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Irrational Christian Bias Against Guns, Violence And Self Defense

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

Several examples of Christians opposing all violence and means of self defense have been in the news lately, and I can’t deal with all such examples.  But three particular examples come to mind, and I first want to show you one example from Mr. Robert Schenck in a ridiculously titled article, Christ or a Glock.

“Well, first of all you’re making an immediate decision that if someone invades your home, they are going to die,” Rev. Schenck replied. “So you are ready to kill another human being in your home. That brings about a big ethical question for the Christian. And we’re told in the Bible, we’re even to love our enemies.”

“Even a potential intruder? Someone who’s been coming into your home to hurt you?”

“Absolutely. Is it always God’s will that I survive a violent confrontation with another human being? I’m not sure that’s always God’s will.”

Before we address this tangled web of confusion, let’s bring up another example from Mr. Benjamin Corey who has a commentary up at Patheos entitled The Serious Problems With Using Ecclesiastes 3 To Justify Christian Support Of War & Violence.

thought I had addressed all of the counter arguments over the years, but a new one is emerging and being used more and more frequently: the use of Ecclesiastes chapter 3 to justify the Christian’s support of war and violence.

[ … ]

So, here’s how this is starting to be used in Christian discussions about guns, war, and violence: When Christian A puts forth the nonviolent teachings of Jesus, Christian B retorts by posting this passage in reply. The inferred argument is, “Jesus couldn’t have really meant that, because Ecclesiastes says there’s a time to kill and a time for war.”

First, it ignores Jesus! The act of rebutting Jesus using other passages of Scripture should be a major red flag in the mind of any believer. If Jesus is the living Word of God and the Wisdom of God, then we begin with what Jesus taught us. This is what makes us Christians instead of Biblicists– we follow the teachings of our Lord and Savior. When one rejects the face value teaching and example of Christ in favor of other passages or people in Scripture, it’s a good indication that such a person may like Jesus the Savior but not Jesus the Lord– and unfortunately, this thing is a package deal.

Let’s expand on Benjamin’s views on guns in a previous commentary entitled Some Serious Questions I Have For All Those Good Guys With Guns.

So, you’re a good guy with a gun. I get it. I’ve seen the bumper sticker, heard the slogan a million times, and I even used to be one of you. I’m retired military, was an expert marksman, and was even awarded the Bronze Schützenschnur by the German army.

I was a bonafide good guy with a gun for most of my adult life thus far. But even in my most pro-gun days, the entire American motif of a good guy with a gun made me ask some hard questions– and left me feeling less and less comfortable with the whole concept.

I appreciate the basic sentiment of it all, really. I want my family to live in safety as well, and my desire-meter ranks precisely zero for how badly I’d like to die while standing in line at the deli.

However, this idea that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun is really over-simplified. In fact, I think it is dangerously over-simplified and should really invite some hard questions for those would-be good guys with guns.

The first question this invites is, where will you keep it? Studies show that the presence of a gun in the home increases the likelihood that someone will get shot. Further, we have a growing problem in America of toddlers shooting people with guns they stumble upon. Will you at least keep it locked up in a gun safe where kids can’t access it?

I hope you’ll be that reasonable. But, if you do keep it locked up in a safe because you don’t want your kids getting their hands on it, that invites another question: What good would that do you in an emergency? I mean, having it inconveniently out of reach under lock and key sorta defeats the entire point, no?

But let’s say you resolve that issue– perhaps you’ll be one of those good guys with a gun who carries it everywhere. You strap it safely to your hip, have a hollow point in the chamber, and you’re locked and loaded. That too invites a whole additional line of questioning.

Perhaps the biggest question it invites is this: What qualifies you to be a good guy with a gun who is ready to end a human life at a moment’s notice? Is there some special qualification, or is the mere fact that you think highly of your personal character all the qualification you need?

Some states (like my home state of Maine) require no training at all to be a good guy with a concealed gun, while others require some sort of basic gun safety training. Let’s say you took one of these basic courses: Does a few hours or even a few days of training qualify you to be making life or death decisions in a split second while shopping in Walmart?

If it does, why do the military and law enforcement constantly train? Why not give our professional good guys a few hours of training on a Saturday, hand them a gun, and call it good?

Let’s give the benefit of the doubt for a moment, and consider that you’re an expert on gun safety and an expert marksman. That still leaves a bigger question: Have you taken “kill or no kill” training? Like, lots and lots of it where you decide if someone lives or dies, on the spot and in less than a second? Because that’s what you’ll have to do in real life as a good guy with a gun.

It’s one thing to be a decent person who owns a gun and is trained on the mechanics of how to use it, but what about split-second judgement calls when a human life is in the balance? This is why professional arms bearers repeatedly take kill or no kill training– it’s not enough to be ready to shoot, one needs to have the ability to decide if to shoot at all.

Let me ask you a hypothetical: let’s say you’re standing in the movie isle at Walmart and you hear gunfire and people screaming. You quickly remember that you’re a good guy with a gun, so you draw your weapon and run to the end of the isle. Once you get there, you see a guy with his own gun drawn, and is pointing it in the opposite direction as you.

Do you kill him while you have a clean shot?

Oh my.  The confusion with Benjamin is neck deep, and it’s going to take some time and effort to sort this out.  Before we begin, I know that I have a number of readers who aren’t Christians.  That’s great, and I’m happy to host you in my small and humble home.  This may be a bit boring to you, but you should care anyway.  Men like this not only influence public policy, but they effectively disarm much of the Christian public with their advocacy, this disarming have the effect of making them vulnerable to literally anyone who comes along armed.  Witness the kidnapping of those poor girls at the hands of Boko Haram, or the extinction of Christianity in Mesopotamia, a sad but gradual catastrophe I have watched ever since OIF began.  A large segment of the population that cannot defend themselves is of concern to you, whether you are a Christian or not.  And if you hang on with me, you’ll learn some things about what Jesus thought of unbiblical laws banning weapons.  With that said, let’s begin.

Mr. Schenck says, following Christ, to “love your enemies,” and asserts that this is a big “ethical question” during a home invasion.  Next, without any exegesis or explanation fleshing this out, another leaky bucket is put with the first one, where Mr. Schenk invokes the will of God.  “Is it always God’s will that I survive a violent confrontation with another human being? I’m not sure that’s always God’s will,” he says.  Here Mr. Schenck has said too much and destroyed his own argument, and it will require some explanation to explain what I mean.

Mr. Schenck is acting like a Calvinist, but I seriously doubt he has the deep and abiding commitment to Calvinian theology that I do.  Mr. Schenck is relying on ignorance of the masses for the force of his argument.  Classic Calvinian theology divides the will of God into two distinct categories: (1) preceptive, and (2) decretive.  God’s preceptive will pertains to His precepts, His laws.  What does God wish to happen, or how does He wish mankind to live?  The second category pertains to His decretive will, or what He has decreed to come to pass.

Isaiah 46:10 says “I am God and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’ ” (Isaiah 46:9-10).  Ephesians 1:11 says ” … having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”  Again, all things.  This suffices for many hundreds of passages that teach the same thing.  God decrees, and no one stays His hand.

Furthermore, He tells us that the later category is not only unknown to us, it is off limits.  Deuteronomy 29:29 says “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”  We are responsible for knowing and obeying His law, not the outcome, nor the flow of times and epochs that result from our choices and actions.  That’s in God’s hands, and we are not to question it.

Mr. Schenck is questioning God’s decretive will, apparently in need of knowing it so that he can attempt to effect it.  But it makes no difference.  Mr. Schenck can no more bring it to pass nor prevent it from coming to pass than he can move the moon or keep it from moving.  And we have just said that it is none of his business anyway.  Mr. Schenck is either a poorly informed and badly educated Calvinist, or he invoked the doctrines of God’s will in an attempt to confuse people, or merely as another objection to self defense.  I suspect it’s the later rather than the former.

In either case, we’re left with only his first objection, his notion that Jesus was a pacifist, Bohemian hippie flower child.  But he has supplied no exegesis of Matthew 5:44 to make us think that Jesus intends for us to allow others to kill us in His name.  In fact, the problem lies not in the words of Jesus (who was dealing with personal grievances, not public threats, see here John Gill’s and Matthew Poole’s exposition), but rather Mr. Schenck’s lack of hermeneutical self-discipline.

The Holy writ is a unity, with Christ as the scarlet thread running throughout.  The words of the O.T. are no more in contradiction with Christ than the balance of the N.T.  There is progressive revelation and development of the covenant, but there isn’t any embarrassing contradiction.  We needn’t turn to obscure passages or tangential concerns to justify Biblical self defense.  As we’ve noted before, the basis for it is found in the Decalogue.

I am afraid there have been too many centuries of bad teaching endured by the church, but it makes sense to keep trying.  As I’ve explained before, the simplest and most compelling case for self defense lies in the decalogue.  Thou shall not murder means thou shall protect life.

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

And concerning John Calvin’s comments on this subject:

We do not need to prove that when a good thing is commanded, the evil thing that conflicts with it is forbidden.  There is no one who doesn’t concede this.  That the opposite duties are enjoined when evil things are forbidden will also be willingly admitted in common judgment.  Indeed, it is commonplace that when virtues are commended, their opposing vices are condemned.  But we demand something more than what these phrases commonly signify.  For by the virtue of contrary to the vice, men usually mean abstinence from that vice.  We say that the virtue goes beyond this to contrary duties and deeds.  Therefore in this commandment, “You shall not kill,” men’s common sense will see only that we must abstain from wronging anyone or desiring to do so.  Besides this, it contains, I say, the requirement that we give our neighbor’s life all the help we can … the purpose of the commandment always discloses to us whatever it there enjoins or forbids us to do” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 1, Book 2, Chapter viii, Part 9).

If you’re willing to sacrifice the safety and health of your wife or children to the evils of abuse, kidnapping, sexual predation or death, God isn’t impressed with your fake morality.  Capable of stopping it and choosing not to, you’re no better than a child molester, and I wouldn’t allow you even to be around my grandchildren.

Turning now to Benjamin, the confusion becomes even more chaotic with less hermeneutical self-discipline.  First of all, he’s tried to tackle too much.  Without going into the details of his argument, Professor Darrell Cole has written a very good article at First Things entitled Good Wars.  His closing paragraph summarizes his thesis.

The most noteworthy aspect of the moral approach to warfare in Aquinas and Calvin is that it teaches (contrary to today’s prevailing views) that a failure to engage in a just war is a failure of virtue, a failure to act well. An odd corollary of this conclusion is that it is a greater evil for Christians to fail to wage a just war than it is for unbelievers. When an unbeliever fails to go to war, the cause may be a lack of courage, prudence, or justice. He may be a coward or simply indifferent to evil. These are failures of natural moral virtue. When Christians (at least in the tradition of Aquinas and Calvin) fail to engage in just war, it may involve all of these natural failures as well, but it will also, and more significantly, involve a failure of charity. The Christian who fails to use force to aid his neighbor when prudence dictates that force is the best way to render that aid is an uncharitable Christian. Hence, Christians who willingly and knowingly refuse to engage in a just war do a vicious thing: they fail to show love toward their neighbor as well as toward God.

If Robert or Benjamin haven’t interacted with Cole’s analysis, you may safely ignore what they have to say on this issue.  They haven’t really tackled the hard issues yet or dealt honestly with violence, federal headship or the fallen state of mankind.  To that extent, their exposition is cowardly.  It never helps your case to beat up on straw men or weaklings.  You have to step into the back yard and run with the big dogs before people will respect you.

Second, Benjamin acts as if the only justification for violence is found in Ecclesiastes 3.  I’ve never even seen such an argument in print, and I certainly wouldn’t make it (not from the so-called “wisdom literature” of Scripture).  But beating up on Ecclesiastes 3 doesn’t justify his next move, which is to disconnect the balance of Scripture from the person and teachings of Christ.  He says “If Jesus is the living Word of God and the Wisdom of God, then we begin with what Jesus taught us. This is what makes us Christians instead of Biblicists– we follow the teachings of our Lord and Savior. When one rejects the face value teaching and example of Christ in favor of other passages or people in Scripture, it’s a good indication that such a person may like Jesus the Savior but not Jesus the Lord– and unfortunately, this thing is a package deal.”

That’s right, Benjamin.  It’s a package deal, and I have no need of setting one passage off against another because I follow the commonly accepted rules of Biblical hermeneutics.  It’s a package deal, and that means I see all of Scripture as a whole, with progressive revelation, development of the covenants, unity of purpose, and divine sanction and inspiration of the authors.  For the best study on this, see Inerrancy, edited by Norman L. Geisler.  I have no need of ignoring Jesus’ words – in fact, I cherish every one of them.  I just make sure to appropriately understand and contextualize them.

For the third example, as for the oft-quoted Luke 22:36, Preston Sprinkle dismisses this passage out of hand as justifying anything at all, to the point that he doesn’t even interact with this passage.  He continues his missive, and I have to say that I’m not at all impressed by his “scholarship.”  He doesn’t any more honestly deal with issues than the two authors we’ve already examined.  I find his snarky manner very off-putting, and his lack of honesty in dealing with the Scriptural data very revealing.

But regarding his dismissal of Luke 22:36, which I presume he treats as some sort of spiritualized metaphor, remember that Christ wasn’t just commanding His disciples to get swords (for the purpose of self defense, or the purpose of ensuring that they would later be guilty of breaking the law, or whatever, it doesn’t matter).  He was commanding that his disciples become criminals.  It was against the law for them to have those swords.  “During the Roman occupation of Judea, Jews were forbidden to own swords, spears or any implements of war.”  Jesus commanded them to ignore laws controlling weapons.  While I reject the theological approach taken by Dr. Martin at Yale University, he has supplied us with good data on this question.

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

Christ commanded them to possess and bear arms, even in violation of the law.  This is a fact, and no amount of spiritualizing, Scripture twisting or hermeneutical machinations can get around it.

If we have learned absolutely nothing – and I do mean absolutely nothing – of any import or value on the Scriptural data concerning violence or self defense from the three authors cited here, it seems that it’s time to move on to the mundane and trivial.  Benjamin wants to know all about how we keep our guns.  But here I find my own attention floating to something else, i.e., how Benjamin parks his cars, where he does so, whether they are put into a safe condition when he isn’t around them, where he keeps his keys, how well he controls the kitchen knives, cleaners, soap, gasoline for power tools, electrical outlet covers, and cabinet locks, and whether all of his circuits are up to current code with GFCIs in the bathrooms, garage, porches and other places they need to be?

In fact, I’m wondering how I know that Benjamin is actually qualified to be a husband and father?  But this sort of meddlesome, control freak, brooding mother hen, nanny mentality tires me and seems repulsive and grody, so I think I’ll just leave it to Benjamin seeing that it’s none of my business anyway.  Grok that, Benjamin?

As for this notion that cops receive all of this ninja warrior training, it just isn’t so.  One friend who recently retired as captain of one of the largest police departments in America, told me that most gun owners’ self training far exceeded what most cops get, mostly who just qualify on the range once a year and then never unholster their weapons after that (thankfully).  Otherwise, we would have no answer for all of those examples of stupidity, overreaction, dead dogs, negligent discharges, fellow officer shootings, hundreds of rounds discharged in rolling gun battles inside the inner city, and SWAT raids gone bad.  You see Benjamin, if we civilians unholster our weapons, we’re charged with brandishing and we get to talk to a judge and get our rights taken away.  If we point our weapons at someone, it’s called assault with a deadly weapon (which includes perceived intent), and we get to go to prison for an extended stay.  When the LEOs do it, it’s called being “heroes of the community.”  Perhaps, Benjamin, when you pose your shoot / no-shoot scenario, you should be talking to LEOs.

It doesn’t take an experienced law enforcement professional to know that ordinary folks with weapons can and do save lives, every day, all over the world.  That’s not the problem or the question.  You see, by invoking the police, Benjamin has said too much.  He isn’t really a pacifist, he doesn’t really want to perish at the hands of criminals, and he doesn’t really take the teachings of Christ as seriously as he claims.  He just believes in the same thing all progressives do – monopoly of force.  The ugly little truth of progressives, including Christians who have progressive tendencies, is that they haven’t yet been able to turn away from the state as savior and protector, judge and jury, lawyer and arbiter.  They are statists, and their reflexive tendency is to attempt to reconcile their statism with the Holy writ.  To them the state is supreme – otherwise they wouldn’t believe in a monopoly of force.  The real Scripture twisting is done by them, not the millions of Christians around the world who either know better and dismiss their antics as misguided or who are [unfortunately] misled by them.

There are many more steps in this process, including pointing out that the American revolution has its roots in the covenant theology of continental Calvinism (taught by my former professor Douglas Kelly), and that thousands of pastors fought in the war of independence.  For now it is enough to observe that the objections the detractors offer up are like ten leaky buckets.  All of them leak, and putting ten of them together no more ensures that you have a viable container than a single leaky bucket.  They float from one idea to the next, and don’t seem to spend any time on core objections because that tactic doesn’t work and they know it.  They haphazardly throw everything up but the kitchen sink, hoping something will stick.  Quantity is favored over quality because none of the objections are compelling.

They hope something will stick not because of the Biblical data on self defense, gun ownership and war, but because of the philosophical presuppositions they bring to their study of the Scriptures.  Unless this issue is honestly addressed, their prose will not be honest.

UPDATE: Thanks to WoG, SSI and WRSA for the links.

Prior:

Philosophizing With Guns

Guns In Church In Mississippi

A Touching And Heartwarming Story Of Violence And Revolution

Jihadist Shooter Was Going To Target A Church

Pistol-Packin’ Christians

The Idolatry Of Security

They Believe The Angels Will Protect Us

Woe To The Nation Whose Religious Teachers Have Become Workers Of Wickedness

Should Christians Own Guns?

A Desperate Cry From Iraq’s Christians

The PCUSA On Guns

Dear Christians With Guns

Concerning The Nigerian Christian Girls

Guns: Think Of The Children

Does Jesus Shoot An AR-15?

Baptist Forum Does Gun Control

Who Would Jesus Shoot?

The Golden Calf Of Gun Control

Faith And Firearms

Guns And Religion

When Christians Discuss Guns

Christians, The Second Amendment And The Duty Of Self Defense

Bidding Farewell To Politics

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

We all knew it would happen one day, this final divorce from the political scene.  It’s been building for a long time, but before I get ahead of myself, let me explain how I got into politics.

I’ve never really been in politics, per se.  I’ve never run for office, I’ve never been an active part of a party, but I have donated, worked hard to persuade others of my views, and diligently voted, as well as followed the political scene very closely.  It all began my final year at Clemson University.  I recall being in Johnston Hall in a small dormitory room (are there any other sizes?), along with about twenty other guys.  We were packed in, and all watching Jimmy Carter debate Ronald Reagan.  Reagan handed him a resounding defeat, and at that time we were all Reagan supporters.  The entire campus, it felt like, thought like we did.  There couldn’t be found a single student on campus who supported Jimmy Carter, or if there could, he didn’t say so out loud.

In addition to studying engineering into the late hours every night, we were carefully and diligently following every particular, every detail, of the political scene, and understood fairly well the theoretical and philosophical basis of the choices the candidates made.  Those were heady days – from Calculus and engineering mechanics to political theory and theology and the Bible and back again to physics and chemistry (Even then, the humanities department was infected with progressives, and if we wanted to learn we had to teach ourselves.  I’m reminded of a friend studying philosophy at another college who had to ignore his classes and read Frederick Copleston to learn philosophy, but that’s another story).  The Reagan revolution was strong at Clemson in those days, and we survived on caffeine and late night snacks.  More than a few pots of coffee were made in that horrible kitchen in Johnston Hall at midnight.

We won, and it wasn’t that we won, so much as our ideas held sway.  I do wish that Reagan had been a little more into the details of things, because I hold these four things against him: (1) the first amnesty, (2) Sandra Day O’Conner and Anthony Kennedy, (3) The Hughes Amendment, and (4) deploying the Marines to the barracks in Beirut, only to withdraw them after attack by Hezbollah.  Every one of these things have been shown to have deleterious effects on America (including the Hughes amendment which has caused a lack of investment and design engineering in weapons for our military).  Those are four big failures, but still, we knew that the unborn had a champion, small government had an advocate, and that the danger of “near peers” wouldn’t be underestimated.

Over the course of time, compromise began to occur.  Deals were made, and the mantra of electing the “conservative” who was most electable replaced principled conservatism.  As the democratic party moved more to the left, republicans moved with them in order to stay “relevant.”  The same disease afflicts the American church, leading to the defenestration of doctrine in favor of relevancy.  Whereas the church used to talk about the vicarious atonement, the sovereignty of God and the Council of Nicea, it now focuses on racial reconciliation, nuclear weapons, and gender identity.

We all knew this would happen one day.  By not stopping the diminution of the party, we fed the monster of big government, largesse, entitlements, debt, money printing, high stakes gambling on Wall Street, corporatism, open borders to feed low wage labor, hospital emergency rooms functioning as primary care clinics all paid for by the middle class (so that those low wage workers can work for the corporate masters), crony capitalism and its attendant involvement in the drafting of millions of pages of law, regulation and federal register notices to ensure that the corporations “get theirs.”

I wasn’t surprised at the revolution of the voters this election cycle.  I suspected that it would occur.  What did surprise me was the popularity of Donald Trump.  South Carolina broke my heart, and I knew it was over for Ted Cruz at that point.  Here was the perfect chance to elect someone who would come as close as possible to taking us back to the Reagan revolution, and perhaps even do better than that, in Ted Cruz.  He is a champion of the unborn, has an even stronger position on work visas than Donald Trump, is against the imperialistic military meddling in the affairs of other states and has said so quite clearly (the effect of this position in alienating him from the likes of George W. Bush, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and the rest of the neocons, has been underestimated and is ripe territory for study), has always been a strong supporter of the right to bear arms, has successfully argued before the Supreme Court and understands its machinations well enough to appoint reliably constitutionalist jurists, favors a flat tax, has tried his best to shut down funding for Obamacare (with no help from his senate colleagues), and has sworn to overthrow the single payer health care system.

I have relayed what I heard Louie Gohmert say regarding the meetings between Cruz, Lee, Brat, Gohmert and Duncan, among others, in Cruz’s office, to overturn support for the “gang of eight” bill.  Cruz was hated inside the beltway for very good reason.  While Jeff Sessions was telling us that only Trump would “bust up the Oligarchy” in Washington, Cruz was doing just that.  Busting up the Oligarchy is sure to make the Oligarchs mad.  It doesn’t bother me at all that Cruz was hated by others in Washington.  I would have been even more his supporter if Cruz had advocated an old fashioned lynching of most of the Senators and Representatives, or perhaps tar and feathering.  No one is angrier than I am over the devolution of things in Washington.

And yet the people have chosen Donald Trump.  A man who mocks the handicapped, who considers free speech a disgrace, who triangulated a position so nonsensical on North Carolina’s bathroom law that no one knows what he means, who is a proven hypocrite on foreign workers and immigration, who wants to increase the lands owned by federal government rather than decreasing federal power and turning over the lands to the states, who has never asked anyone for forgiveness, most especially God, who only recently triangulated his position on gun rights when previously supporting an “assault weapons” ban, who supports abortion, who believes that Maryanne Trump Barry (who supports infanticide) would make a fine supreme court justice, who criticizes women for their appearance, who calls people disgusting because of pictures taken of them while they eat, and who believes in a single payer health care system.

It’s like watching an awful reality show or perhaps an interstate wreck at high speed.  Donald Trump is an obscene, narcissistic, self serving, hateful, vengeful, grotesque, moral monster who hates anything that isn’t rewarding him for being him.  He is the post-modern man, evolved past Sartre and Camus and (I suppose, finding emptiness) circling back to the pinnacle of self indulgence, Marquis de Sade.  He is an awful man.  I’ve repeatedly heard that Ted Cruz was born in Canada or wherever, or that he took a loan from such-and-such bank.  The former issue never got any traction with me, and as for the later issue, so taking loans is now illegal or immoral?  I have a loan on my house.  So what?  And as for Trump’s bankruptcies?  That’s okay, because sadism is all about self indulgence at the expense of someone else.

I get the revolutionary flavor of the current political scene.  But instead of supporting the only real revolutionary, the GOP voters have collectively dropped their drawers and mooned God and everyone else in a protest of the preceding years.  It’s a sad thing to watch.  They chose the wrong symbol of protest, and will end up getting what they most loathe, as they become what disgusts and repels them.  The people have raised their fist to God and shouted, “give us a king like all the others.”  And the Lord has said, “very well.”  Suck it up folks, because you’re getting ready to reap the rewards of your choice.

Voting for the least bad candidate is partly what got us here.  Oh, I blame the GOPe, the establishment, 100% for this debacle.  This is a protest vote.  The voters are burning it all down because of your corruption, and the sad, sorry truth is that you still don’t get it.  But it doesn’t stop there for me.  I also blame the voters, 100%.  It isn’t either-or with me, it’s both-and.  No one held a gun to your head and forced you to vote this way in the booth.  You could have chosen to be thinking men and women, but you didn’t.  You became an unthinking mob.  So we are where we are.

And for me, that means that I’ve cast my last vote.  I am bidding farewell to voting.  I am now a disenfranchised conservative Christian, and if a third party opens up for me, I might decide to rejoin in the struggle, but I’ve won’t vote GOP again for the rest of my life.  The GOP has left me – establishment and voters.  It’s no longer my party.  I have no party.  But if I ever vote for an upstart party that is true to my conservative, constitutional ideals, I won’t cast my vote because I think politics will save us.  I don’t.  As John Adams has observed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

If we are to be saved, no piece of paper or parchment will do it.  Thus, I sympathize with my friend Claire Wolfe on our sad state of affairs.

In part it’s because I see so many angry people putting so much hope in Trump — a man who, should he manage to buy his way into office (or tumble in by default after Hillary gets indicted) will betray them even worse than than the poltroons of 1994 betrayed We the Hopeful Fools.

But also because, horrible as the prospect of either President Trump or President Clinton the Second is, it’s a relief not to feel hope.

Or despair, for that matter. Horrible as the prospects are, it’s glorious to know how very little it really matters. For freedom. For anything that counts. Oh sure, either pretender to the throne has the potential to make a ghastly mess of things — up to and including World War III (unlikely, but someday somebody’s going to do it). Or building a wall to keep us all in. Or decreeing that all guns must Go Away Now, So There, I Have Spoken. More likely not much happens except the routine bad getting routinely worse. And millions ignoring whatever “the most important leader in the world” says, decrees, promises, etc.

And those poor hopeful fools losing hope. Been there. Done that. It hurts. It burns. It makes you want to go postal. (That was the state of mind I was in from about February 1995, when the betrayal became obvious, to late 1996 when I took my life back, laughed, sat down, and wrote 101 Things to do ‘Til the Revolution.)

Yeah, it hurts. But it hurts like growing up and learning that Santa didn’t really put those presents under the tree.

To be sure, while Cruz called out Senator Mitch McConnell for being the liar he is, I fully expect to see Trump rubbing shoulders with McConnell, Paul Ryan, and so on.  He will cut deals with them.  He said so.  Have you ever heard Trump attack McConnel, Ryan, Eric Cantor, or any of the other creeps that helped to get us here?  No, you’ve only heard him attack fellow candidates.

But unlike Claire, I never expected government to work right any more than I believe presents come from Santa Claus.  I’ve always treated my vote as a precious gift from God whether I effect change with it or not, a power over which I had stewardship and for which I will one day answer to the most high.  I have always voted based on principle rather than pragmatism, or at least I have tried to, and because of principle I am now out of the process until a third party develops that is true to my beliefs.

As for the voters, enjoy what you have created.  When you build you house on sand, don’t be surprised when the first heavy rain knocks it down.  I bid you farewell.  Oh, I’ll poke fun on occasion and remind you of your choices, and I’ll get a good chuckle out of all of this.  But I’m out of the political scene.  I won’t be voting for Donald Trump.  As for my mockery of the situation, I’ll see you over the transom.

From Whence Cometh My Liberty?

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

At WRSA there is an interesting discussion on the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Here is a snippet.

I recognized that, despite the cries of today’s Constitutionalists about the Divine inspiration of the US Constitution and the accompanying Bill of Rights (USC/BoR), both of the foundational documents of American governance were drafted by mere humans based on the political accommodations necessary at the time (e.g., chattel slavery) and had no effective provisions for enforcement when violated.

I realized that, even if one does not fully accept the “intentionally fraudulent from the beginning” premise of Royce’s Hologram of Liberty, the institutions established by the USC/BoR have failed in preserving individual freedom and American sovereignty.

 

It should be remembered what John Adams said to us.  “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  The only perfect text is the Holy Writ because it has both human and divine authorship – no text that is exclusively human can be free of flaw.  But that isn’t the problem with failure to preserve our liberties.  The problem comes from the heart of man.

It’s called federal headship [of Adam] and original sin, and it extends to every man, woman and child, to every corner of the globe, and to every part of the moral and physical constitution of mankind.  Take for example the second amendment.  We’ve discussed before how “The second amendment discusses the right to bear arms and be free of federal interference in the context of the states’ desire to keep that interference from happening.  That is the historical milieu in which it was written.  The founders only needed one excuse to prevent federal government interference with the states on firearms, and they chose the most likely and obvious choice, i.e., the militia.  The second amendment is not a treatise on the foundation of liberty.

It’s an illogical jump to cast that as the only reason for the right to own and bear arms.  If you had discussed regulation on the right to own and use a tool of their trade to protect their families, hunt, and ameliorate tyranny with a colonial man, he would have buried you under the remotest prison.  God gave us our rights based on man being created in His image and the expected duty to work and subdue the earth to His glory.  The militia was a convenient excuse for a certain clause in one part of the constitution.  Limiting our rights to our understanding of that clause is a mistake.”

As elaborated by one commenter, “All the rights in the BoR are subsidiary, or appurtenant, rights. That is, appurtenant to the fundamental rights of Life, Liberty, and Property. The 2d Amdt is an agreement as to the practical, real-world way in which a people protects its fundamental rights, and which any just government must guarantee if the citizenry’s fundamental rights are to be protected.

It could be worded a thousand different ways (and the 2d always seemed poorly worded), but the underlying fundamental rights — and the necessity of a practical means of ensuring them — does not depend on the wording, nor upon whether there is any wording at all.  The rights exist. They cannot be overridden, taken, bargained away, or lost … especially not by appeal to legal or linguistic “precedent.”

Yes, but why?  I no longer appeal to anything in the constitution for my rights, as readers might be able to tell (or if I do, the appeal is short and for the purpose of connection with my readers).  I see the constitution as a covenant, with attendant rights, responsibilities and punishments.  Surely, if all parties are in collusion with the wickedness, there is no punishment for violation of the provisions of the constitution.

But the furniture is there to effect such punishments, e.g., impeachment, withholding of funding, and corporal punishments up to and including imprisonment and death.  The college of gargoyles, demons and pit vipers inside the beltway won’t hold anyone accountable because many of them are part of the problem.  The neutered politicians at the state and county level won’t because they have rendered themselves eunuchs by choice.

So the furniture is there, the volition is absent.  Our constitution is intended only for a moral and religious people.  It cannot function for any other.  And if you are one of those individuals who wants to find moral absolutes, framework for society, and rules upon which you can entrust your future in any document written by mankind, or any system of ethics absent God, your project is doomed to abject failure, just as Bertrand Russell couldn’t establish morality without God in his debate with Frederick Coppleston, or Gordon Stein in his debate with Greg Bahnsen.

One writer editorialized about the second amendment (in Heller) that “there was never any risk of the court adopting the gun movement’s more exotic premises, such as the notion that gun rights are “God-given,” a view handed down by National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre in his colorful sermons.”  I don’t know anything about sermons by Wayne, or NRA position papers on this topic, nor do I really need to know any of that.  The interesting thing about this writer is that he considers the notion that our rights are God-given to be exotic.

To the post-modern pawn, the constitution is as good as anything else given that appeal to the masses based on the emotion of the moment will certainly bring random ethics to bear.  They may as well twist the words of the agreement (constitution) to mean what they want them to mean – that way, at least they have a chance of winning.  But to those whose God is the Lord, it’s much clearer given that the only sovereign has declared beforehand the boundaries, times and epochs of His creatures.

Men must decide how they will live together.  If their eyes are firmly fixed on God, they will endeavor to live together in peace and liberty.  To the degree to which they worship themselves, no paper or parchment can save man, regardless of the provisions contained therein.

Self defense isn’t just a responsibility, it’s a duty based on the image of God in man.  This self defense doesn’t stop with personal safety, but extends to family safety and even further.  There is nothing natural about rights, and the foundation of liberty itself is based on the God of the bible.

The reference to “natural laws” and what nature may teach us is quaint and amusing, but philosophically outdated and meaningless.  Nature confers upon us nothing, and certainly not rights of any sort.  What may be obvious to us is contrary to the pronouncements of others who look at the same “nature.”  To John Dewey, John Stuart Mill and in more drastic form the communists, whatever works the best and achieves the greatest good for the greatest number is “good” (whatever that means).

But under this rubric many men and women have perished, a fact that is acceptable to the communists.  Under this rubric many millions of unborn infants in America have also perished, a fact that is wholly acceptable to the pragmatists and utilitarians.  The tribes in Ethiopia engaged in the practice of killing healthy baby boys whose top teeth came in before his bottom teeth.

America has for a long time found acceptable the idea of theft through taxation and inflation (both of which steal wealth), because that’s what the majority say.  If one turns to “nature” for values, whatever that means, perhaps the best source for ethics and morality would be watching male lions kill the cubs of females so that they come into estrus, or watching other animals as they steal kills.  Again to emphasize the point, nature cannot reveal a system of laws and turning to natural law means that you haven’t thought things through.

For those who have taken courses in apologetics or philosophy (and also for those who haven’t), a world view requires a system of categories working together, including metaphysics, ontology, ethics, epistemology, and so forth.  All of it is usually seen to be based on epistemology, as that category of philosophy describes and explains your source of truth.

It also requires that you posit your presuppositions beforehand.  Arguing that you want “reason” instead of “faith” belies ignorance (and the failure to take courses in math and philosophy).  Recalling the advice of Gordon H. Clark, you need to take a class in geometry.  All logic is governed by rules of deduction, but based on presupposition, axiomatic irreducibles.  If it can be demonstrated it is a pronouncement of your syllogism, not a presupposition.

With the right presuppositions you can demonstrate that the moon is made of green cheese.  You must state yours, and we get to examine them, along with your syllogisms.  What is your source of truth?  You see, these things are necessary before your system can amount to anything.  Otherwise, you’re an infant trying to read a calculus textbook.

Politics is ethics.  It is part of a larger system of philosophy, and it cannot be posited in a vacuum without being void of compelling argument.  You must explain how you know what you know in order for us to judge it, and all of your system must show itself to be consistent with the rest.  This is what philosopher Gordon H. Clark shows so well in “Religion, Reason and Revelation.”

I’m not disappointed in the founders, and I don’t think they intended failure of the republic.  I know that mankind is fallen, and that covenants must be enforced at points in history, that is, the punishments of the covenant.  The founders knew it too, and in fact if you read them carefully, they used their covenants with the King to justify their actions, legally speaking, but philosophically they appealed elsewhere.

If your appeal for liberty is to the constitution, you’re robbing yourself of the surety and certainty that comes from knowing the truth, denuding yourself of the very cloak of righteousness you will need to move forward in uncertain times.

A Touching And Heartwarming Story Of Violence And Revolution

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 4 weeks ago

I have certain incorrigible views of covenant and sovereignty that have their genesis in my Calvinian theology, and it is always interesting to observe and study how men relate to one another and to God.  But before we get to that, let’s begin with what’s happened in the narco-trafficking world.  This analysis promises to be lengthy and perhaps even tedious, so if you intend to make it through a sweeping panorama of violence, revolution and covenant, get a strong cup of coffee and a hard back chair.

There was a time, the story goes, when if a local collided with a drug trafficker’s car on the streets of Culiacán — a bastion of the infamous Sinaloa cartel — the narco was likely to hop out to check that everything was ok.

“They’d say: ‘If you have any problems call this doctor and I’ll pay,'” says journalist Javier Valdez, who specializes in delving into the entrails of drug trafficking culture in Sinaloa. “Not anymore. Now they’ll get out of the car with a pistol. Not only will they not pay you; they’ll beat you, threaten you, or kill you.”

Such tales of shifting mafia etiquette are part of the legend of the underworld in Sinaloa but, close observers like Valdez say, there is also truth to the idea that the newer generations rising up within the Sinaloa drug trafficking scene are more violent and impulsive. And none more so than the one emerging to take control right now.

Few in Culiacán dispute Chapo’s status as a ruthless and bloodthirsty operator, but many credit his generation of Sinaloa traffickers with ensuring the cartel is still considered less wholeheartedly exploitative and sadistic than some other Mexican groups, such as the Knights Templar or the Zetas. While the point is often overstated, the Sinaloa cartel leadership has traditionally limited the expansion of side-rackets, such as extortion and kidnapping, at least on its home turf.

[ … ]

At other times the cartel has prospered because Chapo and his peers have maintained strong relationships with the impoverished communities where they grew up, Valdez says. The writer also emphasized that such leaders have often shown themselves to be been smart enough to know when to negotiate with enemies, including rival cartels, politicians, state security forces, and even the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA. This may not be the case, he says, with their more impetuous offspring.

“This generation does not have this sense of belonging, they’re more violent, more dangerous,” Valdez warns. “Their ascendency could put the stability of the cartel at risk.”

Those fears have proven true enough, as the current cadre of Hispanic and Latino crime lords have been known to behead, torture, and engage in inflicting pain and violence merely for the pleasure they see in it with no intended tactical advantage.  I have long said that I don’t believe in the war on drugs, but that without such a misinformed and misdirected campaign the cartels would still exist because they are warlords and shouldn’t be considered “drug” cartels per se.  Just as the Tehrik-e-Taliban engage in extortion, kidnapping, and mining of precious metals and gemstones, the Hispanic and Latino cartels aren’t restricted to drugs.

They have expanded into timber harvesting, and this has caused enough problems in one area of Mexico to catalyze the violent overthrow of the government and cartels altogether.

CHERÁN, MEXICO — Silently in the mountainous deep green of southwestern Mexico’s ancient pine and oak forests, volunteers armed with automatic weapons press forward on patrol.

They aren’t hunting insurgents or drug smugglers, common here in Michoacan state. And they aren’t part of any army. These self-appointed guardabosques — forest guards — are defending the land from illegal clear-cutting by regional organized crime cartels.

In doing so, they illustrate a determination not to succumb to despair in the face of violence — a commitment Pope Francis urged on Mexicans during a visit to Michoacan earlier this month.

Few people interviewed here last year would give their full names out of concern over retaliation. But they were undeterred nonetheless. Jacinto, from a neighboring village, explained what happened: “The trouble began in 2008. That’s when the federal officials came in with the gun registry lists and went house to house. They took our guns away.”

That disarmament effort, to which locals ascribe to nefarious motives, left them with only antiquated single-shot weapons for hunting vermin. These were of little use when the cartel loggers came over the mountain in 2010.

In his cowboy hat and black-and-white plaid shirt, Don Santiago, a 62-year-old wiry, soft-spoken resin farmer of the Purhépecha tribe, said organized criminal syndicates have entered into the large-scale forest destruction business. “We couldn’t go to the police,” he said. “The police were in the pay of the gangsters.”

The main criminal cartels in Michoacán are known as The Michoacán Family, known as La Familia for short, and the Knights Templars, or Templares.

Tension rose as the people of Cherán found their treasured forests being leveled closer to home. Huge, noisy lumber trucks tore through town to haul out the logs, seemingly around the clock. With police and elected officials unwilling to help, a small group of local women, led by a diminutive, five-foot firebrand affectionately known as Doña Chepa, rose up to take their forests back.

“The breaking point came on April 15, 2011,” said David, a big, animated Purhépecha tribesman. “It was Holy Week. The women came to stop the clear-cutters.”

About 15 women piled rocks on the roads as barricades. With the trucks immobilized, the women used rocks and fireworks to chase the cartel raiders away. A church bell clanged an alarm for citizen reinforcements. When the police arrived, the women directed their fireworks on them, pushing them back. “We surrounded all the exits to the town,” David said.

Nothing like this had happened before in Cherán. Energized locals directed their rage at the politicians who had done nothing to stop the deforestation. Armed with their obsolete hunting rifles and shotguns, families converged on the town center. Using one of the abandoned logging trucks as a battering ram, citizens stormed the town administration building and police station and overthrew the local government. The police abandoned their posts — and their weapons.

Mexico’s militarized police, even in small towns, often carry AR-15 assault rifles. Now those weapons were in the hands of the townspeople. “Then we started the rondas,” David said, referring to the armed citizen patrols.

The townspeople created a provisional government and banned political parties so that no candidate for public office would be beholden to outside political forces. They invented an electoral system to eliminate vote-buying and ballot-stuffing. All candidates for public office had to stand in the central square, with their supporters lining up behind them to determine who would win. Gangsters sent agents into the villages to burn cars and homes, and hunt down the guardabosques. In the course of the next three years, 18 of Cherán’s defenders, including Don Santiago’s brother, would be killed, and five more disappeared before the organized crime operations were shut down.

Cherán is a tidy little town that’s closed to outsiders. Heavily armed uniformed guards man checkpoints at every entrance and exit, questioning people whose faces or vehicles they don’t know. Hand-painted graffiti, in neat lettering, tells outsiders what the locals really think: “Leave us alone.”

To save face while recognizing reality, the Mexican government officially accepted Cherán’s new autonomous status. It deputized the checkpoint guards and guardabosques as the de facto authority to protect the forest lands. It issued them uniforms as “community police,” without attempting to take away or even register their newfound automatic weapons.

Federal police in shiny black twin-cab pickup trucks, wearing black tactical gear and armed with M4s and an occasional roll-bar-mounted machine gun, patrol the clean superhighways and the potholed back roads of rural Michoacán. The locals generally welcome the federales, sent in last year by President Enrique Peña Nieto to crush the cartels. The federales don’t interfere with Cherán’s guardabosques, and keep in contact with them by radio.

The checkpoint guards, young men in their late teens or early 20s, wear blue uniforms bearing embroidered seven-point stars and custom-made shoulder patches.

This is truly great investigative reporting, the kind we don’t often see any more.  I applaud the folks in this little corner of the world.  But will it last, and can it expand?

The article concludes with this. “Our whole way of life is in these forests,” said Don Santiago, the soft-spoken tribal elder. Tapping the resin from highland pines is a way of life, and an art, he inherited from ancestors who can be traced back to the Aztec empire. An individual pine tree can be tapped for up to 80 years for resin sold as raw material for industrial and food products.  “The pines have faces,” said Don Santiago, reflecting the mysticism of his people.”

Their way of life is tied up in the forest and protecting it’s health and viability.  But what if instead of cartel violence, they employ another strategy?  What if they get to several of the mothers and tell them, “We’re here to help you.  Here is a million dollars for each of you, take your family across the border, enroll you children in American schools and universities, and live a much better life than you could here?”  Will they break, or are they committed to a world view that can sustain them against the advances of their enemies, come what may?

At WRSA there is a salient question being posed concerning the American constitution and body of constitutional law.  It isn’t worth a duck’s fart, concludes the analysis, because it admits to, among other things, abortion on demand.  True enough, abortion is murder against the innocent, and whether you are a conservative Christian like me, or a committed libertarian (in which case abortion is unjustified aggression against an innocent party), a country that sacrifices its young won’t long last as a viable entity.

I’ll give you the premise of the article, as long as you give me the following stipulations.  The American constitution is the best that man has come up with so far, by a long ways, as long as you consider what John Adams said about it.  “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Implemented by gargoyles, demons and bloodthirsty tyrants, the constitution is like the Book of Church Order for Presbyterians.  It becomes merely a system of protection of those in charge, regardless of what those in charge do.  It can be twisted to say anything you want as long as you see the world through the eyes of evil.  And thus we are back to world and life views.

My own views on this are fairly well known, and I have rehearsed them before.  The views of my teacher, John Calvin, are the very basis of the American war of independence.  Douglas Kelly, my former Systematic Theology Professor (along with C. Gregg Singer), observes the following.

Their experience in Presbyterian polity – with its doctrine of the headship of Christ over the church, the two-powers doctrine giving the church and state equal standing (so that the church’s power is not seen as flowing from the state), and the consequent right of the people to civil resistance in accordance with higher divine law – was a major ingredient in the development of the American approach to church-state relations and the underlying questions of law, authority, order and rights.

[ … ]

It was largely from the congregation polity of these New England puritans that there came the American concept and practice of government by covenant – that is to say: constitutional structure, limited by divine law and based on the consent of the people, with a lasting right in the people to resist tyranny.

When the rulers break covenant, as they did in the case above in Mexico, and as the King did against Americans, revolution is not only just, it is covenantally necessary.  Covenant, to be proper, has two parts: promises and curses, the later applied for breaking covenant.  These beliefs for me are, to use the words of philosopher Alvin Pantinga, incorrigible.  There is never a time when I will not believe these propositions.  Similarly, I don’t care one iota about the second amendment.  As I’ve explained before, my rights are issued by divine decree, not a piece of parchment.

I have come by these beliefs the hard way.  And I am concerned that the bases we claim for our liberties is founded in chaos, anarchy and whatever seems to be popular that particular day.  But these things will not sustain you and your family in difficult times.  Anarchy is the mother of tyranny because you aren’t the baddest person around.  There is always somebody badder than you are.  Into the void will always step a ruler more despotic than the last one.  Ideas that float away with the wind will tire and disappoint you.

The most significant revolutions in the history of Western civilization are the reformation and the American revolution, both of which have their basis in the protestant reformation (and Calvinian theology).  The Brothers of the Common Life taught the reformers everything – Luther was their student, and Calvin was deeply influenced by them.  These men taught the reformers logic, letters, languages, mathematics, and everything else they needed to develop a coherent and powerful world view.

The reformation didn’t proceed and finalize without bloodshed, and lots of it.  Swords were necessary, but the most important part was a world view that sustained the generations who fought this conflict on the European continent and on the British Ilse.  Similarly, the men who founded this nation believed things that sustained them and their families in spite of the horrible losses they suffered.

I am an educated man.  I hold an engineering degree – albeit Bachelor’s degree – from Clemson University.  Clemson isn’t among the top tier schools like RPI or Cal Tech (which is unquestionably the toughest engineering and physics school in the nation), but it’s up there with NC State, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, University of Texas, and so on.  I know fluid mechanics, strength of materials, statics and dynamics, differential equations, and so on.  And I’ve had all of their stupid liberal arts courses, from their revisionist history classes to the English course where the professor couldn’t go a single class without sexual innuendo or double entendre.  Oh, and don’t leave out that ridiculous sociology course where we studied everything from prostitution to poverty, all along the way rejecting the student’s demands that we solve these “problems” because we were just studying them, only to get to the issue of race in America with the professor starting the class that day with “How are we going to solve this problem?”  When I brought up the logical inconsistency with the class heretofore, I was savaged by the other students for being a prejudiced bigot.  A bigot I’m not, a lover of consistency I am.

If you think this is a discussion on how smart I am, you have it all backwards.  In my opinion I left college a dullard and ignoramus.  My real education began in graduate level seminary under Dr. C Gregg Singer, who assigned reading in Francis Turretin, “Institutes of Elenctic Theology.”  I was left on my own with Turretin to self-instruct, as with all graduate level courses.  It was my first introduction to the so-called scholastic writers.  I was overwhelmed and dumbfounded.

Reading through these volumes required lots of coffee, a hard back chair, and lots of time.  I got such severe headaches trying to study these volumes that it made my stomach upset.  I usually couldn’t get more than one or two sentences without having to stop and rehearse what I had read, how it related to the sentence before it, and ensure that I understood his points.  When I shared my experience with my colleagues, they had the same experiences I did with Turretin.  Mine wasn’t unique.

Horrace Mann has done his job well, yes?  I only home schooled my children their final years in High School (I wasted money on Christian education for much of their previous years), and I wish I had home schooled all four of them all twelve years.  The dumbing of the American child has been virtually complete, and combined with common core, the product of the public school system will be truly atrocious (and culpable to be manipulated).  At another time I will share a horrible school experience with one of my sons, but that is saved for later.

By all means, have your AR-15s.  Get your comms gear and learn how to use it.  I don’t begrudge learning how to conduct small unit combat maneuver warfare, patrolling techniques, perhaps satellite patrolling, make and break contact drills, carbine and handgun target acquisition drills, and so on.  I’m not sure that it will be used, but I am certain that any future conflict will be fought in the shadows (more on that later).

But more than AR-15s with optics, good handguns and lots of ammunition and comms gear, you need a world view.  You need an ideology that will sustain you through thick and thin, through life and until death.  I cannot tell you how to craft yours.  Most readers get annoyed or offended when I try to do that.  I know mine – it is incorrigible.  There are worse things than death.  I will meet God face to face one day, and death doesn’t mean that my body cools to ambient temperature and that’s the end.  I have been predistined to whatever God commands, and my life and death are in his hands.  Thus shall my world view honor Him and remain unchanged by the winds opinion.

What about your world and life view?

Prior: I Do Not Fear Terror Because I Am Redeemed, And I Have Been Predistined To This War

An Engineered Solution To The Problem Of Gun Safe Weight On Floor Joists

BY Herschel Smith
9 months ago

There is a plethora of articles, discussion threads and other resources that presume to give advice on the issue of floor loading with heavy gun safes.  Some of them even provide professional engineering counsel, even if they don’t say so.  For instance, some articles I have seen mention the typical and customary floor design loading limit of 40 pounds per square foot (PSF) and then opine something like “but even though the load for a safe is concentrated in a small space, since the total floor surface area is much larger than the surface area the safe occupies and that isn’t loaded with the same weight, the gun safe load should be just fine,” or something like that.

I won’t say much more about those articles, except that it is extremely ill-advised to follow such ridiculous counsel, and unless it was crafted by a registered professional engineer specifically for your situation, you should ignore most if not all such articles.  While I am a registered PE, what follows doesn’t constitute engineering advice for your specific situation or any specific situation for that matter (see the disclaimer below), but it might be instructive and beneficial for education to demonstrate and explain what I did to ensure my home was protected both from catastrophic failure and deleterious deflection and sagging of floor joists over time.

While some articles appear to downplay the significance of floor joist loading, I have been inside homes and seen sagging floors (that had not – or had not yet – catastrophically failed).  While I considered the so-called “heavy load path” for transporting the gun safe inside the house, perhaps the more significant issue has to do with floor loading over time.

In order to provide the necessary background to understand the plans, the gun safe weighs in at just over 600 pounds.  The measurements are 20″X33″X59″, so the floor loading significantly exceeds the design floor loading of 40 PSF.

The home is a new home built with pier and girder, with “engineered” joists.  Engineered joists can span a much longer distance that traditional joists, and have no bracing or blocking.  The joists sit either on girder (for spans) or ledger strip (at the edges).  It obviously mattered to the builder that this large piece of granite in the kitchen:

Pic1

Exceeded the allowable floor loading of 40 PSF, so this girder sits underneath the large rock.

Pic16

The kitchen shown above is in the Northerly direction, and the picture of the garage wall below looks East.

Pic15

This is the hallway down which the safe was moved from the garage to the room on the right.  The girder also sits under the hallway about three feet from the doorway to the garage, minimizing joist span for the move.

Right behind the garage wall is a room that has a closet, this closet being the intended final resting place for the gun safe.  The floor joists are oriented East-West, and the support girders are oriented North-South.  Placing the gun safe in this closet (which is centered at the North end of the room against the hallway wall, directly to the right as you stand in the picture above), means that I will be sitting the safe cantilevered along a joist several feet from the ledger strip.  Furthermore, if I was going to position the safe facing East-West, the aspect ratio means that I could sit it along two joists (recall that the joists are 16″ on center).  But I intended to position it facing South.  Thus in my judgment I needed to construct a girder North-South, directly under the safe.  Ron Hiatt, PE, helped my draw up the plans, although the plans as implemented have slight modifications compared to what was originally conceived.

The first step was to measure and lay out the girder, including plumb lines showing where I needed to dig my footings.

Pic17

This picture shows the wall separating the garage and room which will house the gun safe.  The door to the left is the door to the hallway shown above, and a right turn takes me into the room which contains the closet which has the safe.

 

Pic11

Plumb lines showing intended location of footings.

Cut a hole in the vapor barrier and dig footings, this step being especially difficult with limited room under the house.

Pic3

Each of the three footings were at least 1 cubic foot in volume.

Pic4

The footings were slightly deeper than 1 foot.

Pic5

These are used to anchor the 4″X4″s, placed directly into the concrete, flush with the top of the finished concrete and directly under the plumb line.

Pic6

I had to use 300 pounds of concrete, which I mixed right in the holes (requiring slightly more water than the bags called for).  Use shims to ensure that the 4″X4″s are plumb, and then anchor the column with a 1″X2″ brace attached with a drywall screw to the joist above it.

Pic7

Attach two ten foot 2″X6″ girder pieces to the 4″X4″s using carriage bolts, aiding with drywall screws.  I like to use screws since they can be installed cleanly (pre-drilled, avoiding cracks and splits), and use of a nail gun might have knocked the 4″X4″ out of plumb.

Use metal shims where you can, as has become commonplace with new home design between pier and girders.

Pic8

Here is another picture of shimming.

Pic9

In other places, use standard wood shims depending upon clearance.

Pic10

The final girder looks like this, running North-South and with additional 1″X2″ bracing because I had the additional wood.

Pic18

The safe in its final resting place in the closet looks like this, sitting directly on top of the new girder and against the hallway wall.

Pic14

During the move, the safe at all times (a) was directly over the girder, or (b) directly over doubled-up joists (two engineered floor joists at the load bearing walls), or (c) not more than approximately three feet from the girder or doubled-up floor joists.  The total time in transit from the garage to the closet was approximately two minutes.

The total investment in components and parts represents approximately $150.  This is a small fraction of the cost of the home.  Guns and safes represent a significant investment of time, money and energy.  Don’t do them haphazardly.  Homes represent a much larger investment.  Don’t destroy either one with a safe that is too heavy for the design.  Think.  Plan.  Execute.  Hope is not a plan.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute engineering advice.  The plans shown and discussed above are not necessarily adequate or appropriate for all or even any specific circumstances.  There is no warranty, express or implied, in the plans discussed herein.  The liability for any application or use of said plans rests solely with the user and not with the author.  In any use of said plans, or any plans based on, analogous to or any modification thereof, the user specifically indemnifies the author and understands that he is alone responsible for any and all damage.  The author doesn’t assume responsibility for any damage – catastrophic or gradual – to any structures, systems or components resulting from these plans.

Marine Corps Rifles, M1A Torture Test, And AR-15s

BY Herschel Smith
10 months, 3 weeks ago

Military.com:

The U.S. Marine Corps is sticking with its Vietnam-era, M40 sniper rifle series, despite complaints from scout snipers who say they need the modern, longer-range weapons used by special-ops snipers.

Marine scout snipers are considered to be among the best snipers in the world, but many are frustrated at the limitations of the current M40A5 sniper rifle. The A5 is based on the Remington M700 short-action design that’s chambered for 7.62x51mm NATO, like the original M40 Marines used in Vietnam.

Seasoned scout snipers are deadly accurate with the A5 out to 1,000 meters.

Elite special operations units use sniper rifles chambered in more potent calibers such as .338 Lapua Magnum, a round that allows snipers to reach out to 1,600 meters.

U.S. Special Operations Command is currently in the final stage of selecting its new Precision Sniper Rifle for all of its sniper teams. USSOCOM awarded contracts to Remington Defense and another company in 2013 to make two different versions of the PSR – a multi-caliber sniper rifle that allows operators to choose .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum and 7.62mm NATO by simply changing barrels assemblies.

The U.S. Army has watched the PSR program, but for now, it is sticking with its Remington M2010 sniper rifle chambered for .300 Win. Mag., a round that allows snipers to engage enemy targets out to 1,200 meters.

Currently, only the most elite Army and Navy special operations units use the MK21 Precision Sniper Rifle chambered for .338 Lapua Magnum.

Bob Owens is all over this issue, especially in his latest article on it.

The Corps will be upgrading the fifty-year-old M40 to the A6 version, which appears to be little more than a stock upgrade. Don’t get me wrong; the M40A6 will be a fine platform for inside 1,000 meters, against unarmored targets.

But we simply don’t live in a world where that is is “enough gun” for either anti-material or  anti-personnel use, now that so many of our opponents are issuing body armor that can stop the 7.62 NATO round at point-blank range, much less at preferred sniping distances.

Why are the Marines being stuck with using the same short-action cartridge in a military sniping landscape now dominated by magnum-class cartridges?

Money.

Factory match-grade ammunition for the 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester family is cheap to manufacture, and the military already has tons of it contracted. Upgrading the M40A6 to even another short-action cartridge with better range and down performance such as the 6.5 Creedmoor would cost more than the meager Corps budget allows. Upgrading to a .338 Lapua Magnum, where both the gun and the ammunition cost more?

[ … ]

But snipers only destroy enemy soldiers and equipment, wreck their morale, cripple their battlefield leadership, and take out key infrastructure while providing a protective overwatch for our Marines on the ground and vital real-time intelligence for our commanders. They don’t create post-retirement jobs for generals, nor line the pocket of defense contractors, or contribute to the reelections of politicians.

The Marines on the ground will be forced make do, as they always have, with outdated equipment.

Thanks, Congress.

And of course, that’s just how the Marine Corps wants you to think about the issue.  Thanks Congress!  The problem is that this isn’t the whole story.  When the U.S. Marine Corps deployed the 25th MEU to the Persian Gulf in 2008, they deployed several Scout Snipers, one of whom I know.  He deployed with a .50 “Sasser.”  The Marine Corps armory is full of a broad array of weapons, including not only the .308 rifle for DMs, but the .50 Barrett as well.  If a Scout Sniper is qualified to the .50 and chooses to, he can carry it on deployments.  Be warned.  It has to be taken apart and carried on your back, but you can carry it.

As for the venerable .308, Carlos Hathcock made many of his kills with a .30-06 Winchester Model 70 (albeit not a .308). and only used a .50 (modified M2 for his longest kills).  Considering the traditional tactics of stalking, shooting and egress, Hathcock is still the most prolific sniper in U.S. history.  The ballistics data shows that there isn’t much difference between the .308 and .30-06, and if I was going to chose a new round to shoot as a Scout Sniper (and it wasn’t going to be the .50), I would probably choose the .300 Win Mag.  Of course, none of these compare to the effect of the .50 in range, power or capability against armor.  Suffice it to say that if the Marine Scout snipers cannot accomplish kills with their .308 rifles, they can with the .50, and they certainly have access to the large caliber rifle if they want it and are qualified to it.  They aren’t left wanting when it comes to firepower.

As for the Marine Corps’s decision to train exclusively with the M4 rather than the M16A2 or M16A4 (via Mike Vanderboegh), it must be remembered that the difference between them in muzzle velocity is negligible.  In fact, I cannot imagine having deployed my son to Fallujah, Iraq, in 2007, with anything but his SAW or M4 (he was a SAW gunner who sometimes used an M4 if the specific mission called for it).  Again, I cannot imagine him having to swing an M1A or M14 through a doorway clearing rooms.  It would have been a reprehensible thing to issue something like M1As or AR-10s for CQB (the .308 being much slower to recover sight picture).

The Marine Corps always makes the decisions they need to make to support the mission.  When I deployed my son in 2007, his entire Battalion went with M4s, SAWs, M4s with M203 mounted, or Scout Sniper rifles of some sort.  The M16s were nowhere to be found.  So what’s all this stuff about the Marine Corps leaving the M16 for M4s?

It’s propaganda.  The Marine Corps want everyone to think that they are the poorest of the poor, when in reality they threw billions away on the ridiculous EFV (Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle), pretending that we are actually going to perform a land invasion from the sea with full armor capabilities like we did in the South Pacific.  They Marine Corps has wasted enough money (every MEU is a waste of money) that you shouldn’t feel too sorry for them when it comes to sniper rifles, Owens and his views notwithstanding.

When it comes to the M1A, you should spend some time watching these M1A torture tests.

Recall that we have showed you a sand torture test of an AR-15, we’ve made it clear that you can’t blame the gun for the battle loses at Wanat, and explained the simple things you must do to ensure reliable operation of your AR-15.

Finally, you’ve seen about AR-15s in sand, mud and operating bone dry.  For the final twist, see them operate with Twinkies installed inside the moving parts.  Yes, Twinkies.

Should The Marines In Chattanooga Have Been Armed?

BY Herschel Smith
11 months, 1 week ago

There is in the news today a call for the Marines at the recruiting station in Chattanooga to have been armed, since “we are at war” with radical Islam.  A different take on the subject can be found (via WRSA) from Mason Dixon Tactical.  Here are some excerpts.

The question is somewhat easy to answer. “Should they have been armed?” The short answer is “No.”, at least not from an “On Duty” perspective. I find it interesting that some who have been crying to high Heaven about the “Jade Helm” exercise being a lead in to martial law, are some of the same ones saying the Marines should have been armed, and that we should arm all Service Members in CONUS. Those Marines were not acting in their combatant military capacity in those centers, they were there performing other duties. There was no reason for them to be armed anymore than the average citizen on the street, whom I might point out is just as much a soft target for terrorists, if not more so, from a “lack of training and awareness” standpoint. You want to arm the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen within the U.S., fine, but not before every citizen who is not legally restricted from firearms ownership, get’s to be similarly armed for self defense as well.

[ … ]

Being armed while on duty (especially visibly), unless you are operating in a Military Police, or base Security Forces specialty, is not something that should be, or technically can be authorized. Most don’t even realize that the majority of service members never even fire a handgun while in the service, let alone qualify with and carry one on a regular basis. That’s not even mentioning the logistics nightmare of having to train and qualify every Service Member, and then issue  them a handgun for self defense, which they would have to turn in at the end of the duty day (No, you can’t take it home), and only then (off duty) would they be able to carry a personally owned weapon.

More on that in a moment.  The most idiotic thing I have ever read from a General comes from Odierno, via Mike Vanderboegh.

“I think we have to be careful about over-arming ourselves, and I’m not talking about where you end up attacking each other,” Gen. Ray Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, told reporters. Instead, he said, it’s more about “accidental discharges and everything else that goes along with having weapons that are loaded that causes injuries.”

Analysis & Commentary

Special Operations routinely carries handguns even when armed with rifles, and at the time “green on green” attacks began I advocated that all Marines be qualified to and armed with a handgun when deployed and under arming orders, and this having been the case could possibly have stopped a great many of the attacks perpetrated on the USMC in the Helmand Province.

As to whether this is feasible or a logistics nightmare, there is no question that it could be done if the decision is made to do it.  I’ve seen what Marines do to waste time.  “Lance Corporal, have your fire team move this pile of dirt from here to the building roof, and when it’s done, call me.”  Lance Corporal – “Aye Sergeant.”  Call made, Lance Corporal – “Sir pile of dirt moved as ordered.”  Sergeant – “Ahh … made a mistake because I was distracted ordering the Corporal to take out the trash, move the pile of dirt back, and then police the grounds for cigarette butts and gum wrappers.  And then head over to watch the PowerPoint presentation on base safety protocols.”  And on it goes.

I call bullshit on the notion that a Marine cannot qualify on a pistol just like he qualifies on his rifle.  The Marines make big stuff out of 500 yard rifle qualifications, and the DMs and Scout Snipers go much farther than that.  Muzzle discipline, weapons clearing and malfunctions, weapons maintenance, rules of gun safety, etc., etc., are all taught as if straight from the Bible, and if you fail at any of it, you visit the “room of pain” for a while, and never fail again.  There isn’t any reason this cannot be laterally transferred to handguns as well.  There simply isn’t any reason.

Odierno’s objection isn’t stupid because he really believes what he said, it’s stupid because he is toeing the party line and cannot come up with something better.  But it must be observed that all of this has to do with Marines who are deployed and under arming orders.

As for when the Marines are stateside, we have dealt with this before too.

If I am not mistaken NCOs could never have personal weapons on reservation property, and officers could only with base commander approval.  But what this MARADMIN appears to do is expand the stipulations even farther.  Take note of the requirement for “government family housing … privately-owned firearms will be stored in a fully-encased container that is capable of completely enclosing the firearm and must be locked with a key or combination lock.  All firearms will be fitted with a trigger lock.”

This expands the rules to property off of the federal reservation, and if you live in housing that is in any way subsidized by the government for families, your personal weapons must not only be in a container large enough to contain the whole of the weapon, and locked, but it (or they) must also have a trigger lock(s) on it (them), even while inside the container.

Damn.  Heads of households had better hope they aren’t the victims of crime.  Their families are completely unprotected and unsecured.  This, from a Marine Corps Commandant who is alleged to be trying to secure his Marines from harm.  Oh well.  This is also from a Commandant who was allegedly involved in illegal command influence in investigations under his charge.  Readers already know what I think of airman Amos.  When Daniel graduated from Boot Camp I presented him with a present.  It included several things signed by Marine Corps Commandant Alfred Gray, with personalized notes to him.  I’ll never request anything like that from Amos.

Airman Amos was a worthless, spineless sniveling lackey crap-weasel and a traitor to the USMC.  Notice that the MARADMIN that is the subject of the post had to do with personal weapons off federal reservation property.  Marines couldn’t even have those unlocked, within arms reach and ready to be deployed without risking NJP or dishonorable discharge.  As best as I know, this MARADMIN is still in effect.

As for whether the Marines in the recruiting office in Chattanooga should have been armed, the answer is a resounding yes and no.  Mason Dixon Tactical raises a very important point.  It wasn’t too many hundreds of years ago in our history where men were required to carry long guns to worship, practice with the other men after worship, and use the day for fellowship and training.  This could one day become more regular in America as the security situation degrades.

But at the moment, LEOs are the only ones who regularly openly carry pistols (and sometimes patrol rifles).  This has been the source of much mistrust, and may yet prove to be the catalyst for worse things than mere mistrust.  The history of the use of the military for battling insurrection is complex and varied.  But the armed forces carrying weapons in the states just doing battle with anyone or everyone is a dark road to start.  We don’t want to travel that road.  I have been critical of Operation Jade Helm, and for what I consider to be good reasons (I will hold in abatement the question of what I think of Robin Sage, since it isn’t an analogue to Jade Helm given than Jade Helm involves not just the armed forces but coupling with law enforcement – which I think is the most dangerous part of it – and scenarios that paint locals as the enemy).

The effectiveness of pistols in a situation where the shooter is in a stand-off position putting rounds through glass is dubious anyway.  The best defense against a rifle is another rifle and better training, but remember, whatever Soldiers and Marines get to carry, we should too.

There was no reason whatsoever that the Marines should have been carrying armory-issued weapons in a recruiting center, as no training was occurring and no one was at the range.  That “we are at war” isn’t a salient objection, as Congress must declare war in order for it to be legal.  Arming orders were not issued, and moreover, they shouldn’t be in the states (the exception I have often advocated is arming orders for troops at the Southern border) excepting an invasion.

But also remember that self defense is a God-given right, and those Marines in Chattanooga, if they had chosen, should have been able to carry personal weapons for self defense.  Odierno’s objection is ridiculous.  Negligent discharges can be trained out of people, and as for consequences of NDs harming others, we who carry on a daily basis learn to cope with and minimize that risk every day.  We are just as liable to do time in the penitentiary for reckless endangerment or negligent homicide as a Soldier or Marine, perhaps more so, and certainly more so than LEOs.

Should those Marines have been armed?  No, not in an official capacity.  Let’s don’t go down that dark road.  But yes, in a personal capacity if they understood and took seriously their God-given duty of self defense and the Marine Corps allowed it (which they don’t).  It’s important to understand and properly categorize the reasons for arming Soldiers and Marines.

UPDATE #1: Washington Post – “The FBI has recovered a pistol that might have been privately owned and used by one of the Marines killed here Thursday during the shooting at the Navy Operational Support Center, according to law enforcement officials.

Investigators are trying to determine based on forensics whether the pistol, a 9mm Glock, was used in an exchange with the shooter, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, and possibly wounded him, officials said.

The standard-issue pistol for military personnel authorized to carry a sidearm is a variant of the 9mm Beretta 92. According to the Marine unit’s commanding officer, Maj. Mike Abrams, Marines are not authorized to carry personally owned firearms while at the support center.”

Police Officer Negligent Discharges

BY Herschel Smith
1 year ago

LA Times:

One sheriff’s deputy shot himself in the leg while pulling out his gun to confront a suspect.

Another accidentally fired a bullet in a restroom stall. A third deputy stumbled over a stroller in a closet as he was searching for a suspect, squeezing off a round that went through a wall and lodged in a piece of furniture in the next room.

Accidental gunshots by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have more than doubled in two years, endangering bystanders and occasionally injuring deputies. The jump coincides with the department’s move to a new handgun that lacks a safety lever and requires less pressure to pull the trigger.

Sheriff’s officials say that the increase in accidental discharges — from 12 in 2012 to 30 last year — occurred because deputies were adjusting to the new gun. They expect the numbers to fall in the years ahead. So far this year, the department has recorded seven accidental discharges, five of which involved the new weapon.

But the problems may not be over, as more deputies switch to the Smith & Wesson M&P9. In response, department officials have imposed extra training requirements.

The M&P has obvious benefits. It is easier to shoot accurately, can be fired more reliably under stress and is a better fit for people with small hands. The switch was prompted in part by the threat of a lawsuit by women who had failed the Sheriff’s Academy. More recruits — including more women — are now passing the firearms test, and veteran deputies are also logging better scores at the firing range.

But the sharp increase in accidental discharges has prompted an investigation by the Sheriff’s Department’s new inspector general. Critics say this type of semiautomatic, which is widespread in law enforcement and includes the Glock used by many agencies, is too easy to misfire.

Bob Owens, editor of BearingArms.com, says the design of the Glock and the M&P makes such tragedies more likely. “I don’t think, with the amount of training most agencies have, that a gun that has so few tolerances for mistakes is the best choice,” he said.

For two decades, L.A. County sheriff’s deputies carried the Beretta 92F, a heavy metal gun with a large grip.

People with small hands often have trouble flipping up the Beretta’s safety as they prepare to fire. The first shot requires 12 to 15 pounds of pressure on the trigger, forcing some to use two fingers and reducing shooting accuracy for many. Subsequent shots take about 4 pounds of pressure.

The M&P is made of lightweight polymer, with a hand grip that comes in three sizes. Firing a round is as simple as pulling the trigger with a consistent 6 to 8 pounds of pressure.

Sheriff’s deputies have the option of sticking with the Beretta, and some have, saying they are used to it. But many who have switched to the M&P say their shooting has improved.

“At first, I thought, ‘No way, I’m keeping my Beretta forever,'” said Sgt. Mike Rafter, a firearms instructor. “Then I started shooting, and it’s a lot nicer. I can shoot better, and I’m more confident.”

Academy trainees began receiving M&Ps in 2011 and the rest of the department began gradually switching to the new gun soon after. About half of sworn personnel are now using the M&P and more are changing over. As more deputies converted to the M&P, accidental discharges rose.

This is rich.  In spite of the silly article that Bob Owens wrote on the Glock and the silly accusations in this article, the truth does come out.

They are blaming it on a SA/DA pistol because of the heavy trigger pull for the first round (although I have to say that 6-8 pounds isn’t exactly a light trigger pull for the M&P).  Thus they have trained officers to keep their fingers on the trigger of their handguns when they deploy their firearms.  They say so.

Think about that and let it wash over you again.  When a cop pulls his handgun and points it your direction, according to the training he has received, he most likely has his finger on the trigger of the weapon.  And thus do we reach the root cause of the problems – not Glocks, or M&Ps, or any other ridiculous culprits.  It’s a shame that Bob couldn’t have pointed out the truth rather than blame the gun.  Blaming the gun is what gun controllers do, and why the collectivists wanted the so-called smart gun.

So other than reminding you that this violates two of the sacred rules of gun safety (muzzle discipline and trigger discipline), let’s rehearse sympathetic muscle reflexes again, and I’ll remind you of what I said about how the Marine Corps trained my son Daniel as a SAW gunner.  First concerning sympathetic muscle reflexes.

The term sympathetic contraction refers to the fact that an involuntary contraction may occur in the muscles of one limb when the same muscles in the other limb are performing an intended forceful action. In physiology literature this effect is known as a mirror movement, with the intensity of the sympathetic contraction depending on the amount of force exerted during the intended action. In policing, a common situation that may evoke such a sympathetic contraction would be, for example, a law enforcement officer attempting to restrain a struggling suspect with one hand while holding a handgun in the other.

The second scenario described by Enoka involves loss of balance. When balance is disturbed the human body evokes rapid involuntary contractions to return itself to a position of equilibrium. Thereby the involuntary contractions used to prevent a fall depend on the options available to counteract the disturbance of balance. Usually, compensatory movements following gait perturbations primarily involve correcting movements of the lower limbs to keep the body in balance, whereas movements of the arms are restricted to their extension forwards as a safeguard to counter an eventual fall. When an individual is holding a handle for support, there is, however, a tendency to use the arm muscles to maintain balance rather than the leg muscles. Under such circumstances the focal point of automatic postural activity is any contact point an individual has with his or her surroundings. In other words, if an individual’s posture is disturbed while grasping an object, for instance a handgun, he or she is likely to grasp it more forcefully.

Startle reaction, the third scenario identified by Enoka, is a whole-body reflex-like response to an unexpected stimulus, possibly a loud noise. It evokes rapid involuntary contractions that begin with the blink of an eye and spread to all muscles throughout the body. The reaction of the hands occurs less than 200ms after the stimulus and leads to individuals clenching their fists. Enoka concludes: “Accordingly, an officer who is startled by a loud, unexpected noise while searching for a suspect with his weapon drawn would surely increase the grip force on the weapon, perhaps enough to cause an involuntary discharge.”

Next concerning training.

My son was a SAW gunner in the 2/6 infantry, Golf Company, 3rd Platoon, during the 2007 combat tour of Fallujah and the pre-deployment workup.  The senior Marines had experienced a tour of Iraq, and wanted their SAW gunners to have a round in the chamber, bolt open (the SAW is an open bolt weapon anyway), and finger on the trigger.  They had seen combat and they wanted their SAW gunners with zero steps to shooting.  Their lives depended on it.  They also did CQB drills with live rounds, along with squad rushes.

My son had an ID (if I’m not mistaken it was during training at Mohave Viper).  He tripped and had a sympathetic muscle reflex, squeezing the trigger of his SAW.  He spent an extended period of time in the “room of pain.”  They wanted him trained to overcome that sympathetic muscle reflex (which can be done, but it takes hundreds or thousands of hours of drills).  He spent the time learning to overcome that reflex, and performed well during his tour.  He also tried to teach his “boot” Marines the same way he was trained, but the Marines had begun to change and focus more on cultural sensitivity training and other COIN tools.  He got out of the Marine Corps.

Why am I discussing this?  Because no matter who you are, no matter how much time you spend, no matter how earnestly you wish it, no matter how many directives you write, if you are a SWAT team member, you will never be trained in such a manner.  Never.  You will never be trained like a U.S. Marine who has spent every day for a year and a half in pre-deployment workup to do a combat tour of Iraq.  Because you will never be trained in this manner, your tactics are dangerous, all of the time, and in all situations.  I don’t care how many times you have inexperienced Soldiers spend a week with you doing CQB drills.  With the standdown in Iraq and Afghanistan, they oftentimes know as little as you.  These tactics place people in danger when there are better alternatives.

In spite of all of this, officer safety is paramount, not your safety.  So things we would never do on a range, and never allow our mates to do, are done every day by cops around the country.  They keep their fingers on the triggers of their weapons when they deploy them.  They are trained to do it.  And Bob Owens, along with the LAPD, blame guns with light trigger pulls rather than the horrible safety protocols police use.  They would apparently rather continue the tradition of ignoring trigger discipline and use pistols with a heavy trigger pull to ameliorate sympathetic muscle reflexes rather than teach cops to follow the rules of gun safety.

Good grief.  Horrible.  Just horrible.

Prior: Gun-Mounted Flashlights Linked To Accidental Shootings

Should Christians Own Guns?

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

After ISIS’ slaughter of Christians everywhere they go, the sufferings of the Coptic Christians in Egypt under the Muslim brotherhood, and the kidnapping of young Christian girls by Boko Haram for the purposes of sexual slavery, it may be tempting to ask yourselves, “What kind of an idiot would continue to press the notion that Christ demanded that we disarm in the face of danger?”

The answer is that those idiots are everywhere.  I confess that I have not read Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology.  I have tended to stick more with Charles Hodge, R. L. Dabney, W.G.T. Shedd and the classics.  But my son Joseph has read Grudem, and highly recommends his book to me.  It really isn’t necessary to study Grudem’s details in order to do a takedown of the critique of Grudem (who is pro-self defense and in favor of gun rights) offered by Krish Kandiah at Christianity Today, entitled Should Christians Own Guns: A British Theologian’s Views.

Krish says:

Grudem argues that the reason the Second Amendment was added to the constitution was “to provide another protection against tyranny – to make it harder for any potential dictator or would-be king to take control of the entire nation against the will of the people.” This concern is probably not at the heart of the individual gun control debate at the moment as the right to bear arms against a tyrannical dictatorship is a different question as to whether Christians need to own guns now in a stable democratic environment.

He isn’t very well connected to the current American political scene, is he?  And if a stable environment is all he’s after, Adolf Hitler provided that while be deported the Jews for execution.  As writer Kurt Hofmann and I have both noted, the notion of self defense should include both individual self defense and defense against tyranny.  Only when understood in that light can the current debate in American be enveloped.  It may seem petty to focus on his misunderstanding of the American scene, but when writers show a fundamental misunderstanding of their subject it casts doubt on the value of the work.

Krish continues:

Even if we accept the premise that the there is a right to self-defence this does not necessarily mean the right to own a gun. There will always be limit to the expression of this right that would include a whole range of military hardware; even Grudem recognises that the private ownership of a “machine gun or anti-tank rocket launcher or an anti-aircraft missile launcher” are unnecessary. But still he argues that private hand gun ownership reduces crime as an attacker cannot be sure that their potential victim is unarmed. The counter argument of course is that it could make gun violence more likely as attackers could increasingly assume their victims are armed …

This is as amazing a quote as you will ever see in the gun control debate.  Seriously, read it again and let the bad logic of it wash over you.  He is proffering the argument that ownership of guns makes more likely that attackers will become violent because they will assume their victims are armed.  Thus, according to him, the best way to turn back the “gain” setting on violence is to allow attackers to attack you unmolested so that perhaps things won’t go as badly as they could if you were armed!  You simply can’t make this stuff up, you would have to read it from collectivists in order to believe that someone could actually say or think something like that.

Finally, note that Krish says:

Grudem argues that carrying weapons would help prevent “tragic mass murders in which a lone gunman can hold at bay an entire restaurant or church full of people… are much less likely to happen in states where a large number of people carry concealed weapons.”

But the counter arguments are, firstly, that if guns were more highly regulated then it would be a lot harder for potential mass murderers to get hold of guns in the first place. Secondly, Ellen Painter Dollar argues: “Police officers go through hours of specialized training to help them discern when the use of deadly force is justified. As we know from not a few front-page tragedies involving police shootings, despite such rigorous training, even the best-trained officers don’t always get it right.

Right.  The “best trained” officers.  Like the NYC LEOs who shoot blindly into the darkness, or the South Carolina cop who shot a man in the back, or the police in Buffalo who currently rule the world in dog shootings, or the wild gun play of the Cleveland Police.  The “best trained” officers, he opines.  And here you see irrational faith in LEOs and irrational fear of personal use of weapons.  Always look for the most irrational among us to claim that we are the irrational ones, projecting their fears on the rest of us.

But there is one theme that keeps coming up, and this theme recurs in another critique of Grudem’s work by someone from the Church in Toronto, Nigel Tomes.

David eluded King Saul’s spear; Paul evaded his pursuers by escaping Damascus in a basket; Jesus escaped hostile crowds (Luke 4:29-30; John 8:59). But these are examples of self-preservation, not of self-defense.

And there you have it.  A distinction without a difference – self preservation versus self defense.  Nigel wants men to be unarmed with the best of weapons, just as does Krish, so that they stand the maximum chance of being harmed or killed.  Nigel and Krish don’t care about the children.  They would rather see men, women and children suffer and perish at the hands of evil men, criminals after money, sex or something else, or criminals in the hire of the government, than to acquiesce to the notion that men are made in God’s image and thus life should be preserved.

But the willingness of professors and church leaders to beclown themselves in the name of pacifism goes on to ridiculous proportions with a professor of religion at the University of Texas, John Traphagan.

There are many law-abiding American gun owners who do not go out and kill people and who keep their guns stored safely. But as a whole, Americans do not seem to be able to handle gun ownership in a way that permits maintenance of a civil society. The reality is that the significant numbers of bad apples have spoiled it for those law-abiding gun owners, and it’s time that gun rights organizations such as the National Rifle Association recognize this and begin working with those who want realistic gun control laws, in part as a way of building trust with those who do not own gun.

As if we would pay heed to the NRA in any attempt to increase gun control laws!  No, here is what I think professor Traphagan is talking about.  Crime is highly concentrated among minorities.  Recent riots have been concentrated in minority communities and cities such as Ferguson or Baltimore.  Professor Traphagan knows this.  He is in effect saying that the black community cannot handle the responsibility of gun ownership.  I think professor Traphagan is a racist but doesn’t have the guts to admit his views.  Whites must be disarmed (as if that would be possible without a bloody civil war) in order to bring peace to the black communities.

These things are all pointers, milestones, and signals of a decaying and rotting church, both British and American (although the British church is all but dead, leading the American churches in total irrelevance to anything).  The Episcopal church that has been famously losing people for decades, decided to focus even more on progressive social programs and gun control, and is now losing even more people.  That has happened to the Presbyterian Church in the USA, and between the Presbyterian Church in America, the ARP and other smaller denominations, it cannot be said any more that the PSUSA is the “mainline” Presbyterian denomination.

Except for orthodox, conservative American churches, most American churches today are open sepulchers (and even some orthodox and conservative evangelical churches teach pacifism).

Jesus was a Bohemian, peacenik hippie to the modern American churches.  This is a testimony to how irrelevant, comfortable, self-absorbed and lard-ass the American church is, as also is the fact that hundreds of thousands of Christians can be slaughtered, sent into sexual slavery and driven out of Mesopotamia without so much as an imprecatory prayer by Christians in the West.  Shameful, disgusting, and sickening.  It causes me to turn away in revulsion from the organized American church in disrespect for most of what I see passing for orthodox Christianity today.

Christianity Today is as irrelevant as the American church, as irrelevant as a professor of religion at the University of Texas who wants to disarm law-abiding folks because of a few bad apples, and as irrelevant as the Church in Toronto.  Not a single one of them can manage to construct even a very basic analysis of Christians and self defense.  For the record, I don’t need Wayne Grudem to do that for me.  I have supplied adequate analysis of this issue.  As I’ve summarized before:

I am afraid there have been too many centuries of bad teaching endured by the church, but it makes sense to keep trying.  As I’ve explained before, the simplest and most compelling case for self defense lies in the decalogue.  Thou shall not murder means thou shall protect life.

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

This same sort of thinking can be applied on a larger scale to states and nations as so expertly done by professor Darrell Cole in Good Wars (First Things), relying on the theology of both Calvin and Aquinas.  But this is a bridge too far for some Christians who are just now dealing with the notion that they might be in danger.

Now a word of advice for pastor[s] and “theologians” who proffer these laughable interpretations.  It’s things like this that cause congregants to lose respect for the pulpit, and nothing screams the irrelevance of the sermon more than the Biblical impossibility of the pronouncements of the pastor (or in other words, the inconsistency of what he says with the balance of Scripture).  It’s just best to leave your own political aberrations out of the pulpit and teach the Bible.

Or as I’ve repeated elsewhere, John Calvin, commenting on commandment and prohibition, observes:

We do not need to prove that when a good thing is commanded, the evil thing that conflicts with it is forbidden.  There is no one who doesn’t concede this.  That the opposite duties are enjoined when evil things are forbidden will also be willingly admitted in common judgment.  Indeed, it is commonplace that when virtues are commended, their opposing vices are condemned.  But we demand something more than what these phrases commonly signify.  For by the virtue of contrary to the vice, men usually mean abstinence from that vice.  We say that the virtue goes beyond this to contrary duties and deeds.  Therefore in this commandment, “You shall not kill,” men’s common sense will see only that we must abstain from wronging anyone or desiring to do so.  Besides this, it contains, I say, the requirement that we give our neighbor’s life all the help we can … the purpose of the commandment always discloses to us whatever it there enjoins or forbids us to do” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 1, Book 2, Chapter viii, Part 9).

Consistency isn’t the Hobgoblin of small minds.  It’s the stuff of life, and even the most dense commentator knows that the Decalogue isn’t subject to the whims of dispensation.  It is a reflection of the very character of God, and thus universally and in all times and epochs, man is made in God’s image and life is to be protected rather than stoically given away to those who would usurp what must fall under the purview of the only potentate, God Himself.  He grants it, and only He can take it or tell others how and when to take it.  When stolid commentators and professors disconnect Christ from the very law He came to fulfill, it’s easy to ascertain that something is very wrong.

Man is made in God’s image.  Careless disregard for life means disregard for God’s law and hypocrisy towards the creator and His words.  Hand-wringing over guns versus knives or clubs or pepper spray or locked doors just means that you’re straining at a gnat in order to swallow a camel.  You (Krish, Nigel and John) don’t care about the women or children.  You’re a self-absorbed, self righteous, pampered product of the effete chattering class, unnecessary to and a bad fit for the very people to whom you are speaking.  No one is listening any more.

Prior:

The Second Amendment Creates A God-Given Right To Bear Arms?

No Guns In Church In Alabama?

Christian Leaders Say No To Christian Militia

Gentlemen, Prepare To Defend Yourselves!

A Desperate Cry From Iraq’s Christians

The PCUSA On Guns

Dear Christians With Guns

Concerning The Nigerian Christian Girls

Guns: Think Of The Children

Does Jesus Shoot An AR-15?

Baptist Forum Does Gun Control

Who Would Jesus Shoot?

The Golden Calf Of Gun Control

Faith And Firearms

Guns And Religion

When Christians Discuss Guns

Christians, The Second Amendment And The Duty Of Self Defense

Army Seeks Gun Industry Help On M4 Carbine

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

The U.S. Marine Corps led the way.  At the time I said this:

Recall that I told you “that Rock River Arms, Knights Armament, LaRue Tactical and Daniel Defense isn’t the Colt produced under milspec for the Army and Marine Corps (these are all superior to the Colt M-16 and M-4)?”  And recall that John Jay and I have both discussed Milspec and what it does (and doesn’t) mean?

It should also be pointed out that there are many things that can be tweaked on the Stoner platform (Milspec design) that can make it much more reliable than the Colt.

Fouling in the M4 is not the problem. The problem is weak springs (buffer and extractor), as well as light buffer weights (H vs. H2 or H3). With the abovementioned drop-in parts, the M4 is as reliable as any weapon I have ever fired, and I have fired probably every military-issue assault rifle fielded worldwide in the last 60 years as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant (18B). An additional benefit of the heavier spring/weight combo is that it transmits the energy impulse of the firing cycle to the shoulder over a longer duration, lowering the amount of foot pounds per second and dramatically reducing the perceived recoil. Follow-on shots are easier to make effectively, and much faster, especially at 50 meters and beyond.

I reliably fired 2400 rounds (80 magazines) on a bone dry gun, and I would bet that is a lot more than any soldier or other armed professional will ever come close to firing without any lubrication whatsoever. So, disregard the fouling myth and install a better buffer spring, H2 buffer, enhanced extractor spring and a Crane O-ring (all end user drop-in parts). With normal (read “not excessive”) lubrication and maintenance, properly-built AR-15/M4 type rifles with carbine gas systems will astound you with their reliability and shootability.

The high quality AR-15 manufacturers know all of this and generally make their parts better than Milspec.  But now the Army wants in on the game.

The Army is asking the gun industry to build new components for its soldiers’ primary weapon — the M4 carbine — a move that experts say is a tacit admission that the service has been supplying a flawed rifle that lacks the precision of commercially available guns.

At a recent Capitol Hill hearing, an Army general acknowledged that the M4’s magazine has been responsible for the gun jamming during firefights.

On the federal government’s FedBizOpps.gov website, the Army announced a “market survey” for gunmakers to produce a set of enhancements to essentially create a new model — the “M4A1+.” It would include a modular trigger, a new type of rail fitted around a “free floating” barrel and other parts. The upgrade is supposed to improve the rifle’s accuracy and reliability.

The Army last year took the significant step of beginning to convert the basic M4 into the special operations version, the M4A1, with a heavier barrel designed to better withstand the heat of rapid fire.

The Washington Times reported in 2014 on confidential prewar tests that showed the barrel was prone to overheating. The Times also quoted active-duty soldiers who said the M4 is inferior based on their experience in battle. A Green Beret said he takes the extraordinary step of rebuilding his M4A1 on the battlefield by using components from other gunmakers — technically a violation of Army regulations.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, an artillery officer and decorated Vietnam combatant, is one of the M4’s most vocal critics. He also believes the 5.56 mm M855A1 ammunition — an environmentally sensitive, or “green,” round — is wrong for the gun.

Gen. Scales said the Army’s new solicitation is further proof of the carbine’s shortfalls.

“It’s another attempt by the Army to make the M4 look good,” he said. “If the Army wants to improve the M4, fine. But it’s not a weapon suitable for high-intensity, close combat in extremes against an enemy who is basically matching us in weapons performance in a close fight. Everybody knows the weapon has flaws.”

Mr. Scales said the M4’s basic shortfall is that it uses gas, or direct, impingement to extract and expel its shells as opposed to a piston system. A piston firing mechanism is in the prolific AK-47, which runs cleaner and cooler but is considered slightly less accurate.

This article is a complete mess.  It goes from things that we’ve discussed before that should be obvious (such as a floated barrel to avoid interference with [natural frequency] barrel harmonics by fixed points), to old battle philosophy (such as the notion that Solders and Marines today shoot Carbines fully automatic as if they are some sort of area suppression weapon like a SAW – seriously, this is thirty or forty year old battle tactics, the stuff of Vietnam rather than the professionally trained fighters of the twenty first century).

It ends (for me, simply because I couldn’t bring myself to read any more) when that loud mouth, washed up old coot General Scales started begging for the piston system again.  Good grief.  He weighs in against the Eugene Stoner platform for CQB, which is ironically the situation in which it is the best weapon on earth by far.  My message is clear.  Just stop.  The main stream media needs to stop being a day late to the story.  We’ve already worked this one over until it’s bloody.  General Scales needs to go home and stop advocating for whatever armament company he’s working for today.  The Marine Corps and Army need to stop telling the world what they are going to do about non-existent problems with their weapons.  They have diarrhea of the mouth.  Wanat and Kamdesh were not caused by weapons problems.  They were caused by the idiot general who deployed Platoon-size U.S. forces to ensconce themselves in valleys to fight off Battalion-size Taliban forces who had the high ground.

But what does need to happen is with the Marine Corps and Army.  The procedures need to change to allow the armorers the freedom and latitude to arm the men with the weapons they need.  If they want Magpul magazines (with the no-tilt follower), then they should get them instead of the ridiculous Milspec magazines with the follower that binds and sticks (yea, it’s happened to me too).  If a free floated barrel is better (and it is), then change the Military specifications to allow a free floated barrel and replace them all.  If stronger buffer springs are better, then replace them all.  Just go do it.  Adapt, improvise and overcome.  Don’t be bureaucratic pointy-heads.

And something needs to happen with Patriots too.  We should all learn from the intransigence of the Army and Marine Corps.  If there is a better part, buy it.  Test it.  Work your weapons systems.  Learn them.  Practice with them.  Procedures are good insofar as they help you.  If they become a hindrance, defenestrate them.  You control them – they do not control you.

And by the way, around these parts we speak the name of Eugene Stoner with hushed reverence.  Do otherwise at your peril.

Prior:

Army And Marine Corps On M855 Ammunition

Marines To Get Rifle Makeovers

Blaming The Gun For The Battle Losses

The Reliability Of The Eugene Stoner Design


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