Thursday, April 11, 2024

Just Stop.

I keep getting tagged by various people on different sides of the raging dumpster fire that is the most recent J.K. Rowling controversy. I had hoped to avoid friendly fire by keeping my head down, but it looks like I'm going to get fragged regardless, so as Capt. Harris in Platoon said as he called an airstrike on his position, “It's a lovely fucking war.” So buckle up, buttercups, it's Danger Close time. 
Here's the TL;DR version: both sides are being asses and you should really stop hurting the people you say are your friends. The end. 
Much, much longer version: while a lot of you see this as “Free Speech vs. Censorship” and another lot of you see this as “Supporting Transwomen vs. Transphobia”, from my perspective this is all a case of everyone saying “My preferred method of harassing people with whom I disagree is the only morally correct method.”

This is about the point where I expect people to stop reading, because attention spans and reading comprehension in this era have cratered, which is part of the reason why we're in this omnishambles to begin with. So let's tackle this and find out who reads to the end, shall we?

I believe very strongly in free speech, as it's one of the cornerstones of my culture and one of the first Rights listed in the U.S. Constitution. I believe that speech should only be restricted in very narrow and well-defined circumstances which provably harm others (slander/libel, acts of treason, breaking legally-binding contracts, pornography without the consent of the depicted, etc.). This restriction is critical, because the more the government interferes with our rights, the more we lose. See also: the War on Drugs, the Patriot Act, and so forth. 

I also believe that deliberately misgendering and deadnaming transgender and nonbinary people is incredibly rude, right up there with calling them a racial, sexual, or religious epithet. It shouldn't be tolerated in polite society, and the offender should suffer the full effects of social pressure and censure. As the saying goes, “Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequence.”

However, please note that I didn't call for governmental pressure, be it penalties, censorship, or prosecution. The last time I checked, hate speech is still free speech protected by the First Amendment, and while I find hate speech abhorrent, I would rather it be out in the open so that I know who my enemies are rather than have it be hidden and spoken behind my back. I further believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and that instead of censoring and deplatforming the people who say and do things I don't like, I practice my freedom of association by choosing to stop associating with them. I unfriend them, block them, stop frequenting their sites, etc. and I try to get on with my life. I am not perfect at this, for I am human and therefore flawed, but this is the principle which guides me. 

Now just because I support Rowling’s right (inasmuch as she is a British subject and not an American citizen, and the UK doesn’t recognize the right to free expression the way we do) to speak her mind and don’t wish her to be jailed for that, please do not for one moment think that I endorse what she says. Regardless of how it started and however she arrived at her current position, it remains that she is using her fame to spread her belief that all transwomen are abusers who seek to invade, to violate, to assault and destroy other women, and when you amplify her words and support her position you are sending a very strong message to the transgender and nonbinary people in your life. Unfortunately, that message is “I see you as Rowling sees you.” I and many others feel betrayed by that. How can you look at me and tell me you agree that I am only doing this in order to abuse and harm women? That is just as hurtful, and just as honest, as saying “Anyone with a penis is either a rapist or someone waiting to rape” or “Anyone who owns a gun is either a murderer or someone who wants to murder.”

So if you are pro-free speech, please consider the effect your words and actions will have on me, and your friends and family like me, before you voice your support of Rowling, because you are likely hurting us when you do that. 

And if you are pro-censorship, please consider that hate is like mold: it thrives in dark places but cannot flourish in the light. Suppressing an idea only sends the message that you fear it, so let your enemies reveal themselves and mock them instead of silencing them. And please, for the love of all you hold dear, don't ask the government to tread even more on free speech. 

If you have read this far, thank you. I hope I have explained my position clearly, because I have no desire to revisit this topic. If you have any respect for me, please don’t turn this into a fight, and by the same token please don’t tag me in future arguments on other peoples’ walls or pages because after a year of this crap I’m just exhausted. I just want to live my life while advocating for everyone to have the same rights as everyone else. Thank you.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 293: Brainless

  

In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • VA Governor Youngkin vetoing a slew of gun prohibition laws;
    • Spike Cohen choosing to debate David Hogg about gun control in America;
    • a Florida congressman presenting a law banning "Zombie Guns", and it's even dumber than it sounds.
  • Weer'd fisks two British talking heads who demand stricter knife laws, then presents some good news about knife rights in laws in Idaho;
  • Matt talks about some gun-related VR equipment entering the market;
  • and in Xander's continuing series about farming, he tells us what farmers do in the winter.



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Show Notes
 
Main Topic

Weer’d Audio Fisk

Matt From Geeks Gadgets and Guns

Independent Thoughts with Xander Opal

    Monday, April 1, 2024

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 292: No Foolin'

      

    In This Episode

    • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
      • the terror attack in Russia;
      • a fatal ATF raid on an Arkansas airport executive;
      • the DOJ announcing a National Red Flag Initiative;
      • Chicago suing Glock over illegal switches.
    • Weer'd sits down with Kostas Moros over the various court cases that are working their way to SCOTUS;
    • and Oddball gives us part 1 of a series on 3D Printers.



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    Show Notes

    Monday, March 25, 2024

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 291: A Total Eclipse in the Cornfield of Good and Stupid

      

    In This Episode

    • Erin and Weer’d discuss two court cases,  one good and one dumb;
    • David opines on the differences between living in New York and Tennessee;
    • Tiny geeks out about the total solar eclipse coming on April 8;
    • and Xander reaps what he has sown!


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    Show Notes


    Main Topic

    Gun Lovers and Other Strangers

    Tiny’s Land of Rocks and Cows

    Independent Thoughts with Xander Opal

    Monday, March 18, 2024

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 290: A Tough Row to Hoe

      

    In This Episode

    • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
      • the Rust armorer's conviction of involuntary manslaughter;
      • a new survey being conducted on the negative impacts the New York SAFE Act has on people seeking mental health services;
      • South Carolina becoming the 29th State to have permitless carry;
      • a look at some anti-gun predictions and the reality of Constitutional Carry.
    • Weer'd interviews Second Amendment attorney Kostas Moros to learn how he became a Second Amendment Activist;
    • and Xander continues his series on farming, this time talking about weed and pest control.



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    Show Notes

    Monday, March 11, 2024

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 289: A Switch to Boating

      

    In This Episode

    • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
      • Louisiana no longer requiring a permit for concealed carry (the bill was signed into law the day after we recorded this episode);
      • SCOTUS hearing arguments in Cargill v. Garland, aka "the bump stock ban" case.
    • Weer'd fisks the performative panic over Glock switches;
    • and Tiny left the RV show for the boat show, and he tells us what he saw there.



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    Show Notes

    Main Topic:

    Weer’d Audio Fisk:

    Tiny’s Land of Rocks and Cows:

    Monday, March 4, 2024

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 288: Very Seedy

      

    In This Episode

    • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
      • Wayne LaPierre being found guilty of misappropriating NRA funds;
      • the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health funded a hysterical (in both senses of the word) paper about armed insurrection;
      • and Shot Spotter's effectiveness is being called into question, and subscriptions are being cancelled.
    • David talks about his entry into the 3D printer world;
    • and Xander's series on farming continues with sowing seeds.



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    Show Notes

    Main Topic:

    Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

    Independent Thoughts with Xander Opal:

    Friday, March 1, 2024

    I Was Interviewed by the Washingtonian

    I was interviewed for this article.


    Like most things in the media, 99% of the interview was left on the proverbial cutting room floor. However, I am overall pleased with how the author depicted Operation Blazing Sword, the Pink Pistols, and me. 

    Let the record state that I'm not a fan of the title -- I think it was meant to be sensationalist and clickbaity -- but I had no control over that. I'm also not certain if the title was chosen by the author or not.

    Thursday, February 29, 2024

    Struggling

    Warning: ranting and whining ahead. Skip this if you don't care for that kind of thing, and I honestly don't blame you if you do. 


    I am trying. I swear to God, y'all, I am TRYING to be productive and creative, but I keep failing and I keep beating myself up for that and of course that means I have less motivation to try, because if I don't try then I can't fail. 

    I'm positive that I have some kind of undiagnosed condition affecting me, because I haven't felt like myself for a long time now. Not quite a year, but at least since the summer, so... eight to nine months now? I don't know if it's physiological or psychological, or both, or something else entirely. I just know that I hate feeling like this and I want not to feel like this but there's nothing I can do to change it. 

    "Why don't you go see a doctor, Erin?"  Believe me, I would love to do that. The problem is that I don't have any insurance and can't afford the ruinous rates that medical professionals charge.

    "What about the Affordable Care Act?" Yeah, about that... there's nothing "affordable" about the ACA, at least for me. Last December I got a letter from the IRS, and after a brief panic attack where I was certain that I was about to be audited (because that was exactly the kind of year 2023 was), I read the letter and it told me that "A new law expanded the availability of affordable health care plans. Most people who sign up through Healthcare.gov find a plan that costs $10 a month with financial help."

    BULLSHIT.


    The Bronze level would literally bankrupt me. That's more than I make in a month, and then some. 

    "Why don't you get a job that offers healthcare?" The short answer to that isn't accurate and the accurate answer to that isn't short. The medium answer is that I lost my job during the Great Recession, so I moved in with my parents. I wasn't able to find anything other than temp work, and then my parents started having heath problems and they needed me around to help them, drive them to doctor's appointments, pick dad up when he fell, etc. By the time the economy had fully recovered, I needed to be on-call for them pretty much constantly. I could get away with going to a weekend convention (even though that was a gamble) but on a long-term basis they needed me here. Then the Pulse Massacre happened and I founded  OBS, and I thought that maybe I could make a living as an author and product reviewer and 2A advocate, but between my parents' declining health and the enduring clusterfuck that was 2020, that never happened. At this point, with my father now dead, my mother needs me more than ever. Even if I did try to get a job the gap in my resume is just too big for anything other than part-time work in retail or fast food, and part time work is notorious for giving no benefits and not having a consistent schedule. 

    At this point I don't know how much longer I can keep going. The Government, both state and federal, talks a good game about how they care about people like me and if I just apply I'll get help, but every time I've applied I've either been denied or priced out. Apparently I fall into what is known as the Medicaid Gap, where my income is too shitty to pay for medical care, but my living conditions aren't shitty enough to get me any sort of a break. 

    I am fully aware that the state, the country, the world, life itself owes me nothing except death. On the other hand, since 2008 I've been told that this country wants to help people like me, and the politicians who espoused those views keep getting elected, so I'd be a fool not to try to take advantage of that. There's a saying I read in a book so long ago that I can't even remember the title, but the sentiment is essentially "Any man would forswear himself with a gun to his head" and that's how I feel right now. The only problem is that every time I ask for the help which I'm assured is out there, no one gives enough of a shit to actually render it. At this point I'm convinced it's all for show, that the politicians who claim to want to help don't actually want to help but instead only want the appearance of helping because it earns them votes. 

    I guess I'll just die, then? 



    Monday, February 19, 2024

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 287: Hot Takes on the News

      

    In This Episode

    • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
      • 2A Cases from Hawaii and Nebraska;
      • the latest gun control bill from Massachusetts;
      • the mother of a school shooter being convicted of manslaughter for the children her son killed;
      • and a Fed Ex driver, who stole and sold firearms he was supposed to deliver, getting an alarmingly light sentence.
    • Myles follows Tiny's segment on RVs and campers by telling us about his own camping  trailer experiences;
    • and Xander continues his farming series, this time about plowing the land.



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    Show Notes

    Main Topic:

    Southpaw Corner:

    Independent Thoughts with Xander Opal:

    Monday, February 12, 2024

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 286: Erin is Down with the Sickness

      

    In This Episode

    • Erin has Covid! But don't worry, it's a mild case.
    • Erin and Weer’d discuss some Assault Weapons Bans coming up through the ranks in Virginia and Massachusetts, and a fight brewing between the ATF and California;
    • David acquired a Daniel Defense H9 for testing and gives us his review;
    • and Tiny went to an RV show and shares his experiences there.



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    Show Notes

    Main Topic:

    Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

    Monday, February 5, 2024

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 285: LaPierre under the Hammer

      

    In This Episode

    • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
      • Oliver North and Marion Hammer both speaking out against Wayne LaPierre;
      • a spree shooting in Canada that you might not have heard about;
      • the UK's continuing crusade to ban their way to safety, now with even more restrictions on knives;
      • and Beth Alcazar of USCCA has an anonymous survey for Concealed Carry Magazine that she wants us to take.
    • Myles tells us about what caught his eye at this year's SHOT Show;
    • Oddball talks bayonet myths and misconceptions;
    • and Xander continues his segment on farming, this time about water and drainage.



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    Show Notes

    Main Topic:

    Southpaw Corner:

    Independent Thoughts with Xander Opal: 

    Monday, January 29, 2024

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 284: Bad Things Happening to Bad People

      

    In This Episode

    • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
      • NRA Board Members speaking out against Wayne LaPierre;
      • Alec Baldwin's manslaughter indictment;
      • Pennsylvania striking down the law forbidding adults under 21 from carrying firearms (but there's a catch);
      • a new study showing the effects of Ohio's permitless carry law...  and you can probably guess the result.
    • David gives a pocket history of the FN 49 rifle;
    • and Xander begins a series on farming,  starting with how to clear the area.



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    Show Notes

    Main Topic:

    Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

    Sunday, January 28, 2024

    What Fresh Hell is This?

    I don't want to be told that my concerns about the Government making it illegal to be transgender are hyperbole ever again.
     

    If you think I'm overreacting by being concerned that elements of Big Government are actively scheming to prevent adults from exercising their body autonomy, then let me remind you of all the problems we still have today as a result of a similar moral panic which occurred over 100 years ago. Prohibition, aka "How dare adults have the ability to decide whether or not they can get drunk," gave us the following:
    • The creation and subsequent militarization of the ATF, aka "the Revenuers";
    • Organized crime, which was created to smuggle and distribute prohibited alcohol;
    • The War on Drugs, aka Prohibition 2.0, because when the Volstead Act was repealed organized crime pivoted to the next profitable thing;
    • Gang culture and violence, an outgrowth of both organized crime and the war on drugs;
    • the National Firearms Act of 1934, which was the result of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929, and which was not only the first attempt at national Firearm Prohibition but also led to further infringements upon the Second Amendment like the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Hughes Amendment of 1986, and so forth. 
    So no, do not attempt to tell me that another government attempt to control grown-ass adults who aren't harming anyone (except, arguably, themselves) won't end up the same way. 

    I say "arguably" above because while I don't believe that transition harms anyone, even if it did, what business is it of yours? Grown-ass adults have the right to do unhealthy things to their bodies. It's why we allow them to smoke and to drink alcohol. So long as you aren't hurting another person through your actions, such as driving while impaired, what you do to your own body in the privacy if your home is your business and not mine and definitely not the Government's. If you believe otherwise, then understand that you are saying it's the right of the Government to declare what actions are unhealthy for you to take and forbid you from taking them, and by the same token that Government can compel you to take actions which they deem as healthy. Do you want compulsory Covid-19 jabs? Because that line of reasoning is how you get compulsory Covid-19 jabs. So if you want to get drunk, eat junk food, get high, get a tattoo, get cosmetic surgery... hell, if you want to amputate a limb... it's your right as an adult to choose to have that done. It's also your right (and duty) as an adult to deal with the consequences of that choice. That's what freedom is: the right to make choices, even bad ones. If you want to be protected from the results of your choices, then you don't want freedom, you want a parent. 

    Finally, I'm going to address the elephant in the room of "people who are mentally ill cannot give consent to gender transition": if an adult is so mentally ill that they cannot give consent to what happens to their bodies, then that adult cannot give any other kind of consent (financial, sexual, legal, etc.) and should be declared non compos mentis via due process and either assigned a legal guardian or institutionalized. Without this due process, depriving an adult of access to transition resources is the medical version of issuing an Extreme Risk Protection Order (aka a "Red Flag"). An ERPO is what is issued when someone thinks another person is a threat to themselves or others and alerts the authorities who, instead of getting that other person the help they need, just seize that person's firearms -- in other words, arresting the tools they use because they might do something wrong with them, while still leaving them free to harm themselves or others via different means. Put bluntly, that's either magical thinking or virtue signaling, because it doesn't at all address the problem which this law is purported to prevent. 

    Having said that, I would not be surprised in the slightest if the next tactic chosen in Transgender Prohibition is having us declared mentally unfit. If that happens, keep in mind that "not obeying the government" can be diagnosed as Oppositional Defiance Disorder, which means that after the Prohibitionists are done with declaring transgender people mentally ill, they can come after anyone who speaks out against the government. The Soviet Union weaponized psychology by declaring their dissidents mentally ill, and if you don't think that can happen here, then just watch during this election season as both sides trot out the predictable "studies" claiming that conservatives/liberals have a lower IQ and a higher incidence of pathology than their opponents. 

    To summarize:
    1. Prohibition always makes things worse.
    2. Always look for second and third-order effects. 
    3. Don't allow the government to exercise against others any powers which you wouldn't want your opponents to use against you, because your side won't always be in control. 
    4. Let grown-ass adults do what they like to themselves so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. 
    5. Mind your own freaking business. 

    Addendum
    Speaking of moral panics, I've lived through a lot of them. Here are the ones I know about, off the top of my head:
    • the Salem Witch Trials
    • Prohibition/the Temperance Movement
    • Reefer Madness/War on Drugs
    • True Crime & Horror Comics corrupting our children
    • Rock & Roll is corrupting our children
    • the Dungeons & Dragons Satanic Panic
    • Subliminal Messages/Satanic Backwards Lyrics
    • Explicit Lyrics aka Tipper Gore's crusade
    • "If it saves just one life" Gun Control
    • "The Gothic Movement"
    • Transgender Prohibition
    I'm certain I've missed some.

    What do they all have in common? Well, if it's not already obvious, then Jon Hamm has a handy presentation for you.
     

    Monday, January 22, 2024

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 283: Trust the Word of an Honorable Man

      

    In This Episode

    • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
      • an attempted mass shooting in Iowa;
      • why some teens with machine guns in Indiana illustrates the futility of prohibition;
      • charges not being filed against the Houston man who shot the taqueria robber;
      • the mass non-compliance of the Illinois Assault Weapons Ban;
      • and the big story of the month: NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has resigned amidst scandal.
    • Sean talks about his dry fire setup and regimen to improve shooting;
    • and Xander talks about the troubles with moving to a new location.

    Monday, January 15, 2024

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 282: Farewell to Wayne

      

    In This Episode

    • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
      • an attempted mass shooting in Iowa;
      • why some teens with machine guns in Indiana illustrates the futility of prohibition;
      • charges not being filed against the Houston man who shot the taqueria robber;
      • the mass non-compliance of the Illinois Assault Weapons Ban;
      • and the big story of the month: NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has resigned amidst scandal.
    • Sean talks about his dry fire setup and regimen to improve shooting;
    • and Xander talks about the troubles with moving to a new location.



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    Show Notes

    Main Topic:

    Sean Sorrentino:

    The Fine Print


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