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Not Hysterical Piece on Rifles

Leave it to the local news to have someone write a not completely hysterical piece explaining the type of rifle used in Sunday’s shooting. Of course, then other articles they are running from other reporters specifically contradict the facts reported in this story – many using the “AR means assault rifle” crap. I thought the MSM told us that one benefit they offered was layers of editorial oversight. So why run a factual piece that explains the AR myth isn’t at all true, but then turn around and work that uses the AR references in a way to directly contradict yourselves?

Like any high profile incident, we’re not really going to comment until more facts are released. It seems there’s a great deal of information not released yet, and that may or may not raise questions about enforcement of laws. I will admit that based on bits that appear to have been confirmed, it is troubling that Texas seemingly approved this guy as a “certified” security guard when he had a conviction for assaulting other people. It seems to me that even unarmed security have some level of “authority” over others in their place of employment, and those with a history of assaulting others may not be the best fit for those jobs. (Or maybe they are a perfect fit in some jobs like at sketchy bars, but probably not for the family water park where he was apparently approved to work since the shooter’s conviction was for assaulting his own family.) But again, I also acknowledge that the timeline or other details may change rapidly.

What does appear to be shaping up is that this shooter was caught because of the efforts of an armed citizen and another regular guy with a truck willing to risk their lives to put an end to this shooter’s ability to do harm. They couldn’t save those inside the church, but they did what they could to make sure he didn’t hurt anyone else.

He’s Right, You Know

From Joe Huffman:

On the evening of 14 July 2016, a 19 tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, resulting in the deaths of 86 people[2] and the injury of 458 others.

Planning matters a lot more than weapon choice. Nearly all mass killers plan their attack, but for some of them mental illness is limiting. The most dangerous killers are the ones who aren’t crazy, as it seems this guy was not.

Las Vegas Shooting

Much like Virginia Tech, where Bitter had a cousin on campus that day, this mass shooting hit close to home. Bitter’s brother is in the music business and his act was on stage when the shooting started. We have gotten word that he is OK.

Initial reports are almost always wrong, but having seen video, it does indeed to appear to be some kind of fully automatic rifle. The cyclic rate didn’t sound fast enough to me to be a 5.56 machine gun, so I’m guessing something larger. The cyclic rate sounded consistent, so I’m guessing not a crank [UPDATE: I’m seeing a lot of speculation about cyclic rate being inconsistent, but it sounded pretty damned consistent to me. In the one video, you can hear the sonic boom of the bullet a half second or so before you hear the report. I think that’s being mistaken by some people as two separate firearms. Other videos have echoes which mask the consistency.] I’m doubtful of a bump mechanism, since he was landing hits.

He was firing for a good 9-10 seconds based on some video I saw. A 75-round AK drum should be empty in 7.5 seconds. What did this guy get his hands on? It’s not like there’s a huge black market for belt feds. Whatever he had, the nut job apparently planned the attack in great detail. One article I read suggested he had put up cameras to detect when the police were closing in. With enough planning and motivation, he could have gotten anything. This guy doesn’t appear to have been a whack job, by all accounts. So what motivated him? What made him snap?

I don’t know, and we probably won’t know for days, but one thing I can promise you is that you and I will be blamed for this in the media. We will be the ones held to account and the ones punished.

UPDATE: I’m seeing that this shooter apparently was a pilot and owned two planes. He also lived in a $400,000 house. This means he was in a socioeconomic bracket where he could reasonably afford legal machine guns. He also had a clean record. Be ready for that possibility.

Deadly High-Capacity Magazine

I guess this guy heard reports of deadly high-capacity magazines from gun control advocates and politicians, and took it to the next level.

A man tried to rob a pizza place on Ocean Boulevard Tuesday night by pointing a gun’s magazine at the employee, but the employee slapped it out of the suspect’s hands, according to a Myrtle Beach Police report.

Apparently that ejected two rounds out of the magazine, which the robber quickly scooped up and beat a retreat. Whatever that dude was on must be one hell of a drug.

Indictment in Philando Castile Shooting

Something smelled fishy about this since day one, and it looks like a Grand Jury agreed. These days I’m always reluctant to jump on bandwagons, because it’s harder and harder to discern what really happened, and what the motivations are of people driving the bandwagon. So to some degree you have to fall back to having faith in the justice system to do the right thing. The problem is I had a hard time typing that with a straight face.

In this case, it may be that the officer made a horrible mistake, and he will have to explain himself before a jury, just like any of us would under the same circumstances. Remember Prof. Joe Olson’s report about his encounter with this department. I will hope that all the facts come out at trial, that the jury is wise and objective, and that justice will be done. Mr. Castile deserves no less.

Attorney General Convicted on ALL Charges

Pennsylvania’s proud first female Attorney General hasn’t been able to practice law for months. Tonight, she was found guilty of perjury, obstruction, and other counts of abusing her official position in order to exact illegal revenge on an opponent.

Did I mention that the Clintons are huge supporters?

It shouldn’t be surprising that Kathleen Kane’s attorney indicates that she’s still not going to make any move to resign. The woman won’t give up, despite widespread calls from her party to resign. She has not yet been jailed, but she must come back to court tomorrow to surrender her passport, and she was issued a warning that any hint of retaliation against witnesses will put her behind bars immediately.

Thinking About Safe Storage Laws

Police are charging the New Jersey woman who lost a child when her older child accidentally shot the other one playing with mom’s pistol. In her case, she was keeping the pistol illegally. Safe storage laws are meant to punish parents who do things like this. Any time a law is proposed to deal with a social issue it’s worth asking:

  • Is justice served by this law? This woman already lost one kid. If she goes to jail the other kids ends up in the state foster care system. Now in this case, given the criminal history of this woman, maybe the kids are better off in state care. But is that always the case? Is the behavior in question so bad that it’s worth breaking up families over?
  • Is the law going to deter the irresponsible behavior? I’ve often argued that in most cases when it comes to accidental shootings (which are actually pretty rare) the kinds of people who need to be deterred are the kinds that won’t be deterred. The fact is that most of the people reading this don’t need a law to tell them to do what is necessary to keep firearms secured from kiddies and other irresponsible persons. It’s difficult for me to believe that the potential loss of a child is not more of a deterrent than the law.
  • Is the law enforceable? As with most laws regulating personal behavior in the home, enforcement is only going to occur when the police become aware of a violation, which is only going to happen after an accidental shooting, the very thing the law is meant to deter.

Generally speaking, I’m skeptical of any law that controls people’s behavior in their own homes. My issue with safe storage laws in general has been:

  • They usually apply a one-size-fits all solution. There are a lot of ways to secure firearms. Some solutions, like trigger locks, are outright dangerous for someone who is uneducated on how to use one.
  • They usually don’t exempt households without children. I have no kids, and while I have a safe to secure my firearms from burglars, when I’m home we have unsecured firearms, and there’s no risk to either of us with that.
  • They are not enforceable, and the people they will be enforced against are already dealing with the loss of a child. When a child is accidentally poisoned (which happens far far more often than firearms accidents), we don’t generally charge the parent for leaving prescription drugs, drain cleaner, etc unsecured. We don’t charge pool owners for accidental drownings (also happens far more often than firearms accidents) if they left the gate open.

I think incidents like these are best left as torts when multiple parties are involved, and something for child services to investigate, and dealt with through family court if necessary. I’m not sure charging a mom who just lost a kid with a felony is really justice.

Illegal Immigrant Attempts To Kill Trump

Probably not the nationality you’d expect though. Several reports say he attempted to grab a police officer’s handgun that was not secured, but initial reports are often full of unsubstantiated details.

OF course, this was a nominally gun-free zone, and the guy’s plan relied on the fact that it was being enforced by people with guns…

(My local media are playing up the fact that the attempted shooter was a resident of Hoboken for a while. Why that has any relevance, I’m not sure).

Turning Point: Election 2016

Despite Sebastian’s early read that, as an unambiguously terroristic act, the massacre in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando would not cause the same level of blame as Sandy Hook, my Facebook feed this AM tends to disagree. While that’s a pile of anecdotes rather than data, the blood was still warm when the dance started, and it started with the old classic tune of “This Was The NRA’s Fault,” and the chorus is “AR-15s should be banned and all other firearms strictly restricted, because nothing less will work.” They’re either attacking the BG check system because the shooter was allegedly a wife-beater and mentally unstable and still was able to get a firearm, or ignoring that he passed a BG check in the first place. And pointing out that he was investigated by the FBI for terroristic ties (without mentioning that the investigation was dropped for lack of evidence).

(All are ignoring that he passed separate BG checks to become a licensed armed security guard – a BG check that should have been more in-depth than the NICS check, I would expect. OTOH, I don’t know FL law and company policy there; perhaps all they do is a NICS-equivalent check. Which seems sloppy).

The result is that the Democratic Party has increased their bet on “gun control is a winner!” By doing so, they’ve put defenders of the Second Amendment on deadly ground. My gut read is that Trump’s chances just got better.

Terror Attack in Florida

Last report I saw was more than 50 dead. Being that this is unambiguously a terrorist attack, we’re probably not going to suffer being blamed the same as after Sandy Hook. People view terrorism differently than random attacks. It would appear the shooter was a “known wolf,” and had previously been under FBI investigation. Early on I was wondering why the police took so long to go in. After Columbine, the doctrine stopped being “wait for the SWAT guys to show up.” It appears in this case he may have been wearing a suicide vest or facsimile.

Meanwhile, in LA, “terrorist,” or “careful when you leave America?” Indiana plates with a trunk full of guns and tannerite? Sounds like the latter to me.

We will undoubtedly fall under attack and get the finger pointed at us for this. The media is already doing it. The obvious threat coming is the “terror watch list” bill, because it would be most relevant to this case. Make no mistake, they will attempt to blame us for this and get whatever they think they can get, but “terror watch list” is the obvious line of attack. Remember, the courts don’t think this is a right, and will likely ignore the serious due process issues with denying people fundamental constitutional rights based on being on a secret government list. We’ll have to fight. Don’t depend on the courts to save us here.

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