Monday, December 5, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 226: Is Self-Defense Becoming Non-Partisan?

                         

In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • an article from The Atlantic about rethinking "Run, Hide, Fight" in a manner that shows some minds are being changed;
    • the Chesapeake, VA Walmart shooting;
    • and Biden's declaration that semi-automatic weapons "have no redeeming features."
  • Next, Savage1R returns to the show to give us a breakdown of the FTX Cryptocurrency Scandal;
  • and finally, Weer'd sits down with Ian McCollum to discuss his upcoming book, Clockwork Basilisk.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Post-Thanksgiving After Action Report

I recognize that "post-Thanksgiving" probably renders "after action" redundant, but it has the feel that I like and je suis un artiste, so what I want is what you get. 

Thanksgiving was pretty standard and blessedly non-dramatic. We had a smaller bird because there's just the two of us (and our two dogs) now, so instead of a 20+ pound turkey this one was in the teens. Normally, the turkey sticks around for weeks and I'm sick of it, but this time it was all eaten by Saturday and I felt like I hadn't gotten my fill. Amusingly, we still have plenty of side dishes left. 

Speaking of side dishes, this will trigger some of you and appeal to the rest: genuine Ocean Spray-brand cranberry jelly, fresh from the can, sliced and presented on a crystal serving dish. We're just fancy like that.



I've been fairly busy since then, lack of blogging here notwithstanding. Last week I wrote not one but two articles for Blue Collar Prepping, one about how to shoot an azimuth for land navigation and the other about using trigonometry to find the distance to an object towards which you want to travel. Yes, I used math! Not just basic arithmetic, but actual high-school level math with hypotenuses and tangents! Math which I haven't used since last century! And I got it all correct! This is a massive achievement for me, and you should be very proud of me, because I am, and this moment may never come again. 

One reason I was able to write last week is because Mom is toning down the Christmas Crazy this year. Some of it is because of her age; she's slowing down and doesn't have the energy to do everything, so she's prioritizing. This has reduced the usual Christmas stress to a much more tolerable level. I might even be able to enjoy the holiday this year. 

Another thing dropping the stress is that, after years of Mom saying "I know you're getting older and putting up the roof lights isn't easy, so when you're ready to call it quits just say so and that's fine, " I've decided to take her up on her offer. I've persisted for years despite it being a literal pain in my back (I have arthritis in my lower back -- joy -- and the constant up-down-up-down of hanging icicle lights from a slanted roof, often in the blazing Florida sun, wipes me out), but I did it for her because she loves pretty Christmas lights so much. Not only does she love them on her house, but every Christmas she asks me to drive her around the neighborhood so she can appreciate the decorations. 

This year, though, was the year I called it quits. It seemed like everything was giving me trouble: more lights than usual were burned out, the ladder needed both of us to wrestle it into place, my back was hurting like a sumbitch, and the temperature was high with a high humidity that turned it into a sauna. Then, when I finally got up there, first I needed to replace ALL of the clips which had been removed when our roof was replaced... and I discovered I couldn't fit the clips under the tiles to mount them. 

I probably could have forced the clips under the tiles, but 1) that seemed like an insurmountable effort at the time and 2) I was worried I'd screw things up and somehow breach the seal integrity of the new roof. I just felt like God and/or the Universe was telling me it was my time to be done, so I took it. I had planned to go at least one more Christmas, because I'll be 50 next year and that seems like a good age to stop dicking around on rooftops, but retirement came a bit early. Mom accepted it with grace; I think I feel worse about not being able to make the house pretty for her than she does about it. 

Finally, I've been kind of on fire lately in regards to Twitter. I'm not on it a lot, but after the Club Q shooting there's been the usual name-calling, virtue-signaling and pearl-clutching from the prohibitionists, and that's afforded me the opportunity to make some very cutting points. I don't go out of my way to be a jerk, but when I get tagged in some bad faith arguments, I like to vent my spleen. 

Example 1:


In case folks were wondering why I bothered replying to a nobody, it's because Everytown was tagged and I want them to see this.

Example #2:

I do so love it when our European "betters" decide to lecture us on how to run our country, doubly so when they're German. 

I expect Herr Brusco to block me any moment now. 

Oh yes, speaking of "Go Fuck Yourself", here is a new design that will be uploaded to the OBS-PP storefront once the final tweaks are finished:



In case you're wondering what King Leonidas' famous imperative has to do with Oedipus, consider the latter's relationship with his mother. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 225: The Heroics of Richard Fierro

                         

In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs;
    • the racist remarks of a New Jersey assemblyman, and the racist roots of gun control;
    • and the unintended consequences of passing Oregon Ballot Initiative 114.
  • Next, Weer'd sits down with Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons and Headstamp Publishing to discuss all the difficulties of getting Pistols of the Warlords published;
  • and finally, Weer'd brings us part 4 of his fisk of Brady Campaign talking points, this  time on the "culture of gun violence".




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Show Notes

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Press Release: the Club Q Shooting in Colorado Springs

     

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Daytona Beach, FL, 21 November 2022

On 19 November 2022, at approximately 11:55 PM, a predator entered Club Q in Colorado Springs. He began firing almost immediately, killing 5 and wounding 17 before being subdued by two unarmed patrons of the club. More people were injured in the crush trying to escape. Despite there not yet being a disclosed motive for the shooting, the effect of the shooting in one of only two gay clubs in Colorado Springs is chilling. Operation Blazing Sword – Pink Pistols (OBS–PP) condemns this shooting in the strongest possible terms.

Whatever his motive, he brought death and chaos into what had been a safe space. Among the victims were Daniel Davis Aston and Kelly Loving, a transgender man and transgender woman who were killed just hours before a brunch that would commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday. The fact that the attacker was subdued by patrons of the club reminds us that we are our own best defenders and first responders, which is why the motto of the Pink Pistols is Armed Queers Don't Get Bashed.

"I’m heartbroken and absolutely mortified,” said Dani Birzer, a friend of Daniel Aston. “You always know this is a possibility when you go into a gay club because you know you’re not protected.” This lack of protection at the Pulse Nightclub massacre led to the formation of Operation Blazing Sword, and its mission is to promote lawful self-defense with legally-owned and legally-carried firearms. Our position is that gun rights are queer rights, because guns in the hands of queer people protect queer lives. Therefore, any law which seeks to prevent us from carrying a gun for self-defense is anti-queer and a threat to our lives.

Operation Blazing Sword – Pink Pistols strongly encourages anyone who wishes to exercise their right to keep and bear arms to seek out as much firearm education and training as they can manage. The right to defend yourself comes with the responsibility to use those tools correctly and within the law, and self defense has strict requirements to meet. To that end, Operation Blazing Sword maintains a database of 1500 queer-friendly firearm volunteer educators in every state of the USA. OBS–PP also submits legal briefs (amicus curiae) to protect the rights of not just queer people, but all peaceable citizens, to have access to the most effective tools for self-defense.


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

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

Media Contact:   
Erin Palette
386-401-0386

Monday, November 21, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 224: Wylde Electyns! *guitar riff*

                         

In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss Second Amendment news pertaining to the mid-term elections:
    • In races where gun control was in issue, things didn't go well for the gun prohibitionists;
    • Iowa has a Constitutional Amendment protecting the individual right to keep and bear arms;
    • Oregon has magazine capacity limits and requires a permit to buy guns and ammunition;
    • and many Oregon sheriffs have said they won't enforce that law.
  • Tiny returns to the podcast, this time talking about how the Dunning-Kruger effect might also tie to your regional experiences;
  • David brings us part two of his history of gun sights;
  • and finally, in part 4 of his Virtual Reality series, Matt talks about where you can play your VR games.




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Sunday, November 20, 2022

Colorado Springs 11/20/22

Yes, I am aware of what happened in Colorado

I am having a really TurboShitty Bad Day and this only added to it. 

I do plan to make an official announcement about it, but I need to be in a better headspace first. I haven't even had the mental spoons to read the article. 

The limit of my knowledge is "A bunch of people were shot in a gay club on Colorado, oh and today also is the Transgender Day of Remembrance" and I just cannot bring myself to learn more right now.

Besides, anyone who knows me, and knows what I do, will know what I plan to say anyway. 

Today is a mental health day, and that's that. 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Shove All the Planets in the Universe Up My Ass

An oldie but goodie from the late, lamented Firefly:

 

This sentiment is an accurate depiction of how I've felt the past few days. I'm not going into specifics because of my "no whining" policy on this blog; I'm just going to explain that 
  1. I have spend the past three days running errands and dealing with my father's crap (both literal and figurative);
  2. but at least I've accomplished measurable success, as opposed to the too-common and highly annoying "I've worked for hours and know I've gotten things done but I literally can't see a difference having been made."
OK, maybe a bit more context. Dad is at a VA home in the next county, and mom is 83 and doesn't feel comfortable driving on the interstates, so when she goes up to see him either I need to drive her or she has to ask a family friend to take her. That's an hour up, an hour back, and about an hour to visit, so I basically lost an entire afternoon playing Erin Uber. 

I've also been dealing with the decades of junk that dad accumulated in his bedroom so that I can move into it and have a bit more privacy. A lot of it falls under "Too nice to throw away but not valuable enough to sell" and is mainly books of history and politics, but I'm about to the point where I'm fed up and ready to ditch most of them at the local library. Last night I was fortunate enough to have the time, energy, and desire to do work in his room, and I got enough done that I can see the difference. 

I won't be moved in by then, but I'd like to be sleeping there by Christmas. Normally I'd say this is possible, but I refuse to sleep on that mattress due to him having both kinds of incontinence, and mattresses aren't cheap. 

Finally, there's this bit of social media which I'm proud of. You'd think a lawyer would understand the basic concept that criminals don't obey laws, but whatever, we're not gonna make it as a culture / country / species anyway.



Anyway, all of that that is why I feel like the planets in the universe have been shoved up my ass. 

By the way, when you make your comments below, bring your A-game; the expected "Uranus/your anus" reply is low-hanging fruit and you're a better class of deplorables than that. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

GHUpAS

Well, as you can see I didn't post anything on Friday. This is exactly why I decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo, because if I did, then I'd be behind schedule and beating myself up about it. Instead, I'm doing Try To Write More In November But If I Don't That's Okay And I Forgive Myself, or TTWRINBIIDTOAIFM, and I'm writing right now so this definitely counts. 

On Sunday I also wrote what I think is a really great article on Blue Collar Prepping about a battery backup for my CPAP, and I'm pretty sure that counts too. 

So, I'm gonna talk some shit about William Gibson. But first, a video. 


I used to be a William Gibson fan. I adore Neuromancer; in addition to being a well-crafted story in general, it's a seminal work of science fiction that jump-started the cyberpunk subgenre (alongside other authors like Greg Bear and Walter Jon Williams). I try and read it every year or so, it's that good. 

The sequel, Count Zero, was also very good, although the story is a bit fractured due to perspective shifts. Something that you need to know about William Gibson is that he can tell amazing stories, but only so long as he keeps to one character's perspective. The more perspectives he adds, the more convoluted the story becomes, until it eventually collapses under its own weight. The multiple perspectives become more important than telling a coherent story, resulting in an ending that gives no closure, squanders the intriguing possibilities described in previous novels, and leaves the reader mourning for what could have been. This is what happened to Mona Lisa Overdrive, the third novel in that trilogy. 

I call this Gibsonian Head-Up-Ass Syndrome (GHUpAS, pronounced "goop-ass" because it's my acronym and I can say it however I like), and it's unfortunately a characteristic of his work. My friend Chris Hogan over at the BookFace says Gibson is "an amazing short story writer who sadly works in the novel format," and I can't disagree. Burning Chrome, a collection of his short stories, was published two years before Neuromancer, and many of those stories laid the groundwork for his later Sprawl Trilogy. I think Neuromancer succeeded mainly because it was originally serialized in Asimov's Science Fiction, which meant that it essentially was a collection of short stories told in series and tied together with an overarching plot.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Count Zero works mainly because he keeps the perspectives tight (two, I seem to recall; no, wait, three, but one of them contributes very little to the plot and doesn't interact with the other two POVs, so these act more like interludes than anything else) and because it plays off a neat idea introduced at the very end of Neuromancer: that there's an alien Artificial Intelligence in Earth's internet that was beamed here via satellite from Alpha Centauri and is interacting with the unleashed Neuromancer-Wintermute AI gestalt that was freed of its chains in the previous novel. We subsequently learn that this gestalt AI decides to manifest as various loas of Voudou, and they are appearing to a young woman who can somehow interact with the internet without machinery. 

This is a really cool concept. I bet you're hoping that in the third book you find out why the alien AI is here, how it's different from human-built AIs, if it's friendly or an enemy, and that sort of thing, right? And when you discover that a fan-favorite character from Neuromancer is in this book, that there's gonna be some awesome ass-kicking. Oh, and the internet-woman is here, too! It's all coming together, right?

Answer: Hahahahahaha fuck you, no, you get dogshit. The story in Mona Lisa Overdrive is a confusing mess, there is no resolution to many dangling plot threads, the alien AI story is left abandoned, and your fan-favorite character might as well not be there at all for all the impact she has. 

So why is GHUpAS a syndrome? Because Gibson did the exact same thing in his next three books, the Bridge Trilogy. 
Book 1, Virtual Light: Gibson created an interesting world with compelling characters and an intriguing plot.

Book 2, Idoru: This is a fork from the main book, focusing on a side character from the first one and a plot related to an unexplored aspect of the setting that is relevant and related to the first novel. 

Book 3, All Tomorrow's Parties: The pieces from books 1 and 2 could come together to make a truly remarkable story, but sadly GHUpAS is in full effect. The ending is squandered, more of an afterthought to the mental masturbation of the various perspectives than any sort of closure, and compelling ideas are left to die undeveloped for the sake characters we don't care about, and the characters we do care about are wasted. 
Yes, I am still angry about the wasted potential of Mona Lisa Overdrive. So angry, in fact, that when Gibson pulled the same shit with All Tomorrow's Parties, I swore I'd never give him another cent and never read another of his books. In fact, I am so angry that I want to invent time travel for the sole reason of going back in time to publish all his stories before he does, just so that I can then give those trilogies the proper endings that they deserve. 

So, yeah, The Peripheral? This sounds like peak GHUpAS to me. Maybe he's gotten better with his Blue Ant trilogy, but I wouldn't know because I swore I wouldn't read them, and at this point I don't really care. 

If he holds true to pattern, then whether or not the series has a satisfying ending will depend on if Amazon is adapting just the one book in the series, or all three.
Just the one book? It should be a pretty good series. 

Two books? Still fairly good, although viewers will probably be left with a gnawing "Okay, but what happens with plot threads X, Y, and Z?" feeling. 

Three books? Look at how Game of Thrones ended. 

That's my prediction on November 11, 2022. Come back here from the future and tell me if I was wrong. 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 223: Round Table News Round-Up

                         

In This Episode

It's an ACP Round Table! Join Weer'd, Erin, David, and Oddball as they discuss:

  • Oregon's anti-gun ballot initiative and their insane, racially-charged promotion of it;
  • Iowa's desire to codify the right to keep and bear arms in their State Constitution;
  • a federal judge trying his hardest to ignore the NYSRPA v. Bruen ruling;
  • a joint story between The Trace and The New Yorker attacking the work of Dr. John Lott;
  • more news from New York courts on the Concealed Carry "Improvement" Act;
  • and an anti-gun group is targeting video games for "encouraging violence". What is this, 1999?




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Friday, November 11, 2022

Stuff and Nonsense

 All right, I need to keep this short because it's late and I'm in a fair bit of pain from some weird neck kink that suddenly appeared for no apparent reason other than to hurt me, so have some random gibberish. 


"It [Thursday] occupies that nebulous place in space-time that is immediately after the halfway point, but an infinity before the end. It's the weekday version of the last 20 minutes of school, in which time ceases to exist as a measurable quantity and becomes a subjectively infinite purgatory." -- Erin Palette, circa 2009, colorized.

Found on Facebook, creator unknown

I know a lot of you were worried about me, but Hurricane Nicole was a big nothing for my household:
  • The hurricane hit well south of us.
  • We are far enough inland that flooding isn't an issue. 
  • It was only a Category 1, and Floridians tend to sleep through Cat 1 and 2 storms. 
  • We didn't even suffer any damage from Ian, so nothing was been weakened that could even be affected by Nicole. 
  • I thought we might lose power for a bit last night or this morning, so I implemented my emergency CPAP power preps. (Those will be the subject of a future Blue Collar Prepping post.)
  • The power barely flickered, so I didn't get the chance to test them, but everything implemented smoothly. 
This was literally just another Wednesday for me. All part of being Floridian. 


Here's another funny hurricane thing, found by a Facebook friend. This is from the What the Forecast app for Valdosta, GA:


I mean, I guess that's thorough?

I feel like I'm scraping the bottom of my creative barrel here but at the same time I also feel like I haven't written enough to justify stopping. 

Hm, OK. I have a thesis cooking about how Night Court is basically the 1980s version of Barney Miller but I'm not prepared to develop it right now. Until then, I leave you with this:

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Conversations with a High School Senior on the Ethics of Gun Ownership and Gun Control

About a month ago I was contacted by a young man who wanted to talk to me about gun ownership. I'm always happy to make time for young people, and there was something about this one which told me he was worth the effort. 

What follows is a cut-and-paste of our correspondence, redacted for his privacy and posted with his permission. I've been interviewed by adults who have been less prepared and whose questions were much less sophisticated, and it was a pleasure talking to him about my thoughts on the Second Amendment. 

My goal in all this was not to sway him to my point of view, (although I would be lying if I said I never hoped for that); instead, my hope was that even if he disagreed with my conclusions, by "showing my work" he would be able to see how I arrived at them. 

His words are in italics and indented. 
Hello Ms. Palette,

I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Redacted], and I'm a high school senior. In my ethics class, I'm currently working on a study of gun control laws in my state ([Redacted]) and the arguments on both sides of this topic. In my research, I found your organization, Pink Pistols, and I believe that you hold a very strong and fascinating perspective on self-defense. As a queer person living in a right-leaning state, I sometimes do feel nervous about my own safety, so I take interest in your advocacy.

I was wondering if it would be possible to interview you for my project. I would like to learn more about your and Pink Pistols' stances on a few ethical frameworks regarding this issue. I don't want to take up too much of your time, so it would only be a few questions, over email, that you are free to answer at your earliest convenience. If you cannot for whatever reason, I completely understand. Thank you for your time.

[Redacted], 

I am happy to help. What would you like to know?

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! Here are the questions:

1) Many pro-gun advocates in the U.S. cite the Second Amendment as their reasoning for being opposed to stricter gun laws. Do you believe that this is a strong argument, and is it one that you adhere to?  
2) Another ethical framework under which we could view pro-gun movements is libertarianism, who essentially believe that people should be free to do as they want up to the point of harming other people. They are opposed to the government creating laws on moral grounds or creating laws to protect people from each other. In your opinion, is libertarianism a valid and strong reason to be against gun control? Is this a philosophy you agree with? 

3) How might you respond to those who point at other countries, whose firearm suicide and homicide rates went down after gun laws were put into place? 

4) Pro-gun beliefs are often seen as conservative or right-leaning views, held by people who are sometimes opposed to queer rights and queer liberation. Have you ever spoken to liberals or leftists who worry for their own safety and want to practice self-defense, but are also conflicted about supporting a cause that is seen as right-wing? 

[Redacted], 

Before we proceed, I need to ask:
  1. What is your deadline on this? These questions have complicated answers and I want to explain my reasoning thoroughly, but neither do I want to be the reason you turn in your assignment late. 
  2. In what capacity do you want me to respond? My answers as the head of Operation Blazing Sword may be different from my answers as a private citizen. 

A rough draft of the project is due on November 1st, but if that's too soon, no worries—I have some other things I can write about for that first draft. If I could get your responses sometime during that week, though (before Saturday the 5th), that would be great! In terms of how you should answer, I'd prefer if you spoke as the head of Operation Blazing Sword.

Thank you, [Redacted]! That's what I needed to know. 

My plan is to dedicate an email to each question you have asked so that I can give you as complete an answer as possible. 
1) Many pro-gun advocates in the U.S. cite the Second Amendment as their reasoning for being opposed to stricter gun laws. Do you believe that this is a strong argument, and is it one that you adhere to?
That is a strong argument, and it is one that I agree with, but it is not the whole of my conviction. 

The keystone of the Bill of Rights is that the Constitution does not grant rights, but rather it recognizes rights which are inherent to human existence -- the Founders called these "Natural Rights", as in "they were granted to us through nature" -- and restricts the Government from infringing upon those rights. In other words, we have those rights whether or not any government says that we do. Bolstering this is the 14th Amendment, which states "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." Therefore, not only do gun laws violate the Second Amendment, they violate the 14th Amendment as well.

The Second Amendment enshrines not just our right to self-defense, but our right to defend ourselves in the most effective way possible: for example, the average adult man is a foot taller and 30 pounds heavier than the average adult woman, and has 6 inches more reach and greater muscle mass. A man wishing to harm a woman has an advantage, and this is before we take into account age, health, and so forth. An elderly person, or a disabled person in a wheelchair, is not only at a physical disadvantage in a fight but is also unable to retreat to safety. A firearm used in self-defense mitigates many of these disadvantages and tips the odds in favor of the innocent victim. 

Finally, gun laws only stop the law-abiding. A man determined to commit the heinous crimes of armed robbery, battery, sexual assault or murder will not be deterred by the minor crime of violating a gun law; he will simply ignore it (in the case of "gun-free zones") or bypass it (in the case of acquiring a firearm illegally). Contrariwise, his victims -- who are almost assuredly innocent and law-abiding -- will be rendered defenseless by laws which restrict or prohibit firearm ownership, and this makes them easier to victimize. 

The entire purpose of both Operation Blazing Sword and the Pink Pistols is to be firmly on the side of the innocent and to prevent their victimization by enabling them to defend themselves in the most effective manner possible. Gun control laws only help the criminals. 

To close, I wish to state my logical thesis for why I believe that Gun Rights = Queer Rights = Natural Rights:

·  You have the right to live.
·  There are people who wish to harm us because we are queer.
·  Guns allow us to defend queer life.
∴ Therefore, guns preserve queer lives.

·  Guns cannot preserve queer lives if queer people cannot carry them.
·  Gun rights means that all non-prohibited people can carry guns.
·  By carrying a gun, we can defend our queer lives.
∴ Therefore, gun rights are pro-queer.

·  Self-defense is a natural right.
·  Living and loving as you wish, so long as it harms none, is also a natural right.
·  Gun rights ensure that the above rights are respected.
∴ Therefore, gun rights = queer rights = natural rights.

Please let me know if I have answered your question completely or if you need anything clarified. When you are satisfied with this I will proceed to your next question.

Yes, that's perfect. Thank you for your detailed answer—go on to the next question whenever you're ready!

Happy to!

I'm skipping question #2 for now. 
3) How might you respond to those who point at other countries, whose firearm suicide and homicide rates went down after gun laws were put into place?
Firearm suicide rates. Firearm homicide rates. I find it incredibly telling that these arguments always use these qualifiers, as if it were some sort of "gotcha" that making something harder to legally acquire reduces the frequency of its use, while at the same time framing it as an either/or scenario. Tell me, did overall suicide and homicide rates go down in those countries after gun laws were enacted? Did they rise? Did they stay the same? Find that answer in your research and you will see the true effectiveness of these laws. 

While I'm on the subject, I want to digress for a moment and state how utterly disgusted I am by this conceit on behalf of gun prohibitionists. By concentrating only on firearm-related violence and ignoring all other forms, they show that their true purpose is not to prevent violence but rather to disarm the people who they think shouldn't be armed. (And from my previous answer, you know I feel that disarming me is empowering those who mean to harm me.) They are sending the tacit message that other forms of homicide and suicide are just fine so long as guns aren't involved. This is sickening and abhorrent. Someone being beaten to death by a blunt object is just as much a tragedy as is someone being shot to death! If anti-gun organizations truly cared about saving lives they would be anti-violence in all forms. End of digression. 

So, homicides. A lot of people think that word is synonymous with "murder", but it's not. It just means "one human killed another." A father shooting an intruder who is about to rape his daughter is a homicide. It's also not a crime, and is known as justifiable homicide. The same holds true for when the police have to kill a mass shooter, or someone who has taken a hostage and is threatening them, or any number of other threats to public safety. So when you do your research, try to determine what happened to criminal homicides, not just homicides overall. 

As for suicides: I don't know about other countries, but I know that in the USA over half of all suicides are by firearm. (Also, more than half of all "gun deaths" are suicides.) Does this mean that if we get rid of guns we will eliminate suicide? Of course not. What's more, since you can kill yourself with a single-shot weapon, in order to stop suicides-by-firearm (instead of, oh hey, better mental health to prevent suicides in general? Just a thought) we would need to ban all firearms to potentially stop half of all suicides... and this of course incorrectly assumes that if we get rid of guns entirely, we will stop half of all suicides. I suggest you compare countries by suicide rate side-by-side with countries by strictness of gun control laws; you will see that many countries with strict gun control laws have a suicide rate equal to or higher than ours. In fact, let's specifically look at Japan: their firearm laws are some of the strictest in the world (I believe that China and Singapore have stricter laws, but don't take my word for it, check for yourself) and yet their suicide rate is almost identical to ours. 

To summarize:
  1. Stopping violence is more important than controlling guns, and anyone who says otherwise simply wants to disarm the innocent. 
  2. Suicide is a problem which exists independent of firearm accessibility. Again, disarming the innocent will not suicide. 
  3. If politicians and gun prohibition groups actually gave a damn about people they would care less about gun laws and more about better mental health accessibility and stopping crime. (On a related note, watch this TED Talk by Dr. Gary Slutkin about treating violence like a contagious disease. I think you'll find it interesting.)
Again, let me know if you need more from me on this. 

That looks great—thank you for providing a few sources; I'll make sure to look into those as well!

Comment in Follow-up Email: How could I have forgotten North Korea? Good Lord, have mercy on my poor old brain...

4) Pro-gun beliefs are often seen as conservative or right-leaning views, held by people who are sometimes opposed to queer rights and queer liberation. Have you ever spoken to liberals or leftists who worry for their own safety and want to practice self-defense, but are also conflicted about supporting a cause that is seen as right-wing?
Yes, and this is the reason Operation Blazing Sword exists. I don't know how much you know about that, so I will assume you know nothing and will direct you to this interview (I start at the 34 minute mark) and our website

2) Another ethical framework under which we could view pro-gun movements is libertarianism, who essentially believe that people should be free to do as they want up to the point of harming other people. They are opposed to the government creating laws on moral grounds or creating laws to protect people from each other. In your opinion, is libertarianism a valid and strong reason to be against gun control? Is this a philosophy you agree with? 
I have been giving this a lot of thought, which is why I saved it for last. This is a difficult question to unravel, because the philosophy of little-l libertarianism is inextricably linked to the big-L Libertarian Party of the USA, and agreement with some or all of the philosophy may be seen as an endorsement of it. Because you have asked me to answer in my capacity as the head of Operation Blazing Sword and Pink Pistols, any endorsement of any political party (deliberate or otherwise) is something that I try to avoid. OBS/PP is not a partisan entity -- in fact, engaging in partisanship would endanger our 501c3 status -- and so other than our commitment to the Second Amendment and opposing gun control, we try to keep our political stance as neutral as possible. This enables us to have a "big tent" type of organization to match our philosophy: if the Second Amendment is for everyone, and it is, then surely our pro-2A organization is also for everyone. 

All of this is to say "If you do end up using what I say next in your paper, please do me the kindness of using what I just said above in your paper as well."

Without showing favor to the Libertarian party, the philosophy of little-l libertarianism says that if you have a particular right, you also have the concomitant responsibility to go with it. If I am the victim of a crime that threatens my life, I have the right to stop that crime from happening, but I also have the responsibility to match my defense to the severity of that threat. For example, if someone is threatening to hit me with their fist, under most circumstances and assuming a parity of force (i.e. height, weight, muscle mass, physical fitness, and so forth are equal) that doesn't grant me the right to shoot that person with a firearm. (Please, for the love of God, don't bring up George Zimmerman or that'll be another 500-1000 words.) This would, however, most likely confer to me the right to use Aikido, or pepper spray, or some other non-lethal means to stop an assailant from striking me. But on the other hand, if I have been given good reason to believe that my assailant can carry out a threat to kill me, I can match lethal force with lethal force and use a gun to stop them. 

And, as I stated earlier, gun control laws only disarm the law-abiding and further empower law-breakers. 

As I understand little-l libertarianism, it is chiefly about the belief in our right to live our lives in peace. Little-l libertarians mean no harm to anyone who doesn't try to hurt them first. This is the heart of the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP), one of the chief tenets of libertarian philosophy. 

Or, as the "ancient Tibetan philosophy" states: Don't start none, won't be none. 

To answer your other question: It is the policy of OBS/PP to be against gun control laws in general, as my previous answers have made plain. Therefore, any philosophy which people use to reach that same conclusion is valid and strong, be it libertarianism or some other form of -ism. 

As an example, I like to break the brains of far-left gun prohibitionists by showing them that Karl Marx himself was for gun ownership and against gun control:


From Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League, London, March 1850. Again, this is not an endorsement of little-c communism, nor of the Communist Party. 

I hope that I have answered all of your questions satisfactorily. Please let me know if you need elaboration upon or clarification of anything I have said in this or previous emails. 

I think that's everything, yes. Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses to my questions. You've offered a lot of insight. I am someone who was raised in a fairly left-leaning household (especially relative to the right-leaning state I live in) and I've always tentatively supported increased gun control, but hearing the perspective of someone who is both pro-gun and pro-queer is refreshing, and I wish it were more common.

Thank you again for all your time and dedication! I wish you all the best.



As you can see, this was time and effort well-spent with a very sharp young man, and I look forward to seeing the great things he will undoubtedly accomplish in the future. 

And yes, of course I offered to put him in contact with an Operation Blazing Sword volunteer to teach him safe firearm operation and storage once he came of age. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

NaNoWri NO

I've never participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I don't plan to do so. If you NaNo, good for you! I'm genuinely happy for and supportive of you. I won't do it, though, because I know me and this is what will happen:
  1. I will start full of energy and good intentions. 
  2. Something will happen that will cause me to miss a day. 
  3. I will slip behind and never catch up. 
  4. I will then berate myself for failing at something as simple as this. 
  5. My brain weasels will use this as an example of why I'm a useless person and will remind me of my failure on a regular basis. 
Look, I don't make the rules here; this is just how my brain works. The best I can do it try to mitigate the effects. 

https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=4910

All that said, I'm still going to try to do something this November, because I've felt like a slack-ass for quite a long time and I want to get back into the habit of writing. To that end, instead of writing a novel this month I'm going to try to write more blog posts. My goal will be five posts per week, although I give myself advance forgiveness if I don't make that goal. 

Since this is the second week of November and I'm only now writing this, you can see what a splendid start this is for me. 

Look, I make no promises about quality, just quantity. 


... okay, I've spent the past three hours trying to think of something to add to this, and I can't. So I'm calling it here. But at least I wrote something

Monday, November 7, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 222: Cranky Old Podcasters

                         

In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • the attack at the Pelosi mansion;
    • the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police sabotaging an investigation in order to promote gun-ban propaganda;
    •  and Giffords suing over a gun control law they previously supported.
  • Next, David discusses historical sights;
  • Matt from Geeks Gadgets and Guns talks about tracking and image generation in VR;
  • and finally, Weer'd fisks the Brady Campaign as they attempt to refute the "More Guns, Less Crime" adage.




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Show Notes

Main Topic:

Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

Weer’d Audio Fisk:

Monday, October 31, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 221: ACP in VR

                         

In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • a school shooting in St. Louis and the value of rapid police response;
    • Canada banning handgun purchase, sale, and transfer;
    • the bizarre way a California Judge denied a temporary restraining order in a 2A case.
  • Next, Xander brings us his Independent Thoughts on his VR Setup;
  • Matt from Geeks Gadgets and Guns talks about current VR systems and their pros and cons;
  • and finally, Weer'd brings us part two of his fisk series on the Brady Campaign attempting to rebut pro-gun talking points.




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.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 220: It's Dangerous to Podcast Alone

                         

In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss several court cases against New York's carry restrictions, and the FBI's grave misreporting on active shooters stopped by citizen defenders;
  • David conducts some experiments on Oddball's Altor;
  • Matt from Geeks Gadgets and Guns gives an introduction to his series on Virtual Reality;
  • and finally, The Egghead explains the different formats of Night Vision Goggles.




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:

General Purpose Egghead:

Sunday, October 23, 2022

WHARRGARBL

 As you've likely noticed, there was no episode of the Assorted Calibers Podcast this week. That was because Weer'd Beard was out of town on vacation and no one wanted the extra duty of editing an episode while he was away. 

I'm posting this here because
  1. I don't like wasting good material on an "away game";
  2. I wanted my readers to laugh at this idiot;
  3. I didn't want to go a whole week without posting anything.



I don't know which is funnier: the whole "Someone mentioned guns, so now I'm thinking about your genitals, hah you have no comeback to that!" or the rapid, nonsensical goalpost-moving pivot which happens next:



So now that I've established this guy is either a troll, or a loon, or both and that his bait isn't going to work, I decide "What the heck" and throw out some bait of my own -- but unlike his, mine is rooted in fact. 



"???" is shorthand for "I don't want to argue in good faith, I just want to spam memes at you and call you names." Cool, dude, right back atcha. 



Ooh, he didn't like that. Facts and attribution are "being silly". 

Ah yes, the much-lauded "Nuh-uh" tactic! Honestly I'm surprised it took him this long. 

And then, after telling me "Bye Felecia"... he starts talking to me again? And bringing up the same tired old argument? This guy is clearly not interested in anything except trying to make me mad, and I'm pleased that I didn't give him the satisfaction. 



Was this a great victory? No. But I had fun, and I was proud of myself that I was able to irritate the troll into blocking me, and hopefully you all had a good time laughing at him. 



Monday, October 10, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 219: A Splendid Tart with a Soggy Bottom

                         

In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • the aftermath of Hurricane Ian;
    • Everytown asking for more anti-gun propaganda in TV shows;
    • the passing of Judge Laurence Silberman, and how he left his mark on the Second Amendment;
    • the Supreme Court accepting a case where a Massachusetts resident has been denied his gun rights for a misdemeanor conviction;
    • the Supreme Court declining to hear the two Bumpstock ban cases;
    • and Mexico's lawsuit against major gun manufacturers being dismissed.
  • Next, David gives us another update on the new concealed carry training requirements in New York state;
  • and finally, Weer'd presents his first fisk of a project that uses the Brady Campaign Podcast as a primer on anti-gun talking points and how to rebut them.




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:

Weer’d Audio Fisk:

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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