Delco Op-Ed Encouraging Education on Guns

Congratulations on gun owners who managed to get published supporting gun rights in their local outlets in these tough times! Gotta love this line from a guest column in the Delaware County Daily Times on the differences between semi-automatic AR-15s and fully automatic firearms:

I explain it simply, an AR is a Chevy Malibu with a racing stripe; it is not an Indy Car.

Passing Gun Rights on to New Generations

Divemedic recently left a comment that certainly resonated with me because I think all serious activists feel this way at some point:

I hate to say it, but I am getting to the age where I am not really fighting for my rights any longer, nor even my children’s rights. My children are all over 30 years old. They are old enough to fight for themselves.

To tell the truth, I am tired. I have been fighting this battle and arguing with misinformed nitwits for over 30 years, and they still use the same old, tired talking points.

At this point, I am fighting for the rights of my grandchildren.

I don’t disparage anyone who puts in years of working for a cause at all. It does get tiring. Even with blogging, there are very few issues we haven’t covered before. This isn’t an issue or hobby that sees exciting new changes every few months. There aren’t really any radical new discoveries to pull us back in when things get old.

But the notion of fighting for grandchildren got me thinking, especially where kids of gun owners haven’t really picked up the fight for gun rights in the same way. How will our descendants know about what was so dear to us? I don’t just mean the ones we know, but the ones we won’t ever know – 3rd, 5th, 7th great grandchildren.

And it’s not just a matter of us passing it on to our descendants, but what of our ancestors? In my family tree, there could easily be upwards of 7 generations of NRA members in theory. (In theory for my family because those early years were focused in Yankeeland, and my ancestors were all broke Southern farmers – including the Georgia & Tennessee boys who fought for the Union.) In reality, it’s more likely on recent generations for many people. But were my deceased grandfathers and great grandfathers ever members? I don’t know. Because I know there’s no real chance of ever getting NRA member records from the past opened up for research, I’m quite confident that I will never know.

But that’s where gun clubs & shooting match organizers can make a difference.

One way to make sure that news of the traditions are passed down would be submit news of shooting competitions and other events to the local media. That helps us now and documents our passions for the future.

The other thing that I believe gun clubs should seriously consider is some sort of historian officer who is charged with documenting, preserving, and thinking about all things history of the gun club and shooting sports. There’s the internal value of someone ready to share the history of the club with new members and make them see they are part of something bigger. And the fact that someone would be in charge of sorting & maintaining records, photos, and memorabilia that most people aren’t quite sure what to do with.

If you’re a member of a really, really old gun club, are there newsletters from the early days with people who are all deceased that could be digitized, bound, and donated to a local historical society? If they won’t take them, then consider starting a club blog that will share the history with the community in an interesting way. Most clubs have websites these days, so put them to use in sharing history and our present.

What about member applications from decades ago of long deceased members? Records that document people between censuses are genealogical gold in general, but if they also reflect the interests of the applicants at the time, that helps tell the story of those individuals. I realize there are privacy and safety implications in gun-related records, and I’m more than sensitive to those as someone whose information was published as a concealed carry license holder in Virginia who lived next to a threatening neighbor. That’s why I’m specifically saying to look for records for people who are long deceased.

For me, it starts small. In my genealogy software, I’ll mark the family members who I know are/were proud NRA members. Eventually, as time and people pass, that information will make it out into the family histories. For those who were really involved in the issue, it will make their obituaries. Hopefully we can do more to create a better documented history of our own contributions to protecting the Second Amendment so that the Second Amendment supporters in 50, 100, and hopefully 200 years will know they are part of something much bigger. They won’t be relying on wills and estate inventories to see if we owned guns or left some to the NRA. They will know because we spoke out.

Analysis True!

From Glenn Reynolds, on people ignoring assault weapons bans:

But since the point of gun control is to humiliate and grind down flyover people and demonstrate that the Ruling Class is ultimately the, well, Ruling Class — not to control crime — the appearance of submission is probably enough. Plus, a seldom enforced and often ignored law is ideal if you want to be able to target troublesome individuals later.

That pretty effectively sums it up.

My Congressman to Gun Owners: See Ya!

Probably because Johnny Doc’s brother Kevin, Justice of the State Supreme Court, along with his partisan allies, illegally and and flagrantly usurped legislative prerogative to make us a Democratic district*, Brian Fitzpatrick, who I’d note is a former FBI agent, the agency that utterly failed those kids in Florida, is jumping on board with shifting the blame to gun owners.

“We have to be willing to stand up and be willing to have the courage and say that if prohibiting the sale of these military-style assault weapons will solve the problem, we need to get on board with it,” he said.

I’m done with the Fitzpatricks. When Mike retired, it was a prime chance to get a new face out there, but the Party decided to pull a switcheroo and hope no one would notice. I’d note that there is a primary challenger. Usually my first question to a primary challenger is “Can they win?” Too many people ask “Does he agree with me?” Or if you’re a Republican, they’ll ask “Is he a True Conservative?” If your candidate can’t win, that doesn’t matter very much now, does it? You have to run people that can win in the district, and with the fresh addition of a bunch of Dems into District Eight One, any Republican will have an uphill climb. The truth is, I have no idea whether Dean Malik can win, and I don’t frankly care. My overriding desire now is to see Fitzpatrick sent packing, even if it means sacrificing that seat to the Dems. I will vote for Dean in the primary. I seem to recall I was favorably impressed by him at a political beauty pageant a local group held a few years back. I will not vote a single more time for Brian Fitzpatrick, or any other Fitzpatrick, for Congress ever again.

Ordinarily, I am very much reluctant to not hold my nose, because the Dem is almost always guaranteed to be worse on guns and other things. But some stench is just too much, and you can’t get much worse than endorsing a ban on semi-automatics (and make no bones about it… read that CNN poll… it polled banning semi-autos categorically). That Fitzpatrick delivered this message to the sycophants at the Chamber of Commerce is just icing on the cake. The idea that Fitzpatrick is going to give a pass to his buddies at the FBI for failing to act, and instead is going to jump on board with punishing me? Fuck no, and fuck off.

* <rant>
Don’t get me started on this. They claimed a power in the state constitution that simply isn’t there. They basically rewrote the PA constitution to their liking unilaterally, then claimed legislative powers to actually rewrite the districts. I’m really hoping Alito delivers on an injunction, because the elections clause of the federal constitution says state legislatures (and recent precedent allows a function of law to assign redistricting to a commission) draw districts, and Kevin Doc and his buddies are not my fucking legislature and no function of law gives it to them. But no one else in this state seems to believe process matters. Hell, no one believes rule of law is important anymore. We’re warring camps and it’s “Ra! Ra! Go team!” Except my team sucks.

Hated by All Nations

I remember writing a while back, though I can’t find it now, that one reason the anti-gun movement could be dismissed as astroturf with very little in the way of a real movement behind it is because the big indicators of a true cultural struggle were absent. If there were real, motivated opposition, you’d see them attacking our core cultural institutions.

I’m sorry to say, but we’re starting to see that. Now, I do believe that social media has greatly enhanced the ability of a small number of determined activists to intimidate traditional companies who don’t really get social media. But in 2008, they did not have even a small number of determined activists. I believe we are seeing a resurgence of the gun control movement, and the time to get serious is now.

Yes, I am skeptical those poll numbers linked are so out of whack with what we’ve seen in the past even after mass shootings, but I’d note the shift here is almost exclusively women. I notice a few issues with this poll’s questioned, but it doesn’t look like the hatchet job I wish it did. To steel yourselves and start organizing. We’re going to need to all hang together over the next few months. It never hurts to start communicating with your reps.

Armed SRO Stayed Outside

It’s breaking news that the Stoneman Douglas high school had a School Resource Officer who stayed outside and failed to act. It’s easy to armchair quarterback this kind of thing in retrospect, but here’s the deal: no one has any idea how they are going to react when bullets start flying. Trained soldiers and cops are not immune to freezing up under fire. If people are going to argue that this shows armed intervention is a fool’s errand than we should disarm the police and military too. The only way you will find out for sure how you will act when people start shooting bullets at you is to have bullets shot at you. Training helps. That’s why I believe armed individuals make the choice to carry in schools with an intent to protect children should receive active shooter training, and whatever else is useful above and beyond what an average owner with a carry permit typically receives. I’d also note this country has a pool of veterans, many of them retired and with free time, who already know how they react when people are shooting bullets at them. They might be a useful part of the solution too.

So I’m not going to blame this school officer. I don’t like the odds of facing a rifle wielding maniac armed with a pistol and soft body armor either. I’d like to think I wouldn’t freeze up, regardless, and I’d give myself good odds on landing hits. But I don’t know. I’ve never been shot at, and neither have most police officers, even those with long careers. So I’m inclined to cut this guy a break. He decided to resign. That is the right thing. You know now that you’re not cut out for this line of work. I’d hate to have to live with what he’s going to have to live with, but he won’t be the first nor last.

UPDATE: I know this post is a bit controversial. Bitter is discovering some more information about the SRO that would indicate, yeah, sorry dude, I’m willing to judge. What I don’t like to do is beat my chest and declare “I could do better!” I’d like to think I could, but I’ve never had to face down an active shooter.

UPDATE: One deputy freezing up is something that can happen. Four of them freezing up is a systemic problem with the department.

Gun Rights Threat Shaping Up

It looks like the big thing we have to worry about post-Parkland is going to be a move to raise the age for buying a long gun from 18 to 21. I’ll be honest, telling a 20 year old kid who’s coming back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan that he’s responsible enough to use an M4 to shoot Taliban for God and Country, but not responsible enough to own a semi-automatic AR-15 to shoot paper or to say, defend his family after a natural disaster, does not sit well with me at all. Are we going to repeal the 26th Amendment? Because if they aren’t responsible enough to own a rifle, why are they responsible enough to vote? Maybe we shouldn’t let them join the military either. Maybe we should raise the age you can get married without parental permission back to 21, like it used to be in many states?

This is bullshit. If you’re old enough to die for your country, you’re old enough to vote for or against the people who would send you, old enough to have a beer, get married, and yes, own a gun. If we’re now talking about moving the age of majority back to 21, and maybe we should (we have an awful lot of man and women children running around out there) we ought to have that serious conversation about that. Otherwise, this is just another case of the Second Amendment, to borrow from Justice Thomas, being treated as “a disfavored right.”

And to make matters worse, it’s the fucking Republicans doing this to us. Not that I’m shocked. I’m way too cynical about politics to be shocked. But I can’t think of any better way to make me stay home, rather than lift a finger or even vote for your shitty, awful candidates.

I Like Them to Learn Early

Local municipalities in Pennsylvania are preempted from enforcing any ordinance relating to guns. This is pretty well-established under our law. But that doesn’t stop them from passing ordinances, and a popular thing to do is for Boards and Councils to use their positions to lobby state lawmakers to let them have a go at gun regulation, or lobbying on behalf of some legislation or another that the majority of the Board or Council would like to see. It’s like what we do, only they get to do it with taxpayer dollars.

On a rumor, I dragged a bunch of club people out our township meeting with the belief that they might try to pass something like they did after the Vegas shooting. It was shot down after Vegas, because the three Republican Supervisors could outvote the two Dems. However in November, the Dems flipped a seat, and took control of the Board. The Dems this time were assuring members who e-mailed that no gun issue was on the agenda, and they would be taking no action. Even though they are preempted, I like my politicians to learn early about the gun voter. Also, getting them on the record is helpful if they try to run for higher office.

Last night we get through most of the meeting and nothing comes up. Good, that’s victory. But now I’m worried about having a dozen or so people questioning why I dragged them out to a meeting to hear a retirement speech, watch a few appropriations votes, and hear the Chief of Police give his report. Then, at the end, right before adjournment, the big anti-gun Dem on the Board decides he can’t help himself and opens his yap. Wonderful! Thanks for pulling my ass from the fire there! I was starting to worry they might begin to think I cry wolf, and I won’t be able to rally troops the next time I need them. But then again, if he had let the meeting just adjourn, he probably wouldn’t have gotten hisself in the papers.

The Bump Stock Issue Never Went Away

The ATF, in a rare move, decided several months ago to enter the rule making process with the bump stock issue. There was even the required public comment period. I say rare, because ATF has never liked using rule making, choosing to do most regulation through determination letters. They traditionally prefer policy to regulation.

Now the big deal is that Trump called for a bump stock ban, probably because NRA called for a bump stock ban, and there’s already a rule making process going on that’s headed in that direction. NRA called for a bump stock ban because in Congress, the votes were there to pass one, and all the Congressional bills I saw on the topic were overly broad and sucked. They would have made any gun smithing work on a semi-automatic firearm legally risky, and that’s before you get into the multitudes of constructive possession issues.

So what do you do? Call on ATF to undertake rule making, where you can control the process under a friendly administration, and make sure whatever comes out is narrowly worded. Also, since it’s regulation, rather than law, it’s much easier to change.

So that was the choice: a bump stock ban that swept in a lot other ordinary and legal activity, and a bump stock ban that was just a bump stock ban, and was regulation rather than law. There are no other options. Don’t like that? Then you’re left replacing many of the squishy Republicans. But you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone running for office in this country willing to stand up and shout, “Yay for machine guns,” let alone win on it. And if you challenge all the squishy Republicans and lose? You’re done. Finished. Bump stocks ain’t a hill I’m dying on, and trust me, it is a hill you’ll die on.

This Will Shock No One: Moral Outrage is Self-Serving, Says Reason

New research out, and the science is settled! We all knew this. Hell, Zuckerberg built an empire on this: what would Facebook be without self-serving moral preening? A platform to share baby and cat pictures, basically.

When people publicly rage about perceived injustices that don’t affect them personally, we tend to assume this expression is rooted in altruism—a “disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.” But new research suggests that professing such third-party concern—what social scientists refer to as “moral outrage”—is often a function of self-interest, wielded to assuage feelings of personal culpability for societal harms or reinforce (to the self and others) one’s own status as a Very Good Person.

Well bowl me over with a feather. I will admit I’m one of those odd ducks that doesn’t feel guilty about a whole hell of a lot. If anything, I feel guilty over the fact that I don’t feel guilty about much. Maybe I’m sorry I didn’t spend more time with my mom when she was terminally ill. I kind of feel bad about that. Wish I had been more interested in getting to know my paternal grandparents before they died when I was in my early 20s. I probably also don’t do enough to mix with and help people who are truly needy. I’m more of a person to lose touch than keep in touch.

But that’s all my cross to bear, not any of yours. Maybe that’s a difference. It’s not that I, and people like me, don’t have guilt: we internalize it. I don’t need to make my failings as a person your failings as a person. But if there’s anything people are bad at these days, especially on social media, its internalizing things. This rings true: