Stop being a dick. You’re not helping.

So push came to shove and Starbucks went public with a stance on guns in their stores.

I can’t say I blame them. They got pulled into and caught in the middle of something they didn’t ask to be a part of. And let’s be real here; if you got pulled into a sticky messy issue caught between two warring parties, how would you feel? and how would you react?

Now of course, they could have reacted the other way, but I reckon either 1. they believe this is going to do less damage to their bottom line (they have shareholders to deal with, insurance and lawyers, etc.), 2. they are anti-gun (I do suspect a bit of this given how CEO Howard Schultz worded things), 3. some other third thing. I suspect it’s probably 1 and 2, but I’m guessing.  And yes, they have every right to do what they did.

So an article is going around about how we did this to ourselves. It struck me.

Now let me say, I’m conflicted on open carry. I think there are tactical issues and there are political issues. I can see both sides of it, and I don’t fall squarely in either camp (yet). I would like to see open carry be legal and not prohibited, but remember that legal doesn’t mean “good” or “moral” or that it’s a good thing to do (and illegal doesn’t mean bad or immoral or a bad thing to do). I would like to see a day where people carrying a gun openly isn’t considered a big deal; in fact, it may be seen as a positive and responsible act. But, is it always tactically sound to show your hand? Maybe; I’ve heard anecdotes on both sides that show how it can be good and be bad. And politically it can make a powerful statement, but you’ve got to be mindful of how you make your statement and the message you’re sending (here comes my undergraduate and graduate education in speech and human communication).

One reason open carriers do this as a political statement is to help normalize it. But some say it’s stupid and should be kept hidden. Well, politically or tactically? Tactically? Sure. But politically? Well, are you saying my parents – my white father and Korean mother – should have kept themselves hidden during the late 1960’s? They faced massive rejection and racism (even from within our own family). Should they have let all that stop them? Should they have kept themselves hidden? Granted, racism still exists today, but we can argue that we’re at least a little better than we were back then. To see people of other races, of other cultures, to have it always around… it’s normalizing. And so, yes I can understand why open carriers take this approach in their use of open carry as a political statement and action.

But when you make a statement, you have to choose how you make your statement and craft it in a manner that will make your audience receptive to your message; else, naturally, they will reject it.

And I think that’s really what we gun folk have done to ourselves:

We have turned the debate into a joke. Yes, we are all responsible.

Whether youre an (A) “in your face activist” as previously mentioned, or a (B) gun owner who doesnt agree with them but remains silent and thereby complicit, we are all responsible. Own it.

Personally I fall into the latter category (B). I think the first category are a bunch of fools, and open carry is a piss-poor method of carry outside of a few distinct instances. I have remained silent on the issue, but that ends today. I don’t want to be represented as a gun owner by those who choose to act as those described above. A tactical victory is never worth a strategic defeat. In the end this has hurt us in a battle where we are making progress. If we dont “eat our own” and correct these issues, the OTHER SIDE will. We have lost ground due to tomfoolery, chicanery, and general shenanigans. If we don’t get on the same page, we will continue to give up ground.

Much like how we get irritated when the “not terrorist” muslims dont come out and outright condemn muslim terrorist acts and organizations…we are taking the same track by not raising the bullshit flag when we ought to. We have to police our own. No successful organization, entity, or cause embraces personnel or spokesmen who damage the image and value of the brand.

If I can only choose between camp (A) and camp (B), I’m in (B). But I guess by my present writing, that’s stopping. I’ve felt the following for some time, but for whatever reason opted to be quiet about it.

Here’s the problem.

You’re being a dick.

I see this a lot by the visible pro-gun folk out there.

I see various bloggers, on Twitter, on Facebook. It’s really a problem. It’s really bad on Twitter. I see various pro-gun folk even seeking out anti-gun people, engaging them in “debate”, and being a total fucking asshole while doing it.

Oh sure, you are right. Your facts are sound. The other person is totally irrational and emotional. Yes yes, I’m not going to deny any of that.

But it’s your presentation that’s the problem; and that also cannot be denied.

When you tell someone “you’re wrong”, you force them to double-down more strongly on their (wrong) stance.

When you curse them, call them names, engage in the same childish behaviors that you call them out for, you’re making things worse.

I debated calling out some of these pro-gun folks by name, but I’m not ready to do that yet.

But really, think about it. You want them to see your side of things. How are you going to accomplish that if you treat your audience like shit? If you are rude, mean, condescending, and inconsiderate?

That whole “attract more flies with honey than vinegar” thing.

Or maybe better… learn how to win friends and influence people.

The reason these open carry things aren’t working out is because some of those engaging in the act are being assholes about it all. And so when you do this, when you act like an asshole, when the news reports you being an asshole (because face it, most of the mainstream media is anti-gun and so they will relish any opportunity they can to make gun owners look like stupid evil asshats that need to be controlled and broken and driven out of society)… what do you think that’s going to do? That’s going to reinforce the stereotypes, that’s going to strengthen the anti resolve, and it only makes things worse and more difficult to overcome.

Of course, the same can and should be said for anti-gun folk. When you engage in lies, sensationalizing, blood-dancing, knee-jerk reactions, suggestions that have been proven to not work to solve problems that aren’t there, what do you think that’s going to do? How do you think you’ll be perceived?

Maybe take one from LZ Granderson here.

There is no one enemy.

Thus there is no one solution.

Because like it or not, the folks spraying our cities with bullets are not NRA members or legal gun owners. And despite the tendency to tie it all together, they have nothing to do with the Adam Lanzas of the world.

And it’s too early to know how Alexis fits in the conversation.

According to a count by USA Today, more than 900 people have been killed in mass shootings since 2006. The thousands of other victims of gun violence over the past seven years died from many different circumstances, requiring different conversations.

This is why gun-control advocates need to abandon the routine of using mass shootings to turn law-abiding citizens into social pariahs and instead focus on something that could work.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what you are trying to do, what the debate is about, or what side you are on. You will never convince anyone to see your side of things if you’re a dick.

Stop being a dick. Start being more considerate of others.

Or if your whole point is to be a dick? Please grow up, or go away.

Blind people and guns

Iowa is granting permits to acquire or carry guns in public to people who are legally or completely blind.

No one questions the legality of the permits. State law does not allow sheriffs to deny an Iowan the right to carry a weapon based on physical ability.

The quandary centers squarely on public safety. Advocates for the disabled and Iowa law enforcement officers disagree over whether it’s a good idea for visually disabled Iowans to have weapons.

Full story (h/t Eric)

I’ve seen numerous people mentioning this story. Of those I know that are in the anti-gun camp, they just see this as more gun lunacy and how the NRA is infiltrating and destroying everything. Of those on the pro-gun side,  I’ve seen them asking  questions and wondering, because this obviously creates some uncertainty and uncomfortableness.

When my friend Eric posted this on Facebook, here’s how I responded:

An interesting notion for sure. Certainly lots of legal implications involved, but setting those aside…

To me it still comes down to a simple thing: should people be denied the ability (right?) to defend themselves. We could even argue that folks with disabilities are, by nature, at a greater disadvantage and thus could be argued have even more need to have “force equalizers” to make up for the greater disparity caused by their disability. To deny them, to leave them in a position of greater vulnerability, would be wrong. It’s such a popular notion to care for and give special dispensation to the vulnerable, to afford them greater protection — especially by and from the state — would it be right for the state and general populace to deny them the ability?

That isn’t to say it may be right for them to actually do it [meaning: blind people shooting guns, blind people having carry permits, etc.]… but that’s different from the state forcing them into a greater state of vulnerability.

I have taught a few deaf people to shoot guns. They’re actually really good shots because there’s no BANG to make them flinch; quite an advantage. We have to do a little different handling of range commands and teaching style, but that’s not a big deal.

Haven’t taught any blind folks tho. I don’t really have a firm stance on this… quite open to discussion. The above is just my gut reaction, because I don’t see why we (or rather, The State) should deny good people the God-given right to self-defense.

Of course, the State denies all sorts of things all the time. Some of them are right, some of them are wrong, and no matter what we shouldn’t be making legislation off knee-jerk reactions and feelings. Furthermore, legality and morality are (should be) two separate things: just because it’s legal doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right, and just because it’s illegal doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong. As well, just because it’s legal doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea to do, and just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea to avoid.

Because well… you tell me what a blind woman is supposed to do in response to being raped. You acknowledge her blindness puts her at a disadvantage, do you really want to make her more vulnerable? Before you deny her right to self-defense, before you deny her right to life, before you deny her right to choose, before you deny her “women’s health”, offer a better solution.

Good for you, Mayor Stothert

The new Mayor of Omaha, Jean Stothert, just got her concealed handgun permit.

Mayor Jean Stothert is now the proud owner of a black, Austrian-made Glock 26 pistol.

But you might not be able to tell when she’s packing. The mayor says she’s awaiting delivery of a state concealed-carry handgun permit.

“It is not an issue of being afraid,” Stothert said Friday. “It’s an issue of not being afraid to protect myself.”

“Because it is the law, I wanted to really understand what went on in that concealed-carry class,” she added. “I thought, as mayor, I needed to understand.”

Before I go any further, I should give some context.

I was born in Omaha and still have family there. It might be my hometown because of birth, but I no longer consider it so because I’ve lived in Texas for 20 years — far more than I ever lived anywhere else. Austin is home to me. But still, family is there and they have a fair presence in town. I mean, my Dad was US Congressman from Omaha for 8 years, and did spend 6 years as Mayor as well. So there’s some interest in this for me.

Omaha has a lot of violence problems. Lots of gang problems. They worked hard to build things up, to try to combat and deal with it. A recent/former Mayor did a lot to tear down all that hard work and folks tell me things regressed pretty badly under his tenure. Jean Stothert looks to try to remedy things, so here’s hoping. And her getting a permit seems a good step. Because while Nebraska is generally alright in terms of gun laws, Omaha has a lot of weird things because it somehow thought more laws and ordinances would be adhered to by drug gangs. Yeah… people willing to smuggle millions of dollars of pot, heroin, and cocaine somehow care about your ordinance. 🙄 So law-abiding folks get abridged, and this even caused some weirdness for me when I’ve traveled there. Frankly, the laws there are really unclear, especially for visitors. But I don’t want to digress into this, other than to say maybe with this, Mayor Stothert will be able to fix things.

I do appreciate her desire to go through the process to gain first-hand understanding. Wouldn’t it be nice if more politicians gained first-hand experience about matters so they could better do their jobs? And not just doing it for a photo-op.

She does seem to get it:

“People have a right. They have a right according to the Second Amendment,” Stothert said. “And I feel like I want to let people understand that I agree with that right, and I don’t think that restricting gun ownership from responsible gun owners is the way that you address irresponsible (owners), and gun crimes and gun violence in a city.

“You’re not going to be able to restrict guns with responsible people and reduce the gun violence; you’re just not.”

So that’s good.

But this….

“If there is the occasion that I feel like I want to carry it, now I will be able to,” she said. “But I don’t have any intention of carrying it here while I’m at work.”

Members of Stothert’s staff already do. Stothert’s has a rotating security detail of retired Omaha police officers. Chief of Staff Marty Bilek — a retired Douglas County sheriff’s deputy — recently won the right to carry his old service weapon at work.

Because the City-County Building doesn’t allow weapons, Stothert had to seek permission from the Omaha Douglas Public Building Commission for Bilek’s gun.

That bothers me a bit more.

And there’s this:

In her request, Stothert raised the prospect of gunmen targeting random citizens or elected officials in a mass shooting.

“Our request for him to carry a weapon inside city hall is simply another layer of caution,” Stothert said at the time.

Stothert said she’s been threatened before, in phone calls and emails that she declined to elaborate on. The mayor said she hasn’t been threatened since taking office.

“I feel very safe and secure at work. I feel very safe and secure in my home,” the mayor said. “But again, I feel like its a right, and I wanted to exercise my right.”

I’m sure Gabby Giffords felt very safe and secure. In fact, most of us all feel safe and secure, until we get violated.

It’s a question of mindset here. But, I’m not going to totally be mad at her because she admits she did this more for the education than anything else. Plus yes, she has a security detail. Now I recall my Dad having some level of security, but it wasn’t like the Secret Service hovering over him at every moment. Maybe things are different now and she does have more regular security. But if not, just realize, Mayor Stothert, that those holes are when you are more vulnerable.

Yeah, you’ve been threatened. I actually recall my Dad receiving threats. I don’t know the extent of all that he’s dealt with as he chose to shield his children from such things (understandable). But in later years both Mom and Dad have revealed to me they received threats. I have to figure that it’s worse these days… the way things are these days. *sigh*

Anyways, I think what also bugs me is the statement of her security having to “win the right” to carry his service weapon at work.

Since when do we have to “win the right”? There’s something inherently backwards and wrong about that mentality. Just think about it. Should have to win the right to speak freely at the office? on public ground? Should have to win the right to attend the religious service of your choice?

And it’s her security detail. Why should someone tasked with the duty of protecting another have to jump through hoops to do their job? That’s just wrong.

But this is precisely what I hope Mayor Stothert may be able to improve in Omaha. Law-abiding citizens should not have to go through such hassle to go about their law-abiding lives. We need to rebuild a world where good people can live their good lives without abridgement, and only work to abridge those that infringe upon others to freely live their lives.

Good luck, Mayor Stothert.


Paula Bolyard writes:

As I listened to the police scanner during the Boston manhunt, I wasn’t thinking about “police all over the place” in the “personal security guard” sense that Feinstein seemed to be implying.

Instead, I imagined a mother huddled in the nursery with her baby. Her husband is out of town and she is also listening to the police scanner, praying the terrorist doesn’t burst through her back door.

I imagined an 85-year-old World War II veteran living alone. He fought the Nazis on foot across Europe and his government just instructed him to “shelter-in-place.” He turns out the lights in his home and hunches over his radio waiting for updates though the long night.

I wondered if they could protect themselves if the worst happened.

In the middle of that night listening to the Boston police scanner, I evolved.

I realized right then that if I were holed up in my house while a cold-blooded terrorist roamed my neighborhood, I wouldn’t want to be a sitting duck with only a deadbolt lock between me and an armed intruder. There are not enough police and they cannot come to my rescue quickly enough. They carry guns to protect themselves, not me. I knew at that instant if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev showed up at my door while I was “sheltered-in-place” and aimed a gun at my head and only one of us would live, I could pull the trigger.

You can read her complete story here.

Her story resonates with me because I too evolved. I was never against guns and wanting to ban them on the whole, but I didn’t see why anyone needed “a machine gun to hunt Bambi”. Then, Wife was sexually assaulted while taking Oldest (then an infant) out for a walk/push in his stroller. That was my evolutionary moment. It still took me a number of years to come around to owning a gun and carrying a gun, but that moment opened my eyes to many realities about life and the world. That moment set in motion my quest for knowledge, education, and enlightenment about personal safety, crime prevention, etc.. To then own and carry a gun became a logical conclusion, because when you strip away your ignorance, your bias, you emotions and all you have left is fact and harsh realities about the world? Things become pretty clear on their own.


A Grave Duty

Legitimate defense can not only be a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good of the family or of the state.  Unfortunately it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life.  In this case, the fatal outcome is attributable to the aggressor whose action brought it about.

– Evangelium Vitae, section 55

A fuller examination from Mr. Michael T. Barry. (h/t Wife) Please click through and read.

So despite what some “Catholics” might feel and say about gun control, they do not speak for The Church and one should not mistake their opinion for dogma.

Who needs more than 10 rounds?

Apparently Timothy Gramins:

At long last the would-be cop killer crumpled to the pavement.

The whole shootout had lasted 56 seconds, Gramins said…. Gramins had discharged 33 rounds. Four remained in his magazine.

Full story. (h/t John Robideau)

It doesn’t matter that Timothy Gramins is a police officer and was on duty. What matter is he was a man being brutally attacked, and he chose to fight, he chose to live.

And he needed a lot more than 10 rounds to preserve his life.

Who would need more than 10 rounds, indeed.

Some might say that he’s police, and they always get exemptions from the law. It’s precisely because they know there’s no good reason to restrict capacity, because one may well need it, as Sgt. Gramins did. Is there some reason we plebeians should be treated differently? Of Tom Givens‘ 60 students still alive today because they were carrying their gun, the range of shots fired ranged up to 11 shots. That’s more than 10; that’s more than 7. Was the life of this one person not worth it? because I thought “if it saves just one life, then it’s worth it”.

Who would need more than 10 rounds, indeed.

(Aside: another lesson to learn? you’re not dead until you’re dead. Keep fighting. Both Sgt. Gramins and his attacker were brutally wounded, but both kept fighting, both kept working to survive and live. You’ll be dead when you’re dead; meantime, keep fighting.)


Well, at least he admits it

Austin Police Chief Acevedo admits his department cannot keep you safe. That the FBI can’t keep you safe. That the government cannot keep you safe.

“It really illustrates the importance of vigilance,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said. “The police department can’t do it alone. The FBI can’t do it alone, government can’t do it alone. Ultimately, we’re all responsible for safety.”

Full story.

Ultimately WE are responsible for safety.

You are responsible for (your) safety.

And yet, he testifies against campus carry and recently went to Washington DC to testify in favor of gun control proposals that won’t do much to impact crime but will affect your ability to do as he says and be responsible for your own safety.

So Mr. Acevedo, which way is it? I mean, great that you say you support CHL but again, your actions don’t exactly jive.

Nevertheless, it’s nice to see the Austin Chief of Police admit and acknowledge that the only person that can be responsible for your safety is yourself, and that “others” cannot truly keep you safe.

As they say, admitting it is the first step.


More from the police

Sheriff Shayne Heap of Elbert County Colorado. Notable is that he chastised all politicians, regardless of political affiliation — it’s more about their intent.

(h/t ENDO)

Yeah… a lot of recent posts based upon the words of law enforcement. But I figure if you’re going to talk about crime and violence, maybe those that deal with it every day might be worth listening to. I mean, going to Joe Biden for leadership on violence issues is like going to Fred Phelps for leadership on gay rights issues.


…but what do they know

Seems to be generally accepted that listening to the police is A Good Thing.

I mean, these are the people actually out there, dealing with crime and criminals on a daily basis. They might know a thing or two. Certainly when your job causes you to get shot at on a semi-regular basis, you might know something more than someone that lives in an Ivory Tower surrounded by armed guards and never has to look violence in the eye every day.

So with that, PoliceOne surveyed 15,000 law enforcement professionals about gun policy.

Bottom Line Conclusions
Quite clearly, the majority of officers polled oppose the theories brought forth by gun-control advocates who claim that proposed restrictions on weapon capabilities and production would reduce crime.

In fact, many officers responding to this survey seem to feel that those controls will negatively affect their ability to fight violent criminals.

Contrary to what the mainstream media and certain politicians would have us believe, police overwhelmingly favor an armed citizenry, would like to see more guns in the hands of responsible people, and are skeptical of any greater restrictions placed on gun purchase, ownership, or accessibility.

The officers patrolling America’s streets have a deeply-vested interest — and perhaps the most relevant interest — in making sure that decisions related to controlling, monitoring, restricting, as well as supporting and/or prohibiting an armed populace are wise and effective. With this survey, their voice has been heard.

You can read the complete survey questions and results here.

If the ACLU is expressing concern….

… that’s gotta tell you something.

The ACLU has never been much of a friend to gun rights, so when they come out with some hefty reservations about the .gov’s gun control bill?  that ought to tell you something about how crappy the legislation is.

Again, I know of no gun owner that doesn’t want to solve the real problems. But so far there haven’t been any proposals that actually solve the real problems. We just keep getting crap laws like those being passed in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado, and now being proposed on the federal level. Again, if the ACLU thinks the wording of the bill is dangerous, perhaps y’all should listen.

I’ve been a card-carrying member of the ACLU in my past, and I still generally support them because we need groups like them. I wish they weren’t so pick-and-choose about what Constitutional rights they opt to support, but I’m still glad they’re here.