Western Rifle Shooters Association

Do not give in to Evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it

Thursday, July 26, 2007

John Boyd and the OODA Loop

All thinking people interested in successful conflict resolution should be familiar with the essential work of USAF Col. John Boyd.

Col. Boyd is best known for his concept of the "Observe-Orient-Decide-Act" ("OODA") loop, which describes the analytic processes used by one actor to evaluate and respond to threats by other actors.

A recent biography of Col. Boyd is highly recommended, as is this collection of related links.

Along with his landmark strategic and tactical thinking, Col. Boyd also was known for his famous "To be or to do?" lecture, delivered frequently to young officers poised on the knife edge of great success and great achievements:

"Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road,” he said. “And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.”

He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.”

Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction.

“Or you can go that way and you can do something – something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference.”

He paused and stared into the officer’s eyes and heart. “To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do."

"Which way will you go?"

Those who do not have force must use intelligence in order to prevail. More importantly, even those with force at their disposal must learn to use those assets wisely if they expect to win over the long term.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Armed Resistance and the Holocaust

The consistently-excellent Dave Kopel has written another terrific article, this time on Jewish armed resistance against the Nazis during WWII.

Please read the whole thing.

Monday, July 23, 2007

It's Not Paranoia When They ARE Out to Get You

Much kerfuffle has been made over Congresswoman McCarthy's HR 2640, which gained NRA support in an effort to "appear reasonable" and allegedly restrict access to guns by mentally-disturbed folks.

Here is what "being reasonable" gets you, with a hat-tip to Rivrdog.

Any chance of getting a similar list re police officers and other government officials with histories of mental illness, drug/alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and other no-nos?

What about broad-based support to require the purchaser's permission for government access to mental health records prior to the purchase of a printing press, a computer, or a pen?

Thought not.

UPDATE 7/24/07: Although the questioner is either a plant for the G or a complete doofus, get a load of the "mental health angle" on this gun control question from the YouTube Democratic Presidential debate.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why the Gun is Civilization

Essential stuff from the Munchkin Wrangler:

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender...

Please read the whole thing.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

AAR - WRSA Intermediate Rifle Clinic - Kooskia, ID - July 7-8

The WRSA Intermediate Rifle clinic in Kooskia, ID on 7/7-8 was a terrific combination of good people, practical instruction, and challenging shooting exercises.

The class began on a beautiful Saturday with a safety briefing and a listing of objectives for the weekend:

· Improve students’ practical shooting skills

· Evaluate existing gear and share what works/does not work

· Keep all firearms running (from both malfs and maintenance issues)

· Get hits on target quickly (in that order)

Long guns were mostly ARs in various configurations, with two M1As thrown in for diversity’s sake. Most rifles were iron-sighted, although there were a few optical sighting devices such as an ACOG and a Trijicon Reflex. Pistols were mostly Glocks, but 1911s and Springfield XDs also took the line. Gear ran the gamut from full-on tactical rigs to GI web slings with pants pocket “mag pouches.”

The training began with loading/reloading/unloading drills designed to establish a skillset baseline and expose folks to the need for tactile familiarization with their weapons. As would be emphasized throughout the weekend, the overall objective was to get people exposed to various skills so that they could practice and attain proficiency at home.

Next came the concept of “after-action drills”, by which the shooter ensures that the target just engaged is no longer a threat and that there are no other threats present. As would recur over the weekend, folks had to “unlearn” prior range habits of relaxing and lowering their weapons immediately after firing the prescribed number of shots. Instead, all students were encouraged after each shot series to:

- Look left and right while keeping their muzzle on the first target
- Then scan left and right, pivoting from the hips and directing their muzzles in the direction of the scan
- Then, only after each step above is completed, should the shooter lower his/her rifle

I know that I had a great deal of trouble remembering to follow these steps after each shot, and will be working on driving them into my subconscious via my personal practice sessions.

From after-action drills, we moved to malfunction clearance drills, including Type 1 (dead round or empty chamber), Type 2 (stovepipe failure to eject), and Type 3 (double-feed failure to feed). Students practiced each clearance drill several times, and were encouraged to drill extensively on each type of malfunction at home.

Following reviews of carrying, ready and firing positions, along with a recap of the BRASS/6 Steps elements of firing a good shot, all shooters confirmed their zeroes. .30 cal shooters zeroed at 25 yards, with .223 shooters using a 50 yard zero.

The rest of day #1 was spent on firing exercises from 3 yards to 50 yards, with an emphasis on accurate, rapid fire. However, “accuracy” was defined as all hits within the “A” zone of a standard IPSC target, with separate hits producing distinct wound channels to be preferred over tiny group sizes. .30 cal shooters were given the option of firing a single round per target, while .223 shooters were required to fire two shots on each target.

We started slowly with single targets, and introduced all shooters to the idea of near-distance sight offset. For example, a typical iron-sighted AR will have its iron approximately 2” above boreline, such that for precision shooting at close distances, one’s point of aim will need to be considerably higher than point of impact in order to deliver an incapacitating shot to the brain. M1A and M1 shooters, with their rifles’ greatly reduced sightline to boreline offset, had much less work to do in this section.

As the afternoon progressed, so did the shooters, who moved to multiple targets from multiple practical positions and then multiple targets while moving. Most challenging was a multiple target with mandatory reload drill. We also conducted our first scenario on Saturday, in which each shooter had five rounds to engage four 10” pieces of steel from a high ambush position at approximately 40 yards distance. By the end of the day, all shooters had received a full day of instruction and practice, with total rounds expended in the vicinity of 100-120. Class dismissed, and everyone planned to rendezvous at the local greasy spoon the next day at 730 am for our next stage.

Day #2 opened clear and sunny, and all shooters spent the first two hours reviewing clearance drills and moving accuracy drills. Our next scenario unfolded near the site’s treeline, where each student was asked to move casually towards an opening in the woods slightly behind a small rise in the terrain. As the student started up the terrain feature, he was confronted with three Canadian grey wolves (a/k/a 10” hanging steels) that needed to be dispatched promptly. The student was then required to retreat at a fast (but safe) pace over the broken terrain, where he would need to engage and defeat an assigned IPSC target. Given that each shooter was allowed only five rounds, everyone ran the drill three times, with improvements in target acquisition, accuracy, and speed of movement noted on each successive pass.

On both days, gear issues made themselves known to the shooters, with folks learning that pants pockets don’t work well for rapid reloads, but that some high-quality gear also had deficiencies. Given that the courses of fire were intentionally designed to require reloads (despite low shot counts), everyone developed a pretty good idea of what worked and what didn’t in their personal equipment.

We then moved to the second range area, where two-man student teams encountered the “Valley of Death”. Imagine a gravel pit with a large pile of 4” rubble on the shooter’s right, a large (50 yard) opening, and a small earth berm on the shooter’s left. In the clearing were 10 10” hanging steels, with 3 more steels on the right behind the rubble pile and 1 more steel on the left by the berm. Distance from the starting point to the 10 steels was a lasered 130 yards. Each team member had 8 rifle rounds, plus unlimited pistol rounds. The objective was to kill all of the targets intelligently while minimizing your own exposure. Several lessons were learned by the teams, including:

- Why safety glasses are essential when someone is shooting at the rocks in front of you
- If you get fixated on finding a single target hidden by shadows and not firing, the other targets will kill you
- Terrain is your friend
- Failure to use terrain will get you dead
- Absent radios, splitting your team means that each element will be operating independently, whether that’s the plan or not
- 16 rounds is not a lot of rifle ammo to engage 14 targets, even at < 150 yards
- You may need your pistol for distances a LOT longer than you thought

To that final point, we then switched to pistols for some familiarization exposure. Starting at seven yards and moving backwards at lasered five-yard intervals, shooters were asked to place three rounds on their steel target from offhand, kneeling, and (at longer distances) prone. We then switched to some more traditional pistol-on-steel work, including finishing the day with a three-target El Presidente shoot-off.

All in all, our first shoot in Kooskia was a successful weekend, and one that all participants enjoyed greatly. We also will post some lessons learned and "gear tips" later in this space.

UPDATE: Some gear we discussed/used (no commercial interest in any):

1) Singlepoint AR sling set

2) Larry Vickers multipoint sling

3) Blackhawk gloves

4) Kramer horsehide inside waistband holster

5) Suarez tactical bag

6) Camelbak hydration kits

7) Magpul rifle mag loops

8) White's hi-arch boots

9) Ciener AR15 .22 LR conversion kits

10) AR mag belt clip

11) Blow-out kits

12) Eyeglass frames

13) Mad Dog knives

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Day After: 24 Hours Following a Nuclear Blast in an American City

Please take the time to download this recent joint Harvard/Stanford report on what the first 24 hours would be like in a typical American city hit without warning by a 10-kiloton fission weapon.

You also should take the time to read this press release and this report on the medical facility impact of such an attack.

Key section:

Among the study’s findings:

- A 20-kiloton detonation would leave debris tens of feet thick in downtown areas with buildings 10-stories or higher. Roughly half of the population in downtown areas would be killed, mainly from collapsing buildings. Most of those surviving the initial blast in downtown areas would be exposed to a fatal dose of radiation.
- While the main effects from a 20-kiloton explosion would be from the blast and the radiation it releases, a 550-kiloton explosion would create additional and substantial casualties from burns. Such an explosion would superheat the blast zone, causing buildings to spontaneously combust. Mass fires would consume cities, reaching out nearly four miles (6.3 km) in all directions from the detonation site.
- A 550 kiloton detonation in New York would result in a fallout plume extending the length of Long Island, resulting in more than 5 million deaths. - A 550 kiloton detonation in Washington, D.C. would destroy hospitals in the District, but its fallout plume would also incapacitate hospitals in Baltimore, nearly 40 miles away.

The researchers note that in all four cities studied, hospitals are concentrated in the area most likely to be destroyed. Another weak link is the inability of the nation’s hospital system to treat the burn victims a 550-kiloton detonation would create. A 550-kiloton detonation in Atlanta, the least densely populated of the four cities studied, would result in nearly 300,000 serious burn victims.

“The hospital system has about 1,500 burn beds in the whole country, and of these maybe 80 or 90 percent are full at any given time,” Bell said. “There’s no way of treating the burn victims from a nuclear attack with the existing medical system.”

Now, consider whether you should adjust your plans accordingly.

Oh, and by the way, these folks are reliable providers of radiological measurement and training supplies.

Monday, July 9, 2007

You and the Swarm

Thanks to John Robb's excellent Global Guerillas blog, we have this link re swarm theory.

Start here, then read all of John's linked material.

Then cogitate.

Colorado Multigun's Camp Guernsey Invitational Multi-Gun - 8/11-12

Join the Colorado Multigun Team at fabulous Camp Guernsey, Wyoming on August 11-12 as they present the Camp Guernsey Invitational Multi-Gun, designed to test a competitor's skills shooting rifle, carbine, and pistol to their effective ranges at practical targets in the natural terrain. They're even holding a night-firing exercise, with no night-vision gear requirement.

You know you want to be there, so just go do it!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

July's Practical Shooting Events at Langhorne Rod & Gun, Langhorne, PA

From Dr. Pacer from Langhorne R&GC:

Greetings to the Patriots of PA. Hope you all took time to remember what July 4 really stands for!

I'd like to take this opportunity to "Remind" you about some "important" dates this month cycle at Langhorne Rod and Gun Club, Inc.

First, this Saturday (July 7) at 9 (set up) 10:00 start is the second
"Action Pistol/Defensive Accuracy practical day "Only Hits Count". Jason has posted his COF, which I transfer here for convenience:

Stage 1:
Out to Lunch:
Gun in holster (or at ready) from a seated position, stand and engage two
hostile, one friendly. Movement is required, lack of movement is a penalty,
three shots per hostile strong hand only while holding baby.

Stage 2:
Open Late Nights:
Gun in instant access safe (code 1234)
From a reclined position on a cot, get up and retrieve gun from instant
access safe. Engage two hostile, two friendly. Four shots per hostile.

Stage 3:
Can you loan me a dollar?
Gun in holster, bad breath distance from Hostile 1. Draw and fire Hostile 1
from retention position, move, engage hostile #2 & #3, find friendly 1 being
detained by hostile #4. Three shots per hostile.

Stage 4:
Gun in holster. Engage hostile 1-5, three shots per hostile, any order you
see fit.

Secondly, on July 14 there is a a NRA Range Safety Officer Course. If you
are interested in becoming a range officer for the various events at
Langhorne, and /or looking for work hours the same way, PLEASE contact me
ASAP so I can order materials!

Thirdly: As a neat trial by fire and "wake up" we are running a
Practical Rifle COF on July 15 that has a decidedly defensive application.
His post on the topic:

For those that attended the Sniper competition, this is going to be run the
same way. It will be a mixture of shooting, and non-shooting events,
including reloading, 100/200 score shooting, running, and other challenging
but safely controlled activities. This competition will be SOMEWHAT
PHYSICALLY DEMANDING, and as before will be an individual effort


1 - Semi-automatic, centerfire rifle capable of reliably firing at least
fifteen rounds in one loading. (e.g. M4, AR15,
Kalashnikov variant, G3, FAL, M1A). With at least five magazines, and 200
rounds of ammunition.
A SLING IS REQUIRED. It must be able to support the rifle reliably when on
your shoulder.
1a - A handgun with holster that is capable of firing ten rounds without
reloading, or extra magazines if not.
2 - Field removable Combat optic, with BUIS, or Iron sights exclusively.
3 - Sunscreen, Hat, Eye and Ear protection
4 - Physical fitness and endurance sufficient to endure a full day of
competitive shooting, running events, and other physically demanding tasks.
5 - Range experience, and discipline to follow instructions, and observe
basic safety rules.
6 - A personal water supply, such as a camelback, or big honkin' jug and a
7 - A rucksack, which must be sized sufficiently to contain all gear you
will use that day.
8 - A Tee shirt, any color, any design, that fits you, and that you've said
your final good-bye's to.
9 - Attentiveness to the match, and willingness to pitch in with target
changes, score recording, etc.
10 - PA shooters - Extra 20/30 round magazines to share with the Jersey
11 - Lunch, snacks, sodium tablets, whatever you need.

It's better if I don't reveal the CoF too precisely, but there are events
included such as these:

1 - The Tacticathalon (mixture of live firing events ranging from handgun to
2 - Oscar's nasty garbage can.
3 - The preposition problem.
4 - Monica's war.
5 - Monica's war, with a "load"
6 - The brownwater commando.
7 - The Mogadishu mile.
8 - Me and my optic, and my backup irons.
9 - the Mad Minute.
10 - The Tee shirt killer

Some or all of these may be included, or altered at the match director's
leisure (Remember the first event of the Sniper comp?) Targets will range
from polymer reactive, through realistic humanoid, through paper/cardboard.

I'm running the event, and will handle it with all the energy and
professionalism that I tried to bring to the first match.


I'm sorry but we're not providing lunch on this one. If you have a PACT
timer, please bring it to allow us to speed up the individual effort stages.

Mark your magazines on the bottom of the floorplate with some identifying
mark to make sure you get them back.

Let me know if you're coming, and if you're bringing anyone so I have a
rough head count. Some of these events are full line, others are individual,
so I can take more shooters than the last match. No pre-registration
required. Members: $15.00 Non-members: $25.00

Start time will be 9:30am SHARP.

Finally, on August 4, the grounds will be crawling with WOMEN for the
National Wild Turkey Federation Women in the Outdoors event.

Girlshunt2 has lined up instructors for the following seminars (roughly two hours each):

Basic Step Aerobics
Cake Decorating
Dutch Oven Cooking
First Aid
Outdoor Cooking
Self Defense
Talk to the Animals
Trap Shooting
Wildlife Habitats

$50 gets your lady four seminars, a Lunch, a one year membership in Women in
the Outdoors and a one year subsrciption to women in the outdoors magazine.

Pass it on and help make these events a BLAST! For directions, go here.


Der Prez

Walter Mitty's Second Amendment

A classic from Jeff Snyder, as originally published in the American Handgunner and on the web by the Federal Observer.

Hopefully, you won't yourself described below:

Walter Mitty's Second Amendment
By Jeff Snyder

Once upon a time, there was a people who inhabited a majestic land under an all-powerful government. Now this government had the resources to control practically every aspect of human existence; hundreds of thousands of "public servants" could access the most personal details of every citizen's life because everyone was issued a number at birth with which the government would track him throughout his life. No one could even work in gainful employment without this number.

True, the government left certain domains of individual action largely free, particularly matters concerning speech and sex. These activities posed no real threat to the state. When not used to entertain and divert, the power of speech was used principally to clamor for more or better goods from the state, or for "reforms" to make the state work "better," thereby entrenching the people's dependency. And insofar as sex was concerned, well, the people's behavior in this area also really had no effect on the scope of state power. In fact, the rulers noted that people's preoccupation with matters of sexual morality -- whether premarital, teenage pregnancy, adultery, divorce, homosexuality or general "who's zooming who" -- diverted the people's attention from the fact that they were, for economic and all other intents and purposes, slaves.

Slaves, though, who labored under the illusion that they were free. The people were a simple lot, politically speaking, and readily mistook the ability to give free reign to their appetites as the essence of "personal freedom."

In that fruitful land, the state took about 50 percent of everything the people earned through numerous forms of taxation, up from about 25 percent only a generation earlier. However, this boastful people, who believed themselves to be the freest on earth, retained the right to keep and bear arms. Tens of millions of them possessed firearms just in case their government became tyrannical and enslaved them.

In that land, an astronomical number of regulations, filling more than 96,000 pages in the government's "code of regulations," were promulgated by persons who were not elected by the people. The regulators often developed close relationships with the businesses they regulated, and work in "agencies" that had the power both to make law -- and to enforce it.

The agencies were not established by the government's constitution, and their existence violated that instrument's principle of separation of powers. Yet the people retained the right to keep and bear arms. Just in case their government, some day, ceased to be a "government of the people."

In that land, the constitution contemplated that the people would be governed by two separate levels of government -- "national" and "local." Matters that concerned the people most intimately -- health, education, welfare, crime, and the environment -- were to be left almost exclusively to the local level, so that those who made and enforced the laws lived close to the people who were subject to the laws, and felt their effects.

So that different people who had different ideas about such things would not be subject to a "one size fits all" standard that would apply if the national government dealt with such matters. Competition among different localities for people, who could move freely from one place to another, would act as a reality check on the passage of unnecessary or unwise laws.

But in a time of great crisis called the Great Economic Downturn, the people and their leaders clamored for "national solutions to national problems," and the constitution was "interpreted" by the Majestic Court to permit the national government to pass laws regulating practically everything that has been reserved for the localities.

Now the people had the pleasure of being governed by not one, but two beneficient governments with two sets of laws regulating the same things. Now the people could be prosecuted by not one, but two governments for the same activities and conduct. Still this fiercely independent people retained the right to keep and bear arms. Just in case their government, some day, no longer secured the blessings of liberty to themselves or their posterity.

In that fair land, property owners could be held liable under the nation's environmental legislation for the cleanup costs associated with toxic chemicals, even if the owners had not caused the problem.

Another set of laws provided for asset forfeiture and permitted government agencies to confiscate property without first establishing guilt.

Yet the people retained the right to keep and bear arms. Just in case their government denied them due process by holding them liable for things that were not their fault. (The Majestic Court had long ago determined that "due process" did not prevent government from imposing liability on people who were not at fault. "Due process", it turned out, meant little more than that a law had been passed in accordance with established procedures. You know, it was actually voted on, passed by a majority and signed by the president. If it met those standards, it didn't much matter what the law actually did.)

Oh well, the people had little real cause to worry. After all, those laws hardly ever affected anyone that they knew. Certainly not the people who mattered most of all: the country's favorite celebrities and sports teams, who so occupied the people's attention. And how bad could it be if it had not yet been the subject of a Movie of the Week, telling them what to think and how to feel about it?

In that wide open land, the police often established roadblocks to check that the people's papers were in order. The police -- armed agents of the rulers -- used these occasions to ask the occupants whether they were carrying weapons or drugs. Sometimes the police would ask to search the vehicles, and the occupants -- not knowing whether they could say no and wanting to prove that they were good guys by cooperating -- would permit it.

The Majestic Court had pronounced these roadblocks and searches lawful on the novel theory, unkown to the country's Founding Forebears, that so long as the police were doing this to everyone equally, it didn't violate anyone's rights in particular.

The roadblocks sometimes caused annoying delays, but these lovers of the open road took it in stride. After all, they retained their right to keep and bear arms. Just in case their government, some day, engaged in unreasonable searches and seizures. In that bustling land, the choice of how to develop property was heavily regulated by local governments that often demanded fees or concessions for the privilege. That is, when the development was not prohibited outright by national "moistland" regulations that had no foundation in statutory or constitutional law.

Even home owners often required permission to simply build an addition to their homes, or to erect a tool shed on their so-called private property. And so it seemed that "private property" became, not a system protecting individual liberty, but a system which, while providing the illusion of ownership, actually just allocated and assigned government-mandated burdens and responsibilities.

Still, this mightily productive people believed themselves to live in the most capitalistic society on earth, a society dedicated to the protection of private property. And so they retained the right to keep and bear arms. Just in case their government ever sought to deprive them of their property without just compensation.

Besides, the people had little cause for alarm. Far from worrying about government control of their property, the more immediate problem was: what to buy next?

The people were a simple lot, politically speaking, and readily mistook the ability to acquire and endless assortment of consumer goods as the essence of personal freedom.

The enlightened rulers of this great land did not seek to deprive the people of their right to bear arms. Unlike tyrants of the past, they had learned that it was not necessary to disarm the masses. The people proved time and time again thaty they were willing accomplices to the ever expanding authority of the government, enslaved by their own desire for safety, security and welfare.

The people could have their guns. What did the rulers care? They already possessed the complete obedience that they required.

In fact, in their more Machiavellian moments, the rulers could be heard to admit that permitting the people the right to keep and bear arms was a marvelous tool of social control, for it provided the people with the illusion of freedom.

The people, among the most highly regulated on earth, told themselves that they were free because they retained the means of revolt. Just in case things ever got really bad. No one, however, seemed to have too clear an idea what "really bad" really meant. The people accepted the fact that their government no longer even remotely resembled the plan set forth in their original constitution. And the people's values no longer remotely resembled those of their Founding Forebears. The people, in their naiveté, really believed that the means of revolt were to be found in a piece of inanimate metal! Really it was laughable. And pathetic.

No, the rulers knew that the people could safely be trusted with arms. The government educated their children, provided for their retirement in old age, bequeathed assistance if they lost their jobs, mandated that they receive health care, and even doled out food and shelter if they were poor.

The government was the very air the people breathed from childhood to the grave. Few could imagine, let alone desire, any other kind of world.

To the extent that the people paid any attention to their system of government, the great mass spent their days simply clamoring for more or better "programs", more "rational" regulations, in short, more of the same. The only thing that really upset them was waste, fraud, or abuse of the existing programs. Such shenanigans brought forth vehement protests demanding that the government provide their services more efficiently, dammit! The nation's stirring national anthem, adopted long ago by men who fought for their liberty, ended by posng a question, in hopes of keeping the spirit of liberty alive. Did the flag still fly, it asked, over the land of the free?

Unfortunately, few considered that the answer to that question might really be no, for they had long since lost an understanding of what freedom really is.

No, in this land "freedom" had become something dark, frightening, and dangerous. The people lived in mortal terror that somewhere, sometime, some individual might make a decision or embark upon a course of action that was not first approved by some government official.

Security was far more preferable. How could anyone be truly free if he were not first safe and protected?

Now we must say goodbye to this fair country whose government toiled tirelessly to create the safety, fairness and luxury that all demanded, and that everyone knew could be created by passing just the right laws. Through it all, the people vigorously safeguarded their tradition of firearms ownership.

But they never knew -- and never learned -- that preserving a tradition and a way of life is not the same as preserving liberty. And they never knew -- and never learned -- that it's not about guns.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Read It Aloud - To Yourself and Then to Others

A lot of people have fought, bled, and died for the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

A lot more will do so in the coming exciting times.

On this 231st Independence Day, give yourself the gift of reading aloud one of mankind's greatest statements of first principles.

Then share that gift with others.

And thank God for the courage of the men listed below.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

UPDATE: Those interested in Jefferson's rough draft for the Declaration (featuring a list of grievances prior to editing by the Coninental Congress), check it out here - with hat-tip to the good folks at Samizdata.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Teach Your Children Well (Or Not)

Thanks to Instapundit, take a look at this
lovely article on how to teach children to accept militarized police nonsense.

Make sure to check out the photos as well.

Think anyone mentioned the fate of Kathryn Johnston to the kiddies?

What about the friendly officers in that case and others?

Thought not.