Thursday, April 21, 2016

The FSA

Mike Konrad has an interesting take on current world affairs in an article entitled Call it Fascism over at the American Thinker today. I have often said in this blog that what Obama actually is doing is transitioning us from what we are (or rather what we were) to a Fascist state. Mike Konrad goes farther, in that in his view we have been becoming fascist, but haven't previously noticed. To be fair, the mask of virtue has come off, and we are now seeing the corruption around us for what it is. The Former United States of America (FUSA) is now the Fascist States of America (FSA), and corporatism is now so entrenched, there is no longer a need to hide it. Konrad also makes the point that much of the rest of the world is becoming fascist.

 No one is listening to the people, and certainly no one seems to be listening to God.  Whether it is a Communist country that needs to free up its markets, or a Capitalist country in which large corporations have sidled up to government through the influence of money, what we now seem to have is mafia style "families" running the show, and fighting for turf, money, power, and control.  In the FSA we have the Republican mafia, and the Democrat mafia setting our choices.  The fear of both Cruz and Trump is that either one will take away the turf of the republican "capos" to replace them with of course, their own capos.

I will be out of town over the weekend, buy I highly recommend you read Konrad's piece, and think about the analogy he is making.  Does it feel like we may be living in a country controlled by two different styles of crime families?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Good News Story

Here's some good news to report! Smithfield, NC High School has built a gun range for students in its JROTC program to use. You can find the story at Bearing Arms here. Students will be using air rifles rather than the .22 we used in my college ROTC program. But air rifles have come a long way, and one can achieve a great deal of the shooting experience with an air rifle. Jenn Jacques writes:
The JROTC built a 1,200-square-foot, six-lane, indoor shooting range at the Smithfield-Selma High School and students began using the facility last week. The $10,000 in costs for the range was donated by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Although cadets will be shooting with Daisy pump air rifles, they still need to go through extensive firearms training before being allowed in the gun range.
When I went off to college, some 46 years ago, ROTC was mandatory for all male students for the first two years. Besides learning important life lessons like how to dress, how to keep your gear in proper order, we learned some interesting military history. Time and again throughout history, the same tactics have worked to win battles and bring your enemy to its knees. These are lessons worth learning. I am glad that NC school districts still allow JROTC on campus.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Facing Who and What We Are

I am baking bread today.  Baking bread is an act of love, and it can not be rushed, can not be hurried along, it takes the time it takes, which varies according to the season, the weather, the humidity, and other factors.  I bake sourdough bread, form a formula I have worked out over time.  Bread baking takes patience, precision, but most of all, the entire process is bound up in the reality of the materials, the yeast, water, and salt.  Human will cannot cannot make a bread, one can only manipulate things to produce a specific result.

So why am I telling you this?  Why should you care, gentle reader?  It is a somewhat convoluted story.  I am baking bread today to share with those I love.  Baking bread is a very human thing to do.  We must, after all, eat to survive.  And bread has been a staple of cultures going back as far as history takes us, and maybe into prehistory as well.  But bread baking is not the the theme here, it is the question: what does it mean to be human?

Fay Voshell, in a piece for the American Thinker asks the question:How Can a Gender Free Society Square with Being Human?  I recommend you read the whole thing. I keep thinking that the world around me seems to be going mad (in the sense of going insane, losing its mind) and Voshell shoots an arrow directly into the heart of the problem:
There are inherent, deeply flawed assumptions behind this latest leftist gimcrackery posturing as a human rights issue. It's time to consider what is really going behind the "bathroom" bills.
It is past time to evaluate the campaigns against the religious freedoms of Christians and other people of faith who believe – as all civilizations of the past have that there is a clear and innate differentiation between men and women that cannot be erased by an act of will. The correlating belief is that there is a moral code of sexual behavior that cannot be abrogated or entirely discarded without disastrous consequences to any given society. 
For one thing, behind the push for passing the "bathroom" bills is the utopian belief that this Earth must be made be a safe place for everyone, no matter what the identity of choice or the resultant behavior. The belief that no one should have his or her beliefs or actions controverted or challenged by anyone else, the idea that my real self is what I proclaim it to be, is derived from a utopianism that at heart is completely divorced from reality.
Most people are to some degree or another in flight from reality. The alcoholic seeks to drown the realities of life in booze, the drug addict seeks to numb the pain with drugs, but even people who exercise excessively are often fleeing from the fact of their own aging bodies, and the fact that they will eventually give out and they will die.  Jim Fixx, an early proponent of running was literally running away from his family history of heart disease, as he spelled out in his book The Complete Book of Running. He may, or may not have lived longer through running, but tragically, he died of a massive heart attack while out on one of his daily 10 mile jogs. The Pharohs of ancient Egypt believed that an important part of their job was to recite the incantations that made the Sun rise each day.  What delusions!

I hear people say all the time "Well, in a perfect world...such and such would happen"  But we do not live in a perfect world.  Voshell uses the word "utopianism" which refers to Utopia, a place that never was, and in which everything is perfect.  The word was first used by Sir Thomas More in his book by that name in 1516.  But your idea of a paradise, and mine may be two very different things.  In a single world, all 300 million of us can not have our own perfect world without conflict.

And indeed:
Such utopianism also requires us all to believe in the infallible and incontrovertible goodness of the individual inner voice, a voice that, because it is the divine discernment of one's true self, cannot be contradicted. It is to believe that that voice is always perfectly good and harmless to others.
But the blockade of inquiring or contradictory voices means the silencing of voices of protesters. It means profound intolerance bordering on tyranny, as no one is supposed to say anything contradictory to your voice. Let the whole Earth be silent so that never is heard a discouraging word.
We have seen this mad utopianism – demanding that each individual must be provided a perfectly safe place free from even another human being's opposing thoughts, thoughts that might contradict one's chosen identity – being avidly promoted on the campuses of our most prestigious universities. The result is that places formerly known for rigorous scholarly inquiry are rapidly becoming ideological hellholes devoid of the strenuous intellectual and spiritual endeavors necessary for the full development of the human being.
That inner voice can be deceptive. We know that God is not out there, he is in us, but sometimes that inner voice may not be God's. I imagine that Eve, when thinking of eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, was listening to just such a deceptive voice. "Wouldn't it be great to be like God himself, and to know good and evil? What could go wrong?" We must always check our motives, check the Word of God, that are written down for you and me  to study and reflect, and of course pray. This world, that God created, has one set of realities. One of those is that you were born either a man or woman. Neither is complete without the other. I have been told that God doesn't make mistakes, and if that is true, then it is the person who believes him or her self to actually be the opposite who is mistaken. That is reality. Surgery can not change who and what you are. But God's undying love can make you the best person you can be.

But most of all, the current fixation on transforming society through the transgender or gender-free society means that the chief focus is on externals rather than on the inner spirit of mankind. The fact is that the arduous process of becoming a good human being will never be accomplished by "safe" places or by relativizing or abolishing of the differences between the sexes. Who could live as a real human being in such a world?
There is no struggle more worthwhile than the intellectual, mental, spiritual struggle entailed in becoming a good human being. It is long past time to realize that there are some parts of that fight that are predetermined, and one of them is sex. The real struggle is not in determining whether or not you are a man or a woman. That is a given. The real struggle is the fight to be a truly beautiful human soul: do we want to be and are we continually striving after the good, the true, and the beautiful? Are we willing to take the risk to become brave, kind, compassionate, just, and merciful men and women?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Guns don't kill people-:Liberals do

 Guns don't kill people, but Liberalism does according to Trevor Thomas over at the Patriot Post. Thomas notes that:
Again, when you operate in the realm of fantasy, it is much easier not only to ignore the truth, but also to manufacture crises and perpetuate false injustices so as to paint oneself as the savior for what needs (or will need) fixing. Thus, “never let a crisis go to waste” is a frequent means by which political power is obtained and kept. Far too many Americans are all too willing to cast their votes for those who promise to “protect” them — from the climate, from the corporations, from the Christians, from guns, and from the consequences of their own bad decisions.
The lie is put to the anti-gun crowd, however, by:
It’s rather telling — but not at all surprising — that so few liberals have demonstrated any shock or remorse at the recent undercover Planned Parenthood videos. Remember how the liberal media had to be dragged kicking and screaming to cover the trial of Kermit Gosnell? Whether the Gosnell trial, or the Planned Parenthood videos, the truth about the abortion industry has been known for decades now. What’s more, there’s no real shortage of photographic and video evidence of what really happens during an abortion. Again, much of this has been around for years.
Because if Liberals, also known as Collectivists, Statists, Progressives, Socialists, Communists and Fascists, really cared about people being killed, they would care very much that 60 million innocent lives have been destroyed in a violent way by abortion. And then there is this:
Additionally, blacks (especially young black males) comprise well over half of the 11,000+ annual gun homicides in America. Well over 90% of these murders are the result of black-on-black crime. Multiple times this year, urban America has seen the equivalent of the Umpqua massacre occur over a weekend. In Obama’s home state of Illinois, Chicago alone has had several weekends that were as violent or more violent than what we just witnessed in Oregon. Do you recall any impassioned presidential pressers as a result? Me either.
Liberals, it is clear, care nothing about you, me, or anything other than obtaining power, keeping power, and getting rich in the process. Everything is designed around that objective. If Trevor Thomas' appeal is facts, Philip Ahlrich's is rhetoric, but they are saying the same things:
Never have the cannons of government turned with such determination and force against the American people. The theme of liberal government is its pursuit of legitimacy through power -- there is only futility in believing otherwise. If you disagree with the curent administration, you are the enemy. It is a message delivered to the nation with shot. We are witness to the force of dishonesty when spoken with enough audacity and counterfeit outrage that reason must limp from the encounter. Progressive interests in America are now seeking to exploit any rhetorical or imagined social differences in our culture in order to create a general perception of systemic injustices from which to establish the political conditions necessary for their success.
Due to the interference of progressive design upon America’s first principles -- her fundamental commitment to the protection of her citizens and their rights, to equality, liberty, and self-determination -- liberalism has changed into a politicized authoritarian ideology. It has become, in effect, a strategy of power. Its scripture now demands a twofold sacrifice of intellectual honesty to ideological commitment and of individual conscience to a political shame culture -- and so zealously have its votaries defended intellectual oppression and the misinformation that proceeds from propaganda, that it is now necessary to secure freedom from the liberal.
Read the whole thing, and think about it well. The rights, acknowledged in the Bill of Rights, come from a Higher Power than any king, ruler, dictator, or tyrant. Like a lot of things, if you don't use them, and defend them, you will not get to keep them. But they can not be taken from you, you must surrender them. Yes, you have a choice. I suggest you exercise them daily.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

What Does "Evangelical" really mean

I belong to a congregation chartered under what has become the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Evangelicalism has taken on many meanings, mostly negative, imposed by popular news writers and talking heads in the Mainstream Media (MSM). These people have mostly talked about Evangelicals as a class of Christians, unlike themselves, who hold to beliefs is a literal reading of the Bible, are ignorant, ultraconservative, and not like them. They have breathlessly reported that Ted Cruz is an Evangelical in an effort to wave off anyone who might equally be frightened that under Mr. Cruz the United States will soon be a theocratic nation of barefoot and pregnant women and gun toting men ready to shoot anyone who doesn't conform. Evangelicals are often mischaracterized as snake handlers who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. So, for instance, since Genesis says the God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh, they would think that God therefore created the world in six literal days. But while some may believe that, it is not what the word Evangelical means. In my prayers during the last week, the thought came to me: Is our congregation behaving as an Evangelical congregation would? Note that I make a distinction between the congregation, which is the local group of people who worship under the banner of a larger body or synod, that in turn functions in supporting the wider Evangelical Lutheran Church, which in turn supports the world wide body of Christ.. Ultimately, we Evangelicals are a part of the world wide Church, the body of Christ. Though we do not recognize the Pope's authority, we listen to and respect Catholic teachings, and we feel the pain when any Christian body is under siege, as the Christian communities in the Middle East are right now, and as the Eastern Orthodox church was under the Soviet Union.

So, what does the word "Evangleical" mean?  Quite literally, it means "of, or according to the teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."  And what is the message of the Gospel?  That God entered the world, in the form of a man, Jesus, at a particular time in history, to live among us, and like us to be tempted in various ways, but to live perfectly according to God's commands, and to die on the Cross, spilling His blood for our sins.  Jesus thus became the Pascal Lamb atoning for our sins.  God has thus reconciled sinful mankind to Himself.  That is the Good News, the best news.  Our response to this great gift, is to now live, as close as we can, as He would have us live, in constant prayer and conscious contact with the Holy Spirit who guides us.

Motives have always been important to God.  If it wasn't evident in the Old Testament scriptures, Jesus makes it abundantly clear in the New Testament.  Right thinking leads to right action.  But right action can become corrupted, and lead to evil without right thinking.  Thus, man was given stewardship of the Earth, and has a responsibility to use its resources wisely.  But when we assign diety to the Earth, calling it Gaia, and speak of the Earth striking us down for our imagined sins against it, our motives have become corrupted, and our actions are thus corrupt, and issues surrounding environmental actions become political rather than in keeping with God's command to stewardship.  We should marvel at God's creation, but only to love God more.

The Good News is so wonderful that keeping quiet about it is impossible.  It was intended for all of mankind.  But everyone is not ready to accept the Good News.  Fewer still are ready to follow.  This is unfortunate, but we must not let that keep us silent.  Like Martin Luther himself, we say to the world "Here we stand, we can not do otherwise."  So, it was interesting to read the  Evangelical Manifesto published by the National Association of Evangelicals. It is 20 pages of material that describes who we are, what we believe, and as importantly, how we should react to the surrounding culture. It is a good start, and seems spirit filled and as inspired as anything I have read other than the Bible itself.  I recommend it to you, gentle reader, and perhaps we can have a lively discussion on its contents.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bob Owens: Disarming Security at the Democratic National Convention

Bob Owens runs a blog entitled Bearing Arms that always has interesting news about various topics related to guns and self defense.  I don't get to it often enough. One of today's pieces is entitled Why Don't We Disarm Security at the Democrat National Convention?. One doesn't need to take the idea very seriously, as it is not seriously proposed. Rather, it is the rhetorical counter to the Change.org petition to allow open carry at the Republican National Convention.

You may remember a bruhaha erupting over a Change.org petition suggesting that open carry of firearms be allowed at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. A number of gun rights activists apparently were suckered into signing the petition. Still others, like David Codrea at the War on Gun website thought this sounded like a stunt put up by anti-gun groups. It turns out that Codrea's instincts were correct. The man who launched the petition, one Jim (no last name) "just wanted to start a conversation" about gun control.

I can almost imagine Jim, sitting around with his buddies, and talking about how the Republicans just won't budge to compromise on guns.  In their minds they think we treat guns as they do in movies: casually, and that we are always pointing them a people and killing all who stand in our way.  Somehow the idea comes up: what if they allowed open carry at the Republican National Convention.  Yeah, then they'd find out how WE feel.  Poor oppressed Jim.  Of course, if they actually knew anyone who carries concealed every day, they would perhaps understand the burden that goes with it.  When someone carries potential lethal force around with him everyday, he must maintain control of his emotions.  He can not afford an outburst that may escalate.  He must be willing to let others crazy acts roll off his back, unless personally attacked with lethal force.  It is not for the sitting around and playing at stupid games types.

Anti-gunners apparently never give up.  Despite the noticeable lack of "blood in the streets" each and every time gun restrictions have been lifted, the anti-gun types still claim to be living in fear, and appealing to the general public to put their fears at rest by not carrying guns.  But of course, such fears are irrational when taking into account the evidence (or lack thereof) of misdeeds performed by their neighbors and friends.  Such irrational fears, also known as phobias, are internal to the person having the phobia, and can not be helped by external means.  Until a person is willing to rid himself of a phobia, he will continue to have it.  But, as with all unrealistic thinking of this sort, whether one believes oneself to be the reincarnation of Napoleon Bonaparte, or if one is a hoplophobe, the rest of society does not have to participate in the madness.

As to the "conversation" our hoplophobic Jim wanted to start, as I have pointed out in the past, we have had this conversation.  We have had it over the course of the last 100+ years.  I don't want to rehash that here, now.  You can look it up and become educated about the gun and its use and abuse.  I would point out that criminals are already prohibited for possessing or carrying guns.  They do it anyway, because they couldn't get people to hand over their goods by simple persuasion.

Jim notes that he launched the Change.org petition because
I think they should have guns at their convention because I think that’s the only way to live in accordance with the principles they have tried to make us all live with.
He is of course correct. I have had a few experiences being in large rooms full of people with guns on their hips, and the reason you have not heard about them is because nothing happened. We even had Ron Paul speak at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Louisville, KY when he was running for President. As I said, nothing happened. In all likelihood, nothing would happen at the Republican National Convention either. Only a fool would try something with that many guns ready to take him down. But now let's put the shoe on the other foot. What are the chances that nothing untoward would happen to Hillary or Bernie at a Democratic National Convention in which even the security forces and the Secret Service is disarmed?  Talk about having to live with what the other side says it wants..

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Rob Morse on Self Defense

There is a very good primer on the self defense mindset over at Slow Facts by Rob Morse. As Rob says, this is not for the special snowflakes currently haunting our nations colleges and universities. If you are traumatized by the name of a political candidate chalked on the sidewalk, you will not survive.
If we study self-defense for very long, we’ll see that robbers practice and plan ahead. The sooner we interrupt their plans the better. Right there is where training and practice can give us an advantage. It is too late to start your home study course in self-defense once you’re being attacked. The people who trained for self-defense chose better options than those who had to learn through on-the-spot, in-the-moment, on-the-job training. Good training before the fact can help us avoid being attacked in the first place. I like that.. a lot!
We are most likely to be attacked when we are away from home. That means the arsenal in our gun safe is useless most of the time. Think about that for a minute. What we have on our body right now is what we will use to win or lose a self-defense encounter. It is unlikely that we will have time to go to our car or safe room and get our gun, cell phone, flashlight, and trauma kit. That is why criminals attack people who are, for example, on jogging trails.
This brings up the importance of "everyday carry" or EDC. Clearly, if you could, you would carry with you everything you think you might need and more. But carrying the entire contents of our houses and garages around on our backs is not going to work. Therefore, having the most effective tools, and knowing how to use them is the next best thing. In order to figure out what you need for EDC, you first need to assess your risk. It is unlikely, though not impossible, that you will face a team of assassins who definitely want you dead. On the other hand, you may have small children in tow, and may be exiting a store with your goods, while keeping an eye on the kids so they don't run out into traffic, searching for your car, and fending off insistent requests to go to McDonald's, when you notice a man watching you intently. If your situational awareness is good, you may notice two others who seem to be out there with no apparent reason to be. Your weapons and training should revolve around what you believe is likely.

What gun you carry, what mode of carrying it, what ammunition and what other gear you might carry are all personal choices based on the risks you potentially face.  I can not tell you what to buy, and in any case, all these things are likely to change as you grow in knowledge and experience.
Let’s say that we’ve thought about protecting our self and our family, and we decided to buy a gun. That helps a little. Suppose we’ve even gone to the local shooting range and practiced a few times. That is better. Unfortunately, in a real attack we will not get the sort of shot we practiced. The criminal will be moving. We should be moving too. Innocent people will be moving everywhere. In reality, the situation is a chaotic mess, but it will feel like less of a mess with training and practice.
Lots of people defend themselves every day, but here is the bad news. You and I perform at the ability we demonstrated on our bad training days. Fortunately, that seems to be good enough most of the time. An attack is a chaotic situation for both the defender AND the attacker.
I will also point out that you can get very good training through the US Concealed Carry Association. Just subscribing to the magazine can deliver a lot of good information. Note that I have no financial interest in USCCA, just appreciate the information.  You can also find good hands-on training close to home, though you need to vet the trainers to ensure they know whereof they speak.  If you can get involved in an International Defensive Pistol Association club and practice with those folks, while nothing prepares you for the real thing, this may be the closest you will get.

If you have to defend yourself (and I pray you never will,) it will change you, so meditate on that now.  If you are a Christian, realize that you must be fierce in your defense, but you can not hate those why tried to kill you.  It is a hard lesson, and a thin line.