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A Father’s Pride

I admit that I am feeling mighty proud this morning. It cannot be helped.

A big milestone in Central Pennsylvania life was achieved last night when my son passed his Hunter & Trapper Safety Education course and received his orange certificate.  He’s now permitted to purchase a hunting license and begin hunting and trapping as his own self-directed person.  Yes, he is young and he must be accompanied by other, older hunters for some years to come, which makes sense.  Nevertheless, he studied hard, attended the classes after school, and passed the exam with a 100% on his first try.

Along with my boy were 70 other students at the Milton Grove Sportsmen’s Club, which is standing room only.  Thank you to the club for providing the venue and thank you to the educators who donate their time to help recruit the next generation of hunters, trappers, and safe gun owners.  Lowell and Tracy Graybill did an especially fine job, which should not be a big surprise given that Lowell is presently president of the PA Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and the two of them have been a major power couple on conservation and sporting issues for decades.

Honestly, there were a couple of awkward moments in the two nights of training, some opportunities for improvement.  There’s got to be more hands-on and more demonstration of how the different firearms work.  I recall when I was a ten-year-old kid taking the same exam, we all got called up to the front of the room so we could handle the different actions and see for ourselves how they operated.  In a room as big as Milton Grove Sportsmen’s Club’s main meeting room, it must be impossible to see the guns much less imagine how the unfamiliar actions work from the middle and back of the room.

Another awkward time was at the very beginning, when a very nice local Deputy WCO made the opening remarks.  He had a pleasant demeanor and seemed easy to talk with, so he elicited a lot of audience questions and back and forth on the PGC regulations book handed out with all licenses.  He referred to WCOs as “game wardens,” an appellation every WCO I know has tried hard to shed.  He also seemed unfamiliar with basic regulations, like shooting above roadways and public trails.  To his credit, his lack of familiarity seemed to stem from the fact that he appears to pursue charges for serious wildlife crimes and not penny ante, picayune mistakes.

The winner of awkward moments, however, was when one of the educators, Tim, stated that semi-automatic shotguns can only be used for small game and waterfowl hunting, and not for deer hunting.  When it was pointed out by an audience member that semi-auto shotguns can be used for deer in the Special Regulations area around Philadelphia, Tim demurred, openly irritated.  When the audience member tried to hand Tim the regulations book, opened to the page stating that semi-auto shotguns are allowed for deer in that one area, Tim snapped “I don’t care, and I don’t hunt in the Special Regulations area.”

That was in front of the whole class, early on the first night.  It undermined Tim’s credibility and made him look foolish.  He never went back to correct his mistake that night or the second.  It raised the question about qualifications for teaching these courses, not just knowledge, but personality.  Nearly all of the audience members and students were from the southeastern region and quite a few probably do hunt in the Special Regulations area around Philly.  They are entitled to an expectation that they will be provided only accurate information, and that their teachers will have the strength of character to admit when they have mis-spoken or made a mistake.

And no student or audience member should be treated disrespectfully or belittled by a teacher.  It damages the entire purpose of the course.

All that said, it was a wonderful experience for me and my son.  We sat together both nights, and watching him soak up the knowledge was pleasing.  Only forty years have lapsed since I was in his seat….and to me, his rite of passage was much sweeter than my own.

It was also pleasing to see more girls than boys in the student body, as well as many single women and married mothers.  Women are the largest and fastest growing demographic in hunting and firearms ownership.  Now, what would really be exciting would be to see a class like this in downtown Philadelphia, filled with young African American kids and their fellow citizens.  Who will take up that gauntlet, men?

Junk social science drives bad policies

Another fake social study has poor ammunition and even worse aim, but it is indicative of the purposefully low quality “studies” used by politicized “academics” to pursue certain social policy goals.
Go ahead and read the report on the “youth suicide” “study,” and then read the analysis I wrote below.
Analysis: It is an utter crap study with a 100% political goal.
First of all, Gallup and other sources demonstrate huge gross and relative increases in gun ownership among Americans over past thirty years, not decreases or moderate stability, as the study asserts.
Second, the anti-gun editorial at the end is a dead-giveaway that the study is about guns and gun ownership, not suicide.
Third, if suicide rates are stable in rural areas but dropping in urban areas, then it seems the story is that they are dropping in urban areas.  Is that because more urban youth are dead from homicide before they can commit suicide?
Fourth, after 17 or 18 years of age, a person is no longer a youth.  Counting 24-year-olds as youths is another hint that the researchers were hunting for the right mix of numbers to serve their political goal, and could only get them by warping the definition of their study population.  I am willing to bet that the actual youth numbers are way down.  But that would defeat the purpose of having a good anti-gun study.  So the net is widened.
Fifth, the study apparently does not identify or quantify the relative amounts of suicide by type – firearm, hanging, suffocation, poison, etc – so that it is impossible to make a logical connection between the study’s results and firearm policy, but the policy result of the study is nonetheless all about guns.  What would be really interesting to see is the method type among actual youth – including 17-year-olds and excluding anyone older.  I am willing to bet that firearm use is down among youth.
These anti-gun junk “studies” are epidemic.  They are funded by anti-gun foundations, completed by politically active anti-gun academics who do not pursue excellence, but rather particular policy goals at any cost, and these studies are then marketed by anti-gun media in a cycle of self-reporting that becomes its own story.
The Left has this stuff down very well.  A compliant liberal media plays right along.

Harrisburg City makes legal mistake after legal mistake

I am a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Mayor Eric Papenfuse and Harrisburg City, over his unwillingness to comply with longstanding state law and remove anti-gun ordinances from the city laws.

Papenfuse is a 1960s-1970s-style liberal, for whom ignoring the law, subverting the law, abandoning the law, undermining the law all represent some vague “Yeah, man!” hippie stand against laws he personally believes are wrong.

The problem with this approach is that once elected to office, a mayor cannot pick and choose which laws to follow or ignore.  The rule of law requires that all laws be upheld equally, or changed through the political process.

Being an elected leader means that you accept the legal and law-making process.  But then again, Papenfuse is an adoring fan of Obama, who also believes that he is a Government of One, able to do whatever he wants, rule by fiat, contrary to democratic norms.

Under Papenfuse’s hippie-fist-in-the-air don’t-have-a-care approach, Harrisburg City is making huge legal mistakes right and left in this lawsuit.

Two days ago, our attorney, Josh Prince, scored a default judgment against the city for $21,000 plus additional costs.  The city lawyers failed to file the correct paper work, failed to correctly fill out the paper work they did file, and missed key deadlines, and so the city failed on many counts to respond in court to legal documents presented to them.

While Papenfuse struts and preens to prove some undemocratic point, the city taxpayers are on the hook for ever increasing amounts of legal fees and judgments.  Eric fails, and the taxpayers here pay for his arrogant attitude.

If this is not failed government, then nothing is.

The day after

The day after Netanyahu’s historic speech before the US Congress, people who care about real things, for good or for bad, are doing 180-degree analyses of its impact, the merits of the policy he advocated, the audiences he addressed, the politics behind, surrounding, and in front of him, and implications of a nuclear Iran for America.

Shocking was the news blackout by the major TV networks and NPR/PBS.

While Netanyahu was speaking, I dialed into WITF, the local NPR affiliate here in Harrisburg.  Instead of listening to Netanyahu speak, as any listener would normally expect if any other head of state were addressing Congress, I was treated to a sarcastic discussion about health care by advocates for ObamaCare.

NPR is already an especially egregious mis-use of taxpayer money, and this one latest example serves to illustrate how corrupt and intellectually bankrupt NPR, PBS, and their affiliate stations are, despite couching themselves as sources of real debate and substance.

NPR’s news blackout of Netanyahu is done for one reason: To serve the interests of the Obama Administration, which itself not only did not attend the speech, but also issued empty, juvenile statements immediately after Netanyahu finished.

If you are NPR and you are blacking out Netanyahu’s speech, then you are not a real news organization.  Rather, you are a political activist, an advocate, far from some kind of fair-minded arbiter of plain fact that you represent yourself to be.

Likewise, here in Harrisburg, the staff of the Patriot News has fallen all over themselves to protect Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse from the legal fallout of his decision to hold onto illegal anti-gun ordinances.

I am a plaintiff in a suit against the city over these illegal ordinances.  Yesterday our attorney Josh Prince scored a default judgment against Harrisburg City.

When people like Mayor Papenfuse engage in official lawless behavior, it’s not some sort of hip civil disobedience, it’s tyranny.  Government must absolutely live by its laws.  Papenfuse believes he is above the law, and that deserves a broadside by newspapers everywhere.  But like NPR and the mainstream media’s blackout treatment of Netanyahu, the Patriot News serves a different master – liberals at war with the foundations of Western Civilization. So Papenfuse gets away with legal murder.  Iran readies to commit nuclear genocide.

That is a hell of a thing to confront first thing in the day.


Great American Outdoor Show is in Harrisburg, and it is Fantastic

The Great American Outdoor Show, which used to be called the Eastern Outdoor Show until the former promoter turned anti-gun and tried to block vendors from showcasing their modern sporting rifles, is on and happening in Harrisburg through Sunday.

I have been volunteering a bit for the PA Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs, not nearly as much as I have in the past, but still contributing and selling raffle tickets to friendly people who visit the booth.

Last year the Federation raffled off a Bushmaster AR-15, and this year we are just doing cash.  Right now the pot is a few thousand dollars, and by the time the raffle is drawn it’ll be much more.  Some of the proceeds go to support the Federation, so it’s a good cause.

I stopped in to visit the Unified Sportsmen booth the other day, but the person I sought was not there and the volunteers were just leaving, but I am looking forward to hearing their perspective on sportsmen’s issues.

The River’s Edge canoe and kayak sales by Neill and Evelyn Andritz  sold me on a Hobie kayak.  But let me tell you, these kayaks today are not your Nanuk of the North kayaks of old.  My friends, these things might as well be on the space shuttle for when our guys find water on Mars, because they are nothing like the sloppy, floppy, tipsy, floating death traps we used to squeeze ourselves into.  Today’s Hobie kayak is a blended hybrid, using the best qualities of canoes, surf boards, and kayaks to bring small-craft fishing into the 22nd century.  The Mirage Pro Angler 14 and the Mirage Outback were the two I had to choose between in the end, but being a “Big Guy” means that the 600-pound capacity of the Mirage Pro Angler is a must-have.

And beyond the fat-guy-and-all-his-gear capacity, the technical bells and whistles are amazing.  Stand-up stabilizing bars, leg-driven flipper drives that look and power like an orca tail, bait coolers, adjustable seats that would be at home in a Maserati, sleek rudder controls you can use with your elbow, hand, or foot, storage lockers running the full length for stashing kit so big you can harpoon the shark of your dreams, rod holders everywhere, holes for masts, and so on.

And all this above is about just one vendor with two small self-powered boats I liked in the Farm Show complex that is loaded to the gills with gear, knives, guns, outfitters from around the world, specialty clothing and footwear, trophy services, archery gear so sophisticated I feel like I am Stone Age when I handle it, RVs, ATVs, camping gear, bug-out survival gear, and so on and on for much more.

The Great American Outdoor Show is worth visiting if for no other reason than to say you went and witnessed one of the wonders of the world.  It is the biggest show of its kind in the world, and even if our new governor, Tom Wolf, isn’t interested in attending (incredibly that is true), you definitely should.

On Being a Dinosaur

I am a dinosaur.

In so many ways, my beliefs, ideals, values, education, outlook, hobbies, lifestyle, and behavior seem as outdated and as uncommon as the dinosaurs that died out long ago.

Put another way, I am one of the Last of the Mohicans, certainly not THE last, but one of a dwindling group that sees the world differently than the corrosive pop culture fed daily to Americans by Hollywood.

And I am proud to be this way, to be a patriot, to exalt individual citizen rights and liberties above government intervention, to take risks and make sacrifices in a free market capitalist society that rewards hard work and penalizes laziness.  American Sniper, Act of Valor, and Lone Survivor are the only movies that moved me in many years because I believe in military heroes, although the Lord of the Rings productions are highly entertaining.

Meanwhile, pop culture would have every American equally unhappy, equally deprived of their rights and liberties, equally planted on a couch eating junk food and watching mindless TV shows that are at war with the underpinnings of Western Civilization.

(A short, hard-hitting article about Hollywood’s destructiveness by one of its most famous writers is here.)

And I am also an old-fashioned “Hook-and-Bullet” conservationist, a hunter, life-long gun owner and fisherman, an NRA member and even more so, a FOAC member who means it when I say “You can have my guns when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.”

But did I mention that conservation is a huge part of my identity? You know, farmland preservation, wildlife habitat protection, forest land acquisition for public ownership, and wilderness areas where I can hunt, fish, camp, and hike without seeing or hearing another human being for as long as I am out there.

And why is it so hard for so many traditionalists to see that traditional American values are directly tied to, and derive from, rural landscapes? And that our remaining rural landscapes are precious fragments of the great American frontier, on which our national identity and Constitution were forged?

So why wouldn’t a conservative want to conserve those rural landscapes that gave birth to his identity and values, that enshrine Constitutional rights and self-reliance?

For some strange reason, an increasing number of gun owners are not hunters, and do not really show that they care about wildlife populations or wildlife habitat, or about land and water conservation.  When I attend meetings at different sportsmen’s clubs, like Duncannon Sportsmen, and I hear the Conservationist’s Pledge, my heart wells up and I nearly get as teary-eyed as when I hear the national anthem, or the Pledge of Allegiance.  It doesn’t help that most of us in the room are sporting lots of white in our beards and on our heads.  The next generation seems to have taken a lot for granted, because all of the battles we fought decades ago bore such abundant fruit.

All this makes me a dinosaur, and although I recognize it, I am not happy about it.  I feel like I am watching the greatest nation on Planet Earth disintegrate under my feet, and it scares me, makes me sad, and makes me want to do what I can to try to prevent it from happening.

I do not want traditional American values to go extinct, like the dinosaurs, because although those values may not be in vogue right now, America was founded on them and the nation cannot successfully continue on without them.

Is it time for civil disobedience and ignoring kook judicial holdings?

Civil disobedience, non-resistance obstructionism, and peaceful protests against clearly unfair laws and violent government agents is time-honored in America.

Civil disobedience works because it appeals to the higher mind, it appeals to the best, highest conscience in Western Civilization.  You have to have an open mind to have civil disobedience work on your political views so that you vote for change from the status quo.

It won’t work in a Muslim country, where civil disobedience will just get you locked up and tortured, or summarily killed.

It did work for Ghandi in India because the 1940s British empire valued democracy and voting rights, and the public cry at home over images of British soldiers shooting peaceful protestors in Delhi’s public streets threatened to up-end political control at home.

Americans have successfully employed civil disobedience since the 1920s: Segregation laws, no voting rights for women, a lack of equal rights or opportunity across so many sectors of society… the causes were real and political changes were needed for America to live up to its promise.

And ain’t America an amazing place that it is designed to change and heal old wounds, to become a better place?

Because the original use of civil disobedience was so righteous, because so many of the laws being protested in the 1920s through the 1960s were so outrageously unjust, the behavior eventually took on a connotation of being above the law and always justified.  In fact, over time even violence became justified in the name of Marxist versions of “justice,” and pro-violence slogans like “No Justice, No Peace” evolved.

Today, violent, fake civil disobedience has been employed by the “Occupy Wall Street” thugs, and by the violent criminals in Ferguson, Missouri.  These events always start off as a routine, rote, formula civil disobedience act, and then they quickly devolve into destruction, arson, violence, beatings, attacks on bystanders….all in the name of some Marxist version of “justice.”

Inevitably, politically allied elected officials have begun to implement their jobs in a similar fashion.  No matter what the law says, they ignore it, and make a big public deal about subverting the law.  As if they are justified.  They actually take pride in failing to implement the law as they are supposed to.

Examples of elected officials ignoring and subverting the law are a county clerk of courts issuing same-sex marriage licenses, despite Pennsylvania law saying it is illegal.  Or Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane refusing to defend state laws, because she personally disagrees with them.  Or California banning state judges from belonging to the Boy Scouts.  Or the Obama administration willfully failing to implement immigration law.  Or Harrisburg City mayor Eric Papenfuse refusing to rescind city ordinances that are plainly illegal under state preemption law, because Papenfuse holds certain personal views about guns.

This lawlessness by the very people entrusted with safeguarding and implementing the law is dangerous.  These wayward officials stand on quicksand, because the basis of our republican form of democracy is the rule of law – equal application of the law, irrespective of what one personally believes.

If government officials begin ignoring laws they disagree with, and implementing law that was not voted into being by the consent of the voters, then the rule of law is over, it has ended.  The glue that holds America together is corroded, and the whole edifice can come down.

But let’s ask why only one side of the political debate does this.  We know they get away with this because the mainstream media protects them, but the MSM veil has been pierced by the Internet, so the flow of information is no longer completely bottled up by fellow travelers.

Put another way, why don’t other people, say people like American traditionalists, “conservatives,” engage in the same behavior?

Here is an example of what could be done: Last week a federal judge ruled that Arizona must issue drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.  Never mind that these people are in America ILLEGALLY, the claims they make for their applications could be and often are fraudulent, and the cost of these services is unfairly covered by taxpayers.

Why don’t the good officials of Arizona simply ignore that judge’s insane ruling?  That judge has no ability to actually make Arizona issue drivers licenses, and if I worked in Arizona government, or if I still worked in federal government and had something to do with allowing illegal immigrants in, I would simply ignore that judge’s crazy ruling, or the illegal commands of the occupant of the White House.

There, folks, how do you like the taste of that medicine now?

Think of the many kook, nakedly political judicial decisions that are handed down, contrary to law and policy.  Why reward these dictatorial jurists by following their dictates? Why not simply ignore them?  God knows, they are earning it.

Civil disobedience and official lawlessness is a game that everyone can play, and at some point the people who have been acting like adults will recognize they only stand to lose by following the rule of law while their opponents exploit their fidelity, and only by fighting fire with fire will they make it clear that everyone must follow and implement the law, no matter what their personal views are, or everyone loses.

Or, people can do it the old fashioned way, and work to get the law changed one vote at a time.

Can the French run France?

Old French military guns are often sold here in America.  They are in like-new condition, because they were never fired and were dropped once.  Now we get to see the modern day footage of French “bravery.”  Shameful.  Real police do not run away like this.  They stand and fight, they use their car to block the bad guys.  Forgive me if this just reaffirms my perception of the French as weak hedonists.

Obama admin flees from Paris free speech rally

Neither Obama nor VP Biden, nor Sec. of State Kerry, nor any other high ranking US figure attended the free speech and anti-terrorism rally in Paris.  Over forty heads of state participated.

Why would the Obama administration make no attempt to have high level representation at a historic rally for free speech and against terrorism with America’s oldest ally?

Simply put, for six years Obama has punished America’s allies, he has rewarded our enemies, he does not believe in free speech at home or abroad and instead has done all he can to undermine it (IRS and NSA scandals), and finally, he will not lend his hand to anything that might appear like criticism of Islam.

Obama is not ham-handed or tone deaf about this, as his friends in the US media have complained.  Rather, he is utterly opposed to the very things that the people marched for in Paris.

No matter what Obama says, his actions always speak louder, and his actions on the subjects of protecting free speech and stopping terrorism say loud and clear that he is not on the side of America or its allies.  Obama identifies with Muslims to such an extent that he cannot bring himself to admit that it is Muslims who are committing atrocity after atrocity.  He keeps denying that they are Muslims at all, which is just silly, and if he really were forward-thinking, he would join Egyptian president Al-Sisi, who recently called for Islam to undergo a dramatically needed reformation.

Under Obama, the NSA spied on Americans exercising their basic rights to free speech, and the IRS was weaponized to suppress and even criminalize political free speech with which Obama disagrees.  Of course, free speech is a threat to his agenda, so the Obama FEC is now trying to control political speech on the internet, too.

And no matter what someone does in the name of Islam, Obama will permit no official criticism of Islam, a logic he abandons when he blames legally owned guns for criminal behavior (what if the staff at Charlie Hebdo or the police protecting them had had guns to defend themselves? The whole attack could easily have been over in seconds).  The civilized world says “Je suis Charlie,” and Obama says “Je suis Muslim.”

How the heck did Obama ever get elected to be anything more than dog catcher in the first place?  His values are diametrically opposed to those of all but a very small fringe percentage of the American people.  For those who disagree with this statement, just open your eyes and look at the sad facts.  Obama should never have been president of the United States.  He cannot even pretend to represent our nation any longer, and he is a disgrace.  He should resign, or be impeached.

Yet another Islamic attack on free speech

Yesterday’s murderous assault on French cartoonists in Paris is the logical conclusion of the idea that honest discussion about Islam is “islamophobia.”

When free speech in the name of freedom is unsuccessfully curtailed socially, murder follows, naturally. It’s that murderousness that critics of Islam are all about.

To fear Islam is natural. It’s a matter of self preservation.

The hypocrisy of whining about “islamophobia,” when the Koran is itself wall-to-wall hate speech about Christians and Jews, is what creates the expectation that murder and arson are the only remaining means of communication among followers of the Koran.

Civilized French citizens don’t carry guns, and apparently French police are pretty lousy, because all of them died on their backs or under desks. No real fight against the terrorists ensued during or after their attack.

Here in America, lots of citizens carry guns. They would probably put an end to an attack like that, before the police arrived.

Case in point: Gun control doesn’t work.

Case in point: Politically correct speech control doesn’t work.

Folks, it’s another wake up call that we are in the midst of a war. It’s pathetic that the Obama administration is against free speech (calling the anti Mohammed cartoons “poor judgment”) and against private gun ownership.

You’d almost think Obama would defend radical Muslims before he’d let Americans or French reporters defend themselves.