Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 39 Comments

"There are no socialists in the bush" - HPS All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the "e" silent).  It's National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it's good, but not perfect. We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors…… [read more]

Remembering The Armenian Genocide

BY Herschel Smith
21 hours, 54 minutes ago

Armenian Christian civilians, escorted by armed Ottoman Muslim soldiers, are marched through Harput (known as Kharpert by Armenians, the kaza of the Mamuret-ul Aziz), to a prison in the nearby Mezireh (via Wikipedia)

Raymond Ibrahim.

Today, April 24, marks the “Great Crime,” that is, the genocide of Christians—mostly Armenians but also Assyrians—that took place under the Islamic Ottoman Empire throughout World War I.  Then, the Turks liquidated approximately 1.5 million Armenians and 300,000 Assyrians.

[ … ]

… in 1920, U.S. Senate Resolution 359 heard testimony that included evidence of “[m]utilation, violation, torture, and death [which] have left their haunting memories in a hundred beautiful Armenian valleys, and the traveler in that region is seldom free from the evidence of this most colossal crime of all the ages.”

In her memoir, Ravished ArmeniaAurora Mardiganian described being raped and thrown into a harem (consistent with Islam’s rules of war).  Unlike thousands of other Armenian girls who were discarded after being defiled, she managed to escape. In the city of Malatia, she saw 16 Christian girls crucified: “Each girl had been nailed alive upon her cross,” she wrote, “spikes through her feet and hands, only their hair blown by the wind, covered their bodies.”  Such scenes were portrayed in the 1919 documentary film Auction of Souls, some of which is based on Mardiganian’s memoirs.

Thanks to Mr. Ibrahim for the reminder.  Our own Matt Bracken also had a few words for us.

During the Armenian Genocide from 1915-23, two million Christian Turks were exterminated by being marched at gun point into burning deserts with no food or water. The Turkish gun registration laws were enacted in 1911, in the name of “public safety.” The genocide began a few years later, after the Armenians’ firearms were confiscated.

And finally, Stephen Halbrook detailed the pre-conditions for the genocide.

Hundreds of news stories have been written during the past month reporting on the 100-year anniversary of one of the darkest events in world history, a two-year killing spree that claimed the lives of an estimated 800,000 to 1.5 million Armenians.

Virtually none of these news stories, however, bothered to mention why the Armenians were defenseless against their rulers in the then Ottoman Empire: because the Ottomans had disarmed them …

While the remnant of the Ottoman Empire, today’s Turkey, disputes many of the details having to do with the Armenian genocide, most historians agree on certain basic facts. First, that the Christian Armenians had long been denied basic rights under the Ottomans’ Muslim law. Second, they were excluded from participation in the government. And third, Ottoman law made it a crime to possess a firearm without government permission. The Armenians, as British traveler H. F. B. Lynch wrote in 1901, were “rigorously prohibited from possessing firearms.”

After the Ottomans joined Germany in World War I—and a British invasion seemed imminent—the Turks decided to deport the Armenians, who they considered untrustworthy, to the interior. This deportation process became a death march, as thousands, and then tens of thousands, were murdered on their way to nowhere.

The 1915 deportation decree imposed the death penalty not only for armed resistance, but also for hiding or even helping someone else hide. The Ottomans also decreed that any firearms the Armenians possessed were to be surrendered to the government. Failing to do so, the decree said, “will be very severely punished when the arms are discovered.”

Ottoman authorities swept down on Armenian towns to search for guns. Villagers were tortured to induce confessions about hidden arms. Mass executions were ordered.

Such has been the cost of not having weapons, whether under the Bolsheviks, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, or whomever decides to act executioner.

British Gun Activist Loses Firearms Licences After Saying French Should Have Been Able To Defend Themselves With Handguns Following Bataclan Massacre

BY Herschel Smith
22 hours, 9 minutes ago

News from the UK.

According to The Times, in a message to his 17,000 YouTube subscribers, Mr Long-Collins said: ‘I was told that due to repeated comments from other people on the videos, [the police] felt that the channel was a forum of extremism and it was promoting views that were not in line with legal firearms ownership in the UK.’

He told the paper: ‘The main issue was a video that I made around the Paris attacks where I advocated the French to be able to use handguns for self-defence because of the frequency of attacks that were happening at the time.’

Mr Long-Collins lost an appeal against the decision to revoke his gun licences in 2016 at Portsmouth crown court.

He has been told by police recently that they are unlikely to reinstate the licences in the near future, The Times reports.

The crown won’t allow men to defend themselves.  They won’t even allow men to express opinions at variance with their own.  It’s sort of like a communist country, yes?

Now, contrast that with the words of Jesus.  We’ve discussed it before at length.

… for some evidence, see Digest 48.6.1: collecting weapons ‘beyond those customary for hunting or for a journey by land or sea’ is forbidden; 48.6.3.1 forbids a man ‘of full age’ appearing in public with a weapon (telum) (references and translation are from Mommsen 1985). See also Mommsen 1899: 564 n. 2; 657-58 n. 1; and Linderski 2007: 102-103 (though he cites only Mommsen). Other laws from the same context of the Digest sometimes cited in this regard are not as worthwhile for my purposes because they seem to be forbidding the possession of weapons with criminal intent. But for the outright forbidding of being armed while in public in Rome, see Cicero’s letter to his brother relating an incident in Rome in which a man, who is apparently falsely accused of plotting an assassination, is nonetheless arrested merely for having confessed to having been armed with a dagger while in the city: To Atticus, Letter 44 (II.24). See also Cicero, Philippics 5.6 (§17). Finally we may cite a letter that Synesius of Cyrene wrote to his brother, probably sometime around the year 400 ce. The brother had apparently questioned the legality of Synesius having his household produce weapons to defend themselves against marauding bands. Synesius points out that there are no Roman legions anywhere near for protection, but he seems reluctantly to admit that he is engaged in an illegal act (Letter 107; for English trans., see Fitzgerald 1926).

When Jesus told his disciples to go and purchase swords, debating over how many they got, or whether they used them and for what purpose, completely misses the point.  The point is that by telling them to do so, the Lord of the universe was ordering them to purchase and bear arms in violation of the law.  “This is a fact, and no amount of spiritualizing, Scripture twisting or hermeneutical machinations can get around it.”

I’ll stick with Jesus.  The UK has decided to follow satan.

The NRA Needs A Reform Movement?

BY Herschel Smith
1 day, 21 hours ago

Discussing the same subject we did a few days ago (but coming to radically different conclusions), Sabastian remarks as follows.

While the figures involved in the hardliner (Knoxers in the past) versus pragmatist (Wayne’s faction) debate have changed, the essential debate is still with us.

NRA’s parasitic relationship with its PR firm isn’t anything new. The Knoxers railed against it too back in the day. I’ve never been comfortable with it either, but I’ve always had the choice of living with it as a member, or joining the hardliners. I am of the opinion that NRA taking a no-compromise, hardline stance will ultimately result in its irrelevance. Believing we can always win by saying ‘no’ louder is not a winning strategy when you’re working as a determined minority in a republican political system.

These days the issue is bump stocks and red flag laws. NRA largely surrendered on the bump stock issue to buy time to stop the bills that would have put semi-automatic firearms in legal jeopardy. They endorsed red flag laws provided they had sufficient due process (which none of them do). I believe both these moves are unpleasant necessities that reflect the reality of the political situation post-Vegas and post-Parkland. If you want to fight and die on bump stock hill, sorry, but we’re going to lose that fight. We also risk losing a large chunk of the current transferrable machine gun stock. You’re all aware of the debates, so I won’t rehash them.

That’s just bullshit.  The NRA didn’t “largely surrender” on bump stocks, it gave Trump the idea and cover for it.  They also endorsed red flag laws (ERPOs), and gave Trump the cover to say “take them first.”

Besides, the due process requirement is a red herring and everyone with two brain cells knows it.  Due process is for after a crime has been committed.  Threats are a crime, so you don’t need red flag laws to arrest someone who has threatened someone else.  The idea behind red flag laws is allegedly to prevent crime, or in other words, sit in the seat of the Almighty and predict behavior in the future.  I suspect that the real idea behind red flag laws will eventually become manifest, i.e., to remove firearms from people whom the FedGov doesn’t like.  Do you believe in the second amendment remedy for tyranny?  Presto.  Red flag your ass.

So you can reform the NRA until you heart is content, sir.  I won’t be a part of what I’ve noted is the best, most effective, most well-connected, well-financed gun control organization on earth and in history, having been involved in and supported the NFA, the GCA, the Hughes Amendment, the bump stock ban, and now red flag laws.

Seldom has it ever actually used its money and power to properly score votes, oppose gun control, marshal people and resources, and stand in the gap.  Can you imagine an NRA that actually used its wealth and power to oppose gun control instead of enrich the pockets of the powerful?

It’s hand-wringing to say that the NRA couldn’t have stopped this or that, if in fact history is no indication of its chances of success given that it has never actually tried.

And I’ll tag this post both NRA and gun control.  The two go together hand in glove.

Military Arms Channel Does Big Bore Wheel Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 day, 22 hours ago

To be fair, he does some pistols as well as revolvers.  Reader ‘The Alaskan” will like this. BTW, the look of the flames coming out between the cylinder and the forcing cone is cool.

Lightweight AR Parts

BY Herschel Smith
1 day, 22 hours ago

Shooting Illustrated:

Modern Sporting Rifles also have the largest volume of light components suitable for retrofitting existing guns. Most makers of steel barrels and AR bolt carriers offer lightweight options alongside their regular products. Skeletonized, extruded-aluminum or carbon-fiber freefloat fore-ends further drop weight at the front of the rifle, while trimmed-down polymer furniture shaves weight at the tail. DS Arms, V-Seven2A Armament and Brownells offer lightweight aluminum and titanium small parts that replace original AR steel. Small pins, grip screws and even muzzle devices can be had in materials that shave a tangible amount of weight after a full retrofit. A small number of titanium parts and accessories specifically designed for SCAR, M1A and FAL rifles are also available in the aftermarket.

While the author didn’t go to the trouble to give you links to actual parts rather than the company URL, I’ve tried to do better.  Here they are: 2A-Arms, VSeven, Brownells, and Daniel Defense.  Those links will get you to rails/handguards, or thereabouts.  Of course, those aren’t the only lightweight AR parts being manufactured.

I’m sure there are many others.  I welcome reader feedback in the comments.  I’m actually interested in strong, lightweight AR-15 rails and lightweight AR-10 rails (longer, about 17″).

Philly Sheriff Gets Guns Away From Alleged Abusers Fast

BY Herschel Smith
2 days, 21 hours ago

News from Philadelphia:

“Our concern is that in the immediate timeframe, that family is safe,” Williams said. “Imagine it’s cold out, there’s a family with children that’s just run out of the house with no coats or shoes on to get away from danger. We pick them up, we bring the whole family back to the house, we remove the bad guy and the guns and we make it safe.”

The Sheriff’s office is responsible for more than 1,000 firearms confiscated from accused batters due to Protection From Abuse orders. Their office’s Warrant Unit can execute Protection From Abuse orders signed by a judge 24/7, Williams said.

[ … ]

“We do this every day. We’re not making a judgment if this person is guilty or innocent, we’re enforcing the order,” said Sheriff’s Office deputy chief Paris Washington. “The courts determine whether they get them back, whether it’s vacated, or whether it lasts longer.”

Just obeying orders, like cops everywhere will do when pressed.  The operable phrase here is “alleged.”  It’s in the title of the article, I didn’t make it up.

So we don’t have to imagine anything.  All it takes is an accusation or allegation.  Presto.  God-given rights to self defense abused in a flash.  One phone call, one statement to a judge, one allegation to a social worker, true or not.  But no one is making a judgment, of course.

USCCA Supports Red Flag Laws

BY Herschel Smith
2 days, 22 hours ago

The US Concealed Carry Association supports gun control.  Via reddit/firearms, this screen capture:

Remember that.  If you do not present a danger to yourself or others and are acting lawfully, there should be no reason to be concerned.

Unlike, say, if you lawfully defend yourself and the prosecutor wants to put you in prison anyway because the system is abused, necessitating a high-powered second amendment lawyer paid for by your USCCA dues.  That’s the only situation where abuse happens.  Or perhaps they know there will be abuse, and it’s another chance to score membership dues from the sheeple.  People will need those high-powered lawyers to get their guns back when they’ve been falsely accused of something.

What a bunch of hypocrites.  Hey, USCCA.  If you’re not careful, you’ll take up the mantle from the NRA as the most well-connected and well-financed gun control organization on earth.  Would that make you proud?

Vintage Smith & Wesson Handgun Lands Two In Prison In UK

BY Herschel Smith
2 days, 22 hours ago

News from the UK.

A FATHER and son who were caught with a vintage Smith and Wesson pistol and stored it in a Tranmere storage unit have been sent to prison for a total of three years.

Philip Williams hid the 100-year-old weapon in a lock-up in Oakenholt, Flintshire, Wales and claimed he forgotten about it after unearthing it in a crate he was left to look after by an unknown farm worker.

But Mold Crown Court heard he moved the gun around to another storage unit in Tranmere and painted the handle to prevent it from rusting.

Meanwhile his son, Daniel Williams, posed for a selfie holding the gun on one of the two occasions he came into contact with it.

Possession of a firearm carries a minimum sentence of five years imprisonment, but the Judge Niclas Parry heard arguments for exceptional circumstances in both cases and reduced the men’s jail terms.

He jailed Philip Williams, 64, for two years while Daniel Williams, 34, received a one-year custodial sentence.

He told the pair: “It must be understood that the rationale and reason for what appears to be harsh sentences is due to the need to deter gun culture and the use of guns.”

Williams Snr said he did not own the Smith and Wesson and it fell into his arms after he agreed to look after some crates for a man he knew only as “Patrick” who worked at a farm in Bodfari where he was living at the time.

He claimed it was only after when he learnt that the man had died while on holiday when he discovered the weapon buried in one of the crates given to him by Patrick.

But instead of handing it over to the police, he kept it for two-and-a-half years, storing it in a lock-up in Tranmere before then moving it to the unit at Oakenholt, police paid a visit on March 10 last year.

Barrister Michael Whitty, prosecuting, said police executed a search warrant at a unit at Pandy Garage after receiving information and found the 0.22 calibre gun wrapped in a tea towel hidden under the wheel arch of a caravan.

Since it’s a hundred years old and a .22, I’m guessing it’s a revolver.  So two men went to prison for a total of three years for having a .22 S&W wheel gun.

“It must be understood that the rationale and reason for what appears to be harsh sentences is due to the need to deter gun culture and the use of guns.”

Because, you know, Pakistani child grooming gangs are okay with the crown, but you can’t have guns.  That might be a danger – to the elitists.

So You’re Bugging Out, Are You? Dude, You’re Not Going Anywhere

BY Herschel Smith
3 days, 20 hours ago

First of all, watch this video in its entirety.  I think John conveys a lot of wisdom in his talk.

This dovetails with a lot of what I have been thinking about the concept of the “bugout” philosophy.  I greatly admire folks like James Wesley Rawles, who made the decision a very long time ago to ensconce in the Northwestern redoubt, although I partial to the Appalachian redoubt being more in my backyard.

Folks like that made a huge decision to leave where they were, plant roots, create a life and lifestyle, make a family, and never leave.  But the problem is that most other people have deep roots too, wherever they are.  Elderly parents need help, children are part of your life, grandchildren need raising by grandparents, friends and family cannot simply be left by the wayside to “bugout” when the going gets tough.

I have a friend who once told me the reason he didn’t “prep” was that he knew where all the preppers in his area were, those who had ammunition, food, and so on, and he had guns and knew whose house to go to in order to find what he needed.

Note well.  He was telling me he would become just like a feral animal whenever the time arose, taking what he needed from his neighbors and leaving trusted folks to suffer in his place.  Now, I know the heart of the man who said this to me, and I know that he would never do that.  So if that man is reading this now, I know that it was all a lot of bluster.  How do I know that?  Because I know you.  You were just giving me excuses for not planning and preparing.

Any bugout bag you build is inadequate.  Do you have a pistol with a few magazines?  Good.  What is you need a CQB carbine?  Do you have that?  Good.  What if you need a longer range standoff rifle?  Do you have that, with all of the ammunition you’ll ever need?  Do you have enough food for you, your family, your neighbors, and your friends?  Can you get to where you’re going in one trip, or at all?  Can you survive without generators or solar power?  Do you have all of the medical supplies you’ll ever need?  Do you have access to professional medical care (you will surely need it at some point).

If you have a designated place to go, do you know that it’s secured until you get there?  Can you secure it when you do get there?  Do you have neighbors and trusted friends there that you’ll need for long term survival?  There are so many questions, issues and considerations attending an event like this that it’s unlikely you’ve thought through them.

The better option is to plan, prepare, purchase, pre-deploy, and practice.

My point is that like John, I don’t believe you’re going to go anywhere.  It may be true that there isn’t a perfect solution to hard situations like we’re posing, but just like it matters how a man lives, it also matters how he dies, and death isn’t the end anyway.  Most people reading this aren’t the kind of people who would run off and leave loved ones, family, friends, and neighbors to suffer if you can help it.  If you are, then you’re the kind of person from whom the rest of us are defending our loved ones, families, friends and neighbors.

Survival Tags:

What Guns Do To Our State Of Mind

BY Herschel Smith
3 days, 21 hours ago

Pacific Standard:

“Whoever touches that gun, he’ll die at some point … because it acts on you,” explained a 37-year-old man who lives in the poor neighborhood of Bel Air in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where I have worked as an anthropologist since 2008. Kal* was talking about a specific Smith & Wesson .38 special caliber revolver, long the standard issue gun of American police and United States-trained security forces in Haiti. After being purchased for $75 from a former army soldier, this gun passed through the hands of three men: a young father, Frantz; Papapa, a young man; and Henri, another new father.

[ … ]

When I asked Belairians why these deaths occurred, they often surmised that the gunmen fell victim to maji, or “magic.” In Haiti, magic refers to an unethical use of spiritual power, distinct from ceremonial forms of Vodou, which call on ancestors to heal and protect the family. (Vodou is the preferred spelling, rather than Voodoo, which some practitioners view as derogatory.) This form of magic entails engaging with secret powers that allow a person to advance at the expense of another. To many, the men died because the occult forces they had been using for unethical gain had ultimately turned against them—opening them up to conflict and failing to protect them.

Yet when neighbors relayed how the deaths happened, they offered explanations involving a different kind of occult transformation: the supernatural potency of the .38 to change people into unethical agents. With each subsequent death, lore intensified around the gun, with people surmising that “touching” this gun could portend death. “Ever since they touched the gun, those poor young boys were not the same,” said one community member. Residents spoke about the gun as if it were an amulet that could change otherwise good people and what they did in the world.

It would be shortsighted to dismiss these claims as the misguided logic of a “superstitious people.” That racially inflected trope, long used to marginalize and demonize Haitians, among others, blinds observers to the way in which guns do exhibit a power akin to magic: the power to create a change in someone’s state of mind.

Taking seriously the supernatural effects of guns has broad relevance for understanding and addressing gun violence globally. In the U.S., gun advocates tend to view the gun as a value-neutral tool. As they say: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” On the other side are gun control advocates who argue that guns do indeed kill people: Without their lethal power easily at hand, as in other countries, far fewer deaths occur. But the anthropological lesson from Haiti is that the truth is more complex. It isn’t just the technological lethality of guns that makes them dangerous: They also exert a power on human agency. They change us. It is both the technology and the symbolism of a gun that can encourage someone to shoot.

The author, Chelsey Kivland, is as superstitious as the Haitians.  An inanimate object, note well, has power over human agency, the power to make a human engage in acts of evil, superseding whatever that person would or would not have done otherwise.  Forget that effects of bombs and the availability of fertilizer at Lowe’s and Tractor Supply, it’s the object itself that literally exercises power over human volition.

This is the new temperance movement.  My former professor, C. Gregg Singer, taught extensively on social Darwinism, the temperance movement, Hegelian philosophy in America, and the liberal progressive roots of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

At the time it was alcohol, and to them it was the “moral ruin which it works in the soul, that gives it the denomination of giant wickedness.”  It isn’t that mankind is wicked to begin with due to the federal headship in Adam, it was an external object, and thus smarter men and women can seek the perfection of mankind by eliminating those elements which encourage evil.

It is superstition in the Haitians that underlies this notion, it was superstition in the temperance movement that does the same, and it’s no less ignorant superstition in Ms. Kivland which causes her to see the world and man this way.



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