The American Way

(Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Here we talk across the pond a good bit, and one of the things we notice is how different we and the cousins are in our relationship with weapons, guns yes, but even edged weapons. It goes back far into our history and has shaped the development of both countries. In a surprisingly good article, The Washington Post delved into it a bit.

This essay is based in part on Nicholas J. Johnson, David B. Kopel, George A. Mocsary & Michael P. O’Shea, “Firearms Law and the Second Amendment: Regulation, Rights, and Policy,” 2nd edition (Aspen Pub. 2017).

It is widely agreed that the United States has an exceptional gun culture. Although Great Britain is America’s “mother country,” the two nations have very different arms cultures. Why so? Historically, two reasons were especially important in the early colonial period:

1. The practical differences between conditions in America and in Great Britain.
2. The influence of American Indians.

What today is called “American gun culture” is founded on American Indian arms culture. The convergence of Europeans and American Indians produced a new, hybrid arms culture. Although that culture has changed over the centuries, we can still find in 21st century arms culture the influence of the Anglo-Indian convergence along the 17th century Atlantic seaboard.

The English

Let’s start with the English immigrants, who began settling in Virginia in 1607 and in New England in the 1620s.

In England, there was no written, express guarantee of a right to arms until 1689, when Parliament enacted the English Bill of Rights. In America, arms rights were recognized in the Virginia Charter of 1606 and by the New England Charter of 1620. Geographically, the two charters covered all the future English colonies in what would become the United States of America. According to the charters, the colonists had the perpetual right to import arms, ammunition and other goods for their “Defence or otherwise.”

The Virginians and New Englanders also had an express guarantee of the right to use their arms at ‘‘all times forever hereafter, for their several Defences,’’ to “encounter, expulse, repel and resist’’ anyone who attempted ‘‘the Hurt, Detriment, or Annoyance of the said several Colonies or Plantations.’’ In practice, the colonists’ right of self-defense against invaders and criminals would need to be exercised through the collective action of the colonists, there being no British army anywhere near.

As history turned out, the willingness of Americans to be subjects of the British crown ended when the crown began violating its guarantees of American arms rights. The American Revolution began when Americans used their firearms to resist house-to-house gun and powder confiscation at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. The attempted confiscation was part of a royal plan to disarm America, set in motion by King George III’s October 1774 embargo on the shipment of firearms and gunpowder to America. (By that point, Americans considered their arms rights to have been guaranteed by the 1689 Bill of Rights, because the 1606 and 1620 charters had long since been replaced.) […]

Yes, there were other reasons for the Revolution, but the spark in the magazine was the raid on Lexington and Concord. But America even then was different, first, there were the Indians.

American Indians got nearly all of their protein from hunting. Although the Anglo-Americans (English in America) did hunt, they were not as dependent on hunting because the Anglo-Americans had cattle-raising and Atlantic fishing as fairly reliable protein sources.

Not surprisingly, the Indians were highly proficient with bows (as the English had been long before). They could shoot accurately at moving targets and could shoot while moving.

Indian warfare was very different from European warfare. Whereas European battles were usually known in advance to both sides, Indians fought primarily with surprise attacks and small-scale raids. The European infantryman was trained to be an automaton, absolutely obedient to his officers; he had to stay standing in line, reloading his matchlock, while lines of enemy soldiers fired at him. The Indians, however, extolled individual valor in combat. In battle, each man was his own commander. […]

Sounds kind of like us, even to this day, doesn’t it? What happened when they shoved up against each other?

But when push came to shove, possession was at least 9/10th of the law and possession was based on armed victory. None of this changed when Europeans began arriving in America. Indian territories, such as the lands of the Powhatan Confederation in Virginia, that had been conquered from  other Indians came under pressure from the Europeans. Warfare was endemic, with many shifting alliances between various colonies and various tribes.

Trade was also endemic. The Anglo-Americans had plenty of high-quality trade goods. For Indians, the most desired of these were firearms, right from the start of the early days in Virginia. (See Frederick Fausz’s “Fighting ‘Fire’ with Firearms: The Anglo-Powhatan Arms Race in Early Virginia.”) […]

Of course the colonial laws included mandatory participation in the militia by able-bodied males and mandatory personal arms ownership for such participation. That part of the story is well-known. But the colonial laws went further.

Many laws required firearms ownership by any head of a household, even if the head were not militia-eligible (e.g., the head of the household was a woman or an old man.) Heads of households had to ensure that there was at least one firearm for every male in the household age 16 or over. This included free servants and indentured servants. Some colonies required that when a male indentured servant completed his term of service, his “freedom dues” (goods given by the master, so that the former servant could live independently) had to include a firearm.

To encourage settlement, the Carolina colony (today, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia) induced immigration by offering immigrants freehold land ownership, along with strong guarantees of religious liberty. To receive the land grant, an immigrant had to bring six months worth of provisions to take care of his family while his farm was being cleared and cultivated. Also required: ‘‘provided always, that every man be armed with a good musket full bore, 10 pounds powder and 20 pounds of bullet.’’ […]

American legal history of the right to arms has always paid attention to English legal history, especially the 1689 English Bill of Rights. Sometimes, efforts have been made to draw one-to-one comparisons, to assume that English law and practice about the right to arms must have been fully transposed to America. To the contrary, Anglo-American arms culture began diverging from English arms culture starting in 1606 and continuing ever since. The different environmental conditions in America were one cause; another was the distance from London and the necessity that the colonists take care of themselves. Accomplishing the opposite of what the despotic Stuart monarchs were attempting to impose on England, the Anglo-Americans developed a culture of near-universal armament, with a preference for guns that were more reliable, easier to conceal, faster to shoot, and quicker to reload.

The American colonists of the 17th century moved away from the European model that civic virtue in use of firearms meant standing in line, blindly obeying your social superiors and shooting with minimal skill a gun you didn’t even own. The American model was responsible individual initiative, widespread personal ownership of high-quality arms and proficient accuracy. The divergence between English and American arms ideals was a cause and an effect of similar divergences in social and political life, including a broader electoral franchise and less rigid class distinctions in America compared with England.

The colonists’ new arms culture was profoundly influenced by Indian arms culture, which the colonists imitated in many respects. Perhaps this weekend you may practice precise riflery on a 200-yard range. Or you may take a defensive handgun class that trains you to make quick individual decisions under pressure. Whether or not you like American arms culture, you shouldn’t think of it as something that was brought across the Atlantic Ocean by European immigrants. It’s true that those immigrants brought the firearms. Yet those firearms were quickly integrated into an arms culture that had already existed in America for centuries and that would eventually become the arms culture of American of all races. That was the arms culture founded by the first Americans, the American Indians.

I think he may be on to something here, only Americans really understand how important it is, at least to us, to be self-sufficient in all things. It is a lot of the explanation for our weapons, yes, but also for our respect for the guy that can do almost anything acceptably well.

From the building trades, to fixing your own car, to growing your own food. We are a culture that holds high regard for the man (or woman) who is able to take care of him (or her) self. In fact, mostly we lionize such people, and we pretty much always have. It’s evident from our westering ways to our disdain for government to our way of making war.

It’s an American thing, and if you don’t understand it, you won’t understand us either. It’s also part of why we have changed the world, while totally mystifying a goodly share of it.

You remember this, right?

Thing is, this was made in 1970, by leftists, who thought they were making an anti-war film, a misjudgment for the ages, because whole generations of Americans found a hero in that film, who did it the American way.

 

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DIY Texas Style

So we had a mass shooting, and it ended abruptly. Well, they usually do, in a hail of police bullets. Not this time. This time, one good man, with a AR 15, but without shoes, ended a murderous spree by a crazy man with a AR 15.

The murderer should not by law have had anything more than a BB gun, he had a record for abusing his family, of mental treatment and a dishonourable discharge from the Air Force, after a year in the stockade. That’s several things that disqualify him from buying a weapon. But the Air Force couldn’t be bothered to make the proper notifications, and so his record was clean.

I doubt there is any legal responsibility, but there are people who are (or were) in the USAF that bear a fair share of moral responsibility for this event. God have mercy on their undeserving souls.

But what happened? This guy decided to shoot up the Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, TX. Well, for lots of reasons many people who usually do carry a weapon, don’t to church. Also out here in small towns, we can get complacent because this sort of thing never happens, until it does, and if we are honest, carrying even a small pistol isn’t all that comfortable. There’s also the fact that going up against a guy wearing tactical gear and a rifle with a small pistol increases the pucker factor considerably.

And so he got a free ride at the church, until Stephen Willeford recognized the sound of gunfire and rolled on into the fight, and ended it.

It’s quite the story, so let’s let him tell it, as he did to Steven Crowder

And that is what I call a real American Hero.

Johnny Langendorff, who drove Stephen Willeford in pursuit

But you know, we remember times when there were lots of Americans just like that, but when I first heard this story I thought of a Brit, a Londoner, who a few months ago when confronted with three knife-wielding terrorists charged on in barehanded yelling “F*ck you, I’m Millwall”. Well, usually we think Americans are the loud and rowdy ones, while Brits are a little quieter. But you know, free men are free men.

It highlights something else, I live in a town not much bigger than Sutherland Springs, and it’s not because I have to. My skills are good enough and have been for 30+ years that I could live anywhere I wish, and make a hell of a lot more money too. But here is where I am, and although this town is a bit too big for me, still it’s one of those wide places on the road, where we mostly know one another, and even if we don’t get along, we don’t go out of our way to hurt each other.

You know, back in the day, when my ex and I bought our house, the former owner told us that they couldn’t find the key for the door, so we’d have to get one made. They were right, we had to, after our divorce when we sold the house. Never had any reason to lock the joint up. Try that in the city, and then you’ll know the real reason so many of us live out here. We may not have all the toys you city folk do, but we’ve got everything we need, neighbors we can trust, and God’s world to look at. Damned close to heaven.

I’m hearing a lot of media fools, saying the shooting was over, well it’s simply bullshit, the shooter was alive and walking around and had both guns and ammunition available. At best it was an intermission, and Mr. Willeford ended it.

One of the things that struck me in that interview, even with directions, Mr. Willeford ended up maintaining security on the scene for 5 to 7 minutes before the police arrived. That’s about the same time it took him to shoot all those people at the church.

God, guns, and guts. The recipe for freedom.

The Left’s Last Spasm

Bring it on.

I think the author here, J.r. Dunn, may well be correct. I can think of no other reason, other than perhaps mass delusion, which isn’t all that different. And do read it all, I’ve just excerpted a few of my favorite parts.

As far as anybody knows, the November 4th revolution/tantrum/jamboree planned by Antifa and its associate organizations remains on schedule. The “Opposition” – Antifa, the John Brown Clubs, Refuse Fascism, and assorted other scraps have announced that on that date the revolution will begin with a mass nationwide uprising that will continue until the Trump/Pence regime is overcome. Dozens of hundreds of the people’s vanguard will hit the streets, squatting at intersections and holding their breaths until the fascists are exorcised and the new epoch of light is fully underway. (Further details can be found here.)

Conservatives, as is all too often the case, have overreacted.  Numerous sites, publications, and radio shows have featured rhetoric such as “Antifa Planning Communist Revolution for America on November 4,” “Patriots beware! ANTIFA plans armed uprising on November 4!,” and “The Leftist Chaos Will Be Coming On November 4th.” (Links withheld to protect the guilty.)

But the truth, if anything, is exactly the opposite. What we are experiencing, far from a deadly revolutionary upsurge threatening everything of value, is a historically unique situation where, for the first time on record, a leftist movement is in complete and accelerating collapse within a democratic polity. The upcoming people’s revolt is simply another symptom of this.

The Democrats, America’s de facto leftist party (note how a sworn socialist, Bernie Sanders, is effectively exercising leadership of the party without anyone so much as blinking) have lost over 1,000 offices nationwide in the past year. The GOP controls nearly two-thirds of all governorships and nearly half of state governments. The left’s political presence and influence is negligible across vast areas of the heartland. They have abandoned the working class, the bedrock of any leftist movement, in favor of representing transsexuals, ball club millionaires, and noncitizen criminals, not a strategy with much of a future, on the face of it.

The year since the 2016 electoral debacle has witnessed a number of off-elections to replace cabinet picks, each one hailed by the media as the turning of the progressive tide, each one won by the GOP.

Thus leading many of us to recall Trump’s prediction, “So much winning. You’re going to get tired of winning”. Well, I haven’t, yet. It feels real good.

[…]

Then we have the NFL. The national anthem uproar is the fruit of the latest attempt by the left to turn American workingmen’s institutions – sports and country music in particular – into left-wing systems to shunt the regular Joes into the arms of the commissars, where they belong. Its failure, at the hands of an irate public (not to forget Donald Trump, certainly, here as in many other instances the indispensable man), is one of the most encouraging developments in the wake of 2016. Colin Kaepernick, who attempted to revive a foundering career on the field though political posturing, can serve as an object lesson to all the others attempting to follow in his wake. The NFL, already on the skids, now faces an accelerating and well-deserved financial hemorrhage. (I say that even though my grandfather helped found the organization.)

Finally, we get to Harvey. Harvey Weinstein was a bicoastal combination of Graydon Carter and George Soros, acting as a facilitator between left-wing politics and popular culture while at the same time financing left-wing politicians – including the Clintons, the millennial Borgias – to the tune of millions. All this bought him immunity for decades of sex offenses. The fact that it came to an end in large part due to the efforts of Rose McGowan, onetime inamorata of Marilyn Manson and collaborator with Quentin Tarantino, and Ronan Farrow, a virtual stereotype of the Manhattan liberal, makes his fall even sweeter.

I like many of you, wasted many hours watching the NFL, and like others, I have noticed the quality of play decrease, and then this silliness during the Anthem. Well, I really can’t say I miss it much and see no reason to ever start watching again. Those hours are far better spent now. Buh-Bye NFL!

[…]

Yet all attention on the right seems to be focused on a gang of undergrads in black hoodies and Guy Fawkes masks. How can we correlate the two – black-clad militants brash enough to threaten the government itself while their entire political/social superstructure collapses in ruins around them? On the face of it, it seems paradoxical. But there’s actually no contradiction at all. The one follows the other as sure as Stalin followed Lenin. The left has turned violent because it’s falling apart. They don’t have anything else. No plans, no prospects, no leadership. The left has failed, and violence is all that remains.

Left-wing failure is not arguable. The international record stands for itself, having become a truism without ever quite attaining the status of a cliché. Though the academy and the media have tried their best to bury the record (while earnest and naïve types such as Anne Applebaum scratch their heads as to why it lacks the immediacy of the Nazi crimes), it’s impossible to hide failures so gargantuan as to have left mountainous piles of corpses across the entire landscape of Eurasia. (Every few years the spring thaw in Siberia and the Urals uncovers mass graves, the legacy of the Gulag, sending thousands of mummified, nearly intact corpses drifting down the rivers. This is what Weinstein, Antifa and the rest would wish on us.) The same pattern is occurring at this moment in Venezuela, a wealthy nation reduced first to pauperdom and soon to open massacre.

Something to interject here is that the reason that America leads the free world, is because we fought very hard to be free, and we all know hard lessons stick. And then our founder’s had the gumption and foresight to write it all down so that we could refer back to what they had said and done. And they even had the foresight to make their plan the supreme law of the land, subject to change only with great difficulty and with the consent of a supermajority of citizens, and legislators at all levels. It is something that even our near peers, like the UK lack. Their rule, that one Parliament may not bind another, means that it can all be lost in an instant. And finally, our leadership is based on our passionate defense of liberty which hasn’t waned since before 1776. We lead because we tend the flame of freedom, we were the first and if necessary we will be the last, but the flame shall not go out again.

I have Brits tell me every day that demographics will destroy us (and them). My standard answer is (although more politely) “Here, hold my beer”. We were the first, and we have kept the faith. It is nearly 120 years since the first Progressive Teddy Roosevelt, (who actually wasn’t all bad) was elected, and watch us, of all the people in the world, while we’ve been hurt, sometimes badly, by the disease, yet here we still stand, and get this: WE ARE WINNING! Mostly because we have the guts and the means to fight back. Something else the smarter ones tell me often is to never, ever let them take your guns. You’d be surprised how often I hear that from Brits I respect highly.

What I tell them is that it is a long process, and they went much further down the road than we did. They need to get control of the Conservative Party, even as we are starting to do the Republican Party, another place where Trump is proving indispensable. But Corbyn’s Labour party is showing the same signs as our left. They need to quit making excuses and just do it.

It’s best to ignore them, and let the law take its course. We hold all the cards. The thunderous, nationwide shout of “No!” that greeted the NFL “protests” clearly demonstrates that the United States remains solid. The greatest public humiliation endured by the American left in this century proved that the bedrock of this nation still exists, uneroded by ephemeral entities like Obama and the Clintons. The teenage ninjas think they can take that down with a few slingshots and Molotov cocktails. Let them try.

I think the best thing to do with the leftists is simply laugh at them, and then use their tears as a mixer in our whiskey. It also reminds me of a bit of graffiti from when I was in college back in the early seventies. Carved on the stall wall in the Union was this,
Workers of the World arise,
So that we may more easily gun you down.
Bring it on, I’m tired of this nonsense, even as my dad was in the sixties.

Weekend Pictures

Time to look around before we start a fresh week of hell, not to mention Pumpkin Spice

In case you were in space last week, the news is that casting couches still exist in Hollywood, and Harvey Weinstein knows how to use them, often. But something happened and all the bribes paid to politicians contributions to the Democratic Party haven’t sufficed to keep the story out of the paper. Film at 11!

“I’ll take that one!”

As always mostly from Bookworm and PowerLine. Have a good week!

 

Vegas

That’s from the White House moment of silence for the victims in Las Vegas. You can find a video of it if you want. It’s moving and appropriate. The video has a close-up near the end where Melania looks like she is about to cry, where the President looks sad and determined. Both are appropriate. Far more so than most of the reactions around the country or the world. As usual, I was watching British news yesterday morning, and the instant, insistent, and arrogant drumbeat for gun control angered me nearly as much as the massacre itself. It will be a long time before (if ever) I tune in again. From what I read the American media, and a good many politicians weren’t any better. It’s a time to mourn the dead, succour the wounded, and attempt to comfort the bereaved, then it will be time to see if we can figure out what happened, and what, if anything, we can do to prevent a  repeat.

I know essentially nothing. To me, it sounded too mechanical to be semi-automatic fire and too slow to be fully automatic fire. (Actually, it sounded like an old BAR). There are reports that he modified an AR 15 and/or an AK version to bump fire, or with a trigger device. Sounds about right to me. But there are reports out there supporting anything you want it to be. Nobody knows, but everybody is riding their hobbyhorses for all they’re worth. In sum, it is simply disgusting on all sides. Funny that of all of us, Donald Trump is nearly the only one to get it right.

I have little to add to that. In time we will know more, and perhaps there is a way we can make a repeat less likely. But it is also possible that, as Bill O’Reilly said yesterday, this is one of the prices we pay for freedom. Today, and as it was almost 250 years ago if so, it is worth it.

Eventually, the police will have more information for us,   as will the Federal agencies. The cause isn’t helped because they squandered their reputations one and all over the last few years, but that is where we are. God help us all.

God bless the victims, their family and friends, Las Vegas, and us all.

Saturday: Total Eclipse of the Sun

Well, it’s Saturday, and as usual, we’re going to wrap up the week in cartoons, pictures and maybe a video or so.

Why not the most famous video of the week and the marksmanship award goes to the Phoenix Police Department

Always remember

And, of course

From PowerLine and Bookworm this week. Nice to see Bookworm’s illustrated edition back.

Have a good one! 🙂

 

 

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