Thursday, May 31, 2018

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

       The Los Angeles Times reports on "A California church flirts with an unusual social experiment: to never call police again." The church in question is the First Congregational Church of Oakland, which is apparently a fully converged organization more concerned about not offending minorities than the safety of its congregants. 
       “We can no longer tolerate the trauma inflicted on our communities by policing,” Torbett, a white church volunteer, said in front of churchgoers who held photos of African Americans shot dead by law enforcement. The church, she promised, would never call the cops again in nearly every circumstance. Dozens of members had agreed to do the same. 
        "How do police help? They often don't," Torbett later said in an interview. "So, especially as white people, why call them?"
Or, as more likely the case, they are virtue signaling:
        They call it “divesting” from police. The church is part of a tiny but growing movement among liberal houses of worship around the nation making similar vows. They include another church in Oakland, one in San Jose and one in Iowa City, Iowa. It’s mostly white ministers and majority white congregations leading the efforts, which come as debates over racism, stereotypes and the role of law enforcement hit universities, businesses and neighborhood councils across the U.S.
I am reminded of Christ's teachings on virtue signaling:
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
(Matt. 6:5).

       In any event, the church apparently likes to leave its doors open, welcomes into its walls the homeless, mentally ill and those suffering from drug addiction. It has no security system and, combined with the open doors policy, suffers from burglary and theft. In order to be helpful and welcoming, "[i]t offers a food pantry, transit cards and a place to nap," but draws the line at people staying overnight.

       And that is where the problems mostly developed. According to the article, the church had an incident where a homeless person objected to being ejected when the building closed in the evening, the police had to be called, and, allegedly, "[p]olice were called and church members who fit the description were hassled by police."

     Oh my! Well, we can't have police questioning people that matched the description of the suspect (why there wasn't a church worker present to point out the offending person to the police, I don't know). So, the church is going to resort to self-help--but in a kind and gentle way. In the event of someone not leaving at night, "[a]ccording to current guidelines, church members would not call police if such a situation arose again. In lieu of police services, the church has secured a $10,000 grant to train its members and other community groups on de-escalation tactics and self-defense."

       And, as for burglaries, the church is adopting a practice of instead of calling the police, persons that have been the victims of theft will instead go to the police station to report the crime. Probably a better idea anyway if all they are reporting is petty theft. But then, there is this:
Church leaders said they could prevent crime by forming better relationships with neighborhood residents. Their theory, put simply: Friends won’t steal from friends. But if crime still happened, church members prayed they could make peace between victims and perpetrators directly without police or courts.
"Friends won't steal from friends." How cute!

        Obviously, this church is being presumptuous in assuming that these thieves and vagabonds will want to be friends, let alone that that will keep them from wanting to stay overnight or help themselves to an unguarded handbag. What is the old saying: "there is no honor among thieves"?

       More dangerously, the church and its leaders are making the mistaken assumption that the people with whom they will be dealing will think and respond the same way as they would. That is, that people visiting their church will respond to kindness with kindness. In most cases that is true. But when dealing with the mentally ill, they, by definition, do not think the same way as a normal person. Some crazy homeless person may just shove a shiv into a volunteer's belly when asked to leave the building, and laugh as he walks out. And as for the criminal element, the predator and sociopath don't have "friends," they just have resources and common interests.

       It will be interesting to see how this social experiment plays out, and whether the church goes back to calling police or hires a security service.

May 31, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"IMI's Mk 262 Clone 77gr OTM gel test"--TFB Channel (5 min.)
The tester, Andrew of Chopping Block fame, used a 10.5-inch barrel AR, and got great penetration and expansion results. If you have a barrel twist rate that will handle it, these heavier open tip match (OTM) bullets seem to have good terminal ballistics. Andrew indicates that this is the best overall terminal performance he has seen of the heavy OTM bullets. I like the fact that Andrew is using a short barrel to test, as it will mimic shooting at a distance. Looking at one source, it appears that for a 77 grain bullet, you are loosing about 400 fps between a 20-inch barrel and a 10 to 11-inch barrel, which loss of velocity matches what you would see between 150 and 200 yards from a 20-inch barrel. 


        It was an otherwise pleasant evening in Maine when two dozen Somali youth swarmed and attacked two local residents in Kennedy Park last Thursday evening.
             The Somali mob attacked around 7:45 pm, just as the sun was setting on this historic city park in the heart of Maine’s second largest city.
              A local mother recorded as a mob of teens and children, boys and girls as young as nine years old, brandishing wooden bats and other objects, along with fists, feet and sheer numbers to attack the two non-Somali defenders. At one point you can even here one of the hoodlums repeatedly daring the woman to, “stop me, b**ch.”
        This is not the first incident of this type, and, allegedly, officers responding to the scene told parents to simply stop bringing their kids to the park. This was denied by a police spokesman. The article continues:
                 While repeatedly stressing this is not just an issue with the Somali community in Lewiston, the Mayor does put at least a portion of the blame on the influx of immigration to the city over the past couple decades.
                   “While what we are seeing in our inner city right now is partially an issue of 20 years of terrible immigration policy, these issues were happening in Kennedy Park before the new Mainers arrived,” Mayor Bouchard said. “Reversing that long of a span of poorly done immigration is going to take time.”
                      On any given day, dozens if not hundreds of Somali youth can be found occupying Kennedy Park and the violence is nothing new. Local residents bearing the brunt of these violent mobs are growing frustrated. Maine First Media was told it took police at least 7-8 minutes to arrive on the scene — despite the police station being right across the street from the park.
                Police have also told local residents that there is not much the police can do because most of the perpetrators are minors. 
                • Some articles on tattooing and facial recognition: 
                • "Tattoo Recognition"--part of a series called "Street Level Surveillance" at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
                • "UV ink tattoos: Good or no good?"--Tattoo Do. I find the idea of invisible tattoos interesting. As facial recognition is more widely used, I would see people being willing to accept an "invisible" tattoo to speed recognition as part of a program similar to the TSA's Pre-Check.
                  Identity politics has engulfed the humanities and social sciences on American campuses; now it is taking over the hard sciences. The STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math—are under attack for being insufficiently “diverse.” The pressure to increase the representation of females, blacks, and Hispanics comes from the federal government, university administrators, and scientific societies themselves. That pressure is changing how science is taught and how scientific qualifications are evaluated. The results will be disastrous for scientific innovation and for American competitiveness. (underline added).
                    I think that was the whole intent. Anyway, read the whole thing.
                              Beginning around November 10, [2003] the USS Princeton, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, made multiple radar contacts with what the report calls an Anomalous Aerial Vehicle (AAV).
                                 The senior chief fire controlman on the Princeton, which was equipped with ultra-advanced AN/SPY-1 multifunctional phased-array radar, reported that the AAV appeared from above 60,000 feet – the radar’s scan ceiling – and descended ‘very rapidly’ to about 50 feet above the surface of the ocean.
                                  They would hover for a short time and then depart at high velocities and turn rates demonstrating advanced capabilities, the senior chief said.
                                    The senior chief, who had 17 years of experience in fire control on cruisers, said he never obtained an accurate track on the AAV, because they exhibited speed consistent with a ballistic missile, but the radar was set to air intercept mode rather than ballistic missile tracking mode.
                                      Then on November 14, the Princeton again detected an AAV around 11am and called it in two F/A-18 Hornets that happened to be returning to the USS Nimitz from a training exercise.
                                         An E-2C Hawkeye surveillance plane was also operating in the area and attempted a radar contact on the AAV, but made only intermittent contact as was unable to gain a track.

                                Wednesday, May 30, 2018

                                Video: "China's Militarized Kabuki Theatre"--Black Pigeon Speaks

                                "China's Militarized Kabuki Theatre"--Black Pigeon Speaks (8 min.). In this video, Black Pigeon Speaks discusses China's economic vulnerabilities, and that its militarization of artificial islands in the South China Sea is merely a propaganda tool, and would have no effect on the outcome of a military conflict.

                                May 30, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around The Web

                                "UK: Descent into POLICE STATE"--Black Pigeon Speaks (6-1/2 min.)
                                Arrested and imprisoned because the UK authorities do not like his viewpoint. At the time of his arrest, he was live-streaming about a trial related to the Rotherham child rape gang. Remember that the gang was Pakistani Muslims, and that local government officials, including a police officer who passed information to the gang, had sex with girls "groomed" by the gang. See also this article from The Bookroom Worm, "England goes totalitarian on Tommy Robinson #TommyRobinson #FreeTommy."


                                • Grant Cunningham's Hump Day reading list for this week.
                                • "Calibers for Beginners: .380 ACP"--The Truth About Guns. The truth in this case is that, notwithstanding the compact 9 mm pistols available, .380 remains one of the most popular pistol rounds for concealed carry handguns.
                                • A good start? I remember when it was it was the end goal--to have enough money and enough guns to justify buying a safe. "Having a Gun Safe Isn’t Enough, But It’s A Really Good Start"--The Truth About Guns. Another opinion on how to stop school shootings, this one insisting that all guns and ammunition be stored in a safe "save a carry gun or a home defense gun." The basic take away from the author is that you cannot trust your children to have access to your firearms. Growing up, my father stored long-guns in his closet, and handguns (and most of the handguns were loaded) in his dresser drawer. No accidents, and no school shootings, either. He trusted us because he had taught us to use firearms. I guess I feel the same way about my kids. (Update: I'm not saying that my father's storage was best practices, but if you need a vault to keep your guns away from your kids, you have much greater problems than a gun safe is going to solve).
                                • "Gunshot Wounds: More Than Just Plugging Holes"--USA Carry. Pro-tip: "if you don’t isolate the source of the blood flow and stop or severely slow it, you’re not helping."
                                • "Reloading: Fine Tuning Powder Loads For MSR Accuracy"--The Truth About Guns. The author tried various powders and loads. The best groups were using H322 and Varget. I've been using 2230, but I hear good things about Varget, so perhaps I should give it a try. 
                                • "Long Read of the Week: The Mathematics of Countering Tyranny by JAMES WESLEY RAWLES"--American Digest. Short version: there are too many firearms in the possession of citizens for a government confiscation to be successful.
                                • "Stephen Paddock’s hotel records show three women registered in his room"--Baltimore Post-Examiner. The article reports:
                                       Lombardo said on Oct. 9, “We are trying to confirm his actions between the 25thand the 28th.”  “I’m under the belief he was not occupying the room between those dates.”
                                         The police also told the media that Marilou Danley’s name was also on the registration, however, they never stated that there were three females registered to Paddock’s room.

                                    * * *

                                             All this indicates is that there were three females on the registration.  We do not know currently if anyone other than Paddock was in his rooms during his stay, however, this would indicate that other possible suspects were known to the police since October 1.
                                        Another record indicates that the daughter of Marilou Danley (Danley was Paddock's girlfriend) had pro-ISIS postings on her Facebook page. 
                                                   As a nationwide truck strike reaches its 10th day, gas stations have finally begun to receive fuel deliveries and truckers have started drifting back to work – some unwillingly.
                                                     But hundreds of demonstrations have continued on highways across Brazil – and many of those still protesting are calling for a return to the rightwing dictatorship that ran Brazil for two sombre decades until 1985.
                                                       "We need help from the military to resolve our problems in Brasília, to remove the bandits from there and to put the house in order,” said one driver, Gabriel Berestov, 44.
                                                         What began as a nationwide truck strike over rising fuel prices has spiralled into a broader protest over a range of issues including Brazil’s healthcare, education, roads, increasing violence and political corruption. 
                                                  In democratic societies, where free elections are guaranteed, political revolution is almost unthinkable in practical terms. Consequently, utopian efforts to transform society have been channeled into cultural and moral life. In America and Western Europe, scattered if much-publicized episodes of violence have wrought far less damage than the moral and intellectual assaults that do not destroy buildings but corrupt sensibilities and blight souls. Consequently, the success of the cultural revolution of the 1960s can be measured not in toppled governments but in shattered values. If we often forget what great changes this revolution brought in its wake, that, too, is a sign of its success: having changed ourselves, we no longer perceive the extent of our transformation.
                                                            Pope Francis' stealth reform of the Roman Catholic Church shows no sign of slowing down — and may even be accelerating.
                                                               Stealth is key here. If the pope had declared earlier this month that henceforth the Roman Catholic Church would authoritatively teach that homosexuals should be happy being gay, that God made them homosexual, and that God himself (along with the pope) loves them just the way they are, it would have been a massive story in the history of Catholicism — and one that quite likely would have precipitated a major schism, with conservative bishops and priests (mainly in North America and Africa) formally breaking from Rome.
                                                                 But because word of the pope saying these things comes to us second hand, in a report of a private conversation between Francis and a gay man named Juan Carlos Cruz who is also a victim of the clerical sex abuse crisis in Chile, the utterance will go down as just the latest example of the pope making unorthodox statements in settings in which he has plausible deniability and in which he can claim he was speaking as a pastor rather than as an expositor of the church's official dogmas and doctrines.

                                                          * * *

                                                                    ... Instead of acting as an expositor of these core teachings of the church, the pope selectively diverges from them in his actions and statements without deigning to change the teachings themselves. The implicit message is the same in every case: The pope himself thinks it's possible to be a member of the church in good standing while failing to abide by all of the institution's rules.
                                                                       This is significantly different than the pope acknowledging that everyone is a sinner and will therefore break the rules from time to time. That standard view presumes that the divergence from the rule is a failing that requires repentance and reconciliation (the sacrament of confession), along with the intention on the part of the sinner to do better next time. Francis' position is different — implying that the lack of conformity to church teaching is acceptable, requiring no change or improvement in behavior.
                                                                        Juan Carlos Cruz is gay, that's how God made him, and there's nothing wrong with that.
                                                                           But of course church teaching contradicts this. Which puts Pope Francis in the position of effectively promulgating two truths — implicitly affirming the official, harsher doctrine while subtly undermining it with a less stringent pastoral teaching. Instead of seeking to change the underlying rules, which would risk divisiveness and even schism, he shows that it's perfectly alright for a priest or layperson to diverge from or ignore the rule in the name of welcoming as many people as possible to Christ's church.
                                                                    Something to watch for in all our churches. 

                                                                    Tuesday, May 29, 2018

                                                                    May 29, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web


                                                                    In an actual charge, the bear means business and has decided to take you apart at the seams. The bear’s nose usually will be pointed downward, its ears will be flattened back and its hackles (the fur on the top of its neck) likely will be raised. Nelson and instructors Mike Harrington, with Alaska Fish and Game, and Matt Sexson, with USGS, stress that we must remember this would occur at blinding speed. Most reported bear charges start from about 50 yards away. A charging bear covers 15 yards a second. Do the math: A bear charging from 50 yards will be on you in less than 4 seconds. This is why Nelson spends so much time on the range emphasizing familiarization and speed with your firearm.
                                                                    Read the whole thing.
                                                                    • "Mexican Confessions"--Straight Forward In A Crooked World. A clear-eyed look at "Mexican carry" (i.e., pistol shoved into waist band without a holster), including advice on the type of weapon and where best to carry. Because sometimes you don't want to be caught with a holster on you, or you may just have to grab the firearm and go.
                                                                    • "Glock 34 GEN 5 Review – Out Of The Box Battle or Race Gun Ready"--Guns America. Better trigger, better barrel, and, probably most important of all, better sights. It comes with Ameriglo Bold sights instead of the plastic sights that benighted prior versions.
                                                                    • "Effects of Cant"--Shooting Sports USA. Short version: "The effect of canting the rifle in firing is to move the impact of the bullet on the target in the direction of the cant, and also slightly downward." 
                                                                    • "WAYS TO MAKE TRAINING MORE AFFORDABLE"--Short Barrel Shepard. A couple of suggestions. His first suggestion doesn't make training more affordable, but he suggests re-prioritizing how you spend money, as in, stop buying the latest and greatest gear and start learning how to use it. The second tip, however, might work: he suggests getting a group of people together to pay for someone to travel to your location to provide a training class.

                                                                    Center Axis Relock (CAR)
                                                                          Most self-defense scenarios happen at close range, in confined spaces, usually within 8-10 feet, sometimes even closer.  
                                                                              The problem with moving in a confined space in a traditional stance is that you have the gun way out in front of you, and you’ve more or less got your arms fully extended.  This gives you very poor leverage in the event someone gets their hands on your gun.
                                                                                 The CAR system allows for less time between drawing and getting the target in your sights, as well as providing better weapon retention.  Getting shot with your own gun is more common than you’d think, especially dealing with an attacker at close range.
                                                                                  For shooting and moving, or shooting at the range, a standard isosceles stance is going to be much better, but what about shooting inside a narrow hallway, or from a vehicle?  What about when the target is already at contact distance, maybe even inside where your arms would normally be in an isosceles stance?
                                                                                   These are the problems the CAR system seeks to address.  For this reason, it was never really intended to replace the weaver or isosceles stance (though we recommend the latter) but was meant to be another tool in your shooting toolbox.  
                                                                                     The problem is that Christianity has been totally sideswiped by Modernism and has been unable to mount an effective offense against it.  Measures which aimed at "liberalising" the Churches so that they would become more "relevant" have proven to be self destructive failure. On the other hand "Traditionalist" doubling down has produced a few defiant outposts but no real growth. Religious capture of state power hasn't worked out in the long term. The "Benedict Option" so favoured by Dreher, works only under the assumption that the rest of society will leave you alone. Unfortunately militant secularism doesn't work like that. Defence does not win wars.
                                                                                      That 's why I think a revival of popular religion is the only long term solution. However a revival of the "old" religion is unlikely to be of any benefit since the old religion, even when it was popular and strong, proved unable to handle the onslaught of Modernism. What will be needed is something "new". And by "new", I don't mean some new or foreign religion to the West. Rather, it will be the old Christianity, practiced differently and with different emphasis.
                                                                              • "People Keep Writing America Off"--The Dignified Rant. The author does not believe that China will necessarily eclipse the United States (although they will certainly try). Part of the problem for China is that they are a land power that wants to be a sea power, and will have to split their forces (and resources) accordingly.
                                                                              • "China, the Moon, and the Outer Space Treaty"--Beyond the Black. China has announced its intention to send a lander to the far side of the Moon. There may be more than just science at root here:
                                                                                        [This] pioneering space travel has raised concern that China is also interested in the tiny spots on the moon that never go dark, the polar peaks of eternal light. Those peaks are vanishingly small, occupying one-one hundred billionth of the lunar surface − roughly equivalent to three sheets of NHL ice on Earth. But their near-ceaseless sunshine gives them great value as a source of solar energy, to power everything from scientific experiments to mining operations.
                                                                                           Their small size could also, scientists have argued, allow one country to take sole occupancy of this unique real estate without falling afoul of the Outer Space Treaty. That agreement stipulates that no state can exert sovereignty in outer space. But it also calls on countries “to avoid interference” with equipment installed by others.
                                                                                             That provides a loophole of sorts, researchers say. The installation of very sensitive equipment on the peaks of eternal light, such as a radio telescope − a 100-metre long uncovered wire used to study transmissions from the sun, and deeper corners of the universe − could use up much of the available space while also providing a rationale to bar others from the area on the grounds that the telescope is too sensitive to be disturbed.
                                                                                               “Effectively a single wire could co-opt one of the most valuable pieces of territory on the moon into something approaching real estate, giving the occupant a good deal of leverage even if their primary objective was not scientific inquiry,” researchers from Harvard University, King’s College London and Georg-August Universitat Gottingen wrote in a 2015 paper.
                                                                                                The blockades have paralysed much of the country’s economy and prompted São Paulo, the biggest city in South America, to declare a state of emergency over fuel shortages.

                                                                                          * * *
                                                                                                    In São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, supermarkets and restaurants are running low on supplies. Some factories have shut down, bus services been reduced and even the Refugees World Cup, scheduled to take place in São Paulo on Saturday, has been cancelled.
                                                                                                      Truckers on Mexico’s highways travel in fear due to an alarmingly high number of robberies, according to a report published today by the news agency Reuters.
                                                                                                         There were 2,944 reported truck robberies in 2017, almost double the 1,587 cases that occurred in 2016.
                                                                                                          A study by United States-based security firm Sensitech showed that on the country’s most dangerous highways — such as the ones linking Mexico City to major ports on the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific coasts — it is almost certain that one in two truckers will be held up.
                                                                                                    The article also notes that most truckers are now traveling in convoys or accompanied by armed security details in a separate vehicle. Also, according to the article, the goods most often targeted by bandits are fuel, food and beverages, building materials, chemicals, electronic goods, auto parts and clothing, but that bandits are also increasingly keeping the trucks as well.
                                                                                                      Just as modernity’s sexual proclivities preclude pair-bonding, its zeitgeist practices the cultural promiscuity of arm-chair multi-culturalism. Instead of traveling, the lazy modern Westerner decides to bring “diversity” into someone else’s backyard to view from a safe distance as if they’ve merely gotten a Netflix subscription. But unlike television, these decisions have consequences. Most Leftists are so ignorant they don’t realize offering safe haven to dissidents, apostates, Jews, and (in the few instances they are actually moved enough to care) Christians fleeing Moslem persecution from the Middle East and then flooding their countries with the same people persecuting them back home is a bad idea. And if apostates, dissidents, Christians, and Jews are fair game in the Moslem world, why would the Moslems suddenly call the whole thing off once they’re in Canada or Germany or Australia? Now thanks to the puerile worldview of the Left we get to experience what it’s like to be a Lebanese Christian or Jew, or a Turkish Kurd, or a Yazidi in Syria, or an apostate in Bangladesh! 
                                                                                                                One girl tells how she was sexually harassed and punched at her former school every day. “They locked me up in the toilet and hit me with bands. They punched and joked on me. It happened every day,” she says.
                                                                                                                  “Suddenly they came forward and grab my breasts. After I punched the guy, the whole family came and told me I’m a little horny and that I need to shut up. When I’m out with my dogs, they throw stones on the dogs,” she continues, pointing out that she is afraid of what will happen to her siblings and cousins in the future.
                                                                                                                   A woman explains that the affected children urge their parents not to do anything, because the gang will take revenge on the children. Another woman tells how she was “brutally” beaten by a gang of 15 people.
                                                                                                              "The Defense Department has long recognized the benefits of intercepting missiles during their boost phase, including and especially nuclear ICBMs that could be used to threaten the American homeland," Cruz said. "For the last several years, however, partisan division and bureaucratic inertia have prevented us from taking the critical steps to develop this technology, which is necessary to protect the American people from the weapons being stockpiled by our adversaries at this very moment. I was deeply gratified that both Republicans and Democrats joined me in removing these barriers and paving the way for effective space-based missile interceptors."
                                                                                                               Space is the ultimate high-ground, and we need to be able to control it.

                                                                                                              The Second Battle of Ypres and the Poem "In Flander's Field"

                                                                                                                     There were many artists and writers that wound up fighting on the Western Front during World War I, but probably the most famous poem from the war was "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae. The poem reads:

                                                                                                              In Flanders fields the poppies blow
                                                                                                              Between the crosses, row on row,
                                                                                                                  That mark our place; and in the sky
                                                                                                                  The larks, still bravely singing, fly
                                                                                                              Scarce heard amid the guns below.

                                                                                                              We are the Dead. Short days ago
                                                                                                              We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
                                                                                                                  Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
                                                                                                                      In Flanders fields.

                                                                                                              Take up our quarrel with the foe:
                                                                                                              To you from failing hands we throw
                                                                                                                  The torch; be yours to hold it high.
                                                                                                                  If ye break faith with us who die
                                                                                                              We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
                                                                                                                      In Flanders fields.

                                                                                                                      McCrae was part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) that first saw serious action in the Second Battle of Ypres in April and May 2015. This battle saw the first wide scale use of poison gas. McCrae wrote the poem in honor of a friend of his killed during the battle.

                                                                                                                      The Great War channel on YouTube has a good video on the main part of the battle, which I have embedded below.


                                                                                                                        At about the 8:30 mark, the host begins to discuss the overall bravery exhibited by the troops, even when sent to certain death, and notes that the bravest and the best were also the first to have died in the War. The reason this sticks out to me is that World War I introduced great changes, many not for the best, such as pulling women from the home to work in factories, women's suffrage, and a general post-war decadence, and greatly advancing the cause of socialism and communism. From an r/K perspective, the war had so greatly depleted the K-selected individuals, it was inevitable that r would be ascendant.

                                                                                                              Monday, May 28, 2018

                                                                                                              A Review of Revelations--Part 13--The War In Heaven And The Beast

                                                                                                              [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] [Part 8] [Part 9] [Part 10] [Part 11] [Part 12]

                                                                                                                     This is a continuation of my series reviewing The Book of Revelation: Things Which Must Shortly Come to Pass by G. Erik Brandt. Today, I will be discussing Chapters 12 and 13 of the book, which itself discusses Chapters 12 and 13 of Revelation.

                                                                                                              "The War In Heaven
                                                                                                                     Chapters 12 and 13 of Revelation are intended to give us a look behind the curtain as to what is happening in the spiritual realms. In Chapter 12, we are exposed to the animosity between the Devil and the righteous, including the war in heaven and the casting out of Satan. Chapter 13 describes Satan's agents in the mortal realm.

                                                                                                                     Revelation, Chapter 12, begins by describing "a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered." (Rev. 12:1-2). John continues: "And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born." (Rev. 12:3-4).

                                                                                                                     The Dragon is Satan. His enmity toward the woman should be familiar, because that is how the Bible begins, in the Garden of Eden, and God's proclamation that He would "put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15).

                                                                                                                     There is some debate on the identity of the woman, with some contending that the woman is the Church, and others saying it can't be so because the woman is pregnant, but the Church (the Bride of Christ) is supposed to be a virgin. However, Mary was a virgin, yet bore Christ. Thus, I don't believe that her being pregnant excludes her from being the Church. Since the followers of Christ will either be part of the remnant of the 10 tribes or be adopted into one of the twelve tribes, the distinction is moot: the Church is the righteous of Israel, and the righteous of Israel are the Church. This is represented by the diadem with 12 stars--one for each of the tribes of Israel.

                                                                                                                     In any event, as noted, Satan drew away 1/3 of the stars of Heaven--figuratively, one third of the hosts of Heaven. John writes:
                                                                                                              And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
                                                                                                              (Rev. 12:7-9).  After being case onto the earth, Satan turns to persecuting the woman. (Rev. 12:13). However, "to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." (Rev. 12:14). That is, "the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." (Rev. 12:6). This is in reference to the persecution of the early (or Primitive) Church, the apostasy and the period until the restoration. (See Acts 3:19-21). Brandt writes:
                                                                                                              ... the member of the Primitive Church literally fled, or were led away, to find refuge in distant lands. ... While the truth and authority were lost, the blood lines of Israel were preserved among the nations through the long dark night of apostasy.
                                                                                                              (See also Rev. 12:15-16 (noting that the woman escaped the flood sent after her by Satan)). Brandt quotes the following from Elder Erastus Snow about a portion of the elect having been hidden from Satan and their posterity preserved for the last days. Snow stated:
                                                                                                                      Their [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob's] blood has permeated European society, and it coursed in the veins of the early colonists of America. This is the blood that has been foremost among those spirits who have come forth to accept the gospel, those who did not wait for the Elders to hunt them from the hills and corners of the earth, but they were hunting for the Elders, impelled by a spirit which then they could not understand; and for this reason were they among the first Elders of the Church; they and the fathers having been watched over from the days that God promised those blessings upon Isaac and Jacob and Joseph and Ephraim. 
                                                                                                                       And these are they that will be found at the front ranks of all that is noble and good in their day and time, and who will be found among those whose efforts are directed in establishing upon the earth those heaven-born principles which tend directly to blessing and salvation, to ameliorating the condition of their fellow-men, and elevating them in the scale of their being; and among those also who receive the fullness of the Everlasting Gospel, and the keys of the Priesthood in the last days, through whom God determined to gather up again unto himself a peculiar people, a holy nation, a pure seed that shall stand upon Mount Zion as saviors, not only to the house of Israel but also to the house of Esau.      
                                                                                                                      It is important to understand that the war in Heaven was a rebellion against God's plan ("the Word"--John 1:1), which was salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Satan instead advocated for "absolute eternal security at the sacrifice of our freedom." That is, under Satan's proposal, all would be forcibly  saved, but all glory (and power) would be Satan's. If this reminds you of the premise of the various forms of socialism--using state power to force everyone to be "good"--then you will better understand Chapter 13 of Revelation.  Brandt explains:
                                                                                                              Subverting agency and applying principles of force would transform the children of God into lowly, subservient subjects, rather than individuals endowed with endless potential. Mankind would spent their mortal probation in passive, reactionary modes to be controlled or manipulated.
                                                                                                              And, like modern progressives, socialists, and communists, Satan's "real motivation was not the welfare or advancement of mankind, but a conceited hunger for honor and power. He desperately desired the grand honors and elevated station that would be bestowed upon the chosen savior." (See Isa. 14:13).
                                                                                                              The war was severe, and it had eternal consequences. Every kind of sin (with the possible exception of sins involving death) were present in that premortal state, and there were many casualties. Repentance was in order for all who sinned, and forgiveness in that premortal life was available through Jesus Christ and obedience to the plan of salvation. This was not a war just of words and debate and forensics. It was a war of misdeeds, lies, hatred, pride, jealousy, remorse, envy, cursing, blasphemy, deception, theft, cajoling, slander, anger, and sins of almost every kind that are also known in mortality. The issues were so well defined that coexistence was not possible. Those who wholeheartedly supported Lucifer's rebellion became like him.
                                                                                                              (quoting Dr. Robert Matthews; underline mine). The final outcome of the war was that Satan and his followers were cast out from Heaven, losing their opportunity to obtain physical bodies. But that was not the end of the war, for Satan fights against righteousness here on earth. He cannot give up the battle because he is now obsessed with revenge; for he "was a murderer from the beginning," and "a liar, and the father of it." (John 8:44). Thus, he desires that all men become miserable like himself (2 Nephi 2:27), and "goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the souls of men." (D&C 10:27). Thus, John warns: "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." (Rev. 12:12).

                                                                                                                     That Satan and his minions lack physical bodies does not stop their attempts to overcome the Saints. Moreover, Satan has the assistance of men and women in the mortal realm. As we shall see in Chapter 13 of Revelation, these mortal followers of Satan mirror to a great extent the infernal world.

                                                                                                                     Chapter 13 begins:
                                                                                                                     And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 
                                                                                                                     And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
                                                                                                              (Rev. 13:1-2). The Beast mirrors the dragon in having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns. (C.f. Rev. 12:3). The ten horns, and the combination of features from a leopard, bear, and lion are the same as Daniel describes in his vision (see Dan. 7:7). The lion represented the Babylonian Empire; the bear represented the Persian-Median empires, and the leopard represented Alexander's empire and the subsequent Hellenic kingdoms. The Beast of John's vision is made up of parts of those empires, and likely represents both the Roman Empire and its successor states. That the Beast arises from the sea may have double meanings: the sea has traditionally been viewed a source of evil; and, later, we are told that the "waters" represent "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" (Rev. 17:15).

                                                                                                                      The heads, horns, and crowns represent earthly kingdoms, powers, and ideologies; the horns represent specific kings (see Dan. 7:24). Brandt notes that each of the seven heads had, upon it, "the name of blasphemy.." (Rev. 13:1). Thus, he suggests that the seven heads represented the Roman emperors who were deified as part of the Imperial cult, and committed blasphemies (including Caligula's attempt to place his statue in the temple in Jerusalem). However, I would note that in Daniel's vision, the beast representing the Hellenic kingdoms had four heads, and that Alexander's empire was split into 4 kingdoms upon his death. Thus, I would suggest that the 7 heads represents specific kingdoms, nations or empires that are successors to Rome.

                                                                                                                      While Brandt discusses the Imperial cult of Rome and its emperors in detail, he also notes that this is not the only blasphemous ideology.
                                                                                                              Modern manifestations include often condescending ideologues commonly found in social progressive movements. Many of these activists are self described intellectuals with highly elite attitudes who achieve their goals through more surreptitious means. Tactically, they promote the "populist" cause, but strategically their ends are to establish new roles and powers in big, centralized governments. Carefully they cut away and dispose of individual freedoms for the "greater social good" or "social equality." In the process they take power unto themselves. Government becomes god with its own state religion, that of irreligion in the form of iconoclastic reasoning. Many modern socialists are not unlike the "kingmen" in the Book of Mormon (Alma 51, 60), who were also popular elitists that sought power and whose aims were "to destroy the church of God [or religion generally], and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them" (Alma 46:10). In the end this form of governance enables anti-Christ principles to take root in society. It slices away at man's inherent freedoms. Agency is subverted by degrees, rejecting the gift of self-governance and reliance in favor of secular, hedonistic doctrines.
                                                                                                              And, "[i]n the culminating events leading to the coming of the Son of Man, the 'ten horns' or Gentile nations will unify under a latter day beast (Dan. 7:8, 20) who will be like the ancient Caesars. These rulers will give their strength and loyalty to the Beast."

                                                                                                                     The Beast's power comes from Satan (Rev. 13:2), who works through mortal agents. Satan's "goal is to captivate and destroy the souls of men, which is more easily achieved when his servants wrest control in governments, religions, or other powerful institutions."
                                                                                                              He [i.e., Satan] employs political, religious, media, and economic influences to further his purposes and to discredit or subvert the moral foundations of society. "What Satan calls from the abyss is not government, but the [terrible] abuse or government, the omni-competent state."
                                                                                                              * * *
                                                                                                              Today in countries throughout the world, wicked men have already combined in sordid cabals to obtain wealth and dominions.
                                                                                                                     Brandt goes on to discuss secret combinations, of which we are warned of many times in the scriptures. It is through these secret combinations that the Beast and others like him obtain power. "By oath, threat, and terror, order is kept in their society. They intimidate, punish, and even kill members who might seek to leave or expose the secret organization."
                                                                                                              The devil's goal with these secret societies is not just wickedness, violence, or murder for money and power. No, his end goal is to gain control, the absolute and complete management of institutions and government; and through them, the regulation and therefore the manipulation of societies and individuals.
                                                                                                              * * *
                                                                                                              Once in power, Satan uses his servents to pervert the right ways of the Lord, to harden the minds and hearts of the people against that which is good. [Citations omitted]. His agents work to change laws, history, culture and traditions so as to turn policy against the followers of God, so that the citizens of society being to fight against righteousness. The minds of the people are changed so that good becomes evil and evil good. [Citation omitted].
                                                                                                              Moreover, "[e]ven well intended political ideologies or programs that purport to serve the greater good or build 'better societies' will, in the end, lay the groundwork for secret societies to gain control, if they require people to relinquish their freedoms."

                                                                                                                     One of the more interesting parts of the prophecy is that one of the heads of the Beast was wounded to death, but the wound was healed and caused the world to wonder after the beast. (Rev. 13:3). Brandt notes that the Greek word used for "wounded" means "slaughter," and thus the wound and its healing is suggestive of Christ's death and resurrection, and underscores how the Beast will be an impostor and imitator.

                                                                                                                      The wounded head likely represented Nero, the Roman emperor most infamous for his persecution of the early Saints. When Nero committed suicide, his death plunged the Empire into a year-long civil war. One of the major parties was the Stoics who would have restored Rome to its Republican form of government, thus "killing" the Beast at that time, but instead Vespasian was victorious and ascended the throne, restored imperial rule, and strengthened the Empire and the Imperial cult.

                                                                                                                     But as is common in prophecy, events immediate to the prophet may also have a greater spiritual significance, or play out in a grander scale later. Brandt notes that:
                                                                                                              Many anti-Christs do and will hold power in the latter days, but the one anti-Christ who will gain a seat as the leader among the leaders of the nations will be a modern version of Nero. He will be a person in the likeness of this ruthless rule, whose disposition will be exceptionally malevolent. 
                                                                                                                     Brandt seems to take the common view that the mortal wound to the Beast's head represents a mortal wound to a particular person, which will be miraculously healed. (John West, in his book, Fry The Brain: The Art of Urban Sniping and its Role in Modern Guerrilla Warfare offers a scenario where such a ruler could seem to die and be miraculously healed without the need for an actual miracle, by use of a body double that is assassinated, with the real person then showing himself unharmed later).

                                                                                                                     I'm not so sure. As noted earlier, the heads represent kingdoms or nations. Obviously, Nero was not miraculously healed, but it was the Roman Empire that survived a seemingly certain death. Thus, the mortal wound could represent an empire that seems to have died that comes back into power and authority. Also, while the "resurrection" of this head appears to be part of the end times, the wounding of the head may occur earlier. I am reminded of how Germany seemed mortally wounded at the end of World War I and then sprang back to challenge the whole world only a couple of decades later. We have plenty of kingdoms and empires that seem to have been killed off in the last century that could recover power: Britain, Germany, Turkey (i.e., the Ottoman Empire), Russia, etc. It could even be in reference to a yet future United States that recovers from what should have been a mortal wound.

                                                                                                                     In these troubled times, John inserts a specific warning for the followers of Christ in the latter-days.
                                                                                                              If any man have an ear, let him hear. 
                                                                                                              He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
                                                                                                              (Rev. 13:9-10). This warning should be considered with other pronouncements of the Lord commanding the Saints to "avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." (Romans 12:19). As I've mentioned several times before, the wicked will be destroyed by their own actions, natural disasters, and the wrath of the Lord at His Second Coming. We do not want to fall into the same error that destroyed the Nephite nation where they got caught up on an endless cycle of revenge and violence that unified their enemies and led to their loving killing over loving Christ.

                                                                                                                      I don't see this as a call to passivity, but, rather, that our wars and conflict should be defensive, not to exact a penalty or revenge. Again, I will use World War I as an example--it was humiliations that Britain and France sought to visit on Germany that paved the way for the rise of Nazi fascism and World War II. And it was the magnanimity toward the losers that marked the successful end to the Civil War (i.e., the readmission of the Confederacy into the Union) and World War II (i.e., the rebuilding of Germany and Japan).

                                                                                                                      Getting back on topic, John relates that the Beast is assisted by a second beast--a false prophet. John describes this second beast thusly:
                                                                                                                      And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 
                                                                                                                      And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
                                                                                                              Brandt notes that the fact that the second beast arose from the land, rather than the sea, suggests that this second beast is a local or regional leader; and probably one of the leaders of one of the world's great religions. In any event, "John's message is a warning that from among the world religions and local governments, personalities will arise and align themselves in support of the latter day beast."
                                                                                                              We can expect that modern false prophets will endeavor to use religious, legal and political persuasions to turn the people against the righteous and righteous principles. The latter day servants of the beast in positions of power will exercise authority to enforce the mandates of the anti-Christs in power. They will have power to legislate, pass judgment, to charge, summon, arrest, try, and prosecute those who will not conform to their laws and edicts. The targets of such persecutions will inevitably include all who faithfully remain true to Christ.
                                                                                                              Interestingly, this second beast causes the world to worship the first beast, partly through the exercise of miracles:
                                                                                                              And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
                                                                                                              (Rev. 13:14). Christ, Himself, warned: "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matt. 24:24).

                                                                                                                     All of the major religions are currently awaiting a prophet or messiah. Christians, of course, are looking forward to the Second Coming. Muslims are looking for the return of "Christ," who will prepare the way for the coming of the Mahdi. Jews are still awaiting their Messiah. And Hindus look forward to the next incarnation of the Krishna. I've seen good arguments for the false prophet being the Muslim "Christ," and the Beast as the Mahdi and a resurgent Caliphate, but I think we should be open to the possibility that whatever or whomever arises may seem to satisfy all religions, but, especially will target Christianity ("the very elect").

                                                                                                                     The portion of Chapter 13 of John's Revelation that most people focus on are the latter part that discuss the mark of the Beast and the number of the Beast. John writes:
                                                                                                                     And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 
                                                                                                                     Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
                                                                                                              (Rev. 13:16-18).

                                                                                                                      The mark of the Beast is open to multiple meanings. As an initial matter, it is obviously a demonic equivalent to those Saints that have been sealed to the Father in the forehead (see Rev. 7:3). That is, just as the Lord marks His own, Satan will similarly mark his followers. (If you have ever been in the presence of Evil, there is a very perceptible aura about it). As Brandt points out, when a person drinks the "wine" of spiritual Babylon, "the Spirit of the Lord withdraws and the spirit of the devil enters in."
                                                                                                              In time, people's countenances begin to reflect the gods they worship. As slaves to sin they become restless, mischievous, and deceitful. They become as a "troubled sea" and can find "no rest day nor night" (Rev. 14:11; Isa. 57:20-21). Eventually, they die "as to things pertaining unto righteousness, being dead unto all good works" (Alma 5:42 (40-42)).
                                                                                                                     However, John is probably describing a physical mark. Brandt mentions some historic examples of such markings, and what would have informed John and the people of his day. Brandt notes that the Greek word for "mark" signifies a "stamp, etching or engraving," and that "[i]n John's day it was a form of branding used on slaves and animals to identify the owner." Slaves were branded this way on the palm of the right hand or on the forehead directly above the eyes. However, it was not just slaves that were marked thusly. Religious tattooing and branding was common in the ancient world to indicate their branding, and soldiers often marked themselves with the sign of their commanding general to show ownership. And, of course, we have the example of the Amlicites in the Book of Mormon who, upon dissenting from the Nephites, marked themselves on their foreheads.

                                                                                                                    We are not beyond such marks today. For instance, it is not uncommon for those serving in the military to obtain a tattoo indicating their branch of service or particular unit, and women sporting the infamous "tramp stamp" certainly indicate something about themselves. Brandt also explains:
                                                                                                              Today many tattoo themselves with various symbols, patterns and words to show loyalty or devotion, to fit in, or make a statement, all the while desecrating their bodies with a literal mark. By their very deed they express something about who they are and what influences their lives. Body piercing, an ancient and accepted form of self-marking, is also popular today.
                                                                                                              And although Brandt doesn't reference this, I would observe that in the stories about "spirit cooking" that have circulated about some on the left, they often have cut marks on their hands, which also act as marks to identify them to one another.

                                                                                                                     John mentions an economic aspect to the mark--that no one could conduct business absent a mark. Brandt notes that the Greek word for mark could also refer to seals attached to commercial or official documents bearing the name of the emperor.
                                                                                                                      Coinage and treasury income was stamped with the mark of the imperial beast, and the emperor and provincial leaders kept a tight rein on this wealth. Most commerce and contracts were validated by the "mark of the beast," or the seal or approval of the emperor. Thus, no one conducted significant business without being part of the establishment.  
                                                                                                                      John's point is that those who control the wealth have the power to influence policy in accordance with their desires. Rome's super rich rewarded loyalty and discrimination against those who opposed their designs. In the Book of Mormon, we find a similar practice in the era when the Gadianton robbers controlled the government, the courts, and much of the commerce. This diabolical secret combination exercised authority to accumulate wealth and to thereby control society.
                                                                                                                     I'm not going to engage in fruitless speculation as to how people will be marked and how it will be used to control commerce. I would note that, although it does not involve a physical mark on the hand or forehead, we are already seeing such economic coercion today by means of social and economic ostracising of those that are not "politically correct". Social justice warriors stand ready to destroy careers and businesses over incorrect thoughts. Businesses have been fined and sued for not wanting to celebrate gay marriage.

                                                                                                                      And perhaps there won't be a physical mark. Certainly it is not necessary: just connect an identity to a government list. China has already rolled out a system that assigns a "social credit score" measuring their trustworthiness; a low score being punished by such things as not being able to buy property, board aircraft, or enroll your children in private school. Combined with China's rollout of massive facial recognition systems, China stands on the threshold of being able to deny people with low social credit scores from any meaningful economic activity. China is exporting this technology, and it is under development in Western nations. Reports have just come out that Google and Amazon are partnering with police and the military to improve public surveillance. So the mark of the Beast may not be a physical mark, but rather the biometrics of our faces and fingerprints.

                                                                                                                     Finally, many people are drawn into trying to figure out the meaning of the number of the beast (666). Brandt notes that many cultures have indulged in numerology of some sort or another; it is inherent in some ancient languages where letters also served double duty as numbers. "6", he explains, is often associated with a deficit or imperfection. So, "666" would represent the consummate embodiment of evil. But, as Brandt also explains, the meaning of this passage was probably self-evident to the members of the Church to whom he wrote. For instance, the Emperor Titian's name, translated into Greek, would equal a sum of 666. (Titian destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and so would be a good candidate for the time). "Therion," the word John uses for "beast" equals 666, and the first letters of the names of the Roman emperors from Julius Caesar to Vespasian also add up to 666. Nero's name (i.e., "Caesar Nero") can also be used in a couple of ways to come up with a sum of 666 or multiple thereof. But it is probably fruitless to try to use the number to predict the latter day Beast. As Brandt points out, "[i]n the proper hour the Lord will make manifest the servants of the devil and their doctrines to the benefit of those in tune with the Holy Spirit."

                                                                                                              To Those Who Made The Ultimate Sacrifice ... Thank You



                                                                                                              Friday, May 25, 2018

                                                                                                              Don't Buy The Sig P365 Yet

                                                                                                                   The Military Arms Channel released a video earlier today reviewing the new Sig P365 (see below) wherein the reviewer had a major failure of the pistol after putting about 900 rounds through it. Specifically, the trigger bar spring broke, rendering the pistol inoperative. He discovered that this is not an uncommon problem with the firearm.

                                                                                                              "The almost amazing Sig P365"--Military Arms Channel (37 min.)

                                                                                                                     However, that is not the only problems with the pistol. In addition, he noted that his pistol left a significant amount of drag mark on the primer when ejecting a shell, caused by the firing pin not fully retracting as the casing was ejected. Apparently a lot of people have been reporting broken firing pins, and he believes this might be the cause of it. But, I would also point out, the video also mentions some people receiving new firearms with broken firing pins. Another problem is that some people have had unusual wear or damage to the barrel (he didn't have this issue with his pistol).

                                                                                                                     Otherwise, he really liked the P365.

                                                                                                                     The P365 is the newest darling of gun writers, and I've seen and read several reviews, none of which have mentioned these problems before. I'll be just a bit snarky here: I wonder if we will see the same vehement hatred toward Sig over this as we saw directed at Remington because of the problems with the R51? After all, this comes on the heals of the problem with the P320 discharging when dropped or struck on the rear of the slide.* I'm not holding my breath though.

                                                                                                              *Note: Military testing has revealed additional problems with the P320, including inability to reliably feed FMJ ammunition, trigger groups splitting, and ejecting live rounds when ejecting a spent casing. (See this video for more information).

                                                                                                              Media Already Making Excuses for "Solo: A Star Wars Story"

                                                                                                              According to CNN, the new Solo movie brought in $14.1 million on Thursday night--"half of what 'Rogue One' brought in on its opening Thursday." So, the story that CNN is now advancing is that moviegoers are suffering from "Star Wars fatigue" and pointing out that it has only been 5 months since The Last Jedi was released. I guess we'll see how the numbers add up after the weekend, but given what I've heard about The Last Jedi (I still can't bring myself to watch it), Disney may have put the franchise into a death spiral.

                                                                                                              May 25, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                              "White South Africans Take Up Arms -- Afrikaners Aim to Counter Gov't Land Grabs, White Genocide"--One America News Network (6 min.). This report is from May 21, 2018, but provides an update as to what is going on in South Africa vis-a-vis the government's promise to confiscate land from white landowners.

                                                                                                              • TGIF: This week's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. Articles include a discussion on the cause of school shootings, Vitamin D and sun exposure, the benefits of a mid-length gas system over a carbine-length gas system (it's more than just softer recoil), a pepper-ball device (including Greg Ellifritz's thoughts on how such a device could fit into your defensive plan), and stopping power, among many others.
                                                                                                              • "Arizona Preparing For California Earthquake Evacuees"--CBS Los Angeles (h/t Anonymous Conservative). From the article:
                                                                                                                      As CBSLA’s Elsa Ramon reports, Arizona is holding practice runs just outside of Phoenix, preparing for 400,000 evacuees from California.
                                                                                                                         Deputy Director for FEMA Wendy Smith-Reeve says the training will last three-and-a-half days on the softball field at the National Guard base near Phoenix.
                                                                                                                            Smith-Reeve says the goal is to make sure all agencies can work together and to spot any potential problem areas.
                                                                                                                              “Where our systems are stressed, when it comes to sheltering, when it comes to feeding, when it comes to fuel because part of the scenario is the fuel line is compromised in Cailfornia which directly effects Arizona,” said Smith-Reeve.
                                                                                                                                Seismologist and author of “The Big Ones” Dr. Lucy Jones agrees infrastructure will be severely damaged when the big one hits Southern California and many won’t be ready.
                                                                                                                                  “Historically we’ve seen damage to water systems being one of the most disruptive things that happens,” said Jones. “The estimate in shakeout was $50 billion in business disruption costs from lack of water because it is going to take up to six months to get it back.”
                                                                                                                                   Above all else the single most important thing to remember when using a knife is this, you cannot take it away or disarm anyone who has one and NOT get cut or critically injured. During my practice sessions, we tried the popular TKD, karate (all styles), and many more styles disarming techniques. NONE of them actually work when both people are engaging with the intent to actually harm the other person. Certainly when your instructor sets everything up “this is how it should be done” than your disarm may work, however, the reality is the opposite.
                                                                                                                                      When utilizing knives in combat situations expect two absolutes, first expect to get cut and second expect to get extremely bloody. Using a knife as a ward to keep someone away will absolutely get you hurt if not dead. As with all deadly force encounters I suggest remembering a simple few steps. Burn these steps into your brain, and please, if your instructors tell you differently, they want you dead or have zero real experience in any way.
                                                                                                                            • "The Flint Spark Lighter"--Dreaming of Sunsets Over Ochre Dunes. The lighter he is discussing are the type intended for lighting propane or MAPP gas torches and acetylene welders. The author discusses their use as a survival lighter--they especially work well for lighting the cotton pads or balls coated with petroleum jelly.
                                                                                                                            • "Survivalist migration movement grows in the Northwest"--KXLY Spokane. Rawles' "American Redoubt" idea has resonated with a lot of people.
                                                                                                                            • "Ejection-Rejection"--Guns Magazine. An article on diagnosing and correcting extraction and ejection problems with an AR. The author notes that "[w]hen the ejector’s functioning just right, there ought to be a neat pile of unscathed empties deposited at about 3-o’clock and no more than three feet away. It’s all about 'timing.'” He points out:
                                                                                                                                        Too much pressure? The case can bang off the rear of the ejection port instead of just hopping out like it’s supposed to. You’ll get wildly spinning cases going off in all directions and flying too far. It’s the cause of the creases, dings and dents on spent cases. Excessive rearward bolt carrier velocity (common with carbine-length gas systems) can create/worsen this condition. I’ve seen this after trying a different load in a rifle that had been ejecting perfectly. The cure for this is slowing carrier velocity.
                                                                                                                                Also:
                                                                                                                                            A new spring is the cure for an under-functioning ejector. If you need one, I strongly recommend upgrading, and I recommend it anyhow. I do it on all my guns since this spring will weaken. They’re also prone to breakage due to heat. I like chrome-silicon springs as they don’t fail and they don’t change. Most aftermarket springs are “extra-power” but that isn’t important.
                                                                                                                                            If your ejection ailments indicate excessive spring pressure, shorten the spring. Use a grinding or cutting wheel type tool for the job. Don’t attempt to just snip it.
                                                                                                                                      But he warns not to overdue it--just lighten until the empty cases aren't bouncing off the port.
                                                                                                                                                Massacres, clandestine incinerations, gory executions and narco-messages are all becoming common in the border cities of Tamaulipas. The escalation is tied to rival Gulf Cartel groups spreading terror throughout the region as they fight for control.
                                                                                                                                                    The rising wave of violence also brought a spike of kidnappings and armed robberies. As Breitbart Texas reported, the war for Reynosa is now surpassing one year of bloodshed. The violence already led to more than 470 murders in a year, but in recent days it escalated even more when rival factions resumed their attacks.
                                                                                                                                          • "More Myths About Drowning"--Soundings Magazine. These are that there is no such thing as dry drowning (its all about fluid in the lungs), and it is unlikely that a drowning person will pull you under water if you try to rescue them. As to the first point:
                                                                                                                                            What should you look for? If your child, or anyone else, gets out of the water and has any symptoms beyond what they might experience after something “goes down the wrong way,” you should have them checked out. If they have persistent heavy coughing that doesn’t stop after a few minutes, you should have them checked out. Usually, these patients are observed for four to six hours and released. If someone coughs for a couple of minutes after getting out of the pool and then acts fine and asks for lunch, it means he or she is fine and wants lunch. You don’t have to call 911.
                                                                                                                                              As to the second:
                                                                                                                                                       People in aquatic distress or people who are actively drowning are both looking for the same thing — what I call free freeboard. They want their mouths above the water without effort. They want to be standing up or supported by some kind of flotation. Once they feel supported, they no longer pose any danger if you can keep them feeling that way. What lifeguards are trained to do is to enter the water and support drowning victims so that they can easily breathe and are strong enough to get them to safety.
                                                                                                                                                          Reaching for someone who is drowning from a secure position is better than throwing something at him. And throwing him flotation is better than wasting time getting to him by boat. But here is the hard truth: if reaching, throwing, or rowing isn’t an option and someone doesn’t go get him, he is going to drown. If you call 911 (or Mayday) and do nothing else, you are calling for a body recovery. And since most of you are not going to be able to stand there and do nothing, here is how you can safely “go” — yes, even though you are untrained: bring flotation with you.
                                                                                                                                                  • "EXPLAINING THE ‘MYSTERY’ OF NUMBERS STATIONS"--War On The Rocks. A discussion about the short wave stations that broadcast seemingly random sets of numbers.
                                                                                                                                                  • "There’s a time and a place to rat out your neighbor, but church isn’t it"--By Common Consent. This is a follow up article to the recent one (which I discussed in detail) criticizing Mormons that might think about reporting an illegal alien (who happens to also be a Mormon) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The author of this piece takes time out from negotiating away U.S. interests in space to the United Nations to tell us that members that report other members to ICE are going to hell. So the author's elevated status in government has also made him a prophet? 
                                                                                                                                                             Similar to the author of the prior article, this author begins with the false premise that being in the United States illegally is a trivial violation of law, similar to a non-moving vehicle infraction; but then suggests that, in any event, our obtaining information about the immigration status of the member was one that implicitly arises from a position of trust and confidentiality. Both of these presumptions are, of course, unfounded. Invading another country is a serious issue, particularly when it is done en mass. One illegal may be trivial--tens of millions are not. And, as one of the comments points out, there is no duty of confidentiality that extends to illegal acts, especially, as another comment notes, when we learn about the immigration status from a statement openly made or overheard in a meeting.