Sunday, April 16, 2017

April 16, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

In this video, from Brazil, we see a gunman enter a store with revolver in hand. The security guard apparently complies with the gunman's orders, putting his flashlight on the counter and moving away from the counter. The gunman than shoots the security guard and leaves the store. At an accompanying article on this incident, Active Self Protection raises several points: 
  1. Evil exists in this world. In this case, the shooter was not there to rob the store, but apparently carrying out some vendetta against the security guard.
  2. Police cannot protect you from crime.
  3. Complying with demands does not automatically mean that you will be spared. The author notes that rape victims that fight back do not fair any worse than rape victims that comply as far being beaten, shot, etc., and are less likely to be raped.
  4. Feigning compliance might buy you a few seconds, which may give you an opportunity to defend yourself than you otherwise might have.
  5. An armed encounter might not work out for you--be at peace with yourself, your loved ones, and God.

Firearms and Self-Defense:
  • "Shot Timers or No? Metrics and Mediocrity"--Tom Givens at Breach Bang Clear. Another discussion that you need to employ some method to quantify your performance. Using another person with a stop watch or a shot timer gives you the ability to quantify, and therefore, improve your speed. Adding to what the author states, if speed of follow up shots is your primary concern, games with reactive targets (such as shooting it fast enough that it keeps getting bounced around or getting it to bounce up the side of a hill faster than your friend) can help improve speed and accuracy, although they still do not quantify your shooting.
  • "TIHK HK2 – The Tiny Inconspicuous Handcuff Key Receives an Upgrade"--Jerking The Trigger. This is a small, polymer handcuff key designed to clip to the belt or waistband of your pants. It has been upgraded with teeth in the clip to make it more difficult to accidentally slip off. I would also note the tip I recently read about (I think from Greg Ellifritz) about attaching a small magnet via short tie to the key--the purpose is to anchor the key to the handcuff should you accidentally drop the key while manipulating it.
  • "More bullets are valuable, but not necessarily the answer"--Bayou Renaissance Man. Some useful thoughts on size versus quantity when considering handgun ammunition. Peter Grant notes that against multiple attackers you want more cartridges, while against a single attacker, you should weigh in favor of larger (and, theoretically, larger bullets). You should also consider Grant's earlier article "The myth of handgun 'stopping power': Part 3 of 3" (which I recommend because of its succinct explanation of momentum and bullet effectiveness). But there is more. In the first of the aforementioned articles, Grant quotes from Louis Awerbuck about how the finer points of training or finesse tend to go out the window in an actual life and death encounter:
           It is ugly, it is brutal, it’s at halitosis distance, and all your neato audio-instigated range commanded dog-and-pony-show Mister Cool orchestration goes out the window. At seven or eight feet in a gunfight you will have about six degrees of peripheral vision, your auditory system will be distorted and your biochemicals will pump enough juice into your system to keep a crack addict wired for a week.
             You will lose mathematical track of rounds fired, distances, and passage of time. And if it’s that close and violent – and you live through it – you will swear blind that your buddies dubbed and photo-shopped the video of the fight, because you know damn well that you didn’t actually do what’s portrayed on the video screen during later viewing. Except that you did. Even down to the ongoing foul language during the encounter when you never do that, you fine upstanding church-going gentleman, you. Nothing like a close-up gunfight to bring out your evil, abrasive, foul-mouthed clown twin....
               So what can you derive from the post-analysis?
                 All the “hold the trigger to the rear and then ease it forward after firing to feel the sear reset” trigger manipulation goes out the window. You still need trigger control, but it will be quick shooting – so you may as well practice the same trigger operation during close-quarters range training that you will employ in the street.
                    You probably won’t be shooting “two body, one head shot” drills, unless you’re very, very lucky and it’s offered to you on a rare occasion. Not in a violent six-to-ten-foot confrontation you won’t. You’ll be moving, the shootee will be moving, and you’ll be delivering multiple rounds to the biggest piece of meat and bone you can acquire until the threat stops.
                     Why so many rounds? Because (a) you don’t have the time to shoot a couple of rounds and then take the time to assess the results at this distance. If the initial BBs didn’t work, it’s too late. And (b) What Doctor Lewinski terms “stop reaction time” is the same as your personal reaction time. In essence, even if your cognitive processes have realized your enemy is dropping, another three or four rounds will be fired before your finger detaches itself from the gas pedal – which is why you lose track of the rounds-fired count.
                        So the gist is do you – or can you – carry a large format large caliber high capacity pistol, do you carry a smaller-calibered high capacity pistol, or do you pack a low round-count handgun and forsake multiplicity availability of ammunition IN THE GUN? Because even though this is a rhetorical question for the reader to decide, nobody is getting a reload executed under the above-mentioned circumstances. If you need a dozen quick sequential rounds and your pistol contains only six, you need either at least two guns or it’s all over unless you’re Rambo, Bruce Lee, and Miyamoto Musashi combined.
                         What’s the ideal answer? There isn’t one, because of the legal and societal restrictions and ramifications mentioned above. But forewarned is forearmed (no pun intended), and you can at least apply some rational thought to the problem before it occurs.
                            No, it’s not a perfect world, but a battle without a prior battle plan is a battle lost before it’s started. And it’s unlikely that Hell is about to undergo an Ice Age in the foreseeable future...
                    • "Street Fighting--The Essentials"--Loadout Room. The author attempts to boil down to short statements the essentials of what is important, how to make it work, and useful training/exercise for preparing for a street fight. Obviously, since his article is a bare summary, it does me (or thee) no good to attempt to distill it further. Go read the whole thing.
                    • "Do Bullpups Have Better Balance? A Different Perspective"--Nathaniel F. at The Firearms Blog. Nathaniel F. discusses the issue of point of balance in a couple exemplars weapons (a bullpup RDP and an AKM) to illustrate not only issues of balance when maneuvering the weapon, but also when carrying the weapon. While the point of balance of the bullpup are toward the rear of the weapon, making it generally handy when swinging the barrel, it makes it very poorly balanced for normal carrying. 
                    • "Jeff Gonzales: When it Comes to Everyday Carry, Size Matters"--The Truth About Guns. Since small handguns are not conducive to good marksmanship or lots of practice, the author recommends that new concealed carry gunowners get larger handgun first to practice with, then branch out to the smaller weapons after they have developed their basic shooting skills. I suppose, in theory, his recommendation is sound. I would certainly recommend that any new pistol shooter get a .22 pistol (Ruger, Buckmark, etc.) for learning the basics. But in practice, getting a larger weapon will often defeat the purpose of the new carrier getting the weapon in the first place, which is to have one with them when needed. Getting a firearm and not carrying it just develops a habit of leaving the weapon behind, and finances or licensing issues may keep the person from being able to buy a second weapon. The answer may be getting a handgun balances concealability with shootability, such as a .380 or compact 9 with a large enough pistol grip (with or without a finger extension) to allow a full grip on the firearm. I know that a subcompact XD with a finger grip extension, a Glock 26 with finger extension, and standard R51 are perfectly adequate for practice and learning. I assume other comparable pistols are the same. The .38 Special snub-nose may be more difficult, but changing grips (such as the Delta grip from Ergo) can make a huge difference in felt recoil.

                        Other Stuff:
                        • Related: "Silence in Paris"--City Journal. On April 3, Sarah Halimi, a 66 year old Orthodox Jewish woman, was thrown out of a window to her death by a neighbor, an African man aged 27. According to witnesses, he shouted “Allahu akbar” as he threw her. French media, however, has refused to report the incident, probably fearful that it would help Marie Le Pen in her presidential campaign. 
                        Persecution of the world’s largest religion has intensified throughout the 20th century and that trajectory has only intensified in recent years, especially in Muslim-dominated countries. Jihadists appear to have repeatedly carried out one of their oft-stated goals of erasing any trace of Christianity in some regions, while in others persecution against Christians and other religious minorities are being held at bay — for now.
                        Christianity's prospects of surviving in Europe and North America likewise seems grim. 
                               At a time of declining church attendance across America and growing disenchantment with traditional religion, a Catholic parish in Hyattsville, Md., thrives by embracing the very orthodoxy other congregations have abandoned.

                               St. Jerome Catholic Church and its affiliated school, St. Jerome Academy, have both experienced dramatic growth over the past few years, largely due to an influx of families drawn to the parish's reputation as a haven for conservative Catholics seeking to live among others who share their values.
                                 Nearly every nation in South America has been jolted by large protests or violent clashes in recent weeks, a continental surge of antigovernment anger unlike anything in years.
                                     On the streets of Venezuela, opponents of the left-wing government are squaring off against riot police nearly every day. In Paraguay, angry crowds sacked and firebombed the country’s parliament building after lawmakers tried to alter presidential term limits. Powerful unions in Argentina crippled the country’s transportation networks this month with a general strike.
                                      Whether leftist or right-wing, the governments of Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and even tiny French Guiana are all facing major demonstrations, abysmal approval ratings or both.
                                        The political dynamics vary across the continent, but analysts see common threads. The global commodity boom that ushered millions of South Americans into the middle class has burned out, crimping government finances. And a more politically engaged and plugged-in citizenry has lost patience with rank corruption and the feints of authoritarian leaders who chip away at democratic checks on their power.
                                         In several countries, populist leaders who cast themselves as national saviors and demonized their opponents have turned electoral contests into supercharged life-or-death showdowns, making democratic transitions and ideological compromise all the more difficult. 
                                             “South America is part of a global pattern, marked by a search for fresh and effective political leadership in agitated and often polarized societies,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think tank, noting significant protests recently in South Africa, Russia, South Korea and the United States.
                                               Two studies by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto and their collaborators from the US, UK, France and China, show that six- to nine-month-old infants demonstrate racial bias in favour of members of their own race and racial bias against those of other races.
                                                  In the first study, "Older but not younger infants associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music", published in Developmental Science, results showed that after six months of age, infants begin to associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music.
                                                   In the second study, "Infants rely more on gaze cues from own-race than other-race adults for learning under uncertainty", published in Child Development, researchers found that six- to eight-month-old infants were more inclined to learn information from an adult of his or her own race than from an adult of a different race.
                                                     ... "The results show that race-based bias already exists around the second half of a child's first year. This challenges the popular view that race-based bias first emerges only during the preschool years." Hear Dr. Lee discuss the research results.
                                                       Researchers say these findings are also important because they offer a new perspective on the cause of race-based bias.
                                                         "When we consider why someone has a racial bias, we often think of negative experiences he or she may have had with other-race individuals. But, these findings suggest that a race-based bias emerges without experience with other-race individuals," said Dr. Naiqi (Gabriel) Xiao, first author of the two papers and postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University.
                                                           The problem confronting the West today stems not from a shortage of power, but rather from the inability to build consensus on the shared goals and interests in whose name that power ought to be applied. The growing instability in the international system is not, as some argue, due to the rise of China as an aspiring global power, the resurgence of Russia as a systemic spoiler, the aspirations of Iran for regional hegemony, or the rogue despotism of a nuclear-armed North Korea... Nor is the increasing global instability due to a surge in Islamic jihadism across the globe, for despite the horrors the jihadists have wrought upon the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, and the attendant anxiety now pervading Europe and America, they have nowhere near the capabilities needed to confront great powers.
                                                             The problem, rather, is the West’s growing inability to agree on how it should be defined as a civilization. At the core of the deepening dysfunction in the West is the self-induced deconstruction of Western culture and, with it, the glue that for two centuries kept Europe and the United States at the center of the international system. The nation-state has been arguably the most enduring and successful idea that Western culture has produced. It offers a recipe to achieve security, economic growth, and individual freedom at levels unmatched in human history. This concept of a historically anchored and territorially defined national homeland, having absorbed the principles of liberal democracy, the right to private property and liberty bound by the rule of law, has been the core building block of the West’s global success and of whatever “order” has ever existed in the so-called international order. ... The West prevailed then because it was confident that on balance it offered the best set of ideas, values, and principles for others to emulate.
                                                               Today, in the wake of decades of group identity politics and the attendant deconstruction of our heritage through academia, the media, and popular culture, this conviction in the uniqueness of the West is only a pale shadow of what it was a mere half century ago. It has been replaced by elite narratives substituting shame for pride and indifference to one’s own heritage for patriotism. After decades of Gramsci’s proverbial “long march” through the educational and cultural institutions, Western societies have been changed in ways that make social mobilization around the shared idea of a nation increasingly problematic. This ideological hollowing out of the West has been accompanied by a surge in confident and revanchist nationalisms in other parts of the world, as well as religiously inspired totalitarianism.
                                                                  National communities cannot be built around the idea of collective shame over their past, and yet this is what is increasingly displacing a once confident (perhaps overconfident, at times) Western civilization. The increasing political uncertainty in Europe has been triggered less by the phenomenon of migration than it has by the inability of European governments to set baselines of what they will and will not accept. Over the past two decades Western elites have advocated (or conceded) a so-called “multicultural policy,” whereby immigrants would no longer be asked to become citizens in the true sense of the Western liberal tradition. People who do not speak the national language, do not know the nation’s history, and do not identify with its culture and traditions cannot help but remain visitors. The failure to acculturate immigrants into the liberal Western democracies is arguably at the core of the growing balkanization, and attendant instability, of Western nation-states, in Europe as well as in the United States.
                                                          Read the whole thing. 

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