Vegas: Conspiracies, Doubts, and Lies

After a good number of questions coming in following my thoughts on the attack in Las Vegas with an up-front lean toward accepting one or another of the many conspiracy “theories”, I have opted to put some thoughts together on this, and hopefully in some small way get people focused back on the truth instead of the fantasy.

In our culture of instant gratification, it is expected, I suppose, that people might want answers to certain questions sooner than such answers can be had. Idle minds are apt to create a story where no such story exists.

Adding to the problem is the social media fame-seeking issue. People who want desperately to be seen as relevant take any path they see as controversial in order to increase likes and follows.

Lives were lost. That is a reality that we must not forget. Using tragedies for increasing your own fame is sub-human behavior.

By far, the most frequently repeated conspiracy theory involves the idea that there was more than one shooter. They are basing this on the known fact of more than twenty guns in the hotel room, and adjustments to the timeline of the event as reported by Law Enforcement.

All conspiracy theories have to use facts which will then be interpreted in favor of the theory. They ignore that they are looking to support a foregone conclusion. The problem is that this is no way to find the truth.

So, let’s begin with the multiple gun issue.

Why would one man have so many guns in the room? There had to have been more than one shooter with that many weapons there? Right?!?!?!

Wrong.

Any semi-automatic weapon is engineered from the start to be a semi-automatic weapon. Ask anyone who knows anything at all about bump-fire stocks and they will tell you that it absolutely causes a drastic increase in the number of malfunctions you will have. Some of these malfunctions can be cleared easily, some leave the weapon inoperable. The killer obviously knew this, hence the many weapons. He intended to kill a lot of people, and knew he would not have a lot of time to clear a jammed rifle or fix a malfunction, so he opted for swapping out a jammed rifle for a different one.

See! There is a perfectly logical explanation available that does not resort to the conspiracy justifications.

But, but, but…why does the official timeline of the event keep changing?

There are two factors at play here, and in all honesty, I do not know which one is having the bigger influence on the slow information and the changing timeline. So, I will just give you these two things to think about: lawsuits and pressure.

It should not need to be pointed out, but everyone is going to get sued. The hotel, the city, the concert promoter – anyone with any connection to the area on the night of October 1st is going to be sued. This fact will slow the information coming from the hotel and any other potentially sued party to Law Enforcement.

Law Enforcement is under pressure from the media and the public to start giving answers. They are still going through the investigation process, but people feel they have a right to know now. Even before Law Enforcement has the answers.

I would advise anyone who will listen, please calm down. It is better for the investigation to end up with the right answer than it is for them to give you what you want to hear. I have watched every video I can find that was taken while the shooting was happening and I can find nothing to make me think that more than one gun was being fired at the same time. I have even watched the video and listened to the audio from people who think there was audio proof. It simply isn’t there. My number of subscribers and the number of shares would increase incredibly if I were willing to promote some of the conspiracy theories floating around, especially if I were to make one of my own so I could be the “journalist” who “breaks the story”, but I am not like that. Calm down, drink a chamomile tea, and wait while the professionals do their job.

Be nice to each other, things are rough out there right now.                                    

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A Lie Agreed Upon

In the aftermath of a tragedy, such as the horrible attack in Las Vegas, we seem to all agree upon a lie.

Our politicians and our media are clearly disconnected from the facts of our everyday lives. They do not see what is in plain sight of everyone willing to open their eyes and see. Anyone paying attention can see that this is absolutely not a nation of racism and hate, but seeing this is in direct contradiction to the news and social media evaluation of our society.

For nearly a decade, our Police have been demonized. Lie after lie was promoted. When proven to be false, the media would find a new lie and promote it. In their drive for ratings, they failed to see that they were promoting hate. Or, possibly, they did not care. Living outside of their bubble, it is hard for me to tell. I’m just a philosopher, I get confused sometimes.

Add social media to the mix. The mentally weak people, the sick people, and the violent-prone people are fed a nonstop diet of hate. The most disrespectful and idiotic behavior is given the most likes and shares. People push the envelope hoping for something they do or say to become viral.

The threats of violence escalate. People openly call for someone to commit acts of violence for them. They toy with different ways of expressing violent actions in order to coin a new viral phrase in hopes of a trending hashtag. They carry threats of violence closer and closer to the edge, and one is often left with the sense that they actually enjoy seeing people they disagree with suffer and squirm and alter their lives because of the threat of violence.

Yet we are surprised when violence happens.

Aren’t we?

Well, I think we must be surprised beyond belief. Because after violence happens we start another round of hand-wringing and fretting about how we have to do SOMETHING. And then all of the ideas put forward by our betters in Washington end up being things that would have done absolutely nothing to prevent the event which shocked us so.

Currently, the banter in Washington following the horrible attack in Las Vegas has politicians discussing the banning of bump stocks. I am going to be honest and tell you that I had heard of bump stocks before but really knew little about them. They are an available accessory to the so-called “assault rifles” that can make a semi-auto shoot almost like a fully auto. I remember noticing a change in the rate of fire when watching the many films of the Las Vegas attack, but I didn’t know that was a tell-tale sign of a bump stock. Experts probably knew immediately that this was not a military-grade weapon being used, but I confess I did not. My rifle experience right now is limited to lever-action cowboy-style guns.

I have a lot of gun-enthusiast friends, but I have not known any of them to even own a bump stock. The gun friends I have are more interested in things like accuracy. If you want your accuracy to go down, go fully automatic. If you want clean accurate shots and tight grouping, stay semi-auto.

Ban bump stocks. Okay. The issue then becomes, what next? Because I can tell you, if someone wants to kill a bunch of people, lack of access to a bump stock is not going to deter them. Look at the many terror attacks in Europe, where they have no 2nd Ammedment. The terrorists use big trucks and knives and illegally obtained guns to murder. When the objective is murder, the details do not matter to those who are sick enough to go that route.

The difference between you and the people who commit these murderous acts is simple- if I gave you my rifle, fully loaded and also gave you a box of ammunition, would your first impulse be to kill a bunch of people? No? Good! We can still be friends.

There is nothing you can do to prevent a sicko from trying to kill a bunch of people if that is what he has decided to do. We lie to ourselves when we pretend there is an answer that will prevent these incidents. Ban all guns, they will use knives and swords. Ban knives and swords, they will use trucks and rocks. Ban trucks and rocks, they will use tall buildings and…

When we agree to lie to ourselves, this does not make the lie suddenly become a truth, it is still just a lie. We all want to feel better after a tragedy. But in a search for answers, we should not neglect the truth. If we could stop demonizing one another, and rediscover the now lost art of honest dialogue, we could all work toward ideas to make these hateful acts less frequent.

Gun Control: Lullabies, Legends, and Lies

There was a high-profile shooting yesterday which brought out the typical news media routine of spin the back story on the shooter and deflect the incident into a conversation on gun control, or as they want to call it now gun safety or ending gun violence. The problem starts with a lack of understanding personal responsibility, the shooter decided to do this himself. It turns out he was from the political Left in this country, he was a Bernie supporter and a socialist, a social media ranter against any and all things Trump, and he was a Left-leaning news junkie. This information was all downplayed and the reporting was directed in the direction of gun control. Today, I am going to just present a few facts because there is a metric ton of fact that is ignored whenever the topic turns to gun control.

Shortly after the shootings, the Governor of Virginia made a very inaccurate (and ridiculous) statement that we lose 93 million Americans every day to gun violence. Unless we are bringing in many more refugees than they are publicly claiming, everyone in the U.S.A. would be dead in just a few days at that rate. In fact, if I may be permitted to use a more factual terminology, and call it gun-related deaths, even if the Governor meant to say 93 deaths per day, he would have still been incorrect. He would have been much closer to the truth, but in our time, facts don’t mean as much as agendas.

So, undisputed fact – there are right at 30,000 gun-related deaths per year in the U.S.A. Statistically speaking, a tiny fraction of the population of the U.S.A. dies per year from gun-related causes. On a personal level, each loss is tragic. At a recent shooting at North Lake College in Irving, I lost a former student. I know. But even the 30,000 number needs to be dissected to see a clear picture and notice the media spin.

To start with, you need to subtract 15% of the 30,000. That is the number that are from justified actions. Bad guys sometimes refuse to be taken in by the Police, or at times leave the Officers with no other option. In some cases, a home invader chose the home of an armed citizen and paid the price for the crime. Justifiable shootings happen, but anti-gun politicians think it is okay to lump these shootings in with the rest.

Next, take out 65% because those are suicides. Taking guns away because of potential suicides is pointless because if a person wants to die, they will find a way to make it happen, and the entire availability of guns effect on the suicide rate is propaganda.

You have to take out another 3% for accidental discharge. Guns, in spite of Hollywood jargon, do not just go off. The trigger has to be pulled, or there has to be a faulty engineering which allows a gun to fire when dropped.

So we are left with 17% of that 30,000 who are killed by the mentally ill, criminals, gang members, and druggies. Five thousand out of over three hundred million will not give you those drastic infographics that make America out to be the murder capital of the world, which we are not.

In the end, we are left with just over 5,000 deaths per year that are the victims of gun violence, out of a Nation of over 300,000,000. And 25% of those deaths come from just four cities! Chicago, of course, takes the top honors followed by Baltimore, Detroit, and Washington D.C. And while we are here, I should probably point out that these cities have very strict gun control laws.

And this is a point where I will make note of the glaring fallacy that the media wants you to ignore – gun control leaves only the law-abiding citizens defenseless. The criminals don’t care one bit about the gun laws. Need proof, search out the number of shootings that occur in Gun Free Zones.

If you are on the political Left, and you wonder why people on the Political Right will not budge on gun control, no matter how you change the terminology, look at Australia. In a moment of weakness and emotion, they allowed themselves to be stripped of every means of personal self-defense. Now, the politicians there, who are safe behind their armed security force, are telling the populace that in the event of a terrorist attack, they should Run, Hide Tell, and if found in hiding, Beg. 

In my humble opinion, we owe it to those, who lost their lives in generations past to secure and maintain our freedom, to preserve and defend that freedom. You have the option to believe the BS and the lies and the spin. I think the truth in the debate is pretty telling. But so is the constant intentional misdirection of the political Left. So, in closing, I would like to recommend that you open a history book and read it.

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“What’s Up With the Guns?”

During a recent conversation with one of my adult students, there was a question that came up. “I saw the change in the title of your Facebook page. ‘Martial arts, sharp things, and guns.’ What’s up with the guns?” Now, my student accepted my answer and moved on to another topic without missing a beat. I have had other conversations that did not go so well.

As is common in America, many people become concerned when a friend purchases a gun, or as in my case, a few guns. Due in no small part to the news media’s constant barrage of slander against anyone who might actually *gasp* like guns, well-meaning friends can become genuinely concerned, and sometimes even frightened by your decision to buy a gun.

For people who are considering making a firearm purchase, it should be known that some of your friends will react to it in a way far removed from how they would act if you were to purchase a fire-extinguisher. If you tell a friend, “Hey, I just bought my first fire-extinguisher!”, they might praise you on the wisdom of the decision. “Wow! That is a good move! You know, if you set the kitchen on fire, you might be able to get the fire out before the fire department is able to get there. Very good move!”

With a gun purchase, you are sure to have some friends who are against it. “Hey! I just bought my first gun!” Your response is likely to be questions about your training in gun safety, lectures on the dangers of having guns in the house, and even questions about your state of mind.

To me, the worst is when they start with their own short-comings. “I could never own a gun, I know I would end up killing someone the first time I get mad.” This is a subtle hint that you share this mental deficiency, or even that all people are deficient in this same way.

You might encounter guilt trips from people who lament the “gun culture” of America. I even had one person who told me that liking guns was “typical white person behavior”. Whatever that means.

In the end, for as long as we are able to maintain the right to do so, owning a firearm is a choice. If you are anti-gun, don’t buy one. If you are pro-gun, buy one. Just as I will not go out and demand that everyone own a fire-extinguisher, I will also not demand that everyone own guns. But if the option is there, if you want to take that option, by golly do it!

I want to have the best possible option when it comes to defending my Family. I would never willingly defend my Family with the least effective weapon I can think of. I want to, at the very least, be on a comparable footing with the bad guy. If I could have him outgunned, awesome, but if the contest has to be equal, then I will accept it and rely on training and motivation to make me victorious.

In the end, please understand this; a friend who decides to own a gun is still your friend. They made a personal decision. This does not give you the right to label them a gun nut. It does not mean they want to kill people. I can tell you truly, I hope I never have to point a gun at another human. If I have to, I will not hesitate, but this does not mean I want to or am eager to. I like peace and happiness. I study violence, and train in the application of violence, but if a problem can be settled with a conversation and a cheeseburger, then I am taking that option. Even if it takes two cheeseburgers.

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The 2nd Amendment

In the United States, the first ten amendments are what is known as The Bill of Rights. As an armchair student of U.S. history, I could write quite a bit about the Constitution and the founding of our Nation. It would be a little out of place here, and so I will stick to one issue here.

The 2nd Amendment.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

This clear and very straightforward sentence gets mangled and twisted as people try to make it conform to what they want it to mean.

Anti-gun people focus a lot of their attention on the phrase A well regulated Militia. The Militia, those who would be called upon to defend the United States against aggression, had to be armed. The anti-gun people take this to mean that the military would be armed.

But this isn’t what the 2nd Amendment says. And the Militia being referred to here was…wait for it…the people.

This is very clear in the way that the 2nd Amendment does not read A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the Militia to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. It says the people.

We tend to forget in our time that back when these ideas were debated, people actually thought. They argued. They did not get their positions on political issues from celebrities or Facebook shares. In our dumbed-down society, we inject our approach to issues into the minds of people in the past. The reason the 2nd Amendment says the right of the people is because they meant the right of the people.

I don’t claim to be anyone special who is gifted with any unique insight into the matter. But I am able to think for myself, and in our time that is almost a superpower. I have said repeatedly, self-defense isn’t a Constitutional Right, it is a human right. As an independent and free human being, no one has the authority to tell me that I am not allowed to be equipped to defend myself and my Family.

If any of my anti-gun readers have read this far, I would like to point out that I was once very anti-gun. I was raised to be afraid of guns and afraid of the people who liked them. I am not your enemy. But there is a simple way of approaching this subject. If you do not want to own a gun, don’t buy one! I found enough reason to buy guns and before that, I took the time to learn about gun safety.

Every single time that some half-wit or radical idiot shoots someone we are inundated with cries to end one or more types of gun ownership. And such cries are complete and utter nonsense. People are still responsible for their own actions. Not society, not inanimate steel and polymer objects – individuals.

Anyway, that is my stance. I thank you for your time in reading this, and as always, likes and shares are greatly appreciated!

Range Time

I promised a follow-up to my First Impressions article about the Walther Creed. Here it is.

Although the weekend was busy with a North Texas Regional Karate Championships to prepare and direct for KickStart Kids, I snuck away for a few minutes on Sunday morning to try out the new Creed.

I had never loaded a magazine for a semi-auto before. The springs were tougher than I imagined, but I got the hang of it. It might just be because the springs are new, don’t know and don’t really care. I just figure everything has a learning curve and this one was quite manageable.

And a silly side note; after spending so much time lately dealing with .357 Magnum and 45-70 cartridges, 9mm are so tiny that it took a little time to get used to handling them.

Back to the Creed.

The gun is awesome! I ran 100 rounds through it (it was all I brought, normally 100 rounds with the revolver takes most of the hour long range time, not so with a semi-auto). No malfunctions at all. Malfunctions were my main concern. I had none.

The complaints about the grips seem unfounded to me, or maybe I’m just not very picky. Could it be that other polymer guns bite more snugly in the hand, perhaps? The gun didn’t jump out of my hand, and it didn’t even slip a little.

The sights were great. My accuracy was good enough that I eventually ran out of bullseye to hit and started working on creating an ever-widening hole in the paper. The only time my accuracy went down was when I tried some rapid-fire. As it turns out, I’m not John Wick. But, having started my journey into the world of firearms with truly horrible marksmanship, I’m okay with what I accomplished.

Loaded with 16 rounds, it is still lighter than my revolver. I like the gun. A lot.

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Walther Creed: First Impressions

My Wife is one in a million. A couple of weeks ago she told me, “You need to get around and get your LTC!” (License to Carry, in Texas, formerly Concealed Carry or Concealed Handgun License).

I responded that my handgun wasn’t good for concealed carry. For those of you who are new here, my handgun is a Smith and Wesson 686 SSR .357 magnum revolver.

Is that a 686 in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

It is a big chunk of steel and would be hard to hide.

So my Wife told me to get a carry gun.

Okay, if I have to.

Just as with my first handgun purchase, I had a lot of things to consider. I ended up opting for a semi-auto because of the concealability and extra rounds. I opted for my first ever polymer gun and 9mm for the same reasons. Then I had to narrow things down from a very large field of choices.

I ended up deciding on the Walther Creed because of the incredible reviews it was getting. But it was not available anywhere in the DFW Metroplex. For those of you unfamiliar with the Dallas/Fort Worth area, please understand that the Metroplex is probably about the size of Connecticut. When I say I searched the Metroplex, this is a serious search. A search that turned up nothing.

So, I decided to check with Bud’s Gun Shop. Hicock45 recommends them all of the time on his YouTube channel, so, why not give it a try. Well, now I too can recommend Bud’s Gun Shop without reservation. They were respectful, timely and honest as well as helpful with questions. They have a good reputation that they earn through fantastic customer service.

Anyway, here is the Creed.

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For first impressions, the gun is very light. It is hammer fired instead of striker fired, but coming from a revolver to a hammer fired semi-auto is no big deal to me. The gun will hold 16 +1, and it comes with two magazines. And it is a Walther, for under $400! The gun is solid, the grip is much better than I expected, coming from zero experience with polymer grips. I expected it to be slippery, but it isn’t at all.

The drawbacks for me are all minor. The slide release is not ambidextrous, but since this is my first semi-auto, what do I care. I simply find a way to make it work for a lefty. The magazine release button is currently under my trigger finger, but it is reversible, so that will change soon, so no worries. The complaints in the reviews I checked were about the grip and the trigger. Some people found the grip to be of poor quality, but I can find no such fault. Once I get to the range with it I will know more, but, on first impression, the grip is good. The complaints I heard about the trigger were different. Some people disliked the pre-cocked hammer, others did not like the reset point…this is all new stuff to me. I have never owned or fired a semi-auto before, so I have no base of reference. Perhaps a trip to the range will clear things up for me.

Next up will be a trip to the range and getting a chance to see how I fare with this gun! I am excited at the chance to find out first-hand how well it shoots. I will report here once I get time to go to the range.

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