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I brought my guns to school

Back in the 1970s, I brought my deer rifle to school on the bus.

It was locked in my school locker when I arrived at school on the bus. In its case.

No one made a big deal about it.

No one was hurt by my gun.

My biology teacher reloaded my 7mm Mauser shells for me.

I hunted after school with friends, and no one was hurt. We were all safe handlers of our firearms. We all took it seriously.

It now might be a time for Americans to recall a different time, a safer time, a time when Americans could not imagine using basic firearms to hurt one another. A time when deer rifles were as normal as new sneakers, as significant as new clothes. A high powered deer rifle meant that much, and that little.

So many Americans today wonder what happened to our nation. Well, quit treating traditional American values as inferior to the chaos, anarchy, and violence that have replaced them. Let us traditionalists come back. Let your kids demonstrate how responsible they are. Take comfort in the inherent strength of our nation and its traditions. Relax.

We gun owners are safe, responsible, and experienced. We have our own children who we cherish. We will do nothing to hurt our own children.

Guns, used safely, are safe.

 

Gun swap on the kitchen table

Today, a friend called me. A friend of his was bringing over some rifles, shotguns, and old knives to trade. Was I interested in participating?

I’m reporting here that we traded guns like pennies in a penny-ante poker game.

It’s an American tradition, this private gun ownership thing. No paperwork. No records. No criminals. No bad intent.

For another buddy of mine I got a lightly used pump deer rifle. He will pay my actual cost; I don’t make money off of friends.

Background checks have been proposed on this harmless activity; they would merely document who got what, for future attempts at gun confiscation. None of us are or will be criminals. Guns in our hands are the highest deterrent to crime, however.

My take on tonight’s Corbett – Wolf Debate, and Tom Brokaw’s Plea for Control of Our Lives

Like a few thousand other attendees at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce dinner tonight, I sat in the audience and watched Governor Tom Corbett and Democrat nominee Tom Wolf debate each other, with reporter Dennis Owens moderating.  Dennis was outstanding.  I also stayed for the Tom Brokaw speech afterwards.

Here are the highlights as I see them:

1) Corbett beat Wolf hands-down, in substance, poise, accuracy, and humility.  And damned if I am not still surprised.  Given how insipid the Corbett campaign has been to date, I expected the worst performance from him tonight.  That did not materialize.

2) While overall the debate was Dull vs Duller, and neither man was exciting or inspiring, the amazing fact is that Tom Corbett found his voice tonight.  Tom Wolf talked in circles, kept stating that he is a businessman (six, seven times), mis-spoke (“the vast majority of married Pennsylvanians file separate tax reports”), spoke in vague generalities bordering on fluffy clouds and flying unicorns, and addressed none of the substantive issues pegged by moderator Dennis Owens or by Corbett.

3) Wolf seemed to play it safe, venturing nothing new, nothing specific.  He did not even respond the to the Delaware Loophole questions posed to him.  He simply ignored them.  If he persists in this evasiveness, Corbett can catch up and beat him.  Voters can now see it, and it ain’t pretty.  Corbett may be The Most Boring Man in the World, but Wolf looked completely unprepared to be governor.

4) Wolf’s “I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it” response to policy and finance questions is not acceptable for a candidate to run a state government.

5) Corbett actually ate some humble pie, admitting that he is not a good communicator.  Understatement, yes, but he is not a guy who likes to admit he’s wrong.  So that was big.  Again, expectations for Corbett were super low, and he started out looking and sounding defeated.  But even he recognized that he was beating Wolf, and his performance picked up as the debate went on.

Brokaw:

1) Ancient establishment reporter Tom Brokaw has a great voice, and lots of stage presence.  He’s good looking for a guy that old.  He wrote a book about The Greatest Generation, so he must be a pretty great guy.  That is the marketing, anyhow.  His ideas run the gamut from standard liberal to downright contradictory and mutually-exclusive confused, to pathetic control freak.

2) Although Brokaw started talking about the Tea Party, and he complimented its members for getting involved in the political process (which he said is necessary), he never said or recognized the American Constitution as core to tea party’s goals, values, principles, or guiding role. So although he talked about it, it didn’t seem evident that he understands or has thought about the Tea Party much.

3) Brokaw said “I leave it to you determine if the Tea Party is good for America. I’m just a reporter, I just report the facts. You have to come to your own conclusions.”  As if he was not passing judgment on the Tea Party.  Yet, he asked the question and obviously thinks the Tea Party is bad for America; that is his hint.  Given that Brokaw is a liberal at war with America, this is a big cue to conservative activists: Keep it up, the liberal media establishment is scared of you.

4) He called for “filtration” and a “filter” of the internet, and talked about the “simple people” who manage his Montana ranch and get news from the Internet, which he disavowed and sees as unworthy.  This is the kind of intellectual region where Brokaw makes no sense.  On the one hand, the big establishment media is all over the Internet, so if people get their news from the Internet, and not TV chatterheads or fishwrap newspapers, then there’s no real problem with the Internet as a news source.  What Brokaw seemed to be challenged by is the fact that Breitbart and citizen reporters (think Watchdogwire, or my own blog) are circumventing the establishment media.  He does not understand or care that the ‘simple’ masses are hungry for unfiltered news, for real news, for facts and not liberal agenda.  How his imagined filters jibe, square, or conflict with the First Amendment was not mentioned; I am unsure it even occurred to Brokaw that purposefully filtering information is censorship.  But he is a guy who believes in sixty years of past liberal censorship, so I guess he has to stay consistent today.

5) Brokaw implied that the establishment media are the source of accurate information and “big ideas,” and that alternative news and opinion sources are not.  He said he doesn’t believe what he reads on the internet.  He is clearly bothered there’s now no difference between establishment media and bloggers and citizen reporters in terms of equal accessibility. He’s having a tough time letting go of controlling the message Americans receive, which is really his objection: Liberal media elites are losing the propaganda war because they no longer have a choke hold on the information flow; ergo, the Internet is full of bad information.

An indication of just how undeveloped his thinking is: Richard Nixon, Richard Nixon, Richard Nixon…for Liberals, Nixon was the High Priest of Done Bad in Government.  It does not seem to occur to Brokaw that Nixon’s crimes pale in comparison to the lawless tyranny Obama has inflicted upon American citizens. E.g. NSA spying and IRS crushing of political dissent.

6) On the other hand, he’s into high tech and the future of technology.  Very impressed by Google staff and all of the “big minds” gathered at tech conventions.  Brokaw doesn’t reconcile his adulation with his view of information flow on the net.  I am guessing here that he’d be OK if Google ran all the news on the Internet, because Google is made of liberals who share his political agenda.  “Good” liberals and “bad” conservatives is what he is after.

7) Annoyingly, Brokaw dropped names all over the place, as if to impress us with how important he is: Jon Stewart, the NFL commissioner, et al. “I was emailing with ____ _____, and he says ‘Tom..’.” “My books.” “I’m on the board of…..” This seemed self-conscious and actually undermined his standing, because truly great people never look at themselves this way.  They simply Are Great.

8) Finally, he called for a new form of foreign service corps, some hybrid of the Peace Corps, Americorps, and the military.  It was terribly confused, but it was also the kind of Big Idea he admires others for having, so evidently he must have one, too, even of it makes no practical sense.

In Harrisburg as in Washington, NYC, extremists parade as mainstream

This past weekend saw various political marches around the US.  Washington, DC, New York City, and elsewhere, largely groups of openly avowed communists, socialists, anti-capitalism activists, and other fringe extremists.

Claims of “Climate change” unified them.

If you had any questions about human-caused “climate change,” these marches should answer them. It is an utterly politicized, polarized issue from which science is having a tough time extracting itself. To these extremists, anything that happens on any given day anywhere in the world is evidence of their cause.

Blue skies in September? Climate change!

Rainy skies in September? Climate change!

Cold or hot weather in September, each is “evidence” of human-caused climate change.

Undoubtedly humans are having an impact on our planet, including the cell phone using and car driving socialists who advocate that the rest of us give up our cell phones and cars.

The question is how we can be dispassionate and calculating about identifying these impacts, and then fixing them in a way that does not require everyone to become a communist, wear a grass skirt, and live in a driftwood hut eating whole grains and dried fruit.

Similarly, here in Harrisburg we have another political group that takes the opposite approach to the socialists and communists.  Instead of openly avowing socialism and anti-capitalism, “Harrisburg Hope” misrepresents itself as a non-partisan, objective, aloof, dispassionate gathering for all interested political interests.

Of course that is not the truth about Harrisburg Hope, as the group has been deeply involved in the most partisan campaigns and was used as a vehicle to help Harrisburg’s present mayor get elected.  When other mayoral candidates wanted equal opportunity at Harrisburg Hope forums, they were denied.  Other political events hosted by Harrisburg Hope have been gaggingly partisan and faux civil rights.

Clearly Harrisburg Hope is a bare-knuckle political machine, designed to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Everywhere you turn, the Left has some organization designed to misrepresent itself in the interest of not alarming citizens about its true, radical, extreme goals.

The question a lot of people have is, Will the conservative movement fight back?

Scottish vote is instructive of changing identities around the world; is PA ready? Is USA ready?

A majority of Scots voted yesterday to not rock their world, not screw up their currency, not throw 300 years of cultural, financial, and military entanglement with Britain into a complete mess.

So although there was a sizable groundswell of independent-minded identity, about 45%, more Scots (55%) believed that the change was not worth the inevitable costs.  That 55% may indeed share the same cultural identity and passion for change as the 45%, but they believe that the price was too high.

Fair enough.  It is understandable.  Reasonable people can disagree about these things. After all, Scotland will still be Scotland, with a common language, culture, and identity.  And British lawmakers made clear concessions in recent days that will only strengthen and enhance Scotland’s sense of separate identity and self-determination, so the mere threat of separation gained new, valuable rights.

But Scotland goes to show that there is a sweeping change around the world, including in America, where changing identities are tugging at frayed social fabrics.  Eventually, these frays will become tears, whether we like it or not.

A good indication of this cultural change happened right here in America this past Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Constitution Day in America, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that American students could be denied their First Amendment right to wear shirts with the American flag on “Cinco de Mayo Day” in California.

Citing fears that Hispanic gangs in certain California government-run schools would see the American flag as intolerant of their Hispanic identities, an instigation to violence, a school principal, and subsequently one of the highest courts in the land (ain’t that the truth) decided that American citizens must be barred from wearing the flag of our nation, America, on their clothes.

On just that one day.

Needless to say, that an American court would conclude such a violent attack on our free speech rights is OK in the first place is incredible, especially when it involves wearing our national flag.

That a court would cite potential violence by criminals, many of whom are not American citizens, as a reason to deny American citizens their free speech rights is a whole other thumb in the eye.  It is not legal reasoning but rather giving in to mob rule.

That the court decision was given on Constitution Day really highlights the symbolic meaning and significance of this event.  The court is either tone deaf or purposefully showing its disdain for our guiding light.

It really marks a widening cultural identity gap increasingly growing in America, as it is growing in parts of Spain (Basques), France (half the planet is still French-occupied), Syria (Kurds, Sunni vs Shia Muslims), Iraq (Kurds, Sunni vs Shia Muslims), Turkey (Kurds), Argentina (Falklands, occupied by Britain), and so on.

In each of these locations, there are large groups of people who believe that the present government is actually working against their interests, not for their interests.  They want a government that they believe is representative of them, their needs, identities.

Come what may of these various separation movements, many of which have turned into open civil war, what concerns me is what this portends for Americans.

One poll this week shows that one in four Americans support some sort of secession or breakup of America.

Some states, like Alaska, Montana, and Texas, already have large secessionist movements or large population segments who want Republic status either restored, or instituted.

At some point these different intellectual disagreements will result in actual, physical disagreements, usually known as civil strife or civil war.  As much as this terrifies me and anyone else who enjoys the relative tranquility and opportunity America now enjoys, it is a fact that such events are part of human history.  They are probably inevitable.

When the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hands down a patently ridiculous ruling like this one, to satisfy some small group of people who threaten violence against otherwise Constitutional behavior, you can be damned sure that a much larger group of actual Americans take notice, and they begin to see their nation a lot differently than they did, say, on Tuesday of this week.

If threats of violence by alien invaders can suppress our Constitutional rights, then what the hell does our Constitution really mean? Has it now become meaningless? Will threats of violence by other groups, alien or native, gain sufficient legal traction to suppress other Constitutional rights, too?  Will or could threats of regional insurrection or violence against alien invaders result in similar court holdings that the Second Amendment no longer has standing there?

Can anyone imagine what that would then mean to tens of millions of law-abiding American citizens, whose otherwise legal ownership of plain vanilla firearms had suddenly overnight become criminalized.  Like people using the Internet to promote their ideas, those Americans would use their guns before they would lose them.  Surely here in Pennsylvania that is true.

America’s Constitution is what binds us all together.  It is the great equalizer, the super glue that keeps America’s different, pulsing forces together.

Behind this week’s 9th Circuit decision is a morally relativist, multiculturalist mindset that places first priority on vague feelings of separate ethnic pride above and beyond the limits on government and expansive freedoms for citizens granted in the Constitution.  To this court, government is an enforcer for grievances and hurt feelings; the Constitution is irrelevant in how that enforcement is carried out.

Pennsylvania is undergoing quiet but dramatic demographic change, similar to many other states, including California and New York.  These same sorts of issues and questions are about to descend upon us.  Do we Pennsylvanians have the quality leaders necessary to keep us bound all together in one identity?

Or do we have elected leaders and courts who are willing to inject anarchy and civil strife in the name of a perverted sense of justice, what Hell may come as a result?

Obama & Bill Clinton officially embrace imperialism, then poormouth liberty, independence, and freedom

As anyone paying any attention to politics already knew, neither Barack Hussein Obama nor Bill Clinton are committed to liberty, freedom, or independence, and like the good power-hungry statists they are, they openly embrace imperialism and military occupation.  When it serves their interests.

Today the mainstream media prominently ran two statements, one by each man.

Each statement began with a dissembling lie about how neither Obama nor Clinton really have anything to say about Scotland’s wish for independence from the mis-named “United Kingdom.”

You know, kind of a disarming warmup for the dagger-in-the-chest that is coming right behind it.

You know, they support the “united Kingdom” that was only united through Britain’s imperialism, deceptive diplomacy, military conquests, occupation, land theft, genocide and ethnic cleansing, and religious totalitarianism.

After the blase disclaimer, each man then goes on to say that Scotland should not become independent from its longtime foe, occupier, and vampire-like neighbor, England aka Britain, home of the Britons (not the Scots).

Both Clinton and Obama provide generic and vague sentimentalist goo as their supporting argument.  Both rely on some version of “We know you don’t like it, but it really is best for you, the little people.”

See, Scotland owns a lot of oil and gas fields that will instantly give it financial independence from Britain, which in turn may become the weak sister, not the domineering exporter of bad TV and cute Cockney accents it is now.

I vote for freedom for Scotland.  I vote for independence from Britain, like we Americans have. I vote for liberty from Britain’s insane laws that have turned justice upside down.

If anyone from Scotland reads this, please know that we Americans love our independence from the damned British, and we hope you do, too.

The Clintons strike again

People obsessed with power can be aggravating. It’s all about them, not you or me. Their motives are bad, why support them.

So here I’m watching US Senator Tom Harkin’s (D- Iowa) annual steak fry fundraiser on c-span (yes, I am that much of a political geek), a legendary annual speechathon, and who is there right behind the filibustering Senator Harkin?

Why, Bill and Hillary Clinton are sitting there. Right in line with the cameras, for maximum exposure.

Bill Clinton is smiling and looking intently, or maybe intensely, occasionally smiling to someone in the audience (hot babe?), clapping, waving, nodding in agreement.  Jovial fellow.  Harmless, chummy.

Bill Clinton was impeached and disbarred for lying under oath, while holding the highest office.  He was investigated because he abused his position of authority over a young woman working for him, basically blackmailing her for sex.  He is a serial sexual harasser and sexual abuser, a possible rapist, and yet, he sits center stage, national attention, people cheering for him.

It makes you wonder just what counts for a leader for some parties.  How people can set aside murder, drunkenness, and sexual abuse (Ted Kennedy), and so on.  It makes me wonder, anyhow, what it takes to be a thinker in that party, what it takes to be an adherent to that party.  Easily overlooking horrendous behavior, but quick to jump on someone else’s.

Consistency is not a hallmark.

Anyhow, Hillary eventually stands up and delivers the most monotone, long, drawn out, boring speech to a crowd sitting in the very hot sun already for hours at that point, and the camera shows the audience losing interest, feeling uncomfortable, getting up to move away.  She is not speaking to them, because if she were, she would make it five or six minutes and get credit for getting them out of the hot sun already.  However, Hillary is speaking to someone else, someplace else, and she goes on and on and on and even I couldn’t listen an more, and I was in the comfort of my recliner.

Hillary is speaking for herself, and probably to herself.

It is time to hold the Clintons accountable, for what they did to Bill’s many victims, for they did to America.

And yes, it is a shame that Bill was so flawed; I mean that.  I was working in Washington, DC, when he became president, and the government really did change for the better under his leadership.  I am not talking about policy, but how government functioned, how it was streamlined, how voice mail and email were added to our offices, and the Internet.  Bill Clinton was a gifted president in that way.  His lack of morals were his weak point.

But Hillary has no excuse, no good, demonstrable benefits she has brought to America.  She is merely deeply self-interested.  She is merely power hungry.  She has stepped over the many prostrate female victims of Bill to get to this point.  She should not get any further.  She is not a good person, and she is unworthy to lead.

Some Westerners still adore Imperialism despite their protestations

If there is one hotbed of kooky political extremism in Western Civilization, it’s England.

As it was in the 1920s and 1930s, England is full of self-proclaimed “peace” activists and anti-imperialism yellers and screamers.

Their weak righteousness brought on World War II, and paved the way for massive treasonous infiltration of English government at all levels.

Many Soviet Russian spies were warmly welcomed by these activists to set up shop and undermine the individual rights and liberties that mark the strongest European democracy.

Anti-British sentiment ran and still runs quite deep in Wales, Ireland, Scotland, the Falklands, and many other far-flung places unassociated with England proper.

Yet where were those activists then, when those nations next to England yearned for their own self-determination? Sure, the activists accused everyone else (America, Israel, the actual anchors of Western freedom and tolerance) of vicious imperialism, but they themselves loved the unfair, artificial, imperialistic, forced notion of a UK. Scotland, Ireland, Wales were independent places with unique languages, cultures, and religions. They were hardly “united” with England by choice.

The Falklands? WTH?!

Why now that Scottish citizens are finally waking up to their own freedom are the British trade unions, left wing activists, and self-appointed bosses of equality silent on Scotland’s chance for true opportunity?

I’m not Scottish, Welsh, nor Irish, I am an American, but I do know that my country fought British imperialism many times, and that Americans greatly benefited from their Constitutional republic’s individual liberties.

It is time for Britons to act in a consistent, civilized way, and set aside their imperial self-interests.

As a former Scottish freedom fighter once said on film, FREEDOM!

Time for a Muslim Peace Movement, Now

Muslims are not victims*.

However, the victims of Islam are many, and continuing, and today yet another was unveiled.

British peace activist David Haines was beheaded by a Muslim activist on video, which I watched both in horror and in solidarity with him.  David Haines knew what was happening, was absolutely composed, cocked his eyebrow and muttered some inaudible phrase to himself as his chin was lifted and the knife sliced into his neck.

David Haines died on his knees, his hands cuffed behind him, utterly vulnerable, not a threat to anyone.  This is pure sadism.

Whether Muslims will admit it, or not, this sadistic evil violence has become the face of Islam to Westerners.

In the absence of massive Muslim marches supporting Western civilization and individual liberties, one can only conclude that Muslims everywhere agree with this Koranic behavior.

Oh sure, there are some bland Takiya (religiously permitted deception) statements by Muslim infiltrators, but there are zero public demonstrations by reformers who wish to indicate their break with the parts of the Koran that proscribe this exact form of murder and mayhem for non-Muslims.

It is time for a Muslim Peace Movement.  A movement that supports Western civilization, that supports the rights of minorities such as Christians, Yazidis, and Jews, that will re-write the Koran to represent a Western mindset.

It is time.

* The Koran forbids any criticism of Islam or its founder, Muhammad, and yet the Koran is full of hate and vilification of every other religion around the Arabian Peninsula in the year 670 CE. Christians, Jews, and Hindus are specifically called cows, monkeys, pigs, and so on.  If this is not “hate speech,” I don’t know what is. This double standard must end.  You are not a victim if you are victimizing everyone else and they are calling you out on it.

Field Notes

Field Notes are the monthly notes written by PA Game Commission wildlife conservation officers, about notable experiences and interactions they’ve had on the job, out in the field.  And you know that for those folks, men and women, out in the field is truly out there in the wild.  Their descriptions of encounters with people and wildlife are unique and often funny.

Field Notes are published monthly in the PGC’s Game News magazine, and for all of my hunting life (1973 until now), one person really summed up Field Notes and gave them pizzazz, making them my first-read in the magazine.

That was artist Nick Rosato, whose funny illustrations in Field Notes came to epitomize and symbolize the life and lighter side of wildlife law enforcement.  Rosato’s humorous, rustically themed sketches summed up a WCO’s life of enforcing the law against sometimes recalcitrant bad guys, while maintaining an empathy usually reserved for naughty school children, when first-time offenders were involved and a slap on the wrist was needed.

Rosato died this summer, and his art will no longer grace the pages of Game News.  I will miss Rosato’s humor and skill, because for most of my life he helped paint the human dimension of officers who are too often seen as gruff, grumpy, and unnecessarily strict law enforcers.

Speaking of WCOs, a couple years ago I was hunting during deer rifle season when I encountered a WCO I knew.  He had a deer on the back of his vehicle and we stopped to chat and catch up with each other.  Out of nowhere, I asked him to please check me, as in check my license, my gun, my ammunition.

Getting “checked” by WCOs and deputy WCOs is a pretty common experience for most Pennsylvania hunters, but the truth is, I have never been checked by anyone in my 42 years of hunting.

“Sorry, Josh, I just do not have the time.  You will have to wait ’til later or until you meet another WCO out here,” he responded.

With that he smiled, waved, and drove off to follow through on his deer poaching investigation.

I think that encounter should be a Field Note, Terry.  It is probably a first.

Maybe this year I will be “checked,” but perhaps having every single license and stamp available to the Pennsylvania hunter, and hunting only when and where I am supposed to hunt, somehow creates a karma field that makes WCOs avoid me.

Speaking of hunting experiences, yesterday morning Ed and I were goose hunting on the Susquehanna River.  Out in the middle of the widest part, we were alone, sitting on some rocks, chatting about our families, professional work, politics and culture, religion.  Our time together can best be summed up as “Duck Blind Poetry,” because it ain’t pretty, but it is soulful.  Two dads together, sharing life’s experiences and challenges, makes hunting much more than killing.

While we were noting the Susquehanna River’s recent and incredible decline in animal diversity, we suddenly saw four white Great Egrets fly across our field of view, followed by three wood ducks.  Intrigued, we began speculating on where they had all been hiding, when out of nowhere a mature bald eagle appeared on the horizon.  It flapped its way over us and clearly was on the hunt.  So that was why the other birds had quickly flown out of Dodge!

Seeing these wild animals interact with each other was another enjoyable example of how hunting is much, much more than killing.

Unfortunately, during that serene time afield, I introduced my cell phone to the Susquehanna River, and have found myself nearly shut off from communications ever since.  While the phone dries off in a bath of rice, I am enjoying a sort of enforced relaxation.  Please don’t think my lack of responses to calls and texts is rudeness.  I am merely clumsy.  Let’s not make that a Field Note.