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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Three-Line Rifle: Background on Russian Monster Control

If you've read my latest installment of Three-Line Rifle, you no doubt noticed that Grisha talked about an old KGB unit called the 13th Division. I didn't go into great detail about what it was or how it worked because it would have interrupted the flow of the story, but I can certainly talk about it in this blog post.

Not Bronia. But possibly her mother?
Model: Red McCord. Photo: Oleg Volk

Back in the Soviet era, the KGB was organized into Chief Directorates. There were at least 16 of them at one point, but I don't have all their names. Here are the first nine:
  1. First Chief Directorate (Foreign Operations) – foreign espionage.
  2. Second Chief Directorate – counter-intelligence, internal political control.
  3. Third Chief Directorate (Armed Forces) – military counter-intelligence and armed forces political surveillance.
  4. Fourth Directorate (Transportation security)
  5. Fifth Chief Directorate – censorship and internal security against artistic, political, and religious dissension.
  6. Sixth Directorate (Economic Counter-intelligence, industrial security)
  7. Seventh Directorate (Surveillance) – of Soviet nationals and foreigners.
  8. Eighth Chief Directorate – monitored/managed national, foreign, and overseas communications, cryptologic equipment, and research and development.
  9. Ninth Directorate (Guards and KGB Protection Service) – uniformed bodyguard for Party leaders and families, guarded critical government installations (nuclear weapons, etc.), operated the Moscow VIP subway, and secure Government–Party telephony. 
Given that I'm looking for a Russian version of the Monster Control Bureau from Larry Corriea's Monster Hunter International series (I did mention that Three-Line Rifle is glorified fanfic, yeah?), the Fifth Chief Directorate's censorship of religion and cracking down on dissidents is the perfect spot to place a Soviet MCB. 

The 15th Division (sometimes translated as "direction") of the 5th Directorate was tasked with “identifying and stopping manifestations that tend to develop into politically harmful groupings that encourage the enemy to conduct ideological sabotage against the USSR”. To me that sounds like bureacrat-ese for "We investigate cults and supernatural creatures and we kill them."

During the Soviet era, that's all that was needed -- the KGB would kill the monsters and the cultists, and the witnesses would either be killed or sent off to the gulag unless they were high up in the Party. But after the Yeltsin reforms, the KGB lost its power due to the collapse of the communist state, and with the rise of capitalism and Russian gangsters came people to fill the gaps left by the government -- many of whom were ex-KGB in their own right. 

At first, these monster hunters were criminals who frequently worked with, or for, or were Russian mafia. As those who didn't die became more efficient, they were seen as vigilantes by the people: heroic warriors against evil who nonetheless were persecuted by the government. Finally, as their success grew (and the government showed itself unable to do its own job), they were recognized as a necessary evil and became legitimate government contractors. 
These days there are Russian hunter teams in every major city. 

Government sanction of hunters has made life considerable easier for the FSB (the successor to the KGB). They only have to identify existential threats to the state, eliminate them, and of course perpetuate cover-ups in order to prevent the populace from learning the truth and panicking. What was once the 13th Division has become the Directorate for Issues Relating to Monsters, aka the Monster Directorate, aka Directorate Ч.* 

Under the Monster Directorate are discrete sections: one for investigation, one for elimination (strike teams), one for research, one for witness suppression, and so forth. I haven't named those yet, and may never need to. 


* Pronounced "chuh", Ч is the Russian letter Ch and is the first letter of the word Чудовище, which is translated as Chudovishche and means "monster".  So if you see the words "Directorate Ч", make sure you pronounce it "Directorate Chuh"!

Monday, November 12, 2018

ACP Episode 031: Election Trepanation


In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d muse over the mid-term elections;
  • Oddball discusses knife sharpening and its associated equipment;
  • Weer'd fisks some audio that is nothing but anti-gun boilerplate;
  • David gives his reflections on the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting;
  • and Steve gives us his House Dick origin story in Tales from the Trunk.

Listen to the episode here.

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

Main Topic
Oddball's Corner Pocket
Weer'd Audio Fisk

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Three-Line Rifle, Part 7

A few drinks later...

“How is that even possible?” Grisha asked, refilling my class. “The 588th Night Bomber Regiment wasn’t formed until 1942, and there’s just no way that your great-grandmother could have flown with them if she was at home looking after your mother while your grandmother fought alongside Moldagulova.”

“I keep telling you, Baba Praskovya flew with the Night Witches in 1917! Just because the Germans called called the 588th ‘Nachthexen’ doesn’t mean that there wasn’t another unit called the Night Witches 30 years earlier!”

He tsked at me. “I think your prababushka has been telling you tales, Bronia.”

“I’ll take you home with me and you can tell her that yourself. Maybe she’ll let me keep you as a pet when she turns you into a nightingale.” I winked wickedly as I tossed back another shot.



Monday, November 5, 2018

ACP Episode 030: Third Rail Topics


In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss how some people on the internet are butthurt about the Line in the Sand Open Carry Event;
  • Weer'd brings us an interview with Jay Grazio of Shooting Illustrated to talk about how he went from being a blogger to a professional gun writer;
  • David touches the third rail and discusses the Caliber Wars;
  • and Oddball brings us some dos and don'ts on Knife Maintenance.

Listen to the episode here.

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, our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks, and eligibility for our giveaway of a Hammond Cruiser folding knife by CRKT!


Show Notes:

Main Topic
Interview
Gun Lovers and Other Strangers
Oddball

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Things I've Done Recently

Last Sunday, I was a guest on Eye on the Target Radio with Amanda Suffecool. My segment begins at the 28 minute mark.


powered by podcast garden



This past Wednesday I was a guest on Gun Freedom Radio with Cheryl Todd. My segment begins at the 30 minute mark.




On Friday, the VICE News segment about the Concealed Carry Fashion Show at GRPC made its official YouTube debut. The comments are, as expected, toxic in the extreme.



I think it's a telling condemnation of the site that someone has gone to the effort to code an extension for both Chrome and Firefox that replaces the comments with "herp derp".


And finally, here's something I recorded (I guess you'd call it an audio blog?) Halloween night, after I'd seen the plastic surgeon for a follow-up about my face. I'm going to warn you, I wasn't in a good place when I recorded it.

I put it on Patreon because I prefer its media player to that of Blogger, but anyone can listen for free.

Monday, October 29, 2018

ACP Episode 029: Open Carry to Catch Some Amberjacks


In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss the recent Open Carry event in Miami and the new political trend of anti-gun politicians concealing their anti-gun views;
  • Lara Smith tells us about  the Liberal Gun Club in part of her interview;
  • David brings us his observations on how the wishes of gun owners change from location to location;
  • Oddball tells us about Damascus and pattern welded steel;
  • and Weer'd brings us an audio fisk on the sad subject of suicide and how the anti-gunners attempt to exploit it for political gains.

Listen to the episode here.

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, our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks, and eligibility for our giveaway of a Hammond Cruiser folding knife by CRKT!


Show Notes:

Main Topic
Lara Smith Interview
Weer’d Audio Fisk

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Pathfinder RPG: Standing Up in Combat Without Dying

I don't know about you folks, but in my Pathfinder games there are certain PCs who are regularly reduced to zero hit points or less, then receive healing (usually some channeled positive energy from the cleric) and then want to stand up.

Unfortunately, standing up in combat provokes an Attack of Opportunity from everything that threatens your location, and since you're prone, you get a -4 to your AC to be hit by said threatening things (a generous GM might reduce that to a -2 because the act of standing means you aren't fully prone, but neither are you completely vertical). Heck, you can't even crawl away, because crawling also provokes AoOs.

So the question is, "What can a player have his character do so they aren't just sitting ducks when they're prone-but-conscious in a fight?"

I thought about it for a bit and came up with three tactics. The first technique is 100% within both the letter and spirit of the rules, so it can used in any sanctioned gameplay; the second is legal to the letter of the rules, but some people might argue that it's against the spirit of the rules to Withdraw at a crawl; and the third is legal within the spirit of the rules, but isn't technically Rules As Written.


Total Defense Technique
  1. Become conscious, either through healing or stabilization roll. 
  2. While still prone (-4 AC), use your standard action to adopt Total Defense (+4 AC). 
  3. Use your move action to stand up. 
Benefit: Attacks of Opportunity still happen, but your AC isn't penalized. 100% legal within both letter and spirit of rules.


The Combat Crawl
  1. Become conscious, either through healing or stabilization roll. 
  2. While still prone, use the full-round Withdraw action. You no longer suffer Attacks of Opportunity from opponents who threaten your starting square. 
  3. Crawling while prone is 5' as a move action. Withdrawing is a full-turn action that doubles your speed, meaning you can crawl at 10' as a withdrawal. 
Benefit: Gets squishy PCs out of the fight in a hurry. Just be careful of your path, because you can still get AoD'd along your path!


Acro Like a Mofo
  1. Become conscious, either through healing or stabilization roll. 
  2. Roll Acrobatics to tumble out of the square without provoking an Attack of Opportunity, with the DC determined by the "Move Through Threatened Squares" table. 
  3. Stand up in a non-threatened square OR add +5 to DC to stand up at then end of you tumble. 
Benefit: A great way for high-Dex PCs to get back into the fight without having to burn their Standard Action. Tumble and attack!


If you'd like to print out a copy of these rules, there's a handy button right below these words that will enable you to print it out or turn it into a PDF.

Have fun, and don't die!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

GRPC Concealed Carry Fashion Show 2018

Just like last year, this year I was invited to participate in the Concealed Carry Fashion Show at GRPC by Amanda Suffecool.

My personal thoughts on being asked were "Amanda, I think you're crazy because I'm not at all attractive or fashionable, but if you really want me then I'll do it as a favor to you." And she really wanted me, so I did it.

Unlike last year, there was a camera crew from Vice News to film us. They also wanted a sit-down interview with all of the participants. They talked to me for about 45 minutes.

.. which became 30 seconds of television. This is, unfortunately, about standard for these sorts of things. I remember back in 2016 when I talked to the BBC for hours about gun rights and it was reduced to about 3 minutes.

Anyway, here's me. The quality is crappy because Vice News is HBO-only and a friend recorded the screen so that those of us without HBO could see it.

I'm told that Vice will eventually upload their segment to YouTube. When that happens, I'll take down my crappy video and embed theirs instead.



I've been asked for details on the shirt I was modeling. It's a Panaca from Silver State Apparel. As you can see from the video, I was able to conceal a full-size 1911 inside it. There are pockets on either side for you sinister folks and/or if you wanted to carry two pistols.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Action Movie Physics

As teased in this post, the Action Movie Physics RPG is published and available for purchase at RPGNow and DriveThroughRPG!  Please use those links; they have my affiliate ID on them and that gets me a little percentage of each purchase.

Only $14.99! 

My main contribution to this book was bringing my knowledge of firearms and firearm accessories to the game. I don't claim to be an expert, but I knew more about guns than anyone else in the development group, and most importantly I spoke both languages (role-playing game mechanics and firearm details).

There are, of course, going to be things to quibble about, the most obvious is that of Rate of Fire. What you need to keep in mind is that per these rules, PCs can only shoot a maximum of three times per round (each round is 5 seconds), so I went with the Hollywood-ism that semi-autos shoot more quickly than revolvers. I adjusted for this by having revolvers be more reliable. For full-auto guns, I derived the ammo spent via burst fire by dividing the cyclic rate by 60 to get a 1-second trigger squeeze. It's a rough approximation, but I think it works.

Magazines are another issue; I know there are all sorts of wacky things out there, like 100-round Beta-C drums. I decided to go with what was most common, deferring to military standard if possible.

So in short, I know it won't be perfect. There's no way to perfectly model real life in a game, mainly because real life has too many variables to account for. My main goals were to ensure that the firearms rules were fun and playable and didn't set off the BS detectors of gun owners. I hope I succeeded in that respect.

There's already a Facebook discussion group for AMP. Buy the game, join the group, and tell us what you think! If there's demand I'll probably be asked to contribute more to future supplements, like Old West or Roaring 20s or a Military sourcebook.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

My Appearance on This Week in Guns

I was a guest on another firearms podcast!

Wait... is it a podcast if it's on YouTube and had video?

Whatever. Give a listen; you'll get to hear me talking about the passing of Doug "Krikket" Krick, how England defines murders differently than America, and of course my attendance at the Line in the Sand event in South Miami.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Pink Pistols Founder Doug Krick Passes

My sympathies go out to the Krick family for their loss. May Krikket find the the peace that so long eluded him in life. 


Monday, October 22, 2018

ACP Episode 028: Salt, Steel, and Spurious Statistics


In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d explore an article which disputes the the validity of the CDC's rising numbers for gun violence in America... from Michael Bloomberg's The Trace;
  • Weer'd interviews Lara Smith of the Liberal Gun Club to discuss the not-so-mythical liberal gun owner and how important diversity is in the Second Amendment fight;
  • the General Purpose Egghead gives us another segment on the penny stove, this time  talking about on how to use one, some accessories for one that are useful, and fuels for it;
  • and friend of the show Oddball felt called out to do a segment on what knife steels are good and what to avoid.

Listen to the episode here.

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, our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks, and eligibility for our giveaway of a Hammond Cruiser folding knife by CRKT!


Show Notes:

Main Topic
General Purpose Egghead
Oddball

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Line in the Sand: How it Went

In a word: great. The worst thing that happened was that I got a little sunburned.


There were lots of police at first, visible as we walked through the park and then onto the pier itself, but the only hassling they did was demanding to see a valid fishing license when someone who was visibly armed got out of their car. That didn't really bother me, since the law does state that you can OC while going to or coming from fishing, and in order to fish in Florida you need a valid licence. So it was annoying in the sense that "Papers, please" is annoying, but it's no less reasonable than a cop asking to see your driver's license after you've been pulled over for speeding. 

Walking up to the pier, though, there was another uniformed officer with a bag full of lollipops that he offered to us while saying "Hey guys, did you bring a pole for me?"  I thought this was brilliant, because if he'd said straight out "I've got no problem with you being here" then that might get him in trouble at work, but his actions nevertheless indicated that he was 100% comfortable with us being there and didn't see us as trouble. 

The rest of the day passed without incident. I'd say about 90% of the people simply didn't give a damn one way or the other; I saw parents with small children  walking up and down the pier, obviously not worried about us. The other 10% was evenly split between people asking what we were doing (many of them foreigners on vacation and wondering why we had guns when we were fishing), and people who were clearly offended we were there and taking our pictures in an attempt to, I dunno, shame us or something?

Truly, the most disappointing thing that happened is that no one from any of the Florida Pink Pistol chapter, not even the one in Fort Lauderdale, showed up to meet me. 

The media did an okay job of covering us, which is surprising given this pearl-clutching article written about the event by the Miami New Times the day before the event. I expected a hack job, but because we are all law-abiding folks there was nothing sensational to write about (color me shocked, shocked I say that the MNT didn't write a follow-up about the event), so most media outlets just used an Associated Press article that went out on the wire. I say that because I've seen multiple networks using the same footage and saying the same thing; for example, here's an article on WPTV, a West Palm Beach channel, and here's the same article (only with fewer pictures and a different video format) from WFLA in Tampa.

Did you spot me in the video? I was in the frame from 00:24 to 00:31.

No? Here's the video again (no sound until the end):



Still didn't see me? Here's a picture:
Does this freedom make my butt look big?
Here's a neat photo taken shortly after.
What's interesting is that the fellow with the scoped and drum-fed M14
not only lives in my home town but also went to my old high school.

Finally, for those of you want to see as much of it as possible, here's three hours of livestream (the entire event was 4 hours and some change).



Monday, October 15, 2018

ACP Episode 027: Sweeping the Streets in a Ninja Wagon with a Penny Stove


In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss proper glassware for liquor; media attention on the Operation Blazing Sword - Pink Pistols merger; and how the Armsel Striker/ Cobray Street Sweeper's pop culture status doesn't match up with its real world performance.
  • Weer'd brings us another interview with Laura Carno of FASTER Colorado,  this time discussing her role in the historic 2013 Colorado Recall Elections.
  • The General Purpose Egghead describes a simple, effective, and inexpensive piece of prepper kit: Penny Stove.
  • In Gun Lovers and Other Strangers, David explains what happens when people's cultural views on guns doesn't reflect reality.
  • The ACP House Dick is back, and so is his Ninja Wagon!  Steven gives us an after action report on what caused the accident and he wants in a vehicle as a private detective.

Listen to the episode here.

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, our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks, and eligibility for our giveaway of a Hammond Cruiser folding knife by CRKT!


Show Notes:

Main Topic
Egghead
Gun Lovers and Other Strangers

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Line in the Sand: October 20


I've mentioned this before on social media, but this is the first time I've mentioned it here (sorry!):  I will be attending the Line in the Sand event (it's not a march or a protest, because that would require permits, so this is just an informal gathering) in Miami next Saturday, October 20.

We'll meet up at the 12th Street Garage at 10:30 am. After a quick flag raising and Pledge of Allegiance in front of the Miami Beach Police Department, we'll take a nice stroll down 10th or 11th St (Road construction dependent) and then head East onto Ocean Drive, continuing on along the beautiful beach to the South Pointe Pier where we will fish, relax, and enjoy some Liberty and Freedom.


If you plan to Open Carry (and don't feel like you must -- many of us won't be!), then you absolutely need to have the following:
  • Valid Florida shoreline fishing license (available for free at any WalMart sporting section) 
  • Fishing pole
  • Handgun in a secure holster or slung long gun.
Florida Carry's lawyer, Eric Friday, will be present just in case the police decide to get nasty.

I hope to see you there!



Saturday, October 13, 2018

My Appearance on Rifleman Roundtable Ep 2

Last night I recorded an episode of Rifleman Roundtable with Matt and Heinrich (2/3 of the Geeks, Gadgets and Guns gentlemen) and it's already been published!

Listen on the embedded player below, or go to their webpage to download it.



RR 2 Big Tent 2A - This week the roundtable consists of Matt, Heinrich, and Erin Palette. Discussing news of the week and expanding gun rights in the LQBT community.

Show Notes

Friday, October 12, 2018

What I've Been Up To Lately

Hey all, sorry I've been distant for the past few weeks. I've been exceptionally busy with both the new job (HBIC of Pink Pistols) and with a writing gig that I've only recently finished. So let's talk about this stuff!

Pink Pistols Merger
It took a while for the media machine to pick up on it (apparently publishing a press release makes things a lot more newsworthy) but I've gotten some very good press thanks to Jacki Billings' Guns.com article, to which a lot of other sites linked. Other positive press has come from John Boch's article on TTAG and Joseph Albanese's article on Range 365.

Most notable (and surprising!) was Dana Loesch mentioning us in a segment of Relentless this past Monday.



I was a bit surprised that my name wasn't mentioned at all in the entire segment, but I'm thrilled that my friend Nicki Stallard  is finally getting recognized for her hard work. Yay Nicki!

There were of course the usual internet trolls posting the usual playground insults, but to hell with them. I'm awesome, and they're not.

Writing Gig
A friend of mine is making an action movie role-playing game called Action Movie Physics and once again, I got a job because I have my feet in two separate camps and speak the language of each.



My friend wanted to know "What guns would you consider absolutely essential for an RPG based on Hollywood action movies?" and let's just say that I responded quite thoroughly, listing not just names but their calibers and why I included them. From there I ended up saying "You know, people might not know what these guns are. You should probably have capsule descriptions of them, so they know that the Glock 17 is what most police use and that the WW2 pistol is the 1911." He thought that was a great idea, so I ended up writing those descriptions for him in my usual informative-yet-quirky style.

Now that could have been it, but no. Oh no. You see, since I speak role-playing game, I noticed that some of the stats of the guns were odd and others were just wrong (for example, there was some confusion between the Glock 17 and 19, and the Saiga-12 wasn't even in the book). As it turns out, out of all the writers and the playtesters I have the most experience with firearms -- again, I'm probably not the best choice, but I'm the person who is there and who speaks the lingo of both camps -- and so I ended up researching the various guns to make sure the game mechanics reflected them as accurately as possible. I ended up doing about twice the work I was asked to do, but I take pride in my work and I wanted this game to be as accurate as possible while still being sufficiently  action-movie Hollywood style.

Which is to say "If you notice some oddities, it's probably because we're trying to model movie physics rather than real life." Hopefully my contribution helps the game avoid the really dumb Hollywood tropes while still ensuring some fun flavor between firearms.

The book is slated to be published later this month.


Monday, October 8, 2018

ACP Episode 026: Erin Isn't Wrong


In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss what's going on with the merger between Operation Blazing Sword and the Pink Pistols;
  • Weer'd Shares and interview he did with Laura Carno about FASTER Colorado;
  • With all the talk about Judge Kavanaugh's personal life, Weer'd wants to bring us back to his record on guns with a Fisk of an NPR report on his past rulings;
  • and on Yom Kippur, it’s traditional to think about the past. In this segment of Gun Lovers and Other Strangers, David reflects on some of his favorite firearms and how he got them.

Listen to the episode here.

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, our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks, and eligibility for our giveaway of a Hammond Cruiser folding knife by CRKT!


Show Notes:

Main Topic:
FASTER Colorado:
Weer'd Audio Fisk:
Gun Lovers and Other Strangers

Monday, October 1, 2018

ACP Episode 025: Drunk Monkey at GRPC


In This Episode:
    This episode was recorded live at the 2018 Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago Illinois. The audio quality isn't as good as our standard shows, but it allowed us all to get together and talk.
    • On the show we have Weer'd and Erin, as well as the ACP House Dick Steve from Tales From the Trunk.
    • Also starring are our special guests Matt and Heinrich from the Geeks Gadgets and Guns Podcast.
    • We'll be talking about the Conference, fine liquor, fake breasts, and whatever else crosses our minds.
    • We'll also discuss the HUGE announcement Erin teased us with in Episode 024!

    Listen to the episode here.

    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 blooper reels!


    Show Notes:

    Sunday, September 30, 2018

    The Pink Pistols Merge Into Operation Blazing Sword

    My apologies for not putting this up sooner. Unlike last year, the video wasn't immediately uploaded to YouTube; instead, I needed to download three hours of a Facebook livestream, edit out my part of it, and upload it to YouTube.

    Combine that with the fact that GRPC wore me out and I had to drive to Boca Raton on Thursday to give a presentation at Florida Atlantic University titled LGBTQ Does Not Mean "Victim!" and that all adds up to "Today is the first opportunity I've had to do all this."

    I thank you for your patience, and I hope you enjoy my speech.

    Video




    Transcript of my speech
    Thank you, Nicki.

    Thank you, everyone.

    Normally I open with a joke to make everyone feel comfortable, but I don’t want to undercut the seriousness of this announcement. So let me get to the heart of the matter:
    • Effective immediately, the Pink Pistols have merged into Operation Blazing Sword. 
    • Effective immediately, I am now in charge of the Pink Pistols at the national level. 
    • Effective immediately, we are now the largest queer pro-gun group in the country. 
    I will now explain each point in detail.

    Effective immediately, the Pink Pistols have merged into Operation Blazing Sword. This is the culmination of a process which began last year when Gwen Patton, then First Speaker for the Pink Pistols, joined our Board of Directors to oversee the merger. Now that Operation Blazing Sword and the Pink Pistols are legally one entity, Ms. Patton has stepped down from her position as First Speaker and has ceded that privilege and responsibility to me. She will however stay on as a Member of our Board; she has a wealth of knowledge and experience that comes from 18 years of working with the Pink Pistols, especially filing many judicial amicus briefs for some very high-profile cases, such as: DC. vs. Heller; Peruta vs. San Diego County; and Grace & Pink Pistols vs. DC. Ms. Patton’s advice will be welcome for as long as she wishes to give it, and even though she has serious health problems, I hope she is around to advise me for many more years.

    Effective immediately, I am now in charge of the Pink Pistols at the national level. Each leader of the organization chooses their own title, and the title which I have selected for myself is “Coordinator”. This choice reflects my belief that the current dispersed and disorganized nature of the Pink Pistols has outlasted its purpose. When the Pink Pistols were created, being outed as queer could result in losing one’s job or worse, and so by design there were no member lists which could be subpoenaed and no central organization which could be suborned or influenced. Unfortunately, this also meant that each chapter was on its own and could not expect help from the organization as a whole. If a chapter wanted to host an event such as a concealed carry class, then members of that chapter would need to raise that money themselves or else that event would not happen. While that dissociated structure may have been necessary 20 years ago, in today’s social media world, the ability to connect with others is crucial. Because Operation Blazing Sword is a 501c3 tax deductible charity, we can solicit funds at the national level to help a chapter rent a booth at a Pride Festival, buy ammunition for a range day, or hold a community seminar.

    Effective immediately, we are now the largest queer pro-gun group in the country. While there are only 55 active Pink Pistol chapters in North America, there are an estimated 30,000 members across those chapters. Furthermore, there are also over 1,600 Operation Blazing Sword volunteer instructors across America, in every single state and in every major metropolitan area. All of our volunteers are eager to teach and are queer-friendly, and many of those volunteer instructors are themselves queer or have family members who are queer.

    On a personal note, I am thrilled that our two organizations are now one. I was a Pink Pistol before I created Operation Blazing Sword, and in the days after the Pulse Massacre, when I realized just how huge my little project might become, I asked Gwen if she wanted to take control of it. She declined, due to being extremely busy talking with the media and dealing with the sudden influx of new Pistols, but she told me that my project was in good hands and that, if possible, we would later join up. As it turns out, we DID join up later, albeit later than either of us expected, and in a manner that neither of us foresaw.

    With this merger, we have now become the organization that I hoped we could be: with Operation Blazing Sword being a program for outreach, education and training; and Pink Pistols being a program for community involvement, mutual support and continuing education. It is my wish that those people who have received Operation Blazing Sword training and who decide to become gun owners then go on to either join a Pink Pistols chapter or form one in their area. Since we are now the same organization, both groups will have my full support in this regard, and each group has resources that the other will find helpful in completing their mission of education, of safety, and of community.

    After all, the most powerful Sword is the one wielded by two hands.

    Official Press Release

    Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    My Panel at AMM-Con 2018

    As promised, here is a video of my AMM-Con panel.

    Special thanks to Paul Lathrop of the Polite Society Podcast for letting me post this, and to Matt of Geeks Gadgets and Guns podcast for chopping my segment out of a larger video. Love you guys!



    I apologize for not repeating the questions into the microphone so that people could hear it. If I recall correctly, the first one was something like "Do you feel that your lifestyle choice makes you more vulnerable to violence?" and I turned it into a teachable moment regarding why "choice" was not the word to use.

    The second question was basically a restatement of the first, asking if transgender people were especially vulnerable to violence and if I felt that meant LGBTQ people should carry firearms for self-defense.

    I wish I had more time to answer questions, but otherwise I think I did a fair job.

    Monday, September 24, 2018

    ACP Episode 024: GRPC Bound!


    In This Episode
    • Erin and Weer’d discuss AMM-Con and the Gun Rights Policy Conference. Stay tuned for a BIG announcement by Erin!
    • Weer'd announces another Giveaway! On October 12th, four lucky Patrons at the $4 or higher level will receive a Hammond Cruiser folding knife by CRKT.
    • The General Purpose Egghead returns with some more gun physics,  this time crunching the numbers on unorthodox ammunition to see how they compare to mainstream ammo.
    • Weer'd finishes his series on 3D printed gun hysteria with Now This News' coverage on the issue.
    • David talks about the culture shock of going from a gun-unfriendly state to a gun-friendly one.
    • and Steve returns to talk about a mishap with his Ninja Wagon, and some of the troubles that happens when your replacement car is a rental.

    Listen to the episode here.

    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 blooper reels!


    Show Notes

    Main Topic:

    General Purpose Egghead:

    Weer'd Audio Fisk:

    Tales from the Trunk

      Saturday, September 22, 2018

      And then this happened

      So there I was, sitting next to my good friend Weerd Beard at the GRPC awards luncheon. I recognized a lot of the names that were being called, and I with a mild case of envy I typed this:




      Literally the next moment after I hit "enter", my name was called.

      Weerd can attest that my head snapped up at I said "what.". Not "What?" or "What!" but a flat "what" of disbelief. Not surprise or excitement, but "This can't possibly be happening. Can it?"

      It could.

      Erin Palette, Defender of Liberty 2018. 

      My gob, it is smacked.

      Erin babbles incoherently, surrounded by friends

      At GRPC 2018

      My apologies for the silence of the past week. I've been very busy getting all my ducks in a nice little row in preparation for Gun Rights Policy Conference 2018, which I am presently attending in Chicago.

      I was a panelist at Paul Lathrop's AMM-Con (the conference before the conference, if you will), and I gave a pretty good presentation despite a misunderstanding regarding the nature of the panel. I hope to have video of that soon, but for right now you'll just have to wait on that.

      I have a VERY big announcement to make on Sunday during my presentation, and if you aren't able to attend GRPC itself I hope you will watch it being streamed to the Second Amendment Foundation's Facebook Page. I am scheduled to go on stage with Nicki Stallard at 10:45 am (but these things usually run late) and I encourage you to watch the announcement live if possible.

      Have a great weekend!

      Monday, September 17, 2018

      ACP Episode 023: Unscripted


      In This Episode
      None of our regular ACP contributors had anything this week, so Erin and Weer'd called an audible and just had an unscripted episode. It's like a mini-Mag Dump, only with less swearing by Erin. Enjoy!
      We Discuss:
      • Frozen pad thai;
      • Erin's cooking escapades;
      • Talk Boxes, and how sometimes Peter Frampton doesn't use them;
      • Michael Moore and David Hogg in Canada;
      • Paying too much for guns or knives.
      • Weer'd talks about Handgun Radio;
      • and we both share our memories of where we were and what we were doing on September 11th, 2001.

      Listen to the episode here.

      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 blooper reels!


      Show Notes

      Friday, September 14, 2018

      Metabolization of Blood Alcohol Concentration by Hour

      As part of my research for the "Designated Defender" initiative that I plan to sponsor here in Florida, I had to determine how quickly alcohol was metabolized by the human body -- in other words, how long it took for people to sober up -- and I came upon some very interesting data that my gun-owning friends will find useful.

      The actual specifics can be found in this article by DrinkFox, "an independent worldwide resource aimed at helping individual’s make better decisions when consuming alcohol" to use their own words, with actual footnoted references to peer-reviewed journal articles listed on the page.

      The TL;DR version is "While increase in Blood Alcohol Concentration upon drinking varies by body mass, gender, rate of consumption and other factors, decrease in BAC is remarkably consistent at 0.016% BAC per hour and there is no practical way to speed up that rate."

      Which means that some simple math gives us this handy little chart which I made:



      This gives us a very useful rule of thumb when it comes to determining whether or not you are safe to drive, operate heavy machinery, use firearms, or anything else involving safety:
      • If you are inebriated but not drunk (below 0.1 BAC), then a 6 hours period of not drinking alcohol will result in full sobriety. 
      • If you are properly drunk (0.2 BAC or over), best wait twelve hours. 
      • If you are falling down, vomiting, and passing out (0.3 BAC or more), you're going to want to wait at least a full day, if not longer -- which likely won't be a problem, because you're going to be so hungover you won't want to do anything for a good long while. 

      For example, let's say you are nicely impaired and want to know when it's safe for you to drive, but you don't have a breathalyzer on you. If you assume you are at 0.2 BAC, and the legal limit to drive in the US is 0.08 BAC, then 8 hours is a comfortable margin. 


      Wednesday, September 12, 2018

      Mickey Mouse & His Guns

      Even though these are from 2015, I just discovered these. They're an interesting look at how Disney was once pro-gun!

      As an extra bonus, these videos are hosted by my buddy Chris Cheng!




      There really is a video here, despite the blank thumbnail.

      Monday, September 10, 2018

      ACP Episode 022: Don't Mess With Floridians, Goofball


      In This Episode
      • Erin and Weer’d discuss the NPR Report that shows that the majority of school shootings actually didn't happen;
      • they also share a video of Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd who details what happens in Florida when you threaten an armed Uber driver;
      • Weer'd fisks the alleged leadership of March For Our Lives Boston in a PBS puff piece on their protest march on Smith & Wesson;
      • in Gun Lovers and Other Strangers, David explains how the gun market responds to gun bans;
      • and in Tales From The Trunk, the House Dick has had a rough week and he shares it with us.

      Listen to the episode here.

      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 blooper reels!


      Show Notes

      Main Topic:

      Weer’d Audio Fisk:

      Friday, September 7, 2018

      Pellatarrum: Mechanical Effects of the Day/Night Cycle

      I've written before about the Day/Night cycle in Pellatarrum, but I feel it's time to revisit it because 1) it's been 8 years since I last talked about it and 2) now that I'm actually running games in the setting and not  just talking about it in the abstract, I've realized that there are important mechanics that I missed.



      Daylight: 9 am - 3 pm
      During the hours of full daylight (during which time the Death Sun is fully obscured), anything which helps life is given a +2 bonus and anything which harms it is given a -2 penalty. Examples:
      • -2 to all damage rolls, including those from magic and the environment.
        • Exception: damage dealt to undead does not suffer this penalty. 
      • +2 to Heal checks and +2 hit points regained from both natural (including resting) and magical healing. 
      • +2 to Fortitude saves and Constitution checks. 
        • Exception: living creatures below 0 hit points but who have not yet died automatically stabilize during the day, no roll required. 
        • Exception: undead are always considered "harmful to life" and therefore any Fortitude save or Charisma check (undead don't have Con scores) made by them during the day have a -2 penalty.
      • +2 to all Positive Energy channeling that heals the living and harms or turn the undead. 
      • All undead with Channel Resistance have a -2 penalty to their will saves. 
      • All undead are considered dazzled when exposed to daylight (this has no effect indoors or underground). 
      • Anyone who dies while exposed to full daylight, for whatever reason, will never become undead. Those who die during the day but not exposed to daylight have a decreased chance of it. (I can't recall of there's ever an effect where the DM rolls to see if someone rises as undead or not. If so, apply the penalty.)
      As you can see, the day time is inimical to the undead. However, when the Life Sun sets and the Death Sun is rampant, all that switches. 


      Night: 9 pm - 3 am
      Conversely, during the hours of full sight (during which time the Life Sun is fully obscured), anything which harms life is given a +2 bonus and anything which helps it is given a -2 penalty. Examples:
      • +2 to all damage rolls, including those from magic and the environment.
        • Exception: damage dealt to undead does not gain this bonus. 
      • -2 to Heal checks and -2 hit points regained from both natural (including resting) and magical healing. 
      • -2 to Fortitude saves and Constitution checks 
        • Exception: living creatures below 0 hit points automatically begin dying at night, no roll required. 
        • Exception: undead are always considered "harmful to life" and therefore any Fortitude save or Charisma check (undead don't have Con scores) made by them during the day have a +2 bonus. 
      • -2 to Channeled Positive Energy to heal the living and to harm or turn the undead. 
      • All undead gain +2 Channel Resistance at night, including those who already have it. 
      • Anyone who dies while exposed to the Death Sun will, barring something truly unusual, always reanimate as undead. Those who die from violence at night will almost always reanimate (sometimes within minutes or seconds after death -- take your cue from zombie movies). Those who die peacefully will probably reanimate, but at a decreased chance.  
      • How quickly they reanimate, and what into, should be a GM call. Low-level characters are usually zombies, but the nature of their death should be a factor. Higher level characters usually become more powerful types -- see the post On the Elemental Nature of Undead

      Twilight: Dawn (3 am - 9 am) and Dusk (3 pm - 9 pm)
      During the hours of dawn and dusk, there are no bonuses and no penalties associated with the Life or Death Suns, as their presence in the sky cancels each other out.

      GMs who desire enhanced granularity at the cost of extra bookkeeping may, if they wish, use the following schedule:

      • 6 am - 9 am: +1 to life, -1 to harm
      • 9 am - 3 pm: +2 to life, -2 to harm
      • 3 pm - 6 pm: +1 to life, -1 to harm
      • 6 pm - 9 pm: -1 to life, +1 to harm
      • 9 pm - 3 am: -2 to life, +2 to harm
      • 3 am - 6 am: -1 to life, +1 to harm

      There's probably a sweet spot around 6 pm & 6 am where the suns are precisely equidistant and there are no penalties or bonuses, but making it last for any length of time disrupts the symmetry of the system.

      Monday, September 3, 2018

      ACP Episode 021: Extortion and Lies


      In This Episode
      • Erin and Weer’d discuss the March For Our Lives Boston protest of Smith & Wesson and the shooting at the Jacksonville GLHF Game Bar;
      • the General Purpose Egghead discusses some basic firearms physics as well as some interesting movie firearm tropes;
      • Weer'd continues his series on 3D printed guns by fisking a former ATF agent and current anti-gun lobbyist on the issue;
      • and David brings us an in-depth look of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and how his governance of New York might apply to his future Presidential aspirations in Gun Lovers and Other Strangers.

      Listen to the episode here.

      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 blooper reels!


      Show Notes

      Main Topic:

      Weer’d Audio Fisk:

      Sunday, September 2, 2018

      The Transgender Socially Awkward Situation Defuser Card

      I made this yesterday:

      Order your own copy at https://tinyurl.com/y86c4bld

      I have mentioned, both on this blog and in podcasts, that certain situations can be awkward for transgender people who are living as their true selves but who have not yet been able to update their government-issued identification.

      I happen to know this from personal experience, such as when I tried to register as press for the NRA convention last year and a young lady asked me for a photo ID. When I said to her "That may be a problem, because [and then I whispered] I am transgender" she looked mortified, as if she had somehow deeply offended me. I confess I wasn't thrilled to have to say it either, because I was worried it might turn this whole entire scene where a supervisor needed to be brought in, and people would be talking loudly about how THERE'S A TRANSGENDER LADY HERE AND HER ID IS OF A MAN and I really didn't want the embarrassment of everyone looking at me and judging me.

      I've gotten more confident about it since, but I still want to be in control of when and how I tell people I'm trans. I have had, more than once, to go to a front desk in order to be let into my room because my key has stopped working, only to have to explain that yes, I checked in under a different name because there's a law that says I have to show my ID to check in, and no, I haven't been able to change my name yet, and no, it's none of your business why I haven't done that yet.

      Hence, this card. I didn't make it to solve problems, as the people who would have a problem with me being transgender wouldn't have their minds changed by a card. No, this is to make my life easier because I can now quietly, privately inform people without making a scene and embarrassing either of us.

      I've run the wording past a friend who works in the hospitality industry and she's approved it. According to her, trans people at front desks happen all the time and the staff is used to it. And if you do happen to get that one person who has a problem with you being you, well, you can show the manager the card you showed the desk clerk as proof that you were upfront with who you were, and you tried things the polite way, and perhaps the employee shouldn't be interacting with guests if they react in such a way.

      But I don't anticipate many problems like that. I expect most of the awkwardness will be felt by the trans person, and this card not only helps defuse it but also eliminates the need to talk (handy if someone has social anxiety).

      Or put another way:  I made this card for my own use. If you think it would be useful in your life, please order some for yourselves. Nothing would please me more than to know I helped people out of an awkward, uncomfortable situation.

      Friday, August 31, 2018

      Quiet, but Creative

      I realize I've been quiet on this blog lately, that's because I've been devoting a lot of time to working on Three-Line Rifle. I released Part 5 on Monday and Part 6 today, and of this moment it's at 9,000+ words and climbing. I'm not really sure when I'll be done, other than the fact that I'm pretty certain I've finished the beginning and am transitioning to the middle part of the story.

      Speaking of 3 Line, here's a bit of an Easter Egg for you: the name is more significant than you think, and it was originally integral to the structure of the story.

      While it's true that the Mosin-Nagant is called the three-line rifle due to the way the Russians would determine the bore of a weapon by comparing it to a set line and the M9130 required three of them, that's not the reason for the title. No, the real reason, as mentioned in Part 2, is that Grandmother Rifle has been in Bronia's family for generations and my tale will tell the story of three of them: Bronia's use of the rifle for Team Bogatyr; her grandmother Avdotya's exploits with it during World War 2; and great-grandmother Praskovya's adventures with the Night Witches in World War 1. Essentially, it's a story about three family lines of service to Mother Russia and the rifle that binds them all together.

      I had originally planned to intertwine those three tales within the structure of 3 Line, and I may still do that, but I'm sure as heck not going to write it that way because I know good and well that I get distracted and discouraged easily and if I put Bronia's story on hold to tell Avdotya's, I may never finish either of them. In addition, my readers may resent being jerked around with me starting a second story before finishing the first. So the new plan is to write Bronia's story, then wrote Avdotya's, then write Praskovya's, so that I have three complete stories. Then, and only then, will I contemplate intertwining them. Indeed, I might try it and decide it doesn't work, in which case I'll just compile them in order.

      By the way, some of you are no doubt curious why I'm so fascinated by Russia. I honestly don't know, although I can toss out some ideas:
      • I was once deeply involved with a girl who was a Russian studies major and who loved the culture and spoke the language, so some of it rubbed off onto me.
      • I am very good friends with people like Oleg Volk and Nicki Kenyon who grew up in Russia, and their cultural mores and acerbic wit are likewise rubbing off onto me.
      • I grew up under the specter of nuclear war and Soviet invasion on 1980s Europe, and so there's still some residual fascination of "These people were poised to kill me at some point". The Russians were the enemy for so long that I wanted to know more about them in the way that I want to know about hurricanes and poisonous snakes. 
      • Their entire culture is practically built around turning profanity in a complex high art form, and as someone with a terminal case of potty-mouth that impresses the fuck out of me and I want to swear like they can. 
      • Russia is exotic and familiar at the same time. It's western enough that half the time it might as well be Europe, but the other half of the time it's this strange culture that has more in common with the middle east. It is, but at the same time it isn't, and that dichotomy fascinates me. 
      In short, I find the people and the culture alien enough to be intriguing but familiar enough to be comfortable, and that's compelling. I don't know that I'd ever want to live there, but I think I'd want to visit. 

      In closing, I leave you with Bert Kreischer's segment called "The Machine" which really sums up everything I find appealing-yet-appalling about Russia. 







      The Fine Print


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