Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Docent's Memo (5/12/2021)

VIDEO: "Groin Strikes - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly" - Target Focus Training with Tim Larkin (14 min.). Note that there is just enough of a delay between the strike and the effect on the target that the target could complete a blow or discharge a firearm. As always, the goal is not to kick the target, but to kick through the target.

Self-Defense/Firearms:

... In this article, I am going to address the worst-case scenario: what to do if your primary hand is incapacitated. Most shooters with a defensive mindset recognize the need to train in shooting with only the support hand. However, many will accomplish this by administratively passing the pistol from the primary to the support hand. If the primary hand is still in a condition where it can pass the pistol to the support hand, then the pistol can stay in the primary hand. I am going to discuss methods of drawing, reloading and clearing malfunctions with only the use of the support hand. With any of these techniques, it should be assumed that the options of escape and taking cover will be exercised when possible. The following techniques should be practiced and mastered with an unloaded pistol and dummy rounds before attempting them in live-fire.

Some good tips, so be sure the check it out. 

    1. Conceal it properly. The author recommends wearing lighter fabrics untucked.
    2. Keep it comfortable. The author notes that "[s]ome of the most comfortable tuckable holsters I have tried have a fabric backing, such as the Bianchi Model 135 Suppression holster."
    3. Use it for the right purpose. The author explains that such holsters are intended for concealment, not speed.  
  • "War Belt – 101"--Bellevue Gun Club. The author begins by noting that "[y]our daily carry gear is more important to nail down than the allegedly cool cosplay gear. If you’re a regular dude, a kydex concealment holster and a magazine pouch is what you should master." But "if you’re a uniformed cop, an overt security professional, member of the armed forces, or maybe you live in a state that does not have viable concealed carry licensing and you want to set up a belt for a class," this article is for you. He continues:
    Sometimes known as battle belts, patrol belts, or duty belts, what I’m talking about is a dedicated pistol belt that is not intended for concealment use. Typically, these are paired with a Safariland holster. I try not to do a lot of specific brand recommendations, but Safariland definitely deserves a nod. Even if you don’t want to use a holster from that brand, here’s my advice: Use a retention holster for this application. I have used a variety over the years, Safariland, G-Code, and currently I am running an Omnivore holster so I can use Berettas, 1911s, or Glocks without having to change holsters all the time. Thus far, the Omnivore has worked well. I’m not necessarily ready to stake my reputation on recommending the model yet, but it has yet to fail me, break, or cause issues over about two years of use. Regardless, a retention holster is the order of the day. Many folks like some sort of dropped holster with a stabilizing leg strap. I personally don’t. Back in the day, we used drop-leg holsters in order to get the holster below our bulky Interceptor body armor. This is no longer a concern, and I have found the straps of drop-thigh setups to be constricting and uncomfortable when running, especially in hot temperatures. Your mileage may vary. Regardless, the best practice is to make sure that you don’t drop your holster too far. You should be able to wrap your fingers around the bottom of your holster without bending over. Your drop rig should not be so low that it turns into a knee holster.

    Context in regards to retention for your holster: Uniformed police officers’ priority is grab protection. As a field MP, my primary need for retention was loss prevention. I was not especially concerned with a felon grappling with me and trying to swipe my M9 during a high-risk traffic stop or felony warrant. I was primarily concerned with retaining my service sidearm in case of a vehicle rollover or other oddball incident.  ...

Other equipment to include is an IFAK with tourniquet, a carabiner for gloves or ear pro, two pistol magazine pouches, one rifle magazine pouch, and a dump pouch.  On the latter item, the author indicates that some organizations make extensive use of dump pouches for "SSE (Sensitive Site Exploitation) and other things, but if you can’t immediately think of a use, skip it." You may also want to carry a knife or multitool on your belt as well as a flashlight. As to the belt itself, the author suggests a two-piece belt system using an inner belt with the Velcro loops, and an outer belt with the Velcro hooks. "What I like about this style of belt," he writes, "is that it’s very stable. Because its inner belt is threaded through your trouser’s belt loops, the whole rig doesn’t rotate around the waist or side up and down."

     
  • "Keep Your Gun Running: Survival Kits for Rifles" by Brian C. Sheetz, American Rifleman. Key point: "Whether it's for a Mauser 98 or an AR-15, a multitool and a few spares—springs, pins and screws—won't weigh you down or take up much space in your kit. Add some Allen keys, or bits and a driver, along with a bore snake and cleaner/lubricant, and you'll be ready for most eventualities." The author notes that the idea is not to haul around the parts and tools necessary for an armorer's job, but those most likely to ruin a shooting or hunting excursion: "a firing pin, or striker; an extractor and extractor spring; an ejector and ejector spring; scope base and ring screws; and any other small bits whose loss would preclude the gun from being properly aimed or from performing its fundamental functions of feeding, chambering, locking, firing, unlocking, extracting, ejecting and cocking." As for tools, the author recommends "a sectional cleaning rod, appropriate lubricant, Allen wrenches or a driver and bits for the action or optic-securing fasteners, a sight-adjustment tool, a carbon scraper, and a scope lens cleaner." He also lists some companies that make firearm specific range tools or multi-tools. He also recommends the book, Survival Gunsmithing--A Guide To Repair And Maintenance Of Many Of The Most Popular Rifles, Shotguns And Handguns (Desert Publications, 1986), by J.B. Wood. 
    The AR is probably one of the easiest firearms for which to collect spare parts. Several months ago, I realized that I had fallen down in this area, and so I purchased both an "oops kit" with pins and springs for the lower as well as a kit with the parts to refurbish a bolt, including a spare firing pin. This is something I will be working on for other firearms.
Between the dates of August 25th, 1921 and September 2nd, 1921, a fierce battle between striking American coal miners and the combined forces of the West Virginia State Police, Logan County Sherrif’s Department, and the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency would take place. Being one of the largest domestic battles to take place during the 20th century, the Battle at Blair Mountain would have long-lasting repercussions for both the coal industry as well as the state of labor unions within the United States and is also a strong demonstration of how an armed populace can hold their own against an organized and well-armed force.

The initial spark was a May 1921 gun battle between private detectives hired by the coal companies in Mingo County to evict pro-union miners and their families from houses and the local police who attempted to arrest the agents. Things brewed for a few months until "August 25th when the official battle would begin with an estimated 13,000 miners rallying together to march on Logan and Mingo county to forcibly unionize the area." After threats by President Warren Harding to send in federal troops or national guard, the miners started to return home. Until, that is, the "miners caught wind of a rumor that Sherrif Chafin’s men had shot union sympathizers...."

    By August 29th, union miners in stolen train cars led by Bill Blizzard arrived at Blair Mountain to meet Chafin’s men. Chafin and his men had both a territorial advantage as well as an arms advantage. Chafin’s forces hired several privately owned planes to drop explosives and poison gas on the miners and it is also speculated that Chafin’s forces had access to Thompson submachine guns, several M1895 Colt crew-served machine guns, and several “authentic” weapons that were brought to the area by volunteers willing to help defend the town against the miner’s attack.

    Miners brought to bear all sorts of weapons ranging from .22 rimfire guns, some crew-served machine guns and rifles such as Krag–Jørgensens, Winchester M1893 shotguns, 1873 Winchesters, Springfield 1873 Trapdoor rifles, and several handguns such as Colt Single Action Army revolvers. The Governor of West Virginia eventually appointed Colonel William Eubanks of the WV National Guard to command the volunteer and police forces who were defending Blair Mountain on August 30th and over the next week, a series of skirmishes left 30 defenders and up to 100 miners dead.

    As the battle raged on between the two sides, Federal Troops approached from the rear of the miners’ position. By September 2nd the federal troops had arrived and to their relief, were met with no resistance as many of the miners were veterans themselves and refused to fire on US troops. Shortly after the arrival of US troops, Bill Blizzard ordered the miners to return home, thus marking the end of the Battle of Blair Mountain. 

Although a tactical victory for the coal companies, it was a strategic defeat: "the subsequent national attention on the trials of the miners meant that more people than ever were exposed to the plight of coal miners across the country and would eventually lead to much stronger and better-organized labor unions within the United States."

VIDEO: "Five Keys to Surviving Hyperinflation or an Economic Collapse"--The Modern Survivalist (20 min.)

Prepping/Survivalism

Preppers all over the world have been hunkered down safely at home or in their bunkers during the COVID-19 pandemic. For them, long-term food storage is a baseline, so making it through a season or two without venturing out is primarily a psychological challenge. I’ve spent the past three years interviewing people preparing for an ambiguous future disaster, and some of them emailed me in the early days of the pandemic from their redoubts, expressing wry frustration as they watched shoppers on TV frantically stacking supplies—hand sanitizer, bottled water, and, yes, toilet paper—in their shopping carts. One wrote me, “These people are fixing a leaky roof in a rainstorm.”

Another excerpt:

    If you are a prepper, you probably haven’t told anyone. My brother, who knew for years that I was writing a book about prepping, let me in on a secret only a few weeks ago: He had a storage unit filled with two years’ worth of food, a handful of N95 masks, long-range two-way radios, and a small arsenal. The crisis having finally arrived, he’d activated the cache. That he never dared mention it to me previously was both vexing and unsurprising.

    The reason for secrecy, according to a paper published last year by Kezia Barker at Birkbeck, University of London, is because “hoarding” has been deemed pathological. We’re meant to trust business, trade networks, and markets to provide what we need, to not question the resiliency of globalization. But as these systems shudder under the weight of a worldwide catastrophe, the curtain has been pulled back on the dangers of free-market faith. Prepping is, at its heart, a kind of activism, a bulwark against the false promises of capitalism, of the idea of endless growth and the perpetual availability of resources.

    Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints--"Mormons"--have long been a source of inspiration, information, and even supplies of canned foods for other preppers. It is because Mormons have been taught for over half a century to prepare for hard times by stocking food for at least a year where legal, as well as water and fuel, and to get out of debt and save money for potential hard times. Most of the time, these resources come in valuable due to job or financial crises. For instance, my wife and I were able to put aside food storage as I finished by graduate degree thanks to my wife and kids being on food stamps. My first job didn't pay well and money was tight, and that extra food proved to be a boon during the following few years.

    But there will come hard times that will affect most everyone in the country, if not the world. Having food and other necessary supplies will make a big difference in the event of a nation-wide financial emergency or unemployment. It would also be invaluable if for any reason transportation networks or food production and distribution were to be disrupted. In fact, I believe that food storage is probably the most important aspect of prepping. I focus on firearms and self-defense because I believe that protecting what you have is important and it is a topic with which I am comfortable, but don't misconstrue the focus in my writing for not believing that food stores are important.

The basic steps to prepping:
  1. Build a solid personal finance and health foundation
  2. Get your home ready for two weeks of self-reliance
  3. Be able to leave your home with only a moment’s notice (“bug out bags”)
  4. Prepare for emergencies that happen away from home (“get home bags” and everyday carry)
  5. Learn core skills and practice with your gear
  6. Share and recruit while continuing to learn and going beyond the basics
Be sure to read the whole thing. There is a lot of information there.
  • "Looting vs. Scavenging"--Survival Jack. First, my standard disclaimer: I'm not your attorney and this is not legal advice. While the distinction between looting and scavenging may be fuzzy in practice, there is a distinction. As the author notes, looting is “The act of stealing, or the taking of goods by force, that are clearly owned by another. Often associated with rioting.” Scavenging, on the other hand, is “The act of taking or gathering (something usable) from discarded material or clearly abandoned property.” Why is this difference important? Because taking abandoned or discarded property is generally not considered illegal or immoral. For instance, the common law rule in most states is that "the finder of lost or abandoned property and treasure trove acquires a right to possess the property against the entire world but the rightful owner regardless of the place of finding." Corliss v. Wenner, 136 Idaho 417, 421, 34 P.3d 1100, 1104 (Ct. App. 2001). In fact, people sometimes encourage scavenging such as when they place an old chair or couch on the sidewalk with a sign saying something like "free for the taking." And I'm old enough to remember when it was common for people visiting the local garbage dump to scavenge items left there. (Landfills typically forbid it today because of issues of tort liability or that the landfill may actually contract with parties to take away reusables or recyclable materials).

    Where it becomes fuzzy is determining what is abandoned or discarded and what the owner intends on retaining. For instance, suppose there has been a disaster that has shut down power and communications, probably for weeks, some structures have been damaged, and grocery stores have been abandoned by their employees. Can you help yourself to food and beverages in that store without it being looting? Depends. What I think it comes down to is whether the food will be sellable after the disaster is resolved and the grocery store can reopen, and whether the owner of the store intends to keep the items.

    For instance, if flood waters swept through the store muddying up boxes and containers, causing water damage to packaging or labels, it is unlikely such items would be retained and sold when the store opened up. I would not view taking such items as looting because the items will ultimately be destroyed. That is, if the property cannot be sold, it has no value to the grocery store owner. In fact, taking items may ultimately save the property owner (or his insurer) money because there is less to cart off to a landfill! On the other hand, if the store owner intends to keep the property for whatever reason or has gifted or sold it to another, taking the items would then be looting. 

    In any event, the author of the linked article discusses how he views the distinction between looting and scavenging, why or when you might need to scavenge, and provides a list of locations that might prove fruitful. 

    ... The vast majority of snake species are edible, regardless of whether they are venomous or not. The venom of most snakes is only harmful when it’s injected into your bloodstream.

    Venomous snakes can be consumed, but many people consider them not worth the risk. If you catch a venomous snake, remove the head where the venom glands are located.

    Larger snakes are easier to prepare. Not only do they provide more meat, but the bones are more easily removed. It is more difficult to get the meat off smaller snake bones and can be tedious. If you capture a tiny snake, cook it until the bones break down into the meat.

    Most regular snake eaters in the US agree that Rattlesnake meat is the best, and since they grow pretty big, you’ll get the most meat for your effort.

    If you’d rather avoid venomous snakes, King snakes, Water snakes, and Garter snakes are also tasty. Much of the taste comes from how the meat is prepared.

The author covers how to identify venomous snakes, what snakes are considered the best to eat, how to catch snakes, and how to prepare them.  

  • "That Water is Unsafe to Drink"--Survival Topics. A great article on contaminants and micro-organisms that can be found in water, that then moves on to how to treat or prepare water so that it is safe to drink. However, the author warns that most filters, and even chemical treatments, are not as good at removing micro-organisms as you may think (and you can generally forget about chemical contaminants). His suggestion is to boil the water.
Water does do not even have to reach the boiling point (about 212° F or 100° C at sea level) to be rendered safe to drink; Once the water temperature reaches 185° F (85° C) nearly all disease causing organisms have been destroyed. The only reason you typically get water up to the boiling point is you probably do not have a thermometer handy to measure the water temperature. Boiling is proof positive the water is hot enough to make it safe to drink. You can also throw out the myth that you must boil water longer at higher elevations. The boiling point of water even on Mount Everest is still high enough to destroy all disease causing organisms even before the water has started to boil.

Well, that last part is a bit of hyperbole: the boiling point at the top of Everest is 154 °F (68°C). But at 10,000 feet elevation, the boiling point is 194° F (90° C). The issue at high altitudes is cooking time: for instance, at 5,000 feet, where water boils almost 10 degrees cooler than at sea level, you need to roughly double the cooking time of freeze dried meals.

  • "Stock your home pharmacy with these OTC medications"--Survival Jack. The author begins by noting that you need to plan for unique needs of family members. Then he discusses storage conditions for medications and expiration dates. Finally, he lists various pain relievers, allergy meds, cold and flu medicines, medicines and ointments for treating itching or skin issues, medicines or treatments for digestive upset, and then a list of miscellaneous items.
  • "10 Home Improvement Ideas for New Preppers"--Preppers Survive. The list (without the additional commentary) is:
  1. Install solar lighting (i.e., where the light is admitted via tubes; not solar powered);
  2. Collect water through cisterns;
  3. Create a food storage pantry;
  4. Use a rainwater collection system;
  5. Multiple bathrooms and bedrooms;
  6. Install window and door reinforcements;
  7. Have an alternative source of power;
  8. Create a rocket heater;
  9. Build hidden rooms;
  10. If you have high ceilings, consider building over-head storage. 
  • "My Prepping Concerns In 2021 And Beyond"--Survivalist Prepper. His concerns for the upcoming few years are: (i) pandemic and subsequent response; (ii) economic crises or collapse; (iii) big business and government; (iv) civil unrest; (v) societal decay; (vi) China; and (vii) the Great Reset. Be sure to read the whole thing or watch the embedded video because the author discusses each of these point. 

    The reality is that all of things are interconnected. There is no doubt that Covid-19 originated in China whether it was engineered or not; the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the shutdown of economies all around the word resulting in many people losing jobs; in order to prevent a complete collapse or widespread civil unrest, governments (at least in wealthy countries) opened the public spending spigots which is going to result in inflation or, more ominously, stagflation; the shut downs not only caused many small and medium businesses to fail, but hardly effected large businesses and actually resulted in certain businesses and the most wealthy people to become much wealthier and more important to the economy; societal decay has resulting in a self-loathing among Westerners and tolerance toward social unrest; and when it all hits the fan and people are desperate, whole populations will welcome the Great Reset which will cement the power of a despotic oligarchy. We are not even yet through with the pandemic. More lethal strains have appeared in South Africa, Brazil and, it appears, India.

    And behind much of this are secret combinations that have hidden their agendas, influence, and control over events. Even known events have a public side that is admitted and a private side that typically won't be admitted. For instance, NATO's public purpose was to protect Western Europe from a Soviet invasion. But its unspoken purpose was to prevent Germany from being able to militarily threaten the rest of Europe. I'm not saying that NATO was not created for its public purpose, but that it served both purposes, one of which was publicly discussed and advertised, while the other was not publicly discussed. 

 

The Coming Civil War:

    April had increased violence.    None that I could see was from the Right, which appears to still be stunned that the Leftists are actually doing all of the things that they promised that they would do.

    I’m holding April at 9 out of 10.  That’s still two minutes to midnight.  If I were betting?  July or August will take us to a 10.

    I currently put the total at (this is my best approximation, since no one tracks the death toll from rebellion-related violence) only creeping up at around 700 out of the 1,000 required for the international civil war definition.

    As close as we are to the precipice of war, be careful.  Things could change at any minute.  Avoid crowds.  Get out of cities.  Now.

Also:

    ... the goal [is] to remove the cops.  This will destroy the “just and impartial” system.  That’s clearly the plan now.  Look at recent “protests” in Portland and Plano.  The police are there to protect the protesters and put in jail any who resist the protest.  And if a mob shows up at a house and damages it?  If the mob points weapons at those who protest?

    The only crime will be self-defense.

    A group of hysterical Antifa thugs - who are just "an idea," according to President Joe Biden - once again proved they're a tangible threat by reportedly blocking a street in Portland Thursday (what else is new?) – but this time, they took things even further when one motorist pulled out a gun to defend himself from the mob.

    Video from the incident, which occurred in broad daylight, shows the crowd of at least a dozen masked people barricading several vehicles from getting through the street. The driver of a red truck can be seen leaning out of his open door holding a handgun, while several of the activists scream “put down the f***ing gun!”

    The footage then cuts to a scene in which the driver has exited his truck (though it’s not immediately clear why) and is pointing his gun at the Antifa members, who have him surrounded. Several of the thugs have rifles pointed at the man as he tries to defend himself. 

    After being shoved up against the back of his vehicle, one masked assailant jumps the man from behind and knocks him to the ground. The group reportedly stole the man’s gun, as well as tools and his car keys.

    The staffing crisis is alive and well in Portland, too. Like its sister city Seattle, Portland has its fewest officers since 1992. And thanks to nightly protests eating up staffing resources and attention, it took officers an average of 45 minutes to respond to calls outside the immediate demonstrations and riots.

    If this were to happen nationwide, many big cities would be overwhelmed.

    Minneapolis saw a surge of police departures heading into 2021, with 100 officers leaving the department and at least 155 taking leave by February. Officers burning vacation and sick time is usually a prelude to leaving the force entirely. New York City saw a 72 percent increase in retirements by the end of 2020. Cincinnati saw the highest number of officer departures since the city started keeping track, and expects that trend to continue into 2022. Citing BLM rhetoric, Chicago officers are retiring in droves, leaving the city in desperate need of officers.

    It's possible that Antifa's new strategy has emerged by coincidence. Anecdotally, there's reason to believe newer activists are joining the cause, radicalized by anti-police propaganda they're seeing online and on cable news. New "autonomous" action flyers are being distributed online, inspiring individuals to take up their own demonstrations. These new recruits could show signs of a more alarming risk.

    An article in The Conversation argues the "United States is at risk of an armed anti-police insurgency." In it, University of Alberta associate professor Temitope Oriola writes that "Entities operating independently will spring up, but over time, a loose coalition may form to take credit for actions of organizationally disparate groups for maximum effect."

    "The various groups will initially seek to avoid civilian casualties, and this may help to garner a level of support among the socially marginal from various backgrounds," Oriola predicts. "The public would be concerned but relatively secure in understanding that only the police are being targeted. Escalation may ensue through copycat attacks."

    Antifa agitators already do some version of this. They've tried to murder law enforcement, including by attempting to burn officers alive inside a police precinct in Seattle and torching the Portland police officers' union.

    And they've taken notice of the article. Antifa and other radicals are celebrating and amplifying it. Forget, for a moment, a few Antifa actions on any given night. Do you think we're staffed to police an insurgency?

Right now Antifa and BLM exist in a perfect zone where local governments are kowtowing to their demands, police and prosecutors are for whatever reason ineffectual in stopping Antifa or BLM but very effectual in arresting and prosecuting anyone that stands up to those groups, and so they can pretty much do what they want without significant consequences. But if the police are driven from the streets, all bets will be off. Antifa and BLM may not like a world where there are no police to protect them from vigilantes.  

    As part of Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is opening the application process by which owners of restaurant, bars, and other venues can apply for federal relief to help make up for the loss of revenue as a result of economic lockdowns spurred by the Chinese coronavirus crisis.

    The plan allows business owners to apply for relief of up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Business owners do not have to repay the funds so long as the money is spent by March 2023.

    The relief, though, is being prioritized based on race, gender, and whether or not business owners are considered “socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.” White men, for example, who are not Veterans of the United States Armed Forces, are not eligible for “priority period” processing and funding.
VIDEO: "Chinese document discussing weaponising coronaviruses provides 'chilling' information"--Sky News Australia (10 min.). Not proof that the Covid-19 pandemic was deliberately caused by the Chinese, but proof that they had seriously considered deliberately causing pandemics with such viruses. In other words, evidence of motive, means and opportunity.

Covid News

There was a sharp decline in visits to emergency rooms and an increase in fatal heart attacks due to failure to receive prompt treatment. Many fewer people were screened for cancer. Social isolation contributed to excess deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s.

    • Related: "Alcohol Deaths Rise to Highest Level Since Records Began in England and Wales"--Lockdown Skeptics. 2020 saw a 19% increase in fatalities due to alcohol over 2019. But that doesn't tell the whole story because that is comparing yearly totals. "Compared to 2019, there were just 8% more fatalities by March last year, compared to 30% more between October and December." In other words, the longer the lock downs extended the more people died from alcohol.

    We know that Chinese labs in the Wuhan area were experimenting with humanized bat coronaviruses. We know that Wuhan is not bat country; winter is not bat season; the Chinese are not bat eaters; and the corona bats are inedible microbats.

    We know the Chinese government refuses to release the records of Chinese bat-virus research. We know a “senior administration official”—Biden administration, that is, meaning straight outta the Deep State—says:

This was just a peek under a curtain of an entire galaxy of activity, including labs and military labs in Beijing and Wuhan playing around with coronaviruses in ACE2 mice in unsafe labs, that isn’t understood in the West or even has precedent here.

    One important epistemic skill in the modern world is knowing when to trust power. In this case: you can take power to the bank. While this doesn’t make up for the various shitty things the “intelligence community” has done, it shows there’s still value there.

    The Deep State would never tell us this if it wasn’t true. It simply does not fit anyone’s bureaucratic agenda—also, frankly, no one in DC today has the balls to make it up.

    We should just consider it true, forget about the popsicle theory (frozen kangaroo burgers from Australia) and the double zoonosis theory (bat to pangolin to human), and move forward from here. But we won’t.

    We don’t need to know anything else. We probably never will know anything else. Until someone shows up with a smoking pangolin, a tainted bat or a contaminated Eskimo Pie, the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 was a Chinese lab accident is the null hypothesis. It goes in the place in your brain where you put all the other things which you assume are true, though you are still ready to consider any evidence against them.

    What matters is not the lab hypothesis—but the implications of the hypothesis. Hardly anyone is thinking about these implications. 

The author goes with the assumption that the release was an accident, and spends time discussing Fauci's use of Chinese labs to get around U.S. prohibitions on gain-of-function experiments. That is, it may not be just a Chinese lab leak, but also a U.S. lab leak. He then explains that the Covid pandemic was the result of scientists--e.g., Dr. Fauci--being in charge of deciding what was relevant and should be funded instead of the decision being made by disinterested non-scientists.

    As soon as SARS-1, clearly a natural accident, happened, bat coronavirus zoonoses became relevant. Duh. Obviously. Because they had killed lots of people and almost caused a pandemic. Why not know more about this dangerous phenomenon?

    Also, what better way to to investigate the problem of bat viruses becoming adapted to humans—than simulating the problem of bat viruses becoming adapted to humans? And we can do this best by… adapting bat viruses to humans.

    To jump from a bat to a human is extremely difficult twice over. First, humans do not often interact with bats; second, bats are very distantly related to humans. As SARS-1 showed, nature can cross that bridge. But not often, not easily, and—as it turns out—not that well.

    SARS-1, a true zoonosis, was in the process of adapting to humans, but it was stopped, and stoppable, before it got very far. It just grew too slowly in our cells—so it wasn’t contagious until it was symptomatic. It wasn’t really all the way across the bridge.

    But the bridge is easy to cross in any lab. Why not cross it? We could learn something about the bridge, or bridges, or something. As we certainly have!

    Infecting humans with bat viruses is Unit 731 shit, but it’s not a war crime if we infect special mice with a humanized ACE2. (Passaging viruses in ferrets is also common—SARS-CoV-2 loves ferrets and other mustelids, and has taken out whole mink farms.)

    No wise decisionmaker, knowing either what we know now or what we knew ten years ago, would choose to fund this research. Unfortunately, wisdom is not any part of the science funding process; and any sort of simple, obvious irrelevance is irresistible to it.

He then goes into the five reasons or meanings of Covid:

    1. "Covid-19 was a human accident, like Chernobyl. It happened because SARS-1, a natural accident, made it possible to fund science that was both dangerous and irrelevant."
    2. Because the research that produced Covid-19 was irrelevant, we know that there is other irrelevant science, which pushes out the relevant science. "The well-known stagnation in technical progress may have many causes; but science’s systemic inability to make progress at a rate comparable to mid-20th-century science is probably related to its systemic inability to make good meta-decisions. Instead it pursues the same projects year after year, out of pure bureaucratic inertia."
    3. In the past curiosity drove decisions as to what science to follow, rather than relevance. The change has led to the decline of science.
    4. "No one was in charge of the pandemic response. And no one—except the scientists themselves, who have a conflict of interest the size of the Ritz—was in charge of deciding not to fund gain-of-function research." That is because "[o]ur real form of government today is oligarchy: a fancy name for bureaucracy. If the least scrap of the smallest decision is made by some nonoligarchical mechanism, whether democratic ('political') or monarchical ('authoritarian'), this is a grave abuse of power."
    5. It isn't over--the disease is continuing to mutate. "As more of these bodies are vaccinated, the unique opportunities available to any mutation of its little spiky spikes, which happen to make it not shaped like our antibodies, which obviously are shaped like its old spiky spikes, grows exponentially. As more and more doses are given—the selective advantage of any vaccine-escape variant increases. In a virus that is copying itself, right now, a trillion times a second."

    So far this year, 18 people have been murdered in Wichita. Just in the last couple weeks, two teenagers have been shot and left for dead. 

    Angel Martinez dedicates his free time to working with the youth.

    “It’s time for us to stop pointing fingers, look in the mirror, take our own part in the mess and start cleaning up after ourselves," Martinez said. 

    Martinez said he thinks the lack of in-person activities, like schooling and mentorship programs is adding to the rise in crime.

VIDEO: "Climate Science Destroyed In 8 Minutes"--Suspicious Observers (8 min.)
Climate models showing climate change due to human activities are a joke. There are a multitude of natural processes at work that are typically ignored by most so-called climate scientists.

Miscellany:

At least we can rest easy knowing that the FBI and CIA are chasing down imaginary white supremacist terrorists and hiring woke employees even if they can't protect the country's infrastructure from Russian hackers.
    By constitutional standards, this means something has gone wrong. The United States isn't supposed to have a state religion. The First Amendment specifically prohibits the establishment of a state religion. Yet it now has one, and its name is Wokism.

    Fuss about my characterization if you want—it won't change anything. Wokism, or some substream of Wokism (like critical race theory), is now celebrated or taught as Absolute Truth in every elementary school class, every middle and high school class, every university class, every corporate training session, every Capitol Hill political chamber, every Hollywood movie or cable show, every civic ceremony, every law, every political speech, every novel, every awards show, every sports league, every everything. It's even become big in churches, as I noted here. The One True Truth of Wokism is preached everywhere now.

    Government, its corporate allies, and cultural institutions (they're all one big blob now) all fund Wokism. They, along with their street troops, all demand Wokist belief and perfect compliance with Wokist commandments and rituals. They all punish those who question Wokist orthodoxy, often by completely ruining their lives. They fire dissenters, ban them from social media forever, initiate global social media pile-ons, and even threaten to kill them. Sometimes our officially Wokist government sends in goon squads to scare, or even arrest, those who dare criticize Wokism's Sith Lord thought pontiffs.

    And what this all means, among other things, is that Wokism is more than a religion, and a state religion at that. It's a political ideology, too. It's a bellicose, uncompromising, ruthless, unself-critical, totalitarian movement entailing both religious and political features.
    But there’s another dynamic to the border crisis that at least a few reporters aren’t willing to ignore: the surge of fentanyl coming into the United States from Mexico, the rising chaos in border communities, and the breakdown of anti-cartel operations between the two countries.

    The thread that ties all these things together is an aspect of the border little discussed and seldom understood in America: cartels. Mexican drug cartels are smuggling unprecedented amounts of fentanyl into the country at a time drug overdoses are spiking.

    They are making billions off industrializing illegal immigration, sending over families and children — all of whom must pay the cartels in order to cross the Rio Grande — to bog down Border Patrol while they smuggle in adults who want to evade detection. They are also now powerful enough to exert significant influence over Mexican officialdom, with the result that joint anti-cartel operations between the United States and Mexico have all but ceased.

 He continues:

    Powerful cartels like Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation Cartel import raw materials for fentanyl from China or India and produce the finished drug (usually in pill form) in Mexican labs before smuggling it into the United States. Most often they go through ports of entry, hiding the drugs inside commercial vehicles.

    But they also routinely use tunnels or move the drugs on foot, between ports of entry, conscripting migrants as drug mules in exchange for access to the border. Using the same infrastructure and distribution routes and networks they developed for marijuana and cocaine, these cartels reach over the border and deep into the U.S. interior.

    The cartels control the flow of migrants and drugs into the United States because they control physical territory along the border and throughout much of northern Mexico. No migrant can cross the border now without paying a smuggler, whose price includes a payoff, or tax, for the cartel that controls that region. Often, cartel-associated smugglers will coordinate the crossing of large groups of unaccompanied migrant children and families to tie up Border Patrol while a few miles downriver they move adult migrants or drugs over the border undetected.

    The groups of adult migrants being brought across — who, unlike children and families, wish to avoid apprehension and deportation — are in turn a source of conflict and rising tension for border communities in the United States. The Washington Post ran a long article Tuesday chronicling the problem these adult migrants and cartel-associated smugglers are causing in places like South Texas, where rural towns and communities are suffering a spate of high-speed chases, vehicle theft, and break-ins.

    Cooperation between U.S. and Mexican authorities to target cartels has deteriorated amid a surge of illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, Matthew Donahue, the DEA deputy chief of operations, told NPR. Donahue said Mexican law enforcement have cut off ties with the DEA, fearing punishment from the Mexican government if they cooperate with the U.S. agency—a breakdown that has helped cartels smuggle fentanyl and methamphetamines into the United States.

    "It's a national health threat, it's a national safety threat," Donahue said. "[The cartels] do not fear any kind of law enforcement … or military inside of Mexico right now."

    Research has shown that high IQ leads to more money, increased success, and longer, healthier life in general. One historic study detailed the benefits of high IQ:
    • The average income of Terman’s subjects in 1955 was an impressive $33,000 compared to a national average of $5,000.
    • Two-thirds had earned college degrees, while a large number had gone on to attain post-graduate and professional degrees. Many of these had become doctors, lawyers, business executives, and scientists.

    On the other end of the bell-curve:

        The U.S. military helps us indicate what low IQ is. The armed forces won’t accept anyone with a score of less than 83.

        Why? Because decades of psychometric research revealed that anyone with an IQ of 83 or less is a liability to the military.

        The author continues by noting that I.Q. is mostly genetic (!) but there are activities that you can do to maximize what you do have. "Exercise, for instance, boosts neuroplasticity, which is the process of your brain making connections and creating new neurons," McCall relates. Other things to try is playing a musical instrument, reading, learning new things, and travel or exploration.

    • Speaking of low I.Q. being a liability to an organization: "TikTok Video Shows Cops Allegedly Confronting Mom at Six Flags Over 'Too Short' Shorts"--Newsweek. This has turned into an international story with coverage also by The Daily Mail, the Daily Dot, the Independent, and more. Basic story is that a white woman was stopped and harassed by a, shall we say "large", black woman working for the Frontier City Six Flags park. The initial reason for the stop was because her daughter had been rolling downhill on Heely shoes--shoes with built in skate wheels. While other Six Flag parks state in their Park policy that Heely shoes are prohibited, Frontier City does not. But the issue immediately turned to the woman's "Daisy Duke" shorts, with the Park's "police" telling her that her shorts were too short and she needed to purchase other shorts or leave the park. If that had been all, it would have been the end of the story, but the "police" officer/employee then demanded to see the woman's identification before allowing her to do either. Because the white woman questioned the black "police" woman's right to see the ID when she was perfectly happy to buy other shorts or leave the park, the white woman received a 5-year ban from the Park. Notably, the dress standards portion of the policy does not specifically address how long shorts must be, and the prohibition for jeans shorts only pertains to using them as swim wear. So, the Park now has a public relations nightmare and may end up being investigated by the Oklahoma City Police Department for why it had an employee dressed in a shirt saying "police". 

        The birthrate declined for the sixth straight year in 2020, the federal government reported on Wednesday, early evidence that the coronavirus pandemic accelerated a trend among American women of delaying pregnancy.
     
         Early in the pandemic, there was speculation that the major changes in the life of American families could lead to a recovery in the birthrate, as couples hunkered down together. In fact, they appeared to have had the opposite effect: Births were down most sharply at the end of the year, when babies conceived at the start of the pandemic would have been born.

        Births declined by about 8 percent in December compared with the same month the year before, a monthly breakdown of government data showed. December had the largest decline of any month. Over the entire year, births declined by 4 percent, the data showed. There were 3,605,201 births in the United States last year, the lowest number since 1979. The birthrate — measured as the number of babies per thousand women ages 15 to 44 — has fallen by about 19 percent since its recent peak in 2007.

    Since 1977, U.S. states have passed laws steadily raising the age for which a child must ride in a car safety seat. These laws significantly raise the cost of having a third child, as many regular-sized cars cannot fit three child seats in the back. Using census data and state-year variation in laws, we estimate that when women have two children of ages requiring mandated car seats, they have a lower annual probability of giving birth by 0.73 percentage points. Consistent with a causal channel, this effect is limited to third child births, is concentrated in households with access to a car, and is larger when a male is present (when both front seats are likely to be occupied). We estimate that these laws prevented only 57 car crash fatalities of children nationwide in 2017. Simultaneously, they led to a permanent reduction of approximately 8,000 births in the same year, and 145,000 fewer births since 1980, with 90% of this decline being since 2000.

    This seems to be another example of government throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    • "Why I Write"--Wilder, Wealthy & Wise. His first (and probably primary reason) is that he likes to write. But he also writes because some people (including yours truly) enjoy reading them and he has something to contribute. A lot more so read the whole thing.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2021

    Why Are There Not More Magnum Semi-Auto Rifles For Hunters?

    The Browning BAR Mk. III

     The title of this post is derived from an article at The Truth About Guns, "Ask Josh: Why Aren’t There More Magnum Semi-Auto Rifles for the Modern Hunter?" by Josh Wayner. The question put to Wayner was: "Why are the majority of semi-auto hunting rifles chambered for weak rounds or small calibers? I want to go hunting with a magnum rifle, but there are only one or two companies that make a semiautomatic rifle in magnum calibers. Why is this and will that ever change?"

        Unfortunately, Wayner doesn't answer the man's question. Instead, he makes what come across as ad hominem attacks on the questioner about the man being caught up in the "bigger-is-better" crowd, wanting to use .338 Lapua for hunting, and basically discussing why he thinks long-range hunting is unethical. The problem is, the question (at least the part provided) doesn't raise anything about .338 Lapua or long range hunting.

        Before answering the question on why there are not more magnum rifles in the market, I do briefly want to discuss why someone might want to use a magnum rifle. Basically, it comes down to two factors: velocity and penetration. 

        Thirty caliber and smaller magnums have higher muzzle velocities than standard calibers using the same bullets (e.g., .308 versus a .300 Win. Mag.) and, therefore, have more velocity at longer ranges. That means not only less bullet drop at a given distance for the same bullet design and weight, but also reliable expansion at longer ranges. For instance, Terminal Ballistics Research has this to say about standard soft-point ammo in .308 (emphasis added):

    Loaded with conventional soft point bullets, many bullet brands lose the ability to produce hydrostatic shock at impact velocities below 2600fps and in such cases, dead running game can be a common occurrence when using the .308 at ranges beyond 50 yards. In fact with some bullet brands, its as if a magic button has been switched off right at the 2600fps mark. Several bullet brands do however have the ability to produce hydrostatic shock (instant collapse) of game down to velocities as low as 2400fps, depending on target resistance and relevant factors. Regardless, hunters can manipulate speed of killing by matching bullet construction to the job at hand and in this caliber, there are some excellent options, capable of extremely fast killing via wide wounding. The 2600fps parameter and the gradual reduction in shock with conventional SP bullets below this velocity is common throughout the small bores, up to the .338 caliber.

    Conversely, Terminal Ballistics Research indicates that .300 Win. Mag. provides good expansion to ranges of 300 yards or more. Newer (and more expensive) bullet designs that have improved expansion at lower velocities and new cartridges have been developed that are better at retaining velocity (e.g., the 6.5 Creedmore), but if you need good expansion out at 200+ yards, you could probably benefit from using a magnum cartridge. And while someone in Eastern woodlands might rarely need to shoot at distances over 100 yards, such shots are more common on open ground or in the mountains of the West.

        The other issue is penetration. When using .30 caliber or larger projectiles, the magnums tend to be able to shoot heavier bullets at greater velocities. Yes, this might be wasted against a deer, but larger or tougher skinned animals such as bear or moose are generally better hunted with heavy, deep penetrating bullets that can break bone and reach vitals. In fact, many brown bear and grizzly bear hunting guides require hunters to use at least a .338 Magnum for this very reason.

        For the person that wants to use a semi-automatic rifle for hunting--and there is nothing wrong with that--there are only two companies that I know of off the top of my head that produce semi-autos using magnums: the Browning BAR which offerings have included some of the sub-thirty caliber Winchester Short Magnums as well as the .300 Win. Mag. and the .338 Win. Mag.; and the Benelli R1 which offerings include .300 Win. Mag. and .338 Win. Mag. In doing some quick research for this article, I came across a third company--Noreen--that has produced a larger AR style rifles designed for long action cartridges, including offerings in .300 Win. Mag. and 7 mm Rem. Mag. (They also have a .338 Lapua Magnum semi-auto).

        The reasons for the dearth of semi-auto magnums is probably two-fold. First is the lack of demand. Relatively few hunters use magnums to begin with, and the number demanding a semi-auto over a bolt-action is going to be smaller still. Thus, there simply is not going to be the market to support more than a few makers.

        Second is the difficulty and expense of designing and manufacturing a rifle able to handle the recoil and chamber pressure of the magnums and still operate reliably in field conditions (remember, that these rifles are going to mostly be used by hunters in Alaska or high mountain hunters in the West in rough conditions for one or more weeks at a time). An expensive proposition when there is only a limited market.