ATTN @CSVG: Your Video Is Bad And You Should Feel Bad

Today, Guns.com (@Guns_com) forwarded me an interesting link. Apparently, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a tiny, Washington, D.C.-based anti-gun lobby that decries lawful self defense as illegal “vigilantism,” put out a halfhearted, amateurish video on Twitter seeking to paint the pro-gun community as bullies and agitators. Called “Mean Tweets,” the video presents a few “unflattering” comments from the #2A Twitter community, cherry picked and read by CSGV’s giggling Liberal staff. How amused the erudite Statists are with the “neanderthal” pushback against their criminal-coddling, collectivist, anti-Liberty agenda! Ha, ha, ha!

Here’s the video:

Unfortunately, if you expected context out of any of the above listed tweets, you haven’t been paying attention: Context is anathema to Liberals in general and anti-gunners in particular, as it tends to defeat their narrative without further argument. My tweet, presumably cited because they hoped to draw some imaginary parallel between my use of an age-old “monkeys at the helm” idiom and racism against black Americans, was in direct response to CSGV’s failure to grasp even the most basic nature of American governance, namely that we are a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy (and that, no, they’re not remotely the same thing). Apparently, this reality offended the folks at the old Coalition, so they included my statement in their video.

If you think that’s a pretty vanilla thing to highlight in a demonstration of the pro-gun community’s perceived “dangerous anger” and “violent nature,” you’re not alone. And it’s not the only such tweet, either. Every single entry on the list is similarly bland. The criticized tweet from @CRWilliams00 is particularly amusing, as is the tenuous conclusion CSGV draws. Quite in line with the think-tank’s (un)ethical position that vigilantism (a euphemism for armed, lawful self defense, remember) has no place in “public safety,” CSGV equates an aggressive, “in-kind” response to genocidal politics and rights-stripping social engineering as — surprise — genocide itself! Clever!

Ultimately, though, CSGV’s video falls flat for a more basic reason: It simply pales in comparison to the evil, vicious, and derisive opprobrium that we Second Amendment advocates receive on a daily basis from the anti-gun community. Here are a few screenshots demonstrating the disparity between the “threats” and “mean tweets” that the two sides of the gun control argument actually face (as compiled by @BigFatDave via Twitter and Facebook):

And, for good measure, here are a few CSGV tweets that demonstrate the outfit’s true character:

CSGV

Still, I think my favorite aspect of all this is how the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is so ineffectual and irrelevant that they had to tweet the video at the recently-cancelled, British, anti-gun extremist @PiersMorgan in the hopes to find a receptive audience (three retweets and counting!). To this, I would simply remind CSGV: Even Serf Morgan has standards, guys. Your video isn’t nearly damning enough to show up on his radar, even if I and some of my friends were American enough to show up on yours.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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Urban Outfitters’ Kent State Sweater Makes Accidental Libertarian Statement

This is amusing:

Kent State Urban Outfitters 2

enhanced-16199-1410759430-11

It seems in poor taste, but only because of Urban Outfitters’ pot-stirring pedigree (etc., etc.) and their obvious target audience. If this was coming from a less disingenuous and demonstrably Leftist company, it might be argued to make an important point about the risks of the public academic system and the police state that relentlessly pervades and seeks to control it.

If the intent for such a statement was there, I’d say the symbolism is powerful indeed. It then wouldn’t be a base joke but a pertinent sociopolitical message. Wearing it would be a legitimate demonstration of defiance and protest against all of the massacre‘s precipitating events, which exist almost everywhere still unchecked to this day.

State-funded Liberal academia + unchallenged police state + unarmed citizens = blood.

If it offends you that someone is making this claim, you’re part of the problem. If it offends you that this conflict exists in the first place, then welcome aboard.

The only thing that offends me is that the cheap piece of clothing was $130 during the brief time it was for sale.

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Ferguson: The Social Need For Wearable Technology Has Been Demonstrated

This is a short piece I’ve written for my friend’s blog, AppAdvice. I used to write there, back when electronics mattered more to me than steel, brass, and lead. I’m not sure they’ll post it, as they try to stay as apolitical and globally neutral as possible. But the idea inside is a valuable one, and while it’s predicated on a moral/social outrage, I think I’ve kept things fairly well vanilla enough for mainstream consumption.

(If you really want to know my thoughts on the Ferguson debacle and don’t follow me on Twitter, here’s my take based on everything we know so far: A bored, petty policeman named Darren Wilson wanted to play nanny by stopping two teenagers for walking in an empty, small-town street. He spoke down to these indignant thugs of young men, one of whom — Michael Brown — verbally responded in kind, as fully expected. Using this as a premeditated excuse to action, Wilson escalated absolutely nothing into a direct physical confrontation by attempting to get out of his cruiser to detain the pair. Naturally, in his gusto to flex his badged muscle, he failed to activate his dashcam or radio for any assistance. He was casual in his perceived superiority. Brown, on the other hand, immediately fought back with violence. Was it preemptive? Perhaps. Was it understandable? Maybe. Was it a monumentally awful idea? Definitely. The cop then shoots the kid as the latter charges in for more, which actually seems to be Wilson’s only justified action in the entire affair. The town erupts. Afterwards, Ferguson PD fumbles the ball on a daily basis, waiting a few days to publicly release unrelated robbery footage involving Brown and waiting 10 days to release the hospital report on Wilson, who allegedly received a broken face in the scuffle. Meanwhile, the Ferguson police chief passed the buck to the highway patrol and county sheriffs while his staff refused to combat looters as they ransacked the city and damaged dozens of businesses, ultimately costing taxpayers, insurance companies, and private citizens millions of dollars. The governor stepped in and pathetically imagined a curfew might help, but he was quickly out of ideas and appealed to the National Guard for assistance. Eric Holder got involved as Barack Obama played golf, calling for two extra autopsies of Brown in an effort to push a false, racist narrative, and the star witness was just yesterday confirmed to be an active fugitive wanted for robbery and filing false statements. The only good guys in this entire stinking affair were the few local business owners who armed up and saved their properties from state-sanctioned destruction. These few brave Americans aside, Ferguson is full to the brim with scum on all sides, and dozens (if not hundreds) of these parasites need to be tried and jailed for their abject immorality. Indeed, how I feel about Ferguson is how I feel about the police state: Let it burn, and vote it out. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the black community will trade their handouts for such new freedom, even after this stark, screaming message from the heavens.)

Now then, the article:

Earlier this week, Apple again became the world’s most valuable company, reaching record stock numbers and once again eclipsing $600 billion in market capitalization. Whether this is a harbinger of greater things to come — or merely the start of recent history repeating — remains to be seen.

However, for those analysts presumably in the know, much of Apple’s current hype, along with much of the brand’s actual future potential, seems predicated on the hope and hype of so-called “wearable technology.” Sure, Apple’s new iPhone will be a hit, and the new iPad will beckon millions of upgrades, but the real excitement (for Wall Street, anyway) seems reserved, somehow, for the oft-rumored “iWatch.” Indeed, many industry experts and investment agencies believe that wearables are the next big thing, some even claiming that the movement will dwarf that of the past decade’s smartphone revolution. Others are skeptical.

And for good reason.

It certainly isn’t easy to ignore that Google’s done its darnedest to build up and sell its Glass product (which, in terms of features and flexibility, seems far more attractive to the consumer than a health-oriented wristwatch could ever be), but the value proposition for a $1500 robot monocle is a little north of laughable, and sales have been expectedly weak. For any technology to make the mass market cut, it’s got to be affordable. But even more than that, as evidenced by high-end computers, television sets, and home entertainment systems that regularly soar past the thousand-dollar mark, the technology has to be socially pertinent.

The technology has to matter.

As the recent events in Ferguson, MO, show, that watershed moment for wearables might have finally arrived.

Without condoning or condemning the unknown (and, more to the point, unknowable) events that precipitated America’s most current sociopolitical outrage, we can look upon the situation as an important crisis of conscience — one that practically begs existing, inexpensive technology to come to the rescue for the noble causes of individual Liberty, Constitutional freedom, and natural law and order.

Consider the common dashcam. Developed decades ago specifically to document law enforcement engagements and combat insurance fraud in both the public and private sectors, the technology is now so commonplace that the average middle class citizen — here and most of the world over — regularly utilizes the concept as a basic safety measure. Even before the dashcam, as far back as World War One, we had the gun camera, a bulky device capable of recording aerial combat (in the most obscenely convoluted and technical manner possible), so that reality and truth in times of dynamic hostility might be more completely understood. Heck, in 1934 — 1934! — one enterprising company was even manufacturing this wonderful thing, for precisely the same reason that such a device (albeit a more safely activated one) seems to be so obviously overdue and necessary here in 2014.

Today, we have effectively reduced the bulk of the above technology into packages the size of postage stamps, complete with tiny all-day batteries and full HD recording capabilities. Had either of the parties involved in the Ferguson event been wearing something like Google Glass or a mounted GoPro camera, we angry and befuddled onlookers might’ve had the whole story presented quickly, believeably, and truthfully, and dozens of private businesses might have been spared a ceaseless, senseless violent riot. Of course, because of cost considerations and an almost nonexistent level of mainstream mindshare regarding wearable technology products in general, neither of the unfortunately involved was wearing any such device, and the moral cloud of uncertainty that hangs over Missouri and all of America is a product of that reluctance.

But there is a silver lining: Almost everyone agrees that it’s simply not worth risking such a preventable occurrence again, from either side and from any perspective.

Finally, the social need for wearable technology has been demonstrated.

Most of this obvious need, on the surface, seems to peg wearable technology products as necessarily camera-oriented, and that might simply be a fundamental reality. Remember, it was with the advent of the iPhone 4 just a few years ago that Apple’s mobile camera module became one of the most popular photography tools in the world, and that trend has only increased, turning even the most antisocial, unremarkable, stoic homebodies among us into insatiable shutterbugs. Before the iPhone, I’d taken fewer than 100 pictures in my entire life. Now, I’ll fill up an empty Photo Stream in a week. There’s no quicker, more comprehensive way to share an idea or a moment in all its glory, and smartphones — aside from their basic voice and text applications — are almost unanimous in their most popular media feature. There seems little reason to think that wearable technology wouldn’t embrace photography and videography in much the same headlining, long-lasting way.

Taken in this context, it perhaps seems that Google is ahead of Apple’s learning curve with regards to where wearable technology needs to go. Their product is based on a head-mounted camera, while Apple’s is (rumored to be) little more than a collection of wrist-ready fitness and environmental/GPS sensors. Of course, nobody really knows how far Apple is willing to go with the iWatch; the thing could very well serve as a sort of central media hub, handling data throughput from any number of external sensors (including, say, a nice HD lapel camera). Also, don’t forget that Apple still owns the industry when it comes to consumer cost of entry, and Tim Cook, for all his “questionable” non-Jobsian ideals, is an unrivaled supply chain wizard. If anyone can get important new products priced right, it’s him.

There’s also another angle to wearables that most people fail to consider, and it’s right in line with the so-far unpersuasive value proposition of existing products: the service provider status quo.

Consider: The reason our expensive smartphones are generally affordable is because of carrier subsidies that exist to make the products — and their requisite services — more agreeable upfront. This business model is aggressively ingrained in the United States, and any disruptions to the established channels are usually subdued and snuffed out with prejudice. Luckily, that’s the best part about this specific equation: If the wearables movement is to address the utility discussed herein, the cellular market’s closely-held service infrastructure needn’t be disturbed at all. This is because, for wearables to be effective at their live-streaming (life-streaming?) functions, they will need a reasonably robust, dedicated data connection. After all, recording an injustice, regardless of the parties involved, is utterly moot if the bad guy gets to your recording device before you can save the footage offsite. Similarly, recording a grind down a rail or a launch off some epic BMX ramp is utterly moot if the ground gets to your recording device before you can save the footage offsite. Live uploads to reliable custom or commercial servers are a prerequisite for this sort of thing to have any functional foothold for the law-enforcement officer or the law-abiding citizen, and our existing mobile carriers are the entities best suited to provide exactly this kind of service. They’d have skin in the game, and that just might save your skin, particularly in the pocketbook.

If most of this seems based upon the ideas — or, more aptly, the fears — of law enforcement abuses and civil rights violations, that’s merely a symptom of the catalyzing force. LEOs are, at the end of the day, mere ordinary people, and wearable technology would keep the crooked ones more honest. Like most folks, most police are upstanding citizens. But many are corruptible, if even just once in the heat of the moment. For those that believe their badge gives them power, a wearable, always-on camera would serve to check that power so that these public servants might better serve you and me.

But wearable technology of this kind isn’t limited to some us-versus-them challenge to overreaching authority. It has its place in almost every facet of everything we do. Press a button to upload the last 30 seconds to your iCloud account? I can’t tell you how many article ideas and comic outlines and one-liners and forever disassembled electronic components and smiles and sunsets I’d have saved over the years if I’d had something like that at my immediate disposal. The applications are endless to our public lives. And to our private lives, too.

But what about those private lives?

This will undoubtedly be the chief consideration holding back the adoption of any pervasive consumer recording technology, particularly any tech with the clip-on ease-of-use of the aforementioned wearables. Unfortunately, in the wake of the ever-growing, continually unchecked invasions of American and international privacy spearheaded by our own NSA over the last decade, I may be a bit too cynical to effectively argue this important issue one way or the other.

My musings here are limited to this: For me personally, wearables would seem to be inherently governed by the same rules we take for granted when it comes smartphone cameras, webcams, video recorders, microphones, etc. We each have — and would presumably continue to have — the same expectations of privacy in our private homes and on our private lands. Others may righfully champion the cause that our individual rights to privacy extend into the public square, but I’ve got plenty of reservations about the pragmatic legitimacy of that notion, especially today. So I live accordingly: When I step out among people, I’m an open book.

Wearables would simply make my chapters more comprehensive and entertaining, and they might just keep the story from ending on a sour note.

I’d rather be a comedy than a tragedy.

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Dr. Ben Carson Is Anti-Gun

Dr. Ben Carson, considered by many to be a promising Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential election, is an intelligent, capable, reasonable man in most respects, and he’s getting an awful lot of support from Conservative Americans across the Right side of the political spectrum. He’s an eloquent, modest minority who achieved his fame on the strength of his medical talent and work ethic, and he represents a large swath of folks who, long tired of Barack Obama’s seeming undeserved place on the podium, want a candidate who came from little to achieve wild success in both principle and in practice. They want someone who embodies the American spirit, not just the Hollywood spirit. They want someone who’s a celebrity because they’re great, not who’s great because they’re a celebrity.

There’s only one problem, and a great many well-meaning right-wing Americans are completely dismissive of it:

Ben Carson is against the Second Amendment.

When Glenn Beck interviewed Carson in early 2013 and asked him about the American people’s right to own “semi-automatic weapons” (you know, everything but revolvers, bolt-action rifles, and pump shotguns), the neurosurgeon and best-selling author had this to say:

It depends on where you live… I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it… If you live out in the country somewhere by yourself, I’ve no problem [with that].

In other words, arbitrary geography within American borders, coupled with the fear of “crazy” people, determines each law-abiding American citizen’s Constitutional “allowance.”

Ever since that interview, Carson has been trying to distance himself from this piteous stance. Unfortunately, the tactics he employs are mere deflection and revisionist history, and they’re indicative of a mindset that not only refuses to acknowledge profound naiveté, but one that also seeks to contort that childish view into some kind of “reasonable” political platform that eager, hopeful fans are too quick to consume. Instead of simply disowning an obviously contemptible policy, he hides from it behind cries of “misinterpretation” and “misrepresentation.”

Last week, though, he finally made his position absolutely clear. Speaking at the Western Conservative Summit on July 19, Carson expounded his position profoundly. For the complete speech and a transcript of the appropriate sections, please read and view CNS News’ exclusive coverage of the event.

Here are Carson’s assertions (as transcribed and summarized by CNSNews) and my reactions to them:

Dr. Ben Carson…said the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution was put there so Americans could support the military, if needed, during a domestic invasion but “more importantly, so that people could protect themselves from an overly aggressive government, if that ever happened.”

Carson added that gun rights under the 2nd Amendment are “vitally important,” that he “would never compromise the 2nd Amendment in any way…”

Good start. While I’d challenge his interpretation of the Second Amendment’s historical impetus, I support Carson’s stance here.

“So we absolutely cannot compromise that because all we have to do is look back through history and see what happened when various dictators rose to power,” said Carson. “One of the first things they always did was confiscate the weapons. So we don’t ever want to allow that situation to occur…”

Again, I agree wholeheartedly.

“We don’t even necessarily want them to know who has weapons,” he said.

Wait, what? “We don’t even necessarily want [the government] to know who has weapons”? That seems kind of ambiguous and unsettled, doesn’t it? At the very least, Carson is leaving the door open to “justifiable” state and federal firearms registration. And since registration is directly linked to confiscation, this seems to contradict his entire premise so far.

Dr. Carson continued, “What I have said, which has caused some people concern, is that there are areas of our society where there is an inordinate amount of gun violence, and sometimes very heavy weaponry is utilized. What we need to be able to do is to sit down and have a discussion about, is there a way to ameliorate that situation?”

Uh-oh. Carson wants to “ameliorate” the “utiliz[ation]” of this “very heavy weaponry”? Like the technologically inferior “high-capacity” semiautomatic rifles and handguns that we civilians have access to because we’re already precluded from possessing the same small armament as various state and federal agencies, LEOs, and our own military? That “very heavy weaponry”? This is a giant caveat for Carson’s “pro”-Second Amendment position. It is a catch-all, and it’s completely intentional. But there’s more:

“And also, is there a way to keep weapons out of the hands of people who are mentally ill without compromising any provision of the 2nd Amendment,” said Carson. “That’s what I’ve said. We need to be able to do that.”

And there it is. The “mentally ill.” You know, the same people already federally and locally precluded in all 50 states from possessing firearms in the event that they are non-voluntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital or if they commit a crime but are adjudicated mentally defective.

What Carson seems open to here is an anthropomorphized idea of “prior restraint” and the fallacy of “pre-crime.” Having a disability — even a severe one — doesn’t justify the abridgment, suspension, or elimination of any American citizen’s Constitutionally enumerated natural rights. Having a disability isn’t a criminal act. There is no such thing as “normal,” and there is no surer way to disarm America in just a single generation’s time than by mandating an ever-changing, politically-dynamic, media-driven definition of “sanity.” Carson knows this. But the good bad doctor would allow third parties outside of the court system — and in the absence of the commission of any crime whatsoever — to determine whose Second Amendment rights “count” and whose don’t.

Dr. Ben Carson might be a true Constitutional Conservative in every other sense. But none of that matters if he is “open” to modifying and subjugating our most important natural right.

Let’s just hope he’s not the lesser of two evils come November 2016.

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Ft. Hood 2: Contact Your Representatives About H.R. 3199

Yesterday, in a poignant display of the utter lack of leadership from our political representatives and military bureaucrats, Fort Hood suffered its second mass shooting in less than five years. Nidal Hasan, the Muslim terrorist responsible for killing 13 Americans and injuring more than 30 others in November 2009, is still awaiting execution. Thankfully, Fort Hood’s latest shooter, Ivan Lopez, is already dead, having killed himself like the coward he was.

That’s hardly a silver lining, as Lopez took three American Patriots with him and injured — some perhaps critically — at least 16 more. Equally disturbing is that, unlike Hasan, Lopez carried out his murder spree without ever facing even a single instance of armed resistance. That’s because longstanding base policy — and indeed American law — denies our servicemen and -women the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights while in “non-combat” service to their country. Yes, American army bases, just like American naval shipyards, are deadly gun free zones.

All the more enraging, then, is the fact that House Resolution 3199, the Safe Military Bases Act, has been tied up in Congress for over a half a year, receiving little debate and even less support from our elected officials. Steve Stockman (R, TX) introduced H.R. 3199 on September 26, 2013, in an effort to eliminate former president Bill Clinton’s 1993 executive order forbidding personal firearms carry on military bases. Section 2(b) of the proposal (PDF source) explicitly addresses the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, its language now doubly relevant:

(1) In both the Fort Hood and Navy Yard shootings, military personnel unable to carry firearms by the military gun bans were unable to stop the shooters.

(5) Following the Fort Hood terrorist attack, the world—including the Navy Yard shooter—learned that post-gun-ban military bases are inadequately defended targets. Such shootings may happen again as long as military personnel are disarmed.

According to GovTrack.us, however, this legislation has been effectively shelved with only a four percent chance of passing committee and a one percent chance of becoming law.

That is completely unacceptable to me.

To most of our military veterans, it is quite a lot more than that: It is an abject affront to American allegiance, a hard slap in the face of every American serviceperson past, present, and future. My good friend, Navy veteran @bigfatdave, was moved to immediate action. He emailed me the following template, expressing his disdain for this patently dangerous, un-American status quo. He asked me to edit it, but I didn’t. The tone is just right:

[worthless scum in Congress seat],

Why is H.R. 3199 Safe Military Bases Act still in committee, rather than being passed last year?

I am contacting every veteran I can from my service days and in [the idiot area that elected the congressthing being written] to demand accountability on H.R. 3199.

Thanks to a bickering, partisan, and ineffective Congress, we now have a Ft. Hood 2. There is no excuse for denying our service members their fundamental, human, Constitutionally enumerated right to self-defense. A sidearm should be part of the uniform, as far as I’m concerned.

Look at H.R. 3199 as a compromise.

I expect a rapid response, and your vocal advocacy to pass H.R. 3199 immediately.

Signed,

[rank/title and name]

Outraged veterans, please don’t hesitate to copy the above, fill in the appropriate blanks, and send this off to your elected Congressional representatives. And if you didn’t serve, that’s okay, too. Just sign your name and flood those inboxes. If you’re active on Twitter, be sure to follow @bigfatdave, and include the #HR3199 hashtag in your tweets on the subject.

Let’s get this trending so this terrible trend can finally stop.

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Rifling Through SHOT For The Best In Show

According to most (but not all) folks with floor time at SHOT 2014, the new Remington R51 was the critical favorite going in and the overall winner, a “new classic,” and Best in Show (though there’s no such award) going out. As a die-hard carry advocate and single-stack 9mm enthusiast, I’d be compelled to agree, if it weren’t for the fact that the manufacturer is owned by the often mechanically- and politically-inept Freedom Group and that — more to the point — Remington failed to provide any testable R51s for the media’s SHOT Show Range Day. Granted they had an invite-only shooting showcase for review industry big-wigs a couple of weeks prior, that’s hardly the same thing.

Still, the R51, based on John Pedersen’s original Remington Model 51, represents a truly unique and exciting bit of kit in the compact 9mm arena, made all the more compelling by its all-metal design and historically lauded “hesitation locked” delayed blowback action that promises to keep the recoil (and recoil spring) lighter and more forgiving than anything else in its class on the market. The gun simply has a lot going for it (including my preorder).

But one gun — or, rather, two guns — means a whole lot more, for the industry and maker alike: Kel-Tec’s RDB/M43. Here’s a picture of the pair in all their glory, from The Firearm Blog:

rdbm43

In a world full of .223/5.56 bullpups, one might miss or overlook the importance of Cocoa Beach’s latest offering. But the RDB/M43 matters, for a couple of different reasons.

First, the new bullpup platform is natively ambidextrous. That means that, unlike competitive rifles from the likes of Steyr, MSAR, and Tavor (which each require the user to swap parts and ports), the RDB/M43 is Lefty ready — and Righty refined — right out of the box. Shoot with one hand, transition to the other, and never have this happen:

leftybullpupeject

How did Kel-Tec accomplish such a comfortable feat? Because they designed the RDB/M43 to eject from the bottom behind the action and magazine well, dropping hot brass right under the shooter’s armpit and right out of the way. In fact, that’s what “RDB” stands for: “Rifle, Downward-eject Bullpup.” The concept isn’t necessarily new, as the FNH P90 utilizes a similar setup to deal with spent brass, as do many belt-fed machine guns, but these rely on specialized “top-feeding” systems that are impractical and can cause ammo compatibility issues (as noted by John Traveler1 of GBO Forums). Other bullpups, including Kel-Tec’s own .308 RFB and FNH’s F2000, utilize a “forward eject” design to deal with the issue, but such a mechanism is mechanically complex, failure-prone, and time-intensive to manufacture, requiring resources that, in Kel-Tec’s case, are better and more efficiently spent elsewhere on the production line. That’s one of the reasons why the company’s RFB costs so much and is so hard to find: there just aren’t that many of them out there, and Kel-Tec makes much more money making their much simpler handguns.

And it’s the functional need for that simplicity that brings us to the second — and second-to-none — deal in all this, that Kel-Tec’s bottom-eject revelation might mark an actual revolution on the factory floor. Considering that the largest and longest-persisting knock against the company is that it consistently fails to meet long gun demand, this could be a long-overdue coup for frustrated fans of the brand and potential buyers alike. And though the RDB/M43 unveiling was met overwhelmingly with typical “vaporware” skepticism (RMR-30, anyone?), the optimist in me wants to believe that this time around will be a total turnaround.

And there’s good reason for such hope.

Reporting from the show floor, Guns America called the solution “ingeniously simple.” (That, of course, seems to be the calling card of Kel-Tec founder and chief designer George Kellgren. The bolt on the SU-16 comes to mind, as does the PMR-30’s brilliant magazine design.) By eliminating the time and manpower it takes to produce the RDB/M43, Kel-Tec might actually be primed to finally meet their growing backlog of long gun demand. Furthermore, I believe their new bottom-eject philosophy will eventually force the venerable RFB out of the market, as it makes technical and financial sense to port the RDB/M43’s big-bore big brother to the former’s new and improved action profile. Collectors, the time is nigh to get on the auction sites and get that hard-hitting unicorn before it goes extinct.

So, to answer the headline’s heady question, Remington came up just a couple of rifles short of taking home SHOT Show 2014’s top honor. At least, it will have if Kel-Tec actually manages meeting its Q4 deadline with reasonable availability and no unreasonable markup on the RDB’s $2000 MSRP.

[Note: There is actually one more takeaway from Kel-Tec's new rifle announcement (though it may not amount to much and only warrants cursory coverage): the existence of the M43 itself. This rifle represents the first ever steel-and-wood production firearm from the company, and -- its $3000 MSRP notwithstanding -- it could usher in a new era where Kel-Tec finally has the mettle to meddle in metal. I'd sure like to have an M43 myself, but the above bit of wordplay's likely the closest I'm going to get.]

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Inviting Mainstream Scrutiny And Legislative Action, Or How Not To Market Your Fringe Firearms Accessories

While this year’s SHOT Show produced much to be excited about, one of the trends emerging from the industry’s very public victory over gun-grabbers in the White House and around the country is that smaller, niche companies are being emboldened to push the envelope of mainstream firearms/accessories acceptance. In doing so, they are expressly challenging the Left, antagonizing an outspoken legislative faction — and courting legislative action — with products seemingly designed with exactly (only?) that in mind.

Don’t get me wrong: I am a fundamental Constitutionalist (or Constitutional fundamentalist, if you like), and I believe that America’s greatness, past and present and future, is predicated on the Second Amendment first and foremost. It is my contention that no class of small arms or accessories (think select-fire guns, SBRs, suppressors, etc.) should be banned from the law-abiding American public. Anything that limits — physically or financially — that most sacred right is an un-Constitutional affront to the history, sovereignty, and individual liberty of the United States of America and its Citizens.

That said, there is a natural time and place when it comes to marketing “controversial” products, especially in a world where mainstream media outlets and broadcast properties are so scared of the Progressive-framed firearms stigma that they rush to ban benign, upstanding ads like this wholesome spot from Daniel Defense.

Take Slide Fire, the veteran polymer stock manufacturer. Their products, designed to simplify the act of “bump-firing” various popular sporting rifles, are fairly desirable for the target-burners out there eager to simulate (as approximately as legally possible) the fun of fully-automatic rifle fire. Though their market is limited, both by the recent ammunition shortage and by the shooting public’s general reticence to blow through a bunch of Benjamins at the range, everyone who bump-fires (or wants to) already knows about the brand. In other words, Slide Fire doesn’t really need a national ad campaign to raise product awareness or increase sales. And they certainly didn’t need to do this:

As true as the ad absolutely is, by running it in a notoriously crime-ridden Gun Free Zone like Chicago, Slide Fire is doing little more than fanning the flames of Liberal outrage. Naturally, the private company can spend its funds as it sees fit, but doing so in a city where the brand’s products have no presence — and cannot, by legislative design, even gain a foothold (this recent ruling notwithstanding) — seems shortsighted and counterproductive. Remember, President Barack Obama hails from Kenya Indonesia Hawaii Chicago; his close political acquaintances still run the show in that region. And you can be sure they whisper sweet Communist anti-gun nothings into his great big ears, too.

Slide Fire stocks are an expensive novelty, safely used for years by responsible firearms enthusiasts, and they’ve never — to my knowledge — been employed or even implicated in the commission of any crime. They’re also bound to be the first commercial products on any “bipartisan” Congressional chopping block. For this reason alone, the company should tread very lightly. I admire Slide Fire’s boldness and message, but the rollout seems a bit foolhardy.

Unfortunately, Slide Fire isn’t the only company spurring the ribs of the perpetually beaten dead horse of Progressive gun control. A pair of bullet manufacturers have also been hogging the early-2014 limelight with radical new designs marketed as huge leaps forward in destructive, scary-to-Liberals, “one-shot-kill” technology.

The first, Advanced Ballistics Concepts’ Multiple Impact Bullet (formerly the Triple Threat T3, only that name was, ironically, already taken by a Liberal Arts youth non-profit) is a modern twist on the unwieldy, obsolete chain-shot and bolo rounds of yesteryear. The MIB has made a big splash in the mainstream media, resulting in coverage from the likes of CNN Money, the New York Daily News, and the Liberal, fear-mongering New York Times.

Naturally, the allure of these groundbreaking (or, rather, paper-target-breaking) bullets comprise claims of efficient lethal (and less-lethal) performance in fleshy targets, like those most commonly proffered by violent human assailants. Somewhat less naturally, ABC has yet to demonstrate the round’s efficacy in properly-calibrated, industry-standard ballistics gelatin. It turns out that physics simply doesn’t seem to be on the MIB’s side: smaller projectiles, less mass, less penetration, smaller wound channels, less cavitation, less stopping power, etc. Also, Robert Farago, writing for The Truth About Guns, had this sure-to-be-echoed-by-gun-banners bit of something to say:

Correct if I’m wrong (perish the thought), but doesn’t expanding the diameter of the area where the bullet — now bullets — will hit increase the chances of a catastrophic miss. In other words, if there’s someone standing next to your intended target and you somehow manage not to aim at center mass (perish the bad guy), you stand a great chance of hitting the innocent person. Indeed, if you miss the BG entirely, there’s a wider area of missinghoodness. (sic)

And then there’s the latest fancy projectile making the rounds: the R.I.P. from G2 Research. The acronym has obvious and intentional connotations, but in this case “R.I.P.” officially means “Radically Invasive Projectile,” which, to anti-gun news agencies and lobbyists, is hardly better. Still, it’s making waves (just, apparently, not shockwaves) in the Conservative Media. In the Liberal media, it’s even worse. Take this “organ destroying” article from the clueless cowards at Betabeat, or this typically-Liberal Gawker writeup from Gizmodo bigwig Jesus Diaz. Negative sensationalism at its finest!

Too bad the novelty is simply not that effective.

The R.I.P. bullet is marketed as “the last round you’ll ever need.” I guess that’s because under-gunned, naive murder victims don’t really require any more bullets.

However, if history is any indication, such an unfortunate scenario is unlikely to play out, because, like the other products mentioned above, the R.I.P. bullet seems destined — by its own hand — to market itself out of existence should Congress decide to take a(n inevitable) piecemeal approach to banning fringe firearms products in the name of the “public good.” Commenters John Snover and Steve Howard over at Breitbart.com break it down so I don’t have to:

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While I appreciate each of these companies’ efforts to produce unique products for firearms enthusiasts, I also appreciate the potential danger to the dialog any mainstream misstep might invite. Going forward, the long-term approach to Liberal gun control will undoubtedly focus most of its might on the redefinition (and ensuing criminalization) of modest mental health “conditions.” However, the bit-by-bit banning of commercial products like the three outspoken above will offer Democrats the easiest short-term path — that is, the path of least resistance from their Congressional Republican counterparts — to further restricting our Second Amendment rights.

Sometimes, you need to fly under the radar.

Sometimes, it’s better to carry concealed.

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Minutemaniac's Cartoon Compendium, Vol. 2

It’s been a while since I posted some cartoons, so I have a fresh batch for your enjoyment (unless, of course, you follow @Patriotoons on Twitter, in which case they’re already very old news). Each one takes me an average of around five hours of work to complete, but it’ll only take you a minute or so to read them all. Fair trade. For you, at least.

While most of these don’t need any clarification (though, for context, it would be helpful if I’d add dates when I draw them), I should probably explain the SportsCenter bit. Or, more lazily, simply link to an explanation. And, as an additional bonus for the gutter mind or innuendo inclined, there’s this NSFW-ish version of the Chris Christie puppet gag.

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Arguing the Anti-Gun, Part 1: Introduction

While the politics of 2013 represented the single hardest push against — and push back for — fundamental firearms rights in United States history, the ferocious rhetoric of anti-gunners on Capitol Hill and around the country is just heating up. And much like a typical rifle barrel, the hotter it gets, the less accurate everything becomes. As true American Patriots and the last, best bastion against governmental gun-grabbers, we cannot afford to respond in kind. As students of the gun, we must pace ourselves, cooly and calmly, refuting every onerous, fallacious claim with strict aim and sound logic, remembering all the while that an argument is only an argument when proper reasoning is the bulls-eye. No shooting from the hip here. This is bench-rest stuff.

Every day, Constitutionalists in general, and adherents of the Second Amendment in particular, are forced by popular fallacy and base emotion to stand on the constant defensive, with little relief from the reality that our God-given, Founder-affirmed Rights are just another Liberal-supported mass murder from vanishing under the pen (eraser?) of some power-hungry coward eager to dance on the graves of our undefended dead. Firearms enthusiasts are the perpetual hostage, held so by an exploitative, Leftist, agenda-driven mainstream media. And with every firearms-related tragedy, we are forced to reassert — from under evil cries of “Anarchist!” and “Child killer!” — our most sacred American Right.

Because that’s exactly what the Second Amendment is.

The Right to Bear Arms, by logic and law, upholds and enforces all other free-born rights afforded the American citizen by the United States Constitution, and it remains the only proven guarantor of individual liberties from border to border and sea to shining sea and beyond.

Of course, the firearm itself is not uniquely American by concept or design. Guns were invented long before our Colonial ancestors broke away from tyrannical British rule, evolved from the rockets and fireworks birthed by Chinese gunpowder some 1200 years ago. Today, firearms remain in the equal employ of all nations wishing to stay sovereign behind their borders and every militia intending to alter an oppressive status quo. All this, because the firearm is civilization itself.

Writer Marko Kloos, in his now famous 2007 blog post, explains why:

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. …

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender. …

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. …

The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weightlifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. … It removes force from the equation…and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

His full argument, though only slightly less brief than the excerpt posted above, remains as poignant (and misattributed) as ever. But it’s also something most pro-gunners realized in their hearts and minds and guts years ago. Indeed, long before I ever read Kloos’ post, I came to his same conclusion. Only my words were different. Where Kloos said “civilization,” I called it “equality”: The firearm is the greatest equality man has ever known.

Unfortunately, the truth of that mindset is not universally acknowledged, and there exists a furious cadre of elitists Hell-bent on making sure that the American citizen loses that lofty status to become a powerless, defenseless subject. The real tragedy, however, is not that an unscrupulous, manipulative few desire a disarmed populace, but that the initiative has been popularly framed as an issue of partisan politics and emotional urgency.

The correct response, of course, is rooted in neither.

Nor is the correct response always easy. More often than not, it actually requires a great deal of critical thinking, systematic presentation, and patience to effectively underscore the pro-gun argument. This is not because the content of said argument is in any way incorrect or even tenuous, but because its Leftist recipient is, as a matter of course, mostly incapable of “filling in the blanks.” Pithy concision is good, but extreme detail with an eye on academic rigor is almost always better.

And that’s where this series, which I’m calling “Arguing the Anti-Gun,” comes in.

My plan for this project, over the course of several posts and several months, is to proffer a primer on informal Logic with a comprehensive assessment (shown via the dissection of current and classical “gun control” arguments, both formally published and culled from popular dialog) of the fundamental merits of the Second Amendment and the Armed Citizen. I will properly frame and analyze the common statistics asserted by both sides, marrying each anti-gun argument with its corresponding scientifically- and logically-vetted rebuttal. I will also present a guide to the traditional Logical Fallacies, given in the context of the so-called anti-gun “playbook” (source, mirror) In short, I hope to arm the pro-gunner with all the ammunition needed to penetrate, perforate, and destroy even the most convoluted, emotive argument from the other side.

While there are many texts on the subject of pro-gun and anti-gun argument (some of which will, no doubt, be touched upon over the course of this work), I am not aware of any that exists as an academic presentation of the classical structure of argument itself. To that end, I will be referencing several published texts, including the collegiate standard Understanding Arguments: An Introduction to Informal Logic (8th Edition, 2009) and Chris Harris’ light-reading but deep-thinking Informal Logic 101: How to Think and Argue Better. (It is, in fact, the latter course of lessons that gave me the idea for this exercise, and I encourage everyone to read Harris’ treatment before undertaking serious perusal of mine.)

Hopefully, this series will live up to my expectations and serve as a veritable arsenal for all who wish to speak out in preserving America’s most important Constitutional Right, thereby preserving the United States itself!

After all, as firearms enthusiasts, it comes with the territory.

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Don't Be Fooled: Richard Dreyfuss Is Only Acting Pro-Gun

Richard Dreyfuss isn’t your typical Hollywood Liberal. Indeed, some folks think he sways more Moderate than Left, and compared to most of his Tinseltown colleagues, that might actually seem true.

But it’s not.

Admittedly, he’s been critical in the past of both parties, but his arguments against the Left are usually that Democrats don’t go far enough, while his arguments against the Right almost always form along the lines of “The blood is on your hands.” In other words, he’s really just another deluded, left-wing, celebrity extremist.

Somehow, though, Dreyfuss has been making waves — and actually garnering a great deal of right-wing praise — for his recent comments to Piers Morgan about American gun-culture and the role of the NRA. Curiously (or, rather, cursorily), he doesn’t overtly badmouth the 142-year-old Rights-preserver, appearing to call the organization heroic and suggesting that it — not the government — should be in charge of establishing the legality and policing the use of all consumer firearms inside the United States.

On the surface, Dreyfuss’ assertions and suggestions seem pro-gun and decidedly counter to America’s current federal and state-level gun control guidelines. As always, though, the devil’s in the details, and Richard Dreyfuss is little more than a sheep in wolf’s clothing. To understand exactly why, you need to understand exactly what he said (in response to a typically loaded Piers Morgan question, via CNS News):

Well, first of all, I don’t think the NRA is a villain, and I don’t think that the people against the NRA are villains. I believe that’s a problem of the press, which started with an us-them problem. I do believe that the Second Amendment is ambiguously written and we will never have an agreement on whether it’s about gun ownership or a militia.

Dreyfuss, as is widely known, considers himself an American history buff and education activist. However, he’s also an actor, taken to “reading between the lines” and “interpreting the script.” And that’s relevant, because it’s only for those like him that the Second Amendment can seem vague or “ambiguous.” Indeed, the opposite is true, and such has been held up by the Supreme Court on several occasions, most recently clarifying that “every able-bodied man” (or “person”) is “the militia” (D.C. v. Heller, 2008). I am part of the militia. You are part of the militia. You may opt out, but you can never be forced out at the petty, short-sighted, selfish whims of lawmaking others.

That slight aside, the thrust of Dreyfuss’ “pro-gun” argument follows:

And at the same time I believe that there is an inappropriate amount of gun violence…

What, Mr. Dreyfuss, would constitute an appropriate amount of gun violence?

…and I think we should turn this over to the people who are expert at this, and the original mandate of the NRA was to train responsible gun ownership and the NRA should handle it. They should train excellence in gun ownership…

The notion that the American people and their government “should turn this over” to the NRA is intentionally misleading. Coupled with his commentary about the “original mandate” of the NRA and that they “should train excellence in gun ownership,” Dreyfuss has effectively painted a picture of an association that has strayed far from and no longer lives up to its own standards of combatting gun crime and teaching gun safety. Of course, anyone with even the slightest bit of objectivity understands that the NRA has never halted, or even faltered in, centering itself around those lofty pursuits.

So far, all Richard Dreyfuss has done is to insult the NRA and misrepresent the entirety of its important, active history. That doesn’t sound very pro-gun to me. Neither does this:

[The NRA] should create the short list of the guns that are allowed at home. And every other gun that they say is legal, like people killers and nuclear-tipped semiautomatics, should be held in armories owned and controlled by the NRA, not the government.

The short list of guns allowed in the home? This is typical, idiotic, Joe Biden-grinning gun control advocacy, calling upon the NRA to rule over the fundamental rights of the American people in a way the government cannot.

And what’s this boilerplate Liberal drivel about “people killers” and “nuclear-tipped semiautomatics”? Neither of these things exist. Sure, any gun can kill, but no commonly available firearm can fairly be designated as an exclusive “people killer.” AR-15s are popular sporting rifles and have put holes through many orders of magnitude more game and varmints and paper targets than they have people. The same can be said for literally every other gun on the market, past or present. And if you compare the annual numbers for ammunition cartridges purchased and fired by the American public to actual firearm attacks and murders, the latter number is so minuscule a data point as to be statistically insignificant. I am confident that I speak for the vast majority of law-abiding gun owners and shooting enthusiasts when I say I’ve burned through thousands of rounds of ammunition in my lifetime but have never once drawn on or fired my gun at another person in defense or anger or otherwise. God-willing, I’ll never have to, either.

Dreyfuss continues:

But remember, that this is a gun culture. It’s also a car culture. And no one with any brains would let someone untrained get behind the wheel of the car. And I think that that is the analogy that people should remember.

I wish it was the analogy that people would forget.

That old chestnut! Last time I checked, you don’t have the Constitutionally guaranteed right to own a car. You can buy one if you want one. It’s a privilege and a luxury, if you can afford it (and, to the delight of banks and lenders everywhere, even if you can’t). Cars are convenient, sure, but they’re not rights. In fact, they’re pretty cost-prohibitive. Exorbitantly so. And that’s something that Constitutional rights are not allowed to artificially be. Leftist gun control advocates have tried and failed for over a century to price firearms out of reach of the average urban American, a scheme widely decried as un-Constitutional. Yet nobody challenges the $100,000 price tag of luxury cars made by tax-payer funded companies like Tesla and Fisker. Because guns aren’t cars, and cars aren’t rights.

Further, you don’t need much “training” to get a driver’s license (particularly if you’re an illegal in Illinois), and there are far more car accidents — even with drivers so regulated as per Dreyfuss’ vapid analogy — than there are gun accidents. And dramatically more people per capita (taking only into account actual owners of either) die as a result of car accidents than gun accidents. Plus, just as you need a license to drive your car on public roadways, a number of states already require training and licensing to carry firearms in public. Naturally, there has been no statistical link between said training and any decrease in gun-related accidents in such areas (or compared against rates in states and cities where such rules don’t apply).

Guns and cars represent fundamentally different social concepts with different legal protections and civil utilities. It is patently fallacious to compare one to the other. Commit a crime with a car, and you might receive a fine or have your license revoked for a short time. Longer if you kill someone. You might even go to prison for a few years. Commit a crime with a firearm (or merely possess one “illegally”) and you’re branded a felon, locked up for ages with lifetime forfeiture of your Second Amendment rights. (Unless you’re a big-city “minority,” in which case you probably won’t be prosecuted unless you actually murder someone.)

But that debate — or, rather, the dissection of its abject uselessness to the gun discussion in general — is for another time (or maybe never, since it’s so stupid), because Richard Dreyfuss wraps up his rantings with a deeply offensive slap in the face that warrants much closer analysis:

The NRA should be thought of or think of themselves as heroes and take care of this problem.

Amazingly, many Conservative news outlets have been misinterpreting this bit of veiled vitriol as a wholesale pat-on-the-back to NRA members and leadership, imagining it echoes the rational right-wing sentiment that justifiably christens champions of the Second Amendment Patriots and guardians of Liberty and Justice for all. Katie Pavlich of Townhall.com calls Dreyfuss’ words “refreshing,”, while Breitbart’s A.W.R. Hawkins believes the actor is actually praising, “instead of criticizing,” the NRA. Even Liberty News touts the interview as “encouraging,” punctuating their report with a happy exclamation point.

Don’t fall for it, folks. The massive caveat with Dreyfuss calling the NRA “heroes” is that it’s entirely dependent upon those policy qualifiers he already put forth. He’s not saying that the NRA are heroes. He’s saying that if they wish to view themselves as heroes, that if they wish to be heroes, they should step up and “do the right thing” by creating restrictive home-use firearm “short lists” and confiscating and impounding anything deemed too dangerous for public consumption.

And you can be sure that the candidates for lock-up, as Dreyfuss sees it, are commonplace sporting arms including the so-called “nuclear-tipped” AR-15 platform family, AK-47s, and even generations-old wartime relics like the venerable (and never-once-used-in-a-crime-ever) M1 Garand. Additionally, you should expect this list to include “high”-capacity handguns in most popular calibers, as well as defensive carry guns like Derrigers and pocket pistols. I’d bet that Dreyfuss’ own list of allowed arms in the home amounts to little more than double-barreled shotguns, break-action rifles, small-bore revolvers, black powder muzzle-loaders, and antique muskets. In other words, the Dreyfuss definition of “hero” is a statist-style regulating body that carries out Leftist gun-control policy to a degree the Democrat party can only dream about.

And it is just that: a dream.

Because given the power Liberals like Richard Dreyfuss suggest the NRA should have to regulate civilian firearms ownership, you’d see nearly every currently restricted class of firearm suddenly made legal and tax-stamp free. Forget “nuclear-tipped” semiautomatics, we’d have “nuclear-tipped” fully automatics! No more spending $200 for suppressor or short-barreled rifle registration, either. No more AOWs. No more import restrictions and no more useless “sporterized” conversions. No more reduced-capacity “clips.” No more nonsense. And a heck of a lot more sawed-off shotguns!

Ironically, that’s my dream, too.

But in Richard Dreyfuss’ fantasy world, I’m no hero.

And that’s okay with me.

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