Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Amicus Brief Filed in Ocean State Tactical v. State of Rhode Island


The Historically Discriminated Coalition Opposes Rhode Island's Magazine Ban

Daytona Beach, FL, 25 April 2023: The Historically Discriminated Coalition has filed an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit opposing Rhode Island General Laws § 11-47.1-3(b), which prohibits the possession, sale, and manufacture of firearm magazines with a capacity of over 10 rounds of ammunition within the state. The brief contends that R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47.1-3(b) is unconstitutional under NYSRPA v. Bruen and significantly hinders the ability of those people who have historically been discriminated against, and who suffer from higher rates of violence  and victimization, to defend themselves with firearms. Whether intended or not, this law has the effect of making women, people of color, and LGBTQ people in Rhode Island even more vulnerable to violence by disarming them in the name of public safety.

The Historically Discriminated Coalition is comprised of four groups: the National African American Gun Association (NAAGA), the Asian Pacific American Gun Owners Association (APAGOA), the DC Project Foundation (DCPF), and Operation Blazing Sword - Pink Pistols.  Alongside the coalition are the Liberal Gun Club, whose membership and leadership at a national and state level, is comprised of members of all the groups listed here, and Gabriela Franco, an individual who is in the planning stages of founding another member association focused on responsible firearms ownership and self-defense.

The brief was filed by Christopher Renzulli on April 17, 2023.

Media Contact: Erin Palette

NAAGA was founded in 2015 to defend the Second Amendment rights of members of the African American community. With more than 50,000 members who reside in every state and the District of Columbia, NAAGA’s mission is to establish a fellowship by educating about the rich legacy of gun ownership by African Americans, offering training that supports safe gun use for self-defense and sportsmanship, and advocating for the inalienable right to self-defense for African Americans.

APAGOA was founded in 2021 to create a community of gun owners with an Asian Pacific American Heritage.  APAGOA advocates for strong firearms safety, education, and community building initiatives by providing educational materials and other supportive resources to its members and other interested parties.

The DC Project Foundation was founded in 2016 by retired police officer and professional shooting competitor, Dianna Muller.  The nationwide, non-partisan organization of women believe that gun rights are women’s rights, and that education, not legislation, is the key to firearms safety and violence prevention. There are over 3000 members.

Operation Blazing Sword, Inc. was established in 2016 the day after the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre to advocate on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) firearm owners, with specific emphasis on self-defense. It has over 1,500 volunteer firearm instructors in nearly 1,000 locations across all 50 states.  Pink Pistols, founded in 2000 and incorporated into Operation Blazing Sword in 2018, is a shooting society that honors gender and sexual diversity and advocates the responsible use of firearms for self-defense.

The Liberal Gun Club was founded to provide a forum and resources for left-of-center firearms owners who are pro-Second Amendment but do not subscribe to the right-wing ideology and rhetoric that is often associated with other Second Amendment groups.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 246: The Weer'dless Round Table


In This Episode

Weer'd Beard is on vacation with his family this week, so Erin runs the Round Table in queenly fashion alongside her knights Sir Odd and Sir Bock as they discuss the recent NRA Annual Meeting and exciting developments in lawsuits against gun prohibition.

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Monday, April 17, 2023

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 245: Don't Act a Fool in Congress


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • A spree killing that not only didn't happen in the US, but also didn't use a firearm;
    • now that Massachusetts' handgun roster has been successfully challenged, will it join California's roster before the Supreme Court?
  • Oddball gives us a recap on the Tennessee legislature members who were ousted over a disruptive anti-gun protest;
  • David gives his review of the S&W M&P FPC;
  • and Sean Sorrentino heard an argument against internet censorship that is also a great rebuttal to gun control arguments.

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.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

This Crumb is Mine, part 2

As I mentioned in my previous This Crumb Is Mine post, I was honored to play a part, however small, in the repeal of May Issue laws through the SCOTUS case of NYSRPA v. Bruen. Alongside that honor is a feeling of irritation as many states have elected to dig in their heels, plug their ears, and pass yet more gun prohibitions which defy the spirit of that landmark SCOTUS decision. As a result, I've taken upon myself a personal crusade to help overthrow such prohibitions wherever they crop up. 

(For those wondering why I keep calling them gun prohibitions rather than gun control laws, it's because that history has proven time and again that Prohibition doesn't work, and using that terminology reminds people of its futility and failures.)

To that end I joined with the Historically Discriminated Coalition in opposing Oregon Ballot Measure 114, in which I compared the measure to North Carolina's Jim Crow-era Pistol Purchase Permit law. A few days after that I was contacted by a member of Grass Roots North Carolina who saw my post and said,
The guys at GRNC would like it if you could write up something about the Jim Crow Pistol Purchase Permit that we could take to the NC General Assembly. 

We'd like something like a cover letter we could attach to a copy of the Amicus brief where you call the Oregon measure "like the Jim Crow era PPP." We intend to show them we as a State are being held up to ridicule for having a Jim Crow gun law still on our books. 

We will distribute it both to the NCGA and to our Governor (and to our Lt. Gov, Mark Robinson who you know from the "I am the majority" pro gun speech).

I was of course quite happy to oblige, and so I whipped up the following:

You can tell I'm serious when I break out the footnotes. 

A few weeks later I was told "The PPP repeal bill has been introduced. It goes to committee on Tuesday. I believe your letter is in the hands of our Legislative Action Team. They will be using it to bludgeon anyone who stands against it." This was the first time anything I've written has been used as a bludgeon and I was, frankly, thrilled to be weaponized in such a manner. 

It took over a month and an override of the North Carolina governor's veto, but the bill repealing the Pistol Purchase Permit finally passed on 29 March, 2023 and immediately went into effect. 

Just as in my previous post, 99.999999999% of the credit goes to other people in the repeal of his abhorrent law. I am simply pleased to have played a small role in all of this and I will treasure my crumb of gold. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

Canaries in the Gun Rights Coal Mine

Queer people are the canaries in the Gun Rights coal mine, and those alleged conservatives who are pushing to deprive us of our Second Amendment rights without due process are sawing off the branch upon which they sit.

You see, it follows a simple formula:

    1. Gender dysphoria is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition, aka the DSM-V, a reference book on mental health and brain-related conditions and disorders.  [1]
    2. The general public believes that if you suffer from any of the conditions listed in the DSM-V, you are mentally ill in the "unstable, likely crazy" sense.
    3. "The mentally ill shouldn't have guns" is a common rallying cry on both sides of the political spectrum.  [2]
    4. Therefore, since transgender people "are crazy", they shouldn't have guns and that means stripping them of their Second Amendment rights without due process "for the greater good."  [3]
    5. However, once that precedent is established, things only get worse. The next people to be stripped of their 2A rights are veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, because that's in the DSM-V as well. After that is likely to be people with depression because "they're a suicide risk", after that is likely people with anxiety or perhaps ADHD, and so on.
    6. The coup de grace against the Second Amendment comes as an emboldened federal government, with the weight of precedent behind it, declares that anyone who distrusts and defies the authority of the government clearly has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), which is listed in the DSM-V, just like Gender Dysphoria. ODD manifests as anger and defiance toward authority figures, and after the past three years there are an awful lot of folks who fit that bill. Since ODD is in the DSM-V, that means anyone who mistrusts and opposes the government is mentally ill, and therefore "should be denied their Second Amendment rights for the good of all."
    7. I expect some people are thinking "Weaponized psychiatry can't be used against people like that." Well, it's what some folks are calling for right now, even some people in government, so don't be so sure.  [4]

The Second Amendment applies to everyone, not just those on your political side. If you enable the government to strip rights from people you don't like, then that tactic will eventually be used against you when the party in power switches; but as long as the weird outsiders have Second Amendment rights, the mainstream is safe.

Keep your canaries safe, folks.

[1] Gender dysphoria is listed in the DSM-V for the same reason PTSD, depression, anxiety, impotence and others are: so that insurance will cover their treatment such as counseling, hormone therapy, and surgery.

[2] This is wholly separate from the unfortunately common belief among hoplophobes and firearm prohibitionists that merely wanting to own a gun is a sign of mental illness ("because why else would you want to own a murder weapon?") and is therefore a disqualification. 

[3] The combined diagnoses of the DSM-V apply to millions of Americans. Before the age of 75, 31% of Americans are estimated to suffer from an anxiety disorder and 21.4% from any mood disorder. That's 103 million and 71 million Americans, respectively. 

[4] There is a long, sad history of weaponized psychiatry against queer people. Homosexuality was listed as a disorder in the DSM-I (1951), and was only removed in the DSM-II (1973).

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 244: A Good Law Passed, a Bad Law Repealed


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • What is known about the Nashville shooter;
    • Florida becoming the 26th state that doesn't require a concealed carry permit.
  • Sean Sorrentino joins us to talk about the repeal of North Carolina's Pistol Purchase Permit;
  • David talks about ballistic coefficients;
  • and Oddball talks about the utility of brass knuckles.

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:

Sean Sorentino Interview:

Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

Oddball’s Corner Pocket:


Sunday, April 9, 2023

Scenes from my household on Easter Sunday

Mom, making her traditional Easter Bread: "I think the yeast I used is too old. The bread isn't rising."

Me: "That's okay, instead of Easter Bread it'll be Passover Bread."

Later, I discover that the yeast did manage to raise the bread. 

Me, thinking: "It would be blasphemous for me to say Hallelujah! The bread is risen indeed, wouldn't it? Best not risk it."

Fun fact: When I was little, I asked my good Christian mother why we were making deviled eggs on Easter, when the devil was bad. Shouldn't we call them angeled eggs? And thus they have been called angeled eggs by my family ever since. 

We also have a family tradition of serving a cake on Easter (I don't know why, other than "It's a holiday and cakes are yummy.") For the past I don't know how many years, the cake has been a Pepperidge Farm Classic Coconut Layer Cake, often decorated with jelly beans pressed into the top. 

Mom: "Here's a slice of cake. Or do you want two?"

Me: "I want all of the slices. But I will try to be satisfied with just the one."

Morgan Freeman: "She was, in fact, not satisfied with just the one."

May you who celebrate Easter have a wonderful holiday, and may everyone else have a good Sunday. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

February Showers Bring Mold Flowers

So in part 1, I talked about how March beat the crap out of me politically. In this part I'm going to talk about how it abused me personally, but it's going to take some backtracking in order to set everything up. 

As I've mentioned before, my father was a hoarder on the low end of the scale. He didn't save trash, but he kept boxes of every bill he ever paid and every pay stub he received, going back as far as the late 1960s. He also collected items of dubious value, like cheap knives from BudK and anything with Ronald Reagan on it. When he ran out of room, he'd stack them in piles on the floor. When we eventually got him into the VA home, the only part of the floor we could see was a footpath from the door to the bed and the bathroom / walk-in closet. 

Cleaning all this out and throwing away what is junk and trying to sell/donate what is not would be a full-time job, and neither mom nor I have time for that, so we've been working on it piecemeal. In the year-plus he's been in the home we've cleared out the junk and are working on selling or donating the nicer things. In an effort to have more room for me, the first things we did was to clear out the bathroom and closet so I could have those. I continued to sleep in my bedroom while we worked on clearing out his. (Also, I wanted a new mattress, because he was both kinds of incontinent. Ick.)

First, a quick sketch. 

Walk-In Closet    |   Bathroom        
Linen Closet

The linen closet is separated from the bedroom by an archway. It's important to note that carpet covers the entire walk-in closet, half of the bathroom (where the lady of the house would put on her makeup) and the interface area linking all three rooms, including the bottom of the linen closet. The pipes for the shower are in the shared bathroom-closet wall. 

Around the first of February, I was putting something away in the bottom of the linen closet when I noticed that the floor was damp. I knew this was Not Good, so I hauled everything out of the bottom area and noticed the entire carpet was like that, and there was some mold growing on the back wall of the closet. Fortunately, nothing in the closet was damaged by moisture. We called in a plumber who said there was a pipe that had been leaking into the shared wall, and that there was mold everywhere in that space. Joy! Still, things weren't too bad, and even with my allergies I wasn't affected by the mold, so we relegated this to the category of "We will deal with this when it becomes necessary." This was likely a mistake. 

About 2 weeks later, when I was packing up for my trip to Utah, I was getting clothes out of the closet when my bare feet stepped in wet carpet. My reaction was "Well, FUCK." I then spent most of the time that I had set aside for packing instead hauling things out of the wet parts of the closet. 

Unlike the linen cabinet, this was bad. I had boxes of books and collectible trading cards (Magic: the Gathering) stored there which were not only damp and stuck together, but also had mold growing on them. This, as you might imagine, destroyed their collectability and so I ended up pitching a longbox worth of cards. I'm pretty sure I didn't lose any of my super-nice ones but I have no idea of the value of what I lost, and frankly I didn't want to know. The books were less heartbreaking, but it still pained me to throw away formerly nice hardback books. 
If you're going to leave a comment saying "You shouldn't have thrown them out, there are things you could have done to save them," please don't. They are long-tossed and you telling me that would only cause me more grief. 
Once the boxes were out, it was clear that there was mold growing not just on the walls but also on, or maybe even in, the carpet. Apparently the water which had leaked into the linen closet had also leaked into the walk-in. The weird thing, the part which was completely unexpected, is that the walk-in closet wasn't wet near the linen closet; instead, it was wet in the far right corner, and had spread along the back to the far left corner. Apparently there's a slight incline in that wall, and water follows the path of least resistance, so naturally it pooled in the far, out of reach area instead of in the area where it would be sensible to check (because, well, I did check when I discovered the linen closet mold). 

What followed was the usual circus:
  • Contact homeowner's insurance company to make a claim.
  • Insurance company sends out mold testers.
  • Mold testers agree there's mold and water damage and people need to come out and tear crap apart (the term "total demolition" was used).
  • We find a mold remediation company to come assess the situation. 
  • They give us an estimate, we run it past insurance. 
  • Insurance says yes, cuts us a check, we hire mold techs to come out. 

On March 27, we got a phone call from the mold techs that said "We'll be out there bright and early tomorrow morning. Have everything moved out of room by the time we get there."

So, because dad has a bunch of crap and we have nowhere else to put it, mom backed her car out of the garage and we started stacking things there. When we ran out of room, we stacked things on the dining room table, and then on the floor. 

Mom and I worked for over 12 hours clearing that stuff. We were exhausted, my back was screaming, and we still weren't done. So Tuesday morning, mom did the "I'm just a little old lady, I couldn't move all this stuff" routine -- which isn't a lie -- to convince the mold techs to help us move the rest of the stuff. After 90 minutes or so, everything except the big furniture like bed frame, dresser, chest of drawers, etc was moved out of the bedroom, the techs have taped off the bedroom like it's a hazmat cleanup (which I guess it is), with a zippered plastic sheet over the door and industrial air purifiers running in both the bedroom and the dining room, and my back hurts so much that I'm legitimately worried I might have injured myself. (Thankfully I hadn't.)

For the next three days, the techs were in and out, tearing everything up and hauling it out, starting with all the carpet and then the moldy drywall. The big furniture which couldn't be moved out was put up against the wall after they'd torn up the carpet, and then had a plastic sheet taped to the wall over it like a giant plastic cocoon. 

Thursday we had to leave the house for an hour while they filled the house with ozone for some reason. Fortunately the weather was nice and we took the dogs to a nature walk, which they enjoyed. 

Friday they were done, and they had the mold sensor people come back to take readings throughout the house to determine if the techs had done a good job or if they'd missed some mold and would have to tear up more of the house. 

Monday, April 3, we got the first bit of good news in a long time: they'd gotten all the mold, so the techs could take their stuff and go. 
Now we have the space back, but it's completely unlivable, and we have schedule a different work crew from a different company to restore/renovate the suite so that it can be inhabited. Then, and only then, can we start moving stuff back in, and maybe if I'm lucky I'll be able to move in there. 

You're looking through where the linen closet used to be, into where the shower used to be. 

I say "maybe" because around the time this was happening (a week ago as of this blog post), mom received a phone call from the Veteran's Administration Nursing Home where dad is that he's basically dying. Keeping in mind that I only know what mom summarized for me (I wasn't on the call) but he has some kind of bronchial infection, plus because of Parkinson's he can't swallow, so while they can give him IV antibiotics he can't take his other meds and refuses to eat, partly because of the difficulty swallowing and partly because everything needs to be pureed for him to eat it and he's probably sick of that. When I had my face mauled by the family dog back in 2017 I couldn't open my mouth to chew for a few weeks, and by the time I had my stitches out I was sick of eating soup and applesauce and other runny foods. You don't realize how important texture is to food until you have to eat the same texture over and over again. 

Before you ask "Why isn't the VA giving him his over meds via IV or whatever?" it's because he's hospice care. 

So when he dies, mom loses a significant chunk of income: half his Army pension and all of his service-related disability, plus I don't know how much of his Social Security. Given the financial hole he put us in that we haven't dug ourselves out of, plus the state of the economy in general, I don't know if mom will be able to keep the house or if we'll be forced to sell it. 

I'm not worried about what happens to me. I have friends and I have skills. But mom is 83 and doesn't want to leave her home, her garden, her memories acquired over decades. But that's a problem for Future Erin, because right now Present Erin has way too many problems already on her plate. 

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