Indefensible? Not Necessarily…

I’ve not seen the new Batman movie yet, and have to admit I’m in no big rush anymore. Even my boys aren’t in as big of a yank as they used to be, though being young boys, they’re certain to feel differently soon enough. Doesn’t make sense if you really think about it anyway – I’d say the chance of a similar event happening anytime soon is approaching zero.

Nevertheless, here are some tips on how to protect yourself from an Aurora-type mass shooting attack, from former SEAL Brandon Webb.

I’m certainly not prepared to debate this man’s advice despite my previous statement, namely that “the best defense against a gun is another gun.” Continue reading “Indefensible? Not Necessarily…”

Not Again

So now you can’t even go to the movies without fear of some psychopath shooting up the place. I can’t begin to imagine the horror, or what the families are going through right now. One of the victims was a six-year-old.

Regardless of the wisdom of taking a young kid to a midnight movie, many wise fathers have told their sons, “nothing good happens after midnight”. There is so much to grieve and/or get pissed off over that it’s hard to know where to start. So let’s just start ticking ’em off as they bubble up through the old frontal lobes…

Like too many businesses, the theater had a strict “no weapons” policy. Which, in this case, worked out entirely as expected assuming one tries to understand the criminal mind. To wit: if someone enters a public place with the intent of doing mass murder, do you really think a sissy little “no weapons” sign is going to stop him? If this doesn’t illustrate the absurdity of such thinking, I don’t know what will.

But then again, who am I kidding? The usual hand-wringing pantywaists are already jumping on the gun control bandwagon. I’m looking at you, Piers Morgan. Please explain how the UK’s draconian anti-gun laws have demonstrably affected violent crime in your home country. Hint: it hasn’t been for the better. Unless you’re a bad guy, that is.

When or how does this “dangerous spiral” stop? When we get over our collective cultural fear of self-defense, that’s when.

Last year I did a couple months’ worth of Krav Maga training, which is an Israeli army martial-art form that looks an awful lot like MMA. Some of the things we learned were how to fight your way out of a flash mob, and how to disable an armed assailant. Neither are situations I’d want to find myself in.

But you know what that showed me? That the best defense against a gun is another gun. It’s an ugly fact, but so is mass murder.

Lest you think I’m just another knuckle-dragging 2nd Amendment nut, here’s an illustration of that principle in action from earlier this week. And while clearly justified, it’s also a cautionary tale of the responsibility gun carriers have to be alert and to control their adrenaline in any way possible.

Finally, we can always count on the one-party media to fall all over themselves as they attempt to link another mass shooting to the Tea Party. Because, you know, there can’t be that many people named “James Holmes” living in the Denver area – right?

Whoops. Looks like they pulled another Loughner boner. Sarah Palin, call your office…

So I guess we are to believe the vaunted ABC News operation was tripped up by “social media”? More like they threw away any sense of restraint in favor of taking the opportunity to smear conservatives. Again. It’s like they’re just waiting for the chance or something. What’s even worse is knowing that’s how they really look at us; that it’s inconceivable anyone could fundamentally disagree with their worldview and not be crazy.

What’s crazy is when they keep doing the same thing while expecting a different result. That kind of sloppy, agenda-driven “reporting” has blown up in their faces every single time – so why they expected this to go any better is beyond me.

Which brings us to the not-yet-final punchline to this horrible event: the suspect may even be a registered Democrat.

Not that it matters, no more so than the Occupiers who tried to blow up that bridge in Cleveland. Right?

But I’m just a blogger. Don’t take my word for it.

The Zombie Apocalypse: Coming To Your Neighborhood!

A Reuters story on preparing for societal collapse has been getting a lot of blog attention this weekend. The piece is mostly even-handed, considering the source. I guess the survivalist image has come a long way from that of gun-totin’ hilljacks squirreled away in their mountain cabins. The new term is “prepper”, thank you very much. And I must admit to being of the same mind, if not in practice.

I think what’s driving this is a looming realization of the fragility of our civilization, and the sense that it wouldn’t take much to bring it all crashing down. It’s been said to be a thin veneer easily stripped away, and that rings true.

So what’s driving otherwise normal people to think like this? Believe me, there are a lot more of them (us?) than you might think. Anyone who has paid attention to current events for the past decade probably doesn’t keep it buried too far in the backs of their minds. It doesn’t require a belief in any kind of end-times eschatology or the Mayan calendar, though I suppose that helps. All it takes is awareness and the ability to draw likely conclusions. And the past ten years have illustrated just how tenuous our hold on civilization can be. Consider:

9/11. I know it’s been done to death, but calling it our generation’s Pearl Harbor is no exaggeration. Thousands of our fellow citizens died through the simple act of getting up and going to work in mostly average jobs. Does anyone recall the general freak-out that ensued afterwards? I remember driving home from work and seeing cars lined up at gas pumps like it was 1978 again, some stations closed while others were forced to jack up their prices to $5.00 a gallon or more. Yes, I said forced. A friend of mine ran a gas station at the time and that was the only way he could keep from getting bled dry by panicked buyers. The only alternative would’ve been actual rationing. And for exercising sound supply/demand judgment, these business owners were hauled into court by our state’s AG.

Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans in particular. Remember the chaos of that little episode? We all know the Bushies took a lot of blame for not making everything hunky-dory within the first 72 hours, but what exactly were they supposed to do in the face of such a total calamity? Pre-position all those logistics close enough to make a difference, and guess what would’ve happened…yep, it would’ve all been swamped and of absolutely no use to anyone. Sometimes natural disasters just happen, and it may be beyond the reach of our government to come save us before things get really nasty. In the end, we’re all responsible for our own lives. Deal with it. Because when seconds count, the cops are only minutes away.

Which reminds me of how poorly NOLA handled things in the first place. Confiscated firearms, cops shooting people and covering it up, plus the gratuitous looting and general mayhem. All that on top of a city flooded by brackish water choked with debris, gators, venomous snakes, and corpses. What a friggin’ Walking Dead style nightmare that must have been.

2008. The clincher for most of us. I have no idea how close we really came to a complete financial meltdown, but it hasn’t left my memory. There was a lot of BS being spread around back then, between the election and Hank Paulson’s burning need to bail out his buddies. But all that crap about “we must do this in the next 3 days or the world economy will collapse” was, well, crap, precisely because it took Congress 2 more weeks to pass TARP. Which was promptly re-purposed in ways that we’re still figuring out. But obviously some really bad $#!+ was going on because we really haven’t bounced back from it. The housing market certainly hasn’t, and probably won’t for years to come. Even if it’s already hit bottom, most of us will need 5 to 7 years to recoup lost equity. But that’s not really the worst of it.

What’s worse is that we’ve done nothing to fix the underlying problems that nearly froze our financial system, and in fact have done much that will probably ensure something even worse. I really don’t care what your politics are, the truth will eventually win out. Facts is facts. I’ve said before, you can’t ignore the laws of economics any more than physics. The consequences just take longer to reveal themselves.

The one aspect of the ’08 meltdown that has stuck with me was the danger of a total credit freeze-up. And I suspect it’s the same reason a lot of people identify with the “preppers”.  Namely, if you have any understanding of retail business and supply chains, you know what a mortal danger sudden loss of credit can be. I’ve been in air transportation my entire adult life and therefore understand supply chains pretty well. “Just in time” logistics are how a lot of retail businesses (read groceries and pharmacies) keep the shelves stocked. There’s not a lot of elasticity built into that system, because we just count on everything working.

But what I didn’t understand until ’08 was the financial side of the equation. Not until I spent a couple of hours sitting next to a local industrialist as we were both flying home from business trips. In the middle of the financial crisis, he gave me a crash course in how companies use revolving credit. Namely, most of the stores we’re all used to relying on for life’s necessities stock their shelves using short-term rollover loans. And there was a real danger of that completely freezing up. Your average grocery store has maybe two day’s worth of inventory in stock. What happens if they have no money to buy this weekend’s inventory? Look no further than your local supermarket the night before a major weather event. Even here in Ohio, where it’s kind of expected, the prospect of a mild winter storm will have people mobbing the stores.

So what happens if there’s a run on Kroger because of economic disruption, and they no longer have access to their revolving credit to rebuild inventory? Now multiply that thousands of times over, in communities across the country. Not a pretty thought.

Another character-building aspect of being in aviation is that I know what job disruption feels like. Layoffs happen. A lot. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt three times over. But 2008 was the first time in my life that I had ever actually thought about what a luxury we have in just putting food on the table. Because I finally understood how little room for error there is in the system we all rely on for essential nutrition and medicine.

The icing on the cake is that during the intervening years, the entire world’s debt load has exploded. One office of our government is essentially buying up the IOUs issued by another office of government. When has that ever turned out well? And given the general decline in our society’s civility and self-control, I don’t expect most people to handle any major disruptions well at all.

So what? What can an average person do?

More than he thinks, I imagine. Even if the economy weren’t an ongoing concern, it’s always a good idea to keep plenty of non-perishable food around. You never know when there could be a disruption, especially if you live in an area prone to major natural events (Midwestern winters, Southern hurricanes, Western earthquakes). My family doesn’t have a basement full of supplies but we do generally keep a week’s worth of groceries around, just because life gets busy. If we got hit by a blizzard or other disruption, we’d be all right.

What else? Batteries, candles, radios, a full can of gas always makes sense. What if things really go down the drain? A generator, if you can afford it. “Go-bags”, backpacks filled with the bare essentials that you’d want to have on hand if it were necessary to get out of town for a few days on short notice.

Firearms, with a realistic stash of ammo. A standard-issue GI ammo can full of 9mm, 20ga., and .22lr makes me happy. Like it or not, we live in a country where we recognize your God-given right to defend yourself and your family. In modern times, that means something preferably of the large-caliber variety. Providing for your family can be accomplished with the small-caliber variety, but let’s face it: if things really get that bad, everybody else is going to have the same idea in which case those gun-totin’ hilljacks up in the mountains will have the definite advantage.

Chances are you’ll never have to worry about any of that stuff. Better to have and never need, than to need and not have. Everyone has to get to their own comfort level, but I suppose the bottom line in all this is what they taught me way back in the Boy Scouts: Be Prepared.

Just in Time for Deer Season

What every young man needs: a rifle that fires tactical nuclear warheads.

Hat tip: Field & Stream’s Gun Nuts.

Yet another product from our government’s golden age of ingenuity. Or something. In the meantime, I’m still craving this decidedly less elaborate firearm:

And as the tag line says, I can probably have only one…

Guns Don’t Kill People…

BB guns do. Unimaginably tragic.

If you’re considering BB guns for your kids, keep in mind that some of the models you’re likely to find at Wally World are capable of muzzle velocities that are close to a .22 long. They’re easy to find: they’re the really cool rifles your kids are likely to want the most.

Hat tip: The Truth About Guns, a great site for firearms fans who don’t care for the NRA’s Koolaid.