Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Racial Cycles

One of my favorite "futurists" and geopolitical strategists is George Friedman, who recently launched a new firm, Geopolitical Futures. I became acquainted with him about a decade ago after he published "The Next 100 Years," featuring a host of predictions, some of which have proven prescient. At the time, Friedman was running another company he started, Stratfor.

You should subscribe. It is not expensive.

He also pens a periodic essay that is emailed to subscribers, which I always enjoy. He posted one recently on the "Decline of Dignity" that is worth your time. And today, a very historic if unique perspective on racial unrest that is gripping parts of our major (and a few minor) cities.

Instead of my summarizing it - it is not that long - I'm posting and linking it below. I will set it up with his premise that we are in the midst of a 50-year cycle of racial unrest - the "storm before the calm." It helps put our current unpleasantness in some perspective.

Racial Cycles

Slavery was the law of the land when the United States was founded, and it would take nearly a century, and a civil war, for it to be undone. It wasn’t until 1954 that segregation in schools was made illegal. It wasn’t until 1964 that Black Americans were permitted to enter restaurants and hotels as a matter of right. It wasn’t until 1965 that Blacks were given the unambiguous right to vote. And just as the end of slavery did not end oppression, the passage of these laws did not mean obedience to them.
A history like that creates pain and confusion that can’t be cured by merely relenting from oppression. For Blacks, fear and anger are like an heirloom passed through generations. Some whites are sincerely committed to ending this legacy, others are profoundly indifferent, and still others want to shamelessly exploit it. When I look at those protesting in the streets of America these past few months, I wonder which is which. But it really doesn’t matter. All of this has become a ritual to be acted out toward no end. Race, rage and violence are part of the Republic we founded, and there is no evidence that it will be solved.
In my book “The Storm Before the Calm,” I argue that there is a 50-year cycle in American history. In the final decade of every 50-year cycle, the nation enters a period of deep unrest, self-doubt and self-loathing. It always begins with, and is thus inextricably tied to, the question of race.
The 1870s was a time of economic pain inflicted by the Civil War, which was fought over the question of race. (Like all wars, it had many causes, but 600,000 Americans didn’t die over the question of tariffs.) The Reconstruction revealed the anger of the defeated South and the resentment of Northerners, who were shocked to find that the end of the war meant the recognition of Black humanity. In short, the violence of reconstruction announced the coming of the 1870s. In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan roamed the country relatively unopposed until the Great Depression brought everything in America to a halt. The racial turmoil of the 1960s – the assassination of civil rights leaders, the riots in Detroit, and so on – ushered in the political and economic failures of the 1970s – Nixon’s resignation, 20 percent inflation rates and double-digit unemployment.
Before the 1870s, the 1930s, the 1970s and now the 2020s, there was a sense, not fully defined, that something was wrong. The edifice of an era doesn’t suddenly collapse. It slowly slides to the ground. And as the ground starts slipping – as the triumph and well-being of the prior decades begin their descent – those most exposed, Black and white, are filled with undefined dread. In their dread, they do what Americans have done since the founding: turn to race as the problem. The unrest intensifies as it spreads, as does the fear it instills. And as fear spreads, so does the willingness of the power structure to allow its instruments of protection to take action. The events we are seeing have a long history. They always begin with the illusion that they will force the white power structure not only to change some minor things but also to capitulate. But frightening the powerful has only one end. Both well-meaning and ill-intended Blacks and whites soon enough will stop protesting. Some will die in a hail of bullets. Some will go to jail. Some will become mayors and earn their MBAs. The politicians, never in the street, will calculate how they can benefit from all this. But it will end in a few years, and American history will move on with the race issue simmering beneath the surface and surging every 50 years or so.
It’s interesting to think of the Black experience in America alongside the immigrant experience. Many immigrant groups came to America and mastered being American, paradoxically by enclosing themselves in their own community. The Chinese came here and built businesses serving first other Chinese and later the rest. They banded together and then took on the world, backed by a community that was doing the same. Their children or grandchildren go to college and enjoy the comfort being American offers. Social cohesion within an ethnic group was the way America worked.
Of course that would be humiliating for Black Americans because they are not immigrants. They are Americans, here for far longer than my family and most families. The idea that they should now act as if they were strangers in their own land and do that for several generations cuts against the very heart of the Black claim against America.
I don’t really know what can be done. I know only that when Black power meets white power, the historical outcome has not been good.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Now They're Coming After. . . Walt Whitman

I've written a few times over the past couple of decades about Camden, New Jersey, a once-great city with a fascinating history that is now, and finally, ascendant.
One icon of Camden is the great poet, Walt Whitman. His final home is well preserved and generally accessible in downtown Camden - 330 Mickle Boulevard, to be exact. I've driven by it hundreds of times. He's buried in the local cemetery. He was supportive of Abraham Lincoln, the Union, and traveled to Washington, DC during the Civil War to tend to wounded Union soldiers. Most recently, he's better known as the author of "Leaves of Grass," the book of poetry that a certain President gave to a rather famous intern around 1998 or so. You know the thing.
It doesn't mean he was perfect, especially by today's standards. You know, "presentism," the devious practice of applying modern "standards" to historical figures. I won't be around, fortunately, to see how a few generations or so deal with people of today's times. I can only imagine.
Whitman has been an element of pride for Camden for decades. But here comes along a few malcontents, brainwashed 'critical theory' adherents at Rutgers-Camden University, who now want to remove a statue of the great poet, the bard of Camden.
What stupid asshats. My temptation is to ask, "then what?" When Whitman's legacy, memory, and work are eradicated from Camden, then who or what is next?
You.
Image may contain: outdoor
Like
Comment
Share

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Tried Buying a Bike Lately?

After several trips to my bike repair shop the past few weeks - and shredded gear shift cable - on a nearly 15 year old, cheap, Huffy mountain bike, I’ve decided to shop for another.

Except there’s a problem - new bikes are in very short supply. Very. Short. Supply.

I went online. “Not Available” was affixed to every bike I looked at.

I went to two local bike shops. Each has less than 10 new bikes, all over $1,000 (most over $2,000). I’m not Lance Armstrong, looking to cheat in the next Tour de France. Gettting any attention from either shop when I was eager to buy was difficult, and weird.

My local bike shop (which is excellent) says that since The Great Hunkering, they’ve sold over 800 bikes. And their suppliers/manufacturers, due to COVID, are unable to keep up with demand. I would love to buy from them, but they were keenly uninterested in selling me anything, even their expensive bikes.

I have noticed an explosion of bikers on my local trails (the Chester Valley Trail and Schuykill Trail, here in the Philly suburbs), especially on weekends.  We have more traffic jams now on bike trails than with cars/trucks on streets and interstates. No complaints, since that’s great exercise, but what a frustration when you just want to buy a new bike. Clearly, this is one the unreported stories of our pandemic. I guess the media is too busy promoting panic porn.

So guess where I have found my new bike, sight unseen. You guessed it. . . Amazon. It will be here in a week, for a price less than half what I would pay at a local shop, which again, I would have preferred. Sign of the times.

Friday, July 24, 2020

It's Not Just The Woke Mob in US Newsrooms - It's Canadian Ones, Too

As a former journalist, I follow the industry perhaps a little closer than most. I still have a few friends in the industry, including a White House chief correspondent for a major network. There are still a few good journalists in high places.
I'm glad not to be in their shoes these days. There is a massive seismic shift underway in that world, and it's been going on for a while. "Walking on Eggshells" culture is ubiquitous.
Some of you may have read or heard about the resignation letter from a New York Times editor, Bari Weiss. It received a lot of attention. Receiving a little less notoriety was Andrew Sullivan's departure from New York Magazine, now owned by the woke mob from Vox media. He's resuming his blog, The Dish, that he left some 5 years ago. Probably one of the most effective and leading advocates for same-sex marriage and an avid Trump hater, he was still too "conservative" for the Vox family because he ridicules "critical race theory." If you're not familiar with critical race theory, please check out this blog site (and subscribe).
If you think this is limited to the US, you would be wrong. The same insane, malign forces that have ruined higher education, has a grip on Hollywood and is destroying corporate cultures, it is now conducting a blitzkrieg of newsrooms to eradicate the final un-woke elements from among their midst. Including Canada. Their version of the "Final Solution," it seems. Keep in mind, too, that the Canadian government subsidizes major media outlets, including it's leading broadcast corporation, the CBC. God forbid that ever happens in the US.
I do not know Barbara Kay, but I am a pretty avid ready of Canada's National Post, akin to our Wall Street Journal (sort of, used to be). They have (had?) several outstanding columnists and reporters who provide me good insights into Canadian politics, which I've followed closely for the better part of two decades (longer, actually, going back to 1974 during my first trip to Canada as a Civil Air Patrol cadet).
Her post here, not unlike Bari Weiss's or Andrew Sullivan's, is rather illuminating. Recommended reading. They're all moving towards independent media. It's part of a remarkable shift from traditional outlets that now punish diverse thought and opinion, and I suspect signals a death knell of sorts to these "gray ladies." It is at least a big red flag.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Happy Birthday - and Thanks - to Senator Bob Dole

I’ve enjoyed the plethora of wonderful birthday messages from former Capitol Hill colleagues for my former boss, former Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole. It was Leader Dole who nominated me to become the 28th Secretary of the Senate, the greatest honor and privilege of my life (behind my marriage and the birth of my two sons) that puts me permanently in his debt. My time was brief (he would resign about a year later to pursue the Presidency full-time), but memorable. A post for another day.

While I was not - nor could be - directly involved with the Dole Presidential campaign in 1996, I did launch the first-ever Republican Senator’s “cloakroom” for the GOP convention that year in San Diego. It was a terrific success, which Dole loved, since it allowed us to better coordinate (um, control?) the role of his colleagues at the convention. My GOP successors have continued that tradition (although I fear it will be necessarily paused this year given the current pandemic).

But obviously I watched the campaign that year very closely. One of the biggest attacks on Dole was that he was “too old” to be president. Born in 1923 (on this day, obviously), making him 73 on Election Day in 1996. This ancient NY Times story tells the story. 

How old is Joe Biden? I’ll say it - Sen. Dole does media interviews, perhaps more than Joe Biden, and unlike Joe, remains as sharp as ever. At 97. Happy birthday, Leader.

New Cato Poll: The "Walking on Eggshells" Culture is Real. And Dangerous.

The Cato Institute is a libertarian "think tank" in Washington, DC. They do good work. They also sponsor polls, and one they partially released today - an online survey of 2,000 people conducted by YouGov.com - is especially interesting. It was conducted July 1-6, a busy week of violent protests, canceled & spontaneous Independence Day celebrations, and the continuing COVID crisis.

This survey focused on how fearful Americans are to express their political beliefs. While a slim majority of self-identified "very liberal" Americans are not afraid to express their view (anyone been on the "blue bubble" of Twitter lately?), a consistent 77% of Republicans and conservatives are fearful. I encourage you to read the results and click on the links for the actual survey results and crosstabs.

And yet, oddly, a large number of both "strong" liberals (50%) and "strong" conservatives (32%) think executives should be fired if they "privately" contribute to either Joe Biden or Donald Trump (the desire to fire Trump contributors is clearly higher, but, wow).

Some observations:

1. This is consistent with the 2016 post-election analysis by authors Brad Todd and Selena Zito, chronicled in their terrific book "The Great Revolt," that 34% of Trump voters never told anyone of their voting intentions.

2. This is also consistent with other polling, including Rasmussen, that upwards of 15% of Trump voters may not be disclosing their support to phone pollsters (they are less bashful in online polls).

3. It raises questions about the reliability, if not the validity, of political polling that is weaponized to suggest that Trump is losing, and possibly losing badly. Remember that refusal rates to participate in phone polling have reached 90%, well above the 40-60% rates from 30 years ago.

Many people have told me that they read but rarely if ever post on Twitter and other social media accounts, especially about anything political. And it is no wonder: every day we hear and see stories of average, generally non-political people being "canceled" just for expressing a political viewpoint, even a mild one, on social media. Here's the latest example, a Michigan teacher.

It is no wonder that people, especially given the violent outbursts from the worst elements of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, coupled with the stresses and pressures of government diktats and media-driven pandemic panic porn, are afraid to exercise their First Amendment freedoms. And that is truly frightening.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Fabulism at The Atlantic Magazine

As a young trade association communications director in 1980, I was not long removed from being a newspaper editor and reporter. Then a flack of sorts for the National Restaurant Association, I remember picking up my Washington Post and reading an incredible, 2,200-word story about an 8-year-old heroin addict in the Washington Post by a reporter named Janet Cooke. Feel free to catch up on the incident here.

Those of you of a certain age know exactly what I'm referring to. Janet Cooke won (and became the first person ever to return) a Pulitzer Prize for her fabulism - she made it all up. That the Washington Post editors (some of whom were actually promoted after this incident) didn't bother to check the reporter's work, to this day, still blows my mind. I guess they were still intoxicated from their Watergate "success."

If you thought that episode led the industry to reform their practices, you would be only partially correct, if that. Here comes The Atlantic Magazine, a publication I subscribed to in a moment of weakness (until today). They do have some excellent writers (or, did).

They published their own entry into the Fabulism Hall of Fame with a bogus story about cops indiscriminately killing a young boy with no consequences. Fortunately, The Federalist, a favorite right-leaning (Libertarian) blog site investigated and exposed the whole mess. Fortunately, the fabulist who made up her missive, presented as fact, didn't have time to win a Pulitzer for her "work." And getting The Atlantic to fess up is perhaps the bigger story.

As if you needed it, here is more evidence that you cannot take at face value anything you read in the "mainstream" media, a cesspool into which I include The Atlantic. Including their so-called "fact-checkers." Nice work here by The Federalist.

Oh, and the Atlantic piece is still up on their web site.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

This Is What Racism Looks Like - From the National Museum of African American History & Culture

Here I go, getting in trouble again. This post would probably get me fired if I were still employed, even canceled. It is where we are.
Byron York is a journalist at the Washington Examiner, someone I trust and respect for his independence, fairness, and integrity. On Twitter, he courageously posted links from the National Museum of African American History & Culture that I found very alarming. They are from the Museum's website.
The Museum, which I have been hoping but unable to visit, is part of the Smithsonian and receives considerable federal funding. They also attract considerable private support, as outlined here: https://nmaahc.si.edu/about/founding-donors
Their website has posted a site on "whiteness." It is worth your time and found here: https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race/topics/whiteness
I find it much of it incredibly racist and divisive. So much for Martin Luther King's dream for his children for a country that judged people based not on their skin color, but the content of their character. You know the thing. I wonder what he would think of this.
Here are some charts you will find on the website. You will be amazed at the characterizations of "whiteness" that the Museum, funded with your tax dollars finds offensive. At least that's how it reads to me. You can make your own judgments. The characteristics demeaned and demonized here are not racial - they are, in fact, represented in Justice Clarence Thomas' life as outlined in his own biographies, among many others (and whose own story has been minimized, if not dissed, by this very Museum). They are things we have heard for years in motivational speeches from the likes of football coaches like Tony Dungy.
I have no history of racism, and it was never tolerated or even an issue in my household. I wasn't raised that way, and neither were my children. My Christian faith has long informed me to treat people of all races as God's creation. Jesus came to earth to break down racial barriers in his offer, his promise, of salvation to all who believe, whether Jew, Gentile, or even the Samaritan woman at the well. All genuine Christians understand this instinctively and intellectually. It is who we are.
I agree with Thomas Sowell that "systemic racism" is meaningless.
I agree with my friend and US Senator, Tim Scott. America has racists, tragically, but we are not a racist country.
I will not be making any plans to visit or support this museum in any fashion.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Trump Flaw Badly Exposed in Alabama

Every leader, like every human, is flawed.

While I’m a Trump supporter, he’s a flawed leader. Every leader has been. And there is no better example of a major Trump flaw than Alabama’s GOP nomination election today, won by neophyte and ex-Auburn football coach, Tommy Tuberville.

Trump’s biggest failing, aside from his lack of discipline and obvious narcissism (no worse than Obama, frankly), his lack of loyalty to his earliest supporters - treating everyone as disposable - is disturbing.

Former AG and US Senator Jeff Sessions, whom I’ve known and highly respected since his first election to the Senate in 1996 was the first and only US Senator to support Trump for the GOP nomination.

I get the whole recusal issue that led to Trump’s anger, and he has a point. Sessions should never have agreed to be AG or should have resigned much earlier, in retrospect. But that was no reason to urinate all over a terrific Senator and loyal supporter. He’s not the first recipient of this Trump characteristic, and he won’t be the last.

So, now, the GOP has nominated a total neophyte who probably wins and probably serves well, once he experiences the usual rookie mistakes during his first 2-4 years.

Meanwhile, the Senate will lose the service of someone who gets the global and domestic challenges we face and would have been ready on Day One. Major fail, Alabama. Your loss. Ours, too.


https://www.foxnews.com/politics/tubverville-defeats-sessions-alabama-gop-senate-runoff

Friday, July 10, 2020

America’s “Cultural Revolution” Looks Very Familiar

Those of us of a certain age may remember Chairman Mao Zedong’s “Cultural Revolution” in the People’s Republic of China. Zedong, as you will recall, came to power during the 1949 Communist revolution, sending Chiang Kai-Shek and his army and followers to what is now the Republic of China on Taiwan. Chiang ruled China from 1928 until Zedong fomented his revolution.

Around 1966, as this article outlines, Mao launched his “cultural revolution” to eradicate the country of its old systems (sound familiar, already?) and eradicate remnants of opposition or resistance that still remained in China. It lasted about 10 years, and had a horrific impact - as many as 20 million Chinese died, but no one really knows for sure.

Historical monuments of all kinds were destroyed. Parents were forced to watch as their homes and livelihoods were destroyed, and were humiliated into phony confessions. It was truly evil.

Since this movement became of age when I did, I was fascinated by it. While in college, I procured and read Mao’s “Little Red Book.” I found it bizarre, full of inane and meaningless statements, but the youthful “Red Guard” would memorize each word (and woe to them if they didn’t).

Mao’s revolution actually didn’t survive that long. Richard Nixon’s trip to China late in his presidency (and Mao’s life) helped China change when it became abundantly clear that Mao’s revolution was, in actuality, a cultural and economic disaster. Within a few years, the revolution had all but disappeared. When I traveled there in 1995, on a Senate staff trip, China was, at least temporarily, on a very different path towards some marginal embrace of capitalism (they wanted foreign investment and were eager to create jobs and social stability at the time, minus respect for the rule of law). Things have obviously changed again over 25 years, but that’s a topic for another day. Interestingly, when I visited, they were fully engaged in restoring historical artifacts and excavating tombs of emperors that now line the road in Shaanxi Province from the airport to the ancient capital of Xian. The famous Terra-cotta Warriors were excavated and restored there. Amazing history that was almost destroyed.

My point. Those who do not learn from history are, in fact, likely to repeat it. We are clearly seeing the “red shoots” of a cultural revolution in our own country, complete with our very own “Red Guard.” The evidence is beyond obvious. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Before you bow to the Woke Mob, take a little walk through history.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

SCOTUS Tips Their Hat to Oklahoma’s Indian Nations

Well, this is interesting. Especially if you live in eastern Oklahoma, including the state’s second largest city, Tulsa.

While much of the media will focus on the two US Supreme Court decisions involving whether 1) Congress or 2) Manhattan prosecutors may access President Trump’s tax returns, I find the McGirt v. Oklahoma State Appeals Court decision of greater interest. Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the court’s 4 “liberals” in what read to me like a walk through history, except the parts he glossed over (like, the post-Civil War treaties in 1866, which were described in great detail in Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissent).

A little history. In 1832, President Andrew Jackson (with support from former President Thomas Jefferson), forced five major eastern Native American tribes to relocate to Oklahoma Indian Territory - Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole. They were promised the land in perpetuity. One of those tribes, the Seminoles, resisted, resulting in a brief war. Thousands died on the “Trail of Tears” from Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, and Florida to their new lands. Other tribes joined them. Most of their lands encompass eastern and southern Oklahoma.

Most Oklahomans, at least at one time, have lived in one of these lands. My home town was part of the Chickasaw Nation. I also lived on land once reserved for the Cherokee and the subject of today’s court ruling, the Creek.

You have to wait to read until CJ Roberts’ dissent to get to what I consider the most interesting aspect that appears to have been largely ignored by the majority. When southern states seceded from the Union, confederate General Albert Pike (Arkansas) approached the 5 major tribes about aligning with the confederacy. With the memories of the “Trail of Tears” along with the reality that those tribes owned some 8,000 slaves, they all eventually aligned with, and fight for, the confederacy.

In fact, the very last confederate general to surrender, in late June 1865, was Stand Watie - A Cherokee - long after Gens. Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston, both of which occurred in April 1865. I guess he never got Lee’s and Johnston’s text messages.

In 1866, the U.S. Government told the rebellious tribes that their treaties were going to be
“renegotiated.” Slavery was ended, and their lands were eventually opened up for settlement, starting in 1889 with the “Oklahoma land run.” My ancestors participated in the second land run, in 1891, that included Lincoln County (Chandler). The tribal nations were allowed to exist, including their own executive, legislative, and judicial systems, but their jurisdiction was limited to members of their tribes.

And that was the nub of today’s decision. Jimcy McGirt was prosecuted and found guilty in state court on three charges of sexual assault (raping his great-granddaughter). He argued, post-prosecution, that because he was a member of the Seminole tribe and committed his crimes in Creek Nation “territory,” he should be prosecuted only in federal court. There have been some 1,700 Indian tribal members convicted of crimes by states courts; today’s decision could set them free. Some 10 percent of the residents within the old Creek Nation boundaries are actual tribal members.

It doesn’t mean Indian reservations are back (nor, hopefully, slavery or support for the confederacy). But wow, it scrambles the legal and penal systems in Oklahoma, and I bet other states that are home to Indian lands and tribes are paying some attention (unlike Oklahoma, their tribes mostly have actual reservations lands). Many of the casinos in these states and others are owned and operated by Indian Nations. Including those in Oklahoma.

Social justice warriors are relatively silent on the matter, thus far, with no celebrations for the return of “stolen land” or whatnot. Not a word yet from famous former Oklahoman and cultural appropriator (and possible Vice President) Elizabeth Warren. History is a little hard or complicated for them, it seems.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Cancel Culture Crosses "The Pond"

The "cancel culture," which President Trump briefly alluded to during his Mt. Rushmore speech on July 3rd, isn't just an American phenomenon. It's made its way across the pond to the Mother Country. It is rapidly reaching pandemic proportions.

One of the joys of having a well-organized YouTube account is that you can subscribe to all kinds of wonderful channels. My spouse and I are particularly fond of British History (we love the machinations of the "War of the Roses" between the houses of Lancaster and York), especially the often-sordid behaviors of conniving aspirants -- and mothers of aspirants - to the throne. And the two best narrators of programs on British History are Dan Jones and David Starkey. You should look them up.

I know little of either, but they both bring to life, with energy and passion, fascinating lore in a very open, transparent, and entertaining manner. British history is not for the squeamish.

Well, David Starkey has now been canceled. How it happened is worth your time. I did not realize that he was an outspoken, often politically incorrect gay conservative in the UK and an interview with another conservative got him into some trouble, forcing this noted historian into exile. I suspect YouTube will be scratching his videos off my library in short order.

His story, as told here, is both interesting and sad. And too familiar.


Saturday, July 4, 2020

It's Time to Arm Up

It makes me sad to write this. But it is where we are.

It is time to arm up. Challenging times aren't just coming. They're here. Ask the McCloskeys.

If Donald Trump is reelected, the mobs will come for us, including the suburbs. And if Joe Biden wins, emboldened, empowered mobs will come for you.

They're coming for us. And the police, increasing numbers of whom are retiring and turning in their badges, aren't going to respond to your 911 calls, at least very quickly. Even if you're politically well connected. Their budgets are being cut, and the mob is no longer intimidated by our Thin Blue Line. And worse.

So, it is time to embrace the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. While it still exists. You know what it says:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." 

Let's pass on the preparatory phrase and focus on what matters: "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." 

So, how do we "arm up?" Having done so thanks to a son of mine who is 1) a former Military Policeman and 2) a registered gun dealer in Virginia as well as a US Army expert marksman, I feel qualified to share some advice.

First, you need a defense plan for your home and family. Imagine the various ways The Mob might invade your neighborhood and property. It's not hard if you think about it. Where would they try to enter? How would they try to divert your attention, and destroy your property (think: Molotov cocktails). 

Second, figure out what weapons and ammunition you may need. Most experts I know suggest three specific weapons: a shotgun (usually a .12 gauge), a pistol (usually a 9mm), and finally, something close to an AR-15. Not because they're 'scary-looking' or are more deadly than a .30-6 deer hunting rifle (they're not).

Why? A shotgun, while messy, is a good weapon when someone enters your home and you don't have the luxury of a targeted shot. A shotgun, especially a .12 gauge, spreads a lot of damage at close range. It's great when the attacker is in your home and you can see them close up. I inherited two shotguns from my recently-deceased father - a .20 gauge "bird gun" and a .410 single-shot "varmint gun" used by my great-great-grandfather. Neither great, but in a pinch, they can do a lot of damage. Enough, anyway.

A pistol is very valuable, and if you can get a concealed-carry permit, by all means, get one. It allows you
to carry your pistol in a concealed fashion while you visit malls and whatnot. But pistols are great for much of the same reason shotguns are, and are easier and quicker to use - and with the right ammunition (hollow point), you can disable an attacker very quickly with increased precision. A laser makes your targeting much easier. I personally prefer a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson "M&P" (Military and Police) Shield pistol because a .40 caliber can penetrate a windshield. Most police are happy with a 9mm.

Why is the ability to penetrate a windshield important? Have you seen videos on social media of people innocently driving into a wall of protestors, who proceed to damage vehicles and, in some cases, drag people out of their cars/vans/trucks to do violence? Would you rather lower your vehicle window so your 9 mm can “deter” the mob, or would you rather be able just to shoot, if necessary, through the windshield, to gain some leverage? I have my preference. 

As for the "assault weapon," and I hate using the language of leftists, I have a .300 "Blackout," which my son built for me. I have several magazines that can hold over 30 bullets each, and it is a weapon that I can reload and fire quickly to eliminate attackers. You do NOT want to be on the wrong end of my .300 blackout. It will be messy. It makes an AR-15 look like child's play. I know that some states, including the People's Republic of New Jersey, limit your magazine size along with your ability to even buy or carry a gun, or even procure ammunition. Face it, you are vulnerable. If you live in New Jersey or a like-minded state, you should consider moving. Fast. 

I know this all sounds very dystopian, even dark, and violent. But let's be real - the left is coming for you. Now, or later. And you have an obligation to prepare and protect your family, life, and property, even if you never have to use such force. And I hope you never do. But the closer you live to urban centers, the more likely it will become necessary.

Third, and this is really important, get trained. Every gun range I know employs or uses NRA-trained experts to help people understand how to use their weapons and to be comfortable with them. Schedule range time at least once per month (yes, I know it is expensive, but how much is your life worth?). Sadly, and alarmingly, Democratic governors have joyfully shutdown such ranges. Some have reopened. Even if you have to cross state lines, find ranges, get trained, get comfortable with your weapons, and you will be well served.

I'm sorry to be so scary. I hope it never comes to this. But it is obvious now that the left has been funded and planning for this for a while. They're coming after you, and you cannot depend on the police alone for your protection. 

Get guns. Get ammunition. Get trained. And be ready. 

Three Things You Should Read this Independence Day

Happy Independence Day. Or, from Britain's perspective, Happy Treason Day, you ungrateful colonials.

One good habit on this anniversary of our Independence is to read the actual Declaration by the Second Continental Congress, agreed to on July 2nd but announced a couple of days later. It's not a lengthy document but is the "why" behind the "how" of the Constitution, ratified some 13 years later after our war for Independence, which I'm reminded of every time I pass by the Brandywine River a few miles west of our home.

But I suggest reading two more documents by the American patriot, Thomas Paine, who is perhaps the most interesting of our nation's founders. British born, he came to America in 1774, and a year later, wrote the document - a pamphlet - "Common Sense" that makes the case for American independence. It's a bit longer than the Constitution, but worth your time.

The colonies did not go into rebellion quickly, easily, nor unanimously - when the British won the Battle of the Brandywine (Sept. 11, 1777) and marched into Philadelphia, they were literally cheered greeted by a great many locals (the patriots, for obvious reasons, had left town). Paine's pamphlet did much to advance the cause of independence. Linked here.

But don't stop there! Around Christmas of 1776 - dark times for the rebellion - Thomas Paine wrote another profound, and short, document that is also crucial to understanding the sacrifice required to truly win independence. It is called "Crisis No. 1."

So, enjoy the day, despite many of our festivities being canceled by gleeful would-be tyrants, especially, and ironically, around here in Philadelphia. And while you're at, remember the patriots who have, as well as those who continue to keep us free for at least one more generation. Yes, they have their commemorative holidays, but their work never gets a day off.