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.