Optimism (Thanksgiving Grab Bag)

Really should start referring to the normal Grab Bags as news updates.

This week, we focus neither on recent news, nor on the latest outrage. Instead, as the year winds down, I find it more reasonable to look at the much more optimistic side of the news; the rare stories that, were they more commonly reported on, would destroy a large portion of the media narrative of a divided country. (Which is largely why they aren’t widely reported on; bad for business.) We also have a few updates to Midnight Run: Hope Within Hatred, to boot.

So while we are shifting focus this week (and frankly, also in December), we still have a fair amount to talk about.

1.) Patriotism. We start this week with what is either badly needed or seriously unnerving, depending on your view. A private (yes, private) school in Missouri has come up with a class in patriotism as part of its military science ciriculum. The class, which is named “Patriotic Education and Fitness,” will cover “modern military customs, U.S. politics and flag protocol and procedures. It will also teach rifle marksmanship, map reading, land navigation and rope knotting,” according to Bloomberg News.

At an event to announce the course, one of the school’s trustees, retired Marine Corps general Terrence Drake, said “I really think that if you give a person the tools of an education, the patriotic yearnings inside of themselves and the leadership tools that can be taught — they will be leaders.” Meanwhile, college President Jerry Davis said that “understanding the military now is more important than ever because we have 99 percent of the population being defended by 1 percent, who are in uniform. We should be more intentional about patriotic education, and from our point of view that needs to occur from kindergarten all the way through college.”

It is worth noting that this class is mandatory at the school.

2.) Daryl Davis. The Washington Post headline sets this next story up best: “A blues musician has a unique hobby: Befriending white supremacists.” It’s a long, detailed report on musician Daryl Davis’ efforts to essentially convince members of the Ku Klux Klan to leave the organization, something Davis has done for three decades. It’s a remarkable story, to be honest. So far, he claims to have convinced 40-50 people to leave the Klan, some of whom even gave him his robes. Davis says he eventually hopes to open a museum with the robes he has.

3.) Firearms. A Constable in Texas has proposed a new solution to helping mitigate mass shootings; abolishing all restrictions on licensed gun owners. Fort Bend County Constable Wayne Thompson, who is also a strong supporter of Constitutional Carry, believes that anyone who can pass a background check and is mentally fit should be able to carry a gun just about everywhere legally. His primary reason is one we have discussed here countless times; hardening soft targets. (We discussed church security briefly in Newtonian, after the Charleston shooting.

4.) Osteen. Updating Midnight Run: Hope Within Hatred now. Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church held a “Worship Relief” concern in October. The concert was free to attend, and apparently standing room only. Osteen said that “Hopefully this will be a small part to help people get back on their feet,” and that “as a church this is the time to shine brighter and to give people hope.”

Osteen took a fair amount of (fairly misguided) heat for not opening the church as a shelter while part of it was flooded. That discussion is over in Hope Within Hatred.

With that, we close out the third-to-last Midnight Run of 2017. Next up we will have one final news update (and from here on they will be termed as such. “Grab Bag” seems a bit too casual.), and we will adjourn for the year with a few final thoughts on the year, and what the major topics will be both for the Run and the firearms world in 2018.

Until then, have a happy Thanksgiving.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Grab Bag: November 2017

The uselessness of gun control is now a matter of scientific record, a suicide prevention organization rebuffs gun control organizations while partnering with a major firearms group, and a word on the Run in 2018.

1.) Programming Notes. A variety of topics for future updates was brought up in Worldwide Blueprint, although none of it was slated to start until Februrary.

After looking over the projects mentioned, I have decided that the Run will keep its usual pattern in January. The second update will be on the sex trafficking industry. This is a Run that, like the update to Debt, is a few years late, and the bi-weekly format allows for the article to get the research and attention it deserves.

Now, onto the news.

2a.) Statistics. A former 538 researcher has published an op-ed in The Washington Post detailing how she once believed gun control worked until she conducted thorough research on the subject. Put bluntly, she discovered that broad-stroke, one-size-for-all legislation is almost counterproductive in its approch, and almost never helps the specific situations that lead to most firearm-related deaths.

2b.) Enforcement. Meanwhile, This Is The Line found a study that found, shockingly, that many gun laws are completely ineffective because they aren’t enforced, and because the laws are ignored by criminals.

The research that gun control laws are ineffective. This goes along with the pre-existing body of research that virtually all gun laws aren’t Constitutional to begin with. (Andrew Branca has regularly noted that almost no gun law can survive strict constitutional scrutiny.)

3.) Anti-gun efforts. When it isn’t stepping on its own PR landmines, the NRA is also covering how anti-gun groups intend to push legislation in the wake of the Vegas shooting. A bulletin by the NRA-ILA outlines a remarkably ambitious (and doomed) wishlist of legislation anti-gun politicians are looking at. The bills range from universal background checks, to opening the firearms industry to a torrent of frivolous lawsuits, to banning “bump fire stocks.”

Of course, with the current Congress (despite a handful of caving Republicans), almost none of this has a chance of being passed. Still, as always, it is worth monitoring to see how politicians react. We figured that the Republicans would be united on healthcare at this point too, and even that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

Sidebar: Open enrollment was sliced from 90 days to 45 days. If you’ve lost your insurer because they withdrew from the exchange, you have to December 15.

3.) Suicide. We’ll get considerably more in-depth on the subject of suicide next year, but for now we have this story about suicide prevention advocates rebuffing gun control groups. A suicide prevention walk organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention took place in San Diego. Moms Demand Action wanted a booth at the event, but the Foundation’s director said that “their organization’s legislative stance related to guns is inconsistent with our efforts. As a suicide prevention organization, we are not in the business of saying who can and cannot own firearms. We are in the business of saving lives.”
Surprisingly, the Foundation has built a relationship with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which apparently has led to a series of very pointed messages from both Moms Demand Action and the Brady Campaign.

Again, as discussed in Worldwide Blueprint, we will get into considerably greater detail on the subject of suicide next year.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.