Sunday, October 04, 2015

“You can’t go out and round up all the alienated angry young men.”

Yes, we've had another spree killer in another unarmed victim zone.  Here we all go again.

As much as I hate to admit it, President Stopped Clock got it right while, dancing in the blood himself, he accidently said something profound.  Paraphrasing, he said that our reactions to these events are becoming routine.

Consider it for a moment.  These things go off like they are scripted.  A young male, often on one or more psychotropic drugs, always with some sort of axe to grind, kits himself out with one or more guns and as much ammo as he can carry.  He then goes to a gun free zone and proceeds to shoot people until the good guys show up and either shoot him or he suicides.

And when one of these events happens, the reactions are just as scripted.

  • The media goes into a hyperventilating feeding frenzy, because, by God, if it bleeds it leads and this is blood on an industrial scale, so we're going wall-to-wall.  
  • Groups like the Brady Bunch fill in the blanks in their pre-written press releases and start sending out pleas for money.  
  • Anti-gun politicians start demanding the rights of those who had nothing to do with the crime.  
  • Pro-gun activists, having learned from Newtown, immediately go on the offense, because we know that if we don't we're going to get steam rollered by those whose emotions demand that they "DO SOMETHING!!!" no matter how useless it will actually be.
In the meantime, the next young man is slowly but surely ramping himself up to act.  All the fury that we unleash seems to ensure that a bizarre version of the Werther Effect will take place.  (Hat tip to Roberta for that piece of knowledge.)

So how do we break the cycle?  Currently, our side is fixated on mental health.  If we can just fix our mental health system, we say, we're going to go a long way toward stopping these events.

Perhaps, perhaps not so much.  It seems that the mental health professionals, some at least, disagree with that assessment.  While spree killers fit an identifiable profile, so do a lot of other people who will never become spree killers.  As one of them noted in the quote I lifted for the title to this post, you can't go out and round up all the people who fit that profile.

An article on Breitbart's Big Government site holds forth the notion that the attacks on men, masculinity, traditional masculine roles and role models is the problem.  The author believes that the problem is that the normal male urges are attacked, suppressed and drugged into control in our society, and that in a tiny percentage of males, they burst eventually forth in a short fury of suicidal action--a spree killing.

Others in the gunny part of the blogosphere (I haven't went looking, I'm just going on previous experience) will be advocating for legal changes that allow those who wish to do so to be armed any and everywhere they wish to do so.  While I support that in abstract, having seen how many people handle guns in gun stores, gun shows and at various ranges, I wish we could attach some substantial and continual professional training requirements to that.

Perhaps the solution is equal parts of the above--better mental health availability, an acknowledgement by society that men and women are different and that's actually an OK thing and some substantial legal and social changes.  Perhaps there are some other things we can toss in there as well that would help.

I know that I am tired of seeing people die useless deaths at the hands of spree killers.  I'm tired of seeing their families being paraded in front of cameras when they should be allowed to do their grieving in private.  I'm tired of wondering if it might someday be one of my kids who dies uselessly because our society has went off the rails somewhere.

I'm also tired of do-gooders who want to shove their "We know best" solution to the problem down my throat.  I'm tired of be painted as guilty simply because I'm a gun owner.  I'm tired of having to defend myself to those who refuse to even attempt to understand who I am or where I come from.

I suspect that I'm not alone in being tired.

I believe that this "rise of the spree killers" is in some way a symptom of a far deeper problem.  In short form, I guess you could put it that our society is rotting from within.  As happened with ancient Rome, conquest from without was made possible by weakness from within, and folks, the termites and carpenter ants are busy, busy, busy.

Prepare.  Now.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Bugging out: A real life case study (of a sort)

As we used to say in the Army, "No shit, there I was..."  And still am, sitting in an RV, a little less than 100 yards from the Atlantic Ocean at an undisclosed location in South Carolina with Hurricane Joaquin bearing down on me.  You may ask yourself "What the hell was he thinking?"

An excellent question.  I'm thinking that I totally regret being unable to persuade Mrs. Freeholder that the weather forecast we saw Tuesday was accurate and that, rather than driving down here Wednesday, we should simply eat the sunk costs of this long-planned vacation and come another time when the weather was more hospitable.

Trust me when I tell you this.  Sunk cost is a hard concept to internalize. Doing so allows you to make much better decisions where money is concerned.  I really need to get Mrs Freeholder more acquainted with the concept.  That way I might not be sitting here typing this on an iPad connected to some campground's questionable wifi during the pouring rain in a swaying RV.

But enough whining about water over the sand dunes.  Where I'd like to go with this post is some real life calculus on bugging out. Do I bug out?  When do I bug out?  Right now, those are questions I'm pondering.

The smartest move would obviously have been to stay at home.  We missed that opportunity entirely. Now we're in a sucky but not deadly situation.  The worst thing that happens in this situation is that it starts to flood, we jump in the truck and abandon the RV.  That would not be fun, but no one gets hurt.

Our second smartest move would have been to bail out today before the heavy weather moved in.  We missed that opportunity as well.  That was part Mrs Freeholder and part me.  My part was from watching the weather models and guidance.  It looked like we might get spared.   Wrong.  A lot of my campground neighbors took off today.  They were smart.  I was not.

Mrs. Freeholder wanted to see a show.  At least it was a good show.

The Friday weather forecast is currently calling for winds of 20-30 MPH with stronger gusts , 8-9 inches of rain and localized flooding. Not ideal weather to pack up in and worse weather for towing what is realistically a 30' sail behind you.

Saturday and Sunday are 15-25 MPH winds, 1-3 inches of rain and thunderstorms. Not great weather, but I think better than the Friday forecast.

So why am I relating this little tale?  To let you see how this process works in the real world in real time.  It's been discussed to death, but I've not seen it blogged by someone in the middle of it.

I'm not convinced that leaving tomorrow is the best move, even it staying means risking flooding.  Driving in that sort of downpour is strenuous in a single vehicle, worse when you're towing.  Add in a herd of somewhat panicked people who have suddenly decided that discretion is indeed the better part of valor and you could have traffic tie-ups all over, right when law enforcement is busiest.

However, I've been caught in thunderstorms with this rig, and that's not great either.  Plus you given the rain time to work, possibly increasing the amount of flooding between here and home.

There will be no simple answer.  I'm going to closely watch the weather forecast and just weather out the window and make my best judgement.

What can you take from this?  First, you really need for everyone to agree on the criteria for bug out decisions beforehand.  Disagreements at the time when you need to make a call quickly could be fatal.  This was our biggest problem.

Second, I believe there must be a clear chain of command--someone has to in charge.  Conversely, the rest of the group must agree to respect that chain.  When the person in command says "BUG OUT!" then it's time to bug out, not play Twenty Questions.

Third, intelligence is a key factor in your decision making.  Sitting here, I've got 100 cable channels and reasonably good Internet.  You might not have those advantages--figure out how you will get information if your normal sources are cut off.


And here was a break of almost 24 hours.  Reason?  I was unreasonably cut off by my iPad.  Apparently there is some sort of bug when working with Blogger--a post can only be so long, and that so long ends at the words "cut off" above.  Go figure.  At any rate, I'm going to finish this now, and instead of being a two parter, it's just going to be one really long post.


Fourth, you must be prepared to make quick decisions and act on them.  I've seen people and groups fall prey to "analysis paralysis" and it's not pretty.  As Gen. George S. Patton has been quoted, "A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week."  Internalize that thought.  It may just save your life some day.

I'd like to go over these four items as I put them in action for this event.  As we've seen, Items One and Two, at least in the early going, were not well adhered to.  However, as Mrs. Freeholder began seeing the the reality of the situation firsthand (and got to feel the RV rocking as the wind gusts buffeted it last night after midnight), the concepts became clearer.

Item Three was one that I kept a close eye on, and after midnight last night, Mrs. Freeholder kept a nearly obsessive eye on.  Pretty much every time I rolled over, she had her tablet and was looking at one weather report or another.  I checked a couple of times, at 3 AM and around 7.  The storm wasn't moving that fast, and I needed my beauty rest.

Item Four I'm quite happy with.  Our initial decision this morning was to hunker down for the day and wait out the worst of the storm.  That meant waiting through a updated forecast of 30 MPH winds and perhaps as much as 12" of rain.  When you're sitting 2-3' above sea level, knowing that everything around you drains to the sea, and that high tide for the last few days has been up to the dune line (thanks to the super moon), that isn't a decision to take lightly.  However, towing a travel trailer through those same conditions among a large group of people trying to get the hell out of Dodge for the same reasons you are isn't a great situation either. Oh, and you're doing it through areas prone to flooding.  Almost forgot the punch line.

However, we caught a break in the weather.  A big hole in the rains opened up for about 2 hours.  I take my miracles where I find them.  By now, Mrs. Freeholder was more than happy to listen to reason.  We rushed around, packed up, hitched up and bugged the heck out.  The drive was mostly uneventful, a run in front of the worst of the rain.  We had some high wind for the last 90 minutes--unpleasant, but not bad.

Now, I'm at home, where the weather forecast for the weekend is just, well, crappy.  It's going to be a little windy and it's going to rain a bit (as opposed to deluge).

Intelligence drones left at the undisclosed South Carolina location report wind and rain, but relatively little flooding so far.  However the drones have decided that they are going to bail out tomorrow.  They're autonomous drones, so they get to make that decision.  :-)

I hope this episode in my life give you something to consider in your own, especially in the ongoing larger discussion about bugging out.  If you're bugging out to live in your retreat location permanently, this won't help you out much.  But if you're staying in a more populated area and considering developing a bug out plan, I think these four points are something you need to consider, at least as a starting point.  Good luck with your plan.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Just curious

I was looking at the blog stats--what is it with my post on the Savage 6D that is so continually fascinating to visitors?  That post is continually a top post over on the right, leads the most viewed posts at this moment, and is (and I find this frightening) the #1 search result on Google for the search string "Savage 6D".

Good grief, I just reread that post and I cringed.  I won't rewrite it, but man, was I looking for my voice.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pay attention

The death of Command Sergeant Major Michael Heintz as a result of a misfire of his gun at a private range in South Carolina is a reminder to all of us that the hobby we love is dangerous.  A brave man is dead because his gun misfired.  By all accounts, it was that rare bird, a true accident with a gun.

It is a reminder to all of us why we must also keep in mind that we should never forget to live out lives in such a way that if we happen not to come home at night, those left behind should absolutely know that we loved and cared for them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Federal Bureau of Inquisition?

(Via the Drudge Report)

While I normally shun the Infowars site as a bit far on the woo-woo side of things for my taste, this article on the FBI's NGI biometric database made my shorts suddenly start chaffing.

Give a bureaucracy a fingerprint and they will take a full body scan, I suppose.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Got spare parts?

(Via Say Uncle)

So, the balloon has went up.  It makes no difference what balloon it is, it's up.  You, the prepared prepping survivalist, have your food, your water, your medical gear and your guns.  You have everything you need to make a stand of it against the Mutant Cannibal Zombie Unwashed Bikers.

And then your AR/AK/HK/Main Battle Rifle clone of choice breaks something, like a spring.  Or we are a long way down the rebuilding road, and something just wears out.  You aren't going to hope in the truck and go to Bubba's Gun Shop and get spares, and nobody has seen the Big Brown Truck of Happiness with a box from Midway in months or years.

If you didn't stock some spare parts for the things that are most likely to break or wear out, you may find yourself up that infamous creek sans paddle, and it will suck to be you.  Even having a spare gun, you still want spare parts.

Shooting Illustrated has a list of the spares you need for an AR.

Interestingly enough, I looked to see if there were similar articles for other rifles, and outside of asked/answered questions on various firearms fora (with their inherent questionability), I found a grand total of zip.  If any of you know of a good, reliable list, stick it in the comments, please.  I'll make sure it gets pulled up here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Have you ever heard of "The Interview"?

No, not the bad Hollywood movie.  The interview I'm talking about it the interview that a criminal may give you shortly before attacking.  The Interview isn't always verbal, in fact I suspect it usually isn't.  My suspicion is that the verbal interview is practiced by a particular and particularly dangerous subset of the criminal element--the ones who get an extra charge from the interaction with their prey.

Tiger McKee calls it a different name, the "Gradual Threat".  A rose by any other name has just as many sharp thorns.  This is one I would read and commit to memory.

Well, if it's true, I got took

Because a while back I bought some FireClean to try.  Still sitting on the bench, waiting for a suitably cruddy gun.  Maybe I should try some french fries instead?