Got this email today from CTD, and they are offering FREE! shipping with firearms. Could it be that their sales are not up to projections? Could it be that their predatory shipping prices/policies are finally coming home to roost?
I'm not a rabid fan of the Bear Grylls reality shows, but I've watched enough of them to know that Bear is not bee-essing me when he talks about survival equipment. I'm fairly hard to bee-ess on this subject, having been to USAF Land Survival School up at Colville, WA for two weeks in the late Fall, back in the 1980s. At the School, students are put through as close to actual survival conditions as can be arranged without physically killing and wounding them (it was rumored that in the Navy version of Survival School, they actually could wound you as long as it was a recoverable-to-duty wound).
Your #1 survival tool is your brain, always. Not your gun, not your knife, not how much paracord you have, it's what's between your ears, because that gray matter contains the knowledge, the applications, and the will to survive in a hostile setting with minimum equipment. The brain has to be there, the brain has to be tuned up and the brain has to keep you going through the adversity.
If the brain is there for you, the next most important thing in wilderness survival is your knife. In the School, we were given only what would have been with us on our silk letdown from the crippled bird to our present situation in the deep woods hard by the Canadian border. We made everything from the materials that a successful ejection and parachute landing would have given us. Those idems were our "peter pocket" knife, a 2.25" blade switchblade with a cord-cutting blade as well, the parachute, the parachute harness and back-carrier (with it's huge supply of paracord), the survival manual, small pen-knife and fish hooks in the chute carrier. That, plus the clothes on our backs, was what we had. We spent days learning to make that gear into a comfortable tent, make weapons, use those weapons, find food and catch/kill it, and prepare it. Then we spent 3 days trekking across the Cascades 25 miles while an OpFor force of PJs (same training as SEALs) looked for us. If you didn't successfully evade the PJs and make it to your destination, you failed the course and started over. Yours truly made it, and so did my entire class, all 32 of them under my command, with only one "capture point" (we were each allowed two points, the third busted you). I had this excellent record of my command because God gave it to me: there were 4 USAF Combat Air Controllers (PJ training) assigned to take the course for some reason, and I assigned them as scouts on the trek. They easily detected all the ambushes and kept us out of them.
None of us had a decent knife, though, and the PJs told us that such a good knife made all the difference. Most of them carried a USMC Ka-Bar fighting knife in their kit, but we didn't/couldn't have them in the School.
I picked this Bear Grylls knife because it is big enough to kill with, stout enough to do all the things Bear teaches us to do with a knife, but small enough to carry as something less than extra burden when you're moving, which you do, most of the time, in a survival situtation. It comes with a good Kytel sheath which is adjustable for belt carry through 90 degrees: you can carry it streamlined with your belt or 90 degrees to the belt. Minor fiddling with a hex wrench to do this. The knife also comes with a small, folded survival guide. It does not appear to printed on waterproof paper like the on in the USAF parachutes is. The knife has a thick blade, a Bear Grylls necessity. You want to be able to hammer with a hardwood club or baton on the back of the knife to cut heavy stuff, and your thin-bladed folders can't take that abuse, which is why you have a thick-bladed sheath knife with a stout ridged back of the blade like this knife.
My photos of the knife:
As packaged. Belt loop is on the other side.
Out of sheath with ruler for size comparison:
The mini-manual of survival which comes with the knife (no, I haven't read it yet)
Golf pencil for comparison of size:
For $35, it's a good addition to my survival vest. YOU have a grab-and-go survival vest don't you? The purpose of that vest is to have all your WALKING S.H.T.F. stuff in one place. That vest has shelter, first-aid, food and a firearm as the basic necessities, and other stuff as you want to burden yourself. I also carry one of these knife sharpeners (best in the West!), plenty of paracord and fire starting materials.
Here at Schloss Rivrdog, I just turned off Leno, then listened to the chorus of coyotes, one from the up-creek clan and one from the clan 100 meters away, tell each other how much the female 'Yote wants the male 'Yote's babies. Of course, once they start this up, it can go on all night...
First Premise: Those who support more than a minimalist government (the Statists who believe the government represents the culture) are constantly in search of ways to lock in the power of government against the possibility that it might be reduced. By using regulations, better expressed simply as controls, we are constantly forced to toe the line in some new manner. Those who support only the level of government required to protect the citizens in the ways they can't protect themselves, are the individualists. The US Constitution was written by and for individualists, but it has been moved inexorably towards statism in many ways by the Federal Courts which have the duty of interpreting it.
Along the way to developing the culture, the idea of Civil Rights was born. Those rights are defined generally as human rights, and some of them are explicitly enumerated in the Bill of Rights to the Federal Constitution (and copied by most State constitutions as well).
Second Premise: Civil Rights are where the rubber meets the road in the interpretation of the Constitution. The Statist progenitors of a more pervasive and controlling central Government appoint the Judges who have to interpret the Constitution, so it follows that these men and women of power and authority would spread the idea of larger and more pervasive government with their rulings, and they do.
The First Amendment to the Constitution, a strong Civil Right, started simply enough, as a mandate to allow individual freedom of expression and association, but it has since changed via interpretation so radically that it was recently used to allow large, well-financed groups to effectively buy elections, which is a terrible perversion of the purpose of the First Amendment. Since the First Amendment doesn't directly oppose the Federal Government, and as seen in my example, can be twisted to suport statism, it is not often opposed by the statists.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution, the right to keep and bear arms, was inserted into the Bill of Rights by the Founders for the stated purpose of allowing the arming of militias, or armed forces of the People, to exist as a check on the power of the Federal Government, which the Founders refused to trust for the maintenance of individual freedoms (the Founders were assuredly NOT statists). The Second Amendment was written as, and is currently interpreted as, a Civil Right, as it upholds the basic Human Right of self-defense of one's life. As written and interpreted, it stands as an absolute limit on the power of the Federal Government. If the Federal Government assumes (seizes) too much power from the People, the Founders expected that militias would be formed of adequately-armed men to oppose, and if necessary, remove the Federal Government (restore the "Free State"). Since the Second Amendment puts a (unstated, sadly) limit on Government power and control, it is considered undesireable by statists, and is opposed.
That's it, readers. it's really this simple. Statists, currently represented by most politicians of both major parties, believe that bigger government is better, and they have been working towards that goal for several generations now. They work towards that goal by supporting implementation of rules which support them, and by fighting against rules which work against them. The Second Amendment works against Statists, so it will always be opposed. The way we see it being opposed now is highly opportunistic, but the opportunism we see is only part of the greater opposition of this core Civil Right which envisions the use of force to maintain individual freedoms.
Now you know why the fight to maintain the 2A is a constant fight which will never end and must never end.
The day the right to keep and bear arms ends by fiat of the Federal Government, the Republic ends. At that point, we either end it in an appropriate use of our Second Amendment right, or we end the Republic by agreeing that it's time is done and it's Constitution is irrelevant. One of those two things will happen upon the death of the Second Amendment.
BTW, Readers, the entire Bill of Rights, under which umbrella this libertine culture of ours has flourished, ends the same day as the Second Amendment ends, and the entire direction, life and force of the culture then exists only at the whim of the Government. Ask yourself if YOU want to surrender every single choice you get to make to this, or any other, Government. If you do NOT choose surrender, then you'd better possess, maintain and be practiced with the arms that the Second Amendment now permits, and you'd better be prepared to fight with those arms.
H/T for the inspiration of my muse goes to the Country Gal, who has reminded me to stay on task.
...of problem-solving is to take a deep breath and head for the library.
Yep, Rule One is to see if someone already solved that problem before you, then look at that solution to see if it worked, or could work, in your situation.
Problem: How do we better secure our schools against attack?
History: This is exactly the same problem that the Israelis faced ever since the Paleoswinians and other assorted middle-earth middle east dwellers decided to eradicate their country by terroristic attacks.
Research: Google "israel arms school teachers" and this Wiki will come up. Read the Wiki and it discusses arming school personnel, and near the end of the article, under "Impact", is a paragraph devoted entirely to armed educational facilities.
Perhaps instead of ginning up to ban more guns or lock up a bunch of people pre-emptively, we could just do point-defense at the schools. Of course, the Ivory Tower school bureaucrats would have to be gotten around, but Obama's Bully Pulpit could accomplish that, couldn't it?
It's time to cry, to weep openly. I did this morning while shopping. Right in public, and I was wearing my Retired cop jacket, too. I cried my way out of the store. As I tried to see my way carefully in the crowds, looking through the tears, I went past a Salvation Army bellringer standing by his kettle. I cried as I fumbled out my billfold and put a $20 bill in the kettle. The bellringer thanked me warmly. I interrupted him and said, "no Sir, thank YOU for your ministry, we really need it now". I drove home in tears and helped put the groceries away. I'm still weeping, not sure why, because I've always told myself that grief was for the wusses, those who couldn't stand up, teared up.
Well, Pilgrims, we can't stand up. We are ALL beaten to our knees right now.
Solace in logic? No logic, no solace.
Disarm ourselves? It won't work, it's a proven failure. It will only guarantee more victims. It's illegal.
Arm up more intensely? Just being armed doesn't protect you from cunning, conniving crazies. If you're armed, you can only do any good if you are there when the shooter starts his mayhem.
Turn the schools into fortresses? We might, but then the malls are bereft of protection, and the transit, and all the other places where lots of people have to gather. The thin blue line is very thin.
So, Rivrdog, what you are telling us is that there is no solution? No, I didn't say that. There IS a solution, somewhere. We didn't have many of these examples of mayhem 60 years ago, so what was different then?
We had a moral compass then, and we followed it. We have to find it and start using it again.
If you were crazy then, your family took it on themselves to see you didn't cause harm to the community. I know this, I had a crazy sibling. My father had him locked up when he became a danger to the community. He killed himself eventually, and only God knows why he didn't take anyone with him as these shooters have done.
If you were crazy, one doctor and one parent or family member could certify that and you got locked up. The insane asylums were hell-holes, but those whackos were inside those walls. Displaying whacko behavior was not tolerated in the communities, and it is now.
There weren't as many whackos. It was not fashionable then to be whacko. It IS fashionable now, all sorts of craziness is tolerated under the mistaken notion that in this country, we are free to be crazy, it's our right.
We had some gory wars then as now, but war wasn't glorified much in those days, most moral folks abhorred it, and only tolerated it when huge moral insult was forthcoming and had to be beaten back. War's violence is tolerated now. It's been turned into games. Dollar to a donut says that this CT shooter, just like his crazy counterpart here in my City this week, was a video-game player. We know the story about these games: they inure the participants to violence, make abject violence seem normal to those players. It's but a short step from being a practiced shooter in Call of Duty to being a practiced shooter in a room full of kindergarten kids. How many will take that short step? Can we ever know?
What hasn't changed from 60 years ago?
Guns haven't changed much. High capacity autoloading pistols were available then, see the Browning Hi-Power. Autoloading rifles were available, see the Garand, the M-1 carbine. An individual could even buy explosives then just with a signature, can't do that now. Col. Thompson sold thousands of submachine guns to ordinary folks before 1934. No, it isn't the tools of the crazies or their violence that has changed, lo these six decades I've been observing life, it's the tolerance for the crazies that has changed.
The churches haven't changed. Maybe not as many people go to church as used to, but the churches are still there, and still provide a calibration point for one's moral compass.
This horrific behavior, which will get worse before it gets better, shouldn't have taken us by surprise. There have been signs. Presidents who couldn't keep their peckers in their pants, at least two of them in the past 60 years. Did we fire their sorry asses for failing to have the highest-caliber morals to be our chosen leader? No, and in Clinton's case, we idolize the man to this day as if he had never shown his ugly side.
We idolize all manner of morally-deficient celebrities, both male and female. We have "reality" TV shows about stupid, immoral and illegal behaviors. We make movies about stupid people behaving badly; the movies are well-attended, and invariably, some idiot or crazy tries to emulate the behavior seen on-screen. Behavior that belongs in the bedroom now is seen in public, and even encouraged.
I want Jay Leno do do some Special Editions of "Jaywalking". I want him to put a person in priest's garb and do some sidewalk interviews about morals. There will probably be some priests volunteer for this duty. It may not be comedy, but it WILL be instructive.
I want David Letterman to quit having Hollywood bad boys on his show for an entire month, but instead, have some real people, with working moral compasses, talk about their chosen lifestyles.
I want the program, "Moonshiners" to end, now.
I want the program, "16 and pregnant" to go away and never be seen again.
I don't ever want to see another ad for a shooter video game. The sports games are interesting and challenging enough.
I want to stop crying for my beloved, lost country. I don't know when or how I'll stop crying.
I just don't know.
My GOD, I am so sorry, because I know that somehow, I too, have failed my country. I am so sorry..................
Yokel Weather: Sucks. Sucks a big root. Rain now through the next week, big storms off the coast, edging closer. Coast will have hurricane-force winds, maybe Cat 2 gusts on the headlands, in next 24 hours. Here in the valley, we'll get 35-45 mph gusts, coming with some trees still leafed out, and over soggy ground that will be loathe to hold those trees vertical (had 1"+ rain overnight). That's for starters. Then the stormy weather changes over to the Pineapple Express (when they made the film of that name, the weather geeks changed the name of the PacNorWest monsoon phenomena to "Atmospheric River"), so the accumulated mountain snow will melt, the Cascade Mountains will get maybe two feet of rain, and the rivers will fill up and overflow. Yep, that sucks, but it happens in these parts. My genset is freshly tested, I have enough fuel on hand for 1/3 of-the-day running for a month, the M35A2 High Mobility vehicle is ready, it can take 30" standing or flowing water in normal ops, and the Stihl chainsaw is also ready for action. Plenty of food on hand. Emergency gas fireplace heating unless the NatGas goes away, then I can emergency-heat my survival shelter with propane for about 2 weeks before I have to put up a wood stove in there...yep, Yokels are ready. Guns are clean, too....
Yokel Sports: We have a first-class college football team in these parts, the Oregon Ducks. They are NOT un-defeated any more. For the second time in three years, Stanford came up here and edged out the Local Yokel squad in overtime. Seems that Stanford had a plan for the Ducks' (former) #1 rushing offense: mobile linebackers, large, fast guys who could string out the running plays "East and West" and shut them down for no gain. Those same defensive smarties turned Oregon's barely-adequate O-Line into mush, and their penetration to the frosh quarterback pretty much stymied any hope of the excellent Duck passing game saving the failed rushing game. This frosh QB is good, an accurate passer and the second-best rusher on the squad, but #8 Mariota always had at least 7 seconds to unload before, and last night he never had 4. Most NFL QBs can't handle that level of pressure, so how is a frosh college QB supposed to do it? The failure of the Kicker to score on his opportunity in OT was the capstone of this bad night. Alejandro Maldonado missed, doinked it, and the Stanford kicker was true. Game ended 17-14. Now the BCS hopes are shattered, and your Yokel has to sit around and watch the Notre Dame Snappers lord it over everyone for a couple weeks before they get their nod to play for the Championship. With any luck, the Ducks will still play for the Rose Bowl, assuming that they get by an energized Oregon State next week and then beat UCLA (to my lights, as good or better than Stanford) the following week for the PAC-12 championship. If the Ducks don't win the PAC-12, they probably get some mid-level bowl like the Holiday. Also, if they don't win, Coach Kelly probably migrates to the NFL, where his endurance-busting style of offense might work for a few years until all other coaches beat their men into that good of shape.
Yokel War News: Folks, the world is REALLY close to the entire Middle East going up in a ball of flame, possibly nuclear flame. Islamist Egypt edges closer to invasion of Israel, and Hezbollah, aided by the Islamist "Rebel Alliance" fighting Baby Assad in Syria, is ready to send a few battalions in over that border. Iranian medium-range heavy battlefield (un-guided bombardment) missiles rain down and test Israel's Iron Dome missile defense shield, and the best our Prexy can do is, again, fly off somewhere, casting parting words over his shoulder, "You go, Israel, take care of yourself". Well, the IDF will take care of Israel, and unlike the USA, would consider using it's nuclear weapons to do so. The US military HAS made plenty of preparations in case this war goes general over there, mostly Navy preparations in case the Mad Mullahs try to close the Strait of Hormuz. I could get much more detailed, but my source would prefer me not to, so I won't. Just know that we are REALLY close to general war in the Sandy Regions. If it's gonna happen, it will happen in the next five days, so, if it doesn't, we will really have something to Thank God for this year!
The First American Republic is in the books. When those books are written up by better writers than myself, it will be noted that the Founders had a seriously Utopian vision of Individualism, and they incorporated a Nation with that idea.
To the everlasting credit of those who followed the Founders for the first 170 years or so, our citizens attempted to follow that pattern of individual effort, leading to the strength of the group. In fact, history will show that most citizens of that first 170 years thought that the individual's responsibility for his/her thread of the fabric of the Nation would last forever.
It didn't, and ordinary base emotion is responsible for the Nation's demise. That would be the base emotion of sloth, or laziness.
My mother told me, many times during my youth, that anything worth having was worth working for. I have attempted to follow that creed, as did most of my generation (technically, I came just before the "boom", by about 2 years). Those who followed (the "boomers" and their offspring, two generations of them now), have NOT followed that creed.
It's quite obvious that those generations after mine prefer to be handed life on a silver platter, whether or not they earned it, or even inherited it. My generation was called on to begin to pay for that sloth, then the next generation, and finally the present generation of teens-to-twentysomethings have their turn to pay.
There's a little problem of math here, though. Math is that science which the gimme-gimme people love to ignore, but math is the basic truth in anything. The math here says that the cost of the sloth exceeds the ability of the non-slothful to pay for it, and THAT math is caused by the increase in those following the creed of sloth, and the concomitant decline of those following the creed of thrift, the opposite of sloth.
With the re-election of a man firmly dedicated (if you thought Obama wasn't dedicated - you were wrong) to spreading the creed of sloth, we can now see the end of this experiment which will likely be known as the First American Republic. It lasted longer than most Utopian societal experiments.
Will a Second Republic follow?
It's hard to say, because the Republican form of Government involves granting some power to citizens, and specifically, it does NOT reserve all the power to the Government.
The Second Government (history will decide what to call it) will either be firmly totalitarian, or factions within it will try to restore the First Republic with it's democratic principles, and lack of sloth. The second choice means a protracted conflict, probably a bloody conflict, and unless I miss my guess, most of the First Republic people with the attitude to actually fight are too old to do so.
So, it ends here. There will be an interregnum until the Second Government is finally, formally declared, but it ends here.