Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Basic AK Reload (Updated and Bumped)

(H/t The Firearms Blog)

Update (6/30/2015): So my son and I were practicing this the other day with my AKM clone. The magazines were East German steel ribbed magazines. I was not able to grip the magazine and operate the magazine release with my thumb; my son could after some practice. What I resorted to--and as I've seen demonstrated elsewhere--is briskly striking the magazine release with the front top of the new magazine (the divot where it locks on the front tends to act as a bit of hook to help grab the magazine release lever) to knock the old magazine out of the rifle. However, turning it as indicated in the video did noticeably help. My son is left handed, so the reload is even quicker--he only has to turn the rifle on its left side (right side up) for both switching the magazine and charging the rifle.

I suspect (wonder) if it might be easier to grasp the magazine and operate the release with the thumb using polymer magazines that do not have the large rib of the metal magazines.

Modern Ruins: The Crumbling Palaces of Former African Despots

Glamorous: His palace built near his birth town of Gbadolite in the northern Democratic Republic of Congo is now abandoned, the majestic pool turned green by the plants growing from its dry floor. He also had a runway long enough for a Concorde built in the nearby town
The former palace of Mobutu Sese Seko (more photos and story at The Daily Mail)

A Quick Run Around the Web--June 30, 2015 (Updated)

A few articles for your perusal:

California is Cursed

On top of the drought (which, in reality, stretches back to 2008), geologists have discovered relatively high levels of Helium-3 in gas from around a 30-mile stretch of the Newport-Inglewood Fault Zone in the Los Angeles Basin. Because Helium 3 is only found in the Earth's mantle, it indicates that the fault is far deeper than previously believed. This indicates that an earthquake along this fault could be more severe than prior estimates.

"US now has more Spanish speakers than Spain – only Mexico has more"

An article at the Guardian. The article also indicates that  the US has 41 million native Spanish speakers plus 11 million who are bilingual (i.e., raised in a bilingual household; not that only 11 million can also speak English).

The Benedict Option and the Death of the Republic (Updated)

Notwithstanding the Court's gay marriage ruling, many religions still oppose the practice. For instance, the LDS Church authorities stated:
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges that following today's ruling by the Supreme Court, same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States. The Court's decision does not alter the Lord's doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God. While showing respect for those who think differently, the Church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice."
I have written a bit about the implications of the recent gay marriage ruling and the potential for persecution of Christians here and here. As I noted, we have only to look at Canada for a glimpse of the future, where gay activists will use the legalization of gay marriage as a stick with which to beat Christians and Christian organizations. The question is "now what do we do?"

One route is civil disobedience and continuing to fight to retain our religious rights. For instance, USA Today reported a couple days ago that "Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement Sunday saying state workers can refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses if doing so is contrary to his or her religious beliefs." Various pastors have called for civil disobedience, including many black pastors (an interesting development which could see many blacks lose their enthusiasm for the Democratic party) (See also here). Bishop Michael Jarrell, the bishop of the Catholic diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, has also advised Catholics to resist even if it means breaking the law. Others, including some senior Republican leaders, believe it is time to just move on.

Whether civil disobedience or "moving on," Rob Dreher, writing at Time magazine, warned that Christians must now learn to live as exiles in our own country. He writes:
It is now clear that for this Court, extremism in the pursuit of the Sexual Revolution’s goals is no vice. True, the majority opinion nodded and smiled in the direction of the First Amendment, in an attempt to calm the fears of those worried about religious liberty. But when a Supreme Court majority is willing to invent rights out of nothing, it is impossible to have faith that the First Amendment will offer any but the barest protection to religious dissenters from gay rights orthodoxy.

Indeed, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito explicitly warned religious traditionalists that this decision leaves them vulnerable. Alito warns that Obergefell “will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy,” and will be used to oppress the faithful “by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”

The warning to conservatives from the four dissenters could hardly be clearer or stronger. So where does that leave us?

For one, we have to accept that we really are living in a culturally post-Christian nation. The fundamental norms Christians have long been able to depend on no longer exist. To be frank, the court majority may impose on the rest of the nation a view widely shared by elites, but it is also a view shared by a majority of Americans. There will be no widespread popular resistance to Obergefell. This is the new normal.

For another, LGBT activists and their fellow travelers really will be coming after social conservatives. The Supreme Court has now, in constitutional doctrine, said that homosexuality is equivalent to race. The next goal of activists will be a long-term campaign to remove tax-exempt status from dissenting religious institutions.
[Docent: activists are already calling for this--"Now’s the Time To End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions," an op-ed at Time). The more immediate goal will be the shunning and persecution of dissenters within civil society. After today, all religious conservatives are Brendan Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla who was chased out of that company for supporting California’s Proposition 8.

Third, the Court majority wrote that gays and lesbians do not want to change the institution of marriage, but rather want to benefit from it. This is hard to believe, given more recent writing from gay activists like Dan Savage expressing a desire to loosen the strictures of monogamy in all marriages. Besides, if marriage can be redefined according to what we desire — that is, if there is no essential nature to marriage, or to gender — then there are no boundaries on marriage. Marriage inevitably loses its power.

In that sense, social and religious conservatives must recognize that the Obergefell decision did not come from nowhere. It is the logical result of the Sexual Revolution, which valorized erotic liberty. It has been widely and correctly observed that heterosexuals began to devalue marriage long before same-sex marriage became an issue. The individualism at the heart of contemporary American culture is at the core of Obergefell — and at the core of modern American life.

This is profoundly incompatible with orthodox Christianity. But this is the world we live in today.

One can certainly understand the joy that LGBT Americans and their supporters feel today. But orthodox Christians must understand that things are going to get much more difficult for us. We are going to have to learn how to live as exiles in our own country. We are going to have to learn how to live with at least a mild form of persecution. And we are going to have to change the way we practice our faith and teach it to our children, to build resilient communities.

It is time for what I call the Benedict Option. In his 1982 book After Virtue, the eminent philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre likened the current age to the fall of ancient Rome. He pointed to Benedict of Nursia, a pious young Christian who left the chaos of Rome to go to the woods to pray, as an example for us. We who want to live by the traditional virtues, MacIntyre said, have to pioneer new ways of doing so in community. We await, he said “a new — and doubtless very different — St. Benedict.”

Throughout the early Middle Ages, Benedict’s communities formed monasteries, and kept the light of faith burning through the surrounding cultural darkness. Eventually, the Benedictine monks helped refound civilization.

I believe that orthodox Christians today are called to be those new and very different St. Benedicts. How do we take the Benedict Option, and build resilient communities within our condition of internal exile, and under increasingly hostile conditions? I don’t know. But we had better figure this out together, and soon, while there is time.
Hunter Baker similarly warns at The Federalist:
It is not hard to see where this is going. The gay marriage debate is not about gay marriage any more than the Confederate flag debate is about racism. It is about free speech. The court’s ruling on gay marriage announces that in due course the First Amendment is to be sacrificed on the altar of the Fourteenth Amendment. Prior to this ruling, bakers and wedding photographers had already suffered fines and the threat of imprisonment for refusing to serve gay customers. Brendan Eich was among the first high-profile CEOs fired for his views on gay marriage, but he will not be the last. Eventually, churches and religious nonprofits will have their tax status threatened if they do not accommodate the new consensus on gay marriage.

It is not enough for the Left to live and let live. You must change your mind. You must not hold disfavored views. You must be the right sort of person. If you’re not, you will be muzzled.

A few years back, the late Cardinal George of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, who died in April, said this: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.”
The implications of the Court's decision on gay marriage go beyond merely its impact on Christians and the institution of marriage. That decision--as well as several others from this past week--go to the heart of whether our Constitution is the highest law of the land, or merely guide stars representing vague ideals that can be reconstructed and reinterpreted as desired. I read sometime yesterday or the day before an article where the author noted (lamented, in fact) that there has been so little activity to amend the U.S. Constitution. However, as I have noted in other times and places, there is no need to formally amend the Constitution when all it takes is 5 justices to agree to a new interpretation. Rand Simberg addresses this issue further in his article, "How Republics Die." He writes:
But too many people (including, apparently and sadly, many of the justices themselves, perhaps even including the chief justice) think that the purpose of the Supreme Court is to give them things they like, like subsidies for health care, or the right to marry someone of the same sex. They care only about the results, and are utterly indifferent to the process (as we saw with the way the PPACA was passed). They believe that the ends, if sufficiently desirable, always justify the means.

But the means matter.

If, as Chief Justice Roberts implied yesterday, ambiguous laws can be changed by judges per their divination of legislative intent, then there is no law except what the judges think it is. (I would note that in fact his reasoning was fundamentally flawed by his statement that it was Congress’s goal to simply “improve insurance markets.” I think their intent was to increase their control over our health providers, and ultimately lead us down a path to single payer. But neither of us knows.) This was not judicial activism — it was judicial nihilism.

Similarly, if the Fourteenth Amendment contains a hitherto unknown right to marry someone of the same sex, then it contains multitudes of rights that will be discovered in the future by more “enlightened” judges.
 * * *
It [single-sex marriage, or SSM] was becoming legal in more and more states (though often, as was the case here, not by a popular vote, but by judicial fiat). Such a trend was probably inevitable, and young people are much more favorable to the idea than older ones (though they may change their minds as they age, as people do on many other issues). It was creating a problem in terms of “full faith and credit” between states that recognized it and those that did not.

But the Founders foresaw this sort of thing. That is why they put a provision into the founding document to deal with it. The proper way to address the issue, in terms of making SSM universal, was not to manufacture a new right from the Constitution, but rather to amend it. But that is something that hasn’t happened in a long time, because it is (rightly) difficult to do, and the Congress, the courts and the public have become too impatient, and prefer to sidestep it (which in fact has happened in, among other things, the federal War on Drugs, which somehow didn’t seem to require an amendment even though the prohibition of alcohol did).

The Constitution was meant to be the bedrock of laws, and the laws were to be enacted by the Congress, and signed by the president, not ignored or superseded by the president, or rewritten by the chief justice, to satisfy their own preferences, or those of others, even a majority. We are neither a tyranny of men, or that of a majority. As has often been told, when Benjamin Franklin came out of the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked him, “Mr. Franklin, what have you given us?” His reply: “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

When we ignore and side step the Constitutional and legal process to achieve a desired end, the bedrock starts to turn to sand. When the laws are ignored by those who have sworn to uphold or review them, the rule of law itself disintegrates. When the public doesn’t care, or understand the role of the branches of government, but votes anyway for people who tell them they’ll just give them stuff they like, that is how republics are lost.
 (See also "Justice Kennedy’s Matryoshka Doll" by Roger Kimball; and "Was Supreme Court Justice John Roberts Blackmailed?" by Wayne Root).

Update: The Silicon Graybeard: "On Today's SCOTUS Ruling." Also, Brad Torgerson notes that marriage, as an institution, has been on the rocks for a long time, and reminds us that strengthening the institution of marriage begins at home. And that we will be judged individually by God as to how much (or little) we work on our marriages. But there is the other side of the coin which is that God does judge nations, and even the innocent suffer in such times.

Another Update: Daniel Greenfield warns that there can be no truce or accommodation with the left:
To understand the left, you need to remember that it does not care about 99 percent of the things it claims to care about. ... The left fights all sorts of social and political battles not because it believes in them, but to radicalize, disrupt and take power.

The left does not care about social justice. It cares about power.

That is why no truce is possible with the left. Not on social issues. Not on any issues.
 He also dismisses "living with it" or "moving on" when it comes to the important social and political issues recently won (or taken) by the left. Instead, he encourages freedom loving individuals to be the best saboteurs they can be.

Also, read "Marching Happily Toward Our Cultural Decline" at Diogenes' Middle Finger.

Update (7/1/2015): More about the death of the Republic. From "Supreme Court Disasters" at Real Clear Politics:
Many people are looking at the recent Supreme Court decisions about ObamaCare and same-sex marriage in terms of whether they think these are good or bad policies. That is certainly a legitimate concern, for both those who favor those policies and those who oppose them.

But there is a deeper and more long-lasting impact of these decisions that raise the question whether we are still living in America, where "we the people" are supposed to decide what kind of society we want, not have our betters impose their notions on us.

The Constitution of the United States says that the federal government has only those powers specifically granted to it by the Constitution -- and that all other powers belong either to the states or to the people themselves.

That is the foundation of our freedom, and that is what is being dismantled by both this year's Obamacare decision and last year's ObamaCare decision, as well as by the Supreme Court's decision imposing a redefinition of marriage.

Last year's Supreme Court decision declaring ObamaCare constitutional says that the federal government can order individual citizens to buy the kind of insurance the government wants them to buy, regardless of what the citizens themselves prefer.

The Constitution gave the federal government no such power, but the Supreme Court did. It did so by citing the government's power to tax, even though the ObamaCare law did not claim to be taxing.

This year's ObamaCare decision likewise ignored the actual words of the law, and decided that the decisions of 34 states not to participate in ObamaCare Exchanges, even to get federal subsidies, would not prevent those federal subsidies to be paid anyway, to Exchanges [set] up by the federal government itself.

When any branch of government can exercise powers not authorized by either statutes or the Constitution, "we the people" are no longer free citizens but subjects, and our "public servants" are really our public masters. And America is no longer America. The freedom for which whole generations of Americans have fought and died is gradually but increasingly being taken away from us with smooth and slippery words.
 See also "Hard Questions on Same Sex Marriage" by Richard Epstein at The Hoover Institute. He writes, in part:
Can the IRS now deny tax exemption to the Roman Catholic Church on the ground that it rejects, on religious grounds, same-sex marriage? If so, that judicial notion of “fundamental interests” works effortlessly both to expand and contract state power. It can insulate the exercise of some liberties from state control, but allow other liberties to be burdened by differential treatment of other liberties, including those expressly embedded in the Constitution.

The point here is not idle speculation. Here are three data points. In Martinez v. Christian Legal Foundation (2010), a five-to-four majority with Justice Kennedy concurring, held that it was perfectly proper for Hastings Law School, a public institution, to deny the tiny Christian Legal Foundation the full benefit of school facilities largely because of its opposition to same-sex marriage. The government can offer its subsidies to some groups but not to others, and in so doing, force small isolated groups to subsidize powerful gay rights organizations. Religious intolerance best describes that outcome.

Since then, the situation has only gotten worse. Last year there was public outrage at the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which upheld claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that a closely held company did not have to supply contraceptives to its female employees in a fashion inconsistent with its owners’ religious beliefs. And more recently, claims for religious autonomy have been crushed in state court decisions that have fined individuals who have refused on religious grounds to make wedding cakes for same sex couples. No one seems to be concerned with the autonomy and dignity of those under the state’s thumb. They will have to abandon their chosen profession to honor their religious beliefs. I see no evidence that gay and lesbian rights advocates are prepared to back off of these statist claims.
 As for the dominoes or slippery slope arguments, I would note an article from U.S. News entitled "Polyamorous Rights Advocates See Marriage Equality Coming for Them."

Another Update: The AP reports that a handful of state probate judges in Alabama are still refusing to issue marriage licenses for gay marriage, leading to a threat from a federal judge to hold them in contempt of court. Although not mentioned in the article, a person can be jailed indefinitely in contempt of court so long as he/she refuses to comply with the court's order.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

How Memes Spread

The video uses the term "thought germs" instead of memes, but it is the same idea.

Some Ominous Wording in the Gay Marriage Supreme Court Decision

The editors of The Federalist, wishing to see signs that Christians will not be persecuted in the future for still opposing gay marriage, point to some language in the decision that they believe indicates a willingness to protect continued opposition to gay marriage. I think they (the editors) are very wrong. The relevant comments in the Court's opinion are:
“Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.”
 The Federalist editorial states:
As I read the majority opinion, it seemed that Justice Kennedy veered away from his earlier practice of describing opposition to gay marriage as some kind of pure product of irrationality and hatred. Though it didn’t change the result, I think this opinion accorded more respect to those who wish to preserve the traditional (and extraordinarily predominant) male-female view of marriage.
Kennedy may have veered away from describing opposition as pure irrationality and hatred simply to avoid crippling the Court's reputation, but his comments are pure sop. Reading his comments carefully, you will notice that there is nothing in there that suggests that Christians will be protected in any practice or act that opposes gay marriage. Rather, it very specifically indicates that opponents will only be allowed to "advocate" and "teach the principles." In other words, an opponent's right to express an opinion as part of their right to free speech will not be restricted, but there is nothing about allowing that to extend any further than mere speech.

I would again remind my readers of the Court's decision in  Davis v. Beason, 133 U.S. 333 (1890), upholding laws criminalizing polygamy, and holding that there was no exception for religious practices. (I've discussed the Davis holding before). The key point from the case was this:

 The term ‘religion’ has reference to one's views of his relations to his Creator, and to the obligations they impose of reverence for his being and character, and of obedience to his will. It is often confounded with the cultus or form of worship of a particular sect, but is distinguishable from the latter. The first amendment to the constitution, in declaring that congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or forbidding the free exercise thereof, was intended to allow every one under the jurisdiction of the United States to entertain such notions respecting his relations to his Maker and the duties they impose as may be approved by his judgment and conscience, and to exhibit his sentiments in such form of worship as he may think proper, not injurious to the equal rights of others, and to prohibit legislation for the support of any religious tenets, or the modes of worship of any sect. The oppressive measures adopted, and the cruelties and punishments inflicted, by the governments of Europe for many ages, to compel parties to conform, in their religious beliefs and modes of worship, to the views of the most numerous sect, and the folly of attempting in that way to control the mental operations of persons, and enforce an outward conformity to a prescribed standard, led to the adoption of the amendment in question. It was never intended or supposed that the amendment could be invoked as a protection against legislation for the punishment of acts inimical to the peace, good order, and morals of society. With man's relations to his Maker and the obligations he may think they impose, and the manner in which an expression shall be made by him of his belief on those subjects, no interference can be permitted, provided always the laws of society, designed to secure its peace and prosperity, and the morals of its people, are not interfered with. However free the exercise of religion may be, it must be subordinate to the criminal laws of the country, passed with reference to actions regarded by general consent as properly the subjects of punitive legislantion [sic].
 In other words, the free exercise of religion only means that a person is free to believe in his mind what he will, but is otherwise subject to criminal law. To take an extreme view, you could be free to believe that you should be able to partake of a sacrament of bread and wine to honor Christ, but the government, in theory, could forbid you from the physical act of consuming such sacrament.

So, that Kennedy's opinion allows Christians to advocate against gay marriage or teach that it is morally wrong is small solace when our livelihoods and property are at risk from a civil rights complaint or law suit should we actually attempt to act on our opposition to gay marriage.

This case is also yet another example that Federalism is dead. Although the courts pay lip service to the concept that we live in a federal system where the powers and authority of the Federal government is limited, it is a sham and lie. There are now no real restrictions on what the Federal government (whether it be the bureaucracy, Congress, or the courts) can legislate or regulate.

The implications are broader than just gay marriage. Jonah Goldberg recently wrote about the general absurdness of the extreme positions being advanced by the left and where he sees it taking the nation as a whole. He writes:
When I was growing up (“How’s that going? Seems like you’ve got a ways to go…” — The Couch), it seemed like lots of people talked about post-modernism, critical-race theory and all that junk. Today, it seems like no one talks about it, but everyone lives it — or is being forced to live with it.

I’ll always remember that line from Wendy Doniger when McCain picked Sarah Palin for veep: “Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman.”

Whatever criticisms you might have for Palin, there was a time when the one thing everyone could agree on is that she’s, you know, a woman. But now we live in an age where we must say Bruce Jenner is a woman, but only Right-wing cranks like me bother to complain that a professor at the University of Chicago could write that Sarah Palin isn’t one.

* * *

My real fear isn’t that the left will win. I still have some faith that the American people, including large portions of the Democratic base, don’t actually buy all of this nonsense, or at the very least it’s reasonable to assume they won’t continue to buy it for long. Why? Because it’s exhausting. ...

No my real fear is that the center will not hold. I’ve discussed this a bit when it comes to the debate over Islam. I don’t like the practice of insulting Muslims — or anybody — just to prove a point. But what I like even less is the suggestion that Muslim fanatics have the assassin’s veto over what we can say or do. So I am forced to choose sides, and when forced, I will stand with the insulters over the beheaders. But that is not an ideal scenario. That is the Leninist thinking of “the worse, the better.”

So what I fear is something similar in our own society; that the left gets what it’s been asking for: Total Identity Politics Armageddon. Everyone to your tribe, literal or figurative.

Spending as much time as I do on the internet, it’s easy to think this world has already arrived. It’s basically how political twitter operates. But what I fear is that it spills over into real life, like when characters from The Matrix walk among us.

The Left’s identity-politics game is a bit like the welfare states of Europe, which exist solely by living off borrowed capital and unrequited generosity. Europeans can only have their lavish entitlements because they benefit from our military might and our technological innovation. Left to their own devices, they’d have to live quite differently.

Similarly, identity politics is fueled by generous subsidies from higher education, foundations, and other institutions designed to transfer resources to the Griping Industry. But if you spend enough time teaching people to think that way, guess what? They’ll think that way.
 Looking more broadly, the Court's decision is yet another propaganda victory for Muslim terrorists. They can point to it and proclaim that it is just more evidence of how wicked the West has become and that it must be destroyed. For instance, following the Tunisian massacre, ISIS claimed the massacre was an "attack upon the nests of fornication, vice and disbelief in God."

Review of the Volund Gearworks Atlas G-Hook Belt

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
-- Matthew 7:26

It may seem odd to start a product review by reference to a scripture, but it is actually relevant here. Of course, in the above passage, the Lord was discussing the need for a solid foundation upon which to base one's faith. Similarly, a good shooting system must also rest upon a good foundation. When it comes to handguns, you generally read of that foundation being the holster. But beyond that, is the belt supporting the holster and firearm.

A bad belt will lack the stiffness and strength to support the gun and holster. In doing so, it will stretch and twist or fold during the day, allowing the holster to sag or lean slightly outward. If you are carrying concealed, the result may be that a firearm effectively concealed first thing in the morning is printing rather badly by the end of the day. This sag also increases the strain on the spine, which can lead to greater muscle fatigue, lower back pain and, for those with preexisting lower back issues, increased susceptibility to attacks of sciatic pain. All of this is exaggerated with narrow belts, as commonly used for business attire. Conversely, a good belt for carrying a firearm, whether concealed or in the open, will be stiff, not stretch, and wide enough to provide a good foundation to support the handgun and holster.

Volund Gearworks Atlas G-Hook Belt
Some 7 or 8 months ago, I ordered the Atlas G-hook belt offered by Volund Gearworks. Volund offers different methods for securing the belt (to "buckle" the belt, although none of the systems is a true buckle). (I think some of this has been added since I ordered by belt). However, the system I was looking at was their G-hook system.

The G-Hook

Loops for hooking the G-hook

Hook through Loop

System cinched down
The belt itself appears to be constructed of a base of two layers of thick, heavy cordura (or similar material) stitched together (although I suspect that there may a third layer of another material to add further stiffness) to form the backing. On front of this is another, more narrow material (the trim), which holds the G-hook, is stitched to form the loops for the hook, and holds the velcro to secure the loose end.

To fasten the belt after you have slid it through your belt loops, the end with all the small hoops for the G-hook (on your right hand side), goes through a loop at the other end (i.e., at your left-hand side), and the belt pulled tight. Taking the "tail" with the G-hook (on your left hand), pull the belt to the right until you reach the desired tightness and hook the G-hook into one of the hoops, and then pull the tail back to your left to tighten. Finally, secure the loos end of the tail along the velcro so it is not flapping loose.

To undo the belt, you pull the tail loose from the velcro, hook a finger under the G-hook and pull up to get some slack in the tail, then unhook the G-hook. Then slide the thicker portions (the base) of the belt apart.

The result is a very strong, secure system for your belt. Just don't wear this belt if you think you may need to use the restroom frequently, as it is a bit slow to undo!

One of the great things about Volund are the number of options available. The belt is offered in 6 sizes--from small to 3X. The steel G-hook is available in three colors: coyote, black, and foliage. There are also numerous colors available for the base and trim, with some 44 combinations. As you can see, I went for a conservative black G-hook, black base, and foliage trim.

The belt also comes in two widths: 1-1/2 inch and 1-3/4 inch. The latter is the maximum width of most belt loops on jeans and work pants. It may be too wide for some casual dress pants, and definitely too wide for anything more formal (although this is the wrong belt for that type of dress). I ordered the 1-3/4 inch because most carry gear (holster loops, etc.) are designed for that width, but I've also found that some clothing manufacturers like to cut it close on the size of the loops, so it can be difficult to feed the belt through at times.

However, the real issue is performance. I have had this belt for, as I said, 7 or 8 months now. Obviously I can't wear this daily because I work in an office, but I have used it on weekends and in the evening when possible, so I believe I have given it a pretty good workout. In short, it has been an excellent belt. First, it is comfortable. The only issues I've had is when sitting for long periods of time, and that is probably more an issue of having the widest belt and my "spare tire" around my waist. Second, as I noted above, it is a strong system: I've never had it loosen up, even when carrying heavier weapons such as a service revolver. Third, and perhaps most significant, is that it is very stiff and resistant to stretching. It has only been in the last couple of weeks that I have noticed even a very slight stretch or deformation of the belt reflecting my body contours--so slight that I doubt anyone would notice except me because I've been watching carefully for evidence of any deformation. This is compared to a standard thick leather belt that I have to switch around fairly frequently to stretch back into shape so it hangs straight.

In short, this is an excellent belt, and the fact that it is only $50 (at the time of this writing) is just frosting on the cake.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Surviving the Coming Collapse: "1 Weird 2 Cent Trick For Precision With A Pistol"

An article discussing using a small mark (which is termed a "gip") on the front sight post of a pistol for your focus and, thereby, increase your accuracy.

H/t: Active Response Training's "Weekend Knowledge Dump" (and check out the other articles in the "Knowledge Dump").

Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Make Mad

While a certain segment of the population celebrates the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, groups like La Raza are probably celebrating a lessor publicized story: that "non-Hispanic whites are experiencing negative population growth, seeing 61,841 more deaths than births between 2013 and 2014," and that by 2044, whites will be a minority (in the numerical sense).

A few weeks ago, I cited a statement from Angela Davis, former president of the US communist party, that the refugee movement would be the movement of the 21st Century. While correct, this is part of a larger issue: demographics. Demographics will be, I believe, the single most important issue of the 21st Century. Absent significant and widely available treatments to expand life spans, the world population will peak mid-Century at just over 9 billion, and start to decline, because of the crash of birthrates all over the world. However, before the decline sets in, and well afterward, there will be a bulge of old and elderly people. This will lead to general economic decline for various reasons:

In short, a population with an increasing proportion of non-working retirees is going to see a stagnant or declining economy due to reduced consumer spending and investment.

Western nations have attempted to resolve the issue through immigration: import a younger population of workers (with the added benefit of having to pay the workers less). There are, however, two general problems with this approach: workers of overall lower education and ability, and populations that have no cultural investment in the host nation. Moreover, there is no evidence that the strategy works over the long term. As we can see in the few studies on the subject, the uneducated or undereducated immigrants often consume more resources than they contribute to the economy (further exacerbated when much of their money goes oversees in the form of remittances to family in the native country). This policy of allowing runaway immigration to jump start an economy stagnating due to declining native populations did not work in the Roman Empire, it has not worked in Europe, and will not work in the United States. Absent stopping the import at an early level (e.g., the ban in importing slaves into the U.S. in 1808), or eliminating the immigrant population (the Islamic solution to stymie the growth of slave populations), the result has always been, not assimilation, but a population of aliens hostile to the native peoples and culture, with the ultimate result of dissolution of the host nation. To expect a different outcome now is madness.

A reasonable person might suggest that a nation facing declining populations might attempt to stabilize the population by encouraging the formation and maintenance of families. But this is where the madness is most manifest. No-fault divorce has destroyed the family by making it easy to dissolve a family, and reducing the incentive to form a family in the first instance. This has been exacerbated by the unfair weight in favor of women in divorce proceedings. The costs of raising a family has increased in real terms (for instance, because of car seat laws, instead of squeezing another child into the back seat of your car, you now have to buy a larger car), while the rewards (both economic and social) have declined. Of course, seeing this, a larger number of young adults have forsworn children and/or marriage.

But it does not stop there. Going back to the news story I cited at the beginning, we now live in a nation that requires states to recognize gay marriage. Ironically, the court opinion begins by recognizing the importance of marriage, stating:
“No union is more profound than marriage,” Kennedy wrote, joined by the court’s four more liberal justices. 
“From their beginning to their most recent page, the annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage. The lifelong union of a man and a woman always has promised nobility and dignity to all persons, without regard to their station in life. Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations,” Kennedy wrote.
Of course, when the Court begins with a statement of the absolute important of a thing, it is because they are about to take that thing away. (If you have a chance to peruse the Court decisions where they determine that school students do not have certain rights while at schools, the Court will nearly always begin by recognizing that students do not leave their Constitutional rights at the school door, just before they take another of those rights away). And such is the case here. After recognizing the importance of marriage (speaking of course, of traditional marriage), they then essentially argue, "but what the hell, let's get rid of it anyway."

But the madness will not stop there. Canada legalized gay marriage 10 years ago, and the result has been an increasing attack and censure of religious organizations. Why should this matter? Because, people of faith reproduce at much higher rates than godless liberals. An attack on religious institutions, and the people that comprise those religions, is an attack on families and a new generation of workers--i.e., an attack on the very people and institutions necessary to arrest the decline in population.

Such is the madness.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Quick Run Around the Web--June 23, 2015

I'm traveling for the next few days, so the posting will be light. Nonetheless, here are a handful of articles that I believe are of interest as to current events:

  • I posted the other day a link to an article about the potential impact of the drought on property values in California, and my thoughts that the large cities will probably not be effected (at least in the near future). So it was with interest I saw Victor Davis Hanson's article entitled "California: Running on Empty." He discusses in more detail the consequences of shallow wells running dry and agricultural land drying up as a consequence of insufficient infrastructure and the ultimately futile attempt to save a few rare fish. Hanson's view of the infrastructure seems to tie in with my view of the tax situation: California is overdrawn and unable to absorb a highly stressful event or calamity. 
  • The BBC reports that Kurdish forces have captured a Syrian town north of the city of Raqqa, in yet another recent victory of the Kurds over ISIS. Raqqa is the capital of the Islamic State. While this may seem like good news, given the failure of Syrian rebels to stop ISIS, it may not relieve tensions. First, ISIS forces have been able to quickly recover from defeats in the past. But second, and more significantly, the possibility of the Kurds carving out an independent state scares and angers Turkey, a member of NATO; and, for that reason, probably not a development that the Obama Administration will support. If nothing else, we can expect Turkey to undermine Kurdish efforts, especially if the Kurds are too successful.
  • Some different viewpoints (all from conservative or libertarian columnists) on the current push to ban the Confederate Battle Flag. First, David P. Goldman discusses how the Battle Flag is a reminder on how America has ignored how truly awful was the slave holding South. He writes:
The South could not live in the knowledge that its heroic sacrifices were offered in a wicked cause, and its response was to excise from religion the notion of sin and virtue, and replace it with social engineering. Woodrow Wilson’s father was a Southern clergyman who preached a biblical justification of slavery; as president, Woodrow Wilson replaced American foreign policy with social engineering on a global scale. The North could not live with its own enormous sacrifice; as I argued elsewhere, “Americans decided that they would rather not have a God who demanded sacrifice from them on this scale – 10% of military-age Northern men, 30% of military-age Southern men. They did not want to be a Chosen People held accountable for their transgressions. They wanted instead a reticent God who withheld his wrath while they set out to make the world amenable to their own purposes. The New England elite went to war as convinced Abolitionists singing of the coming of God who trampled out the vintage of the grapes of wrath and wielded a terrible swift sword. They came back convinced that no idea could be so righteous or so certain as to merit the terrible sacrifices of their generation.”
 Moving on, Rick Moran notes the huge spike in sales of the Battle Flag, and suggests that if we ban the Battle Flag, we should also ban pictures of Che Guevara, reasoning:
The perception of both icons is in the eye of the beholder. You can choose to see racism when looking at the battle flag or you can see a celebration of heritage, or even just a symbol of hard drinking and fast cars. Conversely, you can view the image of Che with revulsion against his horrific blood filled rampages, or see a fighter for someone’s idea of “social justice.” 
Why should one interpretation be the “correct” interpretation for either icon? Who decides?
Finally, Richard Fernandez writes about how other flags representing mass murder and hatred, such as the Japanese battle flag, the Chinese flag, and even Soviet symbolism, retain or are gaining in popularity among those peoples.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Pistol Grips

Not those you attach to the pistol, but how you hold the pistol. The article--"Professional Shooters Talk Pistol Grip"--at Blue Sheepdog discusses the author's experience with different types of grips, and his favorite, as well as video from others discussing gripping the pistol. The author's favorite is shown below:

My best grip to date places the meat of both hands on the pistol grip for superior counter balance.
I'd be a little afraid of using that grip simply because I also shoot revolver, and could imagine getting a singed thumb if I inadvertently used that grip while shooting the revolver.

Art of the Rifle on Shooting Handguns

The author of the Art of the Rifle blog had been on hiatus for several months, but he is back (as of May) and posted several new pieces. The most recent is entitled: "'On Demand' Performance" discussing some lessons learned and unlearned from shooting USPSA; namely, that loosening up your standards of accuracy may help your time on the competition field, but may have bad consequences in the real world.

Shotgun News: "The African Rifles: The HK G3 and FN FAL"

A short article at Shotgun News about the use of the FAL and G3 in Africa, mostly focusing on the wars and conflicts during the period of de-colonization.

A Couple Instances of Broadening Firearms Rights

The Truth About Guns reports:

Nevada has expanded its reciprocity for concealed firearms licenses, so that it recognizes more states' CCLs, and/or will recognize standard as well as "enhanced" permits from some states. According to TTAG's article:
Pursuant to SB 175 and AB 488 of the 2015 legislative session, Nevada will recognize concealed weapons permits from the following states:
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Idaho (both types of permits)
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota (both types of permits)
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
 Also, a court ruling has overturned many of Puerto Rico's gun restrictions, making the territory a constitutional open/concealed carry territory. I would anticipate a prompt response by Puerto Rico's legislature to correct this, at least as much as it can.

Looming Real Estate Crash in California?

A few days ago, it was reported that the planned community of Mountain House, California, was about to have its water cut off due to the drought. The community gets its drinking water from an irrigation district which has been ordered to shut down its canal. In April, it was reported that thousands of wells were going dry. And since there is less water to drive hydro-power generators, Californians will be paying more for electricity. The California housing market has been in trouble for awhile, but Mike Adams, writing at Natural News, thinks that the loss of water (or at least the dramatic rise in costs) may cause property values to plunge concurrent with a population exodus from the state.

I don't see California becoming a dust bowl soon. The large cities will certainly have enough water, even though the price of water may go up. Also, landscaping may have to transition to that found around homes and businesses in Arizona (lots of rock and gravel and very little grass). Small communities and rural areas will face the largest problems, and very well may depopulate as wells run dry and agricultural jobs blow away in the wind. It won't be rosy, but the drought, by itself, will not be the death of California.

The real issue is that California is so regulated and taxed that it has little surplus to deal with a crises. The pension crises means that California taxes have no place to go but up. Consequently, there will be a constant hemorrhaging of small businesses to other states, and the ability of the State to raise cash will be limited. But, with no surplus to draw upon, California is vulnerable to other shocks. So, an extended drought (as this appears to be) combined with a major earthquake or other disaster could see California and its citizens extended beyond their limits.

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Quick Run Around the Web: June 19, 2015

Today is a selection of survival preps and DIY articles:

Chuck Norris Gives His Thoughts on Jade Helm ...

... which are similar to my view on the matter. Anyway, his article is at WND.

Your Morning Laugh: Some Math Humor

Greeks Accelerate Their Bank Run Before The End

Reuters reports:
The European Central Bank told a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Thursday that it was not sure if Greek banks, which have been suffering large daily deposit outflows, would be able to open on Monday, officials with knowledge of the talks said.

The officials said that during the closed-door meeting of the ministers on Greece, the chairman of the meeting Jeroen Dijsselbloem asked European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure if Greek banks would be able to open tomorrow.

Coeure answered: "Tomorrow, yes. Monday, I don't know"

Banking sources said on Thursday that between Monday and Wednesday, Greeks have withdrawn around 2 billion euros from their bank accounts.
A total of 30 billion Euros has been withdrawn from the Greek banking system since last October, according to The Independent. The latter article also warns of what could happen if Greece defaults:
If Greek defaults, the European Central Bank could cut off its support to the Greek financial system, forcing Athens to impose capital controls, limiting the amount that savers can withdraw from their accounts and curbing transfers of money overseas. When imposed in other countries, such controls have prompted queues outside bank branches as people try to remove as much cash as possible, and wider turmoil in financial markets as foreign investors realise they cannot pull their money out.
Frankly, Greeks are at the point that if they don't have their money in hand, in cash, they may be out of luck.

Live Science: "Did Ebola Strike Ancient Athens?"

The article ponders whether the Plague of Athens, which began in 430 B.C., might have been Ebola based on recent evidence showing that Ebola has been around for much longer than previously believed, and the symptoms and supposed source from south of Egypt as recorded by Thucydides.

Push Back on Calls for Gun Control After Charleston Shooting

The BBC opines (can't really call this reporting):
Another shooting, another sombre statement by President Barack Obama and another call for gun control. 
But this time was different - and so was much of the response from conservatives. 
"At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries," Mr Obama said on Thursday morning. 
He continued: "I say that recognising the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point it's going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively." 
At some point - as in not today, not tomorrow and probably not anytime soon. 
* * * 
On social media, a few conservatives snapped back at the president's remarks. 
The president "could always try being honest, non-divisive," tweeted Instapundit.com's Glenn Reynolds. "You know, for a change." 
"It took Obama exactly four minutes to politicise the massacre of nine innocent people in a church," wrote Breitbart's John Nolte. "He's just awful." 
He went on to say the best way to have prevented this attack was to have armed parishioners. 
He pointed to a South Carolina law prohibiting concealed weapons in churches. "Good reason for mass-shooters to believe a South Carolina church would be filled with helpless, unarmed people," he tweeted.
Glenn Reynolds is right--the President is being dishonest when he claims that "this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries."  David Harsanyi, writing at The Federalist, notes:
Parlez vous Hebdo? Because surely the president recalls that in January of this year two gunmen entered the office of a satirical magazine in France with an assortment of guns and murdered 11 people (and injured 11 more). After leaving, they killed a police officer. And in a marketplace catering to Jews another five were murdered and 11 wounded. France is, allegedly, an advanced country, is it not? Perhaps if Obama had attended the anti-terror rally in Paris like every other leader of advanced countries did, his recollection would be sharper. 
It take only takes some quick research to discover that rampage killers, acts of terror (as the Charleston shooting most certainly is), school attacks, spree killers are not unique to the United States. 
In 2011, a deranged Anders Behring Breivik killed eight people by setting off a van bomb in Oslo, before going on to murder 69 more people, mostly children, at a summer camp. This is the single worst shooting spree incident in history. Obama surely remembers that he left the White House and visited the Norwegian ambassador’s residence to offer his condolences. 
It takes only a rudimentary search to find out that mentally unstable killers can be found anywhere. In February of this year, nine people were killed in Czech Republic spree killing. In Erfurt, Germany, a couple of years ago, an expelled student murdered 13 teachers, 2 students and a policeman. That same year, in the Serbian village of Velika Ivanča, a gunman shot and killed 14 people—many of them his own relatives— and a Russia gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle killing six people. A couple of years before that, in England, a lone gunman killed 12 people and injured 11. 
Advanced countries or developing ones, it’s the same thing. In 2013 a mentally unstable man in Rio de Janeiro killed 12 children and seriously wounded another 12. And you might remember that China had an outbreak of mass stabbings, hammer and cleaver attacks not long ago. You don’t need guns to kill people. One man stabbed 22 children by himself. Two attackers killed 29 people and injured 143 at Chinese railway station last year. 
It should be noted that not that long ago advanced nations in Europe were busy throwing people into ovens or starving millions on purpose. The idea that violence is uniquely American is best left to fringe leftists on college campuses. Moreover, as The Associate Press reported in 2012, many experts contend that mass shootings are not growing in frequency at all. One has data that shows that mass shootings reached their peak in 1929 and have declined steadily since. Overall, gun violence has also been declining since 1993.
And Harsanyi only discusses the incidents widely publicized in the United States. Other mass killings pass below the radar of the U.S. media. (See this rather incomplete list of rampage killers). And although no guns were involved, has everyone already forgotten the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 on March 24, 2015, which killed 150 people? In fact, according to this December 2012 interview of John Lott, Europe has just as many mass shootings as the U.S. notwithstanding the strict gun control measures enacted by the various countries there.

In response to this most recent shooting, Lott again advises that eliminating gun free zones are the best way to deter or stop these deranged shooters by allowing the victims to defend themselves. Read it.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ol' Remus Guest Post At Liberty's Torch

For those of you missing insights from Ol' Remus at the Woodpile Report, he has written a guest post published at Liberty's Torch on June 3, 2015 (and, ironically enough, discussing race relations).

TFB: "Kalashnikov Unveils New PL-14 Pistol For Russian Army" (Updated)

The Firearms Blog has some details on a prototype handgun from Kalashnikov. It is a 9 mm, polymer frame, apparently striker fired, handgun that seems to have many of the features desirable for a combat or defensive handgun.

Update (6/19/2015): TFB has some more photos from a Russian shooter.

Southern Baptists Call for Civil Disobedience of Gay Marriage Laws

Via Fox News, the Southern Baptist convention released the following statement:
“We strongly encourage all Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, educators and churches to openly reject any mandated legal definition of marriage and to use their influence to affirm God’s design for life and relationships,” the statement declared.

While affirming their love for all people – regardless of sexual orientation, the former Southern Baptist presidents said the “cannot and will not affirm the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior or any behavior that deviates from God’s design for marriage.”

“Our first duty is to love and obey God, not man,” they emphatically stated.
As Lund has repeatedly stated in his statements concerning fourth generational warfare, the biggest challenge for the state system in the 21st Century will be a crises of legitimacy of the state.

Thoughts on the Charleston Church Shooting (Updated)

Details are still coming out about the shootings at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Here are reports from CNN, CBS News and the Post and Carrier. As we know from past incidents, early reports are nearly always incomplete and wrong. However, the basics, at this point, appear to be that a 21-year old white male (Dylon Roof), facing a felony drug charge, committed the shooting. He apparently was given the weapon (a handgun) as a birthday present by his father (Update: Actually, it has now been discovered that Roof purchased the gun himself, passing a background check). Roof is reported to have gone into the church in disguise to attend a bible study meeting and started shooting after being there a substantial time. Allegedly he stated that he was there to shoot black people, and that: “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

Of course, the left (including Obama) is jumping all over this as evidence of the need for stricter gun control laws and the need to address race relations. Never let a tragedy go to waste is their motto.

Here are a few of my thoughts on the matter:

  • To me, this is further evidence of why concealed carry is necessary. You never know when you might be subject to a violent attack. I recognize some jurisdictions restrict concealed carry to churches, but such restrictions should be lifted.
  • Obama's comments will likely set off another frenzy of gun and ammunition buying unless the gun control talk is dropped quickly.
  • This event will conveniently eat up the media's attention over other, more significant events, such as the TSA's utter inability to stop terrorists, the hacking of OPM computers (including security clearance information) by China, and Obama's various foreign policy disasters, as well as divert the public from the issue of the trade bill before Congress.
Update: Agitators want riots, it seems, based on this Washington Times article:
Black community activists raised alarms Thursday about the mass murder at the historic black church potentially sparking race riots in Charleston, South Carolina.

“We don’t need any more bloodshed and we don’t need a race war,” pleaded J. Denise Cromwell, a black community activists. “Charleston has a lot of racial tension. … We’re drowning and someone is pouring water over us.”

Ms. Cromwell said that nerves were still raw from the fatal shooting two months ago of a black man, Walter Scott, by a white police officer in neighboring North Charleston, which ignited major protests.

Black activist Michelle Felder, 58, said she feared the city’s young people “aren’t thinking” and might seek revenge, an emotional reaction that she said she understood but was mature enough to resist.

“This is 2015 and we are still going through the same things we went through 50 years ago,” she said. “This is so sickening. We are so tired.”

Smithsonian Magazine: "What Will Really Happen When San Andreas Unleashes the Big One?"

Not as much detail as I would like, but the article makes a few good points and has some links to other sources of information. The article states:
To figure out what could realistically happen when the Big One finally strikes, a team of earthquake experts sat down sat down several years ago and created the ShakeOut scenario. Seismologists modeled how the ground would shake and then other experts, including engineers and social scientists, used that information to estimate the resulting damage and impacts. The detailed report examines the effects of a hypothetical 7.8 quake that strikes the Coachella Valley at 10 a.m. on November 13, 2008. In the following minutes, the earthquake waves travel across California, leveling older buildings, disrupting roads and severing electric, telephone and water lines.

But the quake is only the beginning.

Hundreds of fires start, and with roads blocked and the water system damaged, emergency personnel aren’t be able to put them all out. Smaller fires merge into larger ones, taking out whole sections of Los Angeles. The lines that bring water, electricity and gas to Los Angeles all cross the San Andreas fault—they break during the quake and won’t be fixed for months. Though most modern buildings survive the shaking, many are rendered structurally unusable. Aftershocks shake the state in the following days, continuing the destruction.

The scenario is actually somewhat of an underestimate, notes one scientist behind the ShakeOut, USGS seismologist Lucy Jones. The report’s team was surprised by the extent of the fire damage from the quake, Jones says, but it could be worse if the Santa Ana winds are blowing when the event happens. These seasonal winds blow dusty, dry air from inland toward the coast, increasing risks of wildfires. And while Los Angeles keeps a supply of water on its side of the San Andreas, the reservoirs have been drained by the current drought—if the quake struck today, water reserves wouldn't last the maximum of six months that they would when full, she notes.

Overall, such a quake would cause some $200 billion in damage, 50,000 injuries and 2,000 deaths, the researchers estimated. But “it’s not so much about dying in the earthquake. It’s about being miserable after the earthquake and people giving up on Southern California,” says Jones. Everything a city relies on to function—water, electricity, sewage systems, telecommunications, roads—would be damaged and possibly not repaired for more than a year. Without functioning infrastructure, the local economy could easily collapse, and people would abandon Los Angeles.

The Load Out Room: "To Shoot or Drive?"

A look at what to do if you are involved in a shootout while in your vehicle. Basic advice: drive away if you can.

Another Look at Defeating Thermal Imaging

An article and video at The Survivalist Blog about thermal imaging, and building your own thermal blocking suit. (The same article and video is also available at SHTF Plan).

Administrative Matters

I just wanted to note that I've added a number of new sources on self-reliance and disaster preparation hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) to my Useful Links page. To make them easier to find, I have placed them in their own category at the top of the page.

Also, as a reminder, I try to update the Useful Links list with additional sites as I come across them, so check through it periodically.

Helping the Disabled in a Disaster

The other day, I cited an article from Mom with a Prep called "Emergency Preparedness Resources for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing." In thinking about the subject further, besides the resources listed in the foregoing article, I would also remind readers that the Hesperian Foundation has various books on helping the disabled that are available for sale or as a free PDF download.Some of the titles are:

  • Disabled Village Children
  • Helping Children Who Are Blind
  • Helping Children Who Are Deaf
  • A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities
Although written for the use and benefit of third world villages, there may be information useful for a disaster or grid down situation.

Also, don't forget the Red Cross booklet, "Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs." The Red Cross also has information on helping the elderly, including a booklet entitled, "Disaster Preparedness For Seniors By Seniors."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"Can The Slidefire Emulate Full Auto in a Support Capacity?"

Yes. Yes it can.

Genosuicide and Black Lives Matter

The "Ferguson Effect" has already led to work slow downs in Baltimore and New York City, and will probably be the result of the Tamir Rice incident in Cleveland. According to the Wall Street Journal:
The nation’s two-decades-long crime decline may be over. Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore, the most pressing question every morning is how many people were shot the previous night. Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.

In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. “Crime is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacarro at a May 7 City Hall hearing.

Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.

Those citywide statistics from law-enforcement officials mask even more startling neighborhood-level increases. Shooting incidents are up 500% in an East Harlem precinct compared with last year; in a South Central Los Angeles police division, shooting victims are up 100%.

By contrast, the first six months of 2014 continued a 20-year pattern of growing public safety. Violent crime in the first half of last year dropped 4.6% nationally and property crime was down 7.5%. Though comparable national figures for the first half of 2015 won’t be available for another year, the January through June 2014 crime decline is unlikely to be repeated.

The most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness is the intense agitation against American police departments over the past nine months.
Jack Dunphy predicts that things will get even worse in Los Angeles, where a police commission has found that an officer acted wrongly in last year's shooting of Ezell Ford, who became involved in a tussle with police and attempted to grab away one officer's gun. The officer's error? Not the shooting, but stopping Ford in the first place.

Of course, reluctance of police to engage in "preventive policing," and the emboldening of criminals, won't necessarily increase murders of whites (but may result in more violence at swimming pools), but as shown above, it has resulted in dramatic increases in violence between inner-city black males--a topic that the Black Lives Matters protesters refuse to address. That refusal begs the question of why black lives matter when those black lives are taken by white police officers, but not when those lives are taken by other blacks?

David P. Goldman addresses this issue in his article, "Genosuicide and its causes." He observes:
... Parts of black America appear determined to destroy themselves—black men, that is, rather than black women, who graduate from university at twice the male rate and hold more full-time jobs. Call it genosuicide, the self-willed extinction of a people, and it happens all the time, especially when young men decide that to matter, they must assert themselves violently. There is nothing uniquely “black” about the inner-city catastrophe now unfolding in America, as some historical examples will show. In the reasonable fear of legal persecution, police in America’s inner cities have stepped back from aggressive enforcement of the law, and the result is a sudden surge in homicides that have killed hundreds of people, almost all of them black. As Heather MacDonald reported in the Wall Street Journal May 29, “Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore, the most pressing question every morning is how many people were shot the previous night. Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years. In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.”

To demonstrate that they matter, young black men kill other young black men in appalling numbers. The Economist notes that if black America were a country, it would have the highest murder rate in the world, adding, ["]Black Americans are still eight times more likely to be murdered than whites and seven times more likely to commit murder, according to the FBI. An incredible one-third of black men in their 30s have been in prison.”
What it means to “matter” is a question of culture. To “matter” in the hip-hop culture that predominates among young black men is to be tougher and more rapacious than one’s fellows, to be indifferent to the prospect of prison or death, to get rich or die trying. ...
Goldman continues:
My contention is that there is nothing particularly “black” or even “ghetto” about this credo. The freebooters who followed Wallenstein or Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years War, Napoleon’s privates with field marshal’s batons in their rucksacks, the Confederate rebels of the American Civil War, the Germans of the Third Reich, or even the Athenians at the disastrous campaign against Syracuse—all of them sought lives that “mattered” in terms of wealth and social advancement, and all of them kept fighting until their armies bled themselves into inertia.

The lives of a third of young black Americans have been ruined. That is an important statistic: wars never are fought to the point of actual extinction, but rather to the point at which there are too few prospective fighters to continue the war. Violent self-assertion is the common theme in such wars. Before the dawn of civilization, in fact, that was the norm of the human condition: two-fifths of prehistoric males typically died in tribal warfare, according to the anthropologist Lawrence H. Keeley.

Wars of near-extinction are not universal but are remarkably common in ancient as well as modern history. Europe has had four of them during the past several hundred years: the Thirty Years War of 1618=1648; the Napoleonic Wars of 1797-1814; World War I; and World War II. America had its Civil War, and the Middle East now has its own Thirty Years War.

To name a few historic examples:
  • Athenian dead in the Peloponnesian War reached 25% of the city-state’s total manpower before Athens capitulated to the Spartan-Persian alliance;
  • The Thirty Years War killed 30% to 40% of the population of Central Europe and left wide swaths of Spain and France empty of people
  • The Napoleonic Wars resulted in 1.4 to 1.7 military French military deaths out of a total French population of 29 million. Men aged 17 to 49 were probably 20% of the total, or about one-fifth of the population, or 5.8 million. That puts the war dead at about 24% to 30% of total manpower pool.
  • Confederate casualties in US civil war were at least 28% of military age men, and historians are revising the casualty numbers upward.
  • German military casualties in World War II were 5,330,000, out of 17,718,714 men 15 to 44 years, or 30% of the manpower pool.
The 30% casualty rate is common to great conflicts across time and geography. Two other common factors are noteworthy.

The first is that really big wars typically last for two generations. You kill the fathers in the first phase of the war, and in the second phase you will their sons. Usually there aren’t enough grandsons to continue the war. The American Civil War is a big exception: with their characteristic energy and dedication, the Americans of the mid-nineteenth century managed to accomplish in four years what took other peoples thirty.

The second is that casualty rates typically rise in inverse proportion to the probability of victory. The young men who fight great wars are not game theorists, calculating the likelihood of dying in battle against the probability of victory. On the contrary, casualty rates typically rise sharply after hope of victory has faded. What matters is to “matter.”
He concludes that the heavy hand of government, whether in the United States' inner cities or the Middle-East, are necessary to control the blood-shed. Read the whole thing.

My position, which I have taken in this blog, is that we are simultaneously seeing, experiencing, the collapse of multiple civilizations, cultures and societies at the same time.

Docent's Memo (May 16, 2022)

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