We have all read stories of murder trials that have gone on for years. Some of us have been involved in such trials as witnesses or as survivors of the victims. The parade of evidence, examination, reexamination, and counter examination of witnesses can take hundreds of hours, and the smallest point of law or semantics can present seemingly insurmountable obstacles to the march of justice. How many times have we seen people be acquitted on the basis of a technicality, sometimes as insignificant as a missing comma in a statement or an indictment?
We have a body that we can see, proving that a murder has been committed. We have physical evidence that we can see – guns, knives, bloody clothing, and photos of the crime. We have forensic evidence that we can read – DNA, blood testing, and autopsy reports. We have the statements of witnesses, pro and con, that we can hear. And yet getting to the truth of the matter can be agonizingly difficult.
Think about that: with all of that information – sensorialy verifiable information, we can’t get to the truth about a crime.
Then along come the politically correct anointed ones with the concept of a “hate crime,” and millions of people who ought to know better are hornswoggled into going along with them.
“Hate” is an attitude, or a frame of mind. It is something we think. Hate happens in our heads. It can affect certain bodily functions, such as pulse and blood pressure, but it is entirely, 100%, an internal, invisible thing. Even if a person’s face goes red, there is no way to tell if it is from embarrassment, simple anger, sunburn, or hate. Hate can affect behavior, but it can also be kept entirely buried in one’s mind, never exposing itself in any way. Hatred can be carried, invisibly, from one generation to the next, without anyone ever knowing it’s there. Has there ever been a case of a person carrying hatred his entire life and never acting on it? It is possible that people around you right now hate something about you, but have the basic moral awareness to keep it to themselves?
Simply put, hate cannot be detected, at all. Neither can the absence of hate.
Even if a person does something really vicious, how can we know whether it was motivated by hate, simple anger, mental instability, intoxication, or any one of a plethora of factors? The concept of a hate crime implies that hate makes a crime more vicious than does mere rage or lust. It also claims, explicitly, that hate can be detected beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the classic standard of proof in the American legal system, isn’t it? “Beyond a reasonable doubt.”
So we can spend months or years trying to prove what or who caused all those perforations in the body of the victim, and never know for sure, but we can tell beyond a reasonable doubt what the alleged perpetrator was thinking at the time? I’m sorry, but that’s bloody stupid.
There is only one reason for the establishment of “hate crimes” in the American legal system: to give prosecutors something with which they can charge a person that can never be proven or disproven. Do you think you can prove you were not acting out of hate? The person you are accused of assaulting is of a different race or religion than you, and we’ve seen a few cases of people like you acting out of prejudice or animosity against that group, so you must have been acting on hate. No? Prove it. The prosecution has all the customary tools – evidence, witnesses, a body – and can prove, as well as we can ever prove anything – that a crime was committed. Furthermore, it is well known that people like you hate people like the victim. Therefore, you will be charged with a hate crime.
Certain groups are protected by hate crime laws, most notably Blacks, Jews, and homosexuals, though there may be others. (Muslims currently enjoy the status of being beneficiaries of hate crime laws.) This has nothing, whatever to do with the nature or character of those people or of the groups with which they identify! It has to do with the manipulation of the legal system, and by extension, the very cultural fabric of America, by the anointed ones. With this simple mechanism, they have guaranteed themselves the political support of a huge class of artificial victims. Cynical? You’re damned right it is. It allows the fascists – for the concept that some people are just automatically better and smarter than others is at the heart of fascism – to attack whomever they don’t like with a club that can’t be dodged. If they charge you with assault, they have to provide evidence, but if they charge you with a hate crime… well, you’re done for.
Laws about “hate crimes” are nothing more or less than laws against certain thoughts. They are laws against an attitude. If the government can outlaw one type of thought or attitude, what’s to keep them from outlawing any other? For that matter, what’s to keep them from defining any thought or attitude as hate? Since a thought can’t be verified as being present or absent, it’s the perfect scam for enforcing politically correct absurdities on anyone they don’t like.
TRUMP, CLINTON, AND LENINGRAD – THE FALLACY OF THE LESSER EVIL IN WARFARE
As is so often the case, I draw counsel on current events from examples in military history. Today’s subject is the deep distaste many anti-Democrats feel for Trump, and the principle that, “The lesser of two evils is still evil.” Trump doesn’t drive me into apoplexy, but I’m certainly not that fond of him, and I sure don’t trust him. I also recognize the validity of the proverb about evil.
So what do we do, given that other people are largely in control of our choices? If I may build a scenario…
Building a third party, whether on the bones of the Libertarian Party, which I don’t like, or the Constitution Party, which is very small right now, will take 4 to 16 years. If we focus on that third party now, Hillary will win in ’16, and we will never have another chance. The gravestone of our republic can read, “HERE LIES PRINCIPLE. WE STOOD ON IT, AND IT IS BURIED WITH US. NOW OUR ENEMIES STAND ON IT.”
I do not propose meekly voting for evil of any magnitude, but perhaps I can present a principled way of looking at this matter.
In 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. The stunning ferocity of the initial German attack literally destroyed Russian command, communications, and all organization above the platoon level. German troops raced across Russia like sprinters. At first, Stalin ordered massive counterattacks which were slaughtered. The Russian army lacked the training, material, weapons, and manpower to even blunt the Blitzkrieg. Fortunately for Russia and the world, Marshall Zhukov understood the nature of his enemy, but more important, he understood the nature of the weapons with which he would fight him.
He retreated. He waged a fighting withdrawal across the charred landscape of his native land. (In fact, Zhukov’s orders to burn everything that might be of any use or comfort to the Germans was the origin of the phrase, “Scorched earth.”) The Germans stretched further and the Russian lines became more compressed, but all the while, the Russian industrial monster (aided in no small part by the US and Britain) was building a head of steam. It could be said that Zhukov was embracing “the lesser of two evils,” in allowing the Germans to occupy so much of Russia, but his alternative would have been fatal.
If withdrawal was the lesser of two evils, what was the greater? Had he thrown all his troops and tanks into a counter attack, they would have been destroyed out of hand. Russia would have fallen by late ’42, at the latest, and all those millions of German troops would have been redirected to North Africa, Italy, and France. All of those fighters and bombers could have been directed against Britain and the bomber offensive. All of those natural resources in the Soviet Union could have been turned against the Allies. I submit that the temporary loss of territory was an evil of utter inconsequence compared to what might have happened otherwise. (And before a student of Barbarossa calls me on this, I most certainly do NOT mean to make light of the suffering of the Russian people, nor of their sacrifice.)
By contrast, consider the battle of Stalingrad, in that same campaign. The German 6th Army had pushed the Russians almost all the way through the city, but in November of 1942 – while El Alamein was raging in a far warmer clime – a Russian counterattack rolled up the 6th Army’s flanks. Hitler forbad a retreat, and, trapped against the city, the vaunted, veteran 6th Army was captured almost en masse. Of the 91,000 Germans taken prisoner, only about 5,000 survived the war. Hitler had chosen the greater of two evils, and better men than he paid the price.
Hitler was very good at embracing the greater evil. I give you the German Afrika Korps at El Alamein, in the fall of 1942. Irwin Rommel had whipped everything the Allies had thrown at him, but Hitler’s meddling had contributed to the Korps being pressed back into a defensive posture at El Alamein. Rommel could have withdrawn and saved the bulk of his army, which would have allowed him to keep fighting. However, Hitler forbad it, Rommel was stuck, and the Afrika Korps defeated. There were other campaigns, such as the Allied invasion of North Africa, but the defeat of Rommel’s army was the key to victory.
Let us now examine an analogy from US history. In the summer of 1864, the US Army of the Potomac (one of several US armies in the field against the Confederacy) pushed into northern Virginia, “aaaa-gin,” to quote Forest Gump. Ulysses Grant commanded the Army of the Potomac. Robert E. Lee commanded the Army of Northern Virginia, facing Grant. Lee had made a number of horrendous tactical errors earlier in the war – Malvern Hill and the first and second days at Gettysburg, to name two – but his greatest feat of genius was the fighting withdrawal he directed before Grant’s advance that summer. Lee’s 45,000 ragged veterans inflicted more than 60,000 casualties on the Army of the Potomac in 30 days. (Can you imagine what the American press and the American people would do if faced with 2,000 casualties a day for a month?)
Unlike Zhukov, Lee was denied the ultimate victory, partly because Grant understood the nature of his enemy, and the nature of the weapon he was given to fight him. However, had Lee attempted to stand rigidly before Grant’s massive sledgehammer, the ANV would have been destroyed by August. If withdrawal was the lesser evil facing Lee, what was the greater? Remember to look at this from the perspective of Lee and the Confederate nation. The Wilderness campaign gave them another 10 months to try to find an ally – to find an unbeatable weapon – to pray for Lincoln’s defeat in November.
Okay. Now, in 2016, the American people find themselves in the positions of Zhukov, Lee, and Rommel. If Trump is the lesser of two evils, what is the greater? I submit that another eight years of Democrat rule will finish this nation for good. Woluld Trump destroy the nation in that time? I don’t think so. He will get some things wrong, but he will get some things right, too, whereas, Hillary will get nothing right. So, what, exactly is the greater of two evils, and by what factor is it the greater?
Can we not view electing Trump as analogous to Zhukov’s fighting withdrawal? If such a withdrawal allows us time to build an effective alternative party and come roaring back in ’20 or ’24 with a truly principled candidate, is Trump really that evil in the end? Unlike Zhukov, we don’t have the landmass to trade for time. We have Trump, and four or eight years. Unlike Lee, we don’t have emissaries in France and England, pleading for recognition and support. Like Rommel, though, our backs are to the sea. Can we not see that electing Trump is voting for a relatively small evil, for a relatively short time?
The Samurai had a saying, “To shed his blood, you must be cut. To take his life, you must be cut to the bone.” I don’t believe Trump would, “cut us to the bone,” but even if he did, could that possibly be an evil on the scale of the rows of headsmen a Clinton presidency would bring to be?
Let us look at the election, then, not as an end of the war, but as a holding action – a Leningrad that buys us time to bleed the enemy and prepare a counterstroke. Don’t think of it as voting for Trump, but as voting for time and space to build an army.
I went to see D’Souza’s, “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party” on opening weekend in Albuquerque. The movie pulled no punches and engaged in no innuendo about Hillary Clinton, her husband, or her foundation. It is really a two-part presentation. The first part starts with D’Souza’s mock trial and outrageous sentencing, his introduction to prison, and the insights he gained into crime while talking with other prisoners. The principles explained to him by a prisoner named “Rock” are the basis for his analysis of the Democratic Party, and of Hillary Clinton, in particular.
The film tells the history of the Democratic Party, from Andrew Jackson to the present, and it is brutal. It deals almost exclusively with the party’s record on oppression of minorities, specifically Indians and Blacks, and through dramatizations paints a very emotionally powerful story of naked evil. Most of the material presented was familiar to me – fugitive slave laws, the Trail of Tears, Preston Brooks’ near-fatal assault on Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate, John C. Calhoun’s defense of slavery as, “A positive good,” and more. Historical characters such as Ida B.Wells, Senators Ben Tillman, Stephen Douglas, and Theodore Frelinghuysen are relative bit players, alongside Andrew Jackson, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Dailey, and Saul Alinsky. Margaret Sanger gets special treatment as a really disgusting, vile monster. Taped conversations and one video with Planned Parenthood personnel flesh out the film’s premise that Democrats have always hated Blacks to the point of disguising genocide as women’s health.
Much of the historical tale told in the film will be new to anyone who hasn’t specifically studied that part of American history, but it is true. The media are having a fit over it, but they are wrong; it’s the true story, if told with considerable emotion. Scenes of lynching and murders are not easy to watch, and make the movie marginally suited for young children.
The second part of the film deals with the Clintons. It features excerpts from testimonies and interviews with Bill’s sexual victims, and Hillary’s teenaged adoration of Saul Alinsky. She is portrayed as thoroughly evil, conniving, dishonest, brutal, crude, and possibly murderous. We hear the taped statement by her of how getting a child rapist set free destroyed her faith in lie detectors. We hear excerpts from Alinsky’s interview with Playboy Magazine and from his books, and learn that he was not the social justice warrior he is made out to be; he was a common thug, an amoral two-bit Chicago punk who amounted to no more than a cancroid on Al Capone. At least, he would have amounted to no more than that had it not been for his being adopted as the patron saint of the Democratic Party.
D’Souza blows away the myth of the “big switch,” in which the racists supposedly left the Democratic Party and joined the Republicans. (About one percent of Democrats changed parties.) He eviscerates such sacred icons as the New Deal, FDR, Woodrow Wilson, and Johnson’s Great Society.
In short, it is a two hour bath in one of the most revolting sewers in all of human history, the Democratic Party, and its current star lump of feces, Hillary Clinton. In the end, it calls her out in the most direct, unequivocal terms possible as a thief, at best, and a power-mad, slavering, murderous monster at worst.
Now, having said all that, I have a very huge bone to pick with the film. During all of the part that deals with slavery and the oppression of Blacks before, during, and after the War Between the States, I was tempted to think D’Souza was simply pandering to Blacks. I’m sure the media will accuse him just that, and of the sorriest level of cynicism and mockery. However, upon reflection, I realized that he was speaking to a very specific audience, and talking about a very specific part of history. He wasn’t pandering; he was focusing, and he did a great job of it. Unfortunately, in his effort to hammer on a specific part of a vast story, he ignored a part of that story that didn’t fit his narrative – something liberals are famous for, and something he should have known to avoid.
To wit, he portrays all Southerners as slave-whipping monsters, and slavery as the sole cause of the War Between the States. He gets up to his eyeballs in the myth of Abraham Lincoln as Saint Abraham, the Great Emancipator. There is not a syllable about states’ rights, though that is a critical part of the conflict between Republicans and Democrats.
The script actually says that not a single Republican ever owned a slave. In fact, it says that twice, to emphasize the point. There is no mention of the fact that there were more anti-slavery societies in the South than in the North, or that fewer than 1/10 of the Southern population owned slaves. When he points out that Northern bankers – factors, they were called – and industrialists profited enormously from slavery, they were cast as Democrats every one. Surely, in D’Souza’s vision of ante-bellum America, the Democratic Party was the party of Hell’s demons, and the Republican Party that of God’s angels.
I’m darned sure no apologist for the Democratic Party, but that’s baloney. There were some sorry, sorry pieces in the Democratic Party, but there were some sorry, sorry ones in the Republican Party, too, not the least of which was The Rail Splitter, himself.
D’Souza reserved his most outrageous hatchet job for Nathan Bedford Forrest, who he says founded the KKK specifically as a terror organization. He shows Forrest donning a red hood, then shows a man wearing that hood leading the Klan for years, clearly implicating Forrest. Well, that’s baloney, too. Forrest was a slave trader for a time, though he’d given it up well before secession, and he owned slaves. No apologizing for that. When the war started, he raised a regiment of cavalry at his own expense, and told his slaves that if they would volunteer to fight with him, they’d be free at the end of the war, no matter how it turned out. Not one of those Black men deserted, and several survived the war. Not one of them ever spoke ill of Forrest.
After the war, Forrest was approached by a group who said they were starting a fraternal organization of ex-Confederates, the purpose of which was to help their members find jobs in the new nation, and help them adjust to the new world that had been laid down on the ashes of the old. That organization was to be called the Ku Klux Klan, and they asked Forrest to be their spokesman and first leader. Forrest agreed, but within a few years, he saw what the Klan had become (perhaps what it was meant to be all along). He resigned and wrote a letter to Andrew Johnson telling him what the KKK really was and advising him to outlaw it as a seditionist group. Johnson, who was a Southerner and a Democrat, had stayed with the US government when his native Tennessee seceded. Johnson was really more of a populist who hated the wealthy planters, and refused to outlaw the Klan. D’Souza never mentioned that, nor that the radical Republicans who created the punitive, or “congressional” reconstruction of the South, likewise refused to take action against the Klan.
One of the last scenes of the film, other than a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, is of a pair of supposedly freed slaves throwing a Confederate “battle flag” off a building into the street below. D’Souza’s historiography was sorely lacking even in that final spit in the face to Southerners; the flag was a naval jack, not an army battle flag, and it wouldn’t have been used for that purpose, anyway. Anyone wishing to identify with the Confederacy would have used the CS National Flag or the square, white-outlined army battle flag.
As much as I enjoyed and agreed with D’Souza’s depiction of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton, I must confess that his poor historiography and his shameless editorial slanting of selected parts of the history cast doubt on the legitimacy of the rest of the film. I seriously doubt the film will hurt Clinton’s campaign, at all, because those who are desperate to complete Barack Obama’s destruction of America will find it very easy to label the film part of the ongoing, vast, right wing conspiracy against the poor, innocent, saintly Clintons.
Dinesh, you had a perfect shot. Your game was standing still, broadside to you, at short range. You had a superb rifle with solid ammunition…. And you jerked the trigger like a shaved-headed boot.
You wasted what was probably the last shot you’ll ever get.
Rather than valuing superficial differences in each other, let us place value on important things we have in common, and ignore those trivial differences that are being used to drive us apart.
I first noticed people using the phrase, “valuing differences,” in the mid-80’s, I think. It seemed innocuous enough –just one more bit of the academic blather that was swamping business and manufacturing in those days. I was working for Digital Equipment Corporation, which most who read this will have never heard of. At the time, DEC was the 2nd largest computer maker in the world, and originated the ideas of virtual addressing in computer memory, without which no modern computers could function. Their VAX series of mid-size computers set a standard that stood for more than 30 years. DEC no longer exists.
DEC was based out of the Boston area, and by the mid-80’s, the corporate offices of personnel, HR, and pretty much everything but engineering, manufacturing – or anything else that had to do with uncompromising reality – had been taken over by the progressive/liberal/fascists from Harvard and Boston U. I’d never heard the term, “Political correctness” then, but one of the first bits of progressive feces they dumped on us was, “Valuing differences.”
I need to go down a different track for a minute and talk about epistemology, or the study of how the human mind works – the theory of knowledge, as some call it. Our minds organize things by two main operations: integration, or sorting things by similarities, and differentiation, or sorting things by differences. Imagine what it would be like if everything in the world were the same. We could never tell one thing from another. Steak would be like arsenic, male would be like female, good would be like bad, and so on. Sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it?
But imagine if there were no similarities – if every single thing was totally unique, and had nothing in common with anything else. We’d have to have a different word for every, single particle of existence! This sounds as stupid as the other!
The fact is that the human mind functions by sorting things by both differences and similarities. Take dogs, for example. All dogs have certain features or characteristics that make them similar, or, more specifically, things that make them all dogs. They also have certain features or characteristics that make them all different, as boxers are different from poodles. As we sort for more and more detail, we find less gross similarities and differences. We can tell our own dogs from others of the same breed.
This sounds hopelessly complicated and abstract, which is precisely what professors have tried very hard to make it. In reality, though, it’s dirt clod simple. Everything that exists is like certain things, and unlike certain other things. That’s all there is to it. Honest. (This includes abstract things like ideas and principles.)
Now along come the mavens of political correctness, and tell us that we are no longer allowed to sort people by similarities and differences. In fact, we were only allowed to consider differences, and we had to value them.
Time for another little side trip into philosophy. A “Value” is something that a person will act to gain or to keep. (Yes, that is straight out of Ayn Rand. Don’t be afraid.) Therefore, to value something is to take action to gain or to keep it. If we value honesty, we will take specific action to have it in our lives, as a personal trait as well as a trait we seek in others. That’s pretty simple, isn’t it? By the way, the progressives love to pretend that “value” means money, and never anything else, and to ridicule the very concept and anyone who speaks of it. Well, money can be a value, for sure. Music or dance, painting or sculpture can be of great value to a person. In fact, something that seems to be utterly incomprehensible to progressives is that if we give money for something, whatever we bought is of greater value than the money.
So back to “valuing differences.” We [at DEC] were never told that we should value people who were different, or that we should value people in spite of differences. In fact, we were expected to value only differences, with no regard to anything else.
One of the more despicable parts of this lunacy is that we were told we must never value people for the things we had in common, because that was prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry. To value another person because they enjoyed the same music we did was an abomination, but as bad as that was, it wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that we were not allowed to examine other people for their character traits or personalities. The differences we were ordered to value were purely superficial – race, gender, sexual preference, age, handicap, ethnicity, height, weight, etc. To even mention honesty, intelligence, generosity, humility, work ethic, or any of the really important aspects of a human being was not only forbidden, it was punished. Yes, supervisors were written up and fired for attempting to hire applicants based on technical expertise.
I was a technical writer and course developer in the training department. My job was to write the training manuals that were used to teach others to run the complex, expensive machines we used in the factories. I had always believed that the precise use of language was crucial to making the manuals understandable and effective. However, one day in the late ‘80’s, I was a “does not meet requirements” performance appraisal because my grammar was too good, and the precision of my writing was, in fact, racist, genderist, ethnicist, and every other negative –ist in the book. I was actually ordered to dumb down my writing – in those exact words!
We were, literally, forbidden to judge each other on the content of our characters. We were ordered, under threat of losing our jobs, to value whatever it was in others that made them different. In the years since, these principles have been refined to the point that we are now taught to value others because they think differently, and shun those who think similarly to ourselves.
Thus, we are to value dishonesty, profligacy, bigotry, ignorance, promiscuity, and, most especially, political or moral traits that we hold repugnant. “Valuing differences” in 2016 means we must value – that, we must take action to bring into our lives – people who actively work to destroy that which we cherish. When Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama say that our diversity is our greatest treasure, they don’t mean the different ways we might approach problems in chemistry of physics. They mean our skin color, gender, etc.
How can it possibly be to our benefit as a society to seek out and edify those who are dishonest or ignorant or even savagely bigoted?
Here’s what I consider a better way. We must seek first the things we respect and value in others, but we must carefully seek only those things related to character! To seek others of the same skin color is foolish because brilliance and every other virtue may be found beneath skin of any shade. If we seek honesty without regard to skin color, will we not be brought closer to people of different races? If we seek artistic creativity, regardless of such superficial features as gender or sexual preference, will we not find ourselves surrounded by more of the things we treasure, and in the company of fellow travelers with whom we can share them?
If the leaders of our culture – the builders of our society and national character – we interested in making a better world, they would encourage us to value important similarities, and ignore trivial differences. Sadly, those leaders and builders have no desire for anything but the unearned power that comes from creating artificial conflicts and then forcibly quashing them. When Obama says we are not as divided as some may think, he has no idea of the truth he speaks. There are thugs and savages among us, but the great majority of Americans are far more alike than different in the things that matter. Do we not value our families? The security of our homes? The sanctity of our churches? The freedom to live where we wish, pursue the professions we love, and enjoy the hobbies that give us rest? Do we not all value being safe in our cities, on our streets, in our workplaces, and in our homes?
Let us seek that which is good and even noble in each other, and ignore the trivial differences. Let us also identify the differences which are not trivial, and not take to our bosoms the thief, the liar, the murderer, the drug dealer, the slave trader, the politician who will sell his soul for a cheap favor, or the bureaucrat who will sell his for an hour with a teenage sex slave.
Let us recognize in each other the similarities and differences that are truly important, and allow others to do the same. Let us recognize the barbarians and call them by their real names, and allow them the same choices we demand for ourselves – the choice to live as decent human beings or as something else.
As long as individual freedom is in the conversation, it is not possible to separate politics from religious precepts.
No person can legitimately consider themselves a Christian who supports or sustains the Democrat platform., including those so-called Republicans who are Democrats in all but name.
It is not possible to infer the values or morals of people based on their party membership. There are a significant number of fascists (or statists, or collectivists, etc) in the Republican party, and the Democrat party is almost wholly consumed with fascism. Even the terms “Liberal,” and, “Conservative” have been misused and corrupted to the point of uselessness. However, there are still some Republicans, such as the Tea Party branch, who yet cling to the premises of individual liberty.
Without the exercise of our free will, or agency, there can be no such thing as moral or ethics, for both require a choice to be made. Man’s decision-making mechanism consists of his sensory complex, which give him information about his surroundings, his preceptual complex, which allows him to identify and categorize sensory input, his conceptual complex, which allows him to evaluate his precepts into conceptual genii and species, and his abstractive complex, which allows him to make decisions based on concepts. The fifth element in Mankind’s free agency is his physical body, which allows him to act on his decisions.
If this mechanism is interrupted or blocked at any point, Mankind’s free will is totally, 100% abrogated. The core premise of all collectivist theology – for it is as much based on faith as any other religion – is that some people know better than others how to live, and their superior minds give them not only authority, but a moral imperative to control the lives of those others. The entire platform of the Democrat party, as well as those Democrats who call themselves Republicans, is based on that prime directive of fascist dogma.
Thus, as long as individual freedom is in the conversation, it is not possible to separate politics from religious precepts.
No person can legitimately consider themselves a Christian who supports or sustains the Democrat platform, including those so-called Republicans who are Democrats in all but name.
Americans have always called their nation a government of laws, not of men. In the minds of most of us, The Law holds a high and sanctified place in our view of the world, and this is as it should be. The concept of law is one of the highest achievements of Mankind.
How sad it is that The Law is almost universally misunderstood and, because of that, misused and abused.
For the purposes of this discussion, I will use “The Law,” capitalized, to refer to not only the abstract philosophy, or principles upon which all written law is based, but also to the entire body of written laws, to the Executive, which is charged with enforcing laws, and the Judiciary, which is charged with ensuring that cases brought before it are decided in accordance with the law.
Laws are the field markers, or center stripes that guide the individuals in a society. They tell us what is allowed, what is frowned on, what is strongly condemned, and what will get us stood up to the wall. (For those victims of latter-20th-century schooling, “…stood up to the wall” is a metaphor for a firing squad.) We love to talk about how laws make us safe and prevent certain behavior. We love to propose laws that will make our society safer or more fair. In this July of 2016, one of the most common cries we hear is that we need certain gun control laws to prevent mass murders.
Well, that’s all baloney. Laws don’t prevent anything, don’t protect anyone, and have no effect on the fairness of our society. Here’s an example: We have a law against murder. Are there still murders? Point proven. However, it deserves a bit more discussion.
Metaphysically, no law is more than words on a paper – “The ink stains that are dried upon some lines,” for those who like things to rest gentle on their minds. Words on paper have no ability to stop anyone from doing anything. No law can do more than explain the consequences of certain actions. When something is “outlawed,” all it means is that if you do it, you’ll suffer whatever punishment the law specifies. It won’t keep you from doing whatever it is. No gun control law will have any effect, whatsoever on violence.
The only power any law has – or The Law has, for that matter – is in the respect shown that law by individuals. The vast majority of people respect The Law enough that they won’t break the laws. (It is true, though, that most people have a rather selective respect for The Law; they will break laws they consider illegitimate or inconvenient, and almost all people will break at least some laws if they think they can get away with it.)
Other people have little respect for The Law, and will break the laws without thinking about it. These people are going to do whatever they please, and The Law and the laws can go to the devil. This is where the Executive, in the person of the police, gets involved.
If a person has broken a law, it is the job of the police to identify that person, apprehend him, and bring him before the Judiciary. It is the job of the Judiciary to evaluate the evidence and determine if (A) a law was broken, and (B) if this was the person who broke it. If both questions are answered in the affirmative, the Judiciary refers to the text of the law that was broken and assigns a punishment. Thus, the law breaker suffers a consequence for his action. If that consequence is jail time, the law breaker is off the street for a period, and his neighbors are safe from further actions by him. This – THIS – is the only way The Law can prevent any crime, or make anyone safer.
The police, for all their courage and dedication – which are generally prodigious – cannot stop or prevent crime except by this process. The astute reader will note that, even though the brigand is in jail, the crime has already been committed! If it were the crime of murder, the victim is dead and can’t be brought back. All the laws in the world won’t serve to reanimate a murder victim or emotionally restore a rape victim.
Allow me a brief excursion down a related path. The American model of The Law has always been that a person is innocent until proven guilty. This was quite the radical proposition when first codified, as almost the whole world assumed guilt until innocence was proven. “Innocent until guilty” means, in the context of this essay, that no person may be detained or inconvenienced until a law has been broken and that person is a suspect. If a person is thinking about committing a crime, has a crime actually been committed? Obviously not, which means the police are not allowed to detain or inconvenience that person. The police are forbidden, by law, to prevent a crime by interfering before it has been committed. (“Hate crimes” are crimes against certain thoughts, but that’s a different subject.)
The implication of that fact is staggering, and will come as a shock to many. The police cannot protect us unless an officer happens to be at the point of the infraction at the precise time the infraction is committed. In other words, in order for the American people to be protected by the police, every citizen would have to have a full-time police escort, all day every day. This could be the best thing that ever happened for the zero population growth kooks.
Again, the police, for all their courage and dedication – which are generally prodigious – can do nothing more than take statements of witnesses, mop up the blood, and try to find the miscreant – all of which happens after the completion of the crime.
When the fascists rage about the need for more gun control laws to make our cities safer, they are indulging in the grossest misrepresentation of The Law. The only way The Law, or individual laws, can affect our safety is by moderating the behavior of those who actually respect the law in the first place. That large and growing segment of our population who have no respect for The Law will continue apace their depredations, and the rest of us will suffer accordingly.
Instead of passing law after law after law after law after law after law… and so on, those who claim the mantle of leadership in our society should concentrate on teaching a decent respect for The Law and for the rights of others. Only this respect will serve to moderate the behavior of anyone, and without it, we could pass a thousand laws a day (NOTE TO LEGISLATORS: this is not a suggestion!) and the only effect it would have would be to inconvenience the law-abiding and interfere with their lives. The scofflaws would, well, scoff.
Tragically, there is zero likelihood of anyone at any level of government in the United States understanding this simple fact and actually practicing any sort of leadership. And now, after all this waste of time, blood, and treasure, we come back to the words of The Virginian.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Philosophy is the most crucial subject to Mankind. It answers the question, “How should I live.” Not much is more elemental or crucial than that. That’s why the intellectuals have worked so hard at making philosophy sound stupid, abstract, inaccessible, and utterly irrelevant. It has been the goal of the academic class for more than 100 years to drive the rest of us under the dirt.
Philosophy is not stupid, abstract, inaccessible, or utterly irrelevant. It’s pretty simple, really. How should we live? Well, what kind of creatures are we? I’m going to answer that from two perspectives, and one or both of them will annoy just about everybody. Tough.
I DIVINE CREATION
Man was created by a just and loving God. He was created with a rational mind, capable of sensing his surroundings, analyzing the information from his senses, and making decisions based on that information. God allowed evil to exist in Man’s world so that Man would have something to choose. There must be opposition in all things, else how should we know one thing from another? Without sickness, how would we know health? Or happiness without sadness? Or love without hate? Or good without evil? Or liberty without Obama?
The existence of evil does not repudiate the existence of God; it validates His genius and His love for us, his children. He didn’t have to allow evil to exist. His own life would be cleaner and simpler without it, but without it, His children could never know the difference between good and evil, and could therefore never rise to the heights of exaltation by choosing the right. We could never become more than mindless puppets, which is precisely what Satan would have made us. His plan for us was that we would not have choice; he’d give us the answers and we’d take ‘em.
The purest essence of Man is his rational faculty. It is this that makes him different from other animals. Rationality must be free and unfettered in order to work. That is, we must have free access to our surroundings in order to know what our choices are. We must have the freedom to decide the best course of action – or what seems to us the best course of action – and learn from our mistakes. (There’s that opposition, again; we can’t learn from our mistakes unless both failure and success exist.) The intellectual freedom to see, think, and decide is all fine and dandy, but without the freedom to actually act on our decisions, it’s not worth a cup of warm spit
If you interfere with Man’s rationality at any point, from sensory perception to concept formation to value judgment to decision to action, you have interfered with his essential humanity. You have forced him to live as some creature other than how God made him. If you made a horse live in a tree, you’d be forcing him to live as a squirrel. He wouldn’t be too happy or successful that way.
There are two ways of depriving Man of the use of the engine of his mind: by running sewage through the fuel lines, or by jacking up the body so the drive wheels can’t get traction, no matter how furiously they spin.
Traditionally, we have been given a choice of two forms of dehumanization by subverting our free agency. One side is commonly but erroneously identified as liberalism. These people want physical controls, often manifested primarily as economic controls. Pelosi and Reid don’t give a rip what we think, they just want our money. They want to control every aspect of our lives – where we live, what we eat, what we wear, who we marry, how many kids we have…. You name it; they have a program for it.
The other side of that false dichotomy is commonly but erroneously identified as conservatives. These people want to control us by controlling what and how we think. They have rewritten school books, created the concept of “Hate crimes,” and established colleges that teach everything except how to think.
Ayn Rand called this the dichotomy of Attila and the Witch Doctor. She said – and I’ll have to paraphrase here – that one is concerned with man’s belly, the other with his soul, but they are united in hatred of his mind. Man needs both the free use of his mind to make decisions and the free use of his physical body to carry out those decisions. Rand said that a consciousness without a body is a ghost, and a body without consciousness is a corpse. Both are symbols of death. Death, indeed, is what we serve when we fall for the premise that we must choose between slavery of our minds and slavery of our bodies.
Attila the Hun was her term for the Progressives and Liberals, who don’t give a rip about what we’re thinking or about right and wrong. They want control. They want to have a monopoly on force, which is why they are so rabid in their hatred of our being armed. There are people of this stripe in both major parties today, and on both ends of the political spectrum. There are even people called Muslims, who have come up with some preposterous mixture of Attila and the Witch Doctor. They want to control us intellectually by blowing us to hell.
The Witch Doctor was Rand’s term for all religious people because, in spite of her overwhelming genius, she had fallen prey to this dichotomy, herself. She looked at the ideas of people like Pat Robertson Jim Jones and mistook them for the Gospel. However, in some respects, she was right, because there are a heck of a lot of Bible-thumping tyrants out there, just a’foamin’ at the mouth to get inside our heads and control us from within. I believe the proper phrase is, “…inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
It may be that the greatest genius of modern liberalism has been the alliance between Attila and the Witch Doctor. We are faced today with the spectrum of people who openly, flagrantly demand total control. They will teach our children that to think differently from the professors is a crime, and to speak against the fascist junta that runs our country is a capital crime. It is very important that we not view this as a contrast between Democrats and Republicans, or liberals and conservatives. The opposing sides are those who would deny Mankind the exercise of his agency by any means, and those would will demand the freedom of all – liberty versus slavery.
So the first answer to the question, “How should I live,” is this: you ought to live free because that’s the way your God intended you to live.
II NOT DIVINE CREATION
Okay. Now that I’ve infuriated my atheist friends, let’s look at the question from the atheist, or Darwinist side. (Talk about a guy who has taken it in the teeth from history! Poor ol’ Charlie has been twisted into more knots than an Imam’s drawers in a Victoria’s Secret store!)
In the beginning, there wasn’t the Word; there was just an animal that became Man. Now I don’t know if he was once a monkey, or whatever, and it doesn’t matter at this point. We are going to assume that Man was not made by God, but by himself, in response to his surroundings, and then he made God in his own image. I think that’s the way the old chestnut goes.
Man was an animal that lived in his own body, not like a sponge or bacterium. He was independent of his fellows, walking around, doing his own thing. His actions were controlled by his nervous system, which included sense organs that told him what he was seeing, smelling, feeling, hearing, and tasting. As he grew and learned, he gradually started to use sounds to stand for the things around him. As his knack for gab developed, so did his ability to deal with the world on a conceptual level.
Everything that exists must exist as something. It must have an identity, or characteristics, that make it different from everything else. Identity is synonymous with existence; no thing can exist as nothing. Man learned to mentally catalog things based on differences and similarities, and each person organized his ideas according to what worked for him. One fellow might have put a table into the “flat things” category, while his friend, from a posh, east-side cave, might have put a table into the class of, “things that go at the end of the sofa.” When you consider that Man started as a blank slate, or tabula rasa, as professors love to say, and literally filled his empty mind one thing at a time, it was an astonishing feat. Man’s means of doing these truly astonishing things was by the free exercise of his rational mind.
I’m sure there was a lot of experimentation before there was much theorizing, but whatever the exact developmental flow, it happened, and it happened because there were no political parties to mess with Man’s mind or his use of it. If a neighbor tried to interfere with the process, he got a fractured skull, and that was the end of that crap.
Man became the animal that was capable of and lived by rationality. He wasn’t as strong or as fast as a saber-toothed cat, but he was a cagey sucker. He could make spears and deadfalls and punji pits that leveled the playing field and gave ol’ Tom fits. It was by his mind, not by his brute strength that Man survived. Note that having an idea for a spear won’t get you squat in this kind of situation. You must also have a stick, and the freedom of movement to go get it, sharpen it, and harden it in the fire. Undoubtedly, your neighbor, the Witch Doctor, howled that the idea of making a spear was witchcraft, and your other neighbor, Attila the Hun, wailed about how unfair it was that you were a better hunter than he. You said, “Screw you both,” and flaunted your new tiger skin coat that only had 42 spear holes in it.
One thing led to another, and we arrive at a character named Bill Gates. In order to live as a human being, Bill must have the intellectual freedom to think for himself, and the physical freedom to act on his thoughts. He’s no different in this respect than his ancestor with the perforated coat, except his spear would be called a “lawyer,” and his coat wouldn’t have holes in it.
So the other answer to the question, “How should I live,” is this: You ought to live free because that’s the kind of animal umpteen centuries of stabbing tigers and evolving have made you.
III WHAT’S TRUE IS TRUE
So in the end, both models bring us to the same conclusion: that Man must be free to live as Man. Whether he was created by God or shaped by his surroundings, the conclusion is the same: he must be free if he is to live as a man. Anything that prevents him from living as a man is essentially a form of murder. The man is slain, and his place taken either by a grunting beast or by some posturing, useless professor. By the same token, any man who chooses to subvert his own freedom chooses suicide, and any man who denies his neighbors’ freedom to think and act in accordance with his own rationality commits murder.
Freedom, both intellectual and physical, are requisite to and synonymous with human life.
IV STAYING ALIVE
If it’s proper for Man to live and be free, what about those among us who would destroy our freedom? How should we respond to them? Should we resist? I believe that tyranny should be resisted with all means available. I include the governmental type of tyranny and also the local, individual type. The thug who sticks a gun in your ribs in the parking lot is the soul mate of the fascist in government. Both deprive you of your right to learn, to think, and to act – i.e., of your very humanity. If it is right that Man should be free, it must also be right that he have the means of defending his freedom. Otherwise, we’d have to say, “It is right that Man should be free, unless someone disagrees.” And “Freedom,” if you recall, is synonymous with life.
Should there be a limit to the level of tyranny we might morally resist? For example, should we be allowed to resist that tyranny which can be resisted with spears, only, or should we be allowed to resist that which can be resisted with rifles? Should we be allowed to possess the means of resisting the tyranny of a single thug, but not of a gang? Are our answers to these questions actually saying, “Man ought to be free, unless several people think otherwise?”
Any attempt to delimit Man’s means of defending his freedom also delimits his freedom and makes it conditional upon the whims of other men, or the vagaries of circumstance. No one who has ever come face to face with a gang in a dark parking lot will ever ask why a citizen needs a service rifle! You’re damn right they’re good for killing large numbers of people! Sometimes, you run into large numbers of people that need killin’!
Just as freedom must include the entire rational process as well as physical action, so must the right to defend that freedom include all circumstances. It must also include not only the means (a firearm) but the freedom to use it in self-defense. For example, some Brits claim they have the right to own guns, but in reality the restrictions placed on their carrying, or even handling their own guns makes such a claim preposterous. Their government has said, “You can have title to these things, but we will maintain control of them, and if you even touch one without our permission, we’ll crucify you.” Such an arrangement makes an obscene mockery of Man’s authority to defend his freedom or his life.
The right to self-defense with deadly force is part and parcel of the right to live as human beings. To infringe on it is the same as censoring the news or literature, or forbidding certain inventions (as the kerosene lamp was once banned to protect the candle makers). To force Man to live at the pleasure or whim of his neighbors or his government is nothing short of slavery, which is nothing short of the murder of his humanity. It is fine to publish an article of faith and invite or even beg folks to subscribe to it. It is another thing altogether to forcibly deprive them of the very means of disagreement. To limit Man’s choices is Satan’s plan, or, if you prefer, it is anti-evolutionary because it stands in the way of natural selection. Either way, it is tyranny and it is despicable.
The right to life and the right to defend or sustain life cannot be separated.
V STAYING ALIVE, BUT…
Any restriction or condition placed on possession and use of defensive weapons places an identical restriction or condition on the right to life. Licensing firearms or requiring permits for their purchase or carrying is just as much an infringement on freedom – and life – as the outright banning of arms.
“Oh, no,” some say. “There’s nothing wrong with reasonable controls and restrictions.” Bull crap. Whose reason? Yours? What if my reason says I need to be packing right now, and I don’t have time to fool around for three months getting a permit? License and permit laws say, quite literally, “You have a right to live ONLY if you fill out this form in triplicate and take this course from some guy who may or may not be worth shooting, himself, and if you encounter a deadly threat in the meantime, your right to life is hereby revoked.” No sane person would give a stranger the authority to make such a decision for them, yet millions of ostensibly sane people do that very thing every time they vote for a liberal fascist.
“But felons shouldn’t be allowed to have guns!” Bull crap. If someone is loose on the street, there is no way of keeping him from getting or making a gun. As far as that goes, a club or a chain is bloody effective, too, especially if there are a dozen or so guys swinging them at you. My dear cousin, Kathy, was murdered by a convicted felon who used a brick from her garden to crush her skull. Kathy didn’t believe in packing a gun, so now the world must go on without her. I miss her something awful.
Since we can’t keep people from arming themselves and hurting others, why do we posture and pretend that we can? If they can’t be trusted with weapons, why are they loose, in the first place? Keep them in jail or euthanize them. If we’re going to turn them loose, then we should have the nerve to let them be fully human. If they screw up again, it’s the noose, for sure.
The problem isn’t the availability of guns to criminals. The problem is violent criminals among us in the first place, running amok and without fear.
VI THE DUBIOUS ROLE OF PACIFISTS
I have no problem with a pacifist. I have no use for the silly dip, either. But I really, REALLY have a problem with the pacifist who wants to force is lunacy down my throat, and leave my daughters bare before the ravisher. We’re back to differences and opposites, again. The pacifist says there is no difference between good and evil, and that evil has as much right to exist as does good. The problem is that the dearest desire of evil’s heart is to destroy good, so the pacifist grants good’s right to exist only so long as evil will allow it. That equals a win for evil.
A man who won’t fight for what’s right is, in the words of John Paul Jones, “…a thief of the food he eats and a trespasser in the bunk in which he sleeps.”
Anyone who does not stand against the evil in men is an ally of that evil, just as surely as is the man who denies others the authority or the means of standing so. Any who will not take up arms against evil is excluded from this condemnation only so long as they humbly acknowledge that their mortal lives are owed to those who defend it for them. George Orwell scolded pacifists thusly: “Those who abjure violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf,” and Kipling, in “Tommy,” criticized the habit of, “…making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep.”
Man, to live as Man, must have the freedom to exercise his rational faculties to their fullest, and the freedom to act on the conclusions of his rational faculties. Freedom is life.
There can be no unconditional right to life without the right to defend life (and freedom) by any means and with any weapon necessary and available.
Any restriction or condition that limits the protection of life and freedom is, by definition, anti-life and thereby evil.
Individuals have the right to refuse to defend their own lives and freedom, but not the right to force others to do the same.
Guns, and self-defense with them, have generated more ill-informed passion than almost anything other than religion, politics, and sex. Naturally, therefore, I felt obliged to contribute. A lifetime of shooting and studying the subject has given me some insight. I do not claim to know everything, but I do know some things. Some of this is my opinion, but it is opinion based on observations of reality. A large number of people have asked for my advice on getting a firearm for personal defense. I hope this clears up some of the fog.
First, make sure you know why you want one. Is it for target or sport shooting? Is it for personal defense in your home or car? Is it for concealed carry on your person? Is it for quasi-military action? Is it because you are concerned this may be your last chance to get one? Each of these is valid, and each has unique requirements.
Second, make sure you know why you want one. If you are thinking about anything involving shooting other people, you’d better make darned sure you square that idea with your moral structure. There is no way to completely avoid the emotional trauma of doing such grievous bodily harm to another person, but if you aren’t fairly certain you have a moral right and responsibility to defend your own life, even at the risk of taking someone else’s, it will ruin you.
The rest of this will be based on the assumption that you are thinking of personal defense.
How about some vocabulary? I’m not trying to show off or be anally technical, here. There are a lot of terms that have been so abused and misused that a lot of folks have entirely wrong ideas about things. So, here’s the short list.
Bullet, or projectile – the blob of metal that comes out of the muzzle of a firearm and inflicts damage or harm on whatever it hits. This is different from a…
Cartridge, shell, round – the entire assembly of components that includes a bullet, gunpowder, a primer, and a case to hold everything together. The cartridge does not fly toward the target, no matter what Diane Feinstein says.
Hollow point – a bullet that is designed to expand in soft tissue, such as a human body. It is called a hollow point because it has a cavity in its nose. In theory, this cavity fills with fluid upon impact, and causes the bullet to swell, or expand. The greater diameter of the expanded bullet increases the energy transfer into the target. They do not explode! Hollow points are used almost exclusively for personal defense, though some are used in long range rifle competition.
Amor piercing bullet – a bullet designed to punch through armor, such as a jeep, an airplane, or light vehicle. It is made from harder material than regular bullets, though it often consists of a steel core covered by copper, like other bullets. An armor piercing bullet does not explode or expand unless it hits something it can’t penetrate, in which case it just mushrooms. Armor piercing bullets are intended to be the exact opposite to hollow points. Most ammunition manufacturers have voluntarily limited sales of AP rounds to police and the military.
Cop-killer bullet – a myth concocted by people who think Joe Biden is a paragon of intellect. There was considerable hysteria about these in the 1980’s, all of it utter baloney. First of all, any bullet will penetrate a policeman’s armored vest if it has sufficient mass and velocity. The design of the bullet has nothing to do with it, nor does the material of which the bullet is made. (I exclude from this bullets made of graphite or wood, generally called “gallery” rounds, which are made to disintegrate on impact with the backstop in a gallery.) I remember seeing people use the phrase “armor-piercing, hollow point cop-killer bullets,” which is one of the most preposterous obfuscations ever perpetrated. There is no such thing as a cop-killer bullet.
Teflon-coated cop-killer bullet – another mythical item. Supposedly, coating bullets with Teflon will allow them to penetrate a police officer’s body armor. In actuality, Teflon is used on competition bullets in very expensive target rifles (not pistols) to prevent wear to the bore. That’s all. The British army did an exhaustive series of tests in the 1970’s and found that Teflon coating has absolutely zero effect on a bullet’s ability to penetrate anything. If anyone brings this up, hand them their sign.
Stopping power – the ability of a round to knock a man down. Oceans of ink have been spilled in the discussion of what round has the best stopping power, and the argument rages on. Here are a couple of points: there is no such thing as a 100% guaranteed one-shot stopper, including the 12 gauge shotgun. Some rounds have a higher percentage of one-shot stops, and these are to be preferred for personal defense, but get it out of your head that anything works every time. Shot placement is as important in stopping as is the power of the round. Men have had limbs blown off and kept fighting, killing the man who had shot them. Drugs, booze, adrenaline, and insanity have a lot to do with stopping. A man who is sufficiently stoned or crazy won’t even know he’s been shot, and won’t drop unless you cut his spine, blow a hole in his brain, or break major bones, such as the femur. In general, fat, slow bullets have more stopping power.
Killing power – Another irrelevant myth. Ignore the concept. Bubonic plague has killed many millions of people. That doesn’t make it a personal defense tool.
Gun – a firearm. Contrary to some magazine writers, it is perfectly acceptable to refer to any firearm as a gun. Anyone will understand what you mean, especially if you are pointing it at them. In the most technical sense, a “gun” is a smoothbore, as in a shotgun or an unrifled cannon. In historical writing, you may see reference to things like “twelve-pounder gun,” which is a smoothbore cannon that fires a 12-pound round ball.
Rifle – a firearm with a rifled bore. If you look down the barrel of a rifle – look into it from the breech, not the muzzle! – you’ll see two to ten ridges called “lands,” that spiral the length of the bore. Rifling spins the bullet and gives it great accuracy. Rifling does not make a bullet more lethal or destructive. Technically, any firearm with rifling can be called a rifle, hence you will occasionally hear of the giant guns on battleships called, “naval rifles.”
Smoothbore – a firearm lacking rifling. Shotguns are smoothbores, as are some muzzleloaders and tank cannon. Like rifles, smoothbores can be anything from shoulder-held firearms to artillery pieces.
Handgun – a firearm that is meant to be held in one hand, as opposed to being held against the shoulder. Almost all handguns are generically referred to as “pistols,” and I consider this entirely acceptable unless you are in a highly technical discussion with someone who knows the difference. These terms are included for general reference, only. Don’t get anal about them.
Pistol – a semi-automatic handgun that is loaded with a magazine containing cartridges. Oddly, single-shot, muzzle loading handguns were also called pistols.
Revolver – a handgun with a round cylinder that holds the cartridges and rotates during operation in order to bring an unfired cartridge into firing position.
Semi-automatic – a firearm that fires one shot for each squeeze of the trigger. This refers to the way in which the firearm presents a fresh round for firing. It has absolutely nothing, whatsoever to do with the destructiveness or lethality of the round. If you have a single-shot gun and a semi-auto chambered for the same round, it will have precisely the same effect downrange, no matter which you fire it from.
Full automatic – a firearm that will fire more than one shot for each squeeze of the trigger. These are machine guns, and have been closely controlled since 1934. There are a great many machine guns in private hands in the US. At the time Clinton tried to ban them, there had never been a single case of a machinegun being used in a crime by its lawful owner since 1934. They are incredibly expensive, and most are very bulky. As with semi-automatic, this term refers solely to the way in which the next round is presented for firing. It has nothing to do with the lethality of the round.
Machinegun – a fully automatic firearm that fires a rifle cartridge. Same bullet, same velocity, etc.. Just fires more rounds faster. Contrary to Hollywood and the press, most machine guns are superbly accurate.
Submachine gun – a fully automatic firearm that fires a pistol cartridge, such as the 9mm or .45 ACP.
Machine pistol – a myth of Hollywood and the press. There’s no such thing. Some submachine guns can be fired with one hand, but they are not pistols; they are just short submachine guns.
Okay. Enough of that.
OH, NO! NOT PHYSICS!
Now for some basic physics. Don’t freak out; this is going to be very general. There are at least four factors in what they call “terminal ballistics,” or what a bullet does to the target: the diameter of the bullet, called “bore size,” or “caliber” – the velocity of the bullet – the weight of the bullet – and the design of the bullet.
The greater the bore diameter, i.e., the larger the caliber, the more energy will be transmitted to the target. One caliber is 1/100th of an inch. A .50 caliber bullet is ½ inch in diameter. A fat bullet has more surface area to shove through the target, which means it has to displace more tissue, which means it transfers more of its energy into the target.
Penetration – how far a bullet will go into a body – is more a function of mass than of velocity. If your bullet has too much penetration, it passes through the target and wastes its energy on whatever is behind it, including walls and other people. If your bullet has too little penetration, it may be stopped by a heavy leather or down-filled jacket. The bullet must get into his vitals and either paralyze his nervous system or break major bones.
Too much velocity can cause over penetration. To demonstrate this principle, set a glass on a tablecloth and jerk the cloth from under it. If you jerk fast enough, the glass will stay right where it is. If a bullet is going faster than necessary, it can pass through the target without imparting much energy to it, and just like that vase, the guy is still standing there thinking, “That bitch shot me! [pause] I think.”
Big and slow stops the fight. Period. It has been proven in every gunfighting environment from barrooms to battlefields. In my opinion, the .45 ACP (for Automatic Colt Pistol) is the ideal combat cartridge. It’s almost ½” in diameter, and travels under 1000fps in most variations. There is no reason a person of normal strength and dexterity can’t handle a .45. The .40 S&W is also an excellent choice, being only slightly below the .45. The .357 magnum is a crushing defensive cartridge, but generates substantially more recoil and is prone to over penetration. A .38 special in one of the new defensive loadings is little below the .40, and produces far less recoil than a .357.
A rifle is, by far, more powerful and effective at stopping people than is a handgun, but they are much less handy in confined spaces, such as in your car or a hallway, and they are almost impossible to conceal. The role of the handgun in combat is absolutely valid, but is also very specific: short range, instant access, and concealability.
There is an old saying that if you expect trouble, take a rifle. Another says to use your pistol to keep ‘em off you until you can get to your rifle. If someone offers to coach you, watch for indications that they may be giving you rifle advice for a handgun situation.
Imagine your assailant having a target on his chest, with his heart and spine being in the center, with concentric rings around it. A big ol’ fat .45 bullet might be able to deliver a paralyzing shock in the 2nd ring out, where a small bullet, like from a .22 caliber, might have to be in the very center to have the same effect. Power and/or bore size will not compensate for poor marksmanship, but it will give you a little bit of an edge. Nothing is certain in gunfighting except noise, but, in general, a bigger, more powerful bullet is less demanding of precision shooting. This is why you need the most powerful weapon you can physically handle.
Ah. I almost forgot recoil. Newton said, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you fire a gun, the bullet accelerates very rapidly inside the barrel. That acceleration produces force in the opposite direction. That force is recoil, or “kick.” Recoil takes some getting used to, but there is simply no way to make a bullet go fast enough to do its job without some recoil. At any given velocity, heavy bullets will kick more, and for any given bullet mass, higher velocity will kick more. The idea is to find a cartridge with that combination of mass and velocity that will do the job without hurting the shooter.
Here’s one of my favorite myths: “A .45 kicks so hard it will split your head if you don’t lock your elbow.” Baloney. I have held my .45 with my thumb and two fingers as I pulled the trigger with my left hand, and it just spun in a circle and came right back down into my right hand. Now understand, there was only one round in the weapon, and I was standing on a pad to protect the pistol should I drop it.
There are several very dangerous myths about the defensive use of firearms. One is that there is such a thing as a “woman’s gun.” If anyone tries to show you such a piece, get away from that person immediately. They are stupid. The effectiveness of a gun is measured by the effect its bullets have on the target. If one is to consider gender at all, it must be from the perspective that, should the gun malfunction or not do its job, women are often less well-equipped to handle hand-to-hand combat than are men, and therefore need a gun that is even more reliable and more powerful than a “man’s gun.”
Another myth is that a smaller-caliber, less powerful gun will be somehow more humane, or less likely to kill someone. Bull crap. Such a gun will likely guarantee that you’ll have to shoot him more than once, and every study on gunshot wounds says that a single hit from a large, slow bullet is much less likely to be fatal than several hits from smaller, less powerful bullets. Not only does the number of wounds increase the chance of fatality, but it wastes ammunition. You only have so many rounds, and since predators often roam in packs, you might need those extras. Also, every shot you fire increases the risk of hitting an innocent bystander, so the fewer shots, the less risk. I have personally witnessed a biker, who was undoubtedly drunk, get shot 7 times in the chest with a .25 automatic, still on his feet when the police arrived, and cheerfully surrender the 10-lb sledge hammer with which he had beaten to death the guy who shot him.
When people talk about “killing power,” get out. An icepick has the same killing power as a cannon. Dead is dead. The critical factor in a gunfight is not how dead you can kill him, but how fast can you incapacitate him. The first and greatest objective of a gunfight is to stop the fight, NOW! Put him on his back and out of commission NOW! That leaves you free to engage his buddies, run like a rabbit, shoot him again, cut his throat, or, if you are of saintly inclination, take his weapon and administer first aid. But before you have ANY options, AT ALL, YOU MUST STOP THE FIGHT! Big and slow stops the fight. Period. The biker mentioned above would probably have died – sometime.
The two most dangerous, but widespread myths concern warning shots and the value of “flashing” your gun. People will tell you that you don’t even need to get bullets for your gun; just show it to ‘em, and they’ll run. Bull stuff and more bull stuff.
People have two basic reflexes when threatened: flight or fight. If you show your gun to a flight person, you might – MIGHT – get away with it, but that reflex can be overridden by drugs, booze, or utter terror. If you have a fight person, you are going to have to shoot him, anyway, and maybe even sooner than otherwise. I have stood, gun in hand, in front of a young man who had ripped his shirt open was screeching at me, “You think you’re bad, old man? Shoot me, mother******! You ain’t got the balls to shoot me! Come on, you white mother******! Shoot me!…” and so on and so forth. I ended up having to shoot him, anyway, because he was full of angel dust and Budweiser, and totally unaware that I had beaten him to within an inch of his life.
Never, ever count on scaring someone off just by showing them your gun. If the situation warrants drawing your gun, you must be mentally prepared to shoot. That doesn’t mean you can’t engage the safety and put it away, but never draw unless you know you can shoot if necessary.
Warning shots are much the same. This is for anyone who still thinks Joe Biden is not the idiot’s idiot. People will tell you that if you fire a shot into the air, the bad guys will run. Bull stuff. A warning shot gives away the fact that you are armed. It allows him to say he heard a shot, thought you were shooting at him, and was therefore justified in blowing you away. If you were hidden, it gives away your position. It endangers innocent bystanders because, even though you were warning the bad guy, that bullet thought it was on a deadly errand, and it WILL go somewhere. Even a shot into the air has to come down sometime. Finally, a warning shot expends a round, and you might need that round shortly because the bad guy might have friends, you might miss when you fire for effect, or he may be stoned enough that your fire doesn’t have the desired effect. If the situation warrants busting a cap, put it in his center of mass.
CHOOSING A WEAPON
In general, you want to get the biggest gun you can handle, and most high-quality arm you can afford. A $1500.00 Kimber or Wilson is a superb arm, indeed, but a $400.00 Taurus or Springfield is just as effective. If you can afford the Kimber, go for it, but most folks can’t. Put the money you save on the gun into practice ammunition and a good training program.
Get a gun you are comfortable with, that is, with one that fits naturally into your hand and feels good. There is a sensual element in the feel of the right pistol. I felt it the first time I ever picked up a single action Colt cavalry model. It was instantly an extension of me. You’ll know it when you feel it. If you like a gun, you are more likely to practice with it, and that increases your odds of hitting what you mean to.
Remember, though, that the smaller the caliber, the greater the importance of accuracy. No matter how good you are in practice, you will not be anywhere nearly that good in a fight. Your target will be moving, maybe lunging or even shooting at you, you will be blown sky-high on adrenaline and stress, you’ll have tunnel vision, and you’ll go deaf. Your entire nervous system shunts all resources to whatever is necessary to stay alive. You’ll forget to breathe, blink, or swallow. The muscle patterns inculcated by practice will take over. If you haven’t practiced enough, all of the distractions will still apply, but you won’t have the established patterns to rely on.
Going to the range once a month is not enough. Once a week is a minimum for the first 1000 rounds, and a good coach is above price. Make your practice realistic. Almost all gunfights occur at less than 10 feet, and a lot of them inside 5 feet. Getting your gun out and into play is the first problem you will face, so study and practice how you will store or carry it. Spend money on a good holster. Carrying it in your purse is a good way to lose it to a purse snatcher, or be caught fumbling among your makeup while he’s wailing on you. Have a way to store it safely when not in use, especially if you have kids around, or if strangers are frequently in your home, but remember the point of having the gun, in the first place is to allow you to do deadly harm; a gun that is 100% safely stored is likely to be inaccessible when you really need it.
Finally, after doing all the above, pray with all your heart that you will never have to shoot another human being, and that you will never have to choose between jeopardizing the safety of yourself or a loved one and inflicting grave bodily harm on another person. I and most men have a tendency to speak somewhat flippantly about this subject, but rest assured there is nothing flippant or casual in the intent of this lesson. One of the most significant choices any person can make is to take up arms against their fellow man. Do not do so lightly, but if you do so, do it right
There has been a great deal of discussion about whether Donald Trump needs to tone down his rhetoric. The Quislings in the Republican establishment are soiling themselves over Trump’s willingness to declare just about any head of state to be naked. On the other hand, those who have been emotionally nourished by watching Trump give their tormentors hell on a sharp stick say if he changes now, they’ll never trust him again. My personal belief falls more closely with the second group; I have been gratified by hearing Trump play the verbal cold steel on those who detest and despise me and all I’ve ever loved.
Trump absolutely needs to expound on what he says, and make sure he points out the fallacies in the questions he’s asked. A prime example is when that reporter asked, “If abortion were illegal, and a woman has an abortion, should she be punished?”
Trump basically said, “Yes,” and let the poop storm begin.
He should have said, “Let me analyze that question a little, so everyone knows exactly what I’m answering, because you sure as hell won’t tell them.
“First, you stipulated that abortion is illegal in this example. In order for that to be the case, the American people would have had to elect representatives who would have crafted a law against abortion that would pass the Constitutional test, and I would have had to sign it into law. That means the case you set forth assumes the American people and their representatives wanted to make abortion illegal. No matter what Barack Obama likes to believe, the President can not make up laws and create criminality where the legislature has declined to do so.
“Second, you did not offer any context to the woman’s alleged abortion, nor to the law that would have to be in place. We don’t know, from your question, if there were exemptions in case of rape, incest, or a threat to the life of the mother, and we don’t know if the woman met any of those exemptions. Since you apparently – and I’m guessing, here, because it was an incredibly poorly-worded question – that you meant to ask about a woman who had clearly broken the law, whatever it was.
“Third, as the chief executive of the United States, according to the powers granted by the Constitution, I would have a legal and moral obligation to enforce the laws written by the people’s representatives. My job would be to arrest her and bring her before the court. If a grand jury found sufficient evidence of law-breaking to warrant charging her, she would be charged and tried. If not, she would be freed. If she were to go to trial, a jury of her peers – again, the American people – would determine guilt. If she were found guilty, the law, as written by the people’s representatives, would describe the penalty.
“Fourth, everything that happened after her arrest would be in the province of the judicial branch. My part in the process, e.g, executing the law as written by the people’s representatives, would be completed.”
It has been the same with a number of Trump’s statements, for example on barring immigration by Muslims, his statement that Mexico is sending criminals into the US, and many others. He’s speaking the truth and saying things that desperately need saying, but he’s making a mess of it. He is, in fact, doing a lot more talking than he is communicating.
On 28 May, 2016, Barack Obama gave a speech in Hiroshima, Japan. He has been bitterly criticized for apologizing for the use of atomic weapons against Japan, and just as fiercely defended by people saying he did not apologize. Given that there are more ways to apologize than just saying, “We’re sorry,” – and ways of saying “Sorry” that aren’t apologies, at all – we need to examine Obama’s remarks in the context of the historical facts then and now, and also in the context of his presidency. What he has done and said in the past can help us see a pattern, if there is one, and understand phrasing and terminology as he has consistently used them – his code, if you will.
First, he has consistently apologized for the United States. He has criticized the US for everything from the way it was discovered by Europeans to the way it was founded as a nation to the way some of us insist on such old fashioned, racist – nay, Nazi – notions as border security. He has criticized Christianity for things done more than 1,000 years ago. He has mocked and ridiculed any who disagree with him on any issue. He has criticized our Constitution and those who wrote it. He has blamed Islamic terrorism on the people of the US. He has condemned the actions of our military and the ethical codes our military lives by, and has blamed all of America’s wars on White American Christians and gun owners.
It is safe to say, based on nine years of public behavior that he will, at any opportunity, blame any of the world’s problems on the US, and will condemn in the most petulant, snotty terms anything the US has ever done on the world stage.
It is also safe to say that those who slavishly lick his boots will read the above and say, “Yeah, so? He’s right, and you’re a racist.” So be it. May they have their reward.
As for the historical context of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Pacific war was in its fourth year. It was a very different war from the one in Europe. It was a nasty, animalistic, no quarter kind of war. It started with a sneak attack on the US fleet at Pearl Harbor, then continued to the cannibalization of Dutch nuns on New Guinea, near Buna, and to the murder of American prisoners on Guadalcanal. It went downhill from there, and the Americans learned that to surrender to the Japanese was certain death, and possibly cannibalization. It was said that if you got the drop on a German, or he got it on you, surrender was a good option. Such was not the case in the Pacific. You couldn’t make them run and you couldn’t capture them. You had to kill every one of them, except, of course, the ones who killed themselves.
Yes, there was some very racist propaganda and motivational material in the US. When you are fighting an enemy who doesn’t take prisoners, and goes out of his way to be brutal and bloodthirsty, it’s pretty easy to dehumanize him. More, it is necessary. To extend the hand of shared humanity to a Japanese soldier in 1945 was certain death. It is a cliché that those who condemn the US for racism never mention the racism of Japan. Be assured that their brutality was rooted in the absolute conviction that Americans were lower animals, and deserved to be slaughtered.
The island battles of Pelilieu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, in particular, taught the US military bloody lessons in the new Japanese defensive doctrine. The losses on those three islands, alone, were staggering. Pelilieu was 2 ½ months. Iwo was 36 days. Okinawa was a week shy of three months. The Kamikaze inflicted more casualties on the US Navy at Okinawa than had been suffered since Pearl Harbor. It was known that the Japanese were preparing the entire Home Islands as killing fields like Iwo Jima and Okinawa. They sowed thousands of mines. They were teaching school children how to use spears to assault American lines, as well as indoctrinating them into the sick version of Bushido that made the Kamikaze possible. They were prepared to torch their cities and crops ahead of the American advance, knowing it would cause the starvation and death from exposure of their own people. They were preparing biological and chemical weapons for deployment in their own cities – weapons which, incidentally, they had developed by testing on Allied and Chinese prisoners. Those three battles cost the US almost 30,000 dead, and the Japanese 139,000 dead. On Pelilieu and Iwo, there were fewer than 600 Japanese prisoners against 29,000 dead.
While the battles for Iwo and Okinawa were raging, the US Army Air Force waged a battle of its own against the Japanese industrial base – as von Clausewitz proposed in the 1820’s, making war on the enemy’s ability to make war. The Japanese air defenses, especially flak (anti-aircraft artillery) were ferocious, and thousands of American flyers, both USAAF and USN, were killed. On the night of 9/10 March, 1945, Tokyo was attacked by American bombers dropping incendiary bombs. 16 square miles of the city were burned to the ground, and as many as 100,000 people died. Between then and August, 67 Japanese cities were firebombed. Many were more than 60% destroyed, and the dead were surely in the millions.
But still the Japanese fought on and proved to be very, very dangerous opponents, even as their cities smoldered.
To state it simply, there was no other way to get the job done. Japanese industry was decentralized and mostly located in the middle of residential areas where the workers lived. Their houses and factories were mostly of wood, and burned like gasoline. Out of what was quite primitive compared to the US manufacturing method, came weapons that dealt death to Americans on a daily basis. Conventional bombing – that is with high explosives and carefully aimed attacks in daylight – was frightfully expensive in blood. Yes, the American military had the hubris to value the lives of their own personnel above those of the enemy. The firebombing campaign wreaked sure havoc on Japanese manufacturing, and the people suffered in proportion. Was it racism? After all, we hadn’t done that to Germany, right? Wrong. We and the British did worse than that to Germany, and the bomber offensive shortened the war and saved lives in the long run. It wasn’t racism. It was war – war to the knife and the knife to the hilt.
The Japanese weren’t even close to quitting. There is a myth that they were trying to surrender – sort of a Michael Brown myth – but it is just that. They were preparing to fight to the death of every Japanese citizen. Operation Olympic, the invasion of the Home Islands, would have cost the lives of millions, and seen those lovely islands turned into mudholes filled with putrefaction and maggots. It would have seen the utter destruction of the Japanese race and culture.
After the war, the US spent billions on rebuilding Japan. That has been repaid many times over by the incredible productivity of the Japanese people, but most of all, by their good will and support through the years. So now comes Barack Obama, stepping onto the stage to perform his act.
He totally ignored the historical context, especially the fact that far more people were killed by firebombing than in both atom bombs, combined. “Death fell from the sky,” he said. Yes, as it had been for months. One might conclude that the atom bombs were the first bombs dropped on Japan.
The souls of the Japanese who were killed there speak to us. Presumably we are deaf to the souls of those killed elsewhere – and we have NEVER heard him speak so of the souls of dead Americans. He bemoans Man’s inhumanity to Man, taking a swipe at religion in passing.
In the 6th paragraph, he begins to hit his stride. He says the war, “…was fought among the wealthiest and most powerful of nations.” Clearly, he is not speaking of Japan, alone, but of all the combatants, the rich bastards – and, if one can hear the resonance of his usual paradigm, the rich WHITE bastards.
Paragraph seven: “And yet, the war grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes. An old pattern amplified by new capabilities and without new constraints.” So it was the base instinct of domination that has always been the problem, made worse by “…new capabilities without new constraints.” What on earth could he be referring to? Who had new capabilities? It is clear from the context of this statement that he is talking about America’s new nuclear capabilities and lack of moral constraint.
In paragraph eight I almost have to give him a point: the mushroom cloud illustrates how our creativity can lead to destruction. Yeah, that’s pretty good. But in paragraph nine he lays that destruction on “…material advancement…” (Rich, White, materialistic bastards) and service of “…some higher cause.” Presumably, that “higher cause” would be survival in the face of a murderous attack by a determined and skillful enemy. Or could he be talking about those founding principles of America that he has bitched about so often?
In 11, BAM! Every great religion claims a license to kill. Surely he isn’t talking about Bushido because up until now, he’s been laying it on every nation BUT Japan. Could it be he’s digging at Christianity? Paragraph 12 gets back to the culture of the US and its foundational principles that start off binding people together, but end up oppressing and dehumanizing those who are different. So America’s aim in the war was oppression and dehumanizing the Japanese because they were different.
“Hiroshima teaches this truth. Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us.” So who was it that had the technological progress and primitive institutions? I guess that would be the US. Look at the structure. Progress without cultural or moral progress can doom us. He may not be apologizing, but he’s sure pounding the snot out of the US.
Next, we get a couple of paragraphs about post-war partnerships and alliances, and that’s good stuff. There have been some really wonderful things done among old enemies. Don’t worry, though. He gets back to how the possession of nuclear weapons is rooted in the “logic of fear,” obliquely calling the US a nation of cowards and bullies. Then we get some Kum-by-yah about how we can defend ourselves without nukes, and we must prevent their spread, which is ironic in the extreme coming from the man who did more than any man living to make sure the maniacs in Iran get nukes. Then we get a little dig about how nations – umm… that would be the US – must define themselves by what they can build rather than by what they can destroy. Only an ignorant sod who went to an Islamic school would fail to recognize that the US has always defined itself by what it can build, so much so that in the last few years Obama has felt obliged to excoriate the US for building things, as if our building them preempted anyone else’s chance of doing so. Rich, White, materialistic, creative bastards.
In what must be one of the greatest, most ironic bits of hypocrisy ever uttered, Barack Obama quotes the Declaration of Independence as if he actually approves of it. Next comes a couple of pretty darned good paragraphs about how we haven’t always lived up to the principles stated in the Declaration, but it is always worth pursuing. Every life is precious (unless you’re a white cop – or a Christian in Iraq – or an ambassador)
Then the closing – “That is a future we can choose: a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare, but as the start of our own moral awakening.” And there it is, again: the bombing was caused by America’s moral depravity.
For a speech that wasn’t supposed to be an apology, he sure laid the blame down thick and heavy on the US, and never a word about Japanese culpability, or empathy with those murdered and eaten by the Japanese.
In short, it’s typical Obama bovine feces. A lot of it would be pretty good if it had come from someone who had not proven himself time and again to loathe the United States, but the jaw-dropping hypocrisy puts this speech in a class by itself.