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.