Charlotte

This week, a look at a few different angles on the Charlotte protests. Not necessarily the case itself, but what is happening as a result.

In other words, riots. This week, the inevitable surge in gun sales, a dispatch from STRATFOR from the London riots of 2011, and how the protests are anything but a reflection of local opinion on the matter.

Interestingly, a similar police-involved shooting occurred in Tulsa, although the officer has been charged. We haven’t seen much in the way of protests there.

1.) Firearms. There’s a meme going around right now about “roof Koreans.” The memes are a direct reference to how many Korean-Americans during the Los Angeles riots took guarding their storefronts/livelihoods into their own hands, generally by way of arming themselves.

The meme has seen an uptick recently because of the riots in Charlotte and the self-defense buying spree the riots have caused.

In other words, with the breakdown in order, and with the police overwhelmed (and in some cases actively targeted), many have decided that the best solution to their safety is to get an equalizer.

According to Legal Heat, gun laws in North Carolina are actually very good, including the use of open carry being built into the state’s Consititution. It is clear that many citizens are taking full advantage of that as the city burns around them.

2.) Astroturf. There’s one small issue with the riots in Charlotte: it barely involves the people of Charlotte. According to the police, the overwhelming majority of arrests in the riots are from out-of-state, what the department calls “instigators.”

In other words, the protest is largely made of people who felt the need to insert themselves into the case and cause damage to places they’ve never visited, lived in, or even been aware of. Which probably explains why they can destroy with such abandon; it’s virtually guaranteed that the stuff they are destroying isn’t their’s and they’ll never see it again when the riots subside. The destruction is practically consequence free barring getting arrested.

All of which speaks volumes about those involved.

3.) STRATFOR. It is because riots can apparently happen out of nowhere and with help from out-of-state “instigators” that it is now worth determining what can be done on a practical level. The intelligence firm STRATFOR released an excellent video called “Personal Safety in Riot Situations” back during the London riots. In it, Scott Stewart, STRATFOR’s VP of Tactical Analysis, discusses how to stay ahead of the rioters, monitor communications, and basically prepare yourself should you need to evacuate the area.

Watch the video, study it, and get to determining what you would do in that situation.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Lectern

Breaking from guns to cover a bit of news from the 2016 election. Tonight, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein fail to qualify for the Presidential debates, Stein says people should be “persuaded” to disarmed, and the Southeast looks at a gasoline shortage.

1.) Johnson. The two third-party candidates have not been invited to the presidential debates. Over the last few weeks, Johnson’s supporters have shifted from touting his rise in the polls, to calling the 15% threshold in polls “arbitrary.” Johnson released a statement saying he is not surprised, and that “the Commission is a private organization created 30 years ago by the Republican and Democratic parties for the clear purpose of taking control of the only nationally-televised presidential debates voters will see. At the time of its creation, the leaders of those two parties made no effort to hide the fact that they didn’t want any third party intrusions into their shows.”

2.) Stein. When she’s not saying WiFi is dangerous or facing vandalism charges, Jill Stein is also the Presidential candidate for the Green Party. In a recent interview, Stein said that Americans should be “persuaded to disarm. In response to a question of whether confiscation is too extreme, Stein responded

It’d be hard to do that at this point. So, we establish background checks and assault weapons ban as a floor. And we add to that stripping the gun manufacturers of their immunity — so currently they have immunity right now from lawsuits holding them accountable for dangerous weapons, and for putting those weapons in the hands of dangerous people.

In Norway, Norway really moved forward with gun control by persuading people to give up their guns, and in order to do that you need to have the proper things in place. So in Norway, among other countries, police have also demilitarized and go without guns. Not in all areas of Norway, but in many. And, interestingly, in those districts where police are not armed, they are actually safer. It’s not only the public that is safer but the police are safer because they cease to become targets.

I think we need to begin to move in that direction, and I do believe as a society that we need to disarm because we are now an armed garrison state, and everyone is in the crossfire right now — black lives are in the target hairs, and police are also in the target hairs. We’ve become a culture of open carry — not just guns but assault weapons and sniper rifles.

3.) Gas Shortage. Our infrastructure is extremely fragile. This is becoming incredibly clear this week as a gas line in Alabama is leading to shortages in Georgia.

There isn’t much you can do about it, but we are seeing what happens when a major supply chain breaks down. Consider other supply chains you CAN deal with (namely, storing food and water), and prepare yourself should those lines go down, as Atlanta saw in the rush during Winter Storm Leon.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Responsibility

A couple of updates on law enforcement, plus an anti-gun group discusses “responsible” gun use in the most dangerous manner possible.

1.) “Blue Lives Matter” law. In the wake of high-profile attacks on police, legislation was passed in Louisiana that made attacking an officer/fire/EMS person a hate crime. This law apparently has a wide definition, since the first arrest in which the law was used involved shouting slurs at police officers. Critics of the law have jumped at the charges, with many saying it proves the law was both unnecessary to begin with and would be abused.

2.) Dallas. There is an awesome story from FOX 7 in Austin about a man who was inspired enough by Dallas Police Chief David Brown’s post-shooting “call to serve,” as the network puts it, that he dropped out of college.

After the shootings in Dallas, Chief Brown said that protesters could affect change more directly >by actually getting involved and fixing the problems they see. Applications have surged since then, but it isn’t known how many protesters actually took him up on the offer.

3.) Maine Not unlike that legendary, debatably legal PSA my colleague at This Is The Line covered back in 2014, Bloomberg and Co. are out with a new PSA for “Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership” that features children blasting, for all intents and purposes, randomly in a Forrest among a litany of other safety violations.

Granted, the anti-gun crowd has never been much for actual gun safety. But it might help their cause if they weren’t so obvious about it.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Grab Bag: September 2016

Chicago has the deadliest month in decades, the Chief of Police in Dallas announces his retirement, and surveys show an increase in gun ownership.

1.) Chicago. A favorite point of gun rights advocates is that if gun laws were so effective, Chicago would not have the high homicide rate they do.

That has only gotten worse as of this August, with Chicago seeing its deadliest month in almost two decades. Even CNN has reported on the surging homicide rate. Additionally, with this record-setting month comes the very real possibility of a record-setting year.

This as gun laws are loosened elsewhere, and overall violent crime has collapsed nationwide.

Expect Chicago to become even less of a topic among gun control advocates.

2.) Dallas. On the flipside of the news, we have some good if sad news to report. The Chief of Police for the Dallas PD, David Brown, has announced his retirement after over three decades on the force. Chief Brown says he initially joined the force to deal with a drug problem in his community. This is remarkably in-line with his now-famous comments to protesters, in which he told them to stop merely protesting and follow his lead.

Congratulations to Chief Brown on his retirement.

3.) Gun ownership. As if the surge in background checks and CCW permit applications wasn’t enough of a tip-off, a new Pew Research study shows that gun ownership has increased at least 5-9 points. Of course, this is only people who have openly stated that they own firearms. The numbers from NICS checks and other data suggest that the percentage of gun ownership could very easily be higher.

With Chicago’s crime increasing, overall crime decreasing, and gun ownership surging, there is now no statistical area in which anti-gunners have the advantage.

The emotional tact doesn’t seem to be working well either. It is tough to imagine gun control having much momentum from here on.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

System Update 3

Updating a ton of Midnight Run’s this week. An update on campus carry, Louisiana’s government tries to make a “decent human” permit, and New Jersey could go “shall issue” as Christie hardens his position against his state’s Legislature.

1.) Dildos. Yes. Dildos. Stay with me.

Down in Texas, this fall sees the first academic year where public colleges allow for carrying firearms concealed. Anti-gun groups, known for their obsession with sex organs, responded by modifying the famous Open Holster Protests by putting dildos in the holsters instead. This has led to some….interesting protests around the campus. It was meant to criticize the idea of campus carry, but the Texas division of Students for Concealed Carry decided to take a very different tact.

Focusing on claims that allowing campus carry would stifle freedom of expression, SCC put out a press release embracing the so-called “cocks not Glocks” event. It reads in part:

In keeping with the organization’s long-held position that individuals should enjoy the same rights on college campuses as virtually everywhere else, Students for Concealed Carry fully endorses the burgeoning movement (https://is.gd/BMuFdZ) of Texas college students who wish to openly carry oversized dildos on campus.

It’s also probably the first time SCC has come even close to a sexual innuendo. The organization notes that using the dildo as a club is a felony under Texas law, but students would be on “pretty solid legal ground as long as they use their dildos only as expressions of free speech or for the manufacturers’ intended purpose.”

2.) Cajun Navy. What do you do when your citizens band together to form their own grassroots “navy” to help people stranded in floodwaters?

If you’re the government of Louisiana, you devise a ridiculous permit system that Good Samaritans have to sign up for next time it floods.

WWL, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans, phrases it like this:

Some of these citizen heroes, a loosely-organized group called the ‘Cajun Navy,’ gained national attention for their rescue efforts last week, but that attention is nowhere near the pushback surrounding a lawmaker’s proposal to require permits for citizen rescue groups.

Incidentally, I’d like to remind readers to get a weather radio (preferably one that is Public Alert certified) and a First Aid Kit.

3.) Christie. Chris Christie has started calling for NJ to go “shall issue,” saying he is growing tired of “the relentless campaign by the Democratic legislature to make New Jersey as inhospitable as possible to lawful gun ownership and sales. Instead of remaining an outlier with overly burdensome restrictions of questionable constitutionality, New Jersey should follow the lead of the vast majority of states across the country and simplify, not complicate the ability of responsible citizens, dealers and retailers, to buy, sell and possess firearms as protected by the Second Amendment.”‎

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Bayou

Putting the gun news on hold to do some work on the Louisiana floods. This week, the latest on recovery efforts as waters finally receed, the political fallout, and how private companies are stepping up to help those displaced.

1.) Baseline. Roughly 13 people are dead after record flooding in Louisiana. Upwards of 30,000 people have been displaced and at least 40,000 homes have suffered considerable damage as well. About 1,000 pets have also been rescued as well.

In its most recent blog update, FEMA discussed the nearly 3,800 National Guard members in the area.

2.) Politics. As with Hurricane Katrina, there is a political element to it. Most notably accusations of media bias, as shown in a FOX News article entitled “Media that ripped Bush on Katrina ignores Obama on La. flooding.” President Obama has come under increasing pressure to visit the area, and the White House said late this week that he would be touring the flood zone this coming Tuesday.

GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, on the other hand, has already been in the flood zone in what supporters are calling, among other things, a “brilliant maneuver perfectly timed to complement his campaign revamp.” Critics are not so pleased, noting the Governor’s request that Obama and other figures whose visit would need a massive security detail hold off a week or two before visiting.

3.) Stepping up. Airbnb, a service which allows people to rent out portions of their homes to others, is putting a fair amount of effort into doing their part to help those displaced. The company has set up a page for those in the area to either offer a place to stay, and connecting them with those who lost their homes in the flooding. The company is waiving all fees normally associated with transactions on the site from August 14 to September 6.

4.) Final notes. Over on InSov, Nomad has posted a ton of ways you can help with the relief efforts.

While disaster relief as a whole was beyond the scope of the piece, I would suggest reviewing the topics we discussed back in “Lethal Ignorance.” Get a weather radio, preferably one that supports the National Weather Service’s Specific Area Message Encoding system. Analyze what the big weather threats in your area are (hurricanes in the southeast, massive snowstorms in the northeast, etc.), and equip yourself with the tools you need to stay ahead of them and sustain yourself through them.

Nothing good ever came out of “it can’t happen here.” Find what you need to have, do, and know in case it does.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Thrasher and Rhode

The first Olympic Medal for the US comes from an air rifle shooter, the first woman to medal in six straight Olympics is also a shooter, and why businesses want nothing to do with either of them. Great performances in Rio, but we really need to deal with the stigma of guns.

1.) Thrasher. First off, how cool is it that the first US gold medal is from a shooter with the last name “Thrasher”? Anyway, Ms. Thrasher took gold in the 10 meter air rifle event. Naturally, this has invited a ton of mockery from the perpetually angry anti-gun types in the country.

For her part, Thrasher (and her competitors), have been slightly irritated in how even Olympic sport is politicized if it involves firearms.

2.) Rhode. Normally, you’d think people would absolutely love when a woman competitor sets a record. Apparently that isn’t the case given the staggering lack of coverage of skeet shooter Kim Rhode, who became the first woman in any nation to earn a medal in six straight Olympic Games. (In other words, she has won in Rio this year, London in 2012, Beijing in 2008, Athens in 2004, Sydney in 2000, and of course Atlanta in 1996.)

Six games, meaning she has been at this for over 24 years and has medaled each time she has competed in the Games. That is a massive achievement, but doesn’t seem to be getting nearly as much coverage.

And it’s also not getting much in the way of corporate attention.

3.) Business. Put bluntly, the stigma the media and others have attached to firearms is making it difficult for Olympic shooters to get endorsements from outside of the firearms industry. If there is one upshot to that, it’s this from Bloomberg News:

“You talk about rifles and pistols and people are afraid, especially in Europe with the recent terrorism,’’ said Luciano Rossi, an Italian senator who is also president of the country’s shooting federation, and also vice-president of the international shooting federation. “We must offer a new image of our sport. If the spectators know our sport, they understand and love us, and if they love us, the sponsors come.’’

Considering the recent spike in people (particularly women) in this country getting into either the shooting sports or getting their CCW permits, we are seeing a change in how people (in this country , at least) perceive guns. As that fear dissipates, the environment may get easier for those competitors.

Until then, the very least we can do is recognize these Olympians for their historic achievements and the amount of work it took to get there.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.