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We Have to Get Out From Under These Mass Shootings

Complaining that we shouldn’t be blamed and punished for the actions of mad men is all well and good, but one has to understand a few realities:

  1. Ruling classes, everywhere, universally, do not particularly care for the idea of those they imagine they rule being armed. This is deep seated, and the fundamental well from which gun control sentiment is drawn.
  2. Most people will favor any restriction on something if it wouldn’t affect them or their lives. People who would hew and haw and cry foul if you tried to ban alcohol, skydiving, or skiing, for the good of those who might get hurt by it or hurt others by it, will gladly turn around and agree that your hobby is beyond the pale and no right thinking person would ever engage in it. Especially if they are being fed that crap from the above group.

Mass shootings give the ruling classes the excuse to preen about showing the latter group how much they care… manipulating their emotional reaction to tragedy in order to bring them closer to their position. The actions of the former group forces us to circle the wagons out of self-preservation, which puts is at an inherent disadvantage in influencing Those Who Care Oh So Very Much to support us.

It will never look good defending your hobby in the face of dead children. Yes, I know that by the same logic, people who drink are more responsible for dead children than you or I are for enjoying firearms, but that doesn’t matter. Drunk driving deaths, domestic abuse, and alcohol poisonings are all statistics, not headlines. And most people drink. People will fight for what they enjoy, but aren’t going to fight for what you enjoy.

“But Sebastian, that’s why we make the self-defense argument,” I can hear people saying. Yes. It is. But understand that while that argument is a lot more effective, it also has limits. The self-defense argument will appeal to people who have the emotional disposition to accept it. You aren’t going to win the first group with that argument, who either live in ridiculously safe neighborhoods, or who can afford private security. They’ve never given self-defense a second thought. There are also members of the second group who will not be receptive to that message.

I’m afraid the Vegas shooting was the perfect kind of event to trigger subsequent whack jobs. I am a firm believer that media sensation is what drives these events. We know that mass shooters spend a lot of time planning attacks. They do not occur in a vacuum. The Vegas murderer (I won’t name his name, that’s what they want) set the standard for what would earn headlines. The whole thing was ready made for the next crazy asshole, which is why I think we’re seeing a rash of them now.

So what can the average gun owner do? Relieve ignorance. Breed familiarity. Understand the emotional state of the person you’re trying to reach. Don’t be this guy meme:

Invite people to shoot. Bring them to your clubs. Not a member of a local club? Join one. I don’t care if they are a bunch of Fuddy Duddy old codgers. You can’t change something from he outside, and we have to preserve those places to shoot for future generations. Familiarity is the immunization that will protect the second group from the first. We’re not going to win this by ‘sperging on the Internet (says the blogger). Get out there in the community and help build it.

Air Forced Failed to Report Killer to FBI

After discovering the Sutherland Spring mass killer’s conviction involved cracking his infant step son’s skull, definitely a prohibiting offense, I was wondering how this guy managed to legally buy a gun not once, but four times. Now it would seem we have our answer. You remember President Obama’s executive order after Sandy Hook that instructed all federal agencies to review what they can do to prevent gun violence? You remember the VA coming forward and reporting veterans en masse if they had a fiduciary guardian? I do. Do you remember the SSA almost doing the same thing until Congress put a stop to it after the change in Administration? I do. Yet reporting people who commit what is effectively felony battery to NICS is apparently something they can’t be bothered with.

Best I Can Tell About Texas Shooting

Early reports are often, and usually wrong. But in this case, it would appear that the shooter was a prohibited person, having been convicted by Court Martial for beating his wife and discharged from the military for bad conduct. Does the military report domestic violence convictions under UCMJ to NICS? I mean, they’ve bulk reported soldiers who had a fiduciary guardian for years, regardless of whether or not there was any finding of dangerousness. You’d think reporting wife beaters would be on that list too, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t report.

Death toll was high because the church only had one egress, and all the shooter had to do was control it. I’ve read he was decked out in body armor, but those reports almost always turn out to be bullshit. The shooter used an Ruger AR-15. He was confronted by an armed citizen unfortunately only after he had done the deed, seems like he may have been struck. Shooter fled in his vehicle. Armed citizen got himself a posse together and chased the after shooter like the dog he is. Shooter ended up ditching the car perhaps due to blood less.

Lessons:

  • Churches are juicy targets for whack jobs. Carry in church. Don’t buy this God’s sanctuary of peace shit. Carry in church. Get your friends to carry in church too.
  • Have a plan to deal with an armored opponent. A rifle is a very good plan to deal with an armored opponent, but it’s not practical to have one on you, and you never know when you might come across a whack job who bothered to actually put a plate in. So practice, practice, practice with your pistol. Learning to shoot at a moving target is eye opening.
  • Don’t mess with rural Texans. They will hunt you down like a dog and end you.

 

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.

What Options Does ATF Have?

As I updated yesterday, I think NRA’s move with ATF is meant to buy time. Time is our strongest ally in a situation like this, because you need people to stop thinking with raw emotion and start being more reasonable. All the strategic documents I’ve ever read coming out of the gun control movement (I wish I could find them now) call for immediate action in the wake of a tragedy. Reason being, and they have admitted this, is that they need people in an emotional state to get traction with their ideas. They do not have millions of people who care about this issue deeply. They have people who transiently care. They know time is their enemy.

So what are ATF’s options? They can take the bait and reclassify, which would be an admission they were wrong in the first place. That will attract blame for Las Vegas to ATF and the Obama Administration. That wasn’t put in there just because NRA wanted to tweak Obama (though I will admit it a nice side effect). It’s daring ATF to reclassify. If ATF does reclassify, every bump fire stock out there will become an unregistered machine gun. All of them will have to be tracked down and confiscated. Remember that there’s no new registrations, so you won’t be able to just register it, pay your NFA tax, and be good. If there were only a few thousand of these things out there Monday, there will be tens of thousands of them out there by the end of the week. I can promise you ATF does not want to have to chase after all these things, and then be left explaining how a misclassification resulted in tens of thousands of unregistered machine guns being sold to people with their blessing.

So at the end, ATF is likely to come back and affirm their original ruling, and telling Congress if they want reclassification, the ball is in their court and not ATFs. But this will take some time, and that time will help in getting us a favorable deal. We’ll do much better to negotiate after the news cycle has moved on. Our people are now paying attention, and it’s becoming clear that having the GOP in charge of Congress and the White House is not an immunization against future gun control.

It’s a good idea to write your critters. They do need to hear from us. And that message should be to pass SHARE and National Reciprocity, and not to vote for any future gun control. Despite news stories, NRA does not derive it’s power at the negotiating table because it donates big to politicians. It derives it from all of you calling and bitching to your lawmakers.

This Just Gets Weirder

Does the FBI think this isn’t just a lone whack job? Nothing would surprise me anymore. I hope they clarify all these statements soon, because the conspiracy nuts are going to have a field day with all this stuff if the FBI comes out and says “Yeah, it was just a sad, depressed man who wanted to go out in a blaze of infamy.”

Victims at the Four Seasons

Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer has an attention-grabbing headline: “For Bucks couple in Vegas, a horrifying view of the carnage.” With a headline like that, you click on it thinking that maybe they were in the midst of the crowd and saw things you can never forget.

And, let me tell you, I don’t think they will ever forget the horrifying view of an empty littered lot 35 stories below their posh Four Seasons room the morning after the shooting. The art deco-inspired wall papers and giant shiny silver mirrors to reflect the lights coming in from their floor-to-ceiling windows looking down on the Strip will remain forever in their minds against the backdrop of the litter below them.

The article says they heard some shots which the couple assumed to be fireworks with the concert they could just hear below them. But the article deliberately uses phrases that just acknowledge they saw the curtains blowing out of the neighboring hotel room the following morning and litter the next morning after there had been bodies previously. It doesn’t actually say they saw “carnage.”

The Inquirer does want us to know that the couple resting in their super comfortable Four Seasons bed has no intention of letting the gunman get in the way of their high end bridal conference business and that they will, in fact, be strong enough to stay the entire 4 additional nights they were planning to stay! #LasVegasStrong

When this couple reached out to the largest newspaper in their home region to tell their harrowing story, they made sure to pose for a photo in their posh hotel dressed in their most stylish clothes looking appropriately concerned for the little people below. Without it, I’m not sure we could have believed that they had survived such a tragic crime that happened to a group of completely unrelated people 1,600 feet down the Vegas Strip.

Sounds Like a Crank

The first shots I saw in a video were about 10 seconds of very regular fire… something that you’d expect from an honest-to-God machine gun. But people have reported that some video sounded like a crank fire mechanism to them, like you’d find on a gatling gun. I have to say, I agree after seeing this video:

This guy must have done extensive planning for this to have this much hardware staged and ready to go. But what’s his beef?

UPDATE: Here we go. I’m not aware of a cranked firearm ever being used in a crime before, but that’s not going to stop attempts to reclassify them. Is it possible the shooter used a bump stock as the article mentioned? Sure. But it strikes me as rank speculation. Not that I’m not doing a lot of that here, but I’ll admit it’s rank speculation. The media won’t.

More Useful Than a Gun?

It occurred to me this morning that a drone or two with a tear gas grenade might have been able to change the situation in Vegas faster than a SWAT team ultimately did. Fly one or two through the shot out windows, and at least it might stun and delay the shooter long enough to save lives and give the police better odds on entry. Might also make the dirt bag off himself ahead of schedule.

Too late now, but maybe something police should consider for future high-profile, target rich venues. Drones are cheap and relatively easy to fly these days. My club now has a cadre of drone pilots who spend the weekends using our ample open space to practice.

Police departments wouldn’t have too much trouble training officers on drones. Keep a few on standby and ready to go, or actively in the air. I would have issues with drones being armed with lethal force, but I’m OK with less-than-lethal force like tear gas or a flash bang. The problem with something like this is that it just gave a new template to the next whack job looking to go out with his name becoming a household word, and people hanging on learning every detail of his life.

Well, That Didn’t Take Long

Via Ace of Spades, a CBS legal exec:

“If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing,” Geftman-Gold wrote on Facebook. “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country fans often are Republican gun toters.”

Yeah, and we’re the horrible people, right?

Despite Bitter’s brother narrowly escaping, this won’t change our opinions on firearms. I can’t speak for Bitter, but to me this is plane crash and lightning territory. It’s a rare event, and not something that necessarily calls for “something” that “must be done.” The only way you can stop someone with a clean record who is very motivated to get a firearm from getting one is to make them flat out illegal, and even if you did that, it still won’t stop people who are determined. Gun control is and always will be a fool’s errand. It’s an easy answer for people who want there to be easy answers.

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