fbpx

Common Sense Gun Laws Part 5: No One Needs an AR15

 

Untitled design.png

It’s true. We can live perfectly well without the Armalite AR15. Common sense will tell you that the Armalite AR15 is out of patent, which means anyone can make a facsimile of it, so go ahead, make the AR15 illegal. We will use the LMT Defender2000, the Noveske N4, the the Colt 6920, or any of the hundreds of similar brands of AR15 pattern rifle for our sporting, hunting, self defense, and civil defense needs.

The argument that a ban on the AR15 would mean all “AR-type rifles”. So be it. How about the Ruger Mini14, Keltec SU16, Saiga, M1 carbine, SKS, or Springfield M1A? Can a criminal choose a legal and less scary looking firearm in the commission of a mass murder? Of course he could. Could a criminal decide to not comply with an assault weapon ban and make or import something illegal with which to commit his crime? Of course he could. Remember, compliance with the law is a choice that law abiding citizens make, and mass murderers are an intelligent, resourceful and determined lot.

What then is the benefit of such restriction?

“If it saves one live, then it’s worth it!”

If that is so, then let us count up how many lives lawful defenders have used such a firearm to protect. By this logic, if it saves one life, then they are worth keeping! That would be common sense, no?

“If we take these weapons of war off the street, bad guys won’t be able to get their hands on them as easily.”

Study history and you will see this is false. Look at Charles Whitman who used a bolt action hunting rifle to murder innocent students and faculty at University of Texas in Austin.

Look at the Virginia Tech shooting, where Seung-Hui Cho used only handguns which are in common circulation everywhere in the country in private ownership. If he could commit the largest school shooting of US history without an AR15, so could anyone else.

Look at the terrorist attacks in Europe that we have seen over the last few years. Did strict legislation regarding firearms stop those attacks? No. Either the attackers stopped on their own volition, or brave men and women in the right time, at the right place, armed with the right tools, and trained in the right skills stopped those attacks. These are the facts.

In fact, if most mass murderers stop on their own, such as in the examples of Columbine and Douglas high school, then common sense tells us that the most effective means of stopping a mass murder attack, would be to ask the attacker to kindly stop! If we are unable or unwilling to put in place the aforementioned brave people in the right place-time-tool-and training, then that is our only option.

Herein lies the answer to why we have AR15s. Conflict is a fact of life. Whether it be conflict between political factions, religious sects, ethnic tribes, foreign invaders, tyrannical government, or domestic terrorist, the solution is the same: Either you accept the consequences of inaction, relying upon the mercy or incompetence of the enemy, or you fight tooth and nail for your desired outcome. Those who are willing to fight for what they want, will eventually get what they want. If you want peace, stability, freedom, safety, you must be willing to fight for it. There is no easier alternative!

4387523896_bc096f54f7_oTo summarize, there is nothing special about one design of rifle, when there are dozens of other suitable and competing contemporary weapons. To make one illegal would simply push both good guys and bad guys to get creative and work around the law, such as by using older technology designed for the same purpose, or sourcing them illegitimately. Frankly, if all guns and knives were made illegal, humans would simply revert back to using rocks and sharp sticks as weapons of conflict. We don’t “need” AR15s. Nonetheless, as tools of conflict resolution, they are technologically superior than sticks and stones, and they happen to be the overwhelmingly the design of choice of Americans.

This is why we have them.

Laws that ban the sale or possession of certain types of weapons do not stop criminals from committing crimes. The solution instead is to focus our energy on understanding and accepting the inevitability of crime, and to work productively to put the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right tools, and the right training in order to mitigate the damage that one crazed attacker can do.

 

 

Common Sense Gun Laws Part 4: A Well Regulated Militia

the second amendment

Everyone has heard of the Second Amendment, yet many people don’t know what exactly it means. Let’s dissect and define the components of the second amendment together.

In its entirety, it reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of the free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

What did the founders mean by “well regulated”? What exactly is a militia?

Well regulated

In the two and a half centuries since these concepts were formulated by our forefathers, the English language has evolved somewhat as different words take on new cultural meanings.

Well regulated means “functioning as it should”. Imagine the air regulator on a diver’s SCUBA tank. The airflow is well regulated, not too much, not too little, providing the air that the diver needs to stay alive under water. “Regulation” in the modern context connotes rules, laws, and restrictions, but in essence those rules and laws are so that  whatever is to be regulated can function as it should. A militia that is armed, trained, and ready is one that is “well regulated”.

Militia

What then is a Militia? The militia is not the military, even though our modern day concept of the National Guard does trace its lineage back to the American colonial militias. The difference is that a militia is a local, part time, and self equipped collection of normal every day citizens who are decentralized in their leadership, but can band together and take up arms in defense of the community, should the need arise. This is in stark contrast to the various components of our current military, who go through formal training, wear official uniforms, are issued taxpayer equipment, take orders from the executive branch of our government, and are on state payroll.

In contemporary understanding, the militia would have been comprised of white males typically between age 18 and 45. Today, post feminism and civil rights, the militia encompasses all able bodied men and women without regard to skin color.

We can finish defining the remainder of the Second Amendment at a later date, but today let’s look to history for why the militia is still important today as it was 250 years ago.

Importance and history of the militia

Our country is very different in its origins from otherwise comparable countries today. For example, Australia began as an expedition under British authority to use prisoners in establishing a colony for economic gain after Britain had lost the American war. In contrast, North america was pioneered by pilgrims from many countries seeking freedom from oppressive governments. From the get-go, Americans as a breed were independent do-it-yourself-ers who mistrusted centralized power, and sought to trade the stability of government oversight for the risks and rewards of the new world.

Militias from a very practical standpoint were the backbone of pioneer settlements. For centuries they defended the communities against Indian raids, bandits, and competing colonial powers. It is only natural that as Britain brought in soldiers to tame it’s rebellious colony on the wake of the Boston Tea Party, that militias shifted their attention to fighting a protracted war against our own tyrannical government.

While most colonists then still saw themselves as Englishmen, they were astute enough to recognize the pattern of tyranny, which begins with the confiscation of personal arms. As history has it, the colonist’s fears came to fruition on the morning of April 19th, 1775 when General Gage, then acting governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay ordered redcoats (The Army) to sneak out of Boston harbor under the cover of darkness to seize and destroy militia weapons cached in the nearby countryside. This was a clear act of war, and the rest is history.

You might ask, how does this pertain to me today? If I may remind you while we live in a period of relative peace, Yemen is at civil war, Libya is at civil war, Iraq is at civil war, Venezuela is amid civil unrest, Ukraine just had a revolution, Russia took the Crimean Peninsula by military force, Thailand just had a crisis, and the list goes on.  During all of the hubbub of the Trump vs Clinton election, did we ever have a military coup, assassination, or civil war? When was the last time you saw American government forces firing upon members of the public at a rally or protest? Which minority can you think of  that is subject to genocide? When was the last time a highway patrolman pointed his weapon at you to demand a road side bride?

Our nation is stable to this day because of the balancing and moderating influence that an armed populace provides against the sway of political corruption. Power corrupts all men, but by maintaining a balance of power throughout the population, we have a government which is decentralized and in check. We as a nation are stable because of gun owners and their AR15’s, not in spite of them.

Comment on Bump Stock Type Device Proposal

Below is the comment which I submitted to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regarding the proposed legislation that would classify bump style stock equipped rifles as machine guns, thereby forcing current owners to surrender or destroy them without compensation upon penalty of death or incarceration. Please take a minute out of your day and submit a comment here in opposition of this proposal.  (https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=ATF-2018-0002-0001)

To whom it may concern,

I am a professional educator and seek to spread knowledge in combat of ignorance. Lawmaking in our republic is a matter of deciding what is best for our society, not in implementing what some people like or dislike, want or not want. Our responsibility is to use logic and data, rather than opinion and ignorance, to support our decision making. Bump fire type devices have been in production for decades before they came into the spotlight when a resourceful sociopath used one to fire upon the crowd in Las Vegas last October. In those decades, thousands of lawful owners have used them harmlessly, so you must understand that this one incident is a statistical outlier. It is our duty to formulate policy based upon how it affects the greater society, not how it affects the sub one percent deviant population.

As a trained sniper, I will attest that normal semi automatic fire could have just as easily resulted in the same 500+ wounded, 50+ fatalities. In fact, it may be fortunate that the attacker was an amateur with firearms and did not aim his shots at the 20,000+ concert goers below. It is rather a miracle that of so many vulnerable and exposed innocent people below, the shooter only managed to kill .27% of them in his attack.

As evidenced in Charles Whitman’s attack on University of Texas Austin in 1966, a bolt action deer hunting rifle is at once nearly impossible to ban and perfectly deadly in the hands of the motivated. Tools are not the problem at hand.

I urge you to exercise Common Sense, that is to not blame the novelty gadget that a bump fire stock is for the actions of one individual. Do not waste our national resources, and your time on legislation that amounts to nothing.

You see, unlike true machine guns, bump fire is quite useless. It is only good for wasting ammunition and “shits and giggles”. Anyone who has shot a rifle in bump fire will attest to two things: That it is nearly impossible to aim, and that the action of bump fire can be done without the assistance of a special stock.

If you make bump fire stocks illegal, it neither stops sociopaths from killing the innocent using other means, nor does it stop people from being able to bump fire a normal semi automatic rifle. What exactly then are you accomplishing, other than wasting time and energy? The answer is, converting thousand of well intentioned, law abiding Americans into felons.

For every legislation, there is a cost. If the gain is meaningful, the the cost can be considered. In this case, the gain is nothing, and the cost to the american public is tremendous. Please considering this logic in your rule-making.

Thank you for your effort to read my letter.

Brian Wang

 

 

Common Sense Gun Laws Part 3: Weighing Consequences

Weighing consequences

Newton’s third law states that any action has an equal and opposite reaction. This is as true in the hard sciences as it is in public policy. Each decision has a consequence, and any solution to a problem will introduce new problems. “What do you give up to gain?” That was a phrase my mentor and instructor David Maglio used often. To compound the problem of weighing consequences, we often don’t have a full set of data, and cannot foresee the sacrifices or other potentially unanticipated aspects of a policy until it is too late.

Some examples from history

Vietnam War

In Col. James McDonough’s (ret.) book “Platoon Leader”, he offers us the example of a US Army policy during the Vietnam War to rotate Lieutenants out of their direct troop leading command after 6 months in the field, even though their men stayed on for 12 months. The goal initially was to allow more young officers a taste of combat during what was anticipated to be a short war, and to spread around the opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience.

The drawback as you can imagine, was that new lieutenants shuffled in and out of combat units where the men had more experience than their leaders. This led to gross inconsistency of leadership style, expectations, and effectiveness of those combat units. How many US soldiers died battle because they were led by officers who had no experience in the rigors of war? This is an example of the cost of a well meaning policy.

Prohibition

If we look to history, we can see that outlawing alcohol lead to the widespread illegal liquor trafficking industry, and spike in organized crime. This in turn lead to rises in violent crime, murders, government corruption, and a loss of tax revenue.

When our nation went to war on illicit drugs, we quickly overloaded our prison systems and law enforcement resources with non-violent offenders, which in turn lead to fewer resources to fight “real” crimes, and a higher cost to taxpayers to pay for government spending on the corrections industry.

American Revolution

Prior to and leading up to the American Revolution, British parliament sought to punish the colonies for their insolence during the Boston Tea Party by instituting laws that denied Massachusetts colonists self governance. British officials had gambled that by making an example out of one colony, order would be restored and the other colonies would fall back into line. As history has it, this plan backfired and angered american colonists to the point of sparking a war.

img_0630-1.jpg

In each of these examples, leaders instituted well meaning decisions hoping to generally bring benefit, but in fact benefited few members of society at the detriment of the vast majority.

Consequences of Today’s Proposed Gun Laws

In context of the national gun rights debate, for one side to fervently claim that their position is correct is to show ignorance for the complex balance and multitude of factors that form reality. For example, no one wishes for criminals and crazies to have access to immensely powerful firearms. Specifically, after the Parkland Florida shooting many have cried for greater police powers to seize the firearms from people suspected of being a danger to themselves and others. At face value this rhetoric makes sense, until you consider that if police can violate one’s freedoms without due process on a suspicion or complaint, how do the people maintain accountability from the police to not unjustly violate the rights of the innocent?

If we are to increase law enforcement powers to seize firearms from individuals deemed to be unstable, what prevents the police from abusing their “discretion” to remove firearms from law abiding citizens?

If we institute a broad “assault style weapons” ban, how do we ensure that the law actually affects a criminal’s access to weapons rather than just denying the freedoms of the majority?

If we raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21, what effect will it have on the population four or five generations from now? Will it actually deter crime? If so, how much?

What do you

Common Sense Gun Laws Part 2: Defining Deviance

You cannot legislate away bad apples.

By definition a criminal is deviant, an outlier, a small fraction of the data sample, an atypical specimen. Fortunately, the outliers are few and far between. In order to achieve effective use of our policy making resources, we have to focus our efforts on what influences the majority.

received_10104033271653134-01

The problem with outliers, especially ones such as mass shooters, or terrorists, is that they don’t respond to the usual forms of social control. Unlike religious institutions, which promise reward or punishment in the afterlife, our legal system is founded upon punishment of the physical body. It assumes that most people want to live and want to be free. For the majority of the human population, this assumption is correct and the system works.

A Profile of a Villain

For example, let’s look at the idea of an assault weapon ban. We can discuss this concept in much greater depth later, but for now look how it pertains to a simple bell curve. Norway for example is a very safe country with low crime and few shootings. Certain people can apply for a permit to own a gun, and they are restricted to using 3 round magazines. In the eyes of many pro-gun control Americans, they have a fantastic model.

Yet, when the shooter in Oslo carried out his enormously “successful” attack at an island youth retreat for the Labor party, he did so with a bomb diversion downtown, and with a .223 caliber Mini-14 that would pass muster under typical American assault weapon ban proposals. While he could not purchase 30 round magazines in his country, with some creativity he was able to order them from overseas.

He falls into the category of Villain. Bombs are illegal, high capacity magazines are illegal, massacring children is illegal, but none of those laws prevented him. Someone determined to carry out his work, regardless of the threat of punishment, will not be deterred by laws that will easily dissuade the common citizen.

Unfortunately, the problem here is that some people want to die, or are willing to die to achieve their goals. How do you stop this kind of person? Is he mad? I think not, he just cares more about one than the other. If you can’t threaten a citizen with arrest, incarceration, and execution, then what other motivational means do we have?

The Threefold Answer to Villains

Before the fact, the solution is upbringing. How do we structure the minds of our youth such that they grow up with a clear moral compass, value life, and care for their fellow mankind? This pertains to the complicated questions of parenting, the debate around violent video games, the influence of popular culture and our educational system. Everything in the intangible weave of human interaction has a consequence upon the formative mind of the next domestic terrorist. The topic of upbringing, as important as it may be, is not my professional specialty, so I will allow my peers in that field to make their judgement.

LRM_EXPORT_20180321_145722

Leading up to the attack, we as a society can dissuade and postpone a would be killer from taking action by denying him the guarantee of success. In other words, if you were to go to work today, you would expect to be paid, right? If tomorrow you go to work, and there was no paycheck for you, you would quickly change you mind about working for this employer. The same is true when a very logical “madman” is planning his attack. Deny him the reward and satisfaction, then the work and sacrifice (death or lifetime incarceration) may not be worth the payoff. How can we do this? By denying him access to resistance free target rich environments, aka gun free zones to start.

Secondly, deny him fame by refusing to speak his name in the media. A century ago, we would have tarred and feathered him, dragged his naked body from a horse around town, starved him of water in the scorching sun and fed his eyes to the ants before hanging his corpse from a tree for all to see, as an unglamorous warning to other who might follow in his footsteps. In today’s world we fawn them with media attention. Deny them the reward!

After the fact, once someone is set into his way of thinking, and has steeled his mind to one course of action, and begun to act upon his deadly plan, the only remaining option we have is to interdict him by force, to kill or disable him before his takes his toll. Banks, airports, power plants, courthouses, churches, and to some extent military bases have begun to figure this out. These institutions are logical targets for well planned attacks. Recognize the threat, have a solution in place when the assault comes.

I’m sorry folks, but reality is not about what you or I wish. It is what it is. It is for this reason why we see a push nationwide to staff armed police officers at our schools, just like how we hardened our airports with armed guards after 9/11.

Side note

In response to the multiple law enforcement interactions with the Parkland, FL school shooter, many people have asked why did the police fail to do something about him before the shooting. The answer to this is due process. Talk is cheap, and it is also legal. There are people who will say all sorts of weird and twisted things on the internet, but until they actually begin to act upon those intention, there is no crime. To arrest people for what they say, or think, is to violate one’s right to freedom of speech ala George Orwell’s 1984. To confiscate someone’s firearms because you suspect they may be crazy, but they haven’t done any crime yet, would be a violation of a citizen’s right to due process. If we as a society go down that path, then we are no better than the nazi’s, fascists, and communists that we fought so vehemently this last century.

Our system is not perfect, but if you wish to stop a school shooter or domestic terrorist, you can strive to mold them into healthy productive members of society through socialization and upbringing from birth, but know that there will always be outliers and violent, deviant sociopaths, we must logically be ready to use force in defense of what is most sacred.

Common Sense Gun Laws Part 1: The Rules

DSC_0009Like many of you on the left and the right, I am a reasonable person, and I don’t want to see more innocent children or concert goers slaughtered mercilessly by sick twisted psychopaths. If we agree we share this common goal, of reducing violence in our society, then let the two sides of this national gun debate talk as adult to identify the problem and implement a solution. As a teacher, a sociologist, a scientist, and a political moderate, let me help to bridge this cultural divide.

To begin a respectful discourse on “Common Sense Gun Laws”, we need some rules:

Rule #1 – Logic

“Common sense” is uncommon, because it varies subject to your locale and population. Instead, let’s talk about logic. Logic means looking at the facts and data, cause and effect. We must have discipline to set aside emotion and look objectively at long term effects in historical context. This is what common sense really means.

Rule #2 – Fairness

Any policy we implement has to be fair. We achieve this by putting ourselves in the shoes of others, to see if what we propose is universally applicable. In other words, we must check our ethnocentricity and build policy that works for people who are dissimilar to us, not just to serve ourselves.

Rule #3 – Be Realistic

We must be realistic. The world does not care what you or I think it ought to be. You cannot will fantasy into reality without regard for the multitude of factors that shape the world into what it is now. Hence we have to work within the parameters that are already in place, knowing that no solution will be ideal.

No blaming, no name calling. We discuss as adults. Keep an eye on the blog and on Facebook this week as I share my thoughts on what these common sense gun laws should be.

Lessons learned: Tony Garces Faith City Incident

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but two rights make a wrong. When a Good Samaritan acts to disarm a would-be church shooter, and the police rush in to save the day, then good guys get shot by good guys.

You can read the article here: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/he-disarmed-possible-church-shooter-then-police-arrived-shot-him-n851816

February 14th, on the same day of the now infamous Parkland, FL shooting that left 17 dead, here an unsung hero and his averted massacre barely hit the news. What lessons can we learn as we glean through the details of this report?

1. The media loves catastrophe. Why is the country obsessed with “gun violence” and “assault weapons” when they really should be cheering on real life superheroes? Because violence, heart wrenching tragedy, scandal and conspiracy sells ads better than real good news. The media that instigates a war between the left and the right then sits back to profit off of clicks and comments is a sick business.

2. The cops are not there to protect you. When seconds count, the police are minutes away. Here on the same day in two mass shooter incidences, they both arrived late, shot the good guy and refrained from shooting the bad guy. Drop your childish expectations that they will come save you. Cops are good people, but they are human and fallible as you and I.

3. Learn first aid. This man was shot through the lung, which caused pneumothorax. Do you know how to treat that to save his life?

4. Bullets aren’t magic. Upper chest injury from a rifle, yet survivable. In time of crisis moving boldly to attack or escape is worth the risk of getting shot, especially if it’s an even weaker handgun. Conversely if you must shoot to stop the threat, burn your adversary to the ground with unrelenting fire.

5. Off duty cops and CCW good samaritans, be careful to not look like a bad guy. If you are born brown or black, sorry but you need to factor that into your equation. It’s not their fault when they make the split second decision to shoot you based upon incomplete info. Church teams, I recommend you wear a bright sash on your belt that you can deploy for ID.

6. When they say drop it, drop it. Better yet, as soon as feasible, secure the gun in your holster or ground it to free up your hands. Cops are trained to assess your hands first and foremost to see if you are a threat.

7. Don’t hesitate, when the moment is right, attack. This hero chose his moment and threw himself at great risk into danger, potentially saving countless lives.

8. Not all bad guys are bad. Here is one way to show you are progressing well in rehabilitation.

9. Security guards are just about useless. Don’t expect to outsource your church or school security. A volunteer, a parent, an usher, a pastor, a football coach, these are insiders who are emotionally committed to the precious lives a school or church seeks to protect. Don’t expect a security guard or the police to be willing to die to protect you.

10. Mind the OODA loop and human reaction delay. If you are aggressive and bold about your attack, you always have a 1/4 second or thereabouts time advantage before your opponent can realize and react to your move. As long as you get the muzzle off your body and you are within 2 steps or so, you have a great likelihood of successfully disarming an assailant who does not anticipate aggressive counter attack.

Carry on warrior scholars.

The Educator’s Burden

As with any business owner, I am faced with the challenge of finding balance between doing what is best for me, what I want to do, and what is best for my customers and the community.

As a teacher in the firearm field, my passion, my love is to work in depth with individuals who really value the self- defense aspect of training. This is the passion that drives me to strive for new and better teaching methods, and more exciting, interesting curriculum every day.

On the other hand, teaching gun safety, and by that I mean introductory classes to the masses, for me is work. Even as much as I love what I do, as much as this career has given me an incredibly flexible and well balanced lifestyle, some days I just have to go to work like everybody else. Gun safety classes are those kinds of days.

You see, working with beginners is tiring. I cannot lie. Nonetheless, it is my obligation to the world. Few can fully appreciate the enormous responsibility, difficulty and complexity that gently molding the thoughts, attitudes, questions, and assumptions of a new student truly entails.

If we look at today’s heated debate about the role of firearms in our modern society, clearly no one is advocating the trampling of rights, and no one is advocating for the murder of children. We all want to see greater safety in our streets and communities, yet the two sides attack each other because there is ignorance on both sides of the aisle. The truth is in the middle, and in order to find the truth we as a population need to be willing to have logical, rational, conversation that is supported by the facts of history.

Our job as educators is not to give our young people an opinion. Our job is to give them the logical reasoning tools, and the attitude of respect and discourse, such that when it is their turn to run the country, our future generations can figure out problems which have no easy solution.

When working with advanced students, they generally already have an opinion formed on fundamental issues. Novices on the other hand must rely upon us, the teacher, for guidance. This subtle, nuanced responsibility of molding young minds is the great educator’s burden.