Going on with "Abu Ghraib Abuse Photos" at www.antiwar.com/news/?articleid=8560 --
The second picture from the top appears much more graphic. On a gray concrete floor with a tan wall to the left and a large wooden box to the rear right, a naked man with his face clearly visible lies stretched on the floor, grimacing, apparently in pain. He has thick dark hair on his head and chest, and a close-shaven beard. His crotch is coyly blurred so as to completely conceal his genitals; this is such a common media convention that the average reader wouldn't stop to think that this shows that the picture is at least partially photo-shopped.
The man's arms are behind his back, and the one we can see is held -- with a splayed-finger grip -- by a man standing bent over him. This man wearing tan military-style boots, uniform pants, a black jacket and a helmet covered with a white cloth cover. We can't see the right arms of either man, but the position of the visible arms -- and that splayed-finger grip -- suggests that the naked man's wrists are cuffed behind him. The naked man's left leg is held at the foot, just below the ankle, by a third man -- of whom we can see only his left hand, with a wedding ring, and arm, clad in a white sleeve.
The naked man's left leg is smeared with red fluid which appears to be blood, and wrapped with a strip of white cloth tied in place with a strip of black plastic, just above the knee. His right leg, not wrapped with anything, is banded with a symmetrical strip of matching-colored red fluid that expands into a shapeless smear on the side near the floor -- as if the blood had spilled evenly over his right leg and pooled under it while the man was lying on his right side.
In the foreground are some scraps of paper and black plastic, and smears of what looks like more blood -- but in different amounts, shapes and colors. The largest, darkest, and closest smear, with a piece of paper lying in it, has an interesting shape: the leading edge is somewhat rounded and amorphous, but the rear edges are straight lines, meeting at a distinct angle -- which any fan of CSI would recognize as a "void". If the blood came from the naked man, then it could only have spilled out of his left leg while he was lying on his right side, with his right leg bent. This is also how that symmetrical stripe of blood came to spill over his right leg and pool under it. Also, he lay in that position long enough for that amount of blood to run out of him.
So how did he come to be lying a couple feet behind that spot, and where did that small, thin, slightly paler smear between them come from? The only possibility is that his legs at least were picked up and carried backward for a few inches, but then the side of his right leg was dragged along the floor the rest of the way to his current position.
Further details: there is a thin, faint smear of red on the side of the wooden box behind the naked man. To the left, behind the uniformed man, extending several feet back, the floor is stained with a pool of mottled watery pink and green patches, the same green as the paint along the baseboard of the wall. This could be water reflecting the paint and thinning out more of the red fluid; if the red fluid is blood, then it was spilled at a different time from the blood in the foreground. Standing in the pool, a few feet behind the uniformed man, are what appear to be three mismatched bottles against the wall.
Now, given the example of the modestly blurred crotch, we must first ask "Is it real, or is it PhotoShop?"
Evidence for fakery includes the color of that red fluid. Anyone who has studied Biology, or worked in the medical business, can tell you that the color is subtly wrong. Oxygen-loaded arterial blood is a bright scarlet, blood returning in the veins is the purple-brown of prune juice, and spilled blood drying in the air turns steadily brown. At no point is it the cranberry-juice purplish red of the fluid in that picture.
On the other hand, given the state of digital cameras -- particularly phone-cams -- ten years ago, it's reasonable that the coloring could be off. Looking at the rest of the picture we see that, yes, the color contrasts are a little too garish, and with a slightly blue tone. Yes, the color of those blood-smears is realistic. The clutter on the floor is too random to have been posed. Also the lighting is naturalistic, coming from the direction of the camera, and the resolution is very tight and clear. We can assume that this picture is real. So what does it really show?
The caption reads (emphasis mine): "An Iraqi detainee appears to be restrained after having suffered injuries to both legs at Abu Ghraib. It is unclear whether his injuries are from dog bites."
There's an obvious fallacy in these statements from the start; only one of his legs is bandaged. The blood on his right leg clearly spilled on it, and wasn't shed by it, as can be deduced from the pattern of the bloodstains. There is only one injury: to his left leg. The amount of blood spilled -- not counting the amount in the earlier, watery stain further up the hall -- indicates that the injury severed a good-sized (therefore deep) artery, even though it's small enough to be covered by that single narrow bandage. A single deep, small, narrow wound is not characteristic of a dog bite but of a gunshot, and there is no dog in evidence. Whoever wrote that caption was, at best, a poor observer.
From the evidence we see it's more likely that someone else produced the earlier, hosed-down bloodstain further down the hall. The prisoner we see was shot in the leg and left to bleed for a few minutes -- why? -- then picked up for a moment while his leg was quickly pressure-bandaged to stop the bleeding. Before the wound could be washed or treated any further, the prisoner was quickly set down again and dragged backward across the floor. At some point his arms were pulled behind him and cuffed, and his uninjured leg was seized.
At this point it helps to review the army's and the Red Cross' investigative reports, which tell an interesting tale. It seems that well before the scandalous Abu Ghraib pictures were "leaked", there was an attempted prison-break. Local imams, allowed in to provide "spiritual comfort" to the prisoners, had sneaked in a few loaded handguns. The prisoners, with or without clothes, had shot at the guards and made a break for the doors. The guards quickly put down the attempt, usually by shooting the prisoners in the legs rather than kill them, but a few of the prisoners died anyway -- usually of bleeding out before medical help could reach them. Once the fighting was over, the army medics and assisting guards did their best to treat the prisoners' wounds -- although some of the prisoners resisted, preferring to die as holy martyrs, which obliged the guards to restrain them for treatment. Even the Red Cross couldn't fault the guards' behavior.
The lack of clothes was part of the prison intake procedure. When first brought to Abu Ghraib the prisoners were stripped naked and put in cells that were bare of anything but toilets, with the lights turned off. They were left in that state for the first 24 hours, and if they behaved themselves -- no screaming curses for hours, no throwing food or feces or urine, etc. -- then the next day the lights would be turned on. Another day of good behavior and they'd get bedding. It took at least three days to earn clothes, and those clothes were chosen by the staff. This means that any prisoner who appears naked in any Abu Ghraib picture had consistently misbehaved.
From all this we can conclude that the prisoner shown in this picture was a bad actor who had participated in the jail-break and been shot in the leg. From the evidence we can also conclude that he resisted medical treatment and had to be restrained -- and dragged away from the blood-smear -- to be treated. More evidence for this conclusion appears in the next picture, the third down from the top.
In this picture we see a medium close-up of the lower body of an otherwise-naked man, who looks very much like the prisoner in the previous picture, lying on his back with an orange cloth spread over his crotch, his arms behind his back underneath him, and a small but blood-smeared wound on his left leg a little above the knee. At the top of the picture we see booted feet and a lower left leg, clad in the same pale-tan military boots and camouflage pants that we saw in the previous picture. One of those booted feet is planted on the nearly-naked man's chest, firmly holding him still on the floor. It's reasonable to assume that these are the prisoner and guard we saw in the previous picture.
In the foreground crouch a man, to the left, and a woman, to the right. Both of them are wearing knitted black watch-caps that cover their hair, and rubber surgical gloves: the man's blue, the woman's white. The man is also wearing a camouflage-patterned shirt with epaulet straps, and the woman is wearing a brown civilian shirt and a tan military flak-vest. The man is holding a thin thread in his left hand and pulling it taut, while his right hand is pressed to the wound on the nearly-naked man's left leg. The woman, who has a black symmetrical tattoo partly visible on her right wrist, is holding a pair of fine medical pliers of the sort called a hemostat in her right hand, at an angle which indicates she is pulling something taut, something too slender to be seen by the camera. The woman is smiling at the camera and holding her left hand in a "thumbs up" sign of success. The wound on the prisoner's leg is a straight-sided gash with a round hole in the center, still oozing blood but much cleaner than in the previous picture. It looks exactly like a gunshot wound, from which the bullet has been extracted, being sutured closed. If the patient is the same man as in the previous picture, then the woman's "thumbs up" indicates that she and the other medic have successfully closed up the torn artery that caused the large blood-smears in that picture. The resolution of the picture is sharp and clear, and the shadows show that the light is coming from above and right.
The caption for this picture reads (emphasis mine): "A US soldier gives the 'thumbs up' sign as she appears to be stitching up a prisoner's leg wound. It is unclear whether the injury was from a dog bite."
This is an obviously biased notation, since there is far more evidence that the man and woman are stitching up a deep wound than there is for any dog bite. The author(s) of these captions appear to be obsessed by dog bites for which there is no evidence.
The Red Cross investigators reported that prisoners "vigorously" complained to them about being bitten by guard dogs, and showed the investigators what they claimed were dog bites. On observation, the investigators found that the bites had been made by human teeth, in fact the prisoners' own teeth. Other wounds which the prisoners likewise displayed proved to be made by human tools. Why, then, did the media editors who supplied the captions on these pictures obsess on dog bites? No one else -- except the prisoners, their sympathizers and their fellow Jihadists -- did.
So why were these two photos taken in the first place? Clearly to document that the military guards did indeed make great efforts to save the lives and treat the wounds of the prisoners, even the bad actors who had participated in the prison-break, regardless of how hard the wounded tried to refuse treatment. Note particularly the lighting and resolution of these pictures, which were intended to be seen clearly -- perhaps used as evidence in a legal investigation. Compare these technical details with those of pictures which will be shown later in this series. Also note the faces that we've managed to see clearly so far; we'll be seeing them again as the illustrated story unfolds. And bear in mind that the prison-break occurred several weeks before the pictures of the "prisoner abuse" were leaked to the media.
There's more of the story to come. Stay tuned!
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Monday, January 2, 2017
Professional news reporters, to say nothing of editors, are supposed to check out their stories: examine their sources, verify their facts, before publishing -- let alone editorializing. Editors, at least, are supposed to do the same with photographs. Journalism professionals are supposed to have the skills and the training to do just those things. Seeing how many of these professionals have gotten sloppy on the job lately, I think it's a good idea if more people learn more critical thinking and verification skills for themselves.
As a training exercise, let's look at a famous scandal. Google search "Abu Ghraib Photos", carefully set aside the initial prejudices created by the media, and view with a critical eye. ...Hmm, it would also help to do one's homework; read the investigative reports on Abu Ghraib done by the US Army and the Red Cross. A little knowledge of 2006-level digital photographic technology would also be useful. Okay. Ready? Hit the search button and let's go.
The first site, "Images for Abu Ghraib", features a chaotic mix of photos ostensibly taken at Abu Ghraib prison, political cartoons, photos clearly PhotoShopped, photos purported to be from the brig at Guantanamo Bay, pictures of political protests, and portraits from news reports -- a blizzard of them in no particular order. The only unifying narrative is outrage over US military abuse of prisoners, and the only verification is the citations of where the pictures were published. Since many of these are re-posed and/or PhotoShopped versions of each other, they clearly can't be trusted for much accurate information. Let's move on.
The next entry is "Abu Ghraib Abuse Photos - by news - Antiwar.com", which labels its editorial position clearly, cites the Washington Post as at least one of its sources, and shows that it would necessarily exercise some editorial caution. Going to the site, we find the photos dated to February 17, 2006 and updated to June 11, which gives us a reference point. The headline reads: "The Washington Post has released new photos along with new information about the use of dogs on prisoners." This phrase neatly shapes our expectations while giving precious little information. Think: just where did the WP get those "new photos" and "new information"? How are they verified? We know what that phrase makes us expect, but just how are the dogs used on prisoners? Let's take a clear-headed look at the first photo.
The picture shows a wide, plain, concrete corridor lined with multiple plain metal doors, one partly open and the rest shut. There appear to be bundles of cloth part way down the corridor and squarish light-sources above three of the doors and the end wall, but the picture is so grainy and the resolution so coarse that we can't see any detail to be sure. There are three men positioned in the middle of the corridor, the two nearer wearing army-style boots, desert-cammo pants and dark jackets, one sleeveless, and what seem to be knit caps -- but again, the picture is so grainy that we can't be sure about the right-hand man. The man on the right has his hands in his pockets, and the man on the left is holding a dog by a short leash. The dog is black and looks somewhat like a Alsatian; its nose is pointed toward the third man, its ears are up, and it looks curious or eager. The third man, positioned between the other two and just under ten feet further down the corridor, is crouched over with his hands raised defensively, looking toward the dog. He appears to be either naked or wrapped in clear plastic; again, the picture is so grainy that the viewer can't tell. There are no injuries visible on the third man. Although there are no windows, the corridor is surprisingly well lighted -- yet the shadows are very soft, vague, and non-directional. That's what we see.
The caption under the photo reads, cautiously (emphasis mine): "An unmuzzled dog appears to be used to frighten a detainee at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Two military dog handlers told investigators that intelligence personnel ordered them to use dogs to intimidate prisoners." Obviously the viewer is supposed to conclude that the dog is threatening to bite the prisoner -- but what are we really seeing?
The devil is in the details -- such as, why is the picture so very grainy, or so well lit, and exactly what direction is the light coming from that casts those muzzy shadows?
According to an old friend who used to do professional photography, that graininess is consistent with digital cameras -- including phone-cameras -- of ten years ago, especially if used with an integral flash-device. The flash had to come from the camera, but in that case the shadows would have been more clearly directional and sharply defined -- unless washed out by those over-the-door ceiling lights. If those lights were bright enough to wash out the camera-flash, there would have been no need for the flash in the first place -- unless the whole point was to create that extreme graininess, the bad resolution that ruins the details in the picture, and incidentally makes the face of the prisoner unidentifiable. The faces of the other two men are concealed.
By the way, Mohammed hated dogs, especially black dogs, so good Muslims are supposed to regard them as "unclean", only a little less than pigs. A pious fundamentalist Muslim would fear any contact with the animal, not necessarily bites. Of course, the reason Mohammed hated dogs, especially black ones, is that he made a lot of his early fortune leading a robber-band to attack caravans, particularly at night. If the caravan included dogs, the animals would smell Mohammed and friends sneaking up and sound the alarm. Even if Mohammed and cronies could shoot the dogs with arrows to keep them quiet, black dogs would be hard to spot in the dark. This paints a less-than-virtuous picture of Mohammed, but the pious can always come up with an excuse for their hero.
More details later; there are plenty of other pictures to examine.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Sorry to check in so late, but the holiday frenzy as been keeping me busy. Anyway--
I thought I'd seen the Democrat/Bourgeois-Liberal media dive as low as it could go in the hysterical propaganda department for the month after Trump's election -- but this month they managed to outdo themselves, heeling over into the downright absurd. Apparently dismayed because they couldn't convince most of the public that Trump is a Nazi (because a handful of southern bigots liked him better than Hillary, Bernie, the Libertarians or the Greens -- a favor which he did not return), the Democrats got the help of the FBI (not surprising; historically the FBI has served and protected Democrat administrations, just as the CIA has served and protected Republican ones) to claim that the Russians "manipulated" the election and Trump is a Commie dupe. Obama is calling for an investigation, and the Dems are hoping that will somehow invalidate the election. Wow. Democrats, Red-baiting?! Joe McCarthy's spirit must be laughing in Hell.
When you track the story down (an easy Google-search), what it shows is that during the past summer a pair of hackers, whose location was tracked to Russia, dug up lots of private emails doubtless discussing election strategies and tactics from the computers of the Democratic National Committee. It's assumed (no proof) that either Putin ordered the hack or the two nerds informed him afterwards. In any case, what the hackers did with their juicy booty was send all or most of it to Wikileaks -- which, of course, published it where anyone in the world could see it. The information is supposed to have "influenced" the voters, and thereby "manipulated" the vote, in favor of Trump. Trump has, in the past, mentioned that he respects Putin's political smarts. That's supposed to prove that Trump is a Commie dupe, which might explain why the old KGB man wanted to elect the penultimate capitalist. Uh, right.
Beg pardon, but doesn't this story sound just a little farfetched to you? For one thing, couldn't a wily old KGB man think of a better use for those strat-and-tac information emails than to dump them onto Wikileaks, of all things? Second, how many American voters even saw, let alone bothered to read, or believed the Wikileaks? (I didn't. Did you?) Third, how many of those readers actually changed their minds, or their votes, because of what they read there? Really after the blizzard of crap about both Trump and Hillary that's been flying around the Internet for the past year, how much evidence is there that the Wikileaks leaks didn't get lost in the shuffle? You really should remember Lincoln's comment about the impossibility of fooling all the people all the time. Also bear in mind that modern communications may make it quicker and easier to spread false news, but they also make it quicker and easier to verify or disprove a story; nothing but mental flabbiness, laziness, or just plain willingness to believe keeps anyone -- including entirely too many reporters these days -- from checking a story out.
As for respecting Putin's smarts, anyone who's studied his career -- especially against the background of Russia's history over the last 20+ years -- would, however grudgingly, do the same. Putin is no fool, or he wouldn't have survived this long. Neither is Trump, or he wouldn't have been successful this long. More to the point, both of them know quite a bit about the nitty-gritty of dirty economics and economic warfare. This is a topic on which very few Democrats have much expertise. It's understandable that a couple of experts, like a pair of professional boxers, would size each other up and respect each other's skills -- even though they're very likely to wind up on opposite sides of the ring soon enough -- more than they'd respect some loud and inept sports-commentator. That's also a possible reason, the only one I can think of, why Putin would rather deal with Trump than Hillary.
The Dems/liberals/media either don't understand this or just plain don't care -- and blithely assume that the American public doesn't either. This explains why they can't seem to make up their minds whether Trump is a Nazi, a Commie, or some inexplicable mix of the two -- based on some clearly flimsy evidence and attenuated Tinkers-to-Evens-to-Chance guilt-by-association.
I honestly don't know whether to laugh at the Democrats' increasingly hysterical illogic in their assorted attacks on Trump, or to be furious that they think the majority of voters will blindly believe such crap. Seriously, there are plenty of real complaints we could make against Trump -- his shady business practices, his tendency to thoughtlessly shoot off his mouth, his incompetence at politics (other than campaigning), his ignorance of federal law and international politics, among others -- that the Democrats don't need to invent hysterical fancies like this. Their insistence on doing it reveals a disturbing contempt for the intelligence of the voters -- which is part of what cost them the election in the first place.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
I was originally going to continue with my propaganda-techniques expose', but this article is just so damn good that I had to re-post it. Enjoy!
A Handy Guide For Liberals Who Are Suddenly Interested in Gun Ownership
That title isn’t joking. This post is aimed at my liberal readers. I’m a libertarian leaning Republican and gun expert, who thinks you are wrong about a lot of stuff, but I’m not writing this to gloat about your loss. For the record, I disliked all the presidential candidates.
Judging by your social media over the last few days many liberals have been utterly terrified that your government might turn tyrannical or that evil people will now be emboldened to hurt you. I’m going to let you in on a little thing the other half of the country is familiar with to keep those unlikely, yet catastrophic, events from happening.
And that my lefty friends, is 2nd Amendment. Having just gone through a war against a tyrannical government, the Founders understood that governments can go bad, so they made sure to note our God given right (or we’ll say naturally occurring right, since a bunch of you are atheists) to keep and bear arms in order to defend ourselves. The 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting or “sporting purposes”, it’s about having weapons that you can fight with. As an added bonus, being able to protect yourself from a tyrannical government means that you’re a lot better equipped to deal with any common criminal who decides to hurt you. Before I get into the details about how to enjoy your newly discovered 2nd Amendment rights, let me just say that I get you’re sad, angry, bitter, and fearful. But just like my people over the last few elections, you’ll get over it. The really hyperbolic freak outs about Literally Hitler make you sound just like the Alex Jones crowd worried that Obama was going to herd Christians into FEMA camps last time. So take a deep breath and relax. Your friends and neighbors are the same as they were last week. The vast majority weren’t voting because racism, they voted against the status quo and a really unlikable Democrat. And no, they aren’t going to round you up into cattle cars.
But in the off chance they do, let’s get you prepared!
WHAT GUNS ARE FORI’ll start out with the far more likely threat, violent criminals who would assault, rape, or murder you, and how to deal with them.
Many of you have been sharing every second hand account, rumor, and urban legend about some random doofus in Somnambulant, Wisconsin or Bumfight, Louisiana, shouting an ethnic slur or spray painting a swastika on a wall. Newsflash, in a country with a third of a billion people, some percentage of them are going to be assholes. I hate to break it to you, but the assholes were there before, and they will be there forever. Just right now the news has a self-serving incentive to report about these assholes in particular.
But Correia! You’re not a marginalized Mexican transsexual Muslim! What do you know!?
I know that anybody can be “marginalized” if they walk into the wrong neighborhood. Violence can happen to any of us, and it does, all the time. Whether your odds of being a victim are good or bad, it still sucks when you draw the short straw and somebody tries to hurt you. Whoever you are, you are correct to be concerned for your safety. Anybody can be attacked, and everybody should be prepared to deal with it.
Since this is addressed to liberals, spare me the usual nonsense about “Victim Blaming”. We don’t have time for silliness. If you’re banking on the goodwill of evil people to keep you safe, you are a sucker. If I urge you to look both ways before crossing the street, I’m not victim blaming, I’m trying to keep your stupid ass from getting hit by a bus.
Whether you are being attacked because some jerk doesn’t like your head scarf and you voted for Hillary, or getting pulled out of your car and beaten because the local hooliganry thinks you voted for Trump, or some dude with no coherent political philosophy beyond the voices in his head told him to murder you and rape your dog, it doesn’t matter… There are evil people in the world, and they will hurt you simply because it amuses them.
So there are bad people who want to hurt you. Now what do you do?
Regardless of what you worship, who you love, or you skin tone, you have the unalienable right to self-defense. The 2nd is an equal opportunity amendment.
Calling the cops is awesome. If they get there in time they will be happy to save your ass, but that’s assuming they get there in time. Violent encounters usually happen very quickly. Good police response time is measured in minutes. You can be dead in seconds. Plus, your side is the one that doesn’t trust the cops anyway. It isn’t Republicans out there protesting the police. So why is it you expect agents of the state to risk their lives to save you? Gratitude?
What most of us in the right side of the country understand is that responsible adults need to be able to defend themselves. That means owning guns and learning how to use them. (To be fair, many on the left have also come to this same conclusion already, but they have to keep that opinion to themselves so the rest of you don’t yell at them).
Unarmed self-defense is great, when it works. I’m a fan. Less-lethal devices like pepper spray are great, when they work. But trust me on this, everybody who does this professionally, who has spent years learning about how violence really works, we all have guns.
You’ve probably been taught that guns are frightening murder rods, just itching to go shoot up a school. You want to survive, get over that nonsense. I know that most of the stuff liberals think they know about firearms is flat out wrong. I’m here to tell you as a retired professional firearms instructor that sadly everything Occupy Democrats memes have taught you is incorrect. Whatever you think you know, check those preconceived notions at the door, because it is probably biased garbage.
Firearms are not magic. They are neither evil nor good. They are just tools that throw a projectile. That’s it. There’s no voodoo involved. They are items that allow a physically weak person to survive a confrontation against somebody who is stronger, or there’s more of them, or whatever other nightmare scenario you come up with. I know many of you are scared of guns, but just think of them like fire extinguishers, but for murderers.
HOW SELF-DEFENSE WORKSJust because you have a gun doesn’t mean that you can just go and shoot whoever you feel like. I see this pop up all the time amongst my liberal friends. Like if a redneck sees a black dude, he can just blast him because the redneck felt uncomfortable. First off, no, that’s not how the laws work. Second off, maybe if you’d quit proclaiming everybody who isn’t part of your clique is a racist murderer, you’d win more elections.
Here is another article where I go into a great deal of detail about when it is legal to shoot somebody. http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/11/25/the-legalities-of-shooting-people/ I taught this stuff for a living. Trust me, I know more about this than the staff writers at Salon. Almost everything I’ve ever seen from a liberal publication concerning self-defense laws is incorrect. And I’m not just talking like I enjoy guns and they don’t, I mean they have such a basic, elementary misunderstanding of the legalities of shooting people that we aren’t even inhabiting the same reality. My reality is the one that the jury instructions will be issued from.
The short version is that in order to be justified in using lethal force against another human being, they need to be demonstrating the ability to seriously harm you, the opportunity to do so, and acting in a manner that a reasonable person would believe they are an immediate threat.
So no, you can’t just shoot somebody walking down the street in a Trump hat. That would be Murder. Or considering most liberals don’t understand basic marksmanship, more likely Attempted Murder. However, if somebody dressed entirely in Confederate flags walks up, screams DIE GAY ABORTION VEGAN and tries to stab you with his commemorative Heinrich Himmler SS dagger, it’s game on (don’t blame me, I’m basing this hypothetical scenario on what most of your facebook feeds sound like).
Go read that article. As a bonus once you understand how use of force laws actually work, you won’t be able to get as spun up with outrage over every shooting that makes the news.
LEARN HOW GUNS WORKNow that you’ve decided that you should be able to protect yourself from sexist war bands, and you know the basics about when it’s okay to shoot people, you want to go get strapped. But hold your horses there, Che. Guns are tools, but they are also very unforgiving of stupidity, and the last thing I want to have happen is one of you liberals shoot somebody on accident, because then you’ll be trying to pass more laws to punish people like me. First you need to learn how to be safe.
Seek out your local gun range. Sadly, for those of you living in deep blue areas, this will be difficult because the politicians you have voted for have run off most of your local gun ranges. Now that you’re afraid the state can’t/won’t protect you, I hope you realize that was a bad call.
But if you do have one in driving distance, most ranges will have ads posted for upcoming basic classes. Contrary to what you’ve been told about the ultra evil National Rifle Association, the majority of what the NRA does is conduct basic safety training to keep newbies from shooting themselves in the foot. They will walk you through the fundamental rules of gun safety, mechanics, and storage.
Here is another mind blowing factoid for you liberals, the NRA was actually started by Union army officers to train recently freed blacks how to defend themselves from the Democrat KKK. The first gun control laws in America were racist in origin, and aimed at disarming “undesirables” like blacks or the Irish. So in that respect, not much has changed.
For those of you in the LGBTWTFBBQ community, in the aftermath of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, a transsexual friend of mine started Operation Blazing Sword. https://www.facebook.com/OperationBlazingSword/ It is a network of firearms instructors across the country who are volunteering to help out gay and trans people who are new to guns learn about basic safety and firearms familiarization. I helped them get started. Check their map. They’ve probably got somebody near you willing to help.
If you haven’t blocked all of them yet for having dissenting opinions, you can ask your gun owning friends and family for advice. I would still recommend talking to actual experts though, just because we know what we’re doing, and we personally haven’t had to listen to you talk about how we’re all baby murdering psychopaths over Thanksgiving dinner. But if they love you, they’ll be happy to help you learn about how guns work. If you don’t have any friends who own guns, you may want to ask yourself how you live in such an echo chamber.
Again, most of what you’ve been told about the gun culture is a myth. We want you to be able to defend yourself, and we want you to be safe and responsible doing it.
HOW GUN LAWS WORKNow it gets really complicated. And that’s entirely your fault. See, traditionally Democrats don’t like the 2nd Amendment and historically have done everything in their power to screw with it. Your gun laws are going to vary dramatically based upon where you live. It might be really difficult and expensive for you to exercise your 2nd Amendment rights, or it might be relatively easy.
But you’re scared right now! Well, that’s too bad. Because for the most part Democrats have tried to make it so that citizens have to abdicate their responsibilities and instead entrust that only state can defend everyone… That doesn’t seem like such a bright idea now that you don’t trust who is running the state, huh?
You might get attacked in your home, but let’s be realistic, you’re way more likely to be attacked out in public. Accordingly, democrats have made it way harder to have a gun where you are most likely to need it. If your state is red or purple, you probably have an inexpensive way to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon so that you can be armed everywhere. The bluer your state, the more unlikely/expensive that becomes, and in the most exclusive cities, unless you are a politician, movie star, or body guarding a politician or movie star, you are basically out of luck.
Oh yeah, it kind of goes without saying by this point, but most of what you think you know about what gun laws do is wrong. I know you think you’ve been helping with your demands to Do Something, but you aren’t. I wrote this article a few years ago in the aftermath of Sandy Hook. It is one of the most widely read articles on gun control laws ever written. http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/06/23/an-opinion-on-gun-control-repost/
I am a big fan of concealed carry, and if you are honestly worried about murderous racists being emboldened, then you should be too. If your state has a concealed weapons permit, I would recommend taking that class. Even if you are not personally ready to take that big step of actually keeping a firearm on your person, the class should provide a great primer on your state and local laws.
There are thousands of onerous little gun laws. I won’t overcomplicate this, but you guys have been sticking extra gun laws on the books all over the country at every opportunity. In your area you might not be able to buy certain guns, or you’ll have to lock them up in a specific manner, or you’ll have to register them with the state. (now that you’re worried about the state rounding you up, having a registry of which of you own guns seems kind of dumb huh?)
HOW TO BUY A GUNNow that you understand basic safety and marksmanship, let’s get you armed.
Contrary to what Barack Obama told you, Glocks are not easier to get than books. Hell, I’ll trade an autographed copy of each of my published novels for a Glock if you’ve got any spares lying around.
If you haven’t completely alienated all of your pro-gun friends by blaming them for every mass murder that’s ever happened, now would be a great time to ask them to come shopping with you.
Find your local gun store. Go there. Ask the nice people behind the counter questions about what is the best gun for you needs. They are usually very helpful, however, don’t tell them that you are a liberal, because since you’ve previously tried to ban everything you’re now buying, they will probably laugh at you. That’s expected, because your people do kind of malign them constantly and have repeatedly tried to ruin their livelihood. Oh well, live and learn. You know better now.
Shockingly, you will quickly discover that the gun best suited for your home self-defense needs is probably one of the guns that the news would call “assault weapons”. In reality that’s a gibberish term to scare newbs, but remember, most of what you’ve been taught is complete bullshit. You want the best tool for the job. Yes. It looks scary. That’s kind of the point.
If you live in a place with concealed carry laws, you will probably want one of those deadly high capacity assault pistols too. In regular America we just call those handguns. Have the experts help pick one out that suits your lifestyle and manner of dress. Then make sure you get a good holster to carry it safely. Common newb mistake is to get a decent gun and a crap holster. Don’t do that.
Once you’ve picked your firearms, you will need to fill out a federal 4473 form, provide ID (gasp! Racist!), and the shop will call in your background check to make sure you aren’t a felon, illegal alien, or otherwise prohibited person. Since this check is computerized it only takes a few minutes.
Now that is how it works in most states. If you are lucky enough to live in a blue state liberal paradise, then you may have to deal with extra laws. Like mandatory waiting periods, special permits, or you’ve got to jump through a bunch of other onerous hoops before you are allowed to defend yourself… But hey, you voted for that. Suck it up, buttercup.
GET BETTERNow you need to learn to shoot. It doesn’t work like the movies.
There are a lot of people out there who do what I used to do, so find the professional firearms instructors in your region and take some classes. Your local ranges and stores will know who is teaching or will have ads posted. A good instructor won’t just teach you how to hit the target, but will teach you basic tactics, and when/how to use your gun. I spent a big chunk of my time teaching people how to avoid fights and not make stupid decisions.
The more you shoot, the more you train, the more comfortable you will become. Your confidence will grow. If something awful happens you can be part of the solution instead of just another victim. You won’t rise to the occasion, you will default to your lowest level of training. So get trained.
Oh yeah, this training part gets expensive too. Government regulations have driven up the cost of ammunition. You get one guess which party is responsible for that. And around the blue cities you’ve closed all of your shooting ranges because guns are scary and loud (oh yeah, we could fix that, but Democrats made it illegal or really expensive to make guns quieter), so you’ll have to drive further in order to train. Let me check… Nope, I’m still fresh out of pity.
WHAT ABOUT DOOMSDAY?Now the elephant in the room. I’ve seen a lot of you going on about how terrified you are for all your “marginalized” friends, that the government is going to turn tyrannical and genocidal, and murder them by the million. I don’t think that’s actually going to happen, but let’s say it did. We’re talking full on Gestapo Stasi jack boots and cattle car time. Bear with me through this hypothetical situation, that stuff about ability/opportunity/immediate threat is actually happening, but it is systematically being carried out by agents of the state against its own citizens. I’m talking war in the streets.
I keep seeing you guys saying that you’re going to “fight harder”. No offense, but bullshit. What are you going to do? Call more innocent bystanders racists? Post more articles from Salon even harder? Have a protest and burn your local CVS? Block more freeways with your bodies? Guess what. If the government has actually gone full tyrannical they’re just going to machinegun your dumbass in the street. They are going to drive through your roadblock, and your bodies will grease the treads of their tanks.
That’s what actual tyrants do. So despite your bitching, virtue signaling, and panic attacks, we’re a long way off of that.
There is a saying that has long been common in my half of the country. There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty, soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order. You can debate, vote, and go to court in order to get things changed. You only go ammo box when those other things no longer work, because once you do, there is no going back.
God willing, America never gets to that point, because if we ever go to war with ourselves again, then it will be a blood bath the like of which the world has never seen. We have foolishly created a central government so incomprehensibly powerful, that to stop it from committing genocide would require millions of capable citizens to rise up and fight.
Congratulations. Now you understand why the Framers put the 2nd Amendment in there. It is the kill switch on the Republic, and everyone with a clue prays we never have to use it.
Right now you guys are angry and talking a lot of shit. This is all new to you. My side is the one with the guns, training, and the vast majority of the combat vets, and we really don’t want our government to get so out of control that this ever happens. Only fools wish for a revolution. But that big red button is still there in case of emergency because if a nation as powerful as America ever turned truly evil then the future is doomed. As Orwell said, if you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.
That’s the real meaning of the 2nd Amendment. So don’t screw around with it. If you do you’re no better than the fat wannabes running around the woods in their surplus camo and airsoft plate carriers… You don’t get that, but all my gun culture readers know exactly who I’m talking about. They are the morons CNN trots out whenever they need to paint all gun owners as irresponsible inbred redneck violent dupes for your benefit.
And spare me the typical talking points about how an AR-15 can’t fight tanks and drones… It’s way beyond the scope of this article, but you don’t have a flipping clue what you’re talking about. Every HuffPo guest columnist thinks they are Von Clauswitz. They aren’t.
This Doomsday option is something we never want to use, but which we need to maintain just in case. It is also another reason Hillary lost. One motivator for Americans to vote for Trump was that Hillary hates the 2nd Amendment. Her husband put the biggest gun ban we’ve ever had in place, and she has been exceedingly clear that she hates guns and would get rid of all of them if she could.
And doing that would push that big red button.
When the already super powerful government wants to make you even more powerless, that scares the crap out of regular Americans, but you guys have been all in favor of it. Take those nasty guns! Guns are scary and bad. Don’t you stupid rednecks know what’s good for you? The people should live at the whim of the state!
But now that the shoe is on the other foot, and somebody you distrust and fear is in charge for a change, the government having all sorts of unchecked power seems like a really bad idea, huh?
Absolute power in the hands of anyone should terrify you. The 2nd Amendment is there to make sure some of that power always remains in the hands of the people.
CONCLUSIONSo that’s it. That’s how you go down the path of responsible gun ownership.
I don’t care how marginalized you think you are. Get armed. Get trained. Be prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones. That’s part of being a responsible adult.
And quit trying to disarm the rest of us.
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms
Friday, November 25, 2016
First, my bona fides:
I got involved in civil rights ‘way back in junior high school. There weren’t any picket-lines or demonstrations within reach, so I volunteered my labor as a writer for the cause. I wrote leaflets, pamphlets, editorials, petitions and letters to various politicians, and learned the art of sneaking political/legal arguments into articles on other subjects, such as music and movie reviews. I also learned to write protest songs. Since I proved to be good at this, I kept it up in high school and college and afterward, for other causes – such as women’s lib, Gay lib, free speech, the anti-war movement, the ecology movement, the pro-space movement, marijuana legalization, Anarchism, the radical labor movement, and so on.
Since these involved a lot of grassroots political work, I also took unofficial training in things like debate, rhetoric, logic, investigative research and critical thinking. I noticed that these subjects are almost never taught in the public schools (they’re usually taught only in law schools), and eventually I learned why. In a democracy, politicians who want to keep their jobs do not want the citizens educated enough to see the fallacies in their arguments, or knowing how to dig up facts. In fact, they don’t want citizens to learn adult emotional self-control, let alone mental self-reliance, lest they notice when someone is appealing to something other than their intelligence.
Now propaganda – the art and science of pushing your own political-or-related point of view to as wide an audience as possible – is most challenged when dealing with intelligent, educated and cynical people, as I was. With such an audience, you have to use only verifiable facts, avoid the Master List of Logical Fallacies (which I’ll add to the end here), and argue damned well. Presenting your argument with wit and beauty certainly helps. In this sense, all art is in some sense propaganda – as in Picasso’s “Guernica”, or Leonard Cohen’s “The Old Revolution”. I’ve done this myself, with many of my songs. Advertising certainly is propaganda, and “public relations”, though of what I’d consider an inferior form.
As an old propagandist myself, I have nothing but contempt for those who play fast and loose with the facts, exploit logical fallacies, and not only whip up blind emotions but do their best to keep people blindly emotional and incapable of thinking critically – so that they can’t tell how bad the argument and how downright clumsy its presentation is. That’s not only immoral, it’s bad art. I’ve seen an insulting amount of it all over the news media lately.
For example, see the Democratic National Committee’s – and its loyal media’s – attempts to paint the unloved Trump and his cabinet appointees as Nazis. First they fine-combed his known actions for any evidence of racism/sexism/anti-semitism, and not finding anything they could use, they went over all his public statements. Here they had better luck, finding small gems of “insensitivity”, since Trump – who really wasn’t expecting to win – was a sloppy and thoughtless speaker with a bullish habit of promptly hitting back, with anything handy, at anyone who attacked him.
Still, that wasn’t enough. Since Trump wouldn’t conveniently hang himself, they brought in guilt-by-association. Anyone familiar with the originally FBI/CoInTelPro tactic of the False Flag would wonder if the infamous David Duke had been paid (and how much) to publicly, and repeatedly, express his adoration for Trump – who never returned the favor. In fact, nobody could find any connection between Trump or any of his family and Duke’s KKK. Worse, Trump’s daughter married a smart Jewish guy – even converting to Judaism herself for him – whom Trump welcomed into the family. That didn’t fit the stereotype. (Neither did Trump’s real supporters, but never mind them.) So, how to call somebody a Nazi without literally calling him a Nazi, which can be readily disproven?
Next tactic: the old reliable trick of changing labels – with a bit more false-flagging. Before this election campaign began, how many of you had heard of the term “alternative-right”? What about “white nationalist”? Until distinctly pro-Democrat news shows began promoting them, I never heard those slightly-foggy terms. An internet search traced their origin to a tiny bunch of southern white racists, who occasionally quote Nazi comments but insist that they aren’t Neo-Nazis, whom nobody but the SPLC had ever heard of – until the media began focusing on them.
Now there are plenty of still-accurate terms for the various positions on the political right: conservative, reactionary, religious right, racist, sexist, fascist and Neo-Nazi. Why weren’t these terms sufficient? Maybe because they provably don’t fit Trump?
Recently a bunch of the original alt-right reactionaries (about 100 of them) managed to collect enough money to hire a hall where they all met, cheered Trump’s election, and gave what looked like the ‘Seig Heil’ salute – which the media gleefully covered. Trump himself knew nothing about it, and no one has found any real connection between him and this mini-gang.
I recall how, a few decades ago, a nut-case named Andrea Dworkin came up with enough funding, following, and media-attention for her man-hating rants to completely discredit and ruin the National Organization for Women – in what turned out to be a classic CoInTelPro campaign. I think I can guess where the money for this “alt-right” convention came from, and only wonder how the participants were paid and persuaded to pull that stunt.
This is a neat way to discredit Trump’s latest appointee, Bannon, who worked on a conservative website named after its founder, Breitbart. Bannon was a curmudgeonly writer who’s opposed to illegal immigration, and the media would love to call him a Nazi – but the problem is that Breitbart himself was Jewish, the site is very supportive of Israel, has praised prominent Black conservatives such as Dr. Sowell, Ben Carson, and Colin Powell, and has showcased libertarian women writers. No anti-Semitism, no racism, no sexism: it doesn’t fit the stereotype and provably can’t be called Neo-Nazi. But calling it “white nationalist” (with no solid evidence) suggests (through the unattributed Wikipedia definition) Nazi connections.
As I said, I’ve seen this game played before, and as a professional I find it contemptible.
Now here’s the list I promised you:
Master List of Logical Fallacies
See also "Argumentum ex Silentio."
The counterpart of this is the fallacy of falsely justifying or excusing evil or vicious actions because of the perpetrator's purity of motives or lack of malice. (E.g., "He's a good Christian man; how could you accuse him of doing something like that?")
See also "They're Not Like Us."
Or, "No, you can't quit piano lessons. I wish I had a magic wand and could teach you piano overnight, but I don't, so like it or not, you have to keep on practicing." The parent, of course, ignores the possibility that the child may not want or need to learn piano. See also, TINA.
Occasionally involves the breathtaking arrogance of claiming to have special knowledge of why God is doing certain things. E.g., "This week's earthquake was sent to punish those people for their great wickedness."
Or, "Pro-choicers hate babies!" Or, "Pro-lifers hate women and want them to spend their lives barefoot, pregnant and chained to the kitchen stove!"
(See also "Testimonial.")