The Paradox and Absurdities of Carbon-Fretting and Rewilding

Herschel Smith · 28 Jan 2024 · 4 Comments

The Bureau of Land Management is planning a truly boneheaded move, angering some conservationists over the affects to herd populations and migration routes.  From Field & Stream. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently released a draft plan outlining potential solar energy development in the West. The proposal is an update of the BLM’s 2012 Western Solar Plan. It adds five new states—Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming—to a list of 11 western states already earmarked…… [read more]

The Supreme Court On Excessive Force

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday unanimously agreed that sheriff’s deputies used reasonable force when in a 2010 shooting that left two wounded.

Falling back on a longstanding objective reasonableness argument in use-of-force case law, the high court overturned a previous ruling in the case of Angel Mendez and Jennifer Garcia, between them shot 15 times by Los Angeles County deputies conducting a search.

Two deputies, Christopher Conley and Jennifer Pederson, were part of a larger force of officers looking for a dangerous parolee when they came across the couple living inside a primitive shack behind the property being searched. Without a warrant or announcing their presence, the officers opened the door to the shack which prompted a napping Mendez, who had a BB gun on his futon that he used to kill rats with, to stand. Conely yelled, “Gun!” and the deputies opened fire, hitting both individuals. Mendez, shot 14 times, had to have a leg amputated while Garcia, pregnant at the time of the shooting and hit once in the back, feared to lose her child.

Citing excessive force and civil rights allegations, the couple sued the county in 2011 in federal court, with U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald in August 2013 granting over $4 million in damages to Mendez and Garcia. The ruling, upheld by the U.S. 9th Circuit on appeal last year, was overturned by the Supreme Court this week.

The deputies, previously cleared after the shooting by the LASD’s Office of Independent Review, used reasonable force as noted by the Supreme Court in an opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito for the eight-jurist panel that did not include newly added Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was not part of the court when the case was argued.

The court fell back on the 1989 Graham v. Connor ruling which held that objective reasonableness must be used when determining if excessive force was used by police, with courts basing their decisions on the information the officers had at the time.

What Alito took exception to was the 9th Circuit’s use of the so-called provocation rule to find the deputies liable for $4 million in damages, pinning it on a “murky” connection to a Fourth Amendment violation of search and seizure rights to label it excessive force. The logic of the 9th Circuit’s decision in citing the provocation rule was that the deputies lost their immunity from damages after they entered the shack without a warrant.

While I’m not a legal scholar, with all due respect to the writeup at, this is a complex ruling and the Supreme Court is famous for deciding cases within a very limited framework.

The decision can be found here.  Alito had a problem with invoking a Ninth Circuit rule that he believed didn’t apply and could be used for nefarious reasons in the future.  Here is the money quote.

The rule’s fundamental flaw is that it uses another constitutional violation to manufacture an exces­sive force claim where one would not otherwise exist.

But if Alito has destroyed the Ninth Circuit “provocation” rule, in one and the same sentence he has destroyed the notion that there can ever be such a thing as excessive force.  He takes aim at the provocation rule, but in the process he runs roughshod over the specifics of the case where LEOs shot up two people who posed no danger to them because of “information they had at the time.”

Whether they should have had better information is left unaddressed, as it always will be.  Whether the safety of the innocents should be as important (or more important) than safety of the officers is left unaddressed.  Moreover, while the Supreme Court is protected by their own security, Alito doesn’t address the fact that we – the ordinary peasants – simply cannot wait for alleged LEOs to finish their business while we lie around unmoved as I’ve observed before concerning a case of armed men dressed in SWAT uniforms who invaded a home.

In addition to your felt need to “go home safely at the end of your shift,” we have an equivalent need to be safe in our own homes, to prevent flash-bang grenades from being thrown into our toddler’s cribs, to prevent your reflexively shooting our family dogs, and to prevent street thugs like this from raiding our homes under the guise of being police officers.

You see, we can’t just lay down and let people screaming “police, police, get the fuck on the floor, police, police” … come into our homes without countering those efforts with close quarters battle.  Because they may not be police.”

But in fact the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did just this, i.e., the gave LEOs a pass for shooting an innocent man on bad information because they invaded his home and he resisted, not knowing who the invaders were.  So while the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals beclowned themselves with an idiotic ruling that could make the founders turn in their graves, the U.S. Supreme Court played one-upmanship in the parade of the ridiculous.

For LEOs, it’s okay to shoot a man who poses you no danger if he has a BB gun, as long as the information you have at the time, correct or incorrect, makes you believe you are in danger.  Warrant or no warrant.  It makes no difference.  Alito found that there was no excessive force.  Nothing else matters, and there will never be any recollection of the Ninth Circuit’s “provocation” rule or what Alito said about it.  This is all that matters.

If you were ever waiting on the Supreme Court to come to your aid regarding overbearing and dangerous police actions, you can disavow yourselves of the notion that there will be any aid forthcoming.  You’ve been taken.

The Chattering Class On Suppressors

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago

The Hill:

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun rights groups are fighting to change the public perception of “silencers” — or “sound suppressors” — that reduce the noise of gunfire.

Although the gun industry originally popularized the word “silencer” a century ago, now lobbyists are hoping to gain some distance from the term in large part because of fears that Hollywood has distorted the name. Their concern is that the popular concept of the device prompts fear about their use, which could in turn influence policy.

Unlike their portrayal in Hollywood films, pro-gun groups have noted that silencers are not completely silent and claim it would be more accurate to refer to these devices as sound suppressors.

They reduce the noise of gunfire enough to protect ears, but not so much that mass shooters could go undetected, the NRA says.

“The [sound suppressors] were a victim of the success of his marketing,” said Knox Williams, president of the American Suppressor Association, which is working with the NRA on this issue. Williams referenced Hiram Percy Maxim, who first used the term in the early 1900s when he invented what he referred to as the Maxim Silencer. The term later caught on with legislators and regulators.

“He labeled it as a silent firearm, and people took it for gospel,” Williams said of Maxim.

The NRA, American Suppressor Association (ASA), and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) all invited the media to gun ranges this week to demonstrate that sound suppressors are far from silent.

But gun control groups fear using the term “sound suppressor” risks watering down the danger such devices, according to them, represent.

“It’s all semantics,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

“Focusing on the name distracts people from the real conversation,” Watts said. “They did the same thing with the debate over whether to use the term ‘assault rifles’ or ‘semiautomatic rifles,’ and then the whole conversation shifted to ‘What are we going to call these things?’”

“They want to get into semantics about the language, so we don’t talk about how dangerous they are.”

Hey, I know it’s difficult to fathom, but you inside-the-beltway types look stupid when you fabricate crap like this.  No one I know, except for educated gun owners, is talking about the hearing protection act.

Not anyone with whom I work, not anyone with whom I converse every day, no one.  No one is talking about how much they fear suppressors.

So let me tell you what this is all about.  The control lobby doesn’t want guns to be less intrusive and difficult to shoot than they are now.  Right now, they are loud to the point of hurting your ears permanently without hearing protection.  Even with hearing protection they announce their presence.

But with suppressors it will be less intimidating for new shooters, women and others who may have need of learning gunmanship but don’t want the loud noise.  This … the control lobby cannot have.  So beltway folks like The Hill have to make up stuff to seem like all of America is scared of something.

Chattering, fear mongering, making a story where there isn’t one.  Take your pick, or add to the list.

SBRs And Speedy Trials: The Right Case To Back?

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago


There are plenty of smears against Barbeau, notably by those who make a lucrative living off ad hominem insinuations like the Southern Poverty Law Center. There’s also no shortage of gun owners ostensibly “on our side” who will argue this isn’t the right case to back, and they’ll cite Barbeau’s own words and actions, being exploited by SPLC and others, to throw him under the bus.

It’s interesting to note that a year-and-a-half after his arrest, Barbeau remains behind bars awaiting trial on a short barrel rifle possession charge.

A speedy trial.  I seemed to remember something about that.  He’s incarcerated because of things other than an SBR.  Hey, I say this is as good a case to take as any.  And I say we take that SBR and cram it up fedgov ass.

Fudds Are Not Your Friends

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago

David Codrea receives a visit from now defeated Rob Quist, who says this.

The real question that you all need to address is that while Mr. Gianforte puts out ads showing himself hunting, he has given buckets of money to the very groups whose main goal is to take our public lands. I feel like the NRA backed the wrong horse on this one, and having been in other states that have lost access to public lands, the bamboozle has begun. I got into this race to protect our public lands and surely you all must know that the number one reason that people no longer hunt, fish and recreate is the loss of access to public lands. Do some research about these groups he funds: Americans For Prosperity, PERC, and the Heritage Foundation, and you will see why the Montana Sportsmans Alliance PAC and the Hunters and Anglers backed me…

He got into the race to protect “public lands.”  This is all about hunting, fishing and recreating.  Because he says so.  That’s our second amendment right.

Well, if the Montana Sportsmans Alliance PAC and the Hunters and Anglers (whomever that is) actually backed him, they should be ashamed.  The Montana Sportsmans Alliance PAC and the Hunters and Anglers are welcome to drop by and explain themselves.

Iowa Must Change The New Open Carry Law

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago

So says Dave Nagle:

By Washington, D.C., standards it was cold that first day of March 1954. The sky was overcast with rain, a relatively strong southerly wind and the temperatures hung in the low to mid-50s.

The four arrived around noon at Union Station, having taken the train down that morning from New York. They ate lunch and then debated whether to complete their task or simply go back home. Three wanted to stop, but the fourth was adamant and said she would do it herself. She started walking up the hill to the Capitol and the three reluctantly followed.

They entered the House of Representatives, assured security they did not have cameras, and sat in the gallery above the floor. With about 240 members in the chamber, the debate over an immigration bill was vigorous.

The next day, the Washington Post reported the four suddenly stood up, the leader shouting, “viva Puerto Rico libre” and fired their pistols into the legislative body. Five members of Congress were hit, two critically, before the assailants were subdued.

This is important. The Puerto Rican nationalists were carrying one .38-caliber automatic handgun and three German Lugers. The total fire power was six rounds in the .38 and seven in each of the three Lugers. The number of shots fired by the four individuals was 30.

I thought of this incident when I read the Republican-led Iowa Legislature just voted in, and the governor signed, a law to make it easier to obtain handguns (called the Open Carry Law) and permit them in the Iowa State Capitol and all public buildings. Plus, if you are not a felon or a few other limited categories, the local sheriff is obligated to issue you a permit to carry a handgun.

[ … ]

Now Congress can make no law abridging freedom of speech. But there is an exception when the speech presents what is termed “a clear and present danger.” The old example is you cannot yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

My question is this: Shouldn’t there be some limitation on the Second Amendment?

The danger is not just a foreign terrorist but an ordinary American citizen, a taxpayer, someone who feels strongly they have been wronged and the only solution in their tormented mind is an act of maximum violence.

I do not feel it necessary to learn again the lessons of the incidents in Maquoketa or Mount Pleasant.

Change the law.

Hey Dave, I’m right there with you concerning the issue of people shooting in the most unexpected places and the most unexpected times.  But there are problems with your analysis.

The issue of open carry has nothing whatsoever to do with your commentary.  The things you address are also applicable to concealed carry, because there is no practical difference between open and concealed except that in one case you can see the weapon if you happen to notice.  So I think this entire argument is completely fabricated and fake.  I don’t think your problem is with open carry.

But the unexpected shootings can occur anywhere, on the street corner, in a restaurant, at a gas station, or in the work place.  And see, there is nothing that makes you different from us even though you would like to think there is.  You’re not more special than we are, and the House and Senate chambers aren’t anything special to us.

In fact, let’s drive this point a little further.  What if you are so unspecial to us and given the nanny state, brooding hen, control freak governance you want to have over everyone at their expense and on their hard earned tax dollars, we consider your work loathsome and disgusting?  Grok that, Dave?

What if we don’t want you to have special protections or be able to grant yourselves special security compared to everyone else?  What if we want you to live with the very same laws you create for other people, meaning that if people cannot conceal carry because of you, then you don’t get to either, and you don’t get your very own security?

And what if the open carry law you advocate effects everyone, including you, and LEOs, and you don’t get any extra, additional or special security?  What if we just don’t care enough about what you do to grant you security on our tax dollars?

I know I’ve given you a lot to think about, Dave.  Please feel free to post a comment and tell us what you think.

U.S. Army Chief: The Infantry Needs A New 7.62 mm Rifle

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago

Business Insider:

The U.S. Army’s chief of staff revealed Thursday the M4 Carbine’s 5.56mm round can’t penetrate modern enemy body armor plates and plans to arm infantry units with rifles chambered for a more potent 7.62mm cartridge.

Responding to questions from Senate Armed Services Committee members, Gen. Mark Milley conceded that the service’s current M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round will not defeat enemy body armor plates similar to the U.S. military-issue rifle plates such as the Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert, or ESAPI.

“The 5.56mm round, we recognize that there is a type of body armor out there, that it doesn’t penetrate. We also have that body armor ourselves,” he testified.

Milley told lawmakers Army officials at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, have developed a new 7.62mm round to solve the problem.

“We have developed a pretty effective round down at Fort Benning,” he said. “We know we have a bullet that can penetrate these new plates.”

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, asked if the new bullet will require a new rifle. Milley said, “It might but probably not,” adding that weapons can be chambered for various calibers.

However, the M4 would require a new barrel, bolt carrier group, buffer system in addition to a new lower receiver to shoot 7.62mm ammo, experts maintain.

He later told Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, there are systems on the shelf today that, with some very minor modifications, could be adapted to meet the Army’s needs.

“I think there are weapons out there that we can get in the right caliber that can enhance the capability of the infantry soldier,” Milley said.

He also told lawmakers that not every soldier will need a 7.62mm rifle.

“This idea that the entire Army needs the same thing all the time, it’s not necessarily true,” Milley said. “There are some infantry units that are much more highly likely to rapidly deploy than others and conduct close-quarters combat that we would probably want to field them with a better-grade weapon that can penetrate this body armor that we are talking about.”

The subject of the 5.56mm round being underpowered came up at a May 17 hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Airland Subcommittee. Retired Lt. Gen. John Bednarek and retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales Jr. testified at the hearing about the U.S. military’s future small-arms requirements.

Ernst said that Scales testified about “a weapon that could fill the role of the light machine gun and the rifle.”

“Is the need for a machine gun a higher priority than just a basic rifle?” she asked.

Milley said that infantry units need both to be effective. “I think what [Scales] is talking about is the Marines are adopting … the M27” infantry automatic rifle, a version of the 416 made by Heckler & Koch.

“We are taking a hard look at that and are probably going to go in that direction as well, but we haven’t made a final decision on it,” Milley said. “The infantry squads and infantry platoons — they’ve got to have an automatic weapon for suppression; they’ve got to have the individual weapon as well, so you need both … to be effective in ground combat.”

Wait.  So the Army infantry needs a new 7.62 mm rifle to be “combat effective.”  But not really, because then he mentions automatic weapons and suppression fire.  And then he points out that not all infantry needs this new rifle … er, crew served area suppression weapon … just some of them.  How many, he doesn’t say.  So for instance Army snipers need it.

But Army snipers already have the 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, .338, .300 Win Mag, and .50.  So they don’t really need it.  You know, for this “new” body armor.  You know, the armor that a 7.62 mm NATO round can penetrate, i.e., the ESAPI plate.

But the ESAPI plate can’t withstand a 7.62 mm NATO round right now, and this is nothing new.  So let’s change the subject and talk about Gen. Scales and his paid advocacy of H&K.  And just think of all of those dead soldiers and the “new” body armor worn by the enemy (which isn’t the ESAPI plate, so it makes no sense to invoke that if he’s talking about the enemy).  So give us more money.  Just because.  And shut up.  And if you don’t, you’re not patriotic.

Ignore Scales on the 5.56 mm rifle, and the fact that we want to buy it too even though we’re in front of you talking about the 7.62 mm rifle.  He hasn’t been briefed on what we’re going to say, because neither have we.  We have absolutely no idea what to say to you except give us more money.  Because shut up.  We’ll figure out what to do with it.  And ignore the fact that the Army no longer teaches soldiers how to shoot.

Memorial Day Mountain Biking At Lake James State Park

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago

It’s very challenging to try to stay up with someone whose thighs and heart makes it seem like they’ve got rockets attached to their bike.

American Guns Are Fueling The Immigration Crisis

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago

So says Alex Yablon at The Trace.

When José Luis Hernández was a boy, his hometown of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, had its share of gangs, neighborhood toughs who used knives to claim turf and settle scores. As he came of age, a new generation of criminals took over. These crews worked with international organized crime rings, and they carried guns.

“I started seeing guys around town that weren’t just local gangs,” Hernández says. “They were sicarios” — professional killers working for the drug cartels — “armed better than the police. They’d have AK-47s.”

As Honduran gangs grew ever more well-armed and difficult to police, they gave young men like Hernández an impossible decision: join up, or be marked for death. In a single month, one gang in San Pedro Sula tortured and murdered as many as eight minors who refused to enlist. Across the small country, according to official counts, nearly 50,000 people were murdered between 2008 and 2015. In several of those years, civilian homicides reached a rate of 80 per 100,000 residents — a higher rate than recorded at the height of the Iraqi insurgency. Eighty percent of Honduran homicide victims were shot.

“With all the violence” Hernández says, “I didn’t have a choice” but to flee north to the United States. “I call it a forced migration.”

He made one unsuccessful attempt to get to the United States in 2005, then journeyed north a second time the next year, hopping a Mexican freight train line known to migrants as La Bestia (The Beast) for the tendency of riders to be maimed or killed while riding it. Clinging to the train in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, Hernández fainted and fell. The train severed a leg, an arm, and half of one of his hands as it rolled on without him. He was hospitalized for more than a year in Mexico before being deported back to his home country.

Hernández again braved the trip to the United States in 2015, as part of a larger group of disabled Hondurans calling themselves themselves the Caravan of the Mutilated. This time, they reached the border crossing at Eagle Pass, Texas, where they sought and received asylum.

“We had nothing to lose,” Hernandez says of his reason for undertaking the arduous passage, “and a lot of hope to achieve something” by escaping Honduras.

Federal immigration statistics show that Hernández and his caravan are part of a tidal wave of Central Americans driven north by violence in their home countries. The flow became a humanitarian and political crisis in 2014, when the Department of Homeland Security apprehended nearly 480,000 people at the southern border, including tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors. In 2016, another 400,000 people were captured by the Border Patrol in southwestern states.

Dramatically reducing immigration to the United States is a pillar of President Donald Trump’s agenda. He announced his candidacy with warnings about undocumented Latino migrants bringing drugs, violence, and rape. He has secured $341 million in federal spending for the first phase of a promised 20-foot-high wall to keep them out, and requested $1.6 billion more to extend the barrier. Arrests of undocumented immigrants, the majority of whom lack records of other criminal offenses, are up 38 percent during the first three months of the Trump administration, a crackdown designed to deter would-be migrants from entering the country. Recent reports say the Border Patrol is refusing to admit asylum seekers like Hernández, in violation of international law.

But experts say Trump’s tactics could amount to a finger plugged into the dike, halting people at the border without addressing the reasons why they flee to America.

Ah yes, and now we’re down to the root of the issue according to Alex.  There isn’t enough American gun control, for if there were, we wouldn’t be the recipient of such overwhelming immigration.

No mention is made of the fact that our borders are virtually open.  No mention is made of the fact that progressives want the immigrants for votes, and republican elites want them as workers for Monsanto and Archer-Daniels-Midland on our middle class tax dollars when they go to the local ER for routine medical care.

And no mention is made of the fact that we in America have more guns per capita than anywhere else on earth, and yet we aren’t attempting to migrate South, are we?  No question is posed, “If guns fuel immigration, then why aren’t Americans trying to leave?”  No mention is made of the cultural and moral problems that underlie the entire machine sending migrants North, or of the fact that Mexico and the Central American countries want to ship their criminals and impoverished here for us to take care of.

Because.  Just because.  Shut up.  Alex doesn’t want to deal or traffic in facts or even Sunday School level logic.  No, if we just had more gun control, the entire problem would dissipate overnight.

What a dumb ass.  Or liar.

Black Bear Attacks Bow Hunter

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago

I’ll leave it to readers to fisk this event.  This man is blessed to be alive, as far I can tell.

The New York Heavy Trigger Pull Law

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 10 months ago

David Codrea:

One might if one had zero knowledge of guns, of gun design and of defensive gun uses. Left unacknowledged are inconvenient realities like the fact that the harder the trigger pull, the more inaccurate the gun, a problem the New York Police Department (and those they shoot and/or miss) has experienced since the bureaucrats imposed a 12-lb. trigger pull requirement (resulting in a 15% hit ratio). Serrano has not offered how making a gun less accurate makes it safer.

Have you ever tried to use a gun with a 12 pound pull?  I haven’t, but close.  I believe it had around an 8-9 pound pull.  It belonged to someone else, and I believe I managed to saw the left arm off the target silhouette.

I don’t think the NYPD needs any more help in learning how to shoot badly.  Leave it to progs to design dumb laws intended to super-manage lives rather than punish criminals.  By the way, David also links an NRA piece on the S&W sellout that I have never seen.

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