This Doesn’t Look Good.

And I’ve seen nothing on this side of the blogosphere about it.


The British government has defended the actions of its troops in southern Iraq who forced their way into a prison and freed two of their soldiers arrested by Iraqi police.

It said its troops smashed into the jail cell only after negotiations to secure the release of the two men failed.

This comes as a suicide car bomber attacked a US diplomatic convoy in the northern city of Mosul, killing four Americans and wounding two others.

Defence Secretary John Reid told the BBC the two soldiers should have been handed over to British forces after being arrested by local police.

Earlier, senior UK army officer Brigadier John Lorimer said in a statement the men wound up in the custody of Iraqi militias.

“We don’t actually know the details of why these people were handed over – whether it was under threats or by collusion, or whatever,” Mr Reid said.

“What we do know is that under the law they should have been handed back to the British forces themselves. That is the law which enshrines our presence there.

“I understand also that the Minister of the Interior, at the highest level, instructed that they should be, that the local judicial authorities said the same,” he said.

The Ministry of Defence said when the soldiers were not released, British forces broke down a perimiter wall at the police station, and found evidence that led them to a house where the two were held captive.

Basra’s governor denounced the incident as a “barbaric” act of aggression.

“A British force of more than 10 tanks backed by helicopters attacked the central jail and destroyed it. This is an irresponsible act,” Governor Mohammed al-Walli told the Associated Press.

An Iraqi interior ministry official told the AFP that the two Britons were involved in an undercover “intelligence-gathering mission”, a claim that has been neither confirmed nor denied by British military officials.

“They were driving a civilian car and were dressed in civilian clothes when a shooting took place between them and Iraqi patrols,” the official reportedly said.

The pair were said to be wearing traditional Arab headdresses and clothing.

Mohammed al-Badi, an official with the Basra governor’s office, said the two men had appeared suspicious to police.

“A policeman approached them and then one of these guys fired at him. Then the police managed to capture them,” Mr Abadi said.

They were reportedly arrested and charged with shooting two Iraqi policemen.

Arab satellite television networks broadcast photos of two Western men, identified only as Britons, seated on the floor of the jail, one with a bandage covering most of the top of his head and the other with blood on his clothes.

The incident has forces tensions between UK troops and Shi’tes in southern Iraq to an all-time low, and followed a chaotic day of rioting in which at least two Iraqis were killed.

The clashes raise questions about how much sovereignty Iraqi authorities have really been granted when the US-led Coalition
Provision Authority handed over power to an interim Iraqi government in the northern summer of 2004.

The soldiers’ arrests sparked violent protests outside the prison after Iraqi demonstrators reacted angrily to the presence of British armoured units.

Petrol bombs, burning furniture and tyres and stones were hurled at the troops.

At one point, a British soldier was seen fleeing from a tank, his body covered in flames.

Two Iraqis were killed in the clashes, an interior ministry official said.

Tensions in the comparatively peaceful, Shi’ite dominated south have been simmering since Sunday, when British forces arrested three members of the Mehdi Army, a militia group loyal to radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr.

Among the three was the group’s Basra commander, Sheik Ahmad Majid al-Fartusi.

The Left is going to have a field day with this. I hope the soldier who was burned makes it. The pictures I’ve seen are not encouraging.

They Never EVER Stop

Part Who-the-Hell-Can-Keep-UP?

Via David Codrea’s War on Guns comes this mendacious and malicious op-ed from the Strib:

Guns at work/A recipe for danger, not defense
September 19, 2005

Neil Mahmoud had every reason to live. Newly married and on the verge of a career as a computer programmer, the 23-year-old student saw little peril in his job at an Apple Valley convenience store. The job entailed ejecting the occasional troublemaker, of course, and just this July Mahmoud tossed out two young men who tried to rob the place with a pellet gun.

Good thing they didn’t have a real gun. Or a knife. Or a crowbar. Or a really bad attitude (it was two against one.)

But the neighborhood was regarded as supremely safe, and locals were shocked late last month when Mahmoud was found on the shop floor bleeding to death from a gunshot wound. How could such horror invade a tranquil town?

It invaded not because a criminal came to call, but because the store’s owner had recently purchased a gun. The weapon was meant to deter robbers and protect employees, but — as too often is the case — ended up underwriting a tragedy. The person who shot Mahmoud, police have determined, wasn’t an intruder. All evidence suggests that Mahmoud shot himself — accidentally.

The accident may seem a fluke, a rare and unfortunate happenstance hardly worth a second thought.

That’s because in this case it is a fluke. If it were common, you wouldn’t be reading about it in an op-ed. Man-bites-dog. If-it-bleeds-it-leads.

In truth, Mahmoud’s needless death vividly illustrates the folly of counting on guns for safety.

Right. An absolute minimum of 68,000 defensive gun uses per year, but “counting on guns for safety” is “folly.” Tell that to the Algiers Point Militia. Tell it to Joyce Cordoba.

But the first mendacity:

Thousands of accidental gun deaths occur in this country every year.

Thousands? As in “In excess of two thousand?”


The editorialist just lied to you. According to the Centers for Disease Control WISQARS tool the number of accidental gunshot deaths in 2002 was 762. In 2001 it was 802. In 2000, 776. In 1999, 824. That’s quite a few, but those aren’t scary numbers like the vague “thousands” that could imply 7,000, 8,000, 9,000 or more are they?

The key to reducing the number is clear.

Of course it is! “Reduce the number of guns!

More than a decade ago, a study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that private gun ownership heightens a household’s risk of homicide threefold and raises the likelihood of suicide five times above that of a gun-free household.

That’s our friend Dr. Arthur Kellermann’s study. I discuss Dr. Kellermann in This is the Kind of Thing that REALLY IRRITATES ME, from June of 2003. (See why I say they never EVER stop?) Note the logical fallacy of correlation = causation. If you own a gun, it will cause you to suicide or become a victim of homicide. Not that you might own a gun because you live in a dangerous neighborhood, or you purchase a gun because you have suicidal feelings. Oh no. The evil mind-altering waves given off by firearms are the cause of Bad Things Happening.

The Joyce Cordoba link above relates the following:

Former assistant district attorney and firearms expert David Kopel writes: “When a robbery victim does not defend himself, the robber succeeds 88 percent of the time, and the victim is injured 25 percent of the time. When a victim resists with a gun, the robbery success rate falls to 30 percent, and the victim injury rate falls to 17 percent. No other response to a robbery — from drawing a knife to shouting for help to fleeing — produces such low rates of victim injury and robbery success.”

What do “gun control activists” say?

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Web site displays this oft-quoted “fact”: “The risk of homicide in the home is 3 times greater in households with guns.” Their Web site fails to mention that Arthur Kellermann, the “expert” who came up with that figure, later backpedaled after others discredited his studies for not following standard scientific procedures.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Kellermann now concedes, “A gun can be used to scare away an intruder without a shot being fired,” admitting he failed to include such events in his original study. “Simply keeping a gun in the home,” Mr. Kellermann says, “may deter some criminals who fear confronting an armed homeowner.”

He adds, “It is possible that reverse causation accounted for some of the association we observed between gun ownership and homicide — i.e., in a limited number of cases, people may have acquired a gun in response to a specific threat.”

That op-ed was signed. By Larry Elder. Back to Mr. (or Ms.) Anonymous:

In short, having a gun close at hand is generally more dangerous than not having one. Plain logic suggests that this is true not just on the home front but in the workplace as well — and research bears out the speculation. Workplace violence has become an American commonplace, and those who study it insist that blessing the presence of guns on the job can only bring more bloodshed.

Got some cites? Names of “those who study it”? Another example of argument by “appeal to authority” – anonymous authority. “Take my word for it! I’m unbiased!”

“Workplace violence” seems to be a new stick with which to beat the gun-control drum, attempting to frighten people into defenselessness, but read the FBI’s 2004 report Workplace Violence (an 80-page PDF file) where it reports that from 1993-1999 there were an average of 900 workplace homicides annually (more than the average number of accidental deaths by gunshot) and

(V)iolence by criminals otherwise unconnected to the workplace accounts for the vast majority – nearly 80 percent – of workplace homicides. In these incidents, the motive is usually theft, and in a great many cases, the criminal is carrying a gun or other weapon, increasing the likelihood that the victim will be killed or seriously wounded. This type of violence falls heavily on particular occupational groups whose jobs make them vulnerable: taxi drivers (the job that carries by far the highest risk of being murdered), late-night retail or gas station clerks, and others who are on duty at night, who work in isolated locations or dangerous neighborhoods, and who carry or have access to cash.

Robbery. Not accident. Victims like Mr. Mahmoud, even though his Stop-and-Rob was in a good neighborhood.

More than that, however, is this little tidbit:

As the total number of guns in circulation has gone up, as the total number of people with concealed-carry licenses has done likewise, workplace homicide has been declining. I’m not arguing correlation = causation. I’m arguing the opposite. More guns does not equal more death.

But this guy is.

As researcher Dean Schaner has argued in a book about employer liability, “It is far more foreseeable that an employee will be injured in a workplace full of guns and an environment reminiscent of the Old West, than one in which weapons are prohibited.”

And here we have an invokation of Ravenwood’s Law: “As a discussion about guns grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Dodge City or the Wild West approaches one.”

All tragedies give rise to a flood of “if onlies.” Surely all who cared for Neil Mahmoud are consumed with thoughts about how his life might have been saved. Yet such thoughts should preoccupy not just those mourning this charming young man, but all Minnesotans. This tragedy teaches a lesson to which employers — and all of us — should hold fast: To keep the workplace safe, banish weapons.

Right. So only the criminals and disgruntled employees can have a “safe working environment.”

Sell it somewhere else. The American public isn’t buying it. They’re buying guns.

Get Your Kim du Toit Fix, While It Lasts!.

Jim at Smoke on the Water has the link to the Kim du Toit archives. Per his request, I’m linking to his post, rather than directly to the archive. As he says, “save what you can while you can.”

I doubt we’ve heard the last of the du Toit clan, but right now a lot of people are suffering psychological withdrawal.


Last month, as most of you are aware, I had an abbreviated debate with guest poster Alex on the meaning of the Second Amendment. As I noted in the first post of the debate, I ran into Alex in the comments of a post at Ian Hammet’s Banana Oil! In that comment thread, Alex raised this question:

When was the last time an “armed militia” did anything at all to protect my freedom? Can you give even one example? A free press that can expose government overreaching, that gives me freedom. The right to protest and create a groundswell of changes through civil disobedience, that gives me freedom. The military that keeps the fight with our enemies away from my doorstep, that gives me freedom. Many people have died (or at least put their own lives at risk) in these pursuits just in an attempt to keep you and I free.

I responded:

(C)oncerning your comment “When was the last time an ‘armed militia’ did anything at all to protect my freedom? Can you give even one example?” I can give an example of how an “armed militia” has protected it’s own freedom. I can give you four, in fact, quite easily.

First, during the Los Angeles “Rodney King” riots, the Korean community armed itself in defense of their businesses and prevented arson and looting. Second, during the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, residents of the devistated areas armed themselves and again defended against looting until law enforcement could be reestablished. Third, Secretary of State Rice recently recounted to Larry King how her father and others armed themselves in defense against “night riders” during the civil rights struggle. And finally, I recommend that you read up on The Battle of Athens, TN. These may not have affected you, personally, but I assure you, these incidents affected the participants greatly. And before you complain that these acts were not carried out by “militia,” I feel it necessary to inform you that according to the U.S. Code, Title 10, subtitle A, Part I, Chapter 13 § 311 defines the militia as:

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are—

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

Those involved in these actions fall under subsection 2 – the “unorganized militia.”

Alex took exception, of course:

As for the Militia- I would argue that if you go by the definition where anybody of a certain age with a gun constitutes a militia, then yes, maybe there have been acts of liberty by “militias”. However the more prevalent (and realistic) definition (the first one usually listed in a dictionary tends to be the more generally accepted one) is:

An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers.

By that definition I would argue that none of the “examples” you provided were, in fact, militias. (The one debateable example would be the Tennesee folks since they had some basic military training- but even that seems like a stretch).

To turn your argument on its head- by your definition, Condaleeza father was simply facing another “militia”, right? The “Knight Riders” were armed folks trying to get what they want since the government wouldn’t do it for them. It doesn’t matter the intention of these groups by your definition, they should all be armed. Hey, the looters were armed too (some of them), does that make them a “militia”? I would argue it is the formal weapons and tactics training aspect that seperates a true militia (one that could be looked at as an “army of citizen soldiers”) , from a bunch of idiots with guns. If my neighbor’s house is burning and I turn my garden hose on it, that doesn’t make me a fireman.

My rejoinder:

“I would argue that if you go by the definition where anybody of a certain age with a gun constitutes a militia, then yes, maybe there have been acts of liberty by ‘militias’.” That would be the legal definition, by the statute quoted. However, “I would argue it is the formal weapons and tactics training aspect that seperates a true militia (one that could be looked at as an ‘army of citizen soldiers’) , from a bunch of idiots with guns.” I would argue that it most definitely is not “formal weapons and tactics training” – it is intent. Is the intent of the group or individuals to uphold and defend the rules of society, or break them? Does the group or individual protect and defend the intent and purpose of the Constitution, or does it seek to violate it? Whether the group or individuals are “formally trained” is immaterial. The “formally trained” classification divides the “organized militia” from the “unorganized militia.”

By that definition, how would you define Ms. Rice’s father and his group, and how would you define the “night riders” they were defending against? The Korean shopkeepers? The Miami homeowners? The looters? The mobs?

Alex did not address this last question.

Well, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina certainly illustrates the dichotomy between the looters and the “unorganized militia” in stark contrast once again. Certainly most people interested in this topic are familiar with the Algiers Point militia story:

The Algiers Point militia put its armaments away Friday as Army troops patrolled the historic neighborhood across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter.

But the band of neighbors who survived Hurricane Katrina and then fought off looters has not disarmed.

“Pit Bull Will Attack. We Are Here and Have Gun and Will Shoot,” said the sign on Alexandra Boza’s front porch. Actually, said the spunky woman behind the sign, “I have two pistols.”

“I’m a part of the militia,” said Boza. “We were taking the law into our own hands, but I didn’t kill anyone.”

She did quietly open her front door and fire a warning shot one night when she heard a loud group of young men approaching her house.

About a week later, she said she finally saw a New Orleans policeman on her street and told him she had guns.

“He told me, ‘Honey, I don’t blame you,’ ” she said.

For days after the storm, the several dozen people who did not evacuate from Algiers Point said they did not see any police or soldiers but did see gangs of intruders.

So they set up what might be the ultimate neighborhood watch.

At night, the balcony of a beautifully restored Victorian house built in 1871 served as a lookout point. “I had the right flank,” said Vinnie Pervel. Sitting in a white rocking chair on the balcony, his neighbor, Gareth Stubbs, protected the left flank.

They were armed with an arsenal gathered from the neighborhood — a shotgun, pistols, a flare gun and a Vietnam-era AK-47. They were backed up by Gregg Harris, who lives in the house with Pervel, and Pervel’s 74-year-old mother, Jennie, who lives across Pelican Street from her son and is known in Algiers Point as “Miss P.”

Many nights, Miss P. had a .38-caliber pistol in one hand and rosary beads in the other.

“Mom was a trouper,” said Pervel.

The threat was real.

On the day after Katrina blew through, Pervel had been carjacked a couple of blocks from his house. A past president of the Algiers Point Association homeowners group, Pervel was going to houses that had been evacuated and turning off the gas to prevent fires.

A guy with a mallet “hit me in the back of the head,” said Pervel. “He said, ‘We want your keys.’ I said, ‘here, take them.’ “

Inside the white Ford van were a portable generator, tools and other hurricane supplies. A hurt and frustrated Pervel threw pliers at the van as it drove off and broke a back window.

Another afternoon, a gunfight broke out on the streets as armed neighbors and armed intruders exchanged fire in broad daylight. “About 25 rounds were fired,” said Harris. Blood was later found on the street from a wounded intruder.

Not far away, Oakwood Center mall was seriously damaged in a fire caused by vandals.

“We were really afraid of fires. These old houses are so close together that if one was set afire, the whole street would all go up,” said Harris. “We lived in terror for a week.”

Their house is filled with antique furniture, and there’s a well-kept garden and patio in back. “We’ve been restoring this house for 20 years,” said Harris.

There are gas lamps on the columned porch that stayed on during the storm and its aftermath. The militia rigged car headlights and a car battery on porches of nearby houses. Then they put empty cans beneath trees that had fallen across both ends of the block.

When someone approached in the darkness, “you could hear the cans rattle. Then we would hit the switch at the battery and light up the street,” said Pervel. “We would yell, ‘we’re going to count three and if you don’t identify yourself, we’re going to start shooting.’ “

They could hear people fleeing and never fired a shot.

During the days, the hurricane holdouts patrolled the streets protecting their houses and the ones of evacuees.

“I was packing,” said Robert Johns. “A .22 magnum with hollow points and an 8mm Mauser from World War II with armor-piercing shells.”

Despite their efforts, some deserted houses were broken into and looted, said Pervel.

Now the Algiers Point militia has defiantly declared it will not heed any orders for mandatory evacuation. The relatively elevated neighborhood area is across the Mississippi River from the city’s worst flooded areas and has running water, gas and phone service.

“They say they’re going to drag us kicking and screaming from our houses. For what? To take us to concentration camps where we’ll be raped and killed,” said Ramona Parker. “This is supposed to be America. We’re honest citizens. We’re not troublemakers. We pay our taxes.”

“It would be cruel for the city to make us evacuate after what we’ve been through,” said Pervel.

The roof was damaged on her house and the rains left “water up to my ankles,” said Boza. So she moved into her mother’s nearby home.

She said she still has 42 bullets to expend before she could be forcibly evacuated.

“Then I hope the men they send to pull me out are 6 feet 2 inches and really cute,” she said. “I’ll be struggling and flirting at the same time.”

Cox News Service
Monday, September 12, 2005

In Biloxi, Mississippi, the same:

Jeffrey Powell yanked the cushions off his living room sofa and arranged them on the bed of his truck. Then he got his shotgun, made himself comfortable, and spent the night in his driveway, protecting his hurricane-ravaged home and enjoying whatever breeze he could catch on a steamy night.

Powell is part of the Popps Ferry Landing neighborhood watch, a group of citizens trying to restore order and peace in their middle-class community a week after Hurricane Katrina brought her chaos.

“We’re not going to have any looters out here,” said Dan Shearin, 56, Powell’s next-door neighbor. “We have some burly men who are sleeping outside with guns. If the looters come, we’ll take care of them.”

They haven’t shot anyone, but they had to scare off a few groups of people they didn’t know in the middle of the night, Shearin said.

As stories of violent and desperate looters have made their way across Mississippi, people in communities where law enforcement has been overwhelmed are reaching for their guns to police their streets.

In Popps Ferry Landing, many neighbors had lived near each other for years but had never spoken. The realization that their safety and homes were vulnerable and police presence was scarce brought them together quickly. The Dollar Store up the road was looted and vandalized pretty badly.

“We haven’t exactly seen organized law enforcement out here,” said Hugh Worden, 53, who lives on the other side of Powell. “The first day after the storm, we saw law enforcement out here. After that, there’s not been much patrol. I suppose police are protecting the main streets.”

Worden, a manager at Treasure Bay Casino before it was destroyed, said he has talked to everyone within three blocks of his home.

“The good thing is, now we all know each other,” he said.

Popps Ferry Landing is tucked away in an enclave of western Biloxi, not far from Pass Road, the main east-west thoroughfare through town. Most of the houses here are two-story Colonials built in the early 1990s, and valued between $100,000 and $175,000. Many lost all or part of their roofs in the storm, and on some the entire front was torn away, as well. Piles of wood and aluminum siding stand in yards. So many trees are down, the road is an obstacle course.

Shearin said he did not sleep outside with a gun, but like most of his neighbors, he owns one. He has a Smith & Wesson .38.

“If I see somebody who’s not supposed to be here, I’d shoot over their head,” he said. “I wouldn’t shoot anyone. I’m not a violent person — not yet, anyway.”

Shearin, a retired phone salesman, said he has been disappointed that police don’t have the manpower to deal with looters.

“What good is the federal government?” he asked. “You’ve got to take care of yourself.”

Sitting on his porch drinking a bottle of Aquafina, Shearin said he’d never seen as much destruction as Katrina brought.

“The terrorists couldn’t do this much damage,” he said.

He and his wife, Dottie, said they’d like to get out of Biloxi for a while, but they, like their neighbors, have to stay and wait for insurance claim agents to come by and assess the damage. The Shearins lost half their roof and most of their back yard, including a new hot tub.

“We are waiting on the insurance agents,” Dottie Shearin said. “They have to come by and make a visual inspection.”

Around the corner, Marti McKay, 30, said she and other neighbors have scattered their cars around the street to make it look as if everyone is home. It was scariest before they got their power back Saturday.

“It’s nerve-racking at night around here because it’s so dark,” McKay said. “It’s so quiet. We’re used to the sound of air conditioning, and lights.”

Her housemate Robin Frey helped organize some spotlights in the neighborhood powered by generators. And neighbor Oliver Fayard, 49, walked the streets with a flashlight to check on everyone.

“You didn’t have a choice but to get out there and network,” Frey said. “We saw some cars we didn’t know that came through the neighborhood. We gave them a look to kill. We made it known these are not vacant houses.”

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 5, 2005; Page A23

Another example from New Orleans:

When night falls, Charlie Hackett climbs the steps to his boarded-up window, takes down the plywood, grabs his 12-gauge shotgun and waits. He is waiting for looters and troublemakers, for anyone thinking his neighborhood has been abandoned like so many others across the city. Two doors down, John Carolan is doing the same on his screened-in porch, pistol by his side. They are not about to give up their homes to the lawlessness that has engulfed New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

“We kind of together decided we would defend what we have here and we would stay up and defend the neighborhood,” says Hackett, an Army veteran with a snow-white beard and a business installing custom kitchens.

“I don’t want to kill anybody,” he says, “but I’d sure like to scare ’em.”

With generators giving them power, food to last for weeks and several guns each for protection, the men are two of a scattered community holed up across the residential streets of the city’s Garden District, a lush neighborhood with many antebellum mansions.

The streets, where towering live oaks once offered cool shade, are now often impassable because of huge fallen branches and downed power lines. Lovely porches framed in wrought iron lay smashed. Many of the homes appear only slightly damaged, or even untouched.

But the neighborhoods are stunningly empty, and so quiet that they sound like a forest.

It is a short drive but a world away from the city’s downtown, where tens of thousands of hungry, thirsty and increasingly angry people waited in misery at the Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center before evacuations finally began.

Here, Carolan starts his nightly watch by lighting a big fire in his barbecue pit. Hackett turns his lights on and jams a 15-foot wooden brace against the front door so no one can break through.

The night is “black, black, black,” Hackett says. “It reminds me of when I was in Vietnam, it reminds me of Dac To.”

They have not had a problem staying awake. Each night there are gunshots in the distance, sometimes people walking through, an occasional car driving by.

“Last night I had to draw down on some people,” Carolan says. A car with what sounded like a crowd of drunken, partying kids came through and stopped.

“I had to come out with a flashlight in one hand, pistol in the other,” he says, crossing his arms like an X. “I said: `Who are you? Do you live here? What are you doing here?’ They said, `We’re leaving.'”

Hackett, who in his 50s, lives alone, with his two cats and a bunch of neighbor’s pets that he is caring for. Carolan, 46, is keeping watch with his brother, wife, son, and 3-year-old granddaughter.

In the first few days, they were especially fearful. Looters smashed windows and ransacked a discount store and a drugstore a few streets over. Three men came to Carolan’s house asking about his generator and brandished a machete. He showed them his gun and they left.

“It was pandemonium for a couple of nights. We just felt that when they got done with the stores, they’d come to the homes,” Hackett says. “When it’s not easy pickings, they’ll go somewhere else.”

Things have gotten quieter, the men say, but not quiet.

“What do you say, I’m a survivor,” John Carolan says with a laugh, thinking of the reality TV show. “Hey, give me the million bucks now.”

How long can Carolan and the others hold out?

Hackett has enough gas and food for a month. Carolan says they have weeks’ worth of food and bug repellent, and he will siphon gas from left-behind cars to keep his electricity going.

“Everything we have is in our homes. With the lawlessness in this town, are you going to walk away from everything you built?” Carolan says. “A lot of people think we’re stupid. They say, `Why did you stay?’ I say, `Why didn’t you stay?'”

Associated Press
Sept. 5, 2005

These are just a couple of the stories of people arming themselves and organizing. The militia is made up of all the population who are willing and able to come together to assist in the defense of people and property against enemies foreign and domestic.

Alex tried to claim that the KKK and looters qualified as “militia” under the legal definition spelled out in U.S. Code, Title 10, subtitle A, Part I, Chapter 13 § 311. Not so, and it is blindingly apparent to anyone who is not self-deluded into believing that guns in the hands of the law-abiding are a threat to the safety of the public.

Remember: Any law that could be passed to “reduce the number of guns” in circulation, will reduce the number of guns in the hands of the law-abiding – not the criminal, nor the criminally inclined. It will disarm the victims, not the perpetrators.

Ask Patricia Konie. And do a Google News search on Ms. Konie. She’s not to be found on any Mainstream Media link. Interesting, isn’t it?

Someone Else Getting Educated?.

I check my sitemeter stats a couple of times a day just to see how things are going. Every now and then I see something like this:

Over two and a half hours and 24 pages viewed. I figure the people who do this are either really pissed off (or aghast) about what I have to say, or really interested. But as far as I can tell, they hardly ever leave any comments either way.

I find that lack of feedback odd, when someone would invest that much time reading.


Holy smokes! Look! New Orleans is back online!

This Letter Makes This All Worthwhile.

Bright and early this morning I logged on and got my email, and found this (printed here with his permission):

I have been reading your blog for a while, learning about the subjects you write about…and even prior to N. Orleans, I was leaning towards your position, and possibly arming our family.

Can I tell you what a radical departure that is for me? And then maybe why it shouldn’t have been in some ways? I was raised in a religious Jewish household. Religious Jews just don’t hunt; we’re not raised in a culture of guns (outside of Israel, in which this has changed things). I was also a child of the liberal 60’s, thought guns kill and all that nonsense.

My dad, however, was a survivor of Auschwitz. My grandparents were murdered there. And it is now a cliche, but it’s true, the ‘average’ Jew could not defend themselves. So that got me to thinkin…and then seeing how it starts to look like America could end up like many S. American countries, with gated communities and barbed wire or broken glass up on the walls of the compounds…and I used to think this was the siren song of the Cassandras, but New Orleans showed that ain’t necessarily true…well, all this speaks of the need to have some protection.

Of course, we had someone, a rabbi, say in his 30’s, walking in his house, not too far from where we live, and he was mugged by a man with a gun. Fortunately, and almost unusually in these cases, in spite of the fact this rabbi had literally nothing on him, the creep ran without shooting. But this happened basically in MY neighborhood. And all it takes is one occasion (though otherwise, it’s a relatively safe area, whatever that means!).

I can’t think of any reason not to. Child safety? That’s all just TEACHING, like it is with a hundred other lethal things we have inside the house.

I don’t want to go on too long, but I do hope either we’ll travel near someone on your list offering shooting sessions (and yes, I have never shot a gun in my life, never thought I’d think about it, which is the point of all this) or someone will be added to the list close by to home, Saint Louis, MO and I can take ’em up on the offer.

I’ve given him the contact information for John Ross, but if there’s someone else in the St. Louis area who would like to join Publicola’s list of volunteer instructors, drop me a line.

When I emailed him to thank him for the letter and to ask permission to print it, he added this:

You’ve helped me understand a great deal of things I otherwise might not have. I had a lifetime bias against guns…still won’t say I like ’em, but that’s that cultural bias I mentioned, and having one for self-defense is not the same as enjoying killing. (I still have a problem with hunting, but that’s MY BIAS, and I never was opposed to anyone else hunting just because I don’t “get it”. Who am I to tell anyone else to do unless it bothers my life? That seems SO self-evident, but then we grow up and learn it’s not. Half the world wants to rule the other half, or so it seems, and that’s from most politicians down to the petty bureaucrats running health care nowadays ). But self-defense? Yeah, we have the right to that. Another thing that would seem self-evident, but…gosh, dealing with that other 1/2 of the world…).

I figured out I was as bad as some mama bear, when it came to wanting to protect my family. I think I never understood that idea UNTIL I had children. After that, I realized I had an obligation to MY FAMILY. Another simplistic notion, but one that seems to flit by most people (though interestingly, I read that many of the “refugees” from N. Orleans and Mississippi have been taken in by…gasp…family members!).

I couldn’t sleep last night, was reading one of James Lee Burke’s novels, and (start up the Twilight Zone music) he had his character mention that very thing about how the police don’t, can’t prevent most crime, and in fact, how most crime is never punished. It WAS weird that I read it not a couple of hours after I had written you.

On a bigger scale, , I have enjoyed learning about the Constitution, the ideals America was founded on…We drove the kids to Boston some years back and have continued to now take driving vacations literally all over the country. Early one, though, we were in Lexington and Concord, saw the statue of the Minuteman…who had a RIFLE (doh). Just wanting to teach my kids about these things, I started reading myself..and soon found out I knew nothing, like most Americans, about why we started this country.

Put it all together..and I have one other story to tell: When Nixon resigned, my dad cried with relief. Why? He wasn’t an avid Nixon hater at all, but he said, and I remember it like it was yesterday (and my dad’s been gone since ’84), but he thought it was amazing we could have a bloodless revolution, that the rule of law WORKED here, unlike how it had been corrupted in WW2 Europe, and he had a respect and a feeling for America, for its institutions and ideals, that most of us take for granted, or more unfortunately, don’t even understand or know (as we slide farther away from those ideas). It’s that stereotype of immigrants who came here and appreciated freedom, never took it for granted; on my mom’s side, her parents were from Russia/Poland, and my grandfather’s father was murdered in front of my grandad in the 1905 Revolution. So when they came here, same thing as my dad…none of it was taken for granted. We’re in real danger, I’ve come to see, of losing those ideals.

Having said all the above, it’s thanks in large part to blogs such as yours that I’ve learned anything. I’m still learning, economics, political philosophy, Consitutional law, and finding intelligent blogs has been an amazing help.

And I think its important to thank our teachers sometimes, let ’em know we appreciate the efforts. But I wanted to let you know why this is a big deal for me. I realize too, that for most, there is a reason they don’t bother to learn, whether it’s that lifetime of indoctination, the sheep-like attitude of most folks, or even the (somewhat true for a while) idea that ‘ignorance is bliss” (because the more I learn, some days, the more pissed off I am), but I had a need and desire to do so, and I think we all should have SOME obligation to know, otherwise we are screwed.

You know that. I didn’t, but I’m learning.

I’ve had a big smile on my face all day long.