Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 41 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]

Two Home Invasions, Two Different Results

BY Herschel Smith
6 years ago

From Instapundit, a gun rights issue at Gonzaga:

SPOKANE, Wash. – Two Gonzaga students are facing possible expulsion from the University after they pulled a weapon in self defense as a six time felon attempted to get into their on campus apartment. According to the student handbook, students may not possess handguns on campus or university owned property.

That’s because the disciplinary board is being immoral.  Now to Philadelphia:

Philadelphia Police are searching for two suspects wanted in connection with a violent home invasion Friday night in the city’s Oxford Circle section.

The incident was reported at the 1500 block of Rosalie Street.

Police tell Eyewitness News a 28-year-old woman was tortured in front of her two-year-old daughter and her four-year-old nephew.

Police say a pair of men broke into the back door of this home on Rosalie Street, attacking the people inside including the 28-year-old woman, her two-year-old daughter and four-year-old nephew, her 54-year-old mother and an electrician working at the house.

“These two individuals tied up all the three adults. They tied up their wrists and their ankles,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Beating up the electrician in the process, police say the pair started demanding money, something the 28-year-old said she didn’t have. That’s when one of the attackers allegedly picked up a kitchen knife, turned on the stove, and put the blade in the flame.

“And then four separate times burnt the 28-year-old female, burnt her face, both of her arms and her stomach,” Small said.

Still she refused to speak, so the crime went further.

“Then picked up the 28-year-old’s two-year-old daughter and threatened to kill the daughter if she didn’t say where the money was,” Small said.

Finally she caved, and gave up some money she had.  So did her mother and the electrician.  The pair got away with nearly $4,000.

Notice that the police were there to write their reports, take descriptions and perhaps clean up a little of the mess.  And then again perhaps they left the mess to the poor victims.  The police aren’t there to protect you, and couldn’t even if they wanted to.

This is the way collectivists and statists would have it.  They would rather you be tortured and abused to the point of death than recognize your right to own and use weapons.

Purchase guns and ammunition.  Use them to defend yourself and loved ones.  If you live in a place that doesn’t allow your ownership of weapons, you are being irresponsible by staying there.  Two home invasions, two different outcomes.  Which will it be for you?

Rifle Craft With Jerry Miculek

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 1 month ago

I don’t particularly like the SCAR, and I get along just fine with my RRA AR-15.  I would also be interested in what brand of AR-15 Jerry would choose for 3-gun competition if S&W didn’t sponsor him.  Finally, this isn’t as comprehensive as something like “Art Of The Tactical Carbine” with Travis Haley, but in 20 minutes it can’t be more than it is.  Jerry does try to sell his complete version, which might be a good Christmas present.

New Legal Controls On Toy Guns

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 1 month ago

We covered the case of the thirteen year old boy who was gunned down by thuggish police for carrying a toy gun.  And I told you at the time:

… tell me if a single cop tells the truth or holds anyone accountable.  Tell me if a judge or jury finds these men guilty of anything?  No, the strongest response will be from totalitarian lawmakers who want to make it illegal to have or sell toy guns.

And then the blue wall closed in like I said it would, and now this:

Andy Lopez was walking to a friend’s home on the outskirts of Santa Rosa when a sheriff’s deputy shot and killed him, mistaking the eighth-grader’s plastic BB gun for an assault weapon.

The afternoon killing of the bright, popular 13-year-old has spurred almost daily protests and nightly candlelight vigils in Santa Rosa, a community known as a gateway to the wine country, with stately Victorians on quiet, tree-shaded streets and edgier enclaves pockmarked with gang graffiti.

As the FBI and Santa Rosa police investigate the Oct. 22 killing, some community leaders are talking to lawmakers about finding ways to deter such shootings, which occur with disturbing frequency across the country when police mistake plastic guns for lethal weapons.

“There are so many kids running around with these things that it is almost inevitable there will be additional shootings in the future,” said Dan Reeves, chief of staff to state Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).

De León carried a bill in 2011 at the behest of Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck to require BB guns be painted bright colors. It followed an LAPD officer’s shooting of a teenager who had an airsoft pistol, a replica of a Beretta handgun.

The 13-year-old Los Angeles boy, who was shot while playing with friends in Glassell Park, was left a paraplegic. A jury last year ordered the city to pay him $24 million in damages.

I’m neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I told you so.  And take note of how utterly stupid this law is.  Now all criminals have to do is paint their weapons bright colors to convince the police that they are obeying the law.  Or not, in which case the bright colors mean nothing.

I have a better idea.  Cops can walk up to folks carrying what appears to be a weapon, and then ask the person, “Sir, I notice that you’re carrying a weapon.  This isn’t an open carry state.  May I ask why you’re doing that?”  Of course, in open carry states that don’t have stop and identify statutes, this would be illegal and the cops shouldn’t do it.  And of course, the law wouldn’t stop the cops from doing it, because the cops are above the law since they can perform anal rape of motorists for rolling stops.

This Is What Totalitarianism Looks Like

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 1 month ago

First, from Communist China.  The Reuters caption reads: “A policeman (2nd L) of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) controls a mock rioter during a SWAT police performance drill at a training base in Xi’an, Shaanxi province October 30, 2013.”


Next, from Communist America (via Instapundit):

David Eckert, a resident of Deming, NM, was pulled over by police officers after failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. For whatever reason, the officers decided Eckert was hiding something, or perhaps they were unsatisfied that a routine stop hadn’t blown up into something bigger.

They asked him to step out of the car and then searched his vehicle (without his consent). Another officer brought in a drug dog which reacted (a relatively worthless indication of anything — drug dogs can easily be “alerted” by their controlling officers) to the driver’s seat. (Eckert’s lawyer calls into question this dog’s training, presenting documents that claim to show it hadn’t received the proper field training and recertification. See exhibits listed under docket item 27.) Then the officer “observed” that Eckert was standing “erect with his legs together” and his “buttocks clenched.” This was all the justification the Deming police needed to subject Eckert to the following horrific chain of events at a hospital in neighboring Silver City.

1. Eckert’s abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.
2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.
8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.
At no time did Eckert give his consent to these searches.

The faces are different, but the wicked heart that enforces totalitarianism is the same the world over.

Cuccinelli Campaign Was RNC’s Step Child

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 1 month ago


“The establishment types didn’t like the Cuccinelli campaign, didn’t back the Cuccinelli campaign — for whatever their reasons were. Whether it was his hot social-conservative rhetoric from the past, whether it was the way the campaign was structured presently, I don’t know,” Steele says. ”I know I tried to raise some money for him and ran into all kinds of resistance from folks and excuses.”

“People were clearly behind the Christie effort. In a lot of respects, Cuccinelli was the step child. He was the one that people made excuses not to support . . . I think there was a conscious decision to sacrifice Virginia,” he adds.

Like I said, this will come back to haunt the GOP.  I will grant that there are a lot of low information voters who spend their time watching night time comedies and worthless television programming.  But there is a slice of voters who know this and understand that the old line GOP establishment is trying ever so hard to cast the future GOP in its own image.  And remember based on the margin of loss for Romney during the last election, the margins are smaller than they’ve ever been – they’re razor thin.  The great un-mined middle exists no more and America becomes increasingly bifurcated.  All it takes is loss of a small margin to lose an election.

Watch as the informed voters turn their back on the GOP establishment.  If the Cuccinelli campaign was a “step child,” the GOP establishment is a “dead man walking.”

Survival In The Canadian Wilderness

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 1 month ago

Toronto Sun:

Outdoorsman Marco Lavoie, rescued Wednesday after three months in the deep woods near James Bay, made the heartbreaking decision to kill and eat his beloved German shepherd to stay alive.

A source close to the amazing story told QMI Agency that Lavoie, 44, sacrificed his dog when he became stranded at the Nottaway River, roughly 800 km northwest of Montreal.

A bear had eaten Lavoie’s food and destroyed his boat in mid-July, leaving him alone with the dog.

A few days after the bear attack, the person who spoke to QMI on condition of anonymity said Lavoie used a rock to kill his dog before eating the pet.

By the time provincial police airlifted him out three months later, Lavoie was barely able to speak or eat. He suffered hypothermia and dehydration and had lost about 90 pounds.

Survival expert Andre Francois Bourbeau said Lavoie did what he could to live.

“He survived because he made ‹good decisions. Eating his dog was one of them,” said Bourbeau, author of a survival guide.

Bourbeau has researched hundreds of similar stories, some of which include cannibalism.

“You have to be desperate, but there’s no shame in (eating the dog),” said Bourbeau. “He had to use reason.”

The survival expert says that after 30 days in the wilderness with no food, Lavoie’s body would have gone into shock from starvation.

“Hunger squeezes you so much that you would accept food that’s not normally possible,” said Bourbeau. “You can crave slugs and bugs.”

Lavoie is an experienced hiker who often spent weeks in the wilderness by himself. But the Nottaway River is considered too dangerous even for the hardiest outdoorsmen.

Andre Diamond, a Waswanipi Cree who lives on an island at the mouth of the river, said he warned Lavoie to stay away.

“He said it didn’t scare him, but it’s not a river to travel alone,” said Diamond. “Other adventurers have gone there over 20, 30 years and never came back.”

I don’t want to sit in judgment of the fellow for what he did.  My dog is one of my best companions, my friend, my partner on hikes, camping trips, and walks, my travel companion, and partner for playing at night time and on the weekends.  She is sad when I leave, and overjoyed when I return.  I would have made a different decision concerning the dog, but as I said, I don’t want to sit in judgment of the fellow.

But I do have one bone to pick, and it has to do with the downright obscene and objectionable expectations of people who travel into the wilderness.  As to the statement “he survived because he made ‹good decisions,” I would respond, “he almost died because he made awful decisions.”  My demurral goes farther than the dog – it goes to preparation for the trip.

Had he carried weapons (a good, scoped bolt action rifle and large caliber handgun such as a .44 magnum revolver), the bear would be dead and eaten, the gentleman would still be alive, and he would be hugging his dog.  Instead, he apparently had to watch as a bear nearly cost him his life.  Furthermore, if he had access to firearms, it is quite possible that he could have killed game (fowl if he had carried a shotgun, small game, or even large game with a rifle or shotgun with slugs) to eat instead of eating his companion.

Let’s suppose that Canadian law prohibits the carrying or even ownership of weapons such as the ones that I mentioned, and let’s further suppose that shooting the bear would have been illegal (or in other words, there is no such thing as a bear tag in that Province of Canada).

It doesn’t matter.  The trip nearly cost him his own life, and it is immoral for the Canadian government to make or enforce such laws.  Immoral, obscene and unrighteous laws not only need not be obeyed, but they must be disobeyed.  When a government makes unrighteous laws, it has become unrighteous.

Virginia Elections

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 1 month ago

Congratulations to the “libertarian” voters in Virginia who today voted for Robert Sarvis.  How does it feel to know that you threw your vote away and could have made a difference in the outcome of the election of communist Terry McAuliffe to the Governor’s mansion?

We discussed it.  Instead of driving to the voting booth, you’re in a fight for your rights now, and will probably lose your liberty to own guns, your liberty to purchase them, and maybe even your liberty to purchase ammunition.  You own it now boy.  Oh, and make sure to sign up for Obamacare tomorrow.

Gird your loins, or move.

UPDATE: Via commenter HempRopeAndStreetlight, this:

Mark Levin wrote in a Monday Facebook post that the RINOs, or Republicans in Name Only, wanted McCauliffe to win on Tuesday. “Many in the GOP establishment, from major fundraisers and consultants, to GOP officeholders such as the GOP Lt. Gov and mayor of Virginia Beach, have either trashed Attorney General Ken Cuccinnelli or endorsed McAuliffe outright. The GOP national machine has done next to nothing for Cuccinnelli,” Levin wrote

In addition to all of those GOP establishment figures who were key operatives for Cantor, McDonnell, the RNC, and actual state GOP lawmakers, national RNC chairman Reince Priebus spent Tuesday in New Jersey to back up Chris Christie, whose re-election was never in question, rather than in Virginia using his celebrity to get out the vote in Cuccinelli’s nail-biter race.

There is also this report on Cuccinnelli in his own words concerning being abandoned by the GOP.  This might have happened under the radar fifty years ago, but in this day and age they can’t hide it.  The establishment GOP is in a scorched earth war on conservatives.  So be it.  Go ahead and nominate an establishment GOP candidate for the next office, gubernatorial, president, senate, house or whatever.  Watch as conservatives stay home like they did in the last presidential election.

Ammunition Availability: Last Lead Smelter Closes In U.S.

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 1 month ago

I had wanted to wait for further developments and data to comment on this, but such may not be forthcoming.  AmmoLand and many other venues reported on this.

In December, the final primary lead smelter in the United States will close.  The lead smelter, located in Herculaneum, Missouri, and owned and operated by the Doe Run Company, has existed in the same location since 1892.

The Herculaneum smelter is currently the only smelter in the United States which can produce lead bullion from raw lead ore that is mined nearby in Missouri’s extensive lead deposits, giving the smelter its “primary” designation.  The lead bullion produced in Herculaneum is then sold to lead product producers, including ammunition manufactures for use in conventional ammunition components such as projectiles, projectile cores, and primers.  Several “secondary” smelters, where lead is recycled from products such as lead acid batteries or spent ammunition components, still operate in the United States.

Doe Run made significant efforts to reduce lead emissions from the smelter, but in 2008 the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued new National Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead that were 10 times tighter than the previous standard.  Given the new lead air quality standard, Doe Run made the decision to close the Herculaneum smelter.

Whatever the EPA’s motivation when creating the new lead air quality standard, increasingly restrictive regulation of lead is likely to affect the production and cost of traditional ammunition.  Just this month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will ban lead ammunition for all hunting in California.  The Center for Biological Diversity has tried multiple times to get similar regulations at the federal level by trying, and repeatedly failing, to get the EPA to regulate conventional ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

At this time, it’s unclear if Doe Run or another company will open a new lead smelter in the United States that can meet the more stringent lead air quality standards by using more modern smelting methods.

What is clear is that after the Herculaneum smelter closes its doors in December, entirely domestic manufacture of conventional ammunition, from raw ore to finished cartridge, will be impossible.

Steve Johnson at The Firearm Blog cites the owners as saying “The EPA’s new clean air rules would require a $100 million dollar investment in new equipment.  As such, the Doe Run Company has decided to close the site.”  Steve also includes some informative graphs of lead production by country.

I have a number of comments concerning this closure.  First of all, the company also states that the $100 million project is “too financially risky.”  And that’s the crux of the issue.  Folks, $100 million just isn’t that much for large scale production in any industry in America.  My bet is that the company believes that it could very well spend $100 million and then continue to be denied the right to manufacture ammunition due to the fact that people writing rulings in the federal register are calling the shots.  You know what I’ve said about the federal Leviathan.  Oftentimes, their standard is a moving target.

Second, I question the degree to which the company is committed to the manufacture of ammunition components.  Power companies who have to fight the EPA on a regular basis simply do what they must.  Of course, power is regulated, but the market for ammunition won’t be going away.

Third, regardless of where you turn (and I include myself in that category), there is vast under-reporting on this.  We have all discussed it, but there is a paucity of good information.  I would like to know the degree to which this will affect the production, availability and price of ammunition in the U.S.?  But in order to know that, one would have to know such things as: (1) what percentage of lead in ammunition comes from this plant as opposed to overseas (including processing of the raw ore), (2) how much lead is used in ammunition in the U.S. civilian market every year, (3) what will the cost be of shipping the raw ore overseas for manufacture, and (4) are there any plans to construct and operate another plant?

This kind of knowledge requires real reporting, and that’s something I only sometimes have the time or resources to do.  Having said that, while this plant may not have been able to meet current EPA standards, it’s a sad day.  I suspect that the EPA hasn’t targeted this plant because of its role in the manufacture of ammunition.  Rather, the EPA targets all productive, money-making industry for onerous regulations, written inside the beltway by armies of lawyers, without regard for the practical affect of said regulations.  It’s governance by federal register, and it’s one thing that makes this so sad.

I was on an outing to assess ammunition availability this weekend, and I have noticed that the great ammunition shock of late 2012 and 2013 has been ameliorated.  In fact, I have continued to shoot and also continued to purchase, but I haven’t built my stockpile the way I had intended.  It’s too easy to become lazy, in part because I can pretty much find what I want now, and for fairly reasonable prices.

But becoming lazy is something we mustn’t do.  TTAG mirrors my own fears.

As I said, this was the final lead production facility in the United States. Its location was one of the prime reasons that the Lake City arsenal and other ammunition manufacturers have established themselves nearby, to keep shipping costs down. But with the lead no longer flowing, the next most viable source will be China and require substantially more money to truck overseas for production.

This will also be a big headache for range facilities, since some of them use the reclaimed lead from the dirt berms to pay the bills. There are companies in the United States that will actually pay the range to come in and refurbish their berms, giving them a percentage of the money they make selling the reclaimed lead back to this smelting facility. MCB Quantico operates their ranges this way, closing down once every four years for a re-fit that pays for a lot of the ranges’ services. Now that they will need to ship that lead overseas before it is processed, that will make the whole business more expensive and might drive up range fees.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the price of ammunition jumps as well. Heck, this might even kick off a second ammo shortage if things go badly.

Steel ammunition won’t do.  Folks can argue all day long about “soft steel” to replace copper and steel core to replace lead.  But the fact that Eastern Bloc ammunition was made that way is why you can pick up some Mosin Nagants and Mosin carbines and drop a round into the end of the barrel and listen as it drops to the chamber without getting caught on any rifling all the way down.  Steel wears out rifling and (steel casings instead of brass) ruins the action.

Be diligent and continue to build your armory.  I have gotten lazy – a mistake I don’t intend to repeat.

Patchwork Gun Laws

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 1 month ago

I had previously said this:

I am a long standing and diehard advocate of State’s rights, even to the extent that I don’t think the federal court system should be invoked when local gun control is concerned.  All gun politics is local, I have said.  The corollary is that in order to prevent local hicks, ne’er-do-wells and criminals from acting out their Napoleon fantasies upon other men, association with the state means that – assuming robust gun rights laws already exist – local municipalities and townships shouldn’t be able to preempt state laws.  The state is the right size for law-making and control.  Our founding fathers were wise.

And true to form for the little Napoleon child-emperors, Wisconsin gun laws may soon be a mess.

Wisconsin wildlife officials’ decision to drop rifle restrictions going into this month’s gun deer hunt was supposed to make things simpler. But hunters better do their homework before they head into the woods because local governments now are weighing whether to impose their own bans, potentially creating a patchwork of rules.

The DNR lifted its rifle ban earlier this year in the nearly 20 counties where it remained in effect. The move makes more powerful and accurate weapons available to deer hunters who had been limited to shotguns during the nine-day gun hunt.

Local governments can still restrict rifles, however, and a number have been working to pass limits before the season starts Nov. 23. That could leave hunters sifting through a patchwork of regulations to figure out whether they can use a rifle in their favorite patch of woods.

“Hunters will have to literally check the specific rules for every community they hunt, and don’t think that a single round of phone calls will be sufficient for your whole season,” Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, one of the most avid hunters in the Legislature, warned in a statement. “The bottom line here is that the hunter still has (to do) the homework.”

The DNR banned rifles decades ago in a number of southern counties to limit the deer kill and grow local herds. Hunters in those areas were forced to use weapons with less accuracy and range, such as shotguns, muzzleloaders, pistols or bows and arrows. As the deer population grew, justification for the regulations shifted to protecting the public from far-traveling rifle rounds.

But over the past 15 years or so, the DNR has lifted the restrictions on a county-by-county basis. By last spring, the ban was still in place in all or part of only 19 counties.

The agency’s board decided in May to lift the ban completely. DNR Administrative Warden Matt O’Brien wrote in an October memo the change was meant to streamline deer hunting rules. It also had become difficult for the agency to back up the idea that shotguns were safer when rifles had always been legal for hunting coyote, fox and bear, he wrote.

Or a better way of saying is that Wisconsin gun laws have always been a mess and will continue to be so because of patchwork regulations.  And isn’t it interesting that the original justification (i.e., game management) had to be replaced with something else (i.e., public safety) because the government likes laws and reflexively regulates and controls, whether the justification exists or not.

I have advocated disobedience to unrighteous laws, but it’s still true that one pleasure the righteous man enjoys is obedience to righteous laws.  The good man knows that a truthful hunt for perpetrators of murder and theft won’t roll him into the tide because he is not guilty.

But untruthful and indiscreet law enforcement works just like patchwork regulations and laws.  They frustrate the righteous man because what’s legal over here isn’t over there, and what’s legal now won’t be tomorrow.  If you get caught not knowledgeable on all of the impossible nuances, evolutions and exigencies of the laws, you’re turned into a lawbreaker by prosecutors who have no concept of true justice.  They know the law, but not intrinsic good.

The justification against preemption of state laws by the federal government is the same as that by localities, municipalities, cities and townships.  Patchwork regulation frustrates and mocks the righteous man, and replaces intrinsic good with the law.  Patchwork regulation is fundamentally wicked.

More On Virginia And Guns

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 1 month ago

The Washington Post:

After months of inattention, Ken Cuccinelli II (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D) have drawn the polarizing issue of guns into the spotlight of the Virginia governor’s race.

For once, a Democrat is talking tough about gun control, as if daring the National Rifle Association to take him on. And gun-rights advocates are all too happy to take him up on the challenge.

It began with the Oct. 24 candidate’s debate at Virginia Tech, the site of the worst mass shooting by an individual in U.S. history. In response to a question, Cuccinelli boasted of his A rating from the NRA.

And then McAuliffe did something surprising: He said he didn’t give a fig about the powerful lobby’s rating. And, oh, by the way, he had earned an F.

As you know, I had advocated making this race all about gun owner’s rights.  It appears that someone may finally be listening.  And why the NRA and other groups are not heavily involved I really don’t know, but readers in Virginia, you know how to do this.

Letters to the editor, phone calls, Facebook entries, Twitter posts, conversations at church, conversations at work, EMail distribution lists, an so forth.  Your liberty is at risk.  Get busy, and make sure that ass clown McAuliffe doesn’t become the poster child for “You too can say no to gun rights and still get elected!”

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