I Was Wrong

Actually, I’ve been wrong on a number of occasions about a variety of topics. You live and learn, or you don’t live long. But on this particular topic I have to admit I should have seen it coming long before now.

Back shortly after I started this blog, I wrote a series of posts on the Right to Arms (left sidebar there under “The Right to Arms Essays”). In the one entitled Those Without Swords Can Still Die Upon Them, I concluded with this:

Individual, private possession of firearms isn’t the only thing that permits individual liberty, but it is one of the essential components in a society that intends to stay free. An armed, informed, reasoning people cannot be subjugated.

So what do you do if you want to fetter a free people?

1) Remove their ability to reason.

2) Constrain their ability to access and exchange information.

3) Relieve them of the means with which to defend themselves and their property.

Which of these seems easiest, and how would it be best accomplished? And best resisted?

That was written in 2004 – almost twelve years ago. Obviously I thought at the time that the third option would be the one most vigorously attacked.

Boy, was I wrong, and I really should have seen it before now. After all, throughout the nearly thirteen-year life of this blog I have railed against the public education system and what has been done to higher education. (See the “Education” posts on the left sidebar, and all the other pieces throughout the blog tagged “Education.”)

I knew we were boned as a nation when a majority of voters picked Obama for a second term, but now? It’s looking more and more like our “choices” will be between Hillary and Trump with a possible third-party option of Bloomberg. It’s like the joke says, choosing between this lot is like picking which venereal disease is right for me.

Obviously #1 was the plan all along, and they’ve finally succeeded.

Let Me Play You the Song of My People

Over at Quora one of the contributors is Chris Knox, son of Neal Knox, gunwriter and one of the original NRA “Cincinnati Revolution” members.  Chris is pretty active at Quora, but I had to share this one answer to the question What are the Basic Types of Gun Owner? (reproduced with permission)

Legal Gun Owner Types

The Tacticool (ooda orbus fictus)
Recognizable by his 5.11 tactical pants and shirt, and his IDPA “shoot me first” vest. Peppers his vocabulary with terms from Tacti-tard Trainer Buzzword Bingo.  His warrior mindset is completely wrapped up in his OODA loop. From his Oakley shades to his desert boots, this sheepdog is a genuine tier-one operator. A cynic might wonder if he might not move faster if he were to shed about fifty pounds.  See also Mall Ninja.

Statistics (Approximate)
Murders committed: 0
Robberies committed: 0
Assaults committed: 0

The Real Tactical (ooda orbus veritus)
What the Tacticool wishes he were. Has a part-time job as a weapons instructor for Special Forces. Nobody knows what he actually does for a living. Disappears for weeks at a time. Close reading of Foreignpolicy.com may reveal that a third-world government has fallen during that time.

Statistics (Approximate)
Murders committed: 0 (at least none that were unsanctioned)
Robberies committed: 0
Assaults committed: 0

The Fudd (vewwyus quietus)

Another gun owner type recognizable by clothing and branding on the pickup. Color stages alternate between tan, Realtree®, and blaze orange. May be found in a duck blind holding a Browning Auto-5 grumbling about “assault weapons” and suggesting they be banned. Variations may appear on trap, skeet or sporting clays fields, typically changing chokes on a shotgun with the action closed. The Fudd’s numbers have been in decline in recent years since a prime example of the species Jim Zumbo was discovered with an advanced case of foot-in-mouth disease.  Other factors in the declining numbers include the AR-15 dominating the firing line at Camp Perry where the Gravel-Bellied variety of the Fudd (see also v.q. sabulum) discovered that gun laws also affected his target rifle. 

​​Statistics (Approximate)
Murders committed: 0
Robberies committed: 0
Assaults committed: 0

The Reloading Oracle (oneratis iterum omnisciens)
Used to know a guy who knew Elmer Keith. Sits near the reloading counter of the local gun shop dispensing wisdom to anyone who will stand still long enough to receive it.  Has memorized maximum loads and velocities for every caliber from .218 Bee to .460 Rigby. Once went rabbit hunting.

Statistics (Approximate)
Murders committed: 0
Robberies committed: 0
Assaults committed: 0

The Tinkerer (munitor fucilis)
Owns one rifle. Has replaced every part except the receiver. Has worked up perfect loads for every target from prairie dogs to elk. Shoots all year round. Has replaced barrels because they were shot out.  Has several subgenera, including the Cheapskate Tinkerer (m.f. frugalis) whose one rifle is a Mosin-Nagant, the Tactical Tinkerer (m.f. militaris) whose one rifle is an AR15 in .300 Blackout, the Woodsman Tinkerer (m.f. exterus) whose one rifle is a 1963 Model 70 in .30-’06, and the Gravel-Bellied Tinkerer (m.f. sabulum) which gathers in large numbers at Camp Perry, Ohio every summer.

Statistics (Approximate)
Murders committed: 0
Robberies committed: 0
Assaults committed: 0

The Pistol Packin’ Parent (pater pistolus)
At one time believed extremely rare, this species has either become more common or less shy. Male of the species teaches the Eddie Eagle dance (Stop! Don’t touch! Leave the area! Tell an adult!) to random four-year-olds it encounters. Argues gun control with teachers.  Female does not display as much, but may be recognized by a thin-lipped smile when encountering its natural enemy, the Demanding Mom (mega mater confusus). Either gender can be extremely dangerous when offspring are threatened.

Statistics (Approximate)
Murders committed: 0
Robberies committed: 0
Assaults committed: 0

The Negligent Gun Owner (armatus negligencis)
Owns three guns. Or is it two? That’s right, his meth-head cousin “borrowed” that one pistol. Was it a revolver? Yes, thats it, owns two guns, a .22 rifle inherited from an uncle, and then bought the Glock after cousin took that one revolver. Wanted a gun in the house, especially after cousin’s friends started hanging out. Fired one clip (isn’t it called a clip?) and put it in the bedside table.  Pretty sure it’s there. Believes in the Second Amendment. Votes Democratic.

Statistics (Approximate)*
Murders committed: 0
Robberies committed: 0
Assaults committed: 0
*May be an unwitting accessory to criminal acts.

The Red-Necked Idiot (armatus imbecilis rosocollum)
Recognizable by its common call, “Hold my beer and watch this!” Similarities to the Negligent Gun Owner, may indicate inter-breeding with the Meth-Head Cousin (not a Legal Gun Owner).  The Red-Necked Idiot is often a transitory stage to a Prohibited Person under the U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968. Non-Gun Owners, particularly those native to the northern corners of the United States, frequently assume the a. negligencis and a.i. rosocollum are typical of the entire genus of Legal Gun Owner. This is particularly true if the Non-Gun Owner has been exposed to the works of Jesco White (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Je…).  To the contrary, the Red-Necked Idiot is fairly rare. Evolutionary forces keep the species in check. They can appear to be more common than they actually are due to the number that show up in YouTube videos doing stupid stuff. The attractive power of video to this species needs further research.

Accounts for a significant percentage of accidental (other Legal Gun Owners say “negligent”) injuries, but the overall rate of crime remains low. 

The Low-Information Gun Owner (armatus disinformatus)
Marked by a common call pattern rarely heard in other species:  “I own guns and I believe in the Second Amendment, but….”  What follows the “but” is usually proof that the the Low Information Gun Owner fails to understand either guns or the Second Amendment.  Was satisfied with the 1994 Clinton-Feinstein ban since it exempted his Ruger Mini-14 and Browning Auto-5 by name, even though his guns differed from guns that were banned only in cosmetic features.  Supports idea of “Universal Background Checks” while copying the phone number from the range bulletin board to look at a used .38 revolver for the house.  There is speculation that the Low-Information Gun Owner may be a transition stage to Ex-Gun Owner (armatus priorus).

Statistics (Approximate)
Murders committed: 0
Robberies committed: 0
Assaults committed: 0

The Libertarian Gun Nerd (cerebrum libertatem fucilis)
Interest in guns arises from from viewing the gun as an intellectual exercise. The original interest may have been sparked by a class in Newtonian Physics, or from reading political theory. Often works in a highly technical field, such as System Administration. As a sysadmin, the LGN may express as the Technical Thug (c.f. http://pages.swcp.com/~mccurley/humor/thug.html). Some Unix shops have been known to require that System Administrators own either a pickup or a gun, and preferably both.   The Libertarian Gun Nerd may be a transitory stage to some variety of Tinkerer, or possibly a Collector.  Factors determining the final stage are unknown.

Statistics (Approximate)
Murders committed: 0
Robberies committed: 0
Assaults committed: 0

The Collector (accumulus fucilis)
Similar in habits and life cycle to its close relative, the Coin (a. numismaticus), Stamp (a. philatelus), and Model Railroad (a. ferrovias) Collectors and similar creatures of the Collector genus. Virtually all are male, although they may sometimes be seen in the company of female-dominated Collector species such as Figurine Collectors (a. adorabilis). Whether and how the entire genus reproduces is unknown and, it appears, will remain so since no one wants to know. Many subspecies exist, breaking down to astounding levels of specialization. A few examples follow:

  • Smith & Wesson Revolver Collector (a.f. smithus cylindrus) Given a serial number and model, can tell from memory the date of manufacture. Knows whether the barrel was pinned, or whether the grip checkering forms a diamond around the grip screw. Subgroups exist around particular models (e.g. Model 29, Model 27). Similar groups exist for virtually every manufacturer, with subgroups around particular classes or models.
  • Colt Single Action Collector (a.f. monoactio)  Among the best-known members of this species was singer Mel Torme who once owned this piece:

  • Class III Collector (a.f. automaticus) Solely interested in automatic arms. Unlike many members of the Collector, is likely to shoot the guns in his collection.

The Stereotype Breakers (Genus stereotypicus rupturus)
Once rarely seen, but increasingly common, particularly in urban environments with a suitable habitat. Thrives in urban areas of Texas and Arizona, for example.  Long-established populations of gun owners have been known to react with suspicion, but have become more acclimated as environmental hazards to gun ownership have arisen.  Unlike traditional species of Gun Owners who come to guns through cultural and familial connections, Stereotype Breakers are often drawn to gun ownership by frequently unpleasant circumstances. 

Statistics (Approximate, for entire species and subspecies)
Murders committed: 0
Robberies committed: 0
Assaults committed: 0


  • The Black Man With A Gun (Title borrowed from my friend, podcaster and very cool guy, Kenn Blanchard, the real Black Man With A Gun™.  Before Colion Noir there was Kenn) (s. r. souljus) Many early gun control laws originated as Black Codes in the post-Reconstruction South. As the learned justices of the Supreme Court wrote in the infamous Dredd Scott decision, giving African-Americans full citizenship would, among other things give them the right to “keep and carry arms wherever they went.” It was to prevent just that horror that the Court ruled that Mr. Scott had no standing to sue his master in a free state. Rural African-Americans have long been hunters.  Martin Luther King was refused a Concealed Carry License.  Contrast that with the fact that in recent years an increasingly affluent urban middle class has become common in the once lily-white confines of the shooting clubhouse. Of course, no one said anything to Sammy Davis Junior:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6aNzFYHyz8?rel=0&showinfo=0]

  • The Gay Gunner (s.r. queeribus) The derogatory term faggot comes from the ancient sport of burning gay men at the stake. In other words, gay bashing is nothing new. Like other members of the Stereotype Breakers genus, the Gay Gunner may have been unexpectedly common for years. Often congregate in gregarious flocks such as Pink Pistols. May be a closeted Republican. Marriage equality is nice and all, but self-defense trumps in the privacy of the voting booth.
  • The Single Lady (s.r. unafemina) Her interest in guns arises from a relationship with the wrong guy. Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety was so concerned about her plight they had a video made where an abusive ex kicks in a door to threaten a woman and child:

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUAL6ie1ufc?rel=0&showinfo=0]
    Police dispatcher asks whether she has a restraining order.  Yes, but he’s continuing to break the door down.  Rather than get another order, or as Everytown suggests, calling a senator, Single Lady gets a gun and takes a class. Then more classes. Then more classes. She now shoots competition IDPA and USPSA. Her formerly-threatening ex has left town.

It’s still a work in progress, but unquestionably accurate so far.

All Right, It’s Cruz

Thomas Sowell has endorsed Ted Cruz:

The vacancy created on the Supreme Court makes painfully clear the huge stakes involved when we choose a President of the United States, just one of whose many powers is the power to nominate justices of the Supreme Court.

Justice Scalia’s passing would be a great loss at any time. But at this crucial juncture in the history of the nation — with 5-to-4 Supreme Court decisions determining what kind of country America will be — Scalia’s death can be catastrophic in its consequences, depending on who is chosen to be his successor.

Given the advanced ages of other justices, the next president is likely to have enough vacancies to fill to be able to shape the future of the court that helps shape the future of America.

Senator Ted Cruz has been criticized in this column before, and will undoubtedly be criticized here again. But we can only make our choices among those actually available, and Senator Cruz is the one who comes to mind when depth and steadfastness come to mind.

As someone who once clerked for a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he will know how important choosing Justice Scalia’s replacement will be. And he has the intellect to understand much more.

Can’t argue with any of that. Cruz it is.

Let’s hope the Spineless Senate can hold out until after the election.

RIP Justice Scalia

Antonin Scalia, the last Justice of the Supreme Court to receive a unanimous approval from the Senate, has died.  While I have not always agreed with his decisions, he was one of the very few practicing Originalists on the Court, and his dissents were exceptionally clear, concise and (more to the point) precise.

Take, for example, his dissent in King v. Burwell:

This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits. You would think the answer would be obvious—so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it. In order to receive any money under §36B, an individual must enroll in an insurance plan through an “Exchange established by the State.” The Secretary of Health and Human Services is not a State. So an Exchange established by the Secretary is not an Exchange established by the State—which means people who buy health insurance through such an Exchange get no money under §36B.

Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words “established by the State.” And it is hard to come up with a reason to include the words “by the State” other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges. “[T]he plain, obvious, and rational meaning of a statute is always to be preferred to any curious, narrow, hidden sense that nothing but the exigency of a hard case and the ingenuity and study of an acute and powerful intellect would discover.” Lynch v. Alworth-Stephens Co., 267 U. S. 364, 370 (1925) (internal quotation marks omitted). Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.

We’ve lost one of the five votes that prevailed in Heller and McDonald, and now Obama gets to appoint his successor.

I guess we get to see how much spine the Republican majority in the Senate has.

Oh, wait….
 photo spineless.gif

RIP, Tony.  Thanks for everything you did.

Wait, There’s an Ammo Possession Limit in NY?

Gun nut kept small arsenal at Queens home (There’s a neutral headline! Agenda? What agenda?)

A 33-year-old gun enthusiast in Queens was busted for keeping a small arsenal of weapons — and a couple hundred pounds of gunpowder — after neighbors alerted cops that he was receiving large deliveries of firearms, police said Tuesday.

Guo Shou, 33, was arrested in Flushing Monday evening after cops responded to calls from neighbors and found illegal items that included 30,000 rounds of ammo and 225 pounds of gunpowder in plastic containers, police said.

Shou, who lives at 6560 Weatherole St., had three high-power magazines of ammo, an AR-10 and an AR-15 rifle. The guns are legal and he is a licensed gun owner, but the ammo exceeded the limit of what’s legal.

WTF? When did that get regulated?  Or is this just another example of Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, because neither the reporter nor the editors know anything about what they’re reporting on?

I know which way I’m betting.  He’s in violation of fire codes for the powder, probably.

“American Healthcare is All Over But the Screaming”

I’ve covered the Obamacare debacle here at TSM for quite a while, with the earliest post on the topic being Multiply by the Zip Code from 2009, and going on from there. The “Primum, Non Nocere” (First, do no harm) T-shirts (2010) are still available, too.

In 2013 I reviewed some Obamacare Predictions. A bit later in the year, the GeekWithA.45 provided post materials with a comment on the state of the healthcare industry. His conclusion: American healthcare is all over but the screaming.

Obamacare survived not one, but two Supreme Court challenges that were decided on the basis of – well, let Antonin Scalia say it, from his scathing dissent to King v. Burwell:

Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.

But it cannot be saved from itself.

Investors Business Daily reports this week:

Aetna Joins Growing Chorus Warning About ObamaCare Failing

A chorus, I’m sure, that has about as many members as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at this point. IBD reports:

ObamaCare was supposed to be on a roll by now, promising 20 million signing up, low cost and stable premiums. Turns out it’s on a roll all right. It’s rolling towards the cliff.

Insurance giant Aetna (AET) has joined a growing number of insurers warning that the ObamaCare exchanges are failing in just the way critics said they would. (My emphasis – Ed.) This year’s anemic enrollment won’t help.

This week, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini warned that “we continue to have serious concerns about the sustainability of the public exchanges.” Aetna lost more than $100 million last year on the 750,000 enrollees it has through ObamaCare exchanges.

Bertolini’s warning comes after UnitedHealth Group (UNH) announced that it might pull out of ObamaCare entirely next year, after getting hit with a $475 million loss in 2015. It expects to lose another $500 million this year. Last fall, CEO Stephen Hemsley said that “we can’t really subsidize a marketplace that doesn’t appear at the moment to be sustaining itself.” That, he said, “basically is an industry-wide proposition.”

Now, refer back to the GeekWithA.45’s comment from 2013, where he said:

Coming off my yearly engagement with the think tanks, I’ve heard, for the first time, a series of data points coming from hospital CEOs that add up to one thing: the admission that exercising a hospital’s primary function is no longer a source of value and revenue, it is viewed as entirely cost, risk, and liability. Consequently, they are no longer building any capacity, and are in fact looking for ways to reduce their capacity and eliminate hospital beds.

The aging boomers are gonna love that when it comes home to roost.

Again, I think it bears repeating: the healthcare industry now views exercising its particular expertise and primary function as primarily a source of cost, risk, and liability.

That, as they say, isn’t sustainable.

Reality is what exists even when you stop believing in it.

But the Affordable Care Act must be saved!