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An unpleasant aspect of preparedness

I’ve written a few things about preparedness. You can find them by using the search feature and the single word “preparedness.” I could link to them here, but I’m feeling lazy, today. Preparedness is about a lot more than guns. Even as much as I like things that go bang, guns are tools that are useful in a very limited number of situations. If you are new to the concept of preparedness and were open to my unasked for advice, it would be that most preparedness needs can be solved with four things:

  • Skills, skills and more skills
  • Water
  • Food
  • A solid, real world plan

Still, firearms have their place in that real world plan, even though anyone in his/her right mind hopes fervently to never truly need them. But, if you do need them, nothing else will suffice for that immediate and desperate need. That need, should it ever arise, is the basis for the “unpleasant” part of this post’s title. Guns, however, to be effective, need ammunition. Which brings me to my latest preparedness step. It’s one I’ve sort of avoided for a while, not because of a lack of interest, but because of time and financial constraints. I give you, the reloading bench.

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It’s also where I write, but I think (or hope, anyway) that there’s enough space for both. We’ll see how it goes.

A good thing

One of my friends observed, probably correctly, that I have a tendency to blog quite a bit about things I disagree with. Fair enough. Today, then, a change of pace. This is cool.  A man in Paris climbed four stories of a building in about 30 seconds to save the life of a child dangling from a balcony. Click here for the article. Once there, watch the video (and read the article, of course).

Society is not real

That’s kind of a bold statement to make, is it not? After all, many people often refer to what society does, or thinks. I’ve done it, myself. When we consider how often we hear, or refer to, what society does, thinks, functions, or when we refer to its institutions, are we not referring to a real thing?

The answer is no, we are not. Society, I submit, has no existence of its own. It is not a thing to which one can point and say “see, that’s society over there.” It has no beliefs. It has no institutions. It owns no property.

Well, then, what is it?

Society is an intellectual construct and a sort of shorthand by which we refer to all the many ways people interact, cooperate, relate, and compete. By “people” I do not refer to simply the vast array of unnamed others out there, the overwhelming majority of whom are unknown to me. Instead, I mean individuals. Individual people, each with his or her own life, thoughts, beliefs, values, desires, needs and circumstances. How each and every one of those individuals do what they do, as well as what they do, constitute the construct we call society. Because individuals share a few or many characteristics with other individuals, sometimes with a great number of other individuals, and because some of them are more influential than others, we are inclined to say that society does something, or behaves in a certain way, or thinks a certain way. It’s convenient to be able to do so. It is also inaccurate because it ignores reality.

The reality is that society does nothing. People, individuals, do things. Society does not feel anything. Individual people experience feelings and emotions. Society has no values. Individuals have values. Sometimes, a large number of people will have certain values, feelings or beliefs in common. Make no mistake, though, it is individuals who have, hold or experience those things.

This denial of reality is the problem with collectivism. The collectivist would have you believe that there exists such things as collective belief, values, thoughts or existence (or rights). The collectivist would have you believe that your demographic descriptors define who and what you are. Some collectivists are merely idiots. Sadly, there are others who are simply evil. Not mistaken, “goofy,” or unaware, but evil. These are the folks who will attempt to not only pigeonhole you, but to insist that if you share certain demographic traits with others then you must, of necessity, share their beliefs and values. Otherwise, you are a traitor to your gender, race, religion, socioeconomic group, or some other demographic with whom you happen to something in common. If you allow them to persuade you that such a thing is true, they will manipulate and use you for their own ends. Because, you see, for the collectivist you don’t matter beyond your utility as a member of some group. Your individuality? Meaningless. Your wants, needs and desires? Of no value unless they can be used to further the collectivist cause. Your very personhood? An inconvenience to be ignored or denied.

Way back in the early 1970’s, we lived in a small city of about 45,000 people in southeastern North Carolina. The nearest interstate was about 120 miles away. With no major highways connecting our city to, well, anywhere, it was amazing that one of our commercial printing plants was routinely grossing over $1,000,000.00 per year. My dad was hired as the production manager, with the goal in mind of his eventually becoming the general manager for the company. His stress level, he later told me, was unreal. Eventually, the owner asked why he seemed so unhappy. My dad told the owner that he had never before been responsible for so much money. He (my dad) said the owner told him something that made his job far easier. “Kenneth,” he said. “Don’t worry about the dollars. Instead, worry about the pennies. If you will watch the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.” From then on, according to my dad, the job was much easier and far more fulfilling.

What on earth does that have to do with society? Simply this, if we think there is a problem with society, that problem, assuming it exists, is best addressed in terms of how individuals are treated. I have seen that borne out in the military, businesses across the country, families and religious groups – all those things some people like to refer to  as “microcosms of society.” If my goal is to “fix” a church, business, family, what have you by focusing on that unit as a whole, I will quite likely fail because I will have ignored the simple truth that it is made up of individuals. I must, absolutely must, focus on individuals and treat each of them as such. The same is true of our enormous intellectual construct, society. We improve society by changing the way each of us treats each and every other one of us with whom we have contact.

 

 

This is why smaller communities

The small city that surrounds RM Ranch has had a number of protests re: the killing of George Floyd. They have all been peaceful. My wife had an occasion to speak with one of the protesters who said a number of people known to no one showed up for the most recent march. A conversation ensued. What follows is my paraphrase, based upon what the local protester told my wife.

“Where are y’all from?”

“San Antonio,” the unknowns replied. (It’s worth noting that is a trip of about 250 miles).

“Okay. Why are you here?” locals asked.

“We’re gonna cause some s***!”

“Not here, you aren’t. You need to carry your asses back to wherever the hell you came from.”

The ones who were here to cause trouble seem to have left shortly thereafter. There was no trouble caused. Weird, huh?

And that is both how real protesters keep control of a protest and how smaller communities work.

History

is an interesting thing. It can be read for entertainment. After all, there has never been a lack of human stupidity or related “interesting” consequences or events. It can also be read for education. That education can take at least two forms. One form is “these folks, and those over there, did something that worked out really well and for a long period of time, so perhaps we should consider something similar.” The other form is “those clowns tried and wound up well and truly screwing the pooch, so let’s be at least very cautious about even considering doing what they did.” All of which brings us to “CHAZ.”

No, not that one. The one in Seattle. Geez, stay with me.

A few things are worthy of note.

First, I would argue that Seattle political leadership has abandoned its responsibility to those who live in the area. After all, I rather doubt the residents and business owners there voted for those who are currently controlling the “Capital Hill Autonomous Zone.” I have read nothing that leads me to conclude that even those who support the protesters voted for such a thing. I’m sorry, but if I and my neighbors did not invite you in, then by what right do you propose to cordon off my neighborhood? I don’t like it when “duly constituted authority” does such a thing. Why on earth would I approve of self-appointed assholes people doing the same thing, even if I shared their concerns?

Second, the group seems to have exhausted its supplies of food, at least in part because of the homeless folks they invited in. Really? How was that not anticipated? Not because homeless people are necessarily anymore bad or leech-like than other humans, but because people who regularly lack food are inclined to get all they can when it is available. More than that, of course, is this: neither food, nor the means to acquire it, magically occur. We call this apparently unexpected lack “piss poor planning.”

Third, there are reports of “checkpoints” and extortion mentioned. If true, these qualify as serious crimes. Not because some people are armed, but because the wrongness inheres in the crime itself. Armed or not, “This is a nice place you have here. Be a shame if something happened to it,” cannot be tolerated. Unless, of course, you are a protester or self-appointed enforcer in the CHAZ.

Fourth, and this leads us to history, there are two arguably similar events to consider. The most recent, of course, was “Occupy Wall Street.” That exercise in “protest” lead to all sorts of joyous events. You know, like petty crime, human waste in the streets and far more serious things like rape. It accomplished…pretty much nothing. The other event to consider is the Paris Commune. It worked out so well…until it was put down rather decisively by regular troops. And, of course, one of the things people consistently fail to consider when it comes to any sort of revolution is this. Those who are successful in the early stages, are almost inevitably the first to be lined up against the wall, whether literally or metaphorically.

The most important things to remember about history, I submit, are these.

  • It has no “right” or “wrong” side. When it comes to history, teleology and secular, apocalyptic world views are for fools and Marxists (but I repeat myself).
  • History and its lessons care about neither the purity of your cause nor the nobility of your character. You can learn its lessons or suffer the consequences.

I don’t know what it is,

but I thought it was pretty.

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Can anyone tell me what plant this is?

Frustration…

The story I’m writing is not working. It’s disjointed, lacks cohesion. Back to the arc for planning. Arrgh!

A question. Why do so many independently published novels so obviously suffer from poor editing? Let’s take, oh, I don’t know, say spelling as an example. Homophones are real things. Thus, we have to, too, and two, as well as there, their, and they’re. There (did you see that) are of course other examples, but those alone occur often enough in some of the independently published books I’ve read to become a deciding factor in whether I will read further. Given that I read a lot of Kindle ebooks, if such mistakes occur in the “look inside” feature I am very unlikely to buy the book.

Here’s another. I know that everyone makes mistakes in areas other than spelling. We are, after all, only human. Still, if there is something that figures prominently in a story, it might be worth a little extra research. Since I am a bit of a gun guy, let’s consider guns. The following all have one thing in common:

  • Bolt action
  • Lever action
  • The .30-30 Winchester round
  • Semiautomatic action
  • Automatic action
  • Rifle scopes
  • Detachable magazines
  • Smokeless gunpoweder

What do they have in common? They were all developed in the 19th century. That’s an interesting fact for discussions of firearms in general, but when writing something set in the 19th century, there’s something else to consider. That is, they were not all developed at the same time. The .30-30 Winchester round, first called the .30 WCF (Winchester Center Fire) was first marketed in 1895. It was the first “sporting” (as opposed to military) round designed specifically for smokeless gunpowder, which was developed in 1881. So, when I was recently reading an “Old West” type horror novel set in 1865, it was jarring to note that the author referred to someone owning a .30-30 so far in advance of when it existed. This same author seemingly likes to make references to someone being armed with two Colt Peacemakers because it provides him with 12 shots. The Peacemaker was a single action revolver. Many, perhaps even most, people who carried one did so with the hammer over an empty cylinder so that if the weapon was dropped or the hammer was accidentally pulled by something, the gun would not go off. All of the above can be gleaned from a Google search in far less time than it took me to write this paragraph.

Cordite. No. Your present day character almost certainly does not smell Cordite during or after a gun fight. It is not used for small arms any longer, and has not been so used for a very long time. If you did not know this, it to can be learned with a very quick Google search.

Boats, specifically those in the United States Coast Guard are not cutters unless they are at least 65′ long. If they are shorter than that, they are termed “small boats.”

Oh, hell no

I try, truly I do, to not write or talk like the deck ape I once was. The speech I favored years ago was not “seasoned with salt and full of grace,” in spite of my beliefs. I like to think I have made significant strides in that direction. Then, today, I saw this.

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Whoever did this, what you did was not protest. It was not a cry for justice. This was petty, vindictive destruction of a memorial to those who were better men and women than you will ever be. For this, I will make an exception in my speech*. Whoever did this, you are an oozing, steaming pile of putrescent dog shit. If I am ever nearby and see you attempt something like this, rest assured that I will fuck your shit up and then smile on my way to jail.

The quite likely childish rant of this angry veteran is hereby concluded.

*I sincerely apologize for the language. I will not apologize for the tone or sentiment.

Helpful hint for rioters

While my earlier posts may have seemed harsh regarding those who are inclined to use peaceful protests as justification to riot, I am not completely without compassion for those who feel the need to physically express their outrage. I offer, therefore, an example of an easy target for those folks looking for someone to pummel in order to strike a blow against “the violence inherent in the system.” These easy targets may be identified by the government uniforms they wear.

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Also, they wear little brown French hats because they play the bagpipes.

You’re welcome. So sorry about your boo-boos.

My part of Texas

A photo taken just outside Abilene by one of my wife’s coworkers. Moo.

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