Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 34 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]

Happy Easter 2018

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 2 weeks ago

I recall in seminary training with Dr. C. Gregg Singer discussions surrounding the compromise the early and mid-20th century churchmen made with Darwinism (for more, see A Theological Interpretation of American History).  Being all sympathetic as they were, they wanted a “system” of theology that mitigated the embarrassment young students felt when they went off to college and heard professors knocking their theology of the supernatural.

The Auburn Affirmation is one such compromise, yet there are many, many more in American history (and indeed all of church history).  But in the compromise there was death.  The Scriptures cannot contradict the Scriptures, and the first rule of Biblical hermeneutics is that upon encounter with the difficult passages, Scripture interprets Scripture.  If a particular passage seems to you to say something that contradicts a plainer and simpler and easier to understand passage, then your view of the particular passage is wrong and needs correction in order to maintain a logically consistent system of theology.

So it is with the resurrection.  It isn’t a metaphor, it isn’t a nice story, it’s not trying to teach us something about life.  It’s a historical fact without which there is no atonement or justification for sins.  It’s the Father’s stamp of approval on the vicarious sacrifice of His only Son, our Lord.  If Christ had stayed in the grave, we would too.  Paul says it better than me.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

I recall sitting in class with Dr. Singer wondering what kind of idiot would exchange the resurrection for comfort among the pit vipers in a college classroom, for compromise is never wise and never brings truth or surety.  Compromise is for losers.

Jesus is alive.  He is risen!  Celebrate.

Stop Arguing Over The Features Of The AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

Our stolid friend James Fallows at The Atlantic has yet another dense post up mainly consisting of letters to him and a few lines in reply.  There’s not much to see, except that he does make an admission that brings a much-needed breath of fresh air.

I understand that the AR-15 is not functionally unique. Thus anyone who argues that the AR-15 should not be in civilian hands should be willing to extend the argument to similar weapons. That’s what I think about the AR-15, and and I say the same thing about functionally similar weapons.

Good.  It’s a healthy and helpful thing to speak honestly about such matters.  This whole thing began some years ago with arguments over select-fire and the definition of assault rifle, the smaller caliber cartridge and whether it is any good for deer hunting, the value of a pistol grip, the “scary looking” features of the AR-15, the standard capacity magazine, its semi-automatic design, and on and on it went.

These were merely the first steps in the dance.  We’re way past that now.  Honesty has demanded that the progressives admit their demands, and honesty has demanded that we reply.  The definition of “military” is nonsensical anyway, and we all know it.

There was an article recently about Glock making their “military-grade” pistol available to civilians.  This means that it’s a Glock with a flat dark earth finish and pretentions of being modular.  Nothing more.  And truthfully, all weapons are “military grade.”

Let’s talk 30-06 bolt action deer rifles.  Yep.  Ask those whom Carlos Hathcock killed in Vietnam to speak from the grave and tell you all about that 30-06 round that hit them from a Winchester bolt action gun.  Marines were still using Winchester bolt action rifles for DM guns at the beginning of OIF, and most sniper rifles in military use today are bolt action.  How about 30-06 semi-automatic?  Yep.  The M1 Garand.  WWII.  And how about semi-automatic or automatic carbine?  Yep.  The M1 Carbine.  WWII.

How about shotguns?  Yep.  The Marine Corps was using Benelli M4s for room clearing in Now Zad, Afghanistan, during OEF.  How about revolvers?  Yep.  They were the sidearm for many years, and today .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum wheel guns are still in use defending homes and against big predators in America.

No one who knows anything should have to ask about Browning’s best design of his life, the 1911, which is still the most expensive handgun that can be purchased.  The point is that there is no such thing as a weapon that hasn’t been used on the field of battle between countries or various actors, and it makes no sense to argue over whether something is called “military grade.”  We’ve got virtually everything the military has ever had, and vice versa (except that the professional precision rifle shooters probably have better guns than the military).

The freshness about what Fallows said is that he admits that there is no stopping point, and that’s good, because logically he’s right.  And the freshness for us is actually not all that fresh, I just don’t think Fallows is hearing it, or perhaps he’s hearing it, but he just doesn’t believe it.

No.  We won’t give them up.  Period.  Your move.

Citibank Hypocrisy On Guns

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

David Codrea:

 … Citibank’s unwarranted attack on gun owners and the firearms industry by requiring businesses to discriminate against gun to lawful customers under 21, and barring the sale of so-called “bump stocks” and standard capacity magazines. Further, the global banking giant signaled its intent to drag manufacturers into its citizen disarmament schemes.

There are reasons why some of us who have our firearms purchases choices denied by corporate parasites find Citibank’s promotion of Jay-Z so hypocritical …

There are two ways to look at this.  The first is that the market will handle the problems and anyway, I cannot possibly boycott all of the businesses that cause me problems.  There will be no prohibition on guns that is successful.  As commenter Fred has pointed out, “prohibition doesn’t work … Markets see regulation as damage and automatically re-routes around it.”

On the other hand David points out that Citibank is the recipient of FedGov money, or in other words, our money.  It shouldn’t be, and it’s a testimony to the evil that grips our country that corporations can both receive tax monies and then work against the very rights that founded the country.

Other than governmental actions against such corporations, and/or boycotting every corporation that does things like this, I have no solution short of civil unrest.

New Ballistic Gelatin Tests At Ammunition To Go

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

Ammunition to go has an entirely new round of ballistic gelatin tests on personal defense ammunition that should be a great contribution to the knowledge base for making informed choices.  The link is here.

I won’t steal their thunder and rehearse the results – go see for yourself.  It’s a massive collection of data.  But I will convey some very quick analysis I did on the data.  I didn’t calculate the standard deviation of the data for each round like I did with the Lucky Gunner tests, but these data should inform you a bit concerning 9mm and .45 ACP results.

.45 ACP: Average penetration = 16.62″.  The variance was high, with the minimum penetration at 11.08″ (165 gr.) and the maximum penetration at 23.64″ (185 gr.).  The high and low were for bullets other than the standard 230 gr.

9mm: Average penetration = 19.32″.  The variance was extremely high.  The minimum penetration came in at 11.78″ (115 gr.) and the maximum penetration came in at 33.38″ (115 gr.).

A few thoughts.  First of all, the variance is large because this isn’t a stochastic process amenable to averages, variance, and so forth, although I’ve provided you with the data.  Powder loadings and compositions vary, QA varies, technology varies, and [most importantly] expansion varies, with some successful expansion, and then some not so successful expansion.

Bullet weights [reduced] didn’t seem to hinder penetration, but it’s also not clear that reduced weight assisted penetration.  However, you wouldn’t want to get tagged with any of these rounds, heavy, light, 9mm or .45 ACP.

Nothing, not even this battery of tests, could quench my appetite for more data.  I’m an engineer, I always want more data.  It’s who I am, it’s what I do.  Finally, there are no “flying dimes” in the lot of them.

Prior:

Oversimplifying Ammunition Ballistics

Pistol Ammunition Ballistics Part 2

Bump Stock And Body Armor Ban In Chicago

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

Chicago Tribune:

Bans on bump stocks and civilian use of body armor were advanced by Chicago aldermen Tuesday as they reacted to last year’s mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip and the recent killing of a police commander in the Loop.

City lawyers believe the Chicago assault weapons ban already prohibits the possession of bump stocks like those used in the Vegas shooting, but the City Council Public Safety Committee approved adding a specific reference to the devices.

The panel also approved a ban on the sale, purchase or possession of body armor, like bulletproof vests, by people other than members of the military, police officers or other emergency responders like firefighters acting in their official capacities.

Because no one should be able to stop rounds discharged from LEO weapons, so in order to make that illegal, a ban is promulgated to affect innocent, peaceful, law abiding citizens so that they can’t stop rounds either, not even from the same criminals that scare the cops.

Because cops.  They are the most important thing, not you.  Just because.  God, what a hell hole.

The Federal Government And War With The American People

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

Every time a new contract is issued for weapons and ammunition, the typical cacophony of comments follow.  Those who think that the FedGov has too many guns and too much ammunition weigh in, and invariably (perhaps some of them are trolls or paid commenters?) some people weigh in with support.

Terrorism.  Bad people.  Every agent with a gun needs range rounds and personal defense (PD) ammunition (JHP or whatever).  Think of how many rounds you shoot per year, and multiply that times the number of agents, blah, blah, blah.

The commenters yammer and yak and go on about how we need to support law enforcement, not understanding the deeper meaning of things.  That was true of the recently released contract on behalf of the DHS.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently awarded Federal Premium a major ammunition contract. Starting delivery in 2018, the contract provides for up to 180 million rounds of .40-cal. Tactical HST duty ammunition to multiple Department of Homeland Security law enforcement components and other federal agencies for up to five years. This contract will provide the organization’s agents and officers with .40 cal. duty and training ammunition.

“Law enforcement and federal agencies put it all on the line for our safety and freedoms,” said Mike Holm, said product director at Federal Premium.” They should expect nothing less from their ammunition.”

Notice the sleight of hand?  “Multiple Department of Homeland Security law enforcement components and other federal agencies.”  While wrapped in a patriotic cloak of border security, this contract so hidden as to its real import that you have no idea what’s in it or who receives the ammunition or for what purpose.

I suspect various commenters will come to the rescue of the FedGov on this one as well (I’ve seen it every time something like this is announced), but the fact remains that 180 million rounds is a lot of PD ammunition.  Note: this isn’t range ammo – it’s duty ammo.  I have faced the usual suspects before, like “Well, the FedGov has to protect the American nuclear facilities.”

No, I reply, go back and try again.  Commercial nuclear power plants owned by utilities in America must provide their own security, and sometimes they are utility employees, while sometimes they are contract workers.  But always, the FedGov has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Next up, “Well, FedGov must supply security for our nuclear weapons facilities.”  No, try again, I reply.  The real shooting in any incident effecting our nuclear weapons facilities will be done by Marine Corps FAST teams, and if you’re stupid enough to perpetrate an incident against such a target, you’re likely to be staring down the barrel of a Mark 19, operated by men who, as the Gunny would say, are “Ministers of death, praying for war,” and just waiting on someone like you.  I know some of them (or at one time I did).

Finally, the commenters always mention our national laboratories, and I’ve visited multiple labs on multiple occasions.  Most of the security is done by contract employees, and doesn’t get counted in any of the weapons or ammo purchases made by FedGov.

It is against this backdrop that this insightful report must be read.

In the aftermath of the Orlando terrorist attack, many Washington politicians tried to shift the conversation to the Second Amendment and called for an assault weapons bans. But former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, our Honorary Chairman, had another idea. In this interview on CNBC, Coburn said we should improve our system of background checks, but said it was IRS officials and non-military federal personnel who should be subject to an assault weapons ban, not the general public.

This week, our organization at OpenTheBooks.com released our findings in an editorial at The Wall Street Journal that quantified the growing federal arsenal. The number of non-military federal officers with arrest and firearm authority (200,000+) now exceeds the number of U.S. Marines (182,000). Spending on guns, ammo and military-style equipment at 67 federal agencies – including 53 regulatory, administrative agencies amounted to $1.48 billion between 2006-2014.

The IRS gun-locker is an example  of this growing federal firepower. Nearly $11 million was spent on guns, ammo and military-style equipment for 2,316 ‘special agents’ during this period. The IRS stockpile includes pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns with buckshot and slugs; and semi-automatic AR-15 rifles (S&W M&P 15) and military-style H&K 416 rifles. (See the OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America.)

The recent growth of the federal arsenal begs the questions: Just who are the feds planning to battle?

In 1996, the Bureau of Justice Statistics officially counted 74,500 federal officers who had arrest and firearm authority. By 2008, the Bureau quantified over 120,000 such officers. Newly updated counts were supposed to publish by this July but the Bureau now admits that over 80% of federal agencies ignored or stonewalled responses to their latest survey. What are they trying to hide?

Even though our organization at OpenTheBooks.com estimated the number of non-Department of Defense federal officers at 200,000+, the current number of non-military federal officers and security personnel could be much larger. Here’s why:

  • The feds refuse to disclose the number of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers, claiming a national security exception.
  • The growth of officers within the 53 administrative, regulatory agencies since 2008 is uncertain. Our officer count estimate used a no-growth figure of 30,000 – the same count as in 2008.
  • Likewise, the count within the Department of Homeland Security is unclear. We found conflicting sources citing figures at 70,000 and 63,000. We used the more conservative figure for our analysis.

At Health and Human Services (HHS), it’s also unclear just how many ‘special agents’ are currently employed. Yet, research uncovered a multi-million-dollar program for HHS ‘Office of Inspector General Special Agents’ that used a sophisticated military-style weapons platform with Special Forces contractors training the agents on domestic special operations.

Today, HHS is operating from a brand new “National Training Operations Center” within the Washington, D.C. area they describe as “an operational readiness, emergency response, crisis room and command post for HHS headquarters and staff.” That’s serious business for an agency supposedly preoccupied with “health” matters.

The author, 

So if America’s founders would be disappointed in the United States today, how much of that disappointment, if any, might be directed at the military and what has come to be known as national security affairs? It is a question especially worthy of our attention, since the American people have repeatedly said in polls that, of society’s major institutions, the military is the one they most trust.

Let us start with the Preamble to the Constitution. Whatever the framers’ intent, however aspirational the wording, and notwithstanding the fact that national security wasn’t part of the vernacular of the day, the Preamble stands as America’s enduring security credo.

Its importance is essentially threefold. It lists providing for the common defense (in lower-case letters) as merely one — not the first, not the most important — of the national aims the governing apparatus called for by the Constitution seeks to achieve. Semantically, it captures the normative essence of military affairs as self-defense (not aggression, not power projection). And it thereby implicitly cautions against purchasing defense at the expense of these other strategic priorities — national unity, justice, domestic tranquility, the general welfare, liberty.

[ … ]

Madison famously provided one of the most powerful statements ever on war:

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

Today, we live in a state of constant, potentially endless war — always, without exception, undeclared; invariably by choice (rhetorically disguised as necessity); frequently in secret (to increase the license to act, while minimizing oversight and accountability); often labeled war (to engender fear and urgency), but just as often labeled something other than war (for reasons of expediency, convenience and legal circumvention); initiated and prosecuted by a now permanently imperial presidency, largely devoid of congressional consultation and consent before the fact, sometimes even with minimal congressional notification after the fact.

Such concentration of executive power, such abrogation of legislative authority and responsibility, such marginalization of popular consent would seem to be the ingredients of tyrannical government the founders said the people had the right and the duty to overthrow.

It’s instructive and expedient to understand the FedGov and its actions under 3P’s: [1] Protect, [2] Perpetuate, and [3] Promote.  It isn’t by accident that the FedGov wants a disarmed population and continually presses gun control (supported all the way by the court system up to and including the SCOTUS).  A disarmed population is a corollary and a couple to government control and subjugation of the people.  An armed population cannot be subjugated – and thus the population must be disarmed.  It all works together, and without each part none of it works.

But in America that’s difficult, so one answer to the difficulty is to arm the FedGov better and with more.  Note well that the rulership has created a caste system of peasants who will protect the FedGov because it’s their livelihood.  Too old and not in good enough shape to join the military, and not desirous of the decrease in income, there is nothing much else a gun toting agent can do except work for the government.  Family support is a strong motivator, and provision for wife and children can cause all sorts of word twisting and reinterpretation of oaths and vows.  The job of this peasant class is to keep the other peasants in check.  It is to protect the rulership.

The rulership by its very nature perpetuates itself by patronage and largesse to its families, friends and allies.  This is the value of high taxation and federal ownership of land.  Finally, promotion of the FedGov and rulership occurs via the public education system where willing subjects are molded, and also through the MSM where willing “journalists” parrot talking points.

There are those who say that the constitution contained in it the seeds of this despair and destruction.  And there are those who say that we need a new constitution because the last one failed.  While I am no defender of the notion that the constitution was infallible or perfect, I don’t subscribe to this being the ailment or the proposed remedy.

If I’ve tried to teach anything in these last years, it’s that men are to blame.  The constitution is a covenant, or agreement with the appurtenant blessings and cursings for obedience and disobedience, respectively.  It is nothing more, and nothing less.  We don’t get rights to ownership of weapons from the second amendment – we get them from the very fountain of rights, the Almighty Himself.

But America has broken covenant with the Almighty.  After this, everything else is duck soup.  It’s easy to break covenant with men when you have no fear of God.  Blaming the constitution for the malfeasance of men is like blaming the marriage covenant for an adulterous spouse, and demanding a new marriage covenant because the last one let your spouse engage in infidelity is demanding more of the same and expecting a promise to mean something to an adulterer.

To answer the question posed by the author, “Just who are the feds planning to battle?,” the answer is that the answer is crystal clear for those who would see it.

Prior Featured: AR-15 Ammunition And Barrel Twist Rate

Ammunition Control

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

The Hill:

A pair of Democratic lawmakers are introducing legislation to require a background check for all firearm ammunition sales.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said on Monday they had introduced the bill, known as the Ammunition Background Check Act of 2018, arguing it would help close a “loophole” in the current law.

“Ammunition sales should be subject to the same legal requirements as firearm sales, and that includes instant background checks. … Closing this ludicrous loophole is a common-sense component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce gun violence,” Blumenthal said.

Wasserman Schultz added that it is “common-sense legislation” that would close an “absurd loophole.”

Understand this is what they would do to you.  This doesn’t have much of a chance of passing as things stand now.  But give the House to the democrats, and things get a little more dicey.  Give the presidency to the democrats, and things go down hill fast.  If the republicans thought they could get away with it, they’d do it too.

Don’t look to the supremes to undo this if it ever happens.  They won’t even take up cases for New York State where people cannot purchase weapons without CLEO approval, and cannot carry anywhere.

You and I don’t have enough ammunition.  Not even nearly.

Do You Carry Enough Gun For Big Cats?

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

Via reader Fred Tippens, this.

What North American and South American territorial predator is a voracious hunter of livestock and deer, weighs up to 220 pounds and can reach short speed bursts exceeding 45 mph?

If your answer was the cougar or mountain lion, give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy a soft drink.  A pair of residents in the suburbs West of Milwaukee had the fortune of encountering a big cat through the magic of video, as a transient male was seen literally peering into the window of the home.

This is in an urban setting.

Pat Toomey Introduces New Gun Legislation

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

Reddit/r/firearms:

Toomey Introduces Bill That Would Toughen Existing Gun Laws – Requires FBI to report prohibited persons to state LEOs when denied purchase

The bill can be found here.  I would expect this kind of thing from Toomey, who is a communist.  Most disappointing though is the redditors who like it.

Having read the bill, I’m on board with this. Its a shame it isn’t policy already, but I see nothing wrong with this bill as written.

And another:

I don’t think I hate this.

Well, I do.  I loath every man and woman who sits in their offices like the cowards they are, sends boys to war to perish, lose arms and legs and eyes and brains (from TBI), and then wants to prohibit them from purchasing a gun if they have ever been diagnosed PTSD or have someone else do their finances for them.

Realize that this is what the recent Omnibus bill does.  It forces the VA to report such names of veterans to the NICS, creating a situation in which a veteran doesn’t know he is prohibited from purchasing weapons until he is rejected from doing so, now having lied on Form 4473 and become an immediate felon.

I loath all of you who voted for such a thing, or who would vote for such a thing.  I hate you with a white, burning hatred for your cowardice and malfeasance.

I hate to do it, but I must embed a video, and this one is very good.  It comes to us from the only congressman who I can trust on gun rights.

So, good job, redditors, you idiots.  You just jumped in bed with communists.  To every politician who did this to honorable veterans whom you sent war, you can ES&D.  That goes for Toomey as well.

I Want To Be A Second Amendment Extremist Too

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

Concerning David Codrea, he is apparently a second amendment extremist.

One example is an essay recently posted on the website of the far-right Oath Keepers militia by Second Amendment extremist David Codrea.

Hey, what exactly do I have to do to catch a break here?  I want some prog to call me something like a “far-right gun nut second amendment extremist wild man,” or some such thing.

I’ll have to leave it to readers.  I wish I could have a contest to see who could create the best caricature of me, the winner claiming prizes of guns and ammo.  I could post it as the comment of the week.  Alas, I have nothing to give away.


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