Friday, January 4, 2013

Last year's work

Now that I am done with last year's work, it's time to think about those resolutions!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christie blasts Boehner

A vote on Hurricane Sandy funds was supposed to take place sometime in the middle of the night recently, but Boehner pulled it because it was also packed with pork for lots of stuff other than Sandy relief. Congressmen went crazy, not least of all GOP leaders:
After taking a public shaming from Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, relented today to hold a vote this Friday for one of two aid packages aimed at providing relief for states hit by superstorm Sandy. Shortly before Boehner announced his reversal, Christie joined a chorus of Republican and Democratic lawmakers decrying House GOP leadership for stalling on a $60.4 billion Sandy recovery package. "There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: The House majority and their speaker John Boehner," Christie told reporters in a press conference today. "Last night, my party was responsible for this."
I am sure I am just blocking this, but can someone please point out at least one example where Democrats so publicly attack each other?

Being held to a higher standard is apparently not a prerequisite for election. Thanks to the media, voters only remember disarray, not the rationale for the disagreement. Get it together people!

Looking for a 9mm?

8 Great 9mm Pocket Pistols for Personal Defense:

If a compact 9mm is on your radar for yourself or anyone you know, there is only one way to decide which one (if any) is the right choice. Handle it. Shoot it if possible. Until you do, you (or your friend or loved one) will be buying a pig in a poke.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Was Hillary injured in a plane crash in Iran?

Whoa. This is a weird story:

A new Foreign Military Intelligence (GRUreport circulating in the Kremlin today is saying that United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was injured, and a topUS Navy Seal Commander killed when their C-12 Huron military passenger and transport aircraft crash landed nearly 3 weeks ago in the Iranian city of Ahvaz near the Iraqi border.
Iranian intelligence agents quoted in this GRU report confirm that the C-12 Huron aircraft is still in their possession in Ahvaz, but will only admit that the plane was “forced to land because of technical problems”.
The US Navy Seal member reported killed in this bizarre incident, this report says, was indentified as Commander Job W. Price who as a leader of this highly specialized American Special Forces unit protects high-ranking diplomats traveling in Middle Eastern and Asian combat zones.
Curiously, US media reports on Commander Price’s death say it being investigated as a possible suicide as he died from what the American Defense Department describes as “a non-combat related injury"....

"Missing Breitbart"

PJ Media's Tom Blumer writes:
Thanks to O’Keefe’s work and Breitbart’s strategy, ACORN went from being one of the most untouchable leftist front groups in the country to a defunded pariah in Washington forced to suspend its operations in less than ten days. A few months later, it was out of business as a national organization. At the same time, Breitbart and O’Keefe completely exposed the knee-jerk leftist instincts of the establishment press. I’m not naive enough to believe that ACORN’s demise meant the end of the left’s efforts to rig voting, but it slowed them down considerably. A full-blown entrenched ACORN juggernaut in 2012 would have made it difficult for even the second coming of Ronald Reagan to compete....
What Breitbart understood, and what all too many establishment Republicans and even conservatives don’t, is that there is no accommodating the left, and there is no hope of receiving fair treatment from the left-dominated establishment press. The left is hellbent on fundamentally transforming the country into a socialist utopia which has never succeeded anywhere it has been tried, and the press is determined to help them do that. Folks, no matter what you do, they’re going to hate you (and hate is the right word). So you might as well do the right thing and follow your beliefs and principles (John “Plan B” Boehner, please note).
Breitbart and I attended Tulane during the same time. I regret that I never had the chance to know him.

Happy New Year!

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. - Benjamin Franklin

Monday, December 31, 2012

Very Auspicious

The elusive white squirrel of Yonges Island, South Carolina, crossed my path this New Year's Eve, then stopped to let me capture his picture with the iPhone camera. I would say, a very auspicious sign for the future.

A New Year's Eve Toast

Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.
~William Shakespeare

Being armed means being responsible

Ta-Nehisi Coates, of The Atlantic, writes:
It is not enough to have a gun, anymore than it's enough to have a baby. It's a responsibility. I would have to orient myself to that fact. I'd have to be trained and I would have to, with some regularity, keep up my shooting skills. I would have to think about the weight I carried on my hip and think about how people might respond to me should they happen to notice. I would have to think about the cops and how I would interact with them, should we come into contact. I'd have to think about my own anger issues and remember that I can never be an position where I have a rage black-out. What I am saying is, if I were gun-owner, I would feel it to be really important that I be a responsible gun-owner, just like, when our kids were born, we both felt the need to be responsible parents. The difference is I like "living" as a parent. I accept the responsibility and rewards of parenting. I don't really want the responsibilities and rewards of gun-ownership.
I think it would be wise for Second Amendment defenders to remember this attitude. Not everyone wants to carry a weapon, and they should not be pressured to do so. Those who want to own firearms should also not be pressured not to have them. Ideally, every gun owner should take this responsibility as seriously as Mr. Coates. I think that it is the fear of people like Mr. Coates that gun owners do not take it as seriously as he does. Gun owners should remain the calm and balanced voice in the debate in order to help show the skeptics they have nothing to worry about. One way to do this is not to assume that everyone should want to carry a weapon.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

a response to comments on Taking Away the Element of Surprise

Recently the American Thinker published my essay Taking Away the Element of Surprise (also seen in a December 26 post below) which advocated encouraging unarmed volunteers to provide ad hoc patrols in their children’s schools. To say the suggestion was negatively received would be an understatement. I would like to respond to some of the comments.

The essay laid out two necessary elements to a successful school shooting. First, the attacker must have a weapon – in this case, a gun is the weapon on all of our minds. Second, in order to carry out an attack, the shooter must employ some element of surprise. Shooters therefore pick unsuspecting targets – in this case, a school is the location. You may not agree that an attack requires these two elements – that would be a fair response, but many commenters ignored the point of the essay, which was to specifically focus on reducing the element of surprise.

The essay began by advocating that communities consider arming school personnel as one response to the problem, but also acknowledged that implementing this will necessarily take time and money, and it will not come without major controversy. In response to Newtown, restrictive gun control legislation is already in the making, and some “Republican” leaders only provide ammunition to gun control advocates. For instance, Chris Christie said “armed guards are not conducive to a positive learning environment.” Incoming GOP Congressman Chris Stewart of Utah reiterated some of the same points, calling arming teachers a “bad idea.” Some schools already provide this protection – Sidwell Friends is attended by children of elite political and media figures, and some community leaders are taking action on their own – Sheriff Arpaio is set to send out his armed volunteer force to protect the schools of Maricopa County in Arizona. But for most communities, the obstacles that must be overcome in an effort to arm our school personnel are real and substantial. In the meantime, children remain less protected while we argue about only one possible response.

The volunteer patrol is a complement to all other security measures. It is not intended to be a substitute for any other safety plan a community wishes to put in place, which leads to the next point – it absolutely is a local solution. It is not intended to be a nationalized mandate, which should be rejected by any respectable states’ rights advocate. This is an action that encourages communities to work together without government intervention – this is the essence of conservatism, and according to Thomas Jefferson, would be a model for communities to embrace: “That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.”

The volunteer patrol merely transplants the idea of a duty officer to the school setting. A duty officer is responsible for making rounds and keeping out a watchful eye – he is not expected to perform any other major tasks while on duty. Recently, a former Marine took this idea to heart when he stood watch at his children’s school in Nashville. The volunteer patrol captures the spirit of that Marine parent, and of every other parent who wants to do something constructive to help ensure the safety of their children. It’s true, parents already do an incredible amount to support their children’s schools, but this volunteer duty might be something even more willingly assumed than chairing the next fundraiser. Additionally, volunteering at school frequently involves duties that moms are more comfortable with, but the patrol provides more opportunities for dads to get involved.

Teachers are in the business of education, and they do that best when they are fully engaged with their students. If they are doing their educator job well, they will not be able to watch for attackers stalking their halls. They may have their gun ready, but the effective use of it will be diminished if they also do not have some warning that they will need to use it. With adequate warning time, even those who do not have a gun will have more of a chance to avoid being a sitting duck.

To make abundantly clear that warning time is important, we need only look at the latest shooting in Newtown. Teachers were only alerted that an attacker was on the premises when he had already shot out the window and successfully entered the school. When teachers ran to see what the noise was, they only had time to yell, “Shooter! Stay put!” before they were fatally shot. Had they had as little as a few seconds notice that a person with an AR-15 was walking through the parking lot, they might have been able to do more to minimize the damage. The PA in the school office was somehow left on, so others in the school did hear the attack, but it still took them a few moments to realize an attack was in progress. Would an armed guard have been able to do more to stop this attacker? Probably yes, but only if he saw the shooter first – even an armed individual needs notice of the threat to have maximum effectiveness.

Parents who might be interested in volunteering for a patrol shouldn’t be characterized as hapless middle aged individuals who will pay more attention to their latte than to their job. The people who would volunteer are interested in their children’s safety and will take this job seriously. The idea that somehow a volunteer patrol has to have Rambo-like capabilities to do any good also isn’t true. Here, I am reminded of Sarah Palin’s joke – the only difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom? Lipstick. Mama bears are formidable forces. The volunteer patrol only requires a person to have the ability to see, and work a cell phone or walkie-talkie. These physical capabilities are widely found in the general population.

Other possible problems with volunteer patrols can be reduced by ensuring the patrol is composed of two members. The two person team will help to keep each member alert and in check (avoiding a situation where an overzealous volunteer creates problems), to enable efficient communication (one can call the front office, one can dial 911), and to provide more structural support to carry out safety plans (in case a shooter was able to take one person out, the other one can still function).  

Further, these volunteers would be very aware that they could become targets. That is a feature, not a bug. While physical interruption of the attack is ideal, simply being able to sound the alarm at the earliest possible moment can be essential in minimizing lives lost. I don’t doubt a shooter would have no reservations about shooting someone in the parking lot before entering the school, but isn’t that better than only being noticed once inside?

Finally, the slippery slope works both ways. I was surprised that no commenter was able to see the possibilities of taking incremental steps toward a goal – the exact same techniques liberals have used against us for years. Once unarmed patrols are in place and working, and become a trusted and expected part of school life, arming them is not far behind – which should ultimately be a community decision. Unarmed patrols could provide the right level of deterrence to future violence, or they could convince a community that more force is necessary.

There is value in finding mutually agreeable solutions to disturbing problems, and unfortunately crisis does indeed give us the opportunity to evaluate new ideas. Tocqueville said, “I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.” I hope that this is not one of those times.

Milton Friedman - Socialism is Force