Thursday, July 27, 2017
Generations of American children have been accustomed to carrying and fantasizing about guns. Take my family lineage for example. Grandfather McGee, as a child on Southern California farmland, routinely shouldered a Winchester 22 single shot rifle. Purportedly to shoot at pestering crows endangering crops during the Great Depression era. During WWII he volunteered for the Navy where his love of firearms never wavered. Despite having a Japanese not-so-sharpshooter take a couple shots at him down at the swimming pond while on some R&R.
Upon his return to the States he decided to enlist in the Baby Boomer project and thus my dad was born. Reportedly, my dad filled his summer afternoons as a tween discharging firecrackers and taking shots with his Red Ryder BB gun. With one errant BB striking and shattering a neighbor's window (I assume that energy efficient double pane windows had not been patented yet).
Flash forward to the 80's when GI-Joe action figures were on every boy's Christmas list and you have me roaming my neighborhood or friends' ranches with a non-projectile firing replica. It was a metal and wood lever action rifle purchased from Knotts Berry Farm. And mind you, this was slightly before the time when orange tips were all the rage. Not knowing the statute of limitations...I may OR may not have threatened the lives of Cobra sympathizers and the occupants of passing cars by failing to prevent muzzle sweep. Boys being boys, right?
Thankfully my dad realized that my interest in firearms would be best served by taking a firearm safety course. Fortunately the Hunter Safety Course had a component of firearm handling and safety discussion. So whereas I failed the course at age 8 (I attribute this to my active PETA membership), I successfully passed at age 9 and learned a great deal more about safe firearm handling. One of my proudest moments is memorialized on a fading Polaroid. Little 9-year-old me holding a 22 caliber rifle almost taller than me, standing right next to dad and the range master.
Move ahead to Halloween-season 1998. It seemed perfectly righteous to go to High School dressed as Walker Texas Ranger (though in all honesty I never watched the show) complete with unloaded 38 brass on a Western gun belt and a stainless steel non-firing replica revolver (with orange tip painted over with a black felt tip marker). A very diligent Vice Principal noticed my costume during lunch and removed my prop from its holster to verify it wasn't real, then promptly returned it to me.
Move slightly forward to March 1999 and a modern rendition of MacBeth performed in class required 4 students (me included) to dress up in camouflage coveralls and ski masks pretending to do a drive-by shooting (while playing "Low Rider"). And they toted replica firearms with one student (not me) daring all by bringing in an unloaded pellet handgun. This was met with great applause from the English teacher. And did I forget to mention this was a Catholic school?
But after the events of Columbine that April...these behaviors were no longer socially acceptable at school or much elsewhere.
Now that I'm a parent I wrestle with what is the right course of action. How should I mentor my young children about firearms?
I think accompanying a MATURE child to the range, teaching firearm safety, and restricting unsupervised in-home access to guns until after they are age 25 are important principles. (I say age 25 because the parts of the brain that control impulse aren't fully formed until then and a serious mental illness should show its first symptom by that age. These are my personal rules, not an endorsement of laws that would raise the minimum age to possess/purchase.)
But...what about toy guns including replicas, Nerf guns, and squirt guns? What lessons were you taught? What values do you teach your children about toy guns?
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Lately, I’ve was in the market for an outside the waist band (OWB) holster for my subcompact Glock. I ended up buying a Bulldog P-G27 polymer OWB paddle holster from Cabela’s for less than $30. The holster fills a niche for when my ordinarily concealed carry gun is going to be openly carried. I am a big proponent of retention systems for firearms when openly carrying. Even though gun grabs from armed citizens, especially the situationally aware ones, are very rare, one is better safe than sorry. Retention systems can be as simple as a sturdy leather holster and a thumb break, to polymer holsters with an automatic locking system, disengaged with a swipe or a push.
The Bulldog holster I purchased has a push-button release activated by the index finger. In contrast to the problematic Blackhawk! Serpa holster with a similar mechanism, the Bulldog’s release is slightly higher up and the finger naturally indexes along the bottom of the frame. There is also a small channel to assist with this. The Serpa holster is known for being problematic because the lower finger position makes it easier for the digit to slip and pull the trigger.
|Angle is a little off due to one-handed photography.|
On the Bulldog, a conscious full-finger flat against the release, as if I were indexing it on the pistol itself, gave a safe draw. The release is fairly light and minimal pressure operates the lock, gripping the front of the trigger guard inside the holster. To create a potential negligent discharge situation, I had to curl my finger into a hook and push down with the tip, rather than applying lateral pressure with my entire finger during a hasty draw. A practiced draw, fast or slow, using the correct method was totally safe.
As far as drawbacks, there are two, which may not apply to everyone. First, the holster is wide. It stuck so far out, I had trouble covering it without printing horribly beneath my shirt. For those of you who haven’t gotten out of shape, you might have it easier, but it is significantly wider than the Safariland Glock 19 ALS holster I had re-purposed. Strictly for open carry, it is not an issue. The extra width is due to the paddle loop and the any-angle adjustment nut. The adjustment feature is a good one, easily loosened or tightened with a provided Allen wrench.
Second, the paddle does not work with belts very well, despite being molded for belt use. Given the design of a paddle holster, there is no way for me to put the holster on my belt over a belt loop. I had to put the holster on a segment between loops, instead of over the three o’clock loop and using two segments like I usually do. I ended up with the holster right over my hip pocket, making it very difficult to dig out my keys and wallet. But hey, it beats re-purposing my IWB holster to OWB or trying to do a Virginia tuck.
Had I realized this inside the store, I might have spent double the money to buy the Safariland 578 GLS which has the option of paddle or traditional belt loops. All in all, it’s a good holster. If you prefer the paddle to belt carry, this is the better option. As far as economy, this is also a good choice. Ultimately, knowing this was to be a limited-use holster, I am happy given the money I saved.
Recently, one of my “worst fears” (I have a few) were realized. A potential emergency was erupting outside. Two individuals, who were probably both mentally ill and under the influence of narcotics, were wandering around the complex screaming at each other and third persons that might or might not have actually existed. It was mildly annoying right up until they started walking up the lawn for my neighbors’ and I.
It appeared to me that they were going to walk up to my door, as they appeared lost and agitated trying to find whoever they were looking for. No one wants to be the person whose home is mistaken for a drug dealer or friend or relative of someone who is not playing with a full deck. Playing real-life “Dave’s not here man,” with a pissed off nutcase or junkie who wants inside now is not fun, especially if all you’re holding is a bath towel.
Had things gone pear-shaped, I would have had less than 30 seconds before NRS 200.120 might have applied. Being buck naked and shower fresh, I had to jump into clothing, grab my gun, and call 911. I’m not this guy (NSFW). My neighbor, who hadn’t been in the shower, came out and ran off the couple, who continued to wander the area, but a little quieter this time. Frankly, I don’t get paid to deal with that stuff anymore.
I really don’t like having to call 911. Being ex-law enforcement, I obviously have no compunction about informing the police about a situation, even if my call record at headquarters makes me look like the neighborhood busybody. Part of me wonders if I’ve gotten soft; the “let the cops deal with it” response seems to be a recurring theme among ex- or retired law enforcement. Within five minutes of my call, the police had arrived and corralled the free-range weirdos.
Back in 1964, New Yorker Kitty Genovese was murdered outside an apartment complex while 36-38 neighbors did nothing about it after hearing her screams, or so the story goes. The details are a little more complex; it was a cold winter morning when windows would be closed, most were asleep at 2 AM, and all but two of the witnesses saw/heard enough to know what was going on. Most mistook it as a domestic violence incident, not something to call the police over back then. Police did not respond as they viewed it as unimportant.
The rest didn’t want to get involved, or didn’t care, depending on the version of the story. Taking the apocryphal story at face value, it does tell us something about our human nature, which is that often people don’t get involved, assuming that others are calling the police, are better able to deal with the situation, or feel it’s none of their business. Some are just afraid. Why the responses in psychological testing are real, the Genovese story was badly exaggerated.
The real story tells us more about how important critical information of the nature of the incident is. In the real Genovese story, only one man yelled at the attacker, which scared him off for a few minutes, before he returned again to deliver the fatal wounds. This “good Samaritan” thought it was domestic violence as well and let it alone when the man left. Only two people called police who failed to respond, deeming it domestic violence (not a priority in the enlightened early ‘60s).
That cold early morning in 1964, no one really knew that Kitty was being stabbed to death. No one had a full picture of the actual events. What I learned in chatting with my next door neighbors is that this schizo-fest had been going on for twenty minutes. They caught bits and pieces as the wild weirdos roamed around our development. My neighbors only saw part of what was going on, assuming it was non-violent domestic or the morons were just lost and irritated (as it turned out to be). When they approached our homes was when my neighbor went out to deal with the situation. Our interpretations of the situation differed because of different observations.
In my experience, seeing what was likely mental illness and drugs, the last thing I wanted was to yell and become a target myself. Not for a confrontation, not for an attempted burglary, not for later retaliation. Even if I would be in my legal rights to shoot, should it come to it, I’d rather not. Let the guys with vests, Tasers, pepper spray, batons, and lots of lawyers and insurance deal with it. I’ve seen people shout back at unmedicated schizophrenics in crisis or couples in domestic arguments and I’ve seen the do-gooder become the target for violence or mistake the aggressor for the victim.
Each course of action is a personal choice, but both require awareness and knowledge. No two person’s experiences will be the same, both in the moment of crisis and their life experience, or they approach to dealing with situations, but being unprepared is always dangerous. What if my neighbor hadn’t been monitoring these people and known they were unlikely to pose a threat to him? What if he was not mentally and physically prepared for a confrontation as he is and the situation escalated? What if I charged out and decided to “preempt” a burglary? Information matters.
Most disturbingly, no one else I’m aware of got involved, which is where the bystander effect comes into play. I was the only one to call 911. There have to be at least a dozen families or people home just on the street side of me where I first saw these fine, toothless and upstanding members of our community. Again, only two of us did anything. Perhaps it is a little like the truth of the Genovese story; no one knew fully what was going on or perceived danger except us two. Perhaps the loud hum of air conditioning and the noise of TV, etc. made the situation invisible to the other neighbors behind their closed blinds and curtains.
Imagine if they had come to my door and I had been a bit longer in the shower. Next thing I know, there’s pounding at the door and I’m naked and wet. Situational awareness is vitally important at home. Home should be the one place where you can be in Code White, but being totally obvious to the outside world is a bad thing. Imagine if I ignored what was going on and they came to the door? That 30 seconds just dropped to zero. That’s why people home carry.
Home carry is a personal choice, just like a person’s choice to intervene. By nature, I’m a reserved person. I’d rather not get involved if I don’t have to. My neighbor is more outgoing and more aggressive, not minding getting down if necessary. Everyone is different. Had they simply been loud, I probably would have said something too, if they didn’t move on. He also had a different perspective, which is vitally important. He saw idiots yelling at each other and being loud; I saw a potentially violent situation.
Not everyone is going to be a tall, strong man confident of ourselves in times of conflict like my neighbor and I. The police aren’t always going to have a slow night and literally just minutes away. You may not have the full picture and you may not have any warning. All you can do is be prepared to defend your home at a second’s notice. One thing is for sure; when you ignore trouble outside out of fear of dealing with it or calling the police, that's when you neighborhood starts to turn into a craphole.
Monday, July 24, 2017
A higher crime rate in the Las Vegas area is not a "new normal." Crime rates rise and fall. America is as peaceful as it was during the last major lull in homicide rates, the late 1930s through early 1960s. Review-Journal reporter Rachel Crosby wrote that she's glad she's leaving the crime beat. She bemoans the violence she's covered and recounts a few stories.
A man in a broken relationship snapped and killed his family before killing himself. A teenager who broke the law killed himself to avoid the consequences of his actions. Unarmed security guards were shot by a robber in a mall that bans firearms. Well, it's better than the Sun's examples callingfor gun control, at least. None of those examples are really outside the norm of the valley.
If blame is to be laid for rising crime rates, look to the failed administration of Sheriff Lombardo. Under Lombardo, homicide rates are up. Attorney General Sessions came to Las Vegas in regards to the Las Vegas sanctuary city policy. And everyone is afraid to point out the causes and solutions of crime. Crime to middle and upper class citizens of all races is not a problem. While homicides are up, defensive gun uses are also way up over the past few years. There have been 24 defensive gun uses so far in a year that's only a little more than half over, versus 18 last year.
The how, why, and who of local crime is far more important than the numbers. A man who murders his wife does not make me fear for my safety, it makes me feel sad. High violence in certain neighborhoods occurring between certain members of certain communities for particular reasons, none of which are common to me, means that I am not in danger, though violence is statistically up. Just as we cannot ignore the uncomfortable realities behind crime and violence, we can’t ignore the solutions of personal responsibility to help curtail violence and protect ourselves.
Perhaps it is the limitation of the print version of the newspaper (which shouldn't limit the online version) that the details and causes behind the crimes are left out. Many stories have no follow up and leave out many details, including race. Much of Las Vegas area homicide is among minorities who are often involved in drugs or gangs. The failure of inner city minority communities to end violence among themselves by no longer tolerating it does not exist. In the Old West, frontier violence did not decline until western communities became tough on crime and did not excuse easy killing.
My suggestion to newspaper owners: higher ex-cops to investigate and write crime stories. They can handle the heat, understand the cause, and communicate to the reader whether or not fear is merited. I do not have the resources (money and time) to go to crime scenes, talk to the PIOs, order police reports, talk to witnesses, etc. The newspaper "journalists" do, but they don't. They merely regurgitate press releases or press conferences, digging down to a Facebook account at the most. Within a few days, the story is forgotten.
Today's college kids that seem to populate newspaper offices need to read real newspapers from a hundred years ago. People who take the time to read news are on average smarter than TV news viewers and we want analysis and details.
We should never accept higher crime rates as normal. We each have the ability to safeguard ourselves from criminal attack by exercising our right to self-defense. Those in communities plagued with violence have the responsibility and the duty to reform their own communities by turning in criminals and setting the standard at home and in church that crime and violence is unacceptable. For the rest, we can start by getting handle on things by voting out Sheriff Lombardo in 2018 and by electing legislators and politicians who will be tough on crime and enforce immigration laws.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
|Image courtesy the sheriff via Wikimedia under Creative Commons license|
If you have to tell people that you are a supporter of the Second Amendment, you clearly don’t support it. Constitutional rights do not come with qualifications. Something that is subject to restrictions placed on it by politicians is not a right, it is a privilege. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo supports some form of the right to bear arms, but only that which he feels is proper for citizens. Not all of us can be trusted with guns, as his record indicates. But mistakes can be made; we’ve seen Senator Roberson become a much more stalwart supporter of gun rights—the lion of this year’s legislative session—after 2015’s wasted “Year of the Gun.”
Last fall, while publicly remaining neutral on Question 1, Lombardo privately expressed his support for banning private gun sales. He also told the Las Vegas Sun that he saw “no need to have a high-capacity magazine for any practical reason.” Lombardo calls himself a hunter, but he’s actually just a Fudd; someone who believes anything tactical is unnecessary and doubts the Second Amendment provides for self-defense or revolution.
After announcing his re-election bid for 2018, his Facebook page was flooded with criticism for
Lombardo’s stance on gun control (and a lot of other issues). Initially, comments were being moderated, which was a poor policy for the San Diego County sheriff, who was sued over deleting comments the county didn’t like. Given the response to criticism that was posted earlier today (see below), did Lombardo change his mind?
Anything after the first paragraph makes Lombardo a butter; i.e. “I support the Second Amendment, but…” Specifically, "addressing mental illness and its relation to gun possession and mass killings." Sounds like Lombardo supports gun violence restraining orders, AKA pre-crime laws meant to strip one of their firearms based on nothing more than an unsubstantiated complaint made to a sympathetic judge. Since society does not have the moral fortitude to actually address mental health problems, the easier route for nanny-statists is to further regulate guns. Simply put, Scummy Joe Lombardo is skeptical of average joes owning guns.
This attitude is typical with cops of his age, experience, and rank—products of 1980s and 1990s urban law enforcement thinking that was often opposed to armed citizens. It has been a pattern with Clark County sheriffs in particular. Last election, there were several challengers who truly supported the Second Amendment without equivocation. Instead, casino money ensured the election of a sheriff who is ineffective at even being sheriff.
Lombardo’s department has been shockingly ineffective at keeping homicides and violent crime at bay. Homicides were up 80% in March of 2016. In October, homicides evened out to a 25% increase over 2015 and a case of dubious self-defense caused a 20 year high for murders. Lombardo says 50% of the homicides are related to gang activity, but some of his changes have been criticized.
Gang expert Wes McBride, a retired gang detective, said that Lombardo's decision to break up the gang unit helped increase street crime. Metro blames California for exporting it’s gang members (true to a degree), but Metro can’t admit that Las Vegas simply has a gang problem because of the endemic poverty in some neighborhoods. “If they admit to having a local gang problem, they’re seen as being a weak administrator,” said McBride.
Metro police officers, via their unions, blame the decentralization of the gang unit for making sharing intelligence harder and diverting gang detectives to other types of investigations. Don’t forget the plan to pull detectives into black and whites for a few weeks of patrol to help out on the manpower shortage. Seems no one wants to be a cop anymore and the “more cops” tax just isn’t enough.
Scummy Joe also blames “the increase in firearms.” The increase in the use of firearms? The increase of illegal possession of firearms? Or does he mean “more guns=bad?” That kind of statement is like blaming an increase in car sales for an increase in traffic deaths and DUIs, but logic is not exactly the ken of anti-gunners.
Clark County citizens do not deserve to have a sheriff who is scolded by the Justice Department for helping Las Vegas to be a sanctuary city. We don’t need politicians who tell us guns are the problem when criminals are. Clark County has only finally, in 2015, emerged from the shadow of onerous and ineffective gun control and does not need anyone in power who supports further diminishment of our sacred constitutional rights. In 2018, it is imperative that this double-dipping public servant be sent to the inevitable future of every Clark County sheriff, security consultant for a casino company.
Men like Larry Burns or Gordon Martines would make much better top cops and they also supported getting rid of blue cards while Lombardo waffled. Only by being ambushed with the help of Channel 8 did Lombardo address the topic of blue cards back when Metro was seemingly took by surprise by the repeal of blue cards. So unless he gets wise to the public mood in Nevada, which is pro-gun rights, in 2018, just say no to Scummy Joe. We don’t need a public daddy to tell us our long-standing gun rights need to be limited.
Monday, July 17, 2017
This is the story of one man's tactical vest. It started several years ago when this single, childless man wanted to be tact-cool but has now morphed into essential emergency preparedness gear for the husband and father of today.
You have many choices for MOLLE vests. The big division is whether you want body armor or not. I couldn't afford the body armor version nor do I find it acceptable to armor myself while my spouse and child became de facto bullet sponges.
Next category choice is to be a minimalist (chest rig model) or to encapsulate yourself in a web of MOLLE straps. I opted for the latter because I won't be running that much (toddler can't stay on pace with me) plus my husky frame could support a tool chest of Craftsman's finest.
I went with the blank mesh 5.11 version. I skipped the "preset" choices because I don't want someone pre-determining my mag or pistol location (much like the President my pouches prefer to travel freely between Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago).
When placing pouches on my vest I kept in mind to respect the ease of removing items under duress, and balancing weight between right/left and front/back. This meant several painstaking cycles of securing and removing pouches to find what real estate was most affordable for them. I seriously had raw fingers after doing this. And Blackhawk "Speed" Strips my ass, they still take time to weave. One more thing, not all pouch manufactures have the same color match...I have the occasional sandstone / coyote tan / flat dark earth mixup.
Now, what should be in these pouches? That's a highly individualistic answer. If you live in the desert you might need a Camelbak hydration system and if you live in the swamps you probably need Zika-spreading mosquito repellent. Here's what I have pouches for (for whatever it's worth)
- Pistol magazines
- Rifle magazines
- Small monocular
- Police scanner
- FRS radio
- Leatherman tool
- Nitrile gloves
- First aid / gun shot kit
- Hydration bladder
I've been happy with it. But then I got an itch to make a second one. So now I have a duplicate in black, and exchange the rifle mag pouches for shotgun round pouches (because you never know).
Well, my secret is out. I have two tactical vests because I have commitment issues. What's in your MOLLE pouches?
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Just this week, I’ve seen questions come up about firearms in bags or containers on bikes and wheelchairs, so I thought I’d share my conclusions on the blog. Nevada law defines a concealed firearm as “a loaded or unloaded handgun which is carried in such a manner not to be discernible by ordinary observation,” NRS 202.3653. It is a felony to carry concealed upon your person a firearm, NRS 202.350(1)(d)(3).
Typically, this is understood to mean that you cannot hide a firearm beneath your clothing, unless it is partially exposed far enough to be able to easily identify it as a gun, or to carry a bag such as a purse with a gun in it. Backpacks over the shoulder or a carried container are included as well.
Carry is defined in the dictionary as “to move while supporting,” “to wear or have one’s person,” or “to bear upon.” “The person” is defined to include the body and clothing. These all seem to imply that a gun attached to or held by a person is considered being carried. A purse is moved from place to place while suspended (supported) by a hand, while a backpack is supported by the straps around the shoulder. Wearing, bearing, or having on one’s person all imply holsters, belting a gun in, pocketing a gun, or somehow having it moved about by the stuff on your body.
The opinion of the attorney general states that: “It is our opinion that the language of NRS 202.350 would be narrowly construed to include only those concealed weapons which are actually on the person or in a container carried by the person.” A bike or wheelchair would be doing the “supporting”; both mechanical items incapable of wearing or bearing guns, (vicarious) contact with the body being required.
"...the phrases 'concealed upon person,' 'upon his person,' and 'upon the person' have been interpreted to include weapons that are in contact with the individual or are being carried within a container by an individual."
Let’s not get too technical, so let’s just say that the only way for the gun to move is by going where your body goes, because it’s somehow attached to you, be it by accessory, clothing, strap, or just fingers around a handle. So, if the item is not attached to your body, hanging from it, or being carried, it’s not illegally concealed. Thus, a gun in a pannier or saddlebag on your bike, horse, or motorcycle is not on your body and is not illegal.
The difference is rather specific to Nevada. Nevada law only requires the firearm to be upon your person to make it criminal. The opinion above comes from a question from the Clark County District Attorney about whether or not a concealed weapon is still illegally concealed if it is merely near a person, such as within arm’s reach. The question was:
“A weapon carried on the person is obvious. The question gets more complicated with a weapon in a purse, briefcase, carry-on luggage and such when it is in fact carried by an individual. Place those containers on the floor next to the person. Put the same container in the passenger portion of a vehicle, the weapon in the glove box, console, under the seat?”
Many other states prohibit such behavior that the DA asked about, reasoning that the weapon is still under the immediate control of the person and can be quickly accessed. They do this by specifying “on or about the person” or add similar qualifications. So, in Nevada a firearm in a purse on the seat next to a drive is not illegally concealed, while in Idaho it would be. In these “about” states, it is safe to assume that a saddlebag or backpack hanging from the rear of a wheelchair is “about the person” and is illegal.
“…language such as 'concealed on or about person' or 'concealed on or about his person' has been interpreted to extend the proximity of the weapon necessary to constitute a violation of the statute... To violate a statute prohibiting carrying firearms 'concealed on or about the person,' the weapon must be actually concealed on the person or in such close proximity that it can be readily used as though on the person, without appreciable change in his position.”
So, due to the unique wording of Nevada law, it is not illegal to have a gun in a bag or container on your wheelchair or bike (or motorcycle or Segway, for that matter). It’s not an oversight, it just makes life a little simpler for citizens who want to be able to defend themselves without paying for the privilege to exercise their right to put a handgun case on the floor of their car or tuck their revolver into their glovebox. Gangbangers on bikes don’t use panniers and people in wheelchairs typically don’t go around committing murders and robberies, so I think we’re just fine with the way our law is.
Caution: Police are not experts on the law and often do not have the same, detailed grasp of minutia that the average armed citizen does. They may not understand the difference, but it is highly likely any prosecuting attorney or judge would, so you’re probably on safe legal ground. However, I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice, rather informed opinion. Don’t start screaming “The dude from Nevada Carry said it was okay!” if you meet one of Nevada’s crummiest.
It’s always best to politely explain the law and tell the officer where he can quickly find an answer (the other half of the reason for Nevada Carry’s raison d'être). Remember, the goal is to beat the ride and beat the rap. Getting a CCW is worth it for any eventualities and to avoid the $25 background check fee.
Monday, July 10, 2017
The Las Vegas Sun, an unashamedly anti-gun Leftist publication, urged Clark County residents to contact their elected officials about “gun violence” in the valley. Far from the mark as usual, The Sun displays the typical failure to understand or admit the truth behind the cause and nature of “gun violence.” Just like CNN, the Sun is guilty of publishing “fake news.” In trying to push a narrative about accidental gun deaths and injuries to children, they lead of with stories that all involve criminal violence.
Some background information on the heartrending stories they lead off with. Infant Marcus Thomas Jr. was killed in a targeted shooting when the suspect(s) fired at his parents’ car, presumably trying to kill his father, and hit the child. Police have not confirmed if it was gang related. Thomas and his LaSharell Pope are black and live in a predominately black area (according to the Racial Dot Map). Chances are, it was gang-related, but the Review-Journal’s reporters never bothered to follow-up on the investigation, or so I could tell.
Tiara Lucas’s 4 month old was shot in the hand by a stray bullet, fired east of the Strip. Coincidentally, Lucas is also black, but that is likely incidental. Another child and presumably its father were shot during an argument at another apartment complex. Further details are unknown and I will not speculate on race. It is safe to say that living in a predominately non-white community with a high rate of violence is dangerous. It’s also safe to say that gang and drug violence plagues the black community, something that today’s “journalists” seem to leave out of their reports and never follow-up on.
The Sun quotes a study from the journal Pediatrics which states that the third-leading cause of death for children are guns, for a total of 1,300 killed. The Sun spins this as unintentional or accidental death by citing disease and accidents after and the above stories about stray bullets and cross fire when the study figures are nearly all homicides. The manipulation is so great that it meets the definition of a lie; an untrue statement that is intended to deceive.
|Juvenile homicides, 2014.|
The “truth” of the statement depends on the definition of “children.” The word “child” in relation to age typically does not include teenagers. The study counted those under 18, as this meant they could count teenagers, which comprised 92% of deaths. Only about 7% were under age 12 and a total of 78 of the 1,300 cited deaths were actual accidents. A CDC study from 2015 lists accidental death by gun for minors as the tenth leading cause (source).
Using 2014 data, 1,330 persons under 18 died via gun (all intents), using CDC WISQARS data, the same source data as the Pediatrics study. 791 deaths were homicides (including accidents) and 566 were suicides. White juveniles commit suicide via gun by a factor of nearly ten times greater than black juveniles, but black juveniles are killed in homicides 60% more than whites. If we exclude Hispanics from whites, that rate increases to four times more dead African-Americans than non-Hispanic Caucasians. Hispanic juveniles die in homicides in slightly higher rates, at about two-thirds less than African-Americans.
The Sun blames the “slaughter” on the NRA, the same NRA who has a child-gun safety program and teachers people how to use guns safely. Let’s take a look at killing and see who is actually responsible for the slaughter. Remember, this is all fact, it is not racist.
About 90% of black homicide victims of all ages are killed by black perpetrators. Out of all 1,488 juveniles killed by homicide (all means) in 2014, 897 or 60% were black. 275 or 18% were non-Hispanic white and 279 or also 18% were non-white Hispanic. Non-Hispanic whites compose 63% of the US Population, Hispanics compose 8.1%, and non-Hispanic blacks 12%. White Hispanics compose about 50% of all Hispanics. What does this tell us? We have a racially disproportionate rate of killing in the United States. 63% of the population is only responsible for less than a fifth of all juvenile homicides, while 20% of the population is responsible for 78% percent of killings.
The slaughter is the responsibility of cultures that murder each other with abandon. Some will now accuse me of racism, but the uncomfortable fact that everyone seems to want to ignore is that murder in America today is disproportionately committed by and to members of minority communities. The problem is with a rotten culture, infested with gangs, drugs, and without stable families. This isn’t the first time America has had a problem with a violent culture; in the past, whites were responsible, but different reasons.
The South and Old West in the 1800s had statistically higher rate of homicide than northern states. Actual criminal violence, aside from the notorious gangs and robberies, was much lower than today’s urban cities. If you behaved yourself and kept good company, you would be fine. Random crime like we see today was much more rare, but if you were cantankerous, rude, and hung around a bar with a bunch of men who thought it was okay to kill each other if the hate was deep enough, you might be in trouble.
The problem was the culture. Society had a laid back attitude towards violence. The old dueling culture lead to killing over matters of honor being socially acceptable. What we would call voluntary manslaughter today, killing in the heat of passion, was not considered that bad if the other guy “had it coming.” This lead to our concealed carry laws and likely to increased standards for justifiable homicide.
At some point, people cried out that they had had enough killing and things changed. The problem was never the gun, it was a culture that practically condoned murder, though guns were blamed. Now we rigorously prosecute and convict (if not execute), murderers. Modern juries don't excuse gang killers simply because the victim was an equally unsympathetic rival gang member.
Contemporary America does not have a gun problem; what America has is a cultural problem. America has failed the inner city communities and the black community in particular. We have failed the young men on the street leaving their families to pay the price of heartbreak.
If the majority of murders are committed by young, black males, how can we expect that same demographic to disapprove of killing each other? Inner city violence will not change until the culture changes. I have to question if it wants to when I hear the proliferation of rap and R&B music that praises money, sex, materialism, and violence. At some point, and maybe these last 20 years of relative peace portend something, minorities will get sick of the violence amongst themselves and stop it.
We cannot dismiss the black and minority communities, which is precisely what blaming the gun does. Everyone regardless of race deserves life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness too. We cannot address a problem if we are too afraid of being called racist to name it, but that’s exactly what the media and politicians do while hearts break in the inner city. Leftists broke the black community and continue to disappoint the Hispanic community. So let’s lay the blame where it belongs; liberal politics.
The Sun criticizes the NRA for “treating any attempt to deal with gun violence like an existential threat to Americans’ freedom.” That’s because it is. Guns are apparently the only constitutional right that the media feels it’s okay to target for destruction. CNN is reacting that every presidential tweet about it is an existential threat. Perhaps if a campaign began to permit suing the news media for fraud for publishing such slanted and spun editorials like this the Sun would be screaming about respecting the First Amendment.
Leftists and liberal rags like the Sun perversely blame anything and everything except the actual problem. These denials are responsible for the continual disappointment to a population that has long been discriminated against, kept in poverty, and systematically subjected to violence. The Sun and whatever liberal shill wrote this fetid piece of drivel has once again stooped to exploit the tragic plight of minorities to further the Leftist objective of subjecting all to tyranny.
If you want to look up the editorial, it is titled "Residents must lead the way on action against gun violence."
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Happy Independence Day, or Fourth of July to those of you who don't know why we light off fireworks and barbecue. It's time to look back into history and read a patriotic editorial that shows us, as far as gun control goes, there is nothing new under the sun. This could be written today. The date will be at the end. Remember and be grateful for the 6,800 men died in battle and many tens of thousands more to disease and climate so that we could celebrate this two-hundred and forty-first year of American independence.
“EDITOR OF THE ARGUS—I do not say, for I do not believe, that the , legislators who passed these laws were all, or any of them, were personally in favor of disarming the people, as a step towards restoration of caste, I do not think this hidden toryism sufficiently wide spread at present to stock the legislatures of a majority of our 'states, with its conscious devotees, but I do say that the sentiment among the people the hidden power behind public opinion which led to the enactment of this law, was secretly inspired by the ' influence of tory minds and flunkey hearts as a means to an end, and that end was the ultimate disarming of the American people, of course I shall be told that there is nothing in this law against bearing arms that the prohibition is only of the concealment thereof. Of course, no one would be idiotic enough to suppose Jesuitism whether religious or political, would spoil its plans by exposing them before the time for full fruition. But sometime there will be bills introduced into our legislatures, prohibiting the carrying of pistols openly or in secret, and the quiescence of the people under those laws will be cited as a precedent in favor of the new ones The same arguments advanced in favor of these laws, will be equally valid in advancing those, indeed as we shall see further on, the clause against concealment in the present statutes, is only inserted to evade that section of our Magna Charta which declares that the right of every man to bear arms, shall not be infringed. These new laws will not be directed against bearing arms as such, but against pistols and small arms only. It will be urged that the right to bear muskets will and shall be intact, but the constitution says nothing in favor of Colts revolver and it will be perfectly lawful to legislate against them. Such a law will be passed at no very distant day, if the present furor in favor of the most rigid enforcement of the present laws to-day continued. And then those men who own the elegant little nickle plated denizens of the hip pocket will be compelled to dispose of them altogether, or to keep them hid behind the clock case or down cellar, where no careless eye may chance to see them. For the right of owning an article implies the right of carrying the same, and when the one is abrogated the other is rendered void.-- Then men will become more and more unaccustomed to the use of firearms, for guns are clumsy and costly, and many people can not afford to procure them, and still fewer would be able to spend the time necessary to become familiar with their use. Then again, laws will be passed debarring the people from forming societies and bearing arms en masse. Later still a license law will be passed prohibiting all persons from bearing or possessing arms, who are not able and willing to pay a license for so doing— license at first ridiculously small and insignificant. And lastly the license will be increased until only persons of a certain opulence will be able to afford the luxury, and this by throwing all the firearms into the hands of the wealthy classes will render the completion of the Toryistic scheme as easy as rolling off a log, and the grand programme of aristocratic restoration will be complete.
“This is the inevitable tendency or all laws against carrying concealed weapons, and the fact seems so self-evident, the person must be stupidly blind who does not perceive it. Nevertheless there are many who profess themselves quite unable to believe there can be any harm in such a law who can read nothing between the lines. They pooh pooh the idea that anyone would try or would wish to try to curtail the privileges of freeborn American citizens. They seem to imagine that laws are incapable of possessing hidden meanings, though in ambiguous terms. Though the uncertainty of legal processes is every day made more glaringly evident. They seem forgetful of the fact that the evident spirit of the Constitution is violated in these laws, though they may be literally constitutional, and that where the spirit of a creed is outraged, the outrages are scarcely liable to conscientious scruples about the strict observance of the letters or the same, perhaps these persons would not be so very deserving of repute had the laws against concealed weapons been the only steps taken thus for in this direction. But, though it is only a very few years since these laws were first passed, the quiescence of the people under them has already led to of more advanced legislation. Already the rights of the people to near arms en mass in civil societies, has been contested in the courts, and eminent legal talent has arrayed itself against the people. The arrest and imprisonment of the Socialistic company leaders of Chicago, not many months ago, though provoking but little comment throughout the land, was a very significant straw, showing which way the current of opinion was tending. And it may not wholly have escaped the reader's memory, that during the "Great Strike" of 1877, the opinion was widely advanced by the partisans of monopoly, that the rights of people to bear arms was a standing menace to the Government, and that some license law should be enacted to limit the possession of arms to those whose interests were supposed to be identical with "Strong Government, in other words, despotism. If such things do not prove that these laws are but pointers, but stepping-stones to something beyond, I cannot imagine what sort of evidence would be considered convincing.
“I do not know whether the constitutionality of the laws against concealed weapons has or has not been subjected to the test of supreme court examination, nor do I care, since no decision of any court, whether favorable or adverse can have any bearing on the argument. The constitution of the United States is perhaps the best example in existence of terse expression and rigid simplicity of style. It needs for its comprehension no extensive culture, nor legal education nor exhaustive researches in black letter literature. It demands only moderate acquaintance with Webster's spelling book, and a small modicum of common sense. It is so simple straightforward and honest that the wayfaring man though a fool can read and understand. It is true that hired shysters and hair-splitting gibblers may profess to find hidden meanings under the most obvious texts, but the common sense of the American people if not an infallible guide, nearly so at least has long since declared that the value of a magna carta lies in its being easily understood by every person affected by its decrees, and that, hence, the literal interpretation of the text is the most natural and true one. To assert otherwise, is to not only depreciated the wisdom of the framers, but to impeach their patriotism as well. The fathers or our government may not have been the paragons of perfection, our Fourth of July orators would have us believe, but they were certainly as well versed in the English language, as any of our modern constitutional lawyers, and were actuated by motives of patriotism where purity has never been denied, and when they drew up the national constitution, they sought only to preserve and perpetuate by legal enactments the liberties so dearly bought with the sword. It is ridiculous to suppose, and slander to assert that such men would have concocted a charta for the people which not one man in ten thousand of those people would, be able to understand, which would be so obscure its meaning and uncertain in its renderings as to resemble the revelation of St. John the Divine, which ten thousand learned commentations have not yet made clear. They would rather used plain language to express their meaning: they would not have crowded different meanings into one expression, and the meaning they would intend to convey by any one sentence, would be the one apparent on its face. They had no object in using ambiguous language, which could be "made to support contradictory and unthought of hypotheses. When (figuratively, of course), they spoke of a spade, they meant and intended to be so under stood the garden utensil of that name; and when they declared that the right American citizens to bear arms should not be infringed, they meant just what they said, and would have been surprised to learn that their language justified such interference with that right, as is perpetuated in the laws against concealed weapons." —Guy Rivers
“Plea For the Hip Pocket.” The Rock Island Argus.” Nov. 1, 1881. (original)
Friday, June 30, 2017
|Credit: FN America|
No, it’s not just your mind playing tricks on you; the FN 509 is basically just a Glock. More than external resemblance, the internals tell the tale. For instance, the Glock inspiration can be seen in:
- The slide stop lever tab that contacts the magazine follower
- The cruciform sear
- The double-coil recoil spring
- The slide internals (FN’s firing pin safety appears to be located in the rear)
|Credit: Truth About Guns|
Some of differences are more apparent than the features common to the Glock system. It does not use a trigger blade safety, but rather an articulated trigger similar to the Smith and Wesson M&P. American Rifleman states this was for shooters’ comfort. The interchangeable backstraps are something that the Glock Modular Handgun System (MHS) trial gun lacked. The lever style disassembly lever is much better than the funky Glock tab.
How can FN get away with this? The basic Glock design is no longer under patent and thus you have the DIY Polymer 80 series of 80% receivers. Smith and Wesson got in trouble with their Sigma series pistols, which were so similar to Glocks, that S&W was ordered to pay royalties after a lawsuit. The Glock design was so popular that the Massachusetts company decided to pay the fine and pump out their copy of Gaston’s masterpiece. But imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so it’s no shame that FN borrowed heavily from the Glock, which itself was based on a study of the most successful pistol designs.
FN isn't also restricted by Glock's assertion that its pistols are perfect and is free to improve major elements of the design, like the hard to grasp takedown tab become a lever and the rail is a standard M1913 style instead of a proprietary one. Forward cocking serrations and no front strap finger groves come standard to this model, unlike the law enforcement only Glock M and Summer Special half-generations.
FN isn't also restricted by Glock's assertion that its pistols are perfect and is free to improve major elements of the design, like the hard to grasp takedown tab become a lever and the rail is a standard M1913 style instead of a proprietary one. Forward cocking serrations and no front strap finger groves come standard to this model, unlike the law enforcement only Glock M and Summer Special half-generations.
If a Sig Sauer and a Glock had a baby, it would look like the FN 509. The slide serrations look a bit Swiss and slide release is in almost the same place as Sig's. The FN wins over the Glock on style points, even if it will suffer from a deficit of aftermarket parts. For most people who appreciate the blockier style of handguns and don’t need or want to add a plethora of custom parts or doo-dads to their gun, the FN may be good choice for them. Reviews seem to have found it reliable, as expected from the original Browning system manufacture, and the quality is likely equally superb.
|From Dr. Campbell's Facebook page|
A gunman shot two and then killed himself in an incident at a Summerlin Center for Wellness Thursday afternoon. Thankfully, the wounds were minor and the killer did the right thing early on and ended his miserable excuse for a life before anyone else got hurt. This is a perfect example of why it is not inappropriate for medical office staff to be armed. Not all such shootings result in such limited casualties. As we have said time and time again, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Barricading the door, hiding, and praying only works if the killer does not find you or shoots through the door. Fighting is a much better option.
Chris Upshaw, a concealed carrier, posted on Facebook that he heard the shots from the neighboring Bagel Cafe (which prohibits customers' guns) and ran to the clinic to assist. He and another armed citizen entered the office with their guns drawn and found that the shooter had already killed himself. Upshaw and the other citizen unloaded the killer's gun and cleared the rest of the building. He reports the two gun shot injuries were minor ones, to a hand and to the other person's forearm. The third injury, a fall, came from the person who jumped out a window.
While this was likely not an attempted killing spree (see below), if the shooting continued, perhaps men like Mr. Upshaw would have been able to successfully intervene before police arrived and saved lives. Violence in medical facilities don't have to result in helpless victims at the mercy of the aggressor. In 2015, a robbery at a Las Vegas dentist's office was stopped from turning into something worse when an employee retrieved his gun from his car and shot one of the robbers, freeing two hostages when the surviving robber fled. In Pennsylvania in 2014, a doctor killed a patient that had come to the hospital with plans of going on a killing spree.
Anti-gunners will count the shooter's suicide as "gun violence" in their statistics, perversely making himself into a victim so that they may push their narrative further. They will gleefully use this to say that licensed concealed carriers are violent and dangerous, despite CCW holders being more law abiding than police officers. If this incident paints armed citizens in a bad light, then likewise the actions of a lying reporter or unscrupulous media organization poisons the whole field of journalism. If blame must be laid somewhere, let us examine if prescription drugs were a factor in the man's state of mind.
This is speculation: perhaps that his actions, causing only minor wounds to extremities followed by his suicide, were a monstrous way of acting out hidden despair, rather than a unsuccessful attempt at something worse. Or maybe acting thoughtlessly in whatever sad state he was in, once he realized the magnitude of what he had done, he chose to stop and kill himself. There is no honor in the act, but if it was self-punishment for crossing the line from otherwise normal gun owner, it says more for his character than the heartless mass murderers we have seen.
This isn't a case of a failed system, but rather a case of unpredictable human factors that lead to tragedies. It is a perfect example of guns not causing violence, but a person. No law could have stopped this, no test could have predicted it. Making guns illegal would only leave many defenseless to criminals who illegally have guns or use knives. Perhaps a conversation needs to be had about the chronic prescription of opioid pain medication and the conditions that bring people to vicious desperation. What can be said is that had the gunman known staff in the office was armed, he may have been deterred from acting out, the thought of impulsive violence unthinkable even in a desperate state of mind.
Had this been more serious than it we speculate it to be, then we must be grateful it was not. Like Friday's shooting rampage in the Bronx hospital (by a doctor, no less), there is no safe place. Gun free zones don't work and it is impossible to predict who will snap and become a killer. No antidote for preventing sudden, impulsive violence has yet been invented. It is a sad an unfortunate reality that it occurs, but the only thing one can do is prepare to defend themselves. Hopefully, Dr. Campbell and his employees will use this as an opportunity to become armed citizens and keep this from ever happening to them again.
There have been 20 mainstream media reports of defensive gun uses in Nevada so far this year amid the countless ones that go unmentioned and unnoticed. Let's hope that Dr. Campbell and his staff use this as a learning experience, as well as many others in the medical profession, to get armed. As far as gun violence is concerned, we must discuss why the violence occurs, not merely how to regulate the tools by which the violence comes by. Solutions only come by addressing the heart of the issue.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
|No-name Glock style mag|
Some magazines turn out to be total disasters that most in the gun culture know about. The Chauchat machine gun, widely believed to be the worst gun ever, suffered from a magazine that was open to the ingress of mud and debris. The British SA80 program suffered from Radway Green manufactured STANAG 5.56mm magazines that were so flimsy that they, if squeezed hard enough, pinched the cartridges and kept them from rising to the top. The British settled on the EMAG from Magpul, an excellent choice, as it is smooth sided and drops free from certain platforms where other designs will not.
The standard of polymer magazines in the AR platform is Magpul. The current production models are strong, reliable, and overall as bombproof as such a product can be. Various manufacturers with strong quality control make good steel and even aluminum USGI magazines. The key is good engineering and quality control; something that is lost when a product is designed primarily to be cheap. As we now know, a plastic magazine isn’t bad because it’s made of plastic.
|Damage sustained after beating|
What I found out was they wouldn’t accept standard M196 tracer cartridges. The bullet protruded from the case ever so slightly more than the M193 and M855. So I relegated them to “fun only.” They worked fine with commercial .223 plinking ammo and M193, but they hated Tula steel cases. Having realized I still haven’t shot all of that junk, I hate it too. Of course, Tula steel has its own problems, but it should be with the rifle, not somehow sticking together in a clean magazine and jamming up the cartridges before even reaching the top of the stack. The steel ran fine in the USGI style and all my polymer mags.
Eventually, I gave up, safed the rifle, sat it down, and smacked the magazine on a rock to produce the dramatic above results. I will compliment ProMag on how easy it was to take off the floorplate, in both busted and functional modes. I also liked their RM-30 Rollermag which uses a polymer roller to help advance the anti-tilt follower. Rumor has it the design was to improve feeding in full-auto guns by aiding with a quick and smooth follower rise. It has a Gen 4 Glock-like stippling to it which feels nice in the hand. The roller itself is unnecessary and doesn’t provide any real advantage, but it’s a cool product and why not shoot it? Still, my defensive magazines for ARs will only be combat tested designs.
I happen to have tried and enjoy the HERA Arms H3 windowed mag (looks futuristic too) and the Hexmag. I got some free Tapco magazines with my DMPS AR purchase a few years ago and they work as well as the PMAGs, just not as comfortable or pretty (or lighter or less bulky). I will also recommend the Magpul Glock magazines, but on the 9mm 21 round version the last round is a stiff fit and a loading tool is recommended. Those crap no-name Glock magazines? They went in the trash after they wouldn't lock into a Glock-compatible 9mm carbine (Gen 3 style for both gun and mags).
So if the bad mags and the nice Rollermag were made by the same company, what went wrong? If you’re buying a cheap magazine, remember that will be reflected in the quality. My recommendation is to buy quality magazines. Look for something that has been well reviewed or from a maker known for quality selling a proven design. Researching good aftermarket magazines is an essential part of homework when buying gun parts.
Nothing is wrong with buying a new magazine to try it out, just don’t rush out and buy cheap or untested magazines in bulk and expect them to run flawlessly. Buying a cheap magazine saves you no money when you end up throwing it away. There is a reason why Ruger made Mini-14 magazines are $34.99 or so and most owners are happy paying factory price. Reliability is better and more important than a deal. If cost is what you are looking for, wait for a sale or buy in bulk. Buy once, cry once. Don’t waste your money.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
What follows is a fictional, alternative history look at how the attack on the Republican baseball team could have gone. Actual and altered quotes are noted.
Wednesday, gunman James Thomas Hodgkinson opened fire and killed 16 members of the Republican Congressional Baseball team at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia. Two senators, 12 congressmen, and two others, a lobbyist and congressional staffer, were among the dead. The team was meeting for an early-morning practice in preparation for what was supposed to be today’s game. The game is an 80 year old tradition meant to unify the often divided members of Congress and raises money for charity.
This political massacre is the only mass killing of American politicians and the first killing of a member of Congress since the death of Leo Ryan in Guyana in 1978 by members of the Jonestown Cult. Of the 35 elected members of Congress are on the Republican team, 17 were present. All 19 senators and congressmen present were wounded. Several more members of the team were absent from practice due to prior commitments and one missed a ride to the game. Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia and Rep. Mike Bishop of Michigan are the only survivors.
“If this had happened in Georgia, he wouldn’t have gotten too far,” Loudermilk said.“I had a staff member who was in his car maybe 20 yards behind the shooter, who was pinned in his car, who back in Georgia carries a 9-millimeter in his car… He had a clear shot at him. But here, we’re not allowed to carry any weapons here.” [actual quote]
Loudermilk’s statements are incorrect, but illustrate his belief that a legally armed person could have stopped the killings. Virginia recognizes all state’s concealed weapon permits and Alexandria only prohibits the carry of firearms loaded with large capacity magazines, however Washington DC prohibits nearly all from carrying firearms. The District issues permits on a may-issue basis which are difficult to obtain.
“From where he was shooting, the suspect had an unobstructed view through the outfield fence. The victims were sitting ducks,” said Tim Slater, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Rep. Mike Bishop, who was shot through the arm, recounted his experience:
“A lot more of us could have walked out of this thing, if one of the folks here had a weapon to fire back and give us a moment to find cover. We were inside the backstop and we didn’t have that cover. All it would have taken is a brave person to stand up and take a shot themselves so we could have gotten out of there. Every one of us has been hit — every single one of us. He [the shooter] was coming around the fence line and he was looking for all of us who had found cover in different spots. But if we had return fire right there, he wouldn’t have come up to each one of us and shot us point-blank.” [altered quote]
According to witnesses, Hodgkinson pulled his vehicle onto a path that ran behind the outfield. A jogger told police that the killer asked a member of the team if the players were Republicans or Democrats. Hodgkinson replied “Oh, okay. Thank you,” and left. A few minutes later, shots rang out. Several members of the team who had taken the field were shot. The rest were shot in the area of the dugout. The dugout was a standard municipal park setup, where the waiting teammates are protected from baseballs, not bullets, by a chainlink fence. One congressman was found dead trying to shelter behind a trashcan.
Responding police officers killed Hodgkinson as he tried to flee. Police stated he was armed with an AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle topped with a magnified sight, similar to what military troops use. An acquaintance, who declined to be named, from Illinois, Hodgkinson’s home state, reported that Hodgkinson took interest in shooting after the 2016 election. James Thomas Hodgkinson, a Democratic voter and Bernie Sanders volunteer, was reportedly distressed that Hillary Clinton lost the election. Neighbors complained that Hodgkinson would practice shooting too close to their homes in Illinois.
Hodgkinson was charged with domestic battery and for assault with a firearm when he struck his daughter’s boyfriend with a shotgun. Charges were dropped and without a conviction for domestic violence, Hodgkinson was legally allowed to possess and buy firearms. Acquaintances from the YCMA next to the baseball field stated that he often made small talk with them.
Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House Majority Whip, was not present during the shooting after his vehicle was involved in a minor traffic accident on his way to practice. Scalise is usually accompanied by a detail of Capitol Police Dignitary Protection Section plainclothes police officers. Scalise said in a press conference that he wished he could have been there.
“I travel with armed bodyguard, capitol policemen. They could have stopped this, they could have saved lives. It sounds trite, but it’s true; the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is good guy with a gun.”
Police say that Hodgkinson had selected his point of assault well, giving him a full field of fire all over the baseball diamond, well out of pistol range of anyone who might fire back. The attack seems to have been well-planned and not within the capabilities of the former licensed home inspector who did not serve in the military. FBI and other law enforcement officials have ruled out additional shooters, but are investigating whether the killer had help planning.
Thankfully, that is not what happened.
Author and former Navy SEAL Matt Bracken pointed out on social media that had the killer had professional experience or better planning, the outcome could have been far worse. Additionally, it was only through luck that the two Capitol Police bodyguards to Rep. Scalise were present. If this was a group of average citizens, the death toll would have been far higher. Hodgkinson was moving around, trying to get to the players hiding around the diamond. Cover was sparse, as the video from the scene shows. The officers’ actions to engage Hodgkinson gave him something else to deal with, rather than just kill defenseless men. This event illustrates how one or two armed persons, even with handguns, can seriously disrupt a killer’s plans.
It’s also important to note that state law prohibits in parks loaded semi-automatic centerfire rifles with 20+ round magazines that Hodgkinson almost certainly used. In a sense, this should have been a gun-free (at least rifle free) zone. That silly law did nothing to deter Hodgkinson.
Interestingly, various citizens told reporters that Hodgkinson was a frequent visitor to the Alexandria YMCA, which is just across the way from the park. It is highly likely that as Hodgkinson was in the Washington area he learned about the Republican practices while using that YMCA. I will speculate that he came to the area to engage in some sort of violence or other action against the GOP, but didn’t know what or how to do it until he came across this opportunity strictly by chance.
Hodgkinson's history of violent behavior indicates he likely had anger problems. The liberal dominated media and more leftist dominated online and media sources are responsible for the intense polarization that brought us to this point. Celebrities like Kathy Griffin and others have been virtue signalling for violence against President Trump and Republicans. The rage online and on TV certainly worked to transform the liberal-supporter Hodgkinson into an assassin after countless hours in a vacuum chamber. Perhaps if he had a balanced, unhyped view he wouldn't have reached this point.
I fear we will see more of this violence and sadly, greater "success." Only time will tell if this was our second Fort Sumter moment.