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Happy Independence Day

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th. I’m off this week, and enjoying not doing much of anything. Sometimes the best vacation is the staycation. I decided to run a 4th of July falling plate match at the club. Trying to decide whether to paint the plates with patriotic patterns, or paint them with the Union Jack. Shoot all the plates down, for America! For Independence!

Fireworks

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.

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.

Culture Leads Politics

Kevin has a bit on “Why R. Lee Ermey Eatters,” because we need more cultural figures to show that shooting is FUN. We can all forget that sometimes. Despite the role Ermey is best known for, he was a hell of a nice guy. He also impressed me that he would attend NRA Board Meetings. There are some celebrities who I do not believe have even shown up to be sworn in. At the Glock booth, the line would always be around the corner (and Glock’s booth is BIG) to meet him and get a picture and autograph. Generally speaking, I don’t vote for celebrity Board members, even if they are sometimes contributors, just because they don’t need my help. But I always voted for Ermey. He struck me as a stand-up guy. And yes, the one time I saw him walking to the restroom from a Board meeting, I was tempted to tell the hotel staffer who also saw him walk by, “I hope that head is so sanitary and squared away that the Virgin Mary herself would be proud to go in there and take a dump!” That movie was one of those shared cultural experiences of my generation I’m not sure we really have anymore.

You’ll Be Shocked, I Know

YouTube shooter evaded California’s magazine ban:

She fired a total of 20 rounds, apparently killing herself with the last round. In this case, poor marksmanship did more to keep the number of dead and injured low than California’s gun laws. Magazine limitations hurt defenders more than offenders. Attackers have the advantage of planning ahead, and can bring reloads with them. They aren’t likely to be concerned with discomfort. My jacket right now would hold 8 to 10 spare magazines. I could probably fit three or four extra in a pair of Khakis. But I’m not going to do that as a defender, because it’s uncomfortable and heavy.

I don’t want clueless politicians artificially limiting the magazine capacity of my pistol for the same reason the cops don’t: I don’t get to pick and choose where and under what circumstances I might need a gun. An attacker does.

Mass Killer Used 10 Round Magazines

Because they were easier to fit in his gym bag. You’d think this would be the end of that narrative, but you’d be wrong. New narrative: just think of how many lives were saved because he didn’t use those evil “high-capacity magazines” and “his gun jammed because he had to reload so much.” Even though in the Gifford’s shooting, the killer’s gun jammed because he was using an extended magazine that wasn’t designed for the gun.

Heads I win, tails you lose.

This is a difficult thing to discuss with non-gun people, and even some gun people who aren’t all that knowledgeable. Because it seems “obvious” that allowing fewer rounds in a magazine will reduce gun deaths. In truth there’s no evidence for this. Also, basic tactics would tell you that a magazine restriction disadvantages a defender more than an attacker.

It takes a few seconds to change a magazine. As a defender, I cannot and will not be carrying around a gym bag full of magazines with me all day. Most mass killers do this. Most of them also bring multiple guns to the attack. As a defender, I will carry the magazine that’s in my firearm. Maybe some more hard-core carriers will carry a reload. My likelihood of ever needing one round, let alone more than one, is very very low. But so is the likelihood I’ll ever be in the vicinity of a mass shooting. We don’t carry guns in anticipation of high-probability events, so I don’t want its capacity artificially blocked. The grip of my Glock 19 is designed to hold 15 9mm rounds, and as a defender, that’s what I want it to hold. Telling me I can only have 10 rounds serves merely to put me at a disadvantage to an attacker, who can plan around the restriction.

Cops know this. That’s why they would fight magazine restrictions that affect them tooth and nail. But if cops need them, they should be generally available.

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.

Ever True: A Dog Analogy

Worth sharing, or perhaps re-sharing, because it’s a few years old, Popehat’s post on how to engage in a meaningful gun debate:

Me: I don’t want to take away dog owners’ rights. But we need to do something about Rottweilers.
You: So what do you propose?
Me: I just think that there should be some sort of training or restrictions on owning an attack dog.
You: Wait. What’s an “attack dog?”
Me: You know what I mean. Like military dogs.
You: Huh? Rottweilers aren’t military dogs. In fact “military dogs” isn’t a thing. You mean like German Shepherds?
Me: Don’t be ridiculous. Nobody’s trying to take away your German Shepherds. But civilians shouldn’t own fighting dogs.
You: I have no idea what dogs you’re talking about now.
Me: You’re being both picky and obtuse. You know I mean hounds.
You: What the fuck.
Me: OK, maybe not actually ::air quotes:: hounds ::air quotes::. Maybe I have the terminology wrong. I’m not obsessed with vicious dogs like you. But we can identify kinds of dogs that civilians just don’t need to own.
You: Can we?

Read the whole thing.

If You See Something, Say Something

Seems everyone knew this kid in Florida was a nut. The FBI even investigated him over threats. People saw something and said something. The authorities, however, did nothing about it. In many states, a trip to the loony bin makes you a prohibited person. In Florida, it’s called the Baker Act. In Pennsylvania, it’s the Mental Health Procedures Act. All it takes is the police giving you a ride, and you can’t legally buy a gun and won’t pass a background check.

Yet they did nothing. Yeah, sorry, in Florida we did what everyone says is the answer: made it very easy to make crazy people into prohibited persons, and the authorities still dropped the ball.

All the mental health prohibitions in the world aren’t going to amount to shit if no one lifts a finger to get people with mental health issues into the system. This happens repeatedly: we agree to give them the tools they ask for, the authorities drop the ball, and shit still happens. Then, they demand we give up the next thing, and the next thing.

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