Thursday, July 10, 2014

Targeting Target Stores

A hat tip to David Codrea at the War on Guns for pointing me to this article at the website entitled Target's Gun Ban has Unexpected Results as Assailants Attack Store's Unarmed Customers.  I take no joy from this, and feel no sense of schadenfreude.

 I guess the first thing to note is that Target didn't really issue a ban. Instead, it issued a request that folks leave their guns at home when shopping at Target stores. Is that a ban? In one sense it might as well be, if concealed carriers choose to honor the request. For myself, if a friend of mine asked me not to carry in his home, because I valued that person's friendship, I would certainly honor that request, though I would also have to question whether that friend valued my friendship as much as I valued his. But I don't have "friendships" with giant corporations.

If you are watching only the MSM news, and you are of a criminal mindset, you didn't get that nuanced message that Target issued. Instead, what you heard was that Target stores are now a target rich environment of unarmed victims with money to spend and merchandise free for the taking. Everything that is happening at stores in the Atlanta area was fully predictable.  I think the word "Unexpected" in the title of this piece is therefore a little naive.

That the Demanding Moms would hail the statement made by Target as a victory for their cause was absolutely predictable.  That the mostly anti gun media would trumpet it as a victory for "common sense" gun control was equally predictable.  Target's message was essentially that Target stores want to sell stuff, and stay out of the fray over guns.  Instead, what they got was customers being robbed at gun point by armed predators.

The lesson in this, for those who may be looking for lessons, is that nobody can give in to, or attempt to appease anyone who is shrieking at them.  And the Demanding Moms are definitely a small, AstroTurf, group of shrieking harridans, funded by Micheal Bloomberg.  They do not represent any one's actual customers, but instead represent Michael Bloomberg.  The ploy of shrieking at the current target is to get him to do what they want, and not to think about it.  If he thought about it, he would probably have come to the conclusion that the status quo ante was the best policy. But by raising a ruckus, they hope to stampede him into doing something that is  not necessarily in his best interest.  Contrary to what you may have heard or read, the State legislatures in every State that passed "Shall Issue" laws debated the topic ad nauseum and passed them because these laws are the most fair, and protective to everyone involved. And having a policy that defers to State law is probably best for most businesses.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The NSA Spying Program, and What it Means to Americans

Jacob Sullum has a good article today on the NSA's spying program under Section 702 of the Patriot act. You can find it at at The mass online dragnet warrantless surveillance hits the target, along with many other people. Sullam ends his article thusly:
According to the Obama administration, all this is old news and no big deal. "These reports simply discuss the kind of incidental interception of communications that we have always said takes place under Section 702," Robert Litt, general counsel to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, told The New York Times on Sunday. "The most that you could conclude from these news reports is that each valid foreign intelligence target talks to an average of nine people."

If the mass collection of sensitive information about law-abiding people is to be expected, as my Reason colleague Scott Shackford observes, it is not really accurate to say it happens "inadvertently" or "not wittingly," as Clapper put it in congressional testimony last year. When such a wholesale invasion of privacy is the inevitable and predictable result of certain intelligence methods, choosing to use those methods means you are doing it on purpose.

The program may, or may not be effective at stopping terrorism.  I personally suspect it is not.  Finding the true terrorists in a sea of ordinary Americans is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.  But, in any case, the debate about the NSA spying on Americans comes down to deciding whether as a nation we value liberty, or a smothering all protective government.  For there can be no true safety.  Our government can smother us with "love," but it can not guarantee our safety.  Put in such stark reality, I'll take the liberty to defend myself, thank you.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July

It's the 4th of July, and if you are a fan of the 1911 pistol, as I am, has a great piece on the history and the continuing popularity of a pistol design that is now 103 years old. You can find the story at The 1911 Pistol by Mark Kakkuri.  In saying I am a fan of the 1911, I am not disparaging Glocks, Barettas, or any of the other polymer framed pistols.  I have fired Glock 9mms, the Springfield XD 45, and of  course, the Kahr PM 9.  All of these are fine, reliable, and accurate pistols that go bang every time you pull the trigger.  They will take a beating, as the old Timex commercials used to say, and keep on ticking.  But for all the reasons mentioned in this article, the 1911 is the gun I shoot best, and most of the time its the one I carry.  And modern 1911s have become just as reliable and accurate as the wonder nines. Still, the 1911 is a tool, and like other tools, is designed for a specific purpose, and compromises were made in its design that render it unsuitable in most other situations. I carry my 1911, but pray I will never encounter a need for it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Target Stores Want to be Left Alone

While reading today, I discovered that the Target chain of stores had declared itself off limits to guns. Mrs. PolyKahr likes to shop at Target, and occasionally drags me into the store as well. So, I grumbled, "another place where I have to take my gun out of the holster, secure it in the car, before going into the store. Great."

But not so fast. It seems that Target took a neutral stance. Dave Workman has the actual statement made by Target stores interim CEO, John Mulligan at the Examiner site Did Target Really Accede to Moms Demand Social Prejudice?.  In essence, Target said to follow the law, but we would appreciate if you left your long guns when you come into the store.  It is hard to argue with that.

The old saying that you can "catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" is still true today. Sure, you can be shrill, confrontational, and insistent that YOUR rights be respected. Or, you can go through this world with a smile on your face, having patience and understanding for you fellow man, and respecting the rights of others as much as you expect them to respect yours. Frankly, my first reaction to the Demanding Moms is that the group is shrill, and suffers from selfishness and carries an ego driven message which can tolerate no other point of view. Even if I were not a gun rights advocate, I would be repelled by their antics, and I am sure many store and restaurant owners are equally repelled.

My advice, for what it may be worth, is to take the opposite approach from that of the Demanding Moms.  If you are as old as I am, you have seen, and experienced the loss of freedoms in the country.  I can remember a time when everything you think and do was not a matter for public debate at the national level.  We do not live today in the United States I was born into.  Realizing this can make you angry, and righteous anger can make you take counterproductive actions.  The gun rights community can do what it wants, of course, and it will, but think hard before baring your teeth.  You will probably make more allies that way.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

If you thought Demanding Moms were "teched," you may have been right

If you have ever thought that such leftists quests as "gun control" and "climate change" were...well...sort of neurotic,if not down right crazy (a technical term), you may have been on to something. Jeffrey T. Brown has an article today over at the American Thinker that makes that very case entitled Zero Tolerance, Evil Objects, and the Psychosis of the Left. And, if polls are to be believed, at least half of the population is like this, though I discount that fact. On guns, for instance, 55% want less strict gun control according to a Gallup poll, as reported by Katie Pavlich here. Still, 55% of the population that has figured out that guns do not just leap out of holsters and start shooting people on their own is a deplorably low percentage. That these people are immune to facts and logic, and can not largely be convinced by such is unfortunate. In any case, go read the article.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Washington Times is just Noticing the Demanding Moms

A recent piece appearing in the Washington Times breathlessly tells readers that the gun grabbers have a new tack, to wit: Gun control groups turn to private sector to push crackdowns. I say "Hallelujah!" At last they understand what they are supposed to be doing, having supposedly given up on their favorite methods, namely getting government to make it illegal, or finding a judge who agrees with them to "reinterpret" the Constitution into saying what they want. They have tried suing gun manufacturers for the acts of third parties.  They have in some cases gotten legislatures to make concealed carry so onerous as to be impossible in practice.  Ultimately, these fail because when shown the truth, most people do not agree with them.  But if they can get a Starbucks or a Staples to post their stores as gun free zones, more power to them. A private business owner is the ONLY legitimate person to decide what patrons that business will serve.  We can equally point out to the management that as legal gun owners and carriers, we will not shop where we are not wanted, but will instead send our business to their competition.  it is up to them to decide.

For many years, North Carolina had a law on the books that a concealed carrier of a handgun could not carry into restaurants that served alcohol, despite a law that also said that a concealed carrier could not consume alcohol while carrying.  Interestingly, one could carry into restaurants that did not serve alcohol, yet such restaurants were not posted against carrying.  I am sure many concealed carriers went into such restaurants, many of which are fast food type places that attract parents with children in tow, but there were never any incidents due to concealed carriers.  They come in, like anybody else, order, eat, and leave.  The same with Staples, or Wal Mart, or indeed almost any other business enterprise.  There have been armed robberies of such restaurants, but these are usually committed by people who have a record of ruthlessly breaking the law, and thus can not legally possess guns anyway.  If a person is willing to obtain a firearm illegally, and intends to commit a crime (also illegal, in case anyone was wondering) do you really think he is going to be deterred by a gun free zone sign on the door?

Now that North Carolina has stricken the provision about restaurants that serve alcohol from the books, a group called 'Moms Demand Gun Bans er... Action' is suddenly trying to get businesses to post their businesses as gun free zones.  Fine.  Let them try.  But be warned that most businessmen and women will weigh the advantages and disadvantages to such demands, and will likely decide that going with State law is a good defense against potential lawsuits, not to mention that concealed carriers tend to be good customers.  Oh, and note to the Moms:  if a business doesn't give into your demands, please don't decide to post a "No Guns" sign on their door anyway.  That would be considered vandalism, a crime in itself.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Connecticut Police In A Squeeze

There are certain commentators that I like, and return to time and time again, because they often pose ideas in ways that force me to think about them again. Selwyn Duke is one such writer, and this week's American Thinker piece entitled Cop: I'd love to bang down your door and come for your guns is one intended to get police officers in Connecticut, who may be called upon to enforce unconstitutional gun laws, to think about where they draw the line in the sand.  I first confronted that question years ago when gun writers of all stripes began to see the outlines of a totalitarian state forming here at home.  As always seems to be the case,   those who first alerted us all to the danger were derided as kooks and John Birchers, but as time has gone on, a substantial minority has awakened to the reality of our position.

Duke makes the point that mindlessly saying that "Others make the law, I only enforce it" doesn't really cut it.  He alludes to the Nazi genocide, without saying as much, and to the Nuremberg trials, where following orders was not enough to save many defendants. Duke points out that by using discretion on whether or not to enforce things like traffic laws, you have made clear that you can decide to not enforce certain laws.  The question becomes which laws will you enforce, and why?  Duke writes:
Even good people can live lives of contradiction and entertain ideas that simply aren’t true. For instance, if you’re a cop, it’s easy to justify an action by saying that your job is only to enforce the law, especially since, on paper, this is certainly so. But the implication that you enforce every law, across the board, every time, without discretion is absolutely untrue and you, I and everyone else knows it. You don’t ticket everyone driving 31 in a 30 zone, and many times even more egregious law-breakers get off with a warning. Some laws aren’t applied at all, such as a parking law in my town an officer told me was on the books but that “we don’t enforce.” You use discretion all the time.

As for legislation such as Connecticut’s new gun restrictions, ask yourself this question, guys: If I caught my brother, sister, father, mother, son or daughter with some legally acquired but now illegal 30-round magazines in his car trunk, would I slap him in cuffs, haul him in and put him in the system? Let’s face it, you know the answer. And, well, the person you would haul in and arrest for this newly minted “crime” would be someone else’s brother, sister, father, mother, son or daughter. Of course, this argument could justify refusal to enforce most any law, since family will virtually always receive special treatment. So is there a sound rationale for refusing to enforce a law across the board?

Any sane person agrees that no one can simply follow orders blindly, that, at some point, a command itself can become criminal in the moral sense. For instance, would you enforce a law stating that all members of a certain racial or ethnic group were to be rounded up for extermination? Yes, this is an extreme example, and I don’t pretend that the new Second Amendment violations even approach such wickedness. The point, however, is that everyone draws a line -- it’s just a question of where. And I’d certainly hope that you, my friends in law enforcement, would take a stand somewhere below genocide.
Of course, that leaves the person who decides not to enforce an unconstitutional law in a quandary. If one enforces such laws, in the short term there will be no consequences, but in the long term there may be serious consequences, as the defendants at Nuremberg discovered. If one chooses not to enforce such a law, against explicit orders to do so, one may be disciplined or fired. One may then find it difficult to obtain work to maintain one's family. As Thomas Paine wrote, "These are the times that try men's souls." Many of the founders lost their fortunes, and even their lives, in the struggle, yet were ultimately vindicated.

Leaving aside those people who know the Constitution, and what the Founders meant when they wrote the Second Amendment, there are people who are genuinely confused about the true intent of the amendment.  I sympathize with such people, but at the same time, the writings of George Mason and others make abundantly clear that the Second Amendment was intended to ensure the people had access to, and possession of the small arms commonly in use by the armed forces of the our nation.  This today would mean fully automatic, select fire weapons, not semi auto look alikes with a limited 10 round magazine.  The standard capacity of even many handguns used by police for personal defense exceeds the 10 round limit imposed by the law.  The ruse used to impose these new restrictions is that it would make crimes less lethal.  But there is no evidence that this is true, and much evidence that more liberal gun laws are actually more protective of the public.

I can offer no rational way for you to decide whether or not to participate in rounding up peoples' property.  My only advice is to let go and let God, if you believe in a higher power than the State. Your legislature has forced you to take sides, and you are in the thick of it. You obviously want to be on the right side, the winning side. I understand.  Unfortunately, the two may not coincide. Again, I urge you to pray on it, leave it up to God, and do whatever he says is the next right thing.