Tagguns

The 11 American Nations

11 American Nations

Colin Woodard writes:

Beyond a vague awareness that supporters of violent retaliation and easy access to guns are concentrated in the states of the former Confederacy and, to a lesser extent, the western interior, most people cannot tell you much about regional differences on such matters. Our conventional way of defining regions—dividing the country along state boundaries into a Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest—masks the cultural lines along which attitudes toward violence fall. These lines don’t respect state boundaries. To understand violence or practically any other divisive issue, you need to understand historical settlement patterns and the lasting cultural fissures they established.

The original North American colonies were settled by people from distinct regions of the British Isles—and from France, the Netherlands, and Spain—each with its own religious, political, and ethnographic traits. For generations, these Euro-American cultures developed in isolation from one another, consolidating their cherished religious and political principles and fundamental values, and expanding across the eastern half of the continent in nearly exclusive settlement bands. Throughout the colonial period and the Early Republic, they saw themselves as competitors—for land, capital, and other settlers—and even as enemies, taking opposing sides in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.

There’s never been an America, but rather several Americas—each a distinct nation. There are eleven nations today. Each looks at violence, as well as everything else, in its own way.

Full Story: Tufts Magazine: Up in Arms

(Thanks moonandserpent)

3-D Printer Company Seizes Machine From Desktop Gunsmith

Back in August I linked to the Wiki Weapons Project, a group trying to use 3D printers to “print” a fully working gun.

But Wired reports the team has hit a snag:

But last Wednesday, less than a week after receiving the printer, Wilson received an e-mail from Stratasys: The company wanted its printer returned. Wilson wrote back, and said he believed using the printer to manufacture a firearm would not break federal laws regarding at-home weapons manufacturing. For one, the gun wouldn’t be for sale. Wilson added that he didn’t have a firearms manufacturers license.

Stratasys’s legal counsel wrote back: “It is the policy of Stratasys not to knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes. Therefore, please be advised that your lease of the Stratasys uPrint SE is cancelled at this time and Stratasys is making arrangements to pick up the printer,” stated the letter, which Wilson posted to Defense Distributed’s website. The next day, contractors hired by the company arrived at Wilson’s apartment in an Enterprise rental van and took the printer.

Full Story: Wired Danger Room: 3-D Printer Company Seizes Machine From Desktop Gunsmith

Wilson says the ATF has investigated him and determined that although he isn’t technically breaking any laws, the project is in a legal gray area.

Still, it’s only a matter of time before someone figures this out, and not everyone who buys or leases a 3D printer is going to advertise what they are using it for.

‘Wiki Weapon Project’ Aims To Create A Gun Anyone Can 3D-Print At Home

come and take it

Earlier this month, Wilson and a small group of friends who call themselves “Defense Distributed” launched an initiative they’ve dubbed the “ Wiki Weapon Project.” They’re seeking to raise $20,000 to design and release blueprints for a plastic gun anyone can create with an open-source 3D printer known as the RepRap that can be bought for less than $1,000. If all goes according to plan, the thousands of owners of those cheap 3D printers, which extrude thin threads of melted plastic into layers that add up to precisely-shaped three-dimensional objects, will be able to turn the project’s CAD designs into an operational gun capable of firing a standard .22 caliber bullet, all in the privacy of their own garage.

“We want to show this principle: That a handgun is printable,” says Wilson, a 24-year-old second-year law student at the University of Texas. “You don’t need to be able to put 200 rounds through it…It only has to fire once. But even if the design is a little unworkable, it doesn’t matter, as long as it has that guarantee of lethality.”

Forbes: ‘Wiki Weapon Project’ Aims To Create A Gun Anyone Can 3D-Print At Home

As the article notes, someone has already managed to print a working lower receiver (ie, the important part) for a rifle.

Holding a Gun Makes You Think Others Are Too

I wonder if this remains true even if the test subject is just carrying a gun, but not holding it in their hands (ie, if it applies to cops with holstered guns):

The researchers varied the situation in each experiment – such as the having the people in the images sometimes wear ski masks, changing the race of the person in the image or changing the reaction subjects were to have when they perceived the person in the image to hold a gun. Regardless of the situation the observers found themselves in, the study showed that responding with a gun biased observers to report “gun present” more than did responding with a ball. Thus, by virtue of affording the subject the opportunity to use a gun, he or she was more likely to classify objects in a scene as a gun and, as a result, to engage in threat-induced behavior, such as raising a firearm to shoot.

Science Daily: Holding a Gun Makes You Think Others Are Too, New Research Shows

I’ve seen some skeptical comments questioning whether firearm training would reduce this effect. But Scientific American reports in its coverage of this study that 1/4 of all police shooting involve unarmed suspects. Police receive more than a little (though some argue not enough) firearm training.

The AP also covered the story and notes: “Past research suggests that people can be more likely to perceive a poorly seen object as a gun if it’s held by a black person than by a white person, experts say.”

See also: Priming.

Goldman Sachs bankers aren’t packing heat after all

Follow-up to this post:

New York police spokesman Paul J. Browne says that their records show only four Goldman employees have applied for gun permits in recent years — and the last application was made in 2003. That application, by the firm’s head of security for a “carry permit”, was granted. The only other employee granted a NYPD carry permit” is a building security guard. It was issued prior to 2003, said a police spokesman. Those applying for a permit must list their employer.

Wall Street Journal: Are Goldman Sachs Bankers Really Carrying Guns?

Goldman Sachs bankers buying handguns to protect themselves against the proletariat

Update: turns out this isn’t true.

I called Goldman Sachs spokesman Lucas van Praag to ask whether it’s true that Goldman partners feel they need handguns to protect themselves from the angry proletariat. He didn’t call me back. The New York Police Department has told me that “as a preliminary matter” it believes some of the bankers I inquired about do have pistol permits. The NYPD also said it will be a while before it can name names.

While we wait, Goldman has wrapped itself in the flag of Warren Buffett, with whom it will jointly donate $500 million, part of an effort to burnish its image — and gain new Goldman clients. Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein also reversed himself after having previously called Goldman’s greed “God’s work” and apologized earlier this month for having participated in things that were “clearly wrong.”

Has it really come to this? Imagine what emotions must be billowing through the halls of Goldman Sachs to provoke the firm into an apology. Talk that Goldman bankers might have armed themselves in self-defense would sound ludicrous, were it not so apt a metaphor for the way that the most successful people on Wall Street have become a target for public rage.

Bloomberg: Arming Goldman With Pistols Against Public

(via Global Guerillas)

See also this USA Today story about skyrocketing corporate security spending:

Companies have been slashing almost every cost imaginable to survive the recession, yet they are spending more than ever to calm CEOs who fear for their personal safety.

Starbucks, which has laid off workers, closed stores and switched from whole to 2% milk to save pennies a gallon, bumped its spending to $511,079 last year on the personal and home security of CEO Howard Schultz. FedEx, which quit matching employee 401(k) contributions, spent $595,875 on the security of CEO Fred Smith. Walt Disney spent $645,368 for CEO Robert Iger; Occidental Petroleum spent $575,407 for Ray Irani; and McKesson spent $401,706 for John Hammergren.

Gun owners more likely to be shot than non-gun owners

This should come as no surprise. Brandishing a gun is a good way to get yourself shot.

Results. After adjustment, individuals in possession of a gun were 4.46 (P < .05) times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession. Among gun assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, this adjusted odds ratio increased to 5.45 (P < .05). Conclusions. On average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. Although successful defensive gun uses occur each year, the probability of success may be low for civilian gun users in urban areas. Such users should reconsider their possession of guns or, at least, understand that regular possession necessitates careful safety countermeasures.

American Public Health Association: Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession and Gun Assault

(via Disinfo)

Fascism Watch: Police and Military Lining Up Against Obama

Launched in March by Las Vegan Stewart Rhodes, Oath Keepers bills itself as a nonpartisan group of current and retired law enforcement and military personnel who vow to fulfill their oaths to the Constitution.

More specifically, the group’s members, which number in the thousands, pledge to disobey orders they deem unlawful, including directives to disarm the American people and to blockade American cities. By refusing the latter order, the Oath Keepers hope to prevent cities from becoming “giant concentration camps,” a scenario the 44-year-old Rhodes says he can envision happening in the coming years. […]

It’s the “cross-pollinating” of extremist groups — some racist, some not — that is of concern, Potok said. As evidence that the danger is real, he points to several recent murders committed by men with anti-government or racist views.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reached a similar conclusion in a report earlier this year about the rise of right-wing extremism. The report said the nation’s economic downturn and Obama’s race are “unique drivers for right-wing radicalization and recruitment.”

The homeland security report added that “disgruntled military veterans” might be vulnerable to recruitment by right-wing extremist groups.

That warning was enough to make Rhodes feel paranoid.

“They’re accusing anybody who opposes Obama of being a racist or a potential terrorist,” he said. “What they’re saying is, ‘We’re coming after you.'”

Las Vegas Review: Ready To Revolt: Oath Keepers pledges to prevent dictatorship in United States

(via Nick P)

To their credit, the “Oath Keepers” acknowledge the Patriot Act’s erosion of civil liberties as well. But where were they during the 8 years that Bush was president? Obama gets 400% more death threats than Bush but still lets people carry assault rifles around him, and the Oathers think that they’re being persecuted? Bush had people hauled away for wearing the wrong t-shirts.

I have little good to say about Obama, but I can’t say that his administration is less tolerant of dissent than Bush’s.

From the Oather’s Declaration of Orders We Will NOT Obey: “We will NOT obey any order to conduct warrantless searches of the American people, their homes, vehicles, papers, or effects — such as warrantless house-to house searches for weapons or persons.”

I take this to mean they will start refusing to do warrantless searches for drugs? For 28 years the federal government has waged war on its people (a disproportionate number of them black), using militarized civilian law enforcement agents, and it’s only now that a not-right-wing-enough black president has been elected that they are worried?

Now, there have been militia movements before, and they got particularly scary during the Clinton years. But most of those fears were overblown. The Oklahoma City bombing was used to justify the proto-Patriot Act: the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. So it’s worth while to reiterate that this should not be a call for more repressive laws.

These latest developments – Oath Keepers, assault rifles at Obama rallies, violent attacks on pro-health care demonstrators – do seem particularly more frightening than those of the Clinton-era. And those Clinton-era movements did have a real result. Not the assassination of a president, or a legitimate insurrection by right-wing militias. The result was the sharp right-wing turn the country took during and after the Clinton administration.

And that’s what’s scariest now. Even if the current movements don’t end in, say, a Blackwater coup (and the chance that something like that would happen this time around does seem greater), we’re still probably in for darker days.

Update: Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes opines on the drug war and the Bush administration here (via Jesse Walker in the comments):

The Pentagon and its close allies, the defense contractors, turned to the “war on drugs” and “terrorism” as the new cash-crop reason for the bloated Pentagon budget. We even had shrill warnings about the grave dangers of “narco-terrorists” who actually combined those two horrid evils (shudder) and we were told that only the military could stop them! Thus a new mission was born for the U.S. military which has steadily pushed its way into law enforcement, starting out in support roles, just like in Vietnam, but getting closer and closer to in-your-face and hands-on direct action. There has also been a corresponding and complimentary steady militarization of law enforcement such that the two are now hard to tell apart.

Is Rhodes position the official position of the Oath Keepers? As of now (10am PST 10/25/09) there is no official position on the drug war recorded on their site by Google. The question is posed here in the comments and not answered.

Still, I’m impressed with Rhodes’s position and encouraged by the fact that he’s “writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people.” (See Radley Balko’s paper Overkill for more on this subject.)

Very late correction for Loan No More article

Dean Speir commented on my article Loan No More to correct the spelling of his name and my characterization of his relationship to the mainstream gun press:

It’s important to note that calling my absence from the “gunzines” a “blacklisting” isn’t really accurate.

I spent the better part of three years trying to get a gunzine byline, and discovered it was pretty much a closed shop.

Then I got my foot in the clubhouse, and everyone wanted whatever I could provide.

But once “inside,” it became apparent that, like the special interest ‘zines which appeal to the automotive, boating and photography hobby-ists, there was precious little critical writing being done.

And after 12-13 years of trying to get something other than “puffery” in the “mainstream gun press,” and with the advent of the Internet as a more direct conduit for free expression, I retired, bloody but unbowed.

Is there one published who wouldn’t touch my byline with a 12-foot Chechnyan? Absolutely! Harris (Combat Handguns) in NYC.

But I still get inquiries from other Editors wondering if I’m working on anything that might interest their readers.

For the past nine-plus years, whatever fit that category, is self-published at http://www.thegunzone.com, free of advertiser interference and nervous editorial oversight.

These errors were my own, NOT Ross Eliot’s.

You can own a machine gun, if you build it yourself

A federal appeals court on Thursday reversed an Arizona man’s federal conviction for unlawful possession of five homemade machine guns, ruling that his weapons did not affect interstate commerce. Regulation of interstate commerce was the basis of the federal ban on machine gun possession.

Full Story: Sacramento Bee: Machine gun conviction tossed

I need to read the Plastic discussion.

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