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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

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. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

ACP Episode 020: Ensure Insurance

In This Episode
  • Erin and Weer’d banter about all the new content we have for our Patreon subscribers, as well as the fate of the Loaded Conversations Podcast;
  • They also discuss the Florida Parking Lot shooting and why it is imperative that you have self defense insurance if you carry a gun;
  • Weer'd concludes his audio fisking of David Hogg bloviating about 3D printed guns;
  • General Purpose Egghead talks about some portable solar cells and how to best use them;
  • David shares some of his positive experiences of being a gun owner in New York;
  • and in Tales from the Trunk, the ACP House Dick talks about the gadgets of 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 blooper reels!

Show Notes

Main Topic:

General Purpose Egghead:

Weer’d Audio Fisk:

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

All Shiny and Chrome

Yesterday, I found out that Hopalong Ginsberg was put into Facebook jail for saying the word "tranny" in an automotive group. In other words, he was using a slang term for the transmission -- a term which has been around since at least the 1950s and far outdates the word being used to describe transvestite, transsexual or transgender people -- and his account was suspended.

This is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. I'm not a fan of censorship in general, but zero-tolerance censorship without even taking context into account (and probably without human judgement) is absolutely abhorrent.

And so, as I am wont to do, I got a bee in my bonnet and post this on my public figure page. 24 hours later and it's still there, but I'm going to include a screenshot of it just in case:

I've written in the past about my views on the word: 
I acknowledge that some transgender people dislike the word "tranny", and so I won't use it to describe them and I encourage everyone else to be gentle with its usage. But personally, I find the entire thing funny -- after all, doesn't a transmission "switch gears" and doesn't a transgender person essentially do the same thing in the eyes of society? -- and by using and laughing about a word which is allegedly offensive, I reclaim it and remove its harmful power (c.f. the Pink Pistols and their reclamation of the pink triangle).
I acknowledge that the word makes some people uncomfortable but that doesn't make the word inherently bad, and banning people for using it when talking about automobiles or electronics (where tranny is used as slang for a transformer) is beyond stupid. 

As far as I'm concerned, tranny is just a natural shortening of any multi-syllabic word that starts with "trans", and being offended at it being used to describe transgender people is as ridiculous as people offended by "homo sapiens" because it has the word "homo" in it and that's a slang term for "gay". 

So I'm taking a stand on Facebook. Maybe it'll change some minds. And if I get banned, then witness me, all shiny and chrome. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Gunnies Helping Gunnies: Kevin Baker

Kevin Baker, of The Smallest Minority blog, has been diagnosed with hereditary liver cirrhosis and has been hospitalized. His daughter Jessica has set up a GoFundMe for his mounting medical needs, and I'll let her tell the story:
So here I am again. The first time Kevin requested that I removed it. At this point I got "the best wife in the world's" blessing. Kevin was admitted back to the hospital last night (8/15/18) after collapsing and having to be taken by ambulance to emergency. He had just gotten out of the hospital on Tuesday. His ammonia level is very high to the point that he is very confused. I am asking people for whatever help they can provide. Whether it be $1.00 or even just a prayer and sharing. This is a hard time for his wife who is his primary caregiver outside the hospital.

A little about my fabulous father. This is a man who took me under his wing when I was 15 years old. I was a troubled teen and he still provided the best care and attention that any teen could ask for. He taught me how to enjoy cars, how to drive, how to change a tire, how to check my tire pressure and gun safety/shooting. A lot of survival skills that many aren't blessed to be taught. All have had a huge impact on my life.

Fast forward to more current times. His health in the past few months started to decline rapidly. He had previously been diagnosed with porphyria. They then found Cirrhosis of the liver (hereditary). Later they found a bleeding ulcer in which he became very anemic. His liver condition is progressing at a high rate of speed to the point that he has now become very confused and cannot even use the technology that he needs in order to perform his work. He has exhausted his paid time off due to this. He keeps saying that he doesn't need help but he is a very stubborn individual who doesn't like burdening others with his problems and is too proud to ask for help. So here I am.

Kevin is well known for the gun matches that he held. He was very active in the NRA. He donated to may charities and had a heart of gold. He would seriously give his shirt off his back to any one who needed help even in his time of need. Some of you may know him through his Smallest Minority web page. He was well known for his publications. Some of you may be previous or current co-workers and know his dedication to his work and his pride.  I want this to reach as many people as possible even if all they can provide is their sincere words.

Sorry that his is so long but I cannot express enough how much this wonderful man has made a difference in my life and his family. He has always been the greatest support for his family and friends amongst many others. Please take a moment of your time to contribute whatever you can. If you can't donate please just say a prayer. These are by far the worst times we have ever seen him in.

Thank you a million! His grateful daughter,


I can testify to Kevin's stubbornness. Late last month, he told me that he would need to withdraw his name from the list of Operation Blazing Sword's volunteer instructors due to health problems. He also told me he was selling most of his guns because he didn't expect to ever make it to the range again and because he needed the cash on hand for medical expenses.

At the time, I told him to set up a GoFundMe, but as Jessica testifies above, he's stubborn and refused, saying "I'm not at the point where I need help, I'm still working and pulling down a salary."

I'm happy that Jessica got her mother's blessing to post this. Please help Kevin if you can. Medical bills are awful, and if he's going to need a new liver that will increase his debt by a factor of 10 at the least.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Gear of Team Bogatyr

Those of you who have been following the story of Three-Line Rifle may be wondering what kind of equipment they use. I'd love to go into detail about it (especially since in the latest installment of Three-Line Rifle they've deployed to their mission and things are going to get shooty soon), but going all gun-nerd about it would bring the story to a screeching halt and I don't want to do that.

On the other hand, I am a gun nerd and like talking about things like this, so here's a non-immersion breaking blog post about it that I suppose I could add to the story as an appendix or something.

The symbol of Team Bogatyr is the yerihonka, the helmet of the Russian knights who were also known as bogatyrs. Therefore, calling themselves "Team Bogatyr" carries the same connotations as a western team calling themselves "Team White Knight" or "Team Dragonslayer".

The yerihonka is the onion-y looking helmet on the right. Yes, it manages to look somewhat Viking and somewhat Turkish at the same time. Some yerihonka extend further downward to protect the nose and/or the nape of the neck.

(If you want to get into deep nerdery regarding Russian medieval armor, this page is an amazing place to start.)

The patch for Team Bogatyr is a silver yerihonka on a black background.

Their standard field uniform is a black ripstop blouse and trousers with riot armor covering their arms from shoulders to wrists, and their legs from knees to feet. Their helmets have visors to protect them from things like infectious blood spatter and sprayed toxins. A plate carrier covers their chest and abdomen.

All front-line combatants wear Level 4 body armor inserts (rated to stop six 7.62×51mm NATO rifle shots or a single 7.8mm AP round). Support personnel like the Professor, Irka, or snipers Bronia and Grisha when shooting from a blind can wear Level 3A soft body armor, which will stop knives (both slashing and stabbing attacks) as well as .44 Magnum rounds.

Unlike their American counterparts, Bogatyrs have standardized weapons that they take from the team armory as mission parameters dictate.

Sidearm: All Bogatyrs, even the support personnel, carry 9mm GSh-18 pistols with a minimum of three magazines.

Submachine gun: The PP-19 Bizon is the team's preferred choice for close-in fighting. It is based on the Kalashnikov platform and each helical magazine holds 64 rounds of 9x18mm Makarov.

Battle Rifle: Various AK-74 pattern rifles are used by the team. For urban work, they use the AKS-74U; for more open areas, the AK-74M with universal upgrade is chosen. In either case, 60-round casket magazines of 5.45x39mm are used.

Sniper Rifle: Grisha's main rifle is a Dragunov SVD and he is quite adept at using it in the role of designated marksman. However, when he has the time to set up a sniper's nest, he prefers the 12.7mm (.50 cal) KSVK anti-materiel rifle.

Bronia's M91-30 Mosin Nagant is categorically non-standard, and would not be allowed were it not for the fact that Grandmother Rifle is obviously magical and that it shares the same 7.62x54mmR ammunition as the SVD.

Shotgun: The Saiga-12, another Kalashnikov pattern firearm, has been modified for select fire and is the weapon of choice for those Bogatyrs whose job is to be the first through a door. 30-round drums serve as primary magazines, with 10-round box magazines carried on-body. In situations where a high volume of fire is needed or resupply is limited, a backpack capable of carrying several hundred rounds uses an electric motor to force aluminum-hulled shells down a linkless feed system into the magazine well. The feed can be easily removed and replaced with a magazine in the backpack runs out of ammunition, the system malfunctions, or the Bogatyr needs to un-encumber himself. 

It's a lot like this, only with 12 gauge shells and no disintegrating links.

Team Bogatyr's transport, lovingly (?) called The Crotch, is a 6x6 KamAZ-63968 Typhoon-K MRAP vehicle.

It has room for three people in the cab and 16 in the troop compartment. The engine compartment is between the first and second set of wheels, and there is a passage that connects the cab to the troops.

The top picture is from the inside of a 16-person Typhoon-K. The one on the bottom is from a different model but demonstrates the door between compartments. The Bogatyrs ripped out one of the seats, installed a door, and made the other seat at the back into a computer & communication system.

It has a drop-down ramp in back and six roof hatches (three per side). It is sealed against nuclear, biological and chemical hazards. (Supernatural hazards are a different matter.)

It is 29.5 feet long, weighs 23 tons, has a top speed of 65 mph and a range of 746 miles. Its tires are run-flat.

Team Bogatyr may, or may not, have a heavy weapon that can be mounted on the crotch for heavy engagements. If so, it is not mounted for this mission.

Monday, August 13, 2018

ACP Episode 019: 3D Print ALL the Guns!

In This Episode
  • Erin and Weer’d banter about sinus irrigation, and then for the main topic discuss how some people are losing their minds over 3D printed guns and why that’s dumb;
  • the General Purpose Egghead talks about the management and storage of charged batteries;
  • David shares his experiences in taking to the range new shooters who didn’t run in pro-gun circles;
  • Weer’d begins a series of fisks on 3D printed gun freak-outs, starting with David Hogg’s appearance on Full Circle with Anderson Cooper;
  • and we close with a segment by Sean Sorrentino, host emeritus of ACP’s parent podcast The GunBlog VarietyCast, about being a witness in a criminal case and how that might relate to those of us who carry firearms for self-defense.

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

Friday, August 10, 2018

Pictures from the Rally in Tally

I was pointed to an forum thread which featured pictures of both rallies. I'm going to repost some of those pictures here.

That's Mr. Jon Gutmacher, author of Florida Firearms Law, Use & Ownership and the man who organized the rally. The podium is in front of a tall building that I think houses the various offices of Florida state senators and representatives.

You can see that the courtyard is made of bricks which had been baking under direct Florida sun for hours. It was hot, y'all.

The capitol building itself, on the other end of the courtyard.

One of the two pieces of shade in the courtyard. This is on the left side from the perspective of the speaker. Look, there's Hickok45 on the right!

The other side of the courtyard, to the right of the speaker. There was much less shade here.

So the rally ended up with a large empty chunk in the middle and deep sides, giving the impression that there were fewer of us present than there really were. I estimate between 250 and 500 people were there.

Here's a composite view, sorta:

Here are a few shots of me.

The photographer captioned this picture with:
Erin spoke especially well since she's transgender and believes that 2nd Amendment rights and LGBTQ rights are both basic human rights. I'd have to say, out of the entire line-up. She got the most applause and the Gun Grabbers can't spin it in any way to be negative. the 2nd Amendment applies to everyone and it is a Civil Right, just as important as the 1st Amendment.
Clearly, I need some sort of box to stand on the next time I speak so that more of me can be seen from behind the podium.

Photo courtesy of Halls Firearm Training, LLC
Photo courtesy of Halls Firearm Training, LLC
These are amazingly good pictures of me. Most of it's due to good lighting and skilled photography. 

This is one of the photographers there (no idea if he's the person who took the above pics for Halls Firearm Training). Yes, that's a velvet tricorn hat he's wearing. Yes, it was as amazing as you imagine.

This is me with a bunch of ladies who bussed in from Orlando. The gal in front with the flag blouse is LuAnn Moyer, who took an immediate shine to me and asked me to pose with her and her friends in several photos. This photo was taken before the speaking began, and I suspect that many of these women wondered who the heck I was and it was only after I got on stage to speak that they realized why LuAnn had me pose with them. But they were all very nice to me, an awkward stranger, and I appreciate that.

In front of the Utah Gun Exchange truck with LuAnn and the Orlando gang.

LuAnn also told me to stand with these two ladies. I don't even know why! They probably didn't know who I was, either. But they were great sports about the whole thing!

LuAnn meant to get a picture of this person's t-shirt, but instead captured my beautiful tresses!

And this is me posing with Hickok45 (he's 6'8" and slouching, no less) at the speaker's reception the night before the Rally. Did... did I do good, internet?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Two Posts Elsewhere

Part three of my story Three-Line Rifle is available to Patrons. If you aren't a patron, here's a taste to whet your appetite:
We called it The Crotch because that’s what it smelled like. It was a six-wheeled armored truck that had been bought used from the Army, and based on the smell it had been the locker room for a squad of barely toilet-trained cossacks for a month… and that’s what it was like with the roof hatches open for ventilation and the diesel exhaust cutting the funk. With everything buttoned up for combat or inclement weather, it quickly became a hot, moist steel box filled with the thick odor of cigarettes and ball sweat, and maybe a hint of vomit in some corner that had never been cleaned. It was ostensibly air-conditioned, but that only seemed to work for the fortunates in the cab. 
I've also written a post at Blue Collar Prepping where I show the tools I carry in my Get Home Bag. Feel free to tell me if you think I'm carrying too much crap or if I've missed a vital tool. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

ACP Episode 018: Of Rallies and Doorknobs

In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss Erin's appearance at the Big Gun Rally in Tally;
  • the General Purpose Egghead continues his series on batteries with a discussion about the various types of rechargeables;
  • in Washington in Plain English, Connie makes the case for the United States remaining in NATO, and then gives a eulogy for a friend who lived an amazing life;
  • David gives a primer on New York City gun laws in Gun Lovers and Other Strangers;
  • and Steve tells us all about how to interact with the Police as a PI 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 blooper reels!

Show Notes

Main Topic:
  • Article from the local paper about the rally the day before
  • Article by the same paper after the rally finished
  • A recording of the entire rally thanks to Utah Gun Exchange
  • Just Erin’s speech on YouTube
  • David Hogg running away from a debate with Kaitlin Bennett, the Kent State Gun Girl

General Purpose Egghead:
  • Excellent general-purpose resource for understanding rechargeable batteries
  • GoalZero Guide 10 NiMH battery charger, good for solar charging (also can be used as a battery bank!)

Tales From the Trunk:

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Free Speech and Prior Restraint

You've probably heard by now that the Federal Government settled a lawsuit with Defense Distributed to the tune of $40K in legal fees and admitted that publishing online instructions for how to 3-D print a firearm (the Liberator pistol) isn't subject to ITAR regulations and is, in fact, protected free speech.

This is an echo of the old PGP criminal investigation where Phil Zimmermann, the inventor of the Pretty Good Privacy encryption algorithm, was the subject of a criminal investigation for the "export of munitions without a license". Charges against Zimmerman were dropped when he published the entire source code of PGP in a book, thereby making the argument that encryption wasn't a munition but rather speech and therefore protected under the First Amendment.

There are of course some loony politicians and celebrities who are having the expected vapors, conniptions and hissy fits over this (I understand the hashtag #DownloadableDeath is quite popular, and I must confess it's rather catchy) because they don't understand how 3-D printing works and they don't understand how guns work. I'd go into detail about how they're stupid, but odds are you've already read about this on other fine gun blogs or heard about it on podcasts and I don't need to re-invent their wheels.

Also rather predictably, many state's attorneys (20, last time I checked) are suing to block the release of these files on the internet by shutting down in a virtue signal that completely misses the fact that these files are already on the internet and there's no way to get them off because they've been uploaded to dozens of sites. Social media is also doing its best to embrace censorship by deleting links to the most prominent non-DefCAD hosting site for these files.

I'm not here to talk about that. Rather, I'm here to talk about how I, a damn-near Free Speech Absolutist, can reconcile my desire for unlimited speech with a similar desire not to see "harmful forms of expression" flourish.

In the meantime, here is a picture I made. It is art, and therefore protected expression.

Title: Routing Around Damage  (2018)
Artist: Erin Palette
Medium: Ones and Zeroes

So when, in my worldview, is expression not protected? The simplest way of putting it is "When that expression violates the rights of, or causes harm to, others." For example:
  1. Defamatory Speech such as slander and libel is not protected, because defamation is legally defined as a false statement of fact and defamatory speech causes harm to reputation which then affects income. In other words, falsehoods which harm others aren't protected speech. 
    • Truths which harm others are protected speech, which is why truth is an absolute defense to an accusation of defamation.
    • Falsehoods which don't harm others are protected speech, because if it doesn't harm anyone, who cares?
  2. Theft of Intellectual Property. Artists deserve to be paid for their work, and passing off their work as your own is theft. 
  3. Fraud. Another form of theft, this time of money or material goods. 
  4. Invasions of Privacy. You have a Fourth Amendment Right to Privacy, and so anyone who invades your privacy without your consent or a warrant violates your rights. Therefore, anyone who takes pictures of you in a state of undress without your consent is not engaging in free speech, nor is someone who distributes them without your consent.
  5. Incitement to Commit Crimes. This one is tricky in that it actually depends on whether or not people actually follow your instructions and commit a crime. If they didn't, you're fine; if they did, you're now an accessory to their crimes in the same way that someone who drives the getaway car is an accessory to the crime that the other criminals are trying to get away from. 
  6. Breaking a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Oh hey, you signed a legal contract saying you wouldn't do a thing and that you'd be penalized if you did. This isn't a free speech issue, this is breach of contract. 
  7. Treason. This is actually a highly specialized form of breach of contract 99% of the time. In order for speech to provide aid and comfort to the enemy, the speaker is usually giving away state secrets and that's not the kind of thing that the average citizen can do. Instead, it's usually politicians or members of the military or intelligence agencies which have that kind of access, and they have sworn oaths -- which are contracts -- that they will faithfully serve and defend the country and/or the Constitution. Furthermore, anyone with security clearance is going to have sworn more oaths and signed more contracts before receiving that clearance.
    • That other 1% is a very rare, very specific "Tokyo Rose" situation whereby an American citizen aids in the propaganda against the USA. This is the only situation I can think of where the speech of someone without a security clearance can in any way be treasonous.

This brings us rather handily to a concept known as prior restraint. I am not a lawyer and I don't pretend to be, so a generalized definition of prior restraint is "the government forbids certain types of speech before it's uttered."  A good example of this are the FCC decency standards that prohibit certain types of profanity, nudity and violence on network television -- and even then, standards are relaxed further on cable channels.

Essentially, prior restraint goes "We think you might say or depict something we don't like, so we're going to pre-emptively forbid you from doing it on pain of punitive fines or worse." It's rather like saying "You might falsely shout 'fire!' in a crowded theater, so before you go inside, we're going to gag you."

I don't like prior restraint for the same reason I don't like gun control laws: they're all based on trying to stop something which most people won't do anyway, and which won't stop those people intent on doing evil to others. For example, those people whinging about "undetectable firearms in the hands of criminals" don't seem to grasp the fact that criminals can already get their hands on fireams via theft or the black market, and those firearms won't be one-shot plastic pistols that fail after a few uses.

So let's look at my examples and see how they interact with prior restraint.
  1. Defamatory Speech. The police won't come after you if you defame someone; rather, the defamed must sue them in court. No prior restraint here.
  2. Theft of Intellectual Property. Again, police will not come after those who violate copyright; that's another civil suit. 
  3. Fraud. I can make all the fraudulent statements I want so long as I don't promise something I don't give in return. (See: satire, parody, performance art.) If I do deprive you of money without a fair exchange, that's theft and not a speech issue. 
  4. Invasions of Privacy. This isn't a speech issue, this is a 4th Amendment issue. That's why nude pictures of you taken and published with your consent are fine.
  5. Incitement to Commit Crimes. Well, did anyone do what you told them to do? After all, I can think of many situations where public figures riled up their listeners and yet nothing happened. This tells me that we aren't punishing the speech, but rather the actions afterwards.
  6. Breaking a Non-Disclosure Agreement. This is prior restraint, but you entered into it voluntarily. Don't want to be restrained? Don't sign it. 
  7. Treason. Also prior restraint, but again, also contractually based 99% of the time.

For me, what it comes down to is this: Speech is not inherently good or bad, it simply is. To consider information to be a priori dangerous and therefore restricted or banned is the absolute antithesis of liberty. While I can see some exceptions being made on the level of national security -- and indeed, that's where most cases of prior restraint apply and they are most definitely not a priori cases -- publishing instructions on how to make and assemble a mostly-plastic gun does not fall into that category.

Prior restraint is largely regarded as unconstitutional, and for good reason. Let's keep it that way.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

My Speech at The Big Pro-Gun Rally in Tally

If you weren't able to be in Tallahassee this weekend, here's my speech courtesy of Utah Gun Exchange.

Despite the entire rally being recorded by UGE and the large UGETube banner at bottom right, I can't find the rally actually posted to UGETube. Instead, you can only find it on Facebook.

I had a great time at the rally and was surprised at how much applause I received and how people appreciated my message. While I never once expected hostility or rudeness, I confess that I anticipated a bit of reticence along the lines of "Well, I see that you're on our side, but I don't know if I should believe what you're saying." As you can see, though, I received such applause that I had to keep talking over it because I'd have run out of time otherwise.

I'd say we had between 250 and 500 attendees. It's hard to tell because most of them stayed out of the middle (which was a big open area filled with bricks that retained heat) and instead were to the sides and back, sheltering in the shade. I'm told we had more people than the March For Our Lives / Road to Change/ Whatever Bloomberg Is Calling It This Week people, which is both satisfying and wholly unsurprising.

The media was fair to us, which I found astounding. Here's an article from the Tallhassee Democrat which covers both events, including some very nice pictures of us (you can spot me in a few of them). I also get a nice mention at the end of the article, so in effect I get the last word:
More than just a counterpoint to the Road to Change tour, the event was aimed at showing something the pro-gun movement lacks: diversity.

In a campaign largely dominated by white, straight males, Erin Palette offered a stark alternative as a transgender supporter of the Second Amendment. Her message centered around her belief that “gun rights are queer rights.”

As founder of the pro-gun LGBTQ training group Operation Blazing Sword, Palette’s goal is not to sell guns, but to help people make informed decisions about them through training and education. She hopes that gun owners and the LGBT community can bridge the political and cultural gaps that divide them.

“I want both sides of the country to stop seeing each other as opponents or enemies,” Palette said. “We need to see each other as people.” 
More information on what the rally was like and how it went will be available on ACP episode 17, releasing Friday for patrons and next Monday for everyone.

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