Grab Bag: July 2017

We’re going to meet again in just over three days, and Blowback is packed.

The side effect of both is that the week before tends to be rather light.

This week, a massive FBI report sinks more than a few anti-gun narratives, PA looks to allow staff at high schools to carry, and a note from Guns.com about an Italian immigrant who has become a big fan of our Second Amendment.

1.) FBI report. The FBI has published its definitive report into the shooting of Steve Scalise on June 14. The Alexandria report notes that the attacker had two guns on him, both of which accquired from an FFL (meaning a background check took place. In addition, the SKS rifle had been modified to accept detachable magazines. In other words, the shooter skirted what would be an “assault weapons ban” while also showing that universal background checks wouldn’t do much to stop something like the shooting from occurring, as those are merely the same background checks FFLs run, but in private sales.


2.) Guns in schools. The Pennsylvania Senate has approved a bill which would allow school employees to carry weapons given certain requirements. However, the bill still requires approval in the House, and the governor, Democrat Tom Wolf, is opposed to the measure.

The bill’s sponsor says it would allow school districts to protect children, an opponent read a letter by educators from Sandy Hook.

3.) Vianello. As we prepare for the 4th of July, I feel this is a good way to close until our meeting on the night of the 3rd. There is a really quick bit out on Guns.com about an Italian immigrant who came to the US a few years ago, and quickly began to get into firearms, and the history of the Second Amendment. He writes

The Second Amendment, like all the others, is one of the basic rights that every American in every state should defend. I am surprised at the disinformation campaign of the media and the propaganda against firearms and I hope the people of this great country never forget the importance of their right to bear arms.

He’s Italian, but he is also American.

We will discuss the Second Amendment, indeed the Constitution as a whole (and its predecessor), Monday night.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Mandate

Yet another “referendum on Trump” goes in Trump’s favor, a Sheriff in Florida strongly supports an armed citizenry, and the odds of a Conservative court for a generation. The Run is slowing down to prepare for July, so we will close with a few notes on this year’s July editions.

1.) Handel. What was hyped up beforehand as a referendum on Trump, a possible sign of trouble for Trump in 2018, and the first of many victories in “the resistance” to President Trump….ended up being none of that and exclusively in his favor. Karen Handel defeated Jon Ossoff in the race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. The aftermath of which, alongside other “referendums on Trump” that didn’t pan out, led to Democrats trying to blame just about everybody for the loss except themselves. Surprisingly, one Ohio Democrat did observe that “our brand is worse than Trump.”

It also led to a now-famous still of stunned CNN anchors that came to encapsulate both the left’s and the media’s reaction to the Georgia 6th result.

2.) Grady Judd. Very, very few people have the blunt, deadpan style of Polk County, Florida sheriff Grady Judd. Famous for a 2015 press conference where he laid out exactly what would happen if someone drew down on his deputies, he extrapolated on his seriously anti-criminal message this week in an interview with WFTS. After the series of attacks we have seen around the world, Judd has taken the tack that he doesn’t want people to be “sitting ducks.” He notes that police, by nature, will have response times, and that citizens should be able to defend themselves in the intervening time.

He urged citizens to get a firearm, get a license to carry, “and if you need to shoot somebody, shoot them a lot.”

3.) SCOTUS. Reports are emerging this week that Justice Anthony Kennedy, largely regarded as the swing-vote in multiple SCOTUS cases, could be retiring as early as the close of this term. This would give President Trump a second nominee to appoint, and also would tip the balance (if Trump holds to his promises of conservative judges) of the Court significantly to the right for a generation.

It doesn’t take much to wargame exactly where that would lead. It would be a major boon to the survivalist, and indeed the liberty movement as a whole.

4.) Programming Notes: July. I tend to mix things up on occasion. Last year, July saw a series of digressions from the usual newsroom briefs. In addition to the traditional Blowback entry (focused on Independence Day), we discussed everything from First Aid and CPR in Lethal Ignorance, to the true meaning of the Second Amendment in Origins.

This year will follow a similar three-part structure, continuing and supporting Blowback’s original mission of celebrating Independence Day, and being a celebration of the country’s belief in individual liberty over state control, and the associated belief in self-reliance. We will start with Blowback on the night of July 3nd, which will focus on the debates that surrounded both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. We will move onto a discussion on the Free Speech movement, and those actively attempting to silence their opponents through violence among other tactics. We will close by, to the extent we can, updating Lethal Ignorance and expanding it to basic physical fitness (being physically able to handle threats being a key part of surviving them), and the collapsing standards thereof in this country.

This will also change the update schedule somewhat, with a primer for Blowback airing next Saturday, followed by Blowback itself on the 3rd. There will not be a Saturday update that week (Blowback is actually quite large this year, regardless). We return to the normal schedule on July 15th.

The founding documents of our nation, the battle for free speech, and an update to our massive discussion on First Aid and disaster survival; because there is considerably more to the fight for liberty than firearms.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Scalise

We’ve seen violence from the left before, with Antifa, the Berkeley madness, and Sir Bike Lock (also of Berkeley). We’ll be discussing the anti-free speech movement in Berkeley shortly after Blowback.

What we haven’t seen, is a politician being shot as a result of such extremism.

That changed this week, with the shooting of Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise.

1.) Baseline. Let us start with the original shooting. On June 14, 2017, a man walked into a GOP baseball practice and began firing a rifle. The Republicans were there practicing for an annual tradition; a bi-partisan baseball game to support a multitude of charities. The Congressman who was critically injured, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, also happened to be the House Majority Whip. A picture of the shooter soon emerged, and revealed a number of interesting details that essentially destroyed the narratives forming around the case (as tends to happen almost mechanically now). Namely, that he was a Bernie Sanders supporter who had it out for Trump, even going so far to ask if it was Republicans or Democrats on the field, prior to shooting.

He also had a criminal history, including arrests for battery, drunk driving, and resisting arrest. He was shot and killed by Capitol police in the ensuing shootout. (The Congresspeople were unarmed. More on that later.)

Currently, Scalise is expected to make an “excellent recovery, although initially, he was expected to stay in critical for a considerable amount of time.

2.) Noir. Before we go any further, it’s worth noting that the Governor of Virginia went on a pro-gun control rant almost immediately. My InSov colleague over at This is The Line found an absolutely brilliant response from NRATV’s Colion Noir on the absurd reaction from anti-gunners, ranging from suicide rates to their general avoidance of the truth when discussing firearms.

It is a ridiculously good seven minute video that is worth your time.

3.) Aftermath. The revelation that the suspect was anything but a right-wing extremist poked holes in a number of theories. My InSov colleague Catty Conservative found that Huffington Post quietly scrubbed an article essentially saying Trump “must be prosecuted for treason and — if convicted in a court of law — excecuted.”

Not the best thing to post on a public forum.

The more liberal elements of outrage cesspit Twitter didn’t help matters either, looking to advance gun control, and mock Republicans over the shooting.

This mix of vitriol, combined with the violence we saw at the baseball field, at Berkely, and other locations, gave a right-wing group exactly what it needed to re-contextualize the Georgia 6th Congressional race as a matter of not caving into the “violent left.”

4.) Shooting back. Despite being exactly the kind of people who would badly need to be able to protect themselves in the current climate, Congresstypes cannot carry guns. This Is The Line found a report stating that Republicans on the Hill are looking to amp up national reciprocity by dramatically loosening up the District of Columbia’s gun laws, and allowing people who hold permits in other states to carry in the District.

This, presumably, would extend to the members of Congress as well, many of whom very likely hold licenses to carry in their home state.

In other words, the response to the shooting by Republicans is to become harder targets.

Which is exactly what it should be.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Groupthink 2017

Apocalyptic rhetoric from anti-gunners on Constitutional Carry as other anti-gunners look to make misdemeanor hate crimes cost a person their firearms rights, and Brits are looking for their version of the Second Amendment after a series of terror attacks.

1.) Constitutional Carry. At this point, discussing anti-gun criticism feels redundant. It’s essentially a bingo card of end-times rhetoric ranging with increasing severity from “it will put more at risk” to “more children will die” to “all living things shall perish in a sea of fire.”

But, since it is the only stuff the opposition appears to have, by definition it’s the only stuff they can use. And so it is with Constitutional Carry as Everytown satellite Moms Demand Action released a statement against such bills in both Michigan and North Carolina. Interestingly, they refer to the handgun licensing system by the trademark “common-sense” terminology, before going right back to the default “this will put families at risk” rhetoric we’re used to.

2.) Hate crime. A term that is, by itself, completely vague, could now be used to strip people of their gun rights. A new (and, in this Congress, doomed) bill would seek to put “misdemeanor hate crimes” on par with felonies in terms of a permanent loss of gun rights.

Yes, misdemeanors. The definition of which meaing a “minor wrongdoing” or “less serious than a felony.”

3.) My InSov colleague at This is the Line brings us this next story. To the presumed shock of anti-gunners here in the US, the recent terror attacks in London do not have people going for tougher bans on various weapons. If anything, the attacks have galvanized the pro-gun movement in Britain. The logic is one that will sound familiar to American audiences; namely that terrorists can’t stab more people if they are shot mid-stream.

The idea of armed citizens as a defense against terrorism isn’t new. In an interview with ABCNews, INTERPOL had suggested that such a defensive force would be an excellent tactic The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, also suggested that their citizens could help fight terrorists by shooting them.

It’s not a bad tactic, it has great support, and it’s far better than hoping they wouldn’t do anything.

Further, while the shows of solidarity, strength, and patriotism are perfectly fine on their own; an armed citizenry would be an enhancement to the only kind of strength terrorists understand.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Grab Bag: June 2017

It’s worth noting at the start that it appears London is once again dealing with terrorism. Multiple reports from the BBC and Sky News have suggested that the London Bridge “incident” is very much terroristic in nature, on the heels of the Manchester attacks.

As there is not enough information (actually, there is next to no information) on the attacks, we will not focus on them here, and a Tactical Review segment for an event in progress is counterproductive and silly. The only way to glean anything from such a Run would be to base it on wild assumptions and speculate.

Both of which are unacceptable.

This week, Texas lawmakers want allow first responders to carry, Wisconsin wants to go permitless carry, and the Washington Post acknowledges that silencers are anything but silent.

1.) Texas. Continuing a sudden run of pro-self defense legislation, Senators in the Texas legislature approved a bill to allow first responders to carry firearms. This extends to everybody from paramedics to VFDs. The bill was proposed by a Texan firefighter.

2.) Wisconsin. Looking to add itself to the growing list of permitless carry states, Wisconsin is now mulling a bill that would allow the carry of handguns without a permit so long as it was openly carried. The bill had a hearing this week, but whether the bill can actually survive remains to be seen. Opposition has been largely what you expect, including a slightly-differently phrased take on “I support the Second Amendment but”:

Milwaukee Democrat, State Senator Lena Taylor, has a problem with that. “I voted for concealed carry. I believe that people have a right to carry. But I believe that some levels of restriction are appropriate,” Taylor said.

3.) Suppressors. The Washington Post nuked essentially all reason for opposing the use of suppressors this week by publishing their own tests of suppressed guns vs. unsuppressed guns. The results are what readers of the Midnight Run and InSov would likely expect; the can only reduced the sound of the explosion to just barely safe hearing levels, but in no way silenced the weapons.

The takeaway line on this article is the final one

There is little that’s quiet about a firearm with a silencer, unless one also thinks a jackhammer is quiet.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Tactical Review: Shock Value

“What is the world coming to?”
“Who could target teens and children?”
“What sort of person would do this?”

These questions littered social media in the wake of the terror attack in Manchester, England. As this was an attack by an ISIS militant and extremist, the answer was very simple.

The people who could do such a thing are the types who see it as part of a larger strategy. Who fully accept that they may be killed in the process, and indeed see that as an end in itself.

This week, we tackle both events. As usual, we will take a clinical approach to both, focusing on tactics and motives.

1.) Suspects. Shortly after the Manchester attack, Britian’s terror alert system was raised to its highest level, indicating the belief that additional attacks were imminent.

The suspect had traveled to Libya for three weeks, only being in the UK for a few days before executing the attack, according to US officials. Essentially, the theory is that the suspect was radicalized in Libya, in order to carry out attacks in England. This is in-line with recent developments suggesting that the UK government was warned about British extremists returning home.” As we have discussed previously, the primary ISIS tactic, regardless of how the attack is perpetrated, is to radicalize someone, whether by propaganda online or directly in person. This presents a number of challenges for most Western societies, and will (and has) pushed immigration to the forefront in the UK’s coming election, as well as reheating the discussion in the United States. (The UK General Election is still slated for June 8.)

It is also worth noting that, while the suspect may have perpetrated the attack alone, he did not work towards it alone. Police in Britain have made what they call “significant arrests” in locating a network that surrounded the suspect and helped him acquire the materials needed for the attack. The network could be fairly large, as recent government reports have suggested upwards of 23,000 jihadists live in Britain.

2.) Location/Victims. The goal of terrorism is to shock and horrify a society; to completely offend every last one of its values and to engage in violent behavior against extremely vulnerable parts of that society. Ariana Grande is seen as a pop star popular with younger audiences (a “favourite of pre-teens” as one source put it), and as such many teens and younger were in the audience when the attack occurred.

Previous attacks throughout Europe have included the attack on Parliament, the Nice bombings, and the Charlie Hebdo shooting in 2015.

None of which explicitly targeted children and teenagers as this one did. This, as Stratfor’s Fred Burton points out, represents a clear shift in strategy for the terrorist group.

Described at it’s most basic level, the event was a night of entertainment for younger people and (presumably) their families. The attack sent the double-message of making otherwise innocent events like that one a nightmare and showing no compunction against killing teens and children.

And, as there is clearly a network of conspirators, both facts were accepted as necessary for people who saw it as part of a broader strategy. We view it as shocking, we see it as a depraved act and the product of madness.

They see it as a key tactic in terrifying a society and making it appear very, very vulnerable. The definition of “terrorism.”

It’s also worth noting something else in terms of the location; multiple reports suggest that the security at the venue did not check bags, and that this had been a concern weeks in advance.

3.) Final thoughts.. The purpose of this Review is to demonstrate that we’re dealing with people who hold no regard for their life or anyone else’s, and who seek to exploit as many holes in a free society’s laws as they can to achieve their own ends.

It is also to demonstrate that they are not monolithic. There is a network, there are motives, and there are ways to deal with terrorism. Already we’ve seen calls for the British people to gain the right to self-defense that we have in the US.

Shock, horror, and anger are exactly the reactions ISIS is looking for. While there are certainly reasons for such emotion in the wake of the attack, there is also a much stronger avenue against such attacks. By analyzing the weakpoints exploited by the suspects, their tactics, their motives, and in general their strategy; we can see a pattern forming and devise ways to counter the threat.

But, in order to do that, we must remember to do two things above all else: stop thinking of ISIS as a monolithic, almost ethereal entity, and continue to demonstrate strength in the face of a threat that has the explicit purpose of shattering us.

And as always…

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Gestures

Springfield Armory addresses the current controversy with a slick video, a PD in Texas holds a gun buyback, and a torrent of lawsuits planned for Campus Carry in Georgia. Plus, a new bill that would force the death penalty for anybody who murdered police.

1.) Springfield Armory. A long, complication story that was exhaustively covered over at AR15.com has apparently culminated in a slick video from one of that controversy’s main targets. My InSov colleague at This Is The Line found a video Springfield has released trying to both do some serious damage control and reaffirm the company’s support for the Second Amendment.

At this point, you either believe them or you don’t.

2.) Gun Buybacks. For some reason, the police department in Fort Worth, Texas held a gun buyback today. Any guns, $50 gift card, no questions asked.

Not much more to say on that, really. We all know that gun buybacks don’t accomplish their stated goal.

3.) Blue Blood. A bill that would essentially make attempted murder or murder of a first responder a death sentence passed the House this week. Critics call the bill redundant, and argue that it could drive a deeper divide between law enforcement and the community at large. Supporters see it as forcing extremely harsh penalties for those who deliberately target first responders. President Trump has not signaled whether he would sign the bill, but has heavily shown his support for law enforcement, often comparing how he intends to treat them with how he believes his predecessor did.

4.) Campus Carry. After a failed protest at the NRA Convention in Atlanta, and a lot of bluster that went nowhere when the the bill originally was signed, opponents of Georgia’s new Campus Carry bill are now looking to grind the bill down with a ton of lawsuits. The suits are expected to be focused on the grammar in the bill, what the AJC calls “murky language.”

At this point, it’s obvious that campus carry WILL come to Georgia, though how is anybody’s guess at this point.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.