Tag Archives: guns

What Happened in Vegas Does Not Stay in Vegas

Well, here we are yet again.   Staring down the harsh reality of yet another madman killing many people for no reason.  The videos I have seen, show it was in fact a massacre.

And, yet again, the media and the majority have shifted focus away from the madman himself, and put the responsibility of the event on the weapon – and the millions of Americans that own the same exact rifle.  Myself included.

Even on NPR this morning, people were barking the familiar rhetoric of gun control, and passing “tougher” laws to prevent these shootings from happening.

Want the reality?  You will never be able to pass ANY law that will prohibit these events.  They will continue to happen.  There are two primary reasons for this.

Violence is deeply seeded in our Culture.

I have said it before, and I will say it again and again.  The number of guns in our country has nothing to do with our violent culture.  Just like the number of calories in a pint of ice cream has nothing to do with chronic obesity. The issue is much larger than that.  We are a culture that is ENTERTAINED by violence.

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It’s ok to snipe people from an elevated position, as long as it is fake and for entertainment.

We line up on opening night for the latest Jason Bourne spy movie full of guns, death, shooting, and sniping.  We say “that was a really good movie.”  We watch Rambo shoot up small towns, and Django go unchained and shoot people in the heart.  We binge watch Law and Order, NCIS, and countless other murder/crime shows. We align positivity with killing.  The same thing happens, perhaps even more pervasively with video games.  They actually let you get into the mind of a sniper…sneaking around an urban city (airports even) blasting people, sending blood flying.  And, most kids are playing these games on a loop for weekends at a time.

Again, we are ENTERTAINED by this.  It’s how we pass our time.

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In Call of Duty, Modern Warfare II, you too can shoot up travelers waiting in security at an International Airport.  How fun!

These activities – violent movies, video games, and music – saturate our minds and desensitize us to violence.  It becomes “just” a movie.  “Just” a game.  I’ll just re-spawn.  No big deal.

On the back end of a tragedy?  We get the media sensationalism.  The 24-hour saturation coverage with every little detail.  Every video, every interview.  The news becomes entertainment. We learn to put these people on a pedestal.  People who are in a marginal mental state might see this as a chance for them to exact revenge.  To go out with a bang.  They, too can literally change the course of a nation with 5 minutes of insanity.

But the media will never stop.  These tragedies translate into millions of eyeballs, glued to their screens.  And, those eyeballs mean big advertising dollars.  Just watch these ads, and we’ll return to coverage of the latest tragedy.

Even the earliest DNA our culture and society is built upon, has a foundation of violence.  We killed millions of Native Americans. Millions of animals.  Bison were sniped from trains for fun.  The Wild, Wild West was called that for a reason.  People shot each other in the streets.  How about the Civil War?  Piles of Americans killed by Americans.

Thinking we can reverse hundreds of years of deeply seeded cultural violence by limiting magazine capacities, or types of rifles is, sadly, laughable.

The weapons this shooter used were all legally obtained.

The person that bought these rifles, had no criminal history. Not even a speeding ticket.  No mental health flags.  So the belief that “expanded background checks” would have made a hint of difference here is totally false.

The rifles themselves were legal.  They were legally obtained, and all legal.  Current reports indicate at least one semi-automatic rifle was equipped with a bump-fire stock which allows for “simulated” automatic fire.  These devices are all legal and are available online for about a hundred bucks.  You can also just buy a book on Amazon right now, that will show you how to (illegally) convert your AR-15 to automatic fire.

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It is currently INCREDIBLY illegal to possess ANY weapon that is capable of automatic fire, unless you have the appropriate approvals to do so.  We need to make that clear.  Under the National Firearms Act you must be fingerprinted, pay an additional tax and fees, wait about a year, and be approved by the government.  And that is the easy part.  It is also illegal to import any automatic weapons, and domestic manufacturers are limited to law enforcement and military.  So that means a very limited supply of guns, and a very high price tag.  Most full-autos I have seen retail for between $25,000-$40,000.  Sounds like appropriate gun control already in place.

Using a semi-automatic weapon to murder people is just as illegal as using a semi.  Or a knife.

So How do we prevent these shootings from happening?

Since there are millions and millions of high-capacity magazines in circulation, limiting them will do nothing.  We cannot count on a person intent on murdering mass amounts of people to suddenly obey a law like that.  We also cannot look at rifle actions, pistol grip styles, or any of the myriad red herring arguments out there.  They provide feel good, knee-jerk legislation that makes lazy lawmakers look heroic. Yet those actions do nothing.

So we must pivot our action plan from one of prevention to preparation.

  1. Cities need to design smarter venues. Places like the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the Route 91 music festival were not designed to accommodate the potential for a massacre.  Venues need to be prepared with tactical medical kits, with an emphasis on GSW readiness – clotting materials and tourniquets.
  2. Cities should also invest in Boomerang technologies.  These devices will instantly pinpoint the location of a shooter and appropriate countermeasures can be implemented.  It took LVPD 17 minutes to identify where the shots were coming from.  These devices can also help with other crimes, not just infrequent mass shootings.
  3. People should also be prepared with even basic first aid.  We need a national push for people to learn first aid, and how to care for gun shot wounds, vehicle impacts, and stabbings.
  4. This one is a big one:

We need to start making foundational changes in our media.  For starters, implement an updated movie and video game rating system that allows the identification of violence-only content.  I could care less if my kid sees a female breast in a movie.  But don’t want him seeing a head get shot off.  Empower parents through a nationwide awareness campaign of the effects on children and violence.  Do a better job of protecting kids from the desensitization.

This also applies to schools.  Stop the fear mongering lockdown love.  It seems like schools are just itching for the lockdown.  Just last week a man with a warrant was pulled over in a town out here, and the local school (2 miles away) was locked down.  Gross overreaction meets desensitization and needless fear among our kids in their formative years.

And lastly, the news media needs to be reformed when it comes to reporting these incidents.  We really do not need the saturation coverage and associated glorification of these people.  I know division is both a product and a revenue generator for the media conglomerates, but a tragedy like this is not the time.  Report on the facts, briefly, and move on.

Why Won’t Any of these things Get Done?

In America’s healthy capitalism the dollar dictates all.  We may think we are willing to make the changes we all want, but once the familiar pang of tragedy wanes, we will forget and move on with our lives.

The news will never change.  The entertainment industry will not modify its rating systems.  Parents, overworked and under-equipped will not keep their kids from playing video games in the basement.  And, gun owners like myself will not give up our rights to own the guns we are allowed to own.

So I suggest we start preparing for how to deal with these events when they do occur.  We’ll continue to post how #strong a city is on Facebook, send some thoughts and prayers, and maybe change a profile picture or two.

It’s the American way.

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Featured image courtesy CNN.

Is Ideology the new Case for Concealed Carry?

As many of my readers know, I am a strange blend of liberalist, centrist, and conservative.  While I voraciously support equality – marriage equality for one, I also advocate strongly for second amendment rights and smaller government.

I also believe unequivocally – that without our second amendment, we cannot protect the others.  That single right – to keep and bear arms – allows us, the citizenry, a poker chip against a future government that steps too far.  It was baked into our rights from a group of founders, that had just recently witnessed an armed citizenry resist an oppressive government – and succeed. It is core to our nation.

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That all boils down to the fact I am a staunch believer in concealed (and even open) carry.

And yet, as I read another story of extremists plowing into, and stabbing innocent citizens, I cannot help but feel that the justification for a legally armed public is louder now than perhaps ever.

Concealed carry used to be based on individual protection.  Individual safety.  Someone is breaking into my home – or attempting to carjack me and my family.

But now, it seems that the radicals amidst us also call for an immediate need to protect not just us individually, but also the society we have built and hold dear.

Now before my more liberal friends start yelling, and complaining that “more guns don’t mean more safety,” I want you to think about one thing.  When you call the police, all you are doing is asking someone with a gun to show up and save you.  That is all.

You are requesting a gunman to come handle a situation and bring their gun.

When you realize the average police response time is 10 minutes, the issue becomes clearer.  Ten minutes is an ETERNITY when someone is stabbing people on the sidewalk , on the MAX, or at the Louvre.  Or a night club.  Or a movie theater.  Ad nauseum.

The issue is no longer about protecting just yourself.  It is now about protecting the members of society around you. Protecting our ultimate investment – society.

Last week in Portland, there was a racially-inspired stabbing attack that killed 2 men and injured a third.  They were standing up for a couple of women on the train, as a man was verbally bullying them.

I often ask myself why there was not a single concealed carrier aboard that MAX train.  I also think about how the outcome could have been radically different.  Chances are we would have one injured victim, and one dead criminal.  If concealed carry lacked the social stigmas perpetuated in the media and especially in liberal cities like Portland, we might have had a much different outcome on that train.

An armed public also has a strong side effect.  When open and concealed carry is more accepted (and not demonized), criminals are never sure who is armed and who is not.  That single fact has a lot of weight in how and where attacks happen.  Most shooting events occur in gun free zones.  Don’t think that is not by accident.  Criminals want to limit the chances of any armed resistance.

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, from the 1950’s through July 10th of 2016, 98.4 percent of mass shootings have occurred on gun-free zones, with just 1.6 percent occurring where citizens are allowed to have firearms with them.

Let that sink in.

It is probably also part of why we are seeing these terror attacks happening in cities where public gun ownership is very restricted or even outright illegal.  In the London terror attack yesterday, a police officer had to go after one of the terrorists with a baton – even they are unable to defend society.  Pure insanity.

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I wish we lived in a harmonious World where weapons were not needed on a daily basis.  However that is simply not reality.  As we see more and more liberal groups, minority groups, and others arming up one thing is clear – people do not feel safe.  They do not trust their baton-wielding governments to protect them.

I encourage all my friends to consider getting a concealed carry permit and actually becoming part of the solution.  Standing up for a crumbling reality and actively preventing more of the same when it comes to these terror events.

 

The Case for Open Veganism

I remember when I lived in Alaska and was a meat eater.  The whole concept of “veganism” was an odd one – a stereotype of skinny, pasty, punk kids sitting in a drum circle eating lettuce and gravel.  They were angry at the world,and irrational. I never took the time to meet or understand vegans, so my irrational vice held.  That is of course, until I gave away all the meat and fish in my freezer and became an Alaskan vegan myself.

I soon realized the error of my ways.

Continue reading The Case for Open Veganism

My Manifesto on Gun Control

Like a broken record, it has happened again.  And, like a broken record, legal gun owners must mix defensiveness with their mourning for the victims.  And, I am pretty sure it will happen again.

Perhaps the one potentially positive outcome from these shootings, is that the national consciousness comes together for a discussion about guns and gun ownership.  That debate is often heated, and polarized with little needle movement from either camp.

In my opinion however, we do need to look at current and future gun policy with an eye to both rights preservation and compromise.

I submitted my thoughts to Vice President Joe Biden’s “Gun Control Committee” in the wake of the shooting in Newtown and was thankful to hear from his staff that my comments were included.  Most of that stance remains unchanged.

Continue reading My Manifesto on Gun Control

The US Doesn’t Need New Gun Policy

NOTE: In a recent poll where I asked my readers what type of content they would like to see on this blog, a handful asked for more personal opinion pieces.  This is my first in this series.

Sometimes I like Bill Maher.  Emphasis on sometimes.  He tends to have anger at a time when I need some sort of angry consolation prize.  But on a recent show, he and his guests were discussing how America needs to completely redo gun policy and implement tough new controls.  But Bill Maher has never really been a fan of gun rights.

It made me realize how far off the liberal, anti-gun agenda is (and I consider myself pretty liberal so this is not a jab).

Continue reading The US Doesn’t Need New Gun Policy

Finding a vegan concealed carry holster **UPDATE!**

UPDATED!  I have purchased another vegan holster, from Bladetech and included it at the end.

I’ll save the whole “Wait…you’re a vegan and you have guns!?” discussion for another day.  Yes, yes I own guns and enjoy self-defense and target shooting.  Moving on.

One of the hardest things to find for me, is a vegan concealed carry holster.  Most brands, made by companies like Galco and others are made mostly with leather and polymer.

BLACKHAWK

Fortunately, when I recently purchased my Springfield XDS .45, the store had an ample supply of vegan holsters made by Blackhawk.

My Springfield Armory XDS chambered in .45 in the Blackhawk size 5 holster.

It is important to note that these holsters are not marketed (for obvious reasons) as a vegan holster.  They are basically an inexpensive option for people that can’t afford (financially or morally, I guess) the leather versions.

I’ll take it!  This puppy was $12.00 and works like a charm.  It’s like the Payless shoes for vegan gun owners (vegans will get the joke)!

The holster material is already forming to the shape of the pistol in only 2 days.

The nice part about their website is that they also organize the holsters by material.  So you can quickly identify which are vegan and which are not.  The nylon options are here.

My only complaint is the tapered section (as you see in the image) leaves the grooves on the rear of the slide exposed.  When seated, this presses those metal grooves into your back which is not the most comfortable.  Eventually this may affect the gun’s finish, but we’ll see.

For a $12.00, non-leather holster you cannot go wrong with this option!

BLADETECH

In December, 2015 I was strolling the aisles of my local cabelas, and looked at the plastic CCW holsters they offered.  I found this option for the XDS, priced at $23.

Unlike the Blackhawk above, I wanted something that offered more positive locking of the pistol.  The holster from Bladetech was inexpensive, solid plastic, and has a positive “click” when the gun is fully seated.

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The Bladetech offering.

The belt clip also has a much better “barb” that provides more secure carry in the belt.

I have not spent a ton of time with the holster, but the past few days I feel it is comfortable and easy to carry.

UPDATE #2!  12/18/2016

I added a beautiful Sig Sauer P320 to my arsenal and added a Streamlight TLR-1s tactical light to it.  This is a full frame pistol, so I gave up on CC.

I added a kydex Multicam holster for it, which accommodates the light.  Holster is from TR Holsters.  It’s an OWB configuration and so far, so good.

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