Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 40 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]

Alabama Extreme Risk Protection Order Bill

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago

Al.com:

Coleman’s bill would create a measure allowing the court to prevent a person deemed a threat to themselves or others from owning or buying a firearm for one year. The bill, if signed into law, would require the surrender of all firearms and ammunition and would allow law enforcement to search the residence for firearms and ammunition.

Family members, law enforcement officers or educators could request a gun violence protective order, which the court could issue immediately without notice to the person it concerned, based solely on information and testimony from the petitioner. This is called an ex parte gun violence protective order.

Yes, even in Alabama.  It’s everywhere, no small indication that the controllers aren’t just in New York, Chicago or Washington, D.C.  It’s popular and easy now to push red flag bills and declare yourself free of “controller guilt” because you did a “good thing.”  But the point is that takes a controller at heart to do it.  Most politicians are controllers at heart, regardless of what they say.

Recall what I said about that.  “The desire to control others is the first sign, incorrigible pathology and premier sin of the wicked.”  The desire to control others is always and everywhere evil.  To my Alabama readers, see if you can beat this back, and then make the proponents of this bill pay for ever bringing this up in the first place.

Wayne LaPierre Is “Humbled”

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago

Yahoo:

Wayne LaPierre, the longtime head of the National Rifle Association, said Monday he’s “humbled” by actions by the board Monday that kept him on as its CEO.

Hey Wayne.  Are you humbled enough to pay back that $200,000 worth of wardrobe purchases on the backs of member’s dues?

UNCC Shooting

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago

Run, Hide, Fight.

Thursday afternoon, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Office of Emergency Management tweeted that “Shots reported near kennedy” and urged people to “Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately.”

The missed throwing potted plants at the shooter like the video they used to show me at work.

UNCC, like all of the UNC system, is a gun-free zone.  I guess he didn’t get the memo.

Because as effective as gun control laws are, I’m sure if he had gotten the memo, he wouldn’t have done this.  You can blame it on university communications.

Retrievable Rappelling Anchor

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago

I ran across this a little while back and wanted to embed it.  It’s the only way to keep from leaving your rope behind.

I’ve rappelled before and may do so again, but I think I’d want to practice this before trusting it with heights greater than a few feet.  If you want to see more, this video also explains it.

How Many Bump Stocks Have Been Turned In To The Miami-Dade Police Department?

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago

Gun Free Zone:

I sent a Public Records request to MDPD and I just got the response.  I chose MDPD because it is the largest police department in the county.

[ … ]

No Bump Stock Has Been Turned In To Miami Dade Police Department since before and after the ban was signed in the State of Florida .

PS: Or the way that pkoning put it in the comments: “M-D Police has no record of any bump stock being turned in”.

That is directly proven by the letter you showed.

Guess they didn’t get the memo, huh?

Can The National Rifle Association Be Saved?

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago

I doubt it, but let’s rehearse some recent events before diving too far into my assessment.

Even most NRA members, it would appear, still do not get that the issue of bump stocks (and the ban dictated by the stroke of a pen by one man) isn’t about bump stocks.

“You know what? I didn’t even know what a bump stock was,” said Patrick Callahan, 61, from Wyoming. “I have no problem with a bump stock being banned, to be honest with you. I think there’s always balances.”

Sebastian is still arguing, seemingly, that as long as we all retreat in unison, everything will be okay (or at least as good as it can ever be given that we are likely on the losing side anyway).  We just need to avoid division.  If I’ve misinterpreted Sebastian in this admittedly cursory treatment of his latest post, please feel free to correct me.  But on the previous [related] post by Sebastian which I’ve linked (and will do so again), commenter Stephen Wright lays out the following charge.

Talking no-compromise in a political battle is like Hitler not allowing his troops at Stalingrad (and other places) to retreat and maneuver intelligently like a modern army has to. It’s idiotic. But I fear that there’s enough idiots on our side buying into this that it may split our fairly large minority and keep us from being politically effective.

It’s ironic that when the pro-gun movement is actually historically the strongest we may ultimately lose the war that we had been winning until now.

Let’s leave behind the issue of whether we’re winning (there is indication that at the local and state level, there is progress in things like open carry, despite S.C.’s intransigence, while at the national level there hasn’t been a win in a very long time, Heller and McDonald are on the list of mixed-bags).  Consider the brashness and audacity of the charges.

Stephen seems to be saying, “While this can’t really be compared to WWII, or Hitler’s refusal to retreat, and while I have no plan to break the habit of retreat and actually win anything, and while we have no real leadership and a completely dysfunctional organization, I want to retreat yet again, and if you don’t retreat with me, then our ultimate loss will be on your conscience.”  It’s really a remarkable thing when the only thing upon which we can agree is that one side wants perpetual retreat, and the other does not.  And the retreatists will blame the non-retreatists for any losses.  This drips with irony.

Chris Cox seems to be absent in the debates, but since he is a Wayne LaPierre sycophant, he’s likely on Wayne’s side.  Wayne Lapierre is fighting for his life, and so far it looks like he is winning, even if he takes the NRA down with him.  Oliver North is one of the losers in all of this.

Oliver North announced Saturday that he would not serve a second term as National Rifle Association president, making it clear he had been forced out by the gun lobby’s leadership after his own failed attempt to remove the NRA’s longtime CEO in a burgeoning divide over the group’s finances and media operations.

“Please know I hoped to be with you today as NRA president endorsed for reelection. I’m now informed that will not happen,” North said in a statement that was read by Richard Childress, the NRA’s first vice president, to members at the group’s annual convention.

North, whose one-year term ends Monday, did not show up for the meeting, and his spot on the stage was left empty, his nameplate still in its place. His statement was largely met with silence. Wayne LaPierre, whom North had tried to push out, later received two standing ovations.

It was a stunning conclusion to a battle between two conservative and Second Amendment titans — North, the retired Marine lieutenant colonel with a ramrod demeanor who was at the center of the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s, and LaPierre, who has been battle-tested in the decades since he took up the mantle of gun rights. He has fought back challenges that have arisen over the decades, seemingly emerging unscathed each time. In this latest effort, he pushed back against North, telling members of the NRA’s board of directors that North had threatened to release “damaging” information about him to them and saying it amounted to an “extortion” attempt.

Note well.  Apparently it wasn’t up to him, or even the board of directors.  He was “informed” of this decision.  I’ll return to that momentarily.

As for Wayne, there were some awkward goings-on this weekend.

According to someone we’ve spoken to who’s in a position to know, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre met with influential board members and fund-raisers last night and was asked for his resignation. The meeting reportedly became heated and LaPierre stormed out. He then responded to the demand with a scathing letter to those involved, refusing to step down.

So first there is the issue of exactly how an elected board of directors along with an elected president can demand the resignation of a bureaucrat, and be rejected by said bureaucrat outright and that organization continue to function.  It can’t.  I assess that the NRA is a completely dysfunctional organization and has been for a long time.

Leaving aside the issue of Ackerman McQueen, and $200,000 of wardrobe purchases by LaPierre, the bylaws, people and organizational structure aren’t sufficient to rid the group of ne’er-do-wells, whether LaPierre or the cretins who are financial liabilities and parasites to the organization.  A board of directors who doesn’t direct may as well quit and go home.  If there are too many bad apples in the mix, then it’s appropriate for the entire group to go down in flames, suffering the personal, legal and financial loss attending their malfeasance.  Membership on the board of directors means legal and fiduciary culpability, as it should on any board.

But can this situation be salvaged?  Should it be salvaged?  I said a few days ago that the NRA had supported the NFA, the GCA, the Hughes Amendment, the bump stock ban, and red flag laws.  It’s all true.  This is an incomplete list.  Via David Codrea, this list adds to my own.

The real issue with the VNRA isn’t corruption or not doing enough to push rights. The problem is what the group actively does to violate rights. NFA ’34, GCA ’68, FOPA ’86. Everyone knows those. It shows how long the rot has existed.

They tried to keep HELLER from going to SCOTUS. They actively killed constitutional carry legislation in New Hampshire. They wrote an “assault weapon” ban in Ohio. They sabotaged an RKBA/free speech case in NH.

I had forgotten how many open carry fights the NRA has sabotaged, and it’s also true that the NRA didn’t want Heller going to the SCOTUS.  I consider Heller only a partial win because of the wording Scalia put in there supporting gun control at the local and state level, and the weakness of it leading to McDonald, which still isn’t recognized by lower courts.  But Alan Gura snatched a modicum of victory from the jaws of defeat.

The point is that in almost every case where retreat was possible, the NRA has led the way.  Then oftentimes, as with Heller, they claimed credit for what small victory the SCOTUS gave us.  In every exigency in life, a man must make functional judgments.  Whom to marry, where to work, how much to save, with whom to be associated.

In this case, the analysis is quite simple.  If an organization is working against your interests, it’s an easy decision to jettison support for said organization.  It makes no sense to support people who intend harm to your liberties.  If this is considered on a tactical level (retreat might be a good option now), then it is incumbent on our detractors to explain how said retreat will be reversed and good use made of it rather than sling accusations.  I see a lot of hand-wringing, but I see no detractor channeling Sun Tzu.  If you want to be a general, then learn to lead and learn to win.

The issue of red flag laws is problematic, while the issue of bump stocks is more emblematic.  Either way, it’s a mistake to see this in terms of issues without seeing the larger aggregate as well.  I dislike harping on Sebastian, but his most recent post begins this way.

But what got us here isn’t that we didn’t shout “no” loud enough. We didn’t end up here because we’re not pure enough. That’s always what religious zealots turn to when disaster strikes. It’s a natural human reaction. But it usually leads to doing the wrong thing.

Exactly how it leads to doing the wrong thing he doesn’t explain, he just says so.  And any hint of unwillingness to make more compromises becomes “zealotry.”  Very well.  I believe that the second amendment is meaningless inasmuch as it guarantees our right to keep and bear arms.  I believe that the Almighty has not only extended that right to man, He has demanded that men defend home and hearth, as well as answer for placing and keeping tyrants in power.  The second amendment is a covenant, with blessings and consequences (or curses) for adherence and breakage.  The right to keep and bear arms without infringement is sacred.  We observed before that gun control is wicked.

The Bible does contain a few direct references to weapons control. There were many times throughout Israel’s history that it rebelled against God (in fact, it happened all the time). To mock His people back into submission to His Law, the Lord would often use wicked neighbors to punish Israel’s rebellion. Most notable were the Philistines and the Babylonians. 1 Samuel 13:19-22 relates the story: “Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plowshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles sharpened…So on the day of battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in this hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.” Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon also removed all of the craftsmen from Israel during the Babylonian captivity (2 Kings 24:14). Both of these administrations were considered exceedingly wicked including their acts of weapons control.

If this makes me a zealot, then I wear that badge proudly.  And now we’re to the root of the issue.  I may be a zealot, but at least I have an epistemological basis for my statements, and my world and life view dictates my value judgments.

For those who see this through a more pedestrian lens, it will be less important until it becomes important, at which point they would have to explain their next steps because I can’t.

The NRA may survive this, but not in the same form.  It will be known as the home of the Fudds, or it will jettison the ne’er-do-wells, clean house, and begin a campaign of grading politicians truthfully and keeping those grades up-to-date.  It will include in that campaign an honest attempt to stand against the tide of control coming.

If the NRA decides not to approach it that way, it will morph back into an organization that teaches people to shoot bolt action rifles at father-son or mother-daughter events.  But they can begin sending the money back to their constituents and proceed apace with defunding themselves, because you don’t get wealthy by teaching people to shoot rifles.  You obtain some measure of power by truthfully and honestly representing your constituency.

Finally, David Codrea notes of the war between factions that “Not that “Wayne LaPierre prevailing, for now, is a “win” for membership. Nor would it be had North succeeded. This was a coup attempt by NRA’s long-term PR firm Ackerman McQueen to replace former gravy train riders with current ones. There are no clean hands here, and with the weekend battle “won” by current management, don’t expect dramatic changes in the way things are run as long as they’re in power.”

But even if they’re able to rid themselves of the rot within, the question is whether they can return to their roots.  Their tap root is one of preservation of the rights recognized in the constitution, including weapons of war.  “What the Fudds either don’t know (or do, but have no intention of ruining a “good” meme by admitting), is that it wasn’t until after WWII that “the NRA concentrated its efforts on another much-needed arena for education and training.”

Virginia Cave Rescue

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

CNN:

Five men exploring a cave in southwest Virginia were trapped inside, and authorities are working to get them out safely, according to Billy Chrimes, search and rescue coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Six men entered the cave in Cleveland, Virginia, on Friday around 7 p.m. and planned to spend an extended amount of time exploring it, he said.

One of those men emerged from the cave, known as Cyclops Cave, on Sunday morning around 2 a.m. and told authorities the others were having difficulty getting out, Chrimes said Sunday.

That man, who is 22, said the other men were exhausted and were starting to have problems with hypothermia, according to Chrimes. The men are not lost and aren’t too far into the cave.

The five trapped men are between the ages of 34 and 59, according to Emergency Management Coordinator for Russell County Jess Powers. Powers said the group was planning to camp in the cave until Sunday, but a heavy downpour Saturday night made conditions muddy and wet and likely contributed to their difficulties.

One of the men was rescued on Sunday afternoon and is being assessed by a local volunteer rescue squad, Powers said. The rescue took much longer than anticipated, Powers said, and the rescue teams have gone back inside to help the other four men.

The cave explorers did not have a lot of extra food or water, and Chrimes said the temperature underground is in the 50s. While that is comfortable under normal circumstances, it can cause problems with hypothermia when you’re not active and moving.

That has nothing to do with it.  Caves are confined spaces, and as I’ve explained before, I don’t go spelunking.

But here is the mistake they made.  There are four different kinds of heat transfer: convective, conductive, radiant and evaporative.

The cave walls were rock, and were a heat sink.  Their bodies were radiating heat to the walls of the cave totally apart from convective, conductive or evaporative heat transfer.  They suffered hypothermia NOT because of the 50 degree F air temperature, but because of the temperature of the cave walls (even if they were suspended in mid-air and with no air movement whatsoever, their bodies would still have been radiating heat to the cave walls).

They should have prepared for this.

Day Hikers Most Vulnerable In Survival Situations

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

NatGeo:

In the study, survivors’ most frequently mentioned source of warmth was clothes (12 percent). Their prevailing form of shelter was camping gear (11 percent). Most survivors had a water source—either their own (13 percent), or one they found (42 percent), be it a lake, creek, or puddle, or derived by licking leaves or sucking moist moss. None of the survivors except one were missing long enough to make starvation an issue, but 35 percent had food they could ration to keep their energy levels up. All these data points suggest that the best way to survive getting lost in a national park is to already have the clothing and gear needed for warmth and shelter during the night, as well as some food and water.

This is not the case with most day hikers, who are more likely to bring a camera than extra clothes in a backpack. Herrington concurs. “If you go backpacking and you get lost, or you get caught out in bad weather, it’s like oh well I’m going to be out here another night and maybe go to bed hungry. No big deal. But when you’re out there and you don’t have a sleeping bag and tent, or extra clothing for the overnight experience, you’re much more vulnerable, and that tends to be where most people get in trouble.

[ … ]

In Herrington’s wilderness survival courses, he teaches day hikers to pack a puffy jacket for warmth, and a 200-litre trash bag for rain protection/shelter. Even in warm states. “If you’re wet—because it rains or you fell into water or you sweated through your clothes—and its 65 degrees (18°C), you can still get hypothermic,” says Herrington. “Texas is one of the leading states in hypothermia deaths, and look how warm it is there.” An injury compounds the risk of hypothermia by compromising the body’s ability to thermo-regulate.

Well, you can carry a trash bag if you wish.  I’ve given you my list before.

Bring a good rip-stop nylon tarp.  If it’s good, it’ll be light and it will pack up small.  A gun (with a couple of extra magazines of ammunition), a tactical light, 550 paracord, a first aid kit, water purification equipment, decent clothing, a tactical knife (I prefer one with serrated edges), Mylar emergency blankets (which will also be very light), energy and protein bars, and multiple means of fire starter.  Finally, wear a hat on the trail.  The absence of one will cause sunburn to the head and freezing at night (a large portion of the heat leaving your body does so through the head).

Know how to make a brush shelter (leaf hut) quickly.  It’s that time of year.  There is no excuse for going into the bush unprepared.

BCM AR-15 Run-To-Failure Test, Continued

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

Following up his first video, Tim Harmsen adds to the round count on his BCM rifle.  He explains what he does and doesn’t intend with this test.

Oklahoma Pistol Walk, Part II

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

Through Edmond Haifer Park.  Just a few of comments.  First, to the cop.  Stop pointing that rifle at people.  It’s stupid.

Second, do … not … ever … touch another man’s gun in a circumstance like this.  Ever.  It’s stupid.  A negligent discharge can occur, someone could get hurt, the weapon might have been modified and you wouldn’t know it, a round might be chambered and it might not be, you don’t know the configuration or status of that weapon, and so on.  Do not ever touch another man’s weapon.

Third, get educated.  Too many cops were looking on the idiot boxes (phones) to figure out if a barrel less than 16″ with a pistol brace is an SBR or a pistol.  Really.  Seek some education, read a little bit.

Prior: Oklahoma AR Pistol Walk


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