Friday, November 30, 2018

Thank You! & a video

A big THANK YOU to everyone who donated to my #GivingTuesday fundraiser! We didn't hit $2K, but we got within $232 of it!

Last year I asked for $1,000 and got more than that (I don't recall how much... I think it was about $1300 or so). I figured I might as well shoot for the moon this year and ask for double that. Go big or go home, right?

As far as I'm concerned, it was a success. We hit 88.5% of a goal that was twice as big as last year's. Amazing! Wonderful! Thank you so much!

You can even help support us Operation Blazing Sword with online shopping and it won't even cost you a thing. Not only are we a registered charity with Amazon Smile, but OBS also has its own Amazon Affiliate link! That means if you use Amazon Smile and our link, you can donate to us twice while shopping online and without costing you anything!

If you follow that link, you'll see it leads to what could be called an influencer page. I call it an "Operation Blazing Sword recommends these products". Not only are they quality, but they're a good starting point for the new shooter or concealed carrier!

And so as a thank you for all your support, I give you this very fun video.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Giving Tuesday

If you're at all active on social media, you are no doubt aware that today is #GivingTuesday. If you don't know that is, it's the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and it's meant to be a day where you donate to your favorite charities.

You know where this is going, right?

Yes, I'm going to hit you for donations to Operation Blazing Sword!  We don't have corporate sponsors and we certainly aren't funded by a billionaire like Bloomberg; we make a difference by contributions from people like YOU.

Last year I asked for $1000 and that amount was met. This #GivingTuesday I'm challenging you to beat the old record and raise $2000 for Operation Blazing Sword! Please help continue our mission in educating people in firearms safety and operation. Your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $500. Every little bit helps! And Facebook and PayPal will match a total of $7 Million in donations.

Here's how to donate!
  1. Go to the Facebook Fundraiser page. For Giving Tuesday, all administrative fees are waived. 
  2. If you don't use Facebook, you can donate directly with PayPal at this link
  3. If you're old school, you can mail a check to 800 Belle Terre Parkway Suite 200-302, Palm Coast, FL 32164
Also, if you're active on Twitter, please go to this tweet and retweet it using the words @OpBlazingSword  and #BeTheGood. We get $10 for every mention!

Thank you so much, and have a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, November 26, 2018

ACP Episode 033: Culture War

In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d talk about HR 7115, or what we call the "Ban Everything Bill";
  • Oddball talks about blade grinds and gives us a drinking game that will probably get you killed;
  • Weer'd brings us an audio fisk of the Young Turks complaining about a short-lived NRA program that retold classic fairy tales;
  • In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, David gives us some of the things he is thankful for;
  • and Steve recorded a segment while he was in the field pursuing a target, so we get enjoy a ride-along with the House Dick.

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
Weer’d Audio Fisk

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Transgender Day of Remembrance 11/20/18

This past Tuesday, November 20, was the Transgender Day of Remembrance.  I had good intentions of posting about it on the day, but something nasty came up that changed the tone of the whole piece and then I didn't want to ruin people's Thanksgiving holidays by bringing it up (or my own by dredging it up again).

But I need to talk about this, so now that everyone's had a nice holiday with friends and family, it's time to talk about what happened.

For those who don't know, the Transgender Day of Remembrance was created in 1999 to memorialize transgender people who have been killed due to transphobia. In the past year there have been over 30 transgender people murdered for no reason other than hatred and fear.

This year, my friend Svengine Karinsdatter -- a transwoman and Second Amendment activist --  started compiling a list of stories and statements on "Why do you, a transman/transwoman, carry a gun?" Here's my story:
I only felt comfortable coming out as transgender after I bought a pistol and received my concealed carry permit.

Now let me clear: I am NOT saying that having a pistol gave me courage. A gun isn't a magical talisman that keeps its owner safe!

Instead, having a concealed carry gun meant that I practiced with it and felt competent with it. Feeling confident in my ability to protect myself from those who wish violence upon me gave me agency in the face of oppression and another tool for my toolbox -- whereas my previous options were "Run away", "Never leave the house/Never be my authentic self" or "Be a victim", I had the new, bold option of "Be myself without worrying that people would try to hurt me for it."

Having a gun gave me agency; having agency gave me the ability to become my authentic self; being my authentic self is what gives me confidence and courage. Because of that, I can be my authentic self without even needing a gun. (Although I still carry one, because I know evil exists in this world.)

All well and good, right? Well, it was until these two things happened:

Here we see the expected argument of "Transgender people are crazy and crazy people shouldn't have guns, so even though I say I'm pro-gun I'm all for denying people their Second Amendment rights without Due Process  if they make me feel icky."  What's distressing about it is that this person had previously Liked the Operation Blazing Sword page, which meant that they were okay with teaching homosexual people how to shoot but drew the line at teaching transgender people.

This attitude, by the way, is a violation of all that Operation Blazing Sword represents. WE WILL TEACH ANYONE FIREARMS SAFETY AND OPERATION, regardless of their sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, political affiliation, or manner of dress. The Second Amendment is for EVERYONE.

But as bad as that one was, this one was worse:

Why is that one worse? It's because this person manages a Facbook page called "LGBT for Gun Rights".

Yes. You read that correctly. Someone who manages a page which is supposed to be about the gun rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people spouted anti-transgender rhetoric on a post about the Transgender Day of Remembrance on the Operation Blazing Sword page. And yes, he had also Liked our page.


The sad thing is, this isn't uncommon. Many gay and lesbian people think that Transgender people shouldn't be under the LGBTQ tent because as far as they're concerned, "Being transgender isn't a sexual orientation, it's a gender issue."

For people who don't get it, that's the LGBT rainbow flag kicking the transgender flag under the bus. 
I have said this before, and I know I'll say it a hundred more times before I die, but the queer community is its own worst enemy. If you still doubt that, look at this post and then ask yourself why it doesn't just say "Pride is for everyone" or even "Pride is for everyone, including allies."

The fact that this even needs to be said is screaming proof that we hurt our cause more than any politician ever will. If we can't stop fighting amongst ourselves long enough to stand up against those who want to hurt us and oppress us, then our own internal conflicts will bring is down before outside pressures do.

For those of you who aren't part of "the scene", let me give you a brief primer:
  • As mentioned earlier, Gay and Lesbian people think that Transgender people shouldn't be under the LGBTQ tent because "being transgender isn't a sexual orientation, it's a gender issue";
  • Yet Transgender people say that Gays and Lesbians have it easy because they don't stand out in everyday life, and besides it's socially acceptable to be homosexual these days, so if anything trans folks are more oppressed and deserve MORE representation;
  • Meanwhile, EVERYONE bags on Bisexual folks due to a combination of 
    1. unfounded fear that the Bi person will be unsatisfied with only one type of genital and cheat/wander/leave their significant others and 
    2. jealousy that a bi person can adopt a hetero-normative lifestyle and reap all the benefits without suffering any of the ill effects. 
  • Then there are the Aces (asexuals) and Aros (aromantics) who no one really knows what to do with because what kind of social oppression do they face? If they aren't being victimized for their sexuality then they don't "count" as "authentically queer."

This is the big reason why I prefer the use of the word "queer" to "LGBTQ": one is an inclusive umbrella term that emphasizes our similarities, while the other reinforces the opinion that we're all so specifically different that we need our own letter or else we're being oppressed.

We all belong here. We all deserve life and happiness. I long for the day that we no longer need to form into tribes to defend ourselves and terms like "transgender" and "homosexual" carry carry no prejudice and are used purely as descriptive terms like "blonde" and "brunette" are now.

But that day is not today. Today, we mourn our dead, those who were murdered for daring to live as their authentic selves. Today, we remember them, and we do whatever we can to reduce next year's death toll.

Monday, November 19, 2018

ACP Episode 032: Rampant Political F***ery

In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d talk about the aftermath of the midterm election, the Florida recounts, and the changing tide of anti-gun money and elections and their ironic views on NRA money;
  • David talks about concealed carry reciprocity and the "Full Faith and Credit" clause;
  • Oddball gives us part two of his series on sharpening in Oddball's Corner Pocket;
  • Weer'd fisks Now This News in their snarky little hit piece on SHOT Show and the "Online Loophole";
  • and Steve, having already told us about his positive experiences dealing with law enforcement as a private investigator, now tells us about some of his negative experiences with them 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
Gun Lovers and Other Strangers
Oddball’s Corner Pocket:
Weer’d Audio Fisk

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
Gun Lovers and Other Strangers

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.

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

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