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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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To clarify

Yesterday, it occurred to me that my most recent post might lead some to misunderstand my position on our current social unrest. So, to clarify, I submit the following, in no particular order (they are numbered simply to help me think as I write).

  1. The death of George Floyd appears, based on everything I have seen, to be murder. Not a “mistake,” not an “oopsie,” but murder. Those responsible should face the same justice any of us, including George Floyd, would face in similar circumstances.
  2. It is okay to be sad and angry about his murder. It is, in fact, just and right and good to be saddened and angered by his death. If you are not so affected, you have a problem.
  3. It is okay to peacefully protest what you perceive as the things that lead to George Floyd’s death. While it may be counter-productive, it’s okay to do so while armed as long as doing so is legal.
  4. It is not okay to riot. Allow me to repeat that. It is not okay to riot. I know that someone will likely think or respond with MLK’s observation that riots are “the language of the unheard.” There is some truth to that. It does not, however, legitimize a riot. You can do whatever you want with your stuff. Break it, burn it, tag it, whatever. I don’t care. I will, in fact, actively support your right to do so. The stuff belonging to other people, or to all of us, is not yours to destroy, to deface or to which to limit access by others. If your response to my statement is to declare “you’re a racist,” I suggest the following: you are a waste of protoplasm taking up space and using oxygen that could be better utilized by a superior life form; cockroaches for instance.
  5. If you riot and get hurt, arrested, or both, you have only yourself to blame.
  6. If you support the rioters, if you are “on their side,” you are an idiot. Riots, once underway, do not have sides. They do not care about the purity of the “cause,” the nobility of anyone’s character, or who you support.
  7. I make it a habit to avoid crowds and events likely to devolve into a riot. If one starts and you physically attack me or mine before we can get away, I will most likely shoot you. A lot. If you shoot at me, regardless of who you are and even if you use marker rounds, it is a virtual guarantee I will return fire. I have this thing about being attacked or shot at.

Hopefully, that provides some clarity.

 

Uh, no

With the turmoil, violence and destruction we’ve seen over the last few days secondary to the death of George Floyd, I certainly understand the need to restore and maintain order. While it has been a long time since my law enforcement days in the USCG, the video suggests, at best, a casual indifference to the condition of Mr. Floyd. Even back in the ancient mid-1980s, we knew we were responsible for anyone we arrested. More timely arrest(s) of the officers involved, even if on initially lesser charges, might have helped avoid what’s going on in many of our cities. Still, we are where we are. Rioting and looting are not acceptable. Likewise, neither is this (click here for video). I was saddened and angry beyond words when I saw the video of George Floyd being murdered. Watching LEOs firing on people, apparently for the  unspeakable crime of daring to stand on their own property while watching law enforcement file past, brought all that back.

I know a few LEO’s. They are, to the person, good and honorable men and women. I support them and the often difficult and unappreciated job they are called to do. Still, I cannot support firing on citizens who are doing nothing more than standing on their porch and taking video of the LEO’s as they walk through what appears to be nothing more than a residential neighborhood, anymore than I can support the actions of those who contributed to and permitted the death of George Floyd.

Beyond the “four rules of gun safety” attributed (accurately, I think) to Jeff Cooper, I have another rule regarding firearms. To wit, if I am on my own property and present no threat, do not shoot at me, even if you are only firing some form of less lethal ammo. If you do, it is almost a guarantee I will return fire.

George Floyd, an American citizen, should not have been killed. Sadly, he had little say in what happened. Those who had him in custody failed in their obligation to protect him. The same is not true for me. I am not likely to be arrested. While I remain a free man, I will not tolerate being shot at.

I fear for liberty and for my country.

 

 

Stop whinging

If you ever had the opportunity, however long ago, to speak with a survivor of the Nazi camps, you may have heard firsthand accounts of, among other things, the activities of the Brownshirts (the SA). They were thugs who used violence and intimidation to further the Nazi cause, until the Night of the Long Knives, after which they were largely supplanted by the SS. Anyway…

You can, if you choose, call the progressives who arguably engage in suppression of conservative and libertarian thought on social media platforms Brownshirts. Doing so will mark you as an idiot to anyone who has any sort of real grasp of history, but you can still use the name. Here’s the problem. If that’s what you are doing, I see only three things that can be true, whether individually or in combination.

  1. You don’t really mean it. You just think you’re being edgy. You’re not, but that’s what you think.
  2. You don’t love the United States and the freedoms we have.
  3. You are a coward.

See, if you really, truly thought those folks were a present-day equivalent of the Brownshirts, you wouldn’t be complaining about it on Facebook, or Twitter, or anywhere else. Instead, you’d be taking more “definitive” action*. But you aren’t of course. Because you don’t really mean it. Or you don’t really love our country and our freedoms. Or you are a coward. Or maybe all three. I’m guessing that at least the third one is true.

With the above in mind, I have a suggestion. Something you can do. Do it for yourself and for all the rest of us.

Shut up.

*Note: I am absolutely not encouraging any sort of violent action. It is unnecessary and would be both illegal and wrong, and deserving of the law enforcement response it would get. Nor am I suggesting no one complain about biased treatment by various social media platforms. I’m just not impressed by the whinging on the part of those who diminish the suffering of those who lived through the real Brownshirts. If that’s you, go back to  your mom’s basement and cry into your pillow instead of inflicting your keyboard commando outrage on the rest of us.

A net loss is not a win

Up front, let me say that I believe some social media platforms, at least sometimes, tend to selectively censor some libertarian and conservative voices. With that said, Donald Trump’s idea is not the answer. I say that because laws and government regulations, almost by definition, produce a net loss of liberty. The fact is that if I believe in liberty for me and those with whom I agree and/or those who treat me well, but not for those who disagree with me or treat me poorly, then I don’t really believe in liberty. A net loss of liberty for someone else, just so I can post whatever I want on Facebook, or Twitter, or any other social media platform, is not a win.