Stand Down 2017

Two months ago, in “Free Speech Week,” we were covering free speech being censored at a college that used to see itself as a bastion of free speech.
Three months ago, in “Lawless,” we were discussing the aftermath of Charlottesville, gun confiscation, and the emerging threat of political violence.
After the July updates, we suddenly found anti-gun groups having an issue with the licensing schemes they claimed to support.

The year hasn’t exactly been a great one, but as we close this year, there are reasons for at least some form of optimism going into 2018. Even in this year, we have seen events that directly contrast the narrative that the country is irreparably divided. We have discussed as much here in “Optimism” and the post-Harvey “Hope Within Hatred.”

Additionally, we have seen gun control’s ineffectiveness proven scientifically (discussed in November’s Grab Bag back when they were called Grab Bags), polls have shown that Americans believe in due process and support reducing this country’s absurdly high prison population. The attempts to censor free speech at places like Berkeley only led to a debate on free speech, and the emergence of people like Sargon of Akkad and Dave Rubin (both of whom are more liberal in their politics, yet frequently take shots at the left and social justice warriors).

It’s worth noting that the firearms debate is going so well that the Run, for several months, became fairly repetitive.

Firearms, free speech, and due process are looking to be major topics next year; whether we’re talking about national reciprocity, censorship on YouTube and Patreon, or even criminal justice reform.

But outside of the political sphere, it is worth noting that this year saw major disasters that reinforce the need for practicing being prepared for those disasters. From the tornado outbreak in Georgia (in January, no less), to Harvey in Texas, to the (as of this writing) ongoing wildfires in California; the year has proven that being ready for events that “can’t happen here” is actually very important. (This is, of course, leaving aside the major snowstorms that briefly paralyzed portions of the southeast, although not quite to the degree Winter Storm Leon did to Atlanta in 2014).

Survivalism, disaster preparedness, and physical fitness may not get a lot of attention next year (largely due to their rather dry nature and their inability to be politically exploited), but the Run will certainly continue to cover those topics. We will take advantage of the new format to the greatest extent possible, and cover these and many more subjects, up to and including the often-forgotten history of the United States. If there is one major event in the Run that will happen regardless of the format, it is the annual Blowback. There are quite a few things in the pipe for 2018, including long-overdue updates to Debt, as well as Dirt And Blood.

And so, we close the Midnight Run for this year with a new format, a much wider scope, and a series of major articles ahead. We close on a year that has reinforced the need for preparing well ahead of disasters, and proven the tactical ineffectiveness of gun control (which, as Andrew Branca has noted, was blatantly obvious to begin with). It has proven, to be completely frank, that expecting laws to prevent anything or worse, assuming that bad things “can’t happen here” is dangerous at best, and ignorant at worst. This will become a theme for the Run going forward, continuing to focus on the tactics of firearms, and returning to survivalism a lot more frequently than the Run has in the past. (The previous format made exploring such a concept in-depth fairly difficult.)

In short, the Run will be more informative, more in-depth, and will continue to be fairly clinical in 2018.

We resume on the 13th of January, with a quick update on the news from around the firearms/survivalist world. We then jump into an in-depth look at sex trafficking, and its impact on the country as a whole.

Thank you for reading, and as always:

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Newsroom: December 2017

Programming notes: As mentioned back in Worldwide Blueprint we are coming to the close of the Run in 2017. This and one more essay, then we adjourn for the year and reload on January 13th with a news update. However, unlike what was laid out in that Run, the second January update will be a look at sex trafficking.

But, for now, let us discuss the news. This month, Black Friday sales continue to set records, ISIS militants are confirmed in Canada, and “firearms amnesty” in the United Kingdom.

1.) Black Friday. In what is starting to seem as an annual tradition, NICS background checks for Black Friday set a record. 203,086 background checks were run through the system, but multiple firearms can be tied to the same BGC, so the number of firearms sold was likely a lot higher.

Not much more to say there, really.

2.) ISIS in Canada. We already know that ISIS has fighters in the UK, that much has been shown fairly clearly. But now, Canada’s Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, has confirmed that the government is watching a least 60 ISIS fighters in the country. This comes on the heels of an extremely controversial plan to “reintegrate” ISIS fighters back into the country. According to The Daily Caller, Canada’s PM, Justin Trudeau, says that the goal of the program is to “monitor them, we’re also there to help them to let go of that terrorist ideology.” However, Goodale has noted that “once a person has been in a war zone, once they’ve been actively engaged in terrorist-related activities, the capacity to turn them around is pretty remote. That’s why you have to use the other tools, including collecting the evidence and prosecuting wherever and whenever you can.”

This leads to the idea that a person too dangerous to be released from prison shouldn’t be released (which we have discussed here), but the question in this context is a bit more complicated. Namely, should Canadians affiliated with ISIS be allowed back into society at all?

3.) The United Kingdom. By now, you’ve heard that the UK has very little gun crime, compared to the US. The interesting thing is that, in mid-November, we actually saw a 27% increase in gun crime throughout the UK, and the government set up an amnesty program for people to turn in their firearms, no(t many ) questions asked. The event was known as the “National Gun Surrender.”

But, when gun crime is rising by almost 1/4, it is not exactly a point in favor of gun control advocates here. Leaving aside the laughably small hauls gun buybacks tend to pull in around the US.

4.) Gun ownership. Finally tonight, a great article on how gun control, as a policy, is elitist at best, and ineffective at worst. Scott McPherson, over at The Future of Freedom Foundation, brilliantly illustrates how gun control is not so much about crime, and more about exerting self-granted authority.

At its root, gun control is an elitist policy. One group of people decides that by virtue of birth, social status, economic status, or political persuasion, they should control the ownership of firearms. The framers of our Constitution explicitly rejected that notion, lauding instead the value of an armed populace. To protect the right to keep and bear arms, the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791.

Elites are even less comfortable when commoners use guns, in defense of themselves and others. On NBC’s Today former vice president Joe Biden, who is guarded around the clock by Secret Service agents, was asked specifically about Stephen Willeford’s use of an AR-15 rifle to stop a madman who killed twenty-six people in a Texas church. Biden didn’t even acknowledge Willeford’s competence, presence of mind, and incredible heroism on that tragic day, offering dismissively, “Well, first of all, the kind of gun being carried he shouldn’t be carrying.”

Next week, we discuss this year in gun rights, and set the stage for next year.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.