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Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday Gunday: A Troubling Philosophy

I've been working on this post for a while, so my apologies for being late. I wanted to get it right, rather than be on time.

There was a webcomic I used to read. (No links = no drama). I don't read it any more, because the creator said something which didn't sit right with me, and rather than get annoyed as politics crept into a once-fun comic I just decided to stop reading it altogether.

That statement stuck with me, though, and continues to bug me, and so I figure I need to have a nice rant about it in order to purge it from my head.

Here's what was said:
I'm not a big fan of personal firearm use.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I don't have an issue with hunting. A personal handgun isn't a hunting weapon. And I don't even think guns should be banned or even really restricted among competent, trained adults. If you feel the need to own a gun and you know what you're doing with it, then I think you should certainly be allowed to have it... but, to me, ownership of a handgun tells me that you've more or less given up on civilization.

You see, while handguns can, in theory, be used for other purposes, they're really designed and intended to shoot other human beings - and, while you certainly can shoot to wound, any responsible firearm user will tell you that you never draw on anything you wouldn't mind seeing dead.

Presuming that you intend to use your firearm legally and ethically, there's really only one situation in which you can whip it out - when deadly force is threatened against you or your loved ones, and you need to respond appropriately, to kill or threaten to kill before you or your loved ones can be killed. When I see someone who owns a personal firearm, the unspoken implication I hear is "I fully expect that dangerous criminals will pose a danger to myself and my loved ones, and I do not believe that local law enforcement is sufficient to keep these threats at bay - the only way I can ensure my safety is to be prepared at all times to end the life of one or more of my fellow human beings".

I do not own a gun for the same reason I do not filter my own drinking water or generate my own electricity - I live in a city, where, for a reasonable price, security, like water or electricity, is provided by trained professionals.
Normally I'd just jump right in and start making my thesis points, because I wouldn't want to dilute or divert my argument by listing things I didn't intend to address. However, I've been at this game long enough to know that if I don't mention them someone is going to say "But what about X?"  and then I end up talking about the things I didn't think were worth talking about in the first place.

Therefore, here are the things that my post is not about:
  1. Whether or not the author is entitled to his opinion. I mean, duh. Of course he's entitled. That also means he doesn't need to defend his opinion, either. His comic, his rules. 
  2. Whether or not it was the author's actual opinion. It was below the comic and next to the author's icon, and not spoken by a webcomic character. 
  3. The right to keep and bear arms. 
  4. America, the Constitution, history, etc.  The author is from Canada, if I recall. 
  5. Paragraphs 1 and 3. I have no problem with those. 
  6. The whole "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away." While this is true, I have larger concepts to deal with in this post. 
  7. This is explicitly a placeholder in case I've forgotten something. 

So what's this article about, then?
Two statements which bug me. Not so much simply because I disagree with them, but why I disagree with them.

1)  "To me, ownership of a handgun tells me that you've more or less given up on civilization."

There are two ways to parse this, and both of them have troubling implications. The first is the assertion that anyone who owns a handgun is, effectively, a savage. After all, isn't that "giving up on civilization" means -- saying "screw it" and either figuratively or literally embracing the ways of wild barbarism in order to eschew civilization? If you give up on civilization, aren't you ipso facto uncivilized? I find it troubling that, the author is effectively dehumanizing those who disagree with him by calling them unworthy of being able to exist within civilization.

The second possible interpretation, albeit unspoken, is that anyone who chooses to own a handgun as opposed to owning one as part of their job, i.e. the military and the police, has given up on civilization. This is actually far more troubling to me than the former, as it ties into the second objectionable statement below.

2) "I do not own a gun for the same reason I do not filter my own drinking water or generate my own electricity - I live in a city, where, for a reasonable price, security, like water or electricity, is provided by trained professionals."

With this statement, the author is essentially saying "I don't need to protect myself, there are people who will do that for me." And, referring back to statement one above, these trained professionals are either savages (because they carry handguns) or -- and this is actually the worse interpretation -- he supports the creation of police as "a separate moral species, specially bred for violence, to be called from their fortified compound to vacuum up problems and guilt."
Not-really-pacifist “pacifist” liberals, I find, often get wrapped up in a recurring ideological process of shedding and assigning guilt. I wouldn’t touch a gun. I’ll just call my paid servant the policeman to come and shoot my assailant for me. My hands stay clean of gunshot residue and other stains; he wields the horrid gun and the moral responsibility, and quandary, of using deadly force – which I’ll endlessly analyze with my colleagues over dinner. And if it really was my ass that was saved, we’ll all congratulate ourselves for maintaining our “pacifist” guiltlessness, while romanticizing the guy who did the dirty work for us.
"The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights", The Polemicist, 1/31/13
Later, the Polemicist (correctly) calls our current concept of police a "quasi-professional caste created to be my absolving wet workers".  This troubles me, and it ought to trouble all of you, because it once again reinforces the concept that handgun owners are The Other:  a thing which is not human, and doesn't deserve to exist within polite society, and yet which society needs for protection because truly civilized beings don't engage in such behavior.

Or put another way, because I am a gigantic nerd and sometimes people do better with fantastic analogies:
  • Elves/Starfleet Officers/My Little Ponies do not believe in violence, as it is barbaric and uncivilized. 
  • However, sometimes violence is necessary to defend Lothlorien/The Federation/Equestria. 
  • But because civilized beings in a civilized society don't DO violence, that violence must be subcontracted out to Orcs/Klingons/Griffons. 
  • This creates a "moral slave class" of Orcs/Klingons/Griffons, who are looked down upon because they do the filthy work of necessity. 
  • Therefore, Elven/Federation/Equestrian Civilization (which is pacifist) is protected by the warlike and uncivilized (who are hated and feared and shunned) and yet whose service is admirable and lauded because it is necessary for the continuation of civilization. 
  • And somehow, the disconnect between these two positions isn't noticed by those espousing this philosophy.

This individual posits a society where predators protect their prey, and yet still believes that the prey will be in charge of the predators because it's in the predator's best interests to keep their prey happy.

What does this remind me of, again? Ah, yes. A slaughterhouse.

But, Erin, the police aren't predators.

An excellent point. Why then do we treat them as the only ones with moral dispensation to kill? And why are we surprised when, treating them as such, they increasingly see us not as citizens but as the enemy?

My position is that treating law enforcement as a separate class, the Morlocks to our Eloi, is dangerous and wrong and will only result in greater "us versus them" confrontations where the purpose of "protecting and serving" comes dead last and the Thin Blue Lie is to be upheld no matter what egregious violations occur.

If, on the other hand, we stop looking at the police as state-sanctioned gunmen and instead return to Sir Robert Peel's Principles of Policing, we would realize that "the police are the public and that the public are the police."  This would handily reduce the "us versus them" conflict. 

It would, however, require certain people to face the uncomfortable truth that the dirty matter of self-defense is not something to be pawned off onto some moral scapegoat in uniform, but a duty that is an inherent to humanity as is the duty to keep oneself fed and clothed -- in other words, it's your own damn duty as an adult to keep yourself alive. But that would be icky for certain people, and we certainly can't have that in today's enlightened society. 

Ickiness today, or civil war tomorrow. I know what my choice is. What's yours?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #50

Another exciting episode of The GunBlog VarietyCast helmed by Adam and Sean!
  • Erin Palette tells us some of the interesting uses for Superglue.
  • We already know that Mullah Omar is dead. But Nicki Kenyon explains how the time of his death tells us interesting things about our supposed allies in Pakistan.
  • Special Guest Dr. Brian Anse Patrick joins us to talk about how media misinformation convinces low information voters that gun control is a good idea. 
  • Barron B talks about Windows 10.
  • And Weer'd finally does an audio fisk of our Gun Grabber-in-Chief, President Obama. 
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. A special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense. Make sure to use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off anything you buy.
Listen to the podcast here.
Show notes may be found here.
Make sure to like us on Facebook! And you can also like Dysis Δύσις Sorrentino, Sean's faithful dog.

Friday, July 31, 2015

SHTFriday: Sabotage

I forgot to link to my 7/31 article titled "How Will You Deal With Sabotage?" at Blue Collar Prepping. 

So on the off chance that people who read my blog here don't have a subscription to (or otherwise check on) BCP blog, now's your chance to go read it.

This post has been backdated for chronological continuity. I actually wrote it on Monday, 8/3, because I derped and forgot to write it on Friday 7/31.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Picture Worth About 162 Words

I'm phoning it in this week. My granddad died Saturday, I think I'm getting a sinus infection, I just installed Windows 10 and I seem to have misplaced OpenOffice, so I'm going to leave you all with a picture gleaned from the comments section of a recent Gawker article regarding ousted Reddit CEO Ellen Pao and their narrative that it was rampant misogyny that drove her out.

"Pending Approval."

That's the sound of a narrative breaking in the head of someone that was Listen and Believe-ing hardcore. Gawker's in flames, and their only hope is trying to pretend everyone's surprised that a 60 year old man said something racist years ago. Here's hoping Hogan's lawyers leg-drop them through the judge's bench. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

WNW: Guided Meditation

It's bad enough that I have this thing going on where my mind blanks on the proper names for things. But now I'm having trouble typing coherently. In an email I wrote "Ye I fond hat" rather than "Yes, I found that."

Said one wag on Facebook: When you find that fond hat, you'll find your mind - it's inside the hat. Well, that makes as much sense as anything else in my life.

But instead of starting to worry that there's something neurologically wrong with me, I will listen to Fuck That: A Guided Meditation.

No, seriously, give it a listen. It's surprisingly relaxing. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Traveller Tuesday: Random Thoughts about the IISS

Because someone on the Traveller Facebook group posted a picture that caused me to riff, here are just my idle musings about the Scouts in no particular order.

My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.

Scout service uniform colors are officially silver and flat dark earth, with imperial red accents. Ostensibly, these colors are supposed to be symbolic:
  • Silver represents the unknown void of space, both jump- and regular. (The Imperial Navy already laid claim to black, and silver is more romantic in a dreamy, nebulaic* sort of way.
  • Flat dark earth represents fertile soil -- both the soil of home, and that of new planets Scouts seek to find. 
  • Imperial red represents the sacrifices made by all Scouts, and wearing this color honors their service and memory.
* NO, I don't mean nebulous. I literally meant "like a nebula". 

These are the official reasons. However, during long missions older scouts like to tell junior members this plausible tale: 

"Tenderfoot, you stay on expedition long enough and soon all your clothes end up looking the same colors. All that dirt, all that washing in recycled water, and pretty much all the colors fade to a dull gray-white and all your whites acquire a sweaty beige grunge. And some fool will invariably leave something red in the wash and give everything a pink tinge. So the Eagles on Sylea, knowing what Scouts get up to and what we give a damn about, decided that they'd make the official uniform in un-faded colors to begin with. This way, we're still considered 'in uniform' no matter how long we've been in the field."

Typical Scout service fatigues look a bit like the picture above (replace the black with flat dark earth, add some red trim on collars, shoulders and sleeves, and subtract the strange dangly bits). They are basically a utility jumpsuit with a slightly dressier coat that can be tossed on to look presentable. The jumpsuit fits comfortably under a tailored vacc suit.

Senior Scouts wear white uniforms, with the connotation being that they were in the field so long that everything faded. This is not always true, however (see slang). 

Special Operations Scouts do not have a distinctive uniform. 

  • The proper term for a rookie Scout is Tenderfoot.
  • Especially competent scouts are (informally) known as Badgers.
  • Senior Scouts are referred to as Eagles. This is allegedly because they are the most competent and a comparison is being drawn to the ancient, respected Fraternal Order of Eagle Scouts. 
    • But to anyone in the field, being called an Eagle is a sign of derision: an eagle considers itself above everything else, and its feces always falls on everything below it. 

Naming Conventions
(Some parts reprinted from a previous article)

The Imperial Interstellar Scout Service frequently makes reference to what we would consider pop culture -- frequently science fiction and fantasy. From their perspective, naming a ship out of something from Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who or Battlestar Galactica is just as literary and honorable as NASA naming the first space shuttle Enterprise or the US Navy naming the first nuclear powered submarine after Jules Verne's Nautilus.So if you ever encounter an IISS ship named Thunderbird 3, you ought to know you're dealing with someone who has a respect for the ancient cultural roots of space exploration.

This frequently results in Scouts trying to, essentially, out-nerd each other. Sure, every Scout worth his vacc suit knows what the Delta Flyer is -- but meet one with a ship named Nell and he'll look at you with an expression of "Eh? Eh???" to see if you get it.  If you do, he's impressed; if you don't, he scores social "coup" and you're forced to listen to him explain the mythological roots of the name while you buy the drinks. 

This does however lead to certain unfortunate names, as Scouts attempt to one-up each other. Naming a courier ship Boom Tube is worth a giggle once (twice if it's being used by SpecOps) but it's generally not that funny or clever after that. Naming the Stellar-class liner assigned to an expedition as mobile hospital and R&R ship Cloud 9, however, turns you into the Scout version of someone who thinks its funny to pass gas in elevators or throw rocks at birds of good omen. But naming a Purcell-class Xboat Tender Kearny-Fuchida? That's pure gold.

Scouts -- like all explorers -- are properly superstitious about their ships, and so there is a formalized ritual for un-naming and then re-naming a ship. I imagine it goes something like this.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Gun Accessories I Still Need to Review

I'm writing this post because I need to get into the swing of writing again, and because putting a "to-do" list here ought to help nag me into doing them. It also serves as a sort of "coming attractions" post, and if it encourages folks to go Oooh yes! I really want to know what you think about [product]!, that will only help to accelerate the process. 

In no particular order:

I got this in late April, and needed to tinker with it a bit to get it to accommodate the bent bolt I received for my birthday in March. By the time that happened, it had become too stinky hot to make a trip to the rifle range comfortable. 

I've shot it a few times, but I really want to put at least 100 rounds through the rifle with this new stock before I can write a proper review, and that needs to wait until the weather cools off or I get access to an indoor range that will let me shoot 7.62x54R. 

I bought this at NRAAM this spring, and aside from fooling around with it at home, I haven't used it (see: stinky hot weather). I very much like what I see, though, and I look forward to trying it out with my .22 boltie. 

Various LaserLyte Goodies
Hoo-boy, I have a bunch of these. 
  • Red Center Mass Laser: I mentioned this when I reviewed the green CML last month. I just need to carve out some time to grab my mom's PMR-30 and go to the indoor pistol range to give it a try. I expect good things of it.
  • Laser Trainer Pistols: For sake of completeness, I will be reviewing both the trainer pistol with integral laser and the removable laser cartridge (AKA the LT-PRO) that fits into any gun, including the Trigger Tyme training pistol. Expect a head-to-head, compare & contrast review. 
  • Laser Targets: Another compare and contrast, this time between the no-frills Laser Trainer Target and the much-frillier Score Tyme
  • Laser Plinking Cans:  I could probably review these now, but I feel like I really ought to review the laser trainer pistols first. They are, however, a heck of a lot of fun, and my only complaint is that the fun is over too quickly. 
What's really slowing me down with a review of the trainer pistols and targets is that it's hard to talk about targets without discussing lasers, or lasers without discussing targets, and it's threatening to turn into a massive review where I talk about them all at once. 

My newest acquisition, I haven't really had time to play with it. I'll likely take it to the range the same time I test the Red CML and try them both out on the same pistol (as it's the only pistol we have that possesses an accessory rail, it's a no-brainer).

I will probably end up reviewing the two pistol lasers first, followed by the trainers, and then the Archangel stock and bipod sticks last. 

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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