Monday, November 29, 2021

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 178: The Return of the Queen


In This Episode

Erin's back, and she brings good news!

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss the trials and verdicts of Kyle Rittenhouse, Ahmaud Arbery, and Andrew Coffee IV.
  • Steve reflects on the Rust homicide by comparing it with his own experience on the set of Strain 100, another movie with gunplay.

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Show Notes

Monday, November 22, 2021

Clarification. It's a Beautiful Thing.

I've received an immense amount of pushback from some people regarding the Operation Blazing Sword - Pink Pistols press release on the Rittenhouse verdict. This is disappointing, as I took great pains to make the statement as neutral as possible regarding Rittenhouse himself and focus solely on the gun rights aspect of the case. 

I stand by my assertions that if Rittenhouse had been convicted, ADA Binger's position of "You were armed, therefore you deserve violence upon your person" may well have taken root and destroyed what we have left of the right to keep and bear arms. Pink Pistols cannot perform its function if using a weapon for self-defense automatically negates your right to self-defense, and it is for that reason we agree with the court. 

Once the argument of "You aren't allowed to defend yourself" has been accepted by the courts, it doesn't matter your political affiliation, race, sex, religion, disability, or anything else; that charge will be used against you. 

You are either for self defense or you are not. There is no grey area.

On a related note, there are an astonishing number of people who cannot wrap their heads around the concept that there can be an overlap between behavior that is "Perfectly legal/Well within your rights" and behavior that is "Ill-advised/Self-endangering."

It is perfectly legal for me to dress up in a skimpy bikini with $100 bills stuffed into it and totter down the sidewalks of a rough neighborhood in stiletto heels after midnight. I have every right to do that. However, this also puts me in significant danger of assault, theft, robbery, etc.

Now, if I am assaulted/robbed/etc, it's the fault of the criminals. It's not my fault, because a crime needs a criminal to commit it: no criminal, no crime. It's not my fault because even if I'm not there, the criminal may decide to prey upon someone else. But doing such a thing proved to be ill-advised and self-endangering, because I increased my chances of becoming a victim happening by making myself an easy, enticing target. 

Similarly, Kyle Rittenhouse being in Kenosha, openly carrying a rifle while trying to protect businesses and stop fires and offer medical treatment, was perfectly legal. He had every right to be there doing those things. (If you doubt that, look at what the court ruled.) It was also ill-advised of him to do so, and it put him in significant danger. He will be forever scarred by this, and the repercussions will follow him all the days of his life. 

And it wasn't his fault, because we have footage showing he was attacked first every time. However, he made himself a tempting target, because he looked like a vulnerable child with a valuable gun. If he hadn't been there, then other crimes would have happened; they just wouldn't have happened to him.

It astounds me that there are people who can't grasp this concept that just because something is ill-advised doesn't automatically make it illegal. If everything dangerous was made illegal, we would have no police, no firefighters, and no military. 

Your head is there for more than just decoration. Please use it. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Press Release: the Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict



DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA (20 November, 2021):

On Friday, 19 November 2021, the jury of the Kyle Rittenhouse self-defense case in Kenosha, Wisconsin returned a verdict of Not Guilty on all counts.

This case was more than a simple matter of “Was it legitimate self-defense or was it murder?” On trial beside Mr. Rittenhouse was the right of all citizens in the United States to lawfully carry firearms for the purpose of self-defense. The prosecution built a case which claimed that carrying a weapon constituted an automatic provocation of whatever violence was perpetrated upon Mr. Rittenhouse; had he been convicted, then those of us who lawfully carry weapons for protection could one day find ourselves on trial with the prosecution claiming that being armed somehow negates our right to self-defense. It is gratifying that the jury saw the implied indictment and removed that prosecutorial theory from any consideration.

It is the mission of Operation Blazing Sword - Pink Pistols to promote lawful self-defense with legally owned and carried firearms, and such a miscarriage of justice would have resulted in yet more violations of the Constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. Our position is that gun rights are queer rights because guns in the hands of queer people protect queer lives, and therefore any law which seeks to prevent us from carrying a gun for self-defense is anti-queer and a threat to our lives.

Operation Blazing Sword - Pink Pistols strongly encourages anyone who wishes to exercise their right to keep and bear arms to seek out as much firearm education and training as they can manage, for alongside that right comes the responsibility to use that right correctly and within the law, including the legal requirements for self-defense. To that end, Operation Blazing Sword maintains a database of over 1400 queer-friendly firearm volunteer educators in every state of the USA.

Operation Blazing Sword, Inc. is a grass-roots 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping queer people become responsible firearm owners through volunteer education.

Pink Pistols, a division of Operation Blazing Sword, is dedicated to the legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the gender and sexual minority community.


Media Contact:   
Erin Palette

Monday, October 11, 2021

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 173: NRA Lawsuit 101 with Professor Capanna


In This Episode
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss Smith & Wesson's departure from Massachusetts after 196 years, and then analyze The Trace's softball interview of David Chipman.
  • Paloma Capanna comprehensively dissects the New York Lawsuit against the NRA. For the first time ever, all of the elements are laid out clearly and in order for all to see!

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Show Notes

Monday, October 4, 2021

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 172: All the News is Awful


In This Episode
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss the line item in the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) which contains an ERPO (red flag) law against military personnel, and California's sharing of gun owner private data with any university that wants it;
  • Xander brings us his Interdependent Thoughts on gun safety for kids;
  • and Weer'd fisks a CNN Interview with the director of the gun-prohibitionist  documentary The Price of Freedom.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Sunday, October 3, 2021

A Booby Trap

I was hit with this challenge by my friend Adrian, so here's my best shot. 

Let's be up front about things which were always up and in front: she had a large bosom, she knew its effect on people, and she dressed to use it to her advantage. But that was not the extent of her character; those who could pry their eyes away from her inviting cleavage could see the quirk of amusement upon her delicate mouth and the gleam of judgement within her deep brown eyes. Her unruly black hair fell past her shoulders in long waves, and her fresh face and fair complexion suggested youth and naiveté in exactly the same way that the lair of a trapdoor spider suggests a lovely, harmless place to spend time. She was a huntress, and what she hunted were those who couldn't see the woman for the boobs.

You can't ignore that cleavage, and trying to do so would be disingenuous. But that expression of hers tells me that she's up to something, so I imagine she's smarter than she (deliberately) appears to be, and when she goes on dates she tries to figure out what kind of person she's with is. She wants you to look... but if you look for too long, you've failed her test. 

It is, quite literally, a booby trap. ;)

Thursday, September 30, 2021

My Toons, Let Me Show You Them: Palette

Wow, I can't believe I've never talked about my first level 50 on City of Heroes, my namesake Palette. 

She wasn't my first character, but she was the first character I played as me, i.e. she was the character I made when I gave myself permission to explore the possibility that I was transgender. "I'll make and play a girl character," I told myself, "and see how long it takes for someone to accuse me of being a guy."

That never happened, of course, and that's how I'm here today. It just seemed fitting, then, that I honor her by taking part of her name as my own for my new life. 

I am really, really pleased with how this came out. 

Her biography is a lot more simple than some of my other characters, partly because I created her when there was a much shorter word count allowed and partly because I was still learning to write well. Still, I think I captured the spirit of the Mighty Marvel Capsule History:
A bohemian artist of the surrealist style, Sarah McLughan was accidentally sucked into one of her own painted landscapes. She soon realized that her paintings were, in fact, mental gateways to other dimensions, though she isn't sure if she creates a new world each time she paints, or if her paintings come from clairvoyant visions. She now uses her connection to the realms of chaos to disorient criminals by scrambling their senses with synesthesia.

Oh, and her art? A critic once described it as "A cross between Dali and Escher, on an acid trip." Sales are good. 
If you know me and you know my taste in fiction, you can instantly see an homage to the Chronicles of Amber and their use of tarot-esque cards to travel between dimensions. This doesn't mean that Palette was specifically an Amberite... but I wasn't ruling it out, either. I wanted to keep things open-ended. 

Later on, my character discovered the Shadow Shard, a land of illusion, and I thought "Hey, maybe Palette's from there." Then the game introduced Praetorian content, and I liked the highly magical vibe of Night Ward, and... well, you get the idea. I went through a bunch of origins for her, and none of them felt especially right... or especially wrong, either. 

At this point, I enjoy and embrace the ambiguity. It seems fitting, and it mirrored my quest to get her costume right. Not "just right", but merely "right". Oh, my original concepts were horrible. No, I don't have them saved, they were that bad. I was trying to make her costume represent synesthesia, and that just didn't work out at all. Eventually I just went with pink and purple, because 1) pink and purple and Palette are all p words, and 2) the colors matched that of her powers (this was long before the game allowed us to customize the colors of our powers).

For those curious, her main powerset is Illusion Control, which is explained in the game as "You can manipulate light and sound to manifest all sorts of Illusions, aiding your allies as well as deceiving your foes," but I always imagined her powers as "Synesthesia, but cranked up to 11."  

With regular synesthesia, your senses are cross-connected, such that numbers have colors or sounds have tastes. This is a quirky bit of neurology, but to my knowledge people with synesthesia don't suffer from it. 

BUT! Imagine if it were to come upon you unawares, strong and sudden, while you were trying to do something highly stressful like, I dunno, rob a bank or something. Suddenly the sound of the bank alarm is generating flashes of light which obstruct your vision, and the tastes of all the differently-colored numbers turns your stomach, and the screams of the bank tellers makes your skin feel like it's on fire. I imagine it would be terribly disorienting and painful to have your senses amplified and cross-connected in a manner which you couldn't process. You'd probably fall down and curl into a twitching ball. 

That's why I made her an illusion controller, and that's why I named her Palette: because of the palette of colors, sounds, and sensations she had at her disposal. She's a strange hero, and quirky in the fine tradition of B-class heroes (more quirky than The Question, less quirky than Ambush Bug) and I like her just the way she is. 

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