohibition is a gun nut delusion? This is like Chicago mandating live fire training to own a gun with one hand, and then with the other hand arranging the city’s zoning code so that there could never be any ranges in the City of Chicago. What do you expect me to think? They act like anything short of showing up at my front door with a confiscation order is just nothing at all to worry about. Hey, I know, you can legally have guns, but the Second Amendment doesn’t say anything about bullets now does it? Go to hell. Do you think we’re stupid?

New Tactic to Shut Down Open Carry?

I was very concerned when I heard police in Montgomery County 302’d (involuntary observational commitment) someone for open carrying an AR-15. I don’t consider it wise to open carry an AR-15 down the streets of suburbia, but 302ing someone for politically distasteful behavior is reminiscent of the Soviet Union, and along the lines of “things we worry about” when we’re talking mental health issues and guns. Some people out there, after all, consider an interest in firearms to be a sign of mental instability.

But this article suggests there were other factors involved other than the open carrying:

Rather, police acted after some of the man’s friends messaged police via Facebook with concerns about his behavior and change in mental status.

One witness told police the young man talked of “shooting up” Penn State Abington back in January.

More recently, the man texted the friend a picture of the AR-15, saying “look what I just got.”

OK. If the allegation is true and the witness credible, in this context the 302 is a lot more understandable. But I worry law enforcement might get an idea that a trip to the loony bin for evaluation is the new “Disorderly Conduct” charge if you want to nail someone for open carrying because the responding officer doesn’t like it.

New York AG Alleged to be Abusive Sexual Predator

No wonder these assholes don’t like the idea of the plebes being armed. I was going to write a post about how NRA really needed to sue Cuomo and Schneiderman, since they are essentially running an intimidation racket against NRA, and I still think that. But ho-boy is this big.

After the former girlfriend ended the relationship, she told several friends about the abuse. A number of them advised her to keep the story to herself, arguing that Schneiderman was too valuable a politician for the Democrats to lose. She described this response as heartbreaking. And when Schneiderman heard that she had turned against him, she said, he warned her that politics was a tough and personal business, and that she’d better be careful. She told Selvaratnam that she had taken this as a threat.

You really need to read the whole thing.

Jennifer Friedman, a legal expert on domestic violence, says that she cannot square Schneiderman’s public and private behavior. Anyone knowledgeable about intimate-partner violence, she says, knows that choking is “a known lethality indicator.” She adds, “I cannot fathom that someone who drafted the legislation on strangulation is unfamiliar with such concepts.”

He’s well aware of it. And really, is it so foreign a concept to you that some people are total hypocrites? In fact, the holier they act, the more they’re probably hiding something. Shocking, I know, but politicians particularly are often distasteful people. After reading this, I feel pretty safe in saying that Eric Schniderman is a piece of shit, and I hope he ends up rotting in prison for this. This guy has the fucking nerve to blame people like us for advocating for the right to be armed. Do you know why I believe women particularly have a right to be armed? So they can protect themselves from human debris like Schniderman.

Yeah. Can’t have those potential victims packing, now can we?

UPDATE from Bitter: He has now resigned & is being investigated for any potential criminal misconduct in the allegations. I’d say the threats to use the AG’s office to harass & stalk girlfriends if they ever tried to leave him should be enough. Or the choking while saying he would have to kill them if they ever tried to end their relationship should be enough. It seems like several knew well enough to photograph their bruises, save medical reports, and make statements that were dated. Maybe it will be enough.

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