Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Organizing the riots, fake news, and other matters

It seems that the organizing effort behind the current, allegedly "spontaneous" riots is extensive, well-planned, and very well coordinated and equipped.  More and more evidence is coming to light.  As just one example, here's part of their instructions, dropped by a riot organizer and publicized on Twitter.  Click the image for a larger view.

Note that every page has to be initialed by recipients, and strict discipline is imposed on them.  I ran that image past my law enforcement contacts in a few states and cities.  Several replied that they'd seen the same sort of thing in their areas.  One pointed out that the handout shown above was 26 pages long, and that enough other pages had been found in various places (mislaid, or on the person of arrested organizers) to reconstruct almost the whole document.  The radio frequencies and encryption used by the riot coordinators are also known by now, and interceptions are happening in real time.  There's a massive effort underway to coordinate intelligence and information, in the hope that this will lead to a crackdown on those responsible.  It can't happen too soon for me!

Be aware that much of the news about these riots is false.  Many in the mainstream media are deliberately tailoring their output to reflect the "party line", shooting TV footage from specific angles to maximize the social justice perspective and minimize the thuggery.  Quotes are selective, images unfavorable to the politically correct narrative are simply not used, and reporting is biased in the extreme.

I'll give you just one example of biased reporting.  Here's a headline from BET (Black Entertainment Television) yesterday:

David McAtee was shot by law enforcement
early Monday morning during a protest for Breonna Taylor.

Sounds terrible, doesn't it?  How could those brutal, heartless police kill such a wonderful man?  Well . . . turns out the reality was rather different, as Fox 19 reported (also yesterday).

You'll find other reports out there.  They agree that at least two surveillance cameras, at different businesses, showed Mr. McAtee firing at police before they returned fire and killed him.  Compare and contrast the two headlines.  Which sounds closer to that reality?  Which report is more accurate?  (By the way, the same information was available to both outlets before they published their articles.  Note what BET left out!)

The problem is, most BET viewers and readers will never see another report from a different perspective.  They'll be outraged by what they perceive - what has been implicitly portrayed - as police brutality.  This, I suggest, is precisely the effect BET journalists and editors are trying to achieve.

I wouldn't trust a single report about the rioting in the mainstream media.  I'd check, double-check and triple-check everything, using input from all sides of the political and media spectrum, before making up my mind.  News - accurate news - is too important to be left to journalists and editors, who have all too often proved to be biased, dishonest and corrupt.

I think the ever thought-provoking Heather Mac Donald has the best input on what we're seeing on our streets.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

Savagery is spreading with lightning speed across the United States, with murderous assaults on police officers and civilians and the ecstatic annihilation of businesses and symbols of the state. Welcome to a real civilization-destroying pandemic...

. . .

This pandemic of civil violence is more widespread than anything seen during the Black Lives Matter movement of the Obama years, and it will likely have an even deadlier toll on law enforcement officers than the targeted assassinations we saw from 2014 onward. It’s worse this time because the country has absorbed another five years of academically inspired racial victimology. From Ta-Nehisi Coates to the New York Times’s 1619 project, the constant narrative about America’s endemic white supremacy and its deliberate destruction of the “black body” has been thoroughly injected into the political bloodstream.

Facts don’t matter to the academic victimology narrative. Far from destroying the black body, whites are the overwhelming target of interracial violence. Between 2012 and 2015, blacks committed 85.5 percent of all black-white interracial violent victimizations (excluding interracial homicide, which is also disproportionately black-on-white). That works out to 540,360 felonious assaults on whites. Whites committed 14.4 percent of all interracial violent victimization, or 91,470 felonious assaults on blacks. Blacks are less than 13 percent of the national population.

If white mobs were rampaging through black business districts, assaulting passersby and looting stores, we would have heard about it on the national news every night. But the black flash mob phenomenon is grudgingly covered, if at all, and only locally.

The national media have been insisting on the theme of the allegedly brutal Minneapolis police department. They said nothing as black-on-white robberies rose in downtown Minneapolis late last year, along with savage assaults on passersby. Why are the Minneapolis police in black neighborhoods? Because that’s where violent crime is happening, including shootings of two-year-olds and lethal beatings of 75-year-olds. Just as during the Obama years, the discussion of the allegedly oppressive police is being conducted in the complete absence of any recognition of street crime and the breakdown of the black family that drives it.

Once the violence began, any effort to “understand” it should have stopped, since that understanding is inevitably exculpatory. The looters are not grieving over the stomach-churning arrest and death of George Floyd; they are having the time of their lives. You don’t protest or mourn a victim by stealing oxycontin, electronics, jewelry, and sneakers.

There's more at the linkHighly recommended reading.

Finally, in response to several queries from readers following my two articles on Monday, I remind you that last year I published an article titled "An interesting look at urban defense".  It contains links to several other articles on the subject.  All are thought-provoking and worth reading.


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

That was a heck of an explosion!

While Wikiwandering the other day, doing research for a forthcoming book, I happened upon the account of SS John Burke, a Liberty ship built during World War II.  Her sister ship, SS John W. Brown, one of only two surviving Liberty ships that are still seaworthy, is shown below to illustrate approximately what she would have looked like.

Liberty ships could carry over 10,000 tons (deadweight) of cargo, and were used throughout the world.  2,710 of them were built.

Wikipedia reports:

On what would be her final trip in late 1944, Burke departed Seattle, Washington for Guam, where she spent several days loading munitions for the invasion force on the island of Mindoro. Burke then departed with the 100-ship "Uncle Plus 13" convoy, bound for Leyte in the Philippines. The convoy arrived at Leyte the night of December 27.

Japanese forces were alerted to the convoy's arrival shortly before daybreak on December 28. A flight of six Japanese kamikaze fighter/bombers was sent up from Cebu Island shortly after dawn. If the convoy was destroyed, the U.S. forces on Mindoro would be cut off from their supply line.

That morning Burke and the other ships in the Mindoro-bound TG 77.11 (under the command of Captain George F. Mentz) were at general quarters shortly after receiving the dawn weather report that reported that air cover would not launch until the poor weather cleared. The crews began their wait for the inevitable arrival of Japanese aircraft.

At about 0815 hours, the first kamikaze appeared on the American ships' radar, and orders were immediately given for the convoy to begin evasive manoeuvring. Through holes in the clouds, the Japanese pilots sighted the large American force as it steamed through calm seas south of Cebu and Bohol Islands. The Japanese aircraft were three A6M Zero fighters of the 201st Air Group, which had taken off from Cebu at 0950 and were led by Lt. Masami Hoshino. Each carried a 250kg bomb. As they began their attack, one of the pilots chose John Burke as his target. Diving through heavy anti-aircraft fire, the Japanese pilot had no intention of pulling out of his steep dive. At 1020, despite the damage to his aircraft, he crashed between Burke's #2 and #3 cargo holds.

A brief flash of fire was visible to most of the ships in the convoy, and for several seconds, only smoke could be seen billowing from her hold. A few seconds later, a huge pillar of fire shot out of Burke's cargo hold, followed by an immense cloud of white smoke. Within seconds all eyes were drawn to Burke where an enormous fireball erupted as her entire cargo of munitions detonated, instantly destroying the ship and killing her crew of 40 merchant marine sailors and 28 or 29 armed guards. For several seconds, Burke was not visible under an enormous mushroom cloud of smoke, fire and explosions. Several ships nearby were damaged by the force of the blast and flying fragments. The shock wave rocked the entire convoy, and several ships reported that they had been torpedoed. A US Army "FS" type ship just aft of Burke was severely damaged by the blast, sinking before it could be identified. As the cloud of smoke cleared, nearby ships closed on Burke's former position to search for survivors. It was soon clear that Burke, and all men aboard her, were gone.

There's more at the link.

Film of the explosion that destroyed SS John Burke was recently restored.  Here's the new version.  It's pretty spectacular.

That was a cargo of about 10,000 tons of explosives blowing sky-high.  Most of those aboard probably never knew what hit them.  It's a graphic illustration of how merchant seamen, as well as US Navy personnel, were in danger during the war at sea.  Violence and destruction spared no-one.

May all who died aboard the SS John Burke rest in peace.


This may explain why Minneapolis PD allowed rioters to burn down their precinct

If this account is correct, it looks like Minneapolis had already gone a long way down the liberal, progressive, socialist road to hell that's being followed in California and many other places.

All of the adults on the city council have retired or been voted out, and the council is now composed of earnest young progressives like our boy mayor Jacob Frey. And what does every young progressive like Jacob fear the most? Being called a racist. We also have a few AOC types who want to seize the Lake of the Isles mansions for the (well-connected) people.

. . .

Retail stores are soon found to be easy targets. Chain stores are the easiest. CVS and Walgreens and Chipotle will absolutely fire any employee who looks at a petty criminal in a mean way. The store manager is held responsible for shrinkage –loss due to theft– but if the manager even attempts to stop theft, he or she will be fired.

. . .

Now add in the great progressive paranoia: I cannot stand to be called a racist.

So rather than risk that city and county officials decided to stop enforcing laws against retail theft. Remember that video from a San Francisco store of thieves cleaning out all the makeup in a drugstore in broad daylight? It happens here in Minneapolis also.

Here the thieves will grab a box of trash bags off the shelf, pull out a couple, and fill it with easily fenced stuff like Tide detergent, diapers, and small electronics. If there are cigarettes, they’ll jump over the counter and grab them, along with Similac baby food (that’s already behind the counter due to high theft). Then they will walk out, and if you stand in their way, you may get shoved down. Certainly all of the “Sir, please, stop” which is the corporate recommended solution, will not slow them down.

The really great thing is, a merchant can call the police while burning a DVD of the perp’s faces, and the cops probably will not show up. If someone is injured by the bad guys, probably someone will come and hand the manager a card with a case number, but that is all that will happen. I have seen this many times in many stores.

When this virus thing happened, the city actually announced that they would not prosecute retail theft and transit fare jumping, among other things.

There's more at the link.  It makes depressing reading, but explains a lot.

Aaron Clarey (a.k.a. Captain Capitalism), who lives in or near Minneapolis, is even more scathing.

Minneapolis (and Minnesota in general) is a failed city/state, full of leftists, parasites, communists, and race pimps, all pampered and enabled by self-loathing, pussy white people who want to bring about a socialist utopia.  I hate the citizens of Minneapolis.  I hate the people of Minnesota and I am merely biding my time until I can move.  This is merely poetic justice watching a potpourri of leftists (SJW's, antifa, aggrieved black members of the community, spoiled rich kids from the suburbs-turned-virtue-signaling-activists, and simple thieves/looters) destroy a neighborhood/city that has voted-for and doted on leftist political causes EVERY SINGLE TIME.  You COULD NOT FIND A MORE PRO-MINORITY, PRO-SOCIALISM, PRO-SJW block of voters than Minneapolitans... who are now watching their city get destroyed by the same leftists they so enthusiastically supported and sucked the ***** of.  Meanwhile, the most cowardly mayor and governor in all of history stand by and do nothing, letting their most loyal constituents and neighborhoods burn.  It truly is an example of "Enjoy the Decline" and "Enjoy the Show."  You get the government you deserve.

Regardless, I am supremely confident Minneapolitans and Minnesotans in general will learn nothing.  They will go back to voting for socialism, treating minorities as incompetent teenagers instead of adults, and nothing will change.  And thus you will have essentially two groups of people.  One with guilty (predominantly white) goodie two shoes Minnesotans who obey the law and will constantly castrate themselves in front of socialists and socialist policies.  And another group (skewed towards a minority population, but also most certainly including white leftists/antifa/SJW/professional activist-victim/socialists) whose self-perceived victimhood and all-important egos will in their mind rationalize them to "heroically" riot, steal/loot property that is not theirs, destroy their town, and in general act like feral animals (but never major in STEM, get a job, stop having kids they can't afford, and in general take responsibility for themselves).

Again, I cannot emphasize how much of this is self-inflicted and how much of this is outside the rest of society's control, and thus why I (and neither you) should care.  It is the consequence of decades of brainwashing generations of victims ... They are NOT capable of having a civilized society and you do not what to be part of this society (no matter how "cool" it is to be "in the city" or whatever crappy "theater" or "colleges" or culture Twin Cities politicians promote).

I don't know how many times I've told people to move out of Minneapolis, businesses to never invest in Minnesota, young people to start careers elsewhere, industrious black men to leave the ghetto, and that YOU DO NOT OWN YOUR OWN PROPERTY IN MINNEAPOLIS AS IT IS NOTHING MORE THAN A LARGE COMMUNIST HOA.  But nobody listens.

Again, more at the link.

Such perspectives help to explain why the dreadful Ilhan Omar was elected to Congress from that city, and why her predecessor was the appalling Keith Ellison (self-avowed Antifa supporter, progressive extremist and currently Attorney-General of Minnesota, who will take over the prosecution of the police allegedly responsible for the death of George Floyd.  There goes any hope of a fair trial for them, IMHO.)

Let the powers that be ignore the law, and those responsible for enforcing it will pretty soon realize that if they do as they swore to do when taking the oath of office, they'll be treated as criminals.  That's almost certainly why Minneapolis PD rolled over spinelessly, and abandoned one of its precinct headquarters to destruction by a mob of rioters.  They knew they'd be damned if they did, and damned if they didn't.  Personally, I'd be ashamed to work for an outfit like that . . . but I took (and still take) my federal law enforcement oath of office seriously.  It remains binding on me in retirement, because it has no expiry date.  Minneapolis PD clearly doesn't feel the same way about theirs.

I'm glad I don't live anywhere near that city, because if I were confronted by a mob of rioters bent on causing me harm, I'd be doing my level best to return the favor, particularly in defense of my wife and home.  During eighteen years spent in various war and conflict zones, I came to understand what Josh Billings so famously quipped:

Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just,
But four times he who gets his blow in fust.

As the old saying goes, there's many a true word spoken in jest.  I've learned (the hard way) to be as fusty as I can, when danger makes it necessary.  I recommend the principle, particularly in these troubled times - and doubly so in a progressive hellhole such as Minneapolis appears to have become.


A sheriff with the right idea

Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida, has the right idea about demonstrators versus rioters.

Sheriff Judd said ... he does not believe Polk County residents were the ones creating problems.

He said there’s a difference between a protester and a rioter and rioting will not be accepted.

Judd said they received information that law enforcement would come under attack at 8 p.m. near Interstate 4 and Highway 27, but the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol were ready.

Judd said the Highway Patrol did a “marvelous job” helping stop the few who showed up for that alleged effort.

“We are going to hunt you down and lock you up if you engage in any criminal conduct,” Judd said.

Judd said there were rumblings on social media that rioters planned to bring violence into the neighborhoods of Polk County.

“I would tell them, if you value your life, they probably shouldn’t do that in Polk County. Because the people of Polk County like guns, they have guns, I encourage them to own guns, and they’re going to be in their homes tonight with their guns loaded, and if you try to break into their homes to steal, to set fires, I’m highly recommending they blow you back out of the house with their guns. So, leave the community alone,” Judd said.

The sheriff encouraged anyone wishing to express their First Amendment right to free speech to keep the focus on George Floyd, who Judd said was a victim who should be honored.

"All of that ugliness has taken away from what we're united about," the sheriff said. "We're united about the conduct that you saw with George [Floyd]."

There's more at the link.

I couldn't agree more.  As I said right at the start of this rioting, I'll gladly join any street protest or demonstration against the way George Floyd met his death.  It cries out for judicial action, and it seems that action is being taken.  However, that's no excuse for rioting - particularly pre-planned, organized riots such as those we're currently seeing.

A riot is no longer a protest:  it's thuggery, looting, mayhem, anarchy and chaos.  Peaceful protests and demonstrations are lawful, and as such are protected by the First Amendment.  Riots are criminal, and are therefore prime candidates to be dealt with using the provisions of the Second Amendment.  Any violence offered by rioters to citizens like you and I needs to be resisted to the utmost, right from the start.

As the late, great Jeff Cooper once said:

One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure - and in some cases I have - that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy.

Well said, sir!  It looks like Sheriff Judd got the message.


Monday, June 1, 2020

If you haven't got a gun, GET ONE. NOW.

Over the past few weeks and months, I've harped on personal security and self-defense issues, particularly in the light of the coronavirus pandemic and the additional stresses it's brought upon our society.
  • I pointed out how COVID-19 was increasing the risks to our personal security.
  • I described how I was using my "lockdown time" to upgrade some friends' guns, and wrote a three part series of articles about personal defense rifles.
  • I encouraged readers to use their lockdown time to maintain and improve their shooting skills, and offered suggestions on how to do so, even in your own back yard.

I also forecast the likely reaction of the authorities to urban unrest - a forecast that has proved itself sadly accurate during recent events.  Amongst other things, I said:

Former SEAL Matt Bracken wrote an article back in 2012:  "When The Music Stops – How America’s Cities May Explode In Violence".  If you haven't read it before, I recommend you do so now.  It may be over-the-top . . . but then again, it may not.  I've seen very similar scenarios to those he portrays in other countries, and the consequences were just as dire as he foresees (including the retaliation of those trying to defend themselves and their neighborhoods).  It can happen here too:  and right now, with so many people out of work, kids out of school, jobs lost, essential goods in short supply, people confined to their homes without any relief from family and other pressures, and the overall stress of a sudden, massive change in the way we live, I'm expecting social unrest in the USA in many forms.  This can and will impact our personal security in many ways.

In the event of urban rioting and violence, I expect the authorities to concentrate their law enforcement efforts on what they perceive as worth defending.  They will effectively abandon more violent neighborhoods (and those living in them) to their own devices, seeking instead to protect more peaceful areas from being dragged into the downward spiral.  This is a cold, hard calculation based on the resources available.  Each city has only so many security personnel available.  If they get too thinly stretched, the only answer is to pull them back into a defensible perimeter around trouble spots and let the fires burn themselves out, so to speak.

. . .

If you live in or near a major US city, particularly one with a large homeless population and/or a serious inner-city crime problem, you need to be aware that you're at greater risk of exposure to such problems.  If you doubt that, consider that retailers in those cities are already preparing for it.  (Some claim that's only because their insurance companies insist on it.  Well, why do you think they insist?  Isn't it because they have a fairly good idea of what to expect?)  Here are recent pictures of landmark stores in, respectively, Chicago, New York City and San Francisco.  Notice anything similar? ... If those stores (and/or their insurers) see good reason to prepare for trouble, why aren't we doing what we can to prepare as well?

There's more at the link, including the pictures mentioned in the excerpt above.

If you were wondering why I was writing those articles, and making those observations, the riots of the past few days should explain them all.  They were ostensibly "spontaneous" in reaction to the killing of George Floyd, but in reality they were planned ahead of timeI saw this coming.  So did many people who are alert to the "signs of the times".

The bottom line in this whole mess is that when it comes to personal security during a riot, we're on our own.

It is now a well-established legal principle in the United States that police officers and police departments are not legally responsible to refusing to intervene in cases where private citizens are in imminent danger or even in the process of being victimized. The US Supreme Court has made it clear that law enforcement agencies are not required to provide protection to the citizens who are forced to pay for police services, year in and year out.  In cases of civil unrest ... be prepared to receive approximately nothing from police in terms of protecting property, or life and limb.

Again, more at the link.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis - and it's being confirmed almost daily.  As just one example, try Raleigh, NC.

You can't defend yourself, or your family, or your home, or your small business, with kind words and a cup of coffee.  You need the right tools to do so, particularly in the face of hate-filled rioters who want nothing more or less than anarchy and destruction.  To stop them, you need a weapon - and not just any weapon, either.  It may have to cope with multiple attackers, advancing fast, some of them also armed.  You need something to deal with that situation - something like a personal defense rifle.  As Mancow Muller tweeted two days ago (click the image below to be taken to the post on Twitter):

In their current campaign against police, progressive and left-wing activists are ironically underscoring the need for citizens to arm themselves.  Consider this photograph, courtesy of Spectator USA, taken in Brooklyn, New York City, a few days ago.

If there are to be no police, who will protect us except ourselves?  Nobody!  There couldn't be a clearer illustration of the stupidity of the progressive Left.  They prattle on with their anti-gun rhetoric, yet want to abolish law enforcement officers and agencies - which will make it even more important that we arm ourselves!  Talk about a contradiction in terms . . .

Those who claim that police will protect us, and therefore we don't need guns, are full of it.  As Kurt Schlichter observes:

The Chinese coronavirus fiasco, the shocking killing of George Floyd, and the riots ... have taught the American people several things. One is that a surprising and sad number of law enforcement officers are willing to follow cheesy, stupid, and unconstitutional orders. A quick tour of social media will horrify you with the damage done ... by video of stupid cops hassling civilians for going outside or trying to attend church. The people who long backed the blue feel stabbed in the back, and LEOs are going to have to work to earn back the support they lost because a lot of their comrades sided with ... bullies against the people.

Similarly, we have learned that the police are not necessarily going to be there for us. From that gooey tub of cowardice in Florida who let kids be murdered while he stood with a weapon outside the school – I can’t even type those words without sputtering in rage – to the [Minneapolis Police Department] running away and letting criminals burn their building, do you feel comfortable putting your lives in the hands of such government employees? The one inspirational sight during the riots was a bunch of black Americans with modern rifles defending their businesses.

. . .

Buy guns and ammunition, because there can be no truly free people that is not also an armed people.

More at the link.

There can be no further compromise on this point.  We've compromised enough - and look where it's got us!  As Ronald Reagan pointed out as far back as 1964, in the context of Soviet-American relations:

If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum ... and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically.

Reagan's words apply just as well to the crisis in which we find ourselves today.  Isn't that precisely what the progressive Left has tried to do to the American people - weaken us from within?  Force us into an ever greater reliance (or, rather, dependence) on the government to do everything for us, while undermining any attempt at self-reliance?  The late President Ford had an answer for that:  "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."

Remember, too, that if you use a firearm in self-defense, no matter how legally justified you may be in doing so, the police will confiscate that firearm for as long as it's needed for evidence.  It may disappear into the evidence locker for months, or even years.  If you don't have another gun handy to take its place, you're going to be disarmed, just when the friends of those against whom you defended yourself may come looking for youDon't just have one gun.  Have more than one, and make sure you know how to use them all, and have ammunition and magazines for them.  Also, if possible, and if it's legal where you live, make sure that at least some of them are "off-paper" private purchases, not recorded or registered in any official documentation.  If gun confiscators don't know you have them, their job will be that much more difficult.

Guns you need:
  1. A concealable defensive firearm, able to be carried on your person, or in a vehicle, or anywhere else.  A semi-automatic pistol is the most practical solution, with a revolver a second choice.  The larger the magazine capacity, the better.
  2. A long gun (rifle or shotgun) that will provide more "punch" than a handgun and/or reach out to longer ranges.  I recommend an AR-15 rifle or equivalent (the KelTec SU16 is another good choice, and very lightweight, too).  There are many alternatives, such as an AK-47-type weapon, or a lever-action rifle, or a pistol-caliber carbine.  I recommend magazine-fed semi-auto actions, for ease of use and speed of reloading.  In an urban unrest situation, use your long gun to defend yourself against a threat or threats at a safer, longer distance than you can with only a handgun.  Keep them as far away from you as possible.
  3. Get (1) and (2) above for every adult in your family, and every teen mature enough to assist in defending the family.
  4. Every defensive firearm should have a minimum of five magazines, plus enough quality ammunition for practice and defensive use.  It's helpful if everyone has weapons that can use the same magazines and ammunition.  This makes life easier all round.  Furthermore, get training for everybody in how to use their weapons.  Just because you own a musical instrument doesn't make you a musician;  and just because you own a firearm doesn't make you a gunfighter.
  5. Once every adult or near-adult has a primary defensive weapon, plus enough magazines, plus enough ammunition, consider getting them a second weapon of the same type, to use if the first is impounded as evidence or becomes inoperable for some reason.  Instead of a second rifle, consider something like an AR-15 pistol, which is much more compact than a carbine or rifle but almost as powerful, fires the same ammunition as the larger weapon, and is very effective over 100-150 yard ranges - precisely what one needs for an urban riot.

Those are minimum recommendations.  Many shooters already have far more.  I recommend more, if you can afford it.  Even if you're short of money, get at least one viable defensive firearm and ammunition, and keep it handy.  It's like a parachute.  You may never need it:  but if you do need it in a hurry, it'll be too late to go out and buy one!

Some people of faith may question whether they're not supposed to "turn the other cheek" when violence is offered.  Speaking as a retired pastor and chaplain, I submit that's not the case.  In the context of an attack on one's faith, that may be appropriate:  but the current riots have nothing to do with faith, and everything to do with thuggish brutality and intimidation.  I offer two Scripture verses, quoting Jesus directly, to guide your response:
  • "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace."  (Luke 11:21)
  • "He who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." (Luke 22:36)

Go read Matt Bracken's article, and pay careful attention to it.  I'm not advocating or endorsing urban terrorism - I've seen too much of it at first hand to ever do that, as regular readers will know.  Nevertheless, I know for a fact that the mutual security groups of individuals to whom he refers are already forming in many states.  People aren't blind.  They can see reality, particularly when it slaps them in the face.  Follow their example.

As bad as things are now, I believe that worse things are coming.  Get ready for them.  If you think that I'm paranoid, or exaggerating, answer me this:  would you, even a week ago, have predicted that a major metropolitan police department would abandon one of its precinct headquarters to rioters, without resistance, and allow them to burn it down?  It just happened.  Welcome to the new reality!  Are you willing to entrust your safety and security, and that of your loved ones, to a law enforcement agency like that?  I'm certainly not!

If you're in a city, or town, or suburb, or street, that's basically indefensible, plan to move as quickly as possible to a safer environment.  Pre-pack essential gear, supplies, medication, important documents, pets, etc. and be ready to toss them into your vehicles and get out as fast as possible.  Be prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones as you travel.  If you're staying put, be prepared to defend your home and family and possessions.  Get to know people around you.  If you decide you can trust them - and don't give your trust lightly! - form small networks of your own, to safeguard your neighborhood, families and property if worse should come to worst.  Don't delay.  DO IT NOW.  You won't have time for such preparations when the chips are down.  Pay attention to tactics for dealing with a riot or unrest situation, and rehearse them if possible with your family.  At the very least, discuss them and make sure everybody understands what you want them to do.

Keep in mind that as far as the progressive media and left-wing city administrators are concerned, if you defend yourself against rioters, you're likely to be pre-judged to be the guilty party.  Surveillance cameras are everywhere;  citizens with cellphones can and will record video, audio and photographs of what happens around them;  social media posts can and will be used against you;  communications (cellphone, e-mail, whatever) are not secure against interception, and may be used as evidence.  Learn to operate "off the grid", communicating only in person or by hand-carried communications that are destroyed as soon as they're received.  Be a "gray man".  If you have to stop being "gray" in order to defend yourself, do so as quickly and discreetly as possible, then go right back to being "gray" as you leave the area, or blend back into your surroundings.  Try not to make yourself a target for unwelcome attention, before, during or after the fact.

Let me state flatly, once and for all, that every adult American needs to be ready, willing, able, and equipped to defend themselves against this onslaught on our society.  Such defenses need to include firearms, training in their use, and sufficient ammunition to get the job done.  If you don't have all of those, it's long gone time that you remedied the position.  Don't delay, and don't say you can't afford to do that.  You can't afford NOT to do it.


These riots are the latest round in an organized attack on our republic

If anybody thinks the current riots erupting around the United States are just a reaction to the tragic death of George Floyd, or an uprising against racism in this country, they're worse than fools.  They're deluded idiots.  They're blind to reality.

No "spontaneous riot" sees pallet-loads of bricks mysteriously dropped off in major city centers, precisely where rioters will be passing in a very short time.  (There are innumerable reports and videos of them - see here for one on-the-spot recording.)  You couldn't possibly ask for stronger evidence of planning and organization behind the riots.  I also note that almost every city where rioting has broken out has been Democratic Party-controlled, with administrations that will reliably leash their police and security forces to give the rioters more or less free rein.  Out of 39 cities I've seen reported, there's only one exception that I can identify so far.

(One does wonder what Organizing for America has been up to.  I've heard from some of my cop friends in cities beset by unrest - the same friends who gave me the "straight dope" about cartel difficulties caused by the coronavirus - that OfA activists in their areas are behaving very suspiciously indeed.  They also report that some OfA activists are already known to them from their activities and sympathies in support of Antifa, as well as organizations connected to and/or funded by the Open Society FoundationsHere's one example.  What price cross-pollination of activists?  My informants have proved accurate before, and I'm willing to bet they're accurate again.  I'm also informed that their reports are being forwarded to a very high level indeed.  Let's hope suitable action will result.)

Almost every TV station, newspaper or other mainstream outlet has tried to tie the riots to President Trump, blaming him for them (or for making them worse).  The same goes for opinion and editorial columnists.  It's even extended to fake pictures, seeking to tie the Minneapolis police officer to the Trump campaign.  (On the other hand, I can't recall a single picture of the President throwing a rock, or taking a swing at a police officer, or breaking a window, or starting a fire in a business, or looting.  Makes you wonder who the real criminals are, doesn't it?)  What's more, social media appears to be allowing rioters and criminals to coordinate their activities, selecting targets and encouraging others to attack them - while those same social media are flagging the President's social media posts as untrustworthy.  Makes you think, doesn't it?

This incessant propaganda drumbeat makes it obvious that the mainstream media are taking their talking points from a central source, and parroting them like the obedient slaves to ideology that they've become.  If there's no smoke without fire, the mainstream media are a raging conflagration, a progressive holocaust.  You can't accept anything they're saying about the riots without first examining it very carefully, to strip away the partisan political rhetoric and get to the underlying facts.  If you think that's merely an aberration, you have no idea what's going on.

(Want an example?  Look at what Van Jones had to say on Friday about racism in America.  Note his background, particularly in the Obama administration.  Then consider Rahm Emanuel's [another leftist] oft-quoted dictum about never letting a serious crisis go to waste.  Put two and two together.  If you don't get four, you need math classes.)

Accusations that endemic racism in American society being to blame for the riots are nothing more than a pretext, an ideological fig-leaf to cover the planning and organization behind these events.  To anybody with two working brain cells to rub together, the lie is obvious.  As Sixties-era leftist activists knew (and recited repeatedly), "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows".  "Spontaneous" protests are not this well arranged, so long in advance, needing only a spark to kindle the flame.  The death of George Floyd provided that spark, and those behind the riots are fanning it into a roaring conflagration for all they're worth.

"But why now?" I hear readers ask.  Why is this violence erupting at this time, rather than earlier or later?  The reason isn't hard to find.  Attorney-General Barr has been overseeing an investigation into the actions of the so-called "Deep State" and the Obama administration in the non-existent scandal over Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.  The more that comes out about that scandal, the more it appears that very senior figures in the previous administration, and very senior officials in the executive branch, conspired to pervert the course of justice and overturn - or at least obstruct - the result of a democratic election.  It appears very likely that criminal charges will result.  The latest Senate inquiry into elements of the scandal is to open today.  What better way to divert attention from the indefensible, almost certainly criminal actions of the progressive Left than to start a riot or three?  If there's no connection between those elements, I'll go out and buy a hat so that I can eat it!

Heads need to roll over this series of events.  Those heads should be those of the people who planned and organized this violence, and are still pulling the strings.  If their heads roll in a literal sense, as well as a figurative one, I won't be upset.  They deserve nothing less.  They have blood on their hands - the blood of the victims of the riots - and should be treated accordingly.

The situation also has grave implications for our personal security.  I'll address those in another article in a few hours' time.  Meanwhile, "trust in God and keep your powder dry."  You may need it.


Memes that made me laugh 9

A harvest from the past seven days.

More next week.


Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sunday morning music

We've heard the music of Ian Anderson and his group Jethro Tull on many occasions in these pages.  This morning I'd like to introduce a recording of which many Tull fans may never have heard.

Back in 2017, Ian Anderson produced an album titled "Jethro Tull: The String Quartets".

He partnered with John O'Hara and the Carducci String Quartet to produce chamber music versions of many classic Tull tunes.  I rather like it, and I hope you will too.

To start off, here's a medley of two very early Tull tunes:  "Sossity: You're a Woman" (from the album "Benefit") and "Reasons for Waiting" (from the album "Stand Up").

Next, a medley of "Songs from the Wood" and "Heavy Horses".

And finally, no Tull project would be complete without some form of "Aqualung" - in this case, "Aquafugue".

The entire album is enjoyable, particularly if you like both classical and rock music.


Saturday, May 30, 2020

Saturday Snippet: The weaker sex (hippopotamus version)

We've encountered the late naturalist Gerald Durrell on more than one occasion in these pages.  I thought it was time for another extract from one of his many books.  This one's from "A Zoo in my Luggage", an account of his second visit to Bafut in what was then British Cameroon (today part of the modern state of Cameroon), to collect animals for what would become his own zoo, dedicated to the conservation and preservation of threatened and endangered species.

On its way to Bafut, the expedition stopped over in the town of Mamfe to collect animals.  A trip to investigate a report of a very large python turned into a riverine adventure.

To reach the area of country in which our quarry was waiting, we had to go down the hill and cross the river by the ferry, a large, banana-shaped canoe which appeared to have been constructed about three centuries ago, and to have been deteriorating slowly ever since. It was paddled by a very old man who looked in immediate danger of dying of a heart attack, and he was accompanied by a small boy whose job it was to bale out. This was something of an unequal struggle, for the boy had a small rusty tin for the job, while the sides of the canoe were as watertight as a colander. Inevitably, by the time one reached the opposite bank one was sitting in about six inches of water. When we arrived with our equipment on the water-worn steps in the granite cliff that formed the landing-stage, we found the ferry was at the opposite shore, so while Ben, Agustine and the enormous African (whom we had christened Gargantua) lifted their voices and roared at the ferryman to return with all speed, Bob and I squatted in the shade and watched the usual crowd of Mamfe people bathing and washing in the brown waters below.

Swarms of small boys leapt shrieking off the cliffs and splashed into the water, and then shot to the surface again, their palms and the soles of their feet gleaming shell pink, their bodies like polished chocolate. The girls, more demure, bathed in their sarongs, only to emerge from the water with the cloth clinging to their bodies so tightly that it left nothing to the imagination. One small toddler, who could not have been more than five or six, made his way carefully down the cliff, his tongue protruding with concentration, carrying on his head an enormous water-jar. On reaching the edge of the water he did not pause to remove the jar from his head, or to take off his sarong. He walked straight into the water and waded slowly and determinedly out into the river until he completely disappeared; only the jar could be seen moving mysteriously along the surface of the water. At length this too vanished. There was a moment’s pause, and then the jar reappeared, this time moving shorewards, and eventually, beneath it, the boy’s head bobbed up. He gave a tremendous snort to expel the air from his lungs, and then struggled grimly towards the beach, the now brimming jar on his head. When he reached the shore he edged the jar carefully on to a ledge of rock, and then re-entered the water, still wearing his sarong. From some intricate fold in his garment he produced a small fragment of Lifebuoy soap, and proceeded to rub it all over himself and the sarong with complete impartiality. Presently, when he had worked up such a lather all over himself that he looked like an animated pink snowman, he ducked beneath the surface to wash off the soap, waded ashore, settled the jar once more on his head and slowly climbed the cliff and disappeared. It was the perfect example of the African application of time-and-motion study.

By this time the ferry had arrived, and Ben and Agustine were arguing hotly with its aged occupant. Instead of taking us straight across the river, they wanted him to paddle us about half a mile upstream to a large sandbank. This would save us having to walk about a mile along the bank to reach the path that led to the forest. The old man appeared to be singularly obstinate about the proposal.

‘What’s the matter with him, Ben?’ I inquired.

‘Eh! Dis na foolish man, sah,’ said Ben, turning to me in exasperation, ‘’e no agree for take us for up de river.’

‘Why you no agree, my friend?’ I asked the old man. ‘If you go take us I go pay you more money and I go dash [tip] you.’

‘Masa,’ said the old man firmly, ‘dis na my boat, and if I go lose um I no fit catch money again … I no get chop for my belly … I no get one-one penny.’

‘But how you go lose you boat?’ I asked in amazement, for I knew this strip of river and there were no rapids or bad currents along it.

‘Ipopo, Masa,’ explained the old man.

I stared at the ferryman, wondering what on earth he was talking about. Was Ipopo perhaps some powerful local juju I had not come across before?

‘Dis Ipopo,’ I asked soothingly, ‘which side ’e live?’

‘Wah! Masa never see um?’ asked the old man in astonishment. ‘’E dere dere for water close to D.O.’s [District Officer's] house … ’e big like so-so motor … ’e de holla … ’e de get power too much.’

‘What’s he talking about?’ asked Bob in bewilderment.

And suddenly it dawned on me. ‘He’s talking about the hippo herd in the river below the D.O.’s house,’ I explained, ‘but it’s such a novel abbreviation of the word that he had me foxed for a moment.’

‘Does he think they’re dangerous?’

‘Apparently, though I can’t think why. They were perfectly placid last time I was here.’

‘Well, I hope they’re still placid,’ said Bob.

I turned to the old man again. ‘Listen, my friend. If you go take us for up dis water, I go pay you six shilling and I go dash you cigarette, eh? And if sometime dis ipopo go damage dis your boat I go pay for new one, you hear?’

‘I hear, sah.’

‘You agree?’

‘I agree, sah,’ said the old man, avarice struggling with caution. We progressed slowly upstream, squatting in half an inch of water in the belly of the canoe.

‘I suppose they can’t really be dangerous,’ said Bob casually, trailing his hand nonchalantly in the water.

‘When I was here last I used to go up to within thirty feet of them in a canoe and take photographs,’ I said.

‘Dis ipopo get strong head now, sah,’ said Ben tactlessly. ‘Two months pass dey kill three men and break two boats.’

‘That’s a comforting thought,’ said Bob.

Ahead of us the brown waters were broken in many places by rocks. At any other time they would have looked exactly like rocks but now each one looked exactly like the head of a hippo, a cunning, maniacal hippo, lurking in the dark waters, awaiting our approach. Ben, presumably remembering his tale of daring with the bush-cow, attempted to whistle, but it was a feeble effort, and I noticed that he scanned the waters ahead anxiously. After all, a hippo that has developed the habit of attacking canoes gets a taste for it, like a man-eating tiger, and will go out of his way to be unpleasant, apparently regarding it as a sport. I was not feeling in the mood for gambolling in twenty feet of murky water with half a ton of sadistic hippo.

The old man, I noticed, was keeping our craft well into the bank, twisting and turning so that we were, as far as possible, always in shallow water. The cliff here was steep, but well supplied with footholds in case of emergency, for the rocks lay folded in great layers like untidy piles of fossilized magazines, overgrown with greenery. The trees that grew on top of the cliffs spread their branches well out over the water, so that we travelled in a series of fish-like jerks up a tunnel of shade, startling the occasional kingfisher that whizzed across our bows like a vivid blue shooting-star, or a black-and-white wattled plover that flapped away upstream, tittering imbecilically to itself, with its feet grazing the water, and long yellow wattles flapping absurdly on each side of its beak.

Gradually we rounded the bend of the river, and there, about three hundred yards ahead of us on the opposite shore, lay the white bulk of the sandbank, frilled with ripples. The old man gave a grunt of relief at the sight, and started to paddle more swiftly.

‘Nearly there,’ I said gaily, ‘and not a hippo in sight.’

The words were hardly out of my mouth when a rock we were passing some fifteen feet away suddenly rose out of the water and gazed at us with bulbous astonished eyes, snorting out two slender fountains of spray, like a miniature whale.

Fortunately, our gallant crew resisted the impulse to leap out of the canoe en masse and swim for the bank. The old man drew in his breath with a sharp hiss, and dug his paddle deep into the water, so that the canoe pulled up short in a swirl and clop of bubbles. Then we sat and stared at the hippo, and the hippo sat and stared at us. Of the two, the hippo seemed the more astonished. The chubby, pink-grey face floated on the surface of the water like a disembodied head at a séance. The great eyes stared at us with the innocent appraisal of a baby. The ears flicked back and forth, as if waving to us. The hippo sighed deeply and moved a few feet nearer, still looking at us with wide-eyed innocence. Then, suddenly, Agustine let out a shrill whoop that made us all jump and nearly upset the canoe. We shushed him furiously, while the hippo continued its scrutiny of us unabashed.

‘No de fear,’ said Agustine in a loud voice, ‘na woman.’

He seized the paddle from the old man’s reluctant grasp, and proceeded to beat on the water with the blade, sending up a shower of spray. The hippo opened its mouth in a gigantic yawn to display a length of tooth that had to be seen to be believed. Then, suddenly, and with apparently no muscular effort, the great head sank beneath the surface. There was a moment’s pause, during which we were all convinced that the beast was ploughing through the water somewhere directly beneath us, then the head rose to the surface again, this time, to our relief, about twenty yards up-river. It snorted out two more jets of spray, waggled its ears seductively and sank again, only to reappear in a moment or so still farther upstream. The old man grunted and retrieved his paddle from Agustine.

‘Agustine, why you do dat foolish ting?’ I asked in what I hoped was a steady and trenchant tone of voice.

‘Sah, dat ipopo no be man … na woman dat,’ Agustine explained, hurt by my lack of faith in him.

‘How you know?’ I demanded.

‘Masa, I savvay all dis ipopo for dis water,’ he explained, ‘dis one na woman. Ef na man ipopo ’e go chop us one time. But dis woman one no get strong head like ’e husband.’

‘Well, thank God for the weaker sex,’ I said to Bob, as the old man, galvanized into activity, sent the canoe shooting diagonally across the river, so that it ground on to the sandbank in a shower of pebbles.

Lest you think the boatman's caution was unwarranted, consider that hippo are among the most dangerous animals on the African continent.  They routinely kill hundreds of people every year.  Here's a brief video of a hippo charging a boat on the Chobe River in Botswana (an area I used to know) in 2015.  He wasn't bluffing, either!

Far too many people have a mental image of hippos as the miniskirt-wearing dancers in Disney's Fantasia.

That image couldn't be further from the truth!  As I've noted before, if you see a hippo "yawning" . . . that's not a yawn!