I spent a large part of the day talking about guns, thinking about police and guns, and handling guns. That’s what this post is about.
Today was a gun day. It began when a friend who strongly supports the Second Amendment nevertheless wondered why police shoot people who end up proving to be unarmed. Why can’t they stop doing that, she asked.
I explained to my friend that police have milliseconds in which to determine whether a person is a threat to them. The fact that the person who was aiming something at them is later shown to have been pointing a pen or cell phone gets discussed a lot in Monday morning quarterbacking. In the real world, though, police can’t stand there debating what the guy (it’s usually a guy) is holding in his hands. All they can do is to act, and act fast. Sometimes they act wrong. Here are a few shoot/don’t shoot videos in practice settings:
When people who wish blacks well tell them to be compliant in the face of police actions, that’s not because they are telling blacks to demean themselves or be slaves to white people’s orders. It’s because the human brain cannot determine in two seconds whether someone is a predator coming at them or just a fool moving around. Lacking that analytical ability, unless a cop is suicidal, his brain is going to say “predator” and he will shoot.
What happened in Atlanta the other day is classic. If you watch the Rayshard Brooks videos, you see that he got into a violent altercation with the police and grabbed for their weapons. He succeeded in grabbing something that later proved to be a taser, then ran away, only to stop and aim the taser at them:
All that the police lizard brains knew, though, was that Brooks was violent, that he had something in his hand (a weapon), and that he was planning on discharging it at them. At that moment, Officer Garrett Rolf’s survival instincts kicked — for him, it was kill or be killed, not black or white. Now, he’s probably going to be charged with murder.
Police all around America are watching this. Each officer knows that s/he may end up in situations with people who are non-compliant or stupid. The officer will then have to make a millisecond judgment call that could save him or her from a killer or see his or her life destroyed in a hostile legal system. If the presumption is always going to be that a black man, if shot, was innocent and the police officer was guilty, police will make two sensible choices: They will quit the department immediately or continue to collect the paycheck while failing to do any meaningful policing. That does not bode well for America. Vigilante justice will step in and vigilantes don’t have police training. They’ll always shoot first.
This does not mean that I am hostile to better police training. First, there’s always room for improvement. Second, training, coupled with making it easier to fire bad policemen, should help weed out people who shouldn’t be on the force. Third, the one thing that the protesters have right is that we need better systems for handling the mentally ill. Police are not, and should not be, mental health therapists.
My friend also asked me why police don’t do what Biden suggested and aim for the legs. That was an easy one. I had a friend in law school who was a former police officer. I asked him the same question (not challenging him but genuinely curious) and he gave me a very simple answer: Police are not sharpshooters and, in moments of stress, it’s almost impossible to aim. For that reason, once you’ve determined that there’s a threat, you must aim for body mass because it’s the only certain way to end the threat.
Moreover, when the threatening people are large, crazy, or hopped up on adrenalin or drugs, there’s a substantial likelihood that they will continue to be a threat even after several shots. Having crossed the Rubicon and fired the first shot, anyone who is facing a threat must keep firing until there’s no doubt that the threat is neutralized.
So, whether you’re black or white, young or old, if police are talking to you, immediately comply with their requests. Keep them informed about what you’re doing. Let them see your hands at all times. And try to be nice. If you do those things, unless it’s a rogue cop in a corrupt police force, there’s a good likelihood you’ll walk away alive no matter what color you are.
The above is the “police and guns” part of this post.
Now for the “more guns” part of this post: I went to a gun store today to look into buying a pistol both for recreational shooting and home security. Once there, I was reminded, as I always home, that gun stores are really nice places. People who work at the stores are happy to help, especially if you’re honest about your ignorance, and the other customers are usually happy people. These stores are the living embodiment of an armed society being a polite society.
The one thing that made me sad was that I may inadvertently have left a black family thinking I’m racist, though, even though what I really am is kind of Aspergery. I was talking with the salesman about the fact that I needed a gun that works for my small hands. With many guns, I find the distance from the grip to the trigger too long for my fingers. That throws off my aim.
One of the men was buying for his wife (who was not with him) and asked if I could handle a gun he was thinking about to see if it would fit my hand. I was happy to help. However, when I turned my back to tell my salesman that I’d be back in a minute, the group shifted and I ended up talking to an entirely different man.
Because the whole group was black, I think that they may have thought to themselves, “Typical white woman. All blacks look the same to her.”
That’s not true.
What’s true is that, until I get to know people, all faces look the same to me. I have a very hard time distinguishing new faces, so I look at externals: Skin color, height, body habitus (skinny, fat, etc.), and hair. All of these guys were black, yes, but what made them indistinguishable to me was that they all had long dreads, they all had burly body types, and they were all tall. The masks didn’t help. I would have done exactly the same thing with a trio of white guys, Hispanic guys, or Asian guys who had similar externalities.
Still, the guys were sweet, so from my point of view it was a no harm, no foul, and I hope it was from theirs too. By the way, this is not white guilt speaking. This is Bookworm guilt. I hate hurting people’s feelings or making them feel uncomfortable.
And what did I buy? Nothing, yet. The range was too crowded for me to test anything, so I’ll go back in a day or two to try again.
Here’s something that did please me, though: It’s been at least three years since I handled a pistol and, before then, I’d done it infrequently, at best. However, once I picked up the guns the salesman was showing me, my muscle memory kicked in. Not only did I know what to do, I remembered to keep my finger away from the trigger. That last made me incredibly happy.
So, police, guns, and more guns. I wrote what I promised.
Leftism is a rules-based system, not a morals-based system. Societies with only morals can manage without police; societies with only rules cannot.
Growing up in San Francisco, I navigated through the geography of my community by the compass. The Pacific was to the west, the Bay was to the east, the Golden Gate Bridge was to the north, and San Francisco State, Stonestown Mall, and Lowell High School were to the south. These were absolute values. No matter where I was in the City, if I could just find one of my compass points, I wasn’t lost.
Absolute values are even more useful when you’re in an unfamiliar place. If someone tells you to go left on Main, left on State, right on Laurel, and left on Oak, you’ll do fine as long as you keep your left and your right properly aligned at all times. But woe betide you if you get turned around, because then right is left and left is right, and before you know it, you’re re-living Thomas Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities. However, if someone tells you to go east at the intersection of State and 1st, or to turn west after you pass the donut shop, you’ll always know where you go.
Morals are compass points. They function as blazing neon lights that keep us from getting lost in a complicated world. They’re not situational, except in the greatest of extremes. For the most part, the Eighth Commandment (Thou shalt not steal) is clear. If it’s not yours, don’t take it, whether it’s money, a toy, a package in front of someone’s house, another person’s freedom, or someone’s life. We understand that exigent circumstances, such as survival in war or famine, create exceptions but mostly it’s pretty clear. If you steal from greed, laziness, boredom, or a desire for thrills, you are not moral.
The Sixth Commandment (Thou shalt not murder) is also clear. Murder’s most basic definition is intentionally killing another for no reason other than to achieve a wrongful benefit or to satisfy a sick or intemperate pleasure. The commandment allows for killing in self-defense or to defend another, or to fight in a (presumably just) war. Our laws carve out other exceptions, such as negligence or insanity, but everything is still a subset of that big moral imperative: Don’t murder people.
The great thing about these large moral principles is that they’re always there. They’re there if you’re in the city or the country, if you’re black or white, if you’re male or female, gay or straight, or whatever other condition you want to put on yourself. Don’t steal. Don’t kill. You’re not lost with these moral directives; you can always find your way.
Morals are our compass points.
But morals don’t exist in a vacuum. What all angry mother’s eventually holler — “Because I said so” — is not a sound basis for a continuing moral system. If you can say so, that means everyone else can say so too. Morals become opinions. That might work for a single generation, with people tend to cluster around the same opinions, but mere opinions eventually lose their persuasive powers.
That’s where God comes in. Significantly, you don’t need to have everyone in society believing in God. Instead, it’s like herd immunity. If enough people believe that these vast principles come from an external, timeless, source, the principles will integrate into societal behavior. The non-believers may discount God but will rationalize their way to accepting that the principles silly people believe come from God are still good things.
In a society that is committed to these principles, the moral equivalent of herd immunity works to keep the majority of the people in line. Policing can indeed be community policing, with a minimalist police force, if the majority of people share the same moral values. That works best in a small, like-minded community. The bigger the population, the lower the herd immunity, the more people will deviate from the big rules and the more help you need armed help to constrain bad actors who reject the rules.
And then there’s leftism. Leftism has no fixed principles. Well, that’s not quite true. The fixed principle is power. Everything else is an ever-changing system of rules that help carry out whatever objectives the state happens to have on that day. In a leftist society, it’s impossible to be “moral,” because there are no compass points that define moral behavior. Today you can rob from the rich because they oppose the state. Tomorrow you can’t rob from the rich because they are the state. There’s no moral principle attached to stealing. The rules simply apply to who’s in and who’s out.
Power accrues to the rule-makers, who are careful to change the rules constantly in order to stay one step ahead of everyone else. Stand still and someone else will be making the rules to prove that they have the power and suddenly you’re the one in the gulag or staring down the wrong end of a gun — and you definitely need the gun to enforce the rules because they are not internal rules. They’re arbitrary and capricious, and you need neurotic people bouncing around frantically to stay one step ahead of “the law.” When they’re doing that, they’re not trying to overthrow the power brokers.
What’s so funny about Minneapolis, which just voted to do away entirely with police, is that the leftists-in-charge belief that people will simply behave well because of “the community.” What they fail to grasp is that “the community” is not a value. It’s just a collective.
This new Minneapolis community will end up having rule makers, but no rule enforcers. And because it’s leftist, there won’t be any external values to constrain people’s worst instincts. The members of the collective will do what they want. And as the lawbreakers realize that there’s nothing to hold them back, their victims will get very violent in an attempt to stave them off.
I’ve noted before that the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul get away with their virtue signaling because they’re pretty, nice cities. Their garbage gets picked up, people have virtue-signaling signs in their yards, and homes are spacious and pleasant looking. That’s going to end with remarkable speed.
I keep thinking of Zimbabwe and it’s total collapse after Mugabe announced that he was going to give all the farms to black people because whites were evil colonialists. Unfortunately, the blacks didn’t know how to farm. In less than a decade, Zimbabwe went from being one of Africa’s more prosperous nations to being an economic basketcase, with people starving in the streets. The fall, once it happens, is fast.
Just listen to the immoral — whoops! I meant immortal words of Minneapolis’s uber-white, anarcho-socialist City Council president, Lisa Bender, discussing the fact that it’s “privileged” to expect police protection.
The woman has no morals. She’s just a sea of soft-sounding words and, behind it all, a lust for power. Minnesota is going to have a white-flight the likes of which has never been seen in America, even in areas such as Detroit in the 1970s. The only thing that makes me sad is that the leftists leaving those cities, like the Bourbons, will have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They’ll head to safe conservative communities (made up of both blacks and whites), and work hard to destroy those communities’ moral underpinnings and replace them with leftism’s power-based, morality-free rules.
The Prager U video below, narrated by and based up research from, Heather MacDonald is actually titled “Are The Police Racist?”. However, watch it and you will learn that modern-day Democrats have achieved something that the Social Darwinists of the 19th century, and the eugenicists of the 21st centuries could only dream of:
They’ve put ostensibly “pro-black” systems in place that, in fact, have fostered a culture of auto-genocide amongst blacks. Between encouraging black abortion and putting into place policies that ensure unending black crime (everything from placing the blame on others for black lawlessness, to denying guns to law-abiding citizens, to replacing fathers with welfare, to demonizing police) that keeps the black population violently reduced — at the hands of their fellow blacks.
Circa August 18, 2016, with the Milwaukee case leading the news, it is instructive to review the pantheon of Black Lives Matter, holy social justice martyrs, all of which are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Democrat Party.
Trayvon Martin: The Trayvon Martin of the Social Justice narrative was a slight, smiling tea-drinking, Skittles-carrying adolescent, a potential Rhodes Scholar, whose only desire in the world was to reach home with food for his little brother. The real Trayvon Martin was a wannabe thug, street fighter and burglar, who smoked pot, brandished a gun and sported false gold teeth on social media. When he ambushed and brutally beat George Zimmerman, he was under the influence of pot and was carrying two of the three ingredients for a drug concoction known as “lean,” which he also boasted of using. Zimmerman was turned into a “white-Hispanic,” and was said to be a cop wannabe. The real Zimmerman identified as Hispanic and while involved in Neighborhood Watch, actually turned down appointment as a citizen on patrol, which would have given him a marked official vehicle and a uniform. At trial, the prosecution actually proved self-defense and Zimmerman was acquitted.