All posts by Animal

Animal’s Daily Shoulder Brace News

Guns Not for Sale.

Before we start, check out the final installment of Riding the String over at Glibertarians!

Now then: The Biden(‘s handlers) Administration has been handed a loss over its nonsensical shoulder-brace ban. My RedState colleague Bonchie brought us the news.

In a major win for Second Amendment rights, the Biden administration’s pistol brace ban has been struck down nationwide. A previous ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had given the plaintiffs relief but left everyone still risking a felony by holding onto their pistol braces. 

U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmarky of Texas delivered the nationwide injunction, a decision that saves millions from having to destroy their pistol braces or guns altogether.

Millions of law-abiding gun owners who were turned into criminals overnight under the Biden administration’s new pistol brace ban have temporary relief after a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction preventing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives from enforcing it.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled on Wednesday that the unelected bureaucrats’ attempts to legislate by regulation instead of enforcing the gun laws already on the books were unlawful and, in the case of pistol braces, must cease immediately.

The ATF’s rule, enacted earlier this year, sought to jail and fine any of the estimated 40 million U.S. pistol brace owners who refused to reclassify their weapons as short barrel rifles, which require registration with the government and a $200 tax stamp, or destroy the pistol brace. Gun owners in the 21 states with SBR bans were forced to choose between relinquishing their weapons or destroying their pistol brace-equipped firearms to avoid penalty and punishment.

Full disclosure; as any of you who have read these virtual pages knows, I am not and never have been a Tacticool aficionado, and don’t give two hoots about pistol braces in and of themselves. But from the Second Amendment standpoint, and from the standpoint of the Constitution itself, I care a great deal about massive overstepping by an Imperial agency that, if you care about the Tenth Amendment, shouldn’t even exist.

Armed and Sexy.

That being the case, this is a pretty significant win.  The entire hooplah over these things was based on the assertion that a pistol brace somehow made a short weapon (most of these things are used on AR-15 “pistols,” a device for which I can’t really see much use, but every cat its own rat) more deadly.  How that worked was never clear; the cartridge fired remains the same, the operation of the weapon doesn’t change; the brace doesn’t make the weapon more or less accurate in and of itself.  What these braces were designed to do, and what they actually do, is to allow a disabled shooter to handle the weapon with greater ease and improved functionality.

That’s all.

This is a win. But the war for the Second Amendment continues.


Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Bacon Time, Flappr and The Daley Gator for the Rule Five links! As always, if we’ve missed your link, let us know in the comments and we’ll get you added to the weekly reach-around.

Now then: If you allow this sort of thing, you get more of it.

The sheriff of California’s Sacramento County accused Target leaders of preventing deputies from thwarting shoplifting incidents despite the store requesting help to stymie rampant retail crime.

“We don’t tell big retail how to do their jobs, they shouldn’t tell us how to do ours,” Sheriff Jim Cooper posted in a lengthy X post Thursday. 

Cooper said Target, one of the largest retailers in the U.S., reached out to his office multiple times requesting assistance with shoplifters, who the sheriff said were frequently “known transients.”

The sheriff’s office and Target worked to conduct an operation at the store to nab shoplifters, but the plan apparently crumbled after Target leaders made a list of rules for where and how deputies and detectives could arrest the suspects.

Here’s the proper response from the Sheriff’s office:

Seriously, Target shouldn’t be telling these people how to do their jobs – not if they ever want any resolution to this rampant theft. Let the officers arrest people in the store. Let them be perp-walked past all the other customers in handcuffs, pour encourager les autres.  There’s no reason to just let this kind of thing happen:

“Our deputies watched a lady on camera bring in her own shopping bags, go down the body wash isle [sic], and grab a bunch of Native body washes. Then she went to customer service and return them! Target chose to do nothing and simply let it happen,” he wrote.

And that’s why it keeps happening.  Because they allow it, and because they are afraid of the skull-shattering RHEEEEE from California lefties should they make any effort to stop these awful losses from theft.

Target has gone completely nuts.  They deserve whatever happens.

Rule Five Business Tax Climate Friday

The Tax Foundation’s 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index is out, and again our own Alaska comes out looking pretty decent. California and New York, along with other blue states? Not so much.

A look at the ten best and the ten worse alone, is revealing. Spoiler: Red states v. blue states.

The 10 best states in this year’s Index are:

1. Wyoming
2. South Dakota
3. Alaska
4. Florida
5. Montana
6. New Hampshire
7. Nevada
8. Utah
9. North Carolina
10. Indiana

The 10 lowest-ranked, or worst, states in this year’s Index are:

41. Rhode Island
42. Hawaii
43. Vermont
44. Minnesota
45. Maryland
46. Massachusetts
47. Connecticut
48. California
49. New York
50. New Jersey

Read the whole report, by all means; it’s long and somewhat textbooky but invites scrutiny and thought. And, yes, the conclusions are obvious; the best states are almost all Republican-controlled, while the worst… aren’t.

Consider the implications of that.

We’ve known for some time that places like New Jersey (dead last in the rankings) New York (second to dead last) and California (third to dead last) were in trouble for some time now.  All three of those states are hemorrhaging residents, and almost all of the people who are fleeing are moving to more tax-friendly locales, like Florida (#4) Utah (#8) and North Carolina (#9).

That’s to be expected, of course. People always have and always will vote with their feet.

The Center Square has some observations about this report as well:

New Jersey bottomed out the list, one spot above New York — while Connecticut ranked 47, Massachusetts 46, Vermont 43 and Rhode Island 41. In stark contrast, New Hampshire ranked the sixth best in the nation, while Maine ranked 34.

The Tax Foundation cites several “afflictions” contributing to the poor rankings for the northeast, including “complex, nonneutral taxes with comparatively high rates,” according to the report.

The Tax Foundation argues New Jersey’s highest in the nation property tax burden and corporate income tax rate, in addition to having one of the highest individual income tax rates, as significant factors in the state’s low ranking.

Again, this should come as a surprise to no one.  The only baffling thing in this, as in previous such reports, so many of the residents of these states keep voting in the same lunatics to be in charge of these asylums.

I would also note that Alaska, while having a very favorable business tax climate (#3), isn’t exactly an industrial powerhouse. Our population is small and, except for Anchorage, scattered widely across the vastness of the Great Land. Alaska’s infrastructure really isn’t suited to being a manufacturing powerhouse.  I expect the Great Land will remain as it is, a lovely, wild, free place, depending largely on tourism and North Slope oil for our economy.

We like it that way just fine.

Animal’s Daily It Happens Here Too News

Even in Alaska, the sickos are still present, although I hasten to point out that this sicko was in Anchorage, which a fair number of Alaskans would just as soon not consider “real” Alaska.

An Anchorage man who allegedly distributed child pornography and fantasized extensively online about anally raping children was allowed to continue his nefarious ways while the FBI dropped the investigation in order to focus on investigating those the agency believed were involved in the Jan. 6 election protest at the U.S. Capitol.

The delay in arresting the man raises an important question about how many other cases of serious nature or other criminal activity the FBI dropped in order to go after Trump supporters.

Brogan T. Welsh, 31, of Anchorage, was indicted in late October in the District of Columbia on charges of distributing child pornography. His arrest came in Anchorage.

Welsh allegedly was a member of a private group on an internet platform specifically set up to chat about sexual exploitation of children and to the sharing of child sexual abuse materials.

Throw away the key!

It’s safe to say that sickos like this have always been among us, but it sure seems like they are more prevalent lately.  Is it that there are more of them, or is it that methods for detecting and busting them are more efficient?  I’m inclined to believe that is in part the latter issue; there are more tools available to help law enforcement catch purveyors of kiddie porn online than there are for catching the guy in a dark alley in a trenchcoat offering VHS tapes for sale.

As long as due process is observed, I have no problem with that.

As for Brogan T. Welsh, well, I expect he can figure to have the book thrown at him. Anchorage or not, Alaska is not California or Oregon; the courts here take these matters seriously.

Or so we hope.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Note:  Since I have two weeks worth of my RedState posts here, this will be lengthy, but you can see it all beneath the cut. And I will also say this: It’s great to be home. I still love the Colorado mountains and had a great time, but we also spent a few days in the Denver area visiting friends and family, and boy have three years in the Great Land changed my perspectives on Denver.  Big cities are noisy, and they stink.

We’re really glad to be home, in Alaska.

Now then:

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Daily Chimp Warfare News

Before we start, check out the latest installment of Riding the String over at Glibertarians.

Chimps, our closest genetic relatives, are mean critters. They conduct inter-tribal warfare, they kill members of enemy tribes -even the infants – and they indulge in cannibalism. I’m not sure what that says about us, but now we find out that chimpanzee warfare tactics are more complex than we thought – they actually conduct reconnaissance.

Researchers said on Thursday they have documented the tactical use of elevated terrain in warfare situations while observing on a daily basis two neighboring communities of wild western chimpanzees in Tai National Park for three years.

Information obtained during hilltop reconnaissance shaped whether the chimpanzees made forays into enemy territory, the study found, with these apes appearing more apt to do so when the risk of confrontation was lower. The study, the researchers said, records for the first time the use of this age-old human military strategy by our species’ closest living relatives.

“It shows sophisticated cognitive and cooperative skills to anticipate where and when to go, and to act upon gathered information in a safe way,” said University of Cambridge biological anthropologist Sylvain Lemoine, lead author of the study published in the journal PLOS Biology.

I’ve sat face to face with an adult male chimp at the Honolulu Zoo (there was a thick sheet of plexiglass between us) and have also had occasion to interact with a young female orangutan close up.  Both experiences were interesting in the extreme.  Looking into the eyes of an ape isn’t like looking at a dog or cat, but neither is it like looking into another humans’ eyes.  There is more behind an ape’s eyes than just a “dumb animal,” but not quite up to the human level.  It’s a weird kind of uncanny valley effect.

And chimps, especially, are disturbingly like us, from their gestures to their facial expressions to their social interactions. Chimps laugh, they hold hands, they hug – and they kill each other.

As I said, they are our closest genetic relatives.  And maybe they are more like us than we’d like to admit – or, in some cases, (I could point out recent events in the Middle East) it may be that we are more like them than should make us comfortable.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Bacon Time, Flappr and The Daley Gator for the Rule Five links!

And again for the week I was out!  The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove,   Flappr and The Daley Gator.

Now then: An “influential ecologist” predicts humanity may be on the way to a population crash.  He may be right, but not for the reasons he lists.

How bad will it be? (eminent ecologist William E.) Rees cites estimates suggesting that the number of humans that Earth can support for the long term is between 100 million and 3 billion people. So, the population and civilization collapse he forecasts will be quite bad, indeed. He even briefly painted a bleak picture of how it might happen.

“As parts of the planet become uninhabitable, we should expect faltering agriculture, food shortages, and possibly extended famines. Rising sea levels over the next century will flood many coastal cities; with the breakdown of national highway and marine transportation networks other cities are likely to be cut off from food-lands, energy, and other essential resources. Some large metropolitan areas will become unsupportable and not survive the century.”

After the population correction, Rees portends a more primitive future.

“It may well be that the best-case future will, in fact, be powered by renewable energy, but in the form of human muscle, draft horses, mules, and oxen supplemented by mechanical water-wheels and wind-mills.”

It’s doubtful that the inhabitable land area on the planet shrink in any measurable amount.  Even if the earth does warm up, areas in the tropics that become unpleasant will be offset by areas that will become more temperate, including the vast northern taiga forests that encompass much of the northern hemisphere.

But the population correction is already happening, and it’s largely due to a collapse in birth rates. For whatever reasons, people in the developed world, including he Americas, Europe, and even much of Asia (China and Japan) just aren’t having babies.

And, if we concede the accuracy of William E. Rees’s scenario – I don’t – wouldn’t a naturally decreasing human population reduce many of the nasty climate effects he is worried about?

The earth generally self-corrects.  65 million years ago a rock the size of Mt. Everest crashed into the Gulf of Mexico just off the Yucatan, killing everything much larger than a rat and plunging the planet into a few decades of cold and dark. The planet recovered. It always does. We aren’t that big a part of it.

Rule Five Code Duello Friday

I’m going to expand on some deep thoughts I presented a few years back, thoughts that I just had occasion to recall during a discussion with a buddy the other day.  To put it simply: Should dueling be legal?

I’m not talking about sparring on Twitter or in the comments section of some news story.  I’m talking honest to gosh, 18th century-style, pistols at ten paces dueling.

Dueling has been illegal everywhere in the United States, indeed in most of the Western world since the early 19th century at least.  But let’s set aside our ingrained prejudices for a moment and ask ourselves, in a society that honestly and completely exists under the concept of liberty – should it be?

Let’s say two men (or women, or one of each, whatever) have a serious disagreement, one which cannot be reconciled by any normal means.  Courts have been unable to arrive at a settlement acceptable to both.  Counsel has failed.  They are well and truly at loggerheads.

So, both of them, as capable, competent, consenting adults, in full possession of their faculties, agree to pistols at sunrise to settle the dispute.  They meet in a field with their seconds, who oversee the loading of the pistols; they take their places, step away from each other on the count and, when indicated, turn and fire.  One is killed, the other emerges the victor.

I’d use these, just for the sake of tradition.

Now – answer me this – what crime has been committed?

Oh, yes, I know there is a statutory crime committed.  But has there been a moral crime?  Both parties went into the affair knowing that death was a likely outcome.  I’ve read that back when the code duello was more commonly practiced, it was considered the gentlemanly thing to do to just pink your opponent in the arm or leg and claim victory without fatality, but fatal injuries were a normal outcome; it even happened to one of the more famous of our Founding Fathers.

But even in the event of a fatality – what qualifies this as a crime?  Both parties agreed to the duel.  Both parties know the likely outcome.  Both parties are, presumably, competent to make the decision.  If we are truly to be a society that values personal liberty, we must also be a society that allows people to face the likely consequences of that liberty.  Dueling may be an extreme example of that, but it’s no less a valid one.

So.  Should dueling be legalized?  If, in a society based first and foremost on the principle of individual liberty, two parties agree to settle their differences in one-on-one mortal combat, knowing the outcome is likely to be at least one of them shuffling off the mortal coil, then what role does government play in preventing them from so doing?

Obviously there would have to be some limits.  You could scarcely allow a duel between two people using nuclear weapons as the weapon of choice, for example.  I’d be willing to consider the following restrictions:

  • Weaponry limited to personal, individual weapons only. Pistols, swords, or even a sniper duel with rifles, but no explosives, machine guns or flamethrowers, entertaining as that last one would be.  Why?  Because of the possibility of the battle spilling over onto observers or bystanders.  That would be… bad.
  • Both parties obviously to be competent, consenting adults, willing to sign legal documents waiving any damages or legal penalty from any death or disability resulting from the duel.
  • I suppose I’d entertain the idea of a cooling-down period between filing of the legal paperwork and the event itself, since death is a likely (and final) outcome.
  • It seems to me that seconds would be a reasonable requirement. The seconds’ role is to act as a dispassionate advocate for the duelist.  The seconds act in concert, presumably without the inflamed passions that led to the duel, to ensure that the duel is fair, that neither duelist takes an unfair advantage.
  • Some kind of time limit to the combat itself seems like a good idea. Say the parties agree to a duel by sword; if they hack away for, say, two hours, until both are on the brink of collapse, there ought to be a way for the seconds to call a draw.

The trouble here is as with so many things; the limits here would have to be legislated, and as it is the nature of government to grow ever larger and more intrusive, eventually the code duello would be so full of requirements and conditions as to be useless, kind of like the tax code.  Really, it would be better to have the government as completely divorced as possible from the process.  The only law that applies would be contract law.

“But Animal,” some might ask, “wouldn’t a duel have the possibility of setting off a vendetta, say between two families?”

“Sure,” I’d reply, “…and as long as all parties agree to the code duello and the likely consequences, and follow the guidelines and rules applying, then, fine.  I really have very little problem with families who are so prickly that they can’t settle their differences by non-legal means thinning themselves out thusly, and besides, you can only have the duel if both parties agree; this makes it pretty easy to break the chain.”

“Even so,” the questioners go on, “wouldn’t you have the possibility of a revenge killing outside the code duello system?”

“Again, sure,” I’d reply, “…and that would be a crime, to be dealt with by the legal system just like any other premeditated murder.”

“But… wouldn’t this disproportionately affect (insert name of particular aggrieved community/ethnicity/religion/whatever here)?”

“Probably.  So what?”

“What about the families they leave behind?  Their children!  Think of their children!”

“It’s not my place to think about their children; it’s their damn place to think of their children.  So, they leave behind some orphans?  Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

“But wait,” comes one final question, “…what about the Non-Aggression Principle?”

“That’s an interesting one.  It seems to me that both parties are initiating aggression in unison, by prior agreement under conditions also agreed to.  So, yes, both parties are violating the NAP – and neither are.  As the initiation is simultaneous – say, five paces, turn and fire – then both are initiating, and both are responding.  You can make an argument here that the NAP doesn’t apply.”

It’s a pretty problem.

Of course, this is just an intellectual exercise, and it’s unlikely in the extreme that dueling will ever be legalized, anywhere, in our modern era and, honestly, one would hope that civilized people have better ways to resolve their differences.

But the veneer of civilization is pretty damn thin.  If things ever got to the point where trial by arms was again an acceptable way to settle differences, it would be best to have some kind of guidelines around how to conduct those trials.

More to the point, I find the moral question interesting.  It seems to me that a duel is morally acceptable if both parties are competent adults, fully informed, and willing to sign on to a legally binding agreement to enter into mortal combat.

So.  Thoughts?