Sometimes I Wish I Could Draw…

I can see the perfect image for a political cartoon describing the coming media frenzy over the civilian deaths in Haditha, Iraq. It would be a trench-coated figure with a “PRESS” badge in his fedora and a scourge in his hand, a look of savage glee on his face. But instead of self-flagellation – an act of contrition and shame – a U.S. Marine would stand, ripped and bloody, between the jagged tips of the whip and the reporter’s back. And the pair would be standing on a brightly lit stage, surrounded by the world media, with jihadists in the background dancing in the blood of the slain.

The media isn’t ashamed of the possible criminal actions of a few Marines in Iraq. The media no longer sees itself as being part of America. Instead, it’s salivating over another chance to trumpet to the world how evil the United States is.

And I for one and sick to death of it.

UPDATE: It’s the foreign press, but here’s Exhibit A.

FURTHER UPDATE: I hereby retract the previous update.

Mea culpa.

Presser v. Illinois

Reader Addison emailed me with a link to this piece:

Militia proposal misfires

By Jeremiah Horrigan
Times Herald-Record
[email protected]

New Paltz – Mike Peters is finding he hasn’t got many friends in high places.

Peters is chairman of the SUNY New Paltz chapter of College Republicans. He and three other campus leaders have made a national stir lately by advocating an on-campus gun-toting militia.

But last week, he lost the support of the National Rifle Association, which canceled at the last minute a scheduled lecture sponsored by the College Republicans.

So much for the gun lobby.

And now, the 200,000-member national organization behind the New Paltz chapter of the College Republicans has bailed on Peters for supporting the militia idea.

The College Republican National Committee has issued a statement distancing itself from the local group, saying it “lacks sensible action.”

“It appears these allegations against the university police force “¦ are unsubstantiated,” a spokeswoman for the group said in a statement.

Peters said he was surprised by the national group’s statement.

“I can’t see why they’d be upset with a group defending Second- and Fourth- Amendment rights, except for the name,” he said.

The name – “militia” – is the root of the Peters’ problem, according to Ira Margolis, a part-time SUNY student and an NRA trainer who helped organize the aborted NRA lecture.

“It’s a bad term – but they’re college kids, what do they know? They’re still learning,” he said.

He also included this follow-on:

NRA cancels presentation at New Paltz

By Jeremiah Horrigan
Times Herald-Record
[email protected]

New Paltz – Something happened to the National Rifle Association on its way to presenting a lecture at SUNY New Paltz yesterday – it “wimped” out.

That was the phrase that came immediately to the lips of several people who learned upon their arrival at a campus lecture hall of the NRA’s cancellation of its presentation

Perhaps even more surprisingly, one of the organizers of the event was told the cancellation came as the result of the publicity surrounding a proposed gun-toting militia on campus.

A spokesman for the NRA could not be reached for comment at press time.

Mike Peters, chairman of the College Republican club that sponsored the event, said he was shocked by the cancellation.

Peters had expected to field questions about the proposed militia following the talk.

Instead, he answered questions from students who challenged the need for arms on campus, a challenge that Peters generally agreed with.

He said the news media had sensationalized the issue. “We got attention, much more than we ever expected, but it obscured many other aspects of our arguments,” he said.

His comment to me was,

Now, as it happens, this is an interesting stunt, but without high-caliber (hah!) Civil Rights attnys on the speeddial, going to be pretty useless, after all.

But, the NRA cancelled a speech there? Why, couldn’t they say “Well, we disagree with how they’re going about this, but it’s no reason we can’t still talk about items of importance to us?”

My reply to him was pretty simple:

As to the “student militia” thing, that’s a non-starter, and I sort of understand why the NRA would shy away. The Supreme Court’s nineteenth-century Presser v. Illinois decision essentially makes private militias verboten if the State says “No.” The students don’t have a (legal) leg to stand on. The NRA would rather avoid that topic, I think. The “militia movement” is not one that most people want to embrace, since it’s been wrapped by the media in the stink of white supremacy, wild-eyed anarchism, etc., etc.

Students carrying concealed on campus? OK.

Student militia drilling on the quad? Not OK.

My 2¢, YMMV

Presser v. Illinois was the Supreme Court’s 1886 follow-on to their infamous 1875 Cruikshank decision. In Cruikshank the Court declared that the Second Amendment only protected individuals against infringement of the right to arms by Congress – i.e., the federal government. If your STATE wanted to violate your right to arms, the federal government had no power to interfere, said the court, despite ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868. The Presser decision was specifically on the topic of private militias. Illinois had a statute on the books prohibiting private militias. The court upheld that law, using Cruikshank as precedent, and leaving Mike Peters with no legal leg to stand on. Neither case has been overturned or even seriously questioned by a later decision.

And unless the NRA and its spokesmen want to come out in favor of private militias and all the baggage that comes with them, they’re going to avoid this topic like the plague. There is no “good soundbite” that can come from it.

“It Must Be Art.”

If I don’t have the time or inclination to post original content, I’ll just plagiarize link.

Quote of the Week, from Tam:

Good ol’ Bono. You can always count on just some amazing surrealism from a guy who was happy that the G8 summit was held on his home turf so he could get there via Bentley rather than Gulfstream to deliver his rants about the unfairness of capitalism. I don’t know what he’s doing; it must be art.

Work, Work, Work.

It’s 5:54AM. I’m back at work. Actually, I got here at 5:30, but it takes me about thirty minutes to read my webcomics and The Bleat, check my email, and look for new comments on the blog.

I’ll probably get out of here at about 18:00 tonight. Lather, rinse, repeat.

As you might imagine, this is not conducive to blogging. I really am working on that last piece on rights, I’m just doing it really slowly. Posting over the next few days will be, as they say, light.

Thanks for dropping by.

Blogging from Work.

It’s Saturday. I’m in the office. Yesterday was Hellday – on the road at 4:00AM, home at 6:00PM – and this included 350 miles of windshield time. I’m trying to get caught up on drawings and quotations, but I’m taking a little break, and what do I find, courtesy of Blognomicon?

Lil’ Annie: Go get your gun

When “Little Sure Shot” Annie Oakley became one of the first women superstars as a renown markswoman on Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the late 1800’s, her fancy shooting opened the flood gates to the idea that women had a place behind the trigger of a gun.

Although much has changed since the days of Oakley, women and guns remain somewhat of a taboo subject, while in recent years, the popularity of firearms with women has reached an all time high.

According to a survey taken by the National Rifle Association in 2004, over 17 million American women own some type of firearm.

Slowly, guns have been finding their way into the female populace for reasons ranging from hunting to a sense of security to self-defense.

There is a certain image that is associated with female gun ownership, one of strength and power, (See this piece from 2003. Ed.) but there is also something provocative to it as well. The appeal of firearms among women may be the impression of toughness that exudes from them; something that that says, “keep back.”

Women are perceived as more delicate and helpless than their male counterparts, they are the targets of more violent crimes and therefore carry a greater fear of coming into harm’s way.

When Smith & Wesson introduced their LadySmith model in 1989, they used the slogan that the handgun would “manage to be elegant without sacrificing any of their practicality.”

Taking their message to women a step further, they tread upon a woman’s propensity to nurture as a mother figure by reminding women of their responsibility to not only protect the family, but also protect themselves as caretakers of their loved ones.

Anti-gun mom turned firearm-advocate

Fellow gun-toting female Marcia Grann O’Brien, editor for the Narragansett Times, who has raised three children and is now a proud grandmother, was a self-proclaimed “huge anti-gun mom” when her own kids were growing up.

“I wouldn’t even let my boys have posters with guns in them,” said O’Brien, a Rhode Island native who lived in New York and then moved back to the Ocean State in 1993.

Oddly enough, it was her passion for the anti-gun movement that spurred her eventually love affair with firearms.

In 1995, O’Brien was in an editor’s meeting and got wind of a potential story idea surrounding a group of women who frequently gathered at the Warwick Range to practice shoot. O’Brien decided to cover the story out of a sort of morbid curiosity.

“I wanted to see who those crazy women were,” she joked. “I said to myself, ‘if you are going to do a story on this, you at least need to shoot a gun.'”

She chose the .22-caliber revolver for her first shot.

“I was hooked the first bullet out,” said O’Brien. “I loved it. I can’t tell you how wonderful and exhilarating it was trying to hit that bulls eye.”

Within a week, O’Brien was a gun owner, with her first purchase being her first love, the .22-caliber. She then moved onto a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver and finished her collection with a .45-caliber Eastern European semi-automatic. Shortly afterward she also obtained her Handgun Carry Permit.

“My kids get a huge kick out of it,” she said when thinking back to her days as an anti-gun mom, calling her transition “beyond bizarre.”

Although O’Brien sticks to target shooting and does not partake in hunting, she said she is not against the idea.

In terms of self-defense, O’Brien made clear that she would absolutely use her weapon to protect herself if she saw no other alternative.

“Running away is always the first choice, but if you can’t get away, then you shoot,” she clarified. “I feel much safer carrying.”

In O’Brien’s opinion, regardless of women’s slight presence in the gun world compared to that of men, she finds that a women’s touch makes for a superior shot.

“Women are better shooters because they don’t have a macho thing to prove. So when you instruct them, they listen.”

Local gun clubs

Eric Gould, president of the local Wincheck Gun Club in West Greenwich said he has noticed more female members frequenting the club in the last couple of years, although not as many as he would have expected due to its growing popularity.

According to Gould, most of the women he notices inside the club are members’ wives who are either there to keep their husbands company or maybe fire off a few rounds for fun.

Although the numbers aren’t staggering, Gould estimated that roughly a half a dozen single women have, in recent years, attended the club’s firearm training class that they hold once or twice a year.

When the club hosts training classes for West Greenwich police cadets, Gould said he has noticed “quite a few” young women in attendance.

He also said that he has even noticed a handful of “little girls” when the club puts on their firearm education classes for children, as parents want their kids to know gun safety at an early age.

Although, many of the women go to the club’s safety courses in order to obtain a permit to carry for protection purposes, according to Gould.

While statistically, women appear to get involved with guns for safety issues, Gould argued that those women who shoot for sport and those who shoot for safety are, in his experience, “all across the board.”

“I’ve seen nurses who want to know how to shoot a gun, especially those who work in the city,” said Gould, “but I also know a woman who loves to go deer hunting.”

“You see a lot more women buying motorcycles, too,” he said, noting that women have been moving out of their set gender roles for some time now. “They are becoming much more self sufficient.”

Hunting, sport, and the Constitution

Pat Thompson, regional coordinator for Women in the Outdoors, a program that promotes basic gun safety, preservation of the hunting tradition and educational outdoor opportunities, picked up her first firearm 15 years ago and has never looked back.

Thompson has shot sporting clays competitively in Texas and New York State shooting contests, and she now devotes much of her time to the Women in the Outdoors, coordinating events around Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Like many women, Thompson began shooting as a way to spend time with her husband, who would shoot skeet with his friends often. According to Thompson, her and husband “did everything together,” and therefore she would find him reluctant to join his friends at skeet shoots because he felt it was taking time away from her.

After seeing an advertisement in the newspaper for shotgun lessons, Thompson decided to give it a shot, literally.

“I really, really enjoyed it,” she said, “and it turns out that I was halfway decent.”

As Thompson got more involved with competitive shooting, she became concerned that her constitutional right to bear arms was coming under attack, so she took the road of caution.

Using her already extensive knowledge of firearms, Thompson became certified in shotgun instruction and took several hunting safety courses in order to prove she was a responsible, safety-concerned gun owner.

For her, hunting became the next step in her gun career, although she explained that she never thought of herself joining the hunting community. After deciding to keep her husband company on a hunt, Thompson brought her gun along, but didn’t anticipate using it… that was, of course, until she laid eyes on her soon-to-be first kill.

“I saw a deer coming through the woods and I picked up my gun and just fired,” she recalled. “It was the most natural thing in the world to harvest an animal.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Thompson is also an advocate of women carrying firearms to protect themselves.

“A lot of protection against predators is confidence,” stated Thompson, “predators lean toward women who appear to be weak or unsure of themselves, an easy target.”

She finds that women who are in possession of a handgun carry themselves differently, deterring potential threats before they happen as well as offering women a means to defend themselves if a dangerous situation arises.

See also my piece How do You Convert a Gun-Phobe? and its follow-on, along with this nearly identical piece from 2004 about the conversion of author Diane Wagman. Excerpt:

Guns are bad. All my life, it’s been that simple. At my son’s preschool, if a child pointed a banana and said “bang,” he was admonished to “use the banana in a happier way.” As far as I was concerned, the 2nd Amendment gave us the right to protect ourselves against invading armies, not the right to buy a gun and keep it under our beds.

So what would make someone like me change my mind? I met this gun enthusiast. As research for my new novel, I asked him many questions, all the while voicing my disgust. My character might use a gun, but I never would. “Come to the range,” the gun guy said. “I’ll teach you to shoot.”

First lesson, respect your firearm. I got a little talk about how powerful it was. I learned how to hold it. To load it. And finally to fire it. It was terrifying. The gun was so heavy, I couldn’t keep it steady. It took both index fingers to pull the trigger, and then there was a flash of flame, a loud crack, a substantial kick. It was much harder than it looked in the movies.

I occasionally hit the target, but I also managed to obliterate the metal hanger that held it.

I have to admit: I loved it. I had a fantastic time. The power of that gun for me, a 5-foot, 3-inch woman, was immediately, shockingly seductive. The thrill when I hit the bull’s-eye (once) was as great as making a perfect tennis shot.

I’ve said it before: If we want to preserve our right to arms, we must get more people to the range. The only way to convince them that a right to arms is important is to make them understand what it is the other side is trying to take away. And because women make up over 50% of the population, but are a tiny minority of gun owners, educating women should be our top priority.


There’s been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere about the difference between “the pack and the herd.” I think the meme got started with an essay, On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs (highly recommended, if you haven’t read it) by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman from his book On Combat, but I could be wrong about that. Glenn Reynolds expands a bit on the idea with several posts on the theme of “A pack, not a herd.”

An interesting example comes from the December, 2005 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine – a story on the people who dropped everything and headed for New Orleans after Katrina plowed through. I covered one such story here back in September – the story of a man who loaded up his vintage military deuce-and-a-half and drove from Texas into Louisiana to do what he could to help. The Popular Mechanics piece is much the same, though on a little different scale.

One of the people covered is Mike Dillon, owner of Dillon Aero, manufacturer of mini-guns for the U.S. military and Dillon Precision, manufacturer of some of the best reloading equipment available. Mike Dillon owns a couple of helicopters, one of which is a Bell UH-1 Huey. According to the story, The Kindness of Strangers:

It’s Saturday, Sept. 3; five days ago, Hurricane Katrina broke the levees of New Orleans and tens of thousands of desperate people are still in the city, trapped at the Superdome, huddled on rooftops and dying in attics.

Suddenly, there’s a distinctive whomp-whomp that only old Hueys make; it’s Mike Dillon, swinging the helicopter he calls the Blue Ghost onto the flight line. Dillon, 70, is the president of Dillon Aero, in Scottsdale, Ariz., a company that designs and manufactures electric machine guns for the military. On Wednesday, Dillon dropped everything and flew his vintage 1968 Huey here in 16 hours. The spine of the American effort in Vietnam, the Bell UH-1 was the Army’s first turbine helicopter, and Dillon’s H model can carry about a ton, or 12 people, making it an ideal rescue vehicle. Since his arrival Dillon has been flying almost nonstop under the aegis of the Jefferson Parish sheriff’s department. “I saw the catastrophe on TV,” he says. “I had the right equipment to help and I could afford to do it. So I called a friend, a high-time ex-Vietnam helicopter pilot, to keep us out of trouble, and here we are.”

The Sheriff’s Department is treating the city as a war zone and so a fresh set of gunners bearing semiautomatic AR-15s with scopes climb into the Huey and buckle into webbed seats near the thumping bird’s open doors in case looters or the desperate overwhelm the helicopter. “Welcome to Dillon Air,” yells Vernon Rich, Dillon’s crew chief, a Glock 9mm pistol on his belt. Rich, 51, the owner of a precision fabrication shop in Phoenix, has built race cars, served as crew chief for former world land speed record-holder Craig Breedlove, and once tried to recover a World War II-era B-29 bomber from a frozen lake in Greenland. But he’s never seen anything like this. “Total chaos,” he says, as we rise, bank hard, and head into the city at 80 knots and 300 ft.

No one knows how many civilians came, but they did–in helicopters and airboats, fixed-wing airplanes and runabouts, from Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and New Orleans itself. The civilian effort represents millions of dollars in donated time, hardware, fuel and supplies. In Dillon’s case, it costs about $250 per hour to operate the Blue Ghost.

Mike Dillon’s contribution was probably on the upper end, cost-wise. He spent four days and 35 air-hours on site, not including the 32-hour round trip to and from Louisiana. Others contributed just as much time, or more however:

Two mornings later the airboats on Napoleon Avenue are lined up like charter boats. Pickups arriving from throughout the South back up hard and then hit the brakes just so. The boats slide right off their trailers. Darel Bryan, a fishing guide from Leeville, La., has already been out for hours. His airboat does not carry its usual smell of fresh redfish and black drum; it stinks of bleach from washing the decks after 14 bodies in black bags pulled from a half-submerged funeral home were piled on his bow.

Bryan’s airboat is a “big dog,” as his brother Dan puts it–26 ft., powered by a 570 big-block Chevy. The hull is Teflon coated for skimming over wet grass, on which the machine can hit 60 mph. The boats are perfect for shallow, debris-tangled waters, and airboat associations from Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and Louisiana have rallied their members. Bryan sports a ponytail and a goatee, with a lump of chewing tobacco in his cheek. Instead of bow-fishing clients, he guides sheriff’s deputies from Bernalillo County, N.M., wearing bulletproof vests and armed with AR-15s. “Right now, I don’t have a job,” he says, “or a house, either. So I might as well be here.”

It has now been six days since the levees holding back Lake Pontchartrain broke, and except for the purr of Jimmy Delery’s 250-hp four-stroke Yamaha engine, there isn’t a sound as we idle north along Napoleon Avenue out of the Garden District in search of the last waterlogged souls clinging to their homes. The boat isn’t Delery’s; he commandeered it from somewhere. Looting, after all, is clearly in the eye of the beholder: Earlier in the day a CNN crew griped that National Guardsmen confiscated their rented boat for their own purposes; Delery took what he needed to make rescues; the poor grab food and water from neighborhood stores. Delery, a 50-year-old real estate investor, figures he’s pulled 300 people from the waters over the past few days.

But here’s the excerpt that prompted this post:

We pass a floater–a dead man lying facedown, spread-eagle on a blue mattress. “He’s been here for days,” Delery says, munching on barbecue potato chips. That’s when it hits me: Delery is happy. So were Rich and Dillon. Dedicated and selfless, yes, but deep down, these men also enjoy the all-consuming intensity of their task. It’s the unspoken theme of every war story: Calamity gives people purpose, lightens their souls and makes them feel alive.

Of course. Sheepdogs are happiest when they’re working.

Men’s Rules.

My wife hadn’t seen this before, and when I read it to her she laughed until tears came, so I thought I’d post it here (from a thread at Note that all of the rules are numbered “1”.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat.

You’re a big girl. If it’s up, put it down.

We need it up, you need it down.

You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports range trips.

It’s like the full moon or the changing of the tides.

Just let it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport.

And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want.

Let us be clear on this one:

Subtle hints do not work!

Strong hints do not work!

Obvious hints do not work!

Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it.

That’s what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem.

See a doctor.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument.

In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

1. If you think you’re fat, you probably are.

Don’t ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done.

Not both.

If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings.

Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit.

We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched.

We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say “nothing,” we will act like nothing’s wrong.

We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, expect an answer you don’t want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine…Really.

1. Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, guns and ballistics, or monster trucks.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape.

Round is a shape.

Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; but did
you know men really don’t mind that? It’s like camping.

A Modest Proposal

From President Bush’s (Illegal) Immigration Address:

Since I became President, we’ve increased funding for border security by 66 percent….

Tonight I’m calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border.

So we’ll increase federal funding for state and local authorities assisting the Border Patrol on targeted enforcement missions.

And I will ask Congress for additional funding and legal authority, so we can end “catch and release” at the southern border once and for all.

Why don’t we just pay the Mexicans on a monthly basis to go home and stay there, and cut out the middle-men?

It would slow the expansion of (already horribly bloated, ineffective) government. It would avoid the need to implement the President’s “national ID card” – which would at first be for immigrant workers, but would shortly be made mandatory for everyone. It would be cheaper in the long run. (Look at what the illegals are willing to work for, vs. bureaucrat salaries and benefits.)

And unlike the President’s recommendations, it might actually work.

And it’s welfare. The Left would have to vote in favor!

Game, Set, Match!

(I mean, hell, we’re going to dump a mountain of cash on the problem it the hopes of burying it anyway. Now that an issue has been recognized by the .gov, that is the pavlovian Congressional response.)